It's Not Personal

But it feels personal.

"It" means people and circumstances that bother you, get under your skin, or worse.

It's not personal because few among us know what they are doing. For better or worse, most blindly react to their inner experience, which is typically informed by unconscious patterns from a past that is often filled with ignorance and trauma.

What is personal is the fact that this thing is happening to you. It means something. It has something to do with your learning. And it has something to do with seeds you, yourself have planted.

Let the other person or situation off the hook, which does not necessarily entail cowing to injustice.

It means being observant of the egoistic impulse to blame, curse, fire arrows back, or otherwise assert your superiority and knowledge of what is best.

There is no best other than what's happening right now. This is the best thing that can happen to you because there is no other option, despite the mind's belief to the contrary.

With enough practice, when arrows are flung at us, our knowledge and compassion will melt them before they have the opportunity to wound.

That is the ultimate defence.

Stories

A story is what comes after the statement, "I am..."

Whatever follows from that setup is an interpretation. An interpretation with different sides and shades of accuracy, subject to change at a moment's notice.

Spiritual development primarily aims at harmonising with Truth, or what is Real and does not change. As such, so much of the work to that end is the work of letting go, or undoing our beliefs about right and wrong.

We get invested in our stories. Who we are. Where we came from. Why we do what we do. What it all means. We wear them as badges of honour and present them to others, many times, to communicate our uniqueness or worthiness of love and respect. 

After a certain point, our interpretation becomes a hinderance. Our interpretation keeps us in a personal sense of "I," and so independent and separate from others. Being independent and separate from others — with embedded notions of right and wrong — our primal state becomes one of greed (in the sense of wanting for ourselves, less for others, and competing to make it so).

Catastrophes and disasters are excellent signs. They have the effect of temporarily disrupting our mental understanding of who we think we are and our interpretations about the world. They provide the opportunity to make internal adjustments and to let go of what is false. It is an opportunity because you always can choose if you want to progress or stay where you are.

Understanding this does not mean we become empty, vacant of personality, or void of any unique creative signature. What it means is we take ourselves less seriously to the point of being at total ease. We become more tolerant of others. We become more in line with Truth, which sees no fundamental distinction between this and that.

In the end, there is only One Story and you are It.

Zero Growth

The modern mind is obsessed with growth. Goals. Targets. Making ideas happen.

"How are you?" can often be phrased as, "Are you keeping busy?"

The modern mind feels lost and afraid of a chaotic, uncontrollable environment that, above all, encourages being over doing.

In ignorance, it then adopts endless tasks and projects to prevent from coming into contact with this underlying anxiety.

What is wrong with relating to and loving people outside of their titles and achievements? Do you reserve any the less for an adoring cat or dog who sleeps the majority of the day?

Titles and achievements communicate a false sense of security, "See how much I can do? I am special and different than everybody else."

What if we considered a striking thought from the Japanese organic farmer, Masanobu Fukuoka, "What's wrong with a growth rate of 0%? Isn't this a stable kind of economics?"

You might say that things in nature "grow?" But is this so? What can truly grow that is subject to the birth-death cycle? If something comes, stays awhile, and then goes away, doesn't that trajectory resemble a circle or a zero?

Everything returns to zero.

If we let this philosophy penetrate our understanding, we realise there is nothing we can really do since what is done, eventually becomes undone. We slow (way) down. We focus on the moment. We focus on love, and on kindness for its own sake. Gone is the anxious need to constantly prove and define ourselves.

What remains is the naked self. The same naked self you see in the sky, in the tree, and in the plant.