I think I might be over my issue

I know I commented on the last thread about how the lessons that guy wrote gave me issues, but after reading through the last free one I began to seriously question whether he read knows anything about the world and people to really comment on it:

" Finding neutral has a lot to do with refraining. Well, it doesn’t look like much from the outside, however, there’s a number of little, subtle things that are happening: your consciousness shifts, your point of view shifts, the way you communicate changes, your awareness level is being raised to your internal dialogue as well as to what other people say. And all of these things prepare you to explore that belief system further so that it becomes very easy to dismantle.

The specific exercise I’m inviting you to do in this session, and practice periodically throughout your day, or as much as you can is to refrain from agreeing or disagreeing with people wherever possible. And this might not sound like much, but it’s a very subtle art, that as you master controlling the beliefs, your point of view and your mind, it grants you flexibility and control over your words, and what you believe or don’t believe.

I’ll give you an example of a story. And I’ve heard various versions of this. And one version is that there’s a Zen master who lives next to this family. And it’s an old, ancient time. And one of the families in that village is able to capture a couple of wild horses. And the father of the family says: “Let’s celebrate, this is wonderful, we’ve got these horses now. We’ll train them, and they’ll help us till the field,” and he’s telling the Zen master this, and the Zen master says: “Well, good news, bad news, who knows, we’ll see.” And so the framer goes on about trying to train these horses, and his son is working on breaking one of the horses, and he gets thrown from the horse and breaks his leg. And the father is sad and dejected, and he says: “This is terrible news, this is a terrible happening, my son has had a broken leg.” And all this happens in that ancient time when it wasn’t so normal just to go to the hospital, and to have it put in the cast and healed, so his son might be crippled for life. And the farmer’s going with great pity and sorrow to the Zen master, and the Zen master says: “Well, good news, bad news, who knows, we’ll see.” And war breaks out, and an army comes to take all the young men off to war, except this man’s son, who isn’t able to go because he has a hurt leg. And the farmer is telling the Zen master: “This is wonderful, this is fantastic, it’s so fortunate that he had that fall from the horse,” and the old Zen master says: “Well, good news, bad news, who knows, we’ll see.” You see the farmer was jumping to a conclusion and was making an assumption about whatever the situation was, based on that immediate moment assessment, and the Zen master was being more flexible and willing to take a larger timeline on things, and not assuming that one event or situation define the future, or that you can assess the whole future, based on one interpretation. The Zen master had flexibility in his point of view. He didn’t agree with the villager and also didn’t disagree. He was respectful, and in this way could avoid conflict with the farmer, and yet, and this may be the most important point, he did not invest his faith in any particular story, opinion, or belief that the farmer was offering him.

That ability to refrain from believing the stories somebody’s telling you is what I’m going to invite you to do in this exercise. When people communicate with you, one of the things that they often will do is to get you to believe their side of the story or to get you to disagree with them. You can say, that in some ways in that latter case, there’s a side of their personality looking to engage in a conflict – that way they can defend their point of view even harder. It’s one of the things that happen, regardless of why people are doing it.

So, your role, your mission is to refrain from agreeing and from disagreeing with people, when they’re offering you an opinion or an opportunity to take or not to take a side in something. And that amount of refrain will require you to do a couple of things: 1) It will require you to pay close attention to the words that people are using; 2) It will require you to pay closer attention to the words you say back to them. And this is something that’s so usually just an automatic habit of the words that come out of our mouth. So, I’m inviting you to heighten your awareness of the way you use your words in conversations, to become an observer of your own words. This will help you to become the observer of your own thoughts and shift your point of view. As you move to be an observer of what people say and how they say it, and start slightly shifting the language of how you respond, you will refrain from agreeing or disagreeing, which is to say you will refrain from putting your faith or your personal power into an agreement with them.

And so, building your personal power is a big part of this assignment, and you build it by not wasting it. It’s similar to what we’ve learned about in the “Abdication of power” session, where I had you to refrain from really believing that the source of your emotions comes from outside you, to refrain from believing that story of “He makes me so, she makes me so,” to refrain from putting your faith, your personal power into that story, and/or at least to start questioning that story, and through questioning and being a skeptic of that story, to refrain from putting your personal power in it, so that you have more personal power. In the current exercise I’m inviting you to do the same kind of thing, but this time to do it in the conversations you have with other people. This is a step up and a preparation to really doing it with your self.

One of the things that happens in the mind is that there’s one part of the mind that will make a proposal. It will say: “God, that was really stupid, I shouldn’t have done that!” And another part in the mind, another voice in our head will agree and say: “God, that was really stupid, I’m such an idiot.” So, one part of the mind is making the proposal and the other part of the mind is agreeing to it. And this often happens below the radar of what we’re conscious of. One way to start seeing easier this kind of internal conversation, where we reinforce or sometimes create beliefs in our own head, is to really observe how we do this with other people and then refrain from doing it with them. This way we’ll be more prepared to see, find, discover those agreements we make within ourselves, in our own mind, and unravel those. So we’ll start with the obvious ones, and then we’ll work our way out to the internal ones.

There’s a number of ways that people propose agreements. And they can make from very simple proposals to very complex ones. Some of these proposals can really hook our attention: the ones about family, friends, work, politics, environment and other very emotional issues, where perhaps we’ve already invested a lot of faith and belief, so that we are charged up about them. In these areas we’ve got our opinions ready to go, and we are in a hurry to share them with people. Then there are the other ones that are a little innocuous ones that go on throughout the day: a comment about what’s somebody’s wearing, what they look like, about how the weather is, about another person in the office, about a sports team, about something that’s light conversation. I’m going to invite you to do you best to refrain from agreeing or disagreeing in any one of those circumstances.

So, it might seem that someone makes a comment about the weather, whether it’s good or bad, and that’s a nice conversation starter, but they are asking you to agree, to put your faith into the description about something that’s right in front of you. And even if it’s accurate, there’re ways to lend yourself to having a conversation there without having to put your faith in it, so that you can keep recovering and not wasting your personal power. And so you might respond with: “You’ve got no argument with me.” And that suggests that you agree, when in fact what you’re really doing is not taking a side, without agreeing or disagreeing, and they get to believe you agree with them. Someone makes a big blunder in a sports game, and that’s the kind of the conversation you have on Monday morning about who did won on the ball field. Then you can listen and you can make a similar comment. You can say: “Oh, yeah I saw it, I couldn’t believe he’d done that.” So there’re ways to subtly stay a part of the conversation and yet shift your words slightly, so that you aren’t investing personal power into these descriptions, these kind of a gossip, these kind of agreements. It’s going to require that you operate and communicate with people in a heightened state of awareness, but this will help later. And you can say that these little conversations might seem like no big deal. “Oh, let’s just continue on with those, I’m not really investing much of my personal power.” But the more important part of it, that you might not pay attention to, is that these really small conversations are actually easier to be seen. So, when someone gives you an opinion about something that you have a lot of beliefs about (a family member, a drama in a family, a political agenda you’re passionate about, an environment agenda you’re passionate about), you’re very quick to agree or disagree, you have lots of beliefs already supporting you and you jump right in on the bandwagon. And then all your beliefs systems are lined up and push you to agree or disagree, and take a side. And those beliefs can be kind of powerful. So it’s easier to start with the small ones.

It’s also easier to start with the small ones, not just cause we can more easily see them and refrain, and practice there, so that when the big ones come up we will have practiced to be better at it, but very often the small ones lead to the bigger ones. I’ll give you two examples of this:

  1. I went to a sales training seminar when I was doing a lot of sales. And this really incredible salesman was giving us presentation, and he was exposing these techniques and training us these techniques, and it was quite surprising what the really skillful salesmen do, and how subtle they do it, so that you don’t notice. And let’s take the example of buying a car. Let’s say you’re test driving a car and you’re out for the drive, and the salesman’s there, and he’s asking you what you like or don’t like, what kind of price range you’re looking for, how much you want to spend a month, what are the most important features of a car and what’s really not important, whether it’s the car color or the gas mileage, or the safety and the number of the airbags, visibility, seeing other cars on the road. All of these things come into play. And he’s just asking you how you feel about all those things, what’s important to you and not important to you. So, now you’re outside, sitting at the table and he’s asking you: “You liked the ride in the car, it felt good, didn’t it?” And he’s telling you what you’ve already told him. So he’s just asking you this to confirm that this was what you said, so that there is a consistency there, and so that you say yes that’s what you told him, cause you’re not going to change that, so that you don’t look silly by being contradictory. And he says: “And the gas mileage, it’s the good mileage for what you’re looking for, isn’t it?” And you have already agreed with what’s he’s telling you, so you say: “Yes.” “And you’ve checked the safety features, and they even show up well on the insurance rate you get for this car. So that works favorably for you, doesn’t it?” And he already knows the answers for the questions he’s asking you and he’s getting “yes”. He’s getting “yes” about all he asks. And finally he says: “And these are the payments you’d like to keep it under, and if I go to my manager and let you get this car, that covers everything that you want, under this price that you want, then you’ll have to agree that you get everything you want for the price you wanted, would you?” “Yes.” He is inching you with “yes”, by “yes”, by “yes”, by “yes”, to larger and larger commitment. So, now, if you all of a sudden change your mind, because you haven’t test driven all the cars you want to test drive, that’s not a part of the equation, cause he’s giving you all the car you want for the price you want, and it’d be very inconsistent in this point for you to say “no”. Cause we learnt to be consistent in this society. We don’t want to look contradictory. And then he’s not going to ask you “if” you take the car, but he’ll say: “Well, I’m going to go to my manager, and I’ll see if I can get you that price, and if I can, we can get this car today.” And off he goes. That salesman, by getting you to commit to a number of small agreements, has lined you up and he’s got so much momentum, and you’ve invested so much of your faith into: “This is a good car and that’s what I want,” that now for you to change your mind, for you to be flexible, to take a different perspective, to change the direction that you head at, you’ve got to unravel all those little agreements that you’ve built up, and you have to break each one. So, this example shows how all those subtle agreements that don’t seem like a big deal, that happen in a casual conversation, can add up and take us in the direction that maybe we don’t really want fully to commit to yet.

  2. Second experience was that at one point I was dating a woman, and she was an attorney. And she was very well skilled in this Socratic method that they teach in the law school, and practice in the court room. And part of that process is to provide a set of assumptions that then they build on, and they ask the next question and they build on that, and they ask the next question and they give you a very specific set of “Well if this is the case, then you have to admit that that means A, and if that’s the case then that means B, and if A and B are the case, then this concludes C, and if C is the case, with A and B supporting it, then D…” And by the time they get to F, by these steps and logic, if you take all those assumptions and you add them up, then you’ll have to agree with F, or else you’ll look kind of silly. At the surface anyways. Well, it’s a very different experience when you date an attorney, and they use this technique on you, cause I would have this technique used on me, and by the time I’d agreed to several of these steps in this conversation I would end up feeling guilty and wrong for stuff that I had done or hadn’t done in this relationship. And I started to be wary whenever she started this after a while, and I’d try side step number one. And I wasn’t aware of what I was doing at the time, but I knew that if I started down this road, I was going to end up with guilt at the end, or shame or something – by the number of agreements that would build up.

And so this is how small agreements that we make and put our personal power into, build an agenda. They build a structure of agreements, and these agreements lead us to draw further conclusions that are bigger, have more of an emotional impact, and are harder to shift or get out of, without appearing stupid or inconsistent, or without judging ourselves, which we also don’t want to do. So, once we’ve gone so far, we don’t want to change it, we don’t want to appear to be a flip flopper or inconsistent, when in fact even though we agreed to essentially A, B, C and D in principle, that doesn’t mean we agreed to G. But fear of self judgment and of what we might look like, or fear of what others will think of us, might be one of the reasons we’ll continue with that logic, even though it no longer fits who we are or what our motivation was.

So, how do we have conversation with people who are proposing for us to agree with them, without disagreeing with them? Let me give a couple of examples of this that how you deal with it will depend on the situation or the person. Roughly, we’re going to have to comment, but then preferably kick the ball back into their court. If someone’s talking about the political or the environmental situation, we can say: “You know I don’t know the whole story about that, what do you know about it?”, or we can say: “I don’t have a really definite opinion about that, yet I’m still learning about it. What do you think?” You see, very often, and you might find this rather funny as you observe this, people aren’t in a real need of your opinion. Instead, it’s a beautiful opportunity for them to give theirs, and they can’t wait to get the conversation back into their court, so that they can tell you what it is, and sound intelligent doing so. Another comment, while someone’s sharing their opinion with you, might be: “That’s interesting,” and you can also ask them to tell you something more about that, or you can say: “I’ve never really thought about it that way,” and then ask them something more.

So, this is the process of letting people talk and inviting them to share more, without you having to take a side, agree or disagree. Part of the art of doing this is to do this in a way that other people don’t notice what’s you’re doing – you want to stay below the radar, you don’t want to appear evasive, you don’t want people to catch on that you’re being evasive, cause that then starts a whole other line of questionings that makes it more difficult and possibly even uncomfortable. Perhaps somewhere down the road, you may want to share with some close friends what you’re doing and why. But lots of people will probably find it strange, probably because they don’t have the background you have, and you can’t take the time to tell them why you’re doing what you’re doing. And it also might be kind of hard to explain without them listening to a few hours of audio.

One of the things that you may find about this process of shifting the way you communicate and the agreements you make, and how you make them, is that this process is uncomfortable. One of the reasons it is so is that to agree with others is a very common social dynamic that we learned a long ago. We learned in a lot of cases to particularly agree with the authority because of what they said because if we didn’t agree with mom or dad when we were little, they could punish us. So, agreeing seemed like a good idea because we automatically trusted them, and also seemed a good idea because the other option seemed to disagree, and that had consequences. So, as we went through school and then later through business, we found out that it was easier to go along in order to get along. “Don’t be the squeaky wheel.” And because our mind is structured in such a way that we tend to think that to agree or to disagree are the only two options available, we don’t look for the third option, which is to have a neutral position. It’s like the role Switzerland played in the World War II – the role of being respectful to the both sides. It’s a very respected position that will keep you from creating enemies through disagreements and from getting into ally relationships that can because you trouble later on. So, there’s an option to neither agree nor to disagree – it’s an option of refraining from spending your personal power on people’s agendas and on their conceptual ideas.

One of the facets of doing this came up in the story about pizza, that happened with the friend, a client of mine, in a pizza restaurant. We were having pizza, and he’s like: “This is the best pizza in the world.” Is that an agreement? Should I say that I agree to that? And so we got into this discussion about the nature of that subtle agreement, and what it sets you up for. And it’s a pretty bad practice. For one, because his love of that pizza meant it was the best pizza in the world to him. And it’s very different from being the best pizza in the world. You see, if he says: “This is my favorite pizza in the world, it’s the one I like the best,” – no one can argue with him, it’s his personal opinion and he’s stating it as such. But if he says that it’s the best pizza in the world, that opens up the door for everybody else who’s got their “Chicago pizza” agenda, their “New York pizza” agenda, their this or that pizza agenda to say: “Oh, no, you don’t know about pizza, this pizza over here is the best pizza in the world.” It’s almost like you’re inviting conflict from everybody who has a belief about pizza when you say: “This is the best pizza in the world” in such a way as if it’s the blanket law for the world or the universe. But if you say: “This is my favorite pizza,” then other people’s beliefs systems won’t have a conflict with you, and you can avoid disagreement. And that’s just because you phrased it in terms of what is your favorite.

The interesting thing about the shift in how you describe your pizza, your car, your job, your political agenda is that when you recognize that your beliefs about what works for you, what’s your favor, what’s the best for you, what does’t work for you are all about you, and you’re stating it as “This is my beliefs system, this is what’s good for me, this is what’s right for me,” not trying to apply it to “This is what’s right for the world, best for the world, this is what others should be doing because it’s the right thing to do,” you don’t take your personal opinion, you don’t attempt to make a law for other people, and this allows you to avoid a lot of disagreements, conflict, argument. People will respect that you have your opinion about whatever it is that works for you. Your beliefs are yours, the way you are living is right for you. But when you say: “This is the environmental policy that is right for people, this is what we have to do politically,” you’re basically saying: “This is right,” and you are investing in that “This is the better way, and anybody else who disagrees with me has a lesser way.” And you’ll start noticing it’s kind of disrespectful, or at least that’s very often how other people interpret it, or they become competitive or argumentative, or you have conflicts.

Another interesting thing about that is that when you have an agreement, a structure in your mind of “This is the way it is in the world,” they become very difficult to break or to change. Take for example: “I’m the worst person in the world.” That’s a very different agreement from “I have a belief where I think I’m the worst person in the world.” See, the latter is very personal, it exists only in your beliefs system, according to your opinion, and it allows you to recognize that other people in the world have different beliefs systems, different opinions, and you recognize that all you have to do to change it is to change your belief system and what you believe about yourself. You don’t have to change the way the world sees you. But in the former, when you say: “I’m the worst person in the world,” there’s the assumption that the whole world sees you as the worst person in the world. Oh, now you have to change the whole world’s opinion of you, and it’s extremely difficult.

So, the shift is in how you describe things when people are attempting to pull you into agreements of “He’s such a jerk,” that’s a flat out “Everyone would agree he’s such a jerk. Don’t you agree?” You might have a personal opinion and you might phrase it as such. You might say: “Oh, I can see how you see him that way,” or “You’ve got no argument with me.” Then that person will take it as if you agree, even though you don’t. You’re just saying you don’t disagree. But that phrase, that description “He’s such a jerk,” assumes that everybody in the world has that opinion, and that it is a fixed characteristic, instead of “I think he’s such a jerk,” or “I see what he’s doing and it really makes him look like a jerk.” Those are very different connotations. One is the absolute law and the other is just limited to a personal opinion.

So, wherever you can, in those places that you’re giving an opinion, and you’re going to agree with someone and disagree with someone, make sure that it’s from the perspective of your own point of view, and not in the context of an absolute “This is the way the world is.” Because the latter is about investing a lot of faith in a huge agreement, and it gives you very little flexibility. Whereas if you phrase or comment something in a way that it’s your own perspective or your own experience, then you have a greater flexibility to change your point of view. And if you want to change your agreements, they are much easier to change, because they are limited within the realm of your own belief system, instead of “Ok, this is the whole structure of the world that has to change for me to see it differently.”

But there’re two areas where this refraining from agreeing or disagreeing with other people doesn’t apply: work and business, and raising children.

  1. On you job, what you get paid for is to give an opinion (assumed your job is really about giving an opinion, and not some other kind of work that you have to do). For example: you’re consulting on a project, and your boss says: “What do you think we ought to do?” He’s paying you to give your insight and your input to this process, and you owe him your best opinion. One way to do that is to say: “Well, from my perspective this is what I see,” as opposed to saying: “This is what we should do,” which now could offend others, or they can just have a reaction to it. So if you say: “Oh, this is how I see it,” then you are less likely to have a conflict, and you’re allowing the flexibility to change it if other people come up with points that you weren’t considering. Of course, this isn’t always the case. Whenever you couch things and a personal perspective that way, they generally don’t have this much impact, they aren’t as powerful. So, depending on how much authority you want to put in your words, how strong you want to make them, you’ll choose how you say it, provided you’re aware of the words coming out of your mouth and of how other people will interpret them, depending on the phrasing you use. So, in work, in business, your opinion, your input, your expertise, it’s pretty much required.

  2. The other place where you will have to engage in agreements and disagreements is in family, at home. If you’re raising teenagers and your teenage son or daughter wants to go out to a party and stay there till 4 o’clock in the morning, then your role as a parent towards them is not best served by saying: “Ok, I’m not going to agree and I’m not going to disagree.” That’s not a healthy parenting, cause there need to be clear boundaries about what’s okay and what’s not okay, and they need to be communicated clearly. And if your son or daughter disagrees, that’s ok. That’s ok with you to disagree with them. This can be a place where the benefits stem to have very structured guidelines about what’s okay and what’s not okay.

But outside of that, do your best to refrain from agreeing and disagreeing with people. Find a way to slip around the conversation covertly. With “Oh, that’s interesting, I’ve never thought about it that way before,” or “You’ve got no argument with me about that,” or perhaps “You know, I can see why you have that opinion about them.” These are all ways to respond, reply, engage, without putting your faith, your personal power into the opinion that belongs to somebody else, the opinion that’s very often structured as “This is the absolute law for the world, and this is how everybody should see it,” which is just dangerous, cause you’re no doubt going to run up against other people who see it differently. It’s a set up for conflict when you take a side or when you disagree with the side.

And after all, perhaps three or four or five years down the road you might see it differently, like that Zen master who had a larger perspective. More than once I’ve been wrong about people. More than once I’ve missed in my initial assessment, and in my secondary, and even after my assessment of six months, what people were about, what they were capable of.

So, start small, start in places where there’s not a lot of resistance to doing this, be covert, work up to bigger ones in the conversations you have with people. That will prepare you to then be more of an observer of an internal dialogue that goes on in your head, in the part of your mind that proposes an agreement, the part of your mind that accepts that proposal as true. And you’ll be better able to step back from what you say about things, what opinions you have and what thoughts you have about things, and you’ll be better able to be a neutral party, to not agree with a comment in your mind and not disagree, to not engage in a conflict back and forth with the different beliefs in your head, to step back and be neither a foe nor an ally to either side of those beliefs, to be neutral.

And understand that some of this will have a little resistance and will be uncomfortable when you do it with other people initially. It’ll have a resistance and be uncomfortable because you’re breaking some of the normal social paradigms of how we learnt to be accepted by other people, how we learnt to go along to get along. See, those social norms of “If I agree with you, then we are on the same side, and therefore I can trust you… You’ll back me… We’ll be friends,” happen through agreements about stories we make and opinions we have. That’s the way we learnt some of that social conditioning. If we take the same side or the same story, then we’re friends. But that friendship costs you your faith, you have to buy into opinions, you have to buy into agendas. And when you don’t buy into opinions, agendas, beliefs, you’re violating this unconscious part of your social contract, but you are also gaining your freedom of what you do with your attention, your faith and control you have over your emotions. But to do this you will have to change a communication pattern in you relationship, a communication pattern that has probably been there for a very, very long time, the one that you’ll have to chip away with this exercise, to slowly, periodically, piece by piece find this place of neutrality within yourself, observing neutrality that can refrain from agreeing and disagreeing.

And so, like all these exercises, practice this as best you can. Go back and listen to it and other audios as a reminder, and recognize that you’re going to have to come back to this periodically. I don’t expect this to be the kind of thing that we turn a switch on and say: “Ok, I’m perfect at it.” While this actual activity requires an actual high degree of awareness and practice, it’s easier than session number 3 about the attention, which is more subtle and therefore more challenging to do. But this one, like all of them, comes to practice. Do it for whatever your cycle is and then give it a break, and work on it here and there, and then come back to it once a month or two, or three times a month. And then on other days work on other exercises, “Gratitude”, “Attention”. Rotate through the exercises.

And this is how you build mastery. This is how you really build up the effectiveness of all these sessions. Slowly, piece by piece, chipping away all these really subtle habits that are the foundations for huge agreements in our life. Until one day you chip one out, and then it’s like a break that knocks the whole wall down. But for now, at this early phase of the journey, we’re still gathering personal power. We’re gathering personal power, we’re learning to shift our point of view to this more observer, neutral state and we’re refraining from wasting our personal power. But what’s required to refrain is a heightened awareness of the words that come out of our mouth, before they come out of our mouth, and this will help us heighten our awareness to the thoughts that go through our mind before we agreed to believe those thoughts.

And so some people might think that this is a small exercise, an insignificant task, that it doesn’t amount to much. But in that journey of a few miles, this is the one step, and if you catch yourself ten, twenty times a day, it’s twenty steps. And imagine the number of agreements that you make with other people, the little ones, the number of times a day you do that, and then multiply that by the number of days you do that, and then add in the agreements you make with yourself, in your own mind, the thoughts you agreed to in the same way, a proposal, and then an acceptance of that proposal. And imagine investing your personal power in all those agreements that fixate your point of view in that victim and judgment role, little thousands of those in a year. And this doesn’t seem like doing much, because you are not. In a way, you’re not doing. You’re not taking a step in that direction. You’re not digging yourself a hole, not going downhill, with each little subtle agreement that you then have to reverse yourself out of later. It’s far easier not to take a step in that direction. And just by finding that neutral ground, you’re more and more impeccable, you have more personal power, you can change a lot bigger agreements that you do find, and I’ll show you how to do it in the upcoming sessions.

And so that comment by the Zen master of “I don’t know, we’ll see,” “Oh, that’s interesting,” is a small comment, insignificant comment, but when you understand the awareness behind that phrase, the non-commitment of personal power to an opinion, and you understand that he’s done it thousands of times, then it’s not small, it’s a mastery of awareness not to let other people’s opinions sway his point of view, not to let other people’s stories drive his emotions.

We tend to think of finding mastery in those big things, those monumental moments. But I tell you that if you can’t find your mastery in the smallest of moments, it’ll be very hard for you to find it in those big moments."

Like…to me it reads like someone who not only doesn’t understand history and how society and all that works but how social dynamics work too.

Bolding this to make it stand out more, this is the third lesson about attention which sounds more like a story he wants me to accept rather than what is true, which is highly ironic:

"This session is on the attention, and before I get into the topic of the attention, I want to review a couple of things, and that being these previous exercises: you should probably have one on “Gratitude” and one on “Abdication of power”. These beginning exercises are like building skills towards mastery in your life. There are some things that link them in what they are developing and leading to, but think of them as building skills. And in building skills we are working on completely separate aspects, and they may appear unrelated. In reality they are not. If you think of learning to play basketball or any sport, there’s a number of different basic skills within any sport, and for basketball there’s dribbling, there’s passing, there’s shooting, there’s catching the ball, there’s playing a defense, there’s rebounding, and as you learn a sport like basketball you’ll spend some time practicing shooting and you’ll practice different shots, and you’ll practice them with you opposite hand.

Then the other times you’ll just practice dribbling. Maybe you practice different moves, and at other times you just practice passing. And passing is not really related to rebounding, and shooting isn’t related to catching the ball, but then you start to practice all those basic fundamentals, and then you start to put them together in a game – now you can really play. But the reason you can really play is because you broke it down into some very basic fundamentals and you’ve practiced those basic fundamentals, so that brining that complex dynamic together of playing defense, anticipating where the player is going to pass the ball, intercepting it, passing it to your team mate, going to the bucket to get to an open shot, and shooting – all became a seamless operation that you don’t have to think about, because all those skills are automatic because you’ve practiced them.

What I like to do in helping people gain control over their life, beginning with control over their mind and their attention, is teach some basic skills. And that’s what these beginning exercises are doing. You’ll start to see particularly in the exercises 5 and 6, and the later ones in the program, how you start brining all those different pieces together. But in the beginning, just making small changes may not seem like much, but these little tiny shifts in your attention, in catching the words that come out of your mouth, in shifting to just a moment or a few seconds, or a few minutes of gratitude, what you’re really learning and experiencing, and practicing is a lot of very fundamental skills, that as you build those skills, it can help you change your life. I think you’ve noticed about learning the mastery, say of basketball, you don’t go out and practice dribbling and practice dribbling, and practice dribbling, until you really master dribbling, and then start learning how to shoot, and then practice shooting until you become an expert in shooting, and then learn how to pass. No. What you do is you spend a little time practicing dribbling, you spend some time practicing passing, you spend some time practicing shooting, and you practice a little bit in all those areas, so that you can bring them all up over time. Some people just like to take these exercises that I give and they are like: “Wow, that’s a lot, let me go run off and really get good at that one.” Well, one of the things that will really help you get better at some of these basic exercises is doing some of the other ones and complimenting the other areas of your skill set, because some of the skills that you’ll need to really say do a great job at practicing gratitude – the exercises you learn in different areas will help you to do that.

Ok, now let’s get in to the “Attention”. No doubt, most people have had the experience of driving their car, they ended up at their destination and they don’t remember what happened on the way there. It was like their car was driving on automatic, and in their mind they were thinking about this other story or off day dreaming. And maybe it was something you’re aware you were really stirred up about, or maybe you were just kind of going on automatic, day dreaming and you don’t remember even what you were thinking about, but something magical happened and it’s that you got to your destination. Well, some part of your consciousness was focused on the driving – that we can be assured of. Another part of your consciousness was focused on what was going on perhaps in your mind. In either case, what we can definitely say is that our attention was in two different areas, we were focused on two different things. Maybe not in a memorable way like driving a car, but we were certainly focused with heart of our consciousness on that task. This is part of how we function in life – where we focus our attention is a big factor at what we’re doing and how well we are able to do it. Then mastering how you focus your attention and what you focus your attention on is critical.

One of the aspects of the “Gratitude” exercise is that you’re learning and practicing how and where to focus your attention. And mastering the attention is key to gaining direction of your mind, your imagination, your emotions, and therefore the way you communicate, the words that come out of your mouth. It will help you master the expressions you make, and therefore the actions you take, and it will change the way you interact in your relationships.

To give you a better understanding, and for some learners who are more kinesthetic, let’s do an exercise. For this exercise pick something out in the distance. It may just be across a room, perhaps 15 feet away – the further away the better. Maybe you can look outside and off in the distance there’s a tree trunk you can look at. Make sure it’s a small distinct point, not like a horizon or a mountain. And then in your line of sight hold up a finger in front of you, so that you’re looking right through your finger at the object in the distance. And what you’ll notice is there are two fingers and they are transparent. Now if you shift your vision and you look at the finger with your eyes, but put your awareness, let’s say your attention on the back ground, what you can notice in the background is there are two of that object in the background. Notice at this moment that you’re focused on the finger: you can see the finger and yet your awareness, will call it your attention, is on the object in the background. So you’re splitting what you focus your attention on: the finger and the object in the background. And if you refocus your eyes to the distant object, you can be aware of the finger, you can be aware that it’s transparent, even hold it up in a way that you look right through it with one of your eyes, holding it in front of the distant object, so you get the appearance that you’re looking right through the silhouette of it. And now you can notice that your attention is split: you’re aware of the finger and you’re aware of the object in the distance. Now I want you to notice another element to this perception of how we see the world. That element is your eye. Notice how you’re being aware of your eye, while being aware of your finger and the object, and if you close one of your eyes, say your left eye, how the appearance of things changes.

And now close your right eye and open your left, and notice how the appearance of things change. Be more specific, focus on the object in the distance, be aware of the finger and the impression it makes relative to the background, and then alternate opening and closing each eye, so that the right eye’s open, and then the left, and the right, and the left, and the effect you create is the finger appears to move side to side. And now if you’re focused on the finger, and you alternate closing your left and right eye, the background appears to move. What we are doing is changing the way we see the world: changing the way our finger appears, the world appears, by just changing our point of view of perception, that being in this case our eyes. You know we could think of our left eye as a certain filter, our right eye as a certain filter, or we can look with both eyes, and now we get two transparent fingers or two background images, depending whether we focused near or far. Well, here’s another point of view: close both eyes, and just for fun listen to your finger, listen to the object in the distance – no, you can’t hear your finger, but by listening to it you are putting your attention on those objects, you’re focusing your attention in that direction.

As you listen, notice the direction you’re listening in and notice the feeling, because focusing your attention also has a feeling. You might just call it “concentrating”. Relate that concentration to directing your perception in a particular direction or place. And that feeling shifts depending on which sense you’re using: sight, sound, touch. You could say the point of view you’re seeing and perceiving something depends on which sense you’re using, and that you can direct that channel of perception into a certain direction physically, or to a certain direction in your mind where thoughts are coming from. And as you practice becoming more aware of where you focus your attention, you will notice this somewhat as a feeling exercise as anything else.

Put your finger down and be aware that vision is just one form of manipulating the attention. You could listen: and you could listen to the thoughts in your head, you can listen around you, you can listen for soft sounds, distant sounds, close sounds, you can listen for your heart beat. You can also do this with feelings. What is the sensation of the bottom of your left foot? Well, you’re probably aren’t aware that you’re sensing anything there, until you put your attention there. And then you notice the sensation of what your foot is touching, whether it’s the sock or the floor. You could say that we perceive an incredible multitude of sensations through sight, sound, smell, hearing, touch all the time. Then we’re sensing that, but what we actually are aware that we perceive is only where we focus our attention. Then the world that we’re aware of is very much dependent on where we focus our attention and how we focus it. A blind person focuses their hearing in a much different way than a seeing person. Then the attention is about how we discriminate what we focus on, and therefore it’s how we start to construct what’s important in our world, what’s not important, what stories and dreams, ideas, opinions, beliefs we’re going to let enter into our mind and which ones we are not.

Let me give you a story of how this might actually relate to our life, and how we feel about our day and our relationships. Friend of mine was going through a break up. Her lover, boyfriend, had moved across the country to start a business, and they were drifting apart. What had been a beautiful, incredibly engaging romance was falling apart, because of the various things going on, not having attention on each other. And I looked at her and I asked her how she felt and she felt angry. At the same time she was sad, she missed him. And at the same time she loved him. And with a little more coaxing she also saw that she was in fear – afraid of loosing the relationship. So the question is where is her attention? Well in this case it’s on him who’s three thousand miles away. But it’s also on four different versions of him that she’s holding in her imagination: one’s the man she loves, and she sees him through the point of view of love; the other one is the man she’s angry with for moving away, and she sees them through the lens and the point of view of anger; she’s sad she’s missing him and that’s the point of view of sadness; and she’s afraid of the end of relationships and loosing him permanently, so there’s a personality afraid of being alone, then it’s the set of eyes she’s viewing that character from. In this way in that one moment she is focused on four different characters in her mind, she has four different emotions; she’s in four different points of view.

You’ve noticed how you can be aware of the finger and the object in the distance, and even the point of view of your eyes that you are looking from? That’s having your attention on three different things. She has her attention on four different versions of him. This is the incredible capacity of our imagination to construct 4 different stories, create 4 different characters of the same person, put our consciousness into 4 different points of view that are emotionally related to love, anger, sadness and fear, that facilitates a creation of 4 different emotions from those points of view. It’s one of the beauties of our imagination and consciousness that we are able to perceive things from multiple points of view. The really interesting thing, interesting to me, is when you go one stop further, and you watch yourself – now you’re in the fifth point of view, watching those other four. That’s what we’ll call being the Observer, that’s what we’ll call engaging the witness consciousness. The really amazing part of that engaging that observer point of view is you’ve stepped out of the four different stories that are facilitating and generating 4 different emotions. By doing that you’ve stopped the looping cycle of emotion and story.

What I want to point to here is that our mind dreams, and our mind can have multiple dreams at one time, and I use the term “dream” in our mind to describe what she’s imagining, because it’s much more than a story, cause in that dream there’s this person that she’s imagining, there’s the story she has about him, maybe there’s a lot of memories in that story that are part of that dream, there’s a certain point of view that she’s dreaming the dream from, whether it’s point of view of anger, frustration, sadness, fear or love – those are different points of view, and that point of view of that story, where her attention is focused, facilitates the creation of emotion that corresponds with that point of view and the beliefs of that story. If she believes she’s losing the great love of her life – yes, there’s going to be sadness, and perhaps anger, and perhaps fear.

Something that’s important to realize is once we start getting into that point of view of that story that becomes a whole dream bubble we’re in, we start creating the emotion, corresponding to that dream, and now that emotion makes that whole dream feel very real. The emotion gives congruence, gives evidence to the fact that this dream is reality. It’s a virtual reality, that only holds together if we stay in that point of view and believe the story and the agreements in that story. What happens once we step outside that point of view of anger, fear? The story ceases to be true and the emotion falls apart. What many people try to do in changing these dreams is that they try to tell the story differently. They try to change the story. If they feel that they are an ugly person, then they start an affirmation that says “I’m beautiful”. Well, they’ve changed the story, but they haven’t changed two critical components: they haven’t changed the point of view necessarily and they may not have changed the emotion of what they feel about themselves. And without changing those two elements, those two elements will tend to hold the dream back together and bring our attention back into the old story of “I’m ugly”. Then if we are to really change these dreams in our mind that get us caught in this story loops that create lots of emotion, what we have to do is not only change the story, but change the point of view and change the emotion. That is really changing how our mind dreams. The key step to make this is to step into what we call witness point of view, or observer point of view, and I use those two terms interchangeably, and that witness-consciousness is stepping into the point of view that can see those dream bubbles of love, fear, anger, sadness from outside. We step outside those dream bubbles and we watch, not just the story in there, not just the emotion in there, but the point of view of the character, the personality. That changes everything.

The way we shift out of that point of view, that I’m going to share with you, is to start looking for what is that point of view. And you start to put your attention on that little dream bubble that you’re perceiving everything from, and let’s call it a judgmental point of view: he shouldn’t have done that, she shouldn’t have done that. When we say: “Ok, what’s the point of view of that story?”, “Oh, that’s this kind of personality,” then we take a look at that kind of personality: what is the consciousness that’s dreaming up that story, that’s telling this tale, that has that belief? And something very amazing happens when we observe the source of that story – when we’re observing the source of that story, we’re no longer in it. We can’t be. We’re the Observer of the story, or the Observer of that part of our mind that’s telling that story, to be more precise.

One of the ways that I like to think of the mind is as a world of dreams. And then what are we in this world of dreams? Let’s for the lack of a better word call ourselves “consciousness”. And we, as consciousness, what we’re doing in this world of our imagination in our mind, is travelling between all these different dreams, we call them stories, but with the point of view of emotion that’s in each one of them they are more than just a story, they are all virtual reality. Same kind of virtual reality we might experience at night when we’re asleep, in a dream – feels like we are really there, comes with all the experiences. Then as consciousness travelling through all these different dreams, we can be in multiple dreams at the same time. Those dreams can have multiple points of view and even those dreams can have stories about each other. What we are going to do in this exercise is beginning steps of learning how to navigate our mind and our consciousness, to get a handle over our imagination. And that starts with two questions: 1) What is my attention on? Is it on a finger or a sign in a distance? Is it on ex boyfriend, a boss, or a project I have to do. 2) What point of view I’m looking at it from? Because in the case of the woman, she could look at her soon to be ex from the point of view of love, sadness, fear, anger. Those are emotional bases, but you can also use different terms like Judge or Victim.

When you identify that point of view and you’re like: “Gosh, how am I seeing this?”, something very magical happens, and it is that you’re adopting a new point of view – you’re now the Observer of that point of view. In that new point of view, you know what’s very amazing? You are not caught up in the story. You’re not generating as much emotion. You might still have a good part of your consciousness stuck in that dream – that’s okay. The first step is to be aware of that and go: “Aha, part of my consciousness is still there. Let me sit back and watch it.” That’s all I want you to do. That’s it. A very simple exercise of “Where is my attention?”, and “What point of view am I viewing this from?”, or “What point of view is that part of my mind is viewing it from?” And maybe you can start to give it names, to help identify it. Preferably funny names, not judgmental names, if you’re going to go that far. But to identify those different aspects of your mind and to be aware that they are there for the sole purpose that by actively going and hunting down where your attention is going, and most importantly the point of view you’re perceiving things from, by hunting it down and looking at it you have adopted a new point of view, and that new point of view is of the Observer of your other point of view.

And this may not seem like a lot of progress, but we are building a skill here, be here with me. One of the first reactions that we’ll have is that “I shouldn’t be thinking about that,” “I wish that story would go away,” “I shouldn’t have gotten my attention hooked into that story.” That’s right after the “Aha” comes “I want to change this”, which is a judgment. And that judgment is our judgmental dream happening as a reaction to realizing where our attention is hooked. Now the challenging part is to recognize “Aha, that’s just another dream, with the story about what I realized, that’s trying to hook my attention and to get me to adopt that point of view.” That’s the other dream in your mind, who want to hook your attention and pull you into judging you for ever getting hooked in the first place. But recognize – that’s just another hook. That’s just another dream trying to seduce us, tempt us into having that point of view. The second kind of reaction that’s very typical, is to notice that we get hooked a lot: our attention and our point of view gets hooked up in a stories and dreams, and emotions quite a bit. And that awareness, that moment of clarity, will elicit, from typically the judgmental point of view, a Victim point of view: “I shouldn’t get hooked this much, I don’t like this, I should be doing better, I should be further along.”

So, the first judgment will be about having the story and getting hooked in the first place, the second judgment will be our progress: we are not doing very well, we keep getting hooked and stuck in stories. That’s another story about our progress or about ourselves that’s created through a judgment point of view and a Victim point of view. Don’t argue. As an Observer you don’t argue. You recognize “Aha, that’s a part of my mind having a story,” “I’m having a realization of what I’m doing, and that part of my mind is coming up with the criticism – that’s very interesting. I’m growing in awareness and it’s knocking me down for it – that’s very interesting.” You remember I said earlier that sometimes some parts of our mind or beliefs in our mind can have conversations and opinions about other stories and other dreams? This is an example of that. If you’re going to comment at all, try to limit your comments to: “Aha, that’s very interesting, I see you,” or “Thank you, thank you and no thank you… Thank you mind, story, point of view for your opinion, and no thank you.” See, it’s hard to say “Thank you,” with the real judgmental point of view, so it’s kind of an insurance to keep you out of that. “Thank you” can bring you back to gratitude, cause eventually you’ll learn to say: “Thank you for seeing these things,” cause it’s going to give you an insight into the beliefs you’re going to change behind those stories, so that that self judging, self rejecting stories don’t have any power at all.

There’s much that’s been written and recorded about the importance of being the Observer and the witness-consciousness, although just giving someone the instruction to go do that is very vague and very general, cause we’re dealing with this amorphous, intangible thing in the mind and the imagination. Then hopefully this exercise is a bit more specific, and a little bit more of what you can get your hands around, in the way of identifying not just what you have your attention on, but then the second half of that is what’s the point of view of that dream in your mind that you are looking at it through, what’s the filter, some traditions say whats the mask. You might say that’s the mask of the Victim or a Judge, or an angry person, or you might label it: “Oh, it’s a mask of an emotion of fear,” and just recognize that it has a certain perspective. Same way that this woman had 4 different points of view about the same man, those 4 different points of view helped facilitate 4 very different emotions about the same man. You can see that a different point of view creates a different emotion. That’s one way to identify it. Another way to identify it is attitude. What’s your body position? What’s your posture? Is it slopped down? Is the chest just puffed out? Are you leaning back and relaxed? Is your body tense? That’s part of the attitude that relates to a point of view.

If you can imagine that game that goes in your mind with the attention is like a basketball game. And in some ways it’s like a keep away game. You see, cause the attention, and choosing what point of view you want to be in, and where you focus your attention – that’s like controlling the game. And in basketball, the way you control the game is to control the ball. When you loose the ball to an opposing player, now you’re in reaction, playing defense, you’re on guard, you’re not in control of the game. Then it’s about getting the ball back when you are on defense. Part of getting ball back is studying the opposing players. Sometimes teams will do this scouting way ahead: they’ll watch them, they’ll see the place that they they run and moves that they make, their regular habits and routines, cause the archetype characters in your mind in those patterns of habit and thought, they become very predictable, and after a while of studying them you’ll be able to see: “Oh, this is what they do, and this is the order they go in.” And if you take a look at the “Core belief inventory” article, you’ll see that there’re different kinds of patterns, and I break them out in some of my articles.

Something very interesting happens, as you play defense or as you study the points of view of these different dreams that want to hook our attention and take our ball away from us, that ball being our attention, that is – they are predictable. And after a certain of while of watching them, playing defense against them, you know where they are going to pass the ball next: The Victim is going to pass it to the Judge, that’s going to pass it to the big angry character – an Executioner character, and you can see it, your consciousness can pass from Victim, to Judge and you can anticipate, because you’ve studied it – it’s like happening in slow mo now – you know where it’s going. And you can stand on the passing line and you say: “You know what? I know where the story’s going.” And observing it trying to be passed from Judge to Executioner, you are standing there, watching it with such vigilance, just being the observer of it, so much of your consciousness is right there in the Observer point of view, that there’s no consciousness left to get passed to the Executioner. And you didn’t have to go grab your attention or do anything to get it back. You have all your attention, in that Observer-Witness consciousness point of view, and then there’s none left to slip away to that Judge and Executioner point of view. That Judge, the other side of our personality, those other dreams, have no power to pull our attention into that dream, because we’re so practiced and solid in being the Observer.

What’s really amazing about changing these reactions that go in the mind, the stories that go on in the mind, is that in a way it doesn’t take a lot of effort to get the ball back. In a way all you do is stand still. You stand still and watch them play their game – those little stories in the mind, those little dreams trying to hook our attention. And the more time you spend watching them, the less you’ll be pulled into play.

It will take practice, it’s a skill. I know when I first started this, I was driving to the desert, didn’t have anything to do, not even AM radio, and I noticed my mind telling these stories. Nobody gave me this kind of precise exercise “Go study what your mind is doing, observe how it behaves, diagram out the opposing players,” – nobody gave me that. Nobody gave me: “If you watch the point of view of that story in your mind and where it’s being told from, just by watching it, that story will change,” – I didn’t have that insight. “Just by watching the point of view, you’ll be in a different one?” – no i didn’t have that insight. But I started watching my mind anyways. I’m like: “This is a fascinating thing going on here, holy smokes, it’s running around for hours, and how did I end up thinking about this?” Well, I wanted to answer that question, so I tried to back track my thought process, and I got a little ways back: “Oh, I came from this attention, I came from this attention, which came from this attention, which came from these totally unrelated attentions.” And I probably back tracked for 2 or 3 minutes, and then it was one of those experiences where you know that daydream, where our mind is off into that day dream, and we can’t remember what happened while we got into our destination? I noticed what my mind was thinking about and it was like “Wow, how did I get here?” And I tried to follow back the attentions until I fell asleep and got caught up in those dreams again. And 4 hours later I’m like: “Wow, what the heck am I thinking about?” So I would go 4 hours at a time, before I would ask myself “Where is my attention?”

Make it a point periodically throughout the day, to invite your self into that self awareness process: “Where is my attention?” and “What point of view am I looking at things from?” And what you have your attention on may be external to you, like the outside world or other person that you’re interacting with, or perhaps you are painting your house or doing a job, or you are engaged in a less engaging activity like driving, or it might just be something as passive as watching television. Your attention may very well be on something in your imagination, a story that keeps looping. In any case, whatever your attention is on, you then ask the second question: “What point of view am I looking at this from?”, “What eyes am I using to see this figment of my imagination, or object in the world? Eyes of love, skepticism, sarcasm, scrutiny, curiosity? What’s that attitude?”

Once you start to notice that, and you’re like: “Aha, I see that point of view,” other parts in your mind will start to have a reaction to that, they’ll start to judge it and say you should have caught it sooner or something ridiculous like that, and then you ask the question: “Aha, what’s that attention on? Oh, that attention is on a first story,” and “Aha, the point of view is judgment point of view. Aha, ok, I see, thank you for revealing yourself to me.” And all the while you’ll be practicing being the Observer. The Observer is one that doesn’t get caught up in any of those emotionally dramatic reactive points of view. You’re learning how to have immunity from emotional reactions and to be consciously aware. And after a while you are no longer hooked by the first story or the second story of judgment, and the Victim’s story that’s reacting to that. And you start to really practice being the Observer, and then the next question comes: “Ok, as an Observer, what point of view am I in?”, and you start putting your attention on yourself, you start putting your attention on consciousness itself, and you could say: “Now consciousness, you, the Observer, is putting your attention on consciousness, yourself, and that’s the beginning of real self-awareness.”

In the mean time, practice your skills. What does your attention get hooked by? Where does it go? Internal or external to your imagination? And then, what point of view are you viewing it from? And then, to help you in this exercise, make a journal note about what you observe, to help build your conscious awareness of those observations. Cause observing them after the fact is a helpful way to build your awareness also.

So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to pay attention. Pay attention to where you’re paying attention, and then notice that point of view that you’re viewing the things from, and then notice that by observing the point of view, by investigating the point of view, you are developing the whole different side of your consciousness, the real Witness-Observer, and from that point of view you’re able to refrain and step back from any of those emotional reactions."

That’s great. You’re probably violating some copyright law here. No more giant cut and

Pretty decent advice.
It’s related to the question “What will you be present to?”

You mean that wasn’t Dark in a writing frenzy?
I’m disappointed.

Why doesn’t he give credit where credit is due?

Isn’t that ethics 101?

Well not exactly since he doesn’t really specify what to do with any of this in there.

I can’t really link to the page because you have to sign up to view it, but these are just the free lessons, nothing here requires payment of any sort.

I can’t really summarize these to be honest.

I will say in the attention one the example he gives sounds off to me. He’s trying to break up what she is feeling into different viewpoints and characters he says she’s making when that’s not what’s going on. Like anything in life we can feel more than one thing at a given event because a variety of factors are going on and even certain emotions interplay with each other.

She loves the guy which is why she is angry and sad and afraid. If she didn’t care then none of these emotions would be happening. It’s all far more complex than he’s making it out to be.

I didn’t say it was a good plan, it has good pieces of decent advice.

Considering all the repetition in those 12,000 some words up apparently copied and pasted, you outta give it a try.
Also I’ll bet that author be a little upset with you, Whether he’s selling or not.
And I don’t see that you cited the original source anywhere - that’s simply not cool.

Right, . . . so. Is this realization new to you?

I’m sorry I thought something changed - my bad.

Good luck.

Well it’s just the format seems to be to spend a lot of time on something that supposedly upends everything you know but not really showing how the “Advice” is to aid you.

I have cited the original source may times before, you’ll find the website in the last thread on emotions I made pretty much every other post. You have to be a member of the group to read these but the registration is free. But it’s hard to summarize but these things don’t really wrap up well, they’re all over the place with mostly anecdotes to back them.

It’s more like trying to square what I know with what is being told to me, but reading his stuff sounds more like assumptions he wants you to accept rather than show me how this is the case.

This is why spiritual advice, or whatever you want to call it, is successful. There are universal truths of human nature that resonate with us. But when you try to put them into some kind of plan for life, it gets muddled.

I say, take what you can and leave the rest.

I dunno, in my experience spiritual advice seems to be whatever people say it is and there is no way to really check or verify any of this since it’s based on personal experience.

Because all we have is each other. So much goes on inside our heads. Our slow language and inability to express our complete picture of our lives keeps us from being able to totally connect. But, that’s life. I think we all want great things, but we are just one body and our lives begin and end. Robert Ingersoll said that if we lived forever, there wouldn’t be love. It’s the preciousness of our brief existence, the urgency of getting the work of caring for others done, that makes living exciting. It can also be frustrating and sometimes sad. Again, that’s life.

You don’t understand,
every time you copy and paste someone you ought cite it.
Or simply add (“source”)

Exactly reading more stuff isn’t going to help you - without actually getting out there in your world and facing life from within your own skin.

Heck facing up to yourself, learning to understand your own heart, fight your own demons, is all key to any sort of insights that lead to enlightenment.

Striving to face up to your own challenges, rather than avoidance.

Why not try reading stuff that resonates with you. Where you can read some lines and “dang, that’s what I’m thinking - what a nice clean explanation, I can work with that.” Then you got something to chew on and build on.

Instead you seem attracted to reading stuff that simply reinforces to your confusion.

At least seems that way from my particular perspective.

But what he says is always getting in the way and coloring my experience.

The worst part is that some of what he says is true but to me if part of what he says is true then I HAVE TO follow ALL OF IT.

Well I can’t understand my own heart, I’ve faced up to myself hundreds of times but came to a dead end each time.

It’s not about what resonates with you, that’s called CONFIRMATION BIAS. It’s about what is true and living by that even if it hurts but the alternative is living a lie and suffering.

Again I can only list the website, to read this stuff you have to sign up which is free.

I can agree with that, mostly. I don’t know if living forever would mean there wouldn’t be love or that existence being brief is what makes it precious.

But I posted something earlier on what he said about connection just being a feeling we want and we can just make the feeling rather than actually connect with people:

I asked him about the article but never got any answer on it in all the times I posted it.

Because they are writing it, it’s copyrighted. There is a c in circle at the bottom of the page.

I’m sure they love the free advertising, but they have paywall for some stuff for a reason.

This is from our rules:
c. Publishing material under copyright is only allowed as per “Fair Use” rules. Members should not copy entire articles under copyright to the forum, but instead quote a few sentences and provide a link

Hmmm, you have a point I suppose.

Actually looking back over it I could see some red flags:

  1. He couldn’t really explain things to me. He tried to play it off as “I’m not you and don’t know your mind” and stuff like that which I call BS on. Plenty of people who knew their stuff could explain it to me, even Buddhists. Looking back at his writings he bakes in a lot of assumptions but doesn’t show them to be true. This leads me to think that he can’t talk to people who don’t already agree with him.

  2. I was the only user who asked questions or had issues with the material or lessons. I checked. It’s a little odd in a forum about teaching and improvement that I was found out because I was the only one who had questions.

  3. Looking over the lessons again it makes sense why he thinks what he thinks and says what he says. It seems to be only personal responsibility but not really responsibility for your actions on how they affect others feel. Because according to him you don’t make other people feel or believe things, that’s a them issue (not true but it was pointless to persuade them). One user even said no one can make you believe anything, which I countered with saying that that is the WHOLE POINT of speech and language. Nevermind the massive irony of saying that on a website made by a spiritual TEACHER.

Well, stop that. Stop giving him that power.
He’s not doing it to you, you are doing it to yourself.
Stop kidding yourself.

Perhaps, it’s simply that you’re too lazy.
and you feel comfortable with this dog chasing tail game you’ve got going.

That doesn’t make you unique, from my experiences most fall under that category.

Don’t get melodramatic. Confirmation bias is something else.
Re-confirming facts you’ve already gathered, also has it’s value.

Being the best you can be, is fundamentally about working with what resonates the best with who you are, and the psychological lens you look at life through.

That’s a start.
Good luck.

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I’m not doing it to myself, I’d stop if I could.

Or it’s not that easy.

That’s still called confirmation bias.

This is his response to what I asked him recently, I’m not sure what he means by mind:

"What I teach/share is incongruent with your belief system. For this explanation, you can assume that “belief system” = “mind”.

My premise is that people have a capacity for consciousness, and as they access that consciousness and identify with it, they can change their minds.

You have strongly stated that there is no such thing as consciousness. There is no gap between the two. You stated that for you, we are the mind. I sense you firmly believe this, and this is your experience, and that is fine. However, it is not congruent with my teachings and experience.

In these sessions, I propose adopting consciousness, watching the mind, and having that gap, and then dissolving some of those beliefs. Here is the challenge. If you are identified as the mind, these exercises intended to dissolve the mind will be perceived as a direct attack. The mind will then deploy responses to defend itself from change.

Doing these exercises, or even considering the possibility or attempting them, could cause the mind to feel hurt, threatened, or react in a manner to distort what the exercises are about so they do not have a chance to change any beliefs

Essentially, the mind is acting in various sorts of protective strategies to keep its beliefs intact.

I think your mind perceived my teachings as an attack. It hurt the structure of your beliefs. With you identified with the mind, you felt it hurt you. I have no doubt that you felt pain. I’m not disputing that. From your perception, they are the same.

Since I do not know how you operate, we do not communicate well. I can not write anything that seems to help, and I want to do no harm, I refrain from responding most of the time. "