The handy dandy 5 step plan to cure what ails you

  1. Nothing to Cling To
  2. Clinging to People
  3. Unstuffing from Stuff
  4. The handy dandy 5 step plan to cure what ails you
  5. Real Relating
  6. No-Body Home
  7. Undoing Trauma’s Knots
  8. Non-Habitual Living and Being
  9. Healing the Mind — Body Split
  10. Ideological Foolishness
A New Series—On Clinging


Listless Lists

The very first thing we learn, after the names of things, is where each thing is “located” on the scale of good / bad, right / wrong. Because we are compelled to make these evaluations, as children, with the force of tribal beliefs behind the lists, in a real sense we are quite unreflective as we judge.

imposed beliefs

Lists are imposed by our “tribes.”

It’s kind of odd, how seldom we look at our baseline beliefs. In order to do so authentically, we need to look outside of our tribes and cultures, and take a wider view. As we do, we begin to see that, pretty much universally, any behaviour or object you consider “wrong” is considered “right” (and put into practice) by some other group.

Indeed, some things you judge as wrong, or bad are other people’s religious practices, and are held to be not only right, but ‘god-given.’

It’s no wonder we are constantly at war.

War is nothing more than a clash of ideologies and beliefs. Sticks and stones have been replaced by Scuds and bombs, but the game is the same.

The same is so when it comes to interpersonal conflict. I’ve been counselling since 1981, and the only time I ‘know’ someone is ‘wrong’ is when they physically hurt another. And I recognize that this is still a personal determination, or bias,(and is also one supported by law in Canada.)

Beyond physical violence, differences between people are always differences of opinion, and it’s impossible to judge which perspective is right.

This is not to say that I do not have a personal preference.

I have a decided personal bias toward good communication, and I can even define such communication for you. (see my free booklets…) My prejudice in favour of elegant communication is based upon my experience. It’s just that my view works, for me, and my intention is to teach this way of communicating to clients. Not because it’s ‘right,’ but because it works… again, for me.

It’s taken me several decades to learn the difference between being right and having a personal bias or preference. I spent much of my time, prior to age 32 or so, trying to persuade everyone of the correctness of my beliefs. So I have some compassion for clients that are stuck in ‘persuasion mode.’ It runs deep.

I suspect that the alternative to being right is to understand the meaning of integrity.

Clients insist that they are ‘right’ because they fear calling everything they believe into question. It seems strange to me, for example, to hear men tell me how women ‘should’ behave toward them (or vice versa) and yet have never found anyone interested in being that obedient. Indeed, all of their relationships have featured the opposite of what they want. Yet, on and on they insist that they know better, and that the problem is that they haven’t found the ‘right’ person. There’s that word again. It never occurs to them to change their beliefs. They just keep changing people.

So, how does this apply to clinging?

Well, unease (sanskrit dukkha, often translated ‘suffering’) comes from clinging to something, and in this case it’s clinging to preconceived notions.

Notice that word. Pre conceived.
This means “thought of in advance.”

In other words, I am applying a rule, or judgment from the past , without thinking, to a present situation. Or, I’m just applying ‘what I always do,’ with no regard to the present situation at all.

In a sense, all clinging is a form of attachment, and our attachments are always to mental formations. Here’s the interesting part: notice how often you’d rather be considered ‘right’ about your fervently held beliefs, to the extent that you’ll ruin relationships, sabotage careers, and spend your life in misery. But boy, are you ever right!


flickr photo from zerospin

I have trouble getting traction on this one, because most of us have really strong egos. I tend to be a simple guy, and say,

If you are not content, it’s likely your beliefs that are getting in your way, so let’s work at changing them.”

Up pops an ego, and says, “But… but… I’ve spent years developing these strategies, and your job is to make them work, so I don’t have to change anything!”

But, you see… I’m just not interested. I really want my clients, and you, to consider not having beliefs. To, in other words, approach your life directly, trust your instincts, and to engage with life as opposed to categorizing it.

In other words, to have a life, rather than a judgment.


And just where is your head, these days?

Haven’t you figured this out yet? All of your stubborn, well-worn platitudes about how life should be have never worked out, and never will.

You can rant, rave, whine, sob, sniffle, grouse, bitch, moan, complain, lecture, defend, demand.

And nothing changes.

Except you get to feel hard-done-by. So, doing more of this, harder and louder, is somehow going to suddenly start working? I think not.

Continued below

Spice Up Your Lovemaking
sex around the house

I’ve been reading and recommending Michael Webb’s e‑books for years. His newest is called “Sex All Around the House.” This book actually has some fantastic and exciting ideas you can use to spice up any lovemaking, no matter how fiery it already is. And best of all, because toys are so expensive, you’ll save lots of money (and lots of embarrassment) by using the items you already have around the house.

Read more here

I love the Tao te Ching,

for its practical wisdom and innate grasp of the energy of the Universe – chi.

Here’s the 56th chapter, translated by Gia Fu Feng and Jane English


Those who know do not talk.
Those who talk do not know.
Keep your mouth closed,
Guard your senses.
Temper your sharpness.
Simplify your problems.
Mask your brightness.
Be at one with the dust of the earth.
This is the primal union.
He who has achieved this state
Is unconcerned with friends and enemies,
With good and harm, with honor and disgrace.
This therefore is the highest state of man.

That first couplet is famous. It has a specific meaning, and it’s not to stop teaching. In a sense, the Tao te Ching would not exist if that was the case. The meaning is this: people who lecture others about right and wrong ‘don’t know.’ People who live (without pronouncements) according to the Tao ‘know.’

Here’s how: The handy dandy 5 steps to cure what ails you

1. Close your mouth, guard your senses.
shut up

Yup. Shut up. Say, for the next decade or so, to make up for all those years of pronouncements.
You will finally have something worth saying when you get your own act together.
Before you tell all in sundry how to have an excellent relationship, actually be in one for a while—you know—10, 20 years. Just go live your spiritual practice, quietly. Do your job, with excellence, no matter how many ‘odd little birdies’ surround you. Live a healthy lifestyle, and let others inhale Big Mac’s unmolested.
1a. Guard your senses—in a sense, let in what comes in, and understand it’s just data. Your mind will chew it, and judge it, and try to get you all hot and bothered, but resist the urge to let all of that back out.

2. Temper your sharpness.

Are you all edges and prickles? Many are. Non-cuddly, all protected. It’s so easy to flare up, to defend and then to come out swinging. You have so much more invested in drawing blood in every encounter than in simply being with others.
Tempering is done through heating and cooling off. Tempering makes metal useful.
As your heat arises, seemingly unbidden, have a breath, cool off, and see point 1—stop talking.
Breathe. Observe. Let your walls down.

3. Simplify your problems

Elsewhere, this is translated, “untangle your knots.” Notice how self-responsible this text is. All problems, all knots, are self-created and inflicted.
Here’s how to simplify: you feel yourself tensing up, getting “all knotted up.” Ask yourself: why am I creating a drama here? Is deciding I have a problem making things easier or harder? What would happen if I just dealt with this, rather than first assigning blame, then tying myself in knots?

4. Mask your brightness.

This reflects the couplet about those who know versus those who talk. Many are the clients who come in telling me that they are “just looking out for their partner’s best interests.” And then they go on to describe the current lecture, advice, diatribe, or ‘encourage-ment’ they delivered. To me, it’s more of the same.
In almost all cases the partner did not ask for advice. Often, what the partner asked for was to be listened to and heard. Not the same thing, at all.
I find, with Darbella, that 95% of the time she is asking for the latter—to have a safe place to be heard. Occasionally she also wants to know what I would do concerning the situation. Now, I always have an opinion, but I know it’s based solely upon me and my nature. It’s not right, it’s just ‘how I do things.”
So, back to # 1. Shut up—and listen.
You don’t have to be declared right. Because you aren’t. Simple as that.

5. Be at one with the dust of the earth.

You know when you are “stirring up dust,’ and you also know what it means to ‘let the dust settle.’
This idea also links to #4—being ‘common,’ like the dust of the earth, is to be taken for granted, in the best sense of that term.
We simply assume that the ground is there, and that it will support us as we walk on it. The ground does not ask for our praise—does not ask to be rewarded for its support.
So, be the ground. Support, listen, be present, just be there, unobtrusively, and without agenda.

If you look at the rest of the text of #56, you’ll see a description of someone unconcerned. This does not mean disinterested or disconnected. The idea is that one can actually be present in the world, curious, supportive, knowledgeable, and existing at the highest level.

This is possible only when the opinions of others of our character and motives is no longer a concern.

Many are the people who try to be popular, who try to be all things to all people, who try to ‘help.’ Lives wasted being jerked around by the whims and will of others, and it’s only possible if you co-operate.

Non-co-operation is not by making a demand—“I told you and told you. Don’t make me unhappy!” Yikes. Who cares?

Non-co-operation is simply this: “Here is me, living out me, as me.” I intend to do this, and am not looking for permission. I’m also not looking to be told what to do, as you can’t know what’s best for me. I also know I do not know what’s best for you. So, I’m just going to hang out here, and be me. I hope you’ll join me.”

Clinging to rules—to right and wrong—will get you endless conflict and no peace. Decide who you are and how you want to be—and make that picture your ‘best self.’ Then, quietly live from your best self.


About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

12 thoughts on “The handy dandy 5 step plan to cure what ails you”

  1. Another great article. Your blog has really got me thinking, and acting differently. I find I easily fall back into old patterns but your regular entries help to get back on track. Thanks very much.

    • Hi Steve,
      Glad you’re finding the articles helpful.
      I think falling into old habits is pretty common, and the very best we can get to is noticing, stopping ourselves, and returning to “centre.” And that process seems to get easier (and quicker) with time.
      Thanks for you r comment.
      Warmly, with metta, Wayne

      • Hi
        Just to update …
        I am doing just fine! I had to go through that sorting it all out process but I stuck with it and it’s OK. Nothing bad nothing good just sitting in the middle slowly making plans and just seeing what’s going on. I got out of the drama because I really don’t resonate with that anymore. Sure stuff comes up but I don’t let it affect me like before. I am still on my own and got over the hump of being sad, depressed then mad. Now I am just sort of in the now…
        Anyway, just wanted to respond back and thank you for the great insights I get from your website.
        Hangin in there

        • Glad to hear… both from you, and how you are doing.
          Mostly the ‘thing’ is all about having our feelings (expressing them) without judging them. Feelings arise, and ‘just are.’
          As are thoughts. They arise. They’re like bubbles that rise to the surface. As we learn not to identify with them, they just pass along.
          Glad you’re continuing to enjoy the blog!
          Warmly, Wayne

  2. Yes, Words only go so far. Action speaks louder. By being repelled I am respecting my own space…but I would say I am actually neutral. I can be around him now and since I see the actions are the same old same old.…there’s nothing to go on.…just going to get through this muddy pass and move on.

    Here’s a good one I got today:

    Knowing what you want helps you to know what you want!

    Paradox? uh huh.…

    But if our vibration/frequency attracts like-thoughts and experiences, then knowing our divine intentions will naturally attract opportunities to support them, right?

    How do you know your Divine Intentions if you don’t know them?

    Well lets see.…

    If you repeatedly think/feel/emit that you don’t know what you want to do, or
    you’re not sure, or you can’t figure it out, then guess what?

    You’re going to to attract continuous situations to confirm that. Just science.

    What to do?

    Stop the cycle of confusion and doubt and begin thinking only about
    what you want and what brings you joy.

    Think about this:

    Who do I want to BE?

    What do I want to DO?

    What would I like to HAVE?

    When you begin to form these mental questions in your mind, life begins to take a radical turn. Questions stimulate our brain receptors to focus, target & receive different outcomes, or solutions, according to our intentional programs. Even if you do not yet know the answers to these questions, just forming them will provoke your internal processor to seek & deliver, akin to an Internet search engine. But just like any Googleâ„¢ search, to get precise results you have to import clear commands.

    And even more exciting…your central processing unit comes equipped with mapping software…just like Mapquest™!

    When you enter a command with your intention, your mapping software will begin to create a pathway from where you ARE to where you want to GO.

    Since your creation tool is results-driven, it will detect & highlight the fastest, easiest & most efficient route to your goal in accordance with your electro-magnet-ic frequency.…

    Likewise, when you begin to think only of those things that you desire to Be, Do & Have with extraordinary clarity & focus, while releasing any thoughts of limitation (or what you do NOT desire), you enhance your ability to attract the resources necessary to obtain those desires. The result of this clarity & the concentration of your laser-sharp focus will cut through the mindless fog to deliver the results of your aim with extreme accuracy.

    Excerpt from:

    12 Essential Steps to Discovering Your Divine Blueprint: A guidebook for the soul

    Stay tuned for an upcoming Conscious Co-Creation Coaching exercise that I designed specifically to assist my clients and will share with you to help you to weed through confusion & find clarity to continuously focus on what you wish to Be, Do and Have.…

    Until then,

    Conscious CoCreation Articles

    Messages from the Masters

    To receive channeled messages from the masters, CLICK HERE

    This message was sent from Lauren to It was sent from: Expect Miracles, Inc., 139 E 12th Street , NYC, NY 10003. You can modify/update your subscription via the link below.

    This says it all about what I have to do now!
    Thanks for listening once again!

    • I’ve become far less ‘actively engaged’ in all of this, remembering both the Buddha and Ben & Jock say, “Breathe!” There’s a article in this month’s (March 08) Yoga Journal on integrating what the writer calls the 7 stages of transformation. She makes the point that this is the order 1- wake up call, 2‑holding uncertainty, 3‑Asking for help, 4‑Grace, insight & awakening, 5‑Honeymoon, 6‑fall from grace, 7‑integration.
      I think that 6 & 7 are absolutely necessary, and that many get disappointed when they hit the honeymoon stage through affirmations or whatever, and then get the dark night of the soul. They feel ripped off.
      On the other hand, if I just breathe and accept everything of my present experience, without judgment and patience, things simply move along of their own accord.
      In a sense, by not judging or trying to ‘push the universe’ I find I get exactly what I need, when I need it.
      Or so it seems to me.

  3. Commenting back to your last post, Wayne:
    I know the “unfine” part has to do with the Love part of the equation. What do you do when you still love someone who you know isn’t good for you? I am struggling with that one. It’s a really weird space but I think I just have to keep dealing with it by remembering and not sweeping the BS under the rug. I know that by doing that I didn’t do either of us any favors by doing so. Ouch, that hurts but I guess that’s a Passive complex that is the other 50%. Have to acknowledge my part of the situation.
    Well, thats it for now
    thanks again for listening

    • Well, see last reply, and your own comments here. The problem comes when we refuse to accept ourselves and/or others as they are, without judgment. Once I stop judging (in this case) another, I can say, “Here is how, through watching what he does, I see this person, so far.” (What people say is irrelevant, all that matters is what they enact… most people say great things and live strange lives, and thus lack integrity) Once I stop the love/hate stuff, and the ‘trying to change him’ stuff, and ‘simply see,’ I have three available responses. Attraction, repulsion or neutral. If I am repelled, I move away, and ‘still contain’ my memories of the other person. Total memories. From which I decide how I will act, or ‘be.’ Mostly, we need to trust ourselves and others — that they are exactly as they act. And us, too.

  4. Well this is where I am right now.…I am just waiting to see what transpires…I am still keeping him at arms length but I can’t forget who he has always been to me.…strange way to be…never been in this kind of space before…but I am not letting fear take over…

    The Bridge ~ Step 61 ~ Waiting

    Things can come to you at the last minute

    The French have a word “denouement” which, in essence, means that sometimes we are taken to the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute and fifty-ninth second — and then the Universe lays everything we intended in our lap. Of course, we tend to think that we can second-guess the Universe by predicting the times when our intentions will manifest for us. But the truth is that we can never really know when things will happen. We can only know that they will happen.

    Another thing I always admired about Mark was his relaxed attitude toward life; how he worked hard, but never seemed to be in a hurry. When I asked him how he stayed so calm, he said that he didn’t allow himself to get too attached to specific outcomes, especially where time was concerned. He said that letting go and patience go hand in hand, and that we need to understand that our timing and the Universe’s timing are two different things. Our manifestations, he said, really can come at the last minute. But, if we interfere with the Intention Process by doubting, cutting corners, or stressing and striving, we lose the chance of seeing what would have happened if we’d waited a little longer. In fact, he said, as hard as it is to get used to, there are times when it’s definitely in our highest good to have things come to us at the last minute. How else, he asked, would we learn about trust? How else would we gain the inner strength necessary to take the next step in our evolution? He said that the Universe knows the precise, perfect time for the cocoon to open up so that the young butterfly can spread its wings and fly away. According to him, it’s the same with us. But, like the butterfly, we must be willing to wait.”

    From The Code: Intentions in Action

    So often human beings sabotage themselves by not trusting that the Universe will bring their creations to them in the perfect timing. The “Knower” is willing to wait until the last minute for his or her intentions to manifest. The “Novice” is not.

    From The Code: The Reunion — A Parable for Peace

    My Intention for today is:

    I Intend that I am willing to wait as long as it takes for my intentions to manifest.

    I am fine with this for now
    I am realizing these days how much I am a participant to this dilemma
    50/50 is what my friend the therapist always says
    we will see
    my intentions aren’t even clear to me yet…but I have a feeling of what they are and what I need for this next chapter in my life
    thanks for listening

    • You write, “I am fine with this for now.”
      I wonder, “Is there a time, other than now, that I am unaware of?”
      And if you chose to be un-fine with it, how would that change the reality of the situation, in the here and now, other than to make you un-fine?
      And, of course, there is nothing to wait for, as it’s all right here, right now.
      Other than that, I agree!
      Warmly, Wayne

  5. This is good reading for me.…I am in the midst of a breakup…what do I say here…this relationship has been a struggle from the getgo…I am an American woman in Costa Rica with a “Tico” man for 6 years…I have a strong ability to be able to step outside myself and see the big picture …He’s a macho Latino..but then again he’s not.….we’ve been through alot! He used to be angry and violent but he dealt with it…we broke up 3 times and he would evolve every time but then get lazy about dealing with things that come up…and so they pile up…but now he has gotten a much younger woman pregnant while I was away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We live in a Very small beach town in Costa Rica so you can imagine what that is like.…even before I found out though, I was just so disappointed by how he just let everything go to ruin while I was away.…tons of stuff about that.…there is just so much more…he is like a walking disaster with everything falling apart around him because of his irresponsibility.…sounds bad…but he really is a wonderful guy at heart.…everybody loves him but like you said:

    Many are the people who try to be popular, who try to be all things to all people, who try to ‘help.’ Lives wasted being jerked around by the whims and will of others, and it’s only possible if you cooperate

    I have felt very taken for granted

    I am sorting this thing all out and it’s hard! I really think this is a momentous time with the lunar full moon eclipse tommorrow in Virgo (I am a Virgo) I am feeling that at this point of taking care of him all these years (He is a Leo and man are they high maintenence!) that I have to now think about my needs. There is just no other way now. He has screwed up royally lately and I just can’t live that way anymore. He loves me but I need him to grow up! I am realizing that I have been like a mother taking care of him. I am 9 years older. He is 40 and I am 49. Tico men are treated like Gods and are catered to by their mothers and family as they grow up.
    Anyway.….…this is a long story as you can see.….He’s living in another house we built…just moved out 10 days ago and it is so difficult for me to be the hardass but I have to! It’s come full circle and the ball is in his court.…
    not sure how it will turn out but for once I am giving myself space to let the divine intervine.…
    Friends are helping…
    We shall see…
    thanks for listening

    • Hi Margaret,
      Thanks for writing! Often getting it down on paper is part of the process of getting it ‘out’, or ‘out there.’ Hmm. Likely why I write — I keeps me sane (or whatever I am…)
      Beach town or metropolis, Costa Rica or Canada — all the same. Relationships are the prime learning and testing ground, just because so much is done on autopilot. I suspect your being away was a pretty good indicator — if one changes one’s behaviour to please another (or because of a threat to end the rel.) this is external driven change. When the motivator or motivation is gone, people revert. On the other hand, when one makes shifts in behaviour solely for the sake of one’s development, then it’s still hard, but the motivation and point is internal, and has a chance of working.
      I wish you well with this internal process. The sorting out has nothing to do with him, of course, and everything to do with you, your choices, how you do relationships, and perhaps even how badly you have taken yourself for granted.
      Feel free to keep me posted on how it’s going, and if you have questions, ask, either here, or by e‑mail (through the contact page…)
      Warmly, with metta, Wayne


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