Friday, August 26, 2016

Jealousy. The parasite that can murder relationships and happiness. Open your gate and live free!

The most basic condition for happiness, according to the teachings of the Buddha, is freedom. Freedom from the mental formations of anger, despair, jealousy and delusion, described as poisons or symptoms of mental illness (not being mental illness yet).
As long as these poisons are still in our heart, happiness (peace of mind) cannot be possible.

Jealousy is a parasite that causes irritation, distance, hate and imprisonment. Looking more deeply into this ‘mental poison’ you can discover at least it has to do with two different phenomena: greed and clinging. And greed and clinging always have a relationship with (material) things, circumstances, or relationships. One cannot exist without the other.

Greed you can see as an inordinate longing for wealth, status/social position, or power. Somebody would like to have something, that somebody else already has but it is hard for him/her to get it. Most of the times this ‘hunger’ has to do with material things or the idea of a better or only bright side showing situation someone else is in. A ‘rich’ man often can be poor. What, after all is wealth, status and power? Nan Huai Chin: " We leave this world with nothing. No medals, no rewards, no success, no failure.”

The manual of peace (A Dhammakaya Foundation Paperback) says:
“Never look down on your own wealth” This might mean being content with one’s parents, one’s spouse and children, our work or one’s nationality. Even if there are faults with these things, it is necessary to cultivate the ‘pride’ for them (note: no arrogant pride) that will make it seem worthwhile gradually to make the necessary improvements – rather than the attempt to solve the problem by stealing away someone else’s (spouse, work, etc.). If a person is content with something, they tend to progress in that thing –because contentment, properly understood gives us the encouragement to expend effort on the things we come into contact with. You need to accept how you are and use what you have to the very best of your ability.

If people already feel confident and satisfied with the things they have or the situation in which they are in, some want to firmly cling on it. Actually not accepting or wanting to let go, no allowing of any change. Jealousy in this situation has to do with monitoring and, if necessary, repel all possible attack that, only in their thoughts and sometimes due to past experiences, could ruin their positive feeling or emotion. So there is a constantly conscious and alert state of monitoring possible ‘intruders’.

A person who is jealous, at least is suffering from feelings/emotions of insecurity, lack of confidence, fear, concern and anxiety. He/she puts him/herself in a prison cell of anger, hatred, shortage, helplessness and antipathy. An attitude and behavior withholding him/herself being open, interested, happy, positive, peaceful, loving, strong and relaxed. Being captured by his/her own mental poison and so not experiencing freedom and complete happiness.

Jealousy, unfortunately, is not just poisoning the person who is jealous. The mental symptoms infect and pollute relationships with others. Such contamination may ultimately be 'fatal' for that relationship.
Therefore you can see it as a "natural way" to achieved just the opposite of what the jealous person want to correct or achieve. Jealousy becomes a kind of personal masochism. Hurting yourself because of dissatisfaction and the fantasies you created in your mind.

Detective behavior of one of the partners against the other – being always alert and awake and giving attention to possible ‘invaders’ –  show no confidence / trust in having, being able, or want to build an unconditional love relationship.

The natural response of the other partner is to find ways to appease the jealous partner. An unnatural behavior – always being alert not to come into situations where jealousy can emerge – arises. So he/she does not feel free in behavior anymore. Not wanting to make ‘mistakes’ (not being mistakes at all). And this unnatural behavior invites the jealous partner to be even more 'suspicious'. So actually, the situation will only get worse.

Already two persons now are suffering of the lack of freedom and a lack of happiness because ‘something’ that’s only going on in the mind of one of them.

Jealousy creates distance and is a parasite that eats away the union in a love life. People who love(d) each other can feel very harmed by this.

Is there a solution?
What is described above, in general, is all about the consequences of jealousy. Want to do something then you have to start at the cause, at the source.
It is to choose a way of working on that source (where does the jealousy come from? How does it support you? What does it bring (or what does it take away from you, what do you lose)? A way of practicing and creating confidence. A step by step learning to manage your emotions until you get used to the ‘new way’ (a matter of trust, openness, tolerance, generosity), and it has become a behavior of satisfaction and trusting yourself.

Do not compare yourself with others. Compare your current relationship not with previous experiences you've had. Trust yourself and the other (until the contrary really would appear) and offer each other opportunities. Use your imagination and empathy to make yourself feel better instead of worse. Stop playing the detective in your relationship. Be mindful, open and aware, of what's going on (only) in your mind. Give your full attention to the love in the relationship you have (everything you give attention grows). Give conscious love to yourself (you are the one who live 24 hours with yourself every day so why not start a love relationship with yourself first). Open your gate! Let things flow. Release each other in who and how you are and how you behave to share with each other and with the world around in the best way your uniqueness. Be complete, all-one. Appreciate and accept differences in characters and sometimes cultures and religions and trust your connection. Thus strengthening your mutual bond instead of ruining him.

Mindfulness contains the energy of insight. Insight you can see as enlightenment. To make things and situations lighter, freer, so things can flow (again).

Thich Nhat Hanh: “Insight is the liberating factor. It is what frees us and allows transformation to happen...”  

Jealousy can ruin your peace and end relationship; it can also be a signal to you that it's time to make a change. Rather than letting jealousy infect your relationship with others, use its appearance as a reason to better understand yourself. If you are having to deal with the jealousy of others, draw clear boundaries and protect yourself to stay yourself.

A final, potentially sad, step is the last step of ‘equanimity’ (a way to stay balanced and stop worrying or suffering).
If you cannot or do not want to accept the jealousy situation with another any longer... find a new situation and be aware you may find different things in that new situations you will have to encounter after a while again.

Open your gate and live free (together). Live and be happy with what you have and with the uniqueness that you are!

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, August 19, 2016

Forgiveness. Insights for a long life. Is there really something to forgive?

I always invite our international guests during my morning classes to address things they have questions about in relation to Thai culture, Buddhism or life themes they are suffering or worrying about. Independently of each other the last couple of weeks I got quests about ‘forgiveness’. To address this theme, for me, shows people are suffering about it. It is an ongoing disturbing thing in their lives or in the lives of their relationships. A call to share some insights I got working here, joining classes at the Buddhist University in Chiang Mai, and out of my own cultural background so far.

Insight = Enlightenment. Don’t see it directly as a spiritual thing so you don't feel the need to read further. The meaning of enlightenment literally is to ‘drop the weight’ of your shoulders, to feel lighter, freer, to let go and to create space for new things to become that are already waiting for you to transform. To get flow in life again.

The actual meaning of the word ‘forgiveness’ you can see as ‘to give a new chance’. That’s something else than ‘to give a second chance’. When you (only) give a second chance you already created in your mind the wanted or expected outcome or circumstances in the future. So there is no freedom in the direction of the outcome.

Forgiveness has everything to do with something (in your opinion or in the opinion of someone else) ‘wrong-doing’ that happened in the past and is disturbing you now and possibly in the future. You do not want this disturbance any longer and it is not serving you at all.

In Buddhism ‘forgiveness’ is not a real big issue. I will try to give you some understanding about that.
First of all forgiving is a way of ‘giving’ where you do not have to make any physical effort at all. Buddhism learns ‘forgiveness’ is only in your mind. As soon as the thought crosses your mind to forgive, merit will arise already in your mind. Even when you haven’t expended the slightest physical effort, you have managed to earn yourself merit through giving ‘forgiveness’ (Abhãyadãna). Even giving others a smile instead of a scowl/dirty look will bring you merit.

To give is to take generosity, kindness. This means; ‘sacrificing your own ‘possessions’  for the benefit of other people, wholeheartedly, with the intention to honour the virtues of that person, or to assist a person of similar social standing, or to help someone who is worse off than ourselves’.
If you are not wholehearted about giving then it cannot be called ‘to give’ or to forgive. It is therefore broader than the equivalent word ‘Charity’ in Christian culture which is usually restricted to giving to the poor and the sick.

So here the introduction of intention, for the first time in relation to this topic is introduced.

So the second thing still is the question; Is there really something to forgive? A lot of times you will discover you are only disturbing your mind, so yourself, because you do not look deeper. During time you possibly made the story even worse or bigger. You cling on it and cannot leave your vicious circle of thoughts about it. 

In the Buddhist teachings we got the so called Noble Eightfold Path. One of the things in it is ‘Right Intention’.

Forgiveness has something to do with what happened in the past. This present moment, most of the time having more knowledge, understanding, build up wisdom and knowing more about the circumstances of that past moment, you can understand the ‘wrong-doing’ you did or somebody else did to you at that moment. So there is a different, better understanding.

Looking deeply you can ask yourself - or you can look back to the situation - if the underlying intention at that moment really was to hurt somebody else or if somebody else really had the intention to hurt you. 

There is a wonderful guided meditation / Dhama talk that says:
We can cause harm and other people can harm us. There is a lot in life that hurts us. You can sometimes feel hurt by what other people have done to you. But people are human, they make mistakes, they may be under stress sometimes, they say a sharp word. When your heart is open this can sting it. But most of the time there is no real malice, nothing personal intended in that. It is just that people are fallible and in different situations they act hastily and make mistakes. It is really easy to turn oneself in somebody wronged…, thinking; ‘this always keeps happening to me…’, everybody is against me.
Maybe, in a different way you can think, they try to make you a success. We are not perfect sometimes.

Sometimes we have to open up to forgiveness. Through meditation we can understand what it means. It teaches us that we need not feel graved and feel not retaliate when things turn against us.

Because actually everybody has his best interest and heart but some of the times they don’t show it. Some people are unfortunately so out of touch with compassion, love and wisdom, that they persistently do things that harm others. That’s  tragic but we should not lose heart when we notice that.  We have to know that there are people who are desperately confused and have yet to learn that the way to live is to abandon desires and cultivate kindness to all beings.

And remembering this, that enables us to live unselfish, live for the good of all beings doing that with promotes happiness and harmony.”

So a lot of times we suffer about our need to forgive others or others have to forgive us. If we look deeper and without judging we discover we or other people did not at all have the intention to hurt us. So what is there to forgive? Getting and sharing this insights and thoughts can clear things and feel enlightened, freer, lighter. Just an easy way to say wholeheartedly “Sorry”.  

Buddhism learns that the fruit of forgiving for us is a long(er) life. With your (inner) thoughts you are not toxifying yourself and your environment any longer. To express this in practice Thai people a lot of times connect forgiving others with extending the life of condemned animals (buying cows before being slaughtered and give them a longer life, or buy live fish at the market to release them to earn merit in a stream or river).

First of all try to get a deeper understanding without judging to discover the real underlying intentions at that wrong-doing time. When you discover no real active malice… what are you suffering about? Clear things in your mind and possible in right understanding. Share it with right speech (with right intention and heart connection) and feel (more) free again. The fruit? Long 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, August 12, 2016

Reclaim conversation! The preparation to restore the art of communication.

We do not know the art of conversation any more. Without even being aware, we’ve actually moved away by technology from real communication in a way that it is hurting our interactions. Some people are even afraid of conversation. 

A couple of months ago I bought and studied the book “The art of communication” of Thich Nhat Hanh. Reading an article of sociologist Sherry Turkle, who studied 20-years the impacts of technology on how we behave alone and in groups, brought me to the idea that the first step to restore the art of communication is to reclaim conversation. Most people are not even ready to understand the art of communication.

Face-to face conversation is the most human and humanizing thing that we do. It’s where empathy is born, where intimacy is born. Real communication has everything to do with eye contact, hearing the tones of another person’s voice, sensing their body movements, sensing their presence/energy. It’s where we learn about other people.

Today’s communication technologies more and more are an addiction, a kind of drug. We think we cannot live without them anymore. They give us an idea we will never have to be alone, that we will never be bored, that we can put our attention wherever we want it to be (having the ability to escape the situation we are in or to escape ourselves), and that we can multitask, which is perhaps the most seductive of all.

Actually allowing yourself a moment of boredom is crucial to human interaction and it’s crucial to your brain as well. This periods are used by our brain to replenish, to calm and to purifying the mind. It is even dangerous for the mind to have a constant high stimulation that our phones give us.

Don’t be anti-technology. Be (more) PRO face-to-face conversation. Just be aware our technical devices, like smartphones, are killing real conversation.
Face-to-face conversation:
1.     Increases the quality of what you talk about
2.     Increases the emphatic connection that people feel toward each other
3.    Shows mutual respect for each other

Live in greater harmony with your cell phone. How?
The picture on the right shows how NOT to live in harmony and not to reach conversation. 
Create ‘sacred spaces’ – like the kitchen, the dining room, the car - that are ‘device-free’ and set aside for real conversation. Don’t bring your cell phones to breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make meals a time when you are there to listen and be heard.

Allow for those human moments, accept that life is not a steady “feed,” and learn to savor the pace of conversation—for empathy, for community, for creativity.

Open and willing to reclaim conversation? Just do it!
Make (more) space for face-to-face conversation in your everyday life.

Then take the next step to restore and live the art of real communication (again) and be surprised of the connection it will bring. Your capacity for empathy, introspection, creativity, and intimacy certainly will grow.

(thanks to the insights of the article of Sherry Turkle)

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, August 5, 2016

The early courage of a young medical doctor to stop to find and fulfil her mission in life

Last Monday afternoon, when I was preparing one of my classes, a colleague of mine from our marketing department visited me with a young Thai lady. She, the lady, heard about my work and our guest commends and wanted to know more about my background and way of guiding classes and programs. She was interested to cooperate with us in the future and was on a kind of personal search.

It worked out for me she studied to be a medical doctor and worked for a period of three years in her profession. She experienced she did not fulfill her mission with it. She understood she had to bring the things she learned more into practice but found an environment that mirrored her in this stage of her career a kind of routine dealing with human beings. Not her purpose in life for her. So she decided to quit her job.

Already three months resigning for her was to stop and take a break to make up her balance sheet and to find out what she really wanted in life. Believe it or not. She even talked with us (my daughter Carlien and me) about what she wanted to do now and already about her steps she hopefully could make in her next life (for me a superb experience to hear, that made me thankful again to live in this wonderful culture).

Health, and her study and work in this branch, not at all was a waste of time for her. It helped her to find out what she did not really wanted. So it brought her one step closer to her life desires, fulfillment, mission (in this life) and success. She was not capable now, in her opinion, to serve the world enough with her life. Something was gnawing at her and she felt she could not fully bloom. Health in general was a good choice but not working as a medical doctor in this way any longer. She wanted to serve and share more. She was thinking about discovering a technology, maybe even a technical tool, to help more people suffering less and having a better heath and condition in a sustainable way.

Dealing with health is dealing with a holistic approach so the physical body, the mind, emotions, environment and even a spiritual part in a personal balanced way. She went to India to visit well-known Buddhist places to learn more about the Buddha’s approach how to help people to suffer less. She was inspired to find possible ways to help people in the modern time out of the same background and intentions. She felt engaged to translate this approach in a way more common and approachable to present generations.

It felt really good for us talking with her and to share and grow together. Proud to get people on my way who have the guts not to go on doing things they do not like doing to earn money to go on doing the things they do not like doing any longer. This young lady had the courage to listen to her inner call. To stop, be proud of herself, trust herself, look back to learn and build up wisdom to take courageous steps forward to serve with her uniqueness of personality and approach. Making herself and the world around so much more happy.

Stop finding scapegoats and building up general excuses why this is not possible for you. That idea only is in your mind. Trust yourself. Find and follow your mastery within. Be the master of your own life. Live your mission, not a hard task and for sure giving you energy, and influence yourself and your environment in a positive way being your uniqueness in flow. 

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.”