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Courage! Who Needs Courage?

The gap since my last blog post has been filled with preparing for and traveling to Egypt, and then catching up on everything that got behind while I engaged in the amazing array of travel experiences.  I definitely underestimated the catch-up phase so here I am letting you know why there was an “interruption in service.”

 

The topic of “courage” actually came up quite some time ago. It was originally focused on the courage one needs to “do the right thing” … to stand out from the crowd, perhaps to be visibly vocal.  Those initially points were:

  • What does courage look and feel like? … and
  • How can we determine what the “right thing” is?

There was a third, even more important aspect of that discussion:

  • What makes it possible for each of us have such courage?

 

Before I left for Egypt, several people asked, “Why Egypt?”  I was filled with answers that ranged from the simple, “because I haven’t gone there yet,” to my curiosity and fascination with how people of supposedly primitive times could build structures that have survived all these years and how they passed along construction methods that are more durable than much of what has been built since.  Most of the ones that didn’t survive were those damaged by people, not the elements.

 

The more recent, more pressing, questions about “courage” have come since I returned from my trip.  Perhaps they have been prompted by the news media.  A number of people have told me how courageous I was to travel to Egypt.  I have been asked, “Weren’t you scared?”  Some have expressed how crazy and/or bold they thought I was for going.  Truth is, it never crossed my mind.  Not sure if maybe I just declared to the world that I am oblivious to the world as others see it, or, if as I prefer to look at it, I am totally grounded in what I believe to be Truth:  I am an expression of the Divine as are all the beautiful people I encountered on my travels.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  And …

 

I realized that the answer to what may have initially seemed like the largest of my original three questions is the same answer to the questions posed by all my concerned friends:  When I remember what I am – and expression, actual incarnation of the Divine –I have all the courage and powers of discernment needed for life.  It is so simple. Whether I am responding to the various people that questioned my sanity in traveling across a broad section of Egypt or just dealing with day to day decision making or identifying the “right thing” and being willing to be a stand for it, the answer is the same: when I remember to rely on the Truth within me, I have clarity and calm confidence. It is only my humanity (sometimes associated with ego) that gets tangled up in circumstances and becomes fearful, comparative, defensive and even combative.  This internal hysteria, which sometimes shows up as how I treat those around me and at other times is turned inwardly, self-destructively on myself, is only truly, lastingly healed when I remember, when I release my dependency on appearances, and fully embrace what I really am.

 

This isn’t just my Truth, it’s our Truth.  It’s the Truth of all creation.  We are each an activity of God. God is whole, perfect and complete … and so are we.  We experience wholeness, perfection and completeness to the extent that we remember our relationship with the source of our existence.  It is always alive and well in us and as us.  In those moments of amnesia when we forget this essential truth, the Divine doesn’t leave us.  The Truth is the Truth:  It is Constant.  What leaves us, is the depth of our memory – our access to that Truth.  We simply forget the Truth and how to embody and use it.

 

As Dr. Ernest Holmes stated in A Holmes Reader on Practical Wisdom, “The Spirit of God is an undivided and indivisible Wholeness. It fills all time with Its presence and all space with the activity of Its thought. Everyone is an incarnation of God, and a unique incarnation. All are rooted in the One Life. Your endeavor, then, is not so much to find God as it is to realize God’s Presence and to understand that this Presence is always with you. Nothing can be nearer to you than that which is the very essence of your being. Your outward search culminates in the greatest of all possible discoveries — finding God at the center of your own being. Life flows up from within you.”

 

Really grasping this concept totally alters how we relate to our world.  When we “get it,” it is the most empowering, yet humbling, awareness imaginable. We are imbued with the power of discernment.  It is given to us to use moment by moment for our own benefit and the good of all.  That awareness is the logical response to Dr. Holmes’ assertion in The Magic of the Mind, “The great and only awakening that can ever come to man is when he becomes aware of the fact that that which enables him to think, to be conscious, to be creative, is the Mind of God active within him.”

 

Please contemplate the following quote and affirm it with me.  I promise you, if you spend time with it, it will facilitate shifting your perception of your world.

“I am a center in the Divine Mind, a point of God-conscious life, truth and action.  My affairs are divinely guided and guarded into right action, into correct results.  Everything I do, say or think, is stimulated by the Truth.  There is power in this word I speak, because it is of the Truth and it is the Truth.  There is perfect and continuous right action in my life and my affairs.  All belief in wrong action is dispelled …  Right action alone has power and right action is power, and Power is God . . . the Living Spirit Almighty.  This Spirit animates everything that I do, say or think.  Ideas come to me daily and these ideas are divine ideas.  They direct me and sustain me without effort.  I am continuously directed.  I am compelled to do the right thing at the right time, to say the right word at the right time, to follow the right course at all time.”  [Science of Mind]

 

So how do we know what the “right thing” is?  Can we be sure?  If so, how?  And for that matter, is knowing enough?  Simply knowing something often makes no difference whatsoever.  Once we identify what is right, what are we to do with it or about it?  The simple answer to all of these questions is right in front of us!  It is all around us, and most importantly, it is already inside of each of us!

 

Knowing, sensing, embracing what is “right” cannot be dependent on the opinions of others.  It must arise from within.  It must emanate from our own consciousness. If what is “right” depends on anything external to us, we would be adrift if that external source was out of reach.  Dr Holmes once shared some insights as to how to determine the rightness of our actions: “Does the thing I wish to do express more life, more happiness, more peace for myself, and at the same time harm no one?  If it does, it is right.  It is not selfish.  But if it is done at the expense of anyone, then in such degree, we are making a wrong use of the Law.”

 

I contend that when we remember what we are, when we enter into conscious communion with our life force, Spirit within, we awaken to and discern Divine Guidance.  As incarnations of the Divine, we can tap into Wisdom and release the allure of logic.

 

Great teachers throughout the ages have told us that until we are willing to embrace the Truth of our being, confront our egoically-based fears of rejection and separation and be what we truly are, we will not be fulfilled.  Jesus is quoted in the Gospel of Thomas as having put it even more bluntly: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

Confidently Creative!

Please accept my apology for the gap in updating the blog.  The silly expression, “Life got in the way” fits all too well here and yet, isn’t living all about being present with life?  I can assure you, I was definitely being present with life … immersed in it, absorbed by it, perhaps even obsessed with it.

I don’t like the idea of even considering curbing my enthusiasm, yet it’s my enthusiasm that lures me into over committing.  There are so many possibilities all calling to me.  And they all sound so enticing.  There are so many ways I can learn, serve, fully express myself through my innate givingness while enjoying birthing something new by using  the creativity imbued in me.  Often I find myself echoing Charles Filmore’s declaration, “I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm as I bound forth to do the things that ought be done by me.”  I say, “YES! Pick me!” Wisdom seems to shrink as zeal leaps to the front and my creativity soars.  It all sounds fabulous! And, it works, mostly.  If all my activities stay precisely on track on their timelines, it’s wonderful.  Sometimes, I am in awe at how well it all works together.  Sometimes, however, some itsy bitsy thing, like the timing of a deliverable, will get just a little out of whack, which, small as it is, can derail that one thing which then can startthi a cascade of dominos that devolve into a train wreck.  I then scurry around compulsively picking up all the pieces and putting them back on their tracks.

My mother declared when I was quite young that I was born with some sort time disorder that made me believe that more could be accomplished in any increment of time than anyone, with even a twit of sanity, would know was impossible.  But, as Walt Disney said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible!”  Later I discovered that my “disorder” was broader than originally reported: it was (is) actually entangled in some sort of time-space continuum.  Every time I get the silly notion to clean a closet I am reminded of my disorder.  Follow me with this process:

Step #1: Empty the closet

Step #2: Sort the contents

Step#3:  Discard things that haven’t been used for quite some time, no longer fit, or have passed their useful life

Step #4:  Feel good about the large pile of items that are going away

Step #5:  Put the now greatly reduced number of items back in the closet.  [This step should more correctly say, “try to put …”]

Step#6:  Use all my creativity to figure out how to fit the “greatly reduced number of items” back in the closet.

Step #7:  Look at the clock and realize that time as well as space escaped.

It seems quite obvious that when I took things out, the closet shrunk, or while the items were out and the pressure was off of them, they swelled up … or maybe there really are closet demons and they are out to get me.  Kidding aside, we use our creativity every moment whether with a closet project, calendar management or writing a silly little piece.

Ernest Holmes stated,  “We cannot escape from the creative power of our thought and there is no use in trying to do so. All we need to do is to use the law from the right motive, then we shall be made free.”

In some ways, it’s a bit scary to think that we are constantly creating.  I remember asking a minister when I first dove into our teaching about the creative power of some of my “evil thoughts.”  I gave up that verbiage a long, long time ago and yet the residual question remains:  some of my thoughts are not necessarily the most affirming and skillful thoughts I’ve ever had. Combine this with our teaching that God is not the “great editor in the sky,” redacting those errant thoughts, then why are the worst of my thoughts not manifesting as powerfully as my “good thoughts”?  The distinction here is some of my errant thoughts don’t reflect my actual beliefs. I believe that we manifest the “net sum” of our beliefs.  The truth is, I don’t even believe a goodly portion of the thoughts that arise in my mind.  It’s sort of like thoughts pop in on a trial basis to see if they fit.  If they don’t they’re rejected and fade into the nothingness from which they came.  Thoughts that do align with my beliefs take root and flourish.  I am prospered in all aspects of my life.

Applying this perspective reveals why sometimes our prayers aren’t “answered.”  If the prayer [thought] is contrary to our beliefs, it is likely to be rejected in our own mind. Josh Stearn said, “We cannot create a world we cannot imagine.”  Ah, so true … if we cannot imagine the fulfillment of our prayer, we are what is in the way of it being answered.  God’s givingness is unlimited.  There is no shortage or constriction of the Universal Flow. I accept that my receptivity is not always equally unlimited.  I am working on it.  This is one of those beautiful opportunities for us to be our own observer, to be mindful, and to realize that the obstruction arises from faulty beliefs … beliefs that can most definitely be changed.

Dr Holmes said, “We are told to have faith, to believe, to have positive conviction and undeviating acceptance.  That is the Law … and that is the way to use It.  It is impossible for anyone who will definitely create the right picture, and stay with it, to fail.”  What he was addressing was the way, the method for us to use, to change beliefs that are not serving us.  It requires conscientiousness combined with confidence that the “tool” we are using, Divine Creativity, cannot fail us.

Divine Creativity is not about talent or special abilities, an artistic flair or even the ability to speak a prayer in a poetic way, although it may be displayed through those expressions.  Being creative is our nature.  As a living individuation of the Almighty, we are imbued with the creative potential and capability of the Divine itself.  It is up to us to open our receptors, to release our doubts and negative self-talk, and align with Spirit expressing as us.  The entire Universe conspires to deliver our good.  We have to create a vessel into which that good can arrive.

Dr Holmes taught that, “The thought is a mold, conviction is the molten substance poured into this mold. One is not complete without the other and many people make the mistake of using only one of these essential states of consciousness.” It is easier for me to grasp this concept if I shift from “thought” being the mold to “belief” as the mold.  I can understand how some of my deep seeded beliefs, particularly my doubts, are still influencing my outcomes.  When I truly desire something and I have done my spiritual practices and nothing happens, I have learned to take that simply as feedback:  there apparently is a limiting belief still lurking around that is obstructing the free flow of good coming my way.

God, “Source,” is not holding anything back.  My mixed messages are.  “The Law is no respecter of persons and will bring good or evil to any according to his/her use or misuse of it.”  The Law is cold, hard, mechanical fact.  It responds, returning to each the result of his own beliefs, be they false or true. When we get our constricted humanity out of the way our wealth expands, our relationships are enriched and our authentic life purpose makes itself known.  This is the intelligent use of creative imagination.  Fortunately or unfortunately, the Law, predictably and reliably says, “yes.”

Being brave, bold, calm and confident about how we embrace and embody the Truth of our being plays a huge part in how effective we are in consciously using the immense creativity that is at our disposal. When we identify with the Truth that we are living individuations of the Divine, we are grounded, secure, unstoppable and able  to live boundlessly.  Any old fears of scarcity are allayed and generosity of spirit and goods arise.

As Rev Brian Akers declared, “If I believe these principles are the cornerstone of my life, why on earth would I hide them or choose not to share them when given the opportunity?”  If you are unwilling to share this Truth when provided the opportunity, then something, some fear, some doubt, is hiding in you causing you to be afraid to openly let your Truth be known.  This is a brilliant moment!  It is a “golden opportunity” to do some rich, deep belief shifting that would not have arisen had you not walked smack into it.  Take full advantage of the situation.  Engage the full range of your Divine Creativity!

Because you have the power of choice, you can allow this encounter with doubt to paralyze you or catapult you forward.  I suggest that you bolster your faith by engaging in daily spiritual practices.  These tools strengthen the alignment of our humanity with the Divine Truth so we can stand firmly, unflinchingly in the face of conditions and opinions. They reinforce our resolve to remember that we are Simply Spirit … an incarnation of the Divine who knows itself so clearly that it is never vulnerable, only available.

Our imagination is the greatest creative canvas we have! We know we’re using it all the time but sometimes we misplace the conscious use of it with the habitual use of it. As an example, we may have someone tell us to imagine what our life would be like if it were perfect. After some trying maybe we say, “I can’t even imagine it! I’m just not good at using my imagination.”  Some may even go so far as to claim that they, therefore, lack creativity.

Five minutes later that same person may be immersed in worry and fret about how s/he is going to pay the bills this month and suddenly, without realizing it, the faculty of imagination is working really well.  Circling back to where we began, we now awaken to how easily we are able to imagine with such vivid clarity.  We can create all of the panic sensations associated with what will happen if we can’t pay the rent.  We can become fully engaged in all the feelings as though the situation was already upon us.

The imagination that predicts a horrible future is literally the very same one that can imagine a beautiful one. It isn’t our ability to create that has an issue.  It’s the amount of time we spend practicing the use of our imagination to produce our good rather than allowing old faulty beliefs to run rampant through our minds.  Changing our thoughts can be used to change our beliefs.  Changing our beliefs can totally alter our feelings about our future, and literally bring paradise closer to home with each passing moment.

All of this is summed up to:  How are you using this amazing gift that has been placed within you?  Are you applying it consciously and confidently?  Are you using it for the highest and best for yourself and others?  Are you using this magnificent gift of creativity consciously and confidently? The choice is up to you.  Choose wisely!  Every choice is creative.  It is being acted upon by the Law as you think!

Baby Steps or Giant Leaps … Which? When? Why?

When are baby steps the best way to go?  When do they just not work?  Taking only baby steps can become a habit and shackle us to thinking small, being classic under achievers.  Spirit expressing as you is not an under achiever!  As Anais Nin declared, “And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  What do you need to be bold?  When do you know not to be bold, not out of fear but instead because you have listened to … and followed …Divine Guidance?

What causes us to choose incremental, little steps

  • Is it a choice?
  • Is it habit? Conditioned reflex?  Fear?
  • Are we opting to allow circumstances to control us?

Are we drawing on the wisdom of Spirit that resides in each of us?

What causes us to opt for Giant Leaps?

  • Is it desire?
  • Is it that the level of discomfort has risen so high that we are compelled, even propelled, to do something different?

What is our decision process?

  • Do we have multiple processes?
  • What causes us to use one approach or another?

Many of us find thinking is easier in the silence, some of us awaken to wisdom beyond our personal experience that makes itself known in the silence.  Jack Fowler captured this well in his song, “In the Silence.”

In the silence, there is peace

In the silence, there is unspoken joy

In the silence, there’s release

From a world full of chaos and noise

 

So, I wait for these precious moments

When I hear all that could never be said

And right here, in this holy silence

I find God.  I find myself.

Current international conditions look and feel a lot like “chaos and noise.”  Uncertainty and instability seem to be the norm, and that’s when we need to remember to use the conscious intelligence that is imbued in us to remind us that we have tools – mental tools – to direct and select our processes.

We are expressions of Spirit.  That is Spirit is expressing AS human.  We cannot be separated from Spirit.  It is being each of us. We are an amalgamation endowed with the ability to use our intellect to choose our path of life and to draw on the wisdom of Spirit/Universe to guide us.

This is awesome to contemplate!  We are endowed with an intellect that has the power to choose at all times, in all situations, just how we will be.  We have the power to update and upgrade it any time we want and are willing to put in the mental energy and self-discipline to do so.

Ernest Holmes recommended that we, “Start with this simple proposition: The nature of God, of man, and of being is perfect, harmonious, whole.”  He was telling the Truth: our nature is Spiritual.

He further explained that we, “believe God is the Life Principle through which individuals derive their nature as intelligent, self-choosing entities…”

It is this divine nature that makes it possible for us to use our intelligence to immerse in and draw upon the One Mind:  The Mind that is both the Mind of man and the Mind of God.  This Mind is the essence of creativeness and the essence of goodness.  It is available to all.  Individuals can feel a connection to this intelligence as a deep sense of inner communion, as a spontaneous, irresistible union.  Individuals who have consciously entered into a spiritual path, who have opted to be grounded in their spirituality, clearly see and feel this Truth.

All of our challenges, regardless of their nature or size, share one common cause:  We have not accepted our full spiritual inheritance!  Instead, we have invited undesirable conditions and situations into our experience and then tried to combat them at their own level.  That’s a perfect formula for failure.  Who consciously wants to be a failure?  It’s time for you to wake up to just how incredibly powerful you are!

Living spiritually changes your life dynamically.  It totally alters not only how you experience life, but how others experience you.  When you really get the enormity of your potentiality, you awaken to the realization that you already have the ability to change what isn’t working.  That power has been latent in you forever.  This realization was one of the most powerful discoveries of my entire life.  You just need to work on the Art of Living Spiritually – it’s subtle, it’s gentle, it’s powerful beyond measure.  Change your thinking, shift your beliefs, experience life anew!!!

So we begin by putting all of this in perspective and reminding you of just how awesome and powerful you are.

What causes us to choose incremental, little steps

  • Is it habit or conditioned reflex?
    • How many times have you done something simply because that’s just the way I/we always do it?
      • This is living by default – brainlessly
      • Another name for “routine” is “rut.” A comical friend of mine once told me that “a coffin with the ends kicked out” You may not die physically from being in a rut, but you will become lifeless and might as well be dead.
    • Are we opting to allow circumstances to control us?
      • There are two habitual aspects to this
        • Recurring circumstances trigger old habits – laziness invites the old, trusted “easy way,” mindless default prevails
        • Circumstances that may be frightening, call in the “voice of fear” and s/he rather than clear thinking. We are literally “blinded” by that voice – the voice that takes command and make decisions for us based on past experiences, often exaggerated that can “paralyze” us

Singer/Songwriter, Jana Stanfield asks a powerful question in her song, “If I Were Brave,”   “If I refuse to listen to the voice of fear,
Would the voice of courage whisper in my ear?”  When we use our powerful intellect to choose how we are going to be in each situation, It, the voice of courage, whispers (and sometimes shouts) really good advice.  And, again come the big question:  Am I listening?  Do I trust God (Spirit in me)?  Do I have the courage to follow the guidance?

It’s all too easy to fall into the habit of thinking small … of tolerating “less than” simply because “history makes it so.”

  • Is it wisdom?
    • Sometimes the voice of reason steps in to guide us in relation to circumstances
      • Perhaps there is a very real danger
        • The question here is, who’s in charge? Is it the blinding, paralyzing voice of fear … or the thinking, strategic voice of reason?
        • How do we discern which voice is which?
      • It is a choice!
        • Many people don’t realize that it is a choice.
        • Some claim “that’s just how I am” and don’t get it that who you are – how you are showing up in the world – is totally a matter of choice.
      • Are we drawing on the wisdom of Spirit that resides in each of us?
        • Spirit in us, as us, is the direct link to the “wisdom of the ages” and an intelligence far greater than could possibly have been acquired in one individual human lifetime
        • How can we determine whether it is better to take baby steps of make a giant leap?
          • To an infant a baby step is a big deal
          • To an ant a mountain is not overwhelming, you just move it a grain at a time

Shifts in consciousness are made incrementally … a new perspective, a different vantage point, a presence of compassion, a sense of empathy

  • What causes us to opt for Giant Leaps?
    • Selecting the “right” approach can happen in an instant, using our intellect in light of Divine Guidance.
      • David Lloyd George suggests, “Don’t be afraid to take a big step. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.”
        • Circumstance may dictate “move now” and Divinely Guided intelligence, says “one giant leap” … two small ones aren’t the answer here
      • Leverage what you know in light of what you intuit
        • Habitual thinking says there is one way to do something
        • Intuition opens to possibilities
        • Wisdom leans into possibilities bringing with it skills, knowledge, talent and abilities
      • Is the decision, simply, desire?
      • A decision cycle can be fascinating:
        • Very few of us, on a percentage basis, simply opt to move in a given direction
        • Most of us have to reach a level of discomfort that is sufficiently high that we are compelled/propelled to do something different, before we’ll act
        • Anais Nin: “And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
      • What is our decision process?
        • Most of us have multiple, context specific processes
          • We assess circumstances based on feelings, beliefs, perceived outcomes – using our intellect …
          • We go into the stillness, sensing with every faculty, and open to Spirit in us, as us, guiding from within … and outside.
            • Numinous experiences of knowing without reasoning or knowledge
            • Discerning and entering “Wow!” … the wholly experiential sense of the Divine.

We recognize this Wow!  Sense – the direct experience –  is the essence of all shifts of Consciousness.  We understand how the tiniest change at the quantum level (immeasurably small) can result in an abrupt change, sudden increase, or dramatic advance.

Once experienced, you can never go back and pretend it never happened … why would you want to?  You have been altered forever, never to be the same.  How could you ever revert to making decisions based solely on the facts, on circumstances … on effect.  You are divinely designed to co-create your entire life.  All that is needed is latent in you, as you, waiting for you to awaken to your magnificent, pure potentiality.

A huge question makes itself known: “How then shall you live?

  • Do you remember, moment by moment that you are Spirit in expression
  • Do your behaviors align with that Spiritual knowing?
  • Do your decisions arise from that Spiritual knowing?

 

Really Say “Yes!” … Reap Untold Rewards!

What’s to lose?  There’s no downside … it’s all upside: just say “Yes!” … a genuine, whole hearted, “Yes!” … and experience “Wow!”

So what really happens when you say “Yes!”?  And, I don’t mean “maybe” or a half-heartedly “yes” just in case some other shiny object gets your attention?  I’m talking about a real “Yes!” that you truly mean and are willing to lean into.

This amazing human experience Spirit, as you, is having is a multi-level, fully integrated mind-body event:  the moment you utter “Yes!” your body is flooded with chemical compounds that were triggered by neurons responding to thought!  When we say every choice we make has a consequence, it’s broader than you may think.  The act of choosing causes a cascade of chemicals that ignite neurological and physiological responses so long before consequences show up externally, your mind-body is already impacted.  This array of responses is autonomic.  Interestingly, this amazing orchestration takes place instantaneously in response to your mental activity whether there is a physical event or not.  It calibrates the congruency of your commitment – your wholeheartedness or lack thereof.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche:  “We should experience everything totally, never withdrawing into ourselves as a marmot hides in its hole. This practice releases tremendous energy which is usually constricted by the process of maintaining fixed reference points. … Being present in the moment may initially trigger fear. But by welcoming the sensation of fear with complete openness, we cut through the barriers created by habitual emotional patterns. When we engage in the practice of discovering space, we should develop the feeling of opening ourselves out completely to the entire universe. We should open ourselves with absolute simplicity and nakedness of mind. This is the powerful and ordinary practice of dropping the mask of self-protection.”

This ability we have “to think” is astounding.  And, the only reason we are able to think, to plan, to create, is because each of us is an activity of the One Mind.  Just as the only reason we are living is because the One Life, God, is in us, expressing as us.

Ernest Holmes:  “Start with this simple proposition: The nature of God, of man, and of being is perfect, harmonious, whole.”

He also said, “Metaphysicians generally believe God is the Life Principle through which individuals derive their nature as intelligent, self-choosing entities … It is this divine nature that makes it possible for us to use the One Mind:  This Mind is both the Mind of man and the Mind of God.  This Mind is the essence of creativeness and the essence of goodness.”

The One Mind is available to all and is experienced by each individual as a deep sense of inner communion, as a spontaneous, irresistible union.  Spiritually grounded people clearly sense and know, see and feel, this Truth.

All of our challenges, regardless of their nature or size, share one common cause:  We have not accepted our full spiritual inheritance!  Instead, we accept undesirable conditions and situations and then try to combat them at their own level.  That’s a perfect formula for failure.  No one I know consciously wants to be a loser, however, I know several who other-than-consciously set themselves up to be underachievers.  If by chance, I am describing you, then it’s time for you to wake up to just how incredibly powerful you are!

When we shift from being at the whim of circumstances to living spiritually, we open to transformation … the possibility of living our divine potentiality.

And, before I disclose what’s called a self-evident Truth, I want to address something:  As you awaken to how incredibly powerful you are, you will be confronted by the realization that all that “powerfulness” means you are the cause of the great things that are drawn into your life … the experiences you have when you boldly declare “Yes!”  AND you are the cause when life sucks.  There is no one to blame … especially not you!!  Conscious, as well as other-than-conscious, thoughts and beliefs manifest! We are living in and with the consequences of prior (uninformed) choices.  The good news here is how much of life you can influence.  The bad news is how much life you can inadvertently influence.  The relief here is that when you really get the enormity of your potentiality, you understand that you already have the ability to celebrate what is working and change what isn’t.

You just need to work on the Art of Living Spiritually:  change your thinking, shift your beliefs, experience life anew!!!

You have the ability to clean up errors, resolve misunderstandings, heal hurts, and the list goes on.  The circumstances of our lives are the consequence of our choices.  We live in the law of cause and effect.  Our circumstances or conditions are simply the consequence of our choices coming into form.  Every choice has a consequence – some are good, some are not so good.  The not so good consequence can be altered by simply making new and hopefully better choices.

Our thoughts are how we set the law of cause and effect in motion.  Our thoughts work through the avenue of the One Mind.  Conditions are always the externalization of thought, it follows that they can be controlled by changing the thought – by thinking constructively.  This is where it all becomes “self-evident.”  If our thoughts attracted positive experiences into our lives … awesome!  If our thoughts, particularly our habitual thoughts, have brought less than positive circumstances into our lives, we have the ability and the authority to change our thoughts and, therefore, transmute the negative situation.

There is not a thing that appears in the manifest universe that is not an objectified thought, whether it is a bump on your head or a corn on your foot, or a mountain or a planet.  It could not be there if it was not made out of Mind.

I invite you to take a short trip into the imaginal realm:

Since our world of form is objectified thought, bring to mind a situation that you wish to be different.  Contemplate how that would be.  See it in its new expression. Become aware of the many different thoughts you are having about the newly remodeled situation.  Now release all thought of how you would change or fix the situation.  Instead, focus on the thoughts and sensations associated with how you are relating to it in its new expression.  Invite a greater and greater experience of the newly remodeled situation.  Relate to its newness.  Embrace you in relation to this newly remodeled situation.  Sense it on all levels of your body-mind.  Be with it.  Stay a while and enjoy.  Return your attention from the experience very gently.

In order to make sense of what I have been saying, it is essential that you open to the enormity of this Truth.  Until then, some of this may seem far-fetched.  And … I promise you, the “Aha Moment” will strike when it will make complete sense, and you will say to yourself, “Why, it’s all so obvious … I should have known this all along!”

So let’s delve a bit deeper into something else Dr. Holmes shared:  “All we know about mind is that mind is that thing in me, whatever it is, which enables me to know that I am.  It is that in you which enables you to know that you are.  If I had a mind which was all mine, and you had one which was all yours, how could you know that I exist or how could I talk to you?  Therefore we believe that there is only One Mind in the universe and It is incarnated in every one of us.”

It is completely logical to declare, “To say there is one Life, that Life is God, and that Life is my life now, is to speak the truth.  To say there is one Mind, that Mind is the Mind of God, and that Mind is my mind now, is to speak the truth.  For each of us is an individual personality in this infinite and perfect Mind.”

We are each individualizations in this One Mind; no two of us are exactly alike. We each use Its creativeness in unique ways, and we are all immersed in the collective thought of the whole human race.

A person’s mind is the use of the One Mind, God-Mind, to the level of that person’s understanding.  Divine Intelligence stands ready to pour into our consciousness every idea of good, and an infinite Law within this Intelligence acts upon our acceptance or belief, and makes it visible in our experience.  Our activity of thought is actually a Divine compulsion of the One Mind in us seeking an ever-increasing achievement and expression through us.

Dr Holmes declared: “All individual minds, your own included, are merely different activities of the Infinite Mind.  This Mind of God is the Law of your life.  When you speak, It speaks within you.  Thus your thought becomes the law of your life because the Law of the One Mind already resides at the center of your being.”

 

“Giving of Oneself: Serve and See”

Try it!  You’ll like it!  Serve and see how your life is transformed.

Rabindranath Tagore: “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”

Serving comes naturally to most people, yet there are many who have disconnected from that natural urge.  Most people intuitively respond to the needs of others, of nature.  Most are generous.  Some are not.

The tradition of “selfless service” (work performed without any thought of reward or repayment), is found in all cultures and goes by many names, such as, “Seva” in Sanskrit, “Dana” in Pali, generosity in the west.  This level of generosity is of oneself, from the soul.  It demonstrates a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is necessary or expected.

Whether you call it “dana” or “seva” or giving of oneself, generosity produces immeasurable benefits if and when we get out of the way.  Not only are we the beneficiaries every time we appear as a benefactor, we do our part to transform the world by modeling the joy of giving of ourselves … of serving.

When we remember that “we cannot “out-give God,” we free ourselves to give wholeheartedly in full faith and trust.  Spirit has imbued us with immeasurable gifts and talents for us to share … and share them boundlessly!

It’s pretty easy to engage in the rich generosity of “selfless service,” when one is feeling resourceful.  It may be quite different when it feels like giving is wrenching something more away.  Perception is the key. How do we perceive ourselves and others?

Our mindset causes deviations in our perceptions moment by moment that alter how we address different situations.  If we have dropped out of mindfulness into habitual, unconscious behavior, we apply our preconceived notions broadly without thought.  Our impact on others may even surprise us. Our outcomes shift radically depending on the expectations we bring.  Rachel Naomi Remin, PhD, used three related concepts, helping, fixing and serving,  to illustrate the impact that subtle beliefs and distinctions can produce.  When rendering assistance our mindset dramatically alters results:

  • When we see life as weak, we feel called to help and make it weaker
  • When we see life as broken, we find more and more that need fixing
  • When we perceive life as whole, we serve.

How do we perceive ourselves and others?  Do I see myself as weak, broken or whole?  The answer is “yes” to all three … at times.  And how I see myself is, generally, how I see others. My internal dialogue shapes how I show up.  When contemplating why the difference between generosity and hoarding, serving and wanting to be served, givingness and greed, I, not happily, realized they all reside in me.  Most of the time, I serve.  I am generous with my time, talents, treasures … my energy and consciousness. And, sometimes I’m not.  When I’m not it’s because I have fallen into feeling resourceless:  fear of not having or being enough is crowding out my clear thinking, causing me to be egocentric.  It’s curious to look at what factors are present when I feel resourceful vs resourceless.  Feeling resourceless is a primary stimulus for greed.  In the grips of fear of lack, an  intense and selfish desire for things, especially wealth, power, or food, readily arises.

The difference, for me, is rooted in last week’s topic:  “The One Thing.”

That one thing is “Simply Spirit” … the deeply rooted, soul-filled wholeness you “remember” when you open wide to the Truth of your being: You are “Simply Spirit.”  It is the comprehension of this Truth that totally shifts how you experience life.  What I am inviting you to embrace is that you are “Simply Spirit” – a spiritual being that is expressing AS a human being. This level of comprehension recognizes that there is nothing that can be separated.  The wholeness of Spirit is inseparable. There is a unitary whole, God, expressing as countless individuations.

When I remember the One Thing, when I remember that I am “Simply Spirit in expression,” I am resourceful, empowered, confident and give continuously and generously.  I serve.  When I forget, I fall into my list of acquired fears.  I may feel disconnected, limited, less-than, vulnerable to the judgments of others, on the brink of overwhelm that I’m on my own to do all that I expect of me.  When I remember that I am “Simply Spirit,” all negativity in my internal dialogue surrenders to the Truth:  I remember I am an expression of Spirit.  I lean into that knowing:  I am not weak or broken.  I am an expression of a perfect Creator.  I cannot be alone.

Dr. Ernest Holmes shared, “We are on the path of experience. Just waking to the real fact of our true being; as we awake, we find we are surrounded by many false conditions, but there is something within which remembers the real state. If one will sit in quiet contemplation of good, as an inner experience, he will experience the good which he contemplates.”

Sometimes people ask “Why should I serve others?  I have needs, too!”  Martin Luther King, Jr. summed it up this way,   “It really boils down to this; all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

A Course in Miracles reminds us that the purpose of our relationships is to deepen our capacity to give and receive love.  One opportunity of such love is to remind one another that we are “Simply Spirit.”

Often we affirm that “Love is the most powerful healing force in the universe,” and generosity is the practice that puts it into daily living.  The mobius, a never-ending strip used to illustrate infinity, is an excellent model for the interlacing elements of love and generosity:

Love stimulates generosity causing gratitude to arise

Gratitude is experienced as Love that stimulates generosity,

Gratitude arises … and around it goes without end.

Marianne Williamson further reminds us that we are not held back by the love we didn’t receive but by the love we’re not extending in the present.

Very often, I’ll hear people say, “What could I do that would matter?  I can’t just drop everything and run off to India like Mother Teresa did.”  And that is undoubtedly true for most people.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela among the other notables sacrificed greatly in order to follow their passion and serve.  There are hundreds of others throughout history.  There are multimillionaires that have shared their wealth and their celebrity in order to serve an array of organizations and millions of people around the world … AND …

Not everyone is called to serve on that scale.  Instead, we are the millions of “ordinary people” who do “extraordinary things.”  We care.  We serve. We show up and do what we can to change the world for the better.  Whether it’s for an elderly person, a child, a neighborhood or an organization.    We care.  We serve. We show up and do what we can to change the world for the better.

This whole subject has sent me wandering down memory lane.  I have been so blessed by those who have showed up in my life and gave to me with no strings attached.  My mental wanderings also brought to mind the many people who gave me the precious gift of accepting what I had to offer:  I probably grew most on those occasions when someone accepted the gifts I freely gave.  Maya Angelou declared that people will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.  Those who accepted my gifts called me to my best.  They recognized the Truth of my being and granted me the space to relax into giving and receiving an ever-growing supply of all that is needed and desired.  In their presence, I felt really good.  They sensed and saw me as “Simply Spirit” making it through each day of this human experience.

John F Kennedy asked, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

David Owen Ritz pointed out, “The world was not given to you; you were given to the world. Step into the natural flow of abundance by committing yourself to becoming a giver.”

Dr Seuss admonished us to get off our duffs with,  “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

So I ask, “What if tomorrow you woke up with only the things you were consciously grateful for today? What if, all you had was what you had given, how you had served?  What would you have in your life?”

 

 

The One Thing!

There is one thing, that if you embrace it completely, will carry you through anything and everything that may occur in your entire lifetime.  Without question, it is THE most important factor in how radiantly you thrive in this world, especially at this time in history when chaos and turmoil seem to be everywhere … well almost everywhere.

Embracing and embodying this one concept causes you to be strong, powerful, gentle, compassionate, resilient, flexible, durable and ever present.  It is the core ingredient in self-worth and produces an amazing amalgamation of worthiness, humility and boldness.

That one thing is “Simply Spirit” … the deeply rooted, soul-filled wholeness you “remember” when you open wide to the Truth of your being: You are “Simply Spirit.”  It is the comprehension of this Truth that totally shifts how you experience life.  What I am inviting you to embrace is that you are “Simply Spirit” – a spiritual being that is expressing AS a human being. This level of comprehension recognizes that there is nothing that can be separated.  The wholeness of Spirit is inseparable. There is a unitary whole, God, expressing as countless individuations.

Dr. Ernest Holmes shared, “We are on the path of experience. Just waking to the real fact of our true being; as we awake, we find we are surrounded by many false conditions, but there is something within which remembers the real state. If one will sit in quiet contemplation of good, as an inner experience, he will experience the good which he contemplates.”

Many people, especially when they are just awakening to the possibility that they and spirit have something going on, feel that there are two parts to them:  Spirit as distinctly apart from their humanity.  This is a nesting place for beliefs and value judgments such as “good” and “evil.”  Once you have experienced the Truth of your being, you will never again confuse it with the idea of a human having a spiritual experience or the dualistic concept of people having differentiated parts – their human parts and separate spiritual parts.

In the Gospels, Jesus is quoted as having said, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”  He could have gone on with every individual divided against himself will collapse.  This is especially true when the individual is under stress.  Using computer-ese, embracing the wholeness of your being defragments you.  It calls all of your parts into congruency and harmony … into a radiant swirl of Spirit in expression.  You immediately have more energy, clarity and productivity.

Hosting warring parts within ourselves is hazardous to our health.  We must own our spirituality and our humanity for they are one … and we need to own all the parts of our humanity that have or are showing up in different ways.  How do you relate to these different aspects of your humanity? Have you reconciled their unique differences?  Are you able to wrap yourself around the idea that there is no humanity apart from Spirit?  Do you love all of you?

A sense of groundedness begins to arise as soon as we grasp the Truth of what we are.  Our ability to withstand whatever life throws at us, to be flexible, durable and to thrive, must be rooted in a strong foundation.  Like the mighty oak, we need deep roots, however, our roots are not located in a physical place.  Our root is deeply spiritual and is equally present everywhere.

As you open to this amazing truth about you, you will discover that you can integrate what feels separate into the wholeness of you.  To do this, you will need to release yourself from the myths and fables you were told.  You are probably familiar with how it feels when your life does not align with your myths and fables.  Who are you afraid of disappointing?  How can you tell the truths from the lies.  How can you sort it out when your life is filled with unmet expectations?  What are you feeling?  Guilt?  Shame?

Guilt and shame are different:

“I did something bad.” (Guilt)

“I am bad.” (Shame)

Author, Brené Brown, says that there are three universal truths about shame:

  • We all have it
  • We’re afraid to talk about it
  • The less we talk about it, the more of it we have

 

It’s time to set yourself free.  Own your story … your whole story.  Brown says that telling the truth about who you are, where you come from and what you’re up against, may be the most courageous thing you will ever do!

When you tell someone who you are, be clear.  Resist the temptation to return to the familiar box you and others have put you in.

Without being willing to tell our truth and own our shame, we operate from the surface of life. To live at depth requires that we choose authenticity as an unwavering value.  Truth-telling, honest expression and authenticity are essential forces exhibited in the natural world because it is the uninhibited expression of Spirit.  Strive to be an uninhibited expression of Spirit as well.

Alan Cohen says, “We feel empty because we seek horizontal [worldly] answers to vertical [spiritual] questions.”

As we learn to rely more and more completely upon Spirit as our one and only Source, we become more receptive … we “open wide.”  We open to and embrace  the radiant health, loving relationships, creative expression, and overall abundant good of our wholeness.  This, the complete opening to the “effervescent Life of God,” is the greatest gift of being.

Anam Thubten wrote, “When all the layers of false identity have been stripped off, there is no longer any version of that old self. What is left behind is pure consciousness (rigpa). That is our original being. That is our true identity. Our true nature is indestructible. No matter whether we are sick or healthy, poor or wealthy, it always remains divine and perfect as it is. When we realize our true nature, our life is transformed in a way we could not have imagined before. We realize the very meaning of our life and it puts an end to all searching right there.”

We come to realize that we cannot be apart from It.  We relax into It – giving and receiving an ever-growing supply of all that is needed and desired.  We embrace ourselves as what we are: “Simply Spirit” making it through each day of this human experience.

Be Transformed … or Not!

People say they want to be transformed.  They search and search for the perfect teachers to guide them, convinced that “if only they find the right teacher …” their desired transformation will magically manifest without any effort on their part.  They want something outside to change them.  They fail to realize that the guides they seek are there to point the way, to guide them – not to change them … not to do it for them.  Change must come from the inside … and it all begins with “teachability.”   No one is teachable who is not first reachable!

Here lies the challenge:  Are you willing to be sufficiently vulnerable to be reached?  Are you really open to being transformed?  It may be the most courageous thing you have ever undertaken!

There’s an odd parallel here:  some people want the world to change without them lifting a finger or changing anything personally.  From my perspective, that’s not going to happen because I believe that all change is the out-picturing of shifts in consciousness.  As Mohandis Gandhi, the Matama, declared, you must “be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Here is where the process begins:

Are you teachable?  Is there any space in you that is open to being changed?  Whether you realize it or not, you are changed by everything you learn.  Transformation (deep, lasting change) requires a willingness to release old ways of being … to release attachments to what’s familiar.

Sometimes people build such sturdy walls around themselves that they are not reachable rendering themselves unteachable.  Sometimes the walls they build to keep bad stuff out block good stuff from coming in.  They actually imprison themselves.  This is a crucial factor in the development of prejudices.  All prejudices are pre-judgments based on past assumptions.  Without the benefit of current input, they may be faulty, perhaps unfounded, opinions.  In the face of such closed-mindedness, the possibility of learning anything new (especially anything that differs from the prejudice) is obliterated.

Sometimes these walls arise from someone being so full of themselves that there is no room for anything new to be added.  At times, the walls are fear-based assumptions that “different is dangerous.” Ironically, people don’t just apply this belief to other people and situations, sometimes they apply it to changes within themselves.  Change calls them to stretch into new, perhaps scary, experiences.  However they came to construct the blockages, the result is the same: they have cut themselves off from the richness of being fully expressed.

Are you, by chance, the “they” I’ve been talking about??  Life is calling you … are you answering with a powerful “Yes!”  If not, why not?  

In Entering the Castle, author Carol Myss asks six insightful questions:

  • What are you really willing to change?
  • When?
  • Can you change with a willing, cheerful heart or will you have to let others know how difficult changing your life is?
  • Will you expect God to heal you immediately? How soon?
  • What kind of attitude will you have if you don’t see results right away?
  • Are you willing to change, not look back, and have no expectations?

Listening (which is quite different from the physical faculty of hearing) is key to being teachable.  Listening is a faculty of the heart and soul.  True listening requires being present with oneself, others and the world.  Listening engages every sensory system.  True listening gleans what wants to be communicated not just what is being said.  It calls for a willingness, in fact, an eagerness, to be changed by what you experience.  This is soul-full listening.

Being “Teachable” requires Listening!

In the absence of Listening you are not reachable!

If you are not reachable you are not teachable!

Stop trying to “mind-muscle” your way through life.  Open to listening and absorbing … gleaning the choice morsels that can be found in every experience.  To win true understanding, take heed of the old expression:  “You MUST be present to win.”

Wake up to your life…

Listen for the whispers…

Don’t wait for the screams!

To be reachable requires some vulnerability … openness … perhaps a bit of risk taking.  Try saying to yourself:

“I must risk releasing my white-knuckle grasp on what I think I know … what I think I control … in order to receive “new” … new concepts, experiences, knowledge, understanding.”

I realized that in order to be teachable … to learn, comprehend, understand something new or some new perspective about something I thought I knew, I must be reachable.  I had to be open to the possibility of being changed by what I experience.  I also realized that for me to grant such openness, I needed:

  • At least some sense of feeling safe
    • Trust that I am what I believe I am … an expression of Spirit
    • Confidence that I know myself reasonably well
  • Faith stronger than fear
    • Courage grounded in feeling safe
    • Determination to silence our inner critic … the one that scares me
  • Curiosity and openness
    • Eagerness to discover something new
    • Willingness to be changed

My list can be summed up as “confidence in the power of Love.”  What’s on your list?

John O’Donohue in Anam Cara, stated, “Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious.  Where you are understood, you are at home.  Understanding nourishes belonging.  When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person’s soul.”

Is understanding sufficient?

  • Understanding is often considered a mental process
  • Comprehension is a more thorough. emotional process involving the assimilation of knowledge, which is subjective by its nature.

How we use these gifts of understanding and comprehension is all that matters.  Gaining knowledge simply to be a holder of more information has little or no value.  Alternatively, opening to the myriad learning opportunities provided by the Universe can be totally transformative.

Ernest Holmes affirmed, “We are on the path of experience. Just waking to the real fact of our true being; as we awake, we find we are surrounded by many false conditions, but there is something within which remembers the real state. If one will sit in quiet contemplation of good, as an inner experience, he will experience the good which he contemplates.”

Tune into the voices whispering and shouting within you.  Discern which are teachers, which are echoes of your own thoughts, what is just chatter from all around you, reverberating within you.

  • Open to the instruction of your Inner Teacher …. The wise and wonder-filled aspect of you that waits ever so patiently for moments when you pay attention to it!
  • Accept the richest possible experience of this thing we call life … become an empty vessel … an eager student … ready to receive all that Spirit is offering.

 

For Something and Yet Not Against Anything

I have been toiling with this whole idea of being “for something and against nothing.”  I have been working on this since I first encountered the “Sermon by the Sea,” many years ago.  The “Sermon by the Sea” is a presentation made in 1959 at Asilomar, California, (on the Monterey Peninsula), by Dr. Holmes, author of the Science of Mind.  It was the last sermon he gave at Asilomar. In it, he declared, “It would be wonderful indeed if a group of persons should arrive on earth who were for something and against nothing. This would be the summum bonum [the highest good, the ultimate goal according to which values and priorities are established in an ethical system] of human organization, wouldn’t it?”  With the passing of years, I am not nearly so reactive as I was in my youth.  However, I think I was born with a very strong, spiritually grounded sense of equity so when someone impinges on the rights of others (all of creation), I’m ready to be a stand for whoever or whatever has been marginalized.  My core values are inextricably interwoven in the concept of Oneness.  We are interconnected, interdependent, indeed, interwoven in one another’s fabric of being.

Divisiveness, derision and turmoil are being expressed across the country, polarizing communities … sometimes polarizing families.  I am confronted by this polarization. My proactive stance for the rights of all … for the humane treatment of all of creation … feels very reactive.  I am most definitely for, yet I have not yet been able to extricate myself from being against much of what I see and hear.  Here lies the conundrum.  I have come to realize (and own) that my “againstness” is what actually gets me off my duff and into action.  Until my “againstness” is powerful enough to motivate me, I may talk a lot but that’s where my pro-action wanes.  My “againstness” generates the fire-in-the-belly.  My appreciation for Frederick Douglass’ “Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!” has deepened greatly.

I have spent quiet time opening to what is mine to do, how am I to be, how am I to express myself (my opinions), and how I can support the rights of others to embrace views that are diametrically opposed to those I hold.  I am reminded of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, who said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

I have found that I have limits on just how far my support of someone else’s divergent view will go.  My value of “do no harm” is more highly held than I value that everyone has a right to his/her own opinion.  My willingness to grant “high regard” is not unconditional.  My deep commitment to creating a world that works for all has some “provideds.”  Each time I make some magnanimous declaration of Oneness, I find a judge within me.  Sometimes this realization is quite troubling.

What comes up for me is how deeply rooted my conviction of “do no harm!” is.  No one has the right to inflict harm on anyone.  This is the point at which I am called to say “No!” … to move from rhetoric to action.  My “againstness” has degrees:  That which irritates me enough to give it lip-service and that which activates me.

Questions then arise as to how to express my views, what actions are mine to initiate?  In Science of Mind we teach that before all form there is thought.  A few years ago it was common to hear someone ask, “What were you thinking?” when someone found themselves in a less than desirable circumstance.  This recognition that thoughts become things and circumstance can be a bit scary and yet it is the proof that no matter what is going on, we have the power to alter it and to totally alter our experience of it.

We also teach that what you focus upon expands in your experience because your focus crowds out all other thinking and leaves you manifesting more and more of what you don’t want.  Yuck!  This is one of those areas that still tugs at me, questioning, challenging “how can I open to my “againstness” and not end up generating more to be against?  Understanding that what you choose to focus upon fills your life, it becomes evident that we must come to terms with our own hierarchy of values. “Choice” is the sorter within thought processes.

We humans validate our own positions by manifesting proof to support what we have thought.  Stop for a moment of self-observation: realize how incredibly powerful we humans are.  We have the ability to utilize the power of intention – the power to set cause in motion.

We are capable of accepting and even supporting opposing views at the same time. As a compassionate practice, this is highly valued. It is considered evidence of high intelligence, and demonstrates how we are able to expand our awareness of global perspectives and embody the concept of Oneness.

Sometimes, however, instead of being able to embrace differing perspectives, we become conflicted over the opposing views, we experience extreme stress.  In the Gospels, Jesus is quoted as having said, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”  He could have gone on with every individual divided against himself will collapse.  This is especially true when there are outer influences.

So … how do we reconcile conflicted feelings attached to the differing views?  How do we negotiate a healthy truce between our warring aspects?  We recognize that there needn’t be such a war if we simply tell the truth.  For me, this truth-telling came with the realization that I do not value someone else’s right to their views as much as I value “do no harm.”  My support of their right to a view that is different from mine stops when I perceive (rightly or wrongly) that they have crossed a line and are imposing harm.

What is your line?  Do you know what it is?  I suggest that you spend some quiet time bringing your “againstness” out into the light.  It is sure to bring some very valuable insights with it, such as, what stirs you vs what motivates you to action.  It will undoubtedly help you discover what you truly value, what you are willing to tolerate and clear a space for you be at peace in an internal “no war zone.”

Namasté

Rev Trish

“Spirituality and Activism”

February 17, 2017

Can spirituality and activism co-exist?  Some say, “no.”  Some say, “Yes.”  Some say, “Most definitely, Yes!!! They cannot be separated.”

In light of the inauguration, the Women’s March, resistance groups popping up all over the place and protestors making their presence known throughout DC and across the country, what is ours to do?  How are we to be?

Some people who describe themselves as spiritual shy away from being an activist because they align being spiritual with being a pacifist and believe that they can be both a pacifist and an activist at the same time.  Jesus was most definitely spiritual, a pacifist in that he certainly seemed to believe that there is no justification for violence, and yet was a powerful activist not hesitating to speak his word. An activist is defined as a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.  He took a stand for people he felt had been marginalized. He took time alone to commune with God … and he used affirmative prayer boldly in the company of thousands.  Is He not a great example of being perfect blend of pacifism AND activism? He was most definitely assertive: he frequently shared his forceful personality.  Yet he was not aggressive.  He confidently confronted inequities and injustices when there was provocation, but not with hostility or violence.  He was a passionate, compassionate, non-aggressive, assertive activist-pacifist. He is quoted as having said, “These things and greater shall you do.”  Was He not calling us to do as He did as well as do as He said?

Last time I wrote (before a bit of a break due to family responsibilities), we were delving into personal cosmologies. Your personal cosmology is all about living your spirituality or not.  Your personal cosmology establishes the platform for how you show up in the world.  It is the conglomeration of your beliefs woven into the tapestry of your life.  One of the wonderful distinctions of a personal cosmological tapestry is that you can reweave it at any time you genuinely shift your beliefs.  So, at your core, what do you believe?  Here are some points to ponder … to investigate personally … as courageously and deeply as you are willing to go!

  • Do you believe there is only One Cause or Source of all creation?
    • OR do you believe there are competing forces responsible for creation?
  • Do you believe that we are all interconnected?
    • OR do you believe that we are separate – isolated beings?
  • Do you believe that you have the power to change your life?
    • OR do you believe your lot has been cast and you must endure it?
  • Do you believe that Heaven is inside you and all others?
    • Or do you believe that you must strive in this life in order to earn a better hereafter?
  • Do you believe in Hell?
    • OR do you believe that you are quite capable of creating your own personal hell here on earth?

These are just a few questions that reveal your core beliefs – those beliefs that position you to be you!  There are untold riches to be gleaned from peeling open your own world view or cosmology.

There are other ways to reveal your deeply held beliefs:  You can become your own mindful observer.  You can watch your behaviors and examine your experiences.  This feedback, provides insights into your closely held values and beliefs.

When things seem to go wrong …

  • Do you feel like a victim and blame circumstances or others?
    • OR do you observe how you may have contributed to the situation?
  • Do you take responsibility knowing you have the power to change AND change your relationship to what is going on?
    • OR do you use the situation to guilt and/or shame yourself? Do you bash or demean yourself with words like “stupid”?

Examining feedback is a wonderful way to reveal what you have hidden inside so you can befriend or change as needed in order to have the sorts of experiences you desire.  What you discover can be astounding.  You get to be the chooser!  You get to select … rather like a treasure hunt … what you glean and what you discard.  Sometimes the choices are simple.  Other times, they may wrench at your humanity when you find that following what’s called “your soul call” pulls you away from the old routine way in which you have “always shown up.”

Such may be the case, when Spirit as you, declares, “This is mine/ours to do!”  Such may be the call when it gives you the proverbial Divine kick in the posterior that requires you to be visible and/or vocal.  Such may be the opportunity when suddenly you find that your presence is essential to progress … perhaps your leadership may be necessary to facilitate the emergence of the “greater good.”

You may feel like “Yikes!  Who?  Me?  Why me?”  The answers are made known when we are willing to get centered in the stillness, and listen … deeply surrender to listening.  In that stillness, there is a lifetime’s worth of learning.  Listen with your whole being, not just your ears.  Open all senses in the stillness and gathering in what Spirit is imparting to you, within you – as you.

There’s an often quoted expression that claims, “God won’t give anyone more than they can handle.” It’s actually a slight misquote:  In 1 Corinthians, Paul states that God won’t tempt us beyond what we can bear.  However, elsewhere in the Bible, we find that God apparently did put people to the test … to test their faith.  In the book of Job, God allowed Satan to test Job to wit’s end to see if Job would buckle … to put him to a test of faith.  If we agree with Ernest Holmes who said, “All of the power of the universe is with you. Feel it, know it, and then act as though it were true,” how could circumstances test our faith?

Evicting entrenched beliefs is not a complicated process yet it’s not necessarily easy … especially if you truly want to dispose of the beliefs permanently.  Your beliefs are woven into the fabric of your being.  To completely remove them and the habitual behaviors that help them stay in place requires diligence and commitment.

Although this transformation requires alertness, perseverance and determination, I promise the result can be beyond your wildest, most fabulous dreams.  Change always comes bearing gifts.

Are you ready to let the world see and know your true identity?   Then listen deeply to the words of Dr. Holmes … embrace them … let Spirit run your life … lean into your greatest yet to be, knowing, “The highest attitude of mind, from which all else springs, is one of perfect calm and absolute trust in Spirit. The one who can with perfect confidence look into the future and with perfect ease of mind rest in the present, and who never looks backward, but who has learned to be still in his own soul and wait upon Spirit, he is the one who will most completely demonstrate the supremacy of spiritual thought over all so-called material resistance.”

To be a spiritual activist calls you to show up AS SPIRIT.  You may discover that you are being called to be a “passionate, compassionate, non-aggressive, assertive activist-pacifist” in the pattern of Jesus.

Cosmology? What’s Yours?

So what is your cosmology?  Spirit has been thrusting this question in my face everywhere I turn.  Recently, It has been reminding me that central to my cosmology is the conviction that “my life is unfolding perfectly,” even when it doesn’t look like perfect!  I had intended to do blog weekly, then my spouse went in the hospital … and is still in the hospital.  We’re affirming that tomorrow’s surgery will result in release on Saturday.   Part of my commitment to my conviction about my life unfolding perfectly, are several spiritual practices, such as, flexibility and non-attachment, mindfulness and awakeness, compassion toward self and others, meditation and affirmative prayer, yoga and pranayama breathing.  In other words, every spiritual “tool” that I can haul out to move through each day with grace and ease to offset any and all experiences of klutziness and struggle that rise up in my humanness.

Many years ago I composed one of my favorite Sunday messages, entitled “Blinking Neon Arrows.”  Actually its full title was, “Please God, Give Me Blinking Neon Arrows.” I was and am absolutely confident that I am (we all are) surrounded by Divine Guidance and that I can easily access all that I need in order to make right decisions, be radiantly awesome as my “Divine Self” … and perhaps even be “Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!”  I also admit that the number of times I failed to recognize Divine Guidance when it was right in front of me has been astounding.  Psychologists will tell you that it is human nature to try to do the very best we can in any circumstance in light of what was known and being experienced at the time.  I look back sometimes incredulously, thinking, “That was my best??? … Oh my!!”  I have labeled many of them as “learning experiences,” and am comforted that age and my ability to learn from my mistakes have caused me to be more alert to the Presence of the Divine.  I have become much more open and receptive to Its nudges while leaning into my conviction, “my life is unfolding perfectly.”  [Argh!]

You may be asking what blinking neon arrows has to do with cosmology.  We each construct our own cosmologies … world views … our conglomeration of beliefs that are the framework of how we believe the world and all those who inhabit it should think and behave. My relationship with Divine Guidance is one of the cornerstones of my personal cosmology. I am confident that Divine Guidance, with or without blinking neon arrows, is immediately available to me…the only questions are, “Am I awake enough to sense it and trusting (perhaps courageous) enough to follow it?”

A key element of my cosmology is Oneness:  we are all in this together, inseparable from one another because we are each individuations of One common source.

No matter how sure I am that the world would be far better off if everyone would simply adopt my way of being (teehee), my cosmology does not include imposing my beliefs on others.  Unlike my perspective, some of our fellow travelers on the planet are very rigidly attached to their beliefs and tend to demand that others adhere to their cosmology “or else.”  This “my way or the highway” (or worse) mentality can show up as everything from bullying to full scale wars, as gangs, domestic violence and political rhetoric just to cite a few examples.  Other fellow travelers may take quite an opposite position and just flow with a personally applied laissez-faire, non-interference attitude that accepts whatever will be will be.

Most of us carom around in the middle.  We stand for something … well at least sort of stand for something … and don’t really care about the rest of what is going on unless it comes too close to home.  We only get aroused if whatever is going on will have an impact on us personally.  Some get riled up about what’s going on, yet take no action other than ranting, while others picket and march and are highly visible as well as vocal.  And then there are the altruists who contribute selflessly to the benefit of others with whom they may have no direct relationship.

Oddly, some tyrants and altruists have more in common than may be immediately apparent.  They are both inclined to want everyone to “do it my way” and believe that if everyone did cooperate with their perspectives the world would be a better place.  In light of my prior admission that I do believe that everyone would have a much better life experience, if they would simply adopt my cosmology of kindness and respect for all other expressions of the Divine (that is each and every one), this parallel of the altruist and the tyrant is a little hard for me to swallow.  Spirit has definitely presented me with an opportunity to stretch:  in the imaginal realm, I’m there … in the real world my internal conversation leaps to “how can I be tolerant of someone whose behaviors violate the basic foundation of my beliefs.” … “Is that really what Spirit is asking of me?”  The word tolerant is one of those double edged swords:  to tolerate something one must have already judged the person or situation and then decided to put up with whatever has been judged to be less than or wrong.  Not a good place to be.  Spirit,  calls us to move far beyond being tolerant … it awakens us to Oneness.  I am okay, at least on the intellectual level that I may share a desire with some people whose beliefs could not be farther from mine. I’m still caught in the “behaviors that I have judged to be unacceptable to me.  Since I believe that I am one with, and inseparable from all other expressions of the Divine, I’m mired in quick sand.  Any direction that I move seems to burrow deeper into what doesn’t seem to be reconcilable.  I’ll take this one into contemplation and shift direction here.  It’s no wonder that communication challenges seem to abound since we each perceive the world uniquely!

So what are your beliefs about how we can achieve a “greater good”?  What is your belief about what constitutes a greater good?  Do you believe that everyone should do good for the sake of doing good … that we are our brothers’ keeper and that if it’s going to be, it’s up to me?  These are just a few droplets in the ocean of your personal cosmology.

Back to “blinking neon arrows” … I have come to realize that my moments of inspiration when a thought comes to me “out of nowhere,” or when I simply must stop to appreciate a gorgeous sunset, when I hear a piece of music, or when I’ll feel I am trying to recall a song and instead it’s a new one that Spirit has planted in me … these are my blinking neon arrows.  The insessant presence of a topic like “cosmology,” is a “blinking neon arrow.”  Spirit is saying, “go here … there is much to learn and experience.” These are just a few of the myriad way in which Spirit is getting my attention.  When engaging in life visioning, asking what is Spirit desiring to express as me starting now, it is my commitment to be more keenly awake and alive to how Spirit is showing up in the ordinary, to write regularly and to speak and teach frequently … and to be consciously alive as Spirit in the world.

Have you entered 2017 with a vision?  If not, please use the contact form on our website to let us know that you would be interested in participating in Life Visioning … it’s awesome!