The Confusion Experiment
The Findings - #10 The heart goes by feelings. 

The Findings - #10 The heart goes by feelings. 

June 21, 2020

I’ll give you an example. I have really strong instincts; I’m sure you do, too. Throughout my spiritual journey, using my practices and tools, my intuition has gotten sharper. So when I left Alaska in 2013 and left my home, my career and my life behind, I knew I was ready for something else, something more, something that would take all the different aspects of who I was and bring them together, unified. I didn’t know what it was I was ready for, but I had a feeling it would find me and I would recognize it. I trusted my instinct enough to take the leap of faith.

So as I traveled into new territory, I can see now that when my instinct kicked in, my mind jumped in right after it and shouted,  “Wait! You can’t do that. That can’t be right. We’ve never done this before. I can’t look to the past and see how this has happened or worked out. We don’t have a reference point. You can’t possibly know! We should find someone who does.”  That well presented, unexamined argument created doubt, that doubt caused me to not trust my instinct and that caused separation to my own knowing self as I believed the outer world knew more than my inner world.

So I went outside of myself for the tiniest things like picking a logo for my website. My first choice was a blue lotus but what do I know about a good logo for a website? I better find the people who do know. So I asked all my friends and business colleagues for their feedback. Of course,, everyone had a different opinion! Now I have way too much information. I’m overwhelmed, confused, and paralyzed. I don’t know which way to go. Meanwhile, weeks have gone by until finally I say to myself, “Pick the blue one!”  In the end, I came back to the first logo that I loved because of how it made me feel, but the distance that was driven between me and my knowing self was miles wide and the time spent second guessing myself caused incredible stress. So did my need for perfectionism.

The moral of this story is I knew what was right for me from the beginning because of how I felt when I saw it: my heart loved that blue logo. The mind can only work with what it knows. The heart works with what it feels.

 

From the book, 'The Confusion Experiment."

The Findings - #9 The heart is more like a GPS

The Findings - #9 The heart is more like a GPS

June 21, 2020

A GPS doesn’t give you every direction all at once before you leave the driveway; you’d never get anywhere. Once you identify where it is you want to go, the GPS figures out the “how” and tells you one direction at a time and you trust it to get you where you’ve told it you want to go. 

That’s exactly how the heart works. The instructions from the heart come after you leap through instinct and intuition, the GPS of the heart.  If your heart is telling you to do something, believe that it’s important and knows the way! 

 

From the book, "The Confusion Experiment."

The Findings - #8 The mind needs to know.

The Findings - #8 The mind needs to know.

June 21, 2020

We have an obsession with knowing. Vision boards, goals, five year plans, day planners, time management, to-do lists, all so that you know what you’re doing, where you’re going, and how you’ll get there. This obsession with knowing places a high value on the mind, so much so that I can now see that sometimes when I thought I was using my mind, my mind was really using me!

In addition, the mind doesn’t like the way the heart works. The mind wants to determine a new moment based on what’s already familiar, using the past as its reference point to how it ought to be... except a new moment has no past.  The heart replaces facts and evidence with feelings and uses its own set of qualifiers called intuition and instinct. These two inherent qualities have very little value in our society's formula for success and that is particularly true when you experience change. So when you take a leap of faith, you don’t necessarily have all the information. That’s intentional. Life loves to play!

But because the mind needs to know everything before it leaps - past attempts, failures and risks, likelihood of success - it rarely gives the green light. This is why we often feel so stuck and unable to move forward or make a decision. Meanwhile, the heart uses feelings as a preview. Now I can appreciate the importance of the question, “How do you feel?”  This is the tug of war between the heart and the mind that was so keenly represented in the “left side/right side of the page” exercise discussed in the book.

In addition, because the mind works with what it knows, it has specific filters about how things should look and, if it doesn’t look like that, then it must mean “nothing is happening.” I suffered from this time and time again and was able to see that it was a cause of not just stress but depression as I got stuck in the belief that nothing was happening while so much was happening. Another major breakthrough.

The mind can take neutral data and create a conclusion that isn’t true. This is why it’s critical to challenge what your mind presents to you. In doing that myself, I realized I was trying to build my future from the past.

 

From the book, "The Confusion Experiment."

The Findings - #7 We are not our thoughts.

The Findings - #7 We are not our thoughts.

June 21, 2020

For many weeks in the beginning of this experiment, I was tumbling and twisting and rolling inside a tornado of my thoughts. “I am confused.  I am sad. I am unhappy.” I believed I was those thoughts. I identified myself with them, as them.

After several weeks of meditation,  I felt like I was sucked out of that whirlwind and put right on the edge of it. I still felt the pull into this crazy vortex of thoughts, but I started to question – "Wait a minute. AM I confused? AM I confusion?"

Then after a while, I moved far enough away from the chaos that I was able to observe my thoughts. It was similar to sitting in a movie theater. What a shit show!  No wonder I’ve been confused and depressed. Look at this thing!  It’s crazy, it’s insanity….and I love it....because it’s mine.  That’s when I realized that I am not my thoughts, I am something else. Over time, I found myself sitting with the Me behind me. the Divine One, seeing things from Its perspective. That’s when I realized this is the Intelligence that breathes me, that beats my heart and it has nothing to do with the mind that wants to see how many people liked my post on Facebook! 

It’s important to learn how to look at things, because the mind loves to present life to us through its own filters and those filters are usually distorted.  Meditation allowed me to distance myself far enough away from my thinking that I finally understood that there may be confusion but I am not confused. Truly a transformational moment.

 

From the book, "The Confusion Experiment."

The Findings - #6 Meditation shows you things.

The Findings - #6 Meditation shows you things.

June 21, 2020

Some amazing things happened while I meditated - the lava lamp stuff I talk about in the book, the tingling sensation in my head, feeling like I was snatched out of time and space - but so much more happened afterwards. My morning hour of meditation gave me realizations throughout the rest of the day, no matter what I was doing. Answers came quickly. Lost items were found easily. Things flowed without my effort and the insights I had around personal growth issues that had been plaguing me for years popped up in my conscious mind as nuggets of perspective and insight that caused one healing after another. 

From the book, "The Confusion Experiment."

The Findings - #5 Meditation reveals the One behind the thoughts.

The Findings - #5 Meditation reveals the One behind the thoughts.

June 21, 2020

Whatever the word is for you, Universe, God, Allah, Higher Power, The Thing Itself, there's a You behind you. there's a Mind behind your mind and thank goodness for that! This is the Mind that knows all because It is All. I like to call it "the Intelligence that holds all the planets in place." This is the Mind that communicates via our intuition. It knows stuff and wants to share! Meditation connects you with this Mind and the beneftis are life changing. Get to know this Mind as quickly as possible because it's awesome. 

From the book, "The Confusion Experiment."

The Findings - #4 There is no method of meditation.

The Findings - #4 There is no method of meditation.

June 21, 2020

Not to say that there aren't different teachings that are valid and worthwhile because I too teach different "types" of meditation. However, I now believe that there is no necessary method. If you think there's a method that delays the experience. "I have to go find the method because I don't know what is it. Somebody has to teach me." No. The method of meditation is get a chair. Sit down. Set the timer on your phone for 60 minutes or six. Close your eyes. Get the popcorn and watch the show. That's it. And the next day, do it again. Then, when you find yourself attached to your thoughts and suddenly you're shopping in Costco or having an imaginary conversation with someone in your head, come back to the breath. Always come back to the breath.

Did you know that the breath is the only thing that can interrupt the autonomic nervous sytem? Do you know that we're wired for "fight or flight" and the breath is the only thing that tells the brain it's not in crisis? Do you know that when you take a deep breath you just communicated to your mind that everything is OK?

For example, when you get a message from your boss or your friend that says, “We need to talk,” your brain goes into its ‘fight or flight’ response. If you take a conscious breath, you’re telling your mind, “There’s no charging elephant!” This is so important because the breath halts the secretion of adrenaline and cortisol hormones that were never meant to run non-stop in your body. They were designed to serve your system in short term doses in that small window of “fight or flight." Now however, we’re so overstimulated that everything is perceived as a threat and the constant secretion of these hormones is depleting our immune system. This is why they say, “Stress kills.” So breathe.

The Findings - #3 Meditation is not about the elimination of your thoughts.

The Findings - #3 Meditation is not about the elimination of your thoughts.

June 21, 2020

The mind’s job is to think. It’s like a manufacturing warehouse, churning out thoughts all day and all night. When we go to sleep, the mind is still creating thoughts - your thoughts, my thoughts, everybody’s thoughts. I believe they swirl around at night while we’re asleep, waiting. Then when you wake up – sometimes before you even open your eyes – they come rushing in! Thoughts, thoughts and more thoughts! So meditation is NOT about stopping thoughts. They’re here to stay. Also, meditation is very quick with the impact it has on the body. Though I left Kyle Cease's retreat and returned to Anchorage feeling very depressed, by Day 8 of my experiment I was feeling better. My mind was still blown to pieces, but I noted in that video that I felt better.

From the book, "The Confusion Experiment."

The Findings - #2 Meditation is not about stopping your thoughts.

The Findings - #2 Meditation is not about stopping your thoughts.

June 21, 2020

For those who think meditation is about stopping your thoughts, I would say that the majority of my time meditating is filled with thoughts. What changed is my relationship to them.

From the book, "The Confusion Experiment."

The Findings - #1 Meditation is really the honing of the skill to be still.

The Findings - #1 Meditation is really the honing of the skill to be still.

June 21, 2020

Meditation is about the practice of sitting with yourself, which is actually very difficult for most people to do because we’re not comfortable being with ourselves.  We’re also very addicted to stimulation and the idea of having none for an hour - let alone 15 minutes - is terrifying for most people. We’ve also convinced ourselves that we don’t have the time. That’s why meditation is a practice. By doing it everyday, you strengthen your meditation muscle and become more comfortable simply being with yourself.

From the book, "The Confusion Experiment."

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