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Apples to Oranges: Comparing Yourself to Others

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(Note: I am reposting some blog posts that are included in my newest book, Everything Is Included. More info and links to purchase the book are here.)

Q: My mind loves to constantly compare myself to others, often in a negative way. I find that this mindset stalls my creativity and makes me feel downright sad. I also feel that if this keeps up, it will hurt my career, my life trajectory, and most importantly, my happiness. I have tried meditation, prayer, and seeking stillness in nature, but nothing makes this tendency go away. I know this is but one thought of millions and that all thoughts come and go. I know that I am worthy and that I am unique and like no other. Yet knowing all of this doesn't prevent the autopilot comparison mind from wreaking havoc inside me with all the negative emotions that come from this stuck pattern.

A: Our minds are designed to work in habitual patterns. This is a good thing much of the time, since that allows many of our actions to be unconscious. For example, we can drive a car without having to think about it. But when a habit is not actually serving us, then it is time for a new habit. I like how you refer to the autopilot nature of the mind. The mind is mostly a creature of habit, and once a habit gets going, it can have a lot of momentum. Most mental habits form because they were useful or seemed useful at the time. The problem is when a mental habit is no longer useful or not useful, like your habit of comparing yourself negatively to others.

The best way to deal with a habit that doesn’t serve is to create a new habit to take its place. Trying to get rid of an old habit without replacing it with something else is like trying to not think of a pink elephant. The thought or habit is still the focus, and so it gets reinforced even by trying to get rid of it. Instead, I would suggest you focus on what you want to do instead with your mind and attention. Create some new habit and put your attention on it. A powerful question to consider is: "What do I want to do instead of comparing myself to others?"

There are three different levels from which this question can be answered. The first level is the level of the content of your thoughts. You can practice thinking about something else. You could even create some new comparing type thoughts, since that is what the mind does best. Just like you give a dog a bone so it won’t chew on your shoes and furniture, you can give the mind a thought to chew on.

Often, a much more useful comparison is to compare yourself to yourself in the past. If you are considering your performance at your job, what happens when you compare how you are doing now with how well you did the first week at that job? Or how about when you compare your abilities now to your abilities when you first got out of high school? Or what about comparing your abilities now to when you were a child? These are more useful comparisons, since they illuminate the progress you have made. This is comparing apples to apples, while comparing yourself to others is more like comparing apples to oranges.

Another fun way to substitute a comparison is to make up ridiculous comparisons. What happens when you compare yourself to a cartoon character? Or to a mouse? Or to an inanimate object? By exaggerating how little use there is in comparing yourself to something else, it might become clearer that comparing yourself to other people is also pretty useless. (continue reading)

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What a Blessing It Is to Love What Is

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(Note: I am reposting some blog posts that are included in my newest book, Everything Is Included. More info and links to purchase the book are here.)New spiritual nondual ebook by Nirmala

Q: You talk about loving what is here, now. However, I have found I have become addicted to doing things I like and totally avoidant to doing things I don’t like. I tried letting go of desire, but that hasn’t worked because I still want the thing I am after. I am finding it really hard to love what is when I don’t like it. I'm getting stuck and spinning in my head! I have not been able to let go of wanting a relationship, so the pain worsens. I am confused and wondering if you could shed some light.

A: Your confusion is natural and not uncommon. And yet, it is possible to love something you don’t like. Certain things can make that easier to do:

First, remember that loving something you don’t like doesn’t in any way take away your ability to choose something different. If you don’t like your job, you can look for another one. If you want a satisfying relationship, you can take actions to find someone and also to learn how to be healthier and happier in your relationships. Loving what is doesn’t mean you become a doormat to unpleasant people or experiences or that you cannot move towards what you want in life. Loving what is just means that you don’t need to suffer or experience a lack of love when you aren’t getting what you want. It is part of life that sometimes we get what we want and sometimes we don't. So why not be filled with love even when you aren’t getting what you want?

Second, it can help to simplify your definition of love to its most fundamental components. We may equate love with a feeling of attraction, affection, or appreciation, and yet the core of love is simply awareness and space. The simplest way to love something or someone is to give them lots of attention, curiosity, and awareness. Just touch them with your awareness and give them lots of space and acceptance. Giving space is simply a matter of recognizing that they are the way they are right now and letting them be that way. You don’t have to like or feel good about the way they are, just be present to things as they are and let them be.

This is the essence of love, and it is the most satisfying way to be with the things you like and the things you don't like. You can give love in this way simply because it feels good to give spacious attention and acceptance to things, not because you want or need anything from them. You may still want something to be different or not like something, but in the meantime, why not allow yourself to be filled with a sense of fullness and love? Why wait for things to change to start giving this open attention to your experiences? It doesn’t cost you anything, and you will never run out of awareness, so why not experiment with just giving love away freely? You may find you enjoy being curious and accepting for its own sake, even when you aren’t getting what you want.

Last, but not least, the most helpful key to loving what is, is to include yourself in the equation, and especially to include your dislikes and dissatisfactions in this spacious awareness. If you don’t like something, the easiest way to love what is, is to give attention and acceptance to the feeling of not liking it. That is part of what is, so why leave that out? If you don’t like the feeling of not liking something, then start with giving space to not liking the feeling of not liking something! (continue reading)

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Announcing a New Book by Gina Lake: In the World, but Not of It

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In the World but Not of It: New Teachings from Jesus on Embodying the Divine. Just released!
 
New book by Gina LakePurchase In the World but Not of It on Amazon: Paperback  Kindle
Purchase on other stores: iBooks   Smashwords   Kobo   Google Play   Nook

From the Introduction, by Jesus: “What I have come to teach now is that you can embody love, as I did. You can become Christ within this human life and learn to embody all that is good within you. I came to show you the beauty of your own soul and what is possible as a human. I came to show you that it is possible to be both human and divine, to be love incarnate. You are equally both. You walk with one foot in the world of form and another in the Formless. This mysterious duality within your being is what this book is about.”

"The consciousness that is within me is also within you. You are the son as equally as I am. You are the ‘I am’ I spoke about. You and I are one. You and everyone else are one. Many are ready for the Christ within to come forward and manifest in the world more fully. The birthing of this Christ—of Christ Consciousness—is the true second coming. ‘Christ Consciousness,’ as I am using it, points to the divinity within everyone and the potential for that divinity to become a living reality, to become what lives you. I was an example of that possibility in my lifetime two thousand years ago.”

This book was given to Gina Lake by Jesus. It is part of a series of books, including A Heroic Life and The Jesus Trilogy. (Published 2016, 180 pages) An audiobook will be available this summer.

You will learn:
•    How to embody the divine self in the world
•    How to tell when you are identified with the ego
•    How to spot the ego in your thoughts and conversations
•    What kind of thoughts are in the thought-stream
•    How to disidentify from the ego
•    How to be in your body and senses
•    How to move into Presence and stay there
•    How to be present while speaking and acting in the world
•    Spiritual practices that support Presence
•    What embodiment, enlightenment, self-realization, and awakening are
•    Pitfalls on the spiritual path
•    How to be with emotions
•    How to be with and heal energetic blocks in the body
•    How to overcome bad habits and addictions

Some Quotes from In the World but Not of It

“Many imagine that being in the world but not of it means transcending the world and the ego and no longer being touched by the difficulties of the human condition. But that is not what this means. Rather, being in the world but not of it means that you fully embrace the world of form and embrace being human while knowing you are beyond all forms. To do this, you have to first love the world, including your humanness. You have to do the opposite of what the ego does, which is reject the world.”

“The ego rejects the world because it misperceives the world. When you stop seeing the world through the ego’s eyes, you will love the world and know it as the magnificent creation and gift that it is. Then the perfection of your divine self can shine through your human self. You will be in the world but not of the world.” (continue reading)

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Download Nothing Personal Today!
nothing personalBefore you leave, be sure to get your free ebook copy of
Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond the Illusion of a Separate Self by Nirmala.

Nothing Personal leads you to the experience of your true nature and helps you explore its depth. Through exposition, questions and dialogues, it brings you to a place of realization of the Truth: you are the spacious Awareness in which everything appears.

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