Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

I Choose To Celebrate – Ending My Fast

January 14, 2016

I choose to celebrate - ending my fast
I Choose To Celebrate – Ending My Fast

Encouraged to Write

Just a little over 1 year ago my dear friend Zahra
(www.yogagoddess.ca)
pleaded with me to start writing this blog.

I was talking about how I wanted
the website to look right,
to have all the sections that it needed,
to have good graphics
and a nice layout.

She very wisely informed me that
I would never get all that done
and I should just start throwing up content.

That is what I did.

I found the simplest layout and just started writing.

Bargaining With My Consciousness

I remember originally I had thought
I would write every day for a month
and see how it goes.

As soon as I thought of a month
I got a little sick feeling inside
and realized I was being a wimp.

So I then thought,
how about 3 months?

I got that same stabbing recrimination in my gut
and knew that I had to push even further.

Listening to My Intuition

I am fortunate that over the years
I have developed the ability
to listen clearly to my inner voice,
and it was clearly telling me 3 months
was nowhere near enough.

Then I tried 6 and that number was shot down again.
I knew what I had to do.
I didn’t want to,
but it seemed that didn’t have a choice.

Preparing Myself For the Truth

I took a deep breath,
shook out my shoulders
and said,
One year.

Immediately I felt a sense of rightness
wash over me and I knew that was it.

I was committing to write a blog post
every day for 365 days.

It seemed like a crazy number.
I wondered how I would get through the year.

And yet here I am writing my 365th post,
never having missed a day.
It really is quite a relief!

How I End My Fast

Approximately once a month I do a day long fast.
It is a Vedic tradition that suggests
fasting from sunrise to sunset.

After the first couple hours
I can feel the hunger in my belly.

Two or three hours later it’s grumbling and mumbling,
reminding me that my body wants some food.

There is a period in the afternoon
where I lose energy, get really tired
and my breath smells.

Looking Forward to the End

It is around this time that
I google exactly when sunset is.

The worst is in the summer when the days are long.
Sometimes sunset isn’t until after 8 p.m.

I look up what time sunset is
and set an alarm on my clock for
5 minutes before.

When the alarm goes off I head to the kitchen
and start preparing a plate of food.

At This Point I’m Watching The Clock With Anticipation

As it gets closer to sunset
my mouth starts to water and
there is a symphony playing in my stomach.

I start to count down the last 10 seconds
picking up my fork and spoon
ready to shovel some Dahl and rice
into my waiting mouth.

10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1

Finally it’s time to eat.

At this moment I push the plate of food away
and wait one more hour.

Sending a Clear Message

It is my way of telling my body and mind
that I am in charge.
That I can make my own choices and
I do not have to bend to the will of my desires.

I Often Enjoy Bending To The Will Of My Desires

In fact some of the best moments of my life
have come from bending to the will of my desires.

The key here is I want it to be a choice

Ending my fast this way is a good method
of sending a message to my mind and body
that they are not controlling me.

I am NOT the body-mind

I am the consciousness within the body,
I am The Thinker of the thoughts,
I am NOT the body,
I am NOT the mind.

My body-mind is the paintbrush I use
to create the living work of art that is my life.

I honor the body-mind,
I love the body-mind,
but I make sure to always remind myself that
I am NOT the body-mind.

Anxious to be Free

In a similar way to ending my fast
I have been looking forward to writing this 365th blog post
and being free from daily writing.

Over the past year the midnight deadline
has loomed heavy over my mind.

There have been many times I have forgotten
to write my blog until 11:30 pm and suddenly
had to rush home and whip something off.

My family often makes fun of me as I
burst through the door yelling
“Don’t talk to me, I have to write my blog!”

Interesting enough sometimes the ones I have
written in a panic have been
very raw and authentic.

Nonetheless, not being bound by this
midnight deadline everyday
has been something I’ve been
looking forward to for a while now.

My plan has been to start writing
approximately two blogs a week after the year was up.

I Recognized This Feeling

Recently as I was feeling this desire for the year to end
I realized it was a very similar feeling
to when I want the fast to end.

I knew in that moment that I would
need to do the same thing that I do with the fast.
So I have decided to extend my writing every day by one week.

Instead of 365 in a row
it is going to be 372.

This feels good.
This feels right.
This feels like I am truly honoring
the effort and the journey of the last year.

Invite You To Try This With Me At Some Point

When you are doing something that is challenging
and find yourself free of it,
make the choice to do it a little longer.
Just a few more times.
So that you give yourself the message
that you can choose.

Choice Is Power

So much of self-development and conscious parenting
is about engaging our power of choice
when it is most difficult to do so.

When our habits have us by the throat,
when our desires are overpowering us,
when our trauma triggers us and we react,
this is when we have a great opportunity
to make a different choice.

A new choice can develop into a new habit.
A habit that we have created ourselves
rather than the ones that were
imposed upon us from the day we were born.

This is part of the process of becoming a Free Human Being

Free to think,
free to feel and
free to act
in any way we so choose.

I Choose To Celebrate

I am now going to order a
gluten free vegetarian pizza with extra cheese
in order to celebrate the achievement
of writing this blog for a full year.

I may be putting off the end of daily writing,
but I’m NOT going to put off the pizza!

The Spiral Of Infinite Growth

January 13, 2016

The spiral of infinite growth

The Spiral Of Infinite Growth

I have been writing a blog post a day for almost a year.
In fact this very post is my 364th.

Writing every day has changed me in many ways.

One of the most noticeable changes is
my increasing awareness of
the depth available in every moment.

Having to find something worthwhile
to write about each day has made me
pay close attention to all my
experiences and interactions.

I Have Noticed That There Is A Lesson
Available In Just About Everything.

Certainly in almost every conversation I have
at some point I will comment:
“That is going to be a blog post.”

The lessons that I notice can be
intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual.

Often it is all four of those at the same time!

Parenting and Self-Development are Intimately Connected

This blog has been 50% about conscious parenting
and 50% about self-development/spirituality.

Really they are deeply connected.
I would say that they share a common core
and that is love.

I have written 364 blog posts about love.

How to love your kids,
how to love your friends,
how to love strangers
and especially how to love yourself.

Increasing My Capacity to Love

I think I have increased
my capacity for love
over the past year.

I also am quite certain that
I am more aware of the many ways
in which I am NOT loving.

I have many habits to change,
many attitudes to alter
and many wounds to heal
before I can love as freely,
courageously and openly as I want to.

When I think about it or
when I feel deeply into it
I can sense what this ideal love might be.

I’m not there yet, but
if I can get a little closer to it each day
I know I’m on the right path.

Love is a Practice.
Love is a process.
It is not an on off switch.
It is a lifelong journey.

I have said this before,
Newborn Babies Are Pure Love.
Look into their eyes and you will see it.
When they are suckling their mother’s breast
the love and peace emanates from them
in a way that most everyone can feel.

We all had access to the state of
perfect love when we were babies.

Throughout the course of our lives
as we experienced trauma, abuse,
betrayal and many other forms of pain
we learned to protect ourselves, to fear
and we lost the open and free trust
we felt in those early days.

All of these layers covering our perfect light
diminish the love we are able to shine into the world.
We have been unable to give our highest gifts.

This affects every area of our life
and has a profound effect on
our parenting experience.

It is possible however
to reclaim that original
love consciousness.

This is really what it’s all about I think,
having something,
losing it
and then reclaiming it
at a higher stage.

It is like we live on a spiral.
Every time we come back
to the same point in the circle
we have grown to a new level.

This Is The Spiral Of Infinite Growth

As we clear out the obstructions
and heal our wounds
our love can flow more freely
in every moment and
to everyone we interact with.

In doing so hopefully
we can help to awaken that love in others.

Working Together to Make a Difference

This is what my blog is really about.
This is what my life is about.
And for most of you who follow my writings
I know that this is also what your life is about.

Working together in this way
we can make a difference.

I’m grateful to everyone for their
encouragement and support over the past year.
Every comment and every kind word
has meant more to me than you can know.

Moving forward from here into the next phase
I am hoping to expand all of this writing into a book,
to make some videos and a proper website.

Wish me luck!

Love,
Vivek

Embracing The New Means Letting The Old Die

January 12, 2016

Embracing The New means letting the old die
Embracing The New Means Letting The Old Die

Being Solution Minded Requires
Letting Go Of Old Ideas.

I see so many people who hold on to old ideas
even though they are not working.

Even when they themselves recognize and state clearly
that the way they’re doing things is not working,
they still seem to resist a new idea.

Disagreeing with My Parenting Philosophy

A friend of a friend has read some of my parenting posts
and vigorously disagrees with my philosophy.

She has made many comments expressing this.
Most of the comments indicate that
she doesn’t really understand the way to
implement the conscious parenting style.

She has the feeling that if we have
too much respect for kids
and give them too much freedom
they will just go out of control.

The Thought And The Reality Are In Conflict

And yet she is constantly battling with her own children.
They don’t listen to her and
they all don’t get along very well.
They are always in conflict.

It is like the various things she thinks will happen
with the conscious parenting approach
is actually happening to her
using the traditional approach.

Even with this being the case
she continues to resist and defend against
the cooperative and collaborative
parenting style that I share.

I must say I find this an
absolutely fascinating phenomenon.

I Try to Push Through the Resistance

I’m quite certain that I engage in it as well.
I know that I also resist new ideas,
especially when they require me
to change something significant.

The thing is, at least I am aware of this
and do my best to push through the resistance.

Convincing Myself To Let Go

Throughout my years of self-development work
I have slowly convinced myself that I am
better off embracing the new and
letting go of the old when it is no longer serving me.

It is similar to studying martial arts actually.
I have found in my almost 30 years of
learning and teaching martial arts
that every time I think I know something
I learn a deeper level and realize
I have to change completely.

This can be maddening and frustrating,
and yet only by accepting it can I
continue to evolve, grow and improve.

There is that saying:
“Have you been doing it for 30 years,
or have you repeated one year 30 times?”

I Want To Always Be Open To Change

In every aspect of my life:
parenting
martial arts
writing
jewelry making
dancing and
romancing
I want to continuously evolve.

This is why I work at embracing
new and challenging ideas.
So I don’t get too comfortable
and simply maintain the status quo.

When I look at who I am today
it seems very different than who I was a year ago.

I hope that when I look at myself a year from now
compared to this moment
I will again feel completely different.

Push Through the Pain and Fear

This is what being solution minded is all about.
It is about change and growth
it is about learning and improving
it is about making a difference
even when it can be challenging and painful to do so.

Pain is often accompanied by fear.
If we can face and move through both
then we will find a great peace on the other side.

The thing is we must be willing to admit
that we have pain and fear
if we’re going to work through them.
If we avoid admitting them and facing them
They will always control us.

Increasing Our Happiness

As we increase our knowledge
and ability to learn and grow
to face our fears
and embrace new ideas

so will the quality of our lives
and the depth and stability
of our happiness increase.

This Is Not Me

January 10, 2016

PhotoGrid_1452410202261

This Is Not Me

Dealing With My Anger Issues

For most of my life I have been
dealing with anger issues.
I think it likely started when
I was in junior high school.
I was bullied quite severely for a few years
and that put a deep anger inside me.

When I was younger, in my twenties and thirties,
it used to be a much more frequent and intense experience.

Anger Leaves a Residue

Even now though when it does happen
it leaves residue in my mind and heart.
It creates tension in my body
and I have to do a lot of self-care
to ease myself out of the effects.

Over the years I have worked on it very intensely
and now the anger flares up quite rarely.

These days I have developed a new method
for dealing with my feelings of anger when they come up.

This is not me

I look at my anger and say
that is not me.
That is a reaction that was imposed upon me.
It is not my choice.
It is not the real me.
The real me is loving and kind.

Observing my anger

This helps me to see my anger reaction in a different light.
It helps to remind me of my center
when I get lost in the periphery.

Learning to accept my anger

It is not that I am trying to
repress or ignore my anger.
Quite the opposite in fact.

Doing this allows me to feel it and face it
without having it control me.

It also allows me to work on healing
the places inside me that caused it.

I look at my anger and say
that is not me.
I can then fill myself with love.

This method can be applied to many areas of life

In fact there are many times I behave out of
the wounds of my past.
I can see my true nature more clearly
when I remember to observe them
and say “that is not me.”

Doing this has made me less reactive
and brought a deeper peace into my everyday life.

The Question of Expectations in Relationships

January 8, 2016

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The Question of Expectations in Relationships

I have been thinking about the question
of having expectations in relationships.

Have no expectations and you’ll never be disappointed

The typical “spiritual” thing to say is that
we should never have expectations of others.
If we do we will always be disapointed.

We cannot control what anyone else does,
so having expectations of them is fruitless.

Accept everyone as they are

There is also the idea that
having expectations of others is
not accepting them as they are.
It is trying to make them fit an
image of our own creation.
(Don’t try and change me!)

If you want to be in an
authentic relationship with someone,
be with them completely in the present moment.
Don’t expect anything of them
except for them to be exactly as they are.

I don’t really agree with that

It seems unrealistic and out of reach for us humans.

Having expectations in relationships makes sense

I think that any relationship I am in
I have certain expectations that make perfect sense.

In fact I believe it’s necessary in order
to have a healthy relationship.

I also think it’s important for people
to have certain expectations of me as well.

I want to be treated well

I have expectations to be treated
with a certain amount of respect, compassion and care.

Without this I will not be able to set healthy boundaries.
I will not know when I’ve had enough of
being treated less well then I deserve.
I may not be able to recognize signs of abuse.

Looking at it this way expectations can be
very useful in creating successful relationships.

Expectations have to be set and managed intelligently

The problem comes when:

1) The expectations are unreasonable or inappropriate.

2) We react badly when they’re not met.

Communication is key

In a good relationship I think these expectations
should be discussed,
mutually understood
and agreed upon.

The process of meeting them consistently requires
each person to work and change.
Therefore it also takes patience and understanding
as we undergo this process.

Forgiveness is a must

When they are not met it is important
for us to be forgiving and loving.

As long as both parties are committed
to treating each other well and
improving our ability to do so,
mistakes can be discussed, worked through and learned from.

Relationships are evolving entities
so the expectations will change
as we ourselves change.

This means constantly revisiting them
in an open and communicative way.

There are three basic areas of expectations:

1) Expectations I have of the other
2) Expectations they have of me
3) Expectations I have of myself

In each of my relationships these expectations
are different and I deal with them differently.

The expectations I have of my mechanic
are very different then the ones I have of my friends
which are also different from the ones
I have of my romantic partner.

As a martial arts teacher I certainly think
that my students should have
very high expectations of me
and I strive to meet them.

I have high expectations of myself

In order for all of this to work well
the most important ones are
the expectations I have of myself.

I think it’s good to have very
high expectations of oneself.
I like to strive towards an ideal of having
high integrity,
deep compassion
and unconditional love.

I must also treat myself with kindness and patience

The problem with this comes when
they’re accompanied by
impatience and self-condemnation.

When you can have high expectations and also a loving approach to acheiving them… then you’re on the right track!!

This will also help us to have high expectations
of the highest good from others,
but with love, patience, forgiveness and non-judgement.

Working together towards the highest good

This creates mutually supportive situation
where everyone involved is working towards
the highest good
for themselves,
the other and
the relationship.

N.B.
How this whole thing plays out in parenting is a topic for another blog post. Keep an eye out!

A Busy Mind – An Unintentional Gift

January 7, 2016

a busy mind
A Busy Mind – An Unintentional Gift

The Restless Mind

This morning I was meditating
and my mind was very busy.

There was a particular fellow
who kept invading my mental space.

A few days ago I wrote a blog about the Joy Of Being Wrong.
In it I mentioned a discussion I was having on Facebook.

Ran From the Challenge

The discussion started out fairly well,
but it soon became apparent that
the person I was interacting with
was not interested in having
his ideas challenged intelligently.
So he simply backed out of the conversation
when I had raised some good points.

You can read the details of my experience
and what I learned in that blog post.

Today though I noticed that in my meditation
instead of focusing on my breath
I kept replaying the discussion in my mind.

I was imagining different ways I could respond.
It went on and on and eventually
I had to get up and do something else.

I’ve been reflecting on this all day
and have come to a couple of conclusions.

Number one:
I Still Do Not Like to be Ignored, Dismissed or to be Wrong

I was planning on how to draw him
back into the conversation and then
make it clear to him and everyone
that I was right and my points were to be respected.

Of course I didn’t actually do this,
But my mind was unable to let this go.

This indicates to me yet another area in which
I need to increase the level of how much I love myself.

If I have a need for this kind of recognition
it means that I am not presently
giving that recognition to myself.

Seeking it from an external source,
even an adversarial one
is a weakness that prevents me
from inner peace and stability.

Children Seek Negative Energy

It is also a reflection on how kids use
arguing, defiance and defensiveness
to gain energy in their relationship
with their parents.

Often parents feel at a loss as to
why their kids are behaving in these ways,
but if we can examine our own negative energy needs
we can soon see the benefit
that is derived from these behaviours.

I certainly did this when I was young
and the habit has persisted.

There are Healthier Ways

The thing is there are much better ways
to acquire this kind of energy.
Ways that are more nourishing,
less destructive and
longer lasting in their positive effects.

If we can teach these healthier relationship patterns
to our kids when they are young they won’t have to
act out to receive energy and attention.

An Unintended Gift

The fact that this dude was
invading my meditation
was actually a gift to me.

It highlighted an area that
I was not conscious of
and has given me something
concrete to work on.

It showed me a hole that
I can now fill with love.

It showed me a wound that I was trying
to ease the pain of through external means.
I can now work on healing it
in a deeper and more permanent way.

So I am grateful.

The second learning I gained from this experience
was about how it is a good idea
for me to avoid arguments.

Even though this didn’t look like
an argument at first on the surface,
the signs were there.

If I had been more aware
I could have seen earlier on
that this guy wasn’t truly interested
in investigating the ideas.
I likely wouldn’t have got caught up
in the little bit of drama that ensued.

Letting Go of my Addiction to Arguing

In the past I have been quite addicted to arguing
and it always leaves a residue in my mind,
in my heart and even in my body.

Certainly my inability to meditate this morning
is a good example of the
negative effect that it has on me.

I am thinking that as I work on the first issue
of learning to love myself and heal myself more
that the second issue will also begin to be worked out.

When a Lack of Love is the Problem
More Love is the Solution

As usual when I notice these kind of things
the solution is to be more loving to myself.
This requires a higher level of awareness
and a dedication to doing the work.

The thing is, every time I do put in the work
I have noticed that my life improves.
This is good reason to do what needs to be done.

Perhaps this would be a good time
for me to reread the blog I wrote yesterday entitled
You Are Worthy Of Unconditional Love And Acceptance

That is a lesson I can always use.
Repeat it over and over.

The more I get it, the less I’ll need to argue.
The less I’ll care if someone else chooses not to
engage with me or ignores me.
The less other people will be able to take up
residence in my mind against my will.

The more peace I will have and that is a good thing.

You Are Worthy of Unconditional Love And Acceptance

January 5, 2016

you are worthy of love
You Are Worthy of Unconditional Love And Acceptance

Uplifting the Consciousness of Prisoners

My very wise, courageous and loving mother
does self-empowerment workshops in prisons.

She goes every week to uplift
the consciousness of the men she works with
so that they can believe in themselves.

She tells them that they are
limitless within and that
their true nature is love.

The message in and of itself is beautiful,
but the way she delivers it is what
really makes this program so amazing.

When she looks into their eyes and tells them
that they are pure love inside she really believes it.

The intensity of her belief and
the burning fire of her love
penetrate all their defenses.
Even the most difficult of attitudes
and closed hearts are melted.

I’m the Chauffeur

Every week I pick her up at her place
and drive her to the prison
for her to do her work shop.

I hang around for a couple of hours
and then go pick her up afterwards.

When I arrive there are often
a few of the guys wandering out of the class.
They usually look dazed.
Their eyes are kind of glazed over
like they’ve been hit in the head.

Actually the truth is they have been hit in the heart.

Today when I went there one of the men
was helping her pack up her stuff.
I ended up chatting with him for a little while.

He Had a Lot To Share
I Was a Good Audience

I asked him:
“So what did you learn today?”

He said:
“I learned the power of my thoughts and words
and that I have to be very careful of what I say.”

He actually had quite a bit to say.
He proceeded to explain to me
his thoughts about what he had learned.

I was a willing and enthusiastic audience for him.

Seeking to be More Authentic

At one point he said that we often act in certain ways
to try and get people’s approval,
but when we do that we’re not being authentic.

He explained that he wants to try and be more authentic
because he feels like when he drops his mask
and reveals more of who he really is
he will attract the right people into his life.

Make Our Kids Feel More Accepted

When he said this I told him
that I teach parenting courses.
I said that one of the main messages
I give to parents is to make their kids
feel accepted and valued just as they are.

I said that if we can do this for our kids from the beginning
they won’t have to spend their lives trying to seek
the same acceptance from the outside.
They will feel more free to express their authentic selves.

Kids Are Too Often Told They Are Wrong

In normal parenting practices
we tell our kids that they are wrong
over and over in so many ways.

This goes into our consciousness
and we end up feeling that there is
something fundamentally wrong with us.

We spend the rest of our lives dealing with this pain
and it makes us act in so many self-destructive ways.

Now that we are adults we have to give ourselves
the unconditional acceptance that
we didn’t receive as children.

If we can be our greatest supporters,
if we can really believe in ourselves
and love ourselves
then we can eventually be free from our past
and live fully in the present.

This Message Affected Him Very Deeply

As I was expressing this to him
he suddenly became very still.
He was listening to me intensely and
I could feel that he was deeply moved by it.

I got the sense that this resonated with him.
I could almost see him looking back
to his own childhood and
feeling the very things I was mentioning.

We All Need To Know We Are Worthy Of Love

It struck me right then
how powerful this message is.
So many people need to really know
that they are worthy of love and acceptance.

The next time you are around a group of people
take a look at their faces, look deep into their eyes
and you will see the longing to feel this.
You will see the effects of a lifetime
of being told they are not worthy.

If you listen you can almost hear
the thousand and one ways their parents told them
they were not good enough when they were kids.

Learning to Love Myself for Many Years

I myself have been working on
reclaiming my belief in my worth
for well over 20 years now.
After all this time I am
beginning to make some progress.

Almost every day I take a moment
and pay close attention to myself.
I draw myself close and say:

“Vivek, I love you.
You are truly worthy of unconditional love and acceptance.
You’re doing the best that you can and you’re a good guy.”

There’s No Time Like The Present For Love

As a matter of fact since I am writing this
I think I will take the opportunity to do this right now.

Give me a sec…

Ah, that feels so lovely.
It’s like a warm shower on a cold day
or perhaps
a cold shower on a warm day.
Nourishing and refreshing at the same time.

It Took Some Time To Believe It

Of course when I first started doing this practice
I didn’t really believe myself even when I said it.
I would think “Who are you kidding?”

Slowly over the years though
I have come to believe it more and more.
Don’t give up!

The More I Love Myself, The More I Can Love Others

I have also noticed very clearly
that the more sincerely I am able
to tell myself that I love myself
the more authentic it is when
I tell someone else that I love them.

Without directly saying “I love you”
this is what I told the inmate that I interacted with today,
this is what my mother tells them every week
and this is what I am telling you right now.

I love you
and you are worthy of
unconditional love and acceptance.

Try telling yourself this every day
and believing it a little more each time.

The Joy of Being Wrong

January 3, 2016

the joy of being wrong
The Joy of Being Wrong

A Surprising and Abrupt End to the Discussion

I recently had two discussions on Facebook
that ended quite abruptly.

Both of them were with people
who seemed quite reasonable,
rational and willing to discuss.

Though we were disagreeing on different topics
it seemed to me like things were progressing nicely.
We were investigating the ideas at hand
and I thought things were going fairly well.

In both cases it got to a point
where the other person simply chose
to not respond anymore.

No harsh words were spoken or anything like that.
It just ended.

In both cases the conversation had gone to a point
where I had pointed out a flaw in
the other person’s thinking.

This seems to me to be at least part of
the purpose of a discussion.
To express different ideas about an issue
and see what makes sense.

And yet when it came time for these two people
to face an error in their reasoning
they simply bailed on the conversation.

In both cases I was not being overly aggressive.
Mostly I was asking questions as is my tendency.
I prefer to ask questions and explore ideas
rather than expound long monologues of my own opinions.

I was telling a friend about these two conversations
and she said to me: “Vivek, people just don’t like to be wrong.

Upon reflection I realize that this is true.
It’s not that either of these folks were
having to change their entire concept of a thing.
They were small points I had made.
And yet even with that they were unable to face it.

I Used to NEED to Be Right

I can relate to this feeling very well
because I used to be like that.
When I was younger, in my 20s and perhaps early 30s
the only reason I would get into a discussion was to win.

I would try and beat the other person
into submission with logic and reason.

If I ended up being wrong
it was a very painful experience.
I felt less worthy, less intelligent
and less acceptable.

Exploration is More Enjoyable than Winning

Thankfully I have evolved since then.
I have realized over the years that
it is much more enjoyable to
genuinely explore an idea than it is
to win an argument.

No One Wins

In the self-defense community we have a saying that goes:

“No one wins a knife fight.”

This is because whether you stab or are stabbed
in either case it’s a terrible thing.
Better to avoid it altogether.

I think the same thing can be said for an argument:

No one wins an argument.

Better to avoid it altogether.

In an argument – communication, investigation
and experiencing a high level of truth
is simply not the point.

This is why I am more inclined
to ask questions than make statements.

The Joy of Being Wrong

It is also why I have developed
the ability to accept being wrong.

In fact I actually enjoy the experience
because when I see an error in my thinking
I learn from it and grow.

Growth is the Point

When I’m discussing an issue with somebody
I would rather be wrong than right.
I’m happiest when someone expresses
an idea that I have never heard before or thought of before.

Gaining new insights into any subject
and especially into myself
is a valuable thing.

The Pain of Being Wrong Comes From Childhood

I recognize that at least part of the reason
we find it difficult to accept being wrong
is because of how that experience was
framed when we were kids.

Very rarely are our children
celebrated for their mistakes.
Very rarely are we told
we are wonderful when we are wrong.

In fact the opposite message
is most often what we receive.
We are less acceptable, less worthy,
less praised and less successful
when we are wrong.

School Reinforces That It’s Wrong To Be Wrong

Certainly the entire school system
is built around giving more validation
to those who are right than those who are wrong.

It may seem obvious that it should be this way,
but in fact I think it does a great disservice
to the development of our young people.

It just doesn’t make sense to me
to raise kids this way because
we take the joy of exploration away from them.

True Exploration Requires That We Allow The Possibility Of Failure

In order for me to change my mindset from
one of defensive, aggressive arguing
to one of interested exploration of ideas
I had to reframe the concept of being wrong for myself.
I had to override the programming of my childhood and of school.

Nowadays when someone shows me I’m wrong my response is:

“Thank you, I see now.
I appreciate you showing me
this more accurate way
of thinking and understanding.”

For us to have a truly open mind and
to be free thinker
we must enthusiastically embrace
the possibility of being wrong.

Seeking Being Right Instead of Seeking the Truth

If there is any part of us that resists
the experience of being wrong
then we will alter our thinking,
alter our interactions in discussions
and even our own exploration and research
in order to maintain a sense of our being right.

At this very moment we are no longer free,
we are bound by this desire.

It is a desire to avoid pain,
it is a desire to run from
the subconscious memories of our childhood.

Give Ourselves the Love We Were Denied

Therefore we have to give ourselves
the love and validation
we did not receive when we were young
so that we can stay in the explorative mindset.

There is so much more joy and power
in this way of thinking.
It also makes discussions much more enjoyable
when both people have this perspective.

Conversations Become Ecstatic Experiences

I do have a few close friends who are like this
and when we discuss ideas it is truly
an experience of ecstasy.

Who is right and who is wrong
become irrelevant and
the joy of exploration becomes the point.

Often times at the end of these discussions
we have learned so much we cannot
even remember who was right or
who was wrong about any given point.

This is a great joy and one I am certainly
not willing to give up for the sake of being right.

This Is Yet Another Reason Why
Conscious Parenting Is Vitally Important

It is so easy for us to rob our children of
the exploration mindset
that comes from a free and open mind.

Every time we punish them for anything
rather than communicate and explore the ideas at hand
we are instilling in them this closed and fearful mindset.

Consistent Support and Encouragement

It is only when their experience is consistently
one of support, validation and encouragement in these moments
that they will learn to stay open
when faced with moments of mistake,
failure and being wrong.

I believe this is one of the best gifts
we can give our kids
as we send them out into the world.

Ripples in the Dollarama

January 2, 2016

ripples in the dollarama
Ripples in the Dollarama

A Distracting Argument

I was shopping in the Dollarama this afternoon.
As I was checking out my stuff
an argument broke out at the next register.

A customer wanted to return something and
was told that it was against store policy and could not.

She became very irate and
started yelling at the cashier.

Paying For My Chips

In the meantime I was paying for my items
which came to $4.50.
I gave the guy $10.

He put the money in the cash and then
started to give me change.
He was distracted by the argument
so he didn’t really pay attention.

Too Much Change

He pulled out $5.50 and then
also pulled out a $10 bill.
He had not realized I gave him a ten and
thought I had actually given him a twenty.

I Wanted That $10

When I saw that $10 bill in his hand
I could almost hear a little choir of angels singing.

I could see a faint glow around it shining like a halo.

I could feel that $10 in my pocket and
imagined the Frappuccino that I would buy with it.

All of that happened in less than half second.

It’s Just Not Worth It

I I looked up at him and said
“I gave you a 10 not a 20.”

For a moment he was confused and
stared at the bill in his hand.
I could see him calculating in his mind
and I think he thought I was
asking him for more money.

Realization Struck – Shock Ensued

Then suddenly he realized what I was saying
and he just looked at me for a moment.

He put the $10 bill back into the register and said to me

“Thank you.
I can’t quite believe you just did that.
You could have had a free ten dollars.”

I replied saying it wouldn’t be worth it.

His Surprise Surprised Me

The thing that struck me most about this experience
was how surprised this fellow was.

You would have done the same.

I’m quite certain that everyone reading this
would have probably done the same thing as I did.

I don’t think of it as a major feat of morality or heroism!
(Perhaps a parade in my honour?)
And yet to this man it seemed like
quite an incredible thing.

It could be the circles I run in
are significantly different then his?

This Is How It Should Be

As I was leaving the store
he stopped me one more time and said
“I really want to thank you for that.”

I nodded at him in a way that I hope
conveyed the message:
“This is how it should be.”

Little Acts of Goodness

I believe that the more of us who perform
little acts of goodness,
especially unexpected little acts of goodness,
the more that the positivity in the world will increase.

I do think that this man will remember the incident
and it will alter his thinking.
I’m sure it will affect his choices.

Perhaps one day he will commit a small act of
unexpected goodness that will surprise someone else.

And perhaps that someone else will do the same.

Creating Ripples of Love

We are always creating ripples with our actions.
If we can do so consciously we can
affect the world in a positive way.

Ripples that create ripples
that create more ripples.
May it ever be so.

This seems to me a useful expenditure of
attention, energy and effort.

To make conscious ripples whenever we can.

P.s. this concept relates in such a huge way to parenting.
That will be for another blog post!

Relaxation Is Self-Preservation

January 1, 2016

relaxation is self preservation
Relaxation Is Self-Preservation

Flying High

The dance form that I do is called contact Improv.
It is ridiculously fun and can be very physical.

We often do a lot of lifting.
We lift each other on our backs
in our arms and even
up onto our shoulders.

Recently I was dancing with my friend Mike
and he had lifted me right up onto his shoulder.

I was flying high and having quite a good time
when all of a sudden my balance shifted,
his shifted as well and I started to fall.

Heading for a Crash

Falling from a height of six feet
to a hard wooden floor
is not a fun experience.

Well the falling can be fun,
But the landing hurts!

Because of my martial arts and dance experience
I can survive such a fall, but it still not my preference.

An Excellent Catch

Just as I was about halfway down
Mike adjusted his body and
in a brilliant moment of instinctive movement
he caught me on his back
and saved me from a few bruises.

I gave out a loud
Woohoo
and congratulated him
on his amazing save.

Surprised by the Relaxation

He then made the following comment to me.
He said:
“You know Vivek, I think pretty much
anyone else that I dance with would have
tensed up at the moment of the fall.

Especially as it was such a surprising and
dangerous moment, most people’s reaction
is to create tension in their mind and body.”

He said it was quite interesting to notice that
I completely relaxed and went with it
rather than tensing and resisting.

My immediate response was
Relaxation Is Self-Preservation

Because of my training,
especially in the martial arts
my natural reaction is to
relax in the midst of danger.

I have learned very well that
if somebody is punching me or
throwing me violently to the ground,
any tension in my body translates into injury.

Tension Slows Us Down

It slows down my reaction time,
gives my opponent something to use against me
and creates areas of blockages
that prevent the impact from flowing
smoothly through my body.

The more I relax, the quicker I can react
and the less of a negative impact the impact has!

I believe the same must be true
with mental, emotional and spiritual danger.

In all three of these other areas of our lives
when we experience danger, attack or violent impact
if we are able to relax our mind, our spirit and our body
we will be more able to react and
deal appropriately with the situation.

Mental Tension

Mental tension makes it difficult to think clearly.
It makes it difficult to understand
the different aspects of a situation.

It also makes it very challenging
to take on new ideas.
Especially ones that contradict
our habitual ways of thinking.

This can cause us to become very resistant
to entertaining new ways of thinking.

Emotional Tension makes empathy
and connection with others very difficult.
It can actually make it feel dangerous.

It also makes one more
vulnerable to emotional attack.
Certainly if we are receiving someone else’s anger
and we also tense up it makes it
much easier for them to control us.

Emotional tension also brings
our triggers closer to the surface.
When we are relaxed emotionally,
centered in self-love and self-confidence
then it is easier for us to protect ourselves
without having to unnecessarily lash out
and hurt other people.

Again we are able to deal with
the impact much more effectively.

Spiritual Tension

Being spiritually relaxed means
being in the state of flowing
with the currents of life.

Life will always have its ups and downs,
like the waves on the ocean.
Sometimes the surface of the ocean is very calm
and sometimes it is powerfully violent.

Deep beneath the surface there is mostly stillness.

Operating from the depths is what
spiritual relaxation is about.

In this state we can see the fact that
different circumstances of our lives,
the large waves and the small ones
are all simply from the same ocean.

When we are aware of this
we also know that the Ocean is us
then we are able to stay in the flow.

Relaxation on Every Level is Beneficial

So it seems that learning to relax
on all the levels of our being
can be very beneficial to us.

It is certainly something that I practice
and strive to achieve on a daily basis.

Breath can Help Us to Relax in the midst of Chaos

One common thread I have found in relaxation
through all four levels I have mentioned here,
physical, mental, emotional and spiritual,
is the breath.

When I find myself experiencing tension
I focus on my breath and let it flow through me.
This always helps me to relax
and bring my awareness back
to the present moment.

So the next time you find yourself
getting tense in a situation
breathe,
breathe deeply
and remind yourself that

Relaxation Is Self-Preservation