Loving What Is/ Stopping Emotional Suffering/ Freedom...The Work of Byron Katie

Week Two - - Day Five

Staying Alive

Your thoughts are still hooey, usually

Don’t believe them without questioning

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Week Two - - Day Five

Staying Alive

Your thoughts are still hooey, usually

Don’t believe them without questioning



Questioning?

Like what?


Like: Is that true?

Like: Are you sure?

Like: Is that an opinion or a real fact?

Like: Is that true without any thought about it?


For example: take a pen or a napkin. Hold it in you hand. Let it drop. Don’t believe it will fall.

Does it fall?

Yes.


Now take a very common thought: my father/ mother should have been nicer.

Is that true?

Is that an opinion or a real fact, like the napkin/ pen falling.

Is that true without a thought about it?


Here’s the weird deal.

Most of us are not around our parents right now. So without thinking they are just a memory.

We can have an opinion about our memory of them.

And is that opinion a fact, like say, that they are so many inches high, or so many years old?

Or alive or dead?


In the present, you are reading these words, and standing or sitting or laying down somewhere, or walking, running, so on.

You can drop a napkin as you run or walk and it will fall.

But for your mother or father to “have been” better can only be a thought experiment. They were what they were. Like it or not.

Hitler was what he was.

No need to condone.

Nor stop the rise of new Hitlers.

And to demand that history have been Hitler free is futile.


The past is over.

Really?

THE PAST IS PASSED.



Now let’s get really weird. As you read this, sitting across the room from you WHAT IS REAL? Is your father/ mother telling you over and over that you are a fool for reading this book?

Maybe not. 

In your head (you so-thinking, but not, just nonsense in your head) they might be saying: don’t believe this. I am still here giving you a hard time.



AND, GOD FORBID, YOUR REAL PARENTS ARE IN THE REAL ROOM TELLING YOU CRITICAL/ MEAN THINGS.

OH SHIT.

THEN WHAT?

You can feel bad. You probably will.

And your feeling bad doesn’t control them.

Common opinion is that they should be nicer around you, and the fact is that they aren’t. Common opinion doesn’t control them.

And do you have choices?

Yes…


You can leave the room.

You can ask them to be quiet or sing Ave Maria or Here Comes the Sun.

You can agree with them that you are a fool and ask: so what?

You can ask them to complain in French or Russian or Yiddish or Mandarin.

You can ask them to complain in gibberish.


Which is to say: you can ask for changes. You can make changes.

But wishing/ wanting/ thinking they should be nicer in the moment they aren’t being nice: Is that true? Is that true? Is that true?

Is that the same reality that dropping a napkin of a pen is?


HINT: THERE ARE ASSHOLES IN THE WORLD WHO WILL SOMETIMES BE MEAN.

TURN AROUND: SOMETIMES WE ARE ASSHOLE IN THE WORLD AND ARE MEAN/ SELFISH/ THOUGHTLESS.

OH, WELL.


Mull this, as we proceed to one of the easiest and most effective routes to inner freedom.

It’s called “the work of Byron Katie.” 

Byron Katie is the stage name, name on books of someone we call Katie.

She had an enlightenment/ wake up moment in 1986. Sometime a long time ago.

She calls it a “moment of clarity.”

She was on a quest to stop at least 10 years of suffering. She’d been overweight and alcoholic and chain smoking and raging at her family for many years. She’d been saying to herself over and over, “I want to die,” and…. she had enough innate wisdom to avoid hurting/ killing herself.

Like anyone who wants to die, what she really wanted to die was her suffering.


And it did.


Mythically, supposedly, as a cockroach walks over her ankle as she’s laying on the floor of a halfway house, feeling too unworthy to even be on a bed.

Cockroach walks over her ankle, she feels, her mind “wakes up” to the simple reality that she does not need to believe any of her thinking.

ANY of it.

It’s all gone, somehow, all her complaints about the world, all her ideas about herself, even simple ideas like “I am a woman,” and “I am a mother.”

Nothing is left.

Except…

Bliss.

Laughter.

Freedom.


IS THIS BULLSHIT JUST FOR FANCY/ LUCKY/ MIRACLE PEOPLE?

NO.


Enlightenment Exercise #1

Don’t think for three seconds

What’s left?


That’s all.

Just three seconds.

No words/ thoughts/ ideas/ concept about reality.


What’s left?



BACK TO BYRON KATIE/ KATIE….

And, she’s not totally free because her mind kicks in every now and then.

She would have the famous “my mother should have been….” thoughts and she would plummet back to ordinary suffering reality.

Ugh.

She now had a comparison: the bliss of no thoughts, or of not believing her thoughts.


This method came to her:

Judge your neighbor..

Write it down…

Ask four questions…

Turn it around…


Or maybe the four questions came to her. Or maybe one at a time.

Doesn’t matter.

The work/ game/ exercise/ pathway to freedom today is to take four thoughts that make you miserable and ask the four questions about each one of them.

One at a time.


(Katie says she did “the work,” which is these four questions and the turn around, ON HER MOTHER, for three years AFTER SHE WOKE UP>  Trouble/ suffering likes to reappear and reappear until it’s cleaned up. This is the way. Not positive thinking. Not “getting rid of negative thoughts.” 

Forgiveness yes.

And how to forgive?

This is the easiest way, I believe.)


So, let me give the example with my father in my thoughts when I was in the habit of believing them and suffering immensely.

“My father shouldn’t have been so critical.”


Question One: Is it true?

Well, it’s an opinion. Many would wish and agree that their father and my father and most fathers wouldn’t be so critical.

And is it true, like the napkin or the pen falling?

No.


Question Two: Is it absolutely true?

As in…Is the Universe is set up so that this statement is true? Has God made this the Rule?

My father should have been one of the great and wonderful ones who wasn’t critical.

Really?

Hmmm.

They do exist, and I’d say it’s less than half. Probably less than half of half in modern industrial TV meaningless culture. (What’s your guess as to the percent of non-critical fathers in the world? In the US?)

And that doesn’t matter in my reality, in my chance to make myself suffering or “wake up” from my suffering.

Even if he’s the only critical father in the world, is it part of God’s scheme that he shouldn’t be that one?

No.


This is a tough question or a fun one, this Is it absolutely true?

Basically it’s saying: am I God and I can decry the way reality should be or should have been? Or does God/ Reality get to say that What Was is what was? 


Question Three: How do I react when I believe that?

I ask people to sit or stand in the “I believe the thought/ story” chair or spot.


Returning to our poor me/ bad Dad “story,” I pick In that spot, the “MY Dad shouldn’t have been so critical spot.”

And

What happens?

This is cause and effect: put in a thought and >>>>

I feel cheated, and weak, a victim and angry. I avoid people who remind me of my father. I’m forever yammering to people about how rotten my father was. Poor me.

Blah, blah.

You know this hole. The victim hole. The poor me hole.

Feels good briefly and there are always others who will help you feel sorry for yourself, and then we all can start to feel: this feels weak, this feels awful, this feels like I’ve spent way, way, way too much time in this feeling.

And who is causing the feeling?

Me.

By believing the thought/ story / belief/ opinion.


And is there a choice?

Of course, always a choice.


Question Four: WHO OR WHAT WOULD I BE WITHOUT THAT BELIEF/ STORY/ THOUGHT?

Jump to a new spot. Move to a new chair.

In the new spot, without the belief, who and what are you.


And don’t take my word for it.


Try it out.

Four times. Two times. Ten times.

And, guess what: start with one time.

One parent.

One ex-spouse.

One estranged sibling.

Go for it.

GO FOR IT….


Don’t Believe Your Thinking Exercise: The Work of Byron Katie

Write down a juicy “should” statement. 

Suggestion, start with one of your parents.

Or an ex-spouse.


Write down a short sentence with a “should.”

Ask the first two questions.

Write down the questions.

Write down the answers. No or Yes.

Get clear: is this an opinion or is this a fact.


Question 3:

Pick a spot or chair where you believe the “should.”

See what that does for you.


Question 4:

Pick a spot or chair where you don’t believe that thought.

Either having no thoughts, as in being present.

Or, simply refusing to believe the thought.


See what that does for you.



Warning: this is almost too good to be true.

Suggestion: deepen this by “learning,” which is noticing differences.

Pick the spot you prefer, the being present spot or the “not believing the thought” spot.


Freedom via Byron Katie Exercise #3 (The first was the turn around exercise)

Go back and forth

The Believe the Thought chair or spot.

The Not Believing chair or spot.

Keep feeling the difference.

In your gut, heart and cells.

Don’t “think” about it.

Know it.


This is silly easy, and had to do.

Most people can’t stand to give up the story, even if it sets them free.

Until they get out of their heads and experience the freedom.


This is not to be thought about.

Do it.

Over and over and over again.

Three times a day for the next three months.

See what happens.

Listening in the Present

Week Two - - - Day Four

Open the Door

Explore

Listening without an agenda 

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Here’s the deal, as some like/ love to say….

Here’s the deal: we talk and often it’s to hear ourselves talk.

We listen, and it’s to find a hole in the air time to insert our important talking.

We say our important thing and don’t listen to anything that is not, “Oh, what you said is so great.”



To wit:

We talk too much.

We don’t listen enough.



Really?

Seems to me, and you can watch your own life and mouth and emotions from now on.

Do you interrupt?

Do you take a pause of a breath or two before you say your bit.

Do you take some time to paraphrase what the other person said before you say your thing?

Do you take some time to ask curiosity questions about what you’ve just been told.



Curiosity questions are very different from accusatory or third degree questions.

And, can we admit and recognize that we sometimes go that route.



Wait, wait: 

Alll these statements seem to be implying that we aren’t perfect.

Hell, yes.



I’m not perfect.

You’re not perfect.

And….

THAT’S PERFECT.



Let’s say that again, because this can be the pathway to real ease and love and liking. In life. With your mate. With your children. With your siblings, co-workers, neighbors, friends and especially…. ex-friends and ex-lovers.



I’m not perfect….

You’re not perfect…

And…

THAT’S PERFECT !!!!



Ta da.



So, we interrupt others.

Others interrupt us.



We are excited to get our own bit in and don’t want to listen.

Others are excited to get their own bit in and don’t want to listen.



We aren’t present when we listen.

Others aren’t present when they listen.



We aren’t present when we talk.

Others aren’t present when we talk.



Big deal: welcome to humanity.



And, big big deal:

CHANGING OUR ABILITY TO BE PRESENT WHEN WE LISTEN CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN OUR LIVES.



So today we are going to start the timed talking exercises.

If you’ve been together awhile, there is a tendency to use a platform of talking for four minutes to “dump” all the accumulated garbage of your relationship.



Here’s the deal (that’ll be this chapters running joke)

Here’s the deal: We all have accumulated garbage

And..

Almost everyone either stuffs it and gets more and more unhappy/ agitated / miserable/ resentful

Or…

Blurts it out and scalds the other person..



Later we’ll figure out what to do with the garbage you want to let out and even that will be in two stages ( First, letting out the garbage as gibberish. Second, saying it from the “I feel…” form, with an added. “And if I take this from your best possible intentions, here’s one way I can see this….”)



For now though, we’re going to start the really, really, really important “work” of listening from being present and listening without interrupting.

And in this chapter: listening without commenting on what the other person said.



So, here’s the deal….



Listening / Turns Talking Exercise #1:

Sit facing your mate.

Or co-worker, friend, even a willing stranger.

Agree that you will talk in turns.

Agree that the goal is to be present to body, light and sound:

While you talk 

And

While you listen.



Set the timer for four minutes.

One person talks of

  1. Gratitudes

  2. What they are aware of as sensation, sight or hearing, in the present.

  3. No “feelings”

  4. No “thoughts”

  5. No judgments, even seemingly non-judgmental, like “It’s too hot,” or “It’s hot.” …. “My skin on my leg feels warm” is in reality. But the judgment “It’s too hot” or “It’s hot” is a good habit to leave behind.  (In this exercise and in life in the full)



The other person listens.

  1. Just listens.

  2. Following your breathing and sensing arms and legs as per the Gurdjieff meditation

  3. Paying attention to reflected light coming in your eyes and sound coming in your ears, as per the Gurdjieff meditation.

  4. Noticing the wise/ helpful/ argumentative/ whatever comments you want to say.

  5. Realizing that these are comments you WILL NOT SAY. DURING THE TALK, OR AFTER THE TALK.

  6. JUST LISTEN.

  7. SMILE AND BREATHE DEEPLY

  8. ENJOY THIS PERSON AND ENJOY LISTENING.



The timer goes off.

Bow to each other.

Take a few deep breaths looking at and smiling to each other.

Switch directions.

Go the other way for four minutes.



Then switch two more times, at least, so each person has at least twice to talk. 



Three times is better.



And….

How Carol and I feel in love, part three:

We had a luncheon meeting.

About my book.

We talked a bit about it.



Then I suggested the listening in turns exercise, which was part of the book.

We talked for five minutes each.

Back and forth.

And

Back and forth

And

Back and forth



For about three hours.

Then I asked if she’d seen the Brene Brown TED talk on vulnerability. No. We watched it and more wonders happened.



And, crucial was all that time listening, listening, listening. 

Discovering who the other person was.



This is a wonderful way to connect.

Again and again and again.



Try it and see what happens.

Good.

Full Time Meditation... the "Gurdjieff" Meditation. Fun, full, amazing... like you

Week Two - - Day Three

Being Present in Three Layers

The Gurdjieff Meditation


I “wasted” 15 years of my life doing carpentry and garden design to sharpen and deepen this meditation.

It is the best I’ve discovered for having a real life and combining that with having your attention deeply and clearly on and in the present.

You can do it right now as you read this. Or walk to your next place.

I can do it right now, as I write this. Or walk to my next place.

It doesn’t require eyes closed.


Wasted mean this: I put my time and attention into getting better at being truly present in my mind and body.

How you spend your time and attention is what is important to you.

How you spend your time and attention is what is important to you.


Start now.


The Gurdjieff Meditation:

Part One:

Sit at the edge of your bed or on a chair.

Sit upright.

Close your eyes.

Sense the tips of the toes of your right foot.

All five.

Keeping them in sensing/ awareness go up the toes.

Go up the foot.

Go up the ankle.

Keep everything “lit up” with sensing and awareness as you go up.

Sense up slowly, all your leg and knee, up to your right hip.

Hang out their for awhile.

Enjoy the flooded, lit up feeling in your entire leg.


Do this as long as you want.

Keep your eyes closed.

Breathe deeply and with joy.

Smile.


Gurdjieff Meditation, Park Two

Keeping the right leg and toes all “lit up”

Sense your right fingertips as well

And then move slowly slowly

Up your right hand

Up your right wrist

Up your right arm

Include the elbow

All the way to your shoulder joint.

Enjoy the feeling of this “lit up” right side: arm and leg.


As long as you want.

Feel the difference, side to side.

Feel the fullness of sensing your arm and leg.

Realize how HUGE a piece of you this is.

Smile.


Part Three:

Keeping the right arm and legs in sensing/ awareness/ lit up mode

Add on :

Left shoulder

Left arm

Down through your left elbow

Out through left hand

Left fingers

Left fingertips


Exult in all three: both arms and your right leg


Enjoy this.

Feel the three out of four.

Feel the amazing miracle of being you.

Breathe.

Relax.

Enjoy.


Part Four:

Keep all three in awareness and “lit up.”

Add on:

Left hip

Left thigh

Left knee

Left lower leg

Ankle

Foot 

Toes

Toe tips, all of the left toes


Enjoy all four


Enjoy the full you

Feel your breathing in the center

And mainly 

Feel how firm and full this feels with both arms and both legs


Take this a a gift to yourself


For joy realize this is “inner attention”

Feel it as reality.


Now

Part Five:

Keep all four in lit up awareness and sensing.

Add on hearing.

Notice outside sounds coming into your brain.


Enjoy.


For as long as you wish.

Smile.

Notice the miracle of inner PLUS outer attention..


Now

Part Six

Keep arms and legs “lit” up

Keep awareness of sound coming in your ears

Open your eyes

Pay attention to reflected light coming in your eyes

Enjoy this.


Notice: inner and outer attention


THIS IS YOU AS A FULL AND RELAXED AND ALERT ANIMAL.

ENJOY.


AND NOW:

GET UP AND LIVE YOUR DAY IN THIS INNER AND OUTER AWARENESS.


THIS IS A MEDITATION FOR FULL TIME, ALL DAY.


Good.

 Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Stop Suffering..... Don't Believe your "Thinking"

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Day Five

Don’t Believe Your Own Thinking (Words in your Head)

Clearing the Pathway for Love 

(and “Enlightenment”)

Being in Reality vs Being in the nonsense/ beliefs/ words


Here is some sad but true news: we are all crazy.

And…

Here’s is some liberating and amusing news: we are all crazy.

We love someone, and we obsess about how they need to change.

In spite of a lifetime of evidence, we imagine we are blameless and that any trouble is “Your fault.”


We call the kettle black: other people are selfish, or inconsiderate, or rude or any one of the traits that we drift (or plunge) into when we fall into our own moments of stress or forgetfulness or foolishness (or tiredness or assholeness).


Alas: We are so SURE that if so and so would just straighten up, all would be well in the world.

If they would just CHANGE all would be good again. Of course, that we might change our behavior or our own thinking or our own beliefs, this doesn’t occur to us.

Usually.


Usually is the kicker.

We aren’t perfect. We are all assholes sometimes.

And..

The sooner and the easier and the more humorously we can catch our fall into the “you are to blame, just fix yourself” mode, the sooner we can laugh and love and be free again. To NOT forgive is the swallow the rat poison and hope the other person dies.


This chapter is a chance to begin to practice this dance of jumping out of our old stuck perspective and realizing that we have the major say in our own misery.

Actually: it’s more severe than that: almost all our first world suffering (first world suffering as emotional vs third world suffering as starving or our houses being bombed or our lives in violence) is an inside job.

Who makes us miserable, when we are?

We do.

We are miserable because we believe our own thinking.


Ugh.

And..

Yippie.

Since we cause this suffering, we can “un-cause” it. How?

Stopping believing our thinking. (And by “thinking” I mean words in our head that are judging and blaming reality. Real thinking is of the try this and see what happens. Try something else and see what difference happens. In fact, we are going to use “real thinking” to compare the difference: how are we when we believe our thinking vs how are we when we don’t believe our own thinking.)


Sounds too simple.

It is.

Read on…


A real life story when I discovered my assholeness….

Here’s a little story about a nice “turn around” with a fourteen year old that I was certain was being the “Stupid/ bad/ selfish” one. In my stupid (and suffering) state, I was quite clear: she needed to change.


This story takes place in Sonoma, around 2000, in the summer. I’d gotten over the trauma of a gal named Sally Ann running off with a man named Joe. I’d stopped believing my thinking that she was meant to stick around and argue with me. And I had stopped believing my own thinking that no one else great would show up in my life.

And then Celeste did. A perky yoga teacher, who shared gardening and bike riding and a general love of nature with me.

We grew fonder and fonder of one another, and then couldn’t restrain ourselves to two residences. So I came to spend the night with her.

Off in a huff went Lara, her fourteen year old daughter. Her father and Celeste had been unhappy for many years and had been apart for almost a year, and that didn’t matter to her: she didn’t want her Mom living with her new guy.

There I was.

Off she went. In a huff. In the middle of the night. Big drama. Big show.

And she’s fourteen, right? She’s a pain in the ass, nasty to her Mom, the whole usual teenage thing.

And me in all my wisdom, decide to get all twisted about her being “selfish.”

Which I could make a great case for; after all wasn’t she throwing hissy fit after hissy fit? (I.e. acting 14).

And then a pleasant and slightly stunning light bulb went on: I was the selfish one.

Why?

When Lara threw her hissy fits, it upset her mom, and so Celeste and I had less fun.

This upset MY selfish wish to have great times, all the time, with Celeste.

Ha!

I was a hypocrite (this has been discovered since, many times) and that was funny and a relief. She was selfish. I was selfish. So be it.


And guess what? Once my mind got clear, our relationship got clear. Like this:

One day she was over visiting us and I decided to tell her my discovery about me being the “selfish” one.

What teenager doesn’t want to hear an adult admit that they are an ass?

She lightened up and when I left to go to a garden I was caring for, she shouted out after me, “Goodbye, Selfish Chris.”

We were friends ever after, including some very interesting times when Celeste and I had amicably decided to part and Celeste super quickly found the husband that was just right for her.


And you?

And me?

First we can remember that this is such a common occurrence that there is a folk phrase: WHEN I STICK OUT ONE FINGER IN ACCUSATION, THREE FINGERS ARE POINTING BACK AT ME.

Second, we can make a game of this, of course.


Don’t Believe Your Thinking Exercise #1: One finger out, three back.

Think of someone you’ve got a nice juicy one word condemnation for. Selfish. Lazy. Avoidant. Whatever.

Be accusative: point your hand, one finger out at some imaginary them. Let yourself be all crunched in and tight breathed when you believe this story.

Then

Stand straighter. Wiggle your body a little. Look at some nature if you can. And then….

JUMP to a new spot, and pick one of the fingers that is pointing toward you. Smile and discover one way, this is you, too. If so and so is mean or selfish or inconsiderate, find one way that you are.

Alas, and then…

JUMP to another freedom spot, and pick another finger pointing back toward you. Smile, breathe deeply and find one more way this is you.

Alas, three fingers pointing back. JUMP a third time, and feel the third finger pointing back and find, alas, one more way this is YOU TOO. Yep. YOU TOO.

You and the other: imperfect humans. Damn! or, Goody!




Now make sure you did that.

It’s not something we usually like to do.

It’s something we are very glad, once we’ve done it.

And … and the eating crow part, the admitting our own flaw part, is usually not popular.

At first. 



Here’s a not believing our own thinking game / reframe, that’a little easier to pull off, and hence can be part of our daily strategy.

When: only when we are unhappy.

You mean we can “un-do” our unhappiness?

Find out…..




Don’t Believe Your Own Thinking Exercise #2: Jump to Gratitude


This is a learning game. They all are.


Stand on some spot that you’ll call and feel as the “blame spot.” Once there, think more consciously the blame thoughts you are already thinking about some other “bad/ imperfect/ to blame/ yucky” person in your life.

There is almost always a SHOULD or SHOULDN’T attached to your story about them.

Write down the should/ shouldn’t thought.

Feel what happens to you when you believe this.


Then

Jump to another spot and say aloud five gratitudes.

How do you feel now


And

Go back to the blame/ should / shouldn’t spot, and feel how that feels.

GET INTO IT. FEEL YOURSELF SLUMP OVER AND TIGHTEN YOUR BODY AND CRUNCH DOWN ON YOUR BREATHING WHEN YOU THINK THE BLAME/ SHOULD/ SHOULDN’T  THOUGHTS.

Then, relax a bit.

Stand up straighter.

Look at something real, preferably nature outside.

Take a deep breath.

Wiggle your body from fingers to toes.

Now JUMP, really, Jump to another spot, and in that spot say aloud six gratitudes.

Three gratitudes for life in general. 

Three gratitudes/ appreciations for the “bad/ yucky” person.

Feel what happens to your body, mind, heart, soul and breathing as you do then.

NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE. = LEARNING.



This isn’t bullshitting.

This is core to a good life.

We can choose the blame spot, and ….. happens.

We can choose/ jump to the gratitude and appreciation spot and … happens.


Notice: this isn’t being “good.”

This is being smart/ wise/ kind to ourselves.

THIS IS NOTICING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BLAME/ SHOULD/ SHOULDN’T AND GRATITUDE ON US.

ON US.

ON US.


We’ve already experienced the power of gratitude.

And we’ve made it explicit that learning is noticing a difference that makes a difference.

Here we are jumping to a different spot, to have a gratitude based outlook on reality.

And experiencing the difference.

And… we can always slink back, temporarily, to the grumpy/ blame spot.


Gratitude, and we get one result.

Blame and should/ shouldn’t and we get another.

And some part of us can experience deeply this sad and brutal truth: where we put our attention determines our inner “weather.”

Which means: we can chose happiness or suffering.

In the mere jumping to a different view of the world.

A game worth playing. Any time we are miserable with a bunch of should or shouldn’t accusations in our minds.

Touching feet, arms, hands, face.... good wake up exercises

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Day Two: Touch

We are mammals, touch is nourishing for us all

If sex is to get better and better,  ordinary touch is the place to start

Hands, faces, feet: go slowly

Mindful touch is a miracle gift to ourselves and to others

Touch

 

 

Touch.

We need touch.

We starve without touch. 

We are mammals.

If you don’t have a partner, try to hug two or three people a day.

If you can’t hug two or three people a day, hug a tree or two. Shake hands.

Whether in a couple or not, let’s start with a self-massage, one hand touches the other one in awareness and exploration.

 

Touching Exercise #1: Hands

One hand touches/ caresses/ explores the other.

Set a timer. Two minutes.

Use your non-dominant hand as the “giving hand.” 

Use your dominant hand as the “receiving hand.”

(E.g., if you are right handed, the left hand will caress/ touch/ explore the right hand. If left handed, your right hand will caress/ touch/ explore your left hand.)

For two minutes, go slowly, and explore one hand with the other.

 

Use three actions:

Squeezing

Rubbing

Tap tap tap with your fingers

 

THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF SACRED AND MINDFUL SEX.

Go for two minutes. Feel deeply the point of contact.

And…

Feel your whole self, too.

Feel down to your feet as you caress. Feel your ribs and your breathing and your hands. Feel your neck and the air coming in and out of your nose.

Go so slowly that noticing becomes your whole world.

If you begin to “think” ( as the words in our heads that we falsely call “thinking”) you are wasting time, notice that. And come back to the present of being present to one hand with the other.

 

When it’s over, notice the difference in the two hands.

With a few notes, perhaps, right here…

 

 

 

PS: What is the receiving hand grateful for? What is the giving hand grateful for? You might add that to your gratitude journal.

 

 

If you have a partner doing this with their own hands at the same time, share your awarenesses.

 

 

This is simple.

Except…. notice your resistance: do I have two minutes to be nice to myself? (What if you got shocking and spend 4 or 6 minutes caressing one hand/ exploring one hand/ being present with one hand and the other? Could you stand it?)

Do you feel silly, to be being kind and loving to yourself?

 

Notice the gratitude of the hand receiving.

Notice the gratitude and learning of the hand giving.

 

Be alert: how well do you think this would help your connection to your partner?

If you don’t have a partner, notice how this might help you connect to a partner when you do have one. ( If you want that. )

 

Touching Exercise #2: Arms

Touch one arm with your hand from the other side.

Then do the other way.

 

Again: Three actions

1. Squeeze: go up and down the arm with loving, curious squeezes

2. Rub: 

Rub with the palm cupping around your other arm

Rub with the little finger side of you stroking arm

3. Tap tap

Either with your fingertips

Or, a light and happy slap slap

 

Do this for one minute, or more on each arm

 

This again, is it a “waste of time?”

Or a delight.

Believe me: this wakes up the energy in the hand that is giving and in the arm that is receiving

This is a great thing to do when waiting in line, or as a passenger of a car, or when you are sitting at a computer and want to come back to NOW and to YOUR BODY

 

As before, doing this at the same time as a partner: good.

As always, ding this “alone:” Good.

 

 

 

Bodies are very full. We have feet to walk on. Ribs to breathe. Hands to touch and move and caress and explore. Heads to hold our eyes and ears and tongue and nose.

And a brain.

That loves to learn.

And can be fooled into keeping everything the same.

And can be taught to help make us miserable by filling it with complaining words.

More or all that later.

For now, let’s move the touch out to our feet.

REMEMBER: THE FEET ARE AS FAR AWAY FROM THE HEAD AS WE CAN GET IN OUR BODY.

BE HAPPY AND LOVE YOUR FEET

 

Touch Exercise #3: Touch your feet

For at least one minute each

Same three:

  1. Squeeze, all sorts of areas of your foot
  2. Rub in two ways: with the palm side of your hand, with the little finger side
  3. Tap tap in a more foot like way: use your thumb to rub/press a bit of a firm circle into a three or four or five areas on the bottom side of your foot

 

Let both feet feel the love

You loving yourself

 

This is good.

You are good.

 

Three areas of our body

One: Below the navel

Two: Mid section, torso and arms and hands

Three: Head

 

Getting to all of these, more or less at once is what being NOW, will be about in this book.

This can be part of your meditation.

This can be part of your walking down the street.

This can be, and this is hard, being awake when at the computer or texting.

Or talking.

Most people go completely asleep when they talk.

Or read.

Try, right now, to sense your feet as you read this.

Interesting, eh?

 

And sex.

SEX IS FAR FAR BETTER WHEN WE ARE BOTH IN ALL OF OUR BODY.

And now, the top layer for touching.

 

Touch exercise #4: Touch face, neck and head.

Rub your neck.

Rub your face. 

Rub your scalp.

 

Tap tap your neck

Tap tap your face.

Tap tap your scalp.

 

Squeeze — lightly — your neck

Squeeze — lightly — your face

Squeeze — lightly — your scalp

 

How long?

You pick a time amount and set a timer.

 

Smile and breathe deeply and easily as you do this.

Even better: add on sensing your feet as you do this.

 

Cheers.

Touch, plus mindfulness, plus gratitude

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Day Four:

Back to increasing the chances of radically wonderful sex.

Touch a face with mindfulness.

Hold hands and share present awareness PLUS gratitude.

Love, lust, enlightenment in easy increments

 

 

We need to connect. At the level of touch. Below the level of words.

Add present awareness and you have mindful touch.

Add being present and you are well on the way to the greatest gift you can give another: your real presence.

Now.

 

So, let’s combine touch and gratitude and present awareness.

 

Find someone you like, or love, or are willing to get closer to.

Find a way to agree to about ten minutes of time in the present moment, amplified by touch.

If you absolutely have no one around, wait, or go touch a tree.

This is a little weird, but so what: Life is Life.

And the Now is certainly always the Now.

 

Touch and Awareness and Gratitude Game

Try this in two ways:

One, without touching/ holding hands.

Two, with touch/ holding hands.

 

Set a timer for two minutes.

First time through: don’t hold hands.

Take turns. Each person share

  1. Three gratitudes.
  2. Three “Now I am aware….” statements, with one being
  3. The bottom layer, below the navel… “Now I am aware..”
  4. The middle layer, arms and fingers and ribs and chest and spine and breathing. One report from the now…. “Now I am aware….”
  5. The head layer. Something you see, or hear, or sense on your face, or feel in your mouth or notice in your breathing….”Now I am aware…”
  6. Then they go back to three gratitudes
  7. And three more “Now I am aware …. “ from the bottom up

The timer rings.

Two minutes the other way: gratitude plus three “Now I am aware…” and more gratitude and three “Now I am aware…”

 

Then smile and breathe.

Hold hands.

Do the same thing again, two minutes each: 

Three gratitudes

Three, “Now I am aware…” from the bottom up.

Three gratitudes.

Three, “Now I am aware…”

 

Do a two minute turn each.

Notice and share with each other

One: The impact of doing this with or without touching. (It IS a bit rare to be both present and grateful with another person)

Two: The difference that holding hands made.

 

We need to touch.

We need to share gratitudes.

We need to be present.

We need to breathe and look into each others eyes.

We need to slow down.

 

This is what I say.

Don’t believe me.

Test these statements all out in your life and see if they are true.

Find reality in reality.

 

What a concept.

I like it:

FIND REALITY IN REALITY.

 

LUST.

Lust as a symbol of sex, is a start.

Sex without love is a mess.

Sex without mindfulness is like all of life without mindfulness: a waste.

 

Don’t believe me.

 

And here’s a way to begin to have awakened sex, in a non-genital way.

Sex often gets waylaid in being so oriented to the genitals. We will actually improve this a little later with a non-reciprocal stroking of the woman’s clitoris, but even here, the goal will be for both to be aware, in the moment, of the effects of this THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE BODY.

 

For starters though, for making out, for hugging, for just laying in bed naked together and exulting in whatever touch is happening, the practice of awareness throughout your whole body is immense.

 

Let’s start at a very simple level: touch plus awareness in three levels.

 

Love plus Lust Plus Enlightenment Game #2:

—- Touching your Partner’s Face

Being aware of three levels

Set the timer for five minutes.

Stroke, caress, explore, massage your partner’s face for three minutes.

Each person keep awareness:

One, at the point of contact

Two: in all three layers of the body… below the waist, and in the middle layer, and at the top, the face level, where there will be a lot of awareness

For the one touched.

But each person: the toucher, too, notice bottom, middle and top level as you caress/ massage/ explore

 

Then shift and go five minutes the other way

Again both people noticing all three levels

 

After you have done this several times, you can add on noticing out loud awareness in all three levels as one strokes and caresses the other’s face.

Take turns.

Have the main focus on the sensations of touch in the present.

And…

Notice the amplification (or not) of noticing out loud your awareness, both as the “receiver” and as the “giver.”

 

When done, just rest and breathe a bit.

Then: 

TALK A BIT, SHARE A BIT HOW VALUABLE EVEN THIS SMALL AMOUNT OF SLOWING DOWN FEELS TO YOU AND YOUR LIFE.

 

This can now be one of your two touching options each day.

Will this lead to better sex?

Find out.

Will this lead to more sex?

Find out.

Will this lead us out of the misery of no body = nobody? 

Yes.

Touch, first the hands.... later the clitoris. Start easy, be present

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This is chapter two, upgraded.

A bit about me and one of my perhaps ten amazing trainings.

Here goes:

 

Day Two: Touch

We are mammals, touch is nourishing for us all

If sex is to get better and better,  ordinary touch is the place to start

Hands, faces, go slow

Mindful touch is a miracle gift to ourselves and to others

Touch

 

 

Touch.

We need touch.

We starve without touch. 

We are mammals.

If you don’t have a partner, try to hug two or three people a day.

If you can’t hug two or three people a day, hug a tree or two. Shake hands.

Whether in a couple or not, let’s start with a self-massage, one hand touches the other one in awareness and exploration.

 

Touching Hands Game #1: One hand touches/ caresses/ explores the other.

Set a timer. Two minutes.

Use your non-dominant hand as the “giving hand.” 

Use your dominant hand as the “receiving hand.”

(E.g., if you are right handed, the left hand will caress/ touch/ explore the right hand. If left handed, your right hand will caress/ touch/ explore your left hand.)

For two minutes, go slowly, and explore one hand with the other.

 

THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF SACRED AND MINDFUL SEX.

Go for two minutes. Feel deeply the point of contact.

And…

Feel your whole self, too.

Feel down to your feet as you caress. Feel your ribs and your breathing and your hands. Feel your neck and the air coming in and out of your nose.

Go so slowly that noticing becomes your whole world.

If you begin to “think” ( as the words in our heads that we falsely call “thinking”) you are wasting time, notice that. And come back to the present of being present to one hand with the other.

 

When it’s over, notice the difference in the two hands.

With a few notes, perhaps, right here…

 

 

 

PS: What is the receiving hand grateful for? What is the giving hand grateful for? You might add that to your gratitude journal.

 

 

If you have a partner doing this with their own hands at the same time, share your awarenesses.

 

 

This is simple.

Except…. notice your resistance: do I have two minutes to be nice to myself? (What if you got shocking and spend 4 or 6 minutes caressing one hand/ exploring one hand/ being present with one hand and the other? Could you stand it?)

Do you feel silly, to be being kind and loving to yourself?

 

Notice the gratitude of the hand receiving.

Notice the gratitude and learning of the hand giving.

 

Be alert: how well do you think this would help your connection to your partner?

If you don’t have a partner, notice how this might help you connect to a partner when you do have one. ( If you want that. )

 

And… if you do have a partner, this is a wonderful beginner’s step to having sex every day: You rub/ caress/ explore their hand for two, three, four, five….??? minutes. They do the same for you.

 

Touching your Partner’s Hand, for two, three, four, five, ???? minutes:

The beginnings of Mindful and Fabulous Sex

There is a point of contact.

You can each put your mind there.

You can relax into this joy of connection.

No hurry.

Just now.

 

Wow.

 

One of the greatest shortfalls in normal, and often boring, and frequently avoided, sex, is that it almost entirely genital and is all supposed to be wham bam full speed almost instantly.

Very little, if any, time is devoted to letting one partner be the recipient, the receiver, the you-are-being-loved one.

This is tragic.  Non-reciprocal sex is hugely important.

Huh?

Non-reciprocal sex is hugely important.

 

How do I know that?

 

I spent a year in an amazing borderline cult that had a bead on a glorious practice, a practice geared toward Female Orgasm. As a meditation. 

Stroking the clitoris to be exact, without any climaxing goal. With the man fully clothed (Or a female partner to the “receiver”/ clitoris offerer). 

In this meditation, the woman is laying on her back, often on a blanket or cushion on the floor, half clothed.

The organization was a mess, but the idea was revolutionary and opened some people to real connection and mindful pleasure. 

The secret:  letting the woman be the pure recipient for pleasure at that point of contact, which is very gentle and very slow, and mindful for both people. A point of immense pleasure.

Keeping the attention from wandering is a skill.

How much nicer and easier to keep the attention on a place of immense pleasure?

 

And the receiver gets to take a break from performance.

Just receiving.

Immense pleasure.

 

And, you will experience later, some of you: to “simply” give in this way has it’s own amazing pleasures.

Giving and mediation.

A kind of “no fail” sexual gift, that isn’t sex, but is sexual pleasure.

It’s “out of the box” in a way that’s a real “game changer.

 

And that’s where we are headed with rubbing our partner’s hand?

Yes.

One gives.

One receives. 

The point of contract is where mindfulness can get better and better at being NOW.

 

So, let’s play with your partner. 

Or an adventuresome friend.

Or a child that needs to be touched.

Or an elderly or sick person that needs to be touched.

(Do you know anyone who DOESN’T need to be touched.)

 

Day Two: Touch game #2:

Use a timer.

Turn off all the internet hooey.

Just “BE” with each other.

Partners Take 3 minute turns touching/ caressing/ exploring one of the other person’s hands.

That’s it.

The giver uses two hands.

Go slowly.

Be curious and exploratory.

Sense your body in all three levels (below the navel, navel to neck, above the neck) as you give.

Listen to what you feel as you give.

 

Receiver: listen not just to what you are receiving in your hand, but to what is happening at all three levels of your body.

 

After the three minutes take a bit of a break with several deep deep breaths. 

 

Then go the other way.

 

Then another break. With a few more deep breaths.

 

And then share, how was this as a giver? How was this to be the receiver?

 

And…

I’m going to say what your body and soul wants to hear: do this every day.

I’m going to say what your “I’m too busy” robot will hate to hear: do this every day. 

I’m going to say something the stuck in your rut you will love and hate to hear: do this every day.

 

The brain: one use, to stay true to habits. Good use: not having to relearn walking. Bad use: thinking the same negative thought over and over about our partner or ourselves or our parents, or.… “Thinking” (believing an opinion, actually) that you “don’t have time to WASTE on touching/ rubbing/ caressing your partner’s hand.”

Short version: That’s bullshit.

 

Luckily, the brain loves to learn, and learning is discovering the new, the different that makes a different.

The brain, best use: discover what happens new and now when you do, try, open to, explore, something new.

 

 

Not really an aside: 

 

(Why do we live together?

  1. the friendship of good talk, 
  2. the bliss of good sex, 
  3. the growth of working through the crap all couples have if they didn’t have perfect parents. (i.e. accelerate enlightenment by accelerating giving up on “Being Right”)

 

So, let’s up the friendship and up the touch at the same time…

 

Touch and love game #1: TOUCH PLUS GRATITUDE

A>>>Try the non-touch way:

Set a timer for two minutes.

Share gratitudes back and forth, five at a time.

 

B>>The touch and share way

Then, for three minutes

Hold hands

Take turns saying five gratitudes.

Then listening to five gratitudes.

Back and forth.

Feeling the connection.

Hearing the gratitudes.

 

Feel the difference that sharing gratitudes makes when you don’t hold hands and when you DO hold hands.

 

Crucial to this book is learning. 

Learning is noticing a difference that makes a difference.

 

Touch makes a difference, right?

 

Bring this into your life. Daily. At least twice.

Some sort of touch: hand caressing, hold hands sharing gratitudes.

More to come. (Hint… a two minute hug can almost never be a poor way to spend time with your friend)

 

There will be sexier versions of touch.

And..

Rubbing a hand, and hold hands while sharing gratitude… always a good move toward more love and eventually, better lust.

How often? Twice a day.

Why? Try it twice a day and let your souls discover.

Stages of Meditation.... "Gone" on down to mantra.... all are good. Try each day

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STAGES OF MEDITATION. (My take, no “official” backup)

 

Highest Stage:

 

  1. Gone … No thoughts, no nothing, no effort to get there. “Simply” a return to the nothing at the center of everything including no effort trying or technique.

 

Next Level

2. Return to your real self.

LET GO AND RETURN TO:

 

  1. AWARENESS.   Awareness of thoughts: but it’s the awareness that’s you, not the thoughts. Awareness of feelings, but it’s…..
  2. LOVE. After letting go, send Love to whatever or whomever you had arise in your awareness. This is the meditation, the sending love one, that has the brain scans of “the happiest man in the world” at their peak
  3. A BODY ALIVE ON EARTH.  ARMS AND LEGS AND SPINE AND RIBS ETC IN GRAVITY. PLUS: BREATHING. “Just” the living being of you. Thoughts as secondary to this reality
  4. CURIOSITY> What happens without trying to make the meditation happen
  5. ENERGY. Light as flooding you and all you are aware of

 

3. Normal Meditation

Follow your breathing.

Thought come an go

 

 

4. Inquiry:

Ask of your thoughts: is this true?

Where will this take me?

What’s the difference between believing this thought and not believing?

 

5. Mantra:

Om Mane Padme

Coca Cola

Doesn’t matter. Some set of words to drown out thoughts

 

 

To some people “trying” meditation twice a day is important.

Is that true?

Find out by practicing this for ten days and seeing what happens.

Short and consistent is better 10-20 minutes.

 

What is important/ What matters, a short overview

IMG_0033.JPG

What’s important?

What matters?

 

Raise your hand and wiggle your fingers?

How would you like to do without those hands?

 

Hold your breath and cover your nose. What does it feel like as you approach a minute of this?

Time to breathe.

Breath is life.

 

Being alive matters.

Being alive is a miracle.

 

And what is at the core of Life?

Words can’t really say it, but let’s point to it: God, the Divine Life Energy, the Holy Spirit, Life itself.

And, is connecting to this core of Life, to this Divine Life energy important?

 

When does this happen for you?

Watching a sunset?

Making love.

Walking by the ocean.

Watching a child laugh.

Telling someone you love them.

Hearing someone to you they love you.

A kiss.

A hug.

A quiet moment with a cup of tea or coffee.

Following your breathing in a calm moment in a meditation or a walk.

Dancing.

 

And so on.

 

Enjoying life, being happy, being engaged : is this important?

Does this matter?

 

Yes.

 

And do we want a partner to share that with?

Yes.

 

And touch: we are mammals. Hugs, kisses, great sex. This a part of a great life.

 

And this touch, this sex, is part of our connection to Nature.

We are alive.

We are part of Life.

Getting out into Nature every day, this matters.

 

And getting quiet every day: prayer, meditation, a walk in nature, a cup or tea of coffee in the quiet, this is important.

Giving ourselves a time of quiet and peace every day, this matters.

 

Touch every day.

Gratitude every day: sharing our delight with what gifts Life has brought us. Thanks to God, this is part of life every day.

 

Goals every day: taking all complaining and getting clear: what do we want instead of what we don’t want.

Get clear and focus our delight in being present to an even more wonderful future.

 

Become More Amazing.

 

Is that for you?

I hope so.

 

And it’s not all about us, right?

We can’t be happy unless we are helping others to be happy, or to get out of a jam they are in, or correcting an awful situation like poverty or racial/ gender injustice. Helping the world and the environment.

We are meant to care for each other and the Earth.

This matters, right?

 

And taking care of the Earth, we come back to being human beings, in a body, alive on this Earth.

And what happens when we get sick, or unhealthy.

We can’t breathe easily or move easily or we feel too weak to do the things we love.

Being unhealthy sucks.

And many people ignore this until their health has gone to shit, but… staying healthy and creating inner strength, vitality and health seems important. Doesn’t it.

 

And we are healthy and we want to be around others, not just to help them, but to love and adore and cherish them.

Family.

Friends.

A mate connected to the deeper meanings of life, a friend with whom we create a journey toward God and toward our better and better selves.

And notice: we are going to get into messes with a partner.

So: knowing how to forgive, how to apologize, and how to learn from what we did wrong…. this is important.

 

No forgiveness, no love.

No apology, no love.

I’m imperfect, you’re imperfect, that’s perfect.

 

That’s life.

As in the best movie ending of all time: Nobody’s perfect.

 

Not us.

Not our partner.

Not our friends.

Not our children.

Most especially: not our parents.

 

And what is important: forgive and get back to the present.

 

And what is one of the most important ways to get to that?

Not, not, NOT believing our own thinking, especially the complaining about others part of our thinking. 

“You should appreciate me more.”

“So and so should have treated me nicer.”

And so on.

When we want others to shape up, where can we make a difference: shaping ourselves up first.

How do we do that?

Getting a sense of humor about our own imperfection.

Getting curious and compassionate: what is the other person going through.

Coming back to the present: what can you and I do NOW to have things good or grand between us.

 

So, that’s a start:

 

God.

 

Love.

 

Friends.

 

Sharing meaning.

 

Being of Service.

 

Being alive.

 

Knowing we and others are alive.

 

Gratitude.

 

Goals and delight in Becoming More Amazing.

 

Nature.

 

Touch/ connection/ hugs/ more.

 

Prayer/ meditation.

 

Daily gratitude, daily prayer/ meditation, daily nature, daily happiness, daily touch. Life is full. Let’s enjoy it fully.

 

Forgiving.

 

Humor.

 

Happiness.

 

Health.

Is that a good start?

 

I think so.

What about you?

 

More heart, more body: an easy and wonderful start

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So, let’s increase the friendship level of your relationship by combining the sharing of gratitudes, which opens our heart, and the sharing of touch, which allows our bodies to soften back into what we know so deeply: touch is essential to being human and at ease.

 

Touch game #3:

Set a timer for two minutes.

Share gratitudes back and forth, five at a time.

 

Then, for three minutes

Hold hands

Take turns saying five gratitudes.

Then listening to five gratitudes.

Back and forth.

Feeling the connection.

Hearing the gratitudes.

 

Feel the difference that sharing gratitudes makes when you don’t hold hands and when you DO hold hands.

 

Crucial to this book is learning. 

Learning is noticing a difference that makes a difference.

 

Saying gratitudes makes a difference.

What did you notice?

Touching while saying gratitudes makes a difference.

What did you notice?