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There Is Never Too Much Love

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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: How can I detach from the love I feel for this person who has no interest in my loving him or in how I feel? I feel this beautiful feeling and, yet, so contracted that I have a heavy knot in my chest and abdominal area all the time along with a sense of extreme sadness. How can I liberate this love from this binding attachment? I feel like a compass that always points to the North Pole: my awareness always holds the thoughts of this one person and the feelings for him. Is there any way out?

A: Rather than detaching, I would invite you to attach more firmly to the source of your attachment. All attachments we have are only attached at one end: in our own heart. We never successfully attach to something or someone else. And so all of the intense and beautiful feelings you are having are coming from inside of you, not from the other person.

In a sense, the only problem with your compass is that you have been following the wrong arrow or pointer. The desire you feel points to the other person, but what about the other pointer on the other end of the compass needle? Where is that other arrow pointing? What if you follow your desire back to its source instead of out to its object? Then you don’t need to detach or liberate or change anything about how you feel. All of the love and connection and intimacy you are seeking in someone else are already in the source of the intense desires you are feeling. You don’t need to love him less; in fact, you can love him one hundred or one thousand times as much as you already do. Let yourself be overwhelmed by this love. Find out how much you can truly love by letting it flow completely.

In this process, you will be filled with immense love, and that is what your desire is really all about. We all have a deep innate drive to experience more love. The mistake we make is that we seek it outside ourselves. The source is and always has been inside of you. You don’t really need a way out of loving him, just a way further into your own heart and the limitless love you find there.

Be gentle with yourself. Often the reason we don’t allow ourselves to feel the complete depths of love is because, at first, moving towards the source of our love increases the sense of heartbreak and sadness. The relief from these overwhelming and painful feelings comes when we go even further into their source, but that can feel like leaping into the fire. The good news is that at the center of the fire, there are only flames and no more pain or heartbreak. So give yourself some compassion and tenderness along the way. But the final result is always worth it. There is never too much love, and so the only true antidote to your sadness is to love even more.

Red Sea Coral and Sun

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You Might as Well Enjoy Enjoying Yourself!

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SMALLeverything included

(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: I see everything as an illusion. We create our own reality. Everybody's movie is different from everyone else's. How can I stay motivated if everything is an illusion, and how can I change my reality in order to have other experiences in this play?

A: My favorite definition of illusion is that it is something real that appears to be something other than what it really is. The smoke and mirrors that a magician uses to create an illusion are real smoke and real mirrors.

So this illusion that appears as "you" and "your life" is not what it appears to be, but it is still real. Yes, it is a magic trick being done by the Being that you are, and yet the illusion is also made of that same Being. So the illusion is as real as the Being creating it. However, because Being is the doer of the trick, the place you find true motivation is in the Being behind the illusion.

This true motivation of Being is that it loves each and every one of its creations. That is its motivation. It creates because it loves to create, and it loves the creations/illusions it creates. If you can find that place in you that already loves your life and everything in it, that will also be the place where you find the motivation to keep going and the power to change what is happening.

However, that motivation might be very different than what you imagine it to be, because Being already loves everything just the way it is. So any change it creates will not come from a place of desire or unhappiness. It is creating and always will create from a place of total acceptance and curiosity. It doesn’t change things to make them better; it changes them only to try something different and to have something new to experience and love. It loves and loves and loves, so every new experience or creation is a new opportunity to love.

What would you create purely out of the joy of creating? Even more importantly, what are you creating right now? What is happening right now? Whatever is happening is what you are creating right now, and that is what your Being is enjoying immensely. I often say Being is a total slut for experience—it will sleep with or embrace each and every experience that comes along. Find that indiscriminate love within yourself, and then find out how a conscious experience of that love likes to create. Being conscious of the creative joy of Being adds more depth and richness to the joy, but it is the same joy you have always had in the creation of this illusion called life. You might as well enjoy enjoying yourself!

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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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