March is a survival month. I have been observing it for 30 years. If a business can make it past March, then it will make it another year. This is due to people's (the buyers who keep business in business) spending habits...
For people, the reason they don't have money to spend in January, February and March, I think, begins by overspending in December. Then they scramble through January, February and March to make up for the Christmas indulgence.
Most people live hand to mouth, YOLO, Epicurian...
...they don't build any forgiveness into the land. They live from paycheck to paycheck, they spend all they earn. But spending a large chunk of your paycheck on gifts, traveling, entertaining, is not in your budget.
When I observe what are the favorite pages on my site, especially in the first three months of the year, I ultimately find three things, all related to Christmas indulgence one way or another:
- They want to change their vibration so that more money comes their way.
- Or want to change their vibration so they can lose the weight.
- Want to feel better... because the holidays lowered their vibration to too low to come back on its own
When I ask them they may lie and say: because I want to be happy, or want to be a high vibration person, but what they don't say because they don't know how to look is this: who and what is in power in their life: themselves or something else.
It's taken me 30 years and getting old to pull back all the power I have given to things, ideas, concepts, slogans, ideals in my life.
On the "Tree of Knowledge" that is what is normal: that you have ultimately no say in your life.
What you do, how you do it, why you do it. It's family, it's society, it's the culture that has the say. 1
And I bet the concept is not even clear... The world of "I", the world of Self don't even exist, or they are hopelessly mixed in with others', what others say, what others want.
When any of my students suddenly gets it, it is like popcorn popping... But society takes them back soon after... wife, husband, child, colleagues... misery loves company.
There is no place where you can look and find a model on how to live on the Tree of Life. It has become extinct in the seven thousand years diligent promotion of living on the Tree of Knowledge.
Just look at school. Children have to have a reason to be there, and the reason is not because they want to learn for themselves.
The rare eager to learn child is called names, bullied... the other children will teach the still curious to die inside.
Be like everybody else. Wretched.
But, of course, part of the wretchedness, the feeling, is due to the aspect of you that didn't die, the soul.
It is like the pilot light in the water heater... it allows life, but it would need to be empowered to have a say. A say in you life. In your attitudes, in your actions.
Humans are a lot like dogs: in their natural state, on the Tree of Life, they don't kill their kind, and kill other animals only when they are hungry. They have to be given reasons that override their natural instinct, reasons from the Tree of Knowledge, to become murderous.
The slogans, the words, like nation, enemy, faith, override the innate good... and the real values.
When you take those away, or the artificial separation of "enemies", you'll find a completely different behavior.
I once saw a movie about a Christmas sometime during the First World War, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce...
But once people climb back to the Tree of Knowledge, with all its rules: "an enemy is not a person, and killing them isn't murder... they are the enemy" they start shooting again.
The same is true in the area of material things... Want begets more want. Possession begets more possession. Greed begets more greed. Wretcheness begets more wretchedness. It doesn't matter that you can only live in one room of your house, that you only have one stomach that is happier with simple foods... you are driven to get more. And then maintain it...
You may chase pleasure, but pleasure is only momentary, and the pain or low is worse and worse and worse.
People teach you how to be more effective, how to procrastinate less, and do what you are supposed to do, what you have no inner drive to do, but what allows someone else to sell you something. It's all about you wanting to buy, be compelled to buy. It's all about that.
The Tree of Knowledge where people are pitted against each other, where they have to compete, compare, and buy buy buy.
Your life is not your life, and the Matrix where your body and soul are only a heat generating machine to run the system is not so far from the truth.
A Bill Gates is as unhappy as a Donald Trump, or a Joe Shmo from Kentucky or West Virginia.
Happiness is only possible when you like who you are.
And a Bill Gates who relentlessly wiped out competition, or a Donald Trump who is doing it now... how can they like themselves? They are the embodiment of desire for the self alone, the Evil. But so are you... no matter how good you think you are.
Evil is the motive power on the Tree of Knowledge, and it doesn't matter what you call it. It's evil. You can mitigate it, soften it with nice sounding words: I am making a difference, or I am helping people... you are lying and you know it.
Human evolution was hijacked and redirected onto the Tree of Knowledge... away from the natural, away from nature, away from what works... and away from happiness.
What is the ultimate essence of the Tree of Knowledge? It's desire. It's wanting. It's greed. It's competition. It's possession... as if you could possess, really, anything but yourself.
Your possessions possess you... Alexander the Great dies a broken, unhappy man at age 31. Genghis Khan was killed by one of his possessions, one of his wives... he died unhappy and seeing the futility of what he accomplished.
It's easier to see this on men of old...
The real question is: can you move your life on the Tree of Life?
Can you? Is it possible?
People who learn to live off the land, people who commit to simple living hope to do that.
But there is a world of inner difference that needs to be taken into consideration, and be removed.
I watched this Werner Herzog hour-long documentary on a village in Russia, in the Taiga, the wilderness, that is bigger than the United States, and is a wilderness. The movie called "happy people" but even those "happy" people don't live on the Tree of Life... they work in order to make a living. Their Selves has nothing much to do with what they do: it is all dictated by something outside of them. Their insides, what can't be taken away, don't direct their actions, are not in power. 2
Their lives are a great showcase of the "why" that gives you your life. That it is possible to have most of the why's outside of you. And nearly none of the why's of your behavior come from within.
Another documentary I saw, The White Helmets, (just won best short documentary Oscar), the people are a lot closer to the Tree of Life. They are not on it, but they are closer to it. I was sobbing for 20 minutes watching it.
I cannot give you an example of someone living on the Tree of Life.
I live there... but of course, you can't observe me, you can only know what I tell you. And I may be lying. Or maybe I am delusional. So it's hard to tell.
So, for now, you can only do a few things:
1. Experiment with your feelings. Not emotions: feelings.
Read the Feelings book to be able to tell a feeling from an emotion. It's easy, even if some readers try to prove the author wrong.
Allow yourself to feel hunger. Allow your body to choose what to eat. Not culture, not what your mind thinks is healthy.
Experiment feeling the body's response to food. Taste the food fully... chew, and enjoy or hate the food... I don't care. Just be present to it.
Feel as the feeling changes as you are satisfying the hunger. Feel the driving feeling, the hunger, diminishing, and the unpleasant feeling of fullness taking its place.
Do the same thing with tiredness, feeling cold, feeling in need to move, feeling the need for company...
Your feelings are yours. You have abandoned them for societal norms, and you've been out of touch.
2. Look why you do what you do. Like right now.
You'll probably find an in order to, a goal, a target, a future that it may bring about. A paycheck. Retirement, Adulation. Success. Or because you have to. And replace that why with something worth having a life about. It is in the here and now. You have 160 virtues, 160 spiritual capacities to choose from.
Pick one. Victor Frankl picked dignity in the Nazi concentration camp. He practiced dignity in everything he did. Every action, including going to the bathroom, was a practice of dignity. Living with dignity, doing things with dignity.
Of course, you have no idea how to do anything with dignity: there is no such thing as dignity on the Tree of Knowledge, it is just a nice word.
So you'll have to work on making it yours, making it more than a word.
I have done it with many virtues, and it takes years to master one. Once you do, you can take another.
Or you can do as Benjamin Franklin did: rotate 13 virtues, and practice on a day. I prefer my method, because it goes deeper. It goes all the way to your core. Because it is not just behavior. It is a lot deeper than that.
And when you succeed to stick even with just one virtue, you start liking yourself. Because the main theme of your life is given by you... not some other.
And once you have that, you are transitioning to the Tree of Life, where you are in harmony with nature, with Life, and you are happy.
Now it's only degrees... not a whole world, that separates you from Life.
PS: Here is an example that illustrates how to practice a virtue...
The example is about foresight, or about seeing the big picture... of long term vision... all will need a phase that nearly no one practices... Look first.
Without the habit of looking first, outside of you, inside of you, all your actions are misdirected: directed by the Tree of Knowledge that claims to know what is. Humbug.
If you observe yourself, your actions, normally come from assuming you know what is... but you don't.
I have experienced that incredible difference just one minute of looking creates in the results. If I didn't know better, I would say that one minute looking makes me supernaturally intelligent, astute, and a genius.
Very useful virtue to pursue. Obviously.
When I was in the habit of turning capacities on for people... (it was an experiment, but I still experience stabs of pain when I recall it,) people turned the capacity off almost as soon as I turned them on. Why? How? Because they never looked at the place where things are, they looked at the memory of it... so they could never act consistent with what their senses told them. You don't look? You don't need the information? The capacity said good-bye.
It still needs work... Every time the "evil" says in me: "no need to look. Only stupid people look..." lol. When I manage to remember that I am stupid, then I look. And the step, whatever it is, is fast and successful. Whenever I don't look, I have to go back again and look, because I botch up the step.
Of course I have tasks that need me to look... do you?
- Today I realized that this is the same as the horizontal plane... And the Tree of life is the vertical plane... duh... but sometimes even I forget what I've been teaching... More on why this new terminology was needed and why it may be the "silver bullet" that breaks the spell... in other articles.
- How do I determine if a person lives on the Tree of Life or on the Tree of Knowledge? I look at two things: 1. what decides what and how they do things 2. are they growing? The Tree of Life is a space for growth. To be all you can be. It is all about virtues. In the film the taiga people remained the same, your in and year out. No growth, no learning, nothing. So they live on the Tree of Knowledge... because that is the other option. On the Tree of Knowledge you can stagnate, you can be enough if you just make a living.