Love – Our Natural State

“Hello You” – my wife, Linda, whispered to me as we gazed into one another’s eyes. In that moment she had ‘seen’ me, and we were both embracing a feeling of love and unity, with nothing particular on our minds. In those days, however, we were not married, and these moments were quite rare.

Like all of us, my mind had been conditioned by life. Several members of my family were successful, and I felt pressure to reproduce their success. There were also some specific rules programmed into me about whom I should be with, and what constituted a successful relationship. Topping it off, I had learned from my schoolteachers, that I was “…never going to amount to much”. These factors led me to mistrust any desire I had, and I constantly sought approval to make sure I was ‘doing the right thing’.

As a result, I frequently

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got caught up in my mind. For example, when I was choosing my degree, I felt called to study psychology. However I was told, well-meaningly, that it would be better to study Economics like other members of my family. This discrepancy between my desire and my need for approval caused me to spend a lot of time trying to figure out who was ‘right’ and what was best for the future. Eventually I relented and studied Economics. I hated it, and found it a real struggle, and if you asked me today what I had learned, honestly, I could tell you very little!

Soon after this, I met Linda. Again I felt a deep connection to her, but I was still seeking approval. So I found myself in the same quandary again – trying to navigate what I felt was right versus what others thought of our relationship.

In those “Hello You” moments, however, my mind was clear. The negative thoughts about our relationship were either quiet or I was paying little attention to them. Peace and love were my natural state. In fact, I would say I was in a state of bliss.

My mind didn’t stay clear for long in those days though. What tended to happen was no sooner would Linda say “Hello You”, would I quickly start to withdraw, as I began to engage with the thoughts and conditioning in my mind again about how to navigate our relationship, and the potential futility of it all. This process went on for years and left me feeling suicidal. I ended up in therapy.

Therapy helped me to become conscious that my pain was not being caused by the potential for ‘bad’ things to happen in our relationship. Rather, it was being caused by the fact that I had decided that the thoughts about our relationship, were actually true. This left me locked in a battle of judgement of the truth of my heart, believing it was wrong and that I needed to control it in order to avoid pain in the future. Ironically, all I had managed to do was create pain now, in each moment of my life, let alone the future.

As I was starting to see the futility of what I had been doing, a Buddhist friend of mine reminded me of a saying:

“The source of all suffering is the self”.

What is the ‘self’? All the ideas, concepts, outcomes, senses of identity and perceptions that are conditioned into us about life, that cause us to resist what is happening and place us in opposition to things as they are.

It is these concepts that cause us to:

– Believe the thinking that tells us that life is wrong, and broken.
– Try and take control of life and make it look ‘better’ somehow in pursuit of an illusory need for us to know that we are okay.
– Lose sight of our inherent wellbeing that is ever present in any moment.

And where do these concepts come from? Our conditioning. The noise around us that comes from society, our teachers, and our friends and families that is constantly perpetuating this idea that we are not enough and are not okay. The noise that tells us that we need to fix our lives, by having the ‘ideal’ relationship, achieving more, having the ‘perfect’ body, wearing certain clothes and earning the ‘millionaire’ lifestyle. That same noise that told me that my relationship with Linda was inappropriate and doomed to fail.

As a child, this sense of ‘self’ is small. So we flow through life in a state of acceptance. One minute, life is amazing, the next we are unhappy because we didn’t get the toy we wanted. Then we are happy again because ‘Batman’ is on TV. We live in the feelings of the thoughts that are in our minds in any moment, but we don’t tend to get stuck in those thoughts for any length of time, because none is more relevant than another.

Conditioning creates hooks in the mind that cause us to hold onto some thoughts instead of others. So, when life doesn’t look like our conditioning teaches us it should, we experience judgement, and become stuck. Until we are aware of how we create our experience of life, we may try to fix circumstances to make them look like we think they should in an effort to get ‘unstuck’. If we don’t manage it, we remain blocked in our minds and our feelings, and lose touch with our wisdom and the ability to flow like a child. This prevents us from being able to say “Hello You” to each and every moment.

“Take out the trash…The trash is everything that is keeping you away from the only thing that matters – this moment…” (Socrates, Peaceful Warrior Movie).

There is an energy and intelligence that grows trees, controls gravity, and heals wounds. We are not separate from it. But we experience separation from it when our conditioning causes to be in opposition to life as it is happening in every moment. We can merge back with the wisdom of that energy when we surrender our attachments to this conditioned sense of ‘self’. In doing this, we make each moment a “Hello You” moment, and are connected to our true ‘Self’. It speaks to us as a movement through our hearts and the wisdom of our intuition. It is infinitely more intelligent than our rational minds will ever be.

Surrender takes trust. I reached the point of trusting the truth of the moment and my heart when I realised that continuing to hold on to my judgements about life were only going to drive me to a deeper and darker place. I had to let life show me what this relationship was all about, and how I was going to navigate what I thought were going to be problems. I resolved that the only approval I needed was my own. I had to be able to go to bed at night and know that I had lived my own truth, irrespective of how others had judged me.

And interestingly, none of those fearful thoughts that were programmed into me about my relationship ever materialised. Linda and I got married and had two kids, and those issues that did arise I learned to navigate far better by not believing in the illusory nature of my fearful thinking, or the noise of the conditioning around me.

But the nub of this is not that there was a ‘happy ending’. In fact, things have happened in our relationship (both challenging and joyous) that neither of us could have predicted, which for me just goes to show what our rational minds really know about what is going to happen in the future!

But knowing that my best decisions have always occurred as a result of me being grounded, and not attached to my rational thoughts that tell me life is broken, or that my wisdom is inadequate, has been a critical lesson for me. In fact, I would say that this is one (of a few) of the most important reasons why I have ended up working with people the way that I do now.

You see happy endings are always available, no matter what happens, when we see how our attachment to our thinking about who we are and what should be happening are actually stopping us from having “Hello You” moments in each and every moment. When we see this, it opens the door for us to experience the ultimate form of intimacy and love. The form of intimacy and love that doesn’t require anything else to be happening other than what is. And no matter how scary our thinking about life might seem, the separation we feel to the energy of life is only ever an illusion, that life invites us to be free of in each and every precious moment.

With all my love,

john.

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Steve M Nash says:

Thank you, John, for sharing this lovely piece of intimacy about your life.

I particularly resonated with this sentence, “The form of intimacy and love that doesn’t require anything else to be happening other than what is.”

Reason?

Well, I’ve just met someone, a new love. Now it just so happens that I’ve met a lot of ‘someones’ in my life, a lot of new loves, and I’ve experienced lots of great monogamous relationships. Good that these experiences have been for me, they’ve left me with a lot of ‘thinking’ about relationships – a lot of “what ifs?”, a lot of fear.

This ‘new someone experience’ feels different to me, though. I’m not looking to my mind to answer my doubts, I’m looking for the feeling instead. And the feeling feels GOOD.

And because of that good feeling, I have been able to commit myself, fully, and open-heartedly, to this person, with no sense that I need to know if the relationship is going to work.

(I haven’t even known her for 2 weeks!)

Just being in this new relationship, each moment being curious as to how it unfolds, is ENOUGH – it’s more than enough, actually, it’s bloody freakin amazin’.

It’s possibly the most amazing experience of my life, if truth be told, and is slightly alarming to my ‘new someone’ who is more cautious.

I love it, this feeling, and love the fact that I know that my happiness does not depend on her, or on this relationship working.

All summed up by your sentence, and my knowing that everything IS okay, however it unfolds. And all from catching my thoughts, letting them flow through me, and trusting a deeper guidance from within, trusting myself.

Amazing! :-)

Thanks, John, and I wish you well in your mission to share these profoundly important and life-transforming 3 Principles with the world, one client at a time.

Steve

Admin says:

Beautiful Steve! That’s exactly what I am pointing to. The moment is enough. We are enough. When we can just let go of the thinking and the conditioning that gets in the way, the moment and our experience of it is all that is left, and really all that we have! Keep in touch and thank you for taking the time to comment! Lots of love, John.