Author Archives: Tim

Hypnotised!

How easily hypnotised we are!

Never mind the more “advanced” concepts (which are actually more basic than any of the peripheral ones, if you think about it) such as believing that we are a body or that we exist inside a body, and so forth.

I have a few friends who have been on some sort of spiritual path for decades. Its saddening to see their posts on Social Media which indicate how pulled they are by current events – even posts which might seem to go against all they have learned from the teachings they’ve subscribed to: non-judgement, forgiveness etc.

We are (unless we are mentally vigilant or mindful) potentially affected by everything and anything we encounter. It does no good to fight against it (what you resist persists).

Try not thinking of a Pink Elephant!

Of course, all of what we see is perceptual and is already coloured by our past conditioning – so we’ll see what we believe.

What to do?

  • Minimise or eliminate your viewing of news for at least a day or two. Nothing untoward will happen to you if you do this. If a Nuclear War occurs you’ll know about it without watching TV or asking Google, Siri, or Alexa.
  • When someone makes a suggestion to you (positive or negative) either mentally ask yourself, “Is that so?” or at least pause for a couple of seconds before replying. They won’t notice.
  • Meditate! Ultimately – even beyond quieting the mind, the purpose of true meditation is to experience your True Nature – that which is beyond all opposites. The more you “taste” that, the more you will realise that you are inviolable. You will find true equanimity, courage, and inner peace. PS. this takes much practice for most of us – myself included. 😉

 

 

Beyond Words & Thought

Words are symbols and pointers. We read words and think we understand something. This is particularly true of ‘spiritual’ texts.

But, it has been said that ‘the thought is not the thing’.

It would be relatively easy to talk about Yoga Nidra in some depth, but it needs to be experienced to be, well, experienced !

The same applies not just to Yoga Nidra, but to any form of yoga, meditation, or similar.

You can look in awe at a video of an instructor holding a perfect yoga pose, but that’s their experience – they can only serve as an example.

Then we have Experience with a capital ‘E’.

The invitation that Yoga Nidra offers, is the Experience of Silence – where words, thoughts, and perceptions of all kinds disappear – albeit for maybe a second or two at a time.

During an  inner Experience, time and space do not apply. Even a momentary taste of Silence is worth a hundred hours reading, discussing etc. – in other words, missing the Experience itself.

And in the end, the form doesn’t matter – whether it’s Yoga Nidra, chanting, playing a musical instrument and becoming completely absorbed in the experience so the we ‘disappear’ and so forth.

All that really matters is that small ‘gap’ that occurs when, for example polarities are integrated or some blockage is released.

Someone once called that Experience ‘The Pearl of Great Price’.

And it is.

 

 

Stuck

How often do we hear the cry – or even find ourselves declaring, “I’m stuck!”

How many of us often feel that we can’t move forward because we feel we are lumbered with a recurring belief, attitude, or problem that we want to get rid of?

Several things occur when we discover this:

  • We feel bad and judge ourselves harshly because we are still stuck with it after what is often a long period of time, thus compounding the original problem and its stickiness
  • We look to others  – a book, an authority figure, a teacher or a theory for an explanation. This may bring temporary relief, but we are often still stuck with the problem – except that now, we have one (or more) ways of explaining it or rationalising it!
  • We try to control our minds, in the hope that doing so might prevent the behaviour or action from manifesting itself. (Have you ever tried controlling your mind for any length of time? Good luck with that! I can’t even predict what my next thought will be – can you?)

There is one main problem with all of the above: We are trying to get rid of something – rather than looking at it from a fresh point of view in order to fully examine its validity.

Trying to get rid of something never works, because we are pushing against the problem which actually makes it more real and “solid”. “What you resist persists.”

What does seem to work, in my view, is to simply experience the stuckness as it is – without any labels, descriptions, etc.

When we are able to do this, the problem simply dissolves or integrates rather than being resisted,  thus freeing our “head space” and allowing us to move on, less burdened than we were before.

Often, fresh insights and ways forward will be “miraculously” revealed because of this resulting clarity.

What You Focus On Expands

Have you ever met someone who really “gets your goat”? Someone you’re perhaps obliged to hang out with but who has, for example, an annoying personality trait that you just can’t stand? If you’re human, I’m sure you have. 😉

Every time you encounter that person, whether what they have to say is actually valid or not, your perception of them is somehow coloured by the one thing that looms large in the foreground – that one thing you can’t stand about them.

An example from my own life is John. John is a compulsive talker  He cannot abide silent pauses in conversations – even for a couple of seconds. He has to fill them with anything, often digressing in a meandering way from the general topic being discussed at the time.

What to do? One day, I decided to practice that which I know intellectually to be the case, but which often isn’t employed until things become unbearable. 😉

I finally realised that his behaviour probably wasn’t going to magically change overnight, so I simply let go of my judgement of it. In fact, I allowed myself to fully feel the feelings that arose when he was talking non-stop, and welcomed them –  rather than resisting them. This seems counter-intuitive to most people, who imagine that “welcoming” something would allow it have a greater hold when in fact, the exact opposite is the case.

It is our resistance to things that make them persist. When we allow feelings (for example)  free passage, rather than blocking them out, they will no longer bother us.

Has John’s behaviour changed at all as a result of this? Actually, it seems that it has in some measure. But of course, that could just be my corrected perception of him which, in the end, is all that matters. 🙂

The Double-Edged Sword of Labelling

Labels seem so useful. In many ways they help us steer our way through this weird and wonderful world. At least we can navigate when we have a map, but sometimes we forget that the map is not the territory.

In my experience, labels are actually a double-edged sword.

Imagine awareness as a large, blank sheet of paper. Our assumed self (ego) could be seen as a small dot in the centre of that page.

We spend most of our time fascinated by the goings on of the little-dot-me, this tiny speck with all its needs, likes, and dislikes. Our awareness or attention becomes limited – unaware of the vastness around us.

So what’s wrong with labelling? It narrows things down, puts them in a box, makes our awareness contract.

By way of illustration, you might want to try the following thought experiment:

  1. Recall a story or memory about when you felt sadness
  2. Allow the sadness to manifest – allow it to be there as best you can.
  3. Notice where in your body the sadness is occurring
  4. Take your attention off the story as to why you feel sadness
  5. Put your attention on the sadness itself, de-labelling it and seeing it as just energy. If any thoughts, images or sensations arise, see those too as energy
  6. Notice how you are feeling now

You may notice that, even for a moment or two, you experience a sense of expansion or spaciousness.

A simple taste of who you truly are.