Pair #101 Knock, Knock.  Who's There?
I am going to close this series of 101 New Pairs of Glasses with a parable, a thought and an offer to receive the compilation ebook of the series for free.

So here we go with Pair 101, and a wonderful story told by Ramana Maharshi:

Ten foolish men forded an stream.

On reaching the other shore they wanted to make sure that all of them had in fact safely crossed the stream.  So one of the ten began to count, but while counting left himself out.

"I see only nine; sure enough we have lost one! Who can it be?"

"Did you count correctly?" asked another and proceeding to do the counting himself.  But he too counted only nine.

One after the other, each of the ten counted only nine, missing himself.

"We are only nine," they agreed, "but who is the missing one?"  Every effort they made to discover the missing one failed and so they agreed, surely he had drowned. "Whoever be he who has drowned," said the most sentimental of the foolish ones, "we have lost him." And in so saying, burst into tears. 

The rest followed suit.

Seeing them weeping on the river bank, a sympathetic wayfarer inquired for the cause.  They related what had happened and said that even after counting several times they could find no more than nine. 

Seeing all the ten before him, the wayfarer guessed what had happened. 

Devising a way to make them know for themselves what had happened he placed them in a line and said, "I shall strike each of you so that you may be sure of being included in the count and included only once,  upon which you shall count sequentially 'one,' then 'two,' then 'three' and so on.  The tenth missing man will then be found."

Hearing this, they rejoiced and accepted the method suggested by the wayfarer.

While the kind wayfarer gave a blow to each of the men, he then counted himself aloud. "Ten," said the last man as he got his blow in turn.

Bewildered, they looked at one another. "We ARE ten," they said with one voice and thanked the wayfarer for having removed their grief."

That is the parable. And so it is for us.

We are unhappy and we begin to look for change. We look for a better and improved self. We look for an authentic self. We look and look and look.

I can identify with this story having spent many years now looking for some version of myself I hoped would be an improvement on the old model. More successful, wealthier, happier. I saw self-development as something that went forwards, onwards and -- if I was lucky /read enough / worked hard enough -- steadily upwards. Culminating in what?  A better me? An awakened me? The New Me.

There isn't a program out there to help that isn't promising some form of a new you.  What I've come to see is that the only reason I'm unhappy with the current me is that I've forgotten who I am.

I'll let Ramana Maharshi close this series of 101 Pairs of Glasses.  He just says it so well:

"You yourself impose limitations on your true nature of Infinite Being and then weep that you are but a finite creature...

I say know that you are really the infinite, pure Being, the Self Absolute. You are always that Self and nothing but that Self. Therefore, you can never be really ignorant of the Self. 

True Knowledge does not create a new Being for you; it only removes your 'ignorant ignorance.'  Bliss is not added to your nature; it is merely revealed as your true and natural state."

There is no journey to knowing yourself.  There is only looking in the wrong place or the right one.

My love and appreciation to all of you who have followed this series.

The series is being put into an ebook that will be available for free, very soon!  If you want a copy, let me know: elese@elesecoit.com

All quotes from The Spiritual Teachings of Ramana Maharshi, Foreward by C G Jung, Shambala Classics.

© 2011 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' on http://elesecoit.com"
Pair #86 To change is human
Working in the field of transformative change, and talking to people about change everyday, I was reflecting on the nature of 'change.'

Here's our common definition of change: Change is bad.   Unless what you have to change is really bad, and then Change is good.

This idea that change, in and of itself, is a negative thing can be easily seen all around us. You'll find it in your own head too... what is the first thing you say when someone says "I've lost my job"?

I'm not suggesting that my first response to that would be "oh, how wonderful!". But I do notice thatthe first response is almost never, "Is that a good thing or a bad thing for you?"

Don't you find that interesting?

That default definition, 'change is bad' just kicked in. And we have other ways of viewing change.

In another of our operating reactions to life, the purpose of change may not in itself be bad, but the purpose of change is to get rid of what is bad (about me, the world, what happens to me). That's very interesting too.

It assumes that we can always know what is good and what is bad, make a clear choice and then kick in the change mechanism.

Now, I'll be the first to say that
I am always operating out of what I judge to be good and bad. That's just human.
(Not doing the dishes the night before and waking up to a dirty kitchen has got to be bad. Right?)

OK, so, totally true in my world. But it doesn't mean that it is in yours.

I'm not suggesting that it's all good and there is no such thing as bad. But I do think it is possible to become more philosophical and to see that we live within a bigger context called life.

Not everything that ever happened to us that we judged as bad, turned out to kill us. In fact sometimes, years on, it not only didn't kill us, it strengthened us in some way.

Which doesn't mean everything is good no matter what, but it does mean that everything contributes to life in some way. 

Or, everything is part of life.

Or... life just is.

Maybe time delivers us a fresh perspective, or distance shows us new vantage points, or we simply wake up, have a change of heart, or let go. However it happens, change happens.

Isn't that the same thing as saying: things are not always what they seem?  or There is no good or bad but thinking makes it so?

Since I'm not content with platitudes, here is what I'm reflecting on... if we could accept the nature of life is change, rather than certainty, wouldn't that make everything easier?

We could remain judging creatures, but begin to consider change natural, normal and perhaps sometimes welcome.  It opens up the possibility of not having all the answers all the time - and being OK with that.

I am going to share a story that was sent to me in a longer version and that I passed on this week, in a completely bastardized and shortened version.  You'll probably recognize it...

Two Angels.

Two angels are walking the earth in human form and are taken in by a very poor farmer and his wife.

Now when angels come into form, their powers become more limited, and only experienced angels are empowered to intervene in cases of highest need and emergency.

Anyway, when they wake up in the morning the farmer's only cow has died. The farmer and wife are distraught that their only source of milk and some small income has gone forever. Not only that, they've given most of what they had in provisions to their two house guests. They are destitute.

The younger angel, whose miracle powers are strictly limited, says to the elder angel - "How did you let this happen? They sheltered us for the night and gave us everything even though they had so very little. Surely you should have intervened on their behalf. Now they have nothing!"

He becomes very discouraged and also angry at the cruel misjudgment of his teacher.

As they set off down the road, the more he considers this wrong decision not to intervene on the part of his mentor angel, the more upset he becomes.

Finally after a long period of walking together the gentle elder said, "Things are not always as they seem little angel," for he had been receiving the silent snarls with kindness and understanding.

"Last night another angel dropped by, " he said, "it was the angel of Death coming  for the wife," he paused, "I gave him the cow."

This week on the show:  GET OFF YOUR OWN BACK
Friday, April 8th at 10 am Pacific

To connect with the show live you can call in or join via Twitter @NewMindset or #ANewWay
Pair #85  What I'll do to feel good, and what feels good to do
The first quarter of this year has now passed.  I sit down and reflect.  I'll think about what I'm grateful for,   I'll take time out from 'busy' to visit and spend time with what is meaningful to me. (more about that here)

One of the mistakes I've made many times, is not taking the time to just have a fireside chat with the me I'd like to have show up in my life.  Lately, I have some questions...

What would the me who's not afraid like to do?

What would the me who knows she is safe like to try out?

What would the me who is pure enjoyment like to express?

So often, I've looked at my life from the point of view of what I assumed was possible, probable or within reason.  Or simply what would make me feel better.

Instead of looking for what wanted to come up from inside me and get out.

And I know exactly what, the more I look.  Or at least I know one thing.

I know how to tell the difference between what is my authentic desire and what I tend to do to try to alleviate my worries and concerns.

Genuine desire feels different.  It feels good.  And it feels good whether I think I can have what I desire and whether I consider that 'possible' or not.  

And that's way different from doing something in order to feel better.

One month ago I made a commitment to write a book.  I made a commitment that I've kept relatively quiet as I nurtured this very personal desire to do something that has more to do with expressing what's inside me then trying to 'be a writer' or write a book in order to not be disappointed with myself.

This is a totally different process.

I decided to write the most self honest account of a life ever written and to share my stories and my learnings so openly that anyone could draw their own insight and healing from them.

And here is the thing about a genuine desire. It came paired up with total commitment.

If you've ever tried to commit to something and failed (and I committed to this book many, many failed times!) then you know how gruff that experience is.

And I'm here to tell you it probably wasn't an authentic desire. 

The measure? How you feel about it. 

If you sit back to reflect on your progress at some point, and on what you feel committed to, see if you are able to discern the difference between

What I do because it feels good to me.

What I do to me to try to feel good.

Pair #79 Pick up a pen and listen
I wrote a letter to God

I did.  I sat down and wrote 'Dear God,' and then I kept going.

Funnily enough, it was incredibly soothing.  I was writing and as I did, just working out on paper some of my concerns and worries. As I did, things started to change, answers started to come to me and some insights flowed out on to the page.

It's interesting how writing longhand can take you just enough outside yourself.

It does a couple of other amazing things too. 

It slows you down. And when you slow down you start to get much clearer about the nature of the problem.

I could clearly hear all the thoughts that are running around up there in my head agitated and afraid - and how seriously I was taking them. 

Once something is down on paper in your lap, there is just no ignoring the ridiculousness of some of what we think: "so-and-so needs to do this"  or "this damn well better change" or "God, you are going to have to take over on this one!" 

A teeny tyrant that wants to run the world is talking, talking, talking... and has so much to say... not much of it helpful.

How the heck are we supposed to have good ideas, be creative, or do any kind of planning or problem solving with that mess going on?

If you keep up the flow long enough and ignore the desire to stop and wallow, or actually take the words seriously, something funny can happen.

Calm descends and things settle down. 

And then some wise or bright solution may drop in.  
or a light comes on.

And that's wonderful.

Now I'm not saying God descends with an answer.  In fact I have every reason from my own life to believe it does not work that way. 

But wisdom does come.  It comes from inside, or from wherever it feels like it comes from - the field, the present, the moment, the calmness, your brain. It doesn't matter. The fact is that it comes.

And it creeps up on you and blooms wherever you have enough space for it.  Like a blade of grass through concrete.

I realize it wouldn't matter who I address the letter to, it would have the same effect.

And funnily enough, I can see now that writing 'Dear God' is just another way of writing to myself.
Pair #57 Anyone round here seen my answers?
As I look around for guests for the radio show, I’m often thinking about what problems you, my friends and listeners are dealing with.  I like to think the shows might actually point to ways to solve the big problems any of us are facing right now.

Maybe that seems to suggest that someone will come along who has THE answer just for you...

and that would make me so happy!

I certainly do want you to find what you are looking for; and yet the bare truth seems to be that no one else has your answer. 

There really is no direct link between someone else’s wisdom or teachings and your problem.  Or let me put it this way, the real link between your problem and the answer is not someone else’s answer.  It’s you.  It's the way you rethink the issue yourself, based on whatever information comes your way.

That's how I think it works. 

I mean have you ever noticed that we often reject even very good ideas simply because haven’t come up with ourselves?  Even if we specifically asked for them?

How many times have you suggested something to a friend and then they happily ignored your great advice, only to have them chirp later that they had this ‘great idea’ (which sounded a lot like the one you gave them and they didn’t want!).

We really only want to hear our own answers and yet we are constantly looking for other people to answer our questions.  (Did we learn this in school or what?)

But let's face it, between the good ideas of others, and our day to day issues, all we can get is a good push in the right direction.  And most of the time we resent that too.  Maybe we were just made this way.  Maybe that's why we need to confront some of our problems over and over again, until we are ready to listen to our own advice.  Until we are ready to take what we've gathered, make it our own and just trust what we are hearing inside.

That means the best advice you'll ever get might be someone who says nothing, but offers space for you to hear yourself. 

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' on http://elesecoit.com"
Pair #43  When The Scales Fall
Much I as would rather hear positive thinking than negative, I’ll take my own feeble insights over inspirational sips from someone else’s fountain any day.

Maybe I should explain myself, for I realize that 'insight' could be defined in may ways.   I'm going to define insights as what happens in us when we have a moment of observation about the truth of our world and our experience: perhaps we notice what works and what doesn't for us, perhaps we notice the link between things, perhaps we have a AHA! of some sort based seeing something a new way - even if we’ve encountered it many times before.

Insights are personal, specific to us, and don't always (or maybe even ever) apply to other people. Although when shared they can have value for others, the main value of an insight is that it tends to reset the direction of our own inner compass.

And it happens in a wisp of a moment.  

Sometimes for me that feels like the moment I take a stand.  Other times I feel that as a sense of release or a feeling of "this, and not that." But it is always sweet clarity.

No matter whether we are talking to a friend or a coach, the moments that have the most meaning, are those when our own insights pop up in plain view.  Like a balloon we’ve tried to hold underwater.  

That’s why advice from others is so unnecessary and more often than not, unwelcome.   

The biggest disservice we can render anyone is to try to replace their wisdom with our own.

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' each day on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you.