Random Thoughts

I’ve been collecting a bunch of blurbs, useful articles, videos, podcasts, talks, etc. which may be of interest.

I’ve annotated some, when needed. Some are self-explanatory. Some made it as far as facebook posts, but weren’t long enough to be blog posts. (Although, who sets the standards for how long or short a blog post ought to be? No one, really. I’m not sure what to do with that.)

Anyway, here they are. Enjoy! 🙂

  • “Excessive analysis perpetuates emotional paralysis. Awareness and healing are not always the same thing. I have known many who could name their patterns and issues, almost like they had done a science experiment on their consciousness, but nothing changed because they refused to come back down into their bodies and move their feelings through to transformation. It’s safe up there, above the fray… witnessing the pain body without actually engaging it. Knowing it’s there is not the same thing as healing it.

    This is the great failure of psychoanalytic models if they are not coupled with deep, embodied work. It’s also the failure of spiritual approaches that belittle our stories and confuse
    dissociation with expansion. You are either in your body, or you aren’t. This is the ‘power of then’- if we don’t deal with our stuff, it deals with us. There is NO substitute for going deep into the unresolved past and working the material through…”

    Jeff Brown
  • “When you recognize and accept what you feel, without judging your emotions by logical standards, you will notice that the natural life of most feelings is remarkably short and fluid.

    If you are able to feel anger when you are threatened or when someone treats you unjustly, and if circumstances allow you to express yourself assertively, your anger will yield to a calm self-assurance. Likewise, if you’re not ashamed to feel anxious when you perceive danger, chances are that you will take whatever steps are necessary to protect yourself, thereby demonstrating just how courageous you can be.

    Feelings that are attended to and honored move along, sometimes veering off in unexpected directions. It’s the feelings that fester and won’t let go that cause us distress. People who ignore or resist their feelings often end up obsessed with them.”

    Jack Morin
  • “When I put aside my prejudices and looked at my deepest motivations and fears, I was surprised to be confronted by a rather sorry-looking individual, covered with bandages, limping along on a crutch, incapable of hurting anyone.

    I immediately recognized him. It was me. It was my wounded self, a symbolic representation of all those doubts and fears about myself that I had so carefully hidden from public view for so many years. And when I looked a little closer at this injured being, my heart was deeply touched. I wanted to reach out and help him to heal, because I could see, beneath the bandages, that he was only a small boy, a helpless, wounded child.”

    Margo Anand
  • “Yesterday the world became as sorcerers tell you it is,” he went on. “In that world coyotes talk and so do deer, as I once told you, and so do rattlesnakes and trees and all other living beings. But what I want you to learn is seeing. Perhaps you know now that seeing happens only when one sneaks between the worlds, the world of ordinary people and the world of sorcerers. You are now smack in the middle point between the two. Yesterday you believed the coyote talked to you. Any sorcerer who doesn’t see would believe the same, but one who sees knows that to believe that is to be pinned down in the realm of sorcerers. By the same token, not to believe the coyotes talk is to be pinned down in the realm of ordinary men.”

    “Do you mean, Don Juan, that neither the world of ordinary men or the world of sorcerer’s is real?”

    “They are real worlds. They could act upon you. For example you could have asked that coyote about anything you wanted to know and it would have been compelled to give you an answer. The only sad part is that coyotes are not reliable. They are tricksters. It is your fate not to have a dependable animal companion.”

    Carlos Castaneda
  • “In order to deal with the feelings related to the absent or abusive parent, children often make the assumption that they are to blame. This is the only way they can make sense of it – if the adult isn’t loving, it must be because we are ‘unworthy.’ Thus begins the internalized shame and self-blame cycle, often reflected in the disdain we feel for our bodies, our creations, our very existence. This cycle is often perpetuated and deepened by spiritual bypass communities who diminish the seekers daring to work on their unresolved feelings, by telling them that their feelings are an illusion, their experiences are mischaracterized, their stories tiresome. Let’s get this straight – shame is not an illusion. Self-loathing is not an illusion. Abuse is not an illusion. And the need to heal our hearts and elevate our self-concepts is essential to healthy functioning. Pretending things aren’t real doesn’t make them go away. Facing them does.”

    Jeff Brown
  • If you are in recovery from narcissistic abuse (who isn’t, these days?), this article does a really good job of laying out an exhaustive list of the patterns, feelings, and fears that cause so much emotional pain. And this one explains how gaslighting works (which is the crazy-making mechanism of psychological manipulation).

  • I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the subject of vengeance, retribution, accountability and forgiveness. This article paints a pretty accurate picture. It’s not revenge that we want, per se. Revenge on its own does very little to alleviate our pain; in fact it magnifies our own emotional turmoil. When we’ve been hurt, we don’t actually want to hurt the perpetrator. Through revenge, we seem to want to hurt the other, but only as a proxy for our feelings of fear and loneliness in our pain. What we really want is for him to feel remorse for the pain he caused us. We want him to acknowledge and validate our suffering. We want to know that our feelings matter, and that we didn’t suffer in vain. We want an acknowledgement of the perpetrator’s humanity – his capacity for empathy and compassion – as confirmation that the world isn’t a dangerous place, full of random and reckless violence. That is what restores our sense of safety and security. This is why trauma caused by those who lack the capacity for empathy is so damaging and pervasive. You can’t ever hold them accountable for what they’ve done. They never feel remorse for their actions or the consequences thereof. And this shakes the very ground of our being in the world. In such cases, forgiveness is exceptionally hard to find. I was thinking about this in the context of the purpose of an apology. If I can heal all of my own pain, and reach a place of forgiveness all within me, why do I still feel like I need to tell the person they’ve hurt me, and why do I still want an apology. I think this answers those questions. There is a deterrent value in holding someone accountable (making sure it doesn’t happen again), but there was something more there that I couldn’t see until now.
  • Dr. Gottman reminds us of Ginott’s motto: “Understanding must precede advice.” We all have subjective experiences of situations we experience. Everyone’s emotions are valid. Most of the time, when your mate (or anyone!) comes to you with an issue that has made them upset, they don’t immediately ask for advice, for you to problem solve, or even ask your opinion on the matter. Most of the time they are silently asking for your understanding and compassion. They want to feel that you are on a team – that you are on their side. When your partner comes to you and says that their boss has criticized their work recently, complaining that they have been treated unfairly, the last thing they want to hear is that they have been tired and overstressed and that potentially the solution is to sleep more and have a better attitude. They want to hear you say, “That sounds so frustrating! I can understand why you are so upset.” Continue reading here.
  • Despite our misguided social mores, being more intelligent than someone else does not make one superior; nor does it give permission to be dismissive or disrespectful to other people… “By intellectual bullies I mean people who are indeed smarter (have a higher IQ), who have more knowledge in a certain field, and generally carry the sense of entitlement to be dismissive, disrespectful, mean and emotionally abusive, [or] play tricks/pranks on others. [And, curiously] we glorify people like this in TV shows, and we don’t consider [it] a form of bullying.” Continue reading here.
  • One of the biggest mistakes on the spiritual path is believing that inquiry means self-scrutiny, or that self-awareness and self-consciousness are the same thing. If you don’t look inward with love and total acceptance, no healing can happen. If you don’t actively work on self-judgment, no transformations can take place. If you don’t feel your feelings, but only watch them from afar (cataloging them), nothing comes to consciousness. If you mistake the spiritual path for the quest for self-improvement, you’re heading in the wrong direction.
  • I’ve been listening to this book by Rudolf Steiner for the last few days (it’s over 6 hours long). It’s quite good, although it should have been called “The mental attitudes and ethical principles for living in alignment with Spirit. ”The issue I have with esoteric practice is that it’s too top-down in my view. You can’t just adopt specific mental states. You have to arrive at them through inner work and an “undoing”; otherwise it’s just another mask or persona to take on. Through self-awareness work you arrive at particular attitudes or understandings. It’s not about conforming to a set of behaviors, but rather seeing those behaviors as the only authentic way of being. That’s when it’s real, and true, and in actual alignment with Spirit. I would take the principles Steiner offers as the aspirational goals of all the spiritual work (meaning, you keep “undoing” until you get to these mental states).
  • When you try to fix or change someone to how you believe they should be, you disrespect them. When you try to save or rescue someone, you disrespect them also. You (subtly, or not so subtly) send them the message that there is something wrong with them; that they are unacceptable, and that you know what’s best for them. This is not love; no matter how wonderful you believe your intentions to be. You do not know what is best for another person, ever. And the more you force your ideas or opinions on others, the more you interfere with their destiny. Article: Addicted to Helping: Why we need to stop trying to fix people.
  • This is a wonderful article!! Friendships are complicated. The upshot: if you have to walk away from a relationship, find the courage to do it with honesty and integrity, even if it’s difficult. Article: Is It time to end that friendship?
  • Your words have power; more power than you can imagine. Be careful how you use your words. The things you say to yourself, and the things you speak out loud to others, have energetic and spiritual consequences. When you are hurt or angry, and you lash out at someone, you are sending them emotional poison. Perhaps it is your intention to hurt the other person, because they hurt you, but in the process you are deeply hurting yourself as well. This is one of the most important lessons I ever learned: when you are emotionally triggered by something or someone, do not act on those feelings. Instead, sit with the feelings, process them, try to find the core of why you are so upset (it usually has absolutely nothing to do with the person or situation that is triggering you); come to a place of emotional peace and resolution within. Then, and only then, approach the other to address the issue. As long as you are caught in emotional reactivity, any attempt at resolution will only deepen the pain and conflict.
  • Our society teaches us to be cynical and jaded; to always be vigilant. and cautious. and assume that everyone has some nefarious personal agenda. This point of view blocks you from actually seeing the good in people. It keeps you in fear, and disconnected from love. It keeps you isolated in a scary world, where everyone is the bad guy. The word namaste, so popular now in yoga circles, means I bow to the divine within you; the spirit within me recognizes the spirit within you. This is an actual spiritual practice, not just an exotic trendy sanskrit word. It is the practice of shifting out of cynicism, out of self-protection, out of armoring, and into love and trust, and compassion for others. It’s not naivete, but kindness. Instead of jumping into your well-trodden assumptions and immediate judgments about people; instead of believing that you know what someone is thinking or feeling, or what their intentions are, take a leap of faith and assume something good about them. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Give them a chance; instead of your foregone conclusions. Ask vulnerable questions when you aren’t sure. Find the courage to speak the uncomfortable thing. People will surprise you with their capacity for goodness.
  • You know how occasionally someone posts a well-meaning “tell your family you love them today, because tomorrow isn’t certain” thing? It’s sort of nice, right? Fear-inducing, but nice. Those posts remind us to live fully in the present moment. To be grateful for what is here, even if it’s not ideal, because tomorrow it may be gone. But what if I told you that no one ever dies? That our conditioned understanding of death as some tragic event is completely backwards? That the body dies, but the you that you really are, doesn’t. And all the people you love (and those you hate), will all be there, with you, after death, in spirit form. (Don’t worry; there’s nothing but love and compassion up there…). And yet how you treat other people, down here in human form; it matters. The way you love. The way you fight. The way you express yourself. The way you treat yourself. All of it. It matters a lot. Not to some judgmental divine entity, but to yourself. To your own soul; when you look back at all of the moments of your life. It seems to be generally accepted in most traditions that when you die, your soul goes through a kind of life review phase. It is a time when you get to learn all the spiritual lessons of this particular lifetime. When you look back at your life, will you see yourself acting out of love, or out of fear, on most occasions? What will that life review be like for you? It’s not about judgment or guilt at all, but rather about honest discernment (with love, and wisdom, and compassion for yourself and for others). How would knowing all of this change your relationships? If the bonds are forever, literally forever, how would that feel? What would you do differently? Just consider the possibility…
  • Tell me what you see, and I will show you how what you see is happening inside of you. If you see abuse, it is you who are abusing yourself. If you see heartbreak, it is you who has broken your own heart. If you see betrayal, it is you who has betrayed yourself for another. If you see a lack of love, it is you who doesn’t love yourself. If you see violence, I will show you how you commit the worst atrocities inside your own mind. What you see in the world, what your eyes can’t help but see, what your heart can’t help but cry for, is your own world (inside of you) being reflected outside of you. When you begin to see your external world as a mirror, the healing will finally begin. There is no one outside of you. We are all just mirrors for your spiritual growth. Ram Dass has a famous quote about this very thing: “we are all just walking each other home.” We are all just triggering each other, creating emotional situations for each other, so that those emotions can rise to the surface for awareness, discovery, and healing. It is through these lessons, in this very painful human experience, that we can go home.
  • This is fantastic! What Danna describes is a version of inner child work – something I’ve been using myself and with clients for a while. It can be done via basic meditation, not just through hypnosis. The healing effects are extraordinary!!Specifically, I love the part at the end which shows how symbolic the physical symptoms are… they aren’t random. The body isn’t just a mechanical object; it has an unbelievable intelligence. You just have to connect the dots. Ted Talk: Healing illness with the subconscious mind.
  • “The reason you want to be better, is the reason why you aren’t.” Self-improvement is a false pursuit. It doesn’t work. Becoming “better” doesn’t lead to any lasting happiness or satisfaction. The goal-posts just move further away. As soon as you achieve one level of “better,” the mind creates a new level of “better” that is just out of reach. This is just a cycle or loop of unworthiness. Rather, it is acceptance of what is, acceptance of how you really are (with all of your perceived flaws and imperfections), and the vulnerable expression of that truth of what you are, which leads to a life of contentment and peace. Portion of a talk by Alan Watts: You cannot improve yourself.
  • This is a quote from Diana Petrella: “You were born into this world as a perfect, loving, curious, and creative being. This is your True Self; your authentic you. Everyone’s childhood includes obstacles to overcome, but when you’re supported in a loving, nurturing environment, you can navigate life’s rough spots with faith and security, trusting you have the help and inner resources available to not only cope, but to thrive. Your True Self remains strong, secure, and deeply connected with her source energy, or Higher Power. But if you came from an abusive, neglectful, or emotionally unavailable family, your True Self’s journey may have been compromised. When confronted with the turmoil and loneliness of a dysfunctional or abusive environment, your True Self goes into hiding. Her authentic feelings go underground because it feels unsafe to express them. This results in a deep feeling of emptiness, as if something is missing. Anxiety, panic, or acting out behaviors may surface. Sadness and depression, or anger and rage, become a familiar emotional mask. She may soothe herself with food [or other addictive behaviors] to cope. Your feelings become frozen in time at the age your True Self hides. Your Inner Child then carries those feelings forward. Something may have happened years or decades ago, but if your feelings were not acknowledged, honored and released, they remain stored inside you and your body. The energy of those feelings runs your life until you’re able to heal and release them.
  • “Only a person who has passed through the gates of humility can ascend to the heights of the spirit. To attain true knowledge, you must first learn to respect this knowledge.” – Rudolf Steiner. This is why breakdown and devastating destruction precede a true awakening and ascension; there can be no real evolution without it. Those that do not know humility and reverence cannot be given that which is most sacred.
  • I finally found someone else who gets it… the ego versus self stuff, I mean. There is an authentic self. And spiritual development involves becoming that authentic self, not getting rid of it! Here’s a great explanation of it.
  • Happiness is not in the future. It’s learning how to be here, and accept what’s here, all the time. Article: Wherever you go, there you are.
  • A beautiful Ted Talk about depression and spiritual awakening by Lisa Miller.
  • Brene Brown on Boundaries (I don’t need to tell you why this is important!)

I’ll keep adding more as they come across my desk. If you find that one of these links becomes broken, please let me know.