Troubled Times

thubfireWhen troubled times come upon us and emotions, and stories spin out of control, it’s time to remember that spiritual awakening is not for the faint of heart.  We often imagine that enlightenment or awakening spiritually will be filled with bliss, peace, and a deep sense of connection with the Oneness.  And that does happen.  But more commonly awakening is like a clock alarm when one is deeply asleep, a jarring, harsh reality that upsets our life and makes us wish we’d never set the stupid clock in the first place.

This is a troubling, upsetting, and distressing time in our nation and the world when harsh and strident voices demonize those around them with far-flung accusations splattering even the bystanders.  Many tend to imagine the worse and act from inner darkness instead of compassion and understanding.  But it is in times like these where we are given the opportunity to face the enemy within ourselves.  Will, we meet that moment with openness and a fearless heart or slide into fear, imagining the worst and assigning blame thereby closing our hearts and our minds to the suffering around us?

What if we were to focus on cultivating a community of kinship, compassion, and kindness so strong that Divine Spirit might recognize it?

Can we dream something different than the examples we see in world news?
Let us imagine a circle of compassion with no one standing outside it.
Let us stand with the poor, the powerless, and those without a voice.
Let us stand with the easily despised and the readily left out.
Let us stand with the disposable so the day will come when we stop throwing people away.
Let us stand with the demonized so the demonizing will stop, for demonizing is always based in untruth and a fear-based imagination.

Love-and-compassion-are-necessities-not-luxuries.-Without-them-humanity-cannot-survive.Suffering will only be alleviated by a community of people determined to show tenderness with each other. If we resolve to take our next steps in love, forgiveness, and compassion, it is inevitable that we will finally discover true freedom from the hell voices of the world and our minds’.

 

What If…?

What if there is nothing wrong with me?  What if there is nothing wrong with you?

apocalypse-statue-of-libertyIn this very difficult and scary time when the world we thought we knew seems to be disintegrating it becomes important to ground and center in spiritual truth.  No, I am not advocating a head in the sand, ignore the pain, and pretend everything is happening for the best attitude.  I’m suggesting that we reinforce our relationship with our humanity, with our inner goodness, with our strength of character.  I am suggesting we remember and ground ourselves in the benefactor qualities of the human race.

Because we can imagine and act on our imagination humans have created many amazing, beautiful, and positive things in this world.  We have also created, through imagination and action, genocide, poverty, destruction, hatred, bigotry, and war.  As we know the beginning of both heaven and hell reside in the use of our own mind.  It resides in the way we think and speak of others and the way we think and speak about ourselves.  As we become overwhelmed by hearing and seeing the dark side of human behavior let us also look for and listen to the good in our young people, in the actions of our brothers and sisters around the globe.  Let us remember that hard times call for heroic action.  The heroes of old are calling your name.  Many children, women, and men are listening and responding in protection, compassion, and a renewed sense of purpose.  Protecting all of life we nurture and defend what is precious.

hand-846092_1280-2-custom-1Here are some things to consider as you cultivate the hero within you:

*You are living your life the best you know how and attempting to get better every day.

*You make mistakes, like everyone else, which allows you to gain wisdom.

*You’re unique, whether you’re introverted or extroverted, practical or a dreamer, technical or artistic, book smart or street smart…however you are…you are the only person just like you on the planet.

*If you do what you enjoy and don’t harm other beings, you’re living a beautiful life.

*You will never become someone because you already are someone.

*If someone hurt, you…you didn’t deserve it…no one does…and it didn’t happen because of karma.

*It’s OK to feel your emotions and respond to them.  If you need to improve the way you respond; well everyone could use some improvement in that area.

Chaos, confusion, darkness, fear, anger, grief…these are all perfectly understandable emotions in this time of upheaval and potential destruction of the values we were taught was the American Way.  The Buddha once said, being with what is we can respond (not react) to what is.  We respond by knowing who and what we love- the Earth, the animals, the children, compassion, generosity, and fearlessness.  We respond by maintaining the knowledge of our inner goodness and working to create a world we can proudly leave to our children.

obi-wan-kenobi-star-wars-alec-guiness

And if, like the Jedi, many of us are destroyed, then like the Jedi we will rise again and defeat the darkness of hatred, greed, and anger.  The Force is with us!  We are unstoppable!

The Mud at the Bottom of the Pond

Enlightenment is knowledge previously undiscovered but now exists as new consciousness. It’s a new understanding of the world.  Let’s take medical knowledge for example.  It’s now possible for people who have joint pain to have their joints replaced.  What has been the result of this enlightenment?  Freedom from pain; longer life; ability to have quality of life.  In other words it helps people to flourish.

Enlightenment, therefore, helps us to flourish as spirit beings.  Enlightenment allows us to be pain free and assist others to be pain free.  

When enlightenment occurs, even in a mundane way, it’s not universally accepted and there are challenges to the manifestation and acceptance of the new knowledge.  In order to live our lives as the Avatars of Divine Spirit we are being challenged to modify thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in order to bring them into alignment with Divine Spirit rather than following our own ideas of how things should work.  To discover this Divine Spirit alignment is as simple as asking these questions- how is this kind to myself and others?  What does this decision have to do with creating more peace or love in the world?  Who will be helped?  Who will be left out?

The enlightenment process requires extreme vigilance of our mental and emotional states of being as well as our true motivations for taking action.  It’s important to be accountable for the decisions we make.  We are trained to believe that what we think is real, that what we feel is real, and what our body tells us is absolute. However, thoughts are an illusion of organic mind, emotions come and go for no apparent reason, and our body reacts to situations that are not factual.  Think of the last time you had a body reaction to a stick thinking it was a snake.

mud-mud-glorious-mud-11As in all times when we begin to embark upon a new enlightened state of consciousness, a time of initiation into that enlightenment, we are most likely going to experience a stirring up of the mud at the bottom of our pond.  The mud at the bottom of the pond colors the way we perceive the world.  During a time of expanded consciousness, it’s important to pause, to consider results, to consult with wise individuals, and to understand motivations BEFORE reacting from what we are feeling.  This is because once we have new insight we must integrate those understandings into our life.  Having a moment of enlightenment doesn’t mean it will last.  Having a moment of enlightenment that leads us to make, and manifest, transformational, permanent changes in our life anchors that knowledge into reality.

ANY strong emotion is a problem.  Love, joy, delight, anger, fear, pain, and grief- any strong emotion is a problem.  Love can be a problem.  When we are overpowered with “true love” we make impulsive decisions.  The emotion of “true love” “romantic love” wears off and what we have left will determine if the two people can continue in relationship or not.   Long term relationships can only be based on the fact that we actually like the other person and that person actually likes us also.

Consider- Emotion simply exists and it is totally up to us what we will make of it.

When there is a lot of mud stirred up at the bottom of the pond there is a real need to not make decisions from anger, pain, grief, disillusionment, resentment, and victimization.  These are the emotions arising when the mud of unconscious emotions are stirred up at the bottom of the pond.  When this happens we usually respond from one of two ways- Depression because we think we are at fault, or Anger and Blame because we believe whatever has happened is someone else’s fault.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaalpaaaajgy1nzgxm2y1lty5mgytndnjms1izgq3lwyyztlmmtu4yzywygTO BE ENLIGHTENED WE MUST DISCOVER THE MUD IN US!

It’s helpful to try and use muddy times to focus on Evolution rather than going to Hell and taking others with you.  Try to imagine what it means to be Sacred.  Imagine that you can accept yourself.  Imagine that you are able to truly live from your heart so you can act from your ancient wisdom.  When you live from your heart you are listening with the ears of Divine Spirit. You are listening for love, joy, and peace!  You are not listening for insults, judgments, and anger.  You are not afraid of dark entities or evil times.

If we are reacting to life rather than actually choosing life, we are not free.  There is a lot of talk about free will and being free to do what we want to do rather than what some authority tells us to do.  But we are programmed into following the path of least resistance- meaning we do the same things we have always done, think the thoughts we have always thought, tell the stories we have always told, and react the way we always react- this means we no longer understand the meaning of Free Will. 

The Path of Spirit is not there- EVER- to make your life work.  It is there so we have somewhere to stand when our life does not work.  It is the foundation on which we can depend because the Dharma will tell us what to do to restore ourselves to peace, compassion, kindness, and love.

Any Path that tells us that we can have what we want if we follow the proper forms, say the approved prayers, and believe in the correct god, is lying.  Life is not Safe.  There are no guarantees.  We cannot buy enough insurance or say enough prayers to make life safe.

Ash-E-Tah- I accept what is happening.  I don’t like what is happening.  And none of my emotions about this event matter because I will choose to do what is right according to the Dharma of my Spiritual Path even if that does not make me happy right this moment.

Healing restores us to wholeness.  It does not make us perfect.

To learn to Accept the self means accepting all of the self, including our ancient darkness.  We recognize our muddy pond and decide to grow a lotus.  Acceptance means to stop placing blame on others- our mother, father, teachers, friends, spouse, neighbors, or anyone else.  Blaming others will not help us have a better life- changing ourselves and the way we interpret life will help us have a better life.

ENLIGHTENMENT- See it.  Recognize what it is.  Accept what it is. Change it if necessary.  Then you can expand, grow, and be who it is possible for you to be.  Remember it only matters what you DO with what you FEEL.

enlightenment-vs-wisdomThe Path of Enlightenment is for those who are strong enough to follow the Path of Self Questioning.  Yes- question authority.  Your authority-for you are the greatest authority in your life…you always believe you know what everything means.  Do you every question your own authority or do you assume you should not be questioned because you know the truth?  Imagine asking yourself hard questions about what is truly right and not just what feels right in the moment.  Are you choosing from Divine Spirit’s Way of love, joy, and peace?  Or are you choosing from your will, your way, and your story about the way thing should be?

Spiritual Evolution

Everyone has a definition of what it means to be spiritual.  For some it’s following the rituals prescribed by the scriptures and doctrine of their faith, for others it’s spending time in nature, and for still others it’s a statement of belief such as- There is no God but God or Jesus Christ is my savior.  All faiths and spiritual paths have one goal in mind, however, and that is union with the Higher Power.

Let’s examine four ways in which spiritual evolution might be expressed.

God_father_kotarbinski-bThe first of these is the concept of the Higher Power as parental authority, a giver of laws, and the source of reward for good behavior or punishment for undesirable behaviors. This is, perhaps, the most common approach to spirituality.  Probably this is because we have copious examples of how authoritative expectation functions in life- from our parents, teachers, employers, spouses, and even our friends.  Most connections have a set of expectations (laws) that govern the success or failure of that relationship.  When we conform to expectations we receive the reward of being accepted, appreciated, and belonging.  If we transgress those expectations we are likely to experience rejection, admonishment, and possible divorcement.

When Divine Spirit is perceived as parental we believe that everything happens because it’s God’s will.  Everything happens for a reason and it’s all good. We get a job because spirit wants us to have it.  We lose a job because spirit wants us to do something else.  Earthquakes, fires, and floods are sent as messages from the Higher Power. We make decisions and hope our spiritual allies will make it all come out right in the end. So, in this phase it’s not unusual to become dogmatic and even rigid in our expectations of ourselves and others on whatever religious or spiritual path we have chosen.

personal-empowermentIf we make it past the concept that there is only one truth, one way, and one faith we might arrive in the territory of personal empowerment. Personal empowerment is an important psychological development of our personality so that we can make independent and considered decisions, and create our lives in a way that is rewarding and comfortable.  However, personal empowerment it is not the goal of spirituality.

When personal empowerment is made into a spiritual goal it often entails the rejection of all established faiths or any group that appears to have a hierarchy.  There can be, and often is, a rejection of spiritual teachers as well. Everything of Spirit is already inside of usI am my own guru.   However, how will we learn to access this spirit self or tell the difference between wishful imaginings and true spiritual enlightenment?

Sometimes our relationship with the Higher Power may be measured in how successful we are in attaining prestige, wealth, health, and the “right” relationship. There are, of course, a plethora of self-help, and how-to, books that describe in detail ways to bypass a tutor or spiritual mentor and get what we want from life.  Some of this information may actually be helpful on the journey.  But let’s consider that if we want to become proficient at any life skill it’s easier if we work with someone who actually knows what they’re doing and have experience in expressing the skills we hope to attain.

event_221557182Occasionally, personal empowerment becomes a yearning to acquire psychic skills or abilities such as clairvoyance, levitation, channeling, fire-starting, astral traveling, spirit guide acquisition, angelic encounters or visions of being God. Many consider these demonstrations to be evidence of spiritual attainment.  We can even find numerous examples of spiritual masters who demonstrated many or even all of these qualities.  However, they also exhibited loving-kindness, generosity, equanimity, compassion for all life, and a radiant presence that inspired others to find a way to experience divine fullness for themselves.

The third stage of developmental spirituality can take the form of complacency.  We have created a life that works, are engaged in service activities, and comfortable in our psychological understandings of self and spirit.  We are willing to explore possibilities of enlightenment but don’t wish to have our concepts and beliefs questioned or upset.  Spiritual alignment represents the occasional retreat, workshop, or meetings with a trusted mentor who is supportive of our investigative and experiential relationship with the Higher Power.  There is little or no desire to make a major commitment to enlightenment or awakening.  No desire to enter the realms of no self. My life works and I don’t want to mess with it.

GalaticAlignEyeSomeday we will have a profound desire for awakening.  When we are committed to removing anything that stands between us and a full, heartfelt, and impassioned relationship with Divine Spirit- we have reached the fourth stage of our spiritual evolution.  We awaken to the great being within.  This great being accepts life as it is- loss, change, death, old age, and illness. And yet this self knows that we remain woven to the wholeness of all life- that life is really only about loving, sharing, and living enthusiastically for the benefit of others. As long as space and time endure, as long as sentient beings remain-may I too remain to assuage the suffering of the world.

When we have gained skillful means to navigate the difficulties of life- equanimity becomes truly possible.  We have true faith.  This faith remains even if we lose everything we have acquired- money, property, prestige, fulfillment in our career, and even our loved ones. At the center of our existence there will reside a deep and abiding love and communion with Divine Spirit.   We will have merged into the Ocean of Oneness and although waves and storms may rage outwardly, within we are at peace- resting in the tranquil wholeness of Divine Spirit’s grace.  This is the path without delusions.

Willing To Go Into The Dark

Truth-Himself-Change-It-To-Reality-Final-Cover-FITAOne thing that has to happen on the spiritual path is to take a journey into the dark to find the light of truth, to discover our precious and true self.  There’s a difference between reality and truth.  Reality is what we imagine life is, truth is what life actually is.  Every time something happens we imagine an interpretation of the event and weave that meaning into the story of our lives.

Example- Marlene tried to reach a hospice patient on the phone.  She called three times in a three hour period but couldn’t reach her.  The patient lived alone so Marlene was concerned that she had died and worried about it for many hours.  But when she finally called the same woman later that evening her patient was fine.

So we can see the facts (truth)- a telephone call was made and there was no answer.  Then we see there is an attempt to interpret why the telephone was not answered.  Attempting to figure out why the telephone was not answered is pure imagination.  Reality is created from imaginings while the Truth is created from simple facts with no interpretation.

6627345_origWhat you know to be the truth about you does not need to be interpreted.   To say I have a heart of service does not mean you a good person. It means you have a heart of service. To say- I love people does not mean you are spiritual- it means you love people.  One is truth and the other is an imagination of meaning.  This could also be reversed.  I was angry, therefore, I am a bad person.  I told a lie, therefore, I am not spiritual.  These are imagined interpretations of an emotional state of experience.

When we take a journey into the dark to find the light of truth…we are attempting to find the thing itself not the stories about it.  So as we take the journey of finding our precious self- we will need to work our way past the interpretations and stories into the true purpose of our lives.  This means that we are going to come to new understandings about what it means to be human.  Everyone has an opinion about what it means to be human.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAANrAAAAJDNmNDEyOTQyLWQyZTUtNDdkYy05MjYxLTM2NjA0MjZmY2IzNwExample- At some point we may have experienced betrayal from a loved one, or at least know someone who spoke of betrayal by their partner, friend, or family member.  Once a betrayal occurs there is a tendency to stop believing in love and instead simply wait for everyone we love to betray us. However, having something happen, even many times, does not make a truth- it does not automatically become THE WAY LIFE IS.  Questions need to be asked, how many times has this happened to us or another, once, twice, three times-  was it truly every time in every relationship?  How many people have we known in our lives- was every one of them involved in a betrayal incident with us?  When looked at logically we can see betrayal is not a truth- it is a perception of reality.

Most of what individuals consider truth is a perception of reality.
A perception is formed when we give meaning to certain events
and hold onto that interpretation when making future decisions.

As we proceed to go into the dark to find the light of truth- there will be some ideas that are universally true and some concepts that are only a perception of reality.  For example there is a perception of reality that women who live in cultures where there are multiple wives have a true space of sisterhood.  Or men in other less civilized cultures always work together to help one another.   Neither of these statements are universally true.  These things may be true sometimes and not true at other times.  There is no place on earth where life is always wonderful.  It is universally true that all beings fear violence and death, and seek to be safe and loved.  But how individuals go about seeking these truths might require lengthy journeys into the dark of imagination and interpretation.

There isn’t anything wrong with having thoughts about our lives.  But life could be less filled with suffering if we learn to separate fact from generalizations and storytelling.  Life can be wonderful when we allow our stories to mean less and our true heart experiences to mean more.

Remember we are deeply entrenched in a belief system about perfection.  Most of us are trained into the idea that there is a certain perfected state which we must attain through struggle and hard work.  But as soon as we begin to measure ourselves against some imagined state of perfection we are creating a mental and emotional hell for ourselves and others.

Going into the dark is finding our way out of illusions
and dreams into what is awake and true. 

The-sacred-lifeWe are sacred and life is sacred because it is, not because of what we believe or think about it.  Everything is a unique expression of Great Spirit’s energy.  Some people say that in order to be sacred we must be able to take action.  But a flower is sacred and it is not taking action- it is only being.  What exists can be considered sacred.  It has life- even a flower has life- it has an indwelling spirit.

What makes humans different from other creatures of the earth is discontent.  When we let go of discontent what happens?  Peace.  Joy.  Freedom.  Love.  Harmony.  Humans are capable of discontent but we are not doomed to discontent.

What thoughts are we going to bring into our awareness?  Can we know our holiness of being?  We can share our holiness of being; which does not require us to do anything except be that energy.  When we come into beingness we have found the Light of Truth.

It is important to learn to center ourselves in truth.  Remember that Truth begins with what we know is precious about ourselves.  We are all well trained into pathways of discontent.  If we find something precious within us what will happen if we don’t express it all the time?

We are discontent with ourselves.  When I am full of peace then I am sacred.  When I am full of joy I am sacred.  When I am serving other, when I have a willing heart, when I am offering my gifts…then I am sacred. The rest of the time I am profane, confused, angry, hurt, and unhappy.

unborn_babyWhat if we just are sacred without doing anything?  To rest in each day is important because it is only by going into a place of non-action…into the dark… that we can truly appreciate and find the precious light.

Before we were born we were in the dark.  There was nothing for us to do and we did not understand that we were supposed to be bored and unhappy with our lack of accomplishments.  We just existed.  And for most of us- our experience was- that our mother knew we were precious even though she couldn’t see us, hold us, or do anything for us.  We must go back into the dark womb of Our Divine Mother so that we can find once again remember and find the Light.  There is nothing to do there.  There are no questions to ask

Let us go back into her dark womb and allow ourselves
to be reborn from Divine Mother.  

star-day-mom

Reality or Truth?

Reality is the story we tell ourselves about daily life, personal encounters, and why we are the way we are.  Most people believe in a past where certain things happened or didn’t happen and what happened or didn’t happen creates their ability to have a happy life or not.  But what if our belief in reality is inaccurate?  What if someone else who was present at that time, engaged in the same set of events, has a different interpretation of reality?

The people of the United States are among the most litigious individuals in the world running a close second to the Athenians of the 3rd century BCE.  courtroom-drama-1When others do not concur with our interpretation of events we sue them in a court of law, hoping to find others to agree with our position and justify our story and pay a penalty for being wrong.  While this might all be fine and admirable in certain circumstances this attitude will only cause trouble for the spiritual seeker.

A Great Being once said, “Most people would rather be justified than healed or enlightened.”

So what is “Spirit Truth”?  How can we know if a religion or spiritual teacher is revealing the “real” deal?  taktshang2The most tried and true method of discovery is seeing how those teachings, those religious truths change one’s life for the better.  Now, I don’t mean do you have more money, friends, sex, or influence.   I mean do you forgive more, love more; have less fear, less anxiety, and greater kindness, tolerance, and compassion toward yourself and the world? Can you let go of the stories of your past in order to create new stories that bring joy and peace?  Are you motivated to do something to help make a difference for those less fortunate than yourself?  Do you wake up in the morning and give thanks for a new day of blessings?

If these things are true than the teachings and teachers are true…regardless of doctrines, dogmas, traditions and creeds.  There is truth everywhere because we are meant to find it!  We are the beloved children of Great Mother, Father, and Weaver.  It is our destiny to free ourselves from a plethora of crazy stories about who did what and why…so that we can absolutely know Spirit’s Truths of Love, Joy, and Peace…not emotionally…but mystically.

 demiurges-homme-femme-543po

Where there is love,
there I stand with you.
Where there is love,
joy is shining through.
The angels sing.
Spirit’s calling you.
Where there is love,
Spirit’s dream is true.

Where there is love,
Earth and Sky are one.
Where there is love,
Fairies dance and sing.
Sacred people come,
to the magic ring.
The heart fire calls.
Love’s the song we sing.

More About Love

“It is possible to love everyone.”

The path of love is service for and to the Light. When we practice love as a spiritual path we must cultivate the impersonal as well as the personal.  Impersonal love means non-attachment to the gifts, services, and possible devotions we will offer to our loved one or the gifts, devotions and services offered to us. It means knowing that love is working even when we do not see immediate results.

Personal love smiles and is hurt when the other does not smile back.  Impersonal love smiles, shares and smiles, and offers over and over and over again. It is necessary to learn to be loving rather than to simply act in loving ways.

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Love is Habit Forming.  It does not take long to make anything a habit. We are told that it takes 21 days to make something a habit.  We are also told that it might take years to break ourselves of old habits. Today, let us to decide to make spiritual love a habit.  If love is the center of our life, how will we act around others?  How will we think about others?  If love is the center of our lives how will we treat ourselves?  How will we speak internally to ourselves? How will we think about ourselves?

Guilt is totally worthless if we are seeking to BECOME SPIRIT LOVE. Looking at ourselves with contempt and constantly worrying over our difficulties or mistakes leads to self- absorption.  Being worthless gives us an excuse not to try. Acceptance of our mistakes and ownership of the responsibility of having adopted bad habits allows us to find a way around, over, under, or through these obstacles.  Guilt and self-loathing stop us from imagining that life could be different.  Self-acceptance is the first step to self-improvement.  Self-improvement is the first step to becoming a being of love.

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How to create true love

  1. Acceptance of self
  2. Acceptance of others as they currently are
  3. Willingness to understand another’s ways of expressing love
  4. Commitment to Compassionate Communication
  5. Being honest with yourself
  6. The ability to forgive
  7. The ability to appreciate
  8. The ability to take responsibility for your mistakes
  9. The ability to laugh at yourself and life

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Great Spirit, with your help,
Your Blessing, and with your Grace-
I will become powerful with Love.
Through this power, which is Your power
Lives are healed-
Differences are forgotten-
Life becomes abundant-
Peace can truly have a chance to grow-
In the Power of Love
Children come to know Great Spirit as Real-
With Love Faith is easy-
In the power of love
All things seem possible.

Great Spirit make me a vessel of Healing Love.
May I see with the eyes of love-
Hear with the ears of love-
Give with the hands of love.
May I be a source of Your Love
in the lives of those around me.