August 22, 2012

Pain Pushes Till Inspiration Pulls. ~ Marlena Rich

Are you up against the wall with no where to turn, or tired of finding yourself there on occasion?

Or, are you wise enough to follow your intuition to the inspired path?

We always have choices, yet some of us are mysteriously and stubbornly attached to our familiar patterning that delivers us squarely in the face of pain and heartache again and again. Radically liberating self-understanding is ours when we train our minds to recognize the habitual ways our minds perceive, and react without the emotional violence of shame and self-blame.

Building a healthy rapport with ourselves through effective contemplation, we begin to provide the gentle prodding that manifests as lasting transformation.

Once we have a handle on our habitual emotional responses, especially seeing the disturbing ones as “something external to (our) identity or sense of self,” we are more likely to exercise our free-will in cultivating lasting happiness based in inspired visions we select for our present and future.

Karuna Cayton aptly describes this as learning “. . . to ‘dance’ with our emotions. They are like a dance partner with a particular attitude or point of view. We learn our own rhythms and how to shift tempos so that our dance is always beautiful.”

Then we are not “attached to” or “influenced by” our emotions or perceptions, and instead can transform negative emotions into their positive counterparts.

In his new book, The Misleading Mind: How We Create Our Own Problems and How Buddhist Psychology Can Help Us Solve Them, Karuna describes “healthy love” as the “warm cherishing of another person without expectation and clinging.”

Some of the practices he recommends will help clarify our own attitudes and distinctions between our desires, our wants, our needs and our demands, and to own responsibility for loving without expecting our partners to magically fix aspects of ourselves.

He directs us to “actively seek and engage our problems,” freely embracing, rather than suppressing, denying or remaining unaware of the source of our issues so that “we retain our balance and sense of inner peace.”

In this way, we are in flow with life and the inevitable problematic conditions of the world with tools to tap into our infinite inner potentials, leading the life we were born to live.

Thomas Sterner released a new, related and equally informative book entitled The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life.

He emphasizes the importance of self-awareness, a “powerful quality as the key to the prison door,” as well as retraining our thought processes with elected habits, rather than allowing our unconscious thoughts to create anxiety. He writes,

Stress is the experience of emotions that are triggered by our thoughts. We have a thought, we judge the content of the thought as being good, bad or somewhere in between and then the emotions we have learned to associate with our interpretation begin. Hormones are released, internal dialog ramps up (more thoughts) feeding into our experience and before we know it we are into full blown anxiety.

ButterflyBuddha, courtesy of Jan Salerno

The inspired path is available to anyone who has disciplined themselves not to identify with the mental process and instead spend time in the creative flow state.

Marney K. Makridakis’ magical book, Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life offers an artful approach that inspires the reader to re-shape old thoughts and patterns with art and imagination as powerful catalysts for lasting change. Each chapter ends with a lighthearted “ARTsignment.”

Present moment awareness is easy when we step out of the linear container inside of which we typically imprison ourselves and become absorbed in playful abandon. “Into the full dimensions of time, extending the breadth of its meaning and experience. Time sighs when you’re having fun,” Marney says, describing her personal experience of creative flow as a “Gossamer silk sensation.”

How ironic, she point out, that time “is the ultimate scapegoat when things aren’t going our way.” Creating Time is a playful guide toward partnering with time’s expansive potential. The more timeless moments we experience the closer we live to the “truisms of who we are,” engaging an enriched soulful lifestyle of purpose.


Editor: Thaddeus Haas

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