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REMINDING MYSELF!

“Because I need to be reminded, I remind others.”


VERSION 6.0 © BILL REED (DECEMBER 2009, based upon previously copyrighted material)

This is a work of personal healing, but it is also offered as a work of transmission; I dedic-
ate these words, with love, all that follows to any who find them useful. May it help you
create some peace in your life and the lives of others!
Imagine a world, a community, where people looked after each other by offering gentle
reminders anytime someone's thoughts or actions took an unproductive path, and – this
is the most unbelievable part – those reminders were not seen as an attack upon the self,
but trusted as an action of Love. I dare to dream of this world and I ask you join with me,
making this a collective Dream, bringing it into reality!
These reminders are updated, from time to time, as I remember what it is that I need to
remind myself of.

1. “Wherever you go, there you are.” People say “The grass is always greener on
the other side of the fence,” ironically, when someone has made a change in
their lives, a change that didn't solve the problem. As someone else put it
“Wherever you go, there you are.” If the root of your problems are inside
yourself, then no amount of moving is going to solve them. Stop running
away from your problems and do what you can to bravely face them instead.
Sometimes the grass is the exactly the same on the other side of the fence.

2. “Drop the Nut!” Have you heard of South Indian monkey traps – a coconut
shell punctured by three holes? Two of the holes are smaller, with a rope knot-
ted through them the other end of which is tied to a tree. The third hole is lar-
ger, just large enough so that the money's hand fits through when not in a fist.
Inside the coconut is a tantalizingly delicious nut. The monkey becomes
trapped because he grasps the nut of he desire, and for no other reason. We,
like the monkey, trap ourselves by the grasping of our minds, grasping at the
“nut” of our desires, but freedom is as simple as letting go. Drop the Nut – re-
membering that pushing something away is, paradoxically, grasping at its ab-
sence!

3. “Neither to cling, nor to push away, instead to accept.” Frustration is not ac-
cepting the world as it is; it is the desire to change the world to fit our expecta-

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tions. The way out is to neither cling to our desires, nor push away the un-
desired, but simply to accept whatever is given to us. This is Buddhism in a nut
shell. On those days when you can't accept, practice by accepting your nonac-
ceptance; remember, some days will easier than others, so be patient with your-
self.

4. “It doesn't have to make sense.” For thousands of years philosophers have end-
lessly worried the problem of the meaning of life to death, trying to find some
“definitive solution.” How much endless argument could have been stopped
had these philosophers stopped thinking and realized that “it doesn't have
make sense” and had gone home to bed to sleep it off !

5. “Your control of the world ends with your fingertips.“ You can't change anoth-
er person unless they are willing, open to change, and take the steps to change
themselves. Therefore, the only thing you have absolute control of are your
thoughts and actions – in other words your responsibility for the world ends
with your finger tips.

6. “Communication is plural.” Modern forms of pseudo-communication (E-mail,


Text messages, anonymous web-sites, etc.) have misrepresented serial mono-
logues as “communication.” Missing from these modern forms of pseudo-
communication – including phone calls – is the emotional human part of the
interaction, encouraging emotional insincerity when used to convey anything
more important than the weather. True communication happens when all
parties are truly and fully present to the other, allowing all misunderstandings
to be immediately corrected. The alienation we feel around us everyday is a
symptom of the lack of true communication in Modern Society and only WE
can cure it by rembering that “Communication is plural.”

7. “Write a new song.” How like songs are arguments? Each time, The lyrics are
different, but in reality it's the same old tune. By changing our song, we dis-
courage the other person to join us in, together, improvising a new tune. Be
persistent, as the other person may persist in the old, familiar, tune, and you
will be tempted fall into counterpoint. One of our few opportunities we have in
this life to change others comes when we “write a new song!”

8. “Rewrite the story!” We think we know the story and react accordingly. The
hurt we feel is because of a story we have written, but then forgotten that we
are the author; it is always within our power to write another story, one that
doesn't hurt. Nor, does it matter if our new story is true, anymore than it

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mattered if the old story was true. The power is yours; forgiving others, is help-
ing yourself.

9. “The only power words have, is the power we give them.” Words sometimes
hurt, but they have no power in themselves, they are just meaningless sounds.
The only meaning these sounds have is the power of our interpretations and
misinterpretations; the power of these words is really ours. It is especially in our
power to ignore words that do not add to the real meaning, the purpose, of the
conversation and are added to cause a reaction; they are a trap which we fool-
ishly fall into because we have allowed ourselves to. It is the meaning we give
words, our understanding, that has the power to hurt us; their power is a stolen,
a surrendered, power.

10. “What does it matter what other people say about you, unless you secretly
agree with them?“ People can anger us by making assumptions about us. Often,
this hurt is because of our secret shame, agreement with their hurtful words.
(When was the last time you got angry at someone whose opinion didn't mat-
ter?) Most anger is anger at ourselves. The issues that we need to work on are
our issues with ourselves; leave them out of the story, staying away from them
if we must.

11. “Tear up the Laundry list.” How many times have we argued with someone and
as the argument preceded we pull out this “laundry list” of complaints from
every other unresolved argument we have ever had with them? Each argument
should be treated as what it is, unique, and we should not cloud that unique is-
sue with the fossils of old issues. As an exercise you could sit down together
and physically write your “laundry Lists” and then tear them up.

12. “Don't chew your cud!” When cows eat grass they chew it the first time, regur-
gitate it to chew it again. and so on ... because of this “ruminant” behavior they
are classed as ruminants; Colloquially, it is said that they chew their “cud.” How
similar this is to what we do with our worst thoughts; we worry them, let them
settle, bring them up again to worry about them some more, and so on. By
analogy, this is called “ruminating,” but it could just as well be called “chewing
your cud.” Don't chew your cud, you'll thank yourself later!

13. “Focus Forward.” We spend endless time worrying about the happenings of the
past, when we should be focusing on changing the future. and not on the un-
changeable happenings; hindsight can be trap when overused. This takes con-
stant vigilance on our part and we may find ourselves constantly backsliding.

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14. “Put one foot in front of the other.” Some Mornings it's hard enough to get
out of bed in the morning, let alone contemplate whatever else it is that needs
to be done. If your to-do list is too daunting and you grind to a halt just
thinking of it, concentrate the next thing you have to do and do it. If
something is seems so large that the thought of doing it makes you queasy,
break it up into smaller steps, focus on the first step and do it. Lao Tzu said that
“A journey of thousand miles begins from the first step;” just put one foot in
front of the other, again and again until your done.

15. “Some days, it will be just one damn thing after another.” And, that's OK.
We've all had those days (weeks, months, etc.), days when the only luck we
seem to have is bad luck, times when we are sure that the Universe is out to get
us – everyone thinks this sometimes, if they think at all. The trouble is that we
are more apt to remember those times then we are the times when life just sails
along smoothly without the need of our attention. If the Universe was out to
get us, then there our periods of bad days would not scattered in amongst the
background of good days that we fail to notice.

16. “Count your blessings!” Because the good things that happen to us do not
loudly call attention to themselves, it is human nature to notice only those
things that scream to us through our pain, the bad things. When times are bad,
set away a time everyday to remind yourself of the good things that are hap-
pening. It may be hard at first, but this becomes easier with practice, persevere.

17. “All our choices are entangled in the lives of others.” Your choices effect other
people and this is regardless of your intent. Sometimes, when our actions bad
for another, absolve ourselves, saying “But, I didn't mean for that to happen,”
but this the stuck in the mess that we unintentionally made. The only way to
fix this is to take true responsibility for our error, and show our willingness to
do hwat we can to make amends. This willingness may require that we take
some action beyond a sincere apology but it is exactly what we would expect of
them if the the situation were reversed.

18. “Learn to step outside yourself!” Instead of sitting around needlessly “chewing
your cud,” do something to help someone else. It is harder to feel bad about
yourself when you are feeling useful by helping someone else with their prob-
lems. That person will appreciate the help and you will get a needed break from
your worries; it is a win-win situation. Who knows, they just might return the
favor.

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19. “Caring is a hands on activity.” Too often we think that we are helping
someone when we tell them that we “care” or that our “prayers are with them,”
and then we step away in pride, thinking that we have proven ourselves to be a
“caring.” But, we have left that person's life in much the same state as before,
richer for only a few empty words. Perhaps, we don't even go that far; we tell
ourselves that we have donated to charities, we have paid our taxes; let them do
our caring for us. True caring can be as simple as asking someone out for a leis-
urely cup of coffee, giving them a chance to take a vacation from their cares. It
is immediate actions that matter and not words or future promises; it is the
gestures of a common humanity.

20.“Don't lend, give – but only give what you don't need (be honest with your -
self)!” How many times have we lent a friend some money, only to have it ruin
the friendship when they did not pay it back? How much easier it is to offer
them the money, or anything else, as a gift and if they do pay it back, bask in
the pleasure of their gift to you. If you can't afford the gift then honestly ex-
plain that to them.

21. “Normal is a setting on a washer.” We all feel pressured to fit in and for what?
The definition of normal has been made before hand; it has not been made up
“for us,” but instead has been made up “against us.” Isn't it less stressful to make
up who we are on our own and not accept our preassigned role? (Personally, I
think that “normal is boring.) When you're are doing your laundry it's OK to
worry whether your clothing is “normal,” “permanent press” or “white” … but
your life is not a a load of laundry. Normal is a setting on a washer, not an ap-
praisal of your life.

22.“Forgive yourself!” It says in the bible that we are to forgive anyone who comes
to us sincerely asking for forgiveness. In my opinion this makes perfect sense
only because the real healing comes from we forgiving ourselves. Face it, our
life goes on, or should, in much the same way whether we are given an apology
or not. By accepting another's sincere apology we are giving them permission
to forgive themselves for something that was probably not intended to hurt us;
we are allowing them to heal themselves.

23. “Break the Mirror.” We see other people as if we are looking through a mirror.
What possibly annoy us more than someone with the our, same or similar,
embarrassing flaws? To admit this, is to admit that we are just as imperfect. For-
give yourself first and then break the mirror and look beyond it to the authen-

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tic person for the first time.

24. “You get what you give.” People react to you in the same way that you react to
them. If you speak to somebody in an angry manner, then their response will
be angry. Some one once said you attract more bees with honey then you do
with vinegar; in other words, you get what you give!

25. “Hold a Baby!” Have you ever felt a baby snuggling in you arms, giving you
implicit trust? Doesn't that make you feel good? Isn't it harder at those times to
worry about your troubles. I call this baby therapy. If you don't have a baby,
borrow someone else's, you won't regret it. (How much better would the
world be if we could follow the Way of a Baby, not worrying about being nor-
mal and not grasping anything beyond its moment, approaching the world as
the baby does, with honesty and acceptance – I almost want to say “with faith,
hope and charity?”)

26. “Smile!” It is a funny thing ... but when you smile, even when you don't feel
like it, the brains says "I'm smiling, so I must be happy" ... in other words: "fake
it 'til you make it."

27. Throw in some Chaos. Okay, this one may be a personal quirk, but I find that
when I am getting stressed out it helps if I add some humorous chaos in the
mix and watch my stress dissolve as the others either laugh, if they have a sense
of humor, or quickly set about setting the chaos straight. (This should be used
carefully, with humor and not with maliciousness or the results can be cata-
strophic!)

28. “Use Jedi Mind Tricks.” When helping others, you must often be a Jedi Master,
resorting to Mind Judo, saying everything but your point, while leading them
to that point. If at anytime the other party thinks they are being attacked, then
the real opportunity to help them is over. A sense of humor can help, as humor
has the ability to gently move someone from their habitual patterns of
thought, sneaking stealthily through their defenses, so as to safely deliver the
message.

29. “We are here to remind each other.” This is the real reminder, we can complain
about the state of the world, and do nothing, or everyday we can find the
courage to do those little things that will improve it for ourselves and others.
Honestly, we must admit that this is a dream in this world, a world where
everyone is blinded by the illusion of our own self-interest because, we suspect,

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everyone else is just as blinded. We say “it is a dream,” but, if not for our blind-
ness, it could be a dream brought into our reality one real moment at a time.
Some call this dream the “Kingdom of God.” Like all dreams, it requires our
constant action and vigilance; no dream, even the “Kingdom of God,” happens
of itself. We need to remind each other of that.

Imagine a world, a community, where people looked after each other, a community
where if you observed someone “Chewing their Cud” you would tell them so with em-
pathy, and without judgment, and have them trust that your purpose was to relieve the
hurts of their soul. Imagine that in the same world, someone, seeing you “Holding onto
the nut” could with empathy, and without judgment, tell you so and have you trust that
their purpose was to relieve hurts of your soul.

Dare, with me, to imagine this world into reality!

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