A Chinese Proverb

“A frog trapped in a well cannot fathom the depth of the ocean.”
~ Zhuǎng Zǐ

This quote arouses such a beautiful awareness within me. I use the word “arouse” very carefully here. I don’t intend to use the word “teaches”, because I already understand the concept that this nugget of wisdom represents. The reason that I am using the word “arouse” is because the moment that I read this, it brings back a previously held awareness to the forefront of my consciousness.

This arousal of my awareness is of vital importance to grasp yet a deeper understanding of above-mentioned quote. It is an “arousal” because the understanding of anything is temporary. It is only when we bring it into our consciousness, at this very moment that it once again becomes truth. We as humans are not capable of a continued and permanent awareness. We are capable of recall, and once our memory has been brought back, we once again access the same understanding as before, which we then use to apply this knowledge to current situations. Sometimes ending in disappointing results.

The results were disappointing because they were not as expected. But then, we are discounting the fact that everything changes and not everything remains the same. So many factors had changed and we were trying to apply an identical solution to a different situation. Scientists make it a priority to isolate their study target from as many possible factors, in order to understand or apply targeted manipulations for desired results. This is not possible in our relationships with others especially when you take into account other people’s emotional well-being.

Coming back to the quote, the awareness that it arouses is one of open-mindedness. When I accept the limitations of my mind, then I am open-minded about my inability to control all factors in my life. Then instead I am able to move gently between the things that I can do, and let go of the things that don’t go my way. Open-mindedness arouses the true wisdom of man.

Arohanui,

Jai

King in a small pond.

production update

Well, here’s another update regarding the production of the book.
As you may remember, the hole had become a stumbling block, and it looked like the cost was going up dramatically, which would have hurt my feelings.

I have just received a blank sample of my book with a perfect cut-out for the hope key. Faith restored, and I am going to print this week !

Funny email regarding Kickstarter support.

ok, this is funny. An email conversation with the one person I didn’t know, who backed my Kickstarter campaign. Read all the way to the bottom….

On Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 7:23 AM, <jai@thekingdomkey.com> wrote:
Hello xxx,

I wanted to reach out and thank you personally for supporting my Kickstarter campaign for my book on HOPE.
You are the ONLY person whom I don’t know personally to have pledged. It has given me some insight in crowdfunding in general and I’m grateful to have reached my target despite books probably not being the best product for this kind of fundraising.

I would love to know what motivated you to pledge for this book and how you came across it. I would also like to hear from you after you receive the rewards.

As you can see, in the attached pictures, I’m receiving samples from different printers. I’m also getting quotes on my “love key” which you are entitled to. It will be quite beautiful.
It is highly unlikely that these will arrive before the end of April, but I am shooting for early May delivery. I will definitely keep you abreast of the process as it develops.
Kind regards,

Jai
======
Hi Jai,

Thanks for your message.

To respond to your question about my motivation to pledge to your kickstarter, I’m an active member of our local BDSM group. Being a submissive, my dom was interested in the unique skeleton key that ships with your book, and instructed me to back you. I’m both excited and scared about the plans he has in store for me and your unique love key. As you’re undoubtedly aware, you’re a huge influence in our community and it is both our pleasure and our pain to support you.

We’ll make sure to keep in touch and provide photos of all the excitement the key provides.

Regards,

xxx

Just kidding man! This is xxx- the guy whose truck and dog you had for a week while me and xxx went on our cruise. The real reason I decided to back you is I believe you’re a highly intelligent and insightful person and am interested to learn more about the message you’ve decided to share with the world.

Where can I buy a book?

Where can I buy a book?

Our Kickstarter project just closed successfully, and we are now ramping up into production.

The books will be ready for sale as soon as they roll off the printers, so get them whilst they are hot, literally!

We shall be selling books directly from our website as soon as we get our shop up and running

We will be also getting them onto Amazon.com as quickly as these little pudgy digits can muster, to give you even more options to grab the greatest book of the year.

Facebook has a shop function and you can find my book here



To thine own self be true

Yet another famous quote from one of Shakespeare’s works. It is most often used in context with honesty and commitment. It is said to remind you that you are better than that. But, I would like to take another perspective on this saying, perhaps a deeper awareness of self.

There is a Japanese term, “ichigyo-zammai,” that basically means full concentration on a single act. It comes from the Buddhist notion that we do not express our own true nature when our focus is not complete. That our true nature cannot fully express itself when we are constantly distracted, but when we are truly just doing whatever we’re doing, we start to express our true selves.

Roshi Zuzuki, the Zen master credited to having brought Zen Buddhism to the West, advised to concentrate on the activity which we do in each moment. “When you sit, you should just sit; when you eat, you should just eat.” I personally see this as yet another example of our subconscious mind being more powerful than our own conscious thoughts. The inability to concentrate on a single task without distraction and interruption. This is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to be fully present in the moment.

 

How to do one thing at a time

This is my own personal practice. A form of meditation. Not unlike the “walking meditation” as practiced by Zen master Thich Nath Hahn.

  • Start an activity, turn to its with your full attention and set an intention to be present with the act, do nothing but this activity. You might think, “just walk” or “just read” or “just drink tea.”
  • I practice complete awareness as I do this activity becoming fully engaged with the entire moment. I become aware of my own physical body as I interact with objects from the outside world.
  • When I notice myself thinking about something else, having my attention pulled elsewhere, or starting down a pattern of judgment, resentments, etc.- I make a note to being fully present with the activity at hand. I consciously reset my mind back to what I am doing.
  • I gently tell myself that this distraction is the reason why I need to practice this activity with awareness, for the same reason that I need to practice meditation. That’s through this practice I expand my awareness.
  • I embrace the activity as if it is the first time I have ever done it. Like a child. I allow it to unfold and surprise me.
  • I treat each object with reverence as if it is the first time I ever saw it. I marvel at how the lights catches it and reflects into surrounding objects.
  • I become aware of the brilliance of that moment, but that activity, that underlies everything around us.
  • I allow gratitude to wash over me.

Just write. Just shower. Just give someone your full attention.

As I give each activity my full loving attention, I start to appreciate each person, each object, everything around me as something worthy of my respect, love, and gratitude.

The mundane becomes a miracle. Awareness changes our perception to see the perfection in imperfection.

This is a practice, not the end result. I am plenty distracted to not be in gratitude at all times. But feeling grateful is something I like to return. A lot!

Jai

Unlocking Possibilities

 

ALMOST THERE!!!

Only a few days left on Kickstarter before the real fun begins for me.

The physical keys that I began producing about 3 years ago, came to me in a meditation where I was pondering over “spiritual key-words”. For some reason, I began to see skeleton keys with words on it jump out to me. I immediately stopped meditating and began feverishly google images of keys with words on it. I became quite excited to see that no-one had made them in the same way that I envisioned them. I felt I was on to something. Not long after that, I had the first keys in hand. I did little with them, but everyone liked how they looked and could see potential in them.

I tried on several occasions to sell them to businesses and organizations alike but lacked the sales drive to transform the idea into a commercially viable business. My poor mom and several friends have boxes of these in their homes, waiting for me to do something with them. I have continued my life-coaching and service work that I have been involved in for a number of years prior to this. Work that has brought me immense meaning and purpose in my life.

Around this time last year, my circumstances changed suddenly. A person that I had been helping had suddenly turned on me and had begun poisoning my community where I was doing the bulk of my work. It was a sudden and inexplicable chapter in my life that left me baffled and uncertain of my purpose. It essentially moved me away from this work, into a new chapter in my life. It was devastating at the time, but it pushed me into this new direction. The phrase “God is doing for me, what I couldn’t do for myself”, springs to mind. Because I would never have left that situation as I would always have felt some sense of duty to the people that I was trying to help. As usual, miracles were happening all around me, and despite personal uncertainty, I felt safe in the knowledge that everything was going to work out just fine. I had faith.

This last year has been difficult, but never have I strained too far from peace and serenity to plague my well being. I am fortunate to have an amazing community of loving friends through fellowship and service. This last year has granted me time to write this book on hope, and all these experiences that have reaffirmed and pushed me into a deeper understanding of this very beautiful spiritual principle.

HOPE is abundant, but it can be cultivated through understanding – I began writing on the topic of hope in a very logical and almost scientific approach to this subject at first, but it felt mechanical and emotionless. Friends with whom I had shared my idea and offered to help unanimously advised me to add my own personal experience, to add depth and allow the reader to relate to what I was saying. This was not something I really wanted to do. There were many parts of my life that I really didn’t want people to know about me and I still felt embarassed about. Writing about my own background, turned out to be a cleansing experience. Difficult and utterly emotionally draining, but I no longer fear the judgment of self that held me back. Writing this book has given me a better understanding of hope. Your support has given me HOPE.

I am truly grateful.

Jai

Forgiving

Don’t you just hate the clichés about forgiving? And that “forgetting” part? Ridiculous! Sorry, I was given a brain, and it’s really quite good at recalling stuff. Maybe less impressive with names and certain dates, but really good at remembering how others’ have betrayed my trust.

I’ve read just about everything one can about letting go of anger. I have been told, “you have to forgive, in order for you to find peace”. And, whilst this is easy to want, deciding to forgive and feeling peace can seem entirely impossible. It doesn’t matter that just about every religion/philosophy in the world come together in this. I desire peace, I really do. I simply am stuck with my conception of justice sometimes.

I know what it feels like to be lied to, abused, controlled, forgotten, rejected or in some other way wounded by someone you loved and trusted. I know that you do too. Every one of us has been wounded by others in some form or other and I count myself extremely blessed and fortunate when I hear another’s story. It is often enough to bring me back to gratitude. But yet, it is easy to get caught up in the moment with that sense of injustice hanging over my head.

 

When it does I can feel sick in my core to think that people that have betrayed my trust will just walk away scott-free. I want revenge. I want retribution. The fantasies that follow in my head are outrageously ridiculous sometimes. Perhaps this is why I used to enjoy violent movies, because I could find the similarities in the reactions to betrayal in the movie. Back-stabbers beware.

Clinging on to this fantasy of revenge is because we’re simply not ready to give up on the fight for justice. So, we hold onto anger. We justify our anger and we stew and poison our soul. And we transmit that poison to every person we interact with. Anger glosses over the hurt and damage that has been done, and instead it tells us that vengeance will somehow make everything alright.

Forgiveness seems impossible. We want to forgive, because we know it’s the healthiest choice to make. We want to find that peace that comes from forgiveness. We want the madness in our brains to quiet down, and yet we cannot find a way to get there. It is only when the suffering of not forgiving outweighs the desire to set things right, that the willingness to forgive enters our lives. At that moment, the decision that restoring your own peace is finally a bigger priority than disrupting someone else’s.

Much of this comes through awareness and understanding. Two things that elude us whilst caped in anger and resentment. The realization that making another suffer for their betrayal is not going to fix anything.

Your vengeance simply means you are going to cause suffering in another’s life. It will do nothing that brings back anything positive into your life. I used to rationalize this kind of thinking. That this will cause others to think twice to do anything like this to me again, but instilling fear in another person is really no way to move your spirit forward. It has no positive consequences. None.

We also lack understanding of what the other person was thinking or more importantly feeling, when they did what they did. The deception of who we thought they were has blind-sided us so badly that we never get to contemplate of why they did this. We go through the process of trying to understand, but because of the hurt to self, it is a shallow process. An incomplete investigation of what was going on at the time, let alone knowing what has happened in a person’s past in order for them to act or react that way.

When you have come to that point of realization of your suffering, and become willing to forgive. Then further steps can be taken. I normally begin with reminding myself what forgiveness isn’t. These are important for me to understand:

  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are pardoning or excusing the other person’s actions.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you need to tell the person that he or she is forgiven.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any more feelings about the situation.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean there is nothing further to work out in the relationship or that everything is okay now.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you should forget the incident ever happened.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to continue to include the person in your life.
  • … and forgiveness isn’t something you do for the other person.

By forgiving, you finally give up hope for a different past. It means knowing that the past is over, the dust has settled and the destruction left in its wake can never be reconstructed to resemble what it was. It’s accepting that there’s no magic solution to the damage that’s been caused. It’s the realization that as unfair as the hurricane was, you still have to live in its city of ruins. And no amount of anger is going to reconstruct that city. You have to do it yourself, and it doesn’t necessarily have to include the person you are forgiving. In fact, for me it rarely does.

So, the process that works best for me is a process of acceptance:

  1. Accept that it happened. Accept how you felt about it and how it made you react. Accept that you are uncomfortable with change.
  2. Acknowledge the growth you experienced as a result of what happened. What did it make you learn about yourself, or about your needs and boundaries? Not only did you survive the incident, perhaps you grew from it.
  3. Accepting the flaws in everyone. Now think about the other person. He or she is flawed because all human beings are flawed. He or she acted from limited beliefs and a skewed frame of reference. When you were hurt, the other person was trying to have a need met. What do you think this need was and why did the person go about it in such a hurtful way? Accept your own flawed response to that suffering.
  4. To accept this present moment for what it is. To accept that everything is exactly how it is meant to be, and that dis-agreeance with that, is what brings suffering.
  5. To accept that everything happens for a reason, and to be open-minded that this was necessary for your own personal growth.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to make amends with who hurt you or that your safety is reliant on their amends. It doesn’t mean that you have to accept them into your life again with the same trust that you held before.

If you desire to have a relationship with them, it is to accept their flawed nature and love them for the sum of who they are, not its parts. To understand that they too accept your flaws and accept all of you. The relationship is not dependent on them healing you and putting you back together. After all, you’re not broken.

Forgiveness isn’t about letting injustice continue. It’s about creating justice for yourself, your own karma and your own destiny. It’s about getting back onto your feet and deciding that the rest of your life isn’t going to be miserable because of what happened to you. It means walking bravely into the future, with every scar and callous you’ve incurred along the way. Forgiveness means saying that you’re not going to let what happened to you define you any longer.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you are giving up all of your power. Forgiveness means you’re finally ready to take it back.

Jai