On It’s All Good

Sometimes, it feels like it’s all good and all is well. We feel calm and contented, peaceful and joyful, loving and connected, and just generally well.

We love feeling like this. Universally, everyone knows what this feels like, we all enjoy it, and we all strive to get back there when we’re not feeling it.

But it’s easy to misunderstand what we’re feeling. Often, it looks like we’re feeling life “going our way”.

It looks like we feel good because the person we want to spend time with also wants to spend time with us. It looks like we feel joyful because we got that promotion. It looks like we feel peaceful because it’s a sunny Saturday. It looks like we feel love because we found the right person to love us.

And so we attribute all those good feelings to things outside of us: our circumstances, environment, and other people. We feel great and automatically scan our lives for the reason for that great feeling.

Oh it must be the sun! The recognition! The lovely person! The day off!

When it truth, we feel good because we naturally, by default, ARE well-being.

When we’re feeling good we’re simply feeling our default natural state without the interference of thought. That’s it.

We think it’s the sun but really it’s the lack of critical thinking about the weather.

We think it’s that special person but really it’s any human we’re in the moment with when we’re not listening to our insecure, self-conscious thinking.

We think it’s the day off but really it’s just lack of thinking about the work week, our to-do lists and our perceived responsibilities.

When we have less on our minds, we all, universally, consistently, feel like all is well. We feel contented, we feel peaceful, we feel connected and all is good.

It’s true that we’re not always going to have little to nothing on our minds. All humans feel busy, sped up, caught up and stressed from time to time.

But that experience is always moving, always ebbing and flowing if we let it move through us.

When we’re not trying to fight it, fix it or control it, it just leaves on it’s own accord and we’re right back to having not much on our minds and feeling great.

So if you don’t feel that all is well, that’s okay. Give the system a minute or two to reset. Don’t try to do anything with your thinking, don’t listen to it, don’t take it seriously, don’t engage with it.

The minute it’s allowed to come and go as it’s designed, it reveals what’s always just underneath it: love, peace, connection, contentedness, joy and well-being.

And then, once again, it’s all good.

On Getting Out Of The Way

How do I grow sunflowers?

My friend and I recently planted a whole packet of sunflower seeds in her front garden because they’re our favourite flower.

I know that if I want sunflowers to grow in that specific patch of dirt, it’s helpful to plant seeds there. I also know that they need water and sunlight (both of which nature provides) in order for them to grow.

But how do I grow sunflowers?

Well the truth is, I don’t. Or more accurately, I can’t. Sunflower seeds turn into sunflowers because there’s a bigger energy, a life force, a universal intelligence, that takes care of it.

It’s simply not up to me. Since it’s in the cards for sunflower seeds to become sunflowers that will happen naturally, barring any interference in the system.

We work the same way. By nature, we are creativity, well-being, love, wisdom and peace of mind.

By design we are operated by the same life force that knows how to grow sunflowers. It also knows how to create kittens, heal wounds, digest our breakfast and run millions, perhaps billions, of other processes.

Essentially, it takes care of us. It runs us,  balances us, and can do the heavy lifting such that I never have to work out how to beat my heart… and yet it continues to beat.

The only thing that gets in the way of sunflowers expressing their true nature, or us expressing our true nature, is that occaisionally there’s temporary interference in the system.

Sometimes the land is too hot and dry, sometimes it’s too cold and wet, and the sunflowers have a hard time blooming. Sometimes we get lost in our stories, caught up in our beliefs and led astray by our personal thinking, and we don’t feel in touch with our true nature either.

Yet knowing what’s the default, and what’s simply sometimes in the way of the default, is immensely helpful.

When I need a new solution, a creative idea, a fresh perspective, a reminder of what’s available to me, a new thought, a feeling of connection, a sense of love, or a feeling of peace, I take comfort in knowing that’s the default.

I know the questions: How do I get peace of mind? How do I work out this problem? How do I feel love for this person? How do I feel well? is akin to the question I posed at the start of this post: How do I grow sunflowers?

I, with my human will, can’t. But fortunately I don’t have to, because it’s built-in to the system.

I live an easier, simpler life knowing that an inevitable fact of being human is that I, same as you, have well-being, wisdom and peace of mind as the factory settings.

And I also benefit immensely from understanding that when I’m feeling stuck, low, anxious, unwell, unclear, unbalanced, or anything else that doesn’t feel like home, that I’m simply experiencing some temporary static in the system that will clear out quickest when I leave my mind alone.

Where we so innocently get in our own way is we try to do something with what we think and how we feel. Instead of leaving the mind alone to self-correct we dive into the static and try to mess with it, not realising that the static is designed to clear out and return the signal to full strength.

If you’re not feeling love and connection, let your mind settle.

If you’re not feeling creative and resourceful, let your mind settle.

If you’re not feeling calm and contented, let your mind settle.

If you’re not feeling clear and wise, let your mind settle.

There’s nothing you need to do to get to these states, they are the default. 

When we’re not indulging the static it fades into the background effortlessly.

If you want to grow a sunflower, plant the seed and let nature take care of the rest. If you want to feel your true nature, plant the seed of understanding that there’s nothing you have to do to get yourself back there, and let nature take care of the rest.

On Bathing in Wisdom

The longer I’m in this conversation about the true nature of human beings and how our experience gets created, the more I’m surprised.

Surprised by the simplicity. Surprised by the depth. Surprised by the fact that there are no exceptions.

But lately, surprised by the unpredictability. I have no idea what I’m going to see or when I’m going to see it. I like to think I know what’s coming down the line, but I’m being proven wrong time and time again.

To be honest, it’s really kind of nice. Yet surprisingly, I shouldn’t be surprised that my future predictions are inaccurate. It makes perfect sense that they would be.

The nature of this conversation about understanding the human experience is that we’re looking to something deeper, something more foundational.

We’re looking to our spiritual nature. We’re looking to universal wisdom. We’re looking to our innate health. We’re looking to what we all have going for us, all the time.

Looking in this direction is like soaking in the most magical hot springs: the hot springs of wisdom. It’s very warm but not too hot, with clear mineral-rich water tucked away in nature under a starry night sky. We can invite whoever we please to join us, or we can dip in alone.

We can relax in that place, bathing in the beautiful feelings, soaking in the warmth. It’s inherently healing and soothing.

Better yet, we don’t have to know what positive benefits we’ll get from soaking in the hot springs of wisdom.

Will I step out of the hot springs with my sore back feeling better? Maybe.

Will I step out of the hot springs with a new solution to an old problem? Possibly.

Will I step out of the hot springs with a lack of stressful thinking about a loved one? Perhaps.

With a new idea for a creation? With the inspiration of how to better serve an intention? With an easier time waking up early? With an effortless daily yoga practice? With a deeper friendship? With a better understanding of life?

Who knows?

What I do know is that soaking in the hot springs of wisdom does something for us. By its very nature, it takes care of us and brings us back to our deepest, truest self. I may not know what form it will take, but I know something always occurs.

Bathing in wisdom is the ultimate panacea.

To quote Michael Neill it’s 98% unpredictable despite being 100% reliable.

Will something new occur to me? Absolutely. Will something that doesn’t yet exist get created through me? Of course. Do I know what those will be? Not a clue.

Surprisingly, that’s all I need to know.

On Funhouse Mirrors

One of the great misunderstandings we have regarding thought is that we believe the thoughts in our head contain accurate information about reality. We think our minds are like cameras, that they’re capturing what is ‘out there’ so that we may navigate based on how life actually is.

This is simply not true. Our minds are much more like paintbrushes than cameras. Thought is a transient energy that gets brought to life within us. We have a thought, and we automatically experience that thought as if it is reality. We don’t see that what’s going on in our minds is the cause of how life looks to us.

We can, and do, hear the exact same words in different ways at different times. We can, and do, understand the exact same words to have different meanings at different times. We can, and do, feel differently when hearing the same words.

Words don’t have the power to create our experience. Only thought does. Always and only our experience is created through thought in the moment. 

Because the nature of thought is to fluctuate, we can’t stay stuck in an experience forever. We don’t have to worry about how we felt in any given moment because it has no inherent meaning. It’s simply how we felt at the time, nothing more, nothing less.

One of the metaphors I love to use is funhouse mirrors. We’re so used to believing that mirrors are accurate representations of life. We trust when the mirror tells us we got sunburned, just like we trust our thinking to tell us when someone is being rude to us.

Without really questioning it, we trust our thinking to tell us what life is really like, what’s actually happening and what we should actually do about it. 

Imagine for a second that you never knew funhouse mirrors existed. You would go through life thinking whenever you can see your reflection it has to be an accurate one (after all, that’s how mirrors work) until one day you stumble across a funhouse mirror and see a grossly distorted image.

At first, you’re terrified because holy balls how did you get so misshapen? Why are your limbs out of proportion? What happened to your face? Then suddenly you realise something. You realise that when you move a little to the right your reflection changes dramatically.

So you move a little to the left and see that your reflection fluctuated out of proportion again. Huh, how strange. With every tiny movement your reflection is going wonky right before your eyes.

When you look down at your physical body you start to clue into the fact that your legs aren’t actually shifting in shape and size, contrary to what the mirror is showing.

Pretty soon you come to realise that you’re not seeing an accurate image. You’re not seeing a true reflection of you. Rather you’re seeing a distorted, inaccurate, wonky version that is always changing and looks different depending on the viewpoint.

Our thoughts are like funhouse mirror reflections of what’s actually happening in life. We mistakingly believe our thoughts are accurately mirroring our lives as they exist.

We think of our minds like cameras, taking accurate snapshots of how things are. Our thinking is not the accurate, representational, true picture we believe it to be. We’re not seeing things as they are; we’re seeing them as we are.

When in a low mood, the funhouse mirrors are at their wonkiest. However neutral the situation truly is, it will appear dramatic, problematic, urgent and complicated. That’s simply the effect low moods has on how we see life.

Because we have a cultural misunderstanding of how the mind works, we innocently believe we’re seeing life accurately when our thinking tells us something is really wrong and needs to be changed. There may or may not be something for us to do. But there’s no way to tell when we’re not seeing clearly. When we’re seeing clearly, the answers we’re looking for are obvious.

Waking up to the illusion is as simple as understanding how funhouse mirrors work. They don’t portray things accurately. They aren’t stable. They aren’t reliable, representative or meaningful. It is simply an illusion.

 

On Feeling the Love

Everyone is born naturally hooked up to the life force. It’s what connects us to each other, animates our spirit and makes being alive even possible. Many of us think of love as the result of finding compatible people with a similar way of being. But what love really is, at least what it looks like to me, is seeing the purest part of yourself reflected in another being.

We are able to see it in others because we all have it; it’s a shared essence. It’s the part we all have in common, that spark of being alive, that vitality, that energy. It’s what separates a corpse from a living being, that universal energy that powers us.

There’s a beautiful translation of the expression ‘namaste’ that’s said to mean ‘when you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me there is only one of us’. That is love. Love is seeing what is essential in another as being the same that is essential in you.

The recognition of this truth allows for healthy relationships to be built on a foundation of what never changes. Relationships built on the ideas of our psychology, of having the same preferences, living in the same place, having the same hobbies, having the same group of friends and having common interests is a relationship that is built on a foundation of what is in flux, instead of what is always true.

It’s the difference between building a castle on stone as opposed to building a castle on sand. When there is that underlying foundation of seeing yourself in another and another in you, there is stability and sustainability.

When built on temporary ideas that we’re attaching and identifying with, the relationship tends to fizzle out as soon as people change their mind.

This is the definition of conditional love, as long as the conditions are met, there will be love; when things change, the love will change. Just like a sand castle, all it takes is some external conditions to change and things begin to crumble.

What makes love so powerful and why I reckon we naturally tend towards being in relationships with other human beings is simply because when we are in touch with that deeper place in us, we draw it out in others and feel it amplified in ourselves.

Two beings in love are two people very close to home base, in the present moment, feeling their natural state, and having that amplified through connection with another. We are all inherently connected because we are all inherently made of the same stuff, this universal energy and intelligence. 

Contrary to what many of us believe connection is not something that results from compatible ideas, putting in an effort to win someone over or being “nice to them”. It’s not something we can only have with select people. When humans are in their natural state they are infinitely more similar to each other than when they are in any other state of mind like anger, anxiety or jealousy.

The thing that takes us away from this natural home base of peacefulness, love and wisdom is that we get caught up in our personal thinking and believe it to be true. When we allow that to settle down, let it be and let it go, the deeper source of connection is right there. Like the sun behind the clouds it simply exists by default.

This deep shared place of love inside ourselves is what we’re feeling when we feel in love with someone. It comes from us, not from another and yet because it’s a shared essence both people can resonate with, feel and rest in that place of our true nature.

 

On Communication

Communication is often thought to be the be-all, end-all in relationships. So often I hear people say “well if only they were better at communicating” or “I need someone who really values communication”… but here’s the thing about communication: its only as good as the feeling it conveys.

Usually when people say they need someone who really values communication what they mean is that they need  someone to tell them positive, loving things frequently. Which is fine, and I suppose pretty normal to want, but when that isn’t happening, communication isn’t the culprit.

Truly, it all comes down to state of mind. When we don’t have much on our minds and we’re not lost in our thinking, we naturally feel good. Our default state as human beings is one of peace and connection.

From that state, we will have positive, loving interactions with people we come across. Our communications will be positive in an effortless way; they’ll come forth from a light heart and they’ll tend to be really responsive to the moment.

And when we’re not feeling that natural connection it’s just because we’re up in our heads. We’re experiencing busy minds spinning in lots of thought, and we’re going to feel that thinking as reality because that’s how our human experience works: we feel our thinking, not our life.

Communication itself is neutral. George Pransky describes communication as a neutral transport container, that it carries whatever feelings we have.

If we want more closeness in relationships, communication only serves us as far as it carries positive feelings. If our state of mind is off, our communication will be off.

When we communicate from that peaceful, quiet place within us, we draw the other person into the peaceful, quiet place within them and good feelings are felt by both parties.

If we’re feeling stressed, anxious or angry (aka our thinking) and we communicate with someone, there’s a good chance they’ll pick up on that feeling, regardless of the words we use or the content of the conversation.

When we’re back in a good mood, a positive feeling will be communicated to the other party in a way that deepens the feeling of connection we all share as humans. Before all our thinking about ego, identity and roles, we naturally connect with each other. Connection is the default setting.

So if we’re not feeling connected, that’s okay. It just means the default is getting covered up by our thinking. But because the nature of thought is fluid, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll feel connected again.

From that peaceful state of mind, our communications are effortless and compassionate.

And the whole communication issue kind of becomes a non-issue. As a carrier of a feeling we’re either feeling good and that feeling is being expressed through us naturally, or we’re not feeling good and we can take that as a sign to let our thinking settle before we communicate more than is necessary at that moment.

So simple, and yet so incredibly helpful to know to keep the feeling of closeness and connection in our relationships.

 

On Confusion

When we’re confused, there’s one thing surely going on: we’re not seeing clearly.

That’s it. It does not mean what we’re confused about is inherently confusing.

When we’re feeling confused or that life is really complicated, we simply aren’t seeing clearly in that moment.

We’re not seeing clearly because we’re up in our heads. We’re caught up in a lot of thinking that’s obscuring our natural clarity in the same way the sun gets covered up by a lot of clouds. 

When our attention is on our thoughts, what they mean, how they feel, what we think they’re trying to tell us, and what ones we need to listen to, our attention isn’t tuned into the space before thought.

That space is the space of pure peace, calm and clarity.

We’re either looking at what is already created or we’re looking to where those creations come from.

The beautiful space within where all thought ebbs and flows has a different feeling to it.

It feels open, expansive, alive, and peaceful; very different than when we’re buying into the illusion of thought as reality.

When we’re using the raw potential of thought to create images, form and content in our minds, it’s so easy to lose sight of what’s underneath it.

We don’t see common sense solutions. We don’t see obvious answers.

We don’t see how simple life is… until our thinking falls away and all we’re left with is simply life, unfiltered.

When we’re at home base we see clearly because clarity is our default. As humans we are naturally gifted with wisdom, common sense, creativity, peace, compassion and love. 

Yet we’re also gifted with the power of thought. We can rev up our thinking by getting into it: thinking longer, harder and more analytically until we’ve completely clouded over our innate wisdom.

Confusion is the opposite of clarity.

In that state of mind it feels like things can’t be easy, no simple solutions exist, our intellect is needed to solve problems, and we have to make tough decisions that require effort, sacrifice and difficulty.

But most importantly, confusion feels like something we need to take seriously.

It feels like there’s definitely a right and wrong decision, and if we make that wrong decision, we’re screwed. The stakes are high and everything is very serious.

This is how we know we’re not seeing life clearly. The stakes are never as high as they seem because our innate health and well-being can’t ever leave us.

It’s purely unconditional, ours for life (because it is the energy behind life) regardless of our circumstances, our habits or our choices.

We can’t choose anything that will cause us to lose our innate well-being. It can feel that way, but it’s just another thought-created illusion.

If we can allow our personal thinking to settle and listen for our wisdom, what to do next becomes clear.

Our wisdom is simply the intelligence behind life showing up within us as fresh, helpful thought.

The same intelligence that knows how to make carrots out of seeds and fuse broken bones together will provide us with helpful ideas.

The same intelligence that’s renewing our cells, digesting our food and beating our hearts works for us psychologically as well.

We can listen for the soft, gentle voice of wisdom and allow ourselves to be guided by it instead of our personal psychology. Choices made from a loving, free, peaceful space tend to unfold beautifully.

The best way to hear that soft bubbling stream of wisdom under the loud calamity of our thinking is to do nothing with our thinking. Just wait.

Have enough patience to allow the self-correcting nature of the mind to self-correct.

It’s designed to clear old thought to make room for fresh thought.

Once we allow this to happen, clarity will be felt, stale thinking will have dissipated and our wisdom will give us the answer we’ve been waiting for.