Zen Professor

A Path to a More Fulfilling Life

Tag: expansion (page 1 of 2)

Give Up the Need to Be in Control to Find Peace

When we let go of the need to be in control we find peace. We can simply surrender and let the Universe be in control. It is anyway, whether we resist it or not. Consider that we are living on a giant rock which is, in it’s core, molten lava, spinning through space at thousands of miles per hour and reliant on the energy from the sun millions of miles away. Still, we believe we are in control. The only thing we control is how we react to life. This doesn’t mean we can’t ask for what we want; it simply means we must be okay with the answer no. It also helps to give up the desire for things to be different than they are.

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Notice Perceptions to Eliminate Judgment

I remember reading something about how people become kindred spirits when they feel empowered by you. Once, a friend described feeling that way from talking to me. She suggested it was because she felt as though I did not judge her. And I never did judge her. I decided I would tap into the reason and make it part of my daily experience. Not that I viewed myself as a judgmental person. I did not. However, it is easy to find ourselves questioning choices people make in very subtle ways, such as what they are wearing, or the things that they say or do. However, I don’t recall there being even a trace of judgement with my friend.

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4 Keys to Attract What You Want

We are co-creators of our reality. In the following paragraphs, I have provided examples of how to use 4 Key actions to attract a life we want. Believing in possibilities, focusing attention on what we want, choosing our words wisely, and visualizing what we want are important aspects of co-creating.

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The Direction of Attention Creates Our Inner Reality

There is a Zen story that depicts how the direction of attention creates our inner reality. Once there was a man who had so many children living in his farmhouse he could take it no longer. He finally decided to go see a Zen master and ask for his advice. The man went to the master and said, “Wise one, I am at my wits end. There are so many children living in my house that I can’t find a moment’s peace. What shall I do?”

The master replied, “Invite your mother and father in-law to come live with you.”

The man was surprised by the response, but he believed in the wisdom of the master and he didn’t know what else to do. So, reluctantly, he invited is wife’s parents to come live with them. However, the house became even more crowded and he and his in-laws disagreed on how to raise the children so the man felt more stress, not less. He went back to the master and told him of his dilemma.

When the man asked for advice as to what to do next the master replied, “Invite your children’s aunts and uncles to come live with you as well.”

Again the man could not see the logic but he followed the advice anyway, hoping the wisdom of the master went beyond his own recognition. However, rather than helping the man to find peace, he felt more stress than ever and again he went back to the master for advice. He said, “Master, I have followed your advice and brought in my wife’s relatives and there is less space than ever. I can’t get a moment’s peace. What shall I do?”

After putting his hand to his chin and pondering it for a moment the master replied, “Bring in all the animals from the farm.”

The man thought that sounded crazy but he still believed in the wisdom of the master and followed his advice. A short while later the man returned to the master more exasperated than ever before. He said, “Good Master, I have followed your advice to the letter and things continue to worsen. I have invited my wife’s parents to live with us. I have invited her brothers and sisters and all their children. I have brought in all the animals from the farm. There is no longer any room in the house for anyone or anything else. I am at a loss as to what to do. What do you suggest?”

Without hesitating the master said, “Remove all the animals and ask your in-laws to leave.”

So, the man did as the master had suggested. First he went home and he removed all the animals from the house. He then asked the aunts and uncles to take their children and leave. Then he asked his mother and father in-law to leave. Suddenly, the house seemed so big and spacious that the noise of the children was like music to the man’s ears. He had finally found his peace.

Turn Attention Toward the Space That Unites

The moral of the story is obvious when we look at it from the perspective of perception. Before meeting with the master, the man’s attention was going toward the noise and behaviors of the children. His attention was not on the space but on the objects of the space. However, once he had a different point of reference, he changed the direction of his attention from the objects to the space. Suddenly, there seemed to be much more space than before and peace was to be found there.

The message behind this story appears to be two-fold. First, the direction of attention creates our inner reality. Second, we must focus on both what is and what is not in order to get the entire picture of our current situation. A wonderful poem that illustrates this idea can be found in the Toa Te Ching in which Lao Tzu wrote:

We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel; But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the wheel depends. We turn clay to make a vessel, But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the vessel depends. We pierce doors and windows to make a house, And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the usefulness of the house depends. Therefore, just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the usefulness of what is not.

See the Entire Picture

Lao Tzu is reminding us of the importance of seeing the entire picture. The moment we get pigeonholed into looking at life in bits and pieces, the more we support, in our subconscious beliefs, the idea that life is full of random chaotic events. However, when we zoom out and see the big picture, it becomes clear that life is far different than this. Everything is intimately connected to everything else. Nothing happens independently. It is merely the mind’s tendency to pull out sections of reality and evaluate its meaning in a reductionalistic fashion. When this is done information is lost. In turn, our understanding of the object of perception becomes limited.

The Bible often refers to this idea when it suggests to “meditate on God” or on “God’s word.” The problem comes when one assumes “God” to be an external source of energy. I don’t think it can be overstated that our interpretation of what “God” is is imperative to our understanding of the concepts being discussed. How good could advice be if we choose to only listen to a portion of it? For example, if we are told to invest our money into real estate, and we choose to invest but we invest in the stock market and lose all our money, did listening to a portion of the advice help us?

For some practical advise in using present moment awareness to find peace, see my book: Peace: The Art of Mindfulness to Eliminate Stress.

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Our Purpose is to Experience Life

If we were to ask the Universe, “What purpose would you have me serve?” the answer would be simple. The Universe would say, “Pay attention to life so I can experience it through you.” In the absence of the ego and judgment, that’s exactly what would happen. Universal Consciousness, or Christ Consciousness, is allowed to experience life through our senses when we come from the place of the authentic self. This is why many spiritual teachers explain that we are not the doer. Once the psychological self is recognized and released, there is no self doing anything. There is only present moment awareness acting out of the place of awakened consciousness. Life then experiences Itself through you. Continue reading

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The Sea of Infinity

The following story is taken from my book, The New Season: Journey Toward Enlightenment. I have presented it here in order to demonstrate the symbolism of some of the most profound ancient teachings to be found. More importantly, I hope to provide examples of how to incorporate this wisdom into one’s daily life. I hope you enjoy it:

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The One Dream of Life

“If we trace the source of both our physical self and our spiritual self, we can see that there is only One.”

The following excerpt is from my first book, The Lost Season. It is a story of a former football coach learning to develop a new life, a life after coaching. I decided to publish this section in it’s entirety as it portrays a different view of the biblical creation story, and provides a perspective that has a chance to help us in the here and now. I hope you enjoy it.

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Finding Peace in Everyday Life

“The expansive energy that is there in everyone, was, in that moment, free, and in the stillness of the mind I felt that expansive energy as it flowed through me. ”

Presence of Mind and Body

Presence is where we find the deeper self, or authentic self, the one who is aware of the thoughts and emotions. Some refer to it as the witness. When we are the witness of our thoughts and emotions we are free to act independent of them. In a sense, this is what is meant by liberation, as we become liberated from the past/future thinking mind, which tends to regret past mistakes, and/or worry about future possibilities, both of which bring emotional suffering into the now. When we are in this particular frame of mind, we are actually not present. Instead, we are living in the past, which doesn’t exist, or living in the future, which has yet to take place. Many of the past philosophical teachings, by Confucius, Socrates, Buddha, Christ, and more, are centered on escaping the limiting beliefs of the ego and living in the present moment, which is all there really is. This is what is meant by Christ Intelligence, or Buddha nature.

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How Do We Become Less Judgmental?

“A thought is just a thought, nothing more.”

A key component to learning how to watch thoughts non-judgmentally is to simply become aware when we are judging them as good or bad. Most of us do this nonconsciously all the time. Some thoughts are “good” and other thoughts are “bad.” It is important to recognize that thoughts are neither good nor bad, they are benign.

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The Ego Separates Us from Our Source

“It is the ego that causes us to perceive separateness and the stronger the ego, the more separation there is between source energy and us.”

Once a friend sent me a text that said everything happens for a reason. I sent a text back that stated we are not always privy to that reason. The very next thing I read was this: “Chaos, then, is just a point of view. Things that appear random to a limited awareness fit into place perfectly when awareness is expanded.” This quote by Deepak Chopra points to the importance of expanding awareness to see the harmony in all things. The alternative is to allow the ego to convince us that separation is the rule, rather than the connectedness that runs deeper and remains hidden to the untrained eye.

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