The one word I can think of that describes how to live is “evenness”. I guess it’s probably the same as equanimity in Buddhism. In this state, nothing is better than anything else; nothing is preferred over anything else. You get to a point where you experience things, but you don’t really react one way or another. Things simply come and go and you observe them as they do. The best way I can describe it is that it’s like you’re watching a football game where you don’t care about either of the teams, you’re just watching the game. When things happen, whether they are perceived to be good or bad, you don’t really respond because you are not invested in the outcome. In that way, you simply enjoy the game, regardless of who wins or loses.
This evenness is the same, except your attitude toward everything is the same as your attitude toward watching a football game where you don’t really care about the outcome. You get to the point where you realize that outcomes are not really as important as you once believed them to be. There is peace now because the outcomes don’t matter. I have to point out, though, that personal effort is still quite important. When I first began to see that outcomes didn’t matter, I thought that effort didn’t matter either. I could not have been more wrong. You give everything to whatever it is you’re doing and, at the same time, let go of the result. It’s exactly what Eugen Herrigel wrote about in “Zen In The Art Of Archery”. The archery master expected his students to give their very best effort, but he also expected them not to be happy or dejected by the result.
The idea of “forgiveness” in A Course In Miracles in foundational in that it is basically teaching you to forgive EVERYTHING. Not only other people, but people, situations, yourself, everything. You eventually get to a point where you realize this world and what happens in it is basically neutral. By letting go of the importance and our deeply ingrained habit of calling things good or bad, we can experience the evenness and more or less observe what is happening around us while also being involved in it.
The letting go is the most important thing. We must let go if we are to experience life beyond the pain and suffering. Coming to an understanding of what this means is the most difficult thing. The practice of letting go is not so difficult when you realize its importance and have some experience doing it.
Letting go leads to the evenness that allows us to experience joy. It leads to the place where we are no longer on the roller coaster of happiness and sadness, emotional states that seem so real, yet really give us nothing at all.
As I was going through A Course In Miracles text a few days ago, I found something that seemed revolutionary. Well, it is revolutionary if you’re mired in the world of the ego. The idea is that we experience whatever we project or extend. If we are projecting ideas of the ego: attack, guilt, etc, we will feel and experience that. On the other hand, if we extend love to our brother, that becomes our experience. In this way, we have total control over our experience of the world. We may not control the script, but we control the feeling or experience.
In this way, we are the savior. We do not have to look for someone else to save us. We are responsible to save ourselves. We do not need to be concerned about saving others. By saving ourselves, we bring salvation to the world.
I haven’t written much in the past couple of months because I have been experimenting a little. In February I was trying to simply pay attention to things that were happening in life and let go of outcomes. Letting Go seemed to be the “theme” of February. In March it started shifting to simply being loving, no matter what the situation brought.
Both of these seemed to get me “off track” as far as the daily lessons of A Course In Miracles, but doing these felt right at the time. I feel like they helped me get where I am presently, which is a place where I’m experiencing the “happy dream” more than ever.
The biggest issue I have dealt with over the past few years has been forgiveness. Oddly, though, it has been about forgiving those who are exactly where I used to be not too long ago. My biggest challenge has been to overlook things related to organized religion. It is alarming how prevalent organized religion is where I live. I have felt like the ex-smoker who is judgmental of everyone who still smokes.
The past couple of months has helped me to a breakthrough. It is far easier to see all people as brothers and sisters, no matter their background. I guess a lot of it has to do with the present. The thought of “organized religion” brings time into the picture and with that, judgment. The present knows no such phenomenon. In the present, there is only love and a call for love. I cannot battle organized religion. All I can do is let it go. If I choose to use my idea of organized religion as a set of criteria in order to judge another, then I have allowed the ego to attack, once again.
Instead, each encounter is an opportunity to extend love. I don’t need to know the person’s history or political leanings. That is just the ego in its attempt to divide and separate. Instead, I can extend without question, and continue in the happy dream.
I don’t always make the right choice. Variables enter in. I get caught off-guard. But I realize now that it really is possible to leave the nightmare. The happy dream is indeed possible. And it’s pretty cool.
What is outside is an effect, not a cause.
What we believe, what we think, projects or creates the outer effect.
Truth is peace and love. These are the characteristics of God. Fear, chaos and suffering are not reality; they are the result of a belief in separation.
It is a mistake to believe in separation. The belief that we are separate from God causes fear, chaos and suffering. It is the belief that what is outside us is real and must be controlled. We have taught and learned this mistaken way of thinking for eons. Fear, chaos and suffering have (mistakenly) replaced peace, love and joy as our reality.
When fear, chaos and suffering are the reality within, they are projected outward and create our perception of chaos and suffering. As a result, we believe we must try to change or control what is outside us, and we get caught in a cycle that perpetuates the feeling of chaos and suffering. That is because we are attempting to change the effect rather than the cause. This is insanity. The effect can only be changed by changing the cause, what is within. The reason is that the cause and effect are the same. It cannot be otherwise.
Here is a hypothetical, though common, scenario. A person who feels incomplete or unhappy (cause) enters a relationship expecting a partner (effect) to bring him/her happiness, to “complete” him/her. Eventually, he/she realizes that the partner does not make him/her happy so he/she tries to get the partner to change. The partner doesn’t change, at least not enough to bring happiness, so the obvious answer is to end the relationship and find a new partner who will.
Changing the partner will not and cannot bring happiness. Whether or not the partner changes is irrelevant, because the expectation that the partner can be the cause of happiness is flawed. The only way for change to take place is at a grass roots level: within. The cause must change. To expect another person to provide happiness will never work because the effect can never change the cause. If the cause is unhappiness, the effect will always be unhappiness.
Fear, chaos and suffering come about when we try to change the effect, what is outside, rather than the cause, what is within us. We are trying to repair a separation that never really happened. From a young age we have been taught to focus on what is outside at the expense of what is real, which comes from within. As a result, we attempt to find security and happiness with things outside of us: careers, things, relationships, etc.
When peace and love become the reality within, they are projected to the world without and create a like perception. Because peace and love are reality, the cycle becomes: peace within, the experience of peace without; love within, the experience of love without. We begin to understand that what is within us creates the world we experience, not the other way around.
Peace/Love are God, our source. This true source seeks to extend that peace and love through us. This is sanity and we understand it when we put it into practice. This is what we are created to do. Our purpose is to allow the Source to extend love and peace through us. It’s a simple equation. Source is the cause. We are vehicles or vessels for the Source to flow through. The effect is the peace and love of the Source. The cause is also the effect, therefore it is what we experience. This is unity.
This is the foundation that brings joy, the true happiness we seek. The change we make is to focus on the cause, go back to peace and love, which are our true source and which have always been within us, until they become the effect that we experience. This corrects our perception that what is outside will bring happiness. This breaks the vicious cycle of attempting to change the cause by changing the effect. This corrects our perception that separation could have ever been possible.
I have come to realize something very powerful: my beliefs create the world I perceive. I can create heaven; I can create hell. If I believe this is a world of pain and suffering, it is. If I believe it is a world of peace and love, it is. I am able to save the world, because I perceive whatever I create.
Reality is not what is happening outside us. Reality is heaven and the peace and love of the Creator. The more I realize, truly know, that I am the Son Of God, the more I am unified with that peace and love. That realization is projected outward, creating my “world experience”. This is healthy, real thinking.
The belief that what is outside is real and has the ability to create, is the upside-down belief system of this world. It is a world where we continue to try to change what is outside, causing a cycle of unreality where we experience a great deal of suffering. In this world, we appear to have created God. Accordingly, he becomes for us an enemy, the mean parent, punishing us for being imperfect. I am just beginning to realize, though, that we do not have to be affected by what happens outside us.
Reality is that we are the Son Of God. God is peace and love and joy. He creates us in these and we are able to create in the same way. If our reality is peace, love and joy, then that is what our experience will be. Because God’s reality is our reality, these are always within, but we choose to ignore them by believing that the world we perceive outside us is real and that it is what must be changed. The way to change the world is to return to our true nature, and by doing so, we will create a world that reflects who we really are. As soon as we make the decision, our world will begin to change. Before long, peace, love and joy will prevail.
There is really only one choice. We choose that God is real and that we really are unified with Him, or that the world outside us is real and that we should trust in it for our fulfillment. In my years of searching for meaning and happiness, the latter has never provided anything of real value. I can already see that the former has more to offer. At this point, each day, each moment is a choice: I can decide for reality, or I can get tripped up again by the old lie. I still get tripped up a lot, but that only helps to me realize the choice I need to make the next time.
As I progress spiritually and begin to see the silliness of this world, I can’t help but wonder if this is just a beginning level for something greater. I mean, I have dedicated my entire life to figuring out how to live it, how to be “one with God” or whatever you want to call it. I just turned fifty and I feel like I’m just beginning to make some progress. For me, time goes by faster than ever. I’m not in the least afraid of dying, but I sort of feel like I’m just beginning to be able to enjoy life apart from the ego. It seems like fifty years is a long time just to get to the starting point, and if I only live thirty more years, it seems like it’s just wasted. Should it take that long just to build the foundation? I have to say here that I understand that I am speaking in terms of an individual, and in terms of time (which is an illusion) and that I am part of the greater whole; however, from my tiny perspective, I see an apparent “world” that is far from being spiritual (judging, I know). It seems that my contribution is worthless when there are millions who are so completely committed to the ego.
I have often thought of this life as a video game. I just wonder if there are other levels. I will not begin to speculate what happens after this life because it is only speculation; it is impossible to know. I am not worried about what will happen after this life, because that would be no more helpful than worrying about anything inthislife. As I said before, though, I can see the silliness of everything in this ego-driven world. When I consider the widespread insanity, I can’t help but wonder what lies beyond.
Very appropriate article
Originally posted on The Philosophy of Me:
Become totally empty.
Let your heart be at peace.
Amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings,
observe how endings become beginnings.
Things flourish, each by each,
only to return to the source…
To what is and what is to be.
To return to the root is to find peace.
To find peace is to fulfill one’s destiny.
To fulfill one’s destiny is to be constant.
To know the constant is called insight.
Not knowing this cycle
leads to eternal disaster.
Knowing the constant gives perspective.
This perspective is impartial.
Impartiality is the highest nobility;
the highest nobility is Divine.
Being Divine, you will be at one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
This way is everlasting,
not endangered by physical death.
The sixteenth verse describes the constant of change, while recounting the cycles of life. The one thing we can always count on in…
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The past week has been interesting. It is the first time I have put all my effort into living in the present moment. One thing that became obvious at the outset was the ego’s desire to try to control the future.
One thing that I have been concerned about over the past year is the role of goals; specifically long-term goals. I think many people are concerned about “what they are going to do when they grow up”. This has been an issue for me for the last twenty years. Not the whole time. Only when I felt that my career was something other than it should be.
I have determined that living in the present moment will give me the clarity I need for every decision that needs to be made. My concern about things being taken care of in the future is exactly not living in the present. I have been around long enough to look back and see that things have always worked out. On the other hand, the times when I have been unclear about my career have been the most frustrating stages in my life because I was trying to make something happen.
I have decided that I am going to take a huge leap of faith and allow the future to unfold as it will without attempting to control it. Career-wise, that means that I will continue to do what I am doing until I receive a clear and specific indication that I should be doing something different.
Several months ago I believed that I needed to use the “law of attraction” to create the perfect career, and life for myself. During that time, I was more frustrated than I had been in years because I was always discontent with the present and looking to the future for salvation and fulfillment. As soon as I stopped focusing on what I thought I needed, I felt better. During that time there was always something kind of telling me that I needed to let go. I was glad when I finally did. On top of that, I enjoyed my job a lot more, realizing that it is totally suited to my personality and interests.
I am not concerned about the future…mine or anyone else’s. I am taking each moment as it comes and learning to be more aware of each one. Walking that razor’s edge is difficult, but so far, it is definitely worth it.