web analytics
Menu

Category Archives for "Inner Peace"

blaming others
Aug 01

What Triggers the Blame Game?

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

At some time or other in your life, you may have acted out a scenario much like the following: You and your wife just bought a brand-new, high-end Lexus decked out to the max, putting you both deeply in debt.

You both took extra care of your cherished luxury coach and showed it to all your friends. You had a lingering doubt about your wife’s driving ability, but you let her be the principal driver.

One Saturday afternoon, you get a call from your wife to come pick her up. She has had a little accident while driving around town. What is your first concern? Your new Lexus, or your wife? What is your second concern? Is it your wife’s fault, or did someone hit her?

You pick her up. Thank God she is completely safe, and no one was injured. However, both your brand new car, and the junky car of the teenage driver who rear-ended her, are totaled.

You’ve got lots of headaches ahead. At least you are completely covered. Your wife then sheepishly reveals that she let your insurance lapse, and she has to call the auto insurance company to renew the policy.​

You hit the roof!​

Blaming Others - It All Starts with Fear

What is going on here? Clearly, it is fear.

Beneath our pretense of having it all together lies a huge shadow self that goes very deep. It remembers life in the jungle. It is acutely aware of how many people die every day. With therapeutic regression, it might even remember the birth trauma.

Some shrinks think it all started there: bright lights, a sudden impact and a relative loss of consciousness. Going through that tunnel everything closed in on you. Without warning, you were slapped and forced to breathe in an alien world.

As you grew into childhood and adolescence, you learned to blame people and things, just like most of your friends and relatives. The newspapers and TV continue to do much the same thing. It is assumed that you are your body and mind, and that either can go at any time. Life is suffering. Watch out, so that you can cut bait and save your ass!

All of us deal with fear every day of our lives. We have a deep sense of vulnerability that we do our best to hide. However, intimate couples can see all too well through each other’s masks.​

The Cost of Playing That Hand

If we take a close look at it, it amounts to risking the total loss of control. It is assumed that we are our bodies and minds, just as we have been taught, and everyone and everything is “out there,” either friends or enemies. In order to gain any sense of certainty, we have to label every single situation.

As the Zen Buddhists put it, shit happens! However, we like to add blame, shame, guilt, even divine punishment to it. It is easier to blame someone or something besides ourselves, even our spouses.

If we truly get stuck, then we will point the finger at the mirror and beat ourselves up. Just so long as we can shift the responsibility “out there” in the face of a situation that is inconvenient, uncomfortable and maybe even overwhelming.​

Rarely do we take into account that, in the process, we lose all our sense of power, love, joy and peace. If we have our bank account and our possessions, fine. We can survive. Even if it means losing everything that makes life truly worthwhile.

Learn more by reading: How Projection Can Work Against You​

The Way Out of Your Blame Game

Responsibility offers us a whole new realm of possibility. While it is OK to continue playing the ever popular blame game, we don’t have to go there anymore. In the wake of transformation, a new context for our lives emerges.

Whatever happens, happens.  Even if it is the Big One.  Whatever doesn’t happen, doesn’t happen…until it does.  

Werner Erhard showed us years ago that responsibility is most definitely NOT blame, shame or guilt. All these actions are an evasion of responsibility.​

Authentic responsibility starts by owning your own experience.

Everything that happens in your world happens in your experience. If it isn’t in your experience, it doesn’t exist as far as you are concerned.

Freedom begins by being willing to own that you had something to do with every little thing that happens to you, good or bad. You may not clearly see it at the moment, but you sense your own complicity. To blame your wife is futile. What happened even a split second ago, happened. Nothing you can do about it now.​

blame game

If it is in your experience, you can have faith that your innermost Self, Whom and What we call “God,” will have an answer, no matter how distressing the situation.

This is the YOU that lies deeply below your shadow self at the nucleus of your being. As you spend more time with it, you will find it is pure love. As both Dr. Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer put it, “There is a spiritual solution to every problem.”

A Deeper Layer of Responsibility

Werner Erhard went on to suggest that we are responsible, not only for what we do to others, but what they do to us. This line of thinking goes on to include what another does to another half way around the world. We are responsible for our world.

Werner emphasized that you cannot go and “make” someone else responsible. However, you yourself, have the opportunity to choose to live out of this context.

It may seem insane to take responsibility, not only for your own life, but for the entire planet, yet this is the way to true power and freedom. In our generation, more than any before us, more and more people are tuning into a love that is more powerful than all of our collective fear and violence. 

Share your experience of the 'blame game' and how it may have impacted you (...in the comments area below).

sorry
Jul 29

“I Am Sorry” Is Very Powerful

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

Do you remember how uncomfortable you felt the last time you really upset your spouse?

Perhaps you had promised to pick up the kids from school and then totally forgot. Your wife had to leave an event she had been looking forward to for ages to cover for you on short notice.

Not only was she upset, but your kids, also, were deeply disappointed, having looked forward to spending those extra hours with you. What they were all left with is that you don’t care.​

Why an Apology Is So Important

We are never totally rational. There is always an emotional current under everything we do. When two people are intimate, this gets amplified, requiring continuous attention. It is too easy to fall back on a pretense that you can do no wrong. If you think about this position for even a moment, it is totally absurd.

We all make mistakes, and often end up hurting the very people we love without even knowing why.

We can use words like “I am sorry” in an empty fashion without meaning them, and they will likely backfire on you. You must actually FEEL firsthand the discomfort you have caused another.

You might not fully realize exactly how you caused it, but you can always be willing to look at another’s upset from the point of view that you had something to do with it.

What You Mean When You Say You Are Sorry

It isn’t so much the exact words that you use as it is an attitude of love and solicitous concern toward the one you have offended that counts. Werner Erhard pointed out that responsibility is not about blame, shame or guilt.

When we make someone else responsible, we are actually evading responsibility. Responsibility is the willingness to look at life from the vantage point that YOU caused whatever happens. You need not know just how. All you need is the recognition that you had something to do with it.

When you say that you are sorry, you give up any righteous position you are holding that could be used to justify your actions. The only thing that matters is that you caused the one you love inconvenience, discomfort, emotional and even physical, pain.​

You regret that it happened, and you affirm that it will never happen again. You have your partner’s back, and you will protect her whatever happens in the future.

When you really feel the other’s pain in your own heart and mind, you will find that you wish it had happened to you, rather than her. No time or expense is too much to make her happy again. You know all too well that your own happiness is intertwined with hers.​

forgive me

How to Apologize Under Normal Circumstances

Let’s say that forgot to pick up the kids and forced your wife to cancel an event she was looking forward to for months:

“Honey, I am very sorry that I totally blanked out tonight.” [Pause. Your wife may want to give you a piece of her mind at this point. DON’T DEFEND YOURSELF. Let her sock it to you for five minutes, if that is what it takes.] “You are absolutely right. I was thoughtless and stupid. I ruined your evening and upset the kids. I know how much you were looking forward to a night out with the girls. I regret being so inconsiderate. I will not let it happen again.”​

After your mate has calmed down, you can explain what came up that made you lose it. “My boss was under huge pressure from corporate and asked me to go over the numbers with him at the very last moment. He took me to task on several points, and I ended up with a huge lecture that took me past 7:00 PM.”

What I have found with my partner is that it works best to shut up and really listen to her without defending myself when she explains her upset. I end up agreeing with her, because I really do love her and know she is almost always right. Because she loves me, she is very willing to let go and move on when I get it. I deeply appreciate that about her.

How to Apologize When You Have Totally Messed Up

Let’s say that you love your wife very much, and you have been faithful to her up until now. A couple days back, you went on an out-of-state business trip, drank too much, felt lonely and ended up having a one-night stand. Somehow your wife caught wind of it, despite your best efforts to the contrary, and you have just returned home alone from the airport.

In this situation, you are not going to talk your way out of it. A simple “I’m so sorry. I won’t do it again” just won’t cut it.

She is sobbing and about to throw a dish at you. You had better listen very carefully, gaze her in the eyes and not defend yourself one iota. If you are not crying with her at this point, you ARE in bigger trouble than you imagine.​

“Please forgive me, darling. I have totally let you down. I don’t know what happened. All I know right now is that I love you very much and want nothing more in all the world than your forgiveness.”

Although you may well spend the night in the doghouse, or worse, there is a real possibility that she will consider your words and actually forgive you. At this point, you need to make amends and earn back her trust. You’ve got to really look at you life and see what is going on. Maybe you choose to stop drinking, for starters… stop taking her for granted and start treating her like the queen that she is in truth.​

Related topic:  Discover Peace And Harmony You Always Wanted

Forgiveness as a Transformative Context

When the Apostle Peter turned to Jesus Christ and asked him, “Rabbi, if my brother offends me seven times in one day, can I then turn around and swat him?” Jesus responded, “Not 70 times seven.”

That is a lot of times to offend your brother in a single day! What Jesus was teaching his disciples is that God is love, and the Love of God is absolute.

Whatever your spiritual outlook, whether God is Higher Power, Infinite Intelligence or the Supreme Being, Jesus introduced a context with the power to utterly transform our world today. What he meant by “sin” would now be translated as failure or blowing it.​

The context that turned the world upside down in the First Century, and will light up your life today is: FROM ETERNITY PAST TO ETERNITY FUTURE. YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN. GOD IS NOT KEEPING POINTS, NEITHER NOW NOR EVER.

While divine, we are all too human. We learn the most by making mistakes. We will fail each other even with the best of intentions. When you let it in that your Creator really loves you personally, you will be empowered to forgive, and keep forgiving, not only yourself, but everyone else.

There is no better year than this one, and there is no better day than today to get started! So don’t hold it within, go ahead and say - I am sorry - but first… make sure you mean it.​

fixing myself
Jul 27

Why Fixing Yourself Won’t Work

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

Have you ever gone through a grueling series of job interviews only to find you were decisively rejected?

Have you recently lost a partner who walked away from you, trashing the time you spent together? Have you done a barrage of workshops, seminars and self-improvement courses with the lingering feeling that if you did just one more, then you would be OK?

Welcome to the club!

We all go through experiences in life where the only explanation seems to be that we are fundamentally flawed, that we don’t have what it takes and no one really cares about us. We are all on our own with little or no recourse.​

In such circumstances, it is all but impossible NOT to conclude that we are ALL MESSED UP, and we need to FIX OURSELVES.​

Wasting Your Time Without Knowing Why

When you come from a position that you are all wrong, but that you can get better through a massive self-improvement campaign, you set yourself up for a huge waste of time.

You are like the proverbial donkey chasing the carrot on the end of the stick not realizing that you will never reach it. Your problems follow you wherever you go like a persistent shadow.

While you may learn a lot in the process, even acquiring new skills, you will most likely end up feeling bitterly disillusioned. You are never going to find the end of this tunnel. Life is futile, and there is little point in going on.

The problem was you were using the wrong metaphor, laboring within an utterly disempowering context that ensured you would ultimately fail.

Fix Yourself The Wrong Metaphor

When you tell yourself that you must fix yourself, you are trying to lift yourself by your own bootstraps. On what are you going to pivot?

change yourself

Not only that, you are using a mechanical metaphor that applies well to household equipment, but poorly to human beings. Considered as a body, you are an organism that grows and develops.

Your mind is an infinitely complex, self-learning instrument. You actually learn by making mistakes. Have you ever watched a little boy learn to walk?

Who said you are all messed up?  What drove you to such a conclusion?​

How you interpret your experience has a major impact on the outcome you hope to accomplish. Even your favorite guru most certainly has his own set of issues to face. As Werner Erhard once put it, “When you realize that everyone is ‘Not OK,’ you realize that it is ‘OK’ to be ‘Not OK’.” In other words, being OK is all a matter of consideration.​

You Are Already Ahead of the Game

Don’t get down on yourself. If you are concerned about self-improvement, this is actually a very good thing. The fact that you are already conscious of your needed development or growth in any specific area… it means that you are already ahead of the crowd.

Most people are relatively unconscious about their issues and don’t even want to consider working on themselves.​

What you may want to look at is becoming your own best friend by choosing a context that gives you an honest chance, rather than ensuring your failure.

Creating an Empowering Context​

When you start thinking about development and learning as metaphors, you will feel more at home with healing and insight, taking an experimental attitude toward life and giving yourself permission to make mistakes, so that you may more easily discover what actually works. What works for YOU…! 

The key is to create an environment (in your head) where you can go with the flow and make adjustments accordingly. In other words, drop resistance.

A truly empowering context is one of completion and abundance. The Universe has provided us more than we need, or even more than we could possibly ask for.  Should resources on Planet Earth be irreversibly dwindling, just imagine what is waiting for us on other stars and galaxies. (The latest space probes assure us that we are in for big surprises.)

Should we be willing to hold that God is Love, and our Creator didn’t fundamentally mess up in the first place, that He knows what He is doing, we can accept that we are co-creators within our own creation.

Therefore, there is no reason to be a victim. We were put in charge of our own creation!

Both human and divine, we are here like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, learning just how to create. The fact that we often get into major mischief is just evidence that our Source wants us to grow into Godhood.

Creating Change One Small Step at a Time

It is good that you want to get the perfect job, to find and maintain the perfect relationship or to become a guru yourself. With a deeper appreciation for the way things are, you can begin to systematically accomplish your goals in a fashion that deeply nurtures you, that makes yourself and others feel wonderful.

Tony Robbins is an absolute master at molding habits and building strategies that give you your desired outcome in the least amount of time with the least amount of effort. Tony recommends that you “chunk” things down.​

Take a complex task, such as losing 100 pounds of weight, and break it up into manageable parts or steps. Crash dieting too often results in binge eating where you end up even fatter than before. As in any marathon, a steady pace wins over the sudden sprint.

I, personally, overcame blood sugar management issues by paying more attention to diet and nutrition. I studied the relevant nutrients and learned about superfoods. I began systematically incorporating them into my diet.

I found satisfying substitutes for milk, and learned to enjoy salads over sandwiches. Within a few months, my blood profile dramatically improved to the point where my doctor stopped lecturing me. It was a learning experience relying on the best sources (Dr. Mark Hyman, The Blood Sugar Solution), applied on a daily basis.​

Surfing Your Way Through Life: Conscious Transformation

The thought that you are all messed up and need to get fixed is just another thought. It came up on your way to discovering what works. It is not wrong to have such thoughts and act upon them, just inefficient.

As you develop an empowering context for your life and identify metaphors that truly serve you, you will begin to surf your way through. You will stop trying to push the river (going upstream) and start going with the flow. You will begin to consciously create your experience (for more details on this topic click here).​

All the problems and challenges we face are necessary to keep the game interesting. Without them, life would be utterly boring. Life is one gigantic celebration, and we are all perfect just as we are.

You are the perfect YOU, not the perfect somebody else. On the being level – you are perfect – so start building and growing from here. There is no reason to look at yourself as being broken. You are not a robot. What is, IS. What isn’t, ISN’T. This may sound utterly trivial, and yet it is one of the most profound truths ever articulated.

As Werner Erhard once put it:​

Life is a game.

In order to have a game, something must be more important than something else.

If what IS is more important than what ISN’T, the game is over.

So, life is a game in which what isn’t is more important than what is.

Let the good times roll!

emotional neediness
Jul 25

How Too Much Neediness Sabotages Romance

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

Have you ever stumbled across the Love of Your Life only to flip out?

You were managing your life quite nicely, taking classes in a local college, getting regular promotions on the job and suddenly the most beautiful creature Heaven ever made crosses your path and actually smiles at you. Surely you must be dreaming this.

I’ll bet you stopped being so cool and got highly distracted. You may have approached her only to find your mouth dry out and your voice crack. You felt like a fool. Perhaps you had sufficient wits to put your pick up act in motion, and even had the presence to ask her a couple of questions.

Miracle of miracles, you wangled her phone number, email or Facebook address, and you suggested that the two of you meet next week at Starbuck’s. She said yes, and your mind went on hyperdrive. You could almost hear the most glorious wedding bells in the distance.​

My True Confession

I am not the best person in the world to advise you to stop being needy, as I have been a basket case myself for many years. I came from a broken family. At best, I have average looks. I couldn’t even fake being a jock, and I never officially got an advanced degree. To top it off, I have been challenged in my efforts to get rich throughout most of my working life.

If it worked to be needy, I would most certainly advise it. I have been sufficiently driven to meet thousands of women in my life and have been fortunate enough to become friends with a few. I have had lackluster girlfriends who didn’t really turn me on, and I have met a handful of women in my life who could pass for goddesses who actually let me share their life in some significant way.

I would be the last one to tell you to shrink back from your dreams. If you meet a truly stunning lady, by all means go for it. You will never regret it, even if you strike out. Women respect courage. Even starlets long for true friends. You have some hidden attribute or talent that some woman may appreciate, and she may even be pretty.

What you can’t afford to do is blow it before you even get off the ground by failing to reel-in your would be passion and take everything one step at a time. Take small and conscious steps forward.​

When Need Turns into Neediness

We all want companionship, love and intimacy. We all dream of being rapturously caught up in romance in a world where money is no object and you can readily have anything you want, even your own tropical island.

Thanks to decades of Hollywood, we can all too easily feel entitled. In the movies, it all seems so easy! That is because they are scripted.

In real life, the lady will throw you out on your ass for being too needy. Try calling her more than once a day. Constantly engage with her on social media. Bury her with flowers and expensive gifts. Make sure she truly appreciates you by telling her all the gory details of your life early on. Ask her for a commitment before she full remembers your name. NOT!

Neediness shows up in various ways. Here is another great example…​

I know there are spectacular exceptions, such as Steve Jobs, Founder and CEO of Apple Inc., meeting Laurene Powell at Stanford in the early 1990’s. Laurene was, and still is, a most beautiful woman. She was a graduate student in business there. Steve was giving the lecture for the evening, still in his prime and quite dashing.

Steve had never been married, had already made history and was worth millions. Steve started to walk out of the lecture hall, when he suddenly introduced himself to Laurene, asked her to join him that very evening for dinner and never let her get away until the day he passed on.

If you have everything to offer and are highly leveraged, you can attract and turn down all kinds of gorgeous women. If you are a famous rock star, you may literally not have enough time to be too needy. So this may not be a problem for you.

For the rest of us, read on.

How to Win the Love of Your Life

You CAN win the love of your life…if you can find her. If you are like me, it might take you most of your life. Whatever you do, make sure that she is someone that steps up your breathing and speeds up your heart. That’s OK!

When you run into her, breathe deeply, notice the rising tide of fearful thoughts. Tell your own mind, “Thank you for sharing.”

Say something, anything. Preferably an open question that will get her to talk. Tell her that you normally never do this, but that there was something about her that was so compelling that you had to come up and speak with her. It could be her hair, her eyes, her skin, her face. Whatever it is, you will find in her a feminine presence that utterly takes your breath away. Be REAL!​

Now you may think that this is stupid, that she will see right through this. If you really ARE swept away by her, she will sense that, possibly even be moved by that. She will begin to open up.

Maintain a conversational flow, and whatever you do, invite her to meet you again in a casual environment where you can talk without too many distractions. Set a time if you can, and get her number or address.

Ask her a lot of questions. If she starts asking questions back, it is a very good sign. Thank her for giving you the time of day and repeat how much you look forward to seeing her again.

Now, COOL IT! Try not to get carried away, even though every fiber of your being aches to be with her right away. Call a friend. Go out with the guys. Even go out on casual dates with other women.

You might work out or take a long walk, so that you can sleep at night. (My first infatuation resulted in a couple of sleepless nights. Out of that, I wrote my first really good poem.)

Then, remind her in advance of the meeting and look for her at Starbucks. If she shows up, eager to meet you and know more about you, you are on. If not, move on. From here, it may be days, weeks or months. Let her lead on intimacy. LIKE HER. CARE ABOUT HER. GIVE HER 100% ATTENTION.

You Can Never Get Enough of What You Don’t Really Want

At this point, it is important to remember that you seek love and validation on the deepest possible level. If you think any one woman can do it all for you without your doing anything on your own, think again.

Your impulse to put her on a pedestal will only work against you.​

overcoming neediness

Although a goddess, she is every bit as human as you. If things go well, she is looking to you for leadership. Unless you are infinitely wise, you will need to look within for guidance.

You don’t really want the woman in place of God. You want the woman as a means of finding God. You want to walk a path of joyful service. In the midst of her matchless beauty, what you really see is the Sacred Presence.​

The One Sure Place to Find Endless Love

If you are spiritually anchored, if you have a practice, a conscious community, a relationship with the divine, you will find the inner resources to move forward to build the relationship of your dreams. This goes for both man and woman.

As you grow in devotion to our Source, you will find that God really is LOVE. As you become more conscious of God, you will become more conscious of a Love that is infinite. As you mirror that Love, that Love will become increasingly accessible to you.

What started as lust (and neediness) will be sanctified, transformed into a divine romance between you, her and God that can change the world (your world included).

Why don’t you turn within right now to find guidance around your perfect mate? You will be glad you did.

righteous
Jul 22

The True Cost of Being Right

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

Have you ever won an argument with instant gratification, and then felt sick at your stomach afterward?

You made your point brilliantly, and the other side was truly squelched, retreating like a puppy with tail between the legs. Yet you immediately realized that you had lost the relationship, itself, whether with your teacher, boss, spouse or best friend.

You may have convinced yourself that you can beat the other guy whenever challenged, that you have complete control of the process.​

You shrink back from the recognition that you are a total slave to your own impulses, to your internal wiring. You really have no choice. When angry, upset or frightened, you will fall into a negative spiral of defensive behavior every time.

We are all torn between two forces in our lives: Fear and Desire.​

When desire wins out, we advance in life. When fear wins out, we promptly retreat. This starts from our experience of being a tiny baby, laughing or crying. As we grow older, we open up to the possibility of love, and we cover over our fear with anger and aggression.

As we move into adolescence, we develop a cool mask to hide our obnoxious shadow, that place in us where we feel totally inadequate.

At a certain age, we begin to feel a certain satisfaction that our act is being bought, that we are conning people on the surface. It eventually settles into a game of “I won’t call you on your bluff if you don’t call me on mine.”

When people actually do step into our space, all hell breaks loose, and once more, we go into a defensive spiral.

How Being Right Actually Works Against You

While you may think that being right wins you points, you will find that it invariably erodes your social capital.

A pioneer in personal and social transformation, Werner Erhard, suggested back in the 1970’s that we were pitted between aliveness and survival. Aliveness was equated with health, happiness, love and full self-expression. Survival was equated with being right.​

Werner created a 60-hour training that caught the imagination of millions of people. Rather than just tell people the truth, he created an environment in which people could see how it plays out right before their very eyes.​

As participants reviewed their lives, they saw that they would do literally anything to be right, short of, and including, suicide. No price was too great for the satisfaction of making people wrong, of doing things your own way at the expense of others.

Werner revealed to people that they were not on their own side in life, that they effectually stab life in the back.

Furthermore, he showed them that they had no choice in the matter as long as they firmly held that they were their body or their mind. People would grudgingly admit that they weren’t actually their bodies.

However, people would fight to the bitter end the realization that they weren’t their minds. Should that be the case, what could possibly be left?

Related article:  How Self-Acceptance Leads to Inner Peace​

What Every Great Religion Teaches – Key Takeaways

Werner was able to bring into the modern age in a very contemporary idiom the central truth of every great spiritual tradition. The way to God, the way to the Abundant Life is letting go and letting God.

Hinduism teaches that ultimately we are puppets in the hands of God.

Buddhism shows that we must let go of every possible self-identification to find lasting peace.

Judaism teaches that justice and mercy far surpass narrow interpretations of an arbitrary moral code.

Christianity from the Sermon on the Mount onward teaches us to judge not, lest we be judged.

Islam shows, by its very name, the central truth: love is surrender to the Supreme Will.

The Hidden Force Behind It All

love being right

If we are dominated whether we like it or not with some insane impulse to be righteous at all costs, what keeps this endless cycle going?

It is a false interpretation of the universe based upon preoccupation with our little self.

We are programmed for survival.  And the attitude of survival is based on a “rational” fear.

Our ego is nothing more than our take at any given moment on how it all is. When you begin to understand this concept, you can then easily identify it and work with it. If fear is driven by our mind, we must directly experience that which transcends the mind.

The Truth Shall Set You Free

The very moment we realize that we have no choice, we open up to a whole new possibility. Our predicament has been likened to that of a bank manager locked up in her own vault with the key thrown outside. The banker fails to realize that she is in a vault, or that there even is a key, until she awakens to a larger reality. She then awakens from the dream.

Every time you realize that your frantic insistence on being right is creating blindness… and costing you love, happiness, health and full self-expression, you will loosen up your grip just a bit.​

Just become conscious and catch yourself in the moment.

To be free, you simply need count the cost. As you keep doing this, you will find over days, weeks, months, even years, that you have lost your attachment to having your own way.

At that very moment, you will discover love underneath it all, the Love That You Truly Are.

feeling lonely
Jul 18

How to Deal with Loneliness

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

All of us feel lonely from time to time, no matter how well-connected, or how well we have structured our lives to be constantly around other people, or hear and see people via the Internet, TV or the movies.

For single people in the holidays and aging adults, that loneliness can approach physical pain in intensity. Highly successful professionals who are around well-healed colleagues nonstop Monday through Friday may find their home or neighborhood a ghost town during the weekends.

If we give in to that loneliness, we can feel totally worthless, and our lives can seem an empty game amounting to less than nothing.​

Alone – Yes. Lonely – No

Alone does not mean lonely, and lonely does not mean alone. You can be in a crowded, noisy party late on a Friday evening and feel gruesomely isolated.

You can be alone on a deserted island or in an Alaskan forest and find yourself joyfully communing with creation, even though the next person to you may be miles away.

Alone is a physical condition, based upon your proximity to other people. We don’t usually consider plants and animals; in which case, we are never truly alone on this planet.

Lonely is an interpretation of your experience that has a profound impact on your emotional well-being.

Very often, this is a consequence of living in your head out of present time and ignoring both your heart and your gut. While the mind is a matchless servant, it is a wretched master.

For many of us, loneliness starts in college, when we devote countless hours to reading books and writing papers. It is endemic to the life of many attorneys, who must spend days on end poring over law books and doing corporate discovery with mountains of data.

Ways To Cope With Loneliness

The way out of this distressing feeling begins with a profound understanding of relationship.

Back in the 1970’s, Werner Erhard gave the dictionary definition of relationship as “a relatedness through affinity way of being,” maintaining that you are ALREADY related to everyone and everything.

This understanding was enhanced by a model drawn from Scientology called ARC, which stands for Affinity, Reality and Communication. While we are physically related to everyone and everything, occupying a definite position in time and space, we feel a sense of relationship with people we like, with whom we have basic agreements (or an understanding) and whom we understand, and who understand us.​

The key is to start communicating and in the process experience love… for one another and everything surrounding us.

Werner Erhard went on to show that love is a function of communication, that when you share an experience with another in such a way that he or she “gets” it over on his side, and you get that he or she gets it, you spontaneously feel love.

We can take this up a notch by diving deeply into the spiritual dimension with the realization that the nature of our Creator, of our Source, is love… Absolute and Unconditional Love.

While this is a shocking assertion to many, the entire Christian tradition was founded on this principle, and it is to be found in the other great faiths and religious traditions, as well. When you presence the Creator as Love, you spontaneously feel love.

For Christians, it is usually Jesus Christ, or the Blessed Virgin Mary. For Hindus, it would most likely be the avatars, Krishna or Rama. For Buddhists, it would be the Bodhisattvas, especially Avalokiteshvara, or Kuan Yin.

This type of love is way deeper than any romantic love. Tap into that love and it will melt your loneliness away. Instead of feeling emptiness… you will experience harmony and contentment within.

If we truly are related to everyone and everything, and if the feeling of loneliness is but an interpretation of our experience, how do we access presence, especially the sacred presence of love?

While some people will emphasize walks in the forest or by the beach, as well as various forms of yoga and meditation, there is another possibility that is just as potent, if not more so. It lies within the experience of community.

Find a Conscious Community

All the great traditions have community as an essential element of enlightenment or salvation. For Hindus, it is the temple or ashram; for Buddhists, it is the sangha; for Jewish people, it is the synagogue and community center; for Muslims, it is the Mosque or Uma.

Find YOUR community!​

extreme loneliness

Find a community that values relationships… AND... where you feel comfortable to be yourself. A place that allows you to open up and explore your true self (interbeing) as well as experience that spontaneous deeper love. However, you have to participate and communicate.

Implement Some of These Steps Today

  • Choose to be alone when you are alone. When you actually choose it, time will go by quickly, and you might find even find it a joy.
  • Reach out to others on a daily basis with a little smile, a quiet “Hello” and direct eye contact. One of the biggest secrets to initiating a relationship with someone it to be interested IN THEM, rather than trying to be interesting. People who are interested only in themselves get boring very fast.
  • Consider taking a consciousness acceleration program with lots of social interaction from the human potential movement. Est and its present-day incarnation, Landmark Education, made this type of learning available around the world. Today, you can find many variations on this.
  • Get involved in a service organization, such as Greenpeace or the Sierra Club. Some of my most valuable friendships came out of participation in peace and environmental organizations.
  • Explore Meet-Ups and other Internet-mediated events, based on shared interests with others. Richard Bolles, author of the Parachute career series emphasized the best way to overcome interview fright is to interview friends and acquaintances based on a mutual passion. One of mine, for example, is film studies.

Steven Spielberg, in his classic, Close Encounters, subtitled his stunning film, “We Are Never Alone.”

This is literally true, whether or not we meet any interplanetary or stellar aliens. We don’t need to be dismayed about occasional feelings of loneliness. We are divine being human for a time. We are, indeed, related to everyone and everything, as creators within our own creation.

midlife crisis
Jul 15

How To Find Your Way Through a Mid-Life Crisis

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

Have you ever been surfing and suddenly got wiped out? Your gorgeous fiberboard was upended and fractured, and you took quite a spill, swimming for dear life.

You can’t always predict when the next super wave is coming, but, when it hits you, you will sure know it.​

What Is It?

We are all open to a mid-life crisis at various points in adulthood. For some of us, it is sooner, and for some of us, much later. For many of us, it happens more than once.

Something triggers it, and life loses all its flavor. You are hit with boredom and listlessness. The same old rewards no longer work.

You feel like “tuning in, turning on and dropping out.” You are straddled with career and family responsibilities, when all you want to do is go out and play.

The Oscar-winning film, American Beauty, poignantly illustrates all this. Kevin Spacey plays Lester Burnham, a fumbling ad executive who is losing his edge, while Annette Bening plays his wife, Carolyn Burnham, an uptight realtor totally preoccupied with self-improvement to boost her numbers. Husband and wife can no longer relate.

It just so happens that Lester meets his daughter’s adolescent friend, Mena Suvari as Angela Hayes, at a high school basketball game. Unannounced, Lester quits his job, begins weightlifting and otherwise behaving like a juvenile to put the make on beautiful young Angela. The story unravels when Lester finds himself getting unwittingly knocked off.​

How Does Midlife Crisis Work?

A mid-life crisis is far more than a seven-year itch. It is entails a glimpse of your mortality, and a longing to retreat into childhood or a more innocent youth.

Your values, priorities, sensibility and beliefs all do a sudden reversal, almost like a religious conversion. Your current lifestyle seems irrelevant and meaningless. The temptation merges to cut off your most important relationships and find a better way.

Gail Sheehy first popularized this syndrome back in 1976 with her classic study, Passages: Predicable Crises of Adult Life. Gail was emphatic that these crises are recurrent and difficult to predict.

It is not simply a question of having a bad day. It is a matter of questioning everything. Nothing makes sense any more; you are compelled to create a whole new identity.

While much of this can be very comical, it can easily become tragic, even suicidal. It is most often a call, in the midst of physiological, hormonal changes, to look a little deeper into the meaning and purpose of your life.

female mid-life crisis

What Is the Best Approach?

The trap is to withdraw from counsel, hastily make sweeping changes in your life and assume the answer is all “out there.”

It is destructive to blame everyone and everything other than yourself. We should, indeed, question our life from time to time. However, it is self-defeating to panic, not realizing that “this too shall pass.”

I have been through numerous identity crises, starting with adolescence and occurring intermittently throughout my life until I was able to presence the sacred on a fairly consistent basis.

I was concerned about those round years, 20, 30, 40 and above, when society likes to remind you that you are growing older. Ironically, I found that passing 40 was not nearly as intimidating as becoming 20, when I realized that I would never again be a teenager. I could never again be truly “cool.”

Passing 40 didn’t put me over the hill. Rather, it was the beginning of me really growing up. Today, people are living into their 80’s, 90’s and beyond. The old expectations no longer apply.

Napoleon Hill reminds us in his masterpiece on personal achievement, Think and Grow Rich, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

The way out of midlife (or any other kind of identity) crisis, is straight through.​

The Way Out Of This Mid-life Stressor

A midlife crisis (or stressor) is an open invitation to find a new integration of body, mind and spirit.

All are important, but spirit deserves special attention. The triggering event, be it the loss of a job, the parting of a loved one or a sudden infatuation, is an invitation to stop taking life for granted. Go deeper. Find your soul and cherish every moment.​

Related article: Your Perception of Reality Is Holding You Back

There is no pat formula, as each of us has our own experience of Ultimate Reality. Here are some suggestions for finding your inner core and rebalancing your life:

  • Reach out to someone you trust who really listens. Expressing your feelings is a good way to get a handle on them. This might be through a spiritual mentor, a close friend or relative, even a peer counselor. You may find firsthand that you are not alone, that your friend has had similar experiences and may be happy to share how he or she coped.
  • Consider human potential and transformational workshops and seminars that get participants deeply in touch. It could be a conference in Bali, a yoga workshop in Costa Rica, a seminar in Esalen, or taking the Landmark Forum. Whatever works for you. You will most likely pick up a whole new context that can make life a joy once again.
  • Revisit a spiritual path, East or West, that speaks to you, or even your childhood religion, which may now have much deeper meaning. With the profound stress and uncertainty of our post-modern world, spiritual community is increasingly a necessity. The great religious traditions offer an unequaled depth and richness. Huston Smith’s, The World’s Religions, is a wonderful place to start.
  • Revisit your mission in life and seek out a new way to serve people. Richard Bolles' annual edition of What Color Is Your Parachute? has a dazzling array of exercises that reveal your hidden talent and possible mission. In his book, Richard suggests paying attention to where your greatest joy, your unrecognized talent and the world’s burning pain all come together. Your deep sensibility and childhood preferences are the Creator’s best hints as to what you should be doing with your life.

You will never be more surprised when you discover that your mid-life crisis has been the doorway to a new burst of freedom and a whole new life.

accept yourself
Jul 13

Self-Acceptance Definition

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

Have you ever deeply doubted that you have what it takes to make it?

Do you feel that your parents might have made a mistake in bringing you into the world? Do you feel everything is fragmented and meaningless, and there is little point in going on?

Then you may be ripe to take a closer look at self-acceptance, and how it impacts your life today.

Why Accepting Yourself Is Necessary

None of us can be effective if we are at odds with ourselves, totally preoccupied with our own deficiencies and how we stack up against others.

If you don’t believe in yourself, if you are not on your own side, it is very difficult to win, whether in tennis or changing the world.

We can easily recall famous people -- stars, politicians and writers -- who used what they had to achieve distinction. They may not have been endowed with the greatest talent, but they carefully developed whatever they were given and promoted that capability to the maximum.

We can also recall recent celebrities who seemed to have everything: fame, beauty, wealth, accomplishment, even power, who did themselves in through drugs, alcohol, or even suicide. If any of these things were the answer, those people would never have even thought of ending it all.​

What Self-Acceptance Is NOT

Most of us have a very limited notion of self-acceptance.

For example, we might all agree that people with an inferiority complex who readily put themselves down in front of others have a problem.

However, it is not so easy to see that people who continually boast about themselves and come across totally self-centered are actually people with an inferiority complex who have cleverly turned it into a superiority complex to mask their insecurity. One can even think of Presidential candidates who fall into this trap.

One can also think of people who continually make excuses for themselves, breaking personal agreements right and left. They let themselves off the hook all too easily and rarely measure up to a challenge. While they may appear most charming, you can never really count on them, nor can you ever safely level with them. Self-acceptance is empowering, not simply a convenient cover for laziness.

Self-acceptance is not even a matter of being totally realistic about everything and discarding your dreams or ideals. Whether or not you love yourself and others goes much deeper than simple pragmatism. Too often, this same pragmatism can be a rationale for becoming rigid and locked into a fixed pattern, rejecting any further growth.​

What Self-Acceptance Actually IS

Self-acceptance comes out of a subtle balance between your inner and outer worlds.

You have an inner life, and you enjoy being with other people. You are attentive to your own feelings and desires, but you are not obsessed with them. You are interested in a subject for its own sake, whether it is sailing or filmmaking.

You also welcome learning new things and discovering new possibilities from others. For example, you are never too old to learn a little Chinese.

Inner love comes from inner growth!

You are on your own side. You are truly your own best friend. On top of it, you have faith that God (or the Universe) loves you and believes in you.

Also, you don’t try to do it all yourself, but consciously seek empowerment and nurturing relationships. As the saying goes, “Please be patient with me. God is not finished with me yet.”

You are deeply grateful for the miracle of life and take joy in everyone and everything.

You are as happy for a colleague’s promotion as your own. You readily serve yourself to the most generous piece of chocolate cake, while gladly sharing it with someone who wants it more than you.

You live to make a difference (even on the small-scale), like Steve Jobs’ “crazy ones.” As Steve put it, “The ones crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

How to Know When You Have Arrived

When you are consumed by a higher purpose, and driven to accomplish something beautiful before you pass on, you are close.

When you are deeply grateful for the privilege to be part of the first generation in history with a real say on whether we have a future or not, you don’t have to look far.

When you have participated in group encounters and gotten under enough people’s skin, you will finally discover that it is OK to be NOT OK, that you are OK just the way you are.

It may sound impossibly corny, but it really is true that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. You can interpret “God” any way you like, but this applies, not simply to card-carrying Christians, but to each one of us, to both you and me!

** For more tips on how to experience self-acceptance click here.**​

accepting yourself
Jul 11

How Self-Acceptance Leads to Inner Peace

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

Are you at a midpoint in your life where you are acutely conscious that you are only getting older, and that somehow you have blown it all?

Do you regret all the years you have wasted that you could have put to better use? Are you where you were supposed to be at your current age, given, not only your parents’ expectations of you, but your own?

We all have a tendency to beat up on ourselves, not only for what we could change, such as losing 10 or 20 pounds, but even for what we can’t change, such as getting older. Many of us live in a society that is very other-directed, where we look up to glamorous people and dream that we could really amount to something.

Somehow, it is hard to reconcile ourselves to the fact that we are NOT rich, famous, accomplished, beloved by all and truly happy.

As we grow older, we get in touch with our weaknesses much more than our strengths.​

We compare ourselves to the best people in our field and find that we have are woefully inadequate, really jokers or clowns. The best we can hope for is to be spectacularly ordinary, and then time knocks off all our pieces in the game of life until we hear, “Check Mate!”

Despite all this, self-acceptance doesn’t depend on outer circumstances, or even an impressive string of wins. It would be really wonderful to win the Nobel Peace Prize, but what if I just have a profound impact on the people within my own circle?

It Is All About Something Much Bigger

The breakthrough lies in the realization that, although I am the author of my own life, the story is not really about me, but about something much bigger.

I play a vital role in the great drama of humanity, and no one and nothing would be quite the same without me. I am indispensable to the role I am playing. Someone had to fill that role, and I have been chosen by Central Casting.

It is very possible, as attested by the world’s greatest religion, numerically, that we live in a divine love story. It is more about how much each character in the drama is able to express love to all the other characters, who are, in turn, co-creators. My story is not really about me, but about us, and about our Creator, our Source.​

Self-Actualization on The Deeper Level

Have you ever tried to first accepting yourself just as You Are? Not in the past or the future, but now.

The first step in any transformation is to come in peace with what is… or the way things are right now.

It is also very possible, despite all of our preconceived notions, that you and I are perfect, just as we are, despite all the twists and turns of the plot, and life’s inevitable reversals. It is about the total effect, especially around the climax, which climate change suggests is somewhere about NOW.

Focus on your Being… not Doing! Your ‘world of Being’ matters first… and it is perfect as it is. Once your world of Being is in peace and harmony… then, you combine it with your ‘world of Doing’ and BOOM... you have an amazing force behind you to create, and experience life to its fullest.​

acceptance

If you hadn’t blown it at times, and won small or big at other times, life would be very boring, without any contrast. Each time you blow it makes your past and future wins even sweeter. We only learn, only progress, by making mistakes. Learning and awakening take a lifetime.

Each of us has been given a priceless gift by our Creator, which it is our privilege to discover, and then exercise in loving service to one another. It might be as simple as the way you smile, or look at someone. The point is not so much how good you look, but how good you make others feel.​

The thought that you are too old, and that it is all so useless is absurd! It is never over until it’s over.

You have a purpose in still being here. If you read the newspaper headlines, it is all too apparent that plenty of people are left who can still use your help. There are more than enough problems for humanity to solve. You are very much needed to contribute in your own, unique way.

More importantly, this prolonged dream that we muddle through is really all about remembering Who we really are, waking up more and more each day to our own divinity. Yes, we are all too human, but we are also ineradicably divine. We are being driven to recognize little by little that we are not just a piece in the puzzle. We are all of it.

As you shift the focus of your attention off you, your story, your predicaments and your constraints, onto others, and their problems and their challenges, you begin to find inner peace (more on this topic click here).

The turning point in your life happens when you take more joy in someone else’s success than your own. God bless the next billionaire! That is me succeeding. He or she may not look or act like me, but ultimately he or she IS me in another form. One only need thing about Bill and Melinda Gate’s inspiring decision to give away the bulk of their fortune.​

Immediate Steps to Enhanced Self-Acceptance

Here are some steps to hasten self-acceptance and realize the inner peace that no one and nothing can ever again take away from you:

  • Question your inner critic. Most often it is a voice from the past long gone. He or she may have wished well for you at the time, but things have changed, and you have definitely grown up.
  • Stop your monkey mind, if even for a moment. Take some deep breaths, close your eyes and listen to what is happening all around you. Let the mental chatter flow through your inner sky like Cirrus clouds. No need to entertain it.
  • Shift your focus from self-pity to...  Ask your deepest self, “What is my role this time around and who can I serve?” When you invoke the Sacred Presence, it will always come. Trust the voice of love, the one that cherishes you just as you are.
  • Do a little something for someone today. It may be a thank you, a smile, a compliment, even plucking a wild daisy to offer.
  • Restore great experiences!  Remember an accomplishment in the past, it might be something so trivial as a Perfect Spelling Award in Fifth Grade. You are nowhere near as messed up as you pretend to be!

God loves you. Isn’t it about time you returned the favor? Maybe your Creator knew what He was doing when he said, “Let there be…YOU!”

Tune into that peace within and you’ll notice a total shift in your daily experience and appearance.

projecting oneself
Jul 08

How Projection Can Work Against You

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

Have you ever felt as if the whole world was down on your case, that you were being persecuted only because others are evil and you are really innocent?

It is increasingly recognized that other people in our life mirror us more than we can ever imagine.

Each of us is playing a role, and when we assume a heroic stance, we must actively seek out enemies. We can’t have heroes without villains.

When we won’t come to terms with our own repressed impulses, we project them onto others.

99.9% of the time, projection works against you. Only in a small fraction of circumstances is your competitor really out to get you.​

What Is Projection?

Projection is the process of blaming others for the very things you would like to do if given half a chance. Whatever you can’t face in yourself, you must deny. You may cherish an idealized version of yourself that won’t allow for your darker thoughts.

All forms of religious hypocrisy fall into this category, as well as political scapegoating. You see this in evangelists who continuously preach against the sins of the flesh while covertly sleeping with prostitutes on the side.

You also see it in politicians running for office about to be implicated in embezzlement scandals while blaming their opponents for being dishonest.​

Projection in the Global Theatre

We see prominent Presidential candidates warning America of the danger of immigrants bringing terrorism to their shores who see no problem in the systematic bombing of other nations deemed vital to the national interest. We need only think of the original Gulf War, the War on Iraq and recent military reprisals on ISIS.

We seldom, if ever, ask ourselves who caused these people to act that way.

If we went back a century, we would find relatively few acts of terrorism. However, since the two World Wars, we have seen a steady increase of violence from immigrants, as well as longtime residents. Nobody bothers to ask the federal government why it continues to wage undeclared wars.​

The Inner Mechanism - How It Shows Up

The father of psychoanalysis, Dr. Sigmund Freud, first identified projection as a defense mechanism. Dr. Freud saw projection stemming from a split psyche caused by excessive societal and parental programming.

His disciple, Dr. Carl Jung, referred to our shadow, and all the unassimilated contents of our psyche. Dr. Jung’s challenge in therapy was to help his patients re-own parts of themselves that didn’t jive with their self-image.

It is much harder to deal with your own fear and anger than to project it onto anyone else, who might function as a scapegoat, a convenient object of blame.​

project feelings

This was classically observed last century in Germany with the rise of Adolph Hitler during the Great Depression. To help the people regain their confidence as a nation, he blamed it all on Jewish people, even though the economic downturn had actually come out of the Wall Street stock market crash.

Projection functions equally well, on an individual level, where a husband accuses his wife of infidelity while he is having an affair on the side.

Projection happens on a global level, where Islam, as a world religion is blamed for sanctioning Jihad, or religious warfare. It is always the other guy, the other religion. Why mention the Christian Crusades against the Holy Land? It would be all too inconvenient.​

The Cost of Running This Racket

Indulging in projection has several unfortunate consequences:

  • You never grow up, as you pull away from owning the very impulses that are destroying you, such as substance abuse.
  • You increasingly alienate yourself from the people you blame, losing intimacy, and, ultimately, any meaningful relationship.
  • You create the very thing to which you object. The people you consistently distrust and cast in a negative role eventually do take advantage of you, or even betray you when given an opportunity.
  • You become part of the problem, rather than the solution, to the world’s crises.

How to End This Self-Defeating Cycle

  • Ask yourself, “In which role am I casting myself? In what role am I casting those around me?”
  • If you drop your pretense, you will find others automatically easing up around you.
  • Work on your awareness. Step out of yourself (watch yourself from a third-person perspective) and catch yourself in the act.
  • Look within, either through meditation or by having probing conversations with those you trust, respect and admire.
  • Forgive yourself.  It is OK to be mean, selfish and petty. We all are when gratuitously provoked. Move on and upgrade to a new internal “operating system.”
  • Love yourself, because your Creator loves you just as you are. In this point, those people who proclaim the Gospel are right.
  • Lighten up!
projection examples

When I was just out of college, I did an encounter group where I made naïve, global statements, and everyone in the circle proceeded to handle me and put me in my place. Until I had done a lot more work in the human potential and transformation movements, I couldn’t see just how I had set myself up.

Over the years, I learned to question my own perceptions without beating myself up. Maybe I am not right about such and such a woman or man. Maybe she or he is telling me something I need to hear.

The ultimate challenge is to love even the hypocrites. This is made vastly easier when we realize that we have all played hypocrite from time to time.​