Writings: Don’t believe everything you think



Don’t believe everything you think.

First time I heard this, I thought, “Well, that’s dumb. You wouldn’t think it if it wasn’t real to you. Besides blah blah blah….” If you’ve ever been inside my noisy head, you know I just went on. And on.

Then I looked at what I had just thought (or said in my head) and asked myself if it really was dumb. Maybe not. Maybe there’s another way to look at it….

And I realized I didn’t actually believe that thing I had just thought.

That reminded me of a story.

I’m seven years old, in early third grade. It’s the weekend, and my mom is in the back, hanging clothes on the line. My slightly younger sister got a lighter from somewhere, lit a candle, and crawled under a bed to play. The candle caught the bed afire, and smoke started to collect in the house.

raviBecause I went to school, where they trained you in the ways of the world & suggested ways to think, I knew exactly what to do. And I did it, unprompted and unguided, all on my own.

I went quietly and quickly, without talking to anyone, outside to the front yard and stood in the front yard. I remember, even now, hoping my sister was ok, but knew I wasn’t supposed to go back inside until they told me to.

And that’s what I learned from fire drills at school.

(Luckily, my mom was handy with a fire extinguisher, my sister came out of it OK, and when my mom asked, “What are you doing out there?” to the kid standing in the front yard (me), I didn’t say anything, because you’re not supposed to say anything to anyone during a fire drill.)

Interestingly, I don’t recall ever reviewing this with my folks, which meant I had to reflect on it on my own. Naturally, I came to realize that my sister had been in danger, and everything I was instructed to do didn’t help at all. And being afraid of being caught doing the wrong thing really didn’t help the situation. This all started to crystallize in my seven-year-old brain that sometimes you have to do what you’re told, but keep your eyes open, and options open, and your mind open. Shoot, while you’re at it, keep your heart open, too.

Then maybe you can help put out fires, little as you are.

A day after, I remember asked my sister, who had a certain grounded wisdom then, as now, why did she have a lighted candle under the bed. She said, “It was dark under there.”

And I would say, now, it was no darker under there than in my beclouded brain that was full of the thoughts of others that I had made into mine, and rendered me pretty useless in a real emergency.

You ever been in this kind of situation? and head space, and heart space?

Kinda cool to shake free, wasn’t it?

It’s more fun this way – challenging not just what others think but what we think – and I like the look on your face when you do.

Sunny days to you and sunny smiles, because you get it, hey.

Loving you,
Brother Ian


Writings: Any way you look at it…

You have it. I have it. Most everyone you know has it.

It feels almost impossible to escape it. No matter what we see or develop feelings about, it ends up coloured by our old thoughts, our old wounds, our old successes.

Someone says, “Yay!” and we can’t echo the cheer, because we had a different experience.

Someone says, “I hate that!” about something we’re fond of.

And when we pat ourselves on the back because we have an open mind, because we see things clearly & others don’t, because we get it & they don’t…there’s a bit more.

See, everything we say comes from one place – our heart. And it’s great that each person’s heart is different from each other person’s heart. And whatever each of us sees & feels & knows is shaped by the life in front of us, the way we see it & feel it. There’s no way anyone else could see it exactly the same way.

And that’s beautiful. It’s our chance to share our angle on things with our friends, and sometimes with people who don’t have as good an angle.

It’s our chance to celebrate the people who see things differently (or not at all!) from us, because they have something to share, too. It gives us a chance of real understanding, while still learning to cherish the place we see life from as well.

And that’s the beginning of the chance to be kind.

Love to you all –
Brother Ian

Writings: “The only way out is in, and the only way beyond is through.”

“Spiritual materialism is rampant and a life filled with spirit is a rarity. I don’t care how many crystals you have, how vegan your food is, or whether your Venus is in Jupiter since the last time you blamed your problems on the moon.

“If the way we carry and express ourselves condemns others while lifting ourselves, then we’re as off target as the people we’re condemning. I drink with the thinkers and smoke with the preachers and I’ve never met a good man that believed he has the answers.

“Let your personality be your greatest work of art, and let your actions weave a thread of unity. Laugh at the voice(s) in your head, befriend your ego before you listen to that bullshit that tells you to destroy it. That’s McDonalds spirituality – even attempting to get rid of ego means you want to avoid this and move towards that – creating more of the same inner conflict you’re trying to avoid. Inner silence and enviable peace doesn’t come from the avoidance of life as it is, it comes from moving as deeply into life as you can. The only way out is in, and the only way beyond is through.”

—Bryan Elli