The T-R-U-S-T-E-D System (Part 1)
I have heard a lot about mindfulness over the last few years which got me to thinking about how we apply it to our lives when just Liven what’s Given. So I thought the first step was to check it out and see what it actually means.
One definition I really liked is:
Now while I like the definition I still have a few questions, and they are:
So to answer these questions I compared the definition to our current lifestyle of Liven what’s Given, and found that for the “most” part we live our lives in a state of mindfulness.
Now this was not much of a surprise as over the last 10 years the main purpose of my life has been to have a consistent state of peace and joy, regardless of circumstances or situations. Now that is not to say other feelings and emotions don’t arise, as they do! However after I acknowledge and accept them they generally have very little influence over my actions and reactions to life’s events.
The interesting fact about all this, is that once I adopted this way of “mindfulness” or as I call it “Liven what’s Given” I uncovered a state of mind that I have come to realize is in us all.
It's a consistent state of Peace and Joy that exists regardless of what is happening.
A Course In Miracles sums it up like this:
Byron Katie sums it up here:
Marianne Williamson says:
Eckhart Tolle puts it this way:
All these people and texts are expressing what I have come to know as “Liven what’s Given”, and mindfulness is the state of mind to achieve it.
However, yep there is always a however!
How does one convert such an esoteric idea into a lifestyle?
Now that is a great question of which the above quoted people, texts and others have some wonderful answers.
For me it boiled down to using these 7 guiding principles, which I have called the
The first being, and you guessed it:
Trust as defined in the world as:
When I first heard about and started playing around with Trust in Life, I thought it was all about handing all responsibility over to life and everything would just be sweeeeeet.
What I have learnt since is, that what I thought I needed, and what Life thought I needed could be very different.
You see what I wanted was what I had been told would make me endlessly happy. I thought I needed to be totally successful in the big 5, Health, Wealth, Career, Relationships and Spirituality!
Life on the other hand knew what I needed, and that was to be provided with people, situations and events giving me the opportunity to release all those expectations about what I thought I needed.
Yes folks, “Trust In Life” is not at all what I thought it would be. It is, as I have come to learn, a mandatory requirement in uncovering our innate peace and Joy!
Now you have every right to ask “How do you know?” and my only answer is based on hindsight. Looking back on all my Life experiences I can say with 100% certainty that no matter what I perceived at the time as both good and bad, allowed me the opportunity to examine and ultimately release any thoughts and feelings covering my innate inbuilt Peace and Joy.
Additionally it allowed the awareness that Peace and Joy can never be gotten, because we already have them! It’s just in some moments they are covered by all the thoughts and expectations about life and how it should be different from exactly the way it is.
A Course In Miracles states there are 6 levels in the development of Trust and I, through experience, am inclined to agree. Those levels in a nutshell are:
The end result being what the course terms as “tranquility”.
I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out what level I am on and how to get to the next one. What I didn’t know then, but do know now, is that it really doesn't matter! Life has it all in hand and makes it completely obvious (if I am prepared to see it), what needs to be done.
My only task is to be completely mindful in each moment by asking “What is this for?”
A task, while sometimes difficult in the heat of the moment, will lead me to see, as the Course In Miracles states: “that all things, events, encounters and circumstances are helpful.”
This process for me has not been easy, and in fact has only been made possible by adopting the other 6 principles guiding principles. Without them at top of mind in each moment it would be very easy to revert back to my old way of thinking by playing the poor me and blame game. It is only through knowing them that I take total responsibility for my life and accept all that happens is happening for my benefit, no matter what I perceive at the time.
I have found there is no Trust in Life without relinquishment!
Now relinquishment in the terms of this discussion is the letting go or surrender of something, and the question we have to ask is the relinquishment of what?
Relinquishment of Stuff
In the early days of Liven what’s Given and mindfulness, I used to think it was all about the giving up or letting go of stuff. I had totally bought into the old saying of:
However after many years of trying to find happiness with stuff, I came to the realisation that if stuff didn’t make me happy then maybe getting rid of it will. So that is exactly what I did!
Over a period of a couple of years I got rid of everything. Properties, cars, toys “and I did cry when my big screen telly and surround sound system walked out the door”. Cleaned out garages and storage sheds and was left with two backpacks and a box files.
Did it make me happier? I would have to say YES. Did it allow me to find a consistent state of Joy? The answer was a resounding NO! You see what I had found was that having, or not having stuff, or the attachment to it, had absolutely nothing to do with uncovering a consistent state of JOY.
However I did find that getting rid of all that stuff did provide some helpful benefits, which then allowed me the time to pursue other avenues of relinquishment.
Some of those benefits include:
Relinquishment of The Need To Know
The need to know! It drives us all and is the cause of so much suffering.
In my experience the story seems to go “if I know more life will get better.” I mean how many times have you told yourself, if only I knew …… things would have been so much different.
The need to know is also the driver of all the ‘what if’s’ and ‘if only’ in life. What if this happens or if only I did this. It’s all this that adds guilt, regret and suffering to situations and experiences that would otherwise be just ordinary situations and experiences.
The need to know is why I give meanings to all that happens in my life. It’s the driving force when I say or think “What does that mean to/for me?” It’s why when something happens in life one person can be very happy in that moment and others suffer.
I have found that if I need to know something then I have to defend it. I spend time, energy and emotion on justifying why I know and how it is so much better that I do.
I have come to realise that the need to know is the driving force on why I:
In reality it’s exhausting and the cause of so much of my suffering and attachment to what should be rather than what IS.
The need to know is one of my biggest blocks to mindfulness and Living what’s Given, in each and every moment. It is a major source of regret from the past and frustration for the future.
I discovered my need to know was one of the reasons I was not feeling my innate Joy, not Trusting in Life and the destroyer of any happiness I was experiencing.
Now it was one thing realising this and quite another doing something about it. As it was my desire to just “Let go and Let Life” the relinquishment of the need to know became a priority. I had studied and read the masters of life so it was from them I took my direction.
I worked though A Course In Miracles work book that allowed me to take responsibility for the meanings I was giving everything I see, and then relinquish them, leaving me with what could be called a meaningless life! An open space and mind, which is initially terrifying until, slowly a Joy that had been so long hidden started to rise.
As A Course In Miracles states:
I used Byron Katie’s, The Work, to question everything I thought to be real and found it wasn’t. I found I didn’t really know anything and became ok with that.
As Byron Katie states:
I have found that relinquishment of the need to know is all about letting go of
Additionally I have found it is very hard to live in a state of mindfulness and Liven what’s Given when my mind is full of meanings, attachments and expectations that I invented!
Relinquishment of Control
Control is something that some people love and others hate. Some people crave it and others shun it, so you have to ask “What is it?”.
One definition is:
The assumption here of course is that anyone has this ability and anecdotal evidence would suggest that they do and it’s possible. However in my experience it is only ever the “Illusion” of control that we just think we have.
I used to think:
I have since come to experience that I am in control of nothing, and I like it!
Again as Byron Katie explains:
The illusion of control is much like the illusion of choice it can never be proved either way. It is one of those things that is simply accepted or not. However what can be experienced is the pain and suffering of thinking you have it, or the Peace and Joy of relinquishing it.
As the Oracle told Neo in the Matrix Reloaded:
"The Oracle: Do you see her die?
The Oracle: You have the sight now, Neo. You are looking at the world without time.
Neo: Then why can't I see what happens to her?
The Oracle: We can never see past the choices we don't understand.
Neo: Are you saying I have to choose whether Trinity lives or dies?
The Oracle: No, you've already made the choice. Now you have to understand it.
Neo: No. I can't do that. I won't.
The Oracle: Well, you have to.
The Oracle: Because you're the One.
Neo: But if you already know, how can I make a choice?
The Oracle: Because you didn't come here to make the choice, you've already made it. You're here to try to understand *why* you made it. I thought you'd have figured that out by now."
So if all our choices have already been made, what control can we possibly have?
More to the point, if we actually have no control and all the choices have been made how can we ever make a wrong choice? In fact how would it be possible to do anything wrong?
If that is the case, would it be possible that everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late, and our only task is to understand how this could be so?
In my experience the answer is, Yes it is possible, and by asking “What is this for? and then listening” allows me to understand why.
You see when I think I have control and choice I don't need to listen to the quiet little voice that is called intuition, guidance, gut feel. No matter what it is called when I listen to it I experience a sense of Peace and Joy that does not exist when I don’t.
I have found that it is in the relinquishment of the illusion of control and choice that allows me to me hear the voice and have Life take control.
This is part 1 of a three part series in exploring mindfulness and Living What’s Given using the 7 principles of mindfulness and the T-R-U-S-T-E-D System.
Just Liven What's Given
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live life as it’s presented? To accept life and experiences just the way they are, without the need for change, or the expectation that it could be better or worse!
I have! Then I went on a search to not only think about it, but to find out first whether its’s possible, and then to experience what it would be like.
Why you may ask?
Well let’s face it!
I was never satisfied with what my life had to offer, and all the personal, spiritual and worldly growth paths never produced the end result I was looking for. This inevitably led to more dissatisfaction and suffering so I eventually gave up and just decided what the hell I was going to do nothing, and nothing I did.
Yes folks, the search for happiness, joy, enlightenment, nirvana etc was over. I had resigned myself to a life of mediocrity and suffering. I had given up on the notion that anything would get better, or in fact there was ever a possibility that things could actually be great.
So how did this all come about?
How could someone like me who had a standard childhood, good parents and was well looked after, come to this point. I mean after school I had good paying jobs, got married, had two boys, bought then built houses, played the markets did all the things one was supposed to do to live a happy fulfilling life.
Yes there were good times and rough patches. I got divorced then reunited, separated then back together again (long story not for this post), made, lost, then made again my fair share of money, and experienced the absolute highs and lows of a turbulent and somewhat fruitless personal and spiritual path.
I lived the whole career, family, financial and spiritual plan. All be it somewhat different to most others, but in essence the same, and all through this time, no matter what success or failures there were I still had a nagging feeling that there must be another way.
A way to live life that I had not experienced, a way that did not cause the inevitable feeling of emptiness and suffering that persisted as an ongoing theme no matter what I did. It was like watching one of those loooong movies that never gets better, but you have invested so much time in it, you have to continue to hope that it will, and it never does, and deep down you knew it never would.
Yes folks I was in one of those movies and it never ended!
Each morning I would turn up, with A grade actors and all, read and follow the script, only to discover that by the end of the day I had the same old feeling of why the heck am I in this movie! There must be another one I can find, I really have to change agents, get an agent that gets me, find a guru who has been there and done that, and is still doing it, not just selling it.
But therein lies the rub!
I had been and seen them. I had taken the Kool-Aid, and the workshops, retreats, and coaching, of the manifestation, creative and do what you love tribes! I had followed the paths of western and eastern gurus and still came up wanting. I studied and lived the lives they prescribed. Each time I would think if only I could get this right, things would be different. They would change and I would get the life they all promised. But it never happened, all I got was same old, same old and still this feeling of there still must be another way.
Then their came the time I just gave up and quit the movie! I basically decided I had failed at life, and life had failed me!
The Tipping Point
Now little did I know at the time, this is exactly what had to happen, and the thing is I really didn’t know it was happening.
I had just given up the search for anything better than what was happening at the time. I was just living what was given. Whatever appeared at the time I did, and when it didn’t appear I did nothing. However the interesting fact of doing nothing is that you have to be with yourself, and with all the distractions gone the feeling of “there must be another way” is just amplified until at some stage you just have to deal with it.
And herein lies the last five years.
A time of letting go and just letting life do it’s thing. I figured that I had tried to write the script and failed. I had followed others scripts and that had failed. So now it was just time to drop any illusion I had that anyone can actually control life.
In fact I let life write the script and my only task was to let go of what I thought would be good or bad. Drop the labels I had placed on people and situations and give up any perceived control I thought I had on any aspect or end result of my life.
It was with this attitude that I entered a period of just letting life. An experiment if you will, born out of a feeling of total disillusionment and exhaustion of even trying.
Liven What’s Given – The Life
Which brings me back to my original question at the start of this post.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live life as it’s presented? To accept life and experiences just the way they are, without the need for change, or the expectation that it could be better or worse! What if what you are living now is as good as it gets?
For as Byron Katie puts it:
Over these last five years I have come to the realisation that I only suffer when I argue or resist what is. If I expect something to be different than what it is, I bring upon myself the impossible situation of trying to change a present moment.
I have tried it, and it just can’t be done!
However what I can do is change my mind about the way I think about that moment. I can just accept what that moment is and let go of any expectation that it should be any different.
In doing this I am in the essence of Liven what’s Given
As A Course In Miracles Says:
The interesting thing about this style of living I have experienced is that happiness and suffering become a non-issue.
I have come to realise that, as Byron Katie puts it:
This dear reader is what I have come to know as Liven what’s Given, and in doing so uncovers the innate Joy we all have and can experience.
Liven What’s Given – The Lifestyle
Let me say upfront that Liven what’s Given is not a lifestyle. It has nothing to do with doing anything or nothing as the case maybe. However it has everything to do with allowing life to do what life does, and that is provide any and all opportunities for us to change our minds about our long held perceptions, expectations and beliefs about the way the world should be.
That being said, when I did start changing my mind and started letting go, my lifestyle did change. Things started to become very simple. Any difficulties and complications I saw in life started to just drop away. Job’s, relationships and possessions that no longer served were moved on, leaving space and time to have a direct experience of life exactly how it is.
There were other changes as well. I noticed my values started to change.
What was once important is not!
I make decisions on gut feel or what’s obvious, rather than the pros and cons of what’s perceived as good or bad. My friends say I live less than a conventional life and tend to do what I feel to do rather than what others think I need to do.
I am developing a total Trust in life, which translates into releasing judgments I have on people and situations and using them as opportunities to see things differently. This has led to a feeling of freedom and the ability to travel, serve and be in the Joy of new cultures and experiences.
The biggest difference I have noticed is the ongoing desire to increasingly remove myself from a commercial world of self-interest and mistrust, and immerse myself in trust and contribution.
Because it is obvious life is moving me in that direction and I know from experience to resist life is futile, and embracing life is Joy.
Just Liven What's Given