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Practicing “Patience” in the Flow

Patience

It has been a while since my last post.  I have been practicing “patience“, while waiting for this post to arise from the ethers.  Obviously, this post is about practicing “patience” and how this supports our “flow” processes.

Discovering and unfolding your own unique destiny is an ongoing journey that takes time and patience.  This destiny unfolds during a human life as a sort of dance – ebbing and flowing in unexplained and often unforeseen ways.  During daily life, we are typically experiencing a series of moments ranging from: performing daily repetitious acts, to dealing with life’s challenges, to unexpected and sometimes traumatic changes, to the more pleasurable, exciting, and fun times.  Sometimes our dreams come true, and sometimes they don’t.  Sometimes we reach our desired goals, and other times we don’t.  We can reach for the stars, but we don’t always get them.  Plus, things almost always take longer to transpire than ever imagined.  Hence, we need to learn to practice patience.

I can’t tell you how many times I have participated in or listened in on conversations Read the rest of this entry

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Surrender to the “Flow”

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English: A Water drop falling into a bowl of w...

In my last blog (http://flowdestiny.com/2013/09/24/entering-the-flow/), I covered how to enter this transformative life force energy – I call the “flow”.   Please read this previous post before continuing.

Now that know how to enter the “flow”, the next step is to open and surrender to it.   Read the rest of this entry

Entering the Flow

English: Energy Arc, central electrode of a Pl...

Connecting to and entering the “flow” is actually as natural as breathing.  Unfortunately, most of us have forgotten this and have become disconnected from the life force energy that is our birthright.  As a result, I have spent several posts talking about how to “clear”,  “let go”, and “heal” your life first before even addressing the “flow“, mainly because anytime you are living your life unskillfully or holding on to things that hold you back, your ability to access the flow is greatly reduced, if not impossible.  You have to clear away the debris and heal the parts of you that are disconnecting you from this vast energetic source – namely the flow.

As you continue your journey of developing a healthy personal foundation, now it is time to start connecting to the flow. Read the rest of this entry

Flow – With a Healthy Ego

English: Ego Likeness

To flow, one needs to have a healthy ego, for unhealthy egos stop up our flowing process.  Not only are unhealthy, imbalanced egos like huge drain clogs, but we have all experienced the wreckage and pain resulting from their unhealthy behaviors.

If you were raised by self-assured, emotionally balanced parents who gave you the caring and nurturing you needed to develop a healthy sense of self, than you probably have a healthy ego.  Unfortunately, not many of us Read the rest of this entry

Letting Go of Attachments

Letting go is more than just relaxation. It is relaxation based on being in tune with the environment, the world.  –  Chögyam Trungpa

Linked

I know I have discussed “letting go” already in these posts, but it deserves a lot more attention.  As far as our attachments are concerned, I have talked about our tendency for becoming attached, as well as how to uncover our attachments.   Now comes the biggie – how to “let go” of our attachments.

A lady attending one of my meditation group sessions once asked me:  “What if I don’t want to let go of my attachment”?  That is a valid inquiry, which I suggest you undertake.  My rule of thumb is that if an attachment is limiting or harming me or others in any way, and/or if I can expect a positive outcome by letting go, then I may choose to let that attachment go.

I have found that for me, there are instances where consciously and honestly remaining attached is okay.  An example in my own life:  I am attached, in fact, addicted to caffeine.  Today, I am clear that I am attached to my morning caffeinated coffee extravaganza – 1 or 2 cups.  It is not adversely affecting my health, so I consciously choose to partake in this enjoyable morning ritual.  If a day comes when these couple of cups are becoming detrimental to my body’s health, I will most likely decide to let go of this attachment.

Interestingly enough, I have acquired more personal growth and wisdom from letting go of attachments, than from acquiring intellectual spiritual knowledge.   Sometimes it seems that the WHOLE of my spiritual process is about “letting go”.

In our modern world, “letting go” is often used synonymously with “moving on” or “getting over” a  thing, person, or a situation.   I have learned that I cannot force myself to “let go”.  Getting angry at, resistant to, or frustrated by an attachment only makes it stronger.  Ironically, “letting go” does not happen by moving on or avoiding, but by accepting, and engaging more fully in the moment.

As feeling humans, we have a tendency to hold on to pleasant feelings in hopes that they never dissipate.  Thus, we get attached to the pleasant experiences.  On the other hand, we try to force or control letting go of unpleasantness right away!  Not a good idea.

I was recently with a someone after a traumatic situation.  After this terrible incident, he exclaimed that:  “I just want these awful feelings to go away, so I am going to let them go right now”.   I suggested he not force himself to let go, but instead give himself the opportunity to be with his body’s physical sensations and feelings until they dissipated.

As unpleasant as some experiences may be, suppressing your feelings or pretending them away is an act of delusion that causes greater future pain.  Whatever you don’t honor today, will come back to haunt you again tomorrow, but with greater vigor!

So then, how do you let go of an attachment?   As I discussed earlier, you have to first see that you are attached.  If an attachment is weak, you may simply consciously intend to let it go and it will go away without much effort.  This is sadly a very rare occurrence.  In either case, your intention to let go of this attachment needs to be present and clear.  Then, every time the craving arises to engage in your attachment, remember your intention, and then STOP.  Don’t do anything, except bring your mindful awareness to the physical, emotional, and mental sensations related to the desire to engage with this habit/attachment.  Some people like to breathe air, compassion, love, or light into their attachment desires.  I simply sit with them.  If the desire becomes overwhelming, I may engage in a different unrelated activity to give myself a break from this intensity, and then return to deal with the strong desire after I have more strength and presence of mind.

Every time this desire for your attachment arises, bring patience and mindful awareness to the body-heart-mind.  Your mind will soon start to see how much pain and suffering this attachment is causing you, and will gradually start to loosen its grip.  With practice, space arises between you and your desire for this attachment, creating an energetic sense of distance.  Every time you engage in this practice, more space and distance will form between you and the attachment, until eventually there is so much space that you are no longer attached.   Hooray!

Warning – This process needs to come with a disclaimer, because our human ego-minds are so crafty at instantly creating new attachments.  You let go of one attachment, and it is immediately replaced by another.  An example of this was when years ago, I quit my daily diet coke attachment and instantly replaced it with an ice tea habit.  After breaking up with her partner, a friend of mine formed a new attachment to Facebook.  I am sure you have seen this pattern play out in your own life.

Look-out for those tricky little attachments!  When you let go of very gross attachments, you will find other more subtle ones waiting beneath the surface.   I will never forget the first time I discovered that I was attached to “not being attached”!

Oh, what fun!  After a while, I have found this whole process of seeing and letting go of attachments very amusing.   At the very least, I have developed compassion for how my ego-mind is constantly looking for ways to protect or shore itself up.  Slowly but surely through this mindfulness process, the ego-mind starts calming down and letting go of its grip on everything, leaving a a space filled with a sense of freedom and peace.

Enjoy Letting Go, Ronya Banks

I look forward to hearing any tips/tricks you use to support your “letting go of attachments” process.

Attached? To What?

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Human after all

Getting “attached” to our bodies, life, others, views, and possessions is as natural as breathing.  It is going to happen.  In my previous blog:  “Why Do We Get Attached?”, I posed several possible explanations for why we get attached, as well as the fact that being attached ultimately causes us a lot of grief, and propels us right out of the “flow”.

Since “attachment” is going to happen, it causes extra stress, and it constipates your flow, it is important to have a contemplative practice that provides two things:

  1. Awareness of your attachments, and how much stress these attachments are causing you, and
  2. Tools to loosen your grips on these attachments, albeit skillfully.

In this post, I will be focusing on #1 listed above – how to uncover your attachments.

Everywhere I go, I run into people who are white-knuckling it!  Holding on, clinging to their money, others, possessions, or life circumstances.  I have found myself white-knuckling many situations, and in a lot of ways, my practice has been more about determining what I am attached to and letting go, than about learning or acquiring intellectual knowledge.  Ultimately, anything I am holding onto will limit my spiritual progress, as well as limit my ability to be present during my life.  For anytime I am attached, my energy and attention is going to my attachment and not to this present moment!

There is a story in the Majjhima Nikaya (classical Buddhist text), wherein the Buddha used the analogy of a man on a long, important journey who came to a river that he had to traverse.  Unable to find transport across this river and using his wisdom, this man built a raft out of brush, wood, vines, and clay, etc.  He then used this raft to reach the other side.  The Buddha then asked if it would be wise for this man to continue to carry this heavy raft on foot for the rest of his journey?  The obvious answer is that the man had this fine tool that served him well when he needed it, but it would be wiser for him to leave it than to drag it through the remainder of his journey, because doing so would impede his progress.  So, a key point is to use your contemplative practice to clearly see the rafts you are dragging around, and leave them on the edge of the riverbank.

So, how do you find your attachments?   This may seem like an obvious inquiry, but not so!  There is a Buddhist saying that “attachments are endless”.  In my own practice, I am amazed at how I continue to uncover and see attachments I was previously downright blind to, as well as old ones that I thought were gone, which crop back up again.   Here are some key indicators that you can use for uncovering and clearly seeing pesky, sticky attachments.

  • Basically, every time you experience any prolonged internal stress, fear, anger, or contraction – BOOM!, you are attached!
  • If you have formed a strong, personal identity around any real or perceived “object”, you are attached.  For example, if I run around introducing myself as a “meditation teacher“, before anyone has even had the chance to ask me what I do, I am clearly attached to this identity.  I may also be attached to my meditation practice, related knowledge, as well as any attainments of wisdom I have developed.
  • If you tend to judge someone or a particular group of people or situations harshly, you are attached.  I have caught myself in the painful:  project – judge – blame – defend or attack loop, which is my ego’s attempt to avoid taking responsibility for my actions and attachments.  Once again, another whole post possible here.
  • If you are not seeing things clearly, as they actually are, you are attached.   Years ago, I had a good friend I saw as honest and reliable, who stole over $20,000 right under my nose, from one of my businesses.  In retrospect, I saw the many warning cues I had ignored, because I was attached to my “view” of him as solid, honest, and reliable.
  • If you have difficulty letting go of a clearly unhealthy, detrimental relationship with a person, object, job, or situation, you are attached.  I cannot tell you how many different people have told me that they were holding on to really unhealthy romantic relationships, out of fear of being alone.  There is clearly attachment and fear intermingled here.

In many ways, it is much easier to remain attached than it is to face the fears, beliefs, conditioning or baggage that are motivating your attachments.  But the cost of holding on to your attachments is “living an unhappy, unconscious life”!

If you want to spend more time in the creative life flow, you will want to begin uncovering and letting go of your attachments.

In my next blog, I will go over some of the strategies I use to let go of these attachments.

In the meantime, please let me know any tools you use to recognize and uncover your attachments.

In freedom & flow,

-Ronya

Why Do We Get Attached?

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When I get attached to something or someone, I hold on to it with all my might, fearful that if I let go, I will lose that which I so deeply cherish.  Unfortunately, since my hands are busy clutching that which I am attached to, they are not free to embrace all that life has yet to offer.  – Ronya Banks

Strings attached

In a previous blog, I talked about “letting go”.  I have discovered that uncovering and  understanding my attachments, has greatly enhanced my letting go process.

Bottom Line.   When I get attached to any person, place, thing, idea, or outcome, I am NOT going with the “Flow, and I ultimately cause more stress for myself and others.   So, why do we get attached, in the first place?  I will be exploring these why’s in this post.

Read the rest of this entry

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