New Year's Resolution Solution

The idea of "re-solving" sounds exhausting to me. If the problem has been solved already why bother re-solving it again. That's the kind of thing the ego mind does to justify its existence. Fixing things that don't really need fixing.

The word "solve" is from the Latin word solvere which means to loosen or release. This calls to mind the release of energy that is blocked and constricted. That would be a good thing if that's what we actually did when we make a resolution. But it isn't.

What we really do is exert more energy toward a goal which focuses our attention on an elusive ideal that we dangle in front of ourselves like a carrot. Meanwhile we continue to pass judgment on ourselves in the present, causing more blocked energy and pain. It rarely dawns on us that a) we choose how we define ourselves, and b) we can choose to accept ourselves as we are.

Blasphemy you say? Hardly. Who says you have to lose weight? Or quit smoking? Or spend more time with family? Or whatever you hate yourself for when you look in the mirror? Those things are great, but they will do nothing to change the infinite worth of who you are right now.

I dare you to believe that.


Selfish Esteem

When Thoreau said "To thine own self be true" I bet he didn't realize how widespread a mantra it would become. The self-esteem movement of the last few decades has certainly changed the way we see ourselves, and created a broader sense of personal freedom in our culture - but not without some confusion.

I've always taken issue with the notion that "you can be anything you want to be if you just put your mind to it." It's a nice idea on the surface, but it's rooted in the mindset that you must become something else to be whole and fulfilled as a person, and betrays the very value it is supposed to promote. If we base our self-esteem on a future situation, we must always be waiting to feel whole. This makes it impossible to find inner peace in the present moment which is the only place that peace can be felt.

That kind of flawed strategy comes from an egocentric mind held hostage by its addiction to thinking and striving and solving hypothetical problems that aren't even real. We can easily get swept away into mindlessness while trying to construct a healthy self image and never recognize that a self image is still just imaginary.

But Thoreau wasn't talking about a fabricated self image anyway. The "self" he was talking about is the Universal self that transcends our egocentric mind. The mind is only a part of the whole being just as the body is only a part. Being controlled by your mind is like having your legs decide to take over and start telling the rest of you what to do. It's silly, but that's exactly what our minds are doing. Most of us don't realize our egocentric minds have run amok and are continuously causing all sorts of problems.

Our "true self" is complete and whole in every moment and doesn't need to "do" anything except remain still and know itself without judgement. With this awareness we are finally free to exist and act with authentic integrity towards ourselves and others.

Ironically, the most self-less thing you can do often feels the most selfish - nurturing your true Universal self.


The Meaning of Pain

I like to get to the bottom of things. I have always found life much easier when I can boil it all down to the essential point of stuff, and then make decisions from there. I find the process of doing this mentally exhilarating, but exhausting as well. Right now I am at the exhausted part, but the insights I've recently come by are astounding and life changing.

What I am learning if that the point of it all is pain - more specifically the cause and effect of pain. As a therapist this will be the very essence of my daily activities; helping people identify their pain, the source of that pain and their response to that pain. Sounds simple.... huh. Maybe not.

This is a spectacular thing to grasp. I know makes total sense when you think about it, which may make it seem like no big deal. But it is a big deal because most people don't pay attention to their pain, even when it is the obvious point of their difficulties.

And what's even better is that I have also identified the source of pain. Yes, all of it. All pain is the result of change. Change which is constant, inevitable and universal. Change is the very meaning of life. Change is the definition of life.

If we dig deeper we see that life itself is defined by the movement of energy. At the most microscopic scale the movement of energy makes things real. Energy is never found in a static form. The nature of energy is to move. If it is contained for too long it will find a way to get out - either slowly over time or violently in an explosion of force.

So energy is the source of change. And change is the source of pain. None of this is a good thing or a bad thing. It is simply the way the Universe runs. When pain is present it is merely an indicator of change and a need for growth.

After all, you are made up of energy as well, and so is everything else. To maintain your existence you must adapt to changes caused by the flow of energy. If you resist it will naturally result in pain. If you persist in ignoring the internal "energy crisis" it will inevitably cause you harm or death.

But pain is not the enemy. It is simply a beacon to capture your awareness. But awareness alone cannot bring health. What really counts is what you do next.

More later!