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

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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?

First 30 Pages of Love, Lust and Enlightenment

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Day One: 

Improving Love right Away—

Gratitude and Goals

 

On June 20, 2015, I walked half a block down my street in Austin, Texas, to meet a woman I knew and admired and liked, but with whom I thought I had no “romantic” expectations. I had met her a mere three months before, in March. She had moved to Austin in February. Now in June it was a gentle summer’s day, and we were going to meet for a lunch and study session. I was writing a book on radical listening. She was smart and kind and I wanted her input. Her name was Carol Williams then.

It’s Carol Elms now.

 

We thought we were meeting for an hour and a half. For lunch and a bit of her help on a book I was writing, the precursor to this one.

Twelve hours later, at one am, as I pried myself out the door, to walk the half block back to my home, we both were almost certain we’d met the future lifetime partner that had a day before seemed “almost impossible” to find. I’d written an “almost impossible goal” to find a fabulous woman within walking distance. And an “almost impossible goal” to find a lifetime partner at 70 years old. Carol had been praying for a life partner. And then… the miracle seemed to be happening.

And even with goals and prayers, I don’t think this “miracle” would have happened without our both being immersed in gratitude. Why?

 

We all thrive in gratitude…

On that day becoming night together, and since then,  the practice of gratitude was a deeply embedded part of both our lives. Then, as now, I was writing in a “gratitude journal” at least twice, often three or four or five times, a day. Carol, on that miracle day, had a steady background prayer life, of which gratitude and thanks was a significant part. Now she has a gratitude journal, too. Will you soon get a gratitude journal? Only if you want transformation as deeply and easily as possible.

Don’t believe me, or anyone. Test drive gratitude right now.

Mini-game: Think of 3 things you are grateful for. Does something shift?

How does this work?

 

The Power of Gratitude

Gratitude focuses our hearts and minds on what we like and love in life, what is going well in our life, what we are thankful for and want more of. Instead of wasting time and mental energy on worry or complaining, gratitude allows us to look at life from a peaceful and open heart. With an eager heart alert to what has gone well in the past, we are primed to be looking forward to more “good stuff” unfolding each day.

Nice, eh?

Modern research has shown what ancient wisdom has long suspected: the brain (and person) can be in either fear or gratitude.

Carol and I were tuned in to what we appreciated about our lives. This made it far easier to tune into what we could appreciate in the other person. And then, twelve hours after I’d walked in the door, we reluctantly dragged ourselves apart amazed that we might well have found the “almost impossible.”

 

Dear reader, let’s jump into action.

This book will have a lot of “games.” They are actions you take in real time.

They take time. They could/ should be fun.

Give this book 3 days. “Play” the “games.”

They will change your life.

 

Day One: gratitude and goals.

Day Two: Touch, the foundation of a fantastic sex life(and frequent… us old timers have blissed into once, twice, three times a day).

Day Three: Being Present, especially in the 90% of us below the neck. Good for enlightenment. Great for sex. And, believe it or not, crucial in creating maintaining real love. Because relationships always get funky, and unless both of us had perfect parents, we will have a choice: to go into our parents’ bad habits, or to wake up in the Now to our wish to be in reaction, and to shift to something else.

 

Like what?

For one, to shift to gratitude.

 

 

Day One: Love and Gratitude Game #1: SAYING GRATITUDES ALOUD

If you have a partner, or a willing friend, ask them to join you.

Notice how you are feeling now.

Say aloud five things you are grateful for. Feel your heart as you say these five.

Then the other takes a turn.

Notice how you are feeling now.

Share with each other the shift this made, this simple speaking aloud and sharing of five gratitudes. (PS, you can say more if you wish)

 

If you are alone, jot down here a few reminder sentences on what shifted by saying five gratitudes aloud.

My notes on the differences I noticed….

 

 

Really, do it now. This is not a book to “just read” and imagine “doing it” later. This is not a book of “good ideas” for you to give your “screwed up” friends. This is a transformation manual for those who want even more amazing life.

Which is you, right?

 

Or is it?

The “impossible” goal of a fantastic woman within walking distance may or may not have had a part in Carol’s appearing just down the block.

And, I have a sneaking suspicion that unconsciously, it was one of the reasons I’d set up the hour and a half lunch that turned into our twelve hour “non-date” that showed us there was the partner right down the street that we’d almost been afraid to wish for.

Almost.

Since I was writing goals, not just for a walking distance woman, but the type of woman: kind and generous, and the kind of relationship we could have: present and full of discovery and sharing.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?

IN LOVE?

IN LUST?

IN AWAKENING/ LIVING IN THE PRESENT/ HELPING THE WORLD/ ENLIGHTENMENT?

 

Goals are not just for New Year’s Day.

They are for every day.

So what you write in this next “game” isn’t locked in stone.

AND… it is a pointer to what you’d like to get out of this book and what transformations and miracles and changes and expansions you’d like in your own life.

 

So, without taking it as the end statements,

 

Goals Game #1: Deepening for those with a Partner

Write goals for love and connection and “bouncing back” with your mate, with your friends, with everyone you meet.

What would you like your Love to be like? How much romance? How much friendship? What kinds of things would you like to do more of together? What kind of ease and support and humor would you like to increase? Are there resentments you’d love to release? What would increasing the sweetness of your relationship be like?

Write these all as goals.

 

Goals Game #1.5: Love if you don’t have a partner YET

How would you like connection to be MORE wonderful with your friends?

Looking for your Soul Mate: 

What qualities would you like your relationship to have?

What qualities would you like your partner to have?

What goals for working on yourself in the relationship do you have?

Write these all as goals.

 

 

Back to gratitudes.

And noticing the difference that being in gratitude makes.

Core to this book is an understanding of real learning. Real learning is noticing a difference that makes a difference.

Real learning is noticing a difference that makes a difference.

Learning is not taking in anything by rote.

Learning is a shift that makes a difference. And being aware of the shift.

 

As I’ve said above, you can be grateful or you can be in fear. Can you feel a shift in you when you say gratitudes aloud? Let’s try an even more sure fire way of shifting our energy to being a happier and more loving person. Standing. Letting ourselves feel our more full bodies as we speak gratitudes.

Good. 

Let’s try again to notice a difference that makes a difference :

 

Day One : Love and Gratitude Game #2: STANDING GRATITUDES

Notice how you are feeling now.

Stand up. Best if you do this with your mate. If you have one.

Say: Hey, let’s do some standing gratitudes.

Then do them….

 

If there is a window available that has a view of Nature, please go there.

Or, if your life is such that walking out into Outside, to see nature, or going out to actually , Stand in Nature, so much the better.

Feel your body standing up.

Say aloud, five gratitudes. The same ones. New ones. If you can be watching Nature at the same time all the better.

Notice any difference.

 

If you are alone, jot down here a few reminder sentences on what shifted by saying five gratitudes aloud.

My notes on the differences I noticed….

 

 

 

 

As, before, if you do this with a mate, take turns. Go outside together if you can. Share the aloud gratitudes and share a bit on what difference that made.

 

When you do this, it’s such a nice excuse to be upright. It’s a nice excuse to realize: we are in a body much bigger than the thing above our necks. It’s a nice excuse to return to our hearts. It’s a nice excuse to realize this: life can be pretty wonderful.

 

Do you feel different after doing these two games?

 

 

Carol and I were actively involved in this gratitude business, as I’ve said. Her prayers, were real prayers, which meant they weren’t all of the “help me” type. They had a huge chunk of “Thank You.”

And some prayers were of the “Help my Life find the life partner I’m looking for.”

Someone once said prayers are of three types:

Thanks.

Help.

Wow.

 

It’s best to start with thanks.

And it’s honest to ask for what your heart deeply wants.

In fact, this is the deeper meaning of the Lust in the title: what does your life and the deeper and Real You long for, yearn for, want?

 

So now, back to Goals:

 

Goals Game #2: What do you lust for?

In your own heart of hearts, what are you Deep Goals for your Life?

As a couple, what do you lust for as the highest form your life together could be.

And, as a couple, what would you like/ want your sex life to be?

 

Goals Game #2.5 If you don’t have a partner YET.

Same questions:

What does your heart of heart lust for as a guide to your expansion in your whole Life?

What is your heart lust for the deepest relationship you could have?

What is your good old fashioned yearning for fabulous sex? How often? What would it be like? Are you willing for it to be better than you could ever imagine?

(Ours certainly is. Before twice a month and twice a week were the norms for us. Now twice a day is about average. There will be plenty of hints in this book how to make that happen, and the start is fun: rub hands, hold hands. Start with touch and miracles can happen. That’s day two)

 

Back to gratitudes:

When Carol and I had our twelve hour miracle non-date, one of the things we did was share our favorite verses from the Bible.

One of mine is Philippians 4:4, which goes something like:

Be happy in everything.

Be anxious in nothing.

Offer up your Thanks before you offer up your petitions.

 

Which is to say: Gratitude first.

Then goals.

 

 

And as I’ve said, when Carol and I had our miracle day, I was writing one, two, three times a day in a gratitude journal.

 

Now it’s time for today’s third gratitude game.

Write in a journal.

You might have a journal around, or even some half used one. Cross out the old title.

Label it the gratitude journal.

You’ll have lots and lots before you’re through.

(No journal? Good. Get any piece of paper and write some gratitudes.

Now.)

 

Here we go.

 

 

 

It can take less than a minute.

This will be something in which to start every day for the rest of your life.

 

Gratitude Game #3: Write

Get a paper or a journal

Write five gratitudes or more.

Write slowly.

If a lined journal, leave a line between each line of writing

Write big and slow and feel your hand moving, and see the letters forming.

Read them over.

Good.

 

That’s it.

I asked for three days to jump in and change your life. Writing gratitudes every day will change your life.

Saying them aloud to a friend or to Nature will change your life.

Writing goals each day will change your life, though we’ll need to make sure that ease and presence are part of how they come about.

 

So now:

Goals Game #3:

Write your goals for being present.

Look at the goals you’ve already written and perhaps add: as I do this I am present and happy the entire time.

Write your goals for being happy, and not the lollipop happy of a child getting sweets or the weak happiness of an adult getting their way. But the deep happiness of being happy even when “things aren’t going your way.”

What would that be like?

What would it be like to be aware all day?

And in joy?

Write goals for presence and joy.

And add on the world. Real enlightenment isn’t just about us, it’s about “Saving the World” and Being in Service in a non-anguished and loving and happy and present way.

Don’t think about that too much.

Just include some goals for the betterment of the world.

 

And so there you go: Three ways to be more grateful.

Three ways to point your heart toward what you want in Love, what you want in Lust and what you want in Enlightenment.

 

This takes some time, this transforming your life game.

Most days won’t have six games and gratitude and goals gets you kicked started into the new life that I hope you want for yourself.

 

And if you want more to do until tomorrow, write more gratitudes. Write more goals.

Find yourself two journals.

And, take a walk in Nature.

With your partner if you have one.

With your connection to gratitude if you are alone. 

With your connection to gratitude if you have a a partner.

 

Good.

 

 

 

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 in awareness and exploration the other one.

 

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

Set a timer. Three minutes. (Seems “long.” And, do you deserve three minutes of self-kindness?)

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

 

THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF SACRED AND MINDFUL SEX.

Go for three minutes. 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 yourself and the other at the same time becomes your whole world.

If you feel / “think” ( as the words in our heads that passes as thinking, but isn’t) 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 three minutes to be nice to myself?

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 three minutes. They do the same for you.

 

Touching your Partner’s Hand, for three minutes:

The beginnings of Mindful and Fabulous Sex

 

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 full clothed. With the woman half clothed.

The organization was a mess, but the idea of 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.

And one is the recipient. Free from the usual: how is my partner doing programming.

Just receiving.

Immense pleasure.

One is the “giver,” except that in being aware and in the moment “giving” because it’s own peaceful meditation.

 

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

It part of it.

 

Another part is that this in itself is deeply pleasurable. And you can do this in public on a park bench. Not such a great place for storing a clitoris, no matter how slowly or gently or mindfully.

 

So, let’s play with touching another person…

 

Day Two: Touch game #2:

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, before talking.

 

Then another break.

 

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

 

Here’s a crucial deal.

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.…

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 woking through the crap all couples have)

 

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?

 

Bring this into your life.

Daily.

At least twice.

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

More to come.

 

There will be sexier versions of touch.

And..

These are always great to fall back onto.

 

How often?

Twice a day.

 

Why?

Try it twice a day and let your souls discover.

 

 

 

 

Day Three: Enlightenment is now

BEING PRESENT

 

At any moment we can come back into the present.

 

Like now?

Yes.

And now?

Yes.

And Now?

Yes.

This is one of the miracles of now: it’s always here. No waiting. No standing in line. No required uniform, age, health status, money requirements. You are always you. Always now.

What’s that like?

Experience your now, now, the you of being alive right now. What do you notice?

 

What difference does that make?

 

This is one of the most significant differences we can notice in life: what happens when we shift to “waking up” to our experience of this moment in this moment.

 

Let’s give ourselves, right away a present of the present game that roots us in our body. 

 

 

When I was young, sports and being outdoors and swimming and the usual fun of life was my unknown way of being present. By “unknown,” I mean that I wasn’t “trying” to be present, but that this just came naturally to the territory of being a child.

This, of course, is why we like to be around the young so much: they are present and they are delighted to be present and they remind us how good and easy this world can be.

 

Later, sex came along, and had a somewhat thrilling way of being present and of connecting to another person. It was a balance to over-studying and a life where I was pretty hooked on thinking that my thinking and my getting grades and the whole “what are you going to do with your life” game where who I really was.

 

Then, a breakthrough of a somewhat sloppy form came along, but maybe it’s the only way that could have worked for an over-intellectual lunk head like me.

Walking across the plaza at Stanford one fall afternoon in 1965, a friend casually asked me: Do you want some acid?

Acid, of course, was LSD, and this was before it was either a big deal in the save the world way, or a big deal in the Bad Trips will Drive you Crazy way.

So, I said yes, not really sure what I was getting into.

And a couple of weeks later, with a guide who had “done” this before, we “dropped” and listened to the Loving Spoonful.

And nothing happened.

And he said, don’t worry.

And nothing happened.

And he said, it’s coming.

And nothing happened.

And then the world opened, and the music was from heaven and everything from the apartment was in heaven, and when we took a walk all the street lights and trees and plants and people walking around, everything was perfect and some beautiful part of “God,” whatever “God” was.

I didn’t think about “God” in those days, before this, but that night God seemed at the core of everything and everything seemed God, and everything was beautiful and nothing could be explained and that was just fine.

And God was very much the feeling that his musical note, right now, was perfect, and this street lamp, right now, was perfect, and this cloud pattern in the sky, right now, was perfect. Everything seemed equally divine. There was no waiting for something “better” to happen.

Everything was “best.”

 

This seemed like a whole new world. The world where everything was perfect just as it was. Later, I’ve found that every mystic of every religious stripe experiences the world this way: it’s all God, it’s all beautiful, even if so called “painful,” and it’s all perfect.

And a couple of times more, listening to Beethoven and the heaven of his music, or wandering around East Palo Alto and seeing the beauty of every rose and tree and wet weed grass.

And once, this perfection and beauty spilled into a feast of gratitude: for Beethoven, for the musicians, for the orchestra, for the recording, for the tape recorder, for the electricity coming into the tape recorder, for the dynamo in the mountains that generated the electricity, for the discovery of creating electricity

 

And then something else helped, another piece of luck and expansion of what the mystery of life was all about. It turned out “the now” was always here, not just in a magical drug experience.  It was a book! A friend (same one who’d “tripped” with me the first time) had invited me to a study group, in which we dove into a rather intricate book on Gestalt Therapy. Some fancy theory, exciting of course, and then the “real deal:”  some very straight ahead “exercises.” 

Action to take.

Not just words explaining other words.

This was their games as if were.

The first game was this:  “For three minutes, simply start every sentence with “Now I am aware…” and finish it with the truth of  what you are aware of. Skip thoughts. Skip emotional explorations. (Later on that). Just sensations and observations without commentary or judgment in the present.

 

And so let’s start today, taking advantage of this miracle of the present: 

No waiting around. You can do this right now.

No “right place” to be. You can do this wherever you are, right now. 

 

 

Awareness Game #1:  “Now I am Aware.”

Set a timer for two minutes. (If no timer with you, you being lucky/ smart enough to be away from the Great Distraction of a smart phone… just guess two minutes)

Start a series of sentences with “Now I am aware….”

Say them aloud, or very quietly if whatever place you are in demands that.

No judging or commentary, just the facts.

Do it and see what happens.

 

If you have a partner around, do this together, taking turns listening to each other explore the would of “now I am aware…” And then then share what you noticed doing this. 

If you are doing this alone, jot down here, or it an “observations journal” what you noticed and liked about doing this.

 

 

 

 

 

You might even have a gratitude or two the occurs to you from this time in the present. If so, write them in your gratitude journal.

 

Let’s make this a little more vital.

Most people, when they finally do get out of all their inner chatter, and actually into the present, are still mainly above the neck.

What we see and what we hear is vastly important to our species. 

And …

And…. ten percent of the weight of our body is in our head. 

There is more.

WE ARE FULL BODIED CREATURES.

WE HAVE ARMS

LEGS

HANDS

FEET

TOES

FINGERS

SPINES

RIBS 

BELLIES 

PELVIS

HIPS 

KNEES

AND MORE.

 

There is a wonderful saying I’ve brought into my teaching and learning lexicon in the last several years.

The saying is this: NO BODY = NOBODY.

This is a saying from a Chinese energy system, a five thousand year old Chinese energy system that I’ll recommend in day seven as one of your ten possible “super-power liberation & happiness” pathways. This system has been brought to the West by a Western MD and surgeon, Dr Barry Morguelan, who practices in LA, lectures around the world, and teaches training seminars in Austin, Texas, detailing many aspects of this 5000 year old system. His amazing website is EnergyForSuccess.org. Go there for breathing exercises, amazing blogs, interviews with people such as Tony Robins and Dave Aspery, courses you might take advantage of.

The “About” tab has some great opening introduction to how “Dr. B,” as we call him, discovered and deeper into this system. The Blogs have shortened forms of various of his three hour lectures. The products page is somewhat endless, but there is almost always a great deal on a “breathing exercise” which is a guided visualization that helps deepen and reset your “energy” to a more happy and healing and younger and effective “vibration.”

It’s all a bit mysterious.

Oh, well.

 

And back to the joy of being present in our body, in this now, this moment. This real body in which we are conducting our life. Either we know we are “here,” or we don’t.

 

NO BODY = NOBODY. Mull this over for a bit, without “thinking” about it.

 

A sly and easy to remember reminder that when we are lost in our heads, forgetting that big list of all the body below our neck, then there is no one really home.

 

If you want to be somebody in Your Body, here is a great way to wake up to how much of us there is.

The game will be to say now I am aware in three layers.

Like this.

 

Life is Being Present Game #2: Three Layers of “Now I am Aware.

Set a timer for two minutes, or guess it.

State one “Now I am aware….”

And pick something below your waist:

The feet or toes. Where they are. What they feel. What is the sensation of them.

Legs, pelvis, ankle, knee, hips.

 

Middle layer:

State the next, “Now I am aware…”

And pick something above your waist and below your neck.

Belly, breathing, ribs, arms, fingers, hands, stomach, spine, elbows, wrists.

Sensation, shape, what they are touching, heat of cold.

(No complaining. No judging. Just the facts: My left hand is resting on my left knee and feels the material of my pants.)

 

Top layer.

Now state a “Now I am aware…” that comes from the head layer.

Neck, skull, face, tongue, breath coming in and out your nose or mouth, smile or not, what your eyes see, your ears hear, your nose smells. 

 

Then go back down to the bottom layer, “Now I am aware….”

Then the middle, “Now I am aware….”

Then the top layer, “Now I am aware…”

 

And back again, always starting closer to the Earth, around and around, visiting and aware-ing into your life and body right now in your full and amazing fullness. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next game turns this into a game of connection and deepening. The third pathway of liberation is TOUCH. Touch is the foundation of lust. Touch is crucial to being a mammal.

Touch is a way to be present in one of its most simple and safe forms. If it’s simple enough.

And this is plenty simple: just holding hands.

With a partner: great.

With a good friend: great.

With a child or parent: great. 

 

Here is another game towards the delight of sex twice a day or more.

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.

 

Being Present Game #3—- 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

 

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.

 

 

 

An Overview: Ten Liberation and Happiness Pathways

 

Who is this book for? You if you’ve gotten some traction in the last three days.

This book, most simply, if for those who want to live as rich and present and wonderful a life as possible  with another person.

Here are the pathways that this book offers for awakening love. 

One: Gratitude and Goals opens the door to Love

Two: Touch begins the road to fabulous sex

Three: Only when we are present are we really alive, to ourselves and to our partner

 

Four: Don’t Believe Your Own Thinking begins to set you Free

 

Five: Real learning = Trying out and Noticing Differences; Brain Plasticity at almost any moment

 

Six: Nature is a path to God that is far more available than we usually realize

 

Seven: “The Energy” / Flow/ The Glory of God… this it Life at its Core, waiting for us

 

Eight: What to do with “the energy”… be happy and write goals

 

Nine:  Happy, healthy and horny. If that the life for you?

 

Ten: Save the World as a natural part of a Good Life

 

 

 

 

Day Four: Clearing the Way for “Enlightenment:”

We are all crazy/  

Don’t Believe Your Own Thinking

 

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.

Chapter Twenty: Save the World, Be Present, Be Happy, Have more Sex

IMG_7948.JPG

Day Twenty:

Save the World

And have a lot of Sex

And be present and raw and healthy

And happy

And present

Which we said twice

And

Be present

There we go, three times.

Be present it’s your present to yourself

 

Good.

There is a world to be saved. You care too much to let it sink without some effort. Or a lot of effort.

Just no grim effort.

And global warming has almost 100% agreement among real scientists as to be a Big Fucking Real Deal Threat.

And so… we have to do something about it?

What?

I don’t know.

I’m looking.

 

And I do know, and you, too… we can’t save the world by holding our breath or being angry or being worried.

We just have to save the world.

 

No holding our breath effort.

No clenching our teeth in anger or frustration and taking some ridiculous inner vow not to be happy until global warming is reversed, or racism is unraveled or the rich stop being so rich and the poor stop being so poor.

You want to be awake as you save the world.

You want to be aware right now as you read this.

You want to be happy right now as you read this.

 

So,

Happiness Now Game:

Go outside.

Do an energy exercise or a reaching for the sky or a wiggle or a jump.

Enjoy yourself.

Smile and breath deeply.

Feel the glory of being alive.

 

Good.

 

 

Now is the time to have fun changing the world to become the place your heart knows it could be.

And it’s not your job to “fix” the world out of guilt.

And it is your job to help create a wonderful world for everyone, including all the natural creatures of a world that is disintegrating in the global warming mess.

And feeling bad is not an option.

And feeling badly is not an opinion.

 

But feeling up your partner, that is an option.

 

SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?

 

Keep having a lot of sex.

 

Keep going outside every hour and remembering to remember.

Remembering to remember we are alive.

Remembering to remember to be present.

Remembering to remember to be happy.

Remembering to remember our connection to the Divine/ the energy/ Holy Spirit/ happiness.

 

The zest of life is our gift.

 

And with that zest we are going to save the world.

 

How?

 

One big hint:

The tragedy of most human behavior: if something doesn’t work, keep doing it the same way and hope you get different results.

The fun: if something isn’t working do something else.

Do anything else.

 

Including nothing.

Including sex.

Including taking a walk.

Including holding hands and saying gratitudes.

Including holding hands and taking a walk and being present to nature and sharing gratitudes and coming home and meditating.

And then having sex.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

Finished, June 21, 2018.

Third year anniversary of Carol and I starting to live together.

And have sex.

That has become better and better and better.

As has our stupidity undoing.

 

May this be true for you two too.

 

Good.

The Work of Byron Katie: freedom from should and shouldn't

 

Day Twelve

 Present , The Present, the beautiful Now

The “work of Byron Katie” to come into Reality and

Freedom

 

Good.

Byron Katie has a fun phrase: “When I argue with reality, I lose, but only 100% of the time.”

And then you can get in a long boring discussion about “What is reality?”

 

Don’t.

What is your experience right now?

Recall how we ended the last chapter:

Awareness >>>> Gratitude >>>> I love…

 

This in an incentive to “get into” our experience right now.

 

Another incentive to being now, is to to remember what every child knows: get present and life is great.

 

Somewhere in the good luck of my life, around 1998 or so, I ran into the “work of Byron Katie.” Byron Katie is the “stage name” of a woman everyone calls Katie, when in her presence.

She fell into enlightenment as it were, not striving for any spiritual awakening, but having a clear and desperate goal/ wish: to die to her suffering.

She’d been a many year alcohol, and chain smoker and obese and yelling at her whole family, and had come to fear of even leaving her house/ halfway house/ wherever she was.

She was a mess.

She knew she was a mess.

She didn’t want to harm her body, but wanted the upside to suicide, she wanted to die so her suffering would go away.

 

As life is sometimes, she got her wish.

Laying on the floor of her halfway house, because she felt unworthy of being on a bed, a coach roach crossed her ankle.

She somehow trigger cosmic laughter in her at the realization that all the thinking she’d been believing, all the stories about how she and others should change, all these could just be dropped.

So she did.

All that was left was joy and laughter.

 

Almost everything else was gone.

In this state of ongoing bliss, she found her problems and everyone else’s to be the illusions they were, built on thoughts that weren’t true.

She was free.

She could see others weren’t free.

And occasionally she’d be visited by an old thought (my mother should have….), and plummet to old fashioned normal human suffering.

The contrast was huge.

And she discovered the quick way out, for her and for others.

 

Judge your neighbor.

Write it down.

Ask four questions.

Turn it around.

 

Why judge? Because pretending we don’t is a dead end.

Why write it down? To slow down the obsessive thinking we get when we go over and over in our heads with “My father shouldn’t have been so critical.”

When I wrote that down instead of replaying the tape endlessly, I could see that my suffering had been pinned down with seven little words.

 

Why ask four questions?

Two to determine: am I getting upset by reality or my opinion about reality.

Two to FEEL at an instinctive level the difference between believing my opinion/ story/ thought vs who or what am I without the thought/ story opinion.

In Buddhist terms this is attachment vs non-attachment.

She didn’t use these terms, hadn’t really studied Buddhism, just found out noticing the difference made all the difference in the world.

Who am I and how do I relate to life when I believe my story?

Who or what would I be without this story.

 

Why “turn it around?”

The turn around is simple the three fingers back thing.

If I say you should stop being selfish, let’s turn it around: I should stop being selfish.

If I say you should listen to me better, let’s turn it around: I should listen to you better.

 

What this got to do with “being present?” Without our story about the past, and without our comments and judgements about the world, we can live in the quiet present, that ongoing unfolding on now where What Is is the whole deal. 

 

 

 

And for you and me today, how can we play this Byron Katie game (see http://thework.com for videos and worksheets and lots of resources)?

 

Well: here’s the four questions.

 

One: Is it true?

Two: Is it absolutely true?

 

Three: How do I react when I believe the story/ thought/ judgment?

Four: Who or what would I be without the story/ thought/ judgment?

 

 

 

Let’s sift this immensely powerful tool for coming back to the present into three games:

 

Game one with the work of Byron Katie:

For the next week, take every “so and so should” or “so and so shouldn’t” statement and

One: write it down

Two: Ask, it is true? (Think of dropping a pen. Will it go toward the Earth. This is true whatever we think. Almost anything dependent on our opinion, even if most people in the world agree… mother’s shouldn’t be mean, say…. is not real truth.

Three: Ask, is it absolutely true?

Four: Talk a short walk or look out a window at nature: feel the difference when you realize that this is an opinion and not a truth.

 

The phrase:

IS IT TRUE?

Or: Are you really sure about that?

Can be a great backup phrase for almost all of the thoughts that are accompanied by feeling bad.

This is wonderful news.

Game two, takes us to the awful truth: it’s not what others do, it’s our reaction to it that is causing our suffering.

it’s not what’s happening in the world, it’s our believe in what “should” or “shouldn’t” be that’s causing so much pain.

(And you can work for change.

And you can wish for/have a goal for a fabulous woman within walking distance. 

But no “should.”

A goal is a direction for how you’d like the future to be. It’s not a demand. God doesn’t owe that to you.

But sometimes getting it clear to God or the universe what you want help open reality to wonderful shifts happening. Not because they “should, “ but because you were grateful, and present and open to the possibility of an even better world.)

 

Game Two in the Work of Byron Katie:

Take any should or shouldn’t feeling/ thought.

One: write it down.

Two: stand on a spot that you call: Believing My Story. On this spot feel what the belief/ feeling/ thought / opinion does to you:

Your breathing.

Your posture.

Your feeling state.

Your connection to the world and the present.

Your connection to optimism and to joy.

Three: As is day for jump to another spot. Either the gratitude spot or the Pure Present spot.

Hang out there and feel the difference.

 

Jumping to gratitude or the present is a sneaky way of doing question four ahead of time, and so be it.

This is why the “work” of Byron Katie “works” so well.

It’s not about: you have to let go, you have to forgive, you have to give up your believe.

It’s about real learning. Recall learning: noticing a difference that makes a difference.

This is often the biggest difference in the world: believing our thoughts that want to feel bad about reality, and not believing those thoughts, or just giving up the whole thinking thing, and what’s left?

 

So, let’s do question four as the third game.

 

Game three in the world of Byron Katie:

Take any should/ shouldn’t belief that you are suffering from.

One: write it down.

Two: go to the suffering spot and believe it. See how that feels physically and emotionally and what it does to your life.

Three: Jump to the WHO OR WHAT WOULD I BE WITHOUT THAT THOUGHT spot.

Feel that.

Enjoy that.

 

Deeply breathe in the freedom and joy and whatever else you feel.

 

Now, learning:

Slink back to the believing it spot.

See how you are there.

And jump back to the WHO OR WHAT WOULD I BE WITHOUT THAT THOUGHT spot, Feel the difference.

Go back and forth.

Enjoy. This is life.

This is freedom. This is who you really are without the usual slavery to believing your thoughts.

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Ending most first world suffering: Don't believe our own thinking

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Day Four: Super-Power Liberation & Happiness Pathway #4:

We are all crazy/  Don’t Believe Your Own Thinking

 

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 fall into when we fall into our own moments of stress or forgetfulness or foolishness.

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 thinking or out 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.

 

Forgiveness is to be like a normal dog: the past is over. When is the time to love: right now.

A dog is a god when it forgives.

Why doesn’t it forgive?

It doesn’t really: it just comes back to the present.

 

What is the difference between being present (the core of Buddhism for my money) and forgiveness/ loving your enemy ( the core of Christianity)?

Almost none.

 

And..

Don’t believe me.

Discover this for yourself.

 

Here are some games that could help, and really, it’s all about you and I and everyone on earth understanding the old maxim: To not forgive is the swallow the rat poison and hope the other person dies.

 

So… on we go…

 

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 (emotional vs starving or our houses being bombed or our lives in violence) is an inside joy.

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.

 

Sounds too simple.

It is.

Read on…

 

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.

 

It 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, and 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.

When she 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 Game #1: One finger out, three back.

Think of someone you’ve got a nice juice 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.

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 Game #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.

GET INTO IT. FEEL YOURSELF SLUMP OVER AND TIGHTEN YOUR BODY AND CRUNCH DOWN ON YOUR BREATHING WHEN YOU THINK THE BLAME 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.

And then…..

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.

 

Then SLINK back to the blame spot, and have those crappy thoughts, and notice: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU choose the crappy thoughts and ….. what crappy feelings and body sensations and breathing results.

 

And take the deep breath, and wiggle and straighten to a fuller you and once more jump again to the six gratitudes. Three about life. Three about the other.

And feel the differences, which is to say: learn. 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

For the next game, we’ll jump again, this time, jumping to the present, without our thinking/ “story.” Then we’ll slink back to the thoughts/ story, and then jump to the present. Two great choices: jump to gratitude. Jump to now.

 

Many many people have discovered many many times that the present is a guaranteed refuge from most suffering. (If you aren’t being bombed or physical assaulted, and even there, some powerful freedom can be found. And… most “first world” suffering is in our beliefs. Try this game out as another fun/ easy / direct way out of first world suffering. )

 

Don’t Believe Your Own Thinking Game #3: Jumping from Believing our Thoughts into the Present Moment without Thoughts

Have a thought about the other person, and how wrong they are and how they need to change. Stand somewhere and feel this, and even allow your body to contract down and your breath and muscles to tighten down about this.

Feel the effects on you of this choice: believing your thoughts. Feel the effects on your breathing, your body, your emotions, the whole feeling tone/ weather of your life.

 

Now. 

Stand up straighter, take in some extra air, wiggle around.

Now jump.

When you land, go through the NO BODY = NOBODY, three layer game.

Say now I am aware…. and notice two things in the bottom layer.

Say now I am aware… and notice two things in the middle layer.

Say, now I am aware… and notice two things in the seeing/ hearing/ face and neck and skull layer.

 

Then, slink back to saying your thoughts to yourself and believing them. FEEL how rough this can get.

 

Again, breathe in fully, stand up straighter, wiggle yourself a bit free, and JUMP.

To a spot where you enjoy and live in awareness of your experience of life, right now. Without words or commentary. Just awareness.

 

Notice the difference. In this space of awareness, you might explore some easy movement that feels good, feels like an “energy exercise,” feels like dance or being your “real/ child/ happy” self.

 

Just move.

Pretend you are a child.

Dance without or with music.

Listen to the joy of being alive without the story to burden you.

Be happy.

Breathe and wiggle and dance and have fun.

Jump into Gratitude when you get grumpy about another person

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

 

This is a learning game. They all will be.

 

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.

GET INTO IT. FEEL YOURSELF SLUMP OVER AND TIGHTEN YOUR BODY AND CRUNCH DOWN ON YOUR BREATHING WHEN YOU THINK THE BLAME 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.

And then…..

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.

 

Then SLINK back to the blame spot, and have those crappy thoughts, and notice: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU choose the crappy thoughts and ….. what crappy feelings and body sensations and breathing results.

 

And take the deep breath, and wiggle and straighten to a fuller you and once more jump again to the six gratitudes. Three about life. Three about the other.

And feel the differences, which is to say: learn. 

 

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.

 

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.