Friday, July 29, 2016

Trust in personal relationships.99% Trust is no trust at all. Or…

During one of our couples/partner programs trust became an issue. Earlier this year I already focused a little bit on trust and respect in relation to work and leadership. About trust I wrote:

“If you have to build up trust, you can ask yourself when trust is 100%. If you can only reach 98% - I do not know actually how to measure – then trust still is 0. Trust is about only 100% or nothing. It is there or it is not there. And if trust in employees or in managers is damaged, or in general a relation is damaged, then there is no trust. There is nothing in between.”

Looking more deeply in the aspects of trust, and especially in relationships, there is even more to discover.

In a social context, trust has several connotations.  
Wikipedia shows:
‘Definitions of trust typically refer to a situation characterized by the following aspects: One party (trustor) is willing to rely on the actions of another party (trustee); the situation is directed to the future. In addition, the trustor (voluntarily or forcedly) abandons control over the actions performed by the trustee. As a consequence, the trustor is uncertain about the outcome of the other's actions; they can only develop and evaluate expectations. The uncertainty involves the risk of failure or harm to the trustor if the trustee will not behave as desired.’

So using this reference trust issues refer to:
# A situation,
# Willingness to rely,
# The future,
# Letting go of control,
# Desired expectations,
# Risk of failure or harm.

One of the first things during the program we discovered together was that most of the time we forget that trust has to do with a specific situation. Too often people say; “I cannot trust him/her” or even worse give the external advice ; “Don’t trust him/her”. And yes, for this situation you possibly still can say that 98% trust still is no trust at all.
Too easy we do not trust the whole persons acting because of we only do not trust one part – the specific situation - of all his or her behavior and acting. Everything you give attention grows so by only this thing we easily say; “I do not trust him/her”.

Working with the couples I offered an exercise to write down on the right side of a piece of paper all the things you trust and on the left side a list of all the things you do not trust in the other person. Nice to discover that on the left side there were no or only one or two things and a whole list of things trusted on the right side. So does this say you, in general, do not trust the other person?   

Trust is something that we cultivate. It’s based on our personal programming (background) and life experience. To trust is to believe, to rely on something. You can feel trust for instance when you are dancing together, one of you being the leader, one with the eyes closed (see the picture attached). When we, in a certain situation, have doubt it says we rely in this situation only on evidence.
Sometimes you have doubt about something. That does not say that this is always a negative thing. Indeed it can help you to go, discover, learn and understand things deeper and to get a more profound understanding. So doubt can be helpful and a positive thing. Do not right away consider it as something negative. Because actually you are dealing with the question ‘What to believe?’. Even the Zen tradition learns ‘The greater the doubt, the greater the enlightenment’ (see it as in-sight).

Feelings of doubt you can see as signs to learn more, to deepen, to understand, to grow (together).
The start of a relationship has the feeling of unconditional love. When the partner and relationship feels good. The word ‘doubt’ does not even exist. Getting children you start with – most of the time an even stronger - unconditional love between your children and you as a parent.

Accept getting the first feelings of doubt as an early positive wake-up call to work on directly in a positive way. Because actually they are a sign that something – only one situation - in this unconditional love is helping it fading away. So, you need evidence based on (both of) your desired expectations, risk of failure or harm to go on together firm and strong in a loving relationship.  

Jealousy, fear (for instance of being left alone or to be harmed) and rumors undermine the willingness to rely. Without willingness of the trustor there can be no trust.

Getting the feeling or signals of not having trust in certain situations in a relationship step by step ruins the relationship when you do not work on it. When you respond to this feeling(s) the effect can be more than positive. It is sad to discover more and more people who do not trust, do respond in a destroying way. They feel and act as a detective in their own relationship. Checking emails, text messages on mobile phones, personal agendas, etc.. They started to already ruin instead of purifying the situation to get the opportunity to grow and learn together. Do not be too late, beat the hands on the plow (together) and purify! So work on strengthening and growth.


In Buddhism there is a purification practice known as Vajrasattva. The steps are: 
1)  The power of support – taking support in one another through genuine communication.
2)  The power of regret – having true feelings of remorse for all negative actions done in the past (including confessing what those are with true strong regret).
3)  The power of resolution – remembering the mistakes that have been made, he/she has to resolve never to commit them again. Doing so would be taking steps back on the path and is a sign that the regret was not genuine.
4) The power of action as antidote – he/she can offset the negative actions he/she has done in the past by producing positive ones now. Treating you especially well (not overdoing. No pleasing), cultivating a loving relationship with each other are potential ways to produce positive change.

You do not need to be a Buddhist to follow these actions.

You just have to be willing (right intention (Noble Eightfold path) to look at your life and be willing to make a change. Change comes from truly looking (taking the time to stop and look deeply) at the effects our actions have had on others. If this cannot be explored in an open and honest way there is no chance real and sustainable change and new flow will be possible.

Take a good look at your relationship and determining whether it is worth saving. When cheating occurs it is often symptomatic of other issues at play in a relationship. The act of infidelity is a heavy divider between two loving individuals. There is a long road to returning to trust and before embarking on it you need to insure that both of you are willing to do it.

Buddhism recommend taking a look inwards at your intention, your connection to one another, and your ability to trust and respect one another. However, based on the Buddha’s life experience, you can’t imagine he would tell you to immediately give up. The Buddha teaching learns we should not ever give up on anyone and even when we should give up to do it out of right intention, compassion, right speech and staying connected with loving kindness. Everyone has the ability to change and has the seeds for living a good life. Forgiveness (to give a new (not second) chance) though, can be a long road to walk down.

If you mistrust one another or someone, remember: You tend to find what you’re looking for. Are you more interested in finding reasons to doubt or reasons to believe?

Frans Captijn
Host / Catalyst / Talenteer at Captijn Insight

Captijn Insight“Catalyst in your process to new sustainable flow in life and work. Whether you are an individual, couple, team or an organization.” 

Friday, July 22, 2016

The elaboration of the miracle of hospitality.

Meeting more and more international guests in my work or at home I discover the miracles of hospitality. People feel free to open themselves and to start flowing again. It seems to be a sacred gesture for people to truly feel welcome, connection and appreciation.

In Thailand, the country I live, people do not shake hands when they meet. They do the so called ‘Wai’. With their hands they make a bud of a lotus flower (In Buddhism related with the Buddha) and, most of the time placed on heart level, they make a bow.
The actual meaning of this greeting is: “A lotus for you, the Buddha to be.”. The receiver can see it as a polite gift in combination with the invitation to show his or her Buddha within.

All my classes at the place where I work and live and all my meetings with ‘strangers’ as well as with people I already know for a long time, start with this gesture. The start of offering hospitality.

A lot of times at the beginning of my retreats or classes I start with the questions:
“Is there something going on in your life you are suffering about and want to address?” and/or “How can I be there for you?” I explain Buddhism has everything to do with diminish or stop suffering and to mirror things that are going on in your mind in a different way to get more or different insights. And the word insight has everything to do with enlightenment. Not a holy thing but really and in fact getting rid of ‘weight’ on your shoulders and feel lighter, freer. Lots of times people share their story in private or in a group.

Just an example of last week. After my questions it became silent for a short while. Most of the time it needs some time to get the courage to pass 'the threshold' and to share what’s going on. A woman shared a story about what was going on in her life. Her fears, her anxieties, her anger about the future, and so forth. After telling her story she started crying. The emotion of happiness because for the first time in her life, as she explained, she shared her story. She never did to her husband, her children, friends or family members.

Having this experience again it brought me the idea to explore more about hospitality and to share my ideas about it. And please (note for this blog) skip the idea this kind of hospitality has to do with the hospitality branch and the business of hospitality.

The first thing in the gift of hospitality is that you are really offering your availability. This is not only showing that you are available but presenting the energy, the donation, to be there. You are present for the other person(s) radiating the energy - a kind of mantra - “I am here for you.”. You feel connected with the other person(s) (A personal connection, mobile devices not involved). You are happy the other person is or persons are there. You know people are suffering an you are there for them.

The second thing in the gift of hospitality is you are both ‘strangers’ to each other. In a rational way we think we feel more free or safe sharing our personal stories with people we know and trust. My experience in four years now is that there is another truth. It has everything to do with emotional trust.
The emotional trust is based in the idea that people you do not know for a long time do not have the background of your personal stories. The invitation shows respect, a willingness to listen, faith, no judging, no fear for any fight or debate and a kind of welcoming excitement to understand what’s going on. Not asking for any advice but just being there to listen. 
In lots of ways a different and inviting kind of trust.

The third thing in the gift of hospitality is that you know the contact is only temporary. People find security in that thought and will not be hurt in telling their story. 

I discovered hospitality is a kind of 'sacred' gift everybody can offer to each other. Too often we want to take care and start thinking, offering and/or even sometimes pressing other people to follow (out of our best intentions) 'our' own best solutions. But people have already all their solutions on their life questions within. They and you cannot find them or offer them from the outside world. You cannot enter their inner world. It's a personal process. So actually there is nothing more to do for you than to be there and show compassion so the other people can create peace within. 

A lot of times, after mirroring and reflecting people show their gratefulness for receiving and ask how  to go on with the insight they got by themselves. The answer is by letting go everything you heard, wanted to hear and did not hear. You can trust yourself and the universe that everything you needed to diminish or stop your suffering already started with you. So forget everything. The most easy part. After that be aware of things starting to flow again and feel a relief.

The ongoing experiences I get of the working-out of the miracles of hospitality have everything to do with healing and uncovering hidden energies. Actually stimulating peoples inner miracles: the shift from fear to love. Be who you are and live and share the many wonders of life.

Frans Captijn
Host / Catalyst / Talenteer at Captijn Insight

Captijn Insight“Catalyst in your process to new sustainable flow in life and work. Whether you are an individual, couple, team or an organization.” 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Mirroring lesson about irritation and anger.

Again a beautiful insight I got during a teaching and would like to share.
For me it was a kind of mirror lesson in relation to irritation and anger. Not, one, two, three, so easy to achieve but perhaps a first step in a different direction.

Buddhism calls it the art of looking deeply.
The instruction we got was to find the question you should ask when you're irritated or even angry by someone or something. So you take some time to think this over and all kind of remembrances pass in yourself. And actually that already is a first recognition. Being angry always has to do with something in the past that already happened. Even though it is a plan which has been expressed.

After some time we discovered the question to ask was not, “What’s wrong with this person?”, but “What does this irritation or anger tell me about myself?”.

The cause of your irritation and anger is not in the other person or situation but only in you.

The first very real possibility, mirror, why this person’s or situation ‘defects’ annoy you is that you have them yourself. But you have repressed them and so are projecting them unconsciously into the other.
Isn’t it surprising that, let’s say the behavior, is irritating you while someone else  in your place would be exposed to this behavior and would experience no irritation at all?
Not many people recognize it at first glance, but it is almost always true. If you take some time to look more deeply and reflect, you might do pretty valuable personal discoveries about and into yourself.

The second mirroring/reflection that you might experience is that the anger or irritation are pointing out at something in your life that, so far, you refuse to see. Now it starts resonating. It has not been revealed, you might say. It is often (still) immobile and you have no alternatives for yourself to look at it differently.

The third mirror that your anger and irritation is caused is because, for example, the behavior or reaction shown does not match by how you would react, or with your expectations. All this is related to how you are programmed. The mirror shows you a way of behavior or response that is different from how you would tackle things.

Irritation is clouding your perception and therefore makes your action/reaction also much less effective. It distracts. Is not it strange to demand that someone else live up to standards and norms that among others your parents programmed into you?

And a final mirror to consider is; Do you believe the other person has the intention to shock you with his or her behavior. You do not - or insufficiently – know the background and experiences of the person that irritates you or makes you angry. Maybe you can see it this way that he/she cannot help behaving the way he/she does. If you really understood this person you would see him/her at a certain point crippled and not blameworthy. Someone just like you and me who also still has to learn a lot.

Irritation and anger, we can learn something from it.

Frans Captijn
Host / Catalyst / Talenteer at Captijn Insight

Captijn Insight“Catalyst in your process to new sustainable flow in life and work. Whether you are an individual, couple, team or an organization.” 

Friday, July 8, 2016

The art of listening. When did you hear your footsteps for the last time?

This morning, like every morning, I walked with my dog in the forest. Actually for me most of the times it’s a walk in silence. This morning as well. Over and over again you experience that not a single day is the same.

This time there was no wind, more than ever I was aware of the wonderful sounds of birds awaking, and I heard my footsteps again. It made me attentive of silence. The realisation that silence is not the absence of something but the awareness of the availability of everything.

Listening to my footsteps… Telling me I am on my path and it is called my life. My path is what happens and what happens is my path. I am alive, I am available, willing to change, to grow to serve to receive and to share and I am thankful and grateful for that.

What a nice experience to listen to your footsteps… To practise the art of listening.

I invite you to just sometimes give it a try. To listen with the ears of a musician. To experience your appointment with life. Want some help?

After reading the following exercise just close your eyes for a while (watching takes about 70% of our ‘sense energy’). Turn of your mobile devices. Observe you are the centre of listening to the sounds that are available and surrounding you now. Just take a short period of time to really experience every step in this exercise:

  1. Be aware of the different directions of all the individual sounds surrounding you. 
  2. Be aware of the differences in distance of the individual sounds. 
    1. Sounds far out. 
    2. Sounds surrounding the place where you are. 
    3. Sounds at the place where you are. 
    4. Maybe even sounds of your body because of breathing of functioning of the digestion system. 
  3. Be aware of difference in frequencies. 
    1. Lo tones. 
    2. Middle tones. 
    3. High tones. 
  4. Try to find rhythm. 
  5. Try to explore melody. 
  6. Listening to all the sounds together… be aware of the harmony. 
  7. Now try to connect with a sound that is attracting you and be aware of when the sound stops. Then find another sound and find where it stops and so on…

One of my teachers used to say: “All sounds come up out of silence, take on form, do manifest and fall down into silence. Listening to sounds this way you can see sounds as signs to silence.”
Silence is not the absence of something, but the awareness of the availability of everything. 

The art of listening. Connecting with silence and connecting with life. Just give it a try and discover what’s in it for you. You are worth it.

Frans Captijn
Host / Catalyst / Talenteer at Captijn Insight

Captijn Insight“Catalyst in your process to new sustainable flow in life and work. Whether you are an individual, couple, team or an organization.” 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Trust your life. The insight lesson not to worry about it.

After a period of even more than seven years and three months, end of May this year, I finally sold my house in The Netherlands. An enormous financial loss and also a 'Golden' profit.

After the process to get an accepted promissory sales contract both signed, I shook my fur, got silent for a while and tried to feel what actually had happened. I got emotional and could not explain why I did not feel anything. This feeling was completely wired. A ‘burden’ sometimes conscious, sometimes unconscious, I carried for over seven years on my back. That part of not being able to sell it and to finish one of my history books in life felt dark. 

Not having to carry this ‘load’ any longer, at the beginning absolutely did not feel as an enlightenment.
This moment is already a couple of weeks ago now. What can I learn from it? What is the mirror for me? Why was it I carried this burden for over seven years, disturbing my life with concern and disruption? Why am I only now experiencing this "golden" profit? I did not have to wait for that moment.
I like to share my personal experiences and who knows you recognize something and can learn from it.

The first thing that came up into my mind was that I wondered what made me really insecure in my life. I started blaming everything and everyone. The economic crisis, real estate agent(s), advertising and marketing texts, the condition of the house (which first was furnished, than needed to be empty and redecorated, and afterwards got the advice to redesigning in a different style again), etc. etc .. And I think this first blaming ‘the outside world’ attitude has to do with a lot of things like money, health, work, career, family and love.
You always tell yourself it's because of your outside world that not supports you. Actually this is great nonsense.
If you look deeper into things as 'uncertainty' and 'concern' they have everything to do with emotion. Emotion is always only connected with and is to find within yourself. Other people deal with the same situation(s) often very different. Therefore you have to understand that they are carrying lots of times much less – or not at all a - ‘burden’ on their back in a similar situation than you.

Uncertainty and anxiety therefore is solely available in your head and nowhere else. The inner voice (although not actually your inner voice) tells you all this stories formed in your past. It has all to do with your lifestyle. Buddhism explains lifestyle as the way you, out of your unique programming, respond to situations.

So this then raises the question to discover this programming from the past that is the cause of this emotions.
Without even knowing or being aware I have been taught. But first let me add the statement I do not blame at all my parents and ancestors for it. In my opinion I had a wonderful youth and got a great ‘management support’ from them. Thankful for that. But it is time this has to stop now. Yet in my experience the ‘key’ is there.

I am the youngest of a family of five children. If my parents had a quarrel together it turned out it always was about money. My dad worked very hard earning money to support family life. My mother lived the habit of spending more money than my father could earn raising the children. She was the kind of ‘super hen’ who overwhelmingly took care of her chicks. My father started to work harder (longer) to earn more money as a result, he was less at home. The next item for a quarrel was born and it gave my mother the opportunity to spend even more on... yes their children. Comical if I write it.
And my father, no wonder looking back deeper into his youth, inside himself already had that fear of being in debts. He learned it being a very young child. His father had a painting firm. A family of nine children when my grandpa got an accident and died thereto. There need to be money for my grandma to go on raising the family and the business. So all the family members had to contribute to save the family from let’s say destruction. So you can see how a ‘seed’, an experience of the past, is still working on – growing and spreading - till now in my life (and already the life of my children again). Not a bad thing but bad when it is fulfilling an undesirable role of worrying and causing feelings of cramp.  

Those arguments at home about money have yielded me a kind of fear syndrome in connection with the corresponding subconscious emotions. The voice in my mind is not my own voice but in fact are the voices of my parents and grandparents and maybe their parents again.

After my divorce I had to pay for a period of fourteen and a half years a significant monthly financial contribution. It costs me, not in relation to our children, moreover a lot of difficulties. What did I do? Of course, work harder. Study more. Ascend into the ranks of the fire service because (also) it deserved more. What happened? Back to court because there might be a possibility to pay more alimony. Strange that I only now discover. I tried to fight my fear and uncertainty by seeking solutions in my outer world. Exactly the same pattern I had been taught. The result... eventually I got a very serious burn-out.
And finally, lucky for me and many others, this seemed to be the "gold" that I can and may experience now Thailand. And yes yet the sense of liberation, getting the insight of the "gold" that I am finally free from a piece of history. And as a consequence, in two ways. On the one hand I can close this book and totally can focus on now, my mission. On the other hand, much more valuable gold, the experience that I only did this myself to myself. I was not able to see my programming and was attached and clinging to the past.

How to react / respond in a different way?
In my opinion again nature provides a large portion of in-sight. Nature, animals, flowers, etc., are blessed above humans that they have no concepts in their minds about the future. They have no voices of others or of their culture or religion in their heads. They're absolutely do not worry about what others think of it all. They just simply are and do.
It is much, much easier - instead of trying to change your outside world - to firmly examine your programming and find people who respond totally different (less stressed, anxious, worried) in a same situation as you. You solve your ‘problem’ in your head much easier and faster if you are first of all aware of your programming and after that change a part. I did not have to carry for over seven years that concern. It was my own choice, now is my insight. Ther always was light but I did not see it, I did not trust it. 

How could I have turned the switch, because yes in my opinion it’s really a switch? By trusting myself and the powers that are supporting me even more.  
I am 59 years old now. I worried a lot about work and family in my life (and who does not?). I am still alive and somehow I dealt with all kind of, sometimes even tricky situations, in my life. I can make the choice to worry a lot about what tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, next week, month or year can happen to me or my family. But, so far my (and everybody’s) life lesson is, I actually already know that I can and will deal with whatever will happen to me and comes on my path. And yes this possibly can be very difficult but with my inner resources and support that I have I can and will manage. Worrying about this now makes me mad. Buddhism teaches that also tomorrow there will be trouble but tomorrow now can take care of itself.
If other people with their way of dealing have become happier or will be happier in the future is not to me. It’s only their own choice and accountability.
I only now can respond to things that happen to me now and should be assured after 59 years I can manage it. If I have or should change something now, my experience taught me that I always can rely and get the resources and energy in order to deal with it.

Now I know this worrying was a waste of time, effort, energy and a disturbance of my engagement with fulfilling my mission in life. I worried about the future. I was anxious about it. I was more and more unhappy about it. But that worrying did not help me at all to solve my ‘problem’. It only helped me to reduce the happiness every time I connected with that sad idea. It had all to do with past bad experiences. An attachment to the past. Clinging to the past. Not enough learning from the past and inadequate trusting myself and the forces that use me to go on with what I have to do in life.

I hope I've learned my lesson. I did not need to worry about my life. As for the 'golden' profits? I finally closed a book off the passed (I got the insight I could have closed much earlier). I can and will even be more available to do what I have to do here. Being available to serve as a catalyst in the process to new sustainable flow in life, love, family, career and work. Growing by sharing.

Frans Captijn
Host / Catalyst / Talenteer at Captijn Insight

Captijn Insight“Catalyst in your process to new sustainable flow in life and work. Whether you are an individual, couple, team or an organization.”