Friday, November 30, 2012

FACEBOOK...and Our FB Friends

I thought this might be a good light-weight subject to talk about. Anyway -- I'll try to keep it light-weight! Mostly. Kinda... :)
Ah, Facebook. If one has never experienced what it's like to both love and hate something on the Internet at the same time, you most likely are not caught up in Facebook.
I have what I consider to be a 'good bunch' --nice, intelligent, small group of Facebook friends with good senses of humor-only around 60 or so.. I think those who gather up thousands of 'friends' on FB are in need of something they are not gonna get from Facebook!
For the most part, as in life itself, water usually finds its own comfortable level. Most of the friends you keep on FB are the ones you share a certain commonality with....which may include similar philosophies and personal beliefs... and ...even if you don't have 'that much' in common, you find it easy to be tolerant and allowing, a have respect for your differences because this 'friend' is a real decent sort.
Facebook has made it wonderfully possible to get acquainted with people from all over the Earth! That still thrills me! Far less than a hundred years ago, the majority of people were fairly provincial. If you knew people from long distances away, chances are they were relatives. But how things have changed! To me, it's fun getting differing perspectives on subjects from people who live in Europe, Asia, South America, Africa... even New Jersey! (bad joke... ;)
It still fascinates me that I can be chatting with someone waaaaaaay over on the other side of the world! 
Facebook is unquestionably the best vacuum for 'profiling'   the government has ever taken advantage of (or maybe instigated! :) ...and basically nothing is secret. Is that so bad? Maybe. Maybe not. It's always our choice as to whether or not we want to stay under the radar on FB...
 Probably the 'worst' thing about Facebook is that it is so addictive. I am doing better! :)  I have 'cut the dose in half' so to speak.
Everything in life is a 'mirror' one way or another..although we may not like to see it as such...(usually when we disagree with 'what we see in the mirror.' ;) Sometimes our FB friends provide us with a better mirror than some of our 'in person' friends do. During some of my exchanges with FB friends I have experienced many more emotions than I thought one could with someone that one doesn't really 'know in person.'  You learn a LOT about yourself.
Sometimes this reflecting can be rather uncomfortable...even painful for us.
Other times it's just pure joy, because FB friends can give us opportunities to reach out and 'help' in ways that some of our 'in person' friends do not.
I think we can do best if we intend to learn more patience, more tolerance, and be willing to take a look at those places within us that really challenge our 'comfort zones.'
Sometimes the 'comments' from not just FB friends but anyone who responds to certain posts or comments, can teach us a lot about ourselves. I am always annoyed by those, especially on sites having to do with spirituality, who seem to always appear having a perfect understanding, no problems because they have become SO enlightened, and others want confirmation by having the wisdom to always agree. :) It took me awhile to learn to be blunt and totally honest (MPOV) without being unkind. I am not beyond pointing a few arrows back at ones  who are cruel or needlessly insulting to my FB friends. This, too, needs to be self-examined. I am not implying that FB should be taken as seriously as a monastery or school of theology....only saying that there are always opportunities to learn...especially learn to Let Go. We all need to keep re-learning how to detach, step back, breathe, and THEN...maybe delete...backspace, etc... and post something we will not regret. We all forget this at times --so we get over it! Forgive others and ourselves.
FB also provides a way for us to further learn how to discern just WHAT we believe--and also how to say NO... and that includes un-friending people not only on FB but in so called 'real life.' Life (even on FB) is not about 'having' to learn to accept belief systems and attitudes that are contrary to our own... but to use these situations to help clarify what WE need, what do "I" believe... and to be able to then say NO... _click_...done. BUT (another one of those big but's :)  --none of it has to be done with hate... because we will most likely be presented with yet another 'opportunity' to repeat some similar  situation or occasion...until we learn to say no...without screaming it while throwing verbal rocks. :)
As in every corner of life, FB is just another corner where we learn that we are Creating It All.
As in all phases of life, it's necessary to keep a Balance... and not be constantly plugged in to our electronic technology. As the P's told us: If your spirituality does not remain on the same level as your technology, you will soon find yourself losing your humanity.
I think we will be discovering, more and more, the vast importance of being connected with the Earth... in order to keep that Balance.
Nearly every teacher of any importance is telling us the same thing... the same thing that Buddhism has taught for thousands of years: SIMPLIFY. We can't keep burying ourselves in our TVs, DVD players, the computer and the Internet just to 'escape.' We can 'feel' this lesson if we really try... no one has to outwardly 'teach' us this...
With FB as with everything else: Everything in moderation. Best advice ever.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

You Are Your Own Worst Judge... So: Stop It~!!

No one...absolutely no harder on us than we are on ourselves.
We spend so much all times of the day or night...judging ourselves, criticizing ourselves, and in ways that we may not realize-- reminding ourselves that we are not 'good enough.'
Granted, some may be more guilty of this 'habit' (and that's what it IS...a habit) than others, but still, to one degree or another, each of us are the ones standing before us, like a scolding authority figure shaking that admonishing finger.
Naturally, we all have reacted in different ways when others reminded us that we needed to be 'better' to be 'good enough'. There are many variables, when it comes to our many life experiences, so I will just 'generalize.' :)
Authority figures of all kinds, parents, teachers-- all have played significant roles in shaping our personalities / belief systems. But the  two factions that played the most impressionable roles can be credited to religion and the cultural philosophies that surrounded us as we were growing up.  Those with no religious training usually relied exclusively, then, on cultural / philosophical influences of authority figures. Both contributed heavily to our personal beliefs about our selves and our self images. Even though other influences factored in, those two were most likely to determine what and how we 'thought about ourselves' -- our very style of thinking. Those habitual thoughts were either positive and beneficial...or just the opposite. Sometimes a confusing mixture of the two!
It can be uncomfortable--even very disturbing to ask oneself: "Do I think I am a good person?" or stated another way: "Am I good enough?" We generally conclude that we could -- or -- should be 'better.'
Adding a sorely needed touch of humor here -- perhaps the biggest test of all that many folks use as a 'comparitive standard' for seeing if they (and others!) have 'succeeded in life' is attending the infamous and usually dreaded "class reunion"...the 10th and the 25th seeming holding much significance! No wonder the 'class reunion' was an oft chosen theme for many comedy type movies! :)
We all know that many (and highly varied) types of religions didn't exist for the purpose of making one feel better / positive about life, but of reminding one how sinful, frail, weak, and bereft of naturally good values -- as in worthless sinners.  I can joke about it -- but it is a far cry from a joking matter when it takes countless years to start believing in any kind of inate goodness about oneself.
 I am not forgetting the metaphysical types of organizations or churches that many have chosen to experience...Here, too, differences in spiritual approaches can vary greatly...but they are pleasantly devoid of "hell and damnation." Metaphysics may have far out fringe groups that seem to spend a lot of time in la la land --as compared to groups that are extremely grounded in a scientific approach...including quantum physics... distinguishing them from most organized religions who rely on 'outside sources' to save them instead of seeking the power within and seeing it as The All.
I would like to think that more people are 'waking up' and letting go of the more primitive, fear based ideas of what they call 'god'... I only mention this because it DOES play a crucial role in how we view OURSELVES. Meta physicians can punish themselves ALSO by unduly holding themselves mercilessly accountable for every fleeing thought they have....or DON'T have.... they can be their OWN worst 'gods.'...
Please note: I am not even going to touch the religions of Judaism and Islam.
 Even as sensible and logical as Buddhist teachings are...some adherents can carry servitude and self-sacrifice to a rather scary extreme!  Kind of like the monks tribe in Italy that wear horsehair robes and beat themselves with straps. Kind of a religious S & M... Well, at least they aren't hurting others!
So!--you ask, what  is 'wrong' with wanting to 'be better'... to 'amount to something,' to improve, to expand, to be more worthwhile or worthy, or to 'grow' more? And heaven forbid -- the big one: "achieve your potential~!!"... like who in the heck ever did that?? It is my opinion that the absolute WORST thing a person can say of another is: "He/She wasted his/her whole life"... So who died and put those Judges on some Divine throne?!
There is NOTHING wrong with want to 'be better' ... as long as it's not done from a negative standpoint. It's when it becomes obsessive that it can serve just the opposite of what you are wanting to do.
 "Only those people who are afraid they themselves are 'not good enough' are most likely to see the least good in others." Having to think of oneself as 'better than' is always based in fear....not 'superiority.'
So far, what I have said is maybe a wee bit 'theoretical' ... So let's get down to the nitty gritty of what might be an 'average day in the life of ...?'
Here might be a typical day...just insert your own comings and goings: Alarm rings. Monkey-mind starts chattering ceaselessly: I have GOT to go to bed earlier, Now I don't have clean laundry, I'm too lazy. I should eat something besides pop tarts for breakfast. Dammit I didn't get the car washed buy gas! What's the matter with me!  I hate my boss, I am wrong for doing that, I really do have a bad attitude. I need to find a new job but don't really deserve one because I KNOW don't try hard enough. I should treat my co-workers nicer, its my fault the way they act. I didn't spend enough quality time with my wife, kids, partner, friends, relatives, etc etc.. I am not doing nearly enough in the way of improving my church habits -- or following my spiritual beliefs, its no wonder I never feel good about myself! I hate my weight, I always 'eat wrong'.. I need to stick with an exercise program. I lose my temper too quickly. I really can be a loser. I need to try harder in every way. I just do SO many things wrong. I know I need to be so much better in so many areas. I'm really kind of a mess... oh yes, I have some good points, but they barely count...
Now...recognize ANY of that? There is no way, without challenging the content of Google, that I could list all of our familiar monkey-mind chattering.
What's so sad...and bad...about our continuous self-deprecating, is that we are not even AWARE most of the time that we are doing it. Our barrage of continuous negative thinking becomes a bit like learning to walk with a limp. You get used to it.
However, these culprit thoughts do not have to be harmful .. They are only so when you continuously pay attention to them and 'dwell' on them. It is absolutely impossible to go around thinking 'nice thoughts' all day long. Try it...within less than 5 minutes you'll be judging yourself as to 'how well' you are doing. :)
Memories are thoughts focused upon. Good ones can be fun, but you can overdo it and become delusional, totally escaping the Now.  Focusing upon 'bad ones' can be damaging especially when it involves guilt. Seth put it best in talking about guilt. He said that ALL guilt is's purpose has been served when it simply tells you 'don't repeat it.' For those of who insist upon 'blame and punishment of those who have wronged you' ... you are totally creating your own self-punishment. 'God' and or 'The State' are the weapons you want used against others because you think it will bring you 'peace.' ... oh please...
So what to do...?....
Give yourself a break... continuously. If you 'fuck up' what!  Life will go on regardless of what you have done or didn't do. Even meta physicians have to guard against playing the eternal judgement game. Stop thinking what you do or don't do will make or break somebody else. Everything is a game played out, via the Law of Attraction. You cannot even KILL somebody without the other's soul consent. Not that I am advising it.  STOP thinking about what you 'should have done'...just LET IT GO. Forgive yourself (if you want to put it that way) constantly all throughout the day. This is NOT to say that you shouldn't act in a way that makes you Feel Good... but the way to Feeling Good, peaceful, content, OK, etc... is NOT through beating up on yourself. Just LIVE ... and Let Live. Buddhism does put it best when it speaks of 'being Mindful' ... in other words, are you allowing yourself to get sucked in and down under the powerful stream of your thoughts...or are you standing back and saying, (as Pema Chodron says) "Thinking...just thinking...that's all it is." And just Let it Go.
You are of NO HELP to anyone by acting overly humble, self-deprecating, or acting the part of the 'over-achiever'... Knock it off about the 'regrets' if your perpetual humiliation is spiritually awesome. It's NOT. It's aggravating.
When we love and accept ourselves for exactly who we are then our MINDS function best: creativity and inspiration can start to work! Screw what anybody else thinks. If you are doing what is right for you...that is ALL that matters. That is honoring the All That Is within.
As Bob Marley sang: Don't Worry...Be Happy.
Not saying a state of totally high bliss... but a REAL OK-ness! :)
If you say: 'yeah, but its not that easy'... But it can be done!