Monday, January 29, 2018

Morning Reflection: Who are you angry with?

Why I can’t let it go.

I had a revelation today, that answered a question I have been struggling with for a long time. Specifically, why do I remain angry at certain people in my life, and why can’t I let it go and move on?

I know that holding on to anger affects me negatively, and I try my best between meditation and life changes to release these feelings, but some stubbornly remain.

When I view anger at someone else through the lens of my 6 human needs, I find that it meets at least 3 of those needs. In being angry, I achieve my significance need by looking at the way I was treated, and feeling like a victim. But in addition, and this only came to me this weekend while teaching a class of 14 year olds who said that they struggle with forgiveness, I’ve realized that being angry at someone allows me to continue a relationship that for some reason I would like to perpetuate, even if the relationship was in some ways painful.

And further, I’ve realized that by being angry, it allows me to control the parameters of the ongoing relationship in a way that probably prevents me from being hurt again, which is a form of certainty.

So by not forgiving someone, I am able to supply my needs of certainty, significance and connection. It is said that any action that meets three of our needs will become an addiction if we do not take steps to control it.

So if I am to learn to more effectively forgive, I must learn to become self sufficient in my own needs.

And that is so much harder than I thought possible.

Who are you angry with?
-- Dr. Alan Barnes

Friday, January 26, 2018

Morning Reflection: The Perspective of All That Is

The perspective of all that is.

I have often wondered what my ancestors would think of me. Would they look at my life, marveling at the peace and comfort that surrounds me? What must my descendants think of me, struggling here with the rudimentary technology that they find comical in its inadequacy.

Will those in the future look at me in the way that I look at people 200 years ago; with a wry smile at the strange beliefs and customs that limited and constrained their progression.

I often wonder what is it that will appear so obvious in 100 years, yet is unknown to us now. My recent readings and studies suggest that our mind, focus and intention in the quantum and macro-quantum worlds is the next frontier in our ongoing adventure as a species.

Yet for all of our technology, I believe it is the progression of the collective soul of our common humanity that will ennoble and edify our evolution.

When we take the suffering of others more seriously. When we demand a greater humanity from those who would lead. When we are willing to allow humility and compassion to console our own wounds, and when we are ready to give of ourselves because in our hearts we are wealthy, only then will we be ready to live up to the divine spark that resides in each one of us.

When we see our lives from the perspective of all that is, we will recognize that we are more wealthy than we imagine, more powerful that we realize; far stronger than our challenges; and more loving than our fears.

Then, we will understand ourselves, and each other.

And we will have peace.
-- Dr. Alan Barnes

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Morning Reflection: The Perspective of Welcome

The perspective of welcome.

For many years, I lived with the false belief that God, or the universe, or whomever, hated me. I viewed every bad event in my life as a testimony to the truth that I was never going to be allowed to be successful. Growing up in a dysfunctional home often leaves more mental scars than physical ones, and that belief came out of a difficult environment.

I have come to realize that not only was that mindset damaging to my future, it was actually a way of excusing my own weakness and selfishness. If the universe was determined to see me fail, then I was never guilty when something went wrong, even though in quiet moments I could see that some things were my fault.

In reality, most negative events were just the reality of living in an entropic universe. Bad days occur, things break, and ill advised choices end up turning out badly.

For me, my life began to turn around when I adopted a phrase I heard. I believe it was Tony Robbins who said “Life is not happening to you, it is happening for you”.

I resisted this at first, because it forced me to accept that there is always something good in any experience if I look for it. It also forces me out of my self-justifying victim mentality, and into a mindset that places upon me the opportunity to be responsible for my choices, no matter how difficult the circumstances may be.

As my mindset, or perspective, changes, I come to realize that whatever the situation, I can find something of good, some lesson of value, in any experience. When I decide that my life is happening for me, the universe opens to show a myriad of positive possibilities, if I but welcome them even though they appear cloaked in misfortune.

When I do this, I am blessed.

How is your life happening for you today?
-- Dr. Alan Barnes

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Morning Reflection: What are you grateful for?

Now is the enemy of forever.

I’ve been writing about perspective, and how our emotions are affected by it. I’ve also come to understand that time is a perspective, but one that can consume us if we do not control it.

As people try to become more ‘mindful’, they attempt to bring their awareness into their current experience frame, trying to remove all other time references to truly focus only on what is ‘now’.

But in doing so, we risk taking for granted that and those which are now, but may not always be.

As I sit in my office at my home, I am moved to realize that the earth in this location was once free flowing lava, then fields, now houses, and may yet change into a scorched desert or a frozen tundra. If I tie myself into only now, I lose my gratitude references and can lose my sense of wonder at the time in which I find myself.

Likewise, I always try to treat my family from the understanding that they may not always be here, and that at a future time I could mourn their absence. There may yet be a future in which I am without one or all of them, and I try to feel that future in order to keep a clear perspective on the now.

When I maintain this frame of reference, tempore-sensu (latin, time sense), I am filled with gratitude and love for the people around me. I find a more profound sense of purpose and value in each day, realizing how blessed I am to be, here, now.

Maintaining a greater reference of time and location help me to find humility, gratitude, focus and joy. I am hopeful that it allows me to be a better servant.

I exist to serve, because it brings me peace.

What are you grateful for?
-- Dr. Alan Barnes

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Morning Reflection: The Beliefs of a Child

The beliefs of a child.

As I examine my thoughts, I find that the deepest, darkest and most restrictive self beliefs that I hold were formed in my early childhood years. Then, like scripture of the soul, they are followed without a sincere, objective evaluation.

I find it requires great stillness to become aware of these thoughts and beliefs. Often they are found in unnecessarily intense responses to a situation that did not deserve such.

Since most of these deep beliefs are formed in childhood, I have come to realize that the vulnerability of being a child creates an immense interpretive distortion in the experiences that shape our beliefs.

Our interpretation of any event is the process by which we create meaning, and meaning thereby creates an emotion. As a child, our vulnerability and immaturity can exaggerate a potentially painful occurrence into a life threatening perspective.

As an example, strong disapproval from a dominating parent can be interpreted as a threat of abandonment, which is then perceived as a life threatening event to be avoided at all costs. Or maybe a child who grows up seeing his or her parents dreadfully unhappy will avoid responsibility usually associated with maturity in a desperate attempt to avoid the pain which he or she perceives as being an outcome of being self sufficient.

These beliefs become a part of us. Never questioned, every active in our minds.

Over time, we perceive more and more experiences through this perspective, and we never stop to realize that the very lens through which we are viewing the world is distorted, deformed and destructive.

This often creates a psychologically debilitating pattern of painful perspectives and subsequent behaviors that limit where there are no boundaries, and restrain when there could be rejoicing.

Since these beliefs are usually formed in the presence of a perspective-magnified pain, I find myself reluctant to shine a light into my own darkness.

Only in the still calmness of peace can I truly stare into the center of my soul, and find a way through the darkness into the clarity of a newly awakened perspective.

Facing the darkness is often the only way to find the light.

So I search onwards, finding the truths of my soul.

But they are…elusive.
-- Dr. Alan Barnes

Monday, January 22, 2018

Morning Reflection: Changing my Perspective Changes my Emotion

Changing my perspective changes my emotion.

As I try to control my state, or in other words control my mindset, I have found that losing my perspective is often associated with an increased intensity of unwanted emotions.

Last year’s eclipse was a chance for me to evaluate my perspective. For a brief moment in time, the moon obscuring the sun helped me experience, in a more profound manner, my place in the universe.

So often we allow ourselves to be drawn into this world-bound, time-locked existence where the small seems to be much bigger.

But when I am reminded, like last year, that we are a part of something much larger and more complex than we can comprehend, I find my perspective is changed, and the things which trouble me are reduced in comparison.

In experiencing the eclipse, I felt part of something greater. Strangely, this did not make me feel smaller, but reminded me that I am a component of a much larger whole, and that somehow soothes my soul.

I felt a sense of community with the whole human race, which brought a joy to my soul that few things can match. A friend of mine wrote that the eclipse was for him a ‘spiritual experience’, and I know how he feels.

While the universe can be a difficult place in which to reside, I am comforted by the realization that there is so much more out there than the small things which unbalance me day to day.

Whatever your belief about the origins and ongoing nature of this universe in which we reside, I hope you find strength and perspective when you look up into the sky.

We are a part of something greater than we can possibly imagine.

And that gives us value.
-- Dr. Alan Barnes

Friday, January 19, 2018

Morning Reflection: I Have Value

I have value despite my imperfections.

I wrote a while ago about Kintsugu, the Japanese art and philosophy of mending pottery with gold, which actually increases its value.

I have been meditating recently on the self belief that my imperfections decrease my value.

I believe this flows out of my addiction to Binaryism, making black or white choices out of gray data. When did I learn this addiction?

As children in school, we are taught in logic, mathematics, grammar and the rigid construct of the multiple choice answer.

Rarely are we instructed in the arts of philosophy, introspection and compassion. We are taught to look for the right answer, when in reality more truths in our world are articles of opinion rather than elements of facts.

But in our search for answers, we often forgo a truth of complexity for a lie of simplicity.

We force our opinions to conform to a rigid standard, instead of deciding to find beauty, value and depth in the chaos and imperfection of the human soul.

I have come to realize that my self-perceived imperfections are sometimes those things that allow me to be of value to others.

My introspection, born out of a desire to understand the demons which beset me, has given me answers that have cleared the path for others. My will, which has been forged in the chaos of my despair, has created a mechanism for determination despite obstacles.

My imperfections have caused me pain, sadness and frustration, yet they have also led to some of my greatest opportunities to serve others, which is becoming an overwhelming passion in the days of my life.

So I am forced to accept my imperfections as a part of the whole which I believe gives me value.

Although I question that, because that suggests that I think that value exists only because of what one does, not because one is.

But that, I feel, is a topic for another day.
-- Dr. Alan Barnes