Tag Archives: sticks and stories

There is no reason to think

experience1

 There is no need to think. I said that once, I thought it often (yes, I see the contradiction here) and I stand by it.

There is never any need to think.

It is hard to accept this idea, I know. One goes straight to working, making, fixing, planning. The everyday tasks organized by mind, by thoughts, by explanations and definitions, by understanding.

I go somewhere else. I go to the place from which life is created. From which my life is being created. This place is not one of thinking, but of being. And of experiencing.

I was there when I chose to move to California. I said “yes” in jest without a minute of hesitation, yet I arrived at San Francisco airport three months later.

I was there when I realized I wanted to marry Christopher, though I’d known him only for three weeks. I thought about dolphins and whales at the time when this realization descended upon me.

I was there yesterday when, lost in pain and confusion, I could not see a way out. “Love” came the solution. Not figured out, not thought out, not devised nor contrived.

There was no thinking involved. There was never any thinking involved in the key moments of my life. The most crucial choices were not the result of a careful deliberation but of a sudden, clear and undeniable experience.

An experience, not understanding.

And if this way, this way of taking the most important steps, lead me to happiness and comfort — surely taking the smallest steps in this way will bring nothing else.

Surely there is never any need to think.

More by Pausha Foley:

It’s You.

Is happiness a myth?

Don’t give your power away.

See more at http://sticksandstories.com/no-reason-to-think/

Is happiness a myth?

experience-happiness

 It began with an exchange I had this morning. There was a question, I gave an answer. “Well, that’s a claim. Can you back it up in any way?” I heard in response.

“No” I said. “No I can’t and no, I don’t want to.”

I thought about this later. I thought about whether I was being obtuse, or maybe only uninterested in further discussion, but the more I thought the more I stood by my answer. No, I do not want to back it up in any way. Because I don’t need to. Because the claim is mine, the belief is mine, the truth is mine. I do not need anyone else to believe it, I do not wish to convert, I do not wish to convince. Therefore no, I do not wish to back it up in any way.

Why do I bother answering at all then? Ah, and here is the key of the matter: I answer to share a perspective. I answer to offer a possibility. I answer to present a truth. Not THE truth, not ONE truth, not the ONLY truth — but my truth. I speak my truth, and I wish to hear the truths of others in response. Not to adapt them and follow them, to exchange my truth for theirs, but to learn, to grow. To see reality in a way others see and I don’t, to gain a perspective others have and I lack. So that I can open. So that I can expand. So that I can develop my truths, round them up, add dimensions and facets until they shine like jewels.

So that my truths can grow as I grow, as my life grows, as my world grows.

This is happiness, I thought. This is happiness, right here, owning my truth. Every truth, each and one of them. This is happiness when I am myself and every truth is an expression of what I am. When life is an expression of what I am. Then there is nothing but joy and bliss in the world.

This is happiness: owning my truth.

That is my truth.

See more here.

Don’t give your power away.

take-responsibility

 When I say: “pain offers understanding, suffering happens when we lose ourselves in pain” do you think I am blaming suffering on people’s attitude towards pain?

Some do.

I don’t.

 I do not blame anyone for suffering, but – and this is a very big “but” – I do believe everyone is responsible for it. Everyone who suffers. Everyone who is in pain.

Why do I say that? Is it because I am a cold-hearted, apodictic bitch devoid of empathy and without an ounce of compassion? Possibly, but even if that’s the case, still there is more. There is that it is by taking full responsibility for the pain, the suffering, that we achieve the power and the freedom to heal it.

As long as the pain is something that happens to us, that has been done to us by others (whether other humans, faith, destiny, God) there is little we can do to change it.

And yes, sometimes the pain is overwhelming and sometimes it is excruciating and sometimes it is unbearable and even so – what’s so is what’s so. I can only heal and transform that which is mine to heal and transform.

Before I can affect it – I have to claim it. As mine.

It’s You.

limit1

 Isn’t that a lovely stick? Inspiring and uplifting and what not? Truly a stick worth posting. Yet it begun like this:

limit

Yup. This is how I felt the last few days, the last few weeks, the last few months, the last few … well, all my life, likely. Though there were times of clarity and times of denial, times of unconsciousness and times of presence. Lately I experience times of my trauma being up in my face so strongly, so clearly, so harshly that nothing but facing it is a possibility. So I am facing.

I am facing and I see pain that dates to my birth. I saw some pain from before that, hidden all the way back in the shadowy endings of the previous life but that’s irrelevant here. What is relevant is that what happened when I was one day old comes to light and demands to be seen.

There is pain there. Pain caused by neglect and fear and loneliness and … well, pain. The pain I was born into. The pain of my parents that made it impossible for them to surround me with nothing but love. There was no love. There was no love at the very beginning of my life and I look at it (again) and see how quickly it became my fault, how quickly I became unlovable and how that burden of blame and guilt crushed me, and then I realize that…

… that it was not my fault. It was not my fault that there was no love waiting to receive me when I was born. But it was my responsibility. It was my responsibility.

And this is when the strings, the cords and strands of trauma loosen up a bit and I see that it was all me, from the very beginning. It was all me. And it still is.

And then I see that the trauma that binds me and traps me is there because I keep it there, because I believe it, because I mistake it for reality. I mistake it for life. I mistake it for the world. And then I see that this trauma’s purpose is to create life that it wants me to have. The pain wants me to create more pain. The fear wants me to create more fear and the lack of love, the loneliness, wants me to be alone.

And when I see that — the bounds fall off. They do not disappear, no, but they lose their power over my choices. They lose their power over my perceptions. I can see them for what they are now and they can no longer blind me and mystify me. They can no longer pretend to be real.

And then they leave. They are not needed anymore and I am left in the world where there is love because I am love. I am left in the world of my own creation, designed by me in the process of loving, of accepting, myself.

You exist outside of rules.

rules

 Do you know what happens when I say: “God is love. Love for everyone and everything”?

Someone immediately asks: “Including murderers and terrorists?” Sometime they add rapists, too.

And I say yes, including murderers and terrorists. And rapists too.

But of course that is not an answer that would satisfy anyone so I elaborate, like so:

“God might know, you see, that you, yourself, are God. That you are love, that you are the boundless, limitless and timeless existence . God likely knows that nothing wrong can ever happen to you because you are what God is, and there is no “wrong” in God. God knows that you did not appear at birth, nor will you disappear at death, but you will simply change, shift, transition. God might know that death is as wonderful an experience as birth is — a grand adventure, a graduation.

God will likely know that the pain and fear you experience, the suffering that plagues you, is caused by you forgetting who you are, and that it will pass eventually and you will remember yourself again. Because, you must remember, God knows that you are God, even if you do not know at times. Knowing that, God might see your pain and hardships as something you created yourself as an opportunity to outgrow it.

From God’s perspective, from that place, murderers and terrorists would appear very differently than they do to a human, don’t you think?”

And then, of course, the inevitable response always comes: ”Um, this doesn’t make any sense.”

Which is when I say:

“Of course it doesn’t make sense. Its God we are talking about. In order for God to make sense to a human it would have to be a human invention. In order for God to make sense, God would have to be subject to the rules that are human inventions.

But God exists outside of those rules.

And so do you.

You have everything.

have-all

 

What would be the best advice on life you could give to a twenty-year-old?

Mine was: “don’t listen to other people’s advice”.

“That is, quite simply put, the worst advice I ever heard in my opinion” came the inevitable response, and then, a bit surprisingly, a question:
“What’s the up-side of not looking for advice?”

“Doing what you want the way you want to do it” I said in response,
“discovering your own, original, unique way.
Making your own choices.
Being responsible for your own choices.
Owning your life.
Owning your experience.
Owning yourself.”

Still he didn’t give up.

“The whole purpose of asking for advice is to make progress, by learning from the mistakes of not only ourselves but the ones before us,” he retorted. “Where would we be if we didn’t ask for advice?”

Where would we be?

Where would we be if we did not follow into footsteps, if we did not turn to others to ask what life is, how to live it, who am I?

Where would we be? What would we do if there was no one to tell us how to live?

I asked those questions, and as I did and an image popped into my mind, straight from some dark forgotten corner where my long gone zen past hid: a pilgrim with a sac carried over his shoulder, and in the sac everything he needs. Everything he will ever need. To be who he is. And then I knew, without any doubt I knew that I have everything I need, that I know everything I need to know, that I am everything I need to be…

to be what I am.

I do not need the support to be myself. I do not need advice on how to be myself, in fact such advice would be impossible to give because there is no one out there who knows how to be me. No one knows what it means to be me — only I do.

No one knows what it means to be you, either. No one knows how a life that is an expression of who you are should look like. Only you do. And you do know.

You know everything you need to know, you have everything you need to have and you are everything you need to be,

to be what you are.

I am that I am

I-am

 This is me up there. Yes, that is what I Am. I talk with nature. Trees teach me how to be alive on Earth, and rocks, and big cats. I received a lesson from a panther only a few days ago, it taught me how to be present and not collapse when I am surrounded by people. It was a valuable lesson at the time, especially given my limited experience with human interactions. I do not look for those.

It is not that I don’t enjoy them, at a certain level, but they are not as fulfilling, not as open as relationships with nature. Human interactions require words and concepts. I find words and concepts limited and shallow.

I do not believe that the mind is the be-all and end-all of human perception. I find the mind to be pitifully small and constricted, utterly unable to comprehend reality. I am not my mind.

I am my body and my life and the world and by feeling it, by being present with it, I shift it, I affect it, I redesign it. I clean up the trauma that causes sickness to heal my body. I do not require medication to deal with sickness, pain or  inflammation. I bring myself up from a collapse to allow my life to flow smoothly when there are problems or lack of any sort. I do not require marketing to attract clients or money.

I enjoy the idea of dying one day. It will be a spectacular adventure and I am looking forward to it. Because I know what I am. And I remember when I chose to be born. I know why I chose it, and I know why I was born to my parents. I know that I did not begin with this birth and I will not end with this coming death. I know that I have no beginning nor ending at all.

I do not mind pain nor fear, I experience it as a natural element of growing in places where I need to grow.

I do not believe that there is such a thing as a tragedy. I do not believe there is such a thing as wrong, evil, bad, nor do I believe there is good nor right.

I do believe that values, moralities, ethics are nothing more than stories created by human minds to manage trauma.

I do not believe that anyone deserves or doesn’t deserve anything. I do not believe that anyone is entitled to anything. I believe that I create my own experience. I believe that everyone creates their own experience.

All of it.

This is me. This is what I am.

This is what I am hiding. This is what I have been hiding since I was a little child because, even when what I was was not clear to me, I could feel what I wasn’t. This awareness caused pain when I was a girl wanting to fit in. This awareness caused a discomfort when I was a young woman wanting to belong. This awareness caused great joy once I grew into myself, but the pain is still there. Scars left by the fear of rejection tighten my skin still, become inflamed when rubbed.

It got rubbed during the last few days. The scars got rubbed until they throbbed with pain, and the pain brought out the childish misery and that, in turn, brought out the rebellion. And anger.

“I will not hide anymore,” I thought.

I am not yet entirely recovered. The scars, mostly gone, left raw flesh in their wake. It itches still and so I am not as gentle, as gracious and considerate as I might be. And so I write in this way. Clearly, openly and straightforwardly.

And yes, it scares me, but the fear does not bother me. The fear is simply a natural element of me growing in this place where I was afraid, where I am afraid, to own myself fully.

In this place where I am that I am.

You Create

creator

 

It began with tension. Tension contrasted with the utter peacefulness of a summer evening. It was when I noticed it first.

It was such a beautiful evening, balmy and fresh after a hot, summer day, pink and blue with golden highlights, and filled to bursting with the forest scents and grassy aromas. It was so quiet, so peaceful — but I wasn’t. That was when I noticed it. That was why I noticed it. The tension, the … tightness.

And I thought I was doing so well! I was pulling myself up from my traumas and dramas, I was getting back to my art and to my work, I was making an effort, I was doing stuff again, I even made a list and created a schedule (a tentative one), I was doing, I was doing, I was busy … and it all seemed so silly suddenly. The busyness, the schedule, the doing. It was supposed to be a remedy for not-doing anything, which was bad but … it seemed so silly.

Because it was never the problem, I realized. Doing nothing was never the problem. Reading books all day or hanging out on Facebook, avoiding my art and abandoning my projects — that was never a problem. Doing, doing, doing would never be a solution.

I lost my presence. That was the problem.

I allowed myself to become unconscious, I allowed my life to slip out of focus, I allowed my vision to become fuzzy. Doing things, schedules, plans, objectives and accomplishments were supposed to fix that problem for me, but they did not bring presence with them. They only brought busyness. They brought movement, bustle, hustle, doing. Lots of doing. And tension. There was no presence in all this activity. There was no presence in tension.

Presence was in the peacefulness of last night. As I walked my dogs in the midst of gathering dusk, through the splendid silence of nature around me, there was presence there and I became clear, yet again, that it is lack of presence that is the problem, and it is presence that is the solution.

Presence.

Not doing, making, bustling and hustling, but presence. Presence as what I am, as my life, right now. Presence that transcends doing. Presence that renders doing obsolete because it, by the virtue of simply being, creates. Creates reality. Creates life. Spontaneously and effortlessly creates — everything.

That is one thing worth doing, I thought to myself last night, working on being present.

Everything Is

the-key

 “You have to be out there, prominent, visible. You have to speak to people.” My husband told me this one hot afternoon over tea. We sat at the patio of our favorite cafe. The big umbrellas and huge sycamores spread their respective canopies over our heads. They stopped the sun, but not the heat. It was a lazy, slow and quiet afternoon and we were talking about marketing my sticks.

“You have to be out there, speaking, teaching” he said.

Teaching. This was not the first time we had this conversation and, not for the first time, I said: no. No teaching.

You see, I never wanted to be a teacher. During my early Buddhist years there was the subtle competition among students for the best understanding, the best posture, the best silence. The best meditation. Every student hoped, not very secretly, to be the chosen one. The one who will become an heir to the dharma. The one who will become the successor. I later moved on from Zen into other realms and everything changed — but that one thing did not. The desire to become a teacher among my fellow practitioners remained.

Except for me.

I saw nothing attractive in the teaching business, quite the opposite — the prospect scared me. Why? Because of the responsibility it carried. Because every time I spoke an advice, even a small, inconsequential one, I felt the weight of my words influencing the one who asked, nudging their perspective even if just a little bit, realigning their actions. And it was too much. It was too much to handle. For me.

Ha … you know … this is not what I was going to write. I was going to write about how I feel that there is no need for me to teach others because I can see who you are, all of you. I can see the perfection of you and I know that, sooner or later, you will see it as well. I was going to talk about what is simply being and, ultimately, being perfect but …

It is not all crap, exactly … but that is not the reason why I never wanted to be a teacher. Why I don’t want to be a teacher. The reason is that it terrifies me when my dog obeys my commands, let alone a human. It mortifies me that another creature, a free, autonomous creature puts its life in my hands and obeys me unquestioningly, absolutely. Even if it is only a little dog.

I cannot handle the responsibility of influencing others. So … I pretend that it’s my sticks doing it instead?

Huh, what a strange post this is…

Design the truth.

truth-design

 

“You know, I really don’t like convincing people that I’m right,” I told my friend the other day.

He and another friend of ours had an exchange of truths. One spoke the truth, the other refused to accept it no matter how reasonable, logical and all-together truthful the truth was.

“I prefer my own truth” he said “I hear what you are saying and I understand, and I choose to believe what I believe”.

It was an interesting dance to observe. Frustrating, yes, for the truth in question seemed truthful to me too, and the refusal to acknowledge it grated on my … what exactly? What was it grating on? My rightness? My … no, I don’t know what was pulled, what was pushed, what was triggered, but something was. It made me feel uncomfortable yet, at the same time, I admired the choice my friend made: to hold on to his truth.

And I realized then, it was then that I formulated this awareness in words: I do not like convincing people that I am right.

Yes, it feels good at first, whatever gets triggered, pushed, pulled by opposition becomes satisfied when my opponent acknowledges my rightness at last, yet that momentary pleasure leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Because I feel like I squashed someone. I do not feel like I contributed to him – I feel like I took something away. I feel I took away from his originality, from his uniqueness.

I feel, when I persuade someone to my way of seeing the world, that I know her less. That, while looking into her eyes, all I see is a reflection of myself.

And I do not like it.

So you see, in the end, if my sticks are ever to make a difference in anyone’s world it will not be because they have managed to make another’s world more like my own, but because they inspired others to have a world of their own. To have a truth of their own.

To design it. To own it. To live it.

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