Where Love Lives

Love is already here. Seriously.

It’s the very energy that’s already beating our hearts and breathing our lungs. It’s the deeper feeling of our true nature. It’s the space we all live in by nature.

And then we all innocently think our way out of it.

We think “but if someone loves you, they wouldn’t do *whatever thing you don’t like*”

We think “but they never said *whatever they were supposed to say* to me, and they used to!”

We think “things have changed and life shouldn’t be like this”

And then we wonder why we don’t feel the love. Where has the heck has the love gone and how do we get it back?

All that’s happened, in truth, is we’ve clouded the sky. We’ve put stuff in the space. In the wide open space of love our personal thinking comes in and takes centre stage.

And the trick is… it doesn’t look like thinking. Our expectations look valid. Our opinions look solid. Our preferences look respectable. Our thinking looks right. Our feeling looks justified.

So it doesn’t look like the meaningless static of personal thinking coming in stage left and clouding the sky of love.

It looks like life, other people, circumstances, situations happen, and love exits stage left.

But love never goes anywhere. It’s always here. Always present. Always waiting for the cloud of thought to flow through it so it can be felt again.

Can you start to see that your thinking is not as real and true as it appears?

Is it possible that maybe the judgements, preferences, ideas, beliefs that you hold so dear are really only temporary thoughts floating through our minds?

Because once that’s seen for what it is, we see where love lives.

Love lives here. Now. Always.

When We Take Things Personally

It’s so easy in relationships to take things personally. In truth what other people do is just what they do, it isn’t about us even though it can really look and feel like it is.

Lately I’ve been seeing this more clearly in my own relationships. I’m seeing the normal human tendency to take what others do as being about me. Fortunately I’m also seeing what wakes me up to that fact so that I can fall back into peace.

Sometimes it looks like what my partner is doing is about me.

I know that due to a lifetime of social and cultural conditioning PLUS the amazing special effects department of my mind, that I’m going to take his behaviour personally at times, even though deep down I know it can’t be, because it doesn’t work that way.

Everyone’s behaviour is a natural consequence of how reality looks to them in the moment. Given how life looks to someone in any given moment, they’ll do the best they can.

The good news is that moments are just moments; we live in an ever-changing, constantly evolving mental landscape. The other good news is that when people see better, they do better. Automatically.

Seeing better is the most natural thing in the world because thought flows and transforms by nature.

With different thinking comes different behaviour. It’s all so impersonal even though the details of what was said or done can trick us into believing it has to be personal.

The fact that I know this but don’t always see it is not a problem or anything worth trying to fix.

I know that consciousness will bring my thinking to life as if it were reality, and if I have thinking that someone’s behaviour is personal it’s going to appear that way.

More often than not I see the humanness in that and can give myself a huge break. Telling myself I should know better is a recipe for getting more stuck in my illusory thinking, not less.

What wakes me up to the fact that I’m buying into an illusion is the feeling.

It doesn’t feel good to take things personally. It doesn’t feel good to blame yourself for the behaviour of others. It doesn’t feel good to make impersonal things about you.

Our feelings are these beautifully reliable guides. They let us know when we’re on track or off track with our thinking.

When we get caught up, take things too seriously and treat the illusion as truth, we don’t feel the peace, love and wisdom that we are.

When I’m with my partner and my good feelings plummet, I know it’s a surefire sign I’m caught up in some thinking and believing something is real and true when it isn’t.

In that sense, thank god for feeling bad. What a relief we have a built-in check engine light that will click on when we’re using our thinking in ways that harm us instead of help us.

When we’re feeling good, loving, peaceful, wise and well, we’re in touch with our true nature. When we don’t feel that, we’re taking our thinking too seriously.

So if you’re taking something someone did personally that’s okay. You’re human and the illusion is very compelling.

But in truth you are both doing the best you can with your current level of thinking. When that shifts, as it naturally, inevitably will, you’ll see differently, you’ll do differently, and the impersonal truth will become more and more obvious.

On The Benefit of the Doubt

How easy it is to assume we know why people do what they do.

We see an action or hear some words, our minds tell a story, and instantly we assume we know what’s what.

But this trips us up more than we know. Because what we’re actually seeing when we’re looking at someone isn’t coming from their intent, motive or backstory.

It’s coming from our thinking in the moment, always.

So really what we’re seeing is our own projection, our own reality, our own ideas… we’re not seeing people as they are, we’re seeing them as we are.

Which is why giving people the benefit of the doubt is so crucial. We’re never perceiving them as these solid, stable objects with clear cut motives… that’s just the story our mind is telling.

I saw this so clearly at a holiday party last night.

So many people, some I loved, some I didn’t understand, some I was annoyed by, some I was grateful to reconnect with.

But none of that was coming from them, all of it was coming from my mind and how I’m relating to it in the moment.

The person who annoyed me is someone my mind is playing a story of annoyance and injustice about and I’m buying into it hook line and sinker.

The people I loved were people I was seeing with innocence and purity. I naturally gave them the benefit of the doubt, I didn’t indulge my mind if and when it tried to assign meaning behind their actions.

The people I didn’t understand were people I tried to see with interest and curiosity. I was less interested in what my mind said about them and more interested in what I can see if I show up fresh: what’s there when I’m in this moment, not in my thinking about this moment?

The people I was grateful to reconnect were simply people who I saw beauty and goodness in. I relaxed into the moment with them and was grateful for the natural connection between us when we’re not indulging our personal thinking.

I definitely don’t always give people the benefit of the doubt. I get caught up in my stories, convinced by the grand illusion of consciousness and bought into my ideas at times.

It’s totally human, normal and nothing to beat ourselves up about!

But the beauty of life is found in being in life, not in our minds.

Giving people the benefit of the doubt, going back to the freshness of the unknown and being willing to be wrong about our assumptions, ideas and beliefs about someone is where freedom is found.

Freedom to discover something new.

Freedom to experience life fresh.

Freedom to be in the moment instead of thinking about it.

That’s something we can all benefit from.

On The Warmth of Love

What do tenderness, compassion, intimacy, warmth, affinity, connection and bliss all have in common?

They’re simply descriptions of our true nature. That deeper place that exists universally in all of us is made of love.

As a space of love it comes through as a beautiful feeling because it is a beautiful feeling.

It’s a deeper essence underneath all the temporary dancing of our personal thinking.

It’s a solid place beneath the transient ideas we have of ourselves and others.

Sometimes it will come in the form of self-forgiveness: a deep sense that we knew we were doing the best we could in that moment and that’s perfectly okay.

Sometimes it’s seeing the innocence in someone’s action on tv: that they’re so clearly acting out of insecurity and are trying their best to feel better, no matter how misguided their actions.

Sometimes it looks like two lovers that can’t take their eyes off each other because they’re drinking in each other’s beauty.

Sometimes it’s that cozy feeling you fall into when laughing with your best friend.

Sometimes it’s the heart-bursting bliss you feel when you hug your furry friend.

Sometimes it’s standing at a hockey game and feeling the sense of oneness in the crowd.

Sometimes it’s a quick smile between two strangers on a snowy street.

A look, a touch, a feeling, a moment.

We drop beneath the noise of our personal thinking and we touch something more fundamental.

We move away from the fuzzy distortion of our ideas about life and fall into the signal that’s always present.

We wake up from the nightmare and find ourselves just sitting in a beautiful feeling with no effort whatsoever.

The default state we share reveals itself and we feel it instantly, deeply, profoundly.

We just find ourselves in the warmth of love. Welcome home.

On The Ease of Forgiveness

Why does it sometimes feel so hard to forgive?

We all have times when forgiveness feels difficult, sometimes even impossible. Because surely better could have been done, and it wasn’t, and that’s not okay.

But seeing the truth of how the human experience works shines a whole new light on forgiveness because it illuminates a key fact: our reality is created through thought, therefore we can only do the best we can with the thinking we have in that moment.

The ‘better’ that could or should have been done is only what we now see from a higher level of consciousness.

Hindsight 20/20, they say.

From a settled mind the big picture is obvious. When our thinking is clear our actions reflect that clarity. When our thinking is cloudy, our actions reflect that confusion.

We all share a default setting of love, peace and well-being that gets reflected in behaviour naturally and effortlessly when thought isn’t distracting us.

But when we’re caught up in insecure, distressed, agitated, anxious thinking… clarity temporarily eludes us.

We see life through the filter of unclear thinking, and act on that temporary reality.

As naturally as healthy behaviour stems from healthy thinking, unhealthy behaviour stems from unhealthy thinking.

Which brings us to the truth that we’re always doing the best we can given our thinking in that moment.

Sure, if we were seeing more clearly we would likely do differently, but we truly, honestly were doing the best we could given how life looked to us in the moment.

In a state of mind of stress, anxiety and depression, the things that occur to us will be very different than what we feel inclined to do from peace, stillness and connection with others.

Seeing the truth that what we all do is directly linked to that moment’s temporary thought-created reality allows us to understand the innocence.

Yes, in theory, better could have been done. But it couldn’t have been done in that moment, from within that temporary reality, at that level of consciousness.

This is why we apologize, express remorse, try to make amends. Because we have the ability to see differently once our mind has settled… but not before it has settled.

We didn’t see it at the time so we did the best we could with what we saw at the time.

Forgiveness, for ourselves and others, doesn’t have to be impossible or even difficult if we’re willing to see the truth of this for ourselves.

Forgiveness is simply the recognition of innocence, the seeing that we’re all up against the same thing: thought masquerading as reality.

We all get caught up, tripped up, fooled, taken for a ride… welcome to the human condition. Having a deeper understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes allows us to reconnect with the truth of our innocence, and forgiveness is the natural result of that realization.

On Wisdom and Personal Thinking

Lately I’ve been getting asked the question: how can one tell the difference between wisdom and personal thinking?

If everything from our most anxious, depressed experiences to our most helpful natural guidance comes from the power of thought, how does one distinguish them and know which one to trust?

And for a long time I really thought this question could only be answered by looking at the content of what we think.

I thought I needed to compare my current experience to similar experiences in the past and assess from there.

Or even that I needed to compare it to other people, if it was “aligned” with what I noticed from the behaviour of others, I could guage how likely it was that it was wisdom.

Not only is that exhausting, it’s not even effective.

Fortunately, it’s so much more simple than that.

Human beings are beautifully designed and part of the kindness of the design is that we have a perfectly reliable feedback system as to what thinking we should take seriously.

It lets us know what thinking we should be listening to, acting on or following and what thinking we should be ignoring and allowing to change into something new.

The super helpful reliable feedback system is the feeling that accompanies the thinking.

And it’s a hard to describe a feeling because words have so many meanings but I’ll do my best.

When our experience feels expansive, light, free, airy, curious, playful, fun, inspiring, fresh, new, loving, interesting, open, helpful, fascinating or just downright obvious: a good feeling accompanies it.

When our experience feels heavy, tight, constricted, restricted, boring, monotonous, repetitive, habitual, closed, stuck, frustrating, stale or just downright unpleasant: no good feeling accompanies it.

Acting on the thinking that comes with a good feeling is how we know we’re operating in line with this greater intelligence that we’re all connected to: the very energy behind life that’s beating our hearts and breathing our lungs.

It’s how we know we’re coming from the space of our true nature, instead of coming from the space of biased personal thinking.

The feeling is designed to be our guide.

Red means stop. Wait. Take a pause. Breathe. Let something else come. Thought by nature is fluid and transient and it will bring us something new if we allow it to.

Good feelings are green. They tell us to proceed, to go forward with whatever it is, whether it’s creativity, inspiration, a helpful solution, a new perspective, a fresh thought… it’s all safe to trust and act from.

So we needn’t concern ourselves with the content of our thinking. It’s unnecessary and unhelpful to analyze, compare or contrast our thinking with other thinking.

If the thoughts bring a good feeling with them, go. That’s our wisdom shining through. Whether it’s subtle and ordinary or bold and inspiring, it’s simply a higher quality of thought that is wise and responsive to life.

If the thoughts bring a bad feeling with them, stop taking them seriously. Stop listening to them. Stop buying into their reality.

That’s a surefire sign you’re in distorted, subjective and untrue personal thought, and if you continue thinking about that thinking you’re bound to suffer, get in a tangle and innocently feed that experience.

Knowing that feelings are our built-in guide is incredibly helpful. Wisdom comes with a good feeling, personal thinking doesn’t.

On Driving From the Passenger’s Seat

Life has been giving me a (not so gentle) reminder lately…

Loud and clear it’s saying:

Hey, did you know you are not in control? Do you realise that you’re suffering because you mistakenly think you are?

You are not in control of what happens in your life, or in the lives of others, or what happens in the world.

You are not the driver of this vehicle. Sure, you can come along for the ride. You can be a front-seat passenger.

You can look out the window and enjoy the view. You can make up fun games. You can gather your favourite snacks and choose the best music and even make some suggestions about rest stops, destinations and detours from time to time.

But don’t forget: you’re not the driver.

And while that may sound victimy or passive at first glance, it actually comes with a lot of relief once I can see what’s behind it.

Drivers don’t get to nap on the job, they can’t chill out or shirk responsibility for any amount of time. They always have to be managing everything, sticking to schedules and consulting the GPS.

They’re constantly scanning the ever-changing environment, always actively doing something with an eye on the destination.

Lately though, I kind of forgot that I wasn’t the driver so I was trying to drive from the passenger seat, and failing miserably at it.

I was shouting instructions, repeating shoulder checks and trying to control the speed at which we were travelling.

It’s exhausting (not to mention impossible) to try to drive a car that you’re not actually driving.

I was trying to “do” life, deciding what should happen when, what shouldn’t happen at all and exactly when we should arrive where.

But life reminded me (probably for the hundreth time, if I’m honest): that’s not my job.

Yes, I can do something. I can look out the window and enjoy the ride. I can relax and ponder. I can get curious and reflective. I can daydream, laugh and sing along.

I can rest in my well-being. I can share the love and marvel in the views. I can connect with people whose paths I happen to cross. I can make the best of a rainy day.

I can do what occurs to me to do, make suggestions when it occurs to me to make them, and stay open to going places I’ve never been.

But make no mistake, I’m not driving. You’re not driving. We’re not the drivers of life.

Life is the driver of life. The Universe, the Unknown, Mind, the Life Force, and energy and intelligence of all things no matter what you call it… that’s the driver of life.

The more I relax and allow the driver do the driving, the nicer time I have.

I’m freed up to do what occurs to me to do as a passenger on the ride of life and let go of all the rest.

The timing? Not up to me. The destination? Not up to me. What other people do? Not up to me. My future? Not up to me.

All this suffering was just showing me I was trying to do something that’s not my job.

And that’s a really nice thing to know.