Category: Contemplation (Page 1 of 7)

The Lesson

A Pattern for Peace

For Toke Palludan Møller

On the morning of the first day of the Warrior of the Heart training the Sensei shared the first truth: ‘There are no enemies, only worthy opponents

Wrestling with this proposition, the student, despite being used to a life of suffering and not trusting others, even though they were yet able to know it for themselves, decided to consider this truth thoughtfully .

On the morning of the second day of the Warrior of the Heart training the Sensei shared the second truth: ‘Your worthy opponents are your teachers

The student, used to a life of blaming and judging others wrestled with this proposition. Again, even though they were yet able to know this truth for themselves, decided to consider the proposition thoughtfully.

On the morning of the third day of the Warrior of the Heart training the Sensei shared the third truth: ‘Your worthy opponents, as your teachers, have great gifts for you.’

The student, used to a life of struggle and effort, wrestling with this proposition, even though they were yet able to know this truth for themselves, once again decided to consider it thoughtfully.

At the end of the third day the Sensei approached and asked the student what they had accomplished. 

The student replied, they had a long way to go as they were yet able to know the three truths for themselves.

The Sensei looked at the student for a moment and then asked; what are the three truths as you understand them?

Sensei, the first truth as I understand, is: “I am powerful when I see my enemy worthy. To do this I will need to stand in my own worthiness, and this being the firmest ground of all, will help me to show a peaceful way”

“Sensei, the second truth as I understand, is: “I am powerful when I embrace what my worthy opponent has to teach me for they stand to offer me my greatest learning, and in turn, my greatest peace.”

‘Sensei, the third truth as I understand, is: “I am powerful when I accept the gifts my worthy opponents bring me, as they help reveal what I have hidden unto myself. Accepting these gifts will in turn, give great peace to all.”

With that the Sensei smiled, bowed and graciously said:

Thank you – you are the teacher.  Go in Peace. 🙏

 

Martin @ 2022

Catching the Judgment Pattern 

What I judge in others is what I fear in myself and points to where my work is.

It strikes me that some forms of thought bring suffering and some forms of thought bring peace.

I’m curious.

  • What makes these thought forms different?
  • How can I characterise the difference?
  • How can I increase my ability to choose between them?

What makes these thought forms different?

When I reflect on the difference I see that in suffering thoughts I am often running an enemy narrative – I believe something or someone has the power to take away my power. I’m holding on to a me versus them mindset and sitting in judgement of others.  In peaceful thoughts there is a co-creation narrative – I see my part in the play. I see the part that I’m responsible for and I’m also able to hold my ground in the face of a challenge.

To the second question: How can I characterise the difference?

In suffering thoughts, there is much judgment, blame and accusation. In peaceful thoughts, there is empathy, curiosity and compassion, and I definitely notice judgment the relief that occurs as I ease into curiosity and empathy of others. A clear relief from the contraction of judgmental thoughts

To the third question: How can I increase my ability to choose between them?

This for me is the big question. You might say, where the rubber meets the road. With the above in mind, as I consider ways to increase my ability to go towards peaceful thoughts, practices like meditation, loving kindness and mindfulness come to mind.

In addition there’s a practice I’d like to share that’s been helping me take full ownership of my part in the play.

To explain.

I find it helpful to work with the premise that Life is constantly co-creating itself. Life is co-creation and everything physical and non physical is connected and in relationship.

On this basis I ask:  What if everything that causes me to perpetuate hurt and anguish is, at the deepest level of significance, an opportunity to see my part in the co-creation of the hurt and anguish itself? And further, What if everything I judge cause me to suffer?

What might this mean? Straight up it means I’ve got work to do.

Today my work is to catch in myself the voices of judgment and fear, the physical contractions, the mental narrowing on the problem, the ruminating, in fact anything that takes me down the rabbit hole of suffering thoughts.

The first part being to recognise this. To Catch the moment and hold it lightly.

The next step is the kicker and it’s where I turn the ‘what if’ questions into statements.

I do have a part in this. I am responsible for that part. I do have blind spots. 

The moment I make these statements to myself I notice how Radical Ownership kicks in. With no where to hide and facing in, what follows the sting of full ownership is the optimism of what begins to grow within me. There’s a weird quiet joy that sits at the centre of this – I’m figuring its a nod from my soul that’s indicating I’m back on track.

And then in the spirit of adventure I’ve been taking it one step further.

Whatever I judge in another I reverse it. For those that know Byron Katie’s work, I’ve been inspired by what she calls ‘the turnaround’ – turning the judgement back on oneself.

What I’ve discovered is the neutralising effect this has on the ‘suffering thoughts’. The reversal also takes me directly to deeper ownership of my part in the interplay and illuminates a blind spot.

To give you a recent example. I judged a person close to me for their lack of grace and consideration of others. Happily I caught the judgment and then proceeded to explore when lacking grace and being inconsiderate of others was true for me. Taking full ownership I saw very clearly that there were times when this was true.

Talk about a way to extinguish self righteousness.

In continuing this practice I’ve never yet found a moment where what I’m judging in another is not also true for me and/or where I’m playing a part.

Of course when I’m hot with emotion and feeling wounded, this practice feels impossible. In waiting for the heat to cool I can usually get there in time.

It works for historic incidents as well. Many years back I felt betrayed by two work colleagues – and you could say there was good justification for this. However even years later without doing this work I’m still suffering. So I applied the reversal of judgment and saw that in their eyes I had betrayed my colleagues in terms of their expectations as we’d never had clear and constructive conversation about any of the undercurrents at play. Voila – peaceful thoughts of acceptance.

Another example – I recently judged a family member for ‘throwing me under the bus’. When I reversed the judgement, guess what – in their experience I’d done the same. Suffering gone. Blind spot lit.

Radical ownership plus blind spot illuminated = ego reduction. And therefor with ego-mind reduced an eco-mind is enhanced and from this comes more peaceful thoughts.

I’m excited about this practice because it allows me to really see what is being co-created when I show up with contracted – suffering thoughts.

I perpetuate the suffering by avoiding ownership and falling into the trap of the enemy narrative.

I’m coming to understand that this is tapping into a universal truth or natural law.

What I judge is what I fear and points me to where my work is.

With love – Martin.

Martin © 2022

Looking Westward

 

Looking westward at sunrise,
we found colour on the far horizon
and in our disorientation
drew back to watch the rising sun
whisper to cushion-clouds
as it briefly held a painter’s blend
of feathered flames and fustian greys.

And all this, where it was not supposed to be.

The promise of daybreak had broken westward
and we could no longer, on that morning,
gaze softly to the east in daily reverence,
prayerful and obeisant
in the still and forming light.

We were, by some irregular enchantment,
called to reorder expectation. 

And then, upon reflection,
knew the natural world as teacher,
and in a moment’s realisation,
found our selves awoken
and completely rearranged.

 

Martin @ 2021

Before Curiosity

For Thomas & For Dean

Before curiosity
A space
For noticing

To simply
Be with what is

To find lapping at the shoreline of imperceptibility
A delicate ocean of sensation

And beyond gratitude

To touch subtlety
Wonder
Wisdom
And connection

Swaying delightfully
In the filament
And the firmament

Of Now

 

Martin © 2021

To Love, Friendship and the Voice of Compassion

For Jan, Nick and all our children

 

Speak through me

Truest voice of compassion

Speak

In words and forms that begin
the centre of being

In shapes and sounds forged by soul’s intent
In colours and waves that in understanding become sweet invitations to be understood
That call upon the universal ear

To listen

Deeply 

To be still

You are needed most 
When shadows 

Envelop

When

Suffocation pretends itself protection
When voracious doubt
Incapacitates
When judgment rends whole fabrics

In healing and in light

I pray 

To speak boldly
To utter bodily your voice
Unconditional living love

Ever present at the centre of all

Being
All becoming
All belonging

 

Martin © 23/01/2021

Noticing the Subtle Tug of Ego

I check the motivation for an action such as writing a poem, or preparing a meal and recognise that I’m already considering the possibility of a favourable response from others. In some cases I’m midstream in the act of comparison.

To explore the characteristics of the subtle tug of ego that looks for and seeks out recognition prior to, during and post an action. The social brain wired to the social field already considering the opinion of others – is a feature of being human. It asks: How will I compare?

In this, subtly ever subtly I lose my power and self worth to some imagined external force.

The ego’s narrative runs along.
If you like what I’m doing I’m ok.
If you do it better I’m not ok.

My prayer is to work with this awareness. To seek not to reject the instinctual but to incorporate the intuitive. To find and anchor into a motivation that is a cause for action in and of itself.

A motivation that is connected to source and not ego. A motivation that flows from the desire inherent in that which wants to come through. That which wants to be born.

 

🙏 Martin © 2020

Setting Personal Boundaries as a Form of Feedback

Friends: in dialogue recently with two great souls this reflection emerged. I wanted to share this and trust that it might speak to you.
 
Giving constructive feedback to one another in our social ecosystems is essential to the ultimate health of our friendship groups, families, teams and communities.
 
Setting and communicating one’s boundaries are not only a form of self preservation they are a way of letting others know of their impact on us. Without this type of communication, folk are excluded from the opportunity to understand their impact and are deprived of the possibility of seeing the world through a fresh perspective.
 
The social self residing in us, is often responsible for this lack of feedback. The social self preserving face offers us safety from judgement or recrimination of others.
 
The damaging ripple effect to the social ecosystem arising from not giving feedback (constructively) is mostly caused by talking to others about the person in question in the form of judgement, complaint, blame or accusation. In the very least, talking about them and not to them, disables a feedback loop from being established.
 
When we complain about one another with judgement we are complicit in cocreating ill social health. We are blind to our own part in firstly not setting our boundaries and secondly in not giving the feedback that, although uncomfortable, will, if done well, become one of the greatest gifts we can ever give one another.
 
To this day I am immensely grateful to those in my life, who have with strength and kindness given me the feedback of my impact on them. Humbled with fresh perspective and understanding, they have enabled me to learn and grow toward becoming a more conscious contributor to the social field.
 
If I may ask you some encouraging questions: What is the boundary you need to set in relationship to a person in your life who comes to mind? What feedback do you need to give to this person? How might this help them see what they have not yet seen? And, how might this ultimately enrich the health of your social ecosystem?
 
With love
Martin 🙏
 
August 2020

Personal Power and The Intuitive Knowing Voice

Acutely aware of how often I’ve given it away or lost access to it in the past I’ve been contemplating the subject of personal power, both it’s source and how to tap into it. 

This contemplation has led me to really understand that the source of personal power is connected and related to the part of me that is intuitive, still and quietly knowing; centered and grounded.

I think of it as the Intuitive Knowing Voice that is always speaking to me when I’m ready and able to listen.

It has a certain quality. You might recognise something similar for yourself. For me, it’s clear, immediate and visceral. It sits right at the centre of my solar plexus: a quiet loving gravity. If I get out of my own way sufficiently, it’s always there and ready to guide me.

I believe this to be vital in maintaining a strong sense of self in connection to the whole, to the greater Self.

And so I ask, what beliefs, behaviours and choices do I make that disconnect me from my personal power? 

One clue is that I notice the ability to listen diminishes when my ego becomes crusty and shell like. When this happens I see judgmentalism creep in – separateness and otherness often turn to dislike, distrust or distaste. When I catch it I become critically aware of how disconnected and out of sorts I’ve become. Grounded and centred I am not. 

When I’m open, malleable, soft, attentive and curious I see my listening attune to that source and what comes with it curiously is a greater sense of personal power.

As this practice deepens it becomes the most potent reference point for me in any given circumstance. Thoughts, choices, behaviours and beliefs can all be guided by pausing to reference the Intuitive Knowing Voice. 

From small examples such as undoing unhealthy eating habits or abstaining from alcohol for the time being, to making life choice decisions, or setting personal boundaries and expectations. The opportunities to practice continue daily.

And as this steadily becomes a daily practice I’m increasingly grateful and comforted by the fact that softening has become the way of strengthening and listening a way of knowing. 

With love 

Martin

Does the subject of my thinking bring me suffering or peace?

Friends, here is another piece that emerged this morning – I trust these writings are useful.

Does the subject of my thinking bring me suffering or peace? Consider any topic you spend time thinking about and ask yourself this one question: Does the subject of my thinking bring me suffering or peace? It would seem that some forms of thought perpetuate suffering and some forms of thought bring us to peace, resolution and understanding.

In contemplation I ask myself three further questions.

  • What makes these forms of thought different?
  • How can I characterise the difference?
  • How can I increase my ability to choose between them?

To the first question, when I reflect on the difference I see the following. In suffering thoughts I run an enemy narrative – I believe something or someone has the power to take away my power. In most cases I have given it away and continue to give away my power in these situations. In peaceful thoughts there is a co-creation narrative – I see my part in the play.

To the second question, when I reflect on what characterises the difference I see that: In suffering thoughts, there is much judgment, blame and accusation. In peaceful thoughts, there is empathy, curiosity and compassion.

To the third question and with the above in mind, as I consider ways to increase my ability for the latter of the two – naturally, practices like meditation, loving kindness and mindfulness come to mind.

Too add to these I’d like to share a recent practice that has been helping me get to peaceful thoughts and reduce suffering thoughts.

I believe this practice is about taking full ownership of my part in the play.

To explain: I am working from the premise that Life is constantly co-creating itself. Life is in co-creation with itself and everything physical and non physical is connected and in relationship. Using this premise I then ask myself: What if everything that causes me to perpetuate hurt and anguish is, at the deepest level of significance, an opportunity to see my part in the co-creation of the hurt and anguish itself?

And further, What if everything I judge and is causing me suffering is signifying, a blind spot?

What might this mean? Well firstly, it means I’ve got work to do.

Today my work is to catch in myself the voices of judgment and fear, the physical contractions, the mental narrowing on the problem, the ruminating, in fact anything that takes me down the rabbit hole of suffering thoughts.The first part being to recognise this.The next step is the kicker and its where I turn the ‘what if’ questions to statements. I do have a part in this, I am responsible for that part. I have a blind spot.

Then I’ve been taking it one step further.
Whatever I judge in another I reverse it. For those that know Byron Katie’s work, I’ve been inspired by what she calls ‘the turnaround’ – turning the judgement back on oneself.

What I’ve discovered is not only the neutralising effect this has on the ‘suffering thoughts’ this reversal also takes me directly to ownership of my part in the interplay and begins to illuminate a blind spot.

To give you a recent example. I judged a person close to me for their lack of grace and consideration of others. Happily I caught the judgment and then proceeded to explore when lacking grace and being inconsiderate of others was true for me. Taking full ownership I saw very clearly that there were times when this was true.

Talk about a way to extinguish self righteousness.

In continuing this practice I’ve never yet found a moment where what I’m judging in another is not also true for me and/or where I’m playing a part. Of course when I’m hot with emotion and feeling wounded this practice feels impossible. In waiting for the heat to cool I can usually get there in time.

It works for historic incidents as well. Many years back I felt betrayed by two work colleagues – and you could say there was good justification for this. However even years later without doing this work I’m still suffering. So I applied the reversal of judgment and saw that in their eyes I had betrayed my colleagues in terms of their expectations as we’d never had clear and constructive conversation about any of the undercurrents at play. Voila – peaceful thoughts of acceptance.

Another example – I recently judged a family member for ‘throwing me under the bus’. When I reversed the judgement, guess what – in their experience I’d done the same. Suffering gone. Blind spot lit.

Ownership plus blind spot illuminated = ego reduction. And therefor with ego-mind reduced an eco-mind is enhanced and from this comes more peaceful thoughts. I’m excited about this practice because it allows me to really see what is being co-created when I show up with contracted – suffering thoughts. I perpetuate the suffering by not taking ownership and falling into the trap of the enemy narrative.

I’m coming to understand that this is tapping into a universal truth or natural law.

What I judge is what I fear and this points me to where my work is.

With love
Martin
© 2020

Observation #11 in the Art of Self Leadership

 

When we ‘don’t know’ something – it’s very helpful to work with curiosity. 

When we do ‘know’ something – it’s very helpful to work with curiosity.

 

Martinos © 2020

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