Decisions in Wisdom

Life is an experience. There is no way to avoid the experiences life presents. We are affected by the weather, by what we eat or don’t eat, by having a home or being homeless, by the quality of the air, the water, and the thoughts in our minds. We are affected by the news, social media, movies, books, the games we play, the conversations we have, and the communities to which we belong. Interdependence is a truth and there is nothing we can do about it other than develop skillful discernment.

GalaticAlignEyeSometimes we get the impression that being wise means being perfect or not making any mistakes. Striving for perfection is considered a sound business goal, a necessity in education, and a religious ideal, but that striving in and of itself is unwise. Many times, it seems we have only two choices- be 100% right or guilty and a failure for being wrong. Neither of these choices are particularly logical.

Everything changes. What was wonderful and beautiful one day might be on the compost heap another day, like the flowers from a birthday or anniversary. Wisdom comes from the ability to respond to life and adjust our response when the results require it. Life has cycles. Sometimes we have lots of energy- physically, mentally, or emotionally- and sometimes we are unmotivated and just plain tired. Wise decisions come from seeing what is needed where we are.

Of course, the modern world of work and family, doesn’t allow for cycles. If we enter a time of low energy we are expected to find a way to bring that energy up to the level we are being paid to uphold. If we enter a time of quiet or contemplative thought people are asking us what’s wrong. When someone is experiencing grief, there is an expectation that it can only last for so long and then it needs to be gone. And if old memory upsets arise we are told the past is past and needs to be forgotten. No wonder so many modern people end up with a drug or alcohol problem.Wisdom-Quote-10

So, what can a spiritual person do? The first possibility is noticing if we are responding to life or reacting to life. When shit happens we probably have an internal reaction to that shit. This is called an emotional arising. If we act on that emotion it is often a mistake. To respond, we must develop a pause. Whatever emotions we experience, even the most desirable and wonderful kind, like love or joy, require a pause before a decision is made. The pause can be three minutes, three hours, three days, or three weeks. It needs to be long enough that we can emotionally move out of arising into contemplation. We enter contemplation to ask questions. How does this opportunity fit into my overall life goals? What will I need to change to engage this energy, and will those changes be beneficial over the long haul? Sometimes, we might ask what does this (thing, idea, emotion) have to do with peace? How will this create more love for everyone? We can even ask- What would Jesus do? Or Buddha? Or any Great Being that we admire. Or perhaps use my personal favorite- Will this matter after I’m dead?

wiseAn excellent way to determine wisdom in decision making is a simple statement- Results Matter! If we don’t like the results we need a better plan. If a better plan doesn’t do it we need to drop it. We can have the best of intentions and then discover that the results have created suffering for ourselves or others. That means we made a mistake. Most mistakes are not fatal. Life is about learning by trying and doing and making lots of mistakes along the way. When we truly understand this, we can begin to be with what is. This is wisdom on the spiritual path.

I vow to be with what is:
if there’s a cost, I choose to pay it.
If there’s a need, I choose to give.
If there’s pain, I choose to feel.
If there’s sorrow, I choose to grieve.
When burning, I choose heat.
When calm, I choose peace.
When starving, I choose hunger.
When happy, I choose joy.
Whom I encounter, I choose to meet.
What I shoulder, I choose to bear.
When it’s my birth, I choose to live.
When it’s my death, I choose to die.
Where this takes me, I choose to go.
Being with what is, I respond to what is.

Wisdom is often confused with knowledge. We are taught that if we know facts and lots of them we will be happier and wiser. Knowledge that is not practical and that doesn’t help us to be better human beings doesn’t lead to wisdom. Sometimes, it’s even unnecessary information. Maybe it’s information that we are unable to do anything about like the suffering of people in war zones around the world. Constant knowledge of those facts can lead to emotional suffering or the callousness to feel nothing. How much news or social media we chose to expose ourselves to on any given day requires a decision in wisdom.

Sometimes facts are irrelevant. Let’s take the example of a Hindu yogi who lived most of his life in a small forest monastery and was much sought after for his holiness and spiritual wisdom, but didn’t understand that the Earth was round. “It’s always looked flat to me,” was his response when told this fact and he was uninterested in changing his mind.

blessed_620Often the wisest person is the one who has a simple formula for life. We can adopt one of these for ourselves or create our own statement that keeps us steady on the Path of Wisdom.
“Even the smallest person has a contribution to make.”
“Love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart and your own mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
“Give to others only what you are willing to receive yourself”
“Today, I will do what I can.”
“My actions are my only possession. I am the heir to my deeds. My deeds are the ground on which I stand.”
“The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.”

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.

Decisions Made In Wisdom

May All of My Decisions Result In Wisdom
In order to grow wise we must have experiences.  If we do not allow ourselves to engage in events we will never grow wise.  Some of our experiences may be entertaining, fulfilling, educational, and loving as well as difficult or challenging.

In order to grow wise we must learn to accept and celebrate our mistakes as well as our successes and opportunities. However in our society of grades, evaluations, tests, and comparisons most of us have developed a horror of mistakes.  We wish to be 100% correct 100% of the time.  Of course, this will not happen.  When we are incorrect/ make a mistake we often choose one of several options- we pretend the event did not occur and attempt to forget it (denial) or we admit we made a mistake and suffer guilt over it for various amounts of time.

Sometimes we believe that Spiritual Wisdom means we will know all of the answers to all of life’s questions.  We might believe that if we are wise we will never choose inappropriately and that everything we do will succeed; especially if we have the “right” spiritual approach to life.

5-Common-Cyber-Security-Incident-Response-Mistakes-You’re-Probably-Still-MakingHow Can The Decisions Be Made In Wisdom?
In order to learn to make decisions in wisdom we need to develop a “pause button” within our thoughts.  In order to install a “pause button” we must be in awareness of our thoughts.

Meditation is the time honored practice to actually understand what we are thinking.  Humans do not come hardwired with a pause button.  This is why patience is considered a virtue.

“I will pause before I act.  I will pause before I speak.”

A three second pause before we take breath to speak can make all the difference to what happens next.

Remember- if we keep thinking a certain thought, sooner or later it will pop out of our mouth.  As long as we keep telling the same old story, as long as we keep nurturing the same worn out thoughts sooner or later we will act on them.

When making decisions we consider other people’s needs as well as our own.

Learn how to work with the energy of change: Change your mind, change your thoughts, change your stories, change your energies and change your life.  This is wisdom.

When we make a mistake, change the plan.  Repeating the same action over and over expecting a different result is unwise.

To change a mistake take ownership of what is said, take ownership of what has been done and take ownership of the need to respect the emotional needs of those around you.

A_meditation-2How can we tell if our decisions are made in wisdom?


Wrong decisions result in suffering.
Correct and wise decisions result in outcomes that are good for ourselves and others.

Learning From Our Mistakes.
Develop discernment.  There is a difference between perceived good and actual good.  With perceived good it appears there should be positive outcome and instead there is suffering.  Actual good causes positive results and achievements for everyone involved.

When trying to decide rather or not we should try something again ask-

“How much did I suffer the last time I tried this?”

Some energies will be painful until we have practiced enough to make the activity easy and natural.  We might what to try yet again…but maybe not.

Most of us are Helpers.  We might even have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility for others.  When we have a desire to assist others to be happy, to succeed, to bring about changes- it will be important to think, pause, and imagine what the result will be for that person.  Imagine all of the consequences of this decision in the life of that person. Then ask if they wish for help instead of assuming that of course they need our help!

When we are Helpers it’s important to learn the wise application of one word- NO
We can learn when to offer help and when to leave others to learn from their mistakes. We can learn when to take refuge because we have no emotional or physical resources left to offer to those requiring help.

Wisdom is cultivated through decision making.
There is no one right answer to all of the various decisions to be made within life.  No is not always the appropriate answer.  Yes is not always the appropriate answer.  We must learn to be imaginative, inventive, and insightful cultivating wisdom and skillful means throughout our lives.


A New Mission

This Covenant Prayer is a description of a way of life – a life of knowing and sharing love, joy, and peace with all beings.  The spirit path can be summed up in this phrase-I promise to put in lots of hard work to create love, joy, and peace for myself and all other beings.

 The Words of our Covenant with Great Spirit are:

In honor we hold ourselves because we are the children of Mother Earth.
We invoke the sensual wild so that all life is abundant.
May all the decisions we make bring wisdom. 
May we find the wisdom to become what is needed for others and ourselves.
We shall not begin what we cannot finish in love, joy, and peace.
We accept all people as our own (family) and open our hearts to share with them.
United in purpose, together, we are one.
We are makers and shapers of beauty in the world.
We sow the seeds of eternity and reap the harvest of love and joy,
over,and over, and over again.

We are willing to go into the dark to find the light of truth, so that our actions
take place in rightness and our passion leads to devotion.
May our changes bring healing to the world.
In the heart of the Wisdom Light we shall find comfort.
May our protection be guided by obedience to a Higher Power.
May our strength be supportive of the weak and helpless of the world.
May our joyous playfulness bring magical possibilities and laughter set us free.
It is in the heart of our mirror self that we shall find
unconditional love, so that love may truly lift up the world.

a720159d11d4487ce161cd8c935888eeThe mission of our time is to live by a set of ideas and ideals of consciousness whose very nature has the power and ability to transform hearts and minds.  It is a process of gathering friends and companions who are convinced of the truth that all life is precious and no one should be left out.  There have been many Missions of Consciousness throughout time; adopted for a while the teachings bring great change.  Then, one by one these statements of greatest of being lose the power to awaken hearts and direct lives.  It is time for a new Mission.  The Mission of the Metta.  This Mission requires each of us to focus on three things: Liberation, Obedience, and Release.


02fb413f32e2d99898239eefbd868117Liberation from suffering is a part of every mission.  The process of suffering is caused by what we have that we don’t want and what we want that we don’t have.  The path of freedom from suffering is gratitude, appreciation, and blessing.  In gratitude we focus on the people, places, experiences, and things in our lives that we have in such abundance.  With appreciation we speak our thanksgiving to those who have walked with us at different times thanking them for the gifts they have shared with us.  We acknowledge that we are part of a whole, not a separate being, independent and alone.  With blessing we speak Metta for others: May you be well and happy.  May you be at ease.  May you feel safe.  May you know you are loved.

To be a true seeker it is part of our job to bless, express appreciation, and count our gratitudes.  It is not enough for us to be happy, have love, and a peaceful life.  We are responsible to create the possibility of these gifts in the lives of others: humans, animals, and all living beings.  In this way we will know we are truly on the path of Freedom/Liberation.


2ade9f2fb20fd9b0b982de5a4698bda3A True Seeker is not self-employed, so obedience becomes important.  A True Seeker knows he or she is employed in life, in spirit, by a Higher Power- Divine Mother…Divine Father…Divine Weaver.

When we practice being obedient to Great Spirit we decide to be obedient to love, peace, compassion, healing, generosity, and joy.  We change our attitude, our interactions, and involvements so that the energy we express is in accordance with Divine Will.  It is the Will of Great Spirit that we practice love, joy, and peace with all beings.


ba6c4424174458bf1f6d7bf3fc22bd4eRelease is very difficult because we are afraid of what will happen if we are not in control; little realizing that we have never really been in control of anything other than our thoughts.  Even controlling our thought is a challenge for most of us.  So we learn to meditate, chant mantras, and focus with prayers hoping to gain a little peace from the experience of monkey mind.  When we release we are allowing ourselves to let go of the visions we have of being bad, unworthy, lazy, confused, disorganized, or unlovable.  We let go of the vision of our amazing gifts, accomplishments, and knowledge.  We allow the Ancient Wisdom of Great Mother- Great Father to guide our lives.  The voice of the Divine is audible within our hearts if we are truly seeking to practice love, joy, compassion, generosity, and peace for ourselves and for all other beings.

A New Mission, A New Consciousness is arising- May we join our voices,
our hearts, and our lives together for the benefit of all beings everywhere!

A Journey Into The Dark

journey-beginsThere is 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 what it means and weave it into the story of our lives. Let’s examine this- first there are the facts- perhaps a telephone call was made and there was no answer.  Then there is the attempt to decide what it means that the telephone was not answered.  Figuring out what something means is pure imagination.  Reality is created from imaginings while the Truth is created from simple facts with no interpretation.

What you know to be the truth about you does not need to be interpreted.   To say I have a heart of service could be interpreted that you a good person. But it really it is only a statement that acknowledges that you have a heart of service. To say- I love people could be interpreted that you are spiritual. But in truth it simply means that you love people.  One is truth and the other 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.  Accepting what is without trying to connect it to another concept leads to freedom of mind.

awakeningWhen we take a journey into the dark (of interpretation) to find the light of truth…we are attempting to find the thing itself not our stories about it.  So as we take the journey of the Metta (loving kindness) we will need to work our way past the interpretations and stories about appearances into the truth of each statement.

The Metta
May all beings have-
Fresh air and water
Food to eat
A home & someone to love
A meaningful purpose
Be well and happy
And Free from Suffering

Life is not wonderful because you have thoughts and interpretations about what is happening.  Although there isn’t anything wrong with having thoughts about your life-try to think about the possibility of separating fact from generalization and storytelling.  Life can be wonderful when you live in the Light of Truth knowing you are sacred, compassionate, and human spirit.  So, try to allow your stories to mean less and your life become more meaningful.

PerfectionismIt is a fact that we are going to like some people and not particularly like others.  This does not mean we are bad, unspiritual, or emotionally defective in some way.  Not liking some people doesn’t mean anything unless we decide it means something. Remember that there is a deeply entrenched belief system about perfection.  Most of us are trained into the idea that there is a certain standard by which we must live.  As soon as we begin to measure ourselves against some imagined state of perfection we are creating a delusion, a fanciful measurement that will most likely find us wanting .  This is not real!

Going into the dark is finding your way out of the illusions and imaginings into what is awake and true. 

hellobabyisitdarkWe are sacred because we exist.  Because we are.  Because we are a unique expression of Great Spirit energy.  Some people would tell us that in order to be sacred we must be able to take action.  But a rock is sacred and it is not taking action- it’s only being.  What exists can be considered sacred.  It has life- even a stone has life- it has an indwelling spirit.  One of the challenges that happened for humankind was when we decided we were the only ones with an indwelling spirit.  Some people have even decided that not all humans have an indwelling spirit so they can be killed or used in some way because they are not sacred.

 All life is sacred and precious and a unique expression of divine creative energy of the All Spirit Beingness. 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.  We just existed.  For most of us- our experience with our mother was that we were precious even when she could not see us or hold us.  Let us go back into the dark womb of the Great Mother so that we can find the Light.  There is nothing to do there.  There are no questions to ask.

Go into her dark womb and allow yourself
to be changed by the Great Mother.mother_stars_s

Examining Our Conditioned Mind

women-149577_640Because we live in a body, in a physical existence, a family, nation, and culture our mind has been trained in certain ways.  Most of this conditioning takes place in childhood or early adolescence.  Once the mind is conditioned- enculturated- trained- habituated-it takes attention and discipline to change the reactivity and assumptions of our automatic and hasty mind. The preferred method of changing or reconditioning the mind is compassionate witnessing of our thoughts, monitoring our emotional response, and gently allowing time, silent pauses, and deep breaths to mitigate our mercurial and unconscious response to life’s sudden surprises.

Let’s examine the seven probable filters or lens through which we view the world. These seven lens are: Gender, Early Physical Environment, Family Class or Caste, Nation of Origin, Ethnic or Racial Origin, and Family Beliefs.

Early Physical Environment means that you were a child in a physical location. Did you grow up in the city or the country; in a large town or a small one; did you grow up on a military base; did you have opportunities to interact with nature and a wild environment; were animals in your life or not; did you see animals as pets or a means of livelihood such as farm or ranch animals?  Australia MoodboardThe place in which you spent your childhood colors the way you interpret environments around you.  It affects how comfortable you are in certain types of situations.

Let’s use as an example a relationship with animals.  If there were pets in your childhood and there was a positive interaction with them you probably enjoy playing with animals and may even own several cats or dogs yourself. But if you grew up without exposure to animals it’s probable that you have a certain discomfort around them.

Family Beliefs during childhood affects how you interact with others now.  This is true if you grew up with spiritual beliefs or none at all.  Even if you rejected your family’s training on how to interact and what to expect from others it is still affecting you.  Rebellion is a form of being affected for there is nothing to rebel against if there isn’t a pattern in the first place.

Screen Shot 2012-08-07 at 10.37.44 AMFamily pattern beliefs might include a belief in secrecy- what’s heard in the family stays in the family. Secrets are necessary in order not to get into trouble or not to get others into trouble because no one must find out what is happening behind closed doors.  Sometimes the pattern of a family belief could sound like this: life is a struggle.  Only educated people succeed in life.  It’s as easy to love a rich man as a poor man.  What will the neighbors think?  We have a reputation to protect.  Don’t talk about father/mother’s drinking you’ll get them fired.

The things you were taught to believe, as a child, about religion or a lack of religion affect your response to situations and opportunities within life.  Perhaps you have a challenge with organized religion, even if you didn’t belong to one, but what you saw, heard, and learned as a child created a belief and you might still be operating from that belief.  If your mental thoughts constantly create an experience of guilt and shame regarding your thoughts, actions, or lack of action- this is a conditioning of mind from your family’s or religion’s understanding of the world.

Family Caste or Class- which is still part of our consciousness even if we like to believe that people in the United States don’t operate from classification.  If you were raised middle class you believe one set of values, if you were raised blue collar there is a different view of the world, and if you were raised in poverty the way you understand life was effected.   And if you were in a wealthy class there was also a set of expectations and understandings about duty to the family, self, and maintaining place.  People of different social classes are discouraged from mingling too much with people who are different from us. People are still  judged by how they dress, speak, and where they came from.

Ethnic or Racial Identity also plays a part in defining our understanding of the world and our place in it.  Most Caucasian (white people) don’t think of having a racial or ethnic identity but if we  truly examine our beliefs we will soon see that white people have a certain way of acting and thinking that is different than those of others. Examine what you understand about your ethnicity and what you believe that means for you in the world.

National Identity is also part of our conditioned mind consciousness.  This is the way we were taught to think of being a citizen of a particular country.  What did you learn in history about the role of your country in the world?  Who were your nations enemies?  Who were the allies and why?  What rights do you believe you have that others do not?  And why is that ok?

GS-2Perhaps the greatest conditioning of all is Gender orientation.  What does it mean to be a woman?  What does it mean to be a man?  What does it mean if you are LGBT?  When we are born, or even before, the most important question people ask about a baby is- it a boy or a girl? From there many assumptions are going to be made about the future of that being.  What do most people in the world believe is true about girls and women?  What do most people in the world understand about the role of male entities?  What do many people believe about those who are LGBT?  LGBT people are still persecuted all around the globe and even killed because that’s not an ok gender to be.

You might consider exploring these seven lens within a group of friends. One of the advantages of exploring these seven mind conditionings with a group is the ability to discover that no two people will ever be exactly alike.  This is true even if they came from the same family background. Each person has a unique view of themselves and how the world functions because each individual exposed to these common conditionings will decide and respond in a different way.

Therefore to practice being Human we learn Acceptance and Allowing. 

acceptance-seeing-with-heartAcceptance is not approval even if the dictionary seems to indicate that’s what it means.  Acceptance is seeing the value in another person because of his/her unique and one of a kind beingness.  We cease to expect another to be just like ourselves and instead have an adventure of discovery together.

Allowing is the permission we give to another to be herself or himself and to express his or her life without needing our approval or disapproval.  This is the truth of freedom which is seldom experienced even though impressively talked about.

Understanding that we can’t escape our reactive mind response to life can either be depressing or an opportunity of awakened intelligence, of enlightenment.  If we understand how we react to the world around us from our experiences of the past we have the potential to experience the present moment in full awareness.  We learn to see the conditions and emotional arising from the past; take note of their existence; and breathe into the current moment, the current time, to see if we might experience something new, exciting, and momentously beautiful.

We are slaves to the past when we are unaware of its influence.  We are awake to the present moment when we perceive the past but remain firmly planted in the now.acceptance

Reducing Attachments

The goal of a monastic community is union with the Divine as expressed by Great Mother, Great Father, and Great Weaver.  This is only possible as we reduce our attachments to, and preoccupation with, personal goals, desires, wishes, fears, angers, resentments, and needs.  Attachment is defined as having a fondness, liking, or bondage to things, methods, or peopleenthusiasm_webSimplicity, the sought after goal of the spiritual path is the ability to realize we have enough.  It’s creating an uncomplicated life with a minimum of possessions and emotional attachments to self. We do this because we understand that having only what we really need allows us more time and energy to focus on prayer, meditation, and compassionate service.

All of us have attachments.  We have filled our life with connections to people, places, and things.  We do not want to give up most of these components of life.  We are emotionally committed to relationships, possessions, education, status, jobs, money, security, family, friends, and our pets.  Some of these attachments are desirable and have motivated us to do great things, such as become more compassionate, develop our intellect, or care for those who need our help.  However, it’s wise to acknowledge that certain attachments, especially to power (status), privilege (awards), and possessions (money), can make it difficult for us to maintain our core values and moral standards.  Even a life of service can have a hidden agenda- the desire for acknowledgement in this world or the next.

200-2The evidence is all around us.  Our fear of losing our job might prevent us from speaking out against unethical conduct in the workplace.  Fear of losing our independence can prevent us from entering a monastery or taking guidance from a spiritual teacher.  Clinging to financial security might lead us to remain in an abusive relationship or allow our children to be abused. As individuals it’s important to admit that our desire for comfort, financial well-being, our need to be in the know, have our voice heard, our opinions validated, and our contributions appreciated personal can create conflicts with an enlightened, spiritual life.  At some point we have to decide that we have reached an adequate stage of attainment (we have enough) only then can we truly live according to greater ideals and spiritual truths.

Reduction of attachments requires discernment.  And this discernment can be around simple, everyday objects that most people take for granted.  Let’s take cell phones for example – in the modern world such an object appears to be a necessity of life.  However, suppose that the monastery has a land line which can be used occasionally for personal calls and a cell phone that the monastics take with them if they must run errands away from the property.  newcellphonesSince Bill will not be required to travel far distances as part of his duties and will only sometimes be asked to run errands, he does not need a personal cell phone.  He might want one, find numerous reasons why it would be useful for him to own a cell phone, but he truly doesn’t need one.  In attempting to reduce his attachments Bill realizes he has been programed by advertising to desire something he doesn’t really need; so in letting go of this desire he is able to liberate a part of his mind to focus on things of spirit.

When we begin to focus on reducing our attachments the mind launches a series of urgings and arguments that seem perfectly reasonable, as well as justifications for the way we feel and what we desire to have happen.  These energies are Attachments.  Attachments can be positive or negative, affirming or rebellious, inspiring or discouraging- whatever form they take they are a seditious product of the five minds (body, desire, striving, storytelling, and habituated) and their goal is distraction.

Our five minds (little self) cannot imagine that we are seriously considering a disciplined spiritual life, especially a life that will change, reduce, or even eliminate its control.  Little self is that portion of our mind that thinks about SELF, and relate all things to self- “What will this mean to my job, my relationships, and my leisure time?  When am I going to get a vacation, time for my family, or an opportunity to advance at work?  I don’t know if I want to make a commitment it takes too much effort- what if I change my mind?”
When (little) self is terrified it will cease to exist (die) it begins to fight back with every weapon in its arsenal.


Great Spirit Mother, Father, and Weaver

I bow to your wisdom.
I accept that if personal change were unnecessary I would already be just like You.
Help me, for I am prone to trusting in myself instead of Your Wisdom.
Many times I have come to the resolution
To leave old, bad habits behind and create beautiful new ones.
Many times I have failed.
But, together with you Beloved there can be no failure.
Together with you miracles are possible.
Together with you I can change and become just like You.

This is my promise to you, and to my Great Being who is waiting to be born.
When my little self is hungry, I will feed it with gentle Love.
When my little self is angry, I will seek refuge in your peace.
When my little self is sad, I will focus on my blessings.
When my little self sees lack, I will focus on your many kindnesses to me.
When my little self sees failures, I will remember they are the path to wisdom.
Today I will try to be the Master of my life
So it does not master me.