Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Observing My Inner Critic

"As I create mental spaciousness, I am allowing my natural state of love and bliss to shine through."

I recently realized that I have an inner critic that is always reviewing, analyzing, commenting, and critiquing my actions.  These are my thoughts.  While I can always control my thoughts, it is not always easy.  In fact, I have found it is more practical to allow the thoughts to continue and just observe them.  I am not a very good 24/7 observer of my thoughts.  When, however, I notice these critical thoughts, I have recently started devoting more energy to observing them.

When they come up, I have the attitude in my observation of "here are those critical thoughts again..."  My attitude is one of a loving father observing a child that is engaged in some sort of ignorant non-beneficial, behavior.

I have only been on the "thought observation" mission for less than a year now.  Once I started it, I noticed immediate benefits (as in within the first 5 minutes). I have noticed that I am best at doing this when I have had enough sleep, earlier in the day, and usually during and shortly after meditation.  After that, I easily become wrapped up in my train of thoughts throughout the day.  I have been making steady improvements, however.

This latest realization of the need to observe my inner critic, which, in affect, silences this "voice", is the other shoe to drop on my spiritual path.  The first shoe being the realization that the spiritual path is the highest goal for me in this life.  Why is that?

My mind leans towards being very critical and over-analytical.  These thoughts go masquerading as "me" but they are far from me.  They are part of my upbringing and remnants of the past.  These thoughts want me to be "not me."  As I have brought my loving awareness to them, they have started to dissipate.  I am noticing more mental spaciousness as I am starting to hear silence more.

For example, I might be late to work.  In the past, I would think through the 5 reasons why I was late, felt bad about it, and shamed myself for this behavior. Now, I will observe these thoughts.  I will consciously expand the love inside my heart for myself and just love me for being me.  I will take the attitude that I am trying my best and that there must have been a good reason at the time for my tardiness.  I will reserve making any observations on how I can improve in this area until just before I go to bed at night.

I will take a bit of time right here to play devil's advocate and see if there is any benefit to being critical of myself in real-time. Let's say that it is useful to have this immediate beneficial information of what I could have done differently, that something else comes up that day where I use that knowledge. Or, maybe I will forget the contextual information about what I could have done differently or forget to do the self-review at all that day. I submit that these slight benefits do not outweigh the effect of these critical thoughts in everyday life. I feel worse because of them. It takes me out of the present moment as I dwell on the past. The thoughts are "caught up in the moment" and do not see the big picture of why I made the mistake. In short, these critical thoughts are out-of-alignment with life.

There is little benefit and more ill effects from me endlessly rehashing situations, events, analyzing my every move and why this or that could not have been done better.  Instead of this real-time self-commentary, I have decided to devote a few minutes towards the end of each day where I will review that day's activities to see if there is anything I can learn.  Learning from mistakes and doing self-review is important, however I have chosen to engage in this activity in a set time-frame once per day.  This is a good way to convince my analytical side that the activity will still take place just in a different way.  As I create mental spaciousness, I am allowing my natural state of love and bliss to shine through.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Taking Care of Myself First

"If I take care of myself and my basic needs, I contribute to my own personal power and sense of self worth."

Like many things in life, there are many different approaches that achieve the same goal.  On the spiritual path, I have found that my instinctive approach to something is completely backwards.  I tend to look at the goal and then work backwards from that.  For example, I may be unhappy with a particular circumstance.  Conventional wisdom wants me to put all of my attention and energy on changing the circumstance.

I always have two choices.  I can try to change the circumstance or I can accept it for what it is.  I always have this choice, too: focus on the inner life or focus on the outer life.  Focusing on the inner life may mean that I accept the circumstance as part of the Cosmic plan.  If I focused on changing the circumstance, what do I feel?  I feel that I am out of alignment with Life.  I am working upstream.

This is not to say that I can never change my circumstance.  This is simply saying that I should first accept it and consider if there is anything within me that needs to change.  Perhaps I need a perspective shift that will allow me to view it in a new light.  I might see that the circumstance does not need to change at all.  Or, the circumstance changes of its own accord.  As I put out higher and higher vibrations, the vibrational field around me will eventually match.  In other words, as I become a more positive, accepting person, my circumstance will improve to be lighter and freer than it was before.  This may be because of my perspective change, the influence of my attitude and actions on others, or the causal effect of external, mysterious forces.  The point is that rather than take the seemingly correct action of attempting to change my external reality, it may be helpful to consider an inside-out approach.

Another example where an inside-out approach may be warranted is when I want to increase my own sense of personal power and self-worth.  One road may be for me to directly attempt to empower myself through perhaps trying to control others or manipulate my circumstance.  Or, I may try to inflate my self-worth through elevating myself in relation to others or accomplishing things that improve my external image.  Rather than attempt to increase these areas directly, it may be more helpful to look deeper at their origin.

Is other words, I need to look at what needs to change within me.  To change me, I take positive actions that invest time and energy into myself.  If I take care of myself and my basic needs, I contribute to my own personal power and sense of self worth.  This is because deficiencies in my personal power may be related to an undeveloped sense of self.  To cultivate a sense of self, I need to devote time and energy into fostering it.  By simply spending time on myself, I am increasing my self-worth through my actions.  I am investing my limited resource of time on me which builds my worth.  If I practice self-care, I am watering, nurturing and fertilizing both my physical body and soul.  This, in turn, is putting money into my "personal power bank."  I am building up a reserve of power that I can draw upon to mindfully wield when challenging situations arise.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Feel Your Emotions

"Just as clouds form when warm air meets cold, so our emotions sit on the boundary between inner peace and outer attachment."

Our emotions are wonderful tools that guide us through this life.  Unlike our thoughts which tend to anchor us in the physical world, our emotions are reactive in nature.  They are neither positive nor negative yet simply float through our inner being.  Emotions, like our thoughts, should be observed and not identified with.

Our emotions originate in the space where our inner world and outer world meet.  Just as clouds form when warm air meets cold, so our emotions sit on the boundary between inner peace and outer attachment.  The greater the attachment to this world, then the greater emotional tumult as we journey within to a place of stillness.  If we realize that emotions are simply doing their job of making their presence known to us, we would not wish to rid ourselves of them, especially the emotions we may label as "negative" but are not really so.  These emotions are sadness, anger, hopelessness, grief, pain, guilt and other similar emotions.

In fact, the more we try and wish these emotions away or cover them up, they become trapped inside us without way of escape.  Like clouds, they need to freely move through our consciousness until they dissipate on their own accord.  Trapped emotions become part of our inner pain.  They will eventually work their way out through acting out behaviors, behaviors that we unconsciously do to bring pain into our lives.  We do this so that we will eventually confront our inner pain.

Instead, feel your emotions.  Go into them and experience them.  At the same time, we are the observer, taking an inner ride through our emotional clouds.  As we feel our emotions, they dissipate on their own, because the inner light of our consciousness eventually breaks through.  As we focus our inner soul radiance on our emotional clouds, we see that our inner joy never left but may have been temporarily obscured. We let our emotions percolate up from the depth of our soul as they expand into Supreme consciousness and are absorbed by the Love that is all there is.

As we journey within, this is why the emotions surface on occasion. Our consciousness begins to shift from attachment to this world and we run into the emotions. They are the fog or mist that separate us from inner peace. If we avoid them, we miss out on the peace that lies just beyond their perimeter. Instead, we brace ourselves and feel our cockpit rattle as we pass through them. Pass through them, we must to get a taste of Divine bliss. The joy in life is in the journey that we take to our destination.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Love Yourself

"I can always be kinder to, more gracious to and more loving of myself."

As I put spiritual truths into practice, I notice, within myself, certain tendencies that I have developed over my life. All of these tendencies had a purpose, at the time, which were simply coping mechanisms to get through life. My ego needed these tendencies to preserve itself. Now that I know that the ego itself is the illusion and my spirit is the reality, these tendencies are no longer needed.

These tendencies are critically thinking about my past or current actions, constantly analyzing past actions to try and learn from them, doubting myself and my current path, diagnosing myself as being one way or the other, and seeing myself as separate or "an abnormality" from popular society. These are just a few that come to mind. As I begin to become aware of these tendencies, I see them as an opportunity to practice spiritual truths. What would my inner life look like if I was truly loving myself?

If I was loving myself, I would only reflect on my successes. I would see ways in which I had done the right thing and try to learn how to replicate that. I would believe in myself and my current path. I would stop labeling myself and see myself as a part of the cohesive whole of humanity. This is not to say that I ignore the negative but that mistakes should be reviewed immediately after they occurred to examine how they could have been avoided. In addition, I think I should think about ways in which the mistake or negative event was a blessing. I also think that any "mind chatter" takes me out of the present moment so I should engage in the practice of a silent mind. My point is, if any reflection is necessary, it should, most of the time, be on ways in which I have succeeded and giving myself the benefit of the doubt every time. I can always be kinder to, more gracious to and more loving of myself.

Before you engage in inner commentary about things you have done or are doing, you can ask yourself these questions first. Is this self review occurring immediately after the action? Have I already reviewed my behavior previously? How can I love myself more through this thought? How has what happened been a blessing in my life?

I sincerely believe that it is much better to err on the side of love. Love yourself thoroughly and completely through every thought. It is the ego that jumps in and asks these questions. How is what I am thinking practical? How else am I going to learn from my mistakes? Aren't I just stuffing my emotions if I do not look at things practically? These questions are all designed to take you out of the present moment. Give yourself unlimited grace, love and acceptance. You can never over-do it, because there is no limit to how much we can love. At the very least, you can replace critical thoughts with the thought of "I love myself." This thought is still dwelling in a space of separation because the "I" implies separateness. You want to get to a place of Being-ness. The highest state we can attain is feeling the Love inside our heart consciously and deliberately as we observe our thoughts, whether positive or negative.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Listen to Yourself

"You can experience true freedom when you learn to listen to that still, small voice inside you and not what anyone else may say, regardless of popularity of circumstance."

On this path, you will encounter both external and internal resistance as I have written about previously.  Conquering the internal resistance helps you when you encounter resistance outside yourself.  For example, recognizing when the ego crops up internally and learning how to observe it, rather than act on it helps your outer life.  When we encounter other's personal egos or even collective egos, we can learn how to observe that too.  Both practices have a synergistic effect on one another, such that you learn how to become an observer in all things.

This is easier said than done unfortunately.  This is because we have all been socialized into an idea of external reality.  This is, of course, the domain of the ego.  The ego thinks that it only exists through the eyes and opinions of other people.  The worth system is reversed.  Rather than obtaining your worth through the sole fact that you are an eternal, supernatural Being, your worth is measured by what others think of you.

A common practice when others are giving you advice is to employ the idea of a "them" or "they."  They may harmlessly refer to a respected group that could either disapprove of you or even affect you in some way.  This is a way for them to reinforce their point, so you may be dealing with a bunch of egos, personal and collective, as a way to sway you.  When we get criticism from others, even constructive, it is like getting a banana peel thrown at you.  What do you do?  You duck, but, before you duck, open the peel and see if there  is a banana in there.  If there is, eat the banana and throw the peel away.  In other words, examine their opinion with your internal Voice and take anything away that is of substance.

We all have people in our lives that will offer unsolicited opinions.  A lot of this opinion does not come from a centered place.  You can quickly see that adopting this opinion as reality, even though it may be popular will bring you into an uncentered place as well.  We, of course, have a few people in our lives that are our spiritual mentors.  They may offer advice that resonates deep within you and not with your ego.

On an energetic level, any time you take on someone else's opinion as your own, you literally are plugging a cable from your energy center to them and energy is being drained from you.  Call back your spirit from that individual or even collective ego that you are plugged into.  Mentally imagine pulling the plug on that cable so that you are free.  You can experience true freedom when you learn to listen to that still, small voice inside you and not what anyone else may say, regardless of popularity of circumstance.

For me, personally, as I unplug from other's opinions, reality begins to shift as these "distortion fields" are removed.  Much of our anxiety comes from attempting to live up to this distorted reality, which, many times, is comprised of future projections.  This is a process that needs to be done continually so that we are not giving our power away to others.  How good it is to experience true freedom that comes with living an authentic life.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Love is Here Now

"You do not have to do anything to experience the vastness and immenseness of the limitless Love that is deep inside your heart."

If there was any one thing that I thought was a central teaching that was being taught to me in the last year, it is this truth.  The first part of this truth, I knew right away intuitively.  I knew that the striving in this world was all for naught.  Love does not require anything from us.  The part I did not know right away was what this striving was trying to achieve.  We constantly are striving to remove the veil of separation between us and Love.  What does this really mean?  It means we are trying to add things into our life in order to feel love and that we are looking outside of ourselves for this love.

The answer is that this Love has always been inside you.  The illusion is that you are separate from it.  You are not.  The truth is that the enormity of this Love is within you, however, you have lacked the awareness of its presence.  This love can only be experienced.  It cannot be analyzed, theorized, or systematized.  In fact, when you try to think about it, you are separate from it.  This love comes from awareness and nothing more.  It is a deep peace, an everlasting joy, an eternal bliss that can be felt in the depth of your being, the very depth of your soul.

The part of us that feels separate from this joy wants to do something to earn it.  We want to strive for it, pursue it, slavishly yearn to be in its presence as we feel we are unworthy of it.  We want to renounce our freedoms, prostrate ourselves, and grovel in its presence, yet this Love does not want to be sacrificed to or idolized.  This Love is You.  As long as we fear it and put it on a pedestal, we continue to put up the illusion of separation from this Love.  In truth, nothing can separate us from this Love.  Once you feel its strength, experience its magnanimity, you will understand.  We do not have to do anything to experience this love.  We do not have to earn it.  We cannot buy it.  It is freely given to all those who will acknowledge its existence.

How freeing and liberating it is to know that this "coming home" is realizing that we are already there!  It frees us from the vehicles of religion, dogma, right acts, service, devotion and countless others that easily become our master rather than a conductive channel to merge us with Love.  This freedom means that there is no one path to love but a path that resonates with your own heart.  It is a journey that you may choose to embark on, on your own volition.  This journey is not even necessary given the realization that You have.  Yet, it is a journey that we take that is motivated by the very Love that called out to us.  We cannot help but want to serve others and allow this love to percolate from our being.  You do not have to do anything to experience the vastness and immenseness of the limitless Love that is deep inside your heart.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We Are All Energy

"Yield your spirit to the Energy of the universe and see that we are all united and part of one cohesive whole."

There are many levels that are planes of existence.  I will not exhaustively list them all but, among them, are the spiritual, physical and energetic planes.  These are gross simplifications, but the energetic plane is a mixture of the physical and spiritual.

We are all energy.  At a basic level, the molecules of our bodies are composed of mostly empty space.  Energy vibrates at different rates.  The slower it vibrates, we see a condensation into physical matter.  Thoughts vibrate at a faster rate and the spiritual world vibrates at even a faster rate.  In a very real way, we have an entire Universe inside each of us, if we look at things on the energetic level.  Energy unites us all and provides a foundation we can all return to when discussing the spiritual world.

There are many lessons we can learn when we consider reality from the energetic plane.  The first and foremost lesson is that all forms, labels and systems are a trap.  If the thing uniting everything is energy, then we can explain everything in terms of energy.  If we try and assign a label to this or that, it may help our rational mind understand it but, in the end, it is still energy.

For example, I may look at water and have different words for different types of waves, notate how it may change form at various temperatures, and so on.  Others may, simultaneously, be observing this same thing and come up with their own words and notations.  However, can we not see that we are still studying water?  It is when I say that my theory and names are the one, true way that I run into problems.  Now, it is no longer about water but about the names or forms I have given it.

Similarly, if we can understand that the spiritual world is no different, then we have taken a very evolved spiritual step in our progress.  In the end, we are talking about energy.  It is this energetic component that unites us all.  To talk about it, we need the names, forms and labels.  Yet, to get caught up in these currencies we use to exchange ideas about the spiritual world is to miss the forest for the trees.  Yield your spirit to the Energy of the universe and see that we are all united and part of one cohesive whole.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Our View of God and Others

"Our inner world is a direct reflection of how we view our outer world."

There are two ways to transform ourselves, going inward and going outward.  Both are powerful ways on our path of spiritual evolution and both have their place and purpose.  In fact, both should be engaged simultaneously to produce truly powerful results.  I am now exploring a path to inner transformation through examining how we view the outer world.  One way that we view the outer world is how we view God.

How we view God is so closely tied with how we view ourselves.  This is why it is important that we identify what this Power is to us.  If it is
Science, then we view ourselves very logically and cause and effect plays a big role in our lives.  If it is Love, then we see ourselves very lovingly in all things. If we have little to no interaction with this Power, then we have cut ourselves off from a part of ourselves, literally.

If we see a stern, judgmental God, then we are hard on ourselves. If we see a forgiving God, then we forgive our own wrongs. The examples could continue on and on. 

I firmly believe that this Power exists, is a relational, personal Spirit, and is real to me. We need to closely examine our view of God because of this relationship to Self.  Even if you do not believe it, start with positive affirmations about your Power, re-examine old beliefs, and receive healing for any ways that your spiritual world has been traumatized.

One way to do this is to remind yourself of these affirmations regularly.  You could say "The world is filled with Love and is a good and safe place to be."  Throw out old beliefs of a stern, judgmental God that is counting your every sin.  Then, act as if these new beliefs are true.  Lean towards choices in your daily life that put power out of your hands and into those of the Universe.  You will begin to reap the rewards as your spiritual beliefs are embodied in the physical world.

By the same token, how you view other people, especially your enemies, is also closely tied to how you view yourself.  This begins with not only forgiving your enemies but embracing and loving them as much as your friends. If you do not, then you are literally treating the darker recesses of your consciousness the same way.  You are divided internally to the extent that you do not forgive your enemies.

In short, our inner world is a direct reflection of how we view our outer world. If we transform ourselves from the outside, our inner life will begin to reflect this change as well.   As you do these things, you will begin to notice an inner transformation.  You will feel more loving and accepting of yourself.  You will feel happier and more positive.  As your outward view of God and others improves, so your inward view of yourself is more inline with your true nature.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Experience the Unknowable

"The concept of God is beyond what the rational mind can comprehend."

For many, there is an emphasis on a belief in a deity.  The notorious question is, do you believe in God?  This has given rise to atheists, agnostics, deists and so on.  The interesting aspect of this question is that it may sometimes suppose that a disbelief in God means that God does not exist.

The truth is that the word God is attempting to give form to the Formless.  Even the word is limiting God as she cannot be compressed into 3 letters.  There also is historical baggage associated with this word.  The usual saying is "God is not an old white man with a beard."  There may have been things done in the name of our word for deity that we do not agree with.  There may be definitions for this word that you do not agree with.  In addition, the concept of God is beyond what the rational mind can comprehend anyways.  Our word for the Supreme is a place holder and nothing more.

Asking someone "Do you believe in God?" is like asking them "Do you believe in electricity?"  Even if you do not believe in electricity, you can still turn on the lights in your house.  Does not believing in electricity cause it to cease to exist?  Of course not!  You can still experience the benefits of a thing without believing in it.  It is quite possible that there is too much emphasis on belief.  For some, it may be useful to think of Reality, Science or Happiness as this outside force.

Rather than struggle with attempting to answer this question, I suggest that it is possible to just leave it as a question.  I also suggest that possibly this is not the right question to ask in the first place.  If you are an atheist, that is okay too.  However, I submit that there is mystery in the question.  Saying "there is no God" implies that your mind can grasp what this word represents.  The adventure in life comes from being open to new questions and new answers.

I suggest that maybe a Higher Power is more an absence of what we see in this world.  We need to be open to a constantly changing definition as we become more conscious of this Power.  To define or label is to limit.  It may be most useful to think of the purest, happiest time of your life to fill your "placeholder."  A better pursuit than attempting to answer this question is to strive for experience.

Experience this energy outside yourself in the way in which you are most comfortable.  Maybe it is through sitting in silence, walking in nature, singing or indulging in your favorite hobby.  By opening yourself to the unseen, you are opening a window so that you may experience this force firsthand.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Practice Unconditional Acceptance

"Unconditional love needs unconditional acceptance. We can learn to receive this love through living a life of gratitude."

We often speak of unconditional love. If we fully grasped the meaning of unconditional love, we would realize what a difficult concept this is. It is easy to love those that are lovable but difficult to love those that are unloveable. We love saints and popular people but dislike sinners and the outcasts. Placing no conditions on love means even loving mass murderers and other egregious sinners. This is truly a difficult thing to do, yet this is exactly how the Universe loves us. It is when we start to comprehend the scope of this love, that our hearts begin to open.

How is it possible that the Universe has unconditional love for us? Conditions upon things are attached to our physical reality. A condition means that "I will do this for you, if you do this for me." However, a condition is a form of doing. Lack of conditions means we are in a state of being. In loving us, the Universe loves us for our being, for who we are not what we can do.

If we are looking at the spiritual side of life, where there are no opposites, all in life is good. Pain reminds us that we are alive, teaches us a lesson and may push us towards the spiritual world. Death is just a changing of clothes as we move on to the next role in the Divine play. Trials are put there in our life to remind us of our spiritual heritage. We see that all in life is good from a heavenly perspective which helps us better understand the mystery of unconditional love.

The paradox is that the Universe has unconditional love for us yet the nature of our Being is that we are unconditional love. This is because God is love and we are also part of God. To feel unconditional love or, more accurately, to be unconditional Love, we must remove the things that block it. Unconditional love needs unconditional acceptance. We can learn to receive this love through living a life of gratitude.

We limit unconditional love if we ourselves put limits on its acceptance. Unconditional acceptance is opening our hearts wide open to ourselves. Putting conditions on accepting love is like saying "I will be a lovable person if I lose weight" or "...if I stop lying." We are lovable just as we are, inwardly and outwardly. We are complex, beautiful expressions of an infinite God just as we are. We do not have to learn unconditional love; we are unconditional love. We have to learn how to be empty vessels to allow this love to bubble up in us from the eternal Spring.

Gratitude is simply being grateful for everything in our lives. As we are gracious, our hearts begin to open more and more. Living a life of gratitude implies a state of Being that is gracious. Be thankful for all that is in your life. Write these things down every day; say them aloud. In doing so, your true nature emerges. To the extent that you are thankful, to that same extent you will be more in touch with your inner nature of unconditional love.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Living a Balanced Life

"Just as I am the connection between the earth and the heavens, I need to strive for balance, which is being grounded as I pursue spiritual realms."

I must always strive to live my life in balance: spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically. Without balance, I am like the parable of the person who built their house on sand.  It is only a matter of time before the storms of life come.  Our house will come crashing down. It appears as if we are shaken by the Universe, yet this is part of the design of our existence.  An unbalanced life is not sustainable, and the storms push us towards balance.  In a balanced life, God is present so we should embrace the storms as vehicles that bring us to the feet of our Beloved.
Being balanced means living a centered life, where all of our centers are in balance.  Balance is an ideal to strive for as, without it, I will spin out of control.  Many times the storms of life are of our own creation.  The storms are created by this imbalanced state.
For example, if I am stuck in my emotions and go solely by feeling in life but do not consider reality, then I am easily deceived.  Others may attempt to manipulate me through my emotions and I would not see it if I was not grounded in reality, that is using my intellect and observing what is happening in physical reality.
I cannot write about a balanced life without discussing the seven centers that comprise one system used to describe consciousness.  Balance in these seven centers are outside the scope of this writing, but there is value solely in their awareness.  They are survival, sexuality, will power, love, communication, intuition, and transcendence.  Each center can be fully opened, fully closed or have different levels of openness.   
Without balance, even spiritual pursuits do not amount to much.  This is because we will not be able to sustain this life and eventually will be derailed from our spiritual journey.  This is why a vital ingredient to cultivating a sustainable spiritual life is striving to maintain our balance or centeredness at all times.  We are plants grounded in earth yet need the light of the sun.  If a plant is uprooted, it will wither away.  If a plant has too little or too much water or sun, its growth or even survival will be affected.  Yet, if the basic needs of ourselves are properly provided for, we will grow unbounded towards the heavens.  Just as I am the connection between the earth and the heavens, I need to strive for balance, which is being grounded as I pursue spiritual realms.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Changing the World

"Our actions arise not from a desire to change others or the world but from an inward outflowing of love for all that is."

There is a temptation to look at the state of our world and of people and want to change it.  We look at the injustices in the world, all of the negative things that are going on, and we instinctively want to make a difference.  At the same time, we might also look at another person and want to help them by sharing our philosophy of life or spirituality.  The desire to make a difference and to help our world and others comes from a good place.  However, we must make sure that this desire does not arise from attempting to cling onto things in this world.

For example, I may want to "save" someone by introducing them to a spiritual path.  However, we are all on a spiritual path, even if we do not know it, and are just in different stages.  Each person will get to where they need to go in their time of readiness.  Injustice is a tricky one, because it implies a notion of justice, right and wrong.  However, right and wrong are merely labels.  If we can help others from a place of Love, then this is a better motivation for our actions.

There seems to be a tie between spirituality and the environmental movement.  Trying to heal our planet for fear that it will uninhabitable some day is trying to cling onto the form of this planet.  Instead, our motivation should be from one of love for the planet, animals and nature.  Our identity should not be wrapped up in how environmentally conscious we are yet this desire comes from us seeing God in all things.  God is in the stones, trees, air.  She makes up our very being.  The tiniest molecules that form our bodies are held together by the thought of God as are the things we perceive with our senses.

If our instinctive desire is to change our environment or others, this should be a cue that we need to change ourselves.  Focus that desire for change on your inner life, because that is why you have the desire in the first place.  On some level, you know that there is a veil of separation between yourself and the Divine and this desire for change runs through an improper channel.  If we look at the inner life, we see that what needs to change is accepting both the dark and the light of ourselves.  What needs to change is getting rid of accumulated emotional and intellectual baggage we have accumulated in our life time.  In short, we need to accept ourselves.

Once we accept ourselves as whole, complete beings that are perfect as we are, our outlook on life begins to change.  We see that the world is exactly as it should be and we do not need to change it.  We are all engaged in this game called life.  If you wish to help others and the world, then that is what you should do.  However, our actions arise not from a desire to change others or the world but from an inward outflowing of love for all that is.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Choose Peace

"Our thoughts and words produce reality, so, by speaking of a war, we indeed are creating a war by this intention."
On this spiritual journey, we discover the "clues" that help us discern teachings that are of a higher quality.  When it comes down to it, pure teachings should resonate with you.  There are certain attributes that we can look for, such as do we feel more peaceful after hearing it?  Does the teaching promote love and acceptance of others?  Is the teaching inclusive rather than divisive?
Within organized religion there are a myriad of teachings that have been accepted as fact.  Like a house of cards, these teachings are stacked upon each other.  Usually, the card you are seeing is near the top, whereas the core truth that it was built off of is hidden far beneath.  In other words, there are certain truths that underly all teachings of organized religion and we need to look to these truths that undergird the others.
One teaching that I hear a lot, mostly by organized religion but also by some spiritual teachers, is that we are engaged in a war in this life.  The teaching goes that there is a war for our souls, good vs. evil, heaven vs. hell.  We need to act now to prevent these eternal consequences.  If we look at this, we see black and white thinking, divisiveness, a sense of urgency, and a need for immediate action.  These fruits look more like fruits of the ego, rather than fruits of the spirit.
Spiritual truths are holistic, inclusive of all people, patient and require no action on your part.  Spirituality is a process of letting go, of giving up our pursuits, so that the Universe may fill the void.  Our thoughts and words produce reality, so, by speaking of a war, we indeed are creating a war by this intention.  By even declaring war on our ego, we are alienating a part of us rather than lovingly bringing our ego back into the fold of our consciousness.
If we live life in peace, then we will have peace.  There can be no war if you have forfeited the battle in your mind.  It has not even progressed from that space into reality.  The next time you hear divisive talk that segregates people into warring factions, know that the spiritual life is above this talk.
This does bring up the topic of Satan or demonic influences.  I cannot speak as to the existence of negative spirits but know that the Universe is a good, safe place.  If such spirits do roam, they are the exception rather than the rule.  The One who gave you form is inside you and is capable of dealing with such issues.  A more pertinent issue is the way in which we mistreat others through the blindness of our collective egos, rather than the debate about a kingpin of evil.  We do not need to launch a war yet need to bask in the peace of a God that is beyond our understanding.  This God calls for peace, love and compassion for others so that these flames of war may be extinguished.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Basic Spiritual Truths

"We are like actors and actresses at a dress rehearsal, trying on different costumes and playing different roles."

There are few truths in this life that we were meant to understand.  Yet, they are so beyond our understanding that they are stumbling blocks for us.  Many speak of these same truths in different ways.  It is when we fully understand them and start living them that our perspective changes.  That is when enlightenment begins.  For some, it may be a gradual process of awakening, yet, for others, it may happen in a sudden moment of insight.

The first truth is that we are Spirit.  We are made up of energy and exist independently of our physical body.  Our spirit is eternal and indestructible.  It is this Spirit that links us all as we all share this same spirit.  We are One with all that is, with each other, with our planet and the physical world.

The second truth is that the spiritual world is Reality and our physical existence is the dream.  We are like actors and actresses at a dress rehearsal, trying on different costumes and playing different roles.  Life is meant to be lived playfully and not with attachment to our role in the play.  If our consciousness is energy and is the one force behind our living body, does it not make sense that this consciousness is the paradigm from which all other realities must be considered?

It is when our priority changes from the physical to the spiritual that we start to wake up.  It only takes 51% of your consciousness to consider your Spirit more real than your body for the shift to occur.  Do we not see that everything good in life comes from that which we cannot see... happiness, love, joy, peace?

The third truth is that we were meant to live by our feelings and intuition, rather than the mind.  If we are Spirit, then we were meant to live by the tool that was given to us to navigate the spiritual world which is our feelings.  Our mind is to be used as a tool as well, when needed, realizing that our mind ties us down to physical reality whereas our feelings help us to rise above the physical plane.  When we start living this reality, it is like learning how to breathe underwater.  We find out we have spiritual lungs that we are not used to using.  At first it seems foreign, yet, the more practice we get, the more we see that a life lived according to intuition is like living life for the first time.

What helps on this path is when we see that the physical reality does bend around living a life by the Spirit.  Events, situations, and people miraculously start entering your life in such a coordinated way that you know that there is One mind behind it.  That is when you see the true power that comes from the spiritual realm.  Your spiritual quest has a very immediate reward with access to this power as you live a life according to your spiritual nature.

Friday, November 25, 2011

When We Are Wronged

"We need to constantly be removing any blockages that stop the flow of the Divine into our hearts."

We all have an internal barometer inside that helps us determine if we have been wronged in some way. It's a primitive fight or flight response that we have in response to things that happen to us. This mechanism becomes clouded when the entanglements of our ego come into play. Another factor may be that we have not used that instinct sufficiently or properly in the past, so we are out of practice.

This fight or flight response surfaces when others try and take advantage of us. The real trick is being able to figure out when this self-protective mechanism has been triggered by another person or our ego. Sometimes, our ego blows things so out of proportion that we think our fight mechanism has been triggered. In actuality, our thinking was clouded by our selfishness.

If we notice that we have issues with knowing when we are legitimately threatened by another, then we can work on this issue in a couple ways. The first thing we can do is continually work on diminishing the ego. We can never make the ego entirely disappear but diminish it to a size where it is not a factor. We can also build up enough reference experiences where we properly used our survival mechanism, so that we have enough training to properly use it in the future.

This does beg the question of how do we properly use this survival mechanism? There is no hard and fast rule, but, if we try to look at the situation from an outside perspective, we will clearly see that a certain level of harm was inflicted on us. You may even want to ask an unbiased third party for their input.

We may not be able to always clearly determine when we should fight or flee. This gives rise to two spiritual practices that we can undertake. We need to constantly be removing any blockages that stop the flow of the Divine into our hearts. This means undertaking whatever spiritual practices we need to keep this channel open. This will help assure us that we are operating outside our ego. We also should practice being non-reactive. If we are non-reactive, even when our imaginary "rights" are squashed, we act as if nothing happened. Of course, we should practice healthy discrimation such that we will react when we are obviously being taken advantage of. The benefit to being non-reactive is that we are doing the right thing no matter what the case is. You can always go back later, if you wish, and have a talk with the offender in an attempt to vent your frustration. However, if we had reacted and blew things out of proportion, there is no going back and reversing your actions.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Being Thankful

"The most powerful way you can give thanks is thanking yourself for who You are."

Today is a day to give thanks.  Thanks is expressing gratitude to God, those around you, our earth and yourself for all that you have.  The place we all need to get to is a constant attitude of praise and thanksgiving for all that we have.  Today is a good day to practice this new way of living.

As we are thankful and grateful for everything in our lives, our internal state changes.  Our vibration changes to a higher vibration, the highest of which is Love.  If our vibration is of Love, we are attracting people, circumstances and things into our lives that match this vibration.  In a word, as you become more loving, you will be surrounded by loving people and the quality of your life will change on the physical plane.

There are three ways that we can practice thanksgiving.  The first of which is the most obvious, being thankful to God for all that we have.  This is actually the least effective manner of giving thanks, because our concept of God is that "God is out there."  Our attitude is "Fine.  I'll give thanks to this God."  It's as if this God lives high on a mountain and we are bringing our sacrificial thanks to Her altar.  The good aspect of this is that at least we are getting out of ourselves to give thanks.

The second way we can give thanks is thanking other people for them just being them.  We have a tendency to put conditions on our gratefulness when it comes to other people.  The highest level of thanksgiving is thanking them for their Spirit.  Other people are reflections of God back to you.  They represent a different aspect of God that, ordinarily, would not be in your consciousness.  Thank them just for being in your life, nothing more, nothing less.

The third most powerful way you can give thanks is thanking yourself for who You are.  You are a reflection of God, yourself, and are an eternal force of good in this world.  You are an instrument of God by which God can represent Herself in this material world.  Be thankful for the eternal Spirit that you have.  Appreciate for a moment that you are an eternal Being.  Shower yourself with Love, thanksgiving and gratefulness.  The reason why this is the most powerful way to give thanks is that any outward expression of thanks comes from the inward reservoir of thankfulness, gratefulness and Love that you have for yourself.  Increase your internal vibration of thankfulness and this vibration will naturally flow to others and to God.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Manifesting Your Dreams

"We live in an abundant Universe and there is nothing wrong with living an abundant life without lack."

This topic is a pretty controversial one as there are many different viewpoints about it.  We can all manifest anything we wish through an act of will.  As you would imagine, whether we are talking about the self or Self makes a big difference about what is possible.  If the wish comes from the self, then we will be attached to the outcome and, anything that is manifested, may quickly disappear.  The goal is for the wish to come from the Self.

I do not think that many would argue that the Law of Attraction does not work.  This law is common sense.   The law essentially is that any thought that you have has its own vibration.  If you expect that whatever you wish to manifest will indeed manifest and fervently declare this to be so, then that particular wish will come true.  You must be specific in your request.  The subtlety is to live your life as if this has already happened.  A wish may be "I would like a new 2012 blue Dodge Viper" or something like that.  You buy car mats for the new car of your dreams or buy drapes for that new house.  In your mind, this wish has already come true.

By acting as if the object has already manifested, we change our thought forms such that we attract things into our life to make this happen.  Another subtlety is that this particular thing has not manifested because we have held onto the desire too fervently.  By striving after this object, we push it away.  We must act without attachment, which will diminish desire.  If there is no desire, our thinking is not clouded.

As you meditate that this wish has already come true, you do so regularly.    You, then, wait.  Be ready and the Universe will plant the seed of an idea about how to manifest this dream.  This law works because it enlists the help from others, the Universe and our subconscious to make it happen.  There is an incredible synergistic effect.

The controversy surrounds using spiritual practices to get material things.  Some argue that this is just materialism wearing a spiritual cloak.  This is where the Self comes in.  If the wish comes from the Self, it is without desire.  We live in an abundant Universe and there is nothing wrong with living an abundant life without lack.  Act without attachment and the results are truly miraculous.   This is the miracle of co-creating with the Universe.

Another teaching that arises from this is that we are all responsible for our lot in life.  This is because it is our thinking that has manifested our reality.  This may be a discussion for another time, but I will suggest that there is a mystery to the Universe that we cannot explain.  There is karma from past lives that is working out.  In short, things happen to us as part of the mystery and there is no silver bullet solution as to why things occur.

There is another part to this that covers when the manifesting is taking place that will be covered in a separate post.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Live in Love

"Goodness is not limiting your humanity but giving you the very things that are the desires of your heart."

We all intuitively know that Love is the highest aim, the highest thing we can aspire to in this life. We know that goodness and light are the realities that we can and should live in our day to day existence. Yet, we avoid Love and we avoid our goodness. We are more comfortable living in fear, shame and darkness. Why is that?

We avoid Love and are afraid of our goodness because of where we have been and mistaken beliefs about the world. We have been on a long journey that began with us being conditioned into a certain way of being. Until we are awake, we live in this temporal existence, thinking that this is all that there is. Even if we have religious dogmas that occupy a portion of our consciousness, these do not enter into our practical lives sometimes. We, at a real gut level, are living in this material world and following it's laws and meeting it's expectations. If you have done this for a number of years, you have been conditioned to live in fear rather than Love.

We also may have been conditioned that we are sinful beings, which is the exact opposite of the truth. We are perfect Beings who do not live perfect lives because our standard of perfection is flawed and because we are learning how to live a life in our Spirit, or according to our spiritual nature. In truth, the light of God is inside all of us, we just need to get rid of the stuff that blocks this light from shining through.

We are afraid to live a life of Love and goodness, because we do not understand what that is. Do you not know that goodness is what makes you happy? Think about the happiest time of your life and picture feeling that way constantly. We think that being good means sacrificing, finishing last and not being bad. It really does all come down to living in Love, where there is no opposite. In this way of living, we do not label so there is real freedom here. You do not have to live a life of not trying to be bad. Just live in Love and let the chips fall where they may.

I really cannot emphasize this point enough. Our avoidance of goodness is because we do not understand what is truly good. Goodness is saying "yes" to life and does not limit our beliefs or actions. This is not a list of things we should not do. If you wrote down the top 3 things you want in life, that is goodness. Goodness is not limiting your humanity but giving you the very things that are the desires of your heart.

It's like we have been given two pills to swallow each day. One is for love and the other for fear. We may swallow the love pill occasionally but we consciously swallow the fear pill more consistently. This does not make sense! The love pill will give you everything you want and make you happy, yet we throw it away.

Living in Love is something we can do every day. As we surrender more and more to a life of love, the easier it becomes to live this way. The misconceptions begin to fall away and we discover the freedom that is ours if we just choose a life of Love.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

When We Encounter External Resistance

"We must offer no resistance to the challenges of others, because this is precisely what the collective ego desires."

Breaking out of old belief systems can take a bit of work, not just because you will experience internal resistance but because you may experience external resistance as well. This external resistance may come in the form of the collective unconscious of others. This can also be called the collective shadow.

This collective shadow is unseen by anyone who participates in it, even the givers and the receivers. This is the subtext that governs are interactions with others. What is happening is the other group "egos" we participate in: family, friends, and society at large do not like it when this group ego shrinks. As you begin to wake up, the shrinking of your ego is a threat to these other entities.

The collective egos respond through the collective shadow, using whatever tricks necessary to "get us back." Again, our family, friends and others do not even know they are doing this or why they are doing this.

If we have done our internal work of grappling with our own shadow, then we are prepared to handle the resistance of others. How are we to respond to challenges to our new way of Being? We are to respond with love, kindness, gentleness and compassion. We must offer no resistance to the challenges of others, because this is precisely what the collective ego desires. The ego grows through dissension, bickering and fighting. It shrinks through love and selflessness.

The irony is the more that we offer no resistance, the more resistance may come at first. An attempt to listen to others opinions or even confrontations without reacting will come across as "holier than thou." At its core, the collective ego does not understand freedom that comes with detachment. It is not fair to the ego that we can live a life removed from guilt, shame and fear. The collective ego wants to absorb our ego back into itself.

All that we can do on this path is be prepared when this resistance comes. Even when you have made great progress internally, you may encounter resistance in your interactions with others. We can disable this resistance through not reacting to it and loving others. Others, through their collective egos, do not have power over you anymore. They are a part of the forms of this world. Connect with those who challenge you through the Formless, see them as Spirit, and your love will transmute any resistance into harmony with others.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spirituality and Religion

"The difference between religion and spirituality is religion is a heart led by the mind whereas spirituality is a mind led by the heart."

As we progress on this spiritual path, we see that this is a journey from the mind to the heart.  We can say that we try to operate out of the heart-mind rather than the ego-mind.  Religion is a form that was set up to take you into the Formless.  Religion consists of methods and all methods are traps.

If we get caught up in a method, even a spiritual practice, we miss the point and are trapped.  The point is to go beyond the method and learn to operate directly from your Self.  We learn there is not anything to do, that it is the ceasing of doing that brings us to God.

The paradox is that we need a method to give us a taste of the Divine.  The best thing that can happen is for us to immerse ourselves in that method and then for that method to fail us.  Then, we can abandon the method altogether if we wish and realize that the method itself is not needed.  Religion is a tool to bring us to God.  Yet it is not religion itself that brings us to God; it is God Herself.

That Spark of divinity within you instantly recognizes the Truth.  This realization comes from the heart, not the mind.  Of course, we can then participate in religion, if we wish, realizing it is but a tool we can use if we desire.  This is also not to say that spiritual people do not think.  Rather, our mind is a tool like religion that we may use if we desire.  We operate out of a place of feeling and expansiveness, of pure Love.

Religion attempts to give form to the Formless.  This is a necessary endeavor to attempt.  However, we must realize this.  We must not allow our minds to cling to the forms of religion and arise above it to connect directly to the One that is above all religions. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Holding on to Future Projections

"Let your mental models go and bask in the light and freedom that comes with experiencing the eternal Presence."

As I progress on this path, I see that one thing that I tend to hold on to is mental models of the way things should be. I think we all do this in one way or another. Mental models are tricky, because they are hybrids of past and future clingings. We are scared of the future, so we construct elaborate models of the way things should be. These models may have been created years ago. They are a bridge between the present and the future. We want to know how to "get there" as if there was anywhere to "get" to.

I tend to miss these models as they seem to exist in the Now or present but do not. They are old mental projections that cloud my mind, keeping me from experiencing the present moment. The models are often times rooted in the ego so are very entrenched in our psyche. A lot of the times, the models are seemingly logical and harmless. It should also be noted that you do not come up with these; these are created on their own. Most of the time, you are unaware you have them.

For example, one model may be that any self-respecting person has a clean house. This is future projection, because another way of wording this is "if my house is ever dirty in the future, I do not respect myself." Cleanliness is great and there is a lot of truth in the model. The tie to the ego is my worth is then dependent on how clean my house is. The irony of this statement is that my earthly house is my mind. My house may be clean but I am cluttering my internal house with models such as these. These projections may give us comfort about the future, such as knowing our house will be clean and getting approval for that, yet they take us away from living our lives in the here and now.

How liberating it is to know we do not need these models anymore! Drop these mental constructs and see how lighter you feel knowing that You are loved unconditionally by the Universe just the way you are. Know that the future is an illusion. There is only Now. We are frightened by the future because we are clinging to this world. We are clinging to our appearances, possessions, relationships, and our body. This creates fear and we develop plans for how to hold on to these things. Let your mental models go and bask in the light and freedom that comes with experiencing the eternal Presence.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Illusion of Control

"Once you learn to operate from your Self, your heart-mind, you are inside the will of God as, in this space, you are merged with the Divinity."

We have a tendency to think that we are in control in life. In fact, this is an illusion we are not. As with most truths in life, there is a paradox here. On one seeming end of the spectrum, there are those who say that life arises purely from our thoughts. Positive thought is like prayer and attracts positive things to us. On the other end, there are those who say we are subject only to the will of God. God alone has control and we must surrender to that. The truth is that both of these things are true.

However, it is easier to look at things from the side of our ego as, when we talk about control in life, we are usually talking about the ego. When I talk of the ego, I am talking about the mind. You are not in control of your life. The you in this case is your self (lower case "s"). To say you have control over your life, is to say that you can predict the future when, of course, you cannot. You do not know what the next second will bring as there are external circumstances that you are not in control of.

The fact that we are not in control of our lives is both frightening and liberating at the same time. We should give control of our life to the Unseen, because we are not in control anyways. Consciously giving up control is admitting that we are not in control.

Once that control has been given up, you are then ready to get it back. It was never lost anyways. Giving your control to the Unseen is also giving control back to your Self. It is from your Self, your heart-mind, that the positive thoughts arise. The affirmations, faith, positivity, and love all come from your Self.

The clencher is that we wait around for the will of God. Yet, do you not see that God is waiting for You? Once you learn to operate from your Self, your heart-mind, you are inside the will of God as, in this space, you are merged with the Divinity. Your purpose in life is then that which makes You happy, the dreams that You have that you gave up long ago. You know you are operating from a centered, eternal perspective when your focus is on co-creating and you are not attached to the outcome. You positively expect that the Universe will grant your every wish yet do not get attached if this does not happen.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Concept of God

"On this journey, all it takes is traveling 1% of the distance by faith and the Universe will travel the remaining 99% to meet you."

This post is deeply personal as it reflects my current beliefs about the unseeable in this world.  At the same time, it may help you if you have some of the same questions that I do.  The spiritual path cannot be understood by the intellect.  This is why it is so difficult to write about it.  I am, in a sense, trying to write from my spirit or soul and connect with yours.  Yet, we are having to do that through our mind that is incapable of understanding these truths.  The secret is letting go of your rational mind and being with the truths.  This is a scary thing to do so it is understandable if it takes some time to be able to work yourself up to this point.  Once, you do, I think you will see that things start to fall into place.

To be honest, it is very frightening sometimes to believe in that in which we cannot see.  Since it goes against the intellect, we are constantly having to relax our minds to continue on this path.  You might think or even have others call you "crazy", however, in order for there to be a crazy, there has to be a normal.  What is normal in this world?  I heard someone say you have to be a little "out of your mind" to progress on this path.  This is because spiritual truths are outside your mind and reside in a place of being.  They are already a part of you.

The penultimate illustration of this is my concept of God.  First and foremost, you can already see the paradox. A "concept" which is in the mind and God who is beyond comprehension.  Yet, we can try.  My concept of God is constantly changing and this is perfectly acceptable.  God is inside and outside.  She is personal and impersonal.  Some days I want to throw the whole "God" model out and see God as the interconnectedness we have with others or as the laws of nature.  This is fine too.  I see when I want to do this it is because I am clinging to my rational mind.  I really do not even like to use the word God or many spiritual words because I think they have a lot of baggage associated with them.

My point is that this is why we all need faith.  Faith is what sustains me on my spiritual path when I find myself clinging to thoughts.  I also am reminded that, when I feel inner resistance to the spiritual path, this is to be expected as it does come down to belief.  This is also why we need to progress forward in our journey, where even a seemingly "backslide" is still forward.  We are always learning and evolving spiritually.  As we experience the supernatural in a concrete way in our lives, we see that Spirit meets us where we are at if we just move an inch forward.  In other words, all you need to do is have 1% of faith and the Universe will make up the remaining 99%.  As you experience the Supernatural in your life, your faith increases.  This is when a perspective shift starts to occur.  Yet, without this 1% of belief, we are stuck in rational thought.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Heart of Spirituality

"Loving yourself and loving others is only possible by living in the present moment."

Spirituality is very interesting, because the words that we use when talking about it seem very religious.  The funny thing is that this is the opposite of the truth.  It can sound very "churchy" and new age-y and all of that.  However, these are the most down-to-earth and practical teachings in the world.  This is because they are truth and true wisdom.  It is so difficult to communicate intangible truths to others at the risk of seeming "out there" and the simple fact that teachings are trying to make these truths concrete.  This is, of course, impossible.  No one can fully express spiritual truths in words that we can fully understand; the words are meant to be guideposts so that you can come to the realization yourself.  Any "out there" teaching can be communicated in "material" terms just as well as it can be communicated in "spiritual" terms.  In other words, the truth can take on any form so that anyone can see the guideposts.

A belief in "God" is not even necessary as spirituality can be communicated in language of this world, using only tangible things and concepts that you are already familiar with.  Buddhists, for the most part, do not believe in a god as many define that term.  We get so tripped up on these terms, because they have been over-defined, defined poorly or even incorrectly defined in some cases.  I think we all need to learn how to not get hung up on words.  We need to look to the meaning behind the words.  Even Atheists believe in a god.  Their god may be the rational mind, nature or science.  It's very silly, really, that there is this war of words when it comes to spiritual things.

I firmly believe that someone who does not even believe in a spiritual world can master concepts that arise from the spiritual world on the physical plane.  There are countless examples of this.  Just look to any popular, successful person that does not believe in anything beyond the 5 senses.  Famous actors, philanthropists, and artists are but few examples.  The reason for this is that any plane of existence, such as spiritual or physical can be explained in its own terms without overlap.  They are mutually exclusive.

The heart of what I see as the most beneficial message that I can communicate is the root of all problems in this world.  I have written about it in the past but need to address this directly.  The Western world's main problem is addiction to the mind.  You see 12 step groups for every addiction but, it is my belief, that any religion has been created to address this problem.  We are so stuck in our head most or all of the time, that we are not living our lives.  We are living our lives in our head, which is no way to live.

Addiction to the mind means that we are slaves to our mind.  We do not have direct control of the mind.  We do not know how to turn it off.  All spiritual teachings come from this one problem.  If you solve this one problem in your life, you have solved the problem that that has given rise to all religions.  If addiction to the mind is the problem, what is the solution?  The solution is self-control.  We must learn how to control the mind so that our mind is slave to us.  At the same time, we must love our mind.  Once we are able to be more present, love is then possible.  Learn how to love yourself and love others.  True love is only possible if you can quiet your mind enough to let the love through.  Loving yourself and loving others is only possible by living in the present moment.  If we are stuck in the past or future, dwelling on these endlessly in our mind, we are incapable of living a life of love for ourselves and other people.  A life of love is only possible through learning self-control.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Be Consciously Selfless

"If you practice putting others before yourself willingly, knowing what you are doing, you are aligning yourself with the Power of the Universe and have all of Heaven to help you."

We are often faced with a choice in life where we are asked to align ourselves with the world that we see and the world of the unseen, that is the spiritual world or higher ideals.  The moments when this occur are very subtle and, if we miss them, we miss out on a chance to deepen our spiritual life.  Such moments usually have the following elements in common.  Some event in your life occurs or someone acts in such a way that infringes on your ego.  You feel that pang in your stomach, the one you feel when someone takes advantage of you.

The fundamental wisdom of this world is, in such cases, to right the wrong.  The advice goes along the lines of standing up for your rights, defending yourself, and wanting equal justice.  All of this advice plays upon the ego. Just as you have an ego, there are collective consciousnesses, large and small, that have egos as well.  Your family, friends, co-workers, even "religious" people may endorse you defending your ego or even their collective egos.  Instead of asserting your or their rights, see a time such as this as an ample opportunity to practice aligning yourself with the unseen, that still, small voice inside you that comes from a Power greater than yourself.

You see, such circumstances were put into your life for exactly that purpose.  To not do so is to miss a chance to grow spiritually and see things from a higher dimension.  Such advice flies in the face of the conventional wisdom of this world and you will be ridiculed as being weak, not having a backbone or caving to pressure.

The higher truth in this is that there are two types of selflessness.  The first type is always giving into other's demands unknowingly because you are weak.  The second, highest, type is practicing putting others before yourself willingly, knowing what you are doing and the sacrifice you are making.  This is quiet strength.  In doing this, you are aligning yourself with the Power of the Universe and have all of Heaven to help you.  In such a case, if someone takes advantage of you, they are taking advantage of the Power inside you.  They are building up negative karma for themselves which may have an immediate or delayed impact upon their lives.

Pay attention to circumstances in your life when you feel the need to assert your rights.  Ask yourself the question: "If I was looking at the situation from the outside, what would be the best decision for all involved?" instead of immediately jumping in and making decisions on behalf of your ego.  If necessary, ask an impartial friend who is able to weigh the matter justly what a fair course of action is.

An even higher course of action is to turn the table on these circumstances and use them as a chance to befriend your adversary or share love with others.  In this manner, the arrows that come at you in life turn into flowers and fall harmlessly at your feet.  Others instantly know on some level when another is taking a higher ground in a matter and respect them.  How can someone want to hurt another who is smiling, with outstretched arms?  They will not, or, if they do, it will be apparent to others what is going on.  They will come to your aid in one way or another.

A simple truth is that any war that has ever occurred happened because someone refused to put down their weapon.  It is impossible for there to be a battle if the other party is disarmed.  No one can fight with you if you refuse to fight back.

Of course, there are times when you must, out of self-respect, stand up for yourself and, to not do so, will obviously inflict irreparable harm upon yourself or others.  In such cases, by all means, do what is necessary to make sure that such harm is not inflicted.  However, your first concern should be taking an altruistic view of the situation and associated action.  There is a benefit to invoking the Power of the Universe in such matters.  You can rest easy knowing that God is going before you, coordinating events, opening doors and bestowing such blessings upon you that you are not able to imagine.  When you invoke the Unseen, the seeming "power" that you gave away will come back to you in ten- or a hundred-fold as you reap these heavenly rewards.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Be Kind to Yourself, Part 2

"Your weaknesses are perfect parts of you that balance you out and make you into a complete, whole Being."

How you view the world is a direct reflection of your internal state, the way you view yourself, your beliefs, what you consider your advantages and shortcomings.  It is so easy to lose sight of this.  Our perception of reality is so inherently biased that it cannot even really be called "reality" by another person.  It is when we perceive our "reality" as the one true reality that big problems begin to arise, but that is the topic for another time.  We should always be mindful that we subjectively view people, situations and things in our life through a distorted lens.  People and things are not bad or good, but only when we label them as such.

There is not a single person who views their actions as not being motivated by "good" yet we may label them otherwise.  Who is right?  In truth, there is no right as seeking such an answer is to say there is a wrong way to live in this world.  We are all on a path and are in different states of spiritual evolution.  Each state is not better than the other yet it is just different and we are to love and respect all in the way in which they live their life.

You can use how you view others as a tool to go deeper into yourself.  If someone is late to meet you and then explains to you a genuine story why and profusely apologizes, you will accept their apology.  If someone wrongs you in some way, yet genuinely apologizes, you will forgive them.  Yet, when it comes to ourselves, we have such a different standard.  If you are late, you beat yourself up the entire time for why you are running late and feel guilty about it.  If you wrong someone, you endlessly relive the moment and try to change the past in your mind.  Treat yourself with as much love and kindness as you treat others.  You are to see yourself as God sees you, which is perfect.

Just as you are to look at the world with a lens of Love, you are to look at yourself with that same Everlasting Love.  You are a Loving, Eternal Being, full of compassion and goodness.  What does it mean to look at yourself through a lens of Love?  You are literally only able to see light, your good qualities and attributes.  It is not to say that you are blinded to anything negative but that that negative becomes a positive when looking at it in this way.  When looking at a weakness, you give yourself the benefit of the doubt as to why you have it, and you are so enamored with love for yourself that you literally see it as a strength.  Maybe there is a corresponding strength that gives rise to the weakness.  Maybe this weakness has brought situations into your life for the good.  Yet, the more that we focus on this weakness through the eyes of Love, we see it as perfected.  Your weaknesses are perfect parts of you that balance you out and make you into a complete, whole Being.  Pour love into your weaknesses.

I think it is important to note that, when looking at yourself, do not see the past or the future.  Feeling good or bad about past events is taking you away from yourself.  It is true that the past can give you clues as to your tendencies, and that is fine.  However, do not focus on specific things that happened.  They are over and done with.

For example, I have a tendency to be late to things.  This, in itself, is not a weakness, just an observation.  Being late is certainly rooted in a point in time and is focused on the past or future.  A better way to interpret this is that I tend to optimistically view things as taking less time than they actually take.  At the same time, I tend to focus more on myself, what I need to do, then how I make others feel when they are waiting for me.  So, the root is ego-based as most weaknesses are.  My associated strengths are that I am very optimistic and am more people or event-driven than time-driven.  I give myself the benefit of the doubt in that I am so focused on what is before me, I lose sight that I am disrespecting others in being late.  I see this weakness as perfected in that it is a necessary part of me that makes me who I am.  I love this weakness, accept myself just the way that I am because of it, and do not wish to change it.

The general principle is to see yourself as a whole person and have utmost compassion for yourself.  As you long to be in a relationship with a lover that loves you passionately and unconditionally, you must too love yourself.  Be in love with yourself.  It is only when you truly love yourself that you can love another.  As your internal view of yourself begins to shift, you will see that your outward perspective will shift as well.  You will have more compassion for others and will be a light that others will see and gravitate towards.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Be Kind to Yourself, Part 1

"Radiate love from the depth of your being and allow that love to transform your mind, eventually spilling out and radiating love to others through your actions."

If you do not have control of your mind, then you are like a ship at sea, tossed by waves and storms.  Life is a seeming chaotic place to live, as you are at the whim of what happens to you.  This is because our minds are reactive to our environment; they blow things out of proportion and focus on the minutia rather than the important things.  The fact that your mind, body and emotions are not You is an important teaching.  Once you learn to love and observe your mind, then the knot begins to unravel.  The power of the mind is when we consider the mind as us.  That is the illusion and is the lie we have bought.

The worst poison in this life, which may even be the hell that we have heard about, is when we are a slave to our mind.  Worse still is when our minds play back tapes of failures in our life, how worthless we are, or how we cannot do this or that.  If we are to believe in sins, this is one of the worst sins of all.  This can truly destroy us.  The danger about being a slave to your mind and that your mind is replaying negative thoughts is that this causes your emotions to spiral downward, with no way of escape.  Even the thought "why am I being so hard on myself" results in a negative emotional spike.

We should have compassion for people who are cold or indifferent to others.  These people may have the worst attitudes, are critical or judgmental of others and are simply unpleasant to be around.  These same people are even harder on themselves.  This is part of the karma of acting on negative emotions or thoughts.  As humans, we are unable to treat others differently from the way we treat ourselves.

Where is the way out?  The way out of this state is to realize that you are not your mind, your body or your emotions.  This is the first step.  This creates a buffer around your life, so you are not instantly reacting to things.  You begin to think "this is interesting; I ran out of money" instead of instantly trying to come up with a hundred plans to manipulate life to give you more money.  You give space to life and allow things to happen to you.  The second step is learning to be an observer of your thoughts.  You do not interject commentaries into your thought stream but just observe it, thinking "this is interesting."

What begins to happen is you will begin to have lapses of thought where you almost get the feeling of radiant light breaking through, a light filled with peace and love.  This is when there is a break in the mind stream.  The third step is learning to love your mind.  You are to love your mind as a child, as a friend, as a very necessary part of you that is your ally.  If you treat your mind as something foreign or "bad", it will react in this way to you.  The fourth and final step to break free of this bondage is to begin to fill your mind with positive, uplifting things.  Meditate on the many blessings in your life, express gratitude for everything that has been given to you, be joyful.

These steps do not have to be taken in order.  Each one is in fact not independent of each other.  They all can be summed up in the following statements.  Love yourself with as much love as you love others.  Give as much grace to yourself as you give to others.  Give yourself the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe you are doing the best that you can considering the circumstances.  Learn what you can, at the time, when you could have done something better, then let it go.  In short, radiate love from the depth of your being and allow that love to transform your mind, eventually spilling out and radiating love to others through your actions.

In the next part, I will write about ways that you can be kinder to yourself, in general.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness

"What gives us meaning and purpose in our lives is the journey towards God, the source of all happiness, simultaneously realizing that there is no where to go as we are already there."

There is a seeming paradox in one's purpose for life.  If your purpose is to find happiness for yourself, then that is primarily a self-serving goal.  There is nothing wrong with being happy and everyone deserves to be happy.  Where does the paradox lie?  It is impossible to find happiness by pursuing happiness as outside oneself.  It is only when you let go of the pursuit that happiness comes.  This is because happiness outside yourself is attached to other things that are transient.  You have to dig deeper than self to get to your true Self.  You know you are truly centered when your focus is not on the end result of happiness but on helping others find happiness.

You discover that being happy is part of your True Nature.  You do not have to do anything to be happy; you are Happiness.  Serving others and helping them along on their path is a natural extension of the Joy that arises from within.  What gives us meaning and purpose in our lives is the journey towards God, the source of all happiness, simultaneously realizing that there is no where to go as we are already there.  God is here in this present moment.  The mistake is to think that there is a destination to get to.  There isn't.  The secret is to be with this Truth.  This Truth is that God is present as we strive towards her;  God is in the journey, not in the destination.

So, back to your purpose for life.  In truth, there is no paradox as long as we speak of things in the correct context.  A life built for pursuing Happiness that feeds your soul is one and the same as a life that seeks after God.  There is only one Good in the Universe and that is God.  God alone can provide the only nourishment for your Soul.  A mistake is seeking after happiness attached to temporal objects in this world.  In this plane of existence, such happiness is short-lived as you will eventually encounter its opposite, the associated sadness when that object disappears or changes.  Do what you wish to be happy, without attachment and without expectation of any result.  Follow your soul-inspired dreams and be filled with the everlasting Happiness from God.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Love and Respect Others

"We live in a wonderfully good, compassionate Universe and have a patient God who waits for us to blossom like a flower as we realize eternal Truths."

You should see all people as having a spark of the Divine in them.  At the same time, you are connected to others as we are all One.  Many teaching stem from this truth.  Treating others the way you would like to be treated.  Loving your enemies.  Forgiving others.  This is because there is no difference between yourself and others.  If you are kind to someone, you are being kind to yourself.  If you are cruel to someone, you are being cruel to yourself.  This is not figurative language.  You are literally hurting yourself on many levels by thinking you are a separate Being from others.

There are many levels to this truth.  There is the notion of karma in that positive and negative actions will come back to you in some form in this life.  There is a physical reality in that you store up toxins and disease in your body if you harbor ill feelings for others or mistreat others.  Also, you are the co-creator of your own reality.  If you treat others with love and respect, you are co-creating that reality for yourself.  You will attract events, circumstances and people that vibrate with that higher level of energy.

The negative you see in others is a projection of yourself, your fears and weaknesses.  You can quickly begin to see that your reality is exactly as you make it.  Others are truly an extension of yourself.

The hallmark of spirituality is compassion.  Yet, why do you see so many people trying to convert or proselytize others into their way of thinking?  This very action goes against that which they are trying to promote, if that indeed is a spiritual way of living.  Each person is on their own path and should be following it of their own volition.  If we just realized that all paths lead to the same Ultimate Truth, then we would realize that there is no need for converting others.

People will be attracted to a higher vibrational energy because it matches their own.  This will happen naturally in the soul's natural course of evolution.  Our mission in life should be generosity, service and compassion without expectation of getting anything in return.  At the same time, if others approach you and ask you about your philosophy on life or spirituality, that is entirely different.  In that case, you are to freely explain whatever they would like to hear.

At the same time, in seeming paradox to the previous discussion, there is no where to get to.  You are already there.  It is the realization of who You are that takes some time.  But there is no rush.  We live in a wonderfully good, compassionate Universe and have a patient God who waits for us to blossom like a flower as we realize these eternal Truths.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Be an Alchemist in Life

"We can change any life circumstance into supreme goodness if we realize that every circumstance is perfect in and of itself."

Good and bad are just labels that we assign to things.  Rather than label, we should just look at the object or circumstance without judgment.  As soon as we judge, we stop discussion and internal dialog about it, which blinds us to reality.  In fact, good and bad are the yin and yang of our earthly existence.  They are necessary and complimentary of each other in this world.

The place where we want to get to is a place where there are no opposites.  Our hope and our faith is in our Higher Power, where there is only supreme goodness, happiness and joy.  In a word, Love.  How do we get there?

We drop judgment and drop labeling.  We let things be as they are.  We learn to hold both the "good" and "bad" in our Being simultaneously.  There is no conflict, because the good and the bad are illusions of this world.  If we label something good and truly experience it as such, we are guaranteed to experience the bad.  If we place our happiness on a form, we are guaranteed to experience the associated sadness.  This is because every form is temporary and will disappear someday.  We came into this world naked and will leave naked.  Our happiness comes from the Formless, which is an eternal, unchanging source of Joy.

We need to stop seeing good or bad as outside ourselves.  Inside us, there is only goodness, happiness and Love.  We need to see the world from the inside out.  Look at life through a lens of Love.

We need to learn how to be alchemists.  We can change any life circumstance into supreme goodness if we realize that every circumstance is perfect in and of itself.  It is only our limited human perspective that makes us label something as bad.

We should all be learners in every situation.  See things for what they are, beyond the labels.  Everything in life is cause and effect.  We do not think about making lemonade when life gives us lemons because we are so busy feeling "bad" about the lemons that life gave us.  Being a learner means being open to things outside ourself influencing our thoughts, perceptions and emotions.  If we learn the lessons that life gives us, we break the cycle of our own habits and progress to the next stage.  In short, our spiritual evolution can progress if we are open to change.  All of this is only possible if we are viewing life through our lens of Love.