Thursday, December 18, 2014

Solving for X" follow up "Out of the box"

“Am I really searching to gain and expand the notion that I am open-minded? Or am I only gathering evidence to support existing beliefs that I am open-minded? I am actually only conforming to the non-conforming.
-Jorgen Olsen-

I have always thought of myself as an open-minded person with open-minded views. I have always tried to welcome new ideas as well as other points of view. I thought I was an “out-of-the-box” type person. I tried to oppose the norm and the status quo of things, always searching for something new and different in my approach to handling my personal problems or other issues that affected me.
            When I first started exploring what I believe in and the impact these beliefs have on my life and others, it was really amazing to see that what I perceived as open-minded and out-of-the-box were really just inside another box. The difference was that this box was called non-conformity, and it didn’t fit into the majority’s viewpoint. Or does it? How many times have you said, “I am an open-minded person”?
            As I pointed out in an earlier blog post, there is in every life an occurrence, and this “what happened moment” makes you question what happened and why. Then we create a story and a belief about ourselves that answers and supports this question of why and what happened (i.e. good, bad, right, or wrong). This is where we begin to gather evidence to support our new belief, which then becomes the foundation of our lives that later comes into play as the reality of our present life. The good and bad times are somewhat the bipolarity of our existence and are based solely on what is now this new belief. I look at this belief as if it were a computer that first started as a simple binary code program of 01 001 110 and then upgraded to DOS, to  46 years later becoming a more complex program of Jorgen 47.6.
The layering of these beliefs begins as we search throughout our lives to gather support and validation of our newly found identity and perceptions that we call our beliefs. The continuation of this blog is not about these core beliefs that seem to make our lives so filled with drama and excitement. Instead, it is an inquiry into the subtle beliefs or little innuendos that are a bit harder to catch that really drive the everyday experience. They are more of a practice in being mindful to what is around us, as well as the noise that happens between our ears and the study of self (which is more of a Buddhist-based practice).
            There are beliefs that are very easy to flush out and some that are not so easy. For example, what if I asked you what your view (aka ‘belief’) is on God. I would quickly discover your viewpoint, understanding, and what you think will likely happen to us after death. If I were to ask what makes you happy, you could tell me without hesitation about a certain person or act, perhaps an expectation of a gift from another or from yourself. What creates this happiness is our relation to our beliefs. I am not suggesting that these things really do or do not make you happy… I am merely suggesting that you are attached to this idea of happiness through your beliefs that make-up part of your identity. However, it might be possible that these very same subtle beliefs are somewhat responsible not only for your happiness, but also for your discontent.
I should also add that it is not likely to change these beliefs solely through discussion because “we” or “I” am very attached to these beliefs. For me, it takes questioning and actually making an attempt to shake them out (the “belief shake-down”). Most beliefs that run our days and nights are a little more difficult to expose because they are disguised in our everyday language. It is also the very dialogue and unspoken understanding of the language. When someone gives us a compliment and we shy away or when we have a nervous tone when we try to stand up for ourselves, this would be  an example of a subtle belief.
One of the largest components to this is the complaints we have. I want to look at this for a moment since some of these complaints are directed inward and some are directed outward. Complaints can be about others hurting us physically or emotionally, both intentionally or unintentionally. They can be about work, a coworker, going to the gym, traffic, or just getting out of bed when you're still tired. That moment when you do something and ask yourself why, you can often think, “Why did I do that? How can I be so stupid?” Then the dialogue for the interpretation of what happened and why, are based on your beliefs. “What did I do wrong? Why does this keep happening to me?” Sometimes these complaints are so general we don’t even understand what they are… “Life is so unfair!” Whatever your complaint is about yourself, others, your life, or the world, they are the makeup of your beliefs, judgments, and opinions. What about life is unfair? What was it that you did that was stupid? It’s not so much about answering the question at this point. It is simply a way to sit with these little sarcasms, innuendos, and jabs at yourself or others. If at all possible, look at the inner dialogue instead of taking it outward. I know this because I didn't have appreciation, respect, or love for myself. I also didn't treat others very well, or at least not as well as I would want to expect from myself.
            Exposing your judgments and beliefs will sometimes take you to a place where you feel entitled or want to make excuses to defend your position. This is where we don’t want to let go of judgments and beliefs. After this process, you will find your identity, or what some call the ego. If I’m wrong about this or that, what happens? This is who I am, and if I don’t know who I am and I challenge this, I have a crisis on my hands of identity. My identity does not want to die! At the very least, exposing these judgments, opinions, and beliefs can help me see where I am being held back.

Notice you the small-talk with your self-complaints about others, unfair situations, and the difficulties in your life. I personally notice that I constantly complain about many different things. However, I now notice them and can see that they are complaints. This then turns into something I can challenge. The question is, are you in control of your thoughts, beliefs, judgments, and opinions? Or are you just along for the ride?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Solving for X

“Very rarely do things happen for a reason. I either give reason to things that happen or give cause for things to happen.”
What I am trying to say here is that things happen to me in life that I have at one point or another defined as good, bad, or indifferent based on the impact it has had on my life. What made these things good, bad, or indifferent is my perception of things and how I interpret them.
I believe that the human mind is designed by nature to solve for the unknown variable, or the equation of “X”. It is evident in the oldest forms of math, such as strategic battles to guess your opponent’s next move. This auto-questioning is formed to fill in the blanks of ‘what happened’.
When something has happened, it is a predisposition of my perception that will define it as good, bad, or indifferent. My predisposed perception begins with the question, “How did that get there?” When a situation has caught my attention, it has shocked, upset, scarred, or even scared the shit out of me. An example is the first time I ever asked, “Why did this happen?” My first automatic response was to fill in the blank based on what I thought I knew, as harmless as that may seem. The event could have been something as simple as an embarrassing moment or dealing with another kid teasing me. So time after time, I solved for the unknown variable of “X” and established this phantom variable as reality or truth. The real truth is that what had happened just happened, and I took the situation as personal or literal. Even worse, I could take it as fact.
In Part Two of my statement, I have given reason to things that happen. In this mindset, things happen for a reason unconsciously out of this perception of myself. I constantly recreate that which has happened in the past. When I first solved for “X”, I did it with the irrational thoughts and emotions of a child. With the thoughts I may have in areas of my life (whether it is my job, wife, kids, driving a car, my business, drinking, fighting in a war, having sex, etc.), I am still behaving at an unconscious level and living out the behaviors and actions of this perception of this particular self. To keep this simple (for my safety), this perception is very linear, kind of like listening to music with only one headphone in your ear. However, these perceptions are more-or-less layered due to the fact that some of the other perceptions were created at different timeframes in life when a different situation happened. These include infancy to adolescence when there was no rational thought; a story was made up and now “X” has been solved

Thursday, November 27, 2014

What I am grateful for

I am grateful for the things I take for granted every day.
I am grateful for knowing I take them for granted.
I am grateful in knowing I take so many people for granted every day.
I am grateful in knowing I will never fully appreciate what I have in life.
I am grateful I know I have pushed my agenda on others every day to get my way.
I am grateful in knowing I have not considered the troubles I  cause others every day.
I am grateful for knowing that I will never be fully present to what really matters in this life and this moment.
I am grateful in knowing that somehow I make my life and my views and opinions significant and sometimes that hurts others.
I am grateful in knowing how insignificant I really am.
I  am grateful in knowing there is no way to account for all of the things I should be grateful for.

I am grateful that these things I am grateful for are no longer hidden from my view.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happiness! What about it?

What is “Happiness”? First, let’s look at the original meaning of happiness.
Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant  emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

Looking at this definition, I can see that in my life well... Happiness was lacking for most of my life. It seems the most I remember about happiness is that I always wanted more of it and there never seemed to be enough. I thought people are supposed to be happy, so I should be happy. The next part of the thought and feeling process for was the belief that something must be wrong because I was not happy. All of this energy focused on being happy or unhappy is exhausting, dark, and painful at times
Those sometimes dark days when you don’t really have the desire to talk or be around anyone and the world seems so unfair that you are just sad and you don’t know why. Is it just me that has felt this? The worst part of it all is the pressure and the universal assumption that I need and deserve to be happy. The gray area of happiness and unhappiness and the wanting to be happy. Then focus on the resignation and surrender that at that moment, I am not in fact happy at all. So what should I be doing to be happy?
How often do you experience being happy? Is it all the time? How long does it last?
If you are not experiencing being happy,  then what state are you in and what and where is your attention at? Are you focusing on what you don’t have i.e relationship,boyfriend, girlfriend,, car, or money thus making you unhappy? Or is your attention on what it is in your life that makes you unhappy i.e divorce, abuse, missing the mortgage payment, money for food?Maybe it is both? There are so many things to focus on here,  and that is what you are doing. Focusing on what you do have which is “sadness” or discontent and your interpretation of what has caused this i.e why does he or she not love me, why is this happening too me? The questions of why am I feeling this way, and focusing on what you don’t have which is happiness in this moment. This puts you in another state of mind, which is wanting or what we will call point B. You are in point A “sad” and wanting to be at point C “happy” what is now more pain and suffering is being in point B “wanting” which adds  more suffering and sadness on top of the two states you are already in: The state of where you are point A “sad” where you are not point C  “happy” and where you are “wanting” Point B. Some might argue that the fourth dimension to your suffering (as pointed out earlier) is the” Oh no,  something is wrong with all of this. What is there to fix?”.  All of this is driven by our beliefs which then takes our thoughts and emotional state upside-down. Sadly, this is the point of our focus,  and it is extreme.
This is something I will go into later. For now, this is just me playing around with some insights I have had about my self. So far, I  have discussed where I am, where I am not, where  I want to be, and that something is wrong with this (or me). This is because I am in a painful place to be unhappy or sad, and the wanting to be other than those feelings can drive anyone mad, or worse… It can push them to the point of despair, or even ending one's life.
I was talking with someone the other day who was going through a very hard time with a few things in her life, I wanted to say something that would console her and, suddenly the old cliche hit me. I have heard it so many times in my life, and I almost blurted it out loud: “This too shall pass”. Later that same day, I met with a friend who shared some very exciting news about a job promotion  that made him very happy. Again, it hit me: “This too shall pass”.
Whether it is your finances, car, job, nice suits, poverty, happiness, sadness, youth, or old age,  family, or friends... this too shall pass. This is acknowledging the impermanence of life. Once there is acceptance with this notion, you can learn to let go of those feelings you are focusing on. Things become easier when you say, nothing stays the same,  and notice that even the simple things change, like the seasons, such as the leaves on the trees, mountains and life itself. This is the path of least resistance. There isn’t any resistance  for what there is or to the discomfort that this space holds.
The misconception that what you have makes you happy will, for the time being, make you comfortable. Cars, a nice home, money in the bank, a boat, etc…  These will certainly give you some comfort and a sense of security. However, all of this happiness and comfort is temporary. Happiness seems to come from the external sources, whereas joy is something cultivated with in. I get out of my head and ask the question. “What is happening right now in this moment? Have I had food, shelter or water in this moment without looking at my wants “?””I usually notice that I have all I need for this very moment.
This is the state of being in gratitude I am okay because this is without wanting, and wanting has drama attached to it based on what I have and do not have. The is a huge story behind why I do and don’t, and I am no longer held captive by my feelings or thoughts.

There is so much that I want to control, and there is an illusion that I can control circumstances in my life. “This too shall pass.”


I love this saying!

Sometimes I go

about in pity for


and all the while

a great wind is bearing me

across the sky

- Ojibwa (Native American) Saying

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Who is it in my head?

Who is in my head? This isn’t a question regarding “insanity”, but more of perception. Even further... who am I? Who is making the decisions in my life? I would like to think it’s me, but I don’t really think it is. All of the influences in my life that that have lead me to my life’s perceptions were being formed by others. How do I know which religion fits me best?  How do I know which political party to go with?  How do I really know if the system is out to fuck us or not? Are people lying to me?  I don’t trust the government.  I don’t trust anyone. There is no god. This could also be a belief as simple as “I don’t trust________” and you fill in the blank. All of these have been thoughts at one time or another for me. I think that those that have influence over me throughout my life are in fact partially responsible for my core beliefs, opinions, and judgements. I have written about this a few times before and wanted to look at this a little deeper. If I could see things stripped of all judgements and opinions what would I see? And would things in “life” still occur the same way they do now?

Without some of these beliefs,  would I be as motivated in areas such as love or money? In both I perceive good and bad “judgement”. My personal judgement of good and bad may be skewed as well.

Things that are good, or the things in life I identify as bad are moments in my life that are extreme in both ends of the spectrum. Or they are occurrences that left an impression. These impressions helped sculpt my behaviors that now are identified as good or bad to either protect (or  sometimes anesthetize) the result of my interpretations of these beliefs. For me, these opposite extremes of belief have led me to many purposes in my life as well as many heart breaks. Beliefs about loneliness, love, and war, are all my interpretations of words based on beliefs that I have inherited either through community or self. Is any of this between my ears real? Were they manifested in or outside of my mind? They have been essential for my survival as well as the cause for my demise on many occasions.
So, who is in my head? I am a sum total of all of the influences in my life all the way back to the beginning. Those whom I have trusted  listened to, and have invited into my life. It makes me wonder if there really is one original thought or idea... I tend to think that all I have in this existence is simply borrowed from the universe.

All of the messages in the spiritual realm have the same message just regurgitated or reworded. They all points to the same direction: looking inward understanding  One’s self and the interpretation of self.

So again, I ask, “Who am I?” I realize some of these limiting beliefs are the opportunity to collapse them through realization, acknowledgement, and exposing them for what they are. Then I can identify, where they come from.

“I respect your faith but doubt will give you an education” ~Wilson Misner

Doubting whether these beliefs are true takes long periods of self-examination. There is a process I use that we can go into later. However, let me leave you with this. Imagine playing a game of tennis. As you hit the ball coming toward you with all of your effort, it skips off the top of the net into your opponents area. Then he loads his backhand and hits the ball with tremendous force back to you. Now, what is your experience of the ball or the racquet? Can you be the ball as it is being hit, or the racquet as it strikes the ball? Can you experience pain, sadness, or rejection being hit away to somewhere else?

What beliefs were made up about the ball, racquet, or the game (win or lose)?
Who told you this action was even tennis?  First, there had to be a shape of a ball then someone had to name it, and so on.. Sometimes our beliefs are playing a game of hide and seek; they are hidden. By exposing them, there is a way to leave them powerless that will lead to a new understanding of your self. This place of no interpretation or empty space can take something called catastrophe to something that just happened, as well as something like happiness from an occurrence. This provides a space for new interpretation.
These beliefs in my own life have lead to some very extreme and painful places, however they have also lead to some very beautiful ones.

Buddhism for me is doubting and questioning everything beliefs, life and even Buddhism itself. Not knowing that I have a choice in my beliefs is the most painful place for me, it’s  life on  autopilot and I’m along for the ride.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance.[1] The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" (Classical Greek: δρᾶμα, drama), which is derived from the verb meaning "to do" or "to act".

Exploring drama in my personal life,  I have found that I have a very intimate relationship with drama. Drama to me could be anything from  depression can’t make the bills or my boss is an ass hole anything I have a complaint about including myself is drama. Doesn't matter if it is good or bad in my life I don’t see that I like it because I hold on to it and won’t let it go. It’s a form of addiction for me. I own  it as if it were a part of me. Which is sadly not true. Only the emotions and how I relate to them seem to be real.
. One thing I notice about drama is that it shares in the most incurable of all diseases in all of us which is the human condition. Drama is can lead us to a swinging pendulum of emotion from one moment to the next it can be a very subtle dialog or complaint we have with ourselves to an extreme reaction with circumstances beyond our control, or even complaints about others. I notice these complaints in my self whether it is with my self or defending my position in an argument or that conversation we are having with and about someone else when they are not even there. The feelings and emotions we have when events happen that we seen to have  justified with a comment like “this just isn’t fair” or why is this happening to me?  Drama seems to be emotions based on circumstance and how we relate to them based on “beliefs” which will be a topic I will write about later. In short drama is one bipolar bitch sometimes. Most of life is spent avoiding this drama, as it usually has such a negative connotation.
Have you ever looked at the other side of drama, the upside or the romance of life and drama?   In examining this personal love affair with my drama I have noticed a few things about her. She has swooned me through the best times of life and  carried me through the worst times, adding so many rich and vibrant colors and even texture and depth. This drama I call my life is who I am, it is the very the substance of my existence. Whether it be economic drama, recession, depression- we all have a secret love affair with our drama.  It identifies my life. It has forged my soul, my character, my desire to make a difference, as well as created pause for self inquiry. My hopes, dreams, and desires all cast from the fires of my drama.  I live my life for my drama and those struggling moments where I choose to live, where I could have chosen to die. Let’s celebrate the richness that you have brought me that allows me to show compassion to all those who have had a bitter falling out with their drama, not realizing just how important she is.
I think there can be a choice in drama it doesn't have to be debilitating  There can be a different relationship with drama where you don’t have to get buried  or stuck in the mire again.  
The question that is still unanswered is are you making a conscious choice and using the emotions created by this drama or are you simply along for the ride This is mostly where drama and the emotions get uncomfortable in our lives.

A useful exercise that I use regularly as a way to discover the drama in  my life is a simple one.
As you go throughout your day notice the subtle language or judgments you make about yourself and others. More specifically with the self. The dialog that happens when you make a mistake at work how do you speak about yourself thoughts or words like “you are so stupid why did you do that”. How do you speak to yourself about yourself and others. Notice the argument with a loved one or out in public and someone else makes a mistake that  affects your life. This is a way to uncover the hiding places that cause drama. As you notice these thoughts also notice the emotions or feelings that come with them.  This next part is a little harder,try not to interpret or judge them as good bad right or wrong try to observe them.

This is the Buddhism in drama.