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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.

 

“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.