Wisdom Wednesday: Conditioning

The belief in who we are and what other people tell us we are is strong and shapes our personality. Personality is imposed by society and personality is a social connivence. Individuality is experience and is developed through our existence.  There is story about a lion raised by sheep, and so he no consciousness of being a lion and thought instead he was a sheep. One day an old, wise lion pounce out from a large outcrop of long grasses and all the sheep ran away in fear. The lion-who-thought-he-was-a-sheep cowered and begged for mercy. The wise, old lion was confused seeing this but had an idea. He lead him down to a lake and showed him his reflection and his own. At that moment the lion-who-thought-he-was-a-sheep, realized who he was and let out a mighty roar.

Many of us are like this lion, the image of ourself does not come from our own experience but the perception and the opinion of others. Individuality can grow within us through existence, deciding to to see our true reflection, and the courage to express to ourselves and to others that new found individuality.

Think of when you feel MOST you, when everything in you states “Yes this is Angela (insert your name here of course)” What inside inspires that? What encourages you to be that true self and roar, no matter how quiet it may be. When do you abandon that? When do you take on the personality that society or others have given to you to feel nice or cozy or even just not to feel a lack of comfort?

My answers to this question has no relevance to your own reflection, but by giving my insight I hope to inspire your further self discovery.

I felt this “Yes this is Angela” a couple weekends ago, I had just finished a beautiful but hot hike up in the mountains. I had been hiking along this mountain stream the entire time and I could think of nothing else than how much I wanted to go swimming. Just strip of my hiking clothes and jump in wearing just my bra and underwear. Each time I pushed it back down, you see I was with someone I am newly dating and all I could think of was how he would think of my behavior to go swimming in my skivvies in the middle of a hike. The conditioning of how my body and behavior may be perceived as unattractive or undesirable was conflicting with the deeper love of freedom and well, swimming. Finally, I realized I was going to miss this amazing opportunity to go swimming in this beautiful mountain stream just because I feared what another may or may not think of me and story I was telling myself about my body. So I made the plunge… ok ok I slowly crept in letting out yelps and squeals because of the icy water. And then I just laid there, hot sun on my face, icy water on my goosebumpy skin. I stared up at the trees and the mountains. A sense of peace wash over me and a little voice said, “Yes this is Angela”

My inspiration to let my roars out comes from so many sources. There are these amazing people I surround myself with that, live authentically and let their roars out despite their fear and discomfort. This given me courage and inspires me to recognize where and when I hold back. Passing on the knowledge I have learned to others to help empower themselves is also something that inspires me. I realize through my own experiences and existence I can maybe make something easier for someone or simpler. The joy I feel when I slow down to take this time in self reflection and then sharing it with others is worth all the discomfort that has brought me to that point.

I do abandon it though. More often then not its when I’m around people that have known me a long time, and usually I have grown and/or changed since seeing them last. I wonder will their perspective of who I was and who I am clash? Or cause discomfort? I fear that I will be called out and might not have the answers that appease them and make it easy for me to answer. This has become less of an occurrence over the years but still something that I find myself slipping into if I’m a tad less self aware.

It’s time to take a look at your own reflection in that lake and make a move to break out of whatever your have been conditioned to believe about yourself. Have the courage, take the leap, and let out your “ROAR.”

Conditioning

Source Material: Osho Zen Tarot

Wisdom Wednesday: Stress

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Midterms coming up and I pull the Stress card…noooo. Something is wrong with this blog, it won’t type sarcasm. This man is exactlyhow I felt at the beginning of the week, except I’m smiling my way through it. The monkey? My neck, its my proverbial “monkey on my back.”  He’s my sort of my ‘bad timing’ friend but also my wake up alarm call. Pay attention, you’re not paying attention!! Hey Hey pay attention?!?!

How many times have you or someone you know been completely overloaded, with too many projects, too many “balls in the air”, and suddenly come down with the flu, or taken a fall and ended up in crutches? Stress visits us all the time, we can use it as a powerful motivator or we create an idea in our head that nothing will happen without us, especially in the way we want. Perfectionists are particular vulnerable to this, I can attest to this being a recovering perfectionist myself. What the sun will rise whether or not I set my alarm?!?!

Clean the house, cook food, write a blog, connect with others, study, work, plan trip home…many of the times, multiples of these all at the same time. So then… I took a fall, I hurt my neck, and now taking part in self care, I’ve taken a step back. The house will get messy, the studies won’t be perfect, and I can’t keep up with everything. My body has told me “enough, pay attention around you and slow down!” Go for a walk, buy some flowers, cuddle with the dog…anything ‘unimportant’ will do just fine. Anything to get me out of that monkey’s reach!

Photo Credit: OSHO Zen

Wisdom Wednesday: Healing

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As a nurse, and as an individual whom deeply explores her own mind this has always been a very important concept to me. “Physician heal thyself”-Soren Dahl, I like to think of it more as “Healer heal thyself” mainly because of its very deep root in “Know thyself.” To be able to delve deep into ones self is to know where one is weak and where one needs to heal. For to heal others and to know other, you need to first know yourself.

This card shows us that to heal we must be vulnerable and open to the love that others and ourselves have to offer.  When we are healing we are no longer hiding from ourselves and others. In this attitude  of openness and acceptance we can be healed and in turn help others also to be healthy and whole.

Many of the times we carry our wounds or are ready to be wounded, just waiting on the brink for anything to happen. Be aware of your wounds, don’t help it grow, let it be healed.

So I’m going to try something, please join me if you like, for 24 hours try total acceptance. No stories, no wounding. Someone insults you? Don’t react and see what happens.  From one thing to another, see when you react out of habit and when you don’t react out of habit. Is there a pattern? Is there a story you are telling yourself about your wounding?

Wisdom Wednesday: No-thingness

Your mind chatters, my mind chatters. Where do you find that place to rest, where the chatter subsides? Even if it is just for a moment.

At times, being ‘in the gap’ between thoughts can be scary a little unnerving. I sometimes find myself with nothing to hold on to, no sense of direction or the possibilities that lie ahead. And thats the point when there in nothing to hang on to, no direction to say where you HAVE to go, or what choice you HAVE to make. In that moment of nothing everything is possible. Between the inhale and exhale is stillness, the transition into the next. At that moment of stillness anything is possible, out of nothing anything can come into being. It is potential, absolute potential.

Where does the lack of no-thingness cause despair or worry in your life? Where or how do you find the no-thingness in your life?

no-thingness 

Credit: OSHO Zen

Meditation is my first answer, but even as I sat here tonight preparing to write the mind chattered away. It wasn’t the actual act of meditating that caused the silence or the will of the mind. It was finding the stillness in between the thoughts and breath, and sinking into those that the stillness became longer and longer.

Dancing I can find the no-thingness. The pause and stillness that define one movement from the next. The silence in between the the tones that create the rhythm and beats of the music.

This is were I find Shunyata, nothingness.

Wisdom Wednesday: Inner Voice

OK one of the tools I’ve been using is the OSHO Zen Deck. For those of you unfamiliar with what the concept of Zen is I’ll give you a brief watered down version at the end. I’ve found these card very helpful in my morning meditations and to become more present in my everyday life. I want to start pulling a weekly card and place it here, not only for me to reflect on but my readers as well. It may be nothing more than “oh thats a new way to look at it” or it might inspire you to look at yourself or your world differently.

So here’s the first card, Inner Voice, perfect considering my post yesterday was all about that “Finding my Voice”

Inner voice

“The Inner Voice speaks not in words but in the wordless language of the heart…There are times in our lives when too many voices seem to be pulling us this way and that. Our very confusion in such situations is a reminder to seek silence and centering within. Only then are we able to hear our truth.”

Where in your life is are too many voices or labels or opinions pulling you this way or that? In what ways do you find your voice and your truth?  Please feel free to comment below with your wisdom and reflections.

I find a lot of time I put too many labels on myself. A lot of them to do with my perceived body image, “Oh I’m too curvy to pull that off” or “no one wants to stare at this butt when I’m trying to rock climb” LOL little mischievous voices can be so vain! Where do I find my truth? On the cushion meditating, in the wood hiking, and something I need to make a priority with my time…dance. When I dance I feel connected, I feel me…so more dancing!

So Zen...

I am not a Zen Master or even aspire to be one but I do find the teachings a very simple and freeing way to think about and explore life.  I use the Osho Zen Tarot Deck not to predict the future or look into the past but as a reflection on life and my perceptions around it. So a very simple definition of Zen. Living fully and authentically in the present moment to make each instant of one’s life a peak experience. Zen can bring us face to face with our true original nature, undefiled by cultural conditioning and painful neurotic tendencies.