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What If You Stopped Being Yourself? (Part 2)

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

ThistleIn my last blog post, I shared how when faced with a dilemma regarding my appearance and my Inner Critic, I chose an unconventional path. Instead of choosing Options 1 or 2, I chose Option 3. The obvious Option 3 would be to walk into a nearby store, purchase a new pair of pants, put them on, and continue with my day. Had I been going someplace else, it's possible I'd have chosen that option. It's reasonable.
 
For the purposes of my inner growth and development though, that option would have been no different than Option 1. Simply buying a new pair of pants would have been the spiritual equivalent of overmedicating myself with the lies about positive thinking. Buying my way out of the situation would have been a metaphorical band-aid.

Not to say that's the wrong choice. Not at all. It's just not one that would have challenged me to explore my inner terrain further. It wouldn't have given me the opportunity to deepen my personal transformation.

Another reasonable option would be to pause and sew up the whole (if I had a needle and thread with me). That's also a reasonable option. If I pressed for time, that option would have challenged me to explore my inner relationship with time. I don't carry around a needle and thread in my wallet though. There are other options which have varying degrees of impact on our spiritual development.
 
For me though, the choice was obvious. I reached towards the back of my pants, found the hole…

And made it much MUCH larger. ๐Ÿ™‚

It was an opportunity to answer a very simple question: If I make my situation more extreme, will my Inner Critic also get a little more vocal?

One of the best ways I know to deepen my spiritual transformation is to explore extreme situations (whenever it's safe to do so). Extreme situations pull us out of the familiar "Who I take myself to be" identity and give us an opportunity to become "somebody else." Not literally. Figuratively though, we get to explore the answer to my question "What if I stopped being myself?"

A few years ago, tearing my pants into a larger hole is something I'd have never done. My fears would have overwhelmed and incapacitated me. I'd probably have turned around and gone home. Not this day though. What I discovered was interesting. In addition to not caring about the hole at all, I had an unexpected experience: joy and delight.

Although my Inner Critic didn't have an opinion, my True Nature was clear:

Stepping outside my comfort zone…

Choosing to not be "myself" for a little while…
 
Brought me a sense of profound freedom.

4 Free Videos From Spiritual Masters ~ Compliments of Janet Attwood

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Free Spiritual Gifts

Janet Attwood: Daily Dose of Enlightenment

Earlier this year I connected in person with Janet Attwood, and quite frankly… I was SURPRISED by what I discovered.

Most people know her as an inspirational speaker, conscious entrepreneur, heartful humanitarian, and as the co-author of the New York Times Best-Selling "The Passion Test."

But that wasn't what I saw…

Janet's presence literally -elevated- my consciousness simply be being with her. A few minutes simply being with Janet one-on-one actually changed my life… not because of what she said or did, but because of WHO she was.

For weeks I tried to put my finger on it. Why Janet? Why me? Why now? Why…?

Then I figured it out, and it made perfect sense!

What many people don't know about Janet is that she has done a LOT of spiritual work. She has meditated for about as long as I've been alive (maybe longer?), including studying with incredibly enlightened yet virtually unknown masters from around the globe.

Janet has had her consciousness elevated by those masters in ways similar to how she helped elevate my consciousness. Then a few months after Janet and I connected, she introduced me to a new piece of her work that virtually nobody knows about. It's one of those hidden gems and she asked me if I'd share it with you to see what you thought.

After experiencing her "Daily Dose of Enlightenment" myself, I knew I wanted to share this with more people. I asked Janet if she had a way I could introduce you to her work for free, and so she had her team set up a special page where you can get four complimentary videos.

Click Here Now For Your Free Enlightenment Videos

What are these "Daily Dose" videos?

Over the years, Janet has actually recorded interviews with her most cherished masters… the people who have helped deepen her spirtual path. Now what she's done is taken those videos and broken them down into little 1 to 20 minute "doses" that she delivers to your email inbox every single day.

The link above will get you 4 complimentary videos in her series. And immediately after you sign up – in addition to your free videos – Janet is also going to invite you to join her full 1-year "Daily Dose of Enlightenment" program at a significant discount.

Normally the membership to her series is reasonably priced at about $10 per month ($120 per year), but right now because she's newly introducing this program Janet is making the entire year's worth of videos available at a 58% discount (only $50 for a year instead of the normal $120 price).

Right now I've been a member for a couple of months and I just LOVE receiving the video messages each day… messages that encourage and support me to inquire deeper into my own experience as a person.

When you get a chance, click the link below and grab your four complimentary "Daily Dose" videos so you can experience them for yourself:

Click Here Now For Your Complimentary Enlightenment Videos

If you're like me and want to have ongoing spiritual support from virtually unknown masters with incredible wisdom, then after you register for your free videos then definitely read Janet's letter inviting you to join the full year-long program at the incredibly discounted price… it's well worth it, and I'm glad I joined. ๐Ÿ™‚

Free Abundant Mystics Teleseminar Series With Me, Joe Vitale, Marci Shimoff, Sonia Choquette, Guy Finley and more!

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Free Spiritual Gifts

 The Abundant Mystics Teleseminar Series

This is just a heads up that I’m part of the “Abundant Mystic” teleseminar series and I’d like you to join me for free ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s a 21-day teleseminar series featuring amazing abundance experts like: Marci Shimoff, Joe Vitale, and Marie Diamond from the Secret, Marc Allen, Guy Finley, Sonia Choquette and many, many more. Twenty-one prosperity pros, including myself, to be exact!

Click here to join me on the Abundant Mystics Teleseminar Series – Free

Visit the link above, and then enter your name and email into the form at the top-right of the page and you’ll get access to the daily recordings starting tomorrow, Friday, January 15th. So go get registered right now while you’re thinking about it.

It’ll only take you about 20-seconds to sign up. ๐Ÿ™‚

And in case you didn’t already know it, the program launch date was specifically chosen because it’s an astrologically auspicious day to create new intentions and make big changes in your life — like shifting your relationship with prosperity into high gear!

Tomorrow, January 15th, there will be the first New Moon of the year AND the decade (great for new beginnings), there’s a Solar Eclipse (good financially) and Mercury goes direct (improving all forms of communication). The stars are definitely lining up to help you turn up the volume on your abundance.

So if you’ve ever wanted to change your beliefs or relationship to money and abundance, this is the perfect time to join me and 20 other phenomenal life-change abundance experts. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Click here to join me on the Abundant Mystics Teleseminar Series – Free

See you on the inside – And after you listen, remember to come back and comment here to let me know your thoughts!

The Ridiculously Long List of Things To Help You Sleep Better

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Random Stuff

 Chris sleeping like a babyA

When it comes to sleep, most people either don’t get enough of it, or they aren’t getting quality sleep. Either way, the results are that we aren’t able to inscribe our lives to the fullest.

Though lack of adequate sleep sometimes results in us being extremely exhausted (see picture above!), usually it manifests in more subtle ways. Without adequate sleep, we may find ourselves less effective at problem solving or doing our daily tasks, we may feel more irritable, or our bodies might not be performing at their best.

In my case, a few years back I went through an extreme period of sleep deprivation. For several consecutive months, I was waking up several times a night and staying awake for hours at a time. Even if I was tired, I wouldn’t be able to sleep when I laid down, and I would wake up earlier than I wanted to.

I was completely exhausted, and I was even tired of being tired!

It was that time in my life when I decided I’d learn more about sleep, and specifically what was keeping me awake at night. I wanted to feel fully rested when I woke up each morning, and I didn’t want to keep using "I’m tired" as an excuse for me to not do the things I enjoyed.

Over the couple of years that followed, I tried many different things to help me sleep. Some of them helped a little (like hypnotherapy and getting more sunlight during the day), and some of them helped a lot (like getting a larger bed, ear plugs, Deep Sleep 101, and repeatedly listening to Tranquil Sleep Now). Fortunately, when combined they all (including much of what I write below) helped me eventually get quality sleep.

And now that I’m sleeping well, I’m now exploring how I can use sleep-time for my own spiritual development. I figure if I’m going to be sleeping and not doing anything conscious anyway, I might as well make the best of that time.

For example, I’ve been exploring topics such as how I might be able to reprogram my subconscious while I sleep, how to use lucid dreaming for making changes in my waking life, having out of body experiences, and for how to have more meaningful dreams that help me discover more about myself.

I’m not saying I can do all those things… yet ๐Ÿ™‚

In fact, until recently I couldn’t do any of those things. I didn’t even remember my dreams. No, let me rephrase that – on most nights, I didn’t even remember having any dreams. So why am I sharing this with you? Well, it’s simple…

I am personally interested in using my sleep-time for spiritual development, but that’s only possible -if- I am already sleeping well! I figure since I took me a couple of years to figure out the tricks for me to sleep well, I am going to share with you what I’ve learned in case it’s helpful to you.

It’s important to note that due to individual differences, some of what works for me might not work for you (or might be the exact opposite). So my best advice is that if what you’re currently doing isn’t enabling you to sleep well, try some or all of the stuff below and see what happens, then take the best of what works, and discard the rest.

How can you sleep better each night?

Our sleep problems can first be divided into two categories: Inner and outer environments. Our inner environment is usually related to the mental/emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of our lives. The outer environment consists of physical things like lighting, sound, and comfort.

First, I’m going to talk about the outer environment because that’s usually the easiest and quickest to change. And in my case, it’s where the majority of my challenges were. Also, I hope you’ll forgive me that I’m not going to explain every single one of these items in detail.

My recommendation is if anything I say interests you, consider looking it up online and learning more about it yourself. I’m not a doctor, so these recommendations are based on my personal experience and are for your informational purposes only. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, consider trying a few of these that may resonate with you to see what works, and be sure to consult your health care professional. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tips to Improve Your Outer Sleeping Environment

  • Your room should be as dark as possible, and ideally pitch-black. You may even consider using an eye-mask if necessary.
  • If noise is an issue, consider either earplugs or some white noise. I personally like waves crashing, and for earplugs I prefer Mack’s Pillow Soft because they conform to my ear easily while I sleep.
  • If you sleep with anybody else, make sure your bed is large enough that while you sleep neither of you are aware of the other person. If your partner pulls sheets, then consider getting him/her a second set just for their half of the bed. Get a larger bed if necessary. For me, getting a larger bed was extremely helpful in sleeping better with a partner.
  • Also make sure your bed is the right softness. Some people sleep better on hard beds, some on soft. In my case, I have a memory foam mattress (a much needed gift from my parents a few years ago), and I sometimes use comforters or blankets underneath my sheet to get the desired comfort level. If you have a partner who likes a significantly different bed softness, consider either putting two full beds together of differenting softness, or getting something like a Sleep Number bed (very expensive though, so only try this as a last resort) so you can each have it the way you want.
  • Generally speaking, you should be slightly cool, but not cold. Your body temperature lowers during sleep time, and so by having the room slightly cooler when you sleep can be helpful. In my case, I’m actually the opposite of what is typically effective – my body temperature already is naturally a few degrees cooler than the average person, so I love to bundle up and be really warm when I go to sleep.
  • If possible, have fewer or no electronics in your bedroom. In fact, if you’re consistently sleeping well, you actually won’t even need an alarm clock anymore.
  • Sometimes air quality can be an issue. If you’re having difficulty breathing at night, consider either getting a humidifier or having your air tested for mold and other possible irritants.

Tips to Improve Your Inner Physical Environment

Caffeine
You probably already ‘know’ not to have caffeine before you go to bed. What you probably don’t know, is how long before you go to bed you should avoid caffeine.

  • Normal Healthy Adult: It takes almost 5 hours for -half- of the caffeine you drink to leave your body. Therefore, you should not have caffeine for about 7 to 8 hours before you go to sleep.
  • Women taking oral contraceptives: It takes 5 to 10 hours for -half- of the caffeine you drink to leave your body. Therefore, you should not have caffeine for about 7 to 15 hours before you go to sleep.
  • Pregnant women: It takes 9 to 11 hours for -half- of the caffeine you drink to leave your body. Therefore, you should not have caffeine for 14 to 16 hours before you go to sleep.
  • People with severe liver disease: It takes 96 hours for -half- of the caffeine you drink to leave your body. Therefore, you probably shouldn’t drink caffeine at all.

If you can’t get through the day without caffeine, then it’s probably a sign that you’re not sleeping well enough at night. Also note that if you’re a heavy caffeine drinker, sudden changes to your intake can cause headaches. Consider instead having one fewer soda / coffee per day, or making sure your last one is an hour or a few hours earlier than normal. This is one way that you can progressively phase out caffeine without adverse affects. Or if you don’t mind the headaches, you may be okay just quitting entirely (again consult a health professional before doing something this drastic).

Alcohol / Drugs / Sleeping Medications
Though alcohol and some drugs will put you to sleep more quickly, unfortunately it is not quality sleep. Over time, using supplemental sleep aids like these will cause you to be more exhausted since your body’s natural regeneration during sleep is hindered.

For example, in my previous job, I would travel to Japan and sometimes take sleeping pills to help me adjust. I soon realized I was MORE tired each day because the pills prevented me from getting quality sleep. Once I stopped taking those pills, and just trusted my body to sleep when tired (often earlier around 6 to 7pm), I found I was better rested throughout the day.

Nicotine

No smoking 

Unfortunately, this is a stimulant so smoking cigarettes before bed may make it difficult to sleep. Fortunately, nicotine leaves your body -much faster- than caffeine. In fact, after 60 minutes only half of the nicotine remains in your body… so a general safe rule of thumb is to not have any nicotine for at least 90 minutes before you go to sleep.

Exercise
Getting on average 30 minutes of exercise per day has been shown to significantly help people sleep better. What is not as widely known is that this doesn’t need to be 30 minutes of consecutive exercise.

For example, 5 minutes of taking the stairs (instead of an elevator) a few times per day can help a lot. Or do a few jumping jacks in the morning. Take a few walks around the block. There’s lots of options, just be conscious not to exercise too close to bedtime since this elevates your body temperature and can energize you.

Eating and Drinking
It’s generally best to not eat anything for about 2 to 3 hours before going to sleep, and particularly anything unusually spicy or with added sugar. This will give your body time to digest before sleeping. Try to avoid drinking liquids for a couple of hours before sleeping so you don’t wake up in the middle of the night just to go pee.

In my case, I often find myself thirsty right before I go to sleep. So rather than have a full (or even half) glass of anything, I just have a few sips of water… enough to quench my thirst, but not enough to fill my bladder.

I have heard (but not verified) that eating a generally healthier diet will also help you sleep better. The theory behind this is that the healthier you eat, the less damage your body has to try and fix at night while you’re sleeping. Personally, I eat a lot of healthy foods (and superfoods), so this hasn’t been an area I’ve needed to explore.

Electronics Use
It’s best to stop using computers or watching TV (anything that directly stimulates you with artificial light sources) for about an hour before going to sleep. This will help with seratonin production so you fall asleep faster and more naturally. If you have a TV or computer in your room, strongly consider putting it in another room permanently so that you’re not tempted to use it late at night.

Relaxation
If you’re like me though, one thing I do enjoy doing is listening to relaxing music before I go to sleep. This helps me wind down, and is an excellent transition away from any electronics I might be using (for example, the laptop I’m using right now to write this email to you).

Another way to help wind down is to either take a warm bath, meditate, get a light massage (generally not deep tissue, but something more like a Swedish massage or a nice shoulder rub), some light reading, or do some light stretching.

Tips to Improve Your Inner Emotional Environment

This is the most difficult area to work on, because it isn’t as simple as just changing a behavior or buying some earplugs. The good news is, that when you’re able to change your inner emotional environment to make sleep easier and more rejuvenative, it has significant rewards that ripple through your life in many ways.

Things to Avoid Before Bedtime
First of all, it’s relevant to note that one of the most important times for reprogramming your subconscious is about 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Therefore, it’s important to avoid any disturbing content (images, books, movies, and especially the news) before you go to sleep. Disturbing content not only makes it more difficult to go to sleep, but can also cause you to have more disturbing dreams as well.

Also try to avoid discussing potentially challenging domestic issues before going to sleep – things such as relationships, finance, and parenting, are often very emotionally charged and can cause you to have difficulty going to sleep. Ideally, discuss those earlier in the day if possible.

Things to Do Before Bedtime
Having consistent patterns before going to sleep can help you wind down. For example, you might turn off the TV and put on some relaxing music while doing some light reading. Then after about 30 minutes, go brush your teeth, do some light stretching, a brief meditation, and then lay down to sleep.

By having a consistent pattern before you go to sleep each night, your mind begins to associate that pattern with sleep. The end result is that it will become easier and easier to go to sleep each night, as your body and mind learn to recognize the pattern.

Additionally, if possible try to go to sleep around the same time each night. In fact, it can sometimes even be helpful to set an alarm reminding you when to go to sleep.

Creating Healthy Associations
It’s best to make sure that the bedroom is only used for sleeping and for sex. Our minds create associations about what we do in each room, so if you were to also work in the same room that you sleep, then your subconscious may be confused as to whether you should sleep or work in the bedroom.

So things like bringing your laptop to bed, or roughhousing with the kids on the bed, can both be potential sources of sleep difficulties when it comes to the dark hours of the night. You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t use your sleeping space for charged discussions like relationship difficulties.

Overcoming Limiting Beliefs
One of the biggest challenges in our lives is overcoming limiting beliefs we may have about something, and in this case, about sleeping. Usually, these beliefs are subconscious and we’re not even aware of it.

Here’s a really short example of what I mean: A person may subconsciously fear going to sleep because she is scared of having nightmares. Therefore, by having sleep problems, she avoids sleep, and subsequently avoids the potential nightmares.

Usually, overcoming limiting beliefs about sleep requires the help of a trained professional. People experienced with EFT, NLP, guided hypnosis or hypnotherapy (not hypnotism – there’s a significant difference) can often help you get to the root of the problem more quickly.

Additionally, I have used computer programs (including Subliminal Power, audio technologies and CD products (such as Sleep Salon – which I have not tried, but have heard good things about) to help me reprogram my subconscious. However, before using any audio technologies or any method to help reprogram your subconscious, always do your research and make sure you know exactly what you’re putting into your brain before you do it.

Just A Few Things To Wrap Up

When you try but just aren’t able to sleep, or when you wake up and can’t get back to sleep, best thing to do is get up and do a low-intensity (non-electronic) activity. Light reading, a meditation, stretch, etc. The reason for this is that when you lay in bed agonizing over not being able to sleep, you do not only continue to frustrate yourself even more, but you also begin creating a negative association that the bed is not where you sleep.

Therefore, it’s best to just get up, do some other stuff, and when you’re really tired then return to the bed and try to sleep again. This way the bed is only associated with sleep, and not with the frustration you experience from being unable to sleep.

I want to reiterate that the above topics are areas that I’ve personally explored and experienced in relation to my own sleep problems, and they may not be helpful for your particular situation. Although long, this is not an exhaustive list, and though many of these strategies do have scientific research supporting them, do not take my word for it. Instead, if you’re having difficulty sleeping, then do additional research on any of the topics I’ve shared before trying them out yourself, and again you should consult with your health care professional. See what works for you because it may very well be different than what works for me.

Taking A Shower

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

 The spirituality of taking a shower

While you might think the above title is some grand metaphor (if you’ve read my blog much, you know I love metaphors), but that would be incorrect. This brief post really is about showering!

Why would I write about showering?

Most of the time when we step into the shower, we’re thinking about a multitude of things. Maybe it’s what we’re going to make for breakfast or what tasks we need to complete during the upcoming day, maybe we’re thinking about family and friends or relationship problems, but whatever it is, we’re usually optimizing our shower time by thinking about ways in which we can resolve issues or be more productive when we’re not in the shower.

How often do you actually enjoy your shower? How often are you present when showering? I’ve found a very simple exercise which has brought a surprisingly notable amount of enjoyment to my showers now.

And no, I’m not going to say to try and meditate or not think about all those things you have on your mind. Every time I shower, I will be the first to admit, I’m thinking about some way in which I will be productive later in the day. However, there is a pivotal moment when my shower time goes from being the mundane and normal, to something deeply enjoyable.

After I’ve completed all the typical cleaning tasks associated with my shower, I turn the heat up an extra notch and move closer into the water. For about ten seconds, I let the water pound against my neck and run down over my shoulders. I feel the difference in warmth, I notice the tiny drops massaging my body, and I just relax and focus my attention on what I’m feeling.

Sometimes if I’m in a hurry to be productive, I do a countdown from 10 and then get out of the shower when I reach 0. Other times I may immerse myself in this moment for a few minutes, continuing to center my attention onto what I’m feeling and allowing thoughts to fade away into the background.

What I’ve found is that not only are my showers more enjoyable, but surprisingly, the rest of my day is as well! Give it a try and let me know how it goes… ๐Ÿ™‚

Spiritual Cinema Circle: Volume 1, 2010 – Free Trial

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Movies

This blog post is sponsored by Spiritual Cinema Circle

Imagine the following: You are a single, thirty-something professional…and you discover you have a very serious, life-threatening case of leukemia even though you are symptom-free. The next day you meet the love of your life at a nightclub and begin a relationship, knowing you haven’t long to live. At what point, do you think, are you obligated to share what’s going on with your health?

We posed this question to a few of our favorite spiritual luminaries:

"I don’t have any judgment on someone doing otherwise, but I would personally feel an ethical responsibility to disclose that information sooner rather than later."
Marianne Williamson

"Immediately. A good relationship and a real, loving relationship is based in truth and integrity."
Deepak Chopra

Spiritual Cinema Circle - Volume 1, 2010

This scenario describes the plot of Counting Backwards, Spiritual Cinema Circle’s feature film for Volume 1. In this film, career-driven Joe is diagnosed with terminal leukemia on the eve of his big promotion. He reevaluates everything. Now that his days are numbered, the questions that used to be so easy to avoid are impossible to ignore. Joe commits to living the life he always wanted and begins a quirky relationship with Claire, the fun-loving girl of his dreams. This romance sets the stage for an imaginative, inspiring take on what life could be about if Joe were willing to fight for it.

For a preview, watch the video below

Thanks to Spiritual Cinema Circle, you can receive Counting Backwards plus a very special in-depth interview with WAYNE DYER along with 3 great short films for free* (you just pay small shipping fee). Start your free trial today!

Enjoy the movies!

Start My Free Trial

*$4.95/$7.95 S&H applies to the free trial.
Membership is just $21 + S&H per month.

The Real Reason Why People Upset Us

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

On Friend Chris on Facebook Facebook I often post quotes from various people about topics I’m interested in, or that I think other people would benefit from. Today on Facebook, somebody sent me the following private message:

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding about ourselves.” – Carl Jung


Chris – I don’t understand, can you help please?

After typing almost a complete response, I realized it was long enough to be a blog post… and so I decided to do exactly that – turn my answer into a blog post. I hope you enjoy… ๐Ÿ™‚


  Remember to question yourself

Dear [Name Removed],

I hope I can help… but this is a deep understanding that really takes personal exploration to understand. The simple version is: As long as somebody else’s words or actions can upset us, then that means our own enjoyment of life is dependent upon other people. Our happiness is never our own, but rather, ‘belongs’ to the people who upset us.

In order to move past this difficulty, we must choose to become self-aware… even at the most difficult times. Therefore, every time we are upset by somebody else, it would help us to ask ourselves, “Why does this upset me?” And then when we have an answer, again ask “Why does that upset me?”

The intention is to discover the root cause of why that person’s behavior upsets us.

For example, if a partner leaves their cups around all the time, we might be upset. But why? Well we say “It’s disrespectful.” Is it really? Why do we believe it’s disrespectful? We might discover that it is what one of our parents did as a child. And then we may remember all the fights our parents had over the exact same issue.

By understanding that, we then see that the real reason we are upset by our current partner leaving the cups out has nothing to do with disrespect, but instead, it is a reminder of all the past arguments from our parents.

That’s a *very* brief and limited example… and I hope that you will discover your own answers through this exploration.

Just remember from now on – every time something upsets you – just pause and ask yourself why… because you’re usually not upset because of what’s happening in the present, but because of something that happened in the past.

Another example: Your partner comes home late. You’re upset and say they’re disrespectful. But when you feel your body, you notice you feel –scared– so you ask yourself why. What you discover is that somewhere inside you, there is a fear of being abandoned… and when they come home late, it makes you worry they might be leaving you. And maybe you discover that’s because as a child you never knew when one of your parents would come home, or perhaps your parents divorced, or perhaps one parent left for a regular routine trip and never came home (died, ran away, etc).

And so you discover that your partner coming home late upsets you not because it’s disrespectful, but because you have a fear of being abandoned.

This logic is true of ALL things which upset us.

It happens to varying degrees… some smaller than others. Sometimes it’s so minor we won’t even notice it, such as us being frustrated that a little child has stepped on our toes again. Or maybe it is a huge issue, one which has come up in a relationship (personal, or professional) many many times and is never resolved.

Whatever it is, if you want to experience more peace in your life, just be like a child again… remember to ask “Why?”

Trap and Release – The Relationship Between Feral Cats and Your Mind

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

In a previous entry I wrote about some changes in myself with regards to being compassionate towards others. Specifically, I used the example of how I used to kill spiders, but now I feel compassion for them and instead trap them and then release them outside.

Not long after that, I had a similar experience with an ant that had found its way inside. Considering I had recurring nightmares as a child about being overrun with ants, I had a knack for smashing ants even more quickly than I did spiders. However, today I trapped the ant, observed it for a moment, then released it outside. The ant then went on its merry way, away from our apartment and back towards the wild.

In that moment, I was reminded of the true power of “Trap and Release.” The link prior is about the problems associated with trapping and killing wild cats, and instead trapping, neutering them, then releasing back into the wild. Here is an excerpt which I think is relevant that I’d like to explore further:

An estimated sixty million feral cats live in the United States today. Local animal control often try to eliminate them by trapping and killing. This does not work. Instead of reducing their numbers, killing makes room for new cats to move in and the breeding process begins all over again. So does the suffering.

Half of all kittens born into these colonies die soon after birth. Their mothers spend most of their lives pregnant and hungry. Unneutered tom cats roam across busy roads seeking mates, getting in fights: untreated wounds can eventually kill them.

The above quote serves as a wonderful metaphor for discussion about compassion; however, I’m ironically not talking about compassion in relation to others nor animals, but rather, towards ourselves.

 Judging yourself

How often do we beat ourselves up over things? Many of us carry regrets such as “I should have done this” or “I shouldn’t have said that.” These thoughts are no different than the wild cats.

Some people might say not to worry about these wild thoughts… “Don’t carry guilt or regret… because guilt and regret are living in the past, and I should be living in the present.” That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t acknowledge the basic fact that we’re feeling guilt or regret right now. And that is the present moment.

The real questions are – how do we learn to release some of the guilts and regrets we have? How do we learn to accept ourselves, even when we feel so completely unacceptable? In the context of the metaphor… how do we learn to neuter those negative thoughts?

What I propose is, rather than looking at it from the perspective of accepting ourselves, or of not feeling certain emotions because we’re not “supposed to,” instead apply the “Trap and Release” to our thoughts. How, you might ask? Try this…

The next time you have a thought that isn’t pleasant, observe it. That’s it, just observe it. After a moment, let it go.

For example, let’s say that somebody says something that hurts your feelings, but inside you know they didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. You end up telling yourself, “I shouldn’t feel hurt. I know they didn’t mean it.” The challenge we have with this way of thinking is that we end up judging ourselves for how we feel instead of understanding it. This judgment ends up causing us to feel even worse about ourselves… after all, what’s worse then feeling bad? Feeling bad *about* feeling bad!

We end up trying to “kill” the thought by fighting against it… but as mentioned in that previous entry, fighting against something only serves to bring on another fight. Every time we say “I should” or “I shouldn’t” we are fighting against ourselves and only serving to reinforce and build up our weapons against ourselves.

Internally, this has the same effect as a country fearing war so they start a draft and spend more on defense. Then another country sees this, they become fearful, and they start building up their defenses. Eventually, there’s so much fear and so many weapons that people not only forget the original reason why they were fighting in the first place, but if somebody even sneezes wrong it could cause World War 3.

So now back to an example with ourselves…

In that moment, rather than say you “should” or “shouldn’t” feel whatever it is you’re feeling or thinking, instead just accept the fact that you feel hurt without trying to change it. Pause for a moment and just allow without judgment.

If you feel you can’t avoid judging yourself, then offer to give yourself a temporary “cease fire.” Say to yourself, “While I am observing this thought/emotion, I will not judge myself. However, in another five minutes I’ll let any judgments I feel come into my awareness.” The point behind this is to allow yourself to be accepting of that thought or emotion you are observing, at least for that moment.

What is the point of all of this? Why “Trap and Release”? Another excerpt from the article…

Our goal is to catch the adult cats, spay or neuter them and release them back to their “neighborhood.”

If you continue to observe each of your judgmental thoughts (we all have them, even if it’s something as simple as, “I don’t like the way I feel right now” or “I wish that person would talk less.”), you will begin to see the thoughts as they are. You will begin to understand that the judgments you carry now, the negative thoughts you have today, are many times not because of what’s happening in the present moment, but because what’s happening in the present moment is poking at something painful or upsetting from your past.

If you want an extra challenge…

After pausing, ask yourself why you feel the way you do or had the thought you did. From our example, you might ask yourself, “Why does this hurt even though she didn’t mean to hurt my feelings?” Be honest with yourself in that answer, and again remember not to judge your answer but just to accept and observe it. Logically, you know you are not hurt because of what this person said (since they didn’t mean to hurt you), but that you’re actually hurt because this situation reminds you of something in your past that hurt. Maybe you are consciously aware of this thing in the past which hurts, but more than likely, you’re not conscious of it (otherwise it probably wouldn’t hurt when an unrelated event in the future causes this pain to be brought back up).

Eventually, the “wild cats” (i.e. negative thoughts) come in, become “neutered,” and then go back to their “neighborhood.”

Any way you look at it, though, by trapping, observing, and releasing your thoughts, you are allowing and accepting the natural flow of energy instead of impeding it. By stopping the “fight” within yourself, over time you will notice a progressively increasing sense of peace as you become more understanding of yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings.

This happens because as you allow yourself to be as you are, warts and all, your need to defend yourself… against yourself… becomes less and less prevalent. You will feel less and less need to build up your arsenal of weapons preparing for war, and instead allow the weapons to be dismantled and set aside. They’re still there, but they’re benign and ineffective. Eventually so much so, that you’re able to walk across the boundaries of the war zone, shake hands with those you once feared… with yourself you once feared… and relax in peace.

A Matter of Perspective: What it Means to Be Poor

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Random Stuff

 What it means to be poor

One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”

“It was great, Dad.”

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yeah,” said the son.

“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?”, asked the father

The son answered:

“I saw that we have one dog and they had four.

We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.

We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.

Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.

We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.

We buy our food, but they grow theirs.

We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.l”

The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added…

“Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.”

Special thanks to my Mom for sending this to me, for with her love I have been continually reminded how abundant I truly am.

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