Its My Life Or Is It?

Everything Does Not Revolve Around Me

We are more than our bodies, and belong to more than just this earth.


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Its My Life Or Is It - The Default Setting

The way our minds work, we automatically create what we perceive to be MY life, MY job, and MY financial security  and it is usually all nicely packaged up with clear boundaries defining my own personal sense of who I am and how things are.


It's my life

This perspective is popularised in modern culture by bands such as  Bon Jovi "Its my life, its now or never, I ain't gonna live forever.." and in a previous age with Frank Sinatra and "My Way".

Inner map of reality

We  develop our own unique inner map of reality shaped by our own personal early influences and from this we develop our own personal beliefs based on that map (largely unconsciously) to navigate us through life and primarily to keep us safe.

Functioning, as we do, in this way - things are seen as separate and largely static, our perception and general experience is that time proceeds in a linear manner from past to future, there is "me here" and the world "out there", and there are events and things that I don't like that happen to me.

This is our default setting – and so much of what we do is motivated by our deep inbuilt need to keep things as they are - to preserve the boundaries around "my life" - to preserve MY survival and MY safety and MY comfort.


Change and loss of control

So change – and especially imposed change - becomes something to be avoided and/or resisted, unless it’s on my terms and within my control.

This immediately creates a problem for most of us because we are now living through times of great turbulence and many of us are experiencing imposed change that seriously affects all areas of MY life.

The scale and pace of change that we are all experiencing is faster than our capacity to cope with it.








Its My Life Or Is It - Dropping The Ego


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Alternative perspectives

But there is another perspective and one that forms a common thread in several major belief systems and philosophical outlooks.

The terminology and language is different, but as we established in The Duck Test, if they all point in the same direction to what appears to be a universal or generic truth then it is likely that is what it is.

The Christian faith, especially in the teachings of St Paul, speaks of "dying to self" and allowing the spirit, or consciousness, of Christ to live through you.

Buddhists refer to "dropping the ego" and allowing the bodhicitta [the mind of enlightenment] to develop withing you.

Both of these two phrases dying to self & dropping the ego are Christian and Buddhist  expressions of the same fundamental truth - the need to correct the inbuilt, hardwired tendency to assume that everything revolves around "me".

Dying to self & dropping the ego is all about:

[1] Understanding the functions of your mind and your selves and developing a good working relationship with them.

[2] Understanding where, and why, it all goes horribly wrong because of:

  • Your ego's desire to be in control,
  • Your ego usurping the role of your higher self,
  • Your ego disconnecting you from your true source of power.

In Zen practice "Non-Attached Mind" [Mushotoku] is a mindset that does not seek to acquire or gain anything and that has no attachment to objects and outcomes.

This mindset transcends dualities and also involves an inner letting go of the ego.




    If You Want To Be Given Everything, Give Everything Up.

    Tao Te Ching [22]









Its My Life Or Is It - A Major Realignment


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As we already noted, these alternative perspectives all point to some form of major inner realignment whereby a greater consciousness emerges and expresses itself through us.

Here is a personal experience that I shared about something that happened to me about 15 years ago.

The teachings in the Tao Te Ching also point to a major realignment of how we normally function.

This is about a 180 degree shift from living MY life to a life that is lived by the Tao.

This is difficult for the natural egoic mind to comprehend as it requires a renewal of your mind.

Renewing your mind is based on practices, not beliefs, that will have a profound and positive effect on your life.

This all takes work and effort as the human mind runs on deeply ingrained and habitual patterns of thought.

Neural pathways in your brain get stronger with repetition and you will be training your brain to establish new pathways through new activities, new patterns of thought, and new behaviour.

Based on my own personal experiences I recommend the following 3 core practices and 2 applied practices as a means of renewal.

Each of the links below will take you to a page which explains how to do the practice and offers additional supporting resources.

Core Practices

"Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?

Can you step back from your own mind
and thus understand all things?" [10]

Mindfulness


"The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them." [29]

"Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready." [16]

Acceptance


"Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you." [44]

Gratitude


Applied Practices

"When the ancient Masters said,
'If you want to be given everything,
give everything up,'
they weren't using empty phrases
Only in being lived by the Tao
can you truly be yourself." [22]

Dying To Self


"In the pursuit of knowledge,
every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao,
every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things,
until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone." [48]

Going With The Flow




    Only in being lived by the Tao
    can you truly be yourself.

    [Tao Te Ching 22]








Next Article: It's ALL About These 2 Simple Things

Return from: "Its my Life Or Is It" to: How To Change Your Life


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