Monday, January 1, 2024

Starting Fresh

    Welcome to a brand new year! This can be the best year we've ever lived. And yes, it is entirely up to each one of us.

about past New Year's resolutions. What I'm suggesting is on an entirely different level than losing weight, or consuming less booze or weed. How about initiating a radically positive shift in your life?

    How often do we catch ourselves repeating a set of thoughts, speech or other behaviors that we regret, feel ashamed of - that make us feel like bratty kids rather than mature, evolved adults? These tend to start as critical, disparaging, demeaning thoughts about others. It's best to intercept & stop these frequent slips at the earliest thinking stage.

    So what's with all this criticizing self talk? We're very, very familiar with these story lines, because we repeat them many times every single day! They're like a trail we walk many times each day, where there are very slippery downhill slopes, and we know where these are, can feel the downward incline immediately, and know that if we take just one additional step, we'll slide all the way down to the bottom.
we start criticizing, we have unconsciously assumed a separate identity - our 'small self' (neurotic pain body), from which we can look down on inferior 'others.' It's an embarrassingly dumb, messed-up sense of self, but it's the only one most of us (incorrectly assume we) have.
is very much like children who've been removed from abusive homes. When asked whether they wish to be placed in a foster home, or return to their abusive family, most choose the latter - because they fear the unknown more than 'the devil they know.'
e also get a sick sense of comfortable familiarity, as we sink into our crappy little assumed 'separate self' - almost a sense of 'being right' - like a destitute homeless person crawling back into a crumbling, wet cardboard box under a bridge. The question, 'Would you rather be right or happy?' applies here. When strong emotions like fear, anger or hatred take over, we may (briefly) feel absolutely sure we're 'right' but are actually miserable.

    Most of us are completely unaware how incessantly we tell ourselves what we don't like vs what we do like - our 'preferences' - the chief purpose of which is to reassure ourselves that we have a solid, permanent identity - which deep down we know is false.
we gradually learn to notice & keep letting go of self-talk about preferences, we gradually learn to become intimate with everyone & everything, rather than remaining alienated, due to reality being severely distorted & edited by our preferences.

    “… live in reality and enjoy the moments that are unfolding in front of you. That’s what you can do. Use your mind to be creative, inspiring, and do great things. Don’t let the mind always be thinking about itself and what it wants. Learn to enjoy life as it isinstead of limiting the ways you can enjoy it to serve your past impressions.”
    Michael A. Singer “Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament” Sounds True, 2022. A VERY USEFUL GUIDE TO LIVING

    We can only appreciate reality when we no longer look at it through the dense fog of our preferences. We can gradually learn to recognize, accept, and stop being slaves to our preferences.
    We are free to choose the quality of our lives because it is independent of external conditions
as perceived through our preferences.


Portrait in L'Harmattan gallery Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this John! A lovely gentle reminder for the beginning of a new year! Have a truly inspiring and delightful 2024