Call Of Duty

part three

Is it possible to love too much? No. But it is possible to become quite taxed in our giving. Some are in situations that require constant care for others. For some, it is not possible to hand the situation off to another to get a much-needed break with any regularity. These can become high-pressure situations easily and frequently. Situations like this make a peaceful mindset imperative. In fact, it might be helpful if we take the attitude that those situations are actually intended to help us return to peace. As unlikely as it sounds, it is possible to be at peace in all situations. It is important to remember that our reality is within; our peace comes from within. That doesn’t necessarily remove the situation without, but knowing that peace is always available. We can make a shift in mindset that reminds us that we live from within, not as victims, batted around by our circumstances. This world is a time for learning and situations like these help us to learn how to live within, how to be at peace, and how to extend love.

I could see peace instead of this.

There is a very helpful idea from A Course In Miracles that says, “I could see peace instead of this.” This is always the case. We can always choose to return to peace, even when the outside world is bombarding us. When we have that foundation of peace, we know what to do in every situation. We know how to give and how to serve others. We know what to do and what not to do. Peace is necessary for love; they go hand in hand and cannot be separated.

Give To Get

part two

Some believe it is necessary to perform acts of service in order to get something out of it. Giving becomes something to do in order to receive a reward. That reward may be a good feeling or it may be recognition from recipients. As we turn to love from our past of selfishness, it is natural to seek the reward of feeling good from giving to others. But it is possible to bypass becoming a being of love to making a contest of “giving in order to get”.

Joy is our natural state. Love is our natural way of life. As we leave our self-centered lifestyle we naturally desire to give. As we become more giving, we experience the joy of being love. That comes from within. We can become obsessed with finding reward as if we are searching for gold, doing and doing and doing trying to hold on to that feeling. But love is peaceful. In fact, peace is foundational in order to be loving. That peaceful state allows us to know or feel just when and where to give. It is not about piling up good deeds so that we can feel good. That is a recipe for disappointment. More is not always better.

Buying Heaven

This is one article, but will be spread over the next three entries due to length.

Is it possible to love incorrectly? It is possible to serve and give in ways that are not truly love. There are those who believe that they must give more in order to “go to heaven” or to be good enough. It is possible to perceive that we have done something to “lose our salvation”. One of the issues with religion is that it can cause us to believe that we have done something to merit condemnation. As a result, we feel that we have to do something to make up for where we have gone wrong. This is false. This is completely false. Belief in separation, belief that we can do something that will make the creator give up on us, is unfounded. We are already good enough. We are a perfect creation and that cannot change. We can experience heaven on earth. We don’t need to become a guru or a “spiritual person”. We cannot make up for our mistakes and, what’s more, we don’t need to. 

Technically speaking, giving in order to be good enough is dualism. It is attempting to get something for ourselves from without. Love flows through us from within. “The kingdom of heaven is within,” remember? All we need to do is reconnect to love. When we settle down and trust that we are already perfect, love will show us when and how to give. We can leave our guilt for past sins, realizing we could never sin, and know the joy of being who and what we really are: love.

The Answer

People often ask why a loving God would create a world with so much pain and suffering. The answer is, she/he/it wouldn’t. And didn’t. We have actually caused all the pain we have ever experienced. What’s more, we can leave the world of suffering in the blink of an eye.

The world of chaos we are experiencing is a product of believing that we need to get all we can or we will be lost. It is a world of I am better than you and you’ll see that in the end. It is a world of haves and have nots and most are have nots. It is a world where we fear that if we don’t do enough or get enough then the worst will come about, whatever we fear the worst to be. It is a world we made up in our minds.

The reality is the world is perfect. We might not see a perfect world, yet, but we could. The nice thing is that it doesn’t require years of meditation or traveling to consult with a guru in a distant land. What is needed is simple. It might not be easy, at first, but it is simple. We simply change our mind to become a being of loving and serving instead of getting. If we commit to this totally, we will never experience this as a world of chaos again.

We believe that giving is sacrifice. This is only the case when our mindset is one of getting. As beings of love, we can lose nothing. In fact we actually receive by giving. This is the law of cause and effect. This is the law of love. When we give, we receive. This is a simple statement, but it is the exact opposite of what most of us currently believe. It is the opposite of what we do and how we live. We live in a world of using and networking and “what can you do for me?” The idea of giving runs counter to the world we currently experience, the world where everything we’ve tried to make us happy has failed.

The creator of this world is love, and creates by extending love. We are created to do the same. At some point we lost sight of this. We began to believe that we needed to get and hoard in order to survive. But survival is not what this world is about; it is about experiencing joy. That is what we no longer do. But when we switch our purpose from getting, back to sharing and giving, we return to the world as it was created to be: heaven on earth.

That world has never really left us. We have merely lost sight of it. Here is where faith is involved. It takes faith to believe that we will be taken care of if we change our focus from getting. But we have always been taken care of, in spite of our attempts to take care of ourselves. A creator who is love could never forget the creation. The creation will always be cared for.

Each pang of suffering tells us that we’re doing it wrong. Each one is a reminder that we have made a mistake in our thinking. We can remain on the path of self-torture. No one will make us change. But, we do have an option.

What We Don’t Want To Hear

The one thing the ego does not want is for us to discover what we are really here for. We have invested our whole lives to becoming. We are becoming successful. However, success, in the thinking of the ego is an end that can never be reached. But as long as we go on striving to improve ourselves, the ego is content. The ego, being illusion, cannot really understand that we can never get enough to be fulfilled. We cannot study or work enough. We can’t get enough money or stuff, or have a good enough career. We fail to understand why we never really find lasting joy when we meet our goals. In reality, pursuit of happiness in this way is a cycle that never quite provides the fulfillment we expect. But it’s all we know. So we continue as we always have.

There are those seemingly magical times when we get a glimpse of the joy we believe we were destined for all along. But when we return to our pursuit of getting, believing it has been the source of that joy in order to try to keep the feeling, it is gone. Our source is far different. You might even say it is the opposite. Our source is sharing and giving. Our purpose is to allow our source to share and give through us. In this only will we find fulfillment. We cannot be different than our source, but seemingly every effort we have made in our lives has been to become different. We believe we are separate so we do everything possible to become better and right. We have created a self that cannot exist. This self, or ego, can only exist in our minds, and it can only exist as we give it the strength to exist by pretending it is real and attempting to perfect it.

This separate self will go along on its roller coaster as long as these words are never heard, “To have, give all to all.” It never wants to hear that happiness is dependent upon being like our source. So we ignore the words. But it is too late. We have heard them and experienced their truth. We have felt that giving brings joy. But it makes no sense. How could it be possible to have by giving? Once again we return to getting and becoming. And again we are frustrated and unfulfilled. The other “self” we have created has escaped, and life can go on as we’ve always known it.

To have, give all to all.

As long as “to have, give all to all” is merely a concept, we are safe in our misery. If we begin to apply it, live it, our separated “self” is doomed. How can giving and serving and being kind be right? This is absurd. Doing this is the opposite of what we have been taught. It is the opposite of what we do and the opposite of who we’re trying to become.

And then a light comes on. These are the opposite. If they are the opposite of what has never been fulfilling, then maybe there is a chance that this is the answer. Our source is giving, like a spring of water flowing over. If we are like our source, we will be in harmony. We will once again experience that glimpse of joy that has been so fleeting. Only this time, it is possible to know that feeling continuously. We know what we have been doing for so long has not worked, but we are scared to do anything differently because we are never told anything else. What we have believed is so powerful, so obvious, so overwhelming that is seems that nothing else can be true. But it has never worked. It’s worth taking a risk to see if there is an alternative. After all, what have we gained so far?

Be Yourself?

I’m pretty sure I’ve finally gotten the message of A Course Of Love: be yourself. Yep. That’s pretty much it. It seems too simple, until I look at how much I’ve tried to not be myself. The message is that we are created to be ourselves and when we resist it, for whatever reason, we take ourselves out of the present and out of reality.

What I realized is that something I’ve done all of my life is tried to become a perfect person. In many areas I’ve had an “ideal self” as my goal and I’ve tried to work toward becoming that ideal self. One of the main areas is morality/spirituality (I’m not saying those are linked, but they are for the purpose of this explanation). I have had this idea of what I would be like when I am spiritually perfected. And I have tried to act like this. And I have been on the same roller coaster ride I have always been on. Why? Because I am not being sincere. I am not being myself.

In fact I have resisted being myself with all my might at some points. Not too long ago I decided that, as a spiritual person, I needed to talk less. I believed that spiritual people are quiet and contemplative. I tend to be pretty outwardly expressive by nature and being quiet and more to myself never felt right. I kept trying it and kept being frustrated because I knew what I needed to be like, only I couldn’t make myself be that way. So I figured this is something I would become in time. So, being quiet simply became another goal to work toward.

What was happening though, is that I was resisting who I am and trying to be something I am not. There are people who are naturally quiet, I will even go so far as to say that they are created to express themselves in a quiet manner. Not me. No matter how much I want to be a quiet person, I am not. The message of A Course Of Love is that we are already perfect just like we are. We were created perfect and we have never stopped being perfect. When I allow myself to express myself in a natural way, I am living in the present. I cannot be at peace as long as I am trying to be something I am not. What’s more, I can’t be at peace as long as I have an idea of an ideal self that I will become in the future.

On a larger, or maybe just different scale, I have always believed that this world is faulty and imperfect and that something or someone needs to come and change this world to its core. Lately, it’s occurred to me that it’s possible that the world is perfect too and that the only thing that needs to be changed is my resistance to allowing things to be just as they are.

I have believed I should be someone different from who I am for most of my life. I have tried to be someone I’m not for many of my years. Recently I sensed that the whole teaching of ACOL is to stop trying to be someone else and be yourself. It sort of has this message that you shouldn’t worry about doing something wrong, because when you just be yourself, the right thing will happen and we shouldn’t judge whether it’s right or wrong. My first reaction was that this is just too simple…could this really be the answer? Then, the more I thought about it, and experimented with it, the more it seemed to be exactly the answer. Over the last week, I have allowed myself to feel whatever it is I feel, without trying to make any feelings go away. I have acted on the impulses I have perceived “within myself”. I have tried not to resist where I’m being led and what I’m being led to do. I haven’t been trying to be some “ideal self”. And it has been amazing. It seems sort of obvious to say this, but I actually feel like myself. My real self. I have done some things I would not have been comfortable with, but they were the right things. I have not limited myself by fearing what the outcome of my actions would be. I have lived with abandon, knowing that if I go where I am being intuitively led to go that the outcome would always be right. This is where real faith comes in.

So… I’m 90% sure I’m on the right track. I’m going to continue to experiment with this, because it’s the only way I’ll really find out if it is right. Feels like it so far, though.

The Story

I think I may be onto something here. Instead of trying to be a perfect person, I’m sort of surrendering to the reality that I don’t need to become anything. I already am exactly what I should be. Everything is already what it should be.

The big change has been related to resistance. The only thing I’m “doing” now is just paying attention. I’m not even doing the Buddhist thing where you try to pay attention to everything or the present moment or whatever. I’m not trying anything. I really am just noticing how I feel about things more than anything. And instead of pretending that I shouldn’t be feeling a certain way, I’m just letting the feelings happen.

I have always had this picture in my mind of what an enlightened person is like. That just made me try to be something I am not. Trying to be someone or something I am not is the best way to keep me from living in the present. There would be times when I would go to work and just get angry, for whatever reason. I would have this rage building inside me. A lot of times I tried to pretend that I was not upset. On those days the resistance to the rage helped it linger a long, long time. There were days, not many, but a few, when I would just admit that I felt angry. I’m not saying the feeling went away faster, but it was like I gave myself permission to feel whatever I was feeling and it sort of took the power out of it.

Lately I have been thinking about how life is like a movie or a video game. Just allowing the feelings to happen and not resisting them makes it seem like I am simply observing rather than being the actor in the play. I don’t know how to explain that. I’ve come to a point where I have completely surrendered and allowed the feelings to be whatever they are, knowing that I won’t be condemned or sent to hell for them. And I have decided to observe them without trying to make them go away or without pretending that I am above them.

When I think of it from a theological perspective, this is the only thing I’ve ever done that makes sense. Here’s why: If you buy into the notion of a single god, “God”, then that god is all that there can be. There is no opposing god. There is no other at all. There is just this creator and it’s creation. The creation, though, is just the ideas of the creator. That means that everything that is created is the will of this creator. It cannot be otherwise. So all of the thoughts I have of anger, joy, lust, greed, kindness, whatever, are all from this creator. There really is no “I” that is separate from the creator…there can’t be. There can only be the creator and the creation. So whenever I have feelings I am uncomfortable with, I just observe them. They cannot be wrong because they must be from the creator. It cannot be any other way.

So, basically what’s going on here is just a story; or a bunch of stories. I have my story, which I am okay with now. There are other interconnected stories, some of which I am aware of, most of which I am not. But now I can see that this story is perfect, as are all of the others. I might be uncomfortable with it sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I need to change it. I don’t need to change this character. And realizing that, I’m enjoying the story much more, from a viewpoint that is completely different than before.

December 12, 2015

Been noticing that I have been resistant some things. Instead of allowing, I’ve been attempting to create, and keep, a feeling. As a result I have gotten really frustrated. I wrote before that I have been doing the Peace Project, but I have also noticed that when I have done it, I have been resisting things that are uncomfortable: feelings, thoughts, emotions, etc. Instead of noticing a song that there is a song playing that I don’t like and accepting that I don’t like it, I have been attempting to make myself feel like I’m okay with it. If I feel upset about something, I have been pretending that I’m good and everything’s lovely.

I don’t think that’s what “being consciousness” is about. Seems to me it’s more about observing and accepting. That means if I don’t like something, accepting that I don’t like it. I think the acceptance is the key. Pay attention to what’s going on, both physically and emotionally, and accept. It’s all God. It’s all neutral. If I am upset about something, then observe being upset.

Now” is the key. Self-acceptance is just as important as accepting others. If “myself” feels something I don’t like, be honest about it; but also, be accepting of it. It will pass and something else will take place. At this point, I think the problem is believing that I need to change myself and others. That’s lack of acceptance. That’s putting things off until there is some future perfect self. And it’s dualism, plain and simple. I think the reality is I just need to observe and accept.

The Peace Project

Yesterday I tried something I haven’t done in a while. I did what I call “The Peace Project” again. I haven’t been doing it because, since having my realization that we really are consciousness and not a body, I have been using meditation more, along with attempting to pay attention to what is happening each moment. I have had some success with this, but “The Peace Project” was an exercise that helped me, personally, more than the others. I was able to use it and be much more aware than when I used other methods.

The Peace Project” as I have said before, is based on Lesson 34 of A Course In Miracles which says, “I could see peace instead of this.” I used this exercise when I first read it and there were amazing results. Basically I just focused on peace at the outset and attempted to focus on peace and be peaceful in whatever I was doing. When I say at the outset, it can be at the beginning of just about anything: the day, a project, a meeting, going to work, making and drinking a cup of coffee, etc. Of course it’s best to start the whole day with that mindset, but you can make a return at any point.

I noticed when doing this that I was able to remind myself continually to remain at peace. If I started rushing, I would get sort of a mental reminder to return to peace. When I was peaceful already, the reminder “I could see peace instead of this” was like a gatekeeper, in that it had me pay attention for those things that could make me stray from peace. But there was the extra added bonus that it helped me to be aware of thoughts and feelings and emotions. What I was trying to do with meditation and just reminding myself to stay focused happened automatically with The Peace Project.

This was especially impressive yesterday because I had missed a lot of sleep. There was part of me that felt like cashing it in and being mad because of this. But then there was something inside that seemed to be telling me to try The Peace Project. I tried it, and on a day when I felt that I would have no ability to pay attention, I was aware of the present more than ever. What’s more, I never felt tired. I stayed up as late as usual, worked as hard as usual, and had as much energy as usual. Maybe even more. This exercise was helpful before I understood that we are consciousness. Now that I am shifting viewpoint from body/ego to consciousness, not only is it extremely helpful, I now understand why it’s helpful.

One added bonus is that being at peace, I can sense or feel situations in which I can extend love. The ego, not being very conscious of anything but itself and the past and future, is not very receptive to these messages. When I shift to peace and consciousness, it’s like I know intuitively where and how to be loving. I could feel when I was thinking something that was at odds with peace and love, and make adjustments. I was just much more aware of what was happening and how I should interact. It was really cool. Peacefulness is 100% conducive to loving-kindness. Ego mindset is the opposite.

I will continue to experiment with this. A lot of times when I try something new it works beautifully, then not so much after a while. This feels different though. We’ll see….

December 5, 2016 (yeah, I know it’s the 6th now)

Okay, so I’m pretty sure I’m on to something about this consciousness business. It really explains a lot. I mean everything comes together when you consider that we are not bodies with personalities that are separate from everything and what not, and that we don’t really need souls because we’re already part of God. I’m not saying I think there is nothing after this life. But I don’t really even think it matters. What is being experienced here is just the “life in this world” experience. As this version of “universal consciousness” I know that the possibilities for experiences are limitless.

I said in an earlier post that just coming to the realization that we are simply consciousness is so liberating. Not as liberating as being completely free of the ego, but at least you know the road you’re on. On this side of the chaos, you can see that the ego you once fought tooth and nail for is pretty silly. You look at nearly everything and it seems pretty silly. I like the quote by Wei Wu Wei that says, “Play your part in the comedy, but don’t identify yourself with your role!” When you switch your perspective, you realize what a comedy this is and that the role is just that: a role.

“Play your part in the comedy, but don’t identify yourself with your role!”    Wei Wu Wei

One thing crossed my mind the other day, though. If we are God-consciousness or universal consciousness or whatever, then this is it. There are two ways of looking at that. One is sort of a challenge that encourages us to be in the present as much as possible. The other, though, is the thought that this really is it. It’s like, okay, I’m consciousness. This is what I’m conscious of. When you aren’t totally living in the present yet, that can be a bit of a letdown. But, in those times where being attentive happens, it’s really cool. In my very limited experience, it’s like observing life similar to how you watch tv or a movie. I thought about this last week: it’s funny how we make such a big deal about surround sound in a theater or how great cg or video game graphics are, yet we completely ignore the fact that everything in “real life” is in perfect 3D, perfect graphics with no skips or glitches. Excellent sound quality in the truest stereo. We’re living “The Sims” yet we’re more interested in playing video games. Quite strange when you think about it.

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