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Tools Alone Won’t Fix Your Problems

Most people don’t have the exact body they want.  But I bet there is a “state of the art” gym right down the road from many of us.

If someone wants to lose weight, improve your health, or just sport an awesome bod – all the tools they need are inside those doors.  So why aren’t we using them?  And if you do use them, did you stop before you got what you really wanted?

Many of us have a strong desire to change, to become ‘the best version of ourselves.’ But doesn’t it seem that no matter how many resolutions or promises you make, you often wind up back where you started – sometimes worse off than when you started?

And then what? You go looking for better tools, for better therapists, for better drugs, right?  But deep down you know that what’s really holding you back is… you.

Sometimes we just can’t get out of our own way. Would you like to know why?

We’re Not Asking The Right Question

Let’s take a step back and consider why the “build a better mousetrap” solution hasn’t worked so far.

We often ask ourselves questions like:

  • What diet should I be on?
  • What workout should I do?
  • Why isn’t this stuff working?

Let me point out that none of those questions are going to get you the result you’re looking for.  Those questions, without the “core question” being answered, are just more distractions that prevent change.

The real question is: Am I ready to change?

There’s a voice in the back of your head that answers that question for you.  And if it says “no,” then you’ve already lost.  The greatest, most advanced, most expensive tools in the world won’t do a thing for you.

You’re totally wasting your time and money if the answer is no.  In fact, you might even be making the problem worse by proving to yourself that change isn’t possible.

Decide to Change

People who accomplish massive things in life see success.  They frame the world in a way such that it serves them – they literally choose to see it in the way that serves them best.  And you know what happens? The world actually does serve them.

What if there was a way to achieve a fundamental shift in the way you see the world?  What if that meant not just increased productivity, but a deep and lasting fulfillment in your life?

Would you be ready to let it happen? (Ask yourself right now, and see what you say.)

When you can say yes to this question – your life is going to get better.  Things may get more challenging too, but that’s only because you’ll actually be doing the things you want to be doing, and removing the limiting beliefs and actions that have become a part of your life.

Massive change requires a kind of death. But that death will allow you to become the person you truly want to be – the kind of person who sees opportunities as chances to win rather than chances to be humiliated – the kind of person who feels happy and successful even when their life isn’t perfect – the kind of person who feels worthy of love.

Are you ready for a little death to your old way of thinking and being in the world?

If today is the day, I recommend you start with my free Back to Breath Challenge – you have to get comfortable being with and looking honestly at yourself before you’re willing to accept change on an experiential level.

And as always, when you’re ready, I’m here to help. Let me know what that voice in the back of your head is saying about this article down in the comments.

Mastering Perspectives

This talk is about mastering perspectives. It assumes that someone capable of seeing more perspectives is better informed, and more able to act appropriately, happily, and well.

There are many perspectives to any situation. Every moment there is your point of view, someone else’s point of view, and third person perspective as well. There are also historical perspectives, we perspectives, singular and plural perspectives, inner and outer perspectives, emotional perspectives, and even imagined perspectives. To simplify, there are many ways to look at things.

So the practice then becomes to relate as fully as possible to the moment by being aware of as many perspectives as possible. Learn all the different perspectives, and work to integrate them into your life. It may sound like a lot of work to do this, but it becomes very natural. Also, in the beginning, it may be useful to apply this only when in conflict. It’s a great tool to use when you’ve hit a wall.

I suggested learning about Integral Theory for a deeper understanding of perspectives. I also mentioned that “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” is really just an ancient perspective teaching. We’re not all aware that there are many perspectives, and we certainly don’t often act from more than our own point of view. Learning about and applying perspectives can help us grow.

Referenced: Integral Theory

[audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/robscott-audio/MasteringPerspectives.mp3]

Connecting to the Vine

How do we remember what to do when we feel lost in our daily lives? Metaphor can be a great teaching tool to anchor ideas into our reality. “Connecting to the vine” is a great way to describe connection to oneness.

What happens when a leaf gets cut away from a vine? It tends to wither and die. This talk discusses this idea as a spiritual metaphor. If we consider the expression of oneness as the vine, then our identification with self is cutting ourselves off from that vine. While identification with self can feel quite cut off, it is often called an illusion because we can never leave oneness. We can only identify away from oneness, not actually be away from it. Changing our identification back to experiencing life directly, we reconnect with the vine.

It’s simple to do. We can use times when we’re stuck in line, or in a traffic jam, to bring our focus to the physical sensation of life and reconnect to being. We can make the effort to truly listen to coworkers, instead of thinking of what we’ll say next. This allows us to be present while with others. Whenever we need to walk somewhere, we can bring our attention to the physical sensation of walking to bring ourselves back to the vine of being. And of course we can chose to allow a more formal space for connecting to the vine through meditative or introspective practices.

In this talk I also discuss Jesus and the idea that he was the expression of being connected to the vine. If we change our concept of Jesus from needing to go “through him” to understanding that he was showing us “how to be” connected, we can actually begin to emulate how he lived. If we leave it as an idea, we won’t be able to express his love.

Referenced: Jesus

[audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/robscott-audio/ConnectingtotheVine.mp3]

The Next Evolution of Man

Today I want to discuss evolution. There are many ways to think about evolving:

  • Individual evolution, societal evolution, human evolution
  • Evolutions like Homo Erectus to Homo Sapien, etc.
  • Agricultural age, to Industrial Age, to Information age
  • An individual growing through identification with self to identification with society
  • etc.

A good definition of evolution is this: A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.

What is the type of evolution I’m talking about today? Making a habit of coming back to our breath is only the beginning of the deep shift I’m referring to. The evolution would be the significant shift in the capacity of the average human to express and hold onto the state of mind that lives outside of time. Humans would need to learn to be the expression of presence and stillness. We don’t need to stay in that space all the time, but we need to learn about it and make it a larger part of our lives.

Stillness is more significant than just a way to deal with problems. It can have an amazing impact both on the individual, and also society.

We have made massive technological changes. Those can all be thought of as external. We’ve learned to bend the world to our wishes to a certain extent. Learning our own minds, learning about time and how we relate to this moment would be an internal evolution. The external changes and progress can and will continue, maybe even faster than it has to date.

Fostering stillness is where the mind needs to go. All of our problems arise out of attachment to concepts that come from being unaware. We need to understand that practicing stillness is a bigger deal than just dealing with our own simple problems. It is actually dealing with all problems. So it is important work that we’re doing.

The world I see involves all these evolutions (each one would be an evolution in it’s own right)

  • Much less need to express ourselves violently
  • Higher desire to appreciate and create art and live creatively
  • People become more physically healthy, because our joys won’t come as much from physically detrimental substances (smoking, drinking, drugging, eating poorly). Our joys will come from deep connections to being.
  • Corporations will learn to be much more sustainable and fair (both ecologically and to people)
  • Countries will come from a world view instead of a nationalistic view – lessening wars, learning to cooperate, etc.
  • People will base their lives and goals more on finding and sharing meaning, rather then gratifying self (what Maslow thought was the more rare expression of mans purpose)
  • We’ll have more technological advances as well because much of technology is creative
  • etc.

Again, making a habit of coming back to our breath is only the beginning of the deep shift I’m referring to. The evolution would need to be the significant shift in the capacity of the average human to express and hold onto the state of mind that lives outside of time. Stillness is more significant than just a way to deal with problems. It can have an amazing impact both on the individual, and also society.

[audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/robscott-audio/TheNextEvolutionofMan.mp3]
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Doing It In The Now

It seems many people want to get the idea of what enlightenment looks like.  We’re all trying to “figure it out.”  I get many emails discussing understanding these ideas.  This podcast is about doing them instead.

The “Now” has become very trendy.  So let’s not get lost in ideas about it.  We even have great philosophical minds telling us we don’t have time to be in the now, which is a bit ridiculous.  What I think they are saying is that we shouldn’t be trendy about the Now.

Because we can play with words and ideas and labels at this level we should see that we will never “figure it out.”  Rather we should look at the desire that we have to figure it out.  The idea of how to do this is less important than doing it.  Our minds want to become experts, and so we look at all the possibilities of “getting lost” so that we can be sure that we will win “when those things show up.”  But that state of mind is already lost.  The waiting, thinking, planning mind is exactly the mind we are trying to put down.

Someone comes across the idea of being at peace.  And they are listening to these podcasts, and trying to meditate.  And they realize they are not at peace.  The mind that is trying to get to peace is lost in time.  The mind that wants to “DO” peace is the mind that puts down expectations.  This may feel very unnatural to us.  We want to figure it out instead.

So when we “DO” peace, when we allow for peace of mind by coming to this moment, whatever it is, we are doing it “all the time”.  Because we start to realize that now is all there is.

The important concept is this: getting to this moment “is the end of it”, EVEN if we leave this moment.  Sounds like a cop out, and is hard to get your mind around, but it’s the truth.

So let’s look at the actuality of living in the Now.  We don’t care if we can do it permanently, because that is another idea.  We just want to do it now.  When we come to the Now in this moment (whenever that is), we realize that this moment is always here.  So that is all we have to do.  The mind will kick up again and say things like “You won’t be able to do that in the future.”  And that may even knock us off a bit, but seeing that once we DO come back, there is no tally of how long we’ve been gone.  So doing it now IS doing it forever.  Because the illusion is the mind that creates a future that doesn’t exist.

So doing it in the now is as simple as coming to what you are, your breath, this moment, the sounds, the fears, the whatever, without worrying if you can do it again later.  If you’re doing it now, you’re doing it forever.

Referenced: Pema Chodron, Eckhart Tolle

[audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/robscott-audio/DoingItInTheNow.mp3]

How Committed Are You?

Making any kind of change is very difficult when we aren’t truly committed to it. So what is commitment and how do we find it?

I see people use meditation and become spiritual all the time to feel better when they are sad. But they often drop the practice once things get better. Finding commitment is hard to do, but we don’t want to get caught in the common loop of: being in pain, working to escape it, forgetting we were in pain. We can’t really escape pain fully until we learn to stay committed to change through all seasons.

Can you practice stillness when the world is good too? Can you “sacrifice” to try to stay awake at all times? This is not meant to imply that being awake isn’t fun. It’s only meant to show that commitment is necessary for lasting change.

How can we stay committed? We can use anchors. We can surround ourselves with books and podcasts and ideas that support our goals. We can commit to practicing meditation. But what is the thing underneath? It might just be our pain itself. Finding your reason to stay committed is really important. What happened to you that got you started down this road? What pain happened to you? Make a point of holding on to that.

People often mention that we can’t change other people. I disagree. We are all connected and intertwined. A change from you affects me. So if there is learning, if there is change, then we can point to something. We can find the “ah ha!” we can turn on a light switch for people.

In this talk, the light switch is the idea that being committed makes change easy. Finding commitment can be hard, but once we find it quitting smoking, eating differently, losing weight, meditation, all become simple. So what’s your reason to stay committed? Make that an “ah ha!” for you. Create new grooves of thought. Be awake to your pain. Change.

The Different Meanings of To Be

I want to clarify what I mean by “to be” because it is actually more than one thing. It is both “to be – still” and also “to be – what you are.” This may be hard to stomach because these seem to be in opposition, but they are both really important. It’s actually many many layers, and facets of things to wade through. So let’s look for more language around this issue.

“To be still” implies working with the mind through concentration and space to “still” the busy mind. You might think of this as the Buddhist way of practicing meditation. It implies a lot of things: Peace, but also difficulty in finding that peace. It has a sense of carrot and stick to it: I’m not still now, and I want to be still. So time is implied. “I’m not what I want to be.” There is a part of us that is trying to grow. This is the part that realizes that need for growth. This type of practice is important. We could call this discipline.

“To be what you are” implies a looser idea, of “I’m OK” in any situation. So if you are busy, be busy. If you are still, be still. You could think of this in a more Taoist sense, or more “zen” if you will. Up is down, right is wrong, everything is OK. This sense is much less rational, but also very important. It’s being gentle with who we are. It’s also dropping expectations about what we are supposed to be. This is the state that has no conflict, even when “conflict” is there. Meaning, in this state, you are not trying to be anything but what you are. This is the awakened state. This you might call freedom.

So the discipline allows for the second freedom, in a sense. The discipline is hard, and the freedom is soft. They are two ends of a spectrum. The Buddha talked about the middle path, and this is what he meant. You can’t leave your mind too loose, it needs some discipline. It also can’t be too rigid, or you never actually sit in the space of freedom.

A mystical Christian might say that since everything is God, each moment is the expression of God right now. We should learn to be in alignment with that, and it takes forgiveness (being what you are) and a bit of discipline (learning to be still) to align with that expression.

So the practice of meditation is working with your mind to still it. But it is also the practice of forgiving, or allowing to be whatever is. You may sit and have a busy mind. That’s OK. You may sit and fall into a lot of freedom, that’s OK too. If you feel too loose, bring some discipline. If you find you’re being too rigid, loosen up. That’s the middle path.

Stillness in Motion

How can we “achieve” when stillness seems to oppose goals, the future, etc.?

Mentioned that many people were interested in this talk. That seems to be because we are much more interested in how the achieve things, rather than being interested in stillness. However, that misses the point. We need to learn stillness first.

Three things this talk tries to accomplish: Show that there can be stillness in motion. Discuss the seeming paradox of stillness vs. accomplishment. And I’m hoping to point out that bringing stillness to actions we perform allows for the best performance possible, in all things.

Discuss what stillness is. It is a mind free of time. It is a quiet mind. It is the expression of meditation in action.

Why are goals okay? Doesn’t that contradict with being “free of time?” Literally it does contradict. Having intention is a sane goal. That differs from having an obsessed mind, bent on achievement. Time exists on some levels, but not all levels. It is always this moment. However, the practical aspects of life remain.

What is excellence? Our exterior is a reflection of our interior. When we change internally, that change will begin to show itself in our achievements and outer life. Sports figures talk of “being in the zone” when referring to peak performance states. The zone is achieved when we pay attention to the process rather than the outcome of a situation. It is the focus on the moment fully that allows for our best performance. When we are “still” our entire brain and being can be put to work toward our goal. Simply put, we perform better at everything when we are present with what we are doing.

Discussed what being present feels like by telling a story about my plants. Mentioned ways to begin bringing stillness to achievement through watering those plants. Also discussed that stillness can be an attribute of anything we do, no matter how complex.

Stillness is the goal, so it better allow for goals. Achieving stillness in motion will be the beginning of a new way of being for you, and the world. As an immediate side bonus, our performance in all things will increase as we learn stillness in motion.

Referenced: Eckhart Tolle

Mindfulness Awareness Disconnect

Beginning to define awareness, mindfulness and disconnected states of being.

The desire to become aware is really the first fundamental shift (there may be more shifts later, but this is the first profound one). So what is awareness? How do we use mindfulness within awareness? And what is disconnect?

An example from Anthony Robbins: We don’t want money, we want to be happy, we want the feeling money gives us. You are disconnected when details like this aren’t clear. We need to be aware when we are not happy. More importantly, we need to become aware of what will make us happy. Mindful meditation is one way to develop these skills.

Busy mind is an example of being disconnected. Getting caught in a belief system of the news, or chasing money at the expense of peace or happiness is being disconnected.

Mindfulness is one pointed. It is being able to leave your mind on something and keep it there. So when we meditate, we are making an effort to develop mindfulness of our breath. But mindfulness is not all there is, awareness is the awakened state that we also want to cultivate.

Awareness is the watcher in the back, without judgment We watch ourselves and allow it all to be. So it is not only the quality of watching, it is the quality of forgiveness. It is the quality of understanding. This is the beginning of wisdom. We start to watch our thoughts and emotions and we stop judging them. This allows us to open to a freedom of being. We don’t have to be as critical as we are. Our inner dialog has gotten out of control.

Why is it unwise to get attached? As everything is made of change, when we try to hold on to things, events, feelings, etc. we will constantly be disappointed.

Referenced: Tony Robbins

Be Where You Are

A discussion that begins to talk about ways and times to bring presence into the world. If you practice meditation, these methods will be a good extension of that practice. If you don’t meditate, this will be a good introduction to what meditation is and can be used for.

Mentioned Thich Nat Han and his discussion of doing the dishes mindfully rather than with a busy mind. Also discussed eating mindfully.

Untrained minds will have difficulty being where they are.

Anchors are things that remind us to bring our attention back to the present moment. They remind us to wake up. Anchors discussed in this talk include: Waiting in traffic, waiting in line, eating, doing the dishes, vacuuming, etc.

Gave a brief introduction and instructions on how to do walking meditation.

Lastly, mentioned that if we don’t learn how to be contented where we are, we will never learn to be contented at all.

Referenced: Thich Nhat Hanh

[audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/robscott-audio/BeWhereYouAre.mp3]