The mind and body are one–indivisible. Both speak to us, and both convey great lessons we all benefit from learning
Taking the Leap
Many think that the Mind and the Body are separate. In the West, the horse and rider analogy is popular—the body is “there” to serve the master, the rider, the big brain located not too far above the horse’s ass…
We hold the view that there is no way to separate the two, if for no other reason than I’ve yet to see a body-less mind.
So, what would a partnership of body and mind look like? (Given the reality that there is a partnership, whether we like it or not…)
Meditation is identifying the Game
Meditation is a gateway into “what already is.” As you sit, you begin to grasp the interplay between outside and inside, between Mind and Body, between thought and no-thought.
For most, much energy is wasted on ruminating, chewing, planning, and judging.
The mind, as it has been trained to do, seems to “think” that if only ‘it’ works hard enough, ‘it’ can solve everything. Plan everything. Control everything. And when, with great frustration, it realizes it can’t, all hell breaks loose.
The mind blames the person — weird, eh? — for failing at the impossible, and then turns up the juice. Try harder! Think more!
If you always do what you’ve always done,
and always think what you’ve always thought,
you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
This is one of those “truisms” that cause us to go, “Well, duh!” And yet, repetitive thinking and behaviour is likely the norm for us.
One client I’m working with is a successful business person, who set as a goal having a certain amount of money in investments by the time he reached 50. It now appears he’ll meet his goal by age 47. In the mean time, his relationship with his wife and teenage kids is in the dumper.
More often than not, he’ll come to a session with a variant on the following:
“I came home and my son was lying on the couch, watching TV. I yelled at him and told him he was lazy. Then, my wife yelled at me for yelling at my son, and I got madder and yelled at her for yelling at me for yelling at my son, and she left the room, and I went for a walk.”
I then ask him what his intention is for his relationships. He replies, “I want to have a good relationship with my family, but they don’t cooperate.” I ask, “Have you ever gotten what you want by yelling at them?” He says, “No, but I’d be shirking my responsibility as a husband and father if I let this stuff slide.”
Now, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to unpack this one. As the quote for the week says, we need to look at what the person thinks, and what the person does.
When we get lost in our heads, the first thing that happens is that we assume that there is only one way of looking at each situation. Our assumption is that the way we are seeing things is right, rather than just the way we are presently choosing to see it.
On the other hand, wisdom, maturity—waking up—requires that we understand, at a cellular level, that our perspectives are nothing more than choices. Once we truly get this, we then might choose to evaluate our choices only on the basis of results.
Let’s take a look at a couple of the themes from the above story. The first idea is the old saw that “money buys happiness.”
This guy made a commitment to himself, when he was in his 20’s, to achieve a certain level of financial security by age 50. He set this as his all-consuming goal; he conducts his business to achieve this goal. (Update! He actually reached the goal—and, of course!—has raised the goal by another $100,000—and nothing changes.) Because of this decades-old pledge, he works a ton of overtime, and expects his family to understand that the goal he set is for their well-being too.
They just want their father, her husband, to be a part of their lives.
Lest you think it’s as simply about money, he told me that his will stipulates that his family gets to split the money evenly when he dies. He said, “Then they’ll know how much I loved them and how much I sacrificed for them.”
They want their father, her husband, to love them now, while he is alive.
We see here how thinking can get skewed. The person’s thinking makes sense to the person to whom it makes sense. The fatal leap is that it also makes sense to everyone else.
Here’s a thought:
If I have a belief that I think will lead to increased intimacy with someone, and the person moves away from me every time I implement what I believe,
I might want to reconsider what I believe.
Instead, most repeat the flawed behaviour by trying harder. They get more of what they don’t want, so they re-double their efforts, and get even more of what they don’t want.
Then they say, “Boy, is that person stupid. They just don’t get it.” (Sadly, they never realize they are talking to themselves!)
Behaviour is the manifestation of what we truly believe.
If I say, “I love you,” and then proceed to yell at you, call you names, criticize you, it doesn’t matter what I say. My actions convey what I truly believe—you’re in need of a remedy only I can provide—I’ll make you change, and will up the volume, the violence, until you do. Then you’ll know how much I love you.
The point of the quote, obviously, works both ways. What we’re trying to get to here is the idea that what’s happening in your life, in your relationships, and of course in how you deal with yourself, is a direct result of what you think and do. While it is easier to blame others for not cooperating, the truth of the matter is that the only drama you have any chance of dealing with authentically is your own.
Here’s a way to play this out
Go out of your mind and come to your senses — Fritz Perls
Infants are “undifferentiated”—in other words, from birth to several months old, they consider themselves to still be connected to their mother and to the Dynamic Ground. They, in other words, do not have a separate self. And they need to create one, or they are going to be completely autistic.
But creating a self comes with a price. (Have you noticed that everything comes with a price?)
The price is the existential realization—I am an isolated human being, with no ties to anyone. I was born alone and will die alone. The infant begins to realize this as soon as his eyes begin to focus—he learns that mother goes away, and he has no confidence she will ever return.
The first conscious feeling, after the comfort of the womb, and the comfort of being a part of the Dynamic Ground fade, is the coldness and tightness of abandonment and alone-ness.
Adults are all too aware of this, although we generally don’t want to talk very deeply about it.
Often, clients will say, “There is this great, empty Void in me.” They will then go on to describe how they have attempted to fill the Void. Ordinarily, the filling process happens by denying the Void, by latching on to someone who will “fill the Void,” or by playing a role.
A client said, “I filled the Void in my life with my husband. When he left, I filled it with drinking and drugs. Now, I’d like to stop trying to fill it with stuff.” A wise woman, this.
Roles—mother, father, spouse, employee—whatever—are concocted to give ourselves an “important” task to occupy ourselves with. What we’re occupying is our mind. We are so busy up there, we have no time—because if we had time we might actually allow ourselves to sink into our bodies and begin to really feel.
We scare ourselves about this, because connected to really feeling is really feeling everything—our passion, our pleasure, our joy and our pain, and especially the Void within.
Interesting timing. Just last night Dia Frampton, on The Voice, sang an original song called, “Inventing Shadows.”
Chorus: “So you keep on inventing shadows, where there are none. No there are none.… You don’t even see the sun… can’t you see the sun?”
The Void is the Shadow. It’s right there, but it’s not the only story. Getting this, getting the “inventing shadows where there are none” nature of the Void, is enlightenment. Most settle for scaring themselves.
I’m incomplete, so I’ll marry someone, and they’ll take away the incompleteness. Well, that didn’t work, so I’ll have a kid. Or I’ll go off and save the world by getting a job. Nothing like a dragon to slay …
And in the end, the Void remains.
Perls suggested something radical. He suggested moving past the endless mental chatter and endless busyness of the mind. He suggested that we sink down into our bodies and find ourselves in our senses. Our feelings. And in our identification with the source of our fear, the Void.
It is the ultimate of conceit to think that we have forever to make things better. At every level, all we have is now. When I finally embrace that I am exactly one breath, one heartbeat from death, I can choose to run in terror, to numb myself, or choose to live this moment to the fullest.
We really do need to recognize the poverty of the games we play. We really do need to let go of believing that our heads are where we are and who we are—that our bodies are dumb beasts to get our heads from point ‘a’ to point ‘b.’ If we are ever going to have a meaning-filled life, we have to move beyond this kind of, well, thinking.
We are not just our thoughts. We are equally our senses and our feelings.
When I reflect upon my life, I recognize how passionate I am for the people I care about, the work I engage in, the writing that flows from me. I am grateful for Dar, for the skill set I have been given, for the people I chance to meet.
I find myself looking for newer and deeper ways of entering into my life, into me, feeling what I feel, sensing what I sense, and I even have humour for what I often think.
And part of me would love to be here forever, and part of me fears death.
I choose not to deny my fear. I choose not to distract myself with endless busyness, endless rounds of parties, endless attempts to get others to make me feel better. I’m here, I’m alive, I’m in relationship, and I am me.
The trip I’m on can’t be run by others, nor can I be saved by others. In actuality, there is no “other,” there are only my thoughts about others.
I’m in this alone.
All I can do is to live my life fully, deeply,
passionately and clearly.
With every breath, with every heartbeat.
And that, I imagine – that is more than enough.
The homework for this week is to look at the results you are getting. If the things you say and do are getting you results you don’t want, stop. Re-think what you are saying and doing, as opposed to wondering why the people around you are so thick.