On this site I offer Tips, Tricks, and Wisdom for Living Life!

Forgive Everything Now

Several months ago, actually it was in the Christmas Day edition of the Kansas City Star newspaper, I read about a man named Darryl Burton who had spent 24 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. The headline read: “Former Inmate Defines Forgiveness.” I typically find such an article nearly irresistible and this piece did not disappoint.

The article revealed that Burton had been released from the Missouri State Prison system where he spent 24 years, after a judge ruled that Burton’s original trial had been unconstitutional.

Thanks to Ludi on Pixabay

Thanks to Ludi on Pixabay

I searched the writing for a glimpse of the promised definition of forgiveness and I want to share a little of what I found. To quote Burton: “If I hadn’t forgiven them, I would still be in prison, a spiritual prison.

This quote reminded me of a book, I had read, entitled We Are All Doing Time by Bo Lozoff. Not because Bo spent a lot of time touting the virtue of forgiveness, but because he taught that we are all imprisoned by the way we view the world, which is often through a set of rules we learned as children and never challenged. I think Bo would agree with Burton that the failure to forgive those who imprisoned him, would keep Mr. Burton trapped in a spiritual prison.

Without constantly examining the belief systems, which can hold us in bondage, we may remain trapped in prisons which have no apparent walls. Every time we find ourselves reacting to some stimuli, in any type of negative way, we uncover an opportunity to examine our beliefs, to see where we are clinging to illusions; illusions which may keep us from being free.

Thanks to TygerTy on Pixabay

Thanks to TygerTy on Pixabay

Burton understood this truth. While many people would harbor a great deal of resentment for having 24 years stolen from them, this wise man decided, instead, to free himself of such obstruction. He decided to enjoy his freedom to the fullest, and now he travels the States sharing the wisdom he has gained from his experiences.

In addition to teaching, Burton is working on a Master’s in Divinity and plans to spend the remainder of his years serving his Lord and telling his story of hope and forgiveness. I contacted Mr. Burton through the Church of the Resurrection, in Leawood, KS where he is an associate pastor, and shared an earlier draft of this post. You can read more about his story on his website: http://www.darrylburton.org/

To recap, I shared this article because I think it is a very important lesson. If a man like Darryl Burton, who essentially had 24 years of his life stolen, can find it in his heart to forgive all those responsible for his loss, then surely you and I can choose to forgive the driver who cuts us off in traffic, or the friend who falls short of our expectations. When I think about how minor the indiscretions are, sometimes, which cause me so much angst, I find they pale in comparison to being locked up for years, for a crime I did not commit. It really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

Forgive everyone for everything, now. Don’t wait. Don’t allow yourself to spend even one more minute in prison. Yes, others have hurt you. Yes, others have done things which were inconsiderate and thoughtless; but do you need to continue to suffer. Whatever was done is in the ancient past. You can do nothing about it now, except love yourself enough to let it go.

Consider these words from the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” And also this thought: “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.

Thanks to Skeeze on Pixabay

Thanks to Skeeze on Pixabay

Darryl Burton understands this truth. Darryl Burton is a very wise man. He has chosen freedom. Each of us can make the same choice, right now. We owe it to ourselves to choose Love.

Article citation: Bauer, Laura. “Former Inmate Defines Forgiveness.” Kansas City Star 25 Dec. 2015:  page 1. Print. Also here is a link to the same article with the title: “From the Pit to the Pulpit.”

Love, The Greatest Mystery

As I was working, this week, gathering everything I needed for our taxes I found an old book hiding in an unexpected place. It was a forty-two year old little book by Helen Steiner Rice. I am not sure where it came from but I think I bought it as part of a collection of books from an Estate Sale.

Mrs. Rice was a writer for the Greeting Card company, Gibson Cards (I believe) and, as I have noticed in other of her books, she has a gentle, easy way of speaking directly to my heart.

Anyway, I opened this little book to the first entry entitled: The Magic of Love. I thought it was nice, so I decided to share it here:

children-512601_1920

The Magic Of Love

Love is like magic.
And it always will be,
For love still remains
Life’s sweet mystery!

Love works in ways
That are wondrous and strange
And there’s nothing in life
That love cannot change.

Love can transform
The most commonplace
Into beauty and splendor
And Sweetness and Grace!

Love is unselfish,
Understanding and kind,hearts-public domain
For it sees with its heart
And not with its mind!

Love is the answer
That everyone seeks–
Love is the language
That every heart speaks.

Love can’t be bought,
It is priceless and free,
Love like pure magic
Is a sweet mystery!

Citation: Rice, Helen Steiner. Everyone Needs Someone. Place of Publication Not Identified: Revell, 1973. Print.

So simple, so clear. It speaks of the Love which cannot be explained, cannot be quantified or defined. It is, in fact, a great mystery, this Love which can only be felt or ignored.

We are this Love.

When we are living authentic lives, we allow this Beingness to flow in and through us, as us. And Mrs. Rice was correct, “There is nothing that Love cannot change.” There is nothing that Love cannot heal.

My New Year’s Resolutions

It is January 5th, 2016. It seems nearly impossible that another year has come and gone but it’s not mine to argue with the calendar. My goal, this year, will be the same as in the past: To stay present and fully enjoy each moment of every day. When I am successful at this endeavor, each day seems to move at a nice easy pace and, in truth, I am very seldom the least bit conscious of the passing of time.

Thanks to condesign on pixabay

Thanks to condesign on pixabay

So, how do I work to accomplish this? There are two simple things I strive to incorporate into every day:

In as much as is humanly possible I remain fully present in this current “now.” Understanding that the human mind is always either considering the future or dwelling on the past, I constantly re-direct my attention to the task at hand. If I am driving, to the best of my ability, I only drive. I keep my hands on the wheel, my eyes on the road, and my thoughts on the possible actions of the drivers who share the road with me.

Of course, this is not easy, because at every opportunity the mind will do what the mind does and it will be “off to the races” thinking about my destination or about my point of departure. I choose to experience this as if it were a game. It is not really “me” against my “mind,” but it kind of feels this way. The minute I notice my mind building stories about the past, the future, or something I am observing, I bring it back to whatever I am doing. This can be a constant challenge, particularly if one has not spent years practicing to create a quiet mind. But, it is doable. Like every other habitual behavior, it is merely a matter of practice, practice, practice.

Thanks to John Hain on Pixabay

Thanks to John Hain on Pixabay

A part of my daily work is to spend time in meditation. By this, I mean that I spend at least thirty minutes every day watching the way my mind works. I sit with the intention of being quiet and I re-emphasize this intention every time my mind sends up a thought for my consideration.Sometimes people ask me about my meditation practice. The most common question is “What is the best way to meditate?” My answer is always the same, “However you are most comfortable.” I have read dozens of books which insist that meditation must be done the way the author proposes. I have also had people tell me that you cannot meditate the way I choose to do it. None of this matters to the mind.

What matters is that you set aside time, with the intention of being quiet, and then you refuse to invest in any thoughts that arise. You can be walking, you can sit in a straight-back chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor and with your back straight. You can be quiet in the practice of Yoga, walking, or running. It does not matter, as long as your physical safety or the safety of others is not at risk. I do not advise practicing meditation while driving your car or while operating dangerous machinery, although the practice of meditation “at other times” can significantly improve your ability to pay attention to either of these experiences.

Thanks to Somogrado on Pixabay

Thanks to Somogrado on Pixabay

I have known people who are successful at meditating in their beds. I typically am not able to do this unless I sit up, because I tend to fall asleep. That is not to say that lying down is a bad way to meditate. In fact, one of my favorite ways, to be quiet, is to lie in the supine position (flat on my back with my face up) but I need to do this on the floor, instead of the comfortable bed.

Meditation helps one learn to have a quieter mind in their daily walk through life. I highly recommend it. In-fact, there is nothing I think is more important to one’s spiritual development. Having a quiet mind is so beneficial, it requires an essay of its own, just to list the many benefits. Staying in the now is very difficult for one who has not spent time training their minds to be more peaceful. Our minds are very skilled at making associations to things in our past. So, when we see something, it automatically triggers some type of reaction. The untrained mind can get caught up in these reactions and left unchecked, a whole day can pass with little to no time spent present to the actual task at hand. This is why time, sometimes, passes so quickly that we feel overwhelmed.

I urge you to invest in yourself and find a way to train your mind to be quieter. It can seem like a lot of work, because, quite frankly, it is a lifelong pursuit, but the key is just to allow a little time each day and fully commit to this daily ‘honoring’ of yourself. Once you have your first breakthrough, where you actually have an instant of complete silence, you will be hooked for life. You will soon crave your time in the silence and will feel that no day is complete without this self-investment.

Thanks to Hans on Pixabay

Thanks to Hans on Pixabay

It truly does slow time when you are able to be fully present in each new moment. I am not suggesting that the days will not roll through at a speed which seems to increase with each passing year, but I do promise that you will have more memorable moments in each of these hyper-speed-like days.

For this New Year, try to spend some time in the quiet each and every day, and practice being fully present in whatever task is at hand. If after attempting this for one month you think you are wasting your time, go back to your old way of being. My intuition and experience tell me that if you really invest in yourself, in this manner, you will be forever changed, and that change will be for the better, in my humble opinion.

Enjoy the Holidays

This year’s version of the holidays are upon us, with Thanksgiving only two weeks away. This is a very busy time, for me, as many of my household projects must be completed before filling our home with family and guests. As such, it is highly unlikely I will have much time to devote to sharing here. I did want, however, to offer a couple of quick suggestions for embracing the next seven weeks, until we begin the year 2016.

Thanks to pixel1 on Pixabay

Thanks to pixel1 on Pixabay

1) Let the past live in the past. Take each day as a brand new event. If you have history with anyone you encounter during the holidays, suspend that memory and look at these individual with brand new eyes. Don’t bring up the past, do not judge them based on things which happened in the past, and take this opportunity to demonstrate your ability to simply be the greatest expression of Love you are capable of being.

2) Just walk away. When others insist on re-living the events of the past, you have the option of simply bowing-out. Say, “This year I am choosing to merely be here. I am not interested in dwelling in the past.” In this way you set the example and free yourself of all the painful memories which, in many cases, means suffering. If that group of individuals refuse to follow your lead, move on to other people with higher levels of consciousness; people who respect your insistence to stay present in this NOW. If you cannot find anyone wise enough to join you, spend the holidays by yourself. Be a leader, this year, not a follower, not someone governed by habitual behavior. Yes, your ego may want you to engage in the same old behavior which haunts your memories of holiday’s past, but you are making a different choice this year. You will, eventually, see the wisdom of honoring your commitment.

Thank you Geralt on pixabay

Thank you Geralt on pixabay

As I wrote here the holidays offer us a unique time to heal our old familial relationships. These relationships often offer us the opportunities for some of our most profound growth. I am a big believer in using every opportunity the Universe places before me for my growth, my evolution. I recommend you honor your self by making the same promise to your soul.

Have fun this holiday season. I truly believe that if you adopt these two easy steps, you may have your best holidays yet.

Unless I magically free up some time between now and the New Year, I expect this will be my last post of 2015. It is possible that I could find myself compelled to share something before then, but I leave that up to Spirit. If things go as I foresee them, accept my wishes for your best holiday’s yet and my promise to return to writing with a renewed vigor on January 2nd, 2016.

I love and appreciate each of you who take the time to visit here and to read my words. I am very grateful for each of you who take a moment to post these writings on one of your social networking sites. You help me to attract readership, which, I hope, helps the planet to grow and evolve closer to becoming the Greatest Expressions of Love we are all capable of becoming. I thank you in advance for this kind gesture.

Thanks kevindvt on pixabay

Thanks kevindvt on pixabay

However you choose to celebrate the many holidays, I offer you Peace and consider you my friend, a term I do not take or use lightly. Much Love to each of you.

Gratitude is All That Remains

 
You, beloved, fill me,
As nothing else can.
You transform my loneliness
Into solitude.
You incite my longing
To be an open vessel,
For your Life-giving essence
To flow in and through me
To show up
In my actions, my words,
My thoughts.

Thanks to VivitoArt on Pixabay

Thanks to VivitoArt on Pixabay

Oh, how painful it is
When my mind forgets
Your loving embrace
Experienced in silence.
Oh, how this “Me”
Fights for survival.
How my “I Am” dreams
Of being needed, wanted, desired,
When I have once again
Forgotten the Truth;
The Truth that
I can never walk alone,
No matter what
I think.

Thanks to huevocosmico on Pixabay

Thanks to huevocosmico on Pixabay

Who is this I
Who thinks;
Who thinks he is flesh,
Bones and fluids,
Who thinks “he”
Is a him, different than
A she or a her.
He who notices
The apparent space
Between two forms
And deduces that
Separateness is what is Real,
Who focuses on differences,
Instead of similarities;
Who seeks pleasure for the
Form, he thinks he is.

Thanks to Pixabay

Thanks to Pixabay

Fill me beloved
So that I may never forget
To see with my heart
And not through my eyes,
My ears, my touch.
Fill me like the wind
Fills a tree,
Like the sun
Feeds a leaf,
Like a wave
Completes the shore,
Full till is no me
To remember or forget,
To imagine
A past or future,
To dream, or hope
Or find anything, missing.

Thanks to Jill111 on Pixabay

Thanks to Jill111 on Pixabay

Fill me
Like new wine
In an old skin,
So there is no I
Which remains
But only
Truth,
Wholeness,
Oneness,
Allness
Nothing left to say
Nothing left to do
Just unchanging THAT;
Nothing, yet everything
Paradox consumed
In beingness;
Soul expanded
Chains released
Boundaries erased
Borders forgotten;
Beauty lived, breathed,
Integrated, owned,
And celebrated
Now and forever;
For they are one and the same,
Infinity in every instant
Time forgotten with form.

Thanks to Mikael on Pixabay

Thanks to Mikael on Pixabay

Gratitude is all that remains
With no “me” to be grateful,
Just Love,
Undefineable,
Unexplainable,
Unimagined,
Simple ISness,
BEingness,
AMness.
 
© Elliott Teters 2015

Thinking is Dangerous

It is not what happens to you, but what you think about what happens to you that creates your sorrow.

You have heard these words, probably hundreds of times, if you have been on the spiritual path any time at all, but have you ever really integrated these words into your conscious awareness. Do you honestly own the understanding of this Truth or do you merely have the words memorized, in some rote fashion without fully considering how they apply to your day-to-day life experience?

Thanks to Antranias on Pixabay

Thanks to Antranias on Pixabay

Consider these words from Joel Goldsmith, found in The Contemplative Life, “Nothing can come into your or my experience except through our own consciousness.”

Reading words and even understanding the words you read and all the possible implications of those words is not the same thing as really allowing the understanding of this concept to change the fundamental way you live your life.

I can give you a quick test to see if you have integrated the opening sentence or if you just understand its meaning in an intellectual way: Do things happen in your life which cause you to suffer? Do things happen which create stress in your life?

You see if you answer “yes” to either of these questions, you do not fully embrace the first sentence. You may very well understand it. You may be able to quote thirty different authors or speakers who have expressed this in similar ways, but if you still allow life’s events to cause you to be upset, you do not own this Truth.

Thanks to Hans on Pixabay

Thanks to Hans on Pixabay

It is the nature of thinking that it is never really present. It cannot be fully present because it is always behind whatever has just happened. By the time you are interpreting what you have just witnessed, the event you are reacting to is in the past. When you consider that ninety-nine percent of what bothers you is much further removed from your present moment than something which just occurred, you realize that you are allowing your thoughts to destroy your calm peace of mind.

It is not my intention to be critical here. I still have moments where I allow my thinking to destroy my peace. The frequency is less than in my past, but they still happen, typically when I am reacting to some situation before recognizing that my emotions have hijacked my sensibility. It’s like my mind is a wild horse and I, having dropped the reins, allowed my mind, no matter how briefly, to become my master.

Thanks to Skeeze on pixabay

Thanks to Skeeze on pixabay

What is different for me, today, from where I was thirty years ago, is that now I recognize, normally quite quickly, that my thinking has destroyed my experience of heaven here on earth, and I rapidly change my mind. You can do that too, and I will promise you that it is worthwhile.

When you fully understand that events have no power to disrupt your joy, and that it is only when you are allowing your untamed mind to run, unchecked, that you feel anxiety, you can easily make a different choice. You can simply say, “Stop it” to your out-of-control brain and once you have practiced this, sufficiently, your mind will have no choice but to comply. Of course, there can be other factors involved, like fear, which can make your mind harder to tame, but in time, with a suitable investment of effort, you can make your mind become your servant and not your master. Then you can really own the concept that it is your thinking which creates all of your misery, because you can witness and know, at once, that this statement is Truth.

I am going to close with identical ideas from two different sources:

  1. The problem is always a belief in your own thought. ~ Joel Goldsmith
  2. It is not possible to have a problem without believing a prior thought. To notice this simple truth is the beginning of peace. ~ Byron Katie
  3. The mind’s natural condition is peace. Then a thought enters, you believe it, and the peace seems to disappear. ~ Byron Katie

Thinking is dangerous, friend. Really understand this, especially when in the midst of challenging times, and you can return to peace as if you never entertained the thought in the first place. Your brain is going to think, as long as you are alive. That is a good thing. It is proof that you are still here with us on the human plane. Believing those thoughts, investing in those thoughts, and attaching to these thoughts, that is where every problem begins.

If you must believe your thoughts, believe in the idea of a peaceful, day-to-day experience. Let go of every other thought. Seek ye first peace and joy shall accompany you all the days of your life.

Why I Share my Thoughts

A friend of mine recently asked me, “Why do you write and share your thoughts with people.” He added, “People are just going to do what they do, regardless of whether or not you offer a better idea. Plus,” he continued, “you said no one reads your blog anyway.”

Thanks to unsplash

Thanks to unsplash

I replied that I share what I know to be Truth for several reasons.

  1. I like it. I like the process of putting my thoughts and observations down in print. The actual work of sharing my ideas, the internet and email creations is more challenging than I would like but that is due, in part, to the fact that I am self-taught and am still learning.
  2. If I only help one person, in my entire lifetime, it will be worth it; but even if I do not, it helps me to congeal my ideas into a more concise ideology. My thoughts are like wild horses, sometimes, they can be unmanageable without some intervention.
  3. When I first started out, I thought this would be a great way to write a book, with each “Secret” being a page or two in the book. This has never worked out too well because my thoughts (as mentioned in 2) can be all over the map. I am in the process of pulling enough thoughts together to formulate a publishable manuscript, but I have been working on it for over a year. It is a slow, often tedious, exercise that I have to squeeze into my busy days. I think if I had started with an outline and followed that format it would have worked for that purpose, but that is far more organized than I am, normally.

    Thanks to Startup Stock Photos on Pixabay

    Thanks to Startup Stock Photos on Pixabay

The Buddha is attributed with having said: “There is no wealth like knowledge, and no poverty like ignorance.” While I always do, and always have written my Secrets to Peace for me, to organize my thoughts, and to bring clarity to the myriad lessons life continually offers me, I like sharing them, or at least making them available for others to find, regardless of whether or not I am ever rewarded for this sharing. I believe myself to be a generous person, and this writing is just another way to give to my brothers and sisters. Besides, there are a couple of people who routinely tell me that my words help them. That always seems like confirmation, enough, that what I do is worthwhile.

I have said this before and I am sure I will say it again and again. The thoughts I share, via this venue, are always my inner Self speaking to the me that needs tools to properly function in the world. While I inadvertently use the pronoun, you, frequently, it is never directed at anyone other than me. So, if I say “Your life would be greatly improved by a daily practice of meditation” it is me speaking to me and not Elliott giving advice to any of his beloved readers. I share this because of another comment I received recently, which I will not share, but it was criticizing me for thinking I had all the answers.

Thanks to Startfup Stock Photos on Pixabay

Thanks to Startfup Stock Photos on Pixabay

I have said, repeatedly, I do not consider myself to be a way-shower, I am merely a fellow traveler in this wonderful journey we call life. I do not believe I have any exclusive knowledge about the “rules” for living, I simply enjoy sharing what makes my daily walk a little brighter, a little less stressful, a little more joyous.

The bottom line is this: I share my thoughts about living in peace in the hopes that some will find value in my discoveries. If my words do not speak to you, then they are clearly not meant for you. There is nothing to be gained by attacking the messenger because you do not agree with the message. Just move on. I wish you well.

That’s all I will say about that.

In closing I want to share one more quote, this from a Jewish commentary on the Book of Deuteronomy called the Deuteronomy Rabbah: “In vain have you acquired knowledge if you have not imparted it to others.” I think it is important that we share our knowledge. I think there is value in writing it down. It feels significant to honor my Self by sharing what Life teaches me. My efforts here are a result of these beliefs.

Thanks to Foundry on Pixabay

Thanks to Foundry on Pixabay

I hope that by sharing my walk through life that others are helped, but if not, I promise that it helps me to go through this process because of the benefits I receive. As for my knowledge: it is subject to change at any moment, but that is just the nature of knowledge when one approaches life with an open mind and an open heart.

Regardless of the effect my words have in your life, know that I greatly appreciate your presence here. May we grow together and raise the collective consciousness by learning, each day, to be a greater expression of the Love we are.

The Holidays are Near, Time to Heal Family Relationships

As we head into the holiday season (Thanksgiving is only 6 weeks away for us in the U.S.) we face one of the most challenging times of the year; that being time spent with our extended family.fall path unsplash

In many cultures this is not a big issue but in the U.S. we have mostly moved away from the extended family model and live nestled in our nuclear family. For many of us, we like the arrangement because it keeps us from having to deal with the wounds that extended family remind us of. As a culture we would rather these ancient hurts remain buried.

This holiday season, I am once again committed to honoring my extended family by practicing compassion and understanding. I hope each of you will make similar commitments and embrace the holiday seasons as an opportunity to learn more about yourself.fall unsplash

I want to take this opportunity to remind us all that no one knows our secret hurts better than our family members. They are, without a doubt, our greatest teachers. In many cases, it was these exact individuals who helped us develop these painful memories, in the first place. It only makes sense that they are the ones to help us get over our resentments.

Today, I am thankful for having such skilled teachers in my life. Not only do I get the opportunity to examine areas in my life where I still do not love myself, but I also am offered plenty of practice at forgiving myself and others.

The other morning, when I awoke, I looked at the clock and saw it was flashing. I knew this meant that we had experienced a power outage.

Thanks publicdomainfotos on pixabay

Thanks publicdomainfotos on pixabay

As I reset the clock, I clearly saw this metaphor:

Each day is a new day.
Each day is a chance to start over fresh.
Yesterday does not have any power over today,
          which I do not give it.

Today I may forgive my yesterday
and I may recommit to staying in Love
         totally present in the Now;
         in the newness of this moment.

Today, I am thankful for those who love me enough
         to point me in the direction
         I need to go,
                for my self-healing.

Today, I forgive myself
For all the areas
Where I fall short
        of whom I think I Am
        of whom I wish to be
        of whom I think
                I should be!

Today I love myself,
         just as I am.

When I love myself enough
Perhaps I will free myself
        of my need
                for the approval of others.

As I begin my new day,
I am truly grateful
        for each and every teacher
        present in my life.

Today, once again,
I claim my independence.
        as I affirm my freedom.

Thank you,
        one and all!

Thanks to Schwarzenarzisse on Pixabay

Thanks to Schwarzenarzisse on Pixabay

Forgive everyone, everything, right here and right now. If you are truly successful at this practice, and the memory of that person has safe passage through your mind, your holidays will be filled with unprecedented blessings. If anything other than blessing shows up, transform it, right then, right there. Know that every such opportunity is an offering that only the other individual can give. Use it. Heal it. You will be so glad you made that choice.

 

God Created me to ___________________

Yesterday I caught a glimpse of an advertisement for a reality show entitled something like “The Trappers.” The short ad featured a bearded man who made the following statement: “God created me to be a trapper.” He had more to say, but this was the take-away for me.

Thanks to Skeeze on Pixabay

Thanks to Skeeze on Pixabay

This really set me to thinking. I came up with a whole list of things to ponder.

  1. Is there a God who creates individuals to play certain roles in life?
  2. If number 1 is true, what does God have against all the critters these trappers capture and kill?
  3. Does this mean that every choice we make is directed by God?

When I was teaching in the Federal Prison, I met inmates who believed that it was God’s or Allah’s will that these individuals commit their various crimes and that they should go to prison for said crimes.

I totally rejected such thinking because there was no self-responsibility, no accounting for individual will, but I did listen to their logic, which went something like this: “If God/Allah is all-powerful, then He (The Divine Entity was very masculine in these encounters) controls everything. If it was not his will it could not have happened.

Thanks to TryJimmy on Pixabay

Thanks to TryJimmy on Pixabay

There is some logic in that statement but I believe personal responsibility supersedes any type of divine intention. While I know there is a Unified Field in which we all move and have our being, I do not believe this Source ever interferes with our individual choices. So, in other words, I reject the idea that there is a power out there that created me or anyone else for a certain purpose. I believe this Power gives us the ability to become the best version of ourselves which we are capable of conceiving. I do not believe Mike the Mountain Man was created to kill animals for their furs, nor do I believe that Jeffrey Dahmer was created to eat his neighbors.

I know my beliefs are not popular. People find great comfort in their belief that God created them for a certain purpose. At least some do; others spend their entire lives attempting to uncover this divine calling, which for some never seems to appear.

I believe we all have free will. I am not sure this free will is manifest in human form or if it is decided by our soul, most of which resides in Source, but I believe we can make the choice, today, to pack our bags and move to Cancun, start a jet ski business, and drink Pina Coladas if we decide that is what we want to do. I think I could walk into a bank tomorrow with a note that demanded their money and probably find myself in prison fairly quickly. The point is this: It is not God’s will for my life that I try to learn to write well, it is mine. I choose not to rob banks simply because I choose to reject such a lifestyle, it has nothing to do with God or with God’s will for my life.

Thanks to DasWortgewand on Pixabay

Thanks to DasWortgewand on Pixabay

While I recognize the possibility, maybe even the probability, that I am wrong about the nature of man’s relationship with the Field which permeates all that Is, I simply cannot imagine a God that creates one man to kill another man, such as the “God created me to be a soldier” individual. Nor can I conceive of Love creating a human for the purpose of killing rabbits because their fur is in demand. It just all seems too contradictory to be a real possibility.

I understand people’s need for belief that the divine not only accepts their actions but was, in fact, the cause of such choices, but I do not believe it is a possibility. Any time we seek to assign attributes to God, we are creating the Divine in our own image, so it is completely logical that we would create a God who created us to be killers. Whatever helps you make it through the night, right?

As a quick disclaimer, I am not suggesting that it is wrong to kill animals, humans, or to rob banks. It is not anything that appeals to me, in any way, but the God I have created, in my mind, would never judge such actions. I would like to say that I, too, do not judge a shooter who would go into a school and kill innocent kids and teachers, but unfortunately I am not quite that evolved. It is my goal, to love as the God of my dreams Loves, but my first reaction is disbelief, followed my anger, and finally, followed by pain-filled sorrow, when such an event occurs.

Thanks to Elli60 on Pixabay

Thanks to Elli60 on Pixabay

Everything we are is God. If we really believe it is God’s will for us to trap beavers to make $ 60.00 for their pelt, then it is so. It’s no worse than praying that God is on our side on the battlefield or in the football game. We use our idea of the Divine to justify all sorts of actions. Why not? Clearly God created me to be a cynic, right?

I think we need to take responsibility for our actions and not place the burden for our actions on an idea of some God which we have created in our own image. If we do not have free will, there is no logical reason for our existence here. If there is a Divine Entity pulling all our strings, we are nothing but puppets in some silly dance that we will never understand. If I want to go out and kill people who don’t look like me, people who worship in a different way from me, I hope I would have the courage to claim responsibility for my actions and not say that it was because God created me to be a soldier. But then what do I know, perhaps God created me to question everything.

The only freedom we can ever find is through taking 100% responsibility for our lives. There is no joy to be found in blaming our lives, our choices, on some mythical God, out there somewhere. We are what we are because of the choices we make and have made, not because some creator decided that this is who and what we should be. I think our parents, teachers, peers, and relationships had more to do with forming and shaping us than the Unified Field did. We are and have always been free to choose the direction of our lives. It is no wiser to say that “God created me for this” than it is to say that “The Devil Made Me Do It.”

Thanks to muratortas on Pixabay

Thanks to muratortas on Pixabay

To be free, we must claim and own our freedom. Any other choice abandons and disregards Truth.

Writing and Naming

I have tried my best to write this week and I have nothing but a bunch of words to show for my effort. My writing has been vague, meandering, circuitous, and virtually painful to read and attempt to edit. Sometimes my writing is like that. Rather than force something on-to the page, which does not reflect the ideas I am trying to convey, I have decided to share someone else’s thoughts.

Thanks to startupstockphotos

Thanks to startupstockphotos

Consider these words from Stephen Mitchell found in the preface of the book A Thousand Names For Joy: “There’s nothing mystical or lofty about the Master. He (or she) is simply someone who knows the difference between reality and his thoughts about reality. He may be a mechanic or a fifth grade teacher or the president of a bank or a homeless person on the streets. He is just like everyone else, except that he no longer believes that in this moment things should be different than they are. Therefore in all circumstances he remains at ease in the world, is efficient without the slightest effort, keeps his lightness of heart whatever happens, and, without intending to, acts with kindness toward himself and everyone else. He is who you are once you meet your mind with understanding.”

I have been trying to write, this week, about incidents from my life, which clearly show that I am no Master. At  least, at times (like this week and probably most days, if I am totally honest), I can lay claim to no such title or authority.

Thank you Unsplash

Thank you Unsplash

Now consider these words from Byron Katie from the same book:
     “You can’t express reality in words. You limit it that way. You squeeze it into nouns and verbs and adjectives, and the instant-by-instant flow is cut off. The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao, because trying to tell it brings it into time. It’s stopped in time by the very attempt to name it. Once anything is named, it’s no longer eternal. “Eternal” means free, without limit, without a position in time or space, lived without obstacle.

     There is no name for what’s sitting in this chair right now. I am the experience of the eternal. Even with the thought “God,” it all stops and manifests in time, and as I create “God,” I have created “not–God.” You can substitute anything here–with the thought “tree,” I create “tree” and “not–tree”; the mechanism is the same. Before you name anything, the world has no things in it, no meaning. There’s nothing but peace in the wordless, questionless world. It’s the space where everything is already answered, in joyful silence.

     In this world before words, there is only the real–undivided, ungraspable, already present. Any apparently separate thing can’t be real, since the mind has created it with its names. When we understand this, the unreal becomes beautiful, because there is nothing that can threaten the real.”

So, perhaps it should not concern me that I cannot claim to be a Master. It is interesting to me that Stephen Mitchell, Byron Katie’s husband, in the preface to this wonderful book, would be intent on naming a person of certain qualities, a “Master,” and Byron Katie would, within a few pages point out the fallacy of naming anything.

Thanks to Solart on Pixabay

Thanks to Solart on Pixabay

I really think part of my struggles, this week, can be traced to my efforts at naming things which are inherently unnamable. I have struggled with every piece I have tried to create. Some weeks are like that. Next week I may pick up one of the writings and tweak it a little and find something worth sharing. On the other hand, I may discard one or all of them as unusable. Of course, there is the third option: I may file it away in a “needing work” file which is already bulging at the seams.

Here is what I know to be true: Everything happens, at least in my life, for a reason. Everything shows up as my teacher at exactly the moment I am open and willing enough to learn what the event has to teach me. I need to spend some time contemplating the importance I place on the validity of my thoughts. This is a theme which appeared in all of my writing efforts, this week. There is no accident that I chose to dive into Katie’s insightful book in the same week that I am struggling so in my writing. I will discover how these two are connected and extract what I need. It doesn’t always happen as quickly as I would like, but I am a Master at extracting what I need from my life’s lessons.

In the meantime I hope that you find something valuable in Stephen Mitchell’s and Byron Katie’s wisdom which I have shared today.