Do you endlessly separate life into good and bad?
If you’re like me, you make lists, goals and constantly notice things you like, want and aspire to versus other groups that you don’t like, don’t want and maybe even go out of your way to avoid? I do this with both external circumstances and internal thoughts and emotions.
The news, media and social media seem to be the mass embodiment of this very practice. We are encouraged to like and share what we want, while studiously avoiding, criticizing and attacking anyone or anything that dares to have a different view point. Politics has become an extension of this practice with so much name calling, labeling, attacking and blaming that nothing gets done.
As more of us choose love and yes (unity with life), we learn to respect and communicate with open minds and hearts, while integrating the various viewpoints or maybe finding new enlightened solutions based on compassion, respect and inclusion. Letting go of attack and separation, we are one. Let’s please act like it.
For several years, I’ve been questioning the very idea of self improvement and whether it is an endless trap.
Gurus and teachers keep offering more and more books, programs and ideas for improving ourselves. Yet, I feel as though I’ve been on a tread mill for the last 26 years as I’ve “worked on myself”, continually striving to improve, grow, find enlightenment, etc. This quote by Alan Watts struck me as the perfect answer. I found numerous jewels in this article in brainpickings.com about the book by Alan Watts called The Wisdom of Insecurity.
I can only think seriously of trying to live up to an ideal, to improve myself, if I am split in two pieces. There must be a good “I” who is going to improve the bad “me.” “I,” who has the best intentions, will go to work on wayward “me,” and the tussle between the two will very much stress the difference between them. Consequently “I” will feel more separate than ever, and so merely increase the lonely and cut-off feelings which make “me” behave so badly. ~ Alan Watts
Alan goes on to explain that we must quit trying to separate ourselves from life and experiences that we don’t want. We must learn to embrace uncertainty, change and a lack of a fixed self’..
When you see clearly that memory is a form of present experience, it will be obvious that trying to separate yourself from this experience is impossible… Sanity, wholeness, and integration lie in the realization that we are not divided, that man and his present experience are one, and that no separate “I” or mind can be found.
What are your thoughts on self-improvement? It seems to be a paradox. I believe we’re hard wired to want to grow and improve. but I believe the vast majority of the programs and our efforts to improve, actually don’t help us make real progress. In the end, maybe only love matters.
To me, saying yes to life, means accepting and being present with everything (aka loving it all).
Embracing what is happening right here and now in my physical, mental and emotional realms. Too many of us live much of our lives in a mental realm of future dreams and past regrets. I believe this is played out in the external world with the growing problems of economic inequity, environmental degradation, and mental and physical health challenges.
I’m embarking on a year of saying yes to life. I’m learning to relax, accept and bless everything in this wild and mysterious adventure called life. In addition, as I witness the flow of thoughts, feelings and events, I bless them with the simple message “I love you”.