Mary O’Malley: What’s in the Way Is the Way

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March 1, 2016

Mary O’Malley: What’s in the Way Is the Way

Mary O’Malley March 1, 2016

Mary O’Malley is an author, counselor, and acknowledged leader in the field of spiritual awakening. With Sounds True, Mary has published What’s in the Way Is the Way: A Practical Guide for Waking Up to Life. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon and Mary discuss the eight “spells” that keep us feeling separate from life—as well as the remedies that bring us more fully into the energetic flow of existence. They speak on the need for curiosity, and the role it plays in uniting our attention with our present-moment experience. Finally, Mary explains her understanding of the awakening process and the skills one can cultivate to come into a robust and joyous alignment with life itself.
(60 minutes)

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Mary O'Malley is an author, counselor, and acknowledged leader in the field of awakening. Through her writing and teaching, she empowers people to work with the difficulties of life in a way that enhances their capacity for joy. For more, visit maryomalley.com.

Listen to Tami Simon's in-depth audio podcast interview with Mary O'Malley:
What's in the Way Is the Way »

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Founded Sounds True in 1985 as a multimedia publishing house with a mission to disseminate spiritual wisdom. She hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she has interviewed many of today's leading teachers. Tami lives with her wife, Julie M. Kramer, and their two spoodles, Rasberry and Bula, in Boulder, Colorado.

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Mary O’Malley: What’s in the Way Is the Way

Mary O’Malley is an author, counselor, and acknowledged leader in the field of spiritual awakening. With Sounds True, Mary has published What’s in the Way Is the Way: A Practical Guide for Waking Up to Life. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon and Mary discuss the eight “spells” that keep us feeling separate from life—as well as the remedies that bring us more fully into the energetic flow of existence. They speak on the need for curiosity and the role it plays in uniting our attention with our present-moment experience. Finally, Mary explains her understanding of the awakening process and the skills one can cultivate to come into a robust and joyous alignment with life itself. (60 minutes)

Tami’s Takeaway
One of the worst feelings for me is helplessness. Mary teaches that “life is destined to bring up what is bound up.” This podcast brought up for me how I push away feelings of helplessness. According to Mary, “what’s in the way is the way,” and we can become what she calls “tightness detectives” to see how we clamp down in certain situations and resist what we don’t want to feel. When instead we meet our feelings with curiosity and spaciousness, we discover the free flow of aliveness and the absolute trustworthiness in every experience.

Are You Enough?

By Mary O’Malley

Are you enough?  Take a moment and be honest with yourself.  Do you live with a sense that you are okay and life is okay exactly as it is? Probably not, because you, like most people, have been conditioned to think that you need to be better or different to be okay. This brings forth the belief that it is only when you get it all together (in the future) that you will be enough.

To get a glimpse into this constant seeking, ask yourself these questions:

Is your body enough because you have gotten rid of the weight, the wrinkles, the too big nose?

Is your mate enough, always relating to you in ways that you want them to?

Are your meditations enough, or are you always seeking for better states of mind?

Are your career, your finances, even your children ever enough in your mind?

If you look closely, you would have to say that, even though your life is how you want it to be for moments, your mind always takes over again in its endless search for lasting satisfaction. We are all like a hungry ghost searching, searching, searching. We seek and long and grasp at what our mind says will bring lasting satisfaction, only to get caught in the illusion that more, more, more will finally fill the empty hole inside of us:

You finally lose the weight and then think either you should lose five more pounds or you become afraid of gaining it back.

You find your perfect mate only to discover six months into the relationship that there are things about them that drive you crazy.

You finally get a raise at work only to find out that you’re living in the same financial stress because you can now buy fancier toys or more complex plastic surgeries, hoping that this will bring you lasting satisfaction.

Stephen Levine once told a story about a 93-year-old woman on her deathbed who said, “It can’t end now because it hasn’t started yet!” It is amazing that most of us don’t see this endless search for satisfaction and how unsatisfying it is in the long run.

If you look with great curiosity, you will see that this search for something out there – a skinnier body, a different mate, more money, deeper meditations, better sex, a happier mind, a fancier house, more, more, more – is a thirst that will never be quenched except for a moment here and a moment there. Read the studies on how much misery winning the lottery brings into people’s lives and you will see the truth of this.

What would happen if you discovered that there is a field of enoughness that is always with you? What would happen if you finally understood that the deep and lasting satisfaction you have been searching for your whole life is always here? To look for lasting satisfaction in the constantly changing flow of life is suffering. To relax the search for more, more, more and to discover an intimate connection with this living moment of your life is to finally come home.

I invite you for a moment to stop reading this blog and lift your eyes to receive your life. This is a unique moment in your life and it is the only moment that matters. See it as if you have never been on this planet before.  Even if you have been in this exact place a thousand times, still, it is brand new.

If your attention doesn’t yet know how to ground here, close your eyes and focus on all the sounds that are arising and passing. There are loud sounds like somebody talking in the next room and soft sounds, like the hum of your computer.  There are sounds far away like an airplane in the sky and there are sounds very close like your breath in your nostrils.

To truly listen to your life is to come home to the only moment that matters – right now. And in an intimate connection with Life the moment it appears out of mystery, you are no longer caught in the endless and unsatisfactory search for satisfaction.

Of course, when your mind sees this, it is very likely that its newest search will be to try to live in ‘the now’, for it believes that will bring it lasting satisfaction.  This doesn’t work! Why? For you are already in the now and any attempt to get there is just more searching.

But what you can do is remember that in all your searching you are already home. You don’t need to try to get here. Instead you can discover how to see and not get seduced into the endless search for satisfaction. Whenever you are caught in wanting things to be different than what they are, it can help to simply say to yourself, “This moment is enough, exactly as it is. I am enough, exactly as I am.”

In order to rest in your natural enoughness, it is important to recognize that nothing in this ever-changing world will bring lasting satisfaction. It can certainly bring temporary happiness and we can enjoy that happiness. But to require that Life, in its ever-changing flow, is where lasting satisfaction will be found is truly suffering.

You can also understand that life is putting you in the exact set of circumstances that will allow you to see how restless and busy your mind is in trying to get to the peace you long for.

You can also finally understand that it is truly a blessing to not get what you want. The pain of having your constant search blocked is the doorway out of the endless seeking and back into an intimate connection with Life. For, what is in the way IS the way!

If you are interested in exploring this further, I encourage you to visit my website and listen to my Radio Show. I am also offering a class on What’s in the Way IS the Way.

———————————–

Mary O’Malley is an author, counselor and awakening mentor in Kirkland, Washington. In the early 1970’s, a powerful awakening led Mary to begin changing her relationship with her challenges, freeing her from a lifelong struggle with darkness. Mary’s latest book, What’s In the Way Is the Way, provides a revolutionary approach for healing your fears, anxieties, shame, and confusion, so you can live from a place of ease.

 

Mary O’Malley: What’s in the Way Is the Way

Mary O’Malley is an author, counselor, and acknowledged leader in the field of spiritual awakening. With Sounds True, Mary has published What’s in the Way Is the Way: A Practical Guide for Waking Up to Life. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon and Mary discuss the eight “spells” that keep us feeling separate from life—as well as the remedies that bring us more fully into the energetic flow of existence. They speak on the need for curiosity, and the role it plays in uniting our attention with our present-moment experience. Finally, Mary explains her understanding of the awakening process and the skills one can cultivate to come into a robust and joyous alignment with life itself.
(60 minutes)

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5 Tools to Create More Space in Your Mind

Busyness, distraction, and stress have all led to the shrinking of the modern mind.

I realize that’s a strange thing to say. Most of us don’t think of our mind as something with space in it, as a thing that can either be big or small, expensive or claustrophobic.

But just think about the last time you felt overwhelmed, stressed, or out of control. Chances are, you might not even have to think that hard. You might be experiencing that state right now as you read these words.

What happens in these moments? 

First, our mind wanders. It spins through all sorts of random thoughts about the past and the future. As a result, we lose touch with the direct experience of present time.

Second, we lose perspective. We can’t see the big picture anymore. Instead, it’s like we’re viewing life through a long and narrow tunnel. We become blind to possibility, fixated on problems.

Put these two together and you’ve got the perfect recipe for eradicating space in the mind. The landscape of the mind begins to feel like a calendar jammed with so many meetings, events, and obligations that these neon colored boxes cover-up even the smallest slivers of white space. 

So it could be nice for our partner, for our kids, and, mostly, for our ourselves to consider: how can we create more space in the mind?

Here are five tools for creating mental space. If you want to go deeper, check out my new book with Sounds True on the topic called OPEN: Living With an Expansive Mind in a Distracted World.

1. Meditation.

You’ve no doubt heard about all of the scientifically validated benefits of this practice. It reduces stress. It boosts productivity. It enhances focus.

That is all true. But here is the real benefit of meditation: it creates more space in the mind. To get started, try it out for just a few minutes a day. Use an app or guided practice to help you.

2. Movement.

So, maybe you’re not the meditating type. That’s fine. You can still create space in the mind by setting aside time for undistracted movement.

The key word here is “undistracted.” For many of us, exercise and movement have become yet another time where our headspace gets covered over by texts, podcasts, or our favorite Netflix series. 

There’s nothing wrong with this. But it can be powerful to leave the earbuds behind every once in a while and allow the mind to rest while you walk, stretch, run, bike, swim, or practice yoga.

3. Relax.

When it comes to creating headspace, we moderns, with our smartphone-flooded, overly-stimulated, minds seem to inevitably encounter a problem: we’re often too stressed, amped, and agitated to open.

Relaxation – calming the nervous system – is perhaps the best way to counter this effect and create more fertile ground for opening. When we relax – the real kind, not the Netflix or TikTok kind –  the grip of difficult emotions loosens, the speed of our whirling thoughts slows, and, most important, the sense of space in our mind begins to expand.

How can you relax? Try yoga. Try extended exhale breathing, where you inhale four counts, exhale eight counts. Try yoga nidra. Or, just treat yourself to a nap.

4. See bigger.

When life gets crazy, the mind isn’t the only thing that shrinks. The size of our visual field also gets smaller. Our eyes strain. Our peripheral vision falls out of awareness.

What’s the antidote to this tunnel vision view? See bigger.

Try it right now. With a soft gaze, allow the edges of your visual field to slowly expand. Imagine you’re seeing whatever happens to be in front of you from the top of a vast mountain peak. Now bring this more expansive, panoramic, way of seeing with you for the rest of the day.

5. Do nothing.

Now for the most advanced practice. It’s advanced because it cuts against everything our culture believes in. In a world where everyone is trying desperately to get more done, one of the most radical acts is to not do — to do nothing.

Even just a few minutes of this paradoxical practice can help you experience an expansion of space in the mind.

Lie on the floor or outside on the grass. Close your eyes. Put on your favorite music if you want. Set an alarm for a few minutes so you don’t freak out too much. 

Then, stop. Drop the technique. Drop the effort. Just allow yourself to savor this rare experience of doing absolutely nothing.

Nate Klemp, PhD, is a philosopher, writer, and mindfulness entrepreneur. He is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Start Here and the New York Times critics’ pick The 80/80 Marriage. His work has been featured in the LA Times, Psychology Today, the Times of London, and more, and his appearances include Good Morning America and Talks at Google. He’s a cofounder of LifeXT and founding partner at Mindful. For more, visit nateklemp.com or @Nate_Klemp on Instagram.

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