Tag Archives: non-judging

A cause of guilt

I have been in the situation where somebody is experiencing guilt twice in the past week. I noticed in both situations, the guilt was caused by self-judgemental thinking. Because it wasn’t me who was experiencing guilt in the first situation, I will only write about the second situation in this article.

I have recently joined Kiva, a non-profit organisation with the aim of alleviating poverty via microfinancing. What it boils down to is that Kiva makes it possible for us to lend money to those in need1,2.

When you want to make a lend money via Kiva, you can browse through a list of people who want to borrow money. When I was browsing through this list a few days ago, I became aware of the fact that I can only support a handful of people without creating an unstable financial situation for myself; the consequence of this is that that I have to choose somebody from the list of borrowers to lend money to. Then I became very aware of the fact that if I choose to give money to one person, I am also choosing not to give it to any of the other people. I suddenly found myself with an enormous feeling of discomfort.

Because I was not being very aware, my thinking took over and I started to subtly condemn myself. I started thinking that I’m a bad person for choosing which person is more deserving to borrow my money and that I’m not wealthy enough to support everyone. Guilt started piling up in me and, luckily, that’s when I became aware of the absurdity of my thinking. I had become judgemental about myself.

I backtracked to my feeling of discomfort and I asked myself what unmet need of mine is at the root of it. The answer was that I simply want to live in a world where people aren’t in (absolutely unnecessary) poverty. Realising that my feeling of discomfort was an expression of care for others made it go away.

I was not satisfied with the discomfort going away. I needed to know why I went on a guilt trip. I came to the conclusion that I became judgemental of myself because I became very focused on what I was not able to do, and forgot all about (1) what I was able to do and (2) that there is no reason to have regrets when I have done what I can. This was actually the exact same type of thinking that I made somebody else aware of a day earlier!

We want to help others because it is our nature to do so. We feel wonderful when we are able to help others. At the same time it’s also our inherent in us that we are limited in what we can do at any given moment. This should not stop us from doing what we can up to our limits. It my experience that we will feel content when we have done what we can.

1: I want to give one reason why I feel comfortable with lending money to those in need, instead of donating it. When I say that I want to help somebody, my intention is to help that person to become independent. When somebody borrows money, he does so with the intention repaying his loan. In order to do that, the borrower needs a sustainable way of earning money; this is one aspect of being independent. I’m not concerned about being paid back.
2: Incidentally, consider using my Kiva invite page if you are interested in joining Kiva. By using this invitiation link, we will both have the opportunity to lend an additional $25, provided by a sponsor of Kiva, to any borrower of our choosing.

中文版本稍後提供。
Share

14/04/2013 – Beyond judgements 台南一日工作坊:超越批評

The insights that I have gained on the attitude of non-judgement have been among the most useful and practical to my personal development. That is the reason that here, on this blog, I have written a number of articles on this subject.

In the period that I have been writing these articles I have also been experimenting a lot with the ideas presented in them, and I have become confident that those ideas can serve as an important foundation of the personal philosophy of many people. That’s why I have been busy with trying to develop a one-day workshop around the subject of going beyond judgements.

On April 4th I will conduct this workshop for the very first time, in Tainan City, Taiwan. The feedback on this workshop will help me to further develop my ideas on how to conduct a workshop on this specific subject in the future.

Details on the April 4th workshop, such as costs, location and schedule can be found in Chinese via the following link: Beyond Judgements (April 4th, Chinese).

General details on the workshop can be found in English via the following link: Beyond Judgements (General, English).

對於非論斷態度的觀察,是對我個人成長而言最有用也最實際的收穫之一。那也是為什麼,在我的部落格裡,我寫了多篇有關這個主題的文章。

在發表網誌文章的期間裡,我也試著實驗文章裡提到的想法,我也感到越來越有信心,這些想法可以在許多人生命中建立個人哲學的重要基礎。這也就是為什麼我一直試著發展出以超越批評為主題的一日工作坊。

4月14日,我將在台南舉行第一次的超越批評一日工作坊。有關這次工作坊的意義與建議,將會進一步幫肋我發展出關於這個主題工作坊的更多想法。

有關這次工作坊的細節,如費用、地點以及課程表等中文資訊,可參考以下連結:Beyond Judgements (April 4th, Chinese)

相關英文資訊,請參考以下連結:Beyond Judgements (General, English)

Share

Where there is smoke, there is fire.

The chance that it’s gonna go wrong does not exist, because I wasn’t comparing it with right.
~ Ricardo Semler

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4 – This article

As some of you may know, a recent UK visa application by Elly was refused. This was a trying time for her and we are glad that her following application, in which she had invested a lot of time, has been approved yesterday.

The experience has been a blessing for us, because the refusal allowed us to see the support and love of our friends and family who have written many declarations for us in support of Elly’s UK visa application. It made me realise that in times of need, the blessing of our relationships becomes evident. This realisation helped us to experience the whole situation with a more relaxed and open attitude.

On one day however, I did feel very frustrated by the situation. The frustration was not stimulated by the refusal, as you might think. My frustration came about when I was contemplating the surprise that many of our friends and family members had been expressing to us. We have heard many statements of the following kind:

  • How come they keep the good guys out, and not the bad guys?
  • I can understand that they want to keep out the wrong kind of people, but why are they keeping you out?
  • You guys aren’t fortune-hunters. They need to be refused, not you.

I suddenly understood that it is exactly this type of thinking, that there are some people who deserve to enter a country and some people who don’t, that contributes to the situation that Elly found herself in. I felt frustration because I desired more understanding that this thinking, and not the UK border control, is the real cause of our situation.

When we accept the idea that some people are ‘right’ enough to enter a country, then there must also be people who are not. If we accept this idea, then we must also accept that there will be some people who think that we are among the ‘wrong’ people. We cannot think that this is unreasonable, because it is impossible to come to a universal agreement on who is ‘right’ and who is ‘wrong’, because ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are judgements and they are therefore not true.

I also started wondering why some of my European friends call non-western Europeans ‘fortune-hunters’ and at the same time never question what they have done themselves to ‘deserve’ to be born in an EU country. This thinking made me even more frustrated, because I clearly saw that my need for fairness for everyone is not being met in the world we are living in at the moment.

The frustration was a great messenger to me. When I saw that it was showing me my need for understanding and fairness, I welcomed it. When I welcomed it, it started to disappear.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4 – 本文

中文版本稍後提供。

Share

The truth about judgements 批評的真相

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 – This article
Part 4

I am a sweet tooth who absolutely loves chocolate. I have made a good friend here in Taiwan and it’s clear that it’s not our love for chocolate that brought us together; she absolutely hates it.

If you would ask the both of us to say something about chocolate, I might say “chocolate is delicious” and she might say “chocolate is disgusting“.

I have been asking people for their view on which of these statements is true. Up to this point I have only received the answers “both are true” and “both are neither true nor untrue“, neither of which is my answer.

I reject the answer that both are true because both statements are contradicting each other. The truth, in the highest sense, is not subject to personal point of view. In other words, if it is really the truth that chocolate is delicious, then it must be the case that that is the truth for everyone. That means that the statement chocolate is disgusting is automatically untrue.

I also reject the answer that both are neither true nor untrue, because that would mean that both statements contain no information in them at all. It would be the same as not expressing anything at all, but everyone seems to sense that at least something is being said.

My answer is that “both statements are untrue“. When I give that answer, some people have disagreed saying that both cannot be untrue, because at the very least both statements are personal truths. I agree that both statements are coming from some personal experience, but if you observe the statements chocolate is delicious and chocolate is disgusting, you will see that no personal experience is mentioned at all; the word “I” does not appear in any form in either statement.

I say that both statements are untrue because neither “being delicious” nor “being disgusting” are properties of chocolate. Chocolate is chocolate. It is more accurate to say that “experiencing delight” and “experiencing disgust” are possible experiences of somebody who eats the chocolate.

This is why I say that judgements are objectified subjective experiences; judgements are personal truths expressed as absolute truths.

So let’s say that we have understood the analysis above, and you would ask us again to say something about chocolate. I would say nothing about chocolate directly, but I would say “when I eat chocolate, I really enjoy the taste and she might say “When I eat chocolate, I really dislike the taste“.

I have also been asking people to let me know what they think of these two statements, and all have said so far that both statements are true. Contemplating this, I gained an insight that has helped me very much: When you judge, you lie. When you express your feelings, you don’t (lie).

This insight that judgements are lies has helped me to become more free from them, because we automatically let go of mental concepts when we understand them to be untrue. It has also helped me to gain an insight in what it means to express opinions, but I will leave that insight to another article.

I would like to conclude this article with an interesting observation for people who are familiar with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Yoga starts from love, because its first practice (ahimsa: non-violence) is love applied. Love means accepting all and rejecting none. Love is therefore free from judgements and since judgements are lies, the practice of ahimsa automatically leads to satya (truthfulness).

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 – 本文
Part 4

我是一個熱愛甜食的人,非常喜愛巧克力。我在台灣生活期間認識了一位好朋友,但並非因為我們對巧克力懷抱同樣的喜愛。我的朋友非常厭惡巧克力。

如果你問我們兩個人有關巧克力的事,我可能會回答: 「巧克力真好吃!」而她可能回答: 「巧克力真噁心!」“.

我問了許多人,這兩個說法,哪個才是真的。至目前為止,我聽到的答案包含:「兩個都是真的。」、「兩個都不是真的,也不是假的。」,但這都不是我的答案。

我拒絕「兩個都是真的」 這個答案,因為這兩個說法彼此矛盾。就最更高意義而言,真實是不能取決於個人觀點的,也就是說,如果c巧克力真好吃這個說法r確實是真的,那麼應該每個人都是這麼認為。這表示巧克力噁心的說法,自然而然地是不真實實的。

我也拒絕了「兩者不真也不假」的答案,因為那意謂著,這兩個說法並未含有任何資訊,就好比這些說法從來沒有表達任何事情一樣。但是我想每個人都可以察覺到,這些說法當中至少表達了某些事情。

我的回答是:「兩個說法都不是真的。」當我提出這個回答時,有些人不同意,因為他們認為不可能兩者都是假的,畢竟兩個說法都至少包含了某些個人真相。我同意這兩個說法都是來自於個人經驗,但如果我們進一步看這兩個說法:巧克力真好吃以及巧克力真心,你會現這些說法中並沒有提到任何個人經驗,這個字並沒有出現在任何一個說法中。

我之所以說這些說法都不是真的,是因為「好吃」以及「噁心」都不是巧克力的成分。巧克力就是巧克力,較準確的說法應該是說,「體驗到喜悅」或「體驗到噁心」,這都是在吃巧克力可能產生的體驗。

這就是為什麼我會說,評斷是 客觀化的主觀經驗;評斷是個人的真實但卻被表達為絕對的真實。

假設我們瞭解上述分析,你可以再請我和我的朋友說說巧克力。我不會說任何與巧克力直接相關的事,我會說:”「當我吃巧克力的時候,我真的很享受巧克力的滋味。」,而我的朋友則說:「當我吃巧克力時,我真的很不喜歡那個味道。」

我也問很多人他們對這兩個說法有什麼看法,至目前為止,大家都說這兩個說法都是真的。從這當中思考,我也因此獲得了我相當有幫助的洞見:當你評斷時,你在說謊。當你表達感受時,你不說謊。

批評是謊言的這項心得,使得我能夠從評斷當中解放,當我們瞭解這些批評並非真實的時候,我們就能夠放下它們。這也幫助我了解何為表達意見,但這個議題,就留待另一篇文章再行探討。

我希望能夠以一項觀察,做為本篇文章的結尾,特別是提供給熟知帕坦加利的《瑜珈經》的朋友:瑜珈由愛開始 ,因為該經典所列的第一項練習(非暴力),正是愛的實際運用。愛意謂著接受一切,毫不拒絕,因此愛是免於評斷的。而既然評斷是謊言,那麼非暴力的練習自然而然地導致誠實(truthfulness)。

Share

Leaving the fields of gold

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
~ Rumi

Part 1
Part 2 – This article
Part 3
Part 4

Love is the only reason that I have been writing about the attitude of non-judgement recently. Whenever I have left my judgemental thinking behind, I have only found love. And whenever I have interacted with people who left their judgemental thinking behind in that moment, I have only received love. Love makes what Wolfgang calls a meeting from soul to soul possible.

In the quote that starts this article, Rumi mentions a field that can be experienced when we go beyond thinking in terms of right and wrong. According to me, that field our home and the space inside of us where love dwells. Judging, thinking in terms of right and wrong, is the type of thinking that leads us out of that field.

You can verify this for yourself by observing how much love you find inside yourself for that something (or someone) you think to be wrong. You can intellectually understand why we do not find much love for ‘the wrong’, because there is an automatic rejection of that which we think to be wrong. With rejection comes division, whereas love is in unity.

There is very little we need to do to fall in love (again), but there is something we should not-do and that is judging. One important insight that I have had is that we need our inner strength to be free from judgements. To remain aware of our inner strength is therefore the key practice. We forget, and therefore do not use, our inner strength when we search outside ourselves that which is inside ourselves.

Here is one example of that. I once went out shopping with a married couple. Both partners are very sincere students of life and spirituality. It just so happened that the husband wanted to buy a lottery ticket on this day, and it was met with immediate disapproval of his wife. I asked her what was the matter and she replied:
“He’s been on the spiritual path for a long time and he’s still buying lottery tickets!”
She could see that I was very amused by her answer and she asked me why. I told her that I suddenly had this absurd image in my mind of an absent-minded God saying to her husband:
“You are not my son anymore because you have bought a lottery ticket! I will not enlighten you now!”
Luckily she also found this image quite amusing and I believe she has since then accepted her husband’s innocent distraction.

The point of the above story is that walking the spiritual path does not mean seeking anyone’s approval, not even (or especially not) God’s approval. Approval implies judgement.

Another way in which we forget our inner strength is when we do not accept our feelings. For example, I sometimes feel hurt when somebody says something to me in an angry tone. If I believe in such a moment that my pain is bad, then I will not listen to it and I will not understand that the pain is coming from within. That is the moment that I begin to resent, blame and/or judge the other; and I might get angry as well. If instead I see the pain as a signal that I was probably in need for some love or understanding, I can also see that in my moment of pain I was seeking that love and understanding in the other. That seeking in the other gives him power over my feelings. If he decides to act in a way that I like, I become happy because I am getting what I need. If he acts in a way that I do not like, I become sad or angry because I’m not getting what I need. The opportunity for me to become judgemental has arisen because I forgot my own strength.

In future articles I will share more of my personal philosophy of love. For now I want to end this article with one my favourite songs, Fields of Gold by Sting. Enjoy.

在壞事和好事的觀念之外,還有一個地方。
我在那裡等待你。
~ 魯米

Part 1
Part 2 – 本文
Part 3
Part 4

最近之所以持續討論非論斷的態度,其原因不外乎於愛。每當我放下批評式的思考,我總會找到愛。而當我和那些放下批評式思考的人們互動時,我總會接收愛。愛正是沃夫岡所說的靈魂與靈魂的相會 之所以可能的原因。

在這篇文章一開始引用的文句中,魯米提到一個在對與錯思考模式外的地方。對我而言,那個地方正是我們內心的愛所在的居所。評斷以及對與錯的思考,則是使我們遠離這個居所的思考方式。

若要驗證這一點,你可以觀察自己內心對於那些你視為錯的人或事,懷抱多少的愛。理智而言,你可以理解為何我們對於錯的事情不抱持愛,因為當我們認為某件事情是錯的時候,我們自動地對它產生抗拒。然而,愛卻是合一。

我們所需做的不多,就能夠(再次地)落入愛裡,但有一件事情我們不應當做,那正是評斷。我有一個很重要的發現,我們需要內在力量,以免於評斷。保持對內在力量的覺知,正是最關鍵的練習。一旦我們忘記,就不去運用我們的內在力量,反而向外尋找原來己經在我們內心的力量。.

以下有一個例子。有一次我和一對夫妻一起外出購物。這對夫妻都是靈性修行者。剛好那天,丈夫想要買一張樂透彩票,但他的妻子很快地提出反對。當我問這位妻子為何反對時,她說: 他都已經修行那麼長的時間了,竟然還要買樂透!

這位妻子看得出我對她的回答感到很有趣,因而問我為什麼。我對她說,我腦海裡突然浮現一幅荒謬的畫面,一個漫不經心的上帝對她的夫妻說:因為你買了樂透彩,你不再是我的子民了。我將不會使你開悟!

幸運地,這位妻子對這樣的畫面也感到好笑,我想她也自此接受丈夫一時無害的分心了。

這個故事的重點在於,走在靈修路上,並不意味著尋求任何人的認可,甚至是(尤其不是)上帝的認可。認可意謂著評斷。

另外一個我們忘記內在力量的方式是當我們不接受自己的感覺時。例如,當有人對我以生氣的口吻說話時,我有時候感到受傷。如果這個時候我認為自己的感覺是不好的,那麼我將不會傾聽這份感受,將不會理解從內心而來的痛苦。就在這個時候我開始感到不平、責怪或評斷他人,甚至也開始生起氣來。與其如此,若我能夠視這痛苦為一種訊號,代表著我們需要某種愛或理解,我也可以了解,在痛苦的時刻,我試圖由他人身上尋求愛和理解。這樣的尋求使得他人擁有支配我的感受的權力。如果他決定以我喜歡的方式行動,我就感到開心,因為我得到我需要的。如果對方表現不如我意,我就感到傷心,因為我沒有得到我的。使我變得更容易論斷他人的機會提高了,因為我忘記自己的內在力量。

在接下來的文章裡,我將會分享更多有我個人對愛的觀點。現在,在文章結尾,我和大家分享一首我最喜愛的歌曲之一:史汀的【黃金之地】(Fields of Gold)

Share

Traffic light reasoning 紅綠燈思考法

Part 1 – This article
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Dear friends,

Just yesterday one of my students rectification asked me one of the classical questions of spirituality. In this article I would like to share our dialogue about that question with you. The question usually goes something like this:

If we do not judge or condemn and instead accept life as it is, how then do we progress?


Me: You just used the word progress. Could you tell me what progress means to you?
Her: Progress to me means feeling happier.

Me: What I understand from what you say is that it is your opinion that it is good to feel happy and that it is bad to feel unhappy. That is not my opinion.
Her: Because life is a process and not a finished product?

Me: That is indeed a statement I have made, but I would like to make the meaning of this statement more clear to you.
You: OK.

Me: When we believe that feeling negative feelings is bad, we do not understand that life is actually communicating with us through our feelings.

If I would compare feelings to a traffic light, your statement would be equal to saying that it is good when the traffic light is green and bad when it is red. If it would really be the case that a green traffic light is good, it would be best if all traffic lights are green at all times. But I think it is easy to imagine that that situation would lead to chaos.

The truth is that neither the green nor the red light are good or bad. They are just signals used to communicate with us. When the traffic light is green it indicates to us that it is safe for us to continue our journey. When it is red it indicates to us that it is unsafe for us to continue. On the other hand, if we ignore the signals we are likely to create unpleasant situations for ourselves. Neither braking at a green light nor passing through a red light is safe.

It is much like this with our feelings. Positive feelings are an indication that we are ‘on the right path’, negative feelings indicate that we are not. Therefore negative feelings are not bad, they are our guides that help us to become aware of a situation, both within and without, that requires change.

The point is to accept everything, but that does not mean you should not change anything.


One thing that I would like to clarify further is the difference between pain and suffering. According to me pain is pain, while suffering is pain upon pain. If you ask me, pain is unavoidable but suffering is only due to our misunderstanding of a situation.

Pain upon pain means experiencing more negative feelings because we are experiencing negative feelings. If you would like a concrete example of this, I have talked about how I created pain upon pain for myself in one of my previous articles: Two wings to fly.

Part 1 – 本文
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

親愛的朋友:

昨天我的一位學生修正提出一個修行上很經典的問題。我希望透過這篇文章和大家分享這段對話。這個問題通常是這樣的:

如果我們不去加以論斷或譴責,只是接受人生的樣貌,我們要如何進步呢?


:你提到「進步」這個詞,可不可以告訴我,對你而言,進步的意義為何?
:對我而言,進步指的是感到更加快樂。
:從你的話中,我所理解的是,你認為感到快樂是好的,而感到不快樂是對的。但我並不這麼認為。
:因為人生是段過程而不是一件成品?
:我的意思的確是如此,但我想再把我的說法解釋得更清楚些。
:好

: 當我們相信負面情緒是不好的,我們並未理解,人生更透過我們的情緒,與我們溝通。

如果把情緒和紅綠燈做比較,你的說法可以等同於綠燈時是好的,紅燈是不好的。如果綠燈真的是好的,那麼最好隨時都是綠燈,但我們很容易想見,這樣一來會導致混亂。

事實上,不管紅燈或綠燈,都沒有好壞。它們只是被用來和我們溝通的訊號。當綠燈亮起時,那表示我們可以安全地繼續旅程,當紅燈亮起時,那表示繼續行走是不安全的。另一方面,如果我們忽略這些訊息,我們可能給自己造成不愉快的情況,就像在綠燈時煞車或者在闖紅燈都是不安全的。

我們的情緒和紅綠燈很相似。正面情緒表示我們「走在正確的路上」,而負面情緒則非如此。因此,負面情緒並非不好,它們指引我們,幫助我們意識到那些需要改變的內在或外在狀況。

重點在於接受一切,但那並不表示你不應該做任何改變。


我還想再進一步解釋一點,那就是疼痛和苦痛的區別。就我而言,疼痛僅是疼痛,而苦痛則是痛上加痛。我認為,疼痛是無可避免的,但苦痛卻是因為我們誤解自身所處狀況而引起。

痛上加痛的意思是,因為體驗負面感受,而經歷更多的負面情緒。如果你想知道更具體的例子,我在之前的一篇文章〈雙翅飛翔〉中,提到我如何給自己帶來痛上加痛的故事。

Share

No man ever steps in the same river twice 沒有人重複踏入同樣的河流

No man ever steps in the same river twice.
~ Heraclitus

It has now already been two months since completing my silence practice and I have been seeing many interesting developments in myself in this period. Not only has my attitude towards myself and others changed a lot, I am also understanding the philosophical principles behind this attitude change more deeply.

The biggest shift in my attitude has been that I accept myself and others far more completely than before. This shift comes from the fact that I understand that life is a process and not a finished product. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus expressed that principle in the quotation that you can find at the beginning of this article. Like the river, life is changing continuously. The old waters of the past have come and gone and new waters are continuously flowing in the river of life.

We often do not recognise this fact and then we start to think in absolutes. For example, when we feel pleasant around somebody’s behaviour, we tend to say “He is a lovely person”. This is what we usually call a compliment. When we feel unpleasant around somebody’s behaviour, we might say “She’s an idiot”. In both cases we have applied a label to a person that has an absolute nature; we feel conflicted when we feel unpleasant around the same person whom we called lovely before. We might say “You’re a horrible person. You have shown your true nature now!” All of the above statements only reflect that we have not really understood that the other person is like the river, always changing. All of the above statements are also not very informative, because nothing is revealed of the reasons why the statements were made in the first place.

When we believe in these uninformative absolutes, we can be easily led to negative experiences. I have been working with one of my ‘students’ rectification on his lack of confidence. When I asked him to give me an example of a scenario in which he lacks confidence, he mentioned job interviews. I asked him to role-play with me and the following conversation ensued:

Me: So… what reasons would you give me to hire you?
Him: Well… I’m quite good at such-and-such and I am really interested in it as well. I think that these skills are relevant to your line of business.
Me: I see! You are an expert at such-and-such then?
Him: Well… I wouldn’t say th
Me: Oh! If you are not an expert, why should I hire you?

The difficult point in this conversation lies in the word ‘expert’, a very uninformative absolute. It is absolutely not clear what capabilities the interviewer is asking for, how can such a question be answered? For the sake of not wanting to come across as an arrogant person, most people will say “I’m not an expert”. And I myself also do not feel very comfortable at calling myself an expert at something. So I proposed to my student the following:

Me: I see! You are an expert at such-and-such then?
Him: Well… I know quite well what my qualities and capabilities are, but I am not so clear on the qualities and capabilities you want somebody to have before you call him an expert. Could you tell me what they are, because then I can tell you if I have them or not.

With an answer of that nature, you refuse to play the judgement game. Instead you remain aware of the subjective nature of the ‘expert’ label. Then there is no reason to feel insecure because you can remain free from the judgements. I am not saying that you will have the qualities and capabilities you need to get the job, but at least that will be determined in a more fair way.

I have more examples of conversations like this. If you are interested in them, you can let me know in the comments and I’ll try to post a few more.

沒有人重複踏入同樣的河流。
~ 赫拉克立特

距離我最近一次的守靜練習已經有兩個月時間,在此期間,我在自己身上看到許多有趣的發展。我不但改變對自己的態度,也更加深入地了解這些改變背後的哲理。

最大的改變在於我更能夠全然地接受自己和他人。這項改變來自於一個體會,也就是生命是不斷的進程,而非一件成品。在文章開頭引用的希臘哲人赫拉克立特的名句,就表達這樣的原則。生命像河流一般,不斷地變化。過去的河水來了又去,而新的河水持續地在生命的河裡流動。

我們常未能認清這個事實,而開始想著生命的絕對。例如,當我們覺得某人的行為讓我們感到愉快,我們常會說:「他真是個好人。」我們常認為這是種讚美。當我們覺得某人的行為使人感到不快時,我們可能會說:「她是個笨蛋。」在這兩個例子中,我們都賦予他人一個絕對的標籤;當原先使我們感到愉悅的人做出讓人不快的事時,我們內心感到矛盾,我們可能會說:「你是個糟糕的人,終於露出廬山真面目了!」這些敍述都顯現我們並未真正理解到,這個人就像河流般不斷地改變。我們對這個人的描述,並未提供任何有用的資訊,因為我們並沒有提出這些描述的原由。

當我們相信這些毫無資訊價值的絕對說法時,我們很容易被導入負面情緒。最近我幫助一個學生修正面對缺乏自信的問題。我請他提供一個他感到缺乏自信的情境的時候,他提到了工作面試,所以我邀請他進行一段角色扮演,而有以下的對話:

: 好,有什麼理由讓我雇用你?
: 嗯,我很擅長這個和那個,而且我也對這些感到很有興趣。我想這些技巧對您的企業而言相當重要。
: 好,所以,你是這個和那個的專家
: 嗯,我不會這麼說
: 喔?如果你不是專家,我為什麼要雇用你?

這段對話的困難處在於「專家」這個詞,這是個不具資訊價值的絕對用語。面試考官所要求的能力是什麼,完全讓人摸不著頭緒,那麼這樣的問題又怎麼能夠被回答呢?大部分人為了避免表現出傲慢的態度,就說:「我不是專家」我對於稱自己為專家,感到不太自在,所以我建議我的學生這麼回答:

: 好,所以,你是這個和那個的專家?
: :嗯,我很清楚自己的特質和能力,但我不太清楚,你希望在某個人身上找到什麼樣的特質和能力要求,才會稱這個人為專家。可不可以請你告訴我,那麼我就可以回答我是否擁有這些特質和能力。

透過這樣的回答,你拒絕加入論斷的遊戲,反而保持一份覺知:「專家」這個標籤是主觀的。這麼一來,你毋須感到缺乏不安,因為你可以免於陷入論斷之中。我並不是說你一定具備這個工作所需的特質和能力,但至少這個結果可以透過較公平的方式來決定。

我還有其他類似的例子,如果你有興趣的話,請告訴我,我會試著再多分享這樣的對話。

Share

Two wings to fly. 雙翅飛翔

God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.
~ Rumi

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 – This article

Last year after my silence practice, I felt like I had never felt before. My meditations were deep and powerful, my mind was calm, my energy level was high and my love for others was intense. I only had positive things to say about my practice. People were surprised when I told them that this year I experienced almost three weeks of intense mental suffering. I would like to share with you what I learned from that suffering and I hope it helps you in your meditation practices.

The two main causes of my suffering were self-condemnation and expectation. Let me try to explain how self-condemnation affected me first. One of the interesting things that I have observed in myself since beginning the practice of yoga, is a very strong idea that I need to improve myself, that I need to become perfect, so that I can experience ‘samadhi’, ‘enlightenment’ or some other over-my-head kind of thing. I do not know if that idea was there before I learned about spirituality or if the practice of yoga gave that idea a chance to manifest itself, but that is actually not so important.

What is important is that this idea of having to improve myself is based on another idea: “I am not good enough”. This idea is one of the most dangerous things I have encountered in my life. The moment that I started accepting this idea, I stopped accepting myself. Not accepting yourself is fundamentally unyogic; the first practice of yoga is the practice of ahimsa (non-violence). Practicing ahimsa means practicing love. Love means accepting all and rejecting none, that means accepting yourself as well as others.

Why does the practice of yoga begin with accepting all and rejecting none? One reason is that meditation that starts from “I am not good enough”, turns into a frantic experience of trying to become something, trying to achieve something and trying to do something. But meditation only happens when effort slowly stops and a calm, relaxed, concentrated, peaceful and joyous awareness remains. The only thing that you become when meditating from the “I am not good enough” idea is depressed and/or frustrated!

That depression and frustration is exactly what I experienced this year. And I experienced it very intensely. Even though I had already let go of a lot of my self-condemnation, that which is still present in me came forward in a very strong way.

There are two reasons that I was able to learn from my self-condemnation. One reason is that by experiencing the madness of trying to achieve something for a long period of time, I began to understand the uselessness of it. Another reason is that, whenever it was needed, Wolfgang reminded me to stop with condemning myself.

Some self-condemnation still comes up in me every now and then, but now it does not influence me as it did before. I do not know if a tidal wave of self-condemnation will rise in my mind on another occassion, but I also do not fear it.

The second cause of my suffering was my expectation. A great teacher of meditation once said that he has observed something very interesting in almost every practicioner of meditation. The first time a newcomer meditates, he has a wonderful experience, the second time he meditates, he has wonderful expectations. The point is that meditation is great the first time because there is no expectation, and the second time it is not because of expectation.

Even though I knew all of this, it still happened to me. Last year I had a wonderful experience and I expected it to be like that again this year. It was in fact worse, I was expecting it to be better! And in this way I created an experience of frustration for myself. I was not getting what I expected (and desired), so I got frustrated.

The most interesting part is that I was realising that expectation is causing problems for me, so I tried to let go of my expectation with the expectation that my meditation will improve! It shouldn’t be hard to imagine how my attempts only blew up in my face because of this.

As with the self-condemnation, I began to understand the uselessness of my expectations better by experiencing the fruits of my expectations intensely. And again, Wolfgang was there to help and remind me of the suffering I was creating for myself.

What’s more, I misunderstood my suffering as me having some sort of defect (more self-condemnation), because I thought that meditation should make me feel wonderful (expectation). A few days before my practice came to an end, I was free of this vicious circle because I realised that everything I was going through is simply a part of my development and learning process. The realisation came from that wonderful Rumi quote that you can find at the beginning of this post, I’d like to invite you to reread it. When I experienced freedom from this vicious circle, I understood the importance of mental freedom, the subject of my previous post.

With this I’d like to end the sharing of the lessons learned from silence this year. Do let me know if it the posts on my silence practice are helpful to you in any way!

上帝將你由一種感受帶往另一種感受,透過彼此相對的感受,祂教導你,使你擁有雙翅飛翔
~ 魯米

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 – 本文

在去年守靜練習後,我有一種前所未有的感受。我的靜坐既深沈又強烈,我的心靈平靜,能量高漲,而且充滿對他人的愛。當時對於我的守靜練習,我只想得出正面評價。因此,當我告訴別人,今年的守靜練習中,幾乎整整三個星期的時間,我飽受心靈折磨,他們總感到驚訝。我想和大家分享我從這些掙扎中所學到的,而且我希望這對你的靜坐練習有所幫助。

我的痛苦,最主要來自於自責與期待。讓我先解釋自責是如何影響我。從我開始練習瑜珈起,我觀察到一件有趣的事就是,在我心中有一個很強烈的想法,認為我應該要改進自己,變得完美,才能體驗「三摩地」、「開悟」或者一些非常高深的事情。我不知道這些想法是否在我開始靈修前就已經存在了,或者是因為瑜珈練習才使得這些想法浮現,但這其實並不重要。

重要的是,這個必須改進自己的想法,是建立在另一個想法之下-「我不夠好」。這是我人生所經歷最危險的事情之一。我不再接受自己。而不接受自己,根本而言是非常不「瑜珈」的:瑜珈的第一個練習,即是非暴力(Ahimsa)的練習。練習非暴力,即意謂著練習愛。愛意謂著接受一切,什麼也不拒絕,也就是接受自己和他人。

為什麼瑜珈練習由接受一切,什麼也不拒絕開始?一個原因是因為,以「我不夠好」想法為基礎的靜坐,會漸漸轉化為試圖成為什麼人、試圖達到什麼成果、試圖做些什麼事的瘋狂想法。但是,只有當你漸漸停下所有刻意的付出,而平靜、放鬆、專注、平和且喜悅的覺知浮現時,靜坐才會出現。當你帶著「我不夠好」的想法靜坐時,你只會變得憂鬱且沮喪。

這份憂鬱和沮喪正是我今年所經歷的、非常強烈的感受。雖然在那之前,我已經放下許多的自責,但那些仍存留在我心中的自責感,依然強烈地浮現。

我之所能夠從自責中學習,有兩個原因。其一,由於經歷過試著達成某件事的瘋狂狀態,我開始了解這有多麼沒有意義。另一個原因是,無論何時,只要我需要, Wolfgang(沃夫岡)總會提醒我,要我停止自責。

現在,我偶爾還是會出現自責的情緒,但它不再像過去一般影響我了。我不知道自責的巨浪是否會在某個時刻再度襲捲我,但我並不害怕。

我之所以掙扎痛苦的第二個原因,來自我的期待。有一個偉大的靜坐導師曾說,他從每個練習靜坐的人身上觀察到一件事:當一個新手第一次嘗試靜坐時,他經歷過美好旳體驗,而第二次的靜坐,他則抱著美好的期待。重點在於,第一次靜坐之所以美好,是因為沒有期待,而第二次之所以不再美好,是因為有所期待。

雖然這些我都知道,但我還是經歷同樣的問題。去年我有美好的經驗,於是我期待今年也會如此。其實今年的經歷是很糟糕的,我卻還期待會有更美好的體驗!因為沒有獲得我所期待(渴望)的,我因而感到受挫。

最有趣的事情是,由於意識到我的期待為我帶來問題,我試圖放下期待,盼望著靜坐會因此好轉。不難想像,正因為這樣的期望,我的嘗試完完全全地失敗了。

透過體會期待所帶來的後果,我開始理解到,期待和自責一樣都是沒有用的。再一次地,Wolfgang(沃夫岡)向我伸出手,他提醒我,這些痛苦都是我自找的。

更重要的是,我將自己的痛苦誤解為一種個人缺陷(更多的自責),是因為我以為靜坐應當使我變感到美好(期待)。就在今年守靜練習結束前幾天,我意識到,我所經歷的一切都只是成長和學習過程的一部分。這份體會來自於在文章一開始的魯米名言。我希望大家可以回頭再讀一次開頭的引言。當我從自責與期待的惡性循環中體會自由時,我了解到心靈自由的重要性,而心靈的自由,正是我上一篇文章的主題。

有關今年守靜的經驗分享在此結束。如果這些分享對你有任何的幫助,請留言告訴我吧!

Share

Sing like the birds sing. 如鳥兒般歌唱

I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.
~ Rumi

Part 1
Part 2 – This article
Part 3

Dear friends,

Now I have the time to complete the sharing of the lessons learned during my silence practice this year. What I want to share on the blog here is a bit too much to share in one post, so there will be one follow-up post to this one.

The most important thing that I learned in my practice this year, is the importance of remaining mentally free. When I use the term ‘mentally free’, I do not mean something over-your-head. I mean being free from ideas of how life should be and accepting life as it presents itself to you, by remaining free from judgements and expectations. Allow me to illustrate this concept in this post, and explain how I learned about it in the next post.

I have observed that many yoga teachers and students have a very strong idea that yoga, and especially meditation, should be practiced seated on the floor in a cross-legged posture. Some will even go so far as to say that using a chair for meditation is not yoga and that it is wrong! This leads to two kinds of unnecessary suffering:

  1. Physical suffering. In our current times, we are not used to sitting on the ground and we also do not have a lot of physical exercise. The body is then not prepared to sit on the floor, and especially not for a prolonged period of time. When an unprepared body is suddenly made to assume a cross-legged posture, the body will hurt like crazy! Moreover, meditation will simply not happen when the body is suffering without reason.
  2. Mental suffering: First of all, a student will practice a cross-legged posture under the duress of his or his teacher’s idea of what yoga is. Practicing under duress disturbs meditation in a many ways, some of which are hard to notice. Secondly, since the student is not able to practice according to that idea in a comfortable way, he will slowly start to think he is a bad student. I will explain the problems of self-condemnation from my personal experience in the next post.

Being mentally free in the example I just gave means letting go of the idea that meditation should be practiced seated on the floor. Learning to sit on the ground is not essential for meditation. I do not mean to say that meditation on the floor does not have certain benefits, but the choice to learn to sit on the ground should be made

  • freely, willfully and joyfully;
  • free from self-judgements and expectations;
  • when the circumstances allow for it.

My experience is that this kind of mental freedom makes the experience of life wonderful. It does require the courage to let go of all external support, becoming self-reliant and claiming responsibility for how you feel and this is not always easy.

我想如鳥兒般歌唱,不論是誰聽見我的歌聲或他們如何作想,我皆無所憂。
~ 魯米

Part 1
Part 2 – 本文
Part 3

親愛的朋友:

現在我終於可以完成今年守靜練習的經驗分享。因為有太多話想說,所以我將這些想法分篇敍述。

我在今年的練習中學到最重要的事,是保持心靈自由的重要性。我所謂的心靈自由,並非指一些不切實際的念頭。我所指的是放下人生應該如何如何的想法,接受生命在你眼前呈現的面貌,免於評論和期待。在這篇文章裡,我會就此說明,接著在下篇文章裡解釋我如何學習到這點。

我發現很多瑜珈老師和學生都有個很強烈的想法:他們認為瑜珈,尤其是靜坐,應當是盤腿坐在地上練習。有些人甚至會說,椅子上的練習並非瑜珈、是錯誤的。這導致兩種不必要的痛苦:

  1. 身體折磨:在我們的時代裡,我們並不習慣於坐在地上,也沒有太多的運動。我們的身體於是尚未準備好坐在地板上,尤其無法坐上一段較長的時間。當一個沒有準備好的身體突然間被迫成盤腿坐姿時,我們的身體會痛疼得不得了!再者,當身體這樣無來由地痛苦時,我們是無法進入靜坐狀態的。
  2. 心理折磨:首先,在老師或本身對於瑜珈的概念的壓力之下,一個學生會以盤坐的姿勢練習。然而,在受迫的狀況下練習,在很多方面而言,都會干擾靜坐,有些甚至難以察覺。第二,因為學生無法根據自己對瑜珈的想法而舒服地練習,他會漸漸地認為自己是個壞學生。在下一篇文章中,我會從自己的經驗裡,分享有關自責的問題。

在我所提出的例子中,心靈自由意謂著「放下靜坐應當是坐在地上練習」的想法。學習坐在地板上,對靜坐而言並非必需。我並不是說,坐在地板上靜坐不具特殊益處,但是我們應當可以選擇是否要學習坐在地板上靜坐。我們做出這個選擇時,是:

  • 抱持自由、自願、喜樂的態度;
  • 不帶任何評斷和期待;
  • 在情況允許之下.

我自己的經驗是,這樣的心靈自由使得人生變得美妙。但它的確需要我們擁有放下外在支持的勇氣,變得獨立、為自己的感覺負起責任,而這並不總是容易。

Share