Ean Weichselbaum

~Transcendence~

Category Archives: Inspiration

Showing Up

space2
Today I want to tell you about a little thing I learned doing improv theatre.

Imagine you’ve signed up for an improv class. You’re there, sitting in the audience. A little confused yet excited. Suddenly you hear your name being said. It’s your turn to get up on stage to play a little scene with someone. Your mind freezes. You’re like: “I don’t have any ideas…What am I supposed to do? I’m not a very creative person…” While your mind keeps chattering you get up. You calmly walk up until you’re standing there for everyone to see. Bare as you are in that moment. There’s another person standing next to you – equally clueless about what’s going to happen with and betwen the two of you. Then you enter into a state of silence. Your mind turns off. Your senses heighten. You can feel your blood rushing through your body, your heart pounding. You can hear all the little noises in the room You see the people, their attention resting upon you expectantly. There is a great opulence, but also an equally great emtpiness. Out of this emptiness it happens…

When I started doing improv it wasn’t like that at all. I felt blocked a lot of the time. Anxious. Questioning myself. Unsure of myself. Hesitant. But there is one thing that my amazing teacher Silke taught me which has really stuck with me in all aspects of my life:

  • Show up. Step in there. Even if you have no idea about what you are going to do or what is going to happen. Trust and take the first step. Everything else is sure to follow.

It’s the same principle I use for writing these articles. Most of the time I do not know what to write about. But I sit down with my pen and journal. I set aside time. I put the pen to the paper and write the date. I am open and receptive to whatever comes. Trusting and taking the first step lays the foundation for what’s to come – to come around you and through you. It sets the frame in which experience can manifest. If you are here reading this please do me a favor. The next time you feel doubtful or unsure – just take that first step, with faith. Even if your knees are shaking and your palms are sweating. I promise you – something is going to happen. And it’s going to be beautiful. Have an amazing day.

1song

1I used to be really really scared of dancing. As far back as I can remember it has always felt uncomfortable and weird to me. Even as a little boy and then as a teenager I was afraid of being judged by others and by myself. Afraid to look stupid. Afraid to “do it wrong”. It was something I avoided at all cost, something that made me feel stiff and numb inside. Something I dreaded.

Since I started doing improv about six years ago and then a few years later started going to five rythm dancing classes regularily my experience of dancing has changed quite radically. I found out that moving my body and expressing myself can be an incredibly fun thing to do – so far that it now is an indispensible part of my life. Something amazingly beautiful and deep, healing and envigorating, even therapeutic.

I feel like moving your body to music is something wonderful. If you’re just a little bit like I was then you might not really share this opinion. So that’s why I wrote this article. To give some suggestions as to why a little bit of dancing every day is so amazing and then: how to allow yourself to do it. Even though you might be really really scared. So let’s put our old opinions and views aside and try to look at it with a fresh set of eyes.

What does dancing in awareness do for you?
I’ll explain what it does for me, because it will probably do something similar for you.

  • Dancing for me makes me feel free, it helps me to relax and open up. It allows me to show my emotions and to feel my vulnerability and also to feel my strength. I’ve had days where the few minutes I was dancing were some of the best moments of that day. Just standing in front of the mirror in a hotel room and dancing to some music I enjoy. Looking silly. Feeling a bit weird –  but hilarious and happy! Or sometimes really really sad and mellow. It’s all good.
  • Connected with myself and with the music. Expressing myself. Feeling like there’s room for me to be and to show my emotions. Room that I might not have felt on that day.
  • Dancing energizes me and makes me joyful. When I move then I feel alive. It’s also challenging – trying not to do the same movements over and over and to stay connected with the music while expressing my own emotions at the same time.
  • It’s also moderate exercise – gets me moving and gets some Oxygen pumping through my body and I feel awake afterwards.
  • It helps me to clear my mind. If some thoughts are circling through my head and I can’t seem to shake them off – dancing helps. It somehow puts those thoughts back into my body – and then they can flow and change and the dam wall is broken. The water of my experience of life is flowing again.
  • It helps me to deal with difficult emotions. For example when I feel sad or depressed dancing can do wonders for me! It’s just amazing how a few minutes of moving to a beat or to a melody can light me up 🙂 Miraculous even…

How to do it?

  1. Set aside five or ten minutes where you’ll be undisturbed – best on your own if you’re a little shy.
  2. Finde a nice spot where you have at least some room to walk around and move.
  3. Put on some music you like (headphones or speakers) and then start moving. It doesn’t matter HOW you move. It’s not a dancing contest. It’s only important that YOU enjoy it.

Now some concrete tips for finding the right movements and expanding your comfort zone. Try experimenting with the following:

  • slow/fast
  • fluid movements/hard movements
  • center of gravity
  • lots of stepping around/standing in one place only using the upper body
  • let one body part lead your dance – like all movements being started and lead by your head for example

The most important thing is to be supportive and nice to yourself. If you notice criticism creeping up – that’s a bad habit. Be like: „Okay I might look stupid, but that’s okay. This is my time for enjoying myself. Who cares?“. Put on a big smile and continue 🙂
It is important to make it clear to yourself that everyhing is okay. All movements are valid. Try to find those that you enjoy the most yet keep experimenting. You will notice your brain getting really active – it’s like giving yourself a mental workout as well when you keep it open and keep changing your movement patterns.

If you have a hard time starting at all then just start very very simple. Just shift from one foot to the other. Bop your head. Then try to really enjoy this simple movement. You don’t have to do complicated stuff. Focus on enjoying those movements even though they might be simple and do them 100%. Play all out. Nobody’s looking (hopefully right? ;). Give it all you got. You will be rewarded with a much deeper and satisfying experience than if you hold back. It might not be easy to fully go into it, on some days you might feel like you’re in the flow – on others not so much. Notice these fluctiations and keep enjoying yourself.

  • When you’re done reward yourself. Especially if it was difficult! Encourage yourself and cheer yourself on. Nobody else will do this for you. Take good care of yourself.

Since I made dancing to at least 1 song a day a ritual a little longer than a month ago, I have noticed myself feeling much more alive and vibrant. The biggest advantage is during and after dancing itself. It just feels amazing. Afterwards I’m almost always pumped and I’ve had some of the most productive periods of work after dancing. Overall I feel much more balanced and my body and mine feel synced.

Find out if you would enjoy to dance more often. If so then decide to do it. Set aside 5-10 minutes, find a private spot, put on some cool music and enjoy yourself. Do 1 song for 7 days as a start. What a great reward and what an amazing activity. When you have finished those 7 days look back on what has changed and on how your experience has been. Write me if you want – I’m excited to hear about your experience!

The Lie Of Reality…(and products)

Have you been to the toilet yet? Because this is exciting! You do not want to spoil your experience by being forced to cave in to your natural urges. I in fact hope it is SO exciting that you HAVE to go to the toiled anyways (even though you might have followed my initial suggestion).

Just joking. 
This really is more of a calm meditation. A rave on an insight that I really enjoyed and that might be enlightening. So having this out of the way, let me start by asking the following:

What is a product anyway? I think a product is something somewhat standardized of which we expect certain things. Something that can and should be used for a specific purpose (or many purposes).
„Is a stone product?“, you might ask. You can use it as a paperweight. In fact a stone can fulfill a countless number of different purposes. Still that somehow does not make it a product in our mind. To make it a product somebody would have to offer this stone to us (like for mixing concrete out of stones, sand, cement and water): A mining company selling stones to a construction company. But a product does not have to be physical. It can also be something abstract an idea or a concept. Thus I would write a proper definition like this:
„A product is something that helps someone reach a goal“.
For example feeding yourself or being warm when it’s cold outside. When there is no need there can be no product – because nobody would care. When someone becomes aware of a need and cares: then there is room for a product. So mother nature in fact constantly supplies products but without attaching a price-tag reading money.

Now it is getting interesting. Have you ever noticed how concept- and idea-driven most people are? I mean this in a sense that we often treat and see the concept or idea of something as the „real“ thing. Imagine taking a walk with someone and suddenly your look grazes a really beautiful tree. You say to him or her „Wow! Did you notice that tree?“. And they go „Yeah, thats a cedar.“, with a somewhat dry expression in their conduct. Then the shadow of a faint smile hushes over their face and one can almost see them patting themselves on their own back for identifying that tree. „Didn’t you know?“, they might add. Now I see that being able to identify plants can be a good thing for many reasons. Still if overdone and exercising this without detachment – we might be so lost in our own mind and associations that we never notice the actual cedar („tree“ I mean).

I had a very similar situation earlier this night. Having gone to the kitchen to smoke some of the cigarettes I had bought in a strange passion a few days earlier, I was watching the dogs and their people across the little ravine in our backyard. Over there a little path is gently skirting the approaching forest which is much appreciated at almost any time of the day. I felt very acute. Although my thoughts were racing there was an underlying sense of serenity. So I took another drag from the cigarette and doing this – noticed the little lettering right where the filter ends. Only a few millimeters into the white of the cigarette paper I read the logo – somewhat artfully – printed on the cigarette.
I had been thinking about the product design of cigarettes – also noticing the well-meaning negative suggestions saying „This product will lead to addiction FAST. Once you start there’s no turning back. Ever.“ At this moment however – some stray thoughts and unconnected dots found themselves in the same room together and I had an interesting realization. More a battle of impressions and interpretations that was taking place within me – while smoking and looking at that cigarette.

I had always seen and accepted cigarettes as something „normal“ – probably starting when I saw them being smoked by my mother. I just accepted the idea of „a cigarette“ and also the concept of different brands. So I was looking at this piece of paper, tobacco (and god knows what wicked poisons that make the nicotine shoot right up into the center of your brain) and maybe help to deliver on the slogan printed on the outside of the box. I was noticing the somehow not heartfelt and bland print and wiggling it around in my hand pondering that thing. Then a bolt went off in my head. „This is not a cigarette!“, I thought. „It’s only some tobacco, a filter and paper“. Or rather what I was feeling, smelling and seeing – however one might call it. While this might not sound like a profound realization at all – It certainly felt like one. Meanwhile the idea and concept kept crawling back – trying to convince me that in fact this WAS a „real“ cigarette. But to no avail. The direct experience instantly was way stronger and more plastic than my concept. It just permeated it on every level – without me actually doing anything.
Somehow the cigarette had started to feel different. Maybe by asking ourselves how many layers of interpretation and thought-perversion we are remote from actual sensually perceptible reality we can actually take a step towards experiencing what is there for us to enjoy.

Today meditating I had the most peculiar and wonderful inspiration…

…I felt like my reality itself was dissolving into something spacious with me being there and watching the process..

But let me explain: I have been meditating for a few years on and off but this year I have been meditating pretty regularly. From feelings of relief and relaxation to warmth throughout my whole body, even aggression, dissatisfaction, boredom, absent-mindedness I have experienced all of them. I have always felt like dropping a weight I had been carrying around previos to taking the time to meditate (especially when I felt I did not have the time to meditate). In the beginning I thought the main-purpose of meditating was relaxation. I still think it’s an important part but meanwhile there are a lot of other things going on I apparently haven’t been aware of.

Coming back to my experience earlier this day: I had started out as usual with a subtle guided meditation that I have been using for almost a year now. At first I had some problems finding a proper sitting position and felt some pain and discomfort in my back (probably from sitting too much and being at the computer beforehand). When I settled in and slowly calmed my mind I fought a little with my breathing, trying to establish an optimal pattern and movement and further adjusted my sitting position to allow my lungs to fill properly. Then I slowly began to stop applying mental force and let myself go. I concentrated on feeling my body and everything got very serene. It was a good feeling and I had a clear and very present mental focus from then on. I think that I was able to let myself go and immerse in just being for a few precious moments (irregularily interrupted by some random thoughts, interpretations and feelings).

Afterwards I stretched and opened the window to get a breeze of fresh air. While I did this the serenity stayed and I kept noticing the thoughts that were creeping up. I felt almost like I had dropped my persona for a short time and my old interpretations and the meanings I usually give to my enviroment and everything around me tried to impose themselves upon me. These emotions and thoughts, feelings, I don’t really know how to describe it constantly kept re-entering my mind. The action felt like some kind of soft force (like a habit that in itself is harmless and nonetheless keeps pushing just for the sake of it). In such a way I felt my old persona entering this space I had opened up within me and the blank canvas I had laid upon everything around me. I did not judge this (and maybe that’s why I stayed present this time) and just noticed the quality of my thoughts and the way they were entering my awareness. It was like my usually pretty solid reality was melting away and merely becoming a shadow in something much larger and more complete. Like I had been on a boating trip and now began to see the water my little boat was swimming on. The boat did not change – it’s just that I had become aware that it was merely a little part of the whole boating experience.

I became aware that I usually was taking life very serious – and of course (I would be stupid if I wouldn’t) was trying to control where and how everything was going. Through this constant process and the belief that I had to take things SERIOUS I was clearly getting caught up in my thinking and the reality I had been creating within my head. I have heard about taking life easy and staying detached a hundred dozen times already but this moment I really experienced it first hand.

Usually I never noticed when exactly my awareness was transforming into identification with my usual thinking and persona – but this time I clearly have. I must say it is a wonderful experience. So quiet and at the same time very much alive. For the first time I felt like I knew how I was usually making myself feel uncomfortable. I felt like I was watching my own thought-process through a magnifying glass. Although it was so very simple it was absolutely beautiful and entertaining. Though I have had a few conscious glimpses of my inner processes before I never was able to maintain it for any time longer. As I am writing this I can feel how I am again beginning to merge with my thinking and lose the angle.

I had a profound feeling of knowing how I was causing what I felt and experienced (unlike reading it in a book or have someone tell me). I felt like this state of comfortable emptiness and tranquility was being there all my life and I just had learned to cover it up with all kinds of thoughts, feelings and interpretations. It was like the connection someone makes with words and physical objects (like in this great video by Eckhart Tolle I was watching today). It basically means that for example when you tell a child asking that this strange thing hanging from a tree is a leaf – the person is inclined to take the word and concept for the real thing (the stronger the beliefs and concepts are the less focus is on actual sensual experience).

Many people tend to see some kind of bird (like in out in the woods or in a park) – then think and.. ah name it and that’s it. Job is done and their mind is looking for another task to accomplish without them taking the time to really fully enjoy the fascinating experience and moment they just had (you dont have to see a bird actually just watching a tree bend in the wind can be enough when you are being really present).

When rather than just perceiving an object as a trigger to a mental concept or even memories we take in our enviroment as what we can really perceive from it with our senses – reality is experienced in a drastically different manner.

Touching again on my experience earlier today I was experiencing exactly this phenomenon. My interpretation of my surroundings and situation was exerting some kind of pull on me to identify myself with it. At the same time I was totally aware of my thoughts and gave this process (the pulling and thoughts and emotions that were coming up) room to be and just accepted it as part of the moment. Which kept me from identifying with it.

At this time I got the sensation that the only thing necessary to be happy was air to breathe and being in the moment. That there was no urgent need to experience anything different. Though at the same time I was feeling a strange lust to experience life from this different angle where my mind was so comfortably silent and I was free to feel and savour the present – whatever it was giving to me.

— Talking to a friend I have described the state like looking at or being a very calm sea on which surface a stone is falling. After the impact the water is rippling in all directions in a conentric movement – and, at the same time feeling like getting sucked into becoming the stone forgetting you are, in reality, the sea in which the stone has fallen. The sea cannot resist the stone and does not judge it. The experience indeed was some kind of fading of resistance. If the sea would be feeling the impact there is nothing he would do. It would just feel the ripples and be the sea (if that makes sense). This is how I would describe my experience.

Try this: Another way to get into this state is: As you are being where you are right now – imagine and act as if you are about to meet someone. As if someone pleasant that you like is coming to visit you or meet you. Feel like this moment right now is the moment before you are meeting that person and just immerse yourself in this state of waiting while you take in your surroundings. Feel your body on the inside as well as where you touch something else with your skin. Look around and take everything in and listen to the sounds going on. All the while you are doing this keep waiting. Really enjoy the waiting and relax and just allow yourself to be and do nothing while staying wide awake and just being there – waiting.

When emotions or thoughts arise don’t fight them. Be aware of them and give them room to be within you and let them be. But keep waiting and really enjoy the sensation of waiting while experiencing your senses and being open. Feel like you are flowing into this situation and be very sure that the person or whatever you are waiting for is going to happen any moment.

xxx You can also try this exercise with other people by waiting together. Also you can give people room by just being in the present and flowing and awake and turning your attention on them. Make sure to tell them to give their feelings room to be so they do not get caught up in their own thought-process. In this way you can very easily infect someone with a state of awareness. xxx

I can only recommend finding a way to meditate that suits you as there are endless benefits of meditating that one wouldn’t think are possible. For me, this experience alone was worth all the effort and hours I have put into meditating up until now. I hope that something reached you and that maybe you can carry some wisdom or insight from my experience into your own life,

Ean