Category Archives: Anxiety

What is Awareness and What is it Good For?

When you feel depressed, awareness does not cheer you up.

When you screw up at work, awareness does not say you’ll do better next time.

When you yell at your kids, awareness does not help you calm down.

When hit a car in parking lot and drive away, awareness does not forgive you.

When you are unfaithful to your spouse, awareness does not justify it.

When you steal some bread from the grocery store, awareness does not take away the guilt.

When you lose a loved one to cancer, awareness does not bring them back.

When you have spent your last penny, awareness does not put money in your account.

When your desperate for a spiritual awakening, awareness does not make it happen.

Awareness is always just…..there.

Doing nothing. Helping no one. Changing nothing for the better.

It is the source of all inaction.

Instead it is infinitely loyal. It will never leave you no matter what despicable act emerges from you. It knows nothing about judgement. It knows nothing of worthiness. It knows nothing about evil. It knows nothing of heaven or hell. It knows nothing about death. It knows nothing about suffering.

It knows nothing.

Absolutely squat.

It is not there to heal you. It is not there to make you live longer. It is not there to make others love you.

So what in the world is awareness good for.

There is one way to find out. And that is to align with it. Be a witness to your perceptions. Open yourself up to feel whatever is brought to the forefront in the field of your observation. Let it wander. Do not focus on any witnessed feeling as more important than another. Allow this freedom to dwell in your mind and body.

If you are walking, listen to the pebbles crunch on the ground as feel the pressure of each step. Notice your head moving from side to side looking at the trees. All of a sudden you turn off the road and onto a walking path. Why did you do that? You don’t recall making that choice. Now you notice each leg moving one after the other. You’re not actively choosing that either.  A random thought pops into your head that you should eat healthier.

Why?

You didn’t decide to think that. Things are happening and you don’t seem to be involved in any part of the process.

Soon you start to notice everything. The way your tongue is resting in your mouth. The way the cool spring breeze is making your eyes water just ever so slightly. The rising of your stomach with every breath.

Then it suddenly strikes you.

I am none of this.

Such intense witnessing has released you. You begin the understand the role of the witness. Your dreams. Your hopes. Your struggles. Your judgement. Your accomplishments. Your failures. Your suffering. All of these things are not “You”. They have simply been witnessed by “You”.

Now, even more dramatically. All of the ways in which you have defined who “You” are begins to fade away. The simple gap between something being inherent to your identity, to simply being observed, causes a cascading avalanche of the former self into oblivion.

Ultimately the realization hits. The me that has ruled this life, does not exist. There is no meat to this ego. There are no obstacles for me to overcome. There are no requirements for my existence. There is nothing that was there before.

There is only awareness.

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The Honest Guys – Guided Meditations

When I was going through my darkest hours of depression I found a YouTube channel operated by a duo known as “The Honest Guys“. They create wonderful meditations and relaxation sounds to soothe the soul. The first video I found was called Banishing Depression and it had an immediate impact.

They have a huge library of videos and I still have not seen them all. It also may be one of the few channels where I have not seen a single negative comment under any of their videos. They are simply there to help people and they are incredibly appreciated by their followers.

The video below is called Christmas Loneliness and is for anyone who felt alone over the holidays. Have a look and please check out the rest of their stuff as well. You won’t regret it!

You Have Nothing To Fear But … No, That’s Enough

If there is one predominant lesson that being alive has taught me is that I need to be afraid. We are bombarded every day with a million things that we need to fear. Things we need to be cognizant of so they don’t sneak up on us and author our demise.

We need to fear the flu season, dropping real estate prices, climate change, a higher dollar, a lower dollar, an oil shortage, losing our job, cellphone radiation, Ebola, and even the 100 days of happy challenge!?

In many cases it appears that fear is the currency used in attempt to promote support. Support for change that is in line with the beliefs of whomever is promoting the fear.

For instance with climate change, environmentalists will often speak as if we are on the edge of a cliff, if not already falling, when talking of how much we have already negatively affected the environment around us. On the other hand the senior economists will tell us how many jobs will be lost if we spend money on clean energy and implement carbon taxes.

In other cases it seems that fear is primarily used to gain attention, as it is with the evening news. A news story with potentially much more dire consequences will obviously gain more viewership than a good news story.

There is implied urgency with fear based information. It keeps us on our toes, promotes anxiety, keeps us perpetually in a state of flight or fight. Fear is very effective at gaining attention, and EVERYBODY knows it. That’s the problem.

Our fears are constantly tugged in every direction as people chase our money, or our vote, to support their cause. The progress of change is thus driven by fear.

As we evolve technologically, exponentially increasing amounts of information are available to anyone with a wi-fi connection, and thus our society becomes more and more burdened with a directly proportional amount of fear.

Taking a moment to look inwards, I have from my own experiences learned that fear is one of the primary sources of any suffering that I have gone through. It has created anger, misperceptions, anxiety, stress, and depression. It is an emotion built to address immediate and real danger, but has been tapped into as a tool of manipulation due to its extreme effectiveness.

Fear emerges from an idea of what may happen, not what is happening. It is a concept that carry’s no actual danger. It is an illusion infused into reality through our own reactions. Any action based on fear, is thus based on an illusion. 

The wonderful takeaway from all of this is that you can actually choose not to be afraid. More accurately, once you realize that fear isn’t real, you begin to create a world in which fear doesn’t exist. I can feel the change happening within myself now. I have also become much more aware of how often I create fear with my own thoughts, and they are losing their influence dramatically. I write this post as a call for the abandoment of fear. To dissolve the illusion of ever present immediate danger. To realize that if you truly want to change the world you must first exist in it.