Open Your Heart

burning heart on hands.It is never an open heart that hurts. It is always a closed one.

It is when we meet someone whose heart is closed us to us and we in turn close ours, that it hurts.

It is when we close our hearts to the world because love is taken away from us, that suffering begins.

Keeping our heart open is never painful. Closing it always is.

With practice we can learn to keep our heart open even when we experience loss or meet someone whose heart is closed to us.

It is when we choose love instead of fear that our situation will transform, our suffering will end and miracles will occur naturally as expressions of love.

A miracle is merely the translation of denial into truth. 

Because only love is real.

(This post is largely inspired by the works of Marianne Williamson. Direct quotes from A Course in Miracles in italics).

Insidious Ego In My Head

The world as we know it is mostly driven by egos. On all levels. From conflicts between nations and religious warfare via corporate competition and political campaigns down to workplace politics, family dynamics and intimate relations. Although to various degrees, all of us have this innate urge to be heard, respected and appraised by others. And when this doesn’t happen (and I dare say this seems to happen more often than not) we react in a multitude of ways ranging from mildly indignant to downright cruel. Because it is only normal to react when our egos are hurt, right? Maybe. But it is not the only way, and certainly not the best way. Thankfully.

As I see it, the non-physical part of what I like to call me, is comprised of three components: my soul, my mind and my ego.

Zen stonesFirst and foremost is my soul which is the subtle essence of who I really am. The soul is indestructible, eternal and divine and the only part of my whole being which is capable of love as well as the source of my intuition.

Secondly, is my chattering and at times ungovernable mind. A cognitive tool I have been given to navigate this life experience, and until not long ago my mind was more or less in charge of the whole shebang I call life. I am slowly but surely learning to put my mind in the place where it belongs, namely as my faithful and obedient servant.

Then there is this third part. Easily insulted and humiliated, never completely satisfied and on an eternal mission to detect and mercilessly judge flaws in myself and others. It is everything my soul is not. It is my ego.

My earliest memory of having consciously thought of the phenomenon of the ego was several years back. Someone I dated repeatedly exclaimed “Well, I do have an ego!!” in order to justify his less amicable actions. Having never thought of this before I sort of initially assumed that honoring one’s ego was a normal and just thing to do. -I deserve to put me first! Needless to say, our little union quickly became history.

In Alcoholics Anonymous on the other hand, you learn that an important aspect the 12-step program of recovery is ego deflation. The ego is the origin of Stinkin’ thinkin’ and something that should never be honored. This resonated more with me than the previous notion.

With time I sort of developed an attitude of trying to recognize when my reactions were ego based and if they were, then try not to honor those influences. This is of course something that is easier said than done when gallons of adrenalin are flushing pure, undiluted insanity through your system and a clear, loving thought is nowhere to be seen. I had however not yet discovered the true nature of the ego: Pure malice.

DevilFace

The ego is “suspicious at best and vicious at worst.” And we should not underestimate its vengeance.Marianne Williamson

It was however not until I heard Marianne Williamson’s words on the ego in a recording from a workshop she held on A Course in Miracles that the penny really dropped. Never again could I be fooled into consciously believing that the ego should be honored some times and ignored other times. It will never have my best interest at heart. Not in a million years.

The Ego is an impostor that will make me self-sabotage everything good coming my way. It will set me up for failure and then mock me afterwards for having been so stupid to take the bait:

– Go on!! You know you want to! You deserve it!! You will enjoy it. Everyone else is doing it!! Come on now!

Then disaster strikes as if often does when I do something I shouldn’t have. And guess who stands shamelessly at the other end ready to assess my performance?

– How could you have been so stupid?? You should have known it would end like this!! It did the last time! You messed up again!! You’re hopeless!

This is only one of the numerous methods the ego has for making life miserable. Another effective trick is to convince me that I want, deserve and am worthy of something like a certain job or a romantic relationship, only to start finding flaws with my new job or special someone once it arrives. Never satisfied and always rejecting the now as anything but ideal and perfect. -There has to be something better out there!?! This can’t be it?!? Not to forget the oh-so-effective: This is too good to be true (-must find flaws)!

Marianne Williamson explained how she did not use to believe the Devil was real. She would convince herself: -The Devil only exists in my head, only to realize that in her head was the worst possible place in the universe it could be. Alas, meet your ego: The true Devil in your head!

Man on top of mountainSo how do we get rid of this dark force within us? We can’t eradicate the ego any more than we can eradicate darkness. But just like darkness cannot exist when light is shone on it, the power of the ego vanishes in the face of love. We need to recognize it for what it is, namely a force that is not acting in our best interest, and then choose not to act on the impulses it sends us. Choosing one’s reactions and emotions sounds like sorcery to many, but this is completely doable with practice. Meditation is an excellent way to build the mental stamina needed to face your ego without fear or compromise. Your ego can only ever hurt you or boss you around if you let it. 

Try to become aware of this the next time you feel the adrenalin pumping through your veins and you’re about to do something that may give you instant satisfaction but are likely to regret later. Like sending that angry email or buying that gorgeous thing you really cannot afford. Try to stop and ask yourself: Is this my ego trying to take over the show? And then try to choose a reaction that is in your best interest long-term. This is what true freedom is. Freedom from the ego’s cunning ways to make us screw things up.

In The Matrix the ubiquitous Agent Smith compares us humans to a virus on this planet. In our current state he might be on to something but I don’t think the human race is altogether incapable of harmony and sustainable abundance. That is if we collectively can learn to embrace our loving souls instead of our vicious egos. As a species we have the ability to create magnificent wonders as well as unfathomable destruction. Both forces are intrinsically embedded within every single one of us, in the form of the soul and the ego. Which voice we choose to make our master however, is entirely up to us.

Soulfully Yours,

Kristian

Universal Attraction

WomanGreetingTheSun

What if you could be, do and have everything you ever wanted? Live in an enormous mansion with your own personal butler and a gorgeously stunning dream partner who matches and contrasts you in every perfect way possible. Of course with an endless supply of money and harmonious relationships with everyone in your life, including your family, colleagues and even government.

Sounds pretty swell, doesn’t it? But as we all know, nobody has perfect lives like that!  Or do they? I’m sure we can all agree on one thing: Some people have happier lives than most. Many have pretty shitty lives. And the rest of us fall somewhere in between, also known as mediocrity. But let’s not talk about mediocre things. That’s boring. Let’s look at those people who have it all. Why are some more fortunate than the rest? Luck? Fate? Hard work? Karma? Intellect?

Key of successI believe that their secret exclusively lies in consciously, or more likely unconsciously, wielding the Law of Attraction to their benefit.

The Law of Attraction has been known in more alternative circles for a very long time. It only really hit mainstream awareness in 2006 through the heavily marketed film and book named The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

So what is the Law of Attraction? The Law of Attraction says that like attracts like, or that that which is like unto itself, is drawn. In practical terms this means that the thoughts you think draw the essence of them into your physical experience. In other words: If you think negative thoughts the universe with all its power will send matching negative experiences into your life. And vice versa: If you think thoughts of abundance and happiness, then the whole universe will conspire to bring just this into your life.

To most people this sounds a little too good to be true. Come on!! If it were that simple, everyone would be millionaires! Well, let me ask you: How problem oriented are your thoughts on average? How often do you focus on limitations instead of possibilities? Start observing your thoughts during a day. How many of them are truly magical? And how many of them are focused on dealing with everyday boring stuff? I am guessing it is a little bit of everything. Which probably also describes most people’s lives: A little bit of misery, a little bit of ecstasy and lots and lots of plain mediocrity called everyday life. Am I right? Unfortunately, this law is only attracting and not repulsing. It doesn’t matter if you want something or not. Whatever you give your attention to is what you’re getting (or rather perpetuating) whether it be a terrible love life or a duller than dull job. Moaning about nothing ever changing or getting better? Well, tadaaaa: Nothing ever changing or getting better is what you are attracting more of.

I have been fascinated by the concept of the Law of Attraction since I “coincidentally” stumbled across The Secret in a bookstore in Trondheim several years back. The idea sounded fantastic but somehow I wasn’t able to put this magic into practice. This did not change until December last year when I in a similar fashion “coincidentally” stumbled across a book by Esther and Jerry Hicks about Abraham. Finally I discovered tools to start taming this incredible force that sounds all too good to be true for an educated and rational mind.

Figure emerges from lightNine months have passed since I discovered Abraham in that bookstore. After nine months of learning to apply the principles of the Law of Attraction into my life, I have absolutely no doubt that I through my thoughts am the sole creator of this life experience. I use quotation marks around coincidentally in the paragraph above because I honestly do not believe in coincidences anymore. I attracted those books into my experience, because absolutely nothing can enter my life without me consciously or unconsciously inviting it in through the thoughts I think. If I think high vibrational, happy thoughts I am creating good things for myself. If I on the other hand am thinking pessimistic, negative thoughts that is what I am getting. I therefore take the full and complete responsibility for everything in my life. Both the good and the bad. And this feels great!

But does this mean that everyone who are going through hard times, experiencing hellish situations and generally are suffering are responsible for this themselves? Yes, indeed! Absolutely 100%!

No one is however suggesting that anyone has created their misery purposely. It is a matter of not being aware of the incredible power of thought, simply because this has never been taught to us. So although this might be a little bit (or actually a lot) in your face this really should be excellent news to everyone. If you are responsible for your own misery, this also means that you, and you alone can turn this around. A 180 degrees pivot to something you actually want.

For the smart people out there I am sure some of you are wondering: What about children being molested? What about people being born in war torn areas and in immense poverty? This is all explained consistently if you are interested to look into it further. I have personally not found anything here that has not made perfect sense to me. And I don’t see myself as neither delusional nor particularly easy to fool.

Deliberately selecting your thoughts can be a real challenge, especially to begin with. Going from a mindset where you believe that your own and other people’s actions create your life to one where your thoughts are the forerunners to everything is not done overnight. Let me just clarify, you need to think consistent thoughts in order to deliberately create your own reality. Any doubts, fears of this not manifesting etc will work against you. Faith and positive expectations are crucial components, even before you see any physical evidence of your dream manifesting. In case anyone is wondering, I have not received my millions just yet (but I’m sure they’ll come). It is however an incredibly fun, exciting and rewarding process where you slowly but surely start seeing results of the shift.

Driving on an empty road towards the setting sunSo who is Abraham? I think I will save introducing Abraham for another post. To quote Oprah, herself a fan, not everyone is ready to take in all that Abraham is. I will however warmly recommend the curious ones of you to go searching, Abraham should not be too hard to find.

But I must warn you: This is like taking that red pill in The Matrix.

You cannot go back to not knowing once you have started to grasp the incredible power of the Law of Attraction. But unlike The Matrix, the reality you wake up to is not at all cold and hostile. It is amazingly wonderful.

I have found that the Law of Attraction is like the Law of Gravity: Accurate, predictable and completely non-discriminatory. Whether you choose to believe in gravity or whether you are a nice person or not is irrelevant. Everyone who  jumps off a building on Planet Earth will fall down. Every time. No exceptions! Similarly, whether you choose to believe in attraction or not, every worrying, happy, fearful and loving thought is creating and will continue to create your reality. Whether you believe in it or not. I am not here to talk anyone into believing in this because you are the only person who could and should decide in your life. But if I through this post has made someone a little bit curious to go searching for their own truths, then that’s great. We must all find our own path. In our own way and in our own time.

Attracting You,

Kristian

Meditation Generation

MeditationOnMountainInSunshine

I meditate daily and have done so for more than a year. As promised in my previous post I will now share some of my experiences with meditation with you. What started as a remedy to feel a little bit better while going through some difficult stuff has become an amazing sanctuary that has surpassed all expectations from a year back. I really had no idea what would come of it or where it could take me.

So what is meditation really? There are several ways of describing it: -Cardio for your mental stamina. -Stretching for the soul. -Relief from the mind’s perpetual chatter. And much more.

My first real experience with meditation was in Hong Kong several years back when a friend told me about a meditation teacher she had heard of. For quite some time I had been curious about what meditation was and wanted to learn to do it. I did however not get a lot out of the two sessions I had with this teacher, which probably was not the teacher’s fault. I wasn’t really ready and besides, the style she taught was not something that really resonated with me. Meditation is not really a skill you learn, and so, there are no rights or wrongs. Each must find his own way.

With meditation really not being a skill anymore than lying down or relaxing, it is something everyone can discover or rather remember. Although being a natural state of the non-physical part of us, it is a state that most of us forget as we grow up and are assimilated into the hectic mindset of modern society. Meditation is re-connecting with your inner self, which quite frankly is an amazing resource that most people are more or less oblivious to. Meditation can help you access your intuition in a way that is impossible if your mind is active. I am not talking about hunches about doing this or that, I am talking about a reliable and consistent connection to your intuition, inner being, sub-consciousness or whatever you choose to call it.

MagicFlowerOnWater1When  I meditate I generally prefer to use guided meditations that fit my mood and life situation at that time. There are several good ones to choose from, and I personally recommend the ones from Meditation Oasis simply because they are the ones I used in the beginning. They can be downloaded for free as podcasts from iTunes and there is one to fit your every mood: breath awareness, patience, grief, gratitude, opening of the heart, relief from stress, accessing intuition, Chakra meditation etc etc.

I prefer lying down when meditating but you can also be seated if you prefer that. Personally, I don’t like to meditate when I’m so tired or sleepy that I drift in and out of sleep, simply because I find it confusing when the surreality of the dream state is mixed with the consciousness of the meditation. There are however no rights and wrongs here, what is important is that you find a way that works for you.

So what does it feel like? Well, it is more or less an exercise in not thinking thoughts, but to allow the mind to go quiet leaving space for everything else that is inside of you to come forward. By gently focusing on your breathing or just enjoying the gentle stillness of the mind you can experience inner peace, emotional ease or just a comfortable feeling of well-being. By all means, thoughts will appear in a meditation. This is completely normal, especially during stressful or emotionally challenging times. The trick is to not follow the train of thoughts but to allow them to drift out of your consciousness from whence they came.

It is not about making something happen, or trying to induce a particular experience. However, when you get more and more used to meditate, extraordinary things can happen that could leave you baffled and eager to delve deeper into your inner self. To many this may sound scary, I have however never found anything that has not been to my benefit. (However, if you know that you have a lot of unresolved junk in your past, seeking guidance from a professional may be a good idea before trying to fix things on your own).

I think my most “tangible” weird experience with meditation happened a few weeks back. I had meditated for about 25 minutes, finished and went to watch TV afterwards. After about five minutes I realized that I hadn’t put on my glasses after finishing the meditation (I normally wear contacts) but to my surprise I could see everything clearly. Completely astonished I checked if I could see clocks and other stuff far away that I normally need glasses for. And I could! When putting on my glasses it was as if they weren’t mine; I couldn’t see clearly with them. This lasted for the rest of the day until I went to sleep and woke up with my regular -1.5 nearsightedness the next day. When telling my optometrist about this he had no good explanation as to what might have happened here.

Meditation and relaxation on an empty roadI know that many people are curious about meditation, but don’t quite know where to start and how to go about it. By all means, it is not a quick fix for anything, but instead offers a more soothing relief over time. It is however an exciting path where you can reap fruits in areas that you never imagined you would. Meditation could give benefits such as self-confidence, self-acceptance, patience, stress management, self-love, peace of mind and much, much more. Please don’t lose your courage if you feel you cannot get the hang of it straight away. Practice makes perfect and remember that continuity is of the essence here.

So if you feel like trying this, you are not alone. More and more people are discovering the world of meditation, and hopefully in not a too distant future meditation will be as normal as brushing one’s teeth or reading the newspaper. I am absolutely convinced the world will be a better place for it.

Meditatively Yours,

Kristian

Lose your mind!

ManInCropFieldInSunshine

I wish more people would lose their mind. Not in the traditional way of going insane, but as a way of escaping the ever-present background noise that the mind keeps filling most people’s heads with on a non-stop basis.

-Wonder if I’ll make rent in six months? -What did she really mean by that? -Do I look skinny in these jeans? -OMG. That’s ugly! -She probably meant that I’m not good enough. -What happens if I lose my job? -Why don’t banana sweets taste like real bananas? -What DID she really mean by that? -He is so pathetic!!! -I’m not good enough for that. -My boyfriend doesn’t take me seriously. -Because if he did he would do that and not this. -What did she REALLY mean by that? -Probably nothing good, anyways! 

Well, you get the picture.

We are all receivers of this endless stream of thoughts that go through our minds in most of our waking moments. When was the last time you can remember being awake and not thinking about something? Some may wonder if it is even possible? By all means, thinking can be a lovely pastime if you’re daydreaming about something nice. But it can be far less pleasurable if the thoughts that keep running through your head are worrying, frightening and upsetting. The trouble is that most of us are not able to consciously select our thoughts but are rather victims of whatever the mind decides to throw at us. And the mind often does this as a default response to outside events over which we have no control.

So what is the mind? Is it who you are? Is it your soul and your spirit? Is it your identity? Not at all!! Far from it, actually!

Albert Einstein once said: The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. (In this context I speak of the “mind” as only what Einstein calls the “rational mind”. I don’t regard the intuitive mind as a part of the mind at all). I think that Einstein sums it up wonderfully here: the mind is but a servant that humans are equipped with to use as a tool to solve cognitive challenges. However, in most people this servant has taken over its master and is now running the show with so much nonsense bulls**t and with such clamour that the sacred intuition is more or less drowned in its noise.

Glow of the mindYour mind and the thoughts that accompany it are not who you really are. The thoughts you keep thinking turn into beliefs that to many create their identity as they know it. But again, beliefs are just thoughts you keep thinking. And if you stop thinking that thought, that belief will dissolve. Then who are you really?

So how is it possible to make this never-ending stream of thoughts stop? Can it be done? It is relatively easy to do this in short moments. Whenever you stop and completely take in the present moment, whether it be a beautiful view, a tasteful treat, a kiss from a lover or just by studying the shape of your finger, there are probably no thoughts in your head. If you are completely focused in the here and now it is impossible to have an active thought. And vice versa: Whenever you have an active thought it is impossible to be completely present.

German author Eckhart Tolle describes this concept of the mind thoroughly in his bestselling book The Power of Now. I think Tolle goes a bit too hardcore for my liking in advocating using the mind solely for practical purposes, leaving the rest of the time to live exclusively in the now. His concepts are however definitely helpful to anyone with a desire to tame the rampant mind that exists in most people’s heads. If you can control your mind there is no reason to worry, judge or even fear. Yeah, that’s right. By taming your mind you can more or less eliminate fear from your daily life. Think about it, what do you fear that is present or imminent here and now? Unless you are seated in a car speeding at a 150 km/h with no breaks or a madman is pointing a gun to your head while you are reading this, I am guessing that all of your fears are somewhere in an imagined future. And the projected future of the mind is actually nothing more than fiction in the present moment. So is it sensible to miss out on here and now because you are fearing something dreadful that will probably not happen anyway at some point in the future?

Taming the mind and putting it in its place in a lasting way is not something that is done overnight. After all, most of us have been taught to think like this through our whole lives by others who also were taught the same thing through their whole lives. However, the benefits of striving to regard the mind as merely an obedient tool are immense. Our thoughts can be extremely powerful, and when used right thoughts can create a life that will blow your mind. Literally. True happiness is never found in other people and objects. Happiness is found in how you view these people and objects. Among other places.

LavenderFieldSunset

Many might worry what happens when the familiar chattering of the mind stops. Silence? Emptiness? Not at all. In the absence of the steady stream of thoughts that most of us are used to you will find inner peace, freedom, emotional ease, well-being and most of all love. You can discover a connectedness to deeper levels of yourself, your intuition or to something far bigger than yourself, depending on what you choose to believe in.

There are several paths to releasing the grip of the mind and taking your power back, and I think that the most effective gateway is through meditation. In my next post I will share my experience with meditation, and again there are countless approaches to this. Each must find his own way.

Mindlessly Yours,

Kristian

Pointless worrying

SmilingTreeLogsWithDaisies

Don’t worry, be happy is the title of an extremely annoying tune that was big in my 1980s childhood. Surprisingly, the more I learn about life, the more true the message of this cheesy song becomes: The less you worry, the happier you will be. But is it really that simple?

Over the weekend my family gathered to celebrate my father’s 60th birthday, meaning I got a chance to catch up with family members that I don’t see very often. As you do, you talk about what goes on in your own and their lives and as in all families life is not just smooth sailing. Everyone has their problems to deal with, big and small, which is completely normal. What is also normal is that a huge part of people’s problems actually lies anticipating obstacles and then worrying about them. What might happen? What’s the worst case scenario? You know, just in case.

It is impossible to worry about something that is happening right at this moment. If you have a genuine problem right now, like a car speeding towards you, your only real option is to deal with it. Worrying is not to deal with problems. It is to spend time and energy focusing on something that you at this very moment cannot or will not deal with. Worry is without exception focused either in the past or in the future. Everyone knows that you cannot change the past, it is over and done with. Finito. Worrying about it will not change anything at all. Not even a little bit. So why worry about it? Really?

I do however believe that for most people a majority of their everyday worries lie in the future. What problems may arise? How am I going to deal with this and that tomorrow and next year? It could be illness, money problems, relationships, career and the list goes on and on. Our worries become vivid projections of the mind that can be both scary and unsettling. The good news is that right at this moment this is only fiction. It is not real. It only exists in your mind and absolutely nowhere else. I read somewhere that only 8% of worries actually come to pass, with the remaining 92% being forever left in the imagination. I have no idea how someone has landed on those numbers, but somehow I don’t think they are completely off. Because isn’t it so that most of our worries thus far have never manifested themselves in reality?

The Dalai Lama teaches that if you have a problem that is solvable then there is no need to worry, and that if you have a problem that you cannot solve then there is also no need to worry. That simple. This is beautifully summed up in this simple flowchart:

Worrying is not going to change anything. Trying to carry tomorrow’s sorrow today only ruins today and quite frankly does not make tomorrow’s sorrow any less painful. There is no discount. Guaranteed. So then again, why do we keep worrying?

The point is that worrying never adds anything positive to anything. It only steals happiness from today without making the potential unpleasant situations that may arise in the future any less painful. Humanity seems however to have accepted worry as a completely normal activity of the mind, and to most people life would be incomplete without it. The habit of worrying is so deeply rooted in us that very few even stop to think if there actually is any point in doing it. And truth be told: It is completely pointless.

Some people think they have to worry to care for someone. I have news for you: Worrying about someone rarely leaves the recipient of the worrying thoughts feeling any more uplifted. As a matter of fact the contrary is probably more often the case. Not only have they got a real problem on their hands, they also get to live with the knowledge that their own problems are destroying the happiness of others. A double burden. So if you do have to worry about someone you care for, do them a favour and keep your worries to yourself. This does not mean that you cannot care for, love or be there for someone. But it means that you may want to look for other ways to show your concern than to inform them of the pain they are causing you. Make it about them, not about your reaction to their problems.

Worry is not a necessity to prepare for the future, if anything worrying can work against you in the form of self-fulfilling prophecies. When you expect a bad result, chances are you will attract one. And vice versa.

American novelist Alice Hegan Rice once said:

It ain’t no use putting up your umbrella till it rains!

I think that is pretty good advice.

 

Happily Yours,

Kristian