Monday, March 24, 2014

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.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

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.

 

 

 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

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.

Monday, March 17, 2014

In the past month I have given myself over to one thing: the total pursuit of peace within. All of my reading and studying has led me to the belief that being at peace is the foundation that is necessary for life to happen in this world.

Also coming across things like these in A Course In Miracles is helpful:

Knowledge is not the motivation for learning this course. Peace is. This is the prerequisite for knowledge only because those who are in conflict are not peaceful, and peace is the condition of knowledge because it is the condition of the Kingdom.

And…

Forget not that the motivation for this course is the attainment and the keeping of the state of peace.

So my goal each moment is being at peace. This means a lot of “letting go”, meaning, a lot of allowing things to happen without responding in anger or with judgment. It means allowing things to happen and focusing on maintaining my personal peace above all things.

Tao Te Ching: Verse 16

Larry Carpenter:

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.

Lao-tzu

 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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Sunday, February 2, 2014

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.

Monday, January 27, 2014

I tried some stuff while I was at work today. Before I say what it was, I want to include the quote from “The Power Of Now” that was the inspiration for this little experiment.

If there is truly nothing that you can do to change your here and now, and you can’t remove yourself from the situation, then accept your here and now totally by dropping all inner resistance. The false, unhappy self that loves feeling miserable, resentful, or sorry for itself can then no longer survive. This is called surrender. Surrender is not weakness. There is great strength in it. Only a surrendered person has spiritual power. Through surrender, you will be free internally of the situation. You may then find that the situation changes without any effort on your part. In any case, you are free.

This about sums up the helpful instruction, in a not-too-lengthy package.

So, after I had been at work a while today (yesterday too, in fact) I started to become impatient with other people. I could feel anger churning within me like it has done so many times before. It was set off by something small. In fact, I can’t even remember what set things off this morning. It’s like there was just this anger, that I didn’t even realize was there, just waiting to get stirred up by something.After reading the section of “The Power Of Now” before and after the quote included above, I decided I would take a different approach to my anger.

In the recent past I have usually dealt with this type of feeling in two different ways. The first is to pretend like I’m not upset at all. I just act like I’m not really feeling what I am feeling. The second is to pay attention to what I’m feeling, but still attempt to reason my way out of it. I’ll try to pretend that it isn’t really happening to me or that the feeling is one that I’m (spiritually) beyond having.

After reading this section, I tried to do something different today. I just accepted the fact that I felt what I felt, allowed myself to feel what I felt, and paid attention to feeling what I felt. I didn’t try to make it go away. I didn’t act as though I could not possibly feel this way. I just allowed it to happen fully and let it run its course. I didn’t berate myself for it and I didn’t treat it as though there was something wrong with me or that I was “sinning” (a popular way of labeling a situation like this that I learned from my religious upbringing). I “surrendered” and let it happen.

It was a little scary. I had never really allowed something like this to just do what it wanted to do before. Not without trying to change it, anyway. I have to say I was pretty uncomfortable because I was feeling upset with people that weren’t even involved with the situation (not that there was really a “situation”), and ready to unleash on anyone who wanted to challenge me. I would have restrained myself if anyone had actually said or done anything, but I did allow the feeling to burn in all its intensity.

And after a little while…it was over. The negative feelings were gone. All was right with the world. I was able to continue to work on paying attention to the present moment and do my job. When I say “a little while”, I mean like an hour or so. There have been times when, using one of the aforementioned methods, feelings like this have lasted the better part of the day. I was surprised and relieved when the storm passed. I must say, I couldn’t believe it was over so quickly.

I know this anger is something that I am dealing with. What, I’m not sure. I know that the methods I have used in the past have not helped me deal with it well. Today felt different, though. I didn’t really “identify” or latch onto the anger. I tried to observe the anger happening without judging myself for having it. This was difficult because I was uncomfortable allowing the anger to continue on its course, but also because I have always thought of the anger as “mine” before. Today it was more like I was just observing some guy being angry. There was nothing to judge or condemn. He’s upset; let him be upset.

Ultimately, I hope this anger will subside. I believe it will. I will continue to experiment with observing it in the meantime. I also hope I will come to understand the cause of it, although I know that’s not necessary in order to deal with it successfully.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

My time at work yesterday made for an interesting exercise in the pursuit of living in the present. I started my morning by spending some time in meditation with the only goal being to pay attention to the present moment. As I went to work I tried to slide what I had been doing at home to my job, even as I was driving there. I was fortunate that for the first few hours, there was not much going on. Before, I would have been upset over this because I would have been bored. Yesterday it was perfect. There was little enough happening that I was able to use the time in an effort to be in the present moment.

There were a few times where I felt like I would rather be doing something else, but I just accepted that I felt that way and allowed it to be part of what was happening. At first I really didn’t notice anything special, but after a while, I felt like I was part of the day. I don’t know how else to describe it. As I was able to focus on the present, I experienced things that I never have since I started working there four years ago. I heard conversations and sounds from people working and for lack of a better way to put it, the simple rhythm of store. After a couple of hours I had this feeling like everything was just right. I felt like I was anchored or grounded. Like I was standing on a solid foundation.

Since I haven’t been doing this long, I had a recurring concern that I would forget to try and be in the present. Fortunately, I had my trusty alarm watch going off several times an hour to remind me. At this point, I hope that my desire, as well as my ability to remember to be in the present will grow stronger and not fade away, but I know that all that matters is that I am trying to do it right now.

It was when I got off work and went home that I was not able to focus so well. I went from the semi-structure of my job to the “freedom” of being off and things got a little out of control. On one hand, I had been trying to focus all day, and it was becoming challenging as the day wore on. That was on top of my lack of experience in trying to focus on the present in the workplace. I believe that shifting back to the present will become easier as I become more experienced. On the other hand, no longer being in a structured environment brought the special challenge of deciding what I was going to do with my time, doing it, and trying to do it with presence of mind. Ultimately, I felt as though I did not pay attention as well in the evening, but I do believe I will be able to do this more successfully with practice.

Speaking of practice, I noticed something new as I spent time meditating this morning. For the first time, I noticed what feels like a shift between being in the present and being taken away by the mind that is concerned with time (past/future). I could feel myself shifting back and forth throughout the meditation time. It was really strange, but every time I brought myself back to the present, it felt like clouds were clearing away. This phenomenon was helpful in understanding that salvation or right living, whatever, is not something that you are preparing for that will take place in the future, but is merely a shift in perception and is always immediately available.

Thursday, January 23, 2014*

I am my experience. What I experience is me. I understand now that there is no separation. Now if I can only have the presence of mind to be aware of the experience. That is really the issue. I am so concerned about what happened to me and what I am going to do that I forget to live right now. And thus, I miss life.

There is nothing aside from living life. The best thing I can hope for is to be aware of what I is going on in my life. In the past few days I have come to understand this. Every true discipline (not religion) intends to help a person to be aware of the present. Everything else is worthless.

A couple of days ago something came to my mind that told me I needed to go back to the book “The Power Of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. I had been annoyed by this book before because when I listened to Tolle I thought his calmness was just pretending, but mostly, because I just didn’t understand what the book was teaching. But this time…it made sense. I was at a point where I could understand it. In fact, it was as though something was telling me I had to read it.

And it all came together. It’s like everything I had previously read (over the past 30 years!) about Zen, A Course In Miracles, and a few other things plopped down into place and made sense. It is about paying attention to the present moment. Living life now. Realizing that we are not separate from everything, but it all melts together into our unique, amazing (boring) experience of life. I said “boring” because it seems that way until we pay attention.

Now the challenge, and this is daunting: get my mind to shut the hell up.

I have already started working on this. Funny how meditation makes a lot more sense now. I see how practicing (zazen) is really helpful. It’s a lot easier to try to pay attention when there are few distractions compared to, say, being at work when there are a hundred things happening at once. But I can see that the more successful you are at reminding yourself to pay attention to the present in a calm situation, the easier it will be to remember the rest of the time.

I was off work yesterday and I spent the whole day attempting to pay attention to the present moment. I could definitely tell a difference. I was not concerned about the day going by too quickly or slowly. In fact, since I didn’t have as much silliness rolling through my mind the whole time, for the first time in a while, the day didn’t seem like it sped past without my realizing it. I didn’t really want to waste time watching television. Actually, par of me did want to watch tv, but I felt like there were better things I could be doing, if nothing other than sitting and having a cup of coffee. The whole day became sort of a “let’s pay attention” session. I really hope I can build on this.

But I know how I am. At first, things are easy and I get excited about them. Often, though, that initial excitement wears off and I slip back into my old ways. This time, though, I know I’ve really hit on something. I mean REALLY hit on something. This is everything. I know it will be a challenge, but I am so ready for it. Just figuring this out was the major challenge. Now I can commit to what really matters.

Monday, January 19, 2014

Today I am just trying to pay attention to how I feel. More accurately, how life feels. I read something a little over a year ago that was helpful then, but after a while I sort of forgot it. I can’t remember exactly what it said but I remember the idea. We can often think of a time in our life and get a feeling that is associated with it. If I think about nearly any point of time in my life, there is a corresponding feeling. This particular teaching encouraged people to feel the feeling of the present, or the feeling of today. It suggested that you could feel the feeling of today now, without having to wait and look back on it. That has been very interesting, as today has definitely had a feeling. I hope I can continue to develop this awareness.

*

Similarly, I have also been trying to simply pay attention to how I feel about what is happening in general, as much of the time as possible. When I say “paying attention”, I mean not passing judgment, but simply allowing myself to feel. I have done this in the past, but there have been times when I was trying to generate a certain feeling or judging my present feeling rather than simply feeling what I feel.

One example is wishing I am home while I am at work. When I simply allow myself to feel like I would rather be somewhere else I’m okay. There is no judgment, just awareness of that feeling. However, I often believe that I should not be having that feeling and I try to overcome it somehow. This often leads to immense frustration and rarely makes my “bad feeling” go away. Oddly, when I simply allow myself to feel frustrated or impatient without judging, it is not unacceptable. Instead, it just sort of…is. The judgment seems to be the thing that makes it unacceptable, not the feeling itself.

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