Posts Tagged ‘thought’

The presence of decisions

July 10, 2011

The consequences of our decisions and actions (or lack thereof) follow us all of our lives. They might follow us into the next iteration of our existence. In fact, they might determine the next iteration of our existence. I am in a comfortable spot in my life. Not all is perfect, but I am basking in the enviable position of being securely employed with a good home and excellent health.

It is very easy for me to engage my 20/20 hindsight and review how I got to this particular point in my life. As I examine each of my decisions and retrace my steps, a few of them make me shudder. Others make me clasp myself in a hug filled with relief and gratitude. The one I am most grateful for these days is that I have a job to complain about.

I have family members who lost their jobs some time ago and currently live off the charity of others. Both are struggling to find a job. ANY job, they say. They fill out endless applications online nearly all of which disappear into the vast empty hole of cyberspace. Sometimes, though, an application gets a response and there is an interview.

They call me when there is an interview, voices trembling with excitement and an anticipatory joy. It is only an interview, but they sound as if they had just been invited to the prom. They ask: What should I wear? What should I say? What if they ask about this or that?

This or that are decisions these family members made that resulted in them being unemployed and nearly unemployable. They took actions which were not in their best interests. When they relate their woeful tales of how tough their lives are now, it is all I can do not to point out how they got themselves there (when I do, the conversation ends abruptly). I can point to the exact decisions they made – years of them. Instead, I recommend decisions and actions that would take good care of them now and in the future.

This process makes me more cognizant of all the thoughts and deeds I carry with me. What I think today has a real impact on where and who I will be ten years from now. What I do today may not make my life noticeably different tomorrow, but the seeds are there getting ready to sprout. It is the ultimate reaping of what I sow.

I have to go now . . . my life is begging for some water and fertilizer.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

Advertisements

the presence of thinking

January 8, 2011

A little miracle occurred in my head this past week. I don’t have to think anything about anything ever at all. I can choose to be thoughtless — which is not the same thing as being inconsiderate, unconscious or unaware. It simply means I can choose to think or not think about anything.

A person who often comments on my blogs introduced me to Jan Frazier. (See the discourse at the presence of obligation.)

Frazier says that “the thinker produces the thoughts. But what is not so obvious is that the thinker is really just another one of the thoughts, basically. An elaborate thought, maybe, but invented just as sure as the thoughts are invented. You think yourself up and then the self you thought up thinks thoughts.”

I am a product of my own imagination. You would think I could have been more creative with that product or at least given myself a metabolism that could easily handle a quart of ice cream a day.

Frazier goes on to say “What’s important in all of this is to realize that there is something within a person, an intelligent knower that is not the same as the thinker. That is actually of an order of reality different from the one the thinker and the thought occupy. When you wake up, you realize that this other something is what you really are.”

What is this presence, this “knower” in me that allows me to observe my own thinking? Some might say that it is the mind. Frazier acknowledges it is a different “order of reality.” For me, it is the eternal presence I have always been. I wonder if I (the eternal presence) created me with certain characteristics and specifications because I (the eternal presence) knows what I need to learn to evolve. I purposefully gave me the obstacles I perceive in myself to challenge me enough to develop the spiritual muscle required to take me to the next level.

My new challenge is to not think any particular thing about anything: any situation, person, idea, object, animal, insect, or even a thought. When my mind begins the whirring and spinning that elicits some kind of response, I think “I don’t have to think anything about this.” The hundred gears that make me process life don’t grind to a complete halt, but they sure slow down a lot and some of them get a little creaky. A new game begins. I purposefully think different things about whatever is before me. I waltz with various positions, flip perspectives, and pause to consider the feelings that result from each of those thoughts.

When I actually get a chance to find my mind silent, an open channel to connect with my eternal presence opens up. There isn’t anything to say or think. There is just being. Thought stops.

I know all of you are crying out in angst wondering what the heck I am going to write about here on Eternal Presence if I don’t have any thoughts to write down.

Fear not. We are hardwired by our creation to think something. It helps keep us alive. I will still be here shooting my fingers off from the keyboard, except I will be more who I truly am.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

Listening presence

April 7, 2010

The noise my life and in my own head often gets in the way of my listening . . .  my listening to others as well as myself. Our brains are programmed to instantaneously respond to all stimuli. Our awareness of that fact can help us be present enough to really listen for what is important. I know that when someone starts talking to me, my brain is beginning to formulate a response. When I am listening to my thoughts I cannot be listening to what the other person is saying so I don’t really hear them. I need to be mindful of adopting a meditative listening so that I can really hear what the other person is saying. In other words, I make the other person’s words my thought and wait until he or she is finished speaking; then, I reiterate what I heard them say to make sure we both heard the same thing. Note that I only do this when having a normal conversation (or even an argument) with someone. If someone intentionally means me harm and my brain is telling me to get the hell out, I am going to listen to me first, them later.

Listening to our selves give us the wisdom we know we need but often don’t want to follow. We often want to follow the crowd, do what will please others and make us acceptable, even when we know it is not good for us. Learning to listen to that deeper, more present knowledge is sometimes harder than listening to other people. I try listen to voice that comes from eternity, instead of the voice that comes from my ego. This is not to say the eternal voice and the ego voice are always at odds. Often, they agree because I was given an ego to be human and survive. My eternal presence knows and respects this knowledge.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

Transcending consciousness

March 30, 2010

In Albert Einstein’s quote “You cannot solve a problem from the same level of consciousness that created it,” note that he does not define the level of consciousness. The implication is that the level does not have to be higher or lower, just different. Some people might believe that they have to develop a “higher” consciousness to solve their problem, but I believe that one has only to transcend the level of consciousness that he or she was in when the problem was created.

Transcendence can mean to rise above something, but it also means to go beyond the limits. I have to start with self-awareness to begin my transcendence journeys. How am I limiting myself? Where am I at right now with the problem at hand? Am I still stuck in the same place emotionally, mentally, and spiritually as when the problem first appeared? Just because I am older, have more experience, and grown in other areas does not mean that I have transcended the consciousness that perpetuates the problem or situation. If I want to help myself, I need to develop a “me” consciousness, and it is not the “me” who created the problem in the first place. The “me” who needs to respond to my problems is the person who I am becoming.                                       

This is where purposeful thinking shows how creative and wonderful the mind can be. I ask myself the question: how many ways can I think differently about the situation? And I watch as my mind grasps this new challenge, analyzes it, and starts delivering options. I judge the options based on how they make me feel and the response of my eternal presence. From the various viewpoints my mind delivers, I can see the problem differently, and often realize solutions I had not thought of before. Sometimes, the solution is to do nothing because by taking a different viewpoint – thinking differently about the situation – the “problem” changes and is no longer a problem. When a solution requires action on my part, I ask: Is the solution good for everyone? If not, who does it harm? Is it the right solution?

 And the solution that I go with is the solution I can live with.

In his book, Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn writes: “There is an art to facing difficulties in ways that lead to effective solutions and to inner peace and harmony. When we are able to mobilize our inner resources to face our problems artfully, we can orient ourselves to use the pressure of the problem to propel us through it, like sailor using the wind to propel a boat.”

 ©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

Thinking purposefully

March 29, 2010

Everything humans have made on this earth was first a thought – I mean EVERYTHING: money, cars, bridges, roads, Spam, hotdogs, medicine, landfills, hulahoops, styrofoam, computers, governments . . . think of one thing that was NOT first a thought. Yesterday, I wrote about how my word creates my world. My words could not exist if it were not for the thoughts my mind crafts with instantaneous precision.

 The mind is programmed to function continuously and relentlessly, and our thoughts form the words we say and the actions we perform. Thinking itself might be involuntary and many times thoughts are there bursting uncontrollably in our brains. Incredibly, though, we have the ability to monitor our thoughts, to change our thoughts, and to think purposefully.

 I believe it is our eternal presence who is always aware and nudges us to pay attention to what we are thinking before we speak or act. My presence exists only in this present moment and by connecting with the present, I connect with my presence, and can be aware to watch my thoughts, create my thoughts, and ask my mind to come up with a different thought. We all use our minds purposefully. How many times have you asked yourself to find a solution for a problem and you managed to think of one? How many times have you decided that you wanted to do something and found a way to do it? You used the power of your mind and your ability to manage your thinking process. It is an incredible power that we don’t use as effectively as we might.

 With our thoughts, we created a system of survival on this earth that is failing us. In order to create a system that will sustain us, we need to transcend the consciousness that created our current systems. More on this tomorrow.  

 ©2010 by Barbara L. Kass