Revilers Will Revile…and then nothing changes

Oh my gosh, I’m starting a post with a dictionary entry. What’s become of me??

REVILE verb (used with object), reviled, reviling.

1. to assail with contemptuous or opprobrious language; address or speak of abusively.

In this post you’ll read the word “revile” a lot. I chose it over “hate” because “hate” has lost its punch if you ask me. And the meaning I am looking for is to regard someone with boiling contempt, to despise them, or to wish them ill-will, so “revile” seemed a better fit. I also liked, “despise.”

Okay, read on…..

Did you hear about the cow who ran for her life? Literally? Well, she lost it in the end anyway. Here is the whole story.

Just like many other people (there were 1,488 comments on MFAs FB post of this story last I checked), I was disappointed about how the situation was handled. I think there must be better ways to deal with a loose cow than to shoot it dead, right? I also feel sad for the cow since its story represents a fight for freedom, the saga of an underdog and because it suffered. I am tempted to villainize the police officer who shot the cow, (especially because the picture gets me emotionally revved up) and to appoint him as a “bad person” in my mind.

I said I am tempted.

I’m writing this post to suggest that despite that strong urge, it is absolutely necessary to check my revile-o-meter level and get a grip. Because when revilers revile, nothing changes. 

Let me give you an example. Here are some comments that were made on the Facebook post of the story:

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That is some of the more moderate reviling that was there. These don’t represent all of the comments of course. Most of the commenters were simply sad and frustrated and incredulous as to why the cow wasn’t simply tranquilized or corralled.

It is these types of comments though that I am writing about today. What does that kind of thinking and expressing accomplish? And I don’t mean for the cow…I mean for our evolution as a species for goodness sakes!! I agree that we are an incredibly violent species. I agree that we are complicit in impossibly egregious actions against animals through our indifference and disinterest. But I also believe that each and every one of us is capable of doing horrible things depending on what our path has been. But for the grace of God, and so on.

We are submerged in a culture that inundates us with messages of violence, consumerism, competition, fear, and selfishness. We are constantly hypnotized into believing that these things are the truth and other ideas of reality are considered ridiculous and feeble. There are simply people out there who do not know that this does not have to be the way it is. Can revilers not see that they are just adding to the suffocating culture of separateness that is the problem? A slaughterhouse worker says, “F*** you, cow,” and you say, “F*** you, slaughterhouse worker.” What’s the difference?? You, the cow, and the slaughterhouse worker are ALL the same. Let’s get up and above all this status quo reviling! Let’s recognize the interconnective repercussions that our thoughts and intentions have! We are not going to change a thing by spreading more of the same.

*sigh* I wrote about this in the past regarding the Taiji dolphin hunt. I think I write about it because I have a hard time believing in the good of people. I have a hard time trusting people. I have a hard time not giving into the temptation to revile. So I’m writing to myself also. Because I know that when I agree to not send that hateful energy to a person I have never and will never meet, whose life and struggle I cannot know, I feel better. I feel more powerful, not less. I am more of Self and less of ego. That is when change can happen. And we need some serious change don’t we?

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Before I go, I want to recognize that I haven’t posted the next installment of The Untethered Soul review this week. I was planning on it tonight, but as you can see I got on a soapbox and couldn’t get down. 😉 Don’t worry though…it’s coming soon!

Love from a recovering reviler,

~~~S Wave~~~

Untethered Soul, Chapter 1

If you read last week’s post, Untethered Soul: Introduction, you know that for the next few months I will be summarizing and personalizing this enlightening book chapter by chapter.

I want to insert a quick caveat here before moving on to the first chapter: There are many thoughts, many ideas, many ways of looking at any particular object or idea in the world. If the philosophies in this book resonate with you and bring you freedom of any kind, treasure that! If they don’t serve you, let them go. There are fewer and fewer times that I feel I have found a “truth,” but more and more times I feel I have found something helpful. And that is a much better thing to search for after all, isn’t it?

Now, let’s pick up where we left off…

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Last week I introduced the book, The Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer with an invitation for you. The invitation was to spend some time contemplating what is YOU. When you say “me,” what do you mean?

Now it’s time to jump into book’s Part One, Awakening Consciousness. Sounds complex. But Singer is great at taking the complex and making it accessible, step by step. The first step, Chapter 1, is called “The Voice Inside Your Head.” The purpose of the chapter is to help us notice this voice. Can you imagine having someone yammering at you all day and not even realizing they are doing it?? Well welcome to the Voice.

Singer begins by pointing out that we have an ongoing dialogue in our head all the time. It is so incessant, so familiar, that we might not even realize it’s happening. We are as the author says, “too close to be objective” so you might not even realize this is happening. But if you think about it, our mind is talking all the time. Sometimes it takes one side, sometimes it takes the other. Sometimes it’s angry. And then the next moment it tells itself not to be angry. It reminds me a lot of the idea of parts that I have described in past posts.

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Sometimes we want this voice to stop. We tell it (or, as we usually think of it, we tell ourselves), “Stop! Shut up!” But that’s just our voice again. It’s always in conversation.

Is this you? Is this the Self that I referred to last week? If it is, then how are you talking and listening? You are the talker? Or are you the listener? Singer writes that

…the only way to get your distance from this voice is to stop differentiating what it’s saying. Stop feeling that one thing it says is you and the other thing it says is not you. If you’re hearing it talk, it’s obviously not you. You are the one who hears the voice. You are the one who notices that it’s talking.

Here is a tidy little exercise to better grasp what he is saying. He suggests that we make our voice say “Hello.” Don’t say it out loud. Just hear it in your head. “Hello.” Now hear it over and over and over. “Hello, hello, hello.” Now make it scream “HELLOOOOO!” You can hear it right? You were listening to it. You are the listener.

Or, here is another activity:

Suppose you were looking at three objects—a flowerpot, a photograph, and a book—and were then asked, ‘Which of these objects is you?’ You’d say, ‘None of them! I’m the one who’s looking at what you’re putting in front of me. It doesn’t matter what you put in front of me, it’s always going to be me looking at it.

In other words, just as what you see is not you, all of what you hear is not you. You are the listener.

Singer’s next point is that most of these thoughts, perhaps all of these thoughts, really don’t change life much at all. He says it’s like sitting down at night and deciding that you want the sun to come up in the morning. The sun will come up anyway. Life will go on despite all of these thousands of thoughts that you have about it. What they do impact though is your experience of life, your feelings about what is happening. They make you feel better or worse about what is going on.

If you spend your time hoping that it doesn’t rain tomorrow, you’re wasting your time. Your thoughts don’t change the rain. … Eventually you’ll see that the real cause of problems is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes problems. 

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The purpose of this voice or at least part of the purpose is to narrate the world around us, says Singer. The voice is trying to make sense of it for ourselves. It labels things for us. Judges them. Predicts them. It connects an experience were having now with all of our other thoughts we’ve ever had about a similar experience. It makes us feel safer. Instead of just experiencing the world around us as it is as things are happening now as they are, outside of our control, we compartmentalize with this voice.

What you end up experiencing is really a personal presentation of the world according to you, rather than the stark, unfiltered experience of what is really out there.

So now, the question of the hour. Instead of re-creating the outside world inside of yourself in a way that makes you feel more comfortable, what if you decided to do something different? What if you decided not to narrate? What if you could transcend the part of you that feels it always needs protection?

As long as you simply want to feel secure safe and unpredictable world,

…you will be forced to constantly use your mind to buffer yourself from life, instead of living it. This world is unfolding and really has very little to do with you or your thoughts. It was here long before you came, and it will be here long after you leave. In the name of attempting to hold the world together, you’re really just trying to hold yourself together. 

To change this, to really experience life without censorship for the sake of safety, Singer proposes that one can begin to constantly remember: I am the one inside that notices the voice talking. A change will assuredly begin to take place if we were to do this, wouldn’t it?

And so, for this week let’s do that. Begin to notice that you are listening to the voice in your head, but you are not that voice. Let there be a subject (your awareness) and an object (the voice.) Begin to notice that there can be a separation between the two. 

After I read this chapter, I practiced this awareness activity and it was amazing to notice the amount of chatter going on. It already begin to feel emancipating to let go of some of my attachment to that chatter and just let it pass by me. But I’m jumping ahead… More on that next Tuesday. For now….

Enjoy the assignment. You are the listener!

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Untethered Soul: Introduction

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Happy November everyone!

The past month has been full of a lot of learning. It’s been very busy here and even though I haven’t written much, my Life As a Wave family is always on my mind.

I’ve been doing more and more energy therapy and prayer support with people, both friends and family, and with NEW friends that come my way via word-of-mouth. I’ve been taking some new classes to hone these skills and am still holding down my fabulous 9-5. Walking more and more in my passion and purpose and loving it! But more on that later…

One resource from which I’ve gotten a lot of peace and power during this time of growth is a book I read recently. It is called The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. It is the kind of book I want to go back and read again and again. And so, instead of doing that by myself, I want to invite all of you to join me in a week by week “reading” of the untethered soul. I know it’s hard to sit down and read the kinds of encouraging, inspiring, nourishing books on our wish list. But you deserve that encouragement, inspiration and nourishment! So let me make it easier for you!

Each week I will summarize one chapter and propose ways that we can take the ideas from that chapter and bring them into our “real” lives. I hope you will follow along with us and through this process I hope we can each experience some measure of benefit in.

For today, let me introduce, well, the introduction. 🙂 It opens with a quote from William Shakespeare: “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Singer uses this quote to pose the conundrum to us of what the “self” really is. (Buckle up, because this is the heart of the book!) Is it Freud’s ego, superego, id? Is it the part of us that feels strong emotions? Is it our mind? Is it our ethics?

Here, the author unveils that in this book the real meaning of self is determined by one expert alone… You. To be clear, you are not an expert based on your studies, on your philosophies. It is based on your “direct experience,” the “intuitive experience of what it is like to be you. ” Through the chapters to come, Singer will elaborate on the premise that when all the distractions and opinions and voices are pulled away and you are guided to realize your true self, then you are also therefore able to free your own self. This is a matter of empowerment. Clarity. For now, embrace the idea that you are the best expert on knowing what your self is, you just might not know that yet.

And so, for this first week let us ruminate on that question: What is your “self?” To thine own self be true… What is that? What does that really mean? And let’s not only ponder it with our minds, but also with our hearts. In existential meditation one poses a question and allows that question to repeat itself in the heart and mind as the person remains still and receptive. Let the question marinate, let it rest in your awareness throughout the week and see what kinds of responses you get from the world. 

Next week I will begin summarizing Part 1 with Chapter 1, “The Voice Inside Your Head.” It’s a good one! Stay tuned!

 

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Connection of a Different Sort

This month, per my agreement with myself, I have been reading, listening to, ruminating on, and talking about the idea of Connection. Although one of my intentions has been to connect more with others, and I have experienced the joy of some very special reunions and reconciliations, there is another kind of connection that continues to surprise me in its surfacing: the connection to self.

During some recent travel I began reading a book called Quiet Horizons: Releasing Ideology and Embracing Self-Knowledge.

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Much of what is in this book resonates with my own thoughts about my life as they have developed in the last few months. I am only nearly halfway through the book, but let me summarize at the highly-likely risk of oversimplifying. The author, my uncle Greg Jemsek, is extolling the importance of knowing yourself outside of what organizations and society may tell you to be and finding your own purpose rather than following the dreams and purposes of others. Uncle Greg :), a narrative therapist among other things, describes the psychological reasons why some people are prone to falling victim to “conversion” groups and offers the alternative of self-knowledge as a better path toward empowered fulfillment and community.

In my current situation, I can somedays feel the weighty fog of loneliness in a big city during an era where online relationships and identities (if we can call them that) have supplanted physical connection. But during this month of Here I Am, I am discovering (with the help of wise people who pointed it out) that life is laying out a path for me to connect with myself in a new way instead of struggling to find connection and belonging in others. In fact, I’m beginning to embrace the journey of self-knowledge despite the occasional loneliness as I see it more and more as the groundwork necessary for the authentic relationships I seek. It is time to connect with the bare essentials of ME, to cultivate a more genuine acceptance, even appreciation, of what I bring to this world. And as I do that, I eagerly wait for the unveiling of new connections with others that I’m sure will happen simultaneously.

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Are you connecting with yourself? Do you know that every day you are keeping company with a very special person? There is no one like you and there is no one who can bring to this world the particular thing that you bring. There is no one who can tell you what to be and within you is the power to be many many things. So before you make a contract with yourself that your identity is an affiliation — liberal, Catholic, husband, reject, accountant, American — remember that your true identity cannot be bound by any social construct nor its conditions.

How do you “remember” this? Sit down quietly with yourself. Say “Hello” to you. Imagine all the labels of identity falling off of you like clothing. Ask yourself a question that has been nagging you and listen to your essence, your intuition…you DO have wise intuition.  Soak in the truth that there is no other YOU in existence.

Or, wait for me to finish the book and I’ll tell you what an expert suggests you do. 🙂

For the time being, be YOU today! The world needs you.

~~~S Wave~~~