The Magic of Observation

It was one of those early summer days in the beginning of June. I went for an extensive walk to cherish the long afternoons.

The sky was clear and the sun still gentile over the hilltop of this tiny village in Tuscany that I called my home at this point in time. 

I passed a field of barley. Effortlessly the ears were dancing in the wind. In awe I watched this spectacle.

The ears were not thinking about the direction they were moving. They seemed to be touched by the essence of life itself.

I noticed the trees swinging in conjunction with the grain. The sun was showing her last warm rays of the day. It seemed like the whole environment was in peaceful communion.

Watching this organic play soothed my turbulent mind. All of a sudden I was projected into the present moment. 

And this is what observation does. It maneuvers us into the presence.

What happens when we observe?

It forces us into the now, because the object we look at can only be in the now. 

Observation doesn’t allow yearning for the future or longing for the past.

Registration doesn’t allow judgement. We detach from opinions and assumptions. It holds us back from overinterpreting.

What happens if we look long enough? 

We are able to create a gap between us and our reality. 

Looking longer allows us to get a new perspective on something. 

If we look deep into the things we discover something new. We discover the details. We discover the edges of something – or the softness. 

We discover the things that are invisible. And eventually the blur clears. And this is how we reach a new layer of consciousness. 

We get to see the world how it really is. By observation we see the real connection, the real relation of things – without unnecessary entanglements.

We are giving up the power of our mind. By giving up this power we start to not-control things anymore.

We finally get to relax. But first we need to sit still. Without stillness we will never be able to create this gap that allows us to be the observer. 

The registration of ‘what is’ directs our actions in the right way.

By observing we find out that we don’t have to react all the time. It is a way of meditation.

We can go with the flow just like the cereal ears.


Inspired by Nyanaponika, buddhist monk for 57 years.

 

3 Tools That Help Me To Reveal Toxic Thinking Patterns

Growing personally remains a matter of observing our habits and altering them. If we want to change, we need to break with our conditions and reveal our true needs. “Habit needs unconsciousness to be repeated. Where consciousness enters, habit falls.” Again I refer to Thích Nhất Hạnh here.

Habit has no power anymore as soon as we are aware of it. But how do we break the chains of habit and practice ‘change’ persistently? How do we get our willpower back?

There were so many things that I wanted to quit or change in my life. I read dozens of articles and books on self-improvement, on how to establish healthy routines and foster positive changes.

More and more I found out that if I want to live in a new way, I have to find out what are the old ways?

Simple, right? I have to avoid unhealthy behaviours. But what are these toxic behaviours? Smoking? Eating sugar? Drinking too much coffee? Yeah, these are the obvious ones. But what else is there? How many times have I found myself ruminating negative thoughts and mistakes? How many times do I still make others responsible for my feelings?

To get to the core of my toxic ways ot thinking I really need to have a closer look. How can I develop compassion for myself, if I don’t know me (well enough)? There are some easy steps that help me with the process of becoming more self-aware. I would like to share them with you in this threesome.

1. Practice Being Alert

Survey your behaviour – especially in conversations. I found out that a lot of times I take things too personal. This is a way of giving away my power. It is proof that I have problems with ‘staying with myself’. It is a sign for lacking self-awareness and at the end self-love.

It sounds familiar to you? So, what can you do instead?

Listen more than you speak. Watch yourself and see how your feelings resonate with the words that are spoken. When do you react emotionally? When do you get angry? When do you take things personally? Instead of plain reaction – get in touch with your emotions and desires. Ask yourself why you act like this? What would be an appropriate reaction?

By being aware of our reactions we are learning to review our thinking from a higher perspective. This way we can identify unhealthy thinking patterns.

2. Slow Down

Eat slow, walk slow, breathe slow, be slow. Abandon rushing from your life and everything will change. All of a sudden you will notice things that you’ve never noticed before. You will understand everything better.

“If you win time you win it all,” says Buddha and his disciples.

By paying better attention to our environment we automatically pay attention to what is happening inside of us. This doesn’t only give us the opportunity to act appropriate but also to arrive in the ‘now’. This is meditation – being slow.

3. Find the ‘Why’

I really need to understand the benefits of quitting a bad habit before I can alter it. For example: Theoretically I understand why eating sugar is a bad thing, but as long as I never find out what happens if I stop eating sugar / start meditating / going for a run in the morning I will never establish this habit.

I think this is why it is so hard to adapt the habits of ‘successful people’, because these habits might don’t suit our real needs. Journaling is might be helpful for people who like to write. But for some it is maybe not, because they get even more caught up in there strange thinking patterns.

We have to ask why in both directions. Why do we cling to negative habits? What can we do instead? And why / how changes a new habit my overall well-being? In any way we need to be open to ‘try something new’ every once in a while, if we really want to change our lives.

 

We Grow When We Sleep

Yesterday I fell asleep before I could post anything. The casual pre-tooth-brushing-five-minutes-nap turned into a six hours pass out. I woke up when the dawn was already breaking.

But now I’m happy, because it inspired me to post something more meaningful.

The topic of my heart turned out to be healing. Cultivating self-love, spiritual growth, personal development, overcoming pain, reclaiming compassion – in the end it all comes down to the same thing: Healing.

Yesterday night after a two days storytelling coaching job I’ve decided to have a piece of pizza and a glass of red wine at this tiny pizza bar near Rosenheimer Platz in Munich. “What’s this?,” with childlike curiosity the guy behind me in the queue pointed at the pizza ‘salsiccia spinaci’. The spark in his eyes resonated with my wave-length. Unhesitatingly I sat down on his table to share a moment of company.

Immediately he opened up and told me the story of his past weeks. “I just came back from fusion festival,” he reminisced and reassured unintentionally that we belong to the same tribe.

It turned out that he just dropped his medicine studies. Becoming a doctor collided with his worldview. According to him being beneficial for humanity and working in the – irritatingly called – ‘health sector’ is a contradiction in this society. “We learn medicine for 70-year-olds,” he complained with a last trace of disillusionment. “Modern medicine is more about ‘interfering’ with the human body than about maintaining health,” he summed up.

You decide to be sick.

I could totally comprehend what he was saying. Taking responsibility for our own bodies should be something we learn in school, but instead we rely on a dubious system to keep us alive when we are sick.

“You decide to be sick, ” he advocated for our ability for self-healing. Through his words I found myself releasing a lot of tension that had built up during the past weeks of traveling and working.

Things like meridian lines, qì or kundalini energy are referred to in human history since decades. So, why would I not feel what is happening inside of my body if I learn to pay attention to it?

Dis-ease is what’s causing illness. And what is the state of health? ‘To be at ease’. Only when we find relaxation we find health.

I soaked up every word of the conversation – well aware that this encounter was a once in a lifetime one.

I smiled at the universe pondering the lessons of my past months: Healing takes time and not constant action. By re-acting all the time, by planning, by overdoing I’m ruining my (karmic) energy and in the end my physical and mental health.

“When you change your perspective things change automatically.” Briefly we’ve started talking about politics, but this quote applies one to one to the good old habits.

There doesn’t have to be a direct cure for everything. As soon as we are making an effort to change a small thing, e.g. what we eat, how much we sleep or how we work we eventually find great results:

Things fall into place automatically. We find the time for the things we love, our stress-level drops and in the end we might even become healthier.

I need a practical example for this: Since I’ve started to seriously reduce processed foods and industrial sugar my overall ability to focus had improved tremendously. Automatically I’m getting more stuff done (like this writing experiment). THIS is healing on a higher level.

It doesn’t take as much as I thought to become the human I want to be IF I’m willing to honestly change my point of view, question what I thought was ‘me’, if I’m willing to seriously try new lifestyles…

Through these changes I rattle the fundament of my thinking patterns and eventually the truth reveals.

By nature our body will heal if we choose to.

When we are planting a seed we just need to water it. If we are looking at it all the time and try to convince it to grow faster nothing will happen, but we will stress ourselves out.

Our body is a living entity of organs, chemical processes and microorganisms. It is a part of nature. An autonomic system of nerves and neurotransmitters takes care of it. I don’t need to ‘be aware’ of it all the time. It is better to let it be sometimes. By nature our body will heal if we choose to.

“We grow when we are sleeping.” – I woke up with this sentence in my head this morning. It really made me smile as normally I would have been disappointed that “I got nothing done” last night. Instead my body decided to get some rest before I could even tell him to do so.

There is a built in regulation system that protects me if I let it. By trying to control it all the time I hinder it from doing its job.

I can’t believe it took me such a long time to understand the connection between my stress level, my immune system and my productivity.

Again it became obvious to me: If I want to grow I need to let go.

 

Head In The Clouds

The map is laid open.

The land is free.

There is only love and security.

I’m a part of the net, a part of the whole.

There is no way to take control.

There is only life – no questions no doubts.

So I lift my head up – up into the clouds.

 

Beyond Pain Lies Compassion

Okay – as this is a writing experiment I’m going to be brave today on “Day Two” of my “Writing Transformation Challenge”. Straight out of my notes from this morning:

How to do the work? How to look at life with compassion and fearlessness?

It means to look at ALL situations as part of THE enlightenment (process). More precisely: All situations ARE enlightenment.

The transformation takes place if we use all situations.

It doesn’t matter if the water is hot or cold. It doesn’t matter if we sleep alone or in a room with 20 people. It doesn’t matter if we call anything material our own or not.

The transformation takes place as soon as we are no longer afraid to lose it all.

Uncomfortable situations are our means of transport in order to accept / embody our non-being / detachment. But for this we have to give up our comfort.

We have to lose our necessities, our desires, our pride. Because all these things are trivial. They are rooted in our ego. And our ego keeps us trapped.

As long as we are wanting to ‘receive’ we only feed our ego. Why? Because this is the wrong focus.

We receive nothing before we are connecting with the warmth of compassion, the warmth of unconditional love, because this is compassion. We receive when we give. And I mean really give – without expecting any reward.

When we are able to shine our light even though we just went through the deepest emotional pain, this is when we reached unconditional love.

We are able to shine our light when all the masks are falling. If we are unmasking all the lies we are telling ourselves.

As long as we are looking for protection we cling to our desires and we are closing ourselves off from compassion – the true source of energy.

Of course I’m writing this all from the perspective of a westerner. I have in fact nothing to worry about. But exactly because of this I have to be willing to give it all up. It is my obligation to go further, because other people can’t. They are born into oppression, poverty or starvation.

Compassion for all beings includes compassion for our own selves.

You may ask: But how can I be compassionate with myself?! If this is your question (as it is mine) you are still a victim to the wrong ideals. You didn’t take the time to find what nourishes you.

You are still ‘not there’. You haven’t opened the door yet. The real door is still closed and you are hoping for ‘release’ from the external.

This release doesn’t come as long as you are lying to yourself. As long as you chase and rush and hustle you get blinded by superficiality.

I chose the path. I saw too much. I felt too much. I can’t ‘go back’.

This is why I reply ‘I really don’t know’ when somebody asks me ‘What do you want?’.

I’m not doing this ‘for fun’. I’m not running away.

What I know is that this is not about me.

It’s about us.

Getting in touch with our fears is something we are forced to. We are facing loss, illness and physical pain. From the moment we are born we are used to suffering.

The secret is to re-discover the compassion that connects and comforts us all – behind the pain.

The pain is only one side of the coin. The other is compassion.

‘To free ourselves from all fear we must touch the ground of our being and train ourselves to look directly into the light of compassion.’, says Thich Nhat Hanh.

The real question is not: How to overcome the pain, but how to find compassion beyond the pain?

 

Morning Conversations

Good morning human,

who? Yes, you!

How are you today? You don’t know? You look worried. What’s up? Is the future scaring you? Don’t worry it does only look threatening from the distance. And what are you carrying on your shoulders? Oh, it’s the past. Drop it, it’s too heavy. You don’t need it as long as you stay with me.

Why don’t you leave it where it is? It will get heavier and heavier. You can’t move on like this.

Please human, why can’t you see that you have everything right here?

And why are you in such a hurry? Yeah right, slow down a bit. Take a look around. It’s nice here in the present moment. Can you see the blue of the sky? The green of the trees? This planet is here – for you too. And what are you doing? You are creating your own reality instead of appreciating this one.

The light breeze that plays in the tree tops. It is the same breeze that gives you your life energy.

I invite you to take it all in. As deep as you can. Every moment you are invited. You want to meet me more often? Don’t forget to breathe, because it is your mean of transport.

My door is always open for you. I’m here for you.The past is gone. You can remember her, she is a close friend of mine too. But we never get to meet.

And the future? Well, I’m paving your way. If you walk with me I will guide you. You want to see a map? Well, maps are something you invented. You don’t need it. All you need is to trust me.

I will hand you the right tools, I will prepare you. I will show you the direction. But only if you take the time to stay with me.

What’s up? I can see you rushing again. Only by watching you I get dizzy. You are getting lost.

Please take a moment to inhale deeply. As deeep as you can. And now again and again and again.

Here we go. Do you notice something?

Stay present, stay here.

Where are you going.

Don’t disappear.

I’m always here for you.

“The Now”

 

Writing Transformation Challenge 0.0

This is another type of challenge right here. I’m tired of all the notes in my notebook. I’m tired of scrolling through all my endless drafts. Something worthwhile needs time, yes. I got that. But by rewriting an article a hundred of rounds I might lose my original idea and in the end I risk improving for the worse.

Many times I don’t publish only because I think: “That’s not good enough.” “Somebody said this before.” “I can do better.”

Of course I can do better. But when is better good enough? A lot of times I feel like the more I’m trying to improve the more I’m destroying my own writing. I feel like I’m loosing messages that could be worthwhile for somebody.

The other day I went to a writing meetup in Munich. I always like the exchange with other writers. Only now I realize how important it is for my motivation to hear about the broad experience of all these novel authors, script writers, ‘conceptioners’ and comic scribblers.

This time I met Marie from France again and we were talking about a phenomenon: Every so often a book doesn’t get published, because the author changes his or her mind. “I heard this from many publishers.”, Marie contemplated. “You better publish quickly before you can change your mind.”, she encouraged me to silent the judge before it can execute.

The suspicion is close that I’m not brave enough. “I have the feeling you are hiding yourself.”, a couple of weeks ago a friend and potential work partner pointed out to me. And yes, it is true – I am hiding. I’m afraid to publish.

But this blog here is not about me. There are millions of people going through the same things like me – they suffer from anxiety, depression, a broken heart, insecurity, self-doubts, pms, every topic that I address … I have to stop considering my writing as ‘my baby’.

It is my baby in a way, of course. But why am I writing? I’m writing because I want to change perspectives. I change my perspective by reading books, listening to lectures and talking to people. Realistically I’m nothing more than a catalyst of what I read and what I experience in the real life.

These experiences are not unique to me. What is unique is the way everybody processes these experiences. I’m doing it in this way here. Writing is my therapy, creativity is my valve.

I most likely experience real freedom while filling an empty page with my own words. Unfortunately a state of flow is still rather an exception than a rule.

Being a writer is a gift and a curse – however I need to put myself out there in order to fulfill the purpose.

Why do I call it “Writing Transformation Challenge”? I want to develop my own writing style. But by polishing my articles to a point of unrecognizability I kill my style. With this challenge I want to see if pressure makes the diamond…

The goal is to publish a post every day the next 14 days. Day one will be tomorrow.

 

Invite the Pain – It Wants to Tell You Something

“Life is difficult.” This is the first sentence of M. Scott Peck’s book “The road less travelled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth” – for me one of the most comprehensive (and comprehensible) classics on the ‘spiritual book shelf’. I really don’t know how to rephrase this sentence. Life is filled with loneliness, misunderstandings, expectations, fear, failure and despair. This is reality. But somehow ‘society’ / us / our ‘cultural storytellers’ want to tell us something else.

We whitewash our pain

Happiness became a business. Society wants to see us smile. As a result we expect to be happy all the time. And if we are not happy? We are trying to find a remedy – instantly. And how are we supposedly ‘curing’ ourselves from stress and dis-ease? How do we ‘get over’ fatigue, grief and misery? We go to retreats. We consume goods and substances. We fill our bodies but we don’t nourish our souls. We survive but we don’t sustain.

Instead of learning to integrate our unpleasant feelings we build barriers that disconnect us from our pain. Where we are meant to find connection we are closing ourselves off. Instead of facing the lessons of life we are finding comfort in distraction.

Inner emptiness, a loss of the ability of self-care, addiction and diseases are caused by this lack of connection.

Acknowledge the pain (and embrace the fear)

If we want to connect with ourselves we need to connect with our pain. Or with the words of John Green (“The fault in our stars”): “Pain demands to be felt”. We don’t have to travel into former lives or visit the anacondas in the rainforest of the Amazonas to get a glimpse of what is going on with our pain.

If we want to connect with ourselves we need to connect with our pain.

So, how can we deal with suffering in our life? How can we ‘humanize’ the pain demon? How do we embrace the fear?

The first step is to look into the mirror with all honesty. Firstly we have to admit that something is wrong.

Initially we don’t know much about our pain. All we feel is emptiness / a lack of purpose or motivation. Some sort of unwillingness or this huge hole we fall into every Sunday. Or a real physical pain. It can be an infection, a backache or an autoimmune disease. It can be anxiety, depression or paranoia. It can be an unbearable feeling in our chest that makes us unable to feel joy or to make a decision. It can be an enduring conflict with a family member or our partner. It can be any feeling of unease that reappears in certain situations or lasts for a period long enough to restrain our life.

Instead of running away from it – instead of distracting ourselves with scrolling through instagram or escaping into a phone call with our friends, going to a party, taking drugs, rushing to work, we need to take a moment to acknowledge the pain.

Questions are our tools

What do you feel?

A subtle fear of pain leaves us in a state of faint. How do we get out of this state of powerlessness?

Through the years I was looking into my pain a little deeper. I asked myself questions: “Where is the pain coming from?” “Why do I envy others?” “Why am I aggressive sometimes?” “Why do I have issues with my health?” “Why do I complain so much?” “Why do I feel empty / a lack of motivation / a lack of trust?”

I had no immediate answers to these questions, but all of a sudden I spotlighted some corners of my psyche that had never seen the light before.

At the beginning this was overwhelming. All these fears behind this pain seemed to be threatening. I preferred to keep a safe distance. But as the feeling of pain kept recurring I dared to step closer and say “hi”.

Our fears are like watchdogs

All of a sudden these big fears looked less life-threatening. As soon as I came closer the demons turned into cute dogs. I understood: Our fears are like watchdogs. They look scary from the distance, but in reality they are our friends. Incredibly grateful they are waving their tale when we finally pay attention to them.

I understood that these feelings wanted to tell me something. More than that – they wanted to show me a direction. What I didn’t know at the beginning was that these watchdogs are my guides, my mentors. They show me the changes to make and the way to go.

All the time I was so occupied with ‘avoiding the pain’ that I preferred to give away my control. Fears dominated my thoughts. What I had to do instead was taking the time to get attuned with my fears. I needed to learn the language of these watchdogs in order to gain a relationship with them.

By integrating these fears into my life I’ve started to take responsibility for my thoughts and actions. I learnt to take care of these dogs. After a while we were able to comfort each other and to withstand the hardships of life – together.

Feeling the pain opens up the opportunity to get in touch with our unconsciousness. We get to know our deep rooted fears. And through these fears we learn about our real desires.

What’s there? The fear of being alone. The fear of failure. The fear of decision making. The fear of making the wrong decision. The fear of choosing the wrong path in life. The fear of getting married to the wrong partner. The fear of getting hurt. The fear of hurting somebody. The fear of giving birth. The fear of missing out. The fear of not fitting in. The fear of not having friends. The fear of commitment. The fear of taking full responsibility for every action, every decision. The fear of the fear. The fear of life?

What do you like about your suffering?

When we catch a greater look at our pain we identify the fears behind it. But before we are able to walk our watchdogs we need to accept discomfort as part of the process. At the beginning we are distrustful, because we don’t speak the same language. We might only wave at our fears from the distance and duck back down. We might cling to our suffering instead of facing the fear.

Suffering has always a reason. It is something that can keep us alive, something that can accommodate us in a weird way. We get used to it. What do you like about your suffering? If you are not willing to end it, you are might be not suffering ‘enough’?

Pain is necessary in order to find new solutions. If you are not happy with a situation and you suffer so much that you can’t handle the situation anymore you need to change something. Pain is a medium of transformation – if you are willing to break the barriers.

If you accept the challenge, if you deal with it you might emerge strong-minded and more self-aware from a negative experience.

It’s not about overcoming your fear. It’s about feeling it and transforming it into positive action.

Nobody said it was easy

“Those things that hurt, instruct.”

Benjamin Franklin

A therapist, your friends, books or even conversations with random strangers can light you the way. But you have to walk it yourself. The secret is to have patience and persistence. Of course you need to be strong and nobody said it is easy. Nope, life is difficult.

We can read many books. We can pray, trust and believe. But we must walk. We must greet our challenges, we must get to know our demons personally and grow together.

There is no shortcut to enlightenment. There are all these crossroads. We have to choose one. Even if we get lost at times – deep inside we know the way.

 

Micro Habit Challenge 5.2: Every Thought Is A Judgement

Okay, another week of this micro habit challenge had passed. I have to admit that two weeks are a bit short to really understand what is going on. But something is going on – and it is something big.

I figured out that I’m mainly judging myself – and not other people. What gnaws away my energy or leads to confusion are the voices in my head that are telling me what to do, what to want and how to act. Yeah, it is probably not even one voice, but many. (And yeah, I’m seeing a therapist;)

Instead of asking myself what I really want from a situation or – and that is very painful to admit – from my own life I’m already assuming things that I should want. Or after a situation I judge about myself and tell myself how I should have behaved or reacted.

Hm, okay, here we come to the difficult question: Who is the judge in my head and how can I make him shut up? (Thanks, Alan Watts;)

Well, first I thought this is a very tough question. I could study this question from all perspectives – from a psychological, a spiritual, a neuro-scientific point of view. But in reality it is that simple: I just tell this speaker to shut up. I have to jam the judge.

And this is what I’m doing right now. As soon as a thought arises I tell my brain to shut up. This sounds a bit weird – to me too. I’m trying to understand with this blog and on this whole life journey where the pain is coming from and then I’m telling the voice inside of my head to shut up instead of listen to it? It is a bit of a contradiction.

But only on the first sight. Since I’m able to think it seems I’ve been thinking quite a lot. I gave my mind the permission to define my status quo and my mind doesn’t do a good job. It was a long process to come to the conclusion that my thoughts are might be not very helpful when it comes to live and prosper.

My thoughts are telling me so much bullshit that it is more work to separate the wheat from the chaff than turning them off completely and switch into ‘doer-mode’.

I reached a point where I’m going this far: Every thought is a judgement.

I was listening to Krishnamurti the other day. It was one of those casual super chill sundays when the way between bed and couch is the largest range of motion of the day (Well, I have these days potentially at every weekday.).

Krishnamurti asked: “When was the last time you looked at a mountain without calling it a mountain?” – Honestly I didn’t know this challenge is going to get this deep. By putting something in words we are already judging.

We project our definition of reality on the outside world. This definition is based on which language we speak, which senses are accessible to ‘make sense’ of reality and if we ‘feel’ comfortable, angry or sad. We are MAKING sense of the world by judging.

Our thoughts are created by the words we have learnt. These words define how we see the world. But is this the world or is it just a paper cut of the world?

Imagine you are a lizard. What would the world look like for you? You might live on a clearing of a forest. The furthest you see is to the edge of the woods. Would you say a lizard is not fully alive? Would you say a lizard needs more to be alive? No. The life is right there. The lizard is alive. The life is within the lizard. And so it is in us.

There is definitely no truth behind our words if we are telling ourselves that we need to do more, be more, be better, be stronger…. At the maximum there is interpretation of what could be useful for us (Whatever that means.).

And what does this have to do with judging? Everything. Judging is interpreting our behaviour or the behaviour of others and valuing it according to ‘our’ worldview.

When we judge we are clamping reality into the vice our own worldview. We trap ourselves if we are only listening to our mind.

Of course – on many levels the ability to judge helps us to live. We are able to cross a street without being hit by a car. We are able to buy food that keeps us alive. We are able to drink water when we are thirsty, because we are able to connect the dots.

We interpret the signals of our body subconsciously in order to satisfy our physical needs. But which needs do we fulfill if we interpret every signal that our mind flungs out? The need to impress? The need to prove something? How many times are these needs really our needs? And are these needs crucial for our survival?

I can answer this only for myself with a clear ‘no’. The only secret is to let life be as it is – imperfect, full of struggle, but at the core pretty basic: live, love, sleep, eat.

Okay, now I got a bit far off. Back to the challenge: I figured out that this type of examination on a “conscious level” helps me to cement all these ideas in my mind. My subconsciousness does the rest. It conveys the idea of “not knowing” to the core of my being.

This life is not about following an ideology, but about observing my own point of view. The problem is that we are getting lost in concepts instead of thinking for our own self. We are trying to fit ourselves into the right box. And this is how we are getting lost in confusion. Because all these boxes don’t fit properly, because they are only cheap replicas of reality.

If we look at things, including ourselves, like we look at it for the very first time of our life these things get a complete new dynamic. So the key would be to recognize every second, every moment of our lives as a unique moment that passes. And in this moment we need to do what feels good for us.

We only struggle if we interpret all the time, if we take things personal all the time, if we want more or if we put everything that we see in relation with our own life.

It absolutely doesn’t matter what other people do or think and when I say other people I mean ALL people, the whole society, the rest of the world…. Even what you tell yourself doesn’t matter. Without judgement there is no struggle.

Nevertheless: This whole judgement thing is so freakin’ hard. Just now I am facing the toughest challenges ever. This cage in my head is not created by me. I’m conditioned. I can change it to a certain extend, but I can’t escape from it completely.

But what I can do is ignoring it or – even better – using it for higher purposes. But for this I have to dig deeper.

The question is: Am I really prepared to look deep down into the nature of my own psyche? Am I willing to keep walking into the dark corners of myself? Am I willing to keep changing?

 

Micro Habit Challenge 5.1: Who Am I Judging?

“Am I ready to stop judging?”

One week ago I heaved out this question. The first part of my micro habit challenge is over and I can formally announce: “Nope, I’m not ready to stop judging.”.

Nevertheless it is astonishing what I have learnt only by asking myself this and other fundamental questions about judgement. For example who do I judge, what and when do I judge?

The answer to “Who am I judging?” is pretty straight forward: mainly myself. I was never really good at ‘having an opinion’. Also ‘putting people in boxes’ was never quite my thing. Well, congratulations Uli, pat yourself on your shoulder.

But what I do from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep at night is squeezing myself into boxes. Yes, I’m not even putting myself in one box – no, I pull, I push, I haul and I squeeze myself violently into several boxes. What do I mean by that? I have this perfect image of who I would like to be in my head, but the reality doesn’t quite meet my expectations. What I don’t realize is that I don’t fit in these boxes – I can do whatever I want.

More clearly than ever I can see the source of my negative thinking patterns right in front of me: It is ‘judging myself’. I nearly have to laugh about how much I’m disparaging my own self by jamming myself into those boxes. I judge myself for nearly everything I say or do. This is what this challenge shows me. It is (nearly) ridiculous.

At the same time – more than ever I can see clearly what I need to change in order to liberate myself from this prison that I create in my head: I need to free myself from judging.

What did I really learn?

I’m imposing these massive expectations on myself. My whole self-worth relies on meeting unrealistic goals. And my only real goal is nothing else then being a flawless human being. I push myself to do everything in the most effective way. I’m telling myself what to want. I’m not allowing myself to just be how I am – full of mistakes like every other human being on the planet.

Before I even ask myself “What do I want?” I’m already judging myself. I’m telling myself what is the right thing to do or to want instead of doing what feels right.

“I’m supposed to be well-balanced.” “I should speak more italian.” “I should really call this friend.” “I should apply for this job.” “I should really write this article.” And if not? “I suck.” “I’m the worst.” “I’m a loser.” “I’m weak.” “I’m a narcist.” “I have zero emotional intelligence”… This is what I tell myself day in and day out.

What’s the key? Accepting what is instead of creating these weird ideas about how something (me) can or should be.

Judging is over-thinking. This is what happens when you have nothing to think about but thoughts. (Thanks Alan Watts for making me use this phrase.)

Man, I knew I’m self-centred, but my self-centeredness is astounding! The only good thing is – I can change it. And now that I read it here black on white I don’t even think I am that far off…

I’m creating barriers between me and the real world. And I’m going to break them down. All the past years I thought “I just haven’t quite find the right guy to start a relationship.” “I haven’t quite find my tribe.” “I haven’t quite find my purpose.”

Reality is that I’m the one who is closing herself off by pre-judging. How can I expect to be liked if I don’t accept myself? How can I expect to do what I really want if I don’t take the time to really listen to what I want deep deep down inside of me? It is so important to be true to myself.

With every judgement I reinforce self-doubts and create a negative image of myself. By ‘not-accepting’ what is inside of me or outside of me I’m creating a barrier between me and the outside world. I can only allow things to evolve in a natural way if I don’t judge them with the cruel voice of perfectionism in my head.

What is judgement? It is making a conclusion before there is even an outcome. It is labeling yourself. Why is judgement bad? Because we can only put our own experience in consideration. We make conclusions based on what we know. But what we know has nothing to do with reality. It is maybe a part of it, but nothing more than a bunch full of ideas about what reality could be.

If we want to get in touch with reality, the world, the truth or however you want to call it, we really have to take the time to look long enough, before we make a move.

Also – judging oneself can be a good thing. But it is only a good thing if we turn our self-judgement into something useful – self-discipline or the motivation to learn more or the willingness to change oneself.

What am I going to do?

So far I took a bigger step back from my thoughts and looked deeper into my innermost self. What am I going to do next? Of course, looking even deeper. I’m planning to write down where and how I judge myself in order to find out about some deeper layers.

Beyond that I want to transform these negative energies into positive ones. As soon as I find myself contemplating about what a great person I ‘could’ be I’m transforming this negative energy – into something positive or productive. I make creative energy out of judgement and self-justification.

Because this is what happens after judgement – We are starting to justify ourselves. And all this together is a big waste of energy…

Let’s go.