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I think I’m getting laid off in the morning 2013-Mar-20 at 02:38 PST

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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3 comments

No, really, I’m pretty sure that I’m getting laid off in the morning. Not kidding.

Just to get this out of the way: This is not a post about office politics or “should I have seen this coming sooner?” or anything like that. As for how I think I know this, again, not important (and not nefarious; just putting 2 + 2 together). As for what, in my humble opinion, my company should or shouldn’t have done differently… also not what I’m interested in tonight.

What is important is that it threw my body for a loop when I realized it. Sort-of knocked the wind out of me. It isn’t completely unexpected, but, still, the body has a lot of programs locked in it about the whole story of “losing your job”. I felt anxiety, mostly. (I felt blockages in my root and fifth chakras, and excess energy in my third chakra, for those who can feel what that means.) I felt my belly spin with that familiar, frantic energy that comes with deep anxiety, especially around money and scarcity. At least, that’s how I’ve experienced it in the past.

So, I still have that story, that fear, that energy, in my body, as so many of us do… and damn if figuring out that I’m about to lose my job tomorrow tends to activate it. Big time. The body was feeling very unhappy, very worried, very ungrounded. Very unloved, too.

You know what? That’s not very much fun.

Life happens. Things arise, things fall away. How we receive those things, those circumstances, as they arise and fall away, is up to us. We have a choice, in every moment, about how we relate to whatever is arising.

Conditioning is nothing more than the sum total of the energetic patterns that we’ve inherited, and that we sometimes act from. We get them from our family, and from the world around us. My conditioning reacted to the “news” with it’s perspective on how to feel this evening: it freaked-the-fuck-out.

Fortunately for me, the amazing Lauren Worsh came and sat down next to me and helped me find my way into feeling better and freer.

You see, I don’t know what’s going to happen in the morning. I have a guess about it, and my body, my conditioning, has had its reaction to it.

Now it’s my turn to take a perspective on it. And here’s my perspective: I choose to receive everything that arises in my life as something that is meant to free me up. And even when I fail at that, and I get contracted about something, I still choose to return to receiving everything that arises in my life as something that is meant to free me up.

Even losing my job.

Again… life happens. It is what it is. I can choose to be in resistance to it, or I can choose to receive it from another, freer perspective. The truth is, I can choose whatever perspective I like about it, and how I feel (and how the world will feel to me) will change depending on that perspective. (Gaining more and more freedom in the perspectives that we take – and therefore allowing broader and broader range in terms of what we’re willing to feel – is an important part of psychological growth.)

So… since I don’t enjoy feeling anxiety, I’m going to take this perspective: no matter what happens in the morning, I’m going to take the perspective that it’s meant to continue to get me freed up, to help me step into Freedom even more deeply.

And, just to be clear what I mean when I say Freedom: I’ll offer a perspective you can take (or not), and just say that from that perspective, when you feel into yourself, and you feel what the world feels like, it feels like Freedom. It’s easier to just go there and point at it then explain it, and, besides, it’s not about the mind, it’s about the Heart. (And, really, I’d like some company.)

Usually, we take the perspective of being one human being. Instead, imagine identifying as that one human being… on one planet going around one star, one of over one hundred billion stars in the galaxy (pause and imagine it), in a Universe with over one hundred billion galaxies (pause and imagine that, too), in a Multiverse with a potentially infinite number of Universes (yes, that too – an infinite number of Universes)…

…and flip the perspective to just being the Source and Awareness of the totality of this infinite, multi-dimensional, ever-changing, ever-transforming All-That-Is. Just flip your perspective from personal to as-impersonal-as-you-can-get. Use your imagination if you’d like; just imagine what it would be like to take that perspective, to hold that perspective. You are Awareness. Then stay there for a minute, let it settle into the body, let the body and the Heart start to really feel (remember, the mind isn’t the thing that feels) what it feels like to be the Awareness of All-That-Is. Not what you think, but how it feels when you let go of the perspective of being a person – just for a minute, it won’t go away, I promise – and shift to the perspective of the Awareness of the totality of the Multiverse. All times, all places, all inside of this totality… this Awareness. Rest here, and feel into it.

Then drop the Awareness, and just Be.

If you pause and take this perspective with me, the body state it creates is Freedom. This is Freedom. This is your Freedom. The Present Moment, this moment, Right Now – fresh, clear, received without expectation or conditioning – is the home of Freedom and Awareness. It’s always available to you and to me.

Remember how I said I was feeling unloved? Sending myself Love from this place of Freedom and Awareness helps that quite a bit. It helps to calm down the anxiety and fear.

It’s simple, really. We shift our perspective out of conditioning and into our Freedom, we feel that in the body, and from there we shift our attention to what needs healing, what needs love. And now the source of that Love is the All-That-Is, and not just little ol’ me. Kind of like a magic trick, except no cards.

And I’m pretty sure that I’m getting laid off in the morning.

Either way, it’s going to help me get freed up. It already has.

——–

Edit: If you’re interested in the follow-up

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Poker and Zen 2010-Jul-09 at 13:14 PST

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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2 comments

I occasionally get the question about how I could be trying to make my living playing poker while having an Integral understanding of spirituality, and the ultimate fallacy of competition, from an absolute perspective.  What am I trying to achieve through this (other than, you know, paying the rent and eating)?

A long excerpt from Poker and Zen, by Howard Lederer:

Tournament poker can be very exciting, but like many exciting things in life, it can also be terrifying. There is nothing quite like the thrill of playing at a big money final table. I am often asked how I handle the pressure of playing for such big money. I could give the standard answer of "You have to forget the money and just think about the chips as units." This is certainly true. But, those units are worth a lot of money and forgetting about the money and prestige that comes with winning is easier said than done.

I always had trouble doing this at the critical moments of poker tournaments even as recently as a few years ago. I then started to read some books on Zen Buddhism. Zen has always been associated with the fine arts of flower arranging, calligraphy, and tea making. But there is also quite a tradition of Zen in swordsmanship and archery. Through reading these books and in particular "Zen in the Art of Archery," I have a greater understanding of the process one goes through to master an art form.

Staying in the moment is the path to poker mastery. And it is poker tournaments that present the greatest challenge to this goal. How is it possible to think only about the current hand when you have made bad plays and taken bad beats only minutes before? How is it possible to stay mindful of only the current hand when if you could win this tournament it might change your life? These are questions that can only be answered by each individual player. But, I believe that the study of the Zen arts can lead you down that path.

I realized that the more I could stay focused on the present hand and forget about bad beats and bad plays from my recent past, the better I would play. I also concluded that even more damaging to my focus on the present hand might be the nervousness brought on by thoughts of winning the tournament. Staying in the moment at the poker table is not an easy task. But, when I read "Zen in the Art of Archery," there was a concept that stayed with me. The master archer hits the target without having aimed. This meant that the more I tried to focus on the moment, the more I would not succeed. I could only find that focus from within myself. I decided that I would sit at the table and relax. For two years now, I have been practicing my own form of poker meditation. Instead of trying hard to focus, I allow it to happen through relaxation.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Poker is not other than the path… it is the path, as much as any other is.  Beyond the money is the ability to stay centered at all times, through wrenching bad beats and occasional bad decisions.

Just like life.  It’s all on the path.

P.S. For the record, even last night I lost that center from a bad beat for a few minutes, so I’m still working on it, still walking the path.