Friday, August 28, 2009

Letting Go of Resentment

Resentment is a conduit for releasing anger. It is an outlet for discharging various forms of stored up frustration and hostility. A resentful person is using resentment as a way to direct his or her own internalized self-judgment on to someone else. It is a means for releasing one’s own internalized overload of mental and emotional misery.

Think of how a backyard septic system works. It’s a contraption where human waste is broken down and released back into the earth by certain organisms. When the septic system either systematically malfunctions or the organisms that break down the waste can no longer can keep up with the work load, then the functionality of the system no longer works. It backs up. The system then overflows above ground and the waste is detectable through all the senses. The fumes, odor and consistency of the human waste become unbearable to any and all who are within the general surroundings.

When we can no longer handle our internal anger, then our capability for processing the associated rage systematically malfunctions and rather than allowing the mind and emotions to process the anger in an internal fashion, it is released externally. It is directed outwardly through the resentment release opening.

Resentment can be used as a release for general anger, transferred anger or direct anger. General anger is when a gathering of feeling and/or thoughts is raised to a crescendo by a variety of happenings. That accumulation then causes one to well up with a surge of anger. Too many things have gone wrong at once.

Transferred anger is when a single specific situation, circumstance or encounter causes one to well with rage and then it is release directly onto someone who had nothing to do with the cause of the flair-up. We can get angry with things that have happened at work and take it out on a friend, lover or kids.

The third example of anger released through resentment is when the specific person who is the supposed cause of the anger is also the target of its release. In each of these three cases anger is released because of the inability of the resentful person to put his or her state of mind in perspective. And as such, blame is projected outwardly as a means to deal with a mounting internal issue. Simply, the anger can no longer be stockpiled internally. This is like hooking up a hose from the septic tank and directing it directly at someone.

Lets look at resentment by using another example. Lets say that between regularly scheduled trash pick-ups, you accumulate several bags of rubbish. And instead of placing the full bags of trash in the appropriate storage container. they are heaved onto the neighbors porch. We often deal with our anger in a like way. It is heaved onto others.

Here are some thoughts that you may want to apply when your resentment is direct at others. Remember: Anger is a happening to which a story is attached. Let go of the story and anger becomes less difficult to manage. Avoid making the incident into a huge drama.

Remember resentment is first self-directed, then directed at another. Let go of the resentment you feel toward yourself for not getting what you expect out of a situation. Release your expectations. Keep your mind in check by remaining in the moment, at at one with Super Consciousness.

Either make a shift or make a change. Create an internal shift in your point of view about those that you resent, or make a change. Make a job change, or friend change or partner change. After the change however please be aware and realize that to be at one with a state of inner-peace, you will ultimately make a shift in your perspective. You will be challenged to move away from your present state of conventional consciousness.

Prepare to release old patterns and habits. Prepare to stop being a conflict junkie. Stop condemning and rethink your position as the victim. Let go of the urge to get in the fight. Avoid the inclination to create a story that involves your concerns. You can’t play a round of golf if you do not walk up on the coarse. Keep your thoughts off the coarse and your inclination to express resentment will follow.

Allow your mind to enter a new perspective, one that is known as either Divine Consciousness or Super Consciousness. In this state on consciousness judgment does not interject havoc into our lives.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Getting Beyond Deception and Betrayal

We can focus a whole-hearted and unconditional effort into cultivating and perpetuating a friendship, or relationship only to, one day, meet up with a devastating surprise. The devastation occurs when someone compromises the mutual camaraderie by being treasonous. It can happen at work, home, and with romantic partners.

If a co-worker, friend, or lover has ever encroached upon your trustfulness with deceptive words or actions, then you have pretty good recognition of the feeling that goes along with being the victim of unexpected deceit. You know what it is like to be with a person in one way, and in hours or days discover that he or she was disloyal to the relationship.

Deceit occurs to various degrees and measures. Members of some professions are prone to the practice of deceptive and manipulative tactics. Society in general, on an on going basis, is exposed to deceitfulness and disloyalty. In almost every newscast, a story is articled where the actions of a politician or civil leader is held in questionable judgment. We see deceit and deception all around us. It has become an indelible visible stain on the human condition.

But when one of us is personally betrayed by the deceitful actions of another who is close to us, then we experience a lasting and numbing betrayal hangover. The mental effects are heavy and lasting, and the emotional rushes are harsh and persistent. If you have been betrayed by a lover, friend, neighbor or co-worker then you can relate to the intense blasting sting of pain that is caused by this deception.

The first thought many people experience when being deceived is: “I can’t believe that this person would do this to me.” They become stuck in thoughts that rehash the betrayal. They think of the trust that they put into the relationship and wonder how someone could rape that trust with deliberate deception. The fact is it does happen, and will continue to happen. There is little we can do to stop it, but there is a lot that we can accomplish in modifying our response to it.

I think of betray as a Hurricane Katrina like event. Ahead of the event itself, we are often either told or intuitively detect warnings that something is amiss. Tell-tale signs say that something out of the usual, and subtly detectable is occurring. Then with a wrenching and sudden impact the breach shows up. The hurricane hits. The betrayal is exposed. In response, those affected by the disaster must do what they can to survive. The betrayed victim will scamper for ways to deal with the shock. Then comes the “I can’t believe it” stage. After a hurricane the devastation is viewed, and after a betrayal the incident and surrounding circumstances are replayed in the mind.

Next comes the clean-up and mending. After a betrayal comes the healing. Often extreme emotions overtake the betrayed one. He or she experiences extreme anxiety along with blame, disbelief and anger.

How do we get beyond this lingering stage of bitterness, humiliation, and distrust? My suggestion is to get involved with the Zen practice of mindful meditation. This type of meditative practice that allows the mind to bring to the forefront all thoughts and feelings, then just as each thought and feeling enters the mind, it is correspondingly let go. This mindful meditation practice gives way to loosening the victim’s attachment to the disdainful feelings. Letting go of hurt can be otherwise arduous. Mindful meditation however allows the mind to become detached from the pain.

Everything that the betrayed one experiences is in the mind. We cannot heal a past situation, or redirect what has already happened. We can only heal the mind, our own mind. And once the mind is set properly on course, then we can create future situations with a new perspective and therefore experience different outcomes. This story of two monks may better make the point. It goes like this: A flag was flapping in the wind when one monk expressed to the other that the flag was moving.

The second monk immediately corrected the other by exclaiming that it was the wind that was moving. A passing monk stopped and interjected: it is neither the wind or flag, but your mind that is moving. All things are first perceived and thusly gain perspective in the mind. Once a person is betrayed then the mind perceives the betrayal as one’s individual habitual thought pattern informs it to do so. Next, the betrayal is framed permanently according to the mind’s pre-trained point of view.

How does mindful meditation help? It does so by allowing the betrayal to be placed in a balanced perspective. Meditation allows us to place our mind on a peaceful, free, and open course. In meditation we don’t strive to be dismissive. We do however become entrenched in the practice of allowing the mind to become cleared of old patterns and ways of thinking.

We learn to view our thoughts much as a person sitting at a bus stop would view passing vehicles and pedestrians. We see our thoughts through an objective perspective. As each one arises, it is let go, then replaced with focused concentration on the rise and fall of our breath.

This change in concentration, over time, allows the mind to settle down and clear the way to open and honest thinking. An open mind is absent of bias and prejudice. It is not entangled in stressed-out thinking nor caught up in vengefulness, accusation or self-blame. An open and empty mind is predisposed to the guidance of Super Consciousness. It is open to the voice of God. In this state of unblemished and un-slanted consciousness, we gain insightfulness to our true nature, our real identity, and to how we fit into the world.

Through this insight we learn how to lovingly handle the betrayals that are directed at both our self and others. We learn how to bring love into the situations and encounters that arise in our lives. By participating in guided mindful meditation practice on a continual basis we realize how we bring into our lives the incidents and influences that initiate and perpetuate both mental and emotional distress.

Through our contact with Super Consciousness we also learn, not only how to forgive but also the value of forgiveness. We see those that betray us with a Divine vision, an enlightened mind. In short we see without judgment or the desire for a specific outcome. We learn to view the world without wanting to indulge a specific motive or need. And when we do so we are free. We learn to love and appreciate who we are. We recognize the divine qualities that thrive within us. We learn to release anger, condemnation and blame. db

Friday, August 14, 2009

Love Letters from Don: 8/14/09

I love you not only for what you are, but for
 what I am when I am with you. I love you not 
only for what you have made of yourself, but for 
what you are making of me. I love you for the part
 of me that you bring out....Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

The greatest pleasure of life is love....William Temple

You can give without loving, 
but you cannot love without giving... -Amy Carmichael.

Life is a journey, and love is what makes that journey worthwhile....Unknown

Sooner or later we begin to understand that love is 
more than verses on valentines and romance in the movies.
We begin to know that love is here and now, real and true,
the most important thing in our lives. For love is the creator
 of our favorite memories and the foundation of our fondest dreams .
Love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that can never be 
spent, a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places. 
And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the
 greatest treasure of all -- one known only by those who love....Unknown

May today, peace be within you.
 May you trust in yourself, may you trust in God. 
May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
 May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
 May you use those gifts that you have received through your faith, and share them, as acts of love, with the world.
 May you be content knowing that you animate the breath of Divine Consciousness.
 May you be content knowing that you give form to the spirit of Divine Consciousness, let It’s presence, and this truth settle into your being.
 Allow your soul the freedom to sing, to dance, and to bask in the luminous light of Love. It is there for you. It is you. And so It is. (Inspired by St Theresa’s Prayer Source – Christhal Bennett

Have a great week

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Our Limiting Self-Reality

We may think that problems just automatically show up in our lives, but they don’t.

Oh, I am not saying that problems don’t blind side us and appear unexpectedly. Of course they do. And I’m not saying that we consciously invite difficult situations into our lives. But we are wise to remember that, on some level, we draw into our lives the problems that we encounter. We are creators of our own personal issues. How does this happen? How do we draw problems to ourselves? Here is an explanation for you to consider.

First of all we form a belief system about ourselves, and our relationship with the world around us, then we adapt to it. Next, we try to behave within the boundaries of those beliefs about our self and how we fit into the world. In conforming to this belief system, we draw on many judgments of both our self and others. Using these judgments we, in turn, make choices. Problems are then drawn to us by virtue of the way we perceive, judge and choose.

When we perceive behavior, or the outcome of some activity that does not conform to our way of believing we judge it as objectionable. It’s a problem. On the other hand when actions and behavior conform to the belief about who we are and how be fit in the world then a positive judgment is made.

Lets say that a landlord wants his rent by the fifth day of the month. The renter is already two month behind, and tells the landlord that the rent will be paid in its entirety, but another month’s time is needed before he can put the money together. The renter, Tom, acknowledges the problem, and immediately blames the landlord for the lack of empathy, and the unwillingness to be patient.
Tom feels guilty about his problem because he was raised to believe that bills must be paid on time, and people should live within their financial means. As a matter of fact Tom has criticized a couple of his friends who he claims are in debt because they spend more than they earn. One friend has obligated himself to huge car payments, while the other is deluged with credit card debt.

How was Tom’s problem created? Tom brought this problem to himself. He created it. Tom has predisposed himself to financial problems and more specifically the issues presently developing with the landlord. He has surrounded himself with men and women who perpetuate high-spending lifestyles. He and coworkers are struggling for recognition. Most desire a promotion; an admirable professional title; and a higher salary. He works in an office inundated with shakers and movers. All of who are hell-bent on demonstrating that they are “money.” To a large measure these co-workers are flagrant spenders.

Tom not only finds the behavior of debt-ridden friends; competitive co-workers; and insensitive landlord to be unacceptable, but somewhere deep down within his self he realizes that he is the source of his own problems. He realizes that he is incessantly in pursuit of acceptability. This knowledge intensifies his frustration, because it increases the level of guilt that he carries.

Tom is in a pickle. On one hand he believes in the values that were espoused by his parents, but on the other hand he rationalizes his thoughts and behavior with the idea that his parents lived in a different time. Life was easier for them. Simple values were more applicable when his parents were younger; things were more black and white. They enjoyed more freedom, and experienced less stress; and were not judged as harshly by friends and peers. His justifications are tethered to the idea that his parents did not have to live in a world that was as demanding as the world is now. They were not burdened with the idea that they must continually prove their acceptability. Tom has convinced himself that he has no choice other than to live what his parents call a “charade.” If he wants to be successful, he must demonstrate that he possesses the spoils of success. Hence, he obligated himself to the foreboding situation with his landlord. Toms says that this so-called “charade” is in fact his reality.

This whole attitude in which Tom spends his day is congruent with causing and perpetuating his problems.

Like Tom, most of us learn from our earliest years on, to determine good from bad; and right from wrong. More profoundly however, we learn to differentiate the acceptable from unacceptable. Then, we organize our thoughts and activities so we are perceived as acceptable. Often otherwise good and righteous behavior must be trumped by actions that elevate one’s perceived acceptability. Tom’s self-promoting actions are created out of the desire to be judged by others as acceptable. More specifically he wants to be perceived as a savant amongst his peer group and career competitors. Any input that challenges these aspirations is viewed as a problem. Vigilantly, his self-image is guarded.

After continually making judgments based on pre-determined beliefs about our acceptability and how we fit into the world, we then habitually repeat, with slight variation, an automatic way of behaving.

Tom feels guilty because he is behaving in a way that inconsistent with values passed on by his parents, however the contradictory behavior is predictable because his desire for acceptability overrides the inclination to conform with learned values and beliefs.
Tom continually contradicts his beliefs. And, he denies that he does so. He rationalizes his contradictory actions by convincing himself that if you want to have money, you’ve got to look “money,” and he says he is just walking his talk. His self-talk provides the needed justification for living above his means. It promotes the identity that he is so ardently trying to project. Defining who he is, in a large part by his home address, gives Tom a needed edge in sustaining the perception of one who is earning a high income. It gives him prestige and makes him feel like he belongs to more acceptable group.

Our identity is defined by boundaries that mark the limits of our reality, and retard our ability to enter another reality. So our perceptions and judgments are confined within those boundaries. Thusly we may live an entire life with only a glimpse of the Divine peace and freedom that lies beyond the limits of our self-promoting thoughts. So we continually roam the same reality, with the same thoughts, in search of a way to justify who we are and how we fit in the world.

A dog confined to the boundaries of the back yard will eventually revisit and reinvestigate every inch of that space. Like the pet dog, we roam a territory confined within the limits of our own reality. Because we remain within the established boundaries of our reality, we do little more than revisit the thoughts that we have previously entertained. We rehash the same thoughts and project the same point-of-view. And, this is why we repeat old patterns over again. We become very predictable in the choices we will make. Thusly we draw into our lives problems that fester because this mental confinement.

It is difficult for us to get beyond our own self-confining perceptions and judgments. Like the dog that eventually finds himself over again in one particular spot or another, similarly we find ourselves re-roaming the same mental and emotional turf. We process our thoughts through an established conduit of preprogrammed parameters, an end up presenting the mind with the repeated expectation to process the same issues, concepts and thoughts. We judge present situations just like we did prior situations. So, our choices seem to be determined automatically. This repeated pattern of choices causes the same problem to surface over and over. It may manifest itself in a new way, or with a different person. But all the same, each problem grows from the same source root.

We may look for a way out of particular problems by jumping from person to person, relationship to relationship, friend to friend, and job to job. We may look for a way out through spending money. It’s not uncommon however to discover that the next romance, person, job, activity or purchase is not the way out. Why? More next time.