This article is a review of a book by Dr. Michael Ryce called “Why is This Happening to me… AGAIN?”. Dr. Ryce is a naturopathic doctor who has deep understanding of the healing processes, and in particular the healing of the mind.
In this book, Dr. Ryce took a look at a very prevalent pattern of repeated behavior common to all of us, and especially so to some of us. It is our habit of getting into trouble with the same type of people over and over again in our lives, or the pattern of getting ourselves entangled with the same situation over and over again. It is as though we cannot learn from our mistakes. In fact, very often we do not consider ourselves as the problem. Rather, we put the blame on that person or that situation.
According to Dr. Ryce, there is one thing that is consistently present in all of these situation – YOU! Even if you were to relocate yourself to another place or country, chances are that the problem will continue to haunt you even in that new country. This is because even after you have relocated somewhere else, YOU are still there. You bring the problem with you. You ARE the problem. Rather, it is your mental habit that is giving you this problem.
As long as you cannot see it in you, or you refuse to see it, you will continue to be plagued by the same problem. After all, whatever it is that you deny or suppress will eventually find expression into your outer experiences through a process called projection. Since this blockage of personal error is mostly unconscious, this proves to be a great challenge if you want to change your mental habit.
Fortunately, Dr. Ryce introduced a very simple and elegant tool to identify the erroneous thinking process within us. It is a 12-step worksheet called a Reality Management Worksheet. Using this worksheet, you will be able to first identify the person or situation that triggers a negative emotion in you, recognize and name this emotion, and also identify the thought that leads to this negative feeling. You will also be guided to identify the specific expectation that you wanted out of that person or situation which was not met.
It then leads you into a process of seeing that what you perceived about that person or situation is merely something you projected and not reality itself. Once you are able to recognize this, you can then let go of this projection through the process of forgiveness, cancelling or letting loose. In this way, as we work on each trigger that leads to negative feelings in us, we can gradually correct our distorted view of the world and begin to see things as they really are.
I find Dr. Michael Ryce’s work to be extremely refreshing and effective in identifying our erroneous thinking, and I highly recommend that you read his book. Dr. Ryce is generous enough to give away the ebook version of “Why is This Happening to me… AGAIN?” for free. You can visit his website to read all about his work and writings, and to download the free ebook and worksheets at WhyAgain.com
Here’s a short video presentation on the work of Byron Katie which I found to be very clear and concise. I like Byron Katie’s work because it is a very simple and direct method to bring insights and self realizations. However, you do need a lot of courage and self honesty for this inquiry work.
1. Suffering is optional. While suffering is quite real in our lives, there is a state that is free from suffering and it is possible to achieve it. Since there are two possible states – one with suffering and one without it – we have a choice but this choice is only available to us when we have the wisdom and insight to see it.
2. Suffering is mental. While pain may be unavoidable in our physical body, we do have a choice not to suffer from it. In my work as a doctor, I have seen patients who experienced similar bodily pain, yet one may suffer more than the other. The one who suffers more is the one whose mind is totally absorbed in the pain, creating stories around it and embellishing it with all kinds of fear.
3. Suffering is an error in thinking. It arises out of a wrong view, belief, perception or thought. When our thought departs from reality (from what is) or when we want things to be other than what is, then we suffer.
4. Resisting reality is futile. No matter how hard we try to resist reality or want things to be other than what is, we will fail and suffer for it. The more we resist, the more we suffer as we are going against the flow of what is.
5. We resist out of ignorance. We believe the story we created around our experience. We do not realize that our views are wrong. In truth, no belief is true. No perception is real.
6. A belief is merely a perception of reality. We must realize that our perception has severe limitations. There are at least 3 ways our perceptions are limited.
a. We are first limited by the limits of our sense organs. We see light only between a specific range of wavelengths and cannot perceive those beyond this range. In addition, the way our eyes are structured allows us to see an image that is different from that seen from the compound eyes of a fly. Our other sense organs are similarly limited.
b. Secondly we are limited by our perspective. We can see things only from a specific point of reference, very much like the story of the blind men and the elephants.
c. Lastly, we see things through our own filters. These filters are our mental prejudices, concepts, assumptions, beliefs, experiences and ideas. It is like a camera catching a shot through a certain filter, changing its original colour.
With so many limitations to our perceptions, how can we be absolutely sure that our perception is true? Is it not more likely to be wrong?
7. We are deceived by our thinking mind. Our thinking mind is coloured by our ego or self, rich with its own experiences, assumptions, beliefs, concepts, desires and expectations. Ultimately, our thinking mind itself is limiting our life experience. It locks us into a self created reality, a world of our own creation – an illusion of reality.
8. We can live intuitively beyond the ego-mind. Beyond this thinking mind is another that serves us intuitively. It has the ability to dip into the all-knowing, all-pervading universal mind. It is free from judgment and prejudices, and is therefore free from error.
9. There is no suffering in this mind. Living like the lotus is then possible – to be in this world but not of this world. We can then live in this physical mundane world and still not be afflicted by it.
May 16, 2009 by Tim
Filed under Abundance, Acceptance, Affirmations, Anger, Beliefs, Conflicts, Emotions, Fear, Forgiveness, Free Will, Gratitude, Healing, Humour, Intention, Judgment, Mind, Needs, Peace, Perception
Recently I had the good fortune to attend a self discovery workshop conducted by a monk, Bhante Kumara of the Sasanarakkha Buddhist Sanctuary in Taiping. The most impressive part of the workshop was the last portion of the workshop, which was based on the Work of Byron Katie.
Katie’s work is focused on eliminating sufferings by understanding and seeing the true cause of our sufferings. The work is revealing as it shows us the error of our thinking, beliefs and perceptions, which is the root cause of our sufferings.
Katie has come up with a structured tool that makes it very easy for us to recognize these errors within us using this Judge Your Neighbor worksheet [right-click to download]. You can also download this worksheet from http://thework.com
To see the Work in Action, go to http://thework.com where there are short video clips of Byron Katie in action.
A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign, which said: ‘I am blind, please help.‘ There were only a few coins in the hat.
A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.
Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, ‘Were
u the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?’
The man said, ‘I only wrote the truth. I said what u said but in a different way.’
What he had written was: ‘Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it.‘
Do you think the first sign & the second sign were saying the same thing? Of course, both signs told people the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?
Moral of the Story:
Be thankful for what you have. Be creative. Be innovative. Think differently and positively.
Invite the people towards good with wisdom. Live life with no excuse and love with no regrets..
When Life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faith and drop the fear.
Don’t believe your doubts and doubt your beliefs. Life is a mystery to solve, not a problem to resolve. Life is wonderful if you know how to live.
Enjoy Life…….and Make A Difference.. …
Introduction to Big Mind
1. Facilitation of the Controller
2. Facilitation of the Skeptic
3. Facilitation of the Vulnerable Child & the Protector
4. Facilitation of the Damaged Self and Fixer
5. Facilitation of the Seeking Mind (Desires)
6. Facilitation of the Non-Seeking Mind
7. Facilitation of the Big Mind
8. Facilitation of Drop Off Body-Mind & Big Heart
9. Facilitation of Yin-Yang Big Heart
10. One Heart Mind & Integrated Free Functioning Self
Human beings are not the only living things with self awareness. Experiments have shown that some mammals like dolphins, elephants and apes are capable of being self aware.
Now a new study done by scientists from the Goethe Institute in Germany have also found that magpies may also have self awareness. The experiment to test self awareness is designed using a mirror. To find out how this is done, please go here.
Another interesting news is the apparent transfer of skills from dolphins in captivity to those in the wild, without any apparent direct link. Here is the story.
We have notice for some time now that global human consciousness is increasing. People around the world are increasingly becoming more self aware. Is it possible that this simultaneously also raise the awareness of other living beings on earth or are we just observing more of what we did not observe before?
The 5 ranks of Tozan is a description on the various stages of enlightenment. Tozan was a Zen Master who lived more than 1,200 years ago.
According to this description, there are 5 stages that one goes through as he progresses towards enlightenment. The majority of people in the world today are in pre-stage one.
At this stage, one is fully engaged and absorbed in the physical reality, and only in this physical reality. One is still unaware of the other reality that is transcendental and sublime. In pre-stage one, one’s main focus and attention is on the day to day survival as well as physical accumulation of wealth. This is because one is able to see only this physical world as real. The spiritual and transcendental reality is not perceived as real. One may be able to conceptualize and rationalize about spirituality but one does not truly appreciate the reality of this subtle realm.
In this stage, one is now convinced of the reality of the transcendental realm. One behaves and lives according to this perception and acceptance of this new reality. This means that one’s priorities in lives change to put more emphasis on the importance of spirituality. More time and energy is directed towards the pursue of this spiritual understanding and growth. Material comfort and accumulation become secondary.
Accumulating spiritual understanding means acquiring more understanding about the reality of the transcendental realm, its nature, its qualities. It initially leads to the accumulation of more new beliefs, concepts and assumptions about the various spiritual teachings. The rational mind tries to make sense of all these terminologies, concepts and beliefs.
This is the stage where the rational mind comes against a wall. It soon realizes that the rational mind cannot fully grasp the transcendental reality. After all, how can a mind that functions in time and space fully grasp what is beyond time and space? There arise great doubts about the whole concept of understanding via the rational mind. It begins to see the limitation of names, labels, concepts and beliefs.
To progress, the spiritual seeker needs to surrender all his attachments and clinging to concepts and names. In fact, he needs to let go entirely of the need to rationalize with his rational mind. To do that, he needs a great leap of faith in the beyond – believing that whatever is beyond the rational mind is far more superior and sublime than the rational mind. He needs to literally jump off the edge of a cliff and have faith that his fall is safe. This is the great death that will lead to a great rebirth.
After the great death comes a new rebirth into the transcendental realm. It is here in this transcendental realm that is timeless and limitless that one experiences only the now. Here one experiences the oneness of all things. Here is peace. Here is eternity. Here is now. Many who have caught or taste a glimpse of this realm believe themselves to be fully enlightened. The experience in this realm is one of detachment from the physical world, even to the point of not caring for physical existence. One may try to convince oneself that here at last he has completely eliminate his ego. However, he will only be deluding himself as the denial of the suffering of the physical world is still a denial, albeit a sublimely subtle one. That is why this stage is sometimes said to have a big mind but no heart. If not careful, one can completely indulge oneself by staying in this realm indefinitely as a form of escapism.
At some point, one begins to realize the remnant of his subtle ego. The ego has matured tremendously at this stage but one is still not completely free of it. Soon there follows a fall from grace. From this great transcendental realm, one fall into a greater realization of the need to interact with the physical world.
In this final stage of Tozan, one finally fully realizes and is able to integrate both the transcendental experience with the physical world. One is able to be “in this world, yet not of this world”. In other words, one develops a great heart of compassion for all sentient beings who are still caught in the physical world and comes back to co-exist for the well-beings and uplifting of their spirituality. This is the stage of big mind, big heart. One is able to live a full physical life and yet is above all the conflicts and sufferings that normally accompanies a physical life.
Another way of looking at this is by drawing a triangle as shown above. The left corner represents the human aspects of our existence, where everything is perceived in relative dualism using the rational mind. Here we experience both pain and pleasure. The right corner represents the transcendental aspects of our being where oneness is experienced. Here is peace and is where the rational mind cannot fully comprehend due to its limiting nature. The transcendental or intuitive mind functions here.
To exclusively dwell in either one of these domains is unhealthy for us as human beings. To be a human being, we must be both able to experience the human aspect of ourselves as well as the transcendental aspect. A fully enlightened being is one who has fully integrated both, as represented by the apex in the triangle.
One of the keys to personal transformation is self knowledge. The ancient sages exhort us to know thyself. Indeed, this is the whole purpose of a spiritual practice. Looking inward is all one needs to know and understand oneself, the universe and life.
There are many doors that open inward for self discovery. One of these is through the understanding of our emotions. Taking a peep at any one of our unpleasant feelings and then tracing it all the way to its root cause will invariably bring us face to face with fear.
Fear is the mother of all negative feelings. All other negative feelings are merely manifestations of fear in various degree of intensity. According to Lester Levenson, the founder of the Release Technique, all our feelings and wants can be traced back to our need to fulfill 3 primary wants – wanting approval, wanting control and wanting safety.
In my opinion, these 3 primary wants themselves have their roots in fear – fearing separation or loneliness, fearing loss of control and fearing loss of security. As we trace the root of these 3 fears further, we come face to face with the primary cause – the erroneous belief in a separate and distinct self.
In order for us to sustain a belief in a distinct self, we must naturally separate ourselves from the Source of All. Since the Source is the provider of everything, this separation further brings with it a sense of loss and in particular a sense of loss of security and control.
To end fear, we must then rectify this primary erroneous belief.
For more on fear, go here
We are increasingly living in a fear-based society where national policies are motivated by fear. We have fear of terrorism and lately fear of recession. Individually, we are also increasingly living and doing things with fear as the main motivator. We fear loss of job, loss of income, loss of health, loss of security and loss of self esteem.
In a world where the natural law of attraction works without exception, now more than ever we need to remind ourselves that the world we experience externally is a mirror reflection of our inner thoughts. Therefore, if we continue to focus on fear, we will only be attracting more fear into our lives.
We must constantly remind ourselves to focus only on what we want, not on what we don’t want. By focusing on fear, we continue to perpetuate the vicious cycle. To change that external experience, we must turn our attention to unconditional love and faith in the universe.
In fact, unconditional love that is all inclusive, all embracing and perfect is the only reality. The rest is only an illusion created by our own mind. I love the quote from A Course in Miracles which says,
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.
How can we live a life that is motivated by unconditional love?
We can only do so if we can see ourselves as more than just this physical body. We are spiritual beings, with a mind that is limitless, beyond time and space – a mind that is the key to determining our own destiny. Only through understanding our spirituality and our relation to the universe can we have faith that the universe will provide for all our needs.
In accordance with the Law of Attraction, the universe will give to us whatever we give to it through our thoughts. We are the owner of our thoughts and are totally responsible for the consequences arising from them. Shirking this responsibility is not an option and is done at our own expenses.