Destiny Confronts us with Choice – choice creates destiny

There is no reason to feel robbed of choice by destiny, or to worry that the wrong choice will ruin our destiny. All choices accomplish our destiny. It is through the choices that we learn, and it is because of the ability to make choices that we come to this particular planet. It is our journey that sets up the situations in which we must make the choices and it is through making the choices that we reach our destiny.

One thing that we cannot deny is that there are many synchronicities in our lives. These synchronicities show us that there is a plan. There is destiny, which is a destination. However there are many ways to reach it. There are many rivers that empty into the same ocean. Those many rivers in our lives represent our choices. In every moment of our lives there are choices that we make, those choices determine the experiences that we will encounter on our way to our destination, but they do not change the destination.

Those synchronistic moments are destined points. Each path that we take, each choice that we make takes us on a journey towards our destination, however no one way is longer or shorter although some may be easier than others. This is where our free will comes in. We come here with certain karma and certain things that we must learn. We can learn them the hard way or we can learn them the easy way, each way represents a path that we take, but neither path changes the destination. If, for example one has to learn patience, one would be in such a hurry that corners would constantly be cut and experiences rushed through. One would be faced constantly with choices that would give the impression that there is always a way to cut corners and skip steps to get ahead. Each fork in the road would provide all that would be needed in order to take the easy way out. It would always be the most apparent option. That choice will always seem so tempting and so obvious.

Along that path if one takes the easy way there will always be traps, which will begin to appear as soon as one is too far in to turn back. Always ending up working twice as hard as would have been the case had the task been handled slowly and with patience from the beginning. One would notice at one point that this scenario exists and perhaps choose to do it the slow cautious way from the beginning, therefore changing the path from one that is difficult to one that is smooth. Thus now creating a path in which everything falls into place.

One may on the other hand continue choosing the apparent easy way believing that just changing one thing will make it right. However, each time there is one different thing that will go wrong because the destination is to learn patience. I always believed that I had to find the perfect job. I went from job to job never staying more than one year in any place. Each time I was disappointed to find that I was no further ahead than I was at the job before that one. Finally it dawned on me that it was not being in the right place that was the problem; not staying in one place long enough for growth to happen was my problem. When I committed to staying in the next place that I landed regardless of how much I wanted to move on, my life changed. This was a part of my process.

There are many lessons in our lives that we must learn and the paths that our lives take depend upon our learning those lessons. An easy life is not the birthright of the majority of souls here at this time.
We learn our lessons regardless of what choice we make. We teach what we are here to teach no matter what we do. We are each the student, the teacher, and the lesson. In spite of how we react to our lives on earth, our souls are learning. All of the lessons are predestined. It is through the soul’s journey that we meet each lesson. The journey is the lesson and each lesson is the adventure. We always get where we are supposed to go, even though many times it is not exactly where we planned to go. It is however exactly where we agreed to go before we incarnated.

The clock that we are on here is not a clock marked by seconds, minutes and hours; it is a clock marked by lessons, agreements and destiny. It does not matter how long it takes us to reach a certain point, all of the things that we consider wrong turns and dead ends are merely the places we had to go to get the tools and the emotional strength that we needed to move to the next destination.

There are special relationships that we are here to have. Most of them are not to be permanent, but all of them have a specific lesson within them for us to learn. We are never with the wrong person, each person allows us to perfect some part of ourselves. Each person in our lives reflects those things in us that we need to focus on. We come from one Source and we journey towards returning to that Source. While we are here on earth, we are learning that we are one. All of the souls that we meet, and all of the souls that inhabit the planet with us along with the ones who have left us here, are one.

People risk destroying themselves and their lives in order to “fix” their bodies to make them more attractive to others. They change their faces, blow up their lips, and vacuum out their stomachs to attract someone who will love them. But if they are attracted by the things that we do to change ourselves – it is the change and not us that matters to the other person. So the feeling of being unloved remains. If there is something about ourselves that we want to change for ourselves this is fine. Yet if we are changing our bodies in order to attract that special someone who will love us, we are missing the point. When we meet someone special we feel a sense of fate around the meeting and this is because it is a fated meeting. been a feeling of fatedness about the meeting. We can fix our bodies to attract other bodies, but it will never attract someone’s heart or soul. What I see around me are a million lonely Barbies looking for their Kens. When we work on the inside, on who we are, we will attract to us someone interested in who we are. That special someone will love us, that love will be love soul to soul. Even more importantly, that person is destined to be with us when we are ready, not ready on the outside but ready on the inside. There are many superficial experiences that we have and learn from. Yet what affects us on the inside, those things that touch our souls are the things that are in our destiny. We do not make them happen we can only grow to meet them, and make sure that we are prepared for them when we do.

Surviving a Crisis

The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper.
Aristotle.

My son has a close friend TJ. I had noticed his father at different school functions. Jerry was blind and had one leg. His attitude was so completely at peace with his situation that I thought he must have spent most of his life this way. After all, how could anyone seem so happy unless he had had a lifetime to adjust to such tragic circumstances?

I learned that it had only happened a year and a half before. I was shocked that such relatively little time had passed and that everything was so normal. This caused me to look back over my life and the many crises and tragedies I myself have had to face and I found that the only thing I had to regret was the length of time I spent on self-pity. Regardless of what we go through, eventually, we must face that moment when it becomes necessary to evaluate the living of our lives and not our lives themselves. You see, we have no control over what happens to us, but we do have control over how we react, and how we react could possibly determine the quality of the rest of our lives. Although it may seem difficult to control a reaction, reaction is a function of the lower mind. It is a habit. I had my hair pulled when I was a child so as I grew, anytime someone reached their hand in a way that appeared, to me, to be coming towards my head, I would flinch and pull back. Once I became conscious of this reaction, I began to do it less and less, first intentionally, and later not reacting became a habit. It took time to build up our reactions and it will take time to change them, but they can be changed.

We are each being faced, right now, with some form of personal crisis, within a national crisis within a world crisis. At this time, as perhaps at no other, it would be difficult to find one individual on the planet who is not at this time dealing with a crisis. We, in this country, are dealing with the effects of the Iraq War, the destruction caused by the climate changes, and our evaporating economy, while at the same time every individual is dealing with some form of personal, political, financial, racial or religious crisis. So, it helps to know that we are not suffering alone but have actually joined the suffering of mankind.

Putting it in this perspective, we must rise above our personal situations and understand that this is a time of change in the universe. There have been unprecedented increases in the sunspot activity in recent months. The atmospheres of various planets including our own have been going through drastic changes. We have just entered a new millennium, but with all things being synchronistic, we can say that the entire universe is also entering a new era.

For change to occur there must first be a period of breakdown; logically, there cannot be a breakdown without chaos and crisis. That which is not built to move to the next level must be transformed. The beginning of the last millennium was dominated by the advent of Christianity. The first years of breakdown and realignment of previously held beliefs were difficult years. They were not easy years in which to be incarnated, yet many souls chose them for their growth.

I read a book, “Life before Life<!–[if supportFields]> XE “Life before Life” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>“, by Helen Wambach which is now out of print, in which she, during the course of a few years, regressed over one thousand people from all over the country, to the time before they were born. She asked each person to find out the answers to a list of questions, one of which was why they chose this time to be here. The overwhelming reason was that this is a time of so much change and chaos on one hand, and so much available spiritual knowledge on the other, that it offers each soul the rare opportunity in which to fit many lifetimes worth of growth.

When life doesn’t work the way that, we planned or hoped it would, we can’t sit around until we rot; feeling miserable because we were given lemons. We just have to make lemonade. Sure, it is never easy, but the history of the world and the history of our own lives tell us that this too shall pass. And when it does, it is important that we have not wasted this valuable time in self-pity. When God closes one door, He opens another. It may be a struggle at first to face a new door, but it is worth the effort. For every pain, and every heartache there is a seed of equivalent benefit. If we take this as an opportunity to move to the next level, we will find that many of us are being given an opportunity to recreate our lives in a way that we never before believed possible. For so many years now I have been living under an cloud of debt. In the past few years I have felt like the commercial where a couple want to move their house is hovering over their heads. It has been a constant panic, will we lose the house, the cars, and the insurance – or even, will we eat. I constantly fear that I will exhaust my reserves of faith if this goes on much longer. Then, as irony would have it, Easter Sunday my husband walked outside to find that both of our cars had been repossessed. I was initially distraught, I felt violated, lost, and how could we work without transportation? I just felt that this was the domino that would knock the whole building of dominos down. And it could have, no car – no work – no money – no home. But, a funny thing happened after the shock wore off – I felt just them most exhilarating sense of relief knowing two more payments that we could not afford to make were no longer hovering over our heads.

Just a few years before this, I was in the same position only this time I was renting and six months behind in my rent. I had this moment – you know – a movie moment when everything stops in mid-action, and I said to myself, ‘I have done all that I can do, I have tried everything that I can try, if we lose everything and end up in a shelter – it will be God’s will, and we will all learn what we arrived at this experience to learn and climb up from there.’ In that moment there was an energy shift in my life. A crisis can last ten years, or it can last ten minutes. It lasts as long as we remain in crisis mode and ends when we enter acceptance that what is – is, and move on to plan b – or at least to formulating a plan be. Anything that we do, that is not wallowing in the approaching trauma or existing trauma will shift the energy. I shifts from what was or will be lost – to what was or will be gained. Acceptance is the train out of suffering. It is the open door that allows new air to come in. Above all, acceptance allows us to realize that we are in good hands – always. And nothing happens that we did not choose before we came – and for the highest of reasons.

I asked for…
I asked for strength…. and was given difficulties to make me strong. I asked for wisdom…. and was given problems to solve. I asked for prosperity… and was given brain and brawn to work. I asked for courage… and was given danger to overcome. I asked for love… and was given troubled people to help. I asked for favors… and was given opportunities. I received nothing I wanted… I received everything I needed.
From “The Analects of Confucius” – a philosophical translation, by Roger Ames and Henry Rosemont

IS FREE WILL AN ILLUSION?

One of the phrases that we hear and say a great deal in metaphysical circles in “This is all an illusion”. Although it sounds good, it is not something that we are able to really incorporate into our consciousness because it is so fundamentally opposed to our experience. And though we may be temporarily soothed by the idea of it, the feeling vanishes the moment we bump into a part of that illusion, like a wall, and get a concussion on another part of the illusion – our heads. For most of us the idea that our experience is “all an illusion” is filed away somewhere with God, another idea that, for most of us, is firmly implanted in our belief system but very much disconnected from the reality of our daily lives.

If this is an illusion, why does it hurt so much or feel so real? Why can’t we just affirm it away? In a movie, which is for all intents and purposes an illusion, when one of the characters – another illusion is shot by a bullet – another illusion, the character dies – another illusion. There are two layers here. There is the layer of the actors or the soul who is assuming the role of the character – the illusion who dies. Within the movie, nothing is an illusion. When the actor – the soul – steps out of the movie, or the life in our case, it was all an illusion. A good actor will feel the pain of the character; he will feel the joy of the character which is what makes his performance believable. A good actor is very sensitive, just as a soul is. When the actor leaves the role, he has to re-enter his own life – his own role in the greater movie that is life. This reorientation often takes time. When a soul leaves a life, that soul too has to re-enter its essence, after absorbing all of the experiences of the life that it has just left. A character in a movie or in a play follows a plot, acts or reacts in a way written by someone else. So, in order to react naturally the actor must inhabit the part. We souls inhabit our personalities and so we are able to act and react according to the character that we come to play.

An actor becomes the character, so convincingly. that we are able to anticipate what he will do or say next because we believe him. We may know that the actor is acting and that the words have been written by someone else, the cues given by someone else, yet we feel and experience what the characters are going through. Although the choices that each character is making have been predetermined by the writer, we know that those are the choices that this character would make. Even when the character surprises us, if the actor did his job and writer did his, we can review the movie and see how this unexpected action could have been predicted. This is free will. These characters are predictable because we understand how they are motivated. Yet, does our ability to predict their choices deny the freedom of their choices? No, they are free to choose. What is predetermined is the point from which they view the world at the time that God or the Universe places the choice on their path. How often do we say, “I did that based on what I knew then”, or “If I only knew then what I know now”, or, “The person I am today would never have done that”.

Imagine being in a room, facing a wall and from your position, you can see the wall in front of you and from your peripheral vision you can make out the walls on each side, right and left of your position. But from where you stand, there is no door. Now, the position that you are in places you on a wheel, like a clock gear, that will slowly turn you around. However, right now you only see walls. You are facing twelve o’clock. There is a door at the six o’clock position, but you won’t see it for six hours. Now a voice enters the room and says, “You are free to go”. Is it an illusion that you are free to go? No, there is a door. But from where you stand, there is none. In a story, the character has free will and, we can anticipate that characters actions. We have free will, and our choices are predetermined. They are predetermined because our visibility of available options is really limited to one, at the time that the Universe presents the choice. There may be ten puzzle pieces lined up before us to choose from, yet, the experiences, the beliefs, the impressions of the world that we have accumulated up to that moment sees only one perfect fit. Because there is only one, it is the one that our soul has chosen to best experience the lessons we need to learn.
We have to remember that we come here to learn and to grow. In order to do this, we have to set up a lesson plan.

Our lessons do not only come from where the choice leads us on our path, but also from which choice we make, and how we arrived at that choice. We are here to expand our view, and to learn to see from our hearts. Most actors take roles for a purpose. Many take roles which allow them to stretch, to grow. Free will is not an illusion, but in a way, the choices we make are. They are the lessons; they are the set-up for our growth. They create the plot within which the actor acts. As we learn from each choice, our view expands; our abilities grow until we are in tune with our hearts. When we are in tune with our hearts – we are in tune with our souls. When the soul has mastered the personality, its view is no longer limited. It then sees through the eyes of the creator of the path. The dreamer has mastered the dream, so it is no longer a dream; the actor now writes his part, so he is no longer limited by the existing plot. Illusion vanished and all that is left is one Will in tune with All-That-Is. To enlighten is to light the path so one may see the way. It really has never been a question of whether or not we have free will, the question is, how much we really see of what our free will is acting upon. This is where growth lies.

CHANGING OUR BELIEFS

There is no point in searching for happiness unless we believe we can be happy. We may find many things, but we only keep what we believe to be ours by rights.

We all have underlying beliefs which form the foundation of our lives. These beliefs determine the way that we respond to the world. We believe that we have a certain place in the world. We believe that we have certain entitlements or lack thereof. We believe that the world will respond to us in a certain way and that there are things that we can and cannot achieve. Some of these beliefs are conscious, some are not. Many of them only become apparent to us when they hurt us.

Tana, my oldest daughter, and I had been fighting about her lack of attention to school. She had no understanding of the consequences of her actions. I was up against a brick wall and could not break through. One day we went out to lunch with a friend, and when I left the table to go to the Ladies Room Tana and my friend were talking about her failing in school. When I returned to the table I overheard my friend asking Tana what would happen if she really failed, what would she do? Her response was, “My mommy will fix it…she always does”.

I felt as though someone had hit me over the head with a sledgehammer. I did this, were the first words that I heard in my head. I have ruined my daughter’s life. This belief of hers covertly affects each decision that is made. It’s not a thought, something that one weighs when life is happening; it has a quiet, unfelt weight. It is just there, but it is the determining factor. Sadly, I passed this one on to her.

When I was a child I was expected to be perfect. I was expected to bring home A’s from school, no fanfare, no reward, just expected. I began noticing that when my friends brought home A’s they were rewarded by their parents for their hard work, I simply heard, “So, what else would we expect of you.” So in fourth grade I decided to fail, you know, start from the bottom so maybe I would receive some appreciation for my hard work. How could I believe myself to be worthy of love? I was taught that it was conditional, and the conditions were always somewhere beyond my best efforts. So, in fourth grade I proudly walked into my house with a Big Red “D”. My mother immediately made an appointment with the Principal. She insisted that my fourth grade teacher was prejudiced and gave me the grade because of it. After all, I had never in my life brought home less than an A.

I don’t understand how she did it, considering the fact that I really earned that “D”, but she did. It was changed to an A. This created a foundation belief. If I wanted acknowledgement, I had better give it to myself. There was no prize out there for me. These moments that impress us deeply are difficult to change. It was my “D” and she took it away. Whenever I had a favorite toy, or doll, my father would take it away from me and give it to a poor child, because I could get another one. But I couldn’t get another on that was my favorite. When I was young I was a pack rat. I collected everything and kept my collections in my closet. My grandmother went into my closet one day and decided to clean out the “garbage”. She threw away all of my collections. I would hoard every penny of my allowance and every penny that I could find and save it all in a kitty bank. One day, I walked into my room and it sat broken in half and empty on my dresser. No one took responsibility for taking the money or for breaking the bank until almost six months later; when finally my mother admitted to it. I was being taught from the youngest age, that attachment caused suffering. This was a foundation belief. I sabotaged everything, I could not let myself fail, but I could not let myself succeed either. Whatever I had I lost. After each loss I committed to doing things differently the next time, but I couldn’t, my beliefs created the program that my subconscious ran. And I just worked the program.

The key to understanding our subconscious programming is that we can’t just affirm it away, we can’t just understand it away. A program is not designed by the conscious mind, and so it cannot be upgraded by it. Our programs are designed by our emotional mind through repeated emotional feedback. The more painful the experience that designed the program, the more safeguards, firewalls, and passwords are installed to prevent us from tampering with it. In order to change a belief based program, we must act consciously contrary to our instinct. We must do this enough to impress upon our subconscious mind that the new way is a more state of the art security system. Only through acting as if, and realizing the results of the new way, can we change a response or a behavior that has been set up as a defense mechanism. In other words, “Fake till you make it”. We cannot just reject a prior belief. Of course, we can, it just won’t make any difference in our lives, because we can’t change the program that will automatically act on that belief. If someone has a quality that you see attracts to them what you want, act like in those ways that you see working. Eventually, those actions will provide enough feedback to your subconscious to be accepted as the new way.

My soul, my heart – could not accept love that was earned, love that was conditional. But my subconscious believed that the only way to be loved was to earn it. So, if I believed that someone loved me for something that I did, or the way that I looked or carried myself – eventually I resent that person and acted in a way that would make them leave me. If someone came along who just seemed to love me for who I was, I distanced myself from that person like the plague because according to my program, my belief, if I didn’t earn love I would lose it. So I set up a lose, lose situation – and as crazy as it sounds, my subconscious did it for my own good.

There are the beliefs that we can list, and those we just live. The ones that we live have deep roots. My grandmother believed that you have no one but yourself to depend upon. She believed that if you don’t hold on tightly to everything it will disappear. Every decision that she made emanated from those beliefs. Everything that we face in our lives is filtered through the lens of our beliefs. If you know the beliefs of a person you can easily predict how they will hand any situation.

We can change our clothes, we can change our minds, but changing our beliefs is something altogether different. A belief has a deep root. We can’t just pull it out without replanting, without acting as if we hold a different belief.

When I was a child people would occasionally compliment the way I looked or some talent that I had like painting. When that happened I could feel the fury building up inside of my mother. I could feel her jealousy in my soul. I would pay. So my belief was that if I stand out, if I am publicly outstanding in any area, I will pay. So I crave the light and at the same time I shun it. This is so deeply rooted that I can’t change it despite my understanding of its cause. What I can do is act as if I did not believe that I would suffer. So, I decided to give a lecture to a woman’s group. I wasn’t punished, I did not suffer and it felt so wonderful to share that I began upgrading my old belief through this action and replacing it with the new belief that this is a good thing. It is not easy and takes a lot of work, Rome was not built in a day and cannot be rebuilt in a day, but it can be rebuilt.

The distance between a familiar set of beliefs and one that is new and unfamiliar feels infinite. Crossing that space between fully believing one thing and believing something else feels the same as stepping off of a cliff. Act as if you are not afraid when you are shaking with fear. Hold your head high as if you own the room, when you feel like you should be sweeping it. It is not easy, but the results are worth it. Look, you can’t visualize that you no longer smoke until the desire abates. You can’t visualize yourself hating potato chips until you do. You have to stop smoking – to become a non-smoker. You have to stop eating the potato chips, to stop craving them. You must replace a program with an opposite program to neutralize it and allow the new program to run instead.

When we are born we have a personality. This personality has been formed out of all of our past life experiences, good and bad it is filled with programs developed as a result of the past. Our natural talents come from lives of hard work and practice, our automatic fear are programmed to protect us from past life experiences. The programs are activated by certain stimuli, and reinforced in childhood. We enter each life to utilize the gifts and understanding that have been programmed and to reprogram the areas where we are stuck in spiritually self-destructive programming. When we change our beliefs we are entering a strange new country. In time though, that country become home. In order to make the transition it helps to realize that we can always go back to what we once believed. We have choice.

If our lives are not working the way that we want them to, there is something in our beliefs about our living, not in our lives, that is not working. When we try to change, we cannot maintain it because it is contrary to what we believe. We are not able to commit unless it is to something that we believe. We may change our direction, but if we are going left and still believe that we should be going right we will never see the value in having made the change.

One of the obstacles that we face in changing our beliefs is our need to be right. We need to realize that whatever it was that we once believed was completely appropriate for our lives at the time that we developed that belief. That belief gave us a sense of safety on ground that we walked at the time. Now however, things have changed and the facts that those beliefs were based upon are no longer applicable. Accordingly our beliefs must evolve.

It is not that what we have believed up until now was wrong, and therefore the way that we lived was wrong. It is that what we believed worked in the environment in which they were developed and now those beliefs must evolve to accommodate the here and now.

We can change our beliefs without damaging our sense of self by understanding that all beliefs have a reason for being. We don’t just believe something because we are stupid. We believe things because in order for us to have the experiences that we are meant to grow from the Universe has programmed our personalities to react to the stimuli of our family environment by forming these beliefs.

Using Astrological examples, if a Pisces steps on your foot he/she will apologize profusely for not seeing it. The preprogrammed belief being, if it goes wrong it is my fault. A Taurus who steps on your foot will tell you to watch where you put your foot. Thus believing that if you were not in the way you would not have been stepped on, your problem. If it were a Scorpio you might be accused of trying to trip them. They are obviously programmed with trust issues! Through our beliefs we make sense of the environment in which we must not only survive but thrive. Yet since we are here to evolve it only makes sense that our beliefs evolve in the same manner.

These are very difficult times that we are experiencing now. Nothing is as it was. It is as though everything looks as it did, the form is there but nothing has the same substance. This is a transitional period. We are forming a new reality and therefore the old one is losing its power. We are being forced to seek within ourselves and find the truth. It is what we cannot touch that has the greatest strength, consistency and dependability.

Whatever we can touch, will fade and pass away. Nothing will ever be the way it was. Nothing will ever work the way that it did. Yet if we allow ourselves to grow do the work to change our beliefs, our programming, we will find a strength and sense of self-empowerment that we never believed possible. Life is now miraculous; we are living in the possible all we need is to believe in the fact that nothing asked of us by the Source, the Universe is for anything but our good. Imagine the truth as a three-hundred-sixty degree circle, with every degree being a degree of the truth. We enter our incarnations at zero degrees of truth. That zero degree of truth is the foundation of our first beliefs, it is what our first program is built upon. It is TRUTH. Only, when we reach ten degrees, we see a greater truth and must reprogram our beliefs to accommodate the larger vision of truth that is now available for us to see if we are willing. At no point, were we wrong. The only way to be wrong is to have ten degrees of the truth visible and insist on seeing only the first one. We all see the truth, but it is only when we reach the three-hundred-and-sixtieth degree, that we know the whole truth. If we do not allow that there is always more truth to see, and that seeing it does not make the current truth less true, we will prevent ourselves from the greater experiences, the greater joys that lie in the greater truth.

Our beliefs need to be in alignment not only with our lives as they are but as we want them to be. We must believe in who we are, in who we are here to become, and in the process of that becoming. It is through the building of positive beliefs that we create a positive life. Our beliefs are where we begin when we build faith. And faith is the cornerstone of our successes. The doors to our future are opened by the faith built upon our beliefs. It is through our beliefs that we have the vision to see those doors and through our faith that we have the power to open them.

It is our beliefs that empower our obstacles. I have a friend who was afraid to go back to school even though she knew that she had an opportunity and that it would help her achieve her goals. Yet she was afraid because she believed that she was learning disabled. After speaking about it for a while she acknowledged to me that when she was a child there was such disruption in her home that it was very difficult for her to focus on schoolwork. There were so many emotional disturbances during her childhood that school took a back seat and so she did not do well. Today she is not in her parent’s home anymore. She is not a helpless child anymore, but still the belief that she is somehow unable to learn is still standing in the way of her progress. This is a belief that is built upon a prior view of the truth, but not connected with the current visible truth.
Our beliefs build the mountains that are in our way or they bring us the faith to move those mountains.

“… verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” (Mark 11:23)

AVOIDING LOVE – AVOIDING LIFE

Nothing that we avoid ever goes away, we will spend our lives avoiding it, and that will be how we live. If we don’t want to avoid something for the rest of our lives, we need to deal with it once.
Many people withdraw their feelings from each subsequent encounter being hurt. Each time that they are hurt, they withhold more and more of themselves from being vulnerable to feeling. As time goes on they give less and less of themselves to life and to their relationships. Those parts of themselves that they have pulled away are stored in a void, a place of emptiness. Feelings are the food that the soul exists upon, pain as well as joy. When we hide our souls from experience, deprive it of what it needs to grow, to expand. Sooner or later the pain that we are avoiding pales in contrast to the emptiness that we are feeling. It is the avoidance that causes us our suffering.
We feel an absence of joy in our lives, but we don’t understand why. When we avoid emotional experiences we not only lock away our souls, but we forget where they are, or how to release them. We deprive our souls the very food that sustains them, which is feeling. We allow them to atrophy. We lose our connection with them. Even when we enter a relationship, we do not permit our souls involvement. We handle it all on the ego level. The other person involved feels that nothing is being shared. There is no soul-to-soul connection, only ego to soul.

We make impossible demands of those with whom we are involved to guarantee our feeling of security, and in doing so we drain our partners until they pull away. We are left still hungry, still longing and still in pain. Although we are unable to give of ourselves we are still looking to receive. Yet since we are leading with our ego, we cannot receive. We believe that if we do not open ourselves we will not be exposed. We measure what we give, to convince ourselves that we are loving, but we are not giving, we are merely demonstrating because our heart is not involved, we are not letting anyone in, and we are not giving freely. Our partner sees that we appear to love but the feeling of openness is not there. Our partners sense that they are being tested and that acceptance is constantly conditional. A loving relationship requires a presumption of trust. Without the presumption of trust there can be no freedom and without freedom to be oneself, there can be no exchange of love. When we are protecting ourselves from being hurt, or being betrayed, we are never being there, never present in the moment or in the relationship because we are always watching for signs. Always ready to run or to attack first. So we can’t feel that the other person loves us, not because they don’t, but because we don’t trust being loved and so, we do not allow ourselves to experience it.

Love when true comes from a place that is open and vulnerable. It comes from the soul. This is the place that we do not let anyone or any feelings near. Love cannot flow in if we are not open. So our emptiness just keeps on growing and since we are giving nothing comes from us that is not measured and noted on our ledger, nothing given to us is allowed any closer to our hearts than the balancing column on our ledger. Our hearts remain empty and we tell ourselves and others that is because we are not loved. We remain empty. Only need flows from emptiness. Although need feels like love to those who are needy, it only feels like a drain to those in to whom it is flowing. Love gives to its object – need drains from its object. When we allow the pain of our past to be program that guides our lives, what we will continuously get is the same outcome. It means that our automatic pilot says love hurts. Regardless of the mantras or affirmations we repeat, the program is the program, don’t give until you are certain, don’t open up until you have a guarantee, don’t give more than you receive, and above all, don’t let down your guard. It does not matter what our conscious mind is saying, or what we think that we are giving, the moment that we feel vulnerable – the program runs and end result will be pain, caused not by the other person, but by our programmed belief that it is inevitable. So long as we believe in our subconscious that loving equals betrayal, or pain – our subconscious will ensure that we create this outcome. To feel joy and love we must be vulnerable and to be vulnerable means that we may also feel pain. The secret is that absence of feeling is as painful as any hurt that can be inflicted by others.

There is no way to avoid being hurt as long as we live. When we refuse to open ourselves for fear of more hurt, we are also locking the hurt that we have already experienced inside. This hurt is locked in the darkness and as anything positive flourishes in the light, anything negative flourishes in the dark. So we are not protecting ourselves only hurting ourselves. Pain can only be healed by love and forgiveness. As long as we live we will be trapped with our pain inside and the cure outside. There is no avoiding this. We can avoid loving but we cannot avoid living. Life does not allow us to hide; it finds us wherever we are.
It is imperative that we experience life with every fiber of our being. We must embrace every chance that we are given to feel. What we can do is avoid expectations of life, or of love. Each time something comes into our lives that has the ability to bring us an emotional experience we must embrace it. We have to understand that it will enrich us and increase our capacity for love. However, we cannot hold on to it. Allow the experience to be lived for the moment without strings attached to it or expectations of tomorrow. If it is still there and it is still good tomorrow, we should experience it all over again. If it is not there anymore we cannot think in terms of what we lost, only in terms of what we have had. The love that we give becomes a part of the giver; it becomes a part of the fiber of our being. It is ours forever.
I have been loved, I have been left, and I have lost and found again. Yet my life would not be as rich as it is has been had I not been open to the possibilities of being hurt as well as being loved.

We are here to experience. As long as we live we will experience all sides of all things. To everything there is a season under Heaven. While we are here we are to experience all of the seasons in our lives. These experiences are what living is all about. Each person, each situation that comes into our lives is a gift as well as a lesson. Who we are today is the sum total of these gifts and lessons. These experiences make up our colors.

Yet what we must understand at all times is that it is all experience, and all part of our journey. I am who I am, that I am, regardless of how someone else experiences me. If I make a mistake, I experience that mistake, I never become that mistake and I must never be afraid to start again because we are made as much from the times that we fall as from the times that we get up.

We all need love, and to avoid it because we are afraid of getting hurt is sentencing ourselves to a lifetime of pain. We must immerse ourselves in each experience, but detach ourselves from the outcome. It does not matter whether or not something will last, we must be grateful that it is here now. We don’t even know how long we will want to stay. What matters is that something is giving our lives extra color and extra meaning today.

There is no such thing as failure. We do not have the information to determine if traveling this path that we choose was meant to lead to our destination, or if the traveling of it is the destination. We will always be rewarded, sometimes the pot of gold is not on the other side of the rainbow – sometimes it is the rainbow. Somehow, we have to except that it is all right, every direction is the right direction. We always end up where we are supposed to, and with what we are supposed to have. The thing is that unless we are open and our hearts are available, we usually miss the best views and overlook the greatest gifts. It is like the joke about the man whose house was flooded, who believed that his faith was in God. A police boat came by to rescue him, and he refused because he was waiting for God. Neighbors on a raft came by to rescue him and he refused because he was waiting for God, finally a helicopter came by to rescue him and again he refused because he was waiting for God. When he ultimately died, and faced God with the burning question of why God did not save him, God replied, “I sent a boat, a raft, and a helicopter – what more could you ask for?

We must open to each day as it comes, not as a continuation of the last, but as a new beginning pregnant with new possibilities that we must be open to take advantage of. We are co-creators with the Universe by its’ design. If we do our part, the Universe will do its part. If we do nothing the Universe will not stop throwing us balls, but if we treat them all as bombs and duck – we will never know what we could have.
Remember that it does not matter what happens to us in our lives, or even what we experience, we are always passersby. For example, when someone succeeds they may be called a success by the world, but they do not become a success. We are always in the process of succeeding sometimes we are on the top and sometimes we are on the bottom, but as long as we keep moving we are succeeding. Therefore if one fails, they do not become a failure, for most every person who has succeeded has also failed. Yet we immediately identify ourselves with outcome of each experience. The sentence of our lives ends where we place the period. We can place it where we fell, or where we rose. Or, we can know that there will never be a period, only an occasional comma so long as we are open to life.

We see ourselves and many times each other not as who we really are but as the product of our last experience. So long as we do this we withdraw from life for fear of being a failure of losing our success or losing a love, but in truth, there never is a last experience.

I lose almost everything that I put my hands on, that does not make me a loser, it simply means that I am learning, maybe the hard way, that what can be lost is not worth holding on to. I could give up, but life has too many surprises for me to do that. And so, I try harder, and often lose harder, but I feel like a great success because my only responsibility, my only success lies in my doing, in my effort, in my willingness to be the product of this moment and not of the past. If God wanted me to catch the ball, I would catch it – so God must want me to reach for it, and as long as I do, I am fulfilling my purpose successfully. And I know that God did not put me on the earth to be loved, I came from God and so my cup is already full, I know that my challenge is to see how much of that eternal fountain of love placed within my heart I can spread in the world. Being hurt is one of the most important parts of living.

Pain expands our capacity to feel, to be filled with love, not from man but from God. The more we are filled the more we can give and the more we give the more we are filled. We find, in the end, that we can never be hurt because we loved too much, only because we expected too much. Love with all of your heart and all of your soul, and expect nothing. Give live the best that you have, and better that best each time, and expect nothing. Live life in this way, and you will never suffer. But you will also never be empty but always full, always a success, and always satisfied. We can describe life spiritually in many ways, but in the end, we are here to learn one thing and that is to love, and we learn that by facing reasons and challenges to our willingness to love. If we can love through all of the hurt that life throws at us, then we rise above hurt protected, not by the love given to us by others, but by the love given to all by ourselves.
And so, when all else fails, love, love with abandon, love without condition, love so much that it fills your entire life. You will not only change our own life, but you will be a part of changing the world.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PERCEPTION

There is no such thing as a fact; all that exists is a perception. Even a fact would be irrelevant in one’s life it one did not perceive it as such.

How we perceive a situation determines a different reaction and each reaction creates a different outcome. A perception can ruin our lives, and allow opportunities to pass us by. Another can take us to incredible new possibilities. No one remembers how many times we fall only how many times we rise. If we perceive ourselves as being victims we will be victimized.

Lets us say that there is, in fact, an objective reality. It would make very little difference unless it was somehow able to pierce through all subjective realities because our actions are subjectively driven. Let’s say that two people are dating and one is very jealous. The other partner goes to luncheon interview with a man in a position to offer a great employment opportunity, the opportunity of a lifetime. The lunch meeting is in a restaurant that is within a hotel. The jealous lover happens to see the two of them enter the hotel lobby, of course they are heading to the restaurant, but that is not what the jealous partner sees. The jealous partner waits outside for them to exit, and attacks the potential employer. The relationship ends and the jealous lover believes that his partner cheated on him. A person goes to a job interview and the man doing the interview has had a very difficult day, he just caught his lover cheating on him (so he believes) the first applicant enters the office and immediately assumes that the expression on the interviewer’s face means that he took an immediate dislike to him and doesn’t even attempt to sell himself because he believes that he lost the position as soon as he walked in the door. The next applicant, seeing the expression of the interviewer’s face decides to take his obvious mood as a challenge and begins his interview asking concerned questions about the interviewer’s day. Because this applicant did not perceive the interviewer’s expression as a reflection of his qualifications, he handled to interview in a way that landed him the position.

Only the Universe knows all of the facts. All that we will ever know is what we perceive to be the facts and even that perception is subject to change along with all other perceptions. Our perceptions will determine our actions or reactions to any given situation. Things appear the way the majority believes them to be. The truth, as we know it, is not based on reality it is based on consensus. An observation is relative to the perception of the observer.

Every opportunity in life is open to you if you perceive it as your opportunity. If you perceive a wall to be a dead end, you will turn back and allow it to prevent your passage. If you perceive it merely as an obstacle you will get a ladder and climb over it. Regardless of what situation you are in, there are those who will perceive it as better than theirs and those who will perceive it as worse. There will be those who perceive a situation as a beginning and those who perceive it as an end. If we want to change our lives we have to change our perception of them.

There is a story about a man who had two sons. One son was always happy one was never happy. So the father decided one Christmas to give the son who was never happy every possible toy imaginable. The other son he gave nothing but horse manure. When he went into the room of the son who was never happy, he found the boy sitting on the floor looking very sad. When he asked why the boy said that with so many toys there would never be enough room to play. When he went into the room of the son with the horse manure, he found the boy smiling and singing with a shovel in his hand just shoveling away. When the father asked his son why he was so happy he said, “With all of this manure there must to be a pony.”

People, who are truly happy, seem to illuminate peace. We may find that they have nothing more to be happy about than we have. On the surface it may seem that they have even less. Sometimes it may seem to us that they live in a fool’s paradise, but how foolish can one be who lives in paradise? I have had many losses and disappointments in my life. I have a friend who was constantly telling me that I am lucky. I believed that she was saying that because somehow she chose not to acknowledge all of the obstacles that I had to overcome. But finally she explained to me that she saw me as lucky because I faced each obstacle as an opportunity and so I was able to flow with life without so much suffering. I always said that if this is where I am, it is where I am meant to be, and there is something here for me to receive.

Those of us who amass large sums of money, huge holdings in real estate, diamonds, furs, cars, all of the emblems of wealth and or fame, do so because they perceive a world in which ones value is based upon these things, without them one is nobody, worthless. Living in this perceived reality is an enormous amount of work, because one always needs more just be remain good enough because in the material world, that bar is constantly rising, today’s penthouse is tomorrows basement, and so today’s person of worth is tomorrows worthless person. This is why we do not own what we have, but what we have owns us, so long as we believe that it in any way defines us.

Regardless of what anyone says, a conscious person, in a world of suffering caused primarily because of poverty. The only reason for a person with even a modicum of compassion to cling to wealth is because it holds his identity. Today, having so much more than we need while so many have so much less than they need to survive is like walking around with a fur coat made of pelts that are still dripping blood. Only the loss of identity – which could seem like the loss of our own lives, could allow us this caveat to perceiving the suffering around us. We are able to justify even to ourselves, whatever we do or do not do, based upon the need of our egos to feel safe. And if the ego believes that wealth and power are all that keeps it safe, that perception will allow us to justify what we could never justify directly to our souls. This is the same as the man before could not just beat up a man and leave the woman who turned his world, unless, his perception justified his actions.

We move through the physical world, but we live in a world of perception. One person perceives himself or herself as poor because that person has only one bathroom. Someone else perceives that same person as rich because he or she actually has a bathroom in their home instead of an outhouse. Someone else perceives the person with the outhouse as rich because instead of an outhouse he only has a hole in the ground.

We cannot change our lives until we know exactly how we perceive them. Changing our physical world will do nothing for us because the physical world is only the backdrop against which we live our lives. Our story as well as our history is played out within our perceptions. Once we truly understand how we perceive our world we will automatically understand that there are also other ways. Each way of perceiving any situation or any experience has its own unique set of possibilities and choices.

Happy people see beauty in things that unhappy people don’t see. It is not because they would not see them as beautiful. It is because they do not see them at all. Happy people find what the Buddhist call, “the bless in the mess”. They do not notice what is lost they notice what is found. I remember a job I had that made my life so miserable that I quit. Having no job my grandmother made my home life so uncomfortable that I went out to look for a job on my birthday. Thanks to that first job ending and my grandmothers nagging, my next job lead to my eventually starting my own business making close to one million dollars a year.

I quit my job without thinking I did not take the time to feel sorry for myself. I did not allow myself the time to engage in a long period of self-pity or self-destructive behavior. I did not see the loss of my job as the end so I did not miss that opportunity. But I have to add that opportunity is a train that runs twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. It may take determination to find the station, but the only way we miss it is if we perceive it as non-existent if it is not where we expect it to be.

Christ said, Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]” (Gospel of Thomas)

We can’t change what is, but since what is has probably never been seen by the human eye, all that we have to do is change what we perceive it to be and we will change the path that lay before us, obstacles become challenges, and we no longer seek until we quit, we seek until we find. Life is a series of experiences, and whether our lives we wonderful adventures, or tortuous hell is only a matter of perception, it is a matter, not of life itself but of our experience of it. What we see, determines how we respond, and how we respond determines our life’s experience.