Learning How to Let Go of Your Life

This title might sound suicidal, but this is not my intention. When you look at your life as the consciousness that keeps you alive and allows you to be more active, letting go of your life is freeing your consciousness. You are freeing it from your thoughts and conditioning. This allows you to be conscious of powerful inner resources and develop a deep spiritual connection. This goes against the way most people live their life.

We have been conditioned to be very conscious of the way we think. Our conditioning is so strong that our consciousness is trapped in our thinking mind. Basically, this is another way of defining attachments. When your consciousness is connected to a thought, you are unable to connect to your deeper inner wisdom. On almost every spiritual path, you are encouraged to let go of your attachments, which allows consciousness to enter a spiritual realm.

I want to propose to you that this can naturally happen in every breath. When we learn how to breathe beyond our thinking mind, our in-breath is a way of letting go of the thoughts that define our life. This in-breath can create a habit that frees us from our thinking mind every time we breathe. Then, on our out-breath, our consciousness returns to our thinking mind with a clear perspective.

To the ego that naturally fears death and is what we identify with, this traps us in our thinking mind. For most people, their thinking mind serves them and makes them more efficient in this world. But, when a person aspires to an important goal, that beyond-thought reality is the home of powerful inner resources that they need. For instance, if you struggle with a health crisis, breathing into this depth is how you can become an active participant as a partner with your doctor. Not only do you activate your healing powers, you remove anxious thinking that limits your ability to heal.

If you want to express love to someone who is important to you, the ability to breathe beyond thoughts allows your heart’s expression to be pure. We limit our love by the way we think and were conditioned. If you had the power to transport consciousness to the silence beyond your thoughts, your love would be free from any limitations. Of course, this happens by a habit which can happen to most people naturally. But, for those whose love is limited by their thoughts and conditioning, they may need to put conscious effort into making this happen.

Another aspect of our life that this breath can serve is our work. When we hold onto our thoughts, we block creativity and our openness to new ideas. Creativity is an important part of work and can subconsciously be limited by the habits we create. Developing the habit of conscious breathing, where we let go of our thinking mind, has the ability to makes us more conscious on our job.

Focusing on breathing may sound insignificant, but it can add quality to every aspect of your life if done consciously.  I suggest that you take time and develop the habit of letting go of your thoughts. This can happen by practicing breathing into silence every night before you go to sleep and every morning when you wake up. This will allow you an instant escape from anxious thinking and, possibly, develop this habit in every breath.

In a health crisis, you need to learn how to let go, so that powerful inner resources can assist you. In my book, A Healthy Way to be Sick, you learn to apply this in a health crisis. In my book, The End: A Creative Approach to Death, you apply this same perspective to your final days, as you approach death.


© 2015 Marc Lerner

Advertisements

THE WHOLE BRAIN

Once we understand how the brain works, we can use it to manifest wisdom. We travel through life in three main states of consciousness. The first stage I call “Innocent.” As young children, we do not know right from wrong–we are innocent. Older, we learn to distinguish between right and wrong and we develop the second stage, which I call the “Doer.”

 

The “Doer” performs actions controlled by the conscious mind, doing right and avoiding wrong and the punishment wrong actions bring. The “Doer” is focused on thoughts within the mind. This is a natural and very important learning stage, but many of us get stuck in this stage and do not go on to the next.

 

I call the final stage the “Receiver.”  In this stage, we receive from our own wisdom and accept its lessons with real openness. Many who are aware of the difference between these stages feel that it is almost an “either/or” situation; either one performs actions as the Doer, or he meditates and goes deep within and receives deeper experiences. But instead of either/or, both states of mind can exist simultaneously. We can perform actions and attain this depth by learning how to “be,” as we simply live our lives.

 

In the healing process, we need to use our whole brain. We need to do things that are right, like eating healthy foods and taking the correct medicine. We need to be receptive and listen to the Wisdom of our Body. Sometimes, a person does not learn to use their whole brain until they face a crisis, like a chronic illness.

 

When I began working with the combat veterans, they often thought I was “against” thinking. They told me that when they were in combat they had to think. My response to this was that thinking itself is not bad.  My own work obviously involves a lot of thinking. But thinking can take place in the Doer stage of consciousness, or we can learn to be receptive and receive thoughts from the deeper wisdom of being.

 

“Receptive thinking” is most likely the type of thinking that took place in a combat situation for the veterans. In those situations they were, by necessity, so connected to life that their thoughts had to come from a higher consciousness.

 

If we were to step back for a moment, we would see that the brain is the creator of every experience we have. Most of us  are conditioned to look first to external things for the experiences we want.  This happens automatically, but the external world can only activate the brain to create the desired experience. It is the brain itself that creates the experience. We can learn to use our brains to create experiences we want.

 

Once we enter the Receptive stage, we can learn a great deal from inner wisdom. The better we understand how the brain works, the easier it is to use it. Dr. Paul MacLean, a brain researcher, shows us that the brain is made of three main parts.   He calls the first part of the brain, the “Reptilian” brain. This part of the brain operates the bodily functions and is concerned with survival.

 

The next part of the brain is called the “Mammalian” brain. This is our emotional center. The third part of the brain, which is found in more evolved mammals, is called the “New” brain. The New brain is made up of two hemispheres. The Left hemisphere stores our thinking and speaking abilities. The Right hemisphere is the home of our creative and spatial awareness, as well as our connection to the Mammalian and Reptilian brains.

 

The New brain is the tool we use to adapt to society.  While these two hemispheres operate independently, they are both involved in many of the things we do.  When we speak, the Left hemisphere deals with the linear process of thinking and speaking, while the Right hemisphere can be involved with spatial awareness and creativity.  Each part of the brain is unique, but they cannot be separated into definite categories.  The fact that they work together means that analyzing the brain does not produce a “black and white” picture; rather, these two hemispheres work together.

 

In healing, we need to use the whole brain. The Left hemisphere is used to become a partner with your doctor. The Right hemisphere is a more receptive mind, which can creatively deal with uncomfortable situations. This part of the brain is connected to the Mammalian brain, which deals with emotions.

Many illnesses are affected by suppressing emotion. This makes the Mammalian brain ineffective and cuts down the connection to the Reptilian brain, which deals with the body’s functions. In a healthy brain, there is a natural flow between the New brain and the Reptilian brain and back again. This is where you communicate to your body and the Wisdom of the Body communicates to you.

 

Obviously, we do not think this way under normal conditions. When we face a challenge, like a serious illness, we have to understand this flow. It is easy to block the flow in our everyday life, simply by unconscious communications to the body and sensitivity to what the body gives back. Using the whole brain is essential in a health crisis, but it is also needed to live a quality life.

The two books I have written that will further explain this article are A Healthy Way to be Sick and The Positive Self: Change Your Self-Image and You Change Your Life. (Amazon/Kindle)

How to Share with Others When You Are Chronically Ill or Disabled

  

When people greet you with, “Hi, how are you?” most of the time they do not expect you to answer the question. When you are dealing with a chronic illness, that question can be very annoying. A person in a health struggle has to be very aware of who they are speaking to and not share with people who cannot consciously deal with it. This may seem like a small thing, but sometimes the little changes you make in your mind can completely change your perspective.

How you share sets the tone of how you relate to your illness. If your sharing is casual, giving pat answers only, your focus on your illness becomes limited. If your sharing is panicky, expressing fear, your focus will be scattered.  The ideal focus is to allow the interest of who you are talking to, to pull your answers out. This is a natural phenomenon; when you talk to someone who is truly interested, there is a flow and sharing seems to be easier. When you talk to someone with is not truly interested or uncomfortable relating to you, your sharing is awkward and does not seem to flow. So, be conscious of who you share with because it sets the tone for how you communicate about your illness.

It is important to be conscious of what you are sharing, because it is very easy to fall into unconscious, manipulative actions. For example, when a child does not want to go to school, they will often say, “I don’t feel good.” This is something children might do to get out of going to school, but that behavior can spill into other areas of your life. For example, a chronically ill person might use their illness to get out of something they do not want to do. The alternative is just to be truthful and share without any ulterior motives.

When some people have had a chronic illness for a long time, it is not uncommon for them not to want to talk about it.  They may have explained it over and over and there may be no hope for improvement in the future.  This type of sharing can create a dangerous habit, where they use avoidance and it becomes a natural response.

Often, people will try to serve you by offering you the newest ‘magic cure.’ Even though they are well-meaning, I suggest that you be open to everything, but check everything with your doctor.  It is important to have an objective perspective, where wishful thinking does not lead you down unscientific paths.

If you share with someone in an unconscious way (for instance, complaining and self-pity), you may be setting up thought patterns that do not serve you.  The ideal state of mind for a person in a health struggle is to be conscious in the moment, connected to inner resources and accepting the responsibility that this is your body. This does not depend on who you talk to.

Go to Amazon/Kindle.com to purchase A Healthy Way to be Sick, In this book, you will become an empowered patient. You will talk with the confidence that, even though you are sick, you are in control. In the book, The Positive Self: Change Your Self-Image and You Change Your Life, you develop this perspective in your entire life. The intensity of a chronic illness has the ability to make you dig deep to find resources and share from an empowered perspective.

© 2015 Marc Lerner

The Patient’s Role in the Hospital

                How we interact with authorities without being a victim is an important lesson we all need to learn. I want to focus on the patient’s role in dealing with the hospital situation. I suggest that the patient strive to be in a super-conscious state of mind. It is difficult for a patient to agree or disagree with a diagnosis, but the patient can be extremely alert when a doctor says what they are going to do.

                One time, I was in a pre-surgery room getting prepped for trigeminal nerve (brain) surgery. I was in intense pain. The doctor was reviewing the surgical procedures before I was anesthetized. When he said the surgery would be on the nerve leading to the right side of my jaw, I immediately was alarmed. This was because the pain and nerve went to the left side of my jaw.  After the doctor checked, he said the right side was what was written on the report. He apologized and operated on the correct side. It showed how important patient participation is.

                It is easy to learn from this example, but no matter what you think the main solution is to be more conscious. In the hospital you become an equal partner with your doctor and in life you partner with authorities. They may know what happens to accomplish a goal, but your role is how conscious you are in what happens to you.

                The hospital is a place where a lot of frustration and anxiety meet professional care. It is a place where an incredible amount of information is passed. If we are not conscious we delegate responsibility to the authorities and act as a victim. Being more conscious not only prevents mistakes, being conscious makes the treatment more effective.  

                I think the main problem in dealing with authorities deals with trust. In health trusting your doctor is very essential to make a strong partnership, but trusting yourself is important also. Trust allows there to be confidence in your feedback. If you don’t trust internally your feedback is wishy-washy and you are not 100% there to participate as a conscious partner in healing. Even on a one dollar bill in America it says “In God we trust”, but for that to happen we need to trust the wisdom that perceives that. In other words we need to trust ourselves to perceive reality consciously. We need that trust to trust the doctor also.

                My personal health struggles were the research I needed to write about health issues. In my book, A Healthy Way to be Sick, I use the 33 years I have had MS to share what I learned along the way. This book can be found on Amazon/Kindle. The power summary is available HERE

From Diagnosis to the End

In the first few minutes after you receive a diagnosis, you set the tone of how you are going to deal with it. This is the way you are going to relate to your illness from that point on, until it is consciously changed. Doctors say that when a person hears a diagnosis of cancer and slams his fist on the desk, he lives longer and becomes more involved than a person who passively accepts it. Our initial reaction to the diagnosis plays a significant role, but it can consciously be changed by developing better life skills. If you trust your inner resources, you become more confident in dealing with challenges. These include self-trust, self-image and confidence.
You trust what is important to you. When you see your inner resources as an important part of your life, you confidently rely on them. When you do not see them as important, you become a passive victim, waiting
for help to come from other than yourself. In my book, A Healthy Way to be Sick, you learn how to move importance from things that are outside of you to what I call the Zero Point, where you trust yourself. Basically, that says that your life and inner wisdom are more important than your thoughts and perceptions. In a health crisis, self-trust is essential to become an
equal partner with your doctor. The doctor represents the medical world and the resources it takes to heal you. In that partnership, you represent the inner world and the inner resources it takes to heal the body and respond to medical treatments.
The next inner resource is developing a strong self-image. We think to our self-image, which is the way we interpret what is happening. A positive self-image interprets challenges in such a way that you play a significant role. Your interpretation determines the conclusion you arrive at. A negative self-image plays the role of a victim and hesitates to get
actively involved.  Since we trust what is important, we have to see our self-image as an important part of the healing process. In my book, The Positive Self: Change Your Self-Image and You Change Your Life, you develop a self-image that serves every part of you. It is your positive self that openly receives powerful inner resources and plays an active role in
healing.
The most important thing you have in healing is the attitude you have about your illness. Attitudes are based on the decisions you made in the past, when you dealt with similar situations. For instance, if in the past when you dealt with a health struggle, you decided that you cannot deal with it, you formed the attitude that eliminated active involvement in the
future. The poor decision came more likely from your negative self. It is possible to image that same situation and create a decision from your positive self, which will significantly change the attitude you have now. If you are more connected to a positive self-image in your everyday life now, that decision naturally changes.                                                                        Confidence is a result of your positive self being kind and compassionate to your negative self. This eliminates the self-doubt that negative conditioning plays in your life. Confidence, or ‘with faith’, brings a spiritual quality to the challenges you face. This quality opens you to something bigger than yourself to deal with your challenge. It eliminates the self-doubt you, too often, insert into challenges. We cannot always change the challenge we face, but we can always change what part of us deals with that challenge. Confidence is an important ingredient in really trusting ourselves.                                              Every part of a health challenge needs to have the best part of you participate. When that happens, you are a better partner with your doctor. This applies, not only to your conscious lifetime, but it also applies to how you face death. This does not only involve you, but also the people you love and those who care for you. Continue reading

The End: A Creative Way To Approach Death

 

To help me prepare for this final journey, I wrote a book called The End: A Creative Approach to Death. The first part of this book helped me be clear about what is involved in approaching death. The second part consists of 40 poems that helped me to prepare from a creative perspective.
Many of us have lived a life where we have become proficient in accomplishing goals; we live our lives in that state of mind. When we are close to the end of life, what is our goal? In our lives, we have been “the Doer,” where we do things by focusing on our thoughts. Preparing for death requires us to also be “the Receiver.”
Of course, there are things to do to prepare for this ultimate journey, but we also have to receive to get valuable input from our deepest inner wisdom. The majority of our character was created by habits developed as children, but most children never learned how to prepare for death.
Consciously approaching death involves utilizing powerful inner resources in a selfless way. This inner journey does not serve your ego, but it definitely brings you closer to life. If preparation can give you a better connection to life, why wait until the end of your life to prepare? It would serve everyone to prepare for death, even when it was not yet a threat. My best preparation happens when I transcend my ego and surrender in consciousness. As Lao Tzu said: “It is best to prepare for death while you are still alive.”
This book also suggests how you can write a book that creatively helps you
to approach death. When you create your thoughts in a book, you create
habits that help you during your toughest struggle, the end of life.

A Healthy Way To Be Sick

 

Have you ever seen a full moon in the sky at noon? That same moon at midnight is a very different picture. In physics, it says a light shines brighter in darkness and I feel that is a beautiful picture for the benefits of dealing with an illness.
I have multiple sclerosis, a struggle I have dealt with since 1981. I am legally blind with several other handicaps and in that picture the dark sky best represents illness or disability. That same situation has the power to force us into a wonderful self-acceptance. I feel my thoughts can be so depressing that my natural reaction is to avoid focusing on them; by doing so my awareness travels beyond thinking and I rest in a silence that comforts me. In that picture, that comfort shines like a full moon at midnight.
. What limits us from living in that state of mind? It is our thoughts. Positive and negative thoughts have the same effect; they create a man-made reality that covers the experience of life. Most people love their thoughts and feel that is their reality. My illness stripped me of my mind-made reality and forced me to really accept my life directly. In my e-book, A Healthy Way to be Sick, I share practical techniques that give you a direct connection to that inner wisdom.
For the past 20 years, I have worked with people who are in a life-threatening situation. I find those people are the easiest to share this inner wisdom with. A person with cancer or AIDS will release whatever they are focused on to do something that may help save their life. People who are happy with their thoughts and ideas may not be so open to let go of their thoughts to search for inner wisdom.
I don’t feel you have to be in a life-threatening situation to accept inner wisdom; it is there for everyone. I do feel if we were to take the darkest hours of our life to search for that depth, our struggles would turn into incredible opportunities to grow. I feel when we get good at this type of learning, we can turn any challenge into an opportunity to grow and better the quality of our life.
I need to tap that inner wisdom to just deal with my struggle on a day-to-day basis. When you deal with a health crisis, you are forced to participate in life with inner resources instead of anxious thinking. Basically, your expressions can come from a deeper wisdom than your thinking mind and that depth can help you heal and become an active partner with the medical profession. Now, living from that depth may not sound so significant, but look at a simple breath. Most people’s breathing is influenced by the way they think. In Latin the root of “worry” is “to choke.” The act of worrying has the ability to cut our breath off, making us choke with shallow breathing.
Have you ever been breathed by the Wisdom of the Body? That simple breath seems to float through you and gives you a beautiful, spiritual experience. It takes a lot of trust to breathe that way, but that is where your body heals the best and you perform with excellence. That is called the “Zone of simply being” and it is A Healthy Way to Be Sick.
Inner wisdom is found in the silence beyond our thoughts. At that depth, you are free from disturbing thoughts and fears, giving you a shelter where you are free from the struggle you are in. It is at that depth the Wisdom of your Body responds to your medication without the limitations from your thinking mind. Even when you are dealing with a chronic illness, there is an inner peace at that depth and this e-book develops that quality within you.
Doctors and medical professionals have gone to school for years to learn their profession, but the Wisdom of your Body has been developed over millions of years. Now it is time for you to learn how to use inner and outer resources together.The greatest resources available to man are found within every person. The greatest problem in our world today is the fact that we don’t know how to use them.

 

The Beauty of Approaching Death Consciously

Why wait till the end of your life to consciously accept you are going to die? We all will die. Most people have a hard time even thinking about their death, but that is their ego’s resistance. In your most conscious moments, you embrace life instead of your mind-made reality. I have had MS for over 33 years; I am in a wheelchair, legally blind with several handicaps that destroy the quality of my life. I suffer from intense pain. For these reasons, I do not resist death; in fact, at times I would welcome it. You could say this is a terrible situation, but it has given me the opportunity to really study death and the way I approach it

I find that life attachments keep me from going deep inside. They are like a life preserver I subconsciously hold onto. Letting go of them allows me to go deep — to a depth that is beyond thinking — where I connect to the wisdom of my body. Imagine the things we are attached to, such as the clothes we wear. This covering makes us feel secure (if we were naked in the middle of a public event, we would not feel so secure). Think of attachments as the clothes you wear and also the heartfelt joy you feel when getting in bed with your lover naked. Approaching death consciously is removing your attachments as you get closer to death. When you let go of these attachments, you naturally embrace life, like embracing your lover.

To help me prepare for this final journey, I wrote a book called The End: A Creative Approach to Death. The first part of this book helped me be clear about what is involved in approaching death. The second part consists of 40 poems that helped me to prepare from a creative perspective. Here are a few excerpts:

Many of us have lived a life where we have become proficient in accomplishing goals; we live our lives in that state of mind. When we are close to the end of life, what is our goal? In our lives, we have been “the Doer,” where we do things by focusing on our thoughts. Preparing for death requires us to also be “the Receiver.”

Of course, there are things to do to prepare for this ultimate journey, but we also have to receive to get valuable input from our deepest inner wisdom. The majority of our character was created by habits developed as children, but most children never learned how to prepare for death.

Consciously approaching death involves utilizing powerful inner resources in a selfless way. This inner journey does not serve your ego, but it definitely brings you closer to life. If preparation can give you a better connection to life, why wait until the end of your life to prepare? It would serve everyone to prepare for death, even when it was not yet a threat. My best preparation happens when I transcend my ego and surrender in consciousness. As Lao Tzu said: “It is best to prepare for death while you are still alive.”

Basically, we think to our self-image. If you think to your Positive Self, you will get positive responses. If you think to your Negative Self, you will get negative responses. As you read this book, the importance of the Positive Self will become clear, especially in dying, for you want to have positive interpretations at this time.

You will learn how to develop self-trust, which allows you to use inner resources to be in the moment consciously, ready for that passing. You will learn how your breath is a vehicle that can transport consciousness into Silence, which activates the Wisdom of Your Body and creativity as you pass.

Too many people view death as tragic. Their focus is in the rearview mirror as they mourn what they are leaving behind. Of course, mourning is healthy as long as you are aware and conscious of where you are going. This is a natural process. Sometimes when I say I want to die, it leads to mourning and I cry. I welcome emotional release, because I do not want my approach to death to be an intellectual exercise.

Unfortunately, most people resist freedom, as they hold onto what their ego identifies with; there is no freedom in holding on like that. “Confidence” comes from the Latin, “con fide,” or with faith, and it takes confidence to face death without holding onto your mind-made reality. Actually, it takes the same confidence to face death as it does to face life, where you are totally free, connected to life in the moment. It is difficult for the ego to comprehend real freedom, because we are attached to our ego and freedom comes when you are free from all attachments.

In Stillness Speaks, Eckhart Tolle said: “In the last few moments before physical death, and as you die, you then experience yourself as consciousness free of form. Suddenly, there is no more fear, just peace and a knowing that ‘all is well’ and that death is only a form dissolving.” You need to learn how to separate your consciousness from your mind-made reality. From this state of being, you will find passing to be easy and without fear, attachments, or resistance. I think it is good to work toward that as you master approaching death.

I have a formula that I will develop in this book that gives you control over the quality of life as you approach death: Anxiety = approaching death x your resistance. As you approach death, your anxiety increases as your resistance increases. If you learn the art of surrender, your resistance will decrease until you approach death without anxiety.

The Eckhart Tolle quote allows this to happen naturally. As you develop strong habits, you can allow this to happen without creating resistance. The quality of life does not depend on the health of your body; it depends on your focus. In your approach to death, develop the focus that serves you in creating the quality Eckhart Tolle talked about in passing.

When you do this work ahead of time, it also makes it easier for those who love you and care for you. It allows them to relate to you consciously in the moment and say goodbye. There is always mourning when you deal with death, but there can also be a celebration when it is done consciously. Join me in creating the conscious moment, where you pass into a new dimension and celebrate.

Forever

Time seems to be changing for me,

Minutes seem to be so long

And even 10 seconds seem to last forever.

Maybe that is it,

I must be getting closer to forever.

***

Marc Lerner, age 62, has had multiple sclerosis since 1981. A Michigan State graduate in psychology, he worked for 25 years with cancer and AIDS patients, veterans with PTSD  and the mentally ill homeless. In 1982, he founded Life Skills Institute and began writing and giving seminars. His books include A Healthy Way to Be Sick, The Positive Selfand  The End: A Creative Way to Approach Death. All are available on AmazonHis website is lifeskillsinc.com. Marc can be contacted at (734) 913-0868.

Posted on August 28, 2014 and tagged issue 58 marc lerner