Friday, February 12, 2010


Just want to announce the launch of a new website I have been working on. It's called Living Unbound.

I have really enjoyed making this site, from scratch. :) Many of my writings here are out there in form of teachings, techniques, resources and inspiration. I hope all of you readers will enjoy the site too. It would be nice to get some feedback from all who read/follow my blogs.
_/\_ Thank You_/\_

(Here is the launch announcement from the website)
Living Unbound.Net is Launching Today, February 12, 2010

Please see our LivingUnbound.Net Launch Celebration Video, Above!

The video features an awesome song by Jai Uttal, which includes Living Unbound-oriented lyrics originally written by John Lennon (from the Beatles song Tomorrow Never Knows), combined with Living Unbound-oriented lyrics from enlightened sages in ancient India (the Sanskrit lyrics in the song), along with Living Unbound-oriented images we selected.

The lyrics, the music and the images are all symbols pointing to the reality of Living Unbound, behind misperception of limitation.

Living Unbound is the Freedom Beyond Imagination in reality, that  we can all be enjoying, now.

And so, we’d like to welcome all to LivingUnbound.Net – your portal to Freedom Beyond Imagination in reality.

We are launching LivingUnbound.Net today, Febraury 12, 2010, because today is Mahashivaratri, the Great Night of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is the infinite Unbound Awareness we each and all ever are now, in reality; the Freedom Beyond Imagination we can all be enjoying, now.

The name Shiva means “the one who is blessing”. In misperception, we seek blessing; in awakening to Living Unbound, we receive blessing; in Living Unbound, we naturally offer blessing, which is, in reality, the greatest blessing of all.

Living Unbound is Real. And you’re invited. Let’s get started, shall we?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Loving What Is.

Let’s talk about another technique for identifying mind stories, and dropping mind stories.

This technique is called "The Work", as taught by Byron Katie.

Before I was introduced to "The Work", I would go through life wishing that almost everything that I was living was different. I was upset how my house looked, how my kids and husband did not help me, how my husband did not listen to me, how I did not have any help at home or in bringing up my kids, how my friends did not give me the attention they gave others, how my in-laws interfered too much in my life; how people expected too much from me, how I was wronged by so many, how I gave and gave and did not get what I deserved back.... the list was endless.

Then I was introduced to "Loving What Is" by Byron Katie. It changed my life in a way I could never have imagined. It was the first time I realized what "accepting what is" actually meant.

Her quote, "When you argue with reality, you always lose - but only 100% of the time", is possibly the most useful quote you can remember, in your life. 100% of our suffering comes from arguing with reality.

"The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is, is what we want."

We spend all our lives trying to change the world around us, in order to be happy.

"My kids should treat me with respect", "My partner needs to give me more attention", "I should be loved by my family as I have defined love", and so on.

When we insist on things like this, we cause a lot of hurt and anger and unhappiness in ourselves, and all around us, by trying to change everyone around us. Katie's technique "The Work", gives a simple technique to see what the reality is, and how to accept this reality, so that we can be happy, or at least at peace.

And my favorite quote from Katie....

"Would you rather be right or free?"

This one actually helps you let go of the mind stories.

Our mind always wants to be right... "but I deserve the attention I want but I’m not getting!”

"I have a right to expect my children to take care of me when I get old!"

"It is what parents do, they take care of their grandkids, I have every right to expect my parents to help me with my kids!".

"How can you tell me to turn it around and make all of this my fault, they must change in order for me to be happy!"

Would you rather be right … or would you rather be happy?

Let go of the desire to be right … and allow yourself to see the reality of what is going on. You can be free of suffering.
You can get details on how to do "The Work" here:

Step 1:
The First step is to fill in a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet.
  • You can get a copy of the worksheet here.
  • Write down everything that is bothering you.
  • If you have managed to identify your mind stories you can write these down in this sheet.

Step 2: 
The Second step is apply 4 questions to each one of the things you wrote down:

1. Is it true?
The answer is a "yes" or a "no" only. 
If your answer is "no", continue to question #3.

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?   

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? (Occasionally people find the following sub-questions helpful.) 
  •  How do you feel when you believe that thought? (Depressed, anxious, etc.)
  •  Does that thought bring peace or stress into your life? 
  •  What images do you see when you believe that thought about a past or future? 
  •  Describe the physical sensations that happen when you believe that thought. 
  •  How do you treat that person and others when you believe that thought?
  •  How do you treat yourself when you believe that thought?
  •  What addictions/obsessions begin to manifest when you believe that thought? (Alcohol, credit cards,  food, the TV remote?) 
  •  Where and at what age did that thought first occur to you? 
  •  Whose business are you in when you believe that thought? 
  •  What do you get for holding on to that belief? 
  •  What do you fear would happen if you didn’t believe that thought? (Later, take this list of fears to inquiry.) 
  •  What are you not able to do when you believe that thought? (Take this list to inquiry.)

4. Who would you be without the thought?

Close your eyes and drop your story just for a moment; notice: who would you be without that thought? Who would you be without your story?

Step 3:
The next step is to turn it around (the concept you are questioning), and don't forget to find three genuine, specific examples of each turnaround.

Turn the thought around.

Statements can be turned around to the opposite, to the self, and to the other, and occasionally there are other variations as well. When dealing with an object, you can replace the object with "my thinking" or "my thoughts." Find a minimum of three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is as true as or truer than your original statement.

Examples of Turnarounds:

Here are a few more examples of turnarounds:

"He should understand me" turns around to:
- He shouldn't understand me. (This is reality.)
- I should understand him.
- I should understand myself.

"I need him to be kind to me" turns around to:
- I don't need him to be kind to me.
- I need me to be kind to him. (Can I live it?)
- I need me to be kind to myself.

Embracing Reality:

After you have turned around the judgments in your answers to numbers 1 through 5 on the Worksheet (asking if they are as true or truer), turn number 6 around using "I am willing ..." and "I look forward to ..."

For example, "I don't ever want to experience an argument with Paul" turns around to "I am willing to experience an argument with Paul" and "I look forward to experiencing an argument with Paul." Why would you look forward to it?

Number 6 is about fully embracing all of mind and life without fear, and being open to reality. If you experience an argument with Paul again, good. If it hurts, you can put your thoughts on paper and investigate them. Uncomfortable feelings are merely the reminders that we've attached to something that may not be true for us. They let us know that it's time to do The Work.

Until you can see the enemy as a friend, your Work is not done. This doesn't mean you must invite him to dinner. Friendship is an internal experience. You may never see him again, you may even divorce him, but as you think about him are you feeling stress or peace?

In my experience, it takes only one person to have a successful relationship. I like to say I have the perfect marriage, and I can't really know what kind of marriage my husband has (though he tells me he's happy too).
Helpful website:

Helpful Books:
Loving What Is by Byron Katie.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Identifying And Breaking Mind Shafts.

There were two monks walking, an old one and a young one. They came to a shallow river, and there was a lady there who demanded that one of them should carry her across the river. So the old monk carried her across and the two monks continued walking.
At the end of the day they decided to rest for the night. While they sat by a fire, the young monk told the old one.. "I cannot believe you carried that lady across the river, she was perfectly capable of walking across, and she was so rude … she did not even thank you! I really don't get why you did it!”
The old monk smiled at the young monk and said: "You are still carrying her? I set her down hours ago.”

This is how our mind works: we carry a story with us for years, and suffer from that story years after the experience has passed. The mind connects something that happened a few years back, with something that happened a few months back with something that happened a few days back and makes a shaft of pleasure or pain (shaft of "depression" or "poverty" or "unhappiness" or "happiness"). The mind connects every moment, and says “the pain I feel today, and the pain I felt yesterday and the pain I felt a week back are all connected.”

The day we can see that each moment is unique, unconnected to any other moments, we can free up a lot of mental energy … the energy that we used to mentally connect separate events and to keep those mind shafts in place.

We connect things that happen in our life to make either a shaft of pain and/or pleasure. We try to break a pain shaft and try to elongate a pleasure shaft, using external means. Neither of them will help. We need to stop connecting the moments that make the shaft.

So how do we break these mind shafts?

It can be practiced as we go about our day.

At the end of the day, when mind labels the day as a "bad day" or "stressful day" or "depressing day", go through the day in your mind and make mental notes of the things that happened, that cause mind to label the day one way or the other.

Now, if it was a "bad day" or a "feeling down day" … make an effort to pick out the moments in the day when you were happy, if you enjoyed your morning tea, if you smiled at someone or someone smiled at you, if you laughed at a joke, if you saw something that made you smile … watch how those moments actually broke up the lows in the day. Identify the moments that don't fit into the label of "low day", and break the day up into moments of happiness and moments of lows.

We use up a lot of mental energy (hence the mental tiredness, or depression) in connecting the lows to make a shaft of one big low. When we stop connecting memories of low moments in our mind, we free up a lot of mental energy. We need to break the mind shafts we have formed by simply seeing through them. We also need to break the mental pattern of thinking that we have created that makes these mind shafts stronger. Freeing ourselves from this habit won’t happen in a day, but starting out with small things, and developing the new habit of reviewing our day and watching for mind-shafts can free up a surprising amount of mental energy. Observing that the day is actually made up of moment by moment by moment … and that each moment is free of the previous one (memory) and next one (imagination), helps us break these mind-shafts, and enjoy some freedom and mental rest.

At first the shaft may be years long... for instance, a person thinks:

"The past 10 years of my life has been nothing but sadness."

Well the sadness you felt 10 years ago and the one you felt 5 years ago, and the one you experienced a year back and the one 6 months ago and the one you experienced a week ago are not the same. We connect these and make it one long shaft of a sad life.

My best friend betraying me 10 years back and my dad passing away 5 years back and my boyfriend leaving me a year back and my dog dying 6 months back and me losing my job a week back are all connected to make a long shaft of sadness. When you see each of those incidents were individual incidents and are only connected by the mind to make a shaft of a 10 years of sorrow... you can let go some of the heavy energy that is being used to keep the shaft of sorrow in place.

To dissolve the shaft, we can go back and identify the moments when we were not sad/depressed. We can remember how we enjoyed a party or a movie or a vacation or a night out or a book or a trip or a job.... and see how these broke the depression of 10 years. So the one shaft of 10 year long depression is now broken into smaller shafts of sadness. It no longer is a huge monster, but little monsters that came up during those 10 years … and we did enjoy many more moments of happiness than our mind-shaft of sadness wants to let us acknowledge.

Then, we break up shorter periods, such as a single day. Maybe break it to half a day at first. Then as you keep identifying the breaks in the day; breaks when you were not feeling low. Your moments will refine to hours, minutes, seconds... and you will be able to actually watch how each second is independent of the previous and next.

Please look at Breaking The Mind Shaft for another technique that is geared more for people with some background in meditation.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Unconditional Loving.

I have talked a lot about unconditional loving. Maybe it is time to look into what this really means.

Before I had read the book
Real Love  by Greg Baer, my idea of unconditional loving was: 
“I will do anything you want, to make you happy and in return you will love me the way I think I should be loved. There will be an unspoken rule that you will love me and honor me the way I think I should be loved and treated and I will change to fit your definition of what loving is to you.”
So I played a role of a mother the way the society and my kids thought mom should be, and a role of a partner the way I thought I was expected to behave, and the role of a daughter the way I realized my parents thought I should be, and the role of a daughter-in-law as defined by my in-laws, and tried to be a friend as defined by friends, and to fulfill the roll of a good employee as defined by my employer, and of a citizen, as defined by the government and ....

Wow... no wonder I was all confused! Not only was I changing my personality to fit into all these roles, I was changing to what I thought the other person wanted me to be like … not necessarily what they were thinking I should be, but what I thought they thought I should be.

So now, even though I was trying to be someone I thought they wanted me to be, but since they did not really want me that way, I was being someone they did not want me to be. And so, I was really not making them happy.
So by the time I had figured out what might be the right way to be with someone, in order to fulfill their expectations, they had already changed their mind on what they thought I should be.
So there I went, once again scrambling to try to fit the new mold that had been created for me by another person’s ever-changing expectations.
And, please remember: I was also expecting all those people to be a certain way, so that I could love them unconditionally. I mean, I was changing constantly for them so they would be happy, cause I loved them so unconditionally... I mean c'mon... I was ready to change for them.. how much more unconditional could one get? All I was expecting from them was their unconditional loving back, in the way I expected it, from them.
Now if for any reason they did not treat me in the way I had defined, in terms of how they should love me... oh well... that was not acceptable.... how can you love me unconditionally if you are not loving me the way I am loving you and the way I expect you to love me? 
Wow!!! That was complicated. That was a story written for suffering. But I did not know any better. That was unconditional loving to me.
Then I read the book "Real Love" by Greg Baer. I thought I had this unconditional loving thing all figured out. Then I read these lines:

* We're Acting like victims when we point out what other people should have done for us. When we act hurt and maintain that we have been treated unfairly, we're using guilt and obligation to persuade people that we are victims and that we deserve more than we are presently getting. 
* Clinging. When we find people who give us some of the Imitation Love we crave, we often cling to them for more. To illustrate just one of many ways we can cling, imagine that a spouse or friend has decided to part company with you earlier than you had anticipated during an evening or weekend. If you say, "Do you really have to go now?" you're clinging to him or her for more attention. 
No... no way... why is this book telling me this? You mean I was looking at this all wrong? No actually I was not... deep inside I knew I was manipulating things to get love... but that is how we have to function right?
I will be unloved and all alone if I am not pleasing others and making sure others love me.

Mind stories!

I was a slave of the mind stories and labels that had defined what love was. I was too scared to let go these stories because they defined a boundary for me and I could judge if what I was giving and getting was "love". If I dropped these stories I would not have a yard stick to measure loving by.

Can I really love without the stories? Is it really possible that someone could write these words and shake my beliefs... shake the root of my entire definition of real love?

Yes. He did. He changed the way I saw this world. Once I read his words and actually saw how my mind was keeping me from experiencing the freedom of real love, I had to slowly let go. Let go the tight grip I had on my stories. One by one the stories crumbled as I saw how much fuller and easier "real love" was than the imitation love I was trying to get and give.

I would highly recommend getting his book:
Real Love.

Here is a piece from Greg's website that will help you get a taste of what "Real Love" is:

What is Real Love?  (This is a small excerpt from the website, please click on the question to read the rest.)

Real Love is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves. It’s also Real Love when other people care about our happiness unconditionally. It is not Real Love when other people like us for doing what they want. Under those conditions we’re just paying for love again. We can be certain that we’re receiving Real Love only when we make foolish mistakes, when we fail to do what other people want, and even when we get in their way, but they don’t feel disappointed or irritated at us. That is Real Love (true unconditional love), and that love alone has the power to heal all wounds, bind people together, and create relationships quite beyond our present capacity to imagine.

If we don’t have enough Real Love in our lives, the resulting emptiness is unbearable. We then compulsively try to fill our emptiness with whatever feels good in the moment—money, anger, sex, alcohol, drugs, violence, power, and the conditional approval of others. Anything we use as a substitute for Real Love becomes a form of Imitation Love , and although Imitation Love feels good for a moment, it never lasts and never gives us the feeling of genuine happiness that Real Love provides.

Getting and Protecting Behaviors:

When we lack sufficient Real Love, we feel empty and afraid, conditions that are unbearably painful. In order to eliminate our emptiness, we use Getting Behaviors to fill ourselves with Imitation Love. 

The Getting Behaviors include:

* Lying. Although it's usually unconscious on our part, any time we do anything to get other people to like us—by accentuating our positive physical, mental, social, or occupational qualities—we are lying. With our lies, we earn the conditional approval of others (praise) and often the other forms of Imitation Love as well.

* Attacking. We're attacking people when we use any behavior designed to modify their behavior with fear. We frighten or intimidate people with anger, authority, physical intimidation, guilt, and so on. When we attack people, we feel stronger. We feel a sense of power, which temporarily can be quite satisfying in the absence of Real Love.

* We're Acting like victims when we point out what other people should have done for us. When we act hurt and maintain that we have been treated unfairly, we're using guilt and obligation to persuade people that we are victims and that we deserve more than we are presently getting.

* Clinging. When we find people who give us some of the Imitation Love we crave, we often cling to them for more. To illustrate just one of many ways we can cling, imagine that a spouse or friend has decided to part company with you earlier than you had anticipated during an evening or weekend. If you say, "Do you really have to go now?" you're clinging to him or her for more attention.

In order to diminish our fears, we use Protecting Behaviors, which include:

* Lying. From the time we were small children, we learned to hide or diminish our mistakes, flaws, and fears, because then people tended to withdraw their approval less.

* Attacking. Anger gives us a rush of power, and then we feel less helpless and afraid. In addition, when other people are attacking us, we can often get them to stop attacking us if we attack them in return.

* Acting like victims. When people are attacking us, they will often stop if we can act sufficiently wounded and accuse them of hurting us. Victims also frequently use variations on the expression, "It's not my fault."

* Running. One effective way to diminish our pain is simply to withdraw from it. We can run by physically leaving difficult situations or relationships, emotionally withdrawing from interactions or relationships, burying ourselves in our careers, and by using alcohol or drugs.

Read more about:
What "Real Love" is?  

Helpful Websites:

Helpful Books: 
Real Love  by Greg Baer 
Other Books By Greg Baer 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Accepting Reality: Happily Ever After (continued).

Note: In order to get a better understanding of what is being said here, please do read the first part of this post over here. Also it is highly recommended to practice cultivating silence as mentioned here.

Does this mean we accept everything? Even if there is injustice or physical abuse going on?


Accepting a situation does not mean we become a door mat.

Accepting means we see what is happening without attaching a mind story to it.

When we can clearly see what is going on... when we see the reality of the situation... we can then make a decision about what the next step should be based on reality rather than on emotions.

So, if this is the reality: “My husband yells at me and physically hurts me.”

The Mind Stories might be:
>"He should not hit me."
>"I deserve to be hit because I don't meet up to his expectations."
>"He needs to vent his anger."

What is the reality? You are getting beaten. When you drop the mind stories around this reality, you can take the next step which can be removing yourself from the situation... or contacting the cops... or seeking help from a shelter... or calling the abuse hotline.

Please remember, although it is hard to see when we are run by mind stories, the mind really does not know what can happen. The mind story can keep us afraid and feeling like a doormat for a long time. Calling for help does not mean your spouse has to find out; the people dealing with the victims are trained to be discreet and will give you good advice on what can be done.

However as long as we are caught up in our mind story of "I cannot do this" or "I deserve this", or "life will fall apart if I take the next step" or "I just have to bear it and things will get better" or "he will find out and things will get worse"... you will just suffer, not only from the violence, but also with the fear that the mind stories are keeping in place. Not only are you suffering physically …you are killing yourself mentally and emotionally.

A few other examples:

>"My partner should not leave me.”

Look at what the reality is. Our partner has decided to move on. Look at all the stories that are holding us back and keeping us sad. Life is moving on but we are caught up in a mind story of what a relationship should be, and we beat ourselves up when things don't go as per the mind stories we made up on how life should be. We have our definition of unconditional loving, and all of that revolves around how our mind stories define loving. If we let go the mind story of how our partner should treat us, and accept what is going on... we can be free this minute.

If we still want to try and make things work out in our relationship, we can then, from a place of acceptance, go forward with therapy or counseling. If it does not work out, or if our partner is not willing to try along with us, it is best to accept and move on, rather than cling onto a mind story that we created based on memory and imagination, and which only causes suffering in the present.

>"Our children should respect us."

Again, look at the reality of how our children are treating us. Maybe because they are teenagers, and have not yet found their place in life, they are at an awkward age and unclear on how to relate to almost everyone, including their parents. They are no longer children and they are not yet adults. They are confused. Or maybe they never did learn to respect, because we as parents never showed them any respect. Accepting children as they are and showing them unconditional loving will help them get over the confusing phase that can go with certain parts of their teenage years, and respect us even more than they otherwise would, once they are out of this phase.

However, our mind stories have defined what the behavior of children should be like... and we are sad and disappointed and angry because they don't fit into that mind story. Accepting what is … accepting reality … will help us drop the mind story, and will help us operate from a place of clarity. From this place of clarity we can take further steps of talking to our children, showing them unconditional loving, and offering loving guidance. When we talk to them with our mind story of “expected behavior” in place, we are not listening to what they are saying nor are we working with the reality of the situation. However, when we drop the mind story of “acceptable behaviors”, we actually have a wonderful chance of getting closer to our children. Even the most rebellious kids just want to feel that someone is on their side, no matter what. If that “someone” is us, and they know it, they won’t shut us out, and we’ll be able to offer them input and guidance. (read more about this here).

>"Our children should take care of us when we get old",
> "Our children should give us more time/visit us more often."

What’s the reality? Our children are not taking care of us. Can we change this? Our mind stories have defined what our old age should look like. But even after spending all our lives seeing how things never go according to the plans of the mind stories, we are still disappointed because our life this moment is not the way our mind story defined it should be.

When will this stop? When will we actually be happy? As a child we look forward to being out of school, working, having our own money. Then we say we will be happy when we have a partner, then kids, then kids settle down, then grand kids, then... we finally rest when we are in our grave. If we can accept reality this moment, if we can let go the hold on the mind stories and accept reality right now... we can be completely fulfilled right here, right now... not somewhere “out there” in the future.

Helpful website: 
National Domestic Violence Hotline:
National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Accepting Reality: Happily Ever After.

Note: In order to get a better understanding of what is being said here, please do read from  here. Also it is highly recommended to practice cultivating silence as mentioned here.

In one of my earlier posts I had talked about looking for happiness within us. All our lives we look outward for happiness. If that really did make us happy, we should have been the happiest people alive, after manipulating ourselves and the world around us we should have it all down to a fine art to find happiness. And yet, happiness is always just beyond us. Even when we do catch up with it, it slips away real soon.

So is "happily ever after" possible?

Yes. It is possible to be happy exactly where you are.


Shift the way you think. Instead of "what can the world do to make me happy?" or "how I can change myself to gain the love of the world?", look into "how can I accept the world as it is, and myself as I am?"

In all of the example statements we talked about in previous posts, there was one part called "reality" … which was the actuality of the situation, free from any interpretation about it. Accepting this part, the reality of the situation, will make everything different.

Acceptance doesn’t mean being weak, or allowing others to use us as doormats, or not acting when action is needed. Acceptance means dropping the mind stories that makes us suffer by keeping us mentally and emotionally bound to a situation. Being attached to the mind stories uses up energy needlessly, clouds thinking and drains energy; acceptance helps get past the mind story and address any moment or situation with clarity.

Things happen around us without our help. We may believe we are making things happen, however life just keeps flowing with or without our help.

We believe we actually carve the path of our lives, however, look back and be honest with yourself... how much of our lives has been as we had planned? How much of our sadness is because we are still clinging onto the dreams ("mind stories") we had of our life, partner, kids, parents, siblings. What happens if we drop the ideas ("mind stories") we have.  It's a slight shift in our focus. We put all our attention and energy on our mind stories and see our world from this place. All we need to do is shift our focus away from the mind story and accept the reality.

Let’s look into this:
"I feel sad because I am disappointed that my mother is not around more to help me with my kids."
emotion = sad
label = disappointed
mind story = mother should help more
reality = mother is here once a week/month, never.

So you are sad because you cannot accept the reality of what is going on. Your mother is doing what she is doing. Maybe she does not want to go through bringing up children again. Maybe she feels unloved because she feels you are using her to take care of the kids. Maybe she is old and does not have the energy to take care of the children. Maybe she is afraid she is old and may not be able to keep up with the children. We know how tired we get taking care of the children? Well she maybe double our age... and with half our energy. Or maybe she just does not care.

All the above statements are to help you see what she may be going through. But it does not really matter what she is going through. We can only speculate what someone else is feeling or thinking with our mind stories. The only thing we can be sure about is what is going on. My mother is not involved with my children as often as I would like her to be.

Can you accept this? For even a moment, drop the thought "my mother should help me more" and feel the release and lightness. Try thinking in another way... "I should not expect anything from my mother and accept that she is loving us the best she knows how" or "I should love my mother no matter what she does or does not do". Or "I should love myself and drop the expectation, because it is hurting me to keep the expectations in place".

When you can identify the mind story and let it go and accept the reality that is beyond the mind story, you will feel an instant release in tension in yourself. We will see how we cling onto these mind stories and keep our suffering in place.

Another wonderful thing that we will start to experience is when the mind stories are not controlling our every move, a kind of freedom comes into our lives and we can just flow with what is happening. Once this happens... once we have loosened the grip our mind stories have on us... everything starts to unfold in perfect harmony. It has always been unfolding in perfect harmony, we have been so caught up in our mind stories that we haven't noticed.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Looking For The Mind Window: Identifying Mind Stories.

Note: In order to get a better understanding of what is being said here, please do read the previous two posts here and here. Also it is highly recommended to practice cultivating silence as mentioned here.

OK … now that we see how to separate the emotion from the label, let’s take the next step.

We are going to go through an exercise. You can either read it and then close your eyes and go through it … or ask someone to read it to you while you follow this exercise. Alternately, you can record it while reading it out loud, and then listen to the recording, in order to do the exercise.

Close your eyes. Now think about something that you enjoy doing ... like eating your favorite food, watching a sunrise/sunset, enjoy a warm day in the middle of winter, a day at the beach or sitting by a river enjoying nature.
Apply the separation technique we talked about in the previous section. See the emotions arising. Watch the labels the mind attaches.
There may be a smile on your face. Feel your muscles relax. Enjoy the peace for a few minutes; the silence.

Now think of something you are not looking forward to:
A family reunion, a job interview, asking permission from (someone you think of as) an authority figure (for something you think they may give a negative response to); imagine a trip to the doctor or dentist, a visit from a friend or relative who is judgmental or annoying. Watch the emotions arising. Watch how your body reacts. The discomfort you feel.
Identify the emotions: scared, intimidated, nervous, restless.
Be with it for a few minutes.


Now think of something that makes you angry or scared:
Your relatives, a bully, the economy, the government, injustice, an accident, a fire. Now notice the emotions arising. Apply the technique of separation and realize the actual emotions that are arising, and the mental labels connected with them. Feel how the body is reacting.
Your muscles and jaws tighten, heart rate goes up.
Be with it for a few minutes.


Now think of something that makes you sad:
A death in the family, the loss of a loved one, or some objects you really treasured. Try and identify the emotions. Watch how the body reacts … the tears, the heavy heart, the pain.


Now bring yourself back to the room.
Be aware of your presence in the room.

Do you realize you were not here as you lived through the above experiences? Do you see how your mind controls so much of you?
Right now, right here, are any of those things happening?
Yet, the mind can completely change your physical and emotional state, just by bringing up some thoughts from the past (going forward we will refer to this as memory), or by projecting how you will feel in the future (this we will call imagination).

We have all experienced being terrified of doing something, or seeing someone who intimidates or scares us (mind story), and yet … when the moment itself actually happens, it does not seem as bad as the mind imagined it to be.

Or, we've also experienced letting the mind create the wonderful stories about what something in the future (vacation, date, dinner, movie) is going to be like and are disappointed because the actual moments don't go like the ones we imagined.

If we had no expectations, then perhaps we would actually enjoy the given moment. However our mind does not give us a chance to enjoy something fully, because it has pre-judged the current moment and even though this moment could be a lot of fun, our mind won’t let us enjoy it completely.

So based on memories and imagination, "mind stories" are created. As a part of this exercise, we will try to identify mind stories and write them down.  Separate the emotions,  from the reality and  identify the mind story that is labeling the situation.

The difference between a "mind story" and  a "label" is that a "mind story" is story based on memory or imagination and a label is what we attach to the current situation from that mind story. 

So as we go about our day, any time we suddenly feel disappointed or sad or happy... any time there is a sudden change in our emotional state, we will try to identify the emotion, the reality, the “mind story” and the label that is causing the reaction.

You are happy, and suddenly you feel your heart sink. Look at what just happened: did you read something or hear something or see something that made you feel threatened? Have an unhappy memory? Identify the emotion, and the label the mind is attaching to the situation. Identify the story the mind is making and see if the memory that brings you down fits into one of the situations we talked about in the exercise above?

Again, develop the habit of writing this down; the mind has a way of twisting things, so writing things down as they arise will help you see the emotion, the situation and the "mind story" clearly.

The mind is like a child making up stories. We don’t invest too much in way of upset and emotions in the child’s stories … similarly once we identifying the mind’s stories, many times that is enough to get us free from the suffering created by that story. At times it takes a bit more. We will explore some more techniques in some of the future blogs.