Confused Guy

News – Part 2 – Whose Responsible for What Happens in Your Life?

“A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.”

~ Edward R. Murrow

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It’s said that we get the government we deserve. These days, our leadership is hand delivered by mass media.

In modern society we are fixated on the external and that’s all the news covers. Of course, it should really be called the “olds,” not the news, because everything that’s reported on has already happened. And, what we’re given is always about the visible. Meanwhile, consciousness is expanding. Human transformation is occurring, but at a pace way too slow to hold public interest in our fast-paced media streams.

All forms of consciousness evolve; expansion is intrinsic to consciousness. And no one escapes the inevitability of evolutionary momentum. As Neale Donald Walsch reported in Conversations with God, even Hitler went to heaven. In other words, everyone grows through their experience. Everyone is doing the best they can, given their model of reality, and there is always growth. It may be slow, in fact personal transformation most often is, and with someone like Hitler it’s almost impossible to see or believe, but it’s happening. Unfortunately, with someone like him, a tremendous amount of damage is inflicted on others. But there are always hidden reasons, even for that tragedy.



What complicates things further relates to the Eastern model of karmic process and past lives. While it would be distracting to journey very far down that particular rabbit hole, it is worthwhile to note the law of cause and effect. None of us can consciously see the karmic load we are carrying, developed through our prior actions, nor understand how this is materializing in our present life cycle. In fact, what happens to us always relates to something we are working on, something we are needing to learn. We may be atoning for horrible things we did in the past or we may find horrible things being done to us, all in service to maintaining evolutionary momentum in our growth as a human.

Too bad that we can’t rewind the tape and make better decisions! But it is possible to review past mistakes, learn from them, and apply our new wisdom to similar situations that arise now. In other words, to do something new … and give ourselves a chance to achieve new results.

I often quote Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different results. But to change our results requires more than changing what we do. What produced those actions? Why did we do what we did? Our mindset. So, we need to change our minds, the way we think, which will change our actions and contribute to different results in our lives.

Kid Begging

It sounds heartless to consider the least fortunate of us this way but it is the course of sanity to attribute full responsibility to each of us for the lives we are leading. Some people are starving. Why? Others find themselves in impossible, abusive relationships. Why? Meanwhile, others are born into luxury and privilege, they need never work a day in their lives. Why?

The simple answer is that we can’t know. The true story of our personal past remains veiled to us, including the implications of our past actions and how they have contributed to what’s happening in our lives today. But that doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge the principle – that everything we do produces “karma,” which we will need to pay off in the future through suffering and virtuous actions. A question we can answer, and must if we are to progress in this lifetime is, “What can I learn from the situation?”

This is hardly an attitude encouraged by mass media. The default setting employed in that arena is victimization. Random or calculated events occur, are reported on, and those involved are inevitably cast as victims or perpetrators. We spectators are encouraged to take sides, to blame, judge, and pity, completely ignoring the karmic aspects that contributed to why these individuals find themselves in the predicaments being reported on.




This perspective is not meant to shame or blame anyone, merely to illuminate a deeper truth about what’s going on. We’re all responsible for our own lives. That acknowledgement can instigate an attitudinal shift, it can fuel a new eagerness to explore the meaning of any moment, letting go of judgement to discover what we might learn and how we might grow.

Tree in hands

Those of us who adopt this mindset inevitably discover that whatever is happening in our lives, bleak or unfair as it may seem, is always the best opportunity possible to process past actions and grow, to learn the lessons that life serves up to us in every moment of this Earth School.




References:

Fake News

News – Part 1 – What’s New?

“The less you know, the more you believe.”

~ Bono

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The concept of “fake news” has gone viral. It might be described as “so called facts weaponized to sabotage my agenda.”

Optimists who follow a spiritual path believe we are nearing the birth of a Golden Age. Realists notice that the world is getting increasingly darker. Of course, we wouldn’t be aware of light without darkness so, one might say: more darkness, more light.

Those brave (or foolish) enough to watch the mainstream news, otherwise known as the “mudstream” news, or the “lamestream news,” are increasingly aware of the concept of “fake news.” Is this real or fake? There’s always been deceit in what we’re fed by corporate controlled media. Propaganda takes many forms. Those who realized early that television is an advertising medium may not have fully grasped that the advertising is not primarily in the ads but in the lifestyles that television programs present. There’s a reason this is called “programming.”



Why is it that we seem to be increasingly forgiving of outright lying by leaders who, once upon a time, were expected to model behavior our children could admire and seek to emulate? Because we have fully embraced the belief that the end justifies the means.

According to a recent blog by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, “Many of President Donald Trump’s critics have raised concerns in recent weeks about his alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels. If the revelations are true, Trump’s infidelity is a serious matter between him, his God and his spouse.

“Quickly, so-called white evangelicals rushed to defend the president, urging the nation to ‘forgive’ and move on. ‘All these things were years ago,’ Jerry Falwell, Jr. told CNN. Another stalwart of Trump’s faith advisors, Tony Perkins, told Politico he and others are willing to give the president a ‘mulligan’ on issues of personal morality because he champions an evangelical agenda.” 1

Man reading fake news

Indeed, the end justifies the means. Here in this end cycle of the Kali Yuga, illusion dominates truth. Facts are now “so called facts” and routinely dismissed when they interfere with the fulfillment of personal agendas. As more and more of what we are presented as “truth” is in fact fraudulent, this becomes the new normal and we are increasingly complacent about it all. This recalls graffiti scrawled on a subway wall: “The problem with this country is we’re all apathetic.” Underneath, someone spray painted, “Who cares?”

How did it get to be this way? The image of the proverbial “slippery slope” comes to mind, as does the urban myth about the frog in steadily warming water who will sit there contentedly as the temperature rises until he boils to death. If he was dunked in hot water he would react immediately to save himself. It’s the slow, creeping change that seduces us into apathetic inaction.

When we honestly survey the world scene, it’s only realistic to acknowledge that it’s increasingly dark, that holistic awareness seems to be declining. The rise of the alt right, mass school shootings, raging racism, wealth inequity unlike anything we’ve witnessed since feudal times, and the determined effort, at least in this country, to ignore the dangers of climate change.




The world is now thoroughly “ego-centric.” We’ve built this modern world according to our beliefs, central of which is separation from God and nature. And, we are proud of ourselves, like children showing off for our mothers. “Look Mommy, I built this computer, this artificial reality game, this skyscraper, I have a billion dollars in the bank. Aren’t I clever and good? Please, notice me, praise me, love me.”

But this is not the whole story. Meanwhile, under the radar and un-reported – but absolutely real in experience for millions of us – is a growing sense of oneness with God and nature. We find ourselves literally transforming, and we seek each other out for support and inspiration. We increase our meditation time, not to better handle stress but because we love communing that way. We spend more time in nature for the same reason.

We find the boundaries that have separated us as an entitled human, arrogantly presumed to be the superior species on the planet (despite mounting evidence to the contrary), beginning to blur as we come to know ourselves, not as physical bodies bloated with swollen egos, but as the loving, gracious souls we are, in a synergistic, symbiotic relationship with all other life forms.

Typewriter fake news

As Paul Harvey, famed radio host from the 70’s, always said to conclude his program, “”And now you know the rest of the story.”




References:

1. https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/trump-s-white-evangelical-defenders-embody-slaveholder-christianity-ncna842406

Painting

Doing the Best We Can – Part 4 – Do the Best You Can

“All descriptions of reality are limited expressions of the world of emptiness.
Yet we attach to the descriptions and think they are reality.
That is a mistake.”

~ Shunryu Suzuki

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All of us tell stories about the way things are, and then tend to complain about our descriptions, forgetting that we made them up. Instead, we could just enjoy what’s happening, without translation.

Imagine that you are the sky watching clouds go by. Would it make sense to judge one cloud and praise another? They are just clouds going by. Of course, life experiences are more impactful than clouds. Why? Because we make them so. We also convince ourselves that a penny is bigger than the sun but it only seems that way because we are holding it up in a way that blocks out the sun.

Here’s an invitation: Move beyond limited mind descriptions and come to rest. Witness the orchestrating precision of consciousness and let it fill you with the innate joy of being.



When we get caught up in our descriptions and interpretations and translations, this becomes our reality and we live in those descriptions. This means that we rarely experience true reality, just the projections of our interpretations and definitions. But here’s an intriguing question: what remains when the mind ends?

We all know the experience of a busy mind full of stories about everything, but do we know what’s left when that stops? Is it even possible for it to stop? Moving beyond the cacophony of random thoughts that produce fractured experiences has been the eternal quest of mystics throughout the ages. Many have broken through that boundary and issued an invitation: “Yes, you too can move beyond this. What remains when the mind ends is where the truth begins, the oneness of consciousness.”

Those passionately concerned about the state of the world could easily write off this approach as mere spiritual dilettantism. But that would ignore the real purpose of human beings. We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are designed, not just to witness the happenings of consciousness but to participate in creation. In the biblical story of Genesis, humans were instructed to name the animals. In other words, we have an active role to play in the creation, we are made to be more than spectators.

Painting

Here’s a simple prescription for happiness and fulfilment: Do the best you can. Do the best you can and know that everyone else is doing the best they can. All experience is appropriate and everyone is moving through the same process of growth. Our responsibility is to do the best we can and walk this path. Period.

When we actually have this experience, then we contribute in ways impossible to even conceive of in our prior state of limitation. We imagined it would be difficult, impossible even, to make a difference. Now we experience ourselves as difference makers… no matter what we are doing. Our beingness, in alignment with Source, opens a portal for Divine influence.

The mind wants to argue. So, let’s give it a test to prove our point. There’s a goose in a bottle. Your task is to get the goose out of the bottle without killing it. You have thirty seconds, go!




Assuming that you’ve come up with some innovative strategies, here’s the real answer: Problem – The goose is in the bottle. Solution – the goose is out of the bottle.

The problem was imaginary. But you probably made it real, exactly the same way that we make everything “real,” and then you struggled to come up with solutions governed by the laws of the real world. The answer is much simpler. It’s an imaginary goose in an imaginary bottle. That’s not real, it’s just a description. So, we can make another description: The imaginary goose is now out of the imaginary bottle.

The one answer to the many riddles of life really is that simple. We are telling stories about what happens and then struggling with the experiences that result. We can tell different stories. “The goose is in the bottle” becomes “The goose is out of the bottle.”

Painting

Coming to rest in the simplicity of this approach, we feel the reality of life – fundamentally different than any of our descriptions – and we realize that everything we have hoped for is suddenly here.




References:

Flowing Stream

Doing the Best We Can – Part 3 – Let it Be

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow.
Let reality be reality.
Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

~ Lao Tzu

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Regardless of how successful we may become in personally managing the universe, life always has other plans, which often disrupt our own. What then?

All of us are different. If you are working towards saving the planet, that is a valid experience for you, through which you will grow. Someone else may have a different perspective; they are just watching and laughing at the insanity of it all. No one is right or wrong. We can’t invalidate any experience. Ultimately, all of us are here to grow through experience, by walking exactly where our feet are.

The arena for experience is always here. And we are all, always, fulfilling the primary intention of consciousness which is to ever more fully be itself through the experience of itself. Through it all – no matter what happens – we are fulfilling that intention to grow, to evolve, to be more whole. If we lose the thread of that under the assault of “bad news,” just pause to notice that you are breathing.



Breath is life and life is orchestrating consciousness. You are still alive and you are still here, which means that you are growing and evolving. What’s happening may not match what you expect or want, but instead of resisting, complaining, or resigning yourself to something being “wrong,” just watch what’s going on as a detached observer, by being wakeful in the here and now of true reality. This moment and this attitude is the only way to find hope.

Everything is a happening of consciousness, politically, economically, environmentally, you name it. Everyone is handling life in their own unique ways. What’s important is who you choose to be in relationship to the happenings of life that come your way.

You can be reactive, thinking it’s horrible and that it should be different. But it is the way it is. To say that it shouldn’t be this way just makes you crazy, looking for someone to blame and, if your suffering becomes extreme enough, eventually blaming God. But you are God, in that sense. You are the creator of your experience because of your choices, who you choose to be.

Stormy Night

In the Beatles song, Let it Be, Paul McCartney sang, “And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me.” Yes, the moon is still there, somewhere, reflecting the light of the sun. And the sun will rise on its own, without our help. Life continues, in sorrow and in joy.

Imagine what might happen if we adopted this attitude – let it be – towards every aspect of our lives. Would that create apathy, indifferent heartlessness, compassionless inaction? For those who haven’t accepted this way, yes, that’s the expectation. For those who’ve embraced acceptance, the opposite is true.

Acceptance, the kind of which we’re discussing, connects us to the Divine. Because … that’s what the Divine is doing! Connected this way, we immediately access the wisdom of the Divine, which guides us into right action. After all, we can’t imagine the Divine is lazy! However we conceive of it, whatever intelligent power is sustaining life throughout the billion simultaneous universes, isn’t sleeping on the job. The coordination is impossibly complex and perhaps just wise enough to orchestrate the details of our lives, should we allow it.




John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” He was saying exactly the same thing that Lao Tzu said, centuries earlier:
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

Calm Night

As the craziness of the human world becomes more obvious and intrusive, we can remind ourselves of this merging of ancient and modern wisdom and remember to “let it be,” no matter what is happening, and to discover what right action is in the moment, because we are connected to the source of all intelligence.




References:

Abraham Lincoln

Doing the Best We Can – Part 2 – Adrenalin or Adoration?

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you
want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

~Abraham Lincoln

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Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing and expecting different results. Confronted by the failure of human manipulation to create a sustainable society, when do we realize that we’ve been misusing our power and actually do something different?

There’s a particular feeling familiar to all of us. We men felt it during our first experiences driving a car when we stepped hard on the gas and accelerated fast. Adrenaline started pumping as the sensation of power flooded through our bodies.

That kind of power can become addictive because the feeling of it is so seductive. “Go for it!” is the battle cry, enacted in films and stories where brave but foolhardy decisions are usually rewarded. Traditionally, our heroes have been those who did go for it, who challenged and beat the odds, who persevered against adversity. And then they ride off into the sunset with no consideration given to the unintended consequences of their actions.



It doesn’t work like that in real life. Unintended consequences have been piling up in terms of environmental degradation, climate change that human activity has accelerated, and senseless murders of school children, just to name a few. Our deeply institutionalized model for wielding power has become a wrecking ball for human society and the planet.

Dr. David Hawkins calls this way of using power “force.” He writes in Power vs Force that, “Power serves others, whereas force is self-serving.” He adds, “The only way to enhance one’s power in the world is by increasing one’s integrity, understanding, and capacity for compassion.” 1

Force, as Hawkins defines it, involves misusing power for personal gain. Conversely, true power is contributive. Force originates with oneself, focusing one’s will to achieve personal agendas; power resides in Source and we, because of our personal connection with source, can express that power as a blessing in the world in any moment we so choose.

Magic Hands

The adrenalin high that accompanies using force to manipulate personal agendas is seductive. But there’s another experience profoundly more enjoyable: adoration for the Divine.

Recall moments when you have touched this phenomenon throughout your life. There are so many examples, here are just a few: Witnessing the birth of your first child, falling in love, asking someone to marry you and hearing “Yes!”, the first time you heard Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto Number Two in C minor, sitting with a spiritual master and having a life changing epiphany, the list is endless.

Question: do we recall such moments and assume they must continue to be rare and spontaneous, wonderful surprises in the midst of boring day to day lives, or could we entertain the possibility of deliberately creating more such experiences? Adoration for the Divine, which is what is really happening in all these instances – at least, this is the essence of it – can be invited. Our choices make a difference.




Examples: “Should I watch a horror movie or meditate? Should I go bowling or listen to that Rachmaninov?”

By the way, Rachmaninov gives us a powerful clue about deepening this experience. He wrote, “I feel like a ghost wandering in a world grown alien. I cannot cast out the old way of writing and I cannot acquire the new. I have made an intense effort to feel the musical manner of today, but it will not come to me.” 2

What remarkable humility. So, there it is, the difference maker. Human egos are arrogant; humans entranced by the Divine are awestruck. This clarifies our choice. Put crudely, how will we get our kicks? What will we rely on for the peak experiences that make the rest of existence bearable? And, recalling Einstein’s comment about insanity, are we willing to change to get different results?

Adoration

The adventure of rapture, expanding our awareness of the Divine, being ever more fully human because we learn and grow … this is the path that beckons us away from a force-mad world.

So, what will it be, adrenalin or adoration?




References:
1. Power vs Force, by David Hawkins
2. Cited from Sergei Bertensson and Jay Leyda Sergei Rachmaninoff: A Lifetime in Music (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002) p. 351.

Man in spiral uinverse

Doing the Best We Can – Part 1 – How to Make our Best Contribution

“Finding the center of strength within ourselves
is in the long run the best contribution we can make to our fellow men.”

~Rollo May

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As global problems escalate and increasing numbers of concerned people wonder what to do, the best contribution is found in being our true selves.

The opening quote from Rollo May raises powerful questions. Why would inner change in individuals make a difference in the world? Is it irresponsible to focus on “being” when “doing” is what gets things done? What does it actually mean to find “the center of strength within ourselves.”

Rollo May had more to say. “One person with indigenous inner strength exercises a great calming effect on panic among people around him. This is what our society needs — not new ideas and inventions; important as these are, and not geniuses and supermen, but persons who can “be”, that is, persons who have a center of strength within themselves.”



We’ll flesh this out further in a moment but let’s first back up for a perspective view of what’s actually happening on earth right now, because there’s considerable debate and confusion about that.

Many people feel dedicated to saving the world. Let’s look at this from the standpoint of truth and illusion. If you are not awake, if you are still mired in illusion, then you will automatically impose the concept of “false doership” on everything, including yourself. You will believe that you can affect something in a positive way, that you can save something. From a truthful perspective, that’s illusion because your separate identity is an illusion. This is what Rollo May is really getting at, that anyone who comes to know the truth of themselves can exert an influence that those who haven’t simply can’t.

Here’s the big picture context for this: Consciousness is orchestrating everything. Here we are in this 21st century, with all the weapons and bombs and poisons and terrorists, everything you can imagine, yet – somehow – we are still here. How is this even possible? Because of something other than limited human beings.

Jesus painting

Jesus spoke of this when he said, “I of myself can do nothing. The Father within, he doeth the work.” Me, you, we … on our own, are relatively powerless. Connected with source, God, Love … whatever we choose to call it, now we have some power.

But it takes surrendering our separatist agendas, even if that includes wanting to save the world. Consciousness is orchestrating this entire show, moving through its cycles, no matter what silly human beings think about it.

From the traditional Vedic and Tantric perspectives this is described as the play of consciousness. In this model, consciousness progresses through four stages, known in Sanskrit as “yugas.” We are currently nearing the end of the fourth and final yuga, the Kali yuga, here in what is called The Day of God.




The “day” refers to billions of years of time that began with The Big Bang. Scientists theorize about that event when, apparently, everything in the universe (or universes if you subscribe to the belief in multiple universes) emerged from a single point in one unimaginably massive explosion.

By the way, there is no scientific consensus that the universe is expanding. In fact, according to theoretical physicist Doug Snell, “planet/suns are results of contraction, galaxies are examples of contraction, clusters are too, so are super clusters and almost all galaxies.” 1

He elaborates, saying: “The universe is contracting at an increasing rate, and the expansion perceived is nothing but an illusion created by acceleration while being inside a spiral.”

Big bang

It’s a fascinating topic to explore and there’s no lack of controversial theories. If we embrace the traditional viewpoint, drawing upon the most ancient source of wisdom that we have, then the universe is contracting and will continue to do so until a moment of total compaction and re-absorbtion. At that point, all manifest form vanishes.

If this is our destiny, then it makes utterly no sense to try and “save the world.” What we call the world, which includes our planet but also our entire experience of reality, is evolving and the ultimate destination towards a transformation quite beyond our ability to conceptualize.

This is why what Rollo May says makes so much sense. If this is what consciousness is orchestrating, and we humans are part and parcel of consciousness, then it’s what we should be doing as well! Coming to center, compacting, concentrating. From that center of strength within ourselves, we can extend a calming influence on all those who are panicking because they don’t understand these cycles and where they are taking us.

This is not a fatalistic viewpoint, it’s simply honoring ancient wisdom so we can effectively play our part in this grand adventure in consciousness.




References:
1. https://www.quora.com/Is-the-universe-expanding-and-contracting-simultaneously

Love Yourself

Living in the Real World – Part 4 – Loving Yourself

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters
compared to what lies within us.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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True self-love is not egotistical, it’s the natural experience of knowing that we are one with Source.

Spiritual confidence emerges the moment we truly love ourselves. This requires being in the present moment because it’s the only place we truly exist. As Emerson said, “what lies behind us” – memories from the past – and “what lies before us,” – dreams of the future – “are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

What lies within us emerges moment by moment as the reality of our true selves expressing Source energy. Anything else is arrogant pretentiousness, attempting to be something separate from life. When we fully accept ourselves, knowing that who we are is enough and that we are complete for the moment (but only for the moment, which is, fortunately, eternal) then a deep satisfaction soothes our souls. The search is over.



Humans are naturally ambitious. We’re born with the desire to learn, to grow, to create and experience. But because we’ve disconnected ourselves from life with beliefs of separation and abusive behaviors that have produced disastrous results, personally and globally, we now find ourselves in a dangerous predicament where radical corrective action is required. How can we re-focus our ambition, our drive to fully live, in a more positive direction?

First, we must expand our awareness. That’s what’s happening in these moments as you read. And, it’s natural. In fact, this lies at the heart of desire. We have been programmed to want things but we really want depth, the increased experience of a certain kind. What kind of experience, exactly? Love.

There was a popular Country and Western song performed by Johnny Lee called Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. He sang, “I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places, lookin’ for love in too many faces, searchin’ their eyes, lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreamin’ of.”

The first place to look is in the mirror. Interestingly, that’s exactly what another famous singer did in a moment that changed her life forever. Queen Latifah remembers, “When I was around 18, I looked in the mirror and said, ‘You’re either going to love yourself or hate yourself.’ And I decided to love myself. That changed a lot of things.”

What lies inside us is … Love! But Love is more than romance, more than an emotion, more even than a state of being. Love is a word that describes the nature of life throughout the universe. Love is the way things are. Yes, countless scientists and science fiction writers believe that the universe is dangerous, that there are malevolent forces out to get us. Why do they believe that? Is there absolute proof? The only irrational threat comes from us! As Walt Kelly, author of the Pogo comic strip wisely said, “We have found the enemy and he is us!”




Self-love is natural because it’s how we experience the delighting, blissful nature of consciousness itself. All of us have touched this, during physical lovemaking, listening to a symphony, marveling at a work of sacred art, being in a holy place, sitting with a true master, or alone in our meditation when our thinking totally stops. We know the experience of Love but our habit is to assign the cause to other people and circumstances.

This misconception is what drives the insanity of The American Dream. We pursue happiness, because it’s something to get… or so the dream says. No. The truth of happiness, of fulfillment, of spiritual enlightenment, of Love, is a reality right now. We live in an all-encompassing environment of unconditional love. What we have touched in moments of ecstasy are not rare incidents to spend the rest of our lives hunting for, “lookin’ in their eyes, searchin’ for traces,” but a blessed emergence into conscious experience of what is always available, and increasingly accessible, as we turn away from the glittering distractions and self-doubt that have obscured the truth of Love.

Now is the moment, this is the moment, Love is here. Remember this the next time you look in the mirror and it will help you make the same choice that Queen Latifah did, to love yourself. Then notice what you see when you do look at others. What will you see? The same love in others that you are feeling for yourself. Because, we are all One.

That tired cliché becomes a vibrant reality when you learn to love yourself.




References:

Feet in pool

Living in the Real World – Part 3 – Enlightenment is Real Now

The path to enlightenment is not long, it’s deep.

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As they say, “There’s a seeker born every moment.” But the search is over when we embrace our oneness with God and commit to deepening that experience.

In the last blog we wrote, “Here’s a declaration we might employ: “I am one with all life.” What comes up as you read those words? “Oh, not me, I’m not there yet?” Do you fear that if you accepted those words you would be arrogant and lying to yourself?

Let’s consider the alternative: “I am separate from all life.” Obviously, this is not true because if you were separate from all life, you’d be dead. Your heart is still beating, you’re able to read these words, probably strong enough to walk, you can talk, dream … you’re alive. So, in this state of aliveness, are you one with life or separate from life? What do you believe?



Obviously, as we just proved, believing that you are separate from life is false. In fact, if that belief could manifest fully as fact you would drop dead in that instant. So, can you accept that you are one with life, in fact, but that you are not yet consciously experiencing this, and that the surest sign you are not is your self-doubt?

Repeating our bold declaration, “I am one with all life,” what comes up for you now, a few moments after we began exploring the meaning of this? Probably, something has changed. You may feel slightly more inclined to believe this now. What caused the change? Inquiry. Asking questions. Exploring. But we did this from a place of acceptance, not asking to find an answer to give us something we didn’t already have but using questions to explore something we tentatively accepted could be true.

Letting bird free

Now, just imagine what changes when hesitation turns into confidence! Spiritual confidence is a powerful force. It’s what gurus and masters and teachers have. They radiate certainty, based in their acceptance of the fact that they are, right now, one with all life, and that they are using inquiry to deepen their own experience. The true master is never a finished product but a skilled navigator, asking questions to dive deeper and deeper into the reality of the moment.

Imagine being in a train station. Two trains are ready to depart, each on its own track. One is a train called Searching For Truth, the other is called Deepening My Experience of Truth. Which train will you ride? If you realize you’ve been on the wrong train, it’s not as simple as wishing you could be on the other. The train runs on tracks, even if they’re parallel. It’s moving. It would be dangerous to jump. Right?

If you’ve been on a train you know that they always have an emergency cord. This is for… emergencies. Anyone can pull it at any time and the train will stop. Applying this metaphor to our explorations, can you imagine yourself pulling the emergency cord in your life?




What would it take to motivate such an extreme action. Humans are legendary for denial and procrastination. Some people hack and cough for months but only quit smoking after a terminal diagnosis. How many people promise themselves to work out in the gym, stop eating cake, quit the job they hate, yet continue to suffer in their dishonesty with themselves for years?

Why would you switch trains? Why would you choose to accept that you are one with all life in this moment and proceed to deepen that experience, rather than continuing to seek as one who is not here and not whole and not enough? It’s a question that deserves a moment of serious contemplation.

Woman ecstatic

So, pause as you read these words now. Here’s the question again, edited for impact and presented as an actual proposal: “Will you accept that you are one with all life in this moment and dedicate the rest of your life to deepening this experience?”

Why would you say “Yes!” and follow through? Because you are being touched by the love of God right now, freely offered. You are experiencing the inherent lovingness of life, it’s nature, which is your nature, and you know – in this moment – that this feeling will haunt you for the remainder of your life unless you embrace it and choose to deepen it right now.

Enlightenment is real now.




References:

Young Monk

Spiritual Leadership – Part 4 – Spiritual Mastery

“Masters today, were Starters Yesterday, so begin now.”

~ Bernard Kelvin Clive

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Spiritual masters used to live in caves in remote locations. Today, you just might find one when you look in the mirror.

Many people would agree that the Dalai Lama embodies what it means to be an authentic spiritual leader. Two qualities emerge when we analyze what it is about him that generates respect in people around the world: forgiveness and humor.

The Dalai Lama forgives the Chinese for what they have done – and continue to do – to the people of Tibet and to him personally. He is also fierce in his honest commentary about injustice, but he exudes forgiveness. At the same time, he has an infectious sense of humor and is often shown smiling and laughing. Those who have met him confirm that he is a fundamentally happy human being.



If we are inspired by his example, what changes might that trigger in our lives? How might we attain some measure of the spiritual mastery that he demonstrates? We could start by considering the two qualities we just identified and ask ourselves several important questions.

First, what about forgiveness? It can be an excellent healing exercise to create a list of people you feel have wronged you in the past. Write out their names on a piece of paper, without wasting time rehearsing (again!) the epic stories of their misdeeds. Just write down their names and then survey your list. Read each name and say, “I forgive you.”

Young Monk with Buddha Statue

What does that accomplish? Not much, usually, because it’s a superficial gesture. Words like this can be largely meaningless; what gives them value is the meaning you deliberately invest in them. So, try it again, this time reading their names and saying, “I forgive myself.”

Now, that may not accomplish anything more significant in terms of real change but it does point in the right direction. The reality of forgiveness is to confront our own judgment and release it. We aren’t condoning someone else’s behavior by doing that, we are simply shifting from hate to love.

All of us get wounded in our interactions and very few adults can honestly recall a childhood without trauma, sometimes inflicted by their own parents. How long will we carry those stories? How long will we maintain a victim identity? How long will we wish for some kind of healing resolution?




Near the end of his life, the sage Krishnamurti gave his followers the secret to his own enlightened state: “Whatever happens, I don’t mind.” Presumably his attitude encompassed past events as well as present ones. Imagine looking back on your own history and feeling free of judgment, regret, anger, and the desire for revenge. That sounds like freedom to me!

Young Monk

If we were unburdened that way, it would open up a vast expanse of space within us, room for others to feel welcomed, just as they are, because releasing judgment of others in the past simultaneously frees us from the tendency to judge others now. Why? Because we recognize, either consciously or unconsciously, that we have no interest in creating new traumatic stories to re-burden ourselves. Once free, who would voluntarily seek enslavement again?

Spiritual mastery is gained, not through inner practice alone, although that is essential. We then take our practice into the world by, literally, practicing. And every moment gives us another opportunity, not just to deal with what’s occurring in caring ways but to release more personal baggage of our own. Why? Connections. Everything happening now is connecting to something that happened before. Nothing exists in solitary isolation. That means that the content of each moment is part of a holistic reality extending across time. When we accept what’s happening now, without judgment, we are also forgiving what happened in other connected moments across the spectrum of our lifetime, without needing to make those connections conscious.

What’s more, we are connecting with the same stream in others. The unburdened presence of a spiritual master works miracles this way, often without words being spoken. The possibilities for transformation and service are unlimited and we can happily spend the rest of our lives exploring the possibilities. Remember, happiness is the second quality we identified in a true spiritual master. Fortunately, as we understand how spiritual mastery works across time, we realize that it’s never too late to have a happy childhood!




References:

Enlighten

Spiritual Leadership – Part 3 – Beyond Location

“Buy land. They’re not making it any more.”

~ Mark Twain

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The famous mantra for real estate is “location, location, location.” While that may indeed be the top value priority for real estate, location is increasingly irrelevant in a society woven together by digital technology.

One of the truly disruptive and intriguing innovations in society is the “untethering” phenomenon that technological advances are bringing to an increasingly broad swath of modern life.

This has progressed through telegraph, telephones, radio, television, fax machines, mobile phones, and the internet. Emails and phone calls can originate anywhere in the world; physical locations simply don’t matter. In fact, we have to ask to find out where the person we are conversing is located.



When we consider technological progress like this it’s interesting to ask, “Where did this come from?” A simplistic but consistently accurate answer is, “From inside ourselves.” We invent in the outer world from familiar concepts and structures that already exist inside ourselves.

For instance, we could say that automobiles streaming along freeways are an externalized version of cells flowing through the various circulatory systems within our bodies. The internet is perhaps the best example, revealing a massive connectivity that is pre-dated by the synergistic array of systems inside our individual bodies and also existing in the natural world. Everything is already connected to everything else, as far as biology is concerned. In that sense, technology is catching up, rather than leading the way.

Worldwide

This understanding opens up a unique perspective on the potential for individual impact in a world that seems far too vast for any single individual to exert much significant effect. Regardless of where we are – a small coffee shop in rural Bulgaria or the White House in Washington – we are plugged in (without external wiring) to the whole of the human species plus every other life form that exists… everywhere.

It’s fair to argue that the President of the United States can exert more influence in the world than you or I can. True enough, to a degree. But on another level, he’s one human with one energetic field just like we are. This means that, from a spiritual standpoint, we are all equal, at least in terms of potential. Again, similarly to what we may achieve in the world at large, it’s a matter of actualizing potential. Some people make a mark in the world by activating their innate genius, learning skills, working hard, and creating value. Others watch TV all day and quietly fade away.

We develop ourselves in the material world by expanding our capacities and focusing in the fields where we live and work. We can develop ourselves in the spiritual world by doing exactly the same thing, and that starts with identifying what fields we live and work in on that inner level. This takes us into a consideration of self beyond roles. I am… what? A meditation teacher, a writer, a son, a brother, etc. But I am also a focus of spirit, an essence that is utterly unique. So, what is the nature of my uniqueness?




We can look admiringly at someone like Gandhi or Nelson Mandela and agree they were special beings. Why? Because they actualized their potential. How many others are there who have it within their innate spiritual make up to rise to prominence in terms of social contribution, yet never do because they never get activated?

Untethered

Spiritual seekers are often fixated on achieving enlightenment as a state of being valued for itself. But what about the value enlightened beings bring into the world and, even more significantly, into the milieu of mass consciousness that we all swim in? When we re-frame our spiritual aspirations that way, it becomes obvious that location is entirely irrelevant.

Here’s the moment, here’s the opportunity. It may seem totally insignificant but remember, the greatest destructive power humans have developed occurs through splitting the atom. The most effective homeopathic remedies are those that have been diluted to the point where none of the original physical constituents remain… it’s just energy.

Power resides in the small. So, yes, we are small, rather ordinary individuals. But we do possess the potential to affect significant positive change in the world, one thought, one word, one action at a time, depending on the state we inhabit before, during, and after any of those occur.




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