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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.

Learning to Love as LOVE ITself

The single most important work we will ever do is to heal anything which keeps us from Loving as the Universe Loves. Life has shown me that we are absolutely Loved without any conditions, Loved beyond anything we can imagine we deserve. When we work to approach learning to Love that way, the process itself is very cathartic, very healing, even if we never actually reach that goal.

To that end, I would like to offer three tools for removing blockages to our demonstration of Love.couple at water

1) The first and most important tool to becoming the greatest expression of Love you are capable of becoming is forgiveness. We cannot be a full and complete expression of Love as long as there is any hurt we hold as “unforgivable.”

In Truth, there is no hurt so hideous that it is intrinsically unforgivable. There is only that which we refuse to forgive. When we discover the truth that we are not incapable of forgiving but merely unwilling to do so, we find ourselves poised for significant growth previously unimagined in our wounded state.

I used to teach at a Federal Correctional Institution as part of The Life Connections program. It was a curriculum based system which separated individuals by their professed faith traditions.

During my years of teaching here, I had the joy of listening to Azim Khamisa a man who lost his twenty year old son, a college student working part-time as pizza delivery boy, to a gang-banger’s initiation rite. Azim and the perpetrator’s grandfather had created The Forgiveness Project which travelled the world teaching young people and adults the importance of self-esteem and of forgiveness.

At one of Mr. Khamisa’s presentations an inmate asked a very profound question of Azim: “How do you know when you have forgiven someone?” to which Azim answered, “I know I have forgiven someone when they have safe passage through my mind.” In other words, when he could think of someone and find no resentment remained in his mind, he knew he had completely forgiven that person.

While the tools for forgiveness are many and varied, the bottom line is that we must reach a point where we are able to think of that person and allow them to pass through our minds without any resentment or pain still attached to their image. The methods for accomplishing this are individual in nature, but I have always found that some degree of forgetfulness comes in handy as well as taking personal responsibility for the event. While I may have not played any part in the original injury, I have been the one who has clung to the memory of the incident. In this, I have complete responsibility. Wayne Dyer used to say that what happened yesterday was as ancient as the Peloponnesian War. In other words, let the past own the past and let your awareness be in the present. Hanging on to anything, any memory of the past only creates pain that need not be a part of our current day consciousness. Let it go and set both yourself and the alleged injurer free.

While I know that sometimes acts, which have injured us, seem so heinous that we feel completely justified in refusing to forgive, nonetheless, clinging to the hurt just allows pain to continue where peace could reside instead. Let it go, whatever it is. Allow the chains which bind you under the guise of these memories to fall away. Enjoy the new lightness, which accompanies such a release, to be your experience. Forgive today, tomorrow, and each day, until no trace, indeed no memory, of the hurt remains.

Not only will this free you of the heartache your anger has perpetuated, but it heals the whole world in the process. Even if you believe you are unable to do this for yourself, I would urge you to attempt it for the sake of all humanity. No greater work will you ever pursue.

Thank you Open Clip Art Vectors on Pixabay

Thank you Open Clip Art Vectors on Pixabay

2) The second most important work you can begin today follows the same line of reasoning. We must learn to Love ourselves just as we are so that we have an abundance of Love which overflows from our hearts to pass on to the world.

I believe that we cannot fully love another until we can fully love ourselves. Loving myself always begins with forgiving all the parts of me that I find hard or impossible to love.

Paul Ferrini, in his excellent book, The Twelve Steps of Forgiveness writes:  “Every one of us has condemned ourselves. And every one of us has tried to work out of our self-hatred by projecting the responsibility for our problems upon others.

But it just doesn’t work. Self-hatred remains self-hatred, even when other people become involved. Attacking others or defending against their attack does not lessen our deep-seated judgment of ourselves. Deep down inside every single one of us is a wounded child who needs to heal.

The process of forgiveness offers this child the opportunity to heal. It is a life-long process that continues as long as we continue to judge ourselves and others.”

Ferrini is spot-on, in my humble opinion. As we forgive ourselves we find ourselves to be worthy of our love. This fills our heart to overflowing and we, in turn, find it easy to share this love with the world.

Thanks to AdinaVoicu on Pixabay

Thanks to AdinaVoicu on Pixabay

3) The third step we must master if we are to become full expressions of Love, is to stop judging. We learn to judge others from our earliest days of infancy, in part for our survival and in part because most of our parents were not examples of highly evolved humans.

We watch the news and we shake our heads wondering how people could be so screwed up, but we do not understand that everything we see is contained within us. There is only ONE power and ONE presence in the Universe and we dwell within that Oneness as IT. When we see actions, we judge as evil, we demonstrate a lack of understanding of the Truth. This Truth is that we see evil because we have evil within us. If it did not reside within us, we could not see it. When we judge some things as good and others as bad we are creating more and more separation, more increments of right and wrong, truth and untruth, when in fact all such judgment is illusion. Everything simply IS. Any other definition is judgment and judgment always leads to suffering.

When we learn to stop resisting what we see, start to tune in to the beauty which surrounds us, and learn to fully love “what is” we set ourselves and our world free of the pain that judgment creates. Everything we believe is “wrong” or “evil” only demonstrates areas where we need healing, areas where we are withholding Love. Such judgment never speaks to what is; it always only points to what resides within our own consciousness.

Judging is an habitual behavior. Consequently, it is not easy to stop. The best we can do is to begin to notice where we judge and instead immediately cancel that line of thinking and replace it with love. Loving what is instead of judging it as erroneous or bad can become the new habit. In replacing the separation-creating-judgment with a loving-inclusive-choice we begin opening to the possibility of becoming more loving individuals.

All three steps which I suggest as necessary to learning to Love as Love Itself loves are so intertwined it is virtually impossible to pull them apart for separate analysis.

Thanks to Tappancs on Pixabay

Thanks to Tappancs on Pixabay

To become the greatest expression of Love I am capable of becoming I must learn to love and forgive myself completely. In so doing I have the possibility of loving and forgiving everyone else. When I am successful in accomplishing these, lifelong pursuits, perhaps I can learn to stop judging others so that I find I have nothing new to forgive.

Once I become a clean and open vessel of the LOVE which is the Universe Expressing as Me, I can transcend the pain and drama that the unexamined life has always offered. These three steps create a life that is unimagined by most of humanity yet remains possible to each and every one of us.

Having glimpsed moments of pure, unadulterated Loving Openness I promise you that the work spent becoming such a vessel of Love pays greater rewards than can be dreamed. It must be experienced to be believed.

*Note: I first published, pieces of this article, in 2006 on my Love Expressing Blog which no longer exists. I reworked it and published it on WikiNut recently, and tweaked it, just a little, to post here. Hopefully, I have improved it enough that it sounds like a brand new writing.

Seven Ways to See with New Eyes

The normal way to live our days is to suffer. The reason we suffer is because we have programming which says some things are good and others are bad. Life is enjoyable whenever that which we have named “good” is happening and miserable when whatever we have named “bad” happens.

The fastest and best way to change this programming is to live each day as if we were infants. If you have ever been around a very young child, you have undoubtedly noticed how amazed they are by whatever is happening around them.baby-public domain pictures on pixabay

With this in mind I have written seven suggestions for cultivating a more childlike wonder of the world in which we live, move and have our Being:

  1. Imagine you are seeing things for the first time. If you have ever enjoyed the experience of seeing something that you had not previously noticed, despite the fact that your path had taken you near, several times, then you know what this suggestion implies. Consciously open yourself to looking at your world as if with new eyes. Imagine that you are going to take an awareness quiz about your surroundings and notice everything. Pay particular attention to where you notice beauty, which you previously overlooked.
  2. Question every preconception you have. I was with a friend, recently, who upon hearing my exclamations of gratitude for an exquisite pea salad, decided to ask for a taste of this treat. After she swallowed a small sample, the woman stated, “I have avoided peas for thirty years because I have never liked them. This really is excellent.” The peas she tasted on this day were quite different from the peas she remembered hating. Things shift. Our ideas change. Memories are often exaggerated. Question your preconceptions. Explore areas you previously avoided. See what surprises you. Discover how delightful it is to replace an ancient hatred with a new love.salad-
  3. Allow that knowing is not as exciting as learning. Jump with both feet into some area where you have never gone. If you are stuck in some rut, deepened by your routine, change it up. Even if you feel your job is boring, look for ways to challenge yourself. Set new goals and play with learning what works and what does not, always moving in the direction of these dreams. Once I had a job in a brake press factory. I cannot imagine a duller job. My biggest challenge in this work was to keep my fingers out of the way of the brake press so that I could take them home, intact. I was quickly bored by the monotonous routine. Move metal into place. Clear fingers. Press button. Clear area. Repeat. I would do this process several times a minute for two hours at a time, followed by a short break. The way I eventually found joy was by striving to see how many of the objects I could create in any given hour. Instead of allowing my mind to wander to where I would rather be or to what I would rather be doing, I focused every ounce of energy into being as quick and as accurate as I could be. I did not do this for attention or for recognition. I did it to free myself from the doldrums of repetition. Very quickly I discovered ways to improve my performance. Instead of being bored out of my mind by the repetitive nature of the work, I found myself having fun and being able to give every two-hour segment all I was capable of giving. It was a transformative experience for me. I was quickly promoted and moved to other areas in the business. I took this decision to work “in joy” with me, wherever I moved and it served me quite well. Others who had been there for much longer resented my enthusiasm, which was kind of unfortunate, but I knew I was only there for a while, and I wanted to enjoy every moment I had.
  4. Notice where your routine “owns you” and make some changes. Perhaps you work some place where you have no personal power over your hours. You still have domain over the minutes before you arrive and after you are done. Change your routine. If you have been getting up at 6:00 A.M., brushing your teeth first, showering second, and getting dressed third, change it up. Get up at 5:30. Lay in the bathtub for 15 minutes while sending love to a situation you would just as soon avoid.  Leave the house ten minutes earlier and take a different route to work, preferably one you which will require your attention, so as to avoid the temptation to drive on autopilot.

    Thanks to Geralt on Pixabay

    Thanks to Geralt on Pixabay

  5. Do something totally unpredictable, surprise yourself. After this day of “routine-busting” not only do you take a different route home, but you stop, impulsively, at some place totally new. Get out of the car. Enter the surprise location and look around with eyes of wonder. Stop and touch things, preferably things which are unfamiliar to you. Talk with people you do not know. Love them with your eyes and open heart. Perform random acts of kindness, without hoping for any attention.
  6. When you get home, do something you have never done. Make some recipe you have never tried. Whatever your typical evening routine is, vary it. Watch a movie that never interested you before. Read that book which has been sitting on your shelf waiting for the right inspiration.
  7. Finally, go to bed earlier or later than usual. Before going to sleep take a few minutes to reflect on and to give gratitude for all the new discoveries of this day, both the ones that made you feel more alive and the ones that you have no interest of trying again in the future. Each holds its own unique blessing.  Consider new ways you can avoid the routines of life, and applaud yourself for breaking out of your habitual ways of moving through your days.

    Thanks to Hans on Pixabay

    Thanks to Hans on Pixabay

This is only seven possibilities for helping pull yourself out of the autonomous way in which you normally spend your days. Dream up other ideas. These suggestions have given you a framework for new ways of living your life. Before long you will notice that you have new eyes in which to view what is ostensibly a new world to you. Life becomes very exciting once you break out of the dull routines your programming has created in an effort to keep you safe.

There is great excitement in viewing the world through the eyes of a child. Give it a try and enjoy.

*Note: I first published this, most recently, at Wikinut under the title: Living Peacefully  It was originally published, (although this piece has been reworked) on my original blog Love Expressing which I have not used in several years.

P.S. If you have any ideas for looking at the world with new eyes, please put them in the comments. I would like to write an entire e-book on this subject and would love to share your input with the world.