Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Since we bypassed the book this Sunday (but not the material) we focus on some practical aspects of forgiveness) Here is a chapter from What Are You Holding onto That’s Holding You Back?
(This was written a number of years before the Paul Selig work, however, I think it follows the process of forgiveness quite well)
THE GRACE OF FORGIVENESS
SHORTLY AFTER we were married, I did something that was upsetting to Margo. I cannot recall what it was. It might have been a misplaced phone message or my forgetting to do something I said I was going to do. What I do recall was that she was upset. I had no idea how to change that. I remember saying, “Well, I guess it’s all over.” She looked at me as if I was crazy. “I am upset now,” she said, “and I soon will let go of it for good.” She introduced me to the healing power of forgiveness.
Forgiveness releases the toxic energy of anger and resentment which drains the inner self and creates imposing barriers to all relationships. Release heals me when I forgive and when I allow myself to be forgiven.
When I ask for forgiveness, I open my heart in compassion and allow myself to understand the hurt I might have caused others. Instead of shame and guilt, which are the ego’s response to imperfection, I am lovingly humbled by recognizing my shortcomings, and open myself to grace and transformation.
When I open myself up to forgiveness from God or another, I recognize, in depth, that I am not what I do. My True Self and my actions are not the same thing. When I recognize that my actions are not who I am, I acknowledge this same truth in others. With that sublime recognition, I am more open to releasing my anger and resentment towards you. Thus forgiveness creates an infinite spiral ever reaching towards Oneness.
Forgiveness gives the freedom to live simply and in the present. The more stuff you are holding onto, the more complicated and burdensome life becomes. What are you holding onto that is holding you back? Is it fear, anger, resentment, or self-criticism? No matter what you are holding onto, the antidote, the release is forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go; holding on or “un-forgiveness” creates a state of mind dominated by anger, fear, jealousy, guilt, and resentment. The negative results of this holding on are legion: all forms of self-destructive behavior, barriers to healthy relationships, physical illness, and a sense of isolation from God and others.
When we are holding on, we perceive ourselves and others as guilty and flawed. Our faith is eroded; we become vengeful and vindictive; we tend to focus on outside inconsequential values rather than the more important ones inside; we ignore or deny our feelings by suppression or projection onto others; we live in blame, shame, and guilt; we are fearful of looking at ourselves, and especially look- ing at ourselves lovingly.
I am stuck in judgmental thinking more than I would like to admit. Whenever I am holding onto anger, fear, jealousy, or hurt my judgmental mind kicks in reflexively. What do I do then? I have dis- covered that the antidote to judgment and all the baggage it creates is forgiveness. If I am holding on, everything I am holding onto is occupying the space that could be filled with love, grace, and peace. With forgiveness, I let go of my stuff and then God comes in and sweeps it up.
The Lord’s Prayer directs us to know that we are forgiven “as we forgive.” That is not a directive to God; it is the simple statement of a truth: we can only be forgiven as we forgive. Forgiveness means letting go, making a space, and opening up. If I am locked up and holding onto fear, anger, resentment, then there is little room for God to enter.
Jesus not only preached forgiveness, He also demonstrated it many times. Often He would say, “Thy sins are forgiven thee,” even when a more physical miracle was expected. Forgiveness is the open door to love and compassion. Without forgiveness we remain self- centered, isolated, and trapped in our limited vision of ourselves and the world.
Not too long ago I heard, “When you forgive, everything will change.” I thought, “How could anyone believe that? There must be more than that. Is it possible? Can it be that simple?”
I looked at all the anger, fear, and negative thoughts I had about myself. I examined all areas of my life: physical, mental, emotion- al, and spiritual. What would it be like if I were free of all that neg- ativity?
My body is not in the kind of shape I would like it to be in. Of course I am sixty-five and probably will not have the body of a twenty year-old, but that’s beside the point. I still have the idea that my body should be much more perfect than it is. I get colds and infections occasionally, and that should not be happening to me. I am short; I need glasses. I am angry at all my physical imperfections.
I am so grateful for my intellect; it is a marvelous tool and my mind has continued to serve me well as a teacher, counselor, writer, and many other areas of my life. It also can create limitations. My mind wanders. Outrageous thoughts occur to me. When I want to be quiet, my mind makes the most noise. When I want to stop trying to figure things out and just be in the mystery, my mind will not let go. My thoughts not only intrude on the present moment, they also cre- ate fear, anxiety, guilt, and remorse about the past or the future. I can be angry at my mind and my thoughts for not being as disciplined as I think they should be.
Sometimes I believe how I feel is who I am. Emotions are powerful influences and they can sometimes take over my life. It would be wonderful to be taken over by joyfulness and exuberance all the time, but I am one of those people (perhaps it is my Irish heritage) who leans towards the melancholy, depressed, and overwhelmed states of mind. I wish that were not true, but it is. I am angry at my emotional nature because it is not happy all the time.
When I look at my soul and my spiritual work, I realize I do not pray or meditate as much as I think I should. I do not identify with my soul and my spiritual nature as much as I would like. I think I am not as close to God as I would like to be; I think I should be better than I am. So I am angry at my soul for not being more assertive. I am angry with myself for not putting my soul first. The list can go on and on and on.
Then I thought, what would it be like if I forgave myself? What would it be like if I let go of all my negative feelings towards my body, mind, emotions, and spirit? What would happen?
I would be free! Would any of the previously mentioned conditions change? Maybe, maybe not, but I would have changed. I would be like a balloon with its sandbags cut free, flying, unencumbered, and so much closer to the truth of who I really am, an unconditionally loved child of God.
Forgiveness allows me to be at peace, to be free of the past, to experience myself as strong and capable, to love and be loved. Forgiveness allows everything to be as it is. My relationship with
God, others, and myself are open, loving, and unencumbered. In a state of forgiveness, my energy can now be directed in more positive, healthy ways for myself and others.
Forgiveness calls for deep levels of self-honesty and love. The energy that I put into surrender in the form of forgiveness allows me to honor, feel, and release all the many feelings that might be connected to my life experiences. Feelings such as rage, anger, shame, fear, and hurt are all very real. All these feelings need to be acknowledged, accepted, and dealt with in order for forgiveness to be lasting.
Many confuse forgiveness with being a victim. Forgiveness neither condones the act nor absolves the perpetrator. Forgiveness is about me, not the other person. When I release my anger and resentment and focus on my own well-being and healing, that is when I am free. As Thomas Merton beautifully stated, “The arrow with which I shoot my enemy has to pass through my own heart.” When I drop my quiver with forgiveness, I no longer wound you and I no longer wound myself.
Forgiveness is similar to the process of grieving. It follows a pattern of willingness, evaluation, feeling, letting go, and opening to love.
I need to be willing to release my anger, fear, and grudges, but sometimes I am just not at that place. I know I need to be willing, but I also need to remember that if I am not at the point of willingness yet, I need to be willing to be willing. I need to take a step or a few steps back. I do not concentrate on where I am not; I concentrate on where I am. If I am not at the stage of complete willingness, then I embrace myself where I am and allow myself to be open to the grace of moving forward. I need to realize there must be a part of me that is willing to let go or I would not be examining the issue at all.
Go to the place inside of you that is willing to be willing. That is where you start. You are willing to be willing to forgive. Say that to yourself, “I am willing to be willing to forgive.” “I am taking care of my feelings; I am embracing myself where I am now. I am will- ing to be willing.” There will be times in your life when you are not ready to let go, when you continue to hold on. That is just where you are at the moment. The realization is not a call for self-judgment, but for self-awareness. You hold on as long as you need to hold on, and when you are ready to let go you are ready to let go.
When you feel the feelings and open to the willingness of forgive- ness, you can begin to realize this process is not about the other per- son or the event; it is about you. Your forgiveness and letting go are about your anger and resentment, however justified they might be. In your letting go you acknowledge that your anger and resentment are not affecting the person you are angry with, but your holding on is killing you.
There are events in my life which have produced genuine wounds and others that have simply bruised my ego. The former need the surrender work of forgiveness; the latter, I just need to let go of.
Most occurrences in life are not about me at all. If I could just realize that truth, life would be much gentler and simpler. I find myself waiting in line, in the middle of a traffic jam, thinking some- one is being rude to me–those are some of the many things that have nothing to do with me. Nobody is doing anything to me. Although I am prone to anger and impatience in those situations there is nothing to do except to let it go.
How important is this? So I let him get to the red light ahead of me. So she didn’t write the check before she got into the checkout lane. What difference is that going to make to me today, tomorrow, or next week? I discover what a useless waste of energy it is to dwell on any of that, and how utterly self-centered it is to think any of that was about me.
When we are identified with our ego we can perceive practically anything as an affront. Jacquie Small once suggested we make a dis- tinction between “ego hurts” and “heart hurts.” We need to develop an honest, healthy awareness of ourselves to make this distinction.
Ego hurts arise from everyday circumstances, and have no real effect on anything important. In fact, most ego hurts occur in the mind rather than the external world. I might think someone has looked at me funny, or they didn’t say “Thank you” when I held the door for them, or they didn’t compliment me the way I thought they ought to. My list of perceived wrongs done to me is endless, and I need to differentiate between those events, real or imagined, and those which truly require my forgiveness. There will be many ego hurts that I simply need to let go of. I will own them, accept them as my reaction to my ego’s limited view of things, and I will move on. Heart hurts are those events that we feel have truly damaged us: if we experience ourselves as victimized by someone else’s anger, especially if we were abused or treated unjustly, if we were physically harmed, or if our emotions were discounted or ignored. These are issues which require our attention. We forgive; we let go so that we can heal. As we listen to our heart we can know what is signifi- cant and what is not. We will neither hold onto the meaningless and trivial complaints of the ego, nor will we discount events which
wound us and drain us of power.
In forgiveness, we first let go of the issues and incidents the ego
has placed such importance on, and then we work through the process to let go and heal those issues and incidents which have hurt or wounded us. Both levels of surrender allow our soul’s energy to foster healing and wholeness.
As with grieving, the process of forgiveness cannot be rushed. The surrender occurs at its own time. We do the conscious work, giving our soul the time and the space to let go.
I have worked with people who have attempted to rush their forgiveness. They have been willing to forgive, but they have not yet done the necessary work with their feelings. If I attempt to forgive before I have dealt with my emotions, then I am left with feelings about myself that are neither good nor healthy. Many times if I try to forgive without feeling the anger and the other feelings I need to feel, I can be left with a sensation of incompleteness. That vacuum of incompleteness attracts all sorts of unhealthy ideas such as, “Well, maybe I did something to provoke this. Maybe it is my fault after all.” No one deserves to be abused or mistreated in any way; however, in the wake of rushed forgiveness, I can be left with feel- ings of doubt and shame.
We have all heard the message, “Well, you just need to forgive,” and we have attempted to put it into practice. Most of the time, however, what we end up doing is to push down or deny our feelings. Obviously, this is not healthy. Denial and repression are defense mechanisms, but they are not tools that allow for healing. What these defenses do is to protect us from our feelings for a time. Sometimes, protection is just what we need. Our defenses might allow us a time of numbness so that we can survive the trauma of whatever has been done to us. Then there comes a time when all of these feelings need to be dealt with in order for us to regain our mental and emotional health.
When I rush this process of forgiveness, I attempt to deal with all of these emotions of hurt, anger, and fear too quickly. In true and healthy forgiveness, I feel all the feelings, accept them, own them, let them move through me, and finally let them go.
The feelings which need attention in the process of forgiveness will vary from person to person and incident to incident, but the two dominant ones are anger and hurt.
I learned many erroneous ideas about anger growing up. As I began to understand how much of a role this emotion plays in both grieving and forgiveness, I knew I was going to need some work with this emotion of anger.
As I said earlier, I grew up in an alcoholic home; needless to say, there was a lot of anger floating around. Anger was sometimes explosive, usually out of proportion to the event, and always unpredictable and hurtful. More than anything else I learned that anger was a tool that was used to wound and manipulate. Anger was also like nuclear waste; it had a half-life of about fifty thousand years. It never went away. No matter what kinds of promises were made about “never bringing this up again,” I knew that was a lie. Whatever the issue, it would always surface again as a weapon to hurt and control. It is not surprising that I spent much of my life denying and suppressing my anger.
Anger is a feeling with quite a bit of physical energy. Probably one of the first things that I need to do with anger is to discharge the physical energy connected with it. Yelling, screaming, pounding pillows–all are common ways of dealing with the physical aspects of anger.
Exercise and other forms of movement can also be very helpful. These methods are simply ways of releasing the physical side of the anger. What that does, from my experience, is give people the opportunity to look at and deal with the feeling of anger and all of the other feelings that might underlie the anger.
Dealing with the anger itself is another issue. Here I might really need some professional help in order to be able to understand and work with the feeling. Many times anger covers other feelings such as guilt, shame, fear, and hurt. These underlying feelings need to be dealt with also. When we have experienced the hurt of trauma, we need to find ways of honoring and dealing with all the resultant feelings. Certainly, finding a good therapist can be helpful. Someone I can really trust and talk to. Trust your gut with this one. In therapy, as well as in many areas of life, “One size does not fit everyone.”
Friends who are understanding and supportive are a powerful and positive resource. There are also good self-help groups where I can get the support of a group and be helped and supported by some of the individuals in the group.
After I have released and dealt with my feelings of anger, hurt, and any others, that is when it is time to forgive. In fact, when I have dealt with all of those feelings, I might find that forgiveness has already happened.
Forgiveness is not about the other person; forgiveness is about me. I am the one who needs to forgive. I need to forgive, not because it is something that I have to do, but because it is something that will free me and free my energies to do more positive work for myself. I can claim my power and let myself and the world know I am no longer a victim. Now I have even more choices than I had before. Forgiveness is a way of unburdening myself, a way of freeing myself.
How do I forgive others? I stop punishing either outrightly or passive- aggressively. It is only when I stop punishing and let go that I can be open to love and loving. As long as my energies are devoted to punishing, they cannot be devoted to loving. Feelings directed towards a person or object can be either expansive or constrictive, not both.
Forgiveness is freedom. When I let go of anger, resentment, and judgment I am free. When I forgive myself I am free. When I allow myself to be forgiven by God and by others I am free. When I open myself to asking for forgiveness I am free.
LEARNING, FILLING UP, AND HEALING
Along with willingness, evaluation, and release of feelings, there is a finalizing stage of forgiveness called the learning or healing stage. It is the time when the space inside which has been emptied of punishment, guilt, fear, anger, and resentment is now filled with love, light, understanding. Jesus shared a parable about a person who was cleansed of a demon. He likened that person to a house that was cleaned up and aired out, but then seven other demons moved in worse than the first. (Mt 12:43-45) What happened? Nothing happened, and that was the problem. The person let go and was released of his demon, but did not fill in the empty space with anything. It is true that nature abhors a vacuum. When the space is freed inside of us we need to actively fill it with the good. We pray; we open our- selves to light and healing; we cultivate nurturing thoughts and ideas. We fill ourselves with all things good so that the goodness, light, and peace that we have received can flow through us, continuing our own healing and the healing of the world.
The power of living in the grace of forgiveness extends beyond my practice of forgiving another. In the realm of forgiveness there is also self-forgiveness–asking and accepting the forgiveness of others and accepting the forgiveness of God.
Just as I need to forgive others, I also need to forgive myself. Self- forgiveness, like all the other forms of forgiveness, is about letting go. This self-forgiveness is a lesson in how to deal with the self in a non-judgmental way that helps me to forgive others. I shudder when I imagine what it would be like if I spoke to other people the way I speak to myself.
Self-forgiveness is letting go of my own blame, shame, and guilt. It is the use of love rather than guilt to control or transform my actions. It is the letting go of the notion that mistakes make me awful or diminish me. Self-forgiveness is opening myself up to the love that I am.
Self-forgiveness allows me to deal with the issues at hand, even serious life occurrences such as sickness or loss. Rather than wast- ing all my energy on self-recrimination, I surrender and allow grace to lead and heal me.
If I get sick or am in trouble I do not beat myself up. I do not want to get into the useless thinking that I must have done something wrong to deserve this or that I somehow created this situation. Even if my thinking did play a role, being angry at myself does nothing to create a solution.
If a friend or a loved one became sick or found themselves in difficult financial straits would I say, “Oh, you’re sick. Well, I wonder what you did to create that?” No. I would be immediately searching for a way to comfort the one who is ill as well as finding a solution to the problem. If I can do that for another, I need to work on doing that for myself.
I have used guilt to attempt to create better behaviors. The fact that it never works eludes me when I am working out of my ego- consciousness. Guilt serves a purpose for about thirty seconds. Guilt is a method I have invented to try and stop myself from doing some of those old unacceptable behaviors. I think to myself, “If I feel bad enough about the past, then I will be good now.”
Along with seeing the woundedness, self-forgiveness allows me to see the love in myself as well. I let go of blame, shame, and guilt. If I can begin to see the love in myself, I can begin to see the love in you.
I have been thoughtless, mean, indifferent, and uncaring. Even though I have not been that way deliberately, I have still been offensive and wounding. I need to ask for forgiveness.
There is a huge difference between saying “I’m sorry” and asking for forgiveness. “I’m sorry” simply says, “I feel bad because I made you feel bad.” In that scene, it is my own feelings I am more concerned about. Notice how subtle the ego can be. Even when I am attempting to repair hurt feelings I might have contributed to in you, I still make it about me.
Forgiveness happens when I open my heart to the sense of the hurt I caused another, and open myself to their love, and then I am willing to continue to hold them in an open heart even if they do not reciprocate. Do you feel the work in that?
Then there is the mystery of accepting God’s forgiveness. Rather than looking at myself as a sinner, that I am dreadful or there is something wrong with me, I would prefer to think that my mistakes come from acting out of my limited ego-consciousness. This limit- ed consciousness cuts me off from the love that is my birthright. Accepting God’s forgiveness is not self-judgment; it is opening myself to the love that is already there.
How many times have I heard this one: “I know God forgives me, but I cannot forgive myself.” That is baloney! If you truly accept God’s forgiveness, you have to be forgiving of yourself as well.
As with the forgiveness of another this is not a blank check. It is more the recognition that we are at peace with the universe, that we are letting go and moving on. Forgiveness reminds us that we are open to the spiritual power of love rather than fear, grace rather than guilt, and peace rather than conflict.
The Old Testament is filled with images of an angry and vengeful God, yet amidst all the noise and fury is a most consoling allusion about forgiveness, “Though your sins be as red as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” (Is 1:18 NSRV)
As you get comfortable, relaxed, and open, take a few deep cleansing breaths, opening even more.
Count backwards from ten to one as you breathe
deeply. You can feel a sense of lightness and receptiveness as you allow Spirit to speak to you, sharing with you exactly what you need. Breathe deeply and experience yourself more and more relaxed as you open to this meditation.
Let forgiveness in; this is where it begins.
How burdened we are at times with anger, fear, and resentment. How often we feel things, even things long past, over and over again such as past hurts and jealousies.
Let go of body, mind, and emotions. Let go of thoughts, doubts, fears, guilt, and shame.
If there is any negativity hanging around, bring it to the altar. Come bring yourself as you are at this minute with as little judgment as you can.
Bring yourself and all your thoughts and feelings, your past and future, your body and your mind; bring it all to the altar.
Let your prayer be, “Here is how I see myself. This is the baggage I carry. I know I am more than this. I know You love me more than I love myself and for this and so much more I am grateful. I come now with all my stuff even though I know most of it is a reflection of my guilt and fear. I come to the altar to be healed, to be forgiven. I consciously offer You my fear, my guilt, my sadness. I come to You with the desire to be whole, to know Your Truth within me, to know that I am one with You, to know that I am already forgiven, that in Your Mind there was nothing to forgive. I open myself to the consciousness of forgiveness, peace, compassion. May I love as You love; may I know that love is who I am.
Thank you, God. Amen.”
Begin to be conscious again of your breathing. Breathe deeply and stretch. Come fully back here in your body, completely centered and grounded.
Get up, stretch, and look around you. Become familiar with the place again, feeling yourself in your body. Journal or process any other way you like.
Forgiving is not about other people, or running away from feelings, or denying them, or saying what happened is OK, or being a doormat.
Forgiveness is neither a feeling nor a moral judgment.
If you have not realized it yet, forgiveness is about surrender. Forgiveness is acknowledging our wounds and opening to healing. We have a yearning for forgiveness; nurture the yearning.
There is a wise, considerate, loving voice inside of you. Listen to the voice that will validate you. Listen to your heart. Do not let feelings of fear or guilt pull you away from your heart.
If forgiveness is difficult, focus on your healing. I am not my woundedness.
Forgive the person, not the act.
Less baggage, more flow.
Forgiveness is an act of will, willingness.
In the light of God’s Love, which we comprehend more deeply with forgiveness, the baggage begins to evaporate.
Forgiveness is not something we do so much as what we let go of. Forgiveness is also about treating myself with respect and love.
There is no such thing as forgiving and forgetting. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. I will probably always have the memories with me. Forgiveness is about holding these memories in a different way.
Forgiveness is letting go of taking things personally.
Forgiveness is another way of looking at surrender. Forgiveness is letting go of something that no longer serves me. Forgiveness is also a way of entering into the path of non-judgment and non-attachment.
Nothing of importance can be taken away from me.
For most of us, we realize that those we need to forgive have done things to us that are terrible. They have hurt us deeply; the hurts that have been done to us have affected our entire lives and many times affected our relationships with other people as well. This is especially true with issues of sexual abuse.
I do not know if I can say that sexual abuse or any other crime is unforgivable. I simply do not know. This to me is a moral distinction and a very individual one. It does seem to me that if I make anything unforgivable, then I have lost some choices for myself, and I have limited myself.
Forgiveness is a powerful demonstration of love.
Sometimes, especially if we are working through abuse trauma, we can give our power away to another, even a therapist. I encourage people to trust their guts, and even if they have worked with someone for some time and do not feel comfortable or safe with them, it might be time to make a change.
There is nothing wrong with us if we do not forgive; we are just not ready. Forgiveness is always a difficult issue to perceive. In some ways it is very subtle, and in other ways it is very much out front. Most of us have the notion that forgiveness means doing something. To me, forgiveness is more about letting go than anything else.
A Course in Miracles states, “God cannot heal what we are not willing to let go of.”
Sunday, March 10, 2019
THIS INCARNATION 10
One of my intentions this morning was to review dad exercise outlined on the bottom of page 101 and carried over to the first full paragraph on page 102.
Interestingly enough when we began this morning I could not find the passage, so my only conclusion is that the Holy Spirit had something else in mind. I would still suggest, however, reading over those two paragraphs and see if they speak to you as a way of practically applying this work to your daily living. For me it is a way of being in this work in a more conscious way.
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.”
― William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
“As you create anew, a new possibility of expressing yourself, you create the same possibility in everybody around you. ” (from p. 100)
“You are party to all of your creations. You are part of the creation because you are in resonance with it. And as the one in resonance with it, you are participatory in an exchange of vibration. So re-creating something, in a new way, in many ways, means you need to turn the dial, to change the station, or the accord that you have with the circumstance that you would like to transform. We hope you understand this. You cannot change something the same way that you create it. You need a new thought or a new possibility to lift you to the next level of thought and vibration that may transform something that you have known and agreed to historically.” (p.102)
What is the vibration of love? How do you experience it? (Each one of us might experience it differently.)
Our language is limited—when I say, “I will send you love, light, peace etc. “I” am not really sending you anything, I am holding you in my conscious awareness in the light, love, peace that is already within you.
Just as a simple example: On the earthly plane, there are times when we are offered a compliment or a gratitude for something that we might have simply taken for granted, but when someone makes us aware of how much they are touched or gifted by your “Presents/presence” we open ourselves up to a deeper reverence of who we are and a deeper knowing of how our thoughts/actions affect others. Nothing new has been created; we have become more aware of the love, strength, compassion that already exists inside of us, and more aware of how those powers motivate our actions. We become more and more conscious.
“Now each one of you has decisions to make about the life that you live. The choices you will make as you attend to this “text will be different than you think. The choices that you make when you are in agreement to your worth may challenge you at times to prove this to yourself: to honor the choice that you make as the one who knows who she is, what she is, how she serves, is the lesson you will have. As you grow up, you see the higher shelf before you, and eventually you are lifted to the place where that thing you have sought is standing right before you, right at your eyes, at the level of your eyes, to be seen and welcomed.”
Hi vibration and low vibration can be understood on a number of different levels. When we are not terribly conscious, then we are vaguely aware of how certain people places and things affect us and we essentially avoid those that bring us down and seek those that bring us up. In this limited state of mind, we are probably not aware of a sense of vibration at all, or if we are we attribute the highs and the lows to someone or something outside of ourselves.
The next step up in awareness is the realization again that we are affected by people places and things around us, but we also have a conscious level of choice. Depending upon how where we are, we can realize that we might be affected by people or situations in low vibration but that we can also begin to choose to hold them differently.
I gave the example of someone in my life who is going through a difficult time, and someone I feel very close to. His pain and confusion, his anger and victimhood or all what we would call low vibration responses to life touch me. I am affected by them; in some ways I am brought down by them. It is always difficult to be lovingly present to someone we care about who is going through difficult time.
I recognized that, at least in part, what was going on was that in my mind I was imagining or picturing him as a person in pain, as someone who was overwhelmed. In other words, I was allowing his vibrational state to define my perception. By doing so I was allowing that low vibrational state to continue. I was certainly not conscious of affirming that victimhood as being the truth, but on some level of my understanding I was keeping that negative state alive.
I realized later that I could do this differently. That I could listen with loving compassion and at the same time I could hold him in the truth and light of the divine self that I know he is. You see how easy it is to become wrapped up in someone else's story and to make my own. To allow someone's lower vibration of perception to become my lower vibration as well.
Simply and practically put, I was asking myself “What good does it do him or me to affirm his lower vibration of perception as being the truth?”
I am not denying that I am affected by his lower vibration or his pain, and yet now instead of that becoming a trap for me to fall into, I use that awareness to foster the choice of holding him in the highest vibration possible.
As was stated before there are no rulebooks here. There are no directives telling us what we should do under certain circumstances. Each one of us is deciding the best we can with the power, the strength, the grace and the awareness that is available to us.
We offer you this in love, and we tell you why. We know your worth already. You do not have to prove it to us. You have to do nothing but attend to those aspects of the self that disregard their worth and create in their fear of being who they think they should be.
You have been told who you were all your lives. Most of you have agreed with what you were taught. Now we will tell you this. We are only telling you what we know. How you attend to your own information must be through your own experience of this text, the teachings and what they take you to next. As you honor this, you become your own authority and it is only in your own authority that you may claim your worth.”
In love and gratitude…
Monday, March 4, 2019
I shared this quote last week from Eckhart Tolle:
“Many people who are going through the early stages of the awakening process are no longer certain what their outer purpose is. What drives the world no longer drives them. Seeing the madness of our civilization so clearly, they may feel somewhat alienated from the culture around them. Some feel that they inhabit a no-man's-land between two worlds. They are no longer run by the ego, yet the arising awareness has not yet become fully integrated into their lives.”
After being insulted at being called a beginner, even though I am, I decided to examine this quote more deeply.
I know I can identify with his observation, but I have to clarify that this perception of being lost or confused or hanging out in the void is the perception my limited personality self. My true nature/Christ Consciousness, knows exactly who he/she is.
I would suggest that what he is getting at is that as our consciousness/awareness shifts from simply a human/personality identity to the living Truth of who we are, we find that how we relate to the world and the personalities we are surrounded by, changes. And because we are still somewhat identified with our personality self, our old judgmental reactions are still here. Unfortunately, then we get into judging ourselves, thinking; “I’m better than this; I know I am not my body and neither is this other person. I really do know I am a child of God and so are they, but her eI am reacting in my old self-self-centered way.”
Awareness equals choice equals freedom. We are all moving along that path to deeper and deeper awareness of Who we truly are, and responding to life within that awareness. Let us bless that, and know that even the stumbling blocks we encounter are there for our learning—not for our judgment or guilt, but for our awareness, love and forgiveness.
Again, Jesus was a marvelous way-shower here. What is sometimes referred to as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapter 5-7)* is an absolutely beautiful account of how to relate to the world from your divine nature rather rain your personality self.
I have no idea what you came here to learn. I have no idea how to interpret the situations in life you are creating in order to complete your agenda. I have enough difficulty getting in touch with my own stuff, how could I possibly understand yours?
Now the personality self looks at all this as been very passive, as being another way of being a victim. I believe the message of “turning other cheek” is not about victimhood so much as it is about the encouragement to know that “you can choose to love no matter what.”
Each one of us is going to need to decide in times of difficulty or confrontation how we are to respond in the most loving way. There is no rulebook; there's no way of defining one situation even as compared to another. How I respond lovingly to you today might be different to loving you tomorrow in the highest way.
“But we will offer you this: When you remember the one before you, regardless of what he has done, how he has hurt you, what she has destroyed, and you remember this being as on her own road to learning, his own road to discovery, you become a bit more compassionate.”
When I was working as a chaplain in various treatment centers one of my major tasks was to encourage the practice of self-forgiveness. I cannot tell you how many times I heard, “Well I can forgive others, but I cannot forgive myself.” Even if we have not said those words out loud we probably know what the experience is like internally. Most of us are much harder on ourselves than we would be on anybody else, and here is the essence of what needs to be transformed. I cannot see myself as being unconditionally loved if I remain shielded in my own guilt and shame.
What have you done in your lives that you believe you cannot be forgiven for? That is an act of arrogance, you know, and you may accept that in a certain way by looking at the one next to you and deciding that it is safe for her to be forgiven for what she believes she has done or may have, in fact, done. All forgiveness is, we will say, is a releasing of fear. When you release the fear of another, they may be in forgiveness as well, and you may move to a new vibration in the light of love.”
We could spend a lot of time trying to get rid of what we referred to as blame shame and guilt but most of the time what happens when you're focused most forms of negativity is that instead of eradicating them which is our intention simply become more and more entrenched.
A simple reminder might be helpful—when you become aware that you are punishing yourself whatever form that might be taking, stop and open yourself to love. Pray, ask for help, do something nurturing for yourself. Those things and hundreds of others can help us open space where we are both aware and more receptive to the unconditional love of the Truth of who we are.
We ended with a very practical directive which I suspect would be quite useful to us, perhaps every day. You can decide for yourself if this is a useful tool for your spiritual practice.
“Now we will offer you this: This teaching for the day, “Incarnation,” is about responsibility to how you attend to your lessons as the one in choice. If everything is an opportunity for growth, what are two challenges you face today in your life, environment, family, relationships, anywhere? What are two challenges you face and how might you claim your worth within them? How might you decide anew in a place to bring you to a higher level of knowing? How might you attend to each lesson in a productive way that will not keep you in fear, or in languishing or blame? How might you grow? What is the opportunity being presented to you in this circumstance, and how might you go forward in attendance to it?”
“We offer you this: If you attend to these two things today, we will support you as we can by illumining this thing as you allow us to show you the new possibility that you may call to yourself in your relationship to the situation, or the person, or the thing. If you invite us to work with you to illumine the new possibility, in your relationship to the situation, or the person, or the thing. If you invite us to work with you to illumine the new possibility, you must be prepared for the possibility you will not like it, because it will mean you have to change something you initially invested in that made you party to the creation in the first place. Do you understand this?”
*except for a couple of passages that appear to be more judgmental rather than loving.
Finally, I’m including a paragraph from one of Paul and the guides later works which bowled me over with its beauty and simplicity.
“You don’t understand, yet, that even when you smile at a stranger, you may have changed the course of history. You do not see this, but you will when this life is ended and you witness your life as you have claimed it. You will realize that the response to that one smile saved someone’s life, offered him an opportunity, perhaps, to make a different choice than he would have. He was going to leave his spouse. The smile reminded him of his spouse’s smile, and they stayed together forever after.” From The Book of Freedom