Blog

Good? Bad? None of the Above

Hello!

The oldest joke I can remember is from junior high school (so don’t expect high literature here):

  • I went on a small plane trip.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – the plane developed engine trouble.
  • Oh, that’s bad.
  • No, that’s good – I put on a parachute.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – couldn’t get the door open.
  • Oh, that’s bad.
  • No, that’s good – opened the window and jumped out.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – the parachute wouldn’t open.
  • Oh, that’s bad.
  • No, that’s good – saw a haystack below me.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – there was a pitchfork sticking up from the haystack.
  • Oh, that’s bad.
  • No, that’s good – missed the pitchfork.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – missed the haystack.

 I thought of that old joke when I heard MBA professor Srikumar Rao tell his (much shorter) version:

  • A man is laid off from work due to budget cuts.
  •  Good news? Bad news? Who knows?
  • Later, the company shuts down and everyone loses their job.
  • Because the man had been laid off earlier, he was given a large severance package and started his own business. Had he remained with the company, he would have received nothing.

The problem with labeling things, events, or people as “good” or “bad” is that the labels are little boxes with rigid sides. No thing, event, or person fits into a little box – each is multilayered with aspects that range the entire spectrum between “good” and “bad.” Perhaps try to look at the various layers of a situation or a person, rather than boxing your thinking into a narrow-minded on/off switch.

I try to eliminate the words “good” and “bad” in my thinking, speaking, and writing (except this blog, of course). Perhaps you will join me and see the full range and depth of every experience, rather than a bunch of plain, brown boxes. Maybe choose words such as “like” or “prefer” or “don’t like” for events and experiences. Maybe eliminate judgment on the first meeting of a person. Look past the clothing, the color of the skin, the accent, the height, the weight, and the overall appearance of the person. Talk with the person and find out what that person and you have in common, and what differences there may be from which you could learn something new or perhaps you have something new to share with the other person – at an individual-to-individual (or one aspect of Source talking with another aspect of Source) level. See the various layers of that person, and then choose whether you wish to continue with the conversation or move on to another person. You may be surprised at the interesting people – and some new friends – you meet this way.

Open your world to new experiences, free of little brown boxes.

Blessings,

Jo

Blog

We Are All One

Hello!

Knowing a concept and explaining the concept are totally different activities. Take the concept “we are all One with the Universe/God/Source/All-That-Is,” for example.

My concept of “we are all One with Source” is so expansive that words can’t describe it. It’s best described with feelings – such as openness, freedom, interrelationships – but even words fail when attempting to describe feelings. How can I explain it to others? Instead of trying to explain the vastness, I’ll use a basic building block with which most of us are familiar.

This exercise to explain “we are all One” works best with several people standing or sitting in a circle, holding hands; but it also works with a single person sitting in a chair, with her/his hand on an object, such as the chair arm, a table, a pillow, or a pet who doesn’t mind being still for a while. Once you are in your chosen position:

  • Close your eyes
  • Take three slow, deep breaths through your diaphragm (also called breathing through your “stomach” or abdomen)
  • Slowly shift your focus to one hand – either hand if you are holding hands in a circle, or the hand that is touching an object
  • Take a few moments thinking about the hand as a part of you – as a representation of you in this exercise
  • Shift your focus to the skin on your hand
  • Notice the tactile sensation of touching the other person’s hand or the object
  • Think of the color of your hand – what term, other than black or white, would you use to describe the color of the skin on your hand – beige, ecru, tan, brown, orange?
  • Focus on the texture of your hand’s skin – pick a term that describes the texture – is it soft, smooth, rough, calloused, weathered, tender?
  • Now, we are going deeper
  • Focus on a small dime-sized area of your hand where it is touching the other person’s hand or the object
  • Focus on the skin cells in that area – too many to count, but all working together to form a unified organ called the skin that envelops our physical bodies and has been used to define us as individuals
  • Focus on a single skin cell in that area – consider how that single skin cell is both individual/separate/unique and part of the whole that constitutes our skin – one example of “we are all One”
  • Now, we are going deeper still
  • Focus within the skin cell and visualize the molecules that combine to form that skin cell – another example of unique parts forming the whole – “we are all One”
  • Deeper, still
  • Focus within one molecule and visualize the atoms that create that molecule
  • Each atom, with its nucleus of protons and neutrons plus its electrons, is similar, yet unique
  • Rather than going deeper, we will examine this one atom further
  • Notice that the atom has no color and no texture
  • Notice how the atom occupies an area defined by the orbits of its electrons, but no physical boundary is evident
  • Notice how much space is between the nucleus and the electrons – find God/Source/All-That-Is within that space and within the nucleus and electrons
  • Stay with that image of God/Source/All-That-Is within us
  • Focus on other atoms in the vicinity of our target atom
  • At this level, there is no distinction between the atom of your hand and the atom of another person’s hand or the atom of the object held by your hand – this is the concept “we are all One”
  • Stay with that sense of Oneness – feel the expansion of your awareness – feel the connection to everything
  • Perhaps remember this sensation of Oneness during meditations or as a grounding tool
  • Be in no hurry to leave this feeling
  • At your own pace, slowly return to your atom – then to your molecule – then to your skin cell
  • Notice that the skin cell has started to introduce color, but not yet texture
  • Notice the skin on the dime-sized area of your hand – more color is added, and texture is introduced
  • Notice the skin on your hand – a definition of “you,” as distinct from “not you,” is introduced – boundaries between you and the other person’s hand or the object are established
  • As you slowly return to your body, continue to feel the interconnectedness of everything – don’t lose yourself in your body – bring that peace and knowingness with you
  • Take three slow, deep breaths to bring yourself and your knowledge back to this physical reality
  • Slowly open your eyes

Know That We Are All One

 

Blessings,

Jo