How To Be Secure In An Insecure World
Most of us believe that our happiness and security are dependent upon our relationships, work, income and the external events that take place in our lives. When things are going well there is a sense of well-being and safety. We sleep well at night, wake up feeling refreshed and have the sense that the world can be managed - that we are in control. However, this kind of security is fleeting. As people and events are constantly changing, we are often edgy about what's coming down the road.
We then spend our time and energy trying to manage and control ourselves and others. This craze to control takes many forms. It produces anxiety that never seems to dissolve and turns into addictions, compulsions, catastrophic thinking. It leads to difficult, unhappy relationships based upon power struggles.
No matter how much we attempt to strategize and organize, life itself often has its own plans and ideas. When we cannot accept this, our life then soon becomes an endless struggle, rather than a source of joy. We become unable to go with the turn of the tide that life's changes brings and discover the new momentum that may be coming our way.
Most of the time it is fear that stops us. We long to live in the known, predict what will happen, to be able to respond in familiar ways. What we seek what is actually a false security, based upon keeping everything the same. But as the very nature of life is change, sooner or later our efforts must always fail.
The more we cling to what has been, the more real security eludes us. True security, the ability to live without fear, comes from being in touch with and trusting the one within who
The One Who Knows
Deep within each of us, there is a knowing and resilient part of ourselves who is able to respond full, know what to do when the moment arises and is at ease and filled with good will. This part of ourselves is filled with balance and creativity. As we contact this aspect of ourselves, bring it to light, give it time and attention, we become less affected by external circumstances and our life takes a completely different turn.
There is a process involved in connecting with and nurturing this part of ourselves, steps to take. These steps are directed to letting of that which is in the way. We start by un-learning some of what we've based our lives upon. Different individuals will resonate to different parts of the process. That is fine. Each step when done completely will take a person where they need to be.
Here are some basic, initial steps and principles in this wonderful journey to the center of a life of balance and trust.
A) Returning Home ?
To begin, rather than racing forward, we stop and turn around. Some call this returning to our original nature. We describe this step as Returning Home.
Rather than continue our frantic search for pleasure, wealth, love, well being in the external world, we return home to ourselves. We take back our attention and return it to who, what and where we are at this very moment. As we do this a centeredness, balance and simplicity takes the place of the upheaval we live with most of the time.
This step is based upon the principle that difficulties we encounter do not arise from that which is going on outside of us, but from the way we react and respond. As we return home and become aware, our reactivity lessens and natural balance and wisdom takes its place.
Returning home can include times of walking, meditation, centering, focussing, journalling. All of these have the common denominator of placing our attention within. This not only restores our energy, but significantly reduces the endless spin of catastrophic thinking most of us engage in. As we do this we notice it is the catastrophic thinking itself that makes us uneasy, not the actual events right before us now.
B)Letting Go Of False Expectations
Our fear of life and need to control is often fuelled by the disappointments we have suffered. Over and over we try to make things work out according to our desires. We may not see that many of these dashed expectations and desires, are simply fantasies, dreams, hopes and demands we've placed upon others. When our personal wishes are not fulfilled, resentment and fear develop. Often we do not see that our wishes may have little to do with what is real ? or what is beneficial for ourselves or others.
As we release our expectations, we become able to see and accept the world as it is and find a new way of living in it. We find who we are, where we belong and where our true security lay. Many then become amazed at how light, joyous and at ease they feel - and at the abundance of beauty and goodness that has always been available to them, day by day. We also begin to see that -
"The world is a womb, not a tomb, a place where everything is engendered and brought to life." Henry Miller
Dr. Brenda Shoshanna, http://www.brendashoshanna.com, is author of LIVING BY ZEN, (Timeless Truths For Everyday Life), http://www.livingbyzen.com. A psychologist, long term Zen practitioner, speaker and workshop leader she offers talks and workshops on finding our inner security and fulfillment. Dr. Shoshanna also speaks on all aspects of relationships and living life to the brim. She is the author of ZEN MIRACLES (Finding Peace In An Insane World, Wiley, and ZEN AND THE ART OF FALLING IN LOVE, (Simon and Schuster). She is the relationship on i.village and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, (212) 288-0028.
Attitudes - The Overlooked Inventory
It goes without question that any business intending to thrive will, sooner or later, be forced into making an honest inventory of assets and liabilities. Yet, whether from a business perspective, or in the going concern of a single human life, we often lose track of our most vital product, our own attitudes.
Everyday is a Gift, Open and Enjoy It
There is a bottle of perfume sitting on my dresser that I was given when I was ten years old! As you can tell I have pack rat tendencies! For me that pattern started as a young child. I could never bear to throw things away. There was more to it than not wanting to throw things away. I loved the feeling I had when I would receive something new, and would not want to spoil it by using it unless it was for something special. I would want to save it for a special occasion. A new dress would sit in the closet, until a special event to wear it. Perfume would sit on my dresser, not to be used for everyday, but for a special 'something'. This was a pattern in my life for many years.
How To Turn Your Life Around FAST!
There is nothing more important than feeling good.
Maintaining Honesty and Integrity
(Excerpted From Cultivating An Unshakable Character)
Just a Typical Teenage Boy
Judge not, lest ye be judged. ?Matthew 7:1
A New Strategy
Direct Answers - Column for the week of November 3, 2003
Looking for a Better World - What Every Person Can Do!
Each night, when I put my head on the pillow and turn my thoughts to things ethereal, I am hopeful that the world is a little better place than when I awoke that morning. I hope that the dissidents, extremists, murderers, plunderers, bigots, philanderers, cheaters, molesters and others of mean-spirit find that their chosen path is not a beneficial avenue. I hope they see that they themselves are not truly benefiting from a mean-spirited philosophy.
Confidence Building Steps That Work Like Crazy!
Self-confidence is your assessment of your own self-worth. It plays a large part in determining your happiness through life. So how do you create confidence? Well here's a surprise - you take action! If you don't currently have much self-confidence, let's explore the options on how to cultivate this trait within your life.
Building Bridges, Not Walls!
Only twenty years ago, people would casually stroll the neibourhood, stop and chat with each other or walk down the street and greet you cordially. Nowadays people walk at a very fast pace and for the most part just walk past you looking at the ground lost in their own thoughts. It seems less people will say hello to a stranger.
According to the Buddhists, between January 29 and February 12 is the worst time of the year. "Don't start anything new during this ending period," they advise. "It won't last." February, however, can be a great time to meditate on new beginnings. But what if you have no direction? What if you are STUCK?
A Life of Purposes Extraction
Purpose. What is purpose? Drinking coffee when you wake up and making a habit of drinking coffee only when you wake up? No. Trying to drink coffee when it's hot and trying conscientiously to make it a habit to swallow it hot? No. Blowing white, shivering steam off the surface and then, guttering it down immediately so that it'd fall lightly against the cylindrical walls of your gorge? No.
Anamchara - Making Sense of Life
Many successful persons advise you start your day with a list of what you intend to do and achieve during your day. This is extended to include a week. It moves forward at specified time intervals until you advance through the years and the decades.
Begin With the End In Mind - Tips to Make Your Life More Meaningful
What would you change if you knew you would be dead in 1 day? Would you spend more time at work, pouring over budget figures, and trying to figure out how you were going to make this quarter's numbers? Would you read just 1 more e-mail from a complaining co-worker? Would you check your voicemail one last time? What would your obituary say about your life?
It's all in the mind- your mind.
Where Did We Miss?
Talking with friends, people I meet on a regular basis, I realized that many of us make a bigger a deal of meditation than it actually is. For some people, meditation is somewhat of a discipline, and for others it's the discipline about meditation that makes them run away from it. People, organizations, and any other form of disciplinary establishment we look to for guidance, tell us that meditation is disciplinary in its formality and requires a certain set of rules.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of August 11, 2003
We have all grown up in an age where exploration into dramatic new territory has become routine. We have had people travel into space to live for short periods of time. We have sent people to explore the moon. We have built machines to take people under the ocean to live and work. And we have even built machines, as extensions of ourselves, to go to places where we could not go physically and send back pictures and other data.
Revenge in the End is Bitter Sweet
We ALL think or have thought about it at one time or another. Revenge! Yes, we plan, we let our minds conjure up ways to get back at someone who we believe has wronged us (at this point you should hear the Austin Power-Dr. Evil maniacal laugh in your head).
The Procrastinating Perfectionist
Are you a procrastinating perfectionist? I once read an article dealing with the fear of failure and success. The author described it as the following: "The curse of the procrastinating perfectionist".
Believe in Yourself!
A near middle-aged man in one of my last workshops had followed his calling for the past decade with unbounded zeal. Alas, his career had never developed into long-term employment but rather, was fraught with numerous set-backs, lay-offs and even dismissals. With five children to feed and his life passion now shelved this man faced depression and desperation.
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