Controlled By Thoughts?

Controlled By Thoughts

Why is everyone so damn annoying???   I just want to be left alone to do my thing.   I don’t want to play your stupid social games.   Just leave me be!

I was a freak in high school.  Performing all sorts of anti-social behaviors was my norm.   I would argue with the entire class over something trivial.   Or I would pick on people that wore crosses.  At the time I found people that followed religious traditions bizarre and confusing – blindly following along.

The above is how my mindset was in high school when I 16 years old.  It was the mind of an introvert or was it?   I suspect that I was probably in a different mindset than most of the people around me, but no one ever investigated further simply dismissing my angst as being a youth.     And I kept being annoyed and angry.

A few years later I fell into a deep depression with suicidal thoughts.   I was later diagnosed as a Bipolar Type 1.

At the time this was a perfectly acceptable, this gave me confirmation that I was sick and not screwed up beyond repair.

It took 5 long years with a few hospital stays before the doctor was able to stabilize my mood.   Some of the drugs made me manic where I developed a God like persona that I was invincible while a majority of the drugs left me a lifeless zombie.   I remember one drug that left me staring at wall all day while drooling.   In the 1990’s there weren’t many drug choices.

I lived with the bipolar label for over 20 years.

My outlook has completely changed since I have reversed the “incurable” bipolar diagnosis.

Today I see bipolar as a thought disorder and the way out is to do practices that give you separation from the thoughts.   When I had bipolar I was possessed by thoughts.

I do believe the psychiatric drugs provided enough stability to allow me to do the practice necessary to escape the label.   My doctor never talked about being medicine free, it was too be a life sentence.  I was “incurable.”

My doctor did not support my decision to go medicine free after all it took him 5 years to figure out the right combination.   He was a world renowned bipolar specialist in a teaching hospital in the city with numerous accolades and publications – this was not the path he preached.

Looking back I see that is something that kept me stuck with the bipolar story.  He was the “knowable” one, and I had to treat his word as the truth — after all what did I know about bipolar it was his job to fix me.

I simply knew one day that it was time to let go of the medicine.  Through practice I learned to trust my intuition.   I do not recommend anyone not to follow their doctor’s advice.   I made the leap, it could have failed and I could have slipped back into suicidal thoughts.   It worked out for me as I reclaimed authority over my body.

Today, I continue to practice watching the mind.  The mind is filled with thousands of stories about how things should be.  Some of the stories have resulted in conditioned responses.   Asking folks, “how are you?”  Then not really caring what they answer.   It will take some time to strip the power away from all the stories.

Lately, I have been working on consistency when I meet someone.   When I met someone what is my default behavior?     Do I treat them as an open book, or do I have a preconceived story in my head?

If I cannot read minds, then how could I know what is going on with them?

If I met someone yesterday, why am I convinced that I know everything about them?   I had no idea if they had a shift in ideas or beliefs since we last spoke.

Anytime there is a story in our head we leave the present moment.   We have to leave this moment to go relive the story in our head.  We become time travelers as we relive the past.

When people annoyed me it was because I was reliving a story in my head that everyone needed to behave a specific way.   We can control no one — it was a waste of energy to be annoyed.

Are you in the present moment of reliving a story?





Becoming Authentic Self: How Are You Going To Be Different?

Becoming Authentic Self
Recently, in LA there was a group that went out for dinner…they decided on Thai.  I am a plain and picker eater…or am I?   I saw the story from the mind, and decided that it’s time to try it out for the first time.   I order Chicken Pad Thai.    The chicken was excellent, and the noodles and vegetables were okay, there was one spice where I would need to more time to acquire that taste.  Several years ago when I was stuck in my head, this would have been a flatout “No! I don’t eat Thai!”   I would have missed out on this delightful experience and the great conversation that was held with seven other folks I didn’t know.

At the wrap party in LA on Saturday night, I was on the edge of the dance floor swaying to the music.   Then Meg – a dynamic firecracker – grabbed me and pulled me into the dance floor.   When I got there, I hesitated for moment since the mind began to chatter that I cannot dance.   I called out the mind,   “Liar! If I can do yoga then I can dance!”  While dancing I realized that it was the first time I danced in ten years.   When I had MS ten years ago, it was a challenge to walk ten feet with a walker.   Here I am dancing and it’s a miracle, and I am fully embracing it.   Sometimes we need folks to snap us out of a limiting mental story.  Thanks Meg for getting me to dance!

Three days after LA, I saw an old acquaintance –Michael — at a local Spiritual Meetup, he said he was shocked by my profound change since he last saw me about 6 months ago.   I am constantly on the lookup for the mental stories that define me.  Some folks call this a deepening into the true self – I see it as letting go of the past conditioning.

A week later I meet Michael and we begin to have a discussion about my vision.   One of the questions that he asked,

“There are a lot of teachers out there, how are you going to be different?”

“I will hold occasional field trips.   Most teachers I see only hold meetings which become a controlled environment – it’s not noisy.   The real world is noisy.   Real freedom occurs when you learn how to deal with the noise of the world.”

We are still working out the details of a local “I Don’t Dwell”  Meetup.  This acquaintance is a now a friendship, Michael will be the co-admin for this group.  LA showed me the importance of not going it alone, and the need to tap into your supporters – build a small army that will help bring your vision to the world.

My bold idea going to LA was “To show people how to use their pain and suffering as a teacher to free themselves from the limitations of the mind.”   My book is being released later this year and I felt the book was needed first before I launched my vision of public talks and teaching the simple practices I used.  I see that is false – a limitation that was created by the mind.   I can hold local meetings, then when the book is released by the publisher than the size of the audience will change.  My message will remain the same.

We become different by becoming authentic, and not conforming to the way things are normally done.   We don’t allow a story in our head to create a false limitation.  Without limitations the conventional boundaries don’t exist.

Are your limitations real or is it all in your head? Are you becoming authentic self?

On Being Mentally Trapped: Dance, My Little Monkey, Dance!

mentally trapped

I was constantly fed dance routines on how I was supposed to act and behave.  I would often get the dance routine wrong and the mind would pull out a stick and whip me.

The mind was mean — it was quick to criticize me since I was doing everything wrong. I was my mind’s pet monkey.

There was no pleasing my master. I was mentally trapped.

Everything I thought I knew about myself was created from the mind: my identity,  my beliefs,  my opinions,  and my ideas.

My identity kept me trapped into a way that I was supposed to behave. I was given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and that carries a certain mindset that you are supposed to act crazy and not be dependable. After the diagnosis of MS, I was supposed to be tired all the time with chronic fatigue. I played those parts well most of the time. If I went looking for happiness by trying something out, the mental voice would chime in that I wasn’t good enough or deserving.

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Non-self – “It’s all made up” — Greg Hartle

Non-self is everything made up from the mind.It’s April 6, 2014 and it’s a day after attending the Instigator Experience (bringing bold ideas to life) in Los Angeles.   On the flight home to the Philadelphia Airport I felt like I received a hard slap to the face, after I realized the power of this statement from Greg who is a co-producer and speaker for this event.

“Non-self” is our identity – made up.

“Non-self” is our beliefs – made up.

“Non-self” is our ideas – made up.

“Non-self” is our ego – made up.

“Non-self” is our concepts – made up.

“Non-self” is everything made up from the mind.   “Self” is our pure being – the witness to the senses.

Everyone is chasing “non-self” with “non-self.” “Non-self” is the realm of make believe.  Enlightenment is to know yourself as “self.”

A few years ago, I lost my identity when I had a huge shift of consciousness and then I created another identity as a teacher when I wrote my book.  I use concepts to provide an understanding of the world, but ultimately those concepts must drop away or it becomes a distraction and we remain stuck in “non-self.”   I can only point the way to “self” everything else leads to “non-self” chasing “non-self.”  This is the world of suffering, worry, stress, and fear.   All these items are impermanent (temporary).  The only permanent thing is “self,” this essence never changes.

I told folks I was tapped into the universal wisdom – after today I see that is BS and falls into “non-self.”    People would ask me anything, and I would say “I don’t know.”  Then a little later I would get an answer.  I’m not tapped into anything.  It’s simply “self” talking to “self.”  People are not able to see the answer themselves since they are in the world of “non-self” which is made up.  (a delusion)

If it is all “self”, then why is there a need for pain and suffering?

Pain is part of life.   If someone hits you in the head with a hammer it will cause pain.  If there were no experiences (pain) there would be no reason for us to exist.   Life is experiencing “self” as “self.”  It’s beyond me to understand the necessity of life.

Suffering is “non-self.”  Our story creates suffering.  No thoughts, no suffering.  It is,  the way it is.

After this realization today, I feel lighter with a deeper sense of ease.  The same lightness and ease I felt when I had the big shift of consciousness, but then it waned when I took on the teacher identity.   I see why now, I started to play in the realm of “non-self” trying to come up with concepts to get people to find a way to “truth.”   There is no “truth” that is a mental concept.   This is why two people can see the same exact thing and have opposite opinions.   Who is right?  Well, they both are based on perception of the “non-self” world.

After today my new focus is to find ways to point to the “self” without engaging in the game of “non-self” activities.  There are only a few necessary activities.   Practices that allow the story in our head to drop away –creating the “non-self” world.  And practices which allow healing.

What are you chasing?  Can you let it go?

Paying Attention To The Universe

Paying Attention To The UniverseAt 4:45 am this morning,   I start the Uber app to request a car to take me to the Philly airport.    Strange, app isn’t working….just hangs and does nothing.   By 5 am the app finally starts.   I request a car, and then Uber states that a car is not available try again in a few minutes.    I then get around 25 or so text messages from Virgin America about my flight statss, all is good — 3 hours to go.  I guess they are having a problem with their texting service.   For the next 30 minutes I try Uber for a car.  No luck, plan B.

Plan B is too drive myself to the airport.    Not ideal, but I can live with it.    I get about 10 minutes away from the house and my check engine light comes on,   along with the oil light and the cruise control light.    I’m not driving another 45 minutes with all these lights on.  I turn around with the plan to take Amy’s car to the airport – Plan C.

Plan C begins — take Amy’s car to the airport.    Its 5:50 am it’s going to be close, but if I get there at 7 am …I should be okay (normally an hour commute).      Amy doesn’t have gas,   after this delay I’m on the road.    I hit a lot of traffic, and get to the airport at 7:20.   It takes another 10 minutes to find parking…..there is no way I’m making this flight with 30 minutes to go.    It’s a 5 minute walk to the check-in counter.

I head to the check-in, and talk to the young man at the counter.  I ask if it’s too late.  He said yes.   On tonight’s flight to LAX we have 27 seats available.   Twenty-seven?   That’s odd, since that is about the same number of texts I received this morning from Virgin America.

On the long ride home, my mind began to drift for the reason why I didn’t make this flight to LAX.   Was I not supposed to be on Virgin Atlantic #121?   Was I not supposed to be in LA at 11 am?    With a later flight,   will I meet someone on a later flight that changes the course of my life?  Was I not supposed to see my Uncle Ray today? And on, and on the mind continued telling stories.

When I arrived home, and park the car.   I see a message on my phone– FLIGHT DELAYED!

I was getting ready to publish, and  I hear Amy upstairs.   I go upstairs to tell her that I didn’t make the flight.   She is disoriented.   She tells about the weird dream she just had.    I was stuck someplace due the flight with a guy and a girl that she never saw, and it had lots of chaos that she couldn’t sort it.  It was an odd dream, and I can tell it really disturbed her.

Thanks Universe, I got the message.   I send my love to the passengers and crew on flight #121 for safe passage.   For some reason, my course needed to be changed.  I will keep a look out to see if I’m not supposed to be on tonight’s flight.

Are you paying attention to the universe?