One of the hardest things to let go of is judgement. It’s part of our nature in this world to judge everything we observe. It’s an inherent trait within the ego. It’s a survival tool. We have to make judgements in life. But we should attempt to limit judgements to what’s important. When you hold the zen state and happiness as your highest priority, your judgements will become less petty.

You may think it’s harmless when saying that you hate an actress you see on television. But announcing your hatred for people and places and things can accumulate in your unconscious mind. The more you pile them on, the more you have in the world to make you feel hatred. Feeling hatred is of pure ego state. It’s angry judgement. When you make it a priority to feel the exact opposite, you then make it a priority to prevent yourself from condemning these unimportant things to the wrath of your ego.

Until you can fully wrestle control over petty judgements try replacing the word ‘hate’ with ‘forgive.’ And try to truly feel forgiveness when you say it. Eventually you’ll begin to approach matters without condemning at all, and forgiveness will be unnecessary.

Remember that zen state is about letting go. Some judgements can be harmless and fun like deciding which food you enjoy most, or which vacation spot to try. But when judgements are accompanied by anger, it’s important to let go as quickly as possible. You may see that a loved one has forgotten to fulfill a responsibility and you think to yourself that you’d not have been like that and that you must point out this failure to them so as to possibly prevent it from happening again. You can choose in that moment to play the role of judge and jury, or you can choose to let it go. You should try to relate instead of separate. Try to change your thoughts to think about how you’ve been forgetful and irresponsible, and how much you’d love for someone to simply love you in those moments without judgement or scorn.

There’s a great system for raising kids that I often refer to when someone feels the need to berate or punish another for behavior they don’t agree with. The system is called Rules, Praise, Ignore and it’s about ignoring the bad and praising the good. You communicate general boundaries and expectations (Rules) and then ignore behaviors that fail to adhere to those guidelines. You then must remember to recognize and praise often when behaviors are deemed positive. It really can apply to any relationship. And the fact that this system works wonders is validation that practicing the zen state can change not just you and your happiness, but also those you love by proxy.

No one but you lives in your mind. You alone live within the emotional states of your choosing. You sometimes feel like something out there drives you to feel anger or hatred; that you don’t choose to feel the way you feel. But you do have a choice. You can let go of judgement. Your mind is your own. Choose love above all else and the zen state will come with ease.

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The secret to happiness is forgiveness. When you understand that you are of two minds, you can learn to stop listening to ego and forgive everything you perceive as ‘wrong.’ Ego is the source of unhappiness. Ego is your self-image and that brings with it doubt, judgment, anger, and fear. Ego is a side effect of being alive, separated from what you really are, part of a larger whole, the mind of God.

Instead listen to your soul. The soul/heart/spirit is your true self. It’s the source of joy, laughter and love. It comes from inside you. There really is no world “out there.” You live in your mind. And the world we perceive is the mind of God thinking through this question “what if there was a place where i am not whole?”

Our enemies are not people. Our only enemy is the nothingness, the feeling of separation. This is battle we are here to fight. And it is inside each and every one of us. Fighting fire with fire simply increases fire. You fight fire with water, it’s opposite. We fight hate with love, judgment with compassion, separation with connection.

When we, the fragments of God, fulfill our duty here in this universe, we fill this existence up with awareness, knowledge, and love. We will be whole again, we will be one, we will be God again. We can get there sooner if we sooner change how we see and react to this world. Fight the negativity and corruption with positivity and creativity. That is the secret to happiness and enlightenment.

Every night before you go to bed and every morning when you wake up, recite this mantra. You must train your unconscious mind to understand that this is exactly who you are.

I love myself
I forgive myself
my mistakes are my lessons
my failures are my teachers
I don’t attack
I don’t get defensive
I don’t judge
I don’t condemn
I let go of ego
I let go of the past
I let go of expectations
I let go of control
I listen with my heart
I react with my heart
I see beauty in everyone
I see spirit in everything
I live in the now
I laugh and I smile
I count my blessings
I forgive all I see wrong
I give love to the world
This is why I am happy

Making a distinction between your soul (your ‘true’ self) and your ego, is possibly the most important step on your path to enlightenment. Realizing that the ego is not ‘you’ is giving yourself permission to find joy in any situation. However, rejecting the ego state can be very difficult if you don’t recognize the process that gets you there.

The ego keeps you alive. It says you need food for you. As long as you get food when you’re hungry, the ego’s influence can remain a whisper. But if you don’t get fed when you’re starving, the ego will often kick in to full gear and scream at you to scream at someone. This is ego’s cycle of desire, lack, and outrage. Emotional fragility determines the level of outrage you’ll feel and display for any lack of fulfillment. So diminishing your emotional fragility is key to coping with feelings of lack and outrage.

When you don’t perceive any immediate lack, it’s easy to laugh, love and feel joy. But how can we feel joy in the face of (perceived) obvious deficiency? It is most difficult if not impossible when you are emotionally fragile. Emotional fragility comes with allowing the ego to run the show. It is the ego that feels wronged, not ‘you.’ It’s the ego that desires and requires reality to be shaped just so. The soul feels no desire. It’s safe and pure.

So how can we diminish the sway of ego and increase our emotional stability? For starters by letting go. Know that you can make a choice in any given moment to let go of desire and control. To do so, you must first realize that feeling desire, lack and outrage is of ego. Then understand that this perceived reality is not happening to ‘you’ but to ego. Then you can allow reality to be just as it is, and feel joy in the knowledge that you are not alone but connected to everything in the world through your soul. To reach this passive state of being, you must shift your priority from wanting to allowing. To allow joy in the face of wanting, you have to dismiss the ego state.

To be unaffected by any perceived drama playing out before you, when it appears to be directed at you or someone you love, might seem like a most difficult task, especially when there is potential for physical harm. But even when a situation appears grave, your understanding that you are not your ego (nor is anyone their ego) may help you find peace in that moment, and may even allow you to make a real connection and to possibly diffuse a dramatic situation.

When someone is yelling at you, criticizing you, or making fun of you, your gut reaction is to defend yourself or attack them as well. You’ll probably feel anger, guilt, shame or fear. And you may even want to physically attack the person or to simply run away. All of these feelings are products of an ego state. It is natural to react to attack in this way. However, it is also natural to react without ego. Reacting with a smile but feeling anger is still ego state. You have to be smiling all the way to your core. You have to truly believe that what you’re seeing happen to your physical body is not happening to your soul, the real you.

When being attacked you have to keep in mind, that you are witnessing one ego attack another. The person attacking is in an ego state. But that ego is not who they truly are any more than your ego being who you truly are. You can remain in a zen state in these situations through the understanding that there is but one ego in all of existence and that ego can only attack itself. It can’t attack ‘you’ as it has no point of reference for what you truly are. Ego is the bi-product of our belief that our souls are separate from one another. To believe in this separation is to misunderstand the nature of what we really are. This misunderstanding is the nature of ego.

There is no need to defend yourself from personal attack. A defensive response happens only in an ego state. If someone tells you that your actions have resulted in bringing them pain, just listen. You can diffuse outrage through connection. Listening while in a zen state is the first step to making a connection. After listening, state that you intend to understand how the person feels, even if you believe that understanding is not warranted or possible. Saving face is not necessary. Your soul is safe. Knowing this truth will help stabilize you emotionally, and therefore diminish the influence of ego’s ‘desire, lack and outrage’ cycle.

The ego and the soul are the two basic facets of your unconscious mind. Your conscious mind can choose which thoughts feelings and memories you’ll dwell on or react to. You can’t always control what bubbles up from the depths, but you do have a choice when it comes to influence. Once you understand what the ego’s role plays in the self, you’ll find it easier to dismiss it and let go when the ego is attempting to influence your actions. When the ego has full influence over your conscious mind, you are in ego state. Learn to recognize this state. When you find yourself in moments feeling angry, frustrated, outraged, defensive, manipulative, judgmental, self effacing, ashamed, embarrassed, offended, or fearful, it’s important you know that you’re making a choice to feel the way you do. In those moments you’ve chosen to listen to your ego.

The conscious mind doesn’t have to listen to the ego. Every time you let go, feel happiness, laugh, or love, you’re listening to your soul. The soul is open, playful, forgiving, happy, confident, and really is the stuff of pure love. In moments where you find yourself feeling good, in the moment, without a care in the world, you’re in the zen state. When the soul shines bright, and you feel real human connection, you’re in a zen state. This comes easily with release from the clutches of ego.

Some might say you step out of yourself when you enter a zen state. But you’re actually stepping into your true self. The ego is a fabrication. We need the ego’s point of reference to self as this one body, this one being, for our survival only in this current plane of existence. But this one body, this one physical being identified as you, is not the ‘real’ you. You are your soul. We are all souls. And we are way more connected than most people believe.

Understanding yourself in this way is the first step to gaining the ability to enter a zen state anytime anywhere.

I’ve done blogs before. Starting one is fun but honestly the first post is the hardest. Where to begin? I guess once you get rolling on a blog, the view count on the first post probably suffers from the highest rate of diminishing returns. SO this first post probably matters least. And really knowing what matters is the key to maintaining a zen state. That semi-cryptic statement is all the advice I’ll give for now. Post #2 will be written with the intention of having a much bigger impact on your life. haha or not. no pressure.