Spiritual Sensei

Without control of your thoughts, you’re lost. Your turbulent mind is going to take you on a wild ride that you won’t soon forget. If you can’t shut your thoughts down or can’t differentiate between worthwhile ones and worthless ones, you’re going to have a hard time. If you think you can handle that level of difficulty, which maybe you can, have fun. But for those of you having an unpleasant time with existence, there’s a less intense route through this funhouse.

It’s called spirituality. The purpose of spirituality is to ease your journey through life — that’s it. Spirituality is a way of looking at the world that allows you to comfortably navigate through it. You CAN look at life as a struggle, and it’ll be every bit as hard as you imagine. But you CAN look at life as an enjoyable adventure, and it will be.

“But Sensei Rich, reality is what it is, life is cruel and hard, I’ve seen it!”

Then why are some people having a great time? Reality is relative or else everyone would be having a tough time. Everyone has obstacles, yes, but the difference is that they enjoy the experience. They see the game-like nature of life and have fun while completing the provided challenges. But it’s even better than that, once you get in the right frame of mind, you get to pick the problems you want to solve.

And this ability to appreciate life begins with spirituality. Step one, is to get your thoughts under control. Step two, is to redefine reality into something you can handle. Step three, is to enjoy. Not so bad right? Then what are you waiting for? Your options are these: keep doing what you’re doing and continue having a rough time OR pursue spirituality and start having a great time. Seems like an easy choice, yes?

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Over-examined Life

Dear Rich, if I’m so smart, why am I so miserable? Shouldn’t I be able to think my way out of this?

Why dear reader, the very source of your misery IS your thinking. It’s your over-analyzing that is robbing you of so much fun. Thinking and analyzing doesn’t make you smart — if anything, such dull diversion makes you dumb. How is it smart to preoccupy yourself with blathering nonsense while engaged in the great extravaganza of existence?

Happy people are such, because they don’t think — they experience. My apologies dear reader, in regards to your stupidity, but it’s the greatest folly to believe yourself smart when in actuality you couldn’t be any dumber. You need this blow to your ego for it has set you up for failure in the highest regard. Like a con-artist, your thoughts have fooled you into believing in their preeminence.

Yet nothing could be further from the truth. You’re an ignorant idiot. But luckily for you dear reader, you have just heard the truth. Now you can finally get to work on shutting down that mental chatter and start living the good life! Congratulations! Why to finally have that mental blockage out of the way — the good-times are surely coming your way.

Can you believe it? Those ever-present thoughts have been slowly poisoning your experience this entire time. But through the power of discipline, you will now shut them down, turning off the spout that’s been spreading toxicity. Now is the time to demonstrate your superior ability and outwit those mischievous musings — that is, if you’re up to the challenge.

In the Moment

What’s wrong right now? What’s the matter in this moment, in this very second? If you’re actually on fire, great! That immediate danger will bring you right into the present — you won’t be capable of being anywhere else. But if you’re not on fire, then it’s likely that nothing is actually wrong right-now.

And if nothing is wrong, you should be feeling great. If you’re not feeling great, then you’re not present — your thinking-mind is taking you on a turbulent ride that you’re not enjoying. You’ve been transported to sometime in the past where you’re ruminating about unpleasant memories OR you’ve been taken into the future where you’re prophesying a doom-filled fate.

You better pump those brakes and get back into right-NOW. Start by breathing: in… out… in… out…. Focus on the breath in order to take focus off your thoughts. Now do a systems-check, starting at the top and working your way down: relax every part of your body — when you feel tension, release it. In that process of relaxing, you should feel some sensation at each spot.

For example, you should feel something as your thighs relax. Keep focus on those sensations as they happen. When all done, feel the sensation as a total-body experience, as an inner-energy pervading through your entire body — like you’re radiating light and joy. Focus on that feeling and know what it’s like to be in the moment — perfectly present.

Practicing Presence Update

So it’s been about a month since I’ve been focusing on presence — how’s it going? First off, I have noticed some benefits, so I’ll be continuing the practice. But after 30 days I’m still not encased in a golden glow of pure bliss — kinda disappointed about that. But I think my mood is lighter and my reactions are more mild — so that’s good.

And I’m not living a tough life right-now by the way. In fact, it’s idyllic in many ways. But can you enjoy paradise if you have a bad attitude? The answer is: NO, you cannot. So I’m currently trying my hardest to enjoy the delightfulness I’m surrounded by. Isn’t that a ridiculous situation to find yourself in? Life: “Here! Enjoy!” Me: “Um, Uh, well I guess….”

The video-game I’m finding myself within is sending me obstacles in the form of dissatisfaction. And my role is to overcome that negative inclination and develop an appreciation for all the treats in my path. It’s a strange premise. Experience situations that should entertain you, yet feel anxiety and revulsion instead.

The source of that sourness is my over-thinking mind, so it is my duty to shut it down. That’s what the practice of presence is all about: stopping the incessant thoughts from polluting the experience of existence. And boy, I’ve been noticing the toxic-waste my thoughts have been excreting lately — nasty stuff. I lose nothing by shutting them down. But man are they persistent!

Now – Chapter 7

This is my interpretation of the book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.

Chapter 7

Meditation time! Sit in a non-sleep-inducing position. Eyes closed, body relaxed, breathing: in, out. Notice the breath and then notice the sensation inside the body. Feel the body, know that it’s there through sensation alone. Try to feel the sensation as energy emanating from within. Focus on that energy to the point of becoming one with it.

Remember that meditation is the practice of not-thinking. And this practice shouldn’t be limited to the duration of each session. While outside of meditation, continue guarding against the thinking-mechanism of the mind and continue feeling the inner sensation of the body.

You want to develop a connection to the dreamer of this dreamworld. This connection can be called enlightenment. There are a few methods for maintaining this connection. One is through an awareness of the energetic-sensation within the body. Another method is by literally focusing on right-now — through the conscious experience of everyday activities. Another method is through the purposeful suppression of thought — maintaining gaps between mental commentary. And another method is by surrendering to life and whatever it is you’re resisting.

Then once this connection is well-established, it becomes a portal for love to flow through — this is the bliss and elation that comes with living in the now. Additionally, silence and empty space can be used as reminders of the unmanifested — the source from which the world springs forth.

Through you, the unmanifested lives within the world, experiencing embodied existence and performing the many activities of life. Eventually you become aware of the illusion, realizing the dream. Then through you, the unmanifested transcends the world, reuniting with its source.

Thought Tolerance

Dear Rich, should I actively suppress my thoughts? That seems kinda harsh, shouldn’t I be more tolerant towards them — a bit more peace, love, and harmony? Maybe just observe them non-judgmentally?

Dear reader, have you not been listening to your thoughts? They’re straight-up evil. You can’t reason with them. They fling sh*t just to watch it stick. Being tolerant of intolerance leads to a cesspool that nobody wants to swim in. It doesn’t work, and years of Internet-based-forums has proven this point. With anything high-traffic, you absolutely NEED strong moderation.

Imagine a public restroom, now imagine some guy pinching a loaf right into the sink. Freedom of expression right? Why not? You just gotta be more tolerant bro. Or is it wrong to poop in the sink? And if that’s wrong, and a certain level of decorum must be maintained, then you shouldn’t allow your thoughts to sh*t on EVERYTHING within this world.

Your thoughts are NOT the end-product, they’re simply the byproduct of a creative mind. In other words, they’re the waste that must be disposed of properly lest that sludge pollute the environment. Don’t believe me? Just take a bit of time to watch those thoughts oozing by — notice how you feel — take ’em all in too, every last piece of pessimistic excrement.

Sick of the stink yet? Are you ready for some law and order? Then shut that sh*t down! Your goal is pure unadulterated consciousness — experiencing, without thought. Eating an apple? Then just eat an apple. “Hm, it’s an okay apple but I’m wondering…” NOPE. Shut it down — just savor the flavor. Walking down the street? Then just walk down the street. “Huh, I hope that…” NOPE. Walk — no internal talk.

And lastly dear reader, if you don’t actively control the toxicity emanating from your mind, you’re passing the burden onto everyone else. You’re like the guy randomly sh*itting in the sink expecting everyone else to just “deal with it”. If change starts within, your thoughts are ground-zero. So yes, you need to suppress that sh*t.

Now – Chapter 6

This is my interpretation of the book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.

Chapter 6

You’re under the delusion that you’re an isolated body within a physical world. This delusion leads to anxiousness and suffering. You would know your true self if it wasn’t for the mind constantly distracting you. So constant are its mental musings, that you identify yourself as the thoughts emanating from your mind.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to establish consciousness as your primary mode of being (thus diminishing the thinking-mechanism of the mind). Consciousness, instead of rumination, should become your default. One method for making this change, is by transfering focus away from the mind and into the body.

Here’s some practice: Focus on your fingers and notice the sensation, a slight pressure or tingling or just the feeling that they’re there. Then move up the arms and into the chest and head and around the body all the way down to your feet. Feel the sensation individually and then as a whole, pervading the entire body — focus on this sensation.

Although you aren’t a solitary creature crawling around a giant rock in constant struggle for survival, you aren’t beyond the body either. You have a body after-all, so you can work with it rather than fight it. And by maintaining attention within the body, you’ll have a reference point keeping you from getting lost in thought or life.

For the time being, while going about your normal activities, maintain some awareness of the energy/aliveness-feeling pervading the entire body. Focus on the task at hand but widen your scope to include the sensation within the body as well. And when not doing anything in particular, instead of getting lost in thought, focus on that energy/aliveness-feeling within.

And whenever you start losing yourself to an alleged problem, go into the body. By focusing on an inner sensation, your focus leaves the thinking-mechanism of the mind. From that steadier base, your reaction will be more grounded. If strong emotion overwhelms your ability to focus, simply observe the emotion without judgement and accept its presence.

Typically, emotions should quickly come and go. If they linger, you’re likely lacking forgiveness. Instead of grasping tightly to a hot ember, release it. Forgive people, yourself, and even life. Trust in life and stop fighting against it. Let go and let your narrative continue on a steady course.

Essentially, you are consciousness, the experiencer of existence. Yet typically, you spend much of your time unconscious, lost in a dream. But you want to become present and aware within the dream. The dream won’t end, you’ll simply become lucid. You want to switch this from a turbulent nightmare to a delightful fantasyland. And this process requires you to realize that the foundation of your dream-self as well as everything else, is a dreamer — the source of all consciousness.

And when you move focus into the body and become aware of the inner sensation, it can serve as a reminder for all this — a way to maintain a deeper state. From this depth, the external gets easier. The body feels better, lighter, no longer like a poorly aging contraption rife with decay and subject to the ills of others.

Some more practice: Focusing on a single part of the body, feel it, notice the sensation, it’s there and you’re aware of it. Do this for every part of your body. Once you’ve gone through them one by one, start at the bottom and move up the body like a scanner, from toes to head and back down again. Then, concentrate on the sensation of the entire inner body at once — focus and feel it.

If focusing within the body is tough, start with breathing. Observe the breath: in… out… in… out… follow and feel the breath. Also, whenever creativity is required, presence is the best way to encourage it. And of course when listening to others, presence makes that process a whole lot easier. And a method for becoming present, is focusing on the sensation of the inner body.