Bothered Less, Taking Stock

Hi friends, have you missed me?
I’m currently fending off a violent attack from Mithra. He doesn’t seem to grasp that it’s not ok to bite and scratch me yet, and my left arm has a few marks to prove that. I may have to start wearing shirts around my apartment to act as armour against his claws. I’d be sad to do that, though, because I’m more comfortable being bare.

I love Integral Naked, that should be obvious. One of my favourite recordings shared there, via the podcast, is Ken’s “Hurts More, Bothers You Less,” a wonderful look at the paradox between the intense caring, extreme pleasure, exteme pain inherent in increasing awareness and the great calm of awakening to our divinity. One of the sections of this is beautifully direct and powerful.

“The more awakened you become, the more involved you become, the more you actually feel Samsara. And the more painful it becomes. So the pain increases the more you understand that … You become so sensitive you can feel everything that is arising for everybody. … It hurts more, but on the absolute side it bothers you less. … So there is a great freedom from the suffering that you feel much, much more intensely. … We have to give ourselves plenty of room to both feel absolute perfection in everything that is arising and yet see one person starving and start crying so hard it will kill you. If you’re not doing both you’re doing something wrong.”

The intersection of this is nicely tied into the suffering of Jesus on the cross a bit later in the talk, a moment I found quite meaningful and a point I think is valuable in expressing this paradox. One other really nice aspect of this is the glimpse of Ken’s wonderful sense of humour, which really helps bring his work out of the somewhat dry nature of his philosophical writings. He jokes that his new book, The Many Faces of Terrorism, is about his dating history, “It was disturbing to me because a poll of my previous girlfriends rated me slightly above Al Qaeda on the scary scale, and I was tryig to figure out why that was, because I hadn’t really blown up any buildings.”

I’ve been reading the articles and listening to the podcasts at Steve Pavlina‘s personal development website this week and I’ve found a good portion of it to be helpful in looking at my own unfolding. I did find some of his orientation to be a bit off, but he does provide some interesting tools. Today I decided to take on the activity encouraged in his “Truth and Awareness” podcast, a quarterly analysis of our current situation in various aspects of our lives. He suggests ranking 12 areas in our lives and writing a paragraph about each, asking, “how am I doing in this area right now?” I’ll close this entry with my personal analysis and hope this will help me focus my efforts.

Work [7]: I’m really quite content with my work right now. I find it satisfying in a number of ways, from providing a moderate challenge, having co-workers I like and having some nice benefits. My only real complaint I could come up with is that I don’t often have the chance to go to concerts and do other weekend-centric things.
Financial [6]: My financial situation is stable but limited. I make end’s meet, but I don’t have a lot of money for even little luxuries. I’m thankful to have the resources I do, but I’d certainly like to improve this aspect of my life to at least include the ability to travel more often.
Relationship [5]: I’m currently single, so this aspect of my life is stable, but one I’d like to see improve. I’m a romantic at heart, as most of you know, so I do have a wish to have a lover again. I’m not actively seeking that, but always am open to whatever will arise.
Home & Family [6]: I currently live alone, save for Mithra, my cat, so my interaction with my family is limited. I do enjoy spending time with my sister, parents and extended family, but that’s often not possible. My apartment is a very nice home for me, and more alive now that Mithra has filled some of the emptiness my livingroom used to hold.
Physical Health [7]: I’d say I’m quite physically healthy. I’m rarely sick and generally have plenty of energy. A change to a vegetarian diet has been very helpful in increasing my health through the first 8 months. I would like to continue to increase my physical well being, especially though a plan to have a routine of yoga, weight training and swimming as part of my days.
Mental [8]: This is likely the aspect of my life I feel most enriched and evolving lately. My study of all things integral has been expanding my cognitive understanding of the world termendously, and I can’t see that slowing down anytime soon. I certainly feel I’m undergoing a rebirth in this area.
Social [6]: I’m not an especially social person by natue; I’ve always been someone who preferred to have a handful of dear friends to having a large group of friends. I do, however, have a deep desire to become engaged with a community.
Emotional [7]: I think I’m doing well emotionally. I’m often happy and content and very seldom depressed or down at all.
Spiritual [7]: Spiritually, I feel I’ve come a long way, but I do need to apply myself more effectively to spiritual practice, especially in creating a daily meditative practice.
Character [6]: I’d say I have a strong character overall, but I definitely would like to become less of a procrastinatior and increase my impulse to create.
Contribution [5]: I feel I do contribute to society a fair amount, but I want to become more actively involved in the social movements that I feel strongly about, especially to promote integral thinking in ecology, politics and learning.
Fun & Adventure [6]: I find this part of my life to be one of the weaker parts of my life. I don’t often have the time or resources to have the fun I’d like. My wanderlust suffers from this more than anything else, and that’s definitely something I wish to remedy in the next year. if possible, I intend to travel outside Canada for the first time since the road trip I took across the continent when I was a kid.

P.S. Some of you might get a kick out of The Harry Potter Dancers, who combine the Footloose soundtrack and Harry Potter in a side-splitting work of something approaching art.
P.P.S. Riverbend recently offered up more insight from her native Iraq, including a look at the tragedy of increasing Iranian influence.

Congratulations Americans- not only are the hardliner Iranian clerics running the show in Iran- they are also running the show in Iraq. This shift of power should have been obvious to the world when My-Loyalty-to-the-Highest-Bidder-Chalabi sold his allegiance to Iran last year. American and British sons and daughters and husbands and wives are dying so that this coming December, Iraqis can go out and vote for Iran influenced clerics to knock us back a good four hundred years.

The Puppets the Americans empowered are advocates of every dream except the Iraqi one: The dream of Iraqi Muslims, Christians, Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen… the dream of a united, stable, prosperous Iraq which has, over the last two years, gone up in the smoke of car bombs, military raids and a foreign occupation.

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