Friday, July 13, 2012

Ending the Cycle - Perspective and Personal Story

These two posts feel connected in my mind - whether or not they are is up to you, I suppose. The first one is a Daily Om from a while ago, which I may have posted by itself. The second is a personal story by Dan Dianda at The Mindful Word.

Ending the Cycle: Start Today

by Madisyn Taylor

Each day offers us an opportunity to renew our resolve to the universe that we are ready for change.

One of the hardest things in life is feeling stuck in a situation that we don’t like and want to change. We may have exhausted ourselves trying to figure out how to make change, and we may even have given up. However, each day offers us an opportunity to renew our resolve and to declare to the universe that we are ready for change. We may even say out loud that we have tried and struggled and have not found a way, but that we are open to help, and that we intend to keep working to create change for ourselves. Making this declaration to the universe, and to ourselves, may be just the remedy for the stagnation we are experiencing. And, it can be done today, right now.

It is difficult to understand, even with hindsight, how the choices we have made have added up to our current situation, but it is a good idea to examine the story we tell ourselves. If we tend to regard ourselves as having failed, this will block our ability to allow ourselves to succeed. We have the power to change the story we tell ourselves by acknowledging that in the past, we did our best, and we exhibited many positive qualities, and had many fine moments on our path to the present moment. We can also recognize that we have learned from our experiences, and that this will help us with our current choices.

When we do this kind of work on how we view our past self, we make it possible for the future to be based on a positive self-assessment. This inner shift may allow us to get out of the cycle we’ve been in that’s been keeping us stuck. Now we can declare our intentions to the universe, knowing that we have done the inner work necessary to allow our lives to change. Allow today to be the day to end cycles and enter into a new way of being.
I'm not sure about declaring things to the universe, but there are often times in our lives where we wonder how we ended up in this moment and place and situation. All of our choices in the past have led us to this moment, and this moment, and this moment.

If we do like where we find ourselves, it's up to us to change things. Only I can create a new future from this moment forward by making new choices. Each morning that I wake up is a new day in which I can make new choices to create the future I desire - it's never easy, and in fact, change is one of the hardest things for most us to accomplish.

In a post related to this topic, Dan Dianda at The Mindful Word wrote about his own experience with how he "began to question what was going on around me and why I went along without checking in with myself—without questioning the narrative spinning in my head."
Don Dianda is the author of See for your Self: Zen Mindfulness for the Next Generation. Through meditation, daily mindfulness practice, and individual koan work, Dianda seeks to shed light on the inherently deep connection one can have with the experience of this life as well as the world one moves through. Stepping into the now and recognizing the movements within the mind is where the path begins.

Here is his article.

REAL MEANING: A personal essay on questioning the fabricated reality of one’s life 

WE CREATE OUR OWN REALITY: I had it all, or so I thought
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”—Matsuo Basho

Growing up in a well-to-do American family is materially comfortable. Family troubles aside—and they can be considerable—life is full of pleasure: desires are satisfied, drinks guzzled and fanciful whims gained. There are high school football games, school days, workdays, sex, travelling, television, Fourth of July celebrations, drama, weekend all-nighters, jokes, cliques, victories, and defeats. Like a giant cliché, life unfolds, and it unfolds around a focal point: me-I-a separate ego. From here good and bad, love and hate, sad, mad, happy, despair, upbeat, low, subject, object, outside, come together to form one’s life experience. To keep some form of sanity, we follow our mind and attempt to gratify its wants and needs as a way to find fulfillment and success. We create stories and follow them. We listen to our thoughts intently—to the point where we eventually become them. We go for more and more. But is that it? I found out. Coming home at three in the morning tired, intoxicated, full of shallow thoughts and loaded with cheap laughs, my life was passing before my eyes.

Throughout my first two years in college, I often had the urge to “black out,” literally. Though I wasn’t conscious enough to be aware of it at the time, I wanted to be able to float through life, running from painful experiences that had rooted themselves into my psyche. The path at the time was simply to ignore any stirrings within and to keep going, to press on, to focus on money and being accepted within the constructs of the society I found myself in. These were the values, but I wasn’t buying them anymore.

Something was shifting inside me. I wasn’t aware of what it was or how it was working. I just began to question what was going on around me and why I went along without checking in with myself—without questioning the narrative spinning in my head.

I changed my life and woke up during my junior year of college: I’d had enough. The drinking didn’t do it for me. The partying didn’t do it for me. Vegas, Miami, L.A., didn’t do it for me. I felt completely strange and insubstantial in my own body. Everything I had created, my ego, my friendships, my internal wiring, my identity—aspects of my external being I had spent years cultivating, shaping and reshaping—were just the bones of a paper tiger in the face of the stirrings of what lay buried beneath. I’d been living in a dream and I was finally beginning to realize it.

The slow change within my heart had been an ongoing process. There had been an upswelling of feeling and emotion when I had been alone hiking in the hills or swimming in the ocean. Also, brief moments of disconnect from my social life allowed questions, concerning what I was doing, to bubble up. But fear and doubt coincided with these thoughts. So, naturally I did what I was good at, I dove back into my life with added vigor. I denied. I suppressed all my inner yearnings with more alcohol, more drugs, and more meaningless relationships. I searched for more of the same to fill the growing inner void and outer disconnection—feeding my ego, only to have it come back to me over and over again. There was something deep inside that persisted in repelling my unconscious overtures. Though I did not realize it at the time, my Self was saving me from myself.

If time passes in the blink of an eye, how could insubstantial things be more valuable than the present moment?

One early morning after going out and drinking, I came home feeling slightly ill. I crawled into bed and passed out, something many of us can relate to. In the night, I dreamed that a powerful, jet-black snake had been sucking vital energy from the back of my neck. Its muscles pulsated with each drink. All I could do was grab it and pull, but to no avail.
Read the whole article.

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