You Create the World You See

Share

Carol Jacobs-Carre silvery olive grove--CC BY-SA 2.0

Look out at the world around you, the world you apparently can detect through your five senses — the table, the street, the sound of a car passing by, a leaf falling from a tree, a voice calling out nearby, a blue vase on a windowsill, a letter or email you receive, a train’s whistle in the night — and a million more such things that come before us, that we think are real. But they are not real in the way we believe.

For a long time now quantum science has opened for us the scientific fact that we have no proof of this world’s existence without our consciousness of it. We actually have no proof, scientifically, of what exists beyond our physical eyes — they are but translators to the brain of data that apparently (and unproven) exists in time and space at a particular frequency. In physical terms, if we shift the frequency, what we “see” changes, which could account for access to alternate states. Then, physiologically, the brain reconstructs what we think we see based on only partial information. Imagine how absolutely individualized that process must be for every human being!

What we do see without question are representations of our inner consciousness, states of mind that we have created ourselves and expressed through our reactions to the world and everything in it. We may share these states with others, but they can change on the instant. People interpret what they see according to what they want to see, even if that wanting is subconscious and they are unaware of its inner origin and effect. Since 95% of our perception is subconscious, we can pretty well be assured we aren’t getting the whole picture about our own consciousness — unless we decide to become more aware of how our inner self sees.

The quickest way to become aware is noting what happens around you if you feel sad, angry or emotionally upset in any way, or by contrast, feel at peace, happy, and content. What is the state of the world you see then? Always, it reflects your state of consciousness, which changes constantly. But if certain emotions stay front and center, then your world collapses into the expression of those emotions. If you feel angry for an extended period of time, the outcome can be volatile in expression and engage you with inner suffering. If you feel gladness and joy for an extended period of time, your world expands and embraces all around you with compassion, tolerance, and love. You are the decider. Your world is the one you create.

Thus, if we create heart consciousness — if we cultivate compassion — we can begin to change the world — a world our headlines tell us has need of us in this way. We are so much more than we have conceived through our five senses until now. There is so much more within us to discover.

And each step towards this inner awareness and heart consciousness changes what we see, and therefore, what the world becomes.

What Receives Your Attention?

Share

Chester Zoo by Nigel Swales

Where we put our attention determines the quality of our life. What occupies your thoughts most of the time? Do you know where you are going with these thoughts? Or are you looking in all directions for some sign of what’s going on?

We live in a world changed by the discoveries of quantum physics, that is, by the realization that our consciousness exists before anything else can come into being. Indeed, it is our consciousness that drives our actions to manifest material reality.

Three forms of consciousness exist: There is our everyday alert thinking process, there is our subconscious mind, and there is the deep, ineffable consciousness that is God–All That Is embedded in and directing the vast, mysterious,  extraordinary universe of which we are a part, and beyond.

We give attention to each form in very different ways.

You know your everyday thoughts, the ones that pull and push at you. You know how to focus on a task at hand, or how to multi-task if you need to. You know what you spend too much time doing, whether that is using electronic devices or procrastinating or dwelling on negative thoughts. You also know the times when you experience love and joy and beauty all around you and give your attention there. But have you noticed that you have chosen–always–whatever thoughts and feelings you have?

Thus, you choose your everyday conscious state of mind, every time, every moment. You also choose to keep it for a long or brief period, according to what motivates you practically, emotionally, and mentally to move forward or to stay where you are day to day.

The subconscious mind is different. Cognitive neuroscientists have demonstrated that the subconscious mind controls 95% of our thoughts–meaning we are unaware of 95% of what is going on in us, in our minds, driving our behavior. A familiar way to describe and explain this is to ask yourself why you are doing or thinking something, anything at all. There is a quick surface answer that comes to mind, yes, but is it the whole story?

Not by a long shot. Try this exercise–write down a thought you have and why you have it. Ask (and write down) why you answered the way you did. Now ask why you answered the way you did the second time and repeat the process, writing down why you answered the way you did each time. When you have no more answers, you are probably very close to knowing the true reason you had the thought in the first place–you have gone into your subconscious to find out, and in the process of doing that, you are able to see beneath the everyday camouflage to the truth. This can often cause a shift in you that changes some aspect of your life in a positive way. Here is a short example of what I mean:

Thought: I am not good enough.
Why? I have not succeeded as I had hoped.
Why? Others were chosen over me at work.
Why? My boss doesn’t like me.
Why? I don’t always do what he wants.
Why? I hate my job.
Why? It isn’t what I wanted to do.
Why? I needed money so I took it, but I wanted to be a singer.
Why? Because that is where my heart is.
Why? Because that is who I really am.

The third state of consciousness is the ineffable awareness and union with God. In this state, everything is answered. It is reached sometimes in meditation, or during peak moments in life, epiphanies, wherein for a split second, or sometimes longer, we sense the absolute power of God, aware we are not separate from the Love that is God. Sometimes, if and when we are willing, we know this state. Most often it happens in Nature, or in hearing an exquisite passage from a piece of music, or watching the joyful play of a child. We know when it happens, for it feels for a moment in our heart as if we have come home.

So I would ask again–what receives your attention?

The Massive Miracle of You

Share

As the wonderful French philosopher and priest Teilhard de Chardin said, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

You are included in that. We all are. No matter how we see ourselves in this moment, the truth is we are at our center made of star stuff, our origins existing in and beyond the starlight.

One way to see what a massive miracle you are is to realize that human beings have lived on the planet just a few seconds in geologic time, yet each day you are presented anew with this precious world to experience, discover, and know. You could say you are earthbound stars experiencing this curious physical existence, figuring out how to move forward, how to identify who you are and what your work is, and how you can do it.

The answers are all around you. However long you live your life, it is a life held in unconditional love, something our five senses and worried emotions often hide from us. This never changes. If you stop for a moment, just one moment, and feel the presence of such love, you are forever changed.

So why is this not our common state? Why instead is there angst, despair, deep worry, anger, fear?

Life is a process in which you are meant to do the work most central to your inner self, where true knowing exists. Another way of saying this is that we are meant to leave it to God, and to extend ourselves in service to the ideal of that spiritual connection. We always know when we have done that, for we feel happy and fulfilled, no matter what that work may be.

In the Psalms it is written:

Be Still and Know  I am God

Say that in that moment when you stop, if you decide to allow that moment to happen. Do this often during the day. Nothing will be the same.

In Your Own Corner of the Universe

Share

In Your Own Corner of the Universe

In ancient times when the sun set on the Winter Solstice, creating the entrance into the longest night of the year, rituals and prayers were given in awe to honor the light and prepare for the darkness that followed. At a heart level the people had no certainty the sun would rise again, and when it did the next morning, it was a cause for immense celebration, for the sun was the source of life.

Now we know it will rise. We seldom take time to feel awe. The natural world continues without much of our attention. Yet it is the natural world that sustains us, not our technology, not our hectic pace, not our politics or money or wanting of this or that.

In our own corner of the Universe we are given a bounty beyond measure. In the sound of the wind, in the call of a bird, in the fleeting sight of an animal crossing a meadow, in a child’s laugh, we are in a sacred place whether we acknowledge it or not.

On this particular day, as the sun sets, take note of it, if you will. Stop whatever you are doing and thinking for just a moment, and give thanks to the sun, a prayer for its return, and a welcoming of the long night with the anticipation and hope for a new day.

In this way we align with the ancient ones who understood we are not separate from the natural world, but in our own corner of the Universe we are embedded in it, a part of the whole, an abiding and deep and vital part of All That Is.

From MACBETH, Act III, Scene 2: “Light thickens, and the crow/ Makes wing to th’ rooky wood.”

Share

The words in the title that are spoken in Act III, Scene 2 of Macbeth convey the subtext of the whole play, from the opening scene of thunder and lightning and three witches to the moment MacDuff places MacBeth’s severed head before the new King Malcolm. In their subtle layering the words are of great portent, as Shakespeare intended them to be. MacBeth is speaking to his wife, whose own state of mind has become precarious because she is wracked by guilt. Each word is significant and none wasted. The two of them are already complicit in the murder of King Duncan, two guards, and the heir apparent, Banquo. More death and guilt will follow for them, but by now in the play they have both succumbed to an evil grown out of their shared and fierce political ambition. There are no boundaries. Nothing matters but that Macbeth should be King.

How is so much conveyed? There is a current beneath these eleven words, a motion and emotion as meanings intertwine. The beauty of English lies in the variations that create its subtext, so the same word can have multiple meanings. It is, after all, a language that was repeatedly subjected to invaders who altered some words, left others intact, and gave us new ones in turn. The Anglo-Saxons used the word kingly, the Norman French used royal. The term my lord is from 800 A.D., my liege came after 1066. Ghost is Anglo-Saxon, phantom is from the Normans. So much else in the language runs the same course, no word denied attention, changes often accommodated, yet both versions giving—almost, but not exactly—the same intention. We live even now with Old English and Old French in everyday use, both the language of the inhabitant and that of the invader:  foe/enemy; weird/strange; woodland/forest; deathly/mortal; green/verdant; graveyard/cemetery; reckless/intrepid.

Shakespeare knew the differences, but he also knew how to choose which language to use to create the layers of meaning that would give to the audience—whether they realized it or not—the weight of his intention. In the line I quote here at the beginning, the words light, crow, makes, rooky, and wood are Anglo-Saxon in origin and these ancient words carry something pithy, earthy, fundamental. They already convey something intrinsically real to us. But how does Shakespeare play with this? In Old English, “rook” was the word for crow, but the meaning of rook as a chess piece came from old French. By Shakespeare’s time, rook was also used as a verb that signified to defraud by cheating. Crows are scavengers who feed on carrion, notoriously symbolic of deception, death, and war–and witchcraft–but they are also creatures of prophecy, and this line Macbeth speaks is prophetic, setting the stage for his downfall, though to him the words are a signal that it is time to act under cover of darkness, to grab his unholy prize.

“Light thickens” announces more than it seems. Shakespeare could have simply told us that day is ending, that dusk has arrived, that it is the twilight hour, or eventide, or even half-light. But none of those terms would have given the sense of weight that “Light thickens” brings. It is the harbinger of the encroaching disaster that is already damping out any light of reason Macbeth could have kept–or Lady Macbeth could hold as she listens to him. Macbeth feels the enveloping darkness not only of time but of spirit. He has made a pact with himself and entered into tragedy, for the weight of his ambition is too great to give him a way to stop. Not anymore.

This quote has haunted me often. Would that I could write such a line? Oh, yes. Yet it is not envy I feel, but awe. Because of such writing as this, I learn what it means to tell a story.

Our Dazzling Mistakes

Share

Our Dazzling Mistakes

What is it we are meant to do in life–our mission, our destiny? How often we ask ourselves this question. It seems a reasonable curiosity. Yet an undercurrent lies beneath our asking, for most often we seek the answer from a specific  premise we hold, consciously or unconsciously — that whatever our purpose is, we must know it exactly, it must be perfect, and we must do it perfectly, or we have somehow failed.  We seek to be like the perfect circle in the image above, not like the variations that surround it.

Nothing is further from the truth. It is because of our dazzling mistakes along the way that our journey of life is fulfilled in heart, mind, body, and soul.

If we are fighting for physical survival moment by moment we are not likely to spend time on such thoughts at all. But if we have food and shelter and security, we are free, if we choose, to look beyond our experience and consider (or face) the questions:

“Who am I?”   “What am I here for?”

These are soul questions and meant to be answered amidst and even because of our human frailties, against the backdrop of our uncertainty. They are questions deriving from the heart, a yearning we have to align with our inherent divinity, our absolute coexistence with God.

Yet we feel, because we are not perfect (by our human standard), the greatest sense of loss and despair.

Imagine if instead we lived each day, each hour — every moment — in awareness of that divinity, trusting we are not only meant to be here, but that the world is better for our presence, no matter what our apparent “flaws” (variations) — that we are not a random or accidental occurrence, but an essential manifestation of LOVE by the universe.

What would happen then? What then would you do, and become?

On Allowing Discernment

Share

Our inclination to seek approval is a human one, wired into us. Fair enough, for we are by nature a gregarious tribe, a species that welcomes camaraderie and communication, which in turn offer the spirit of trust and friendship. What we may ignore or forget in our day-to-day experience is that we have a responsibility, a personal responsibility, to use discernment in how we relate to others, who we choose as close friends, and who we offer trust and friendship to in return.

Reacting to other people is oftentimes a reflex action, but with discernment — which is the faculty of using keen perception and assessment of things — that reflex slows down. We grow more aware of what we are doing and what our intention is. We become more aware of the people we are talking with, like talking with, or struggle to reach.

We know ourselves better by how we react to others.

Of course we are not going to enjoy the company of everyone we meet — that would be impossible. But we can observe whether our reaction to them is something worrying — a trigger that causes us to act with inner anger or resentment or judgment — or something with positive energy and even joy. By being willing to observe ourselves and our motivations, we stay open to what is really going on around us and in us. We can then discern what has value and what does not and which direction to take next, figuratively or practically.

It is critical to our health and well-being to know our own state of mind, to observe it, and to alter it if we are creating something negative. Very often our reaction to people has nothing to do with them and everything to do with our inner self.

Think of events that have occurred for you over the last week — how you felt, what you did, what others did. Is there any event you feel you could have managed more easily if you had not held or expressed a reflex reaction?

In difficult times, we can be inclined to let go of our own trust in what is true and our power to create favorable outcomes. That is when stress, anxiety, anguish, and heart pain  begin to enter in and affect us, drawn out of past or present emotional states.

Using discernment helps us retrieve those aspects we have given away by forgetting we have choices, and allows our best self to emerge and be sustained. It allows us to remember we can trust who we are.

Memory or Presence–Which One Do You Want Most?

Share

Our human selves — the selves we think we know, that is — are created in part through memory — what we remember and how we remember — and the key to memory lies in the feelings we attach to it, over and over. But there is also another way that happens when we let go of memories and negative feelings and live instead in the present moment, when we therefore invite Presence into our life. The significant thing about this is that there are no memories when we exist in the NOW.

Do we therefore cease to exist? No. We are a composite of all we have experienced from the first second of life and all the feelings we have created or enlisted to manage that life. So it is not that we forget anything that we have experienced — but in the NOW, there is no negative charge because there are no memories bringing their age-old sadness or regret or resentment or judgment or anything else that seems to define and trouble us.

That is why being in the present moment is so creative — there are no barriers, fixations, unhappiness — we feel one thing only — freedom in who we really are. No disguises, and no requirements, just our communion with the moment and whatever is occurring in that moment — the wind through the leaves on a tree, the sound of waves on a shore, the dog barking one street over, each sound and sight that is ongoing around us.

In this state of being there is nothing of the past, nothing of the future. We simply are who we are, and for as long as we can stay in that place, we experience a lightness of being we have never known before. The more we do it, the more often it appears, and gradually, that feeling of freedom comes upon us without effort.

We are here to realize this life is joy because it IS. WE are the joy. No need to prove it, defend it, seek it out. It is already present within us.

Let go of thought. Focus on your breathing, or put your hand on your heart. It stops the mind chatter. Listen and watch what is going on around you. Try this for just 30 seconds. Even 30 seconds is transforming. It invites us to experience life in the NOW even more.

Some say if we do this, then we do nothing at all — our lives stop. No. Sages have always described what happens next. Since we are allowing life to be a part of us as we are, not as we wish to be, we enter into cooperation with life, not resistance to it. This is what changes everything. Out of this comes a creativity and abundance that is free at last to show itself to us, and manifest what is uniquely ours to know and do and receive and give, in joy.

We are already One with the universe. Becoming present–inviting Presence–is how we know this is true.

Judgment–Can We Live Without It–for One Day?

Share

In the Ho’oponopono tradition as described by Dr. Hew Len, it is a sign of emotional freedom when we cease judging others for any reason at any time. We experience this by degrees of awareness, and often fall back on old habits, but if we are aware of making judgments, that is already a sign of freedom coming into place.

Dr. Len has observed that he has not achieved total freedom in this. Like others on a similar path, including the great teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, he lives with a great honesty of purpose and recognition about his own actions. Complete freedom from judgement is the way of Jesus Christ, of the Buddha, of the Tao.

But what do we judge if we are not aware? How often? It is really beneficial to track this, if you are willing, FOR JUST ONE DAY.

People judge each other on first sight, whether it be someone we are introduced to or someone we see on the street. A flash of judgment streaks through our mind about how the person looks, what they are wearing, how they behave, how they walk, the color of their clothes, the sound of their voice, their attitude, who they are with, their role in life, their job or lack thereof, their status financially, their marital state, their children, their hobbies, how much television they watch, their taste in movies, books, food, environments, subjects, their political preference…the list is extensive.

Almost endless…

So here is a way to discern how often you judge others, if that draws your interest: Have a piece of paper or a small notebook and pen near at hand. Every time you have a thought that is not positive toward someone (this is the definition of feeling judgment), for any reason, place a tick on that page. Try to do this for one whole day–or at least for seven hours. At the end of the day, count the number of ticks you placed.

It is likely the number is large. But one thing is certain–even after doing this exercise just once–you will never be able to feel judgment again without being aware you are doing so.

Another thing you can do in addition is gauge how deep a particular instant judgment is on a scale of 1-10 and put it beside the tick mark. This can be a game-changer.

Depending on your outcome and response, you may want to do this again, and see if there is a difference the next day or the next week.

Now, you might ask why bother or even say so what. There is an easy answer for that. Every strong emotion uses our energy, and fast. Positive emotions regenerate us. Negative emotions drain us.

So it matters what we choose to do. It matters how aware we want to be. And there is one more thing that matters:

Being conscious of who we are and what we feel in this very moment is freedom.

Every Life Is a Precious Jewel

Share

Humans spend an inordinate amount of time wondering about their life purpose, often feeling that unless they can figure that out, they are not living fully AND may not be living rightfully. It is as if certain conditions must be met that make our presence legitimate and without those conditions being met, we feel restless and uncertain and often, unworthy.

The thing is, those “certain conditions” are artificial. We make them up as we go along and they change according to our age and life circumstances — but they are our construct, our interpretation of reality. And they miss the point.

We don’t have to do anything. We don’t have to emulate anyone else or wish for another’s achievement, or for what anyone else has. We don’t need to do any of that, ever.

Every life is a precious jewel. No exceptions. We are enough just as we are.

This is one reason the sages always advise us to live without judgment, for in truth everyone we meet is a soul made in the image of God. Our life is about aligning our human self with our soul truth — and that is it. That is everything there is to know. How?

If you are doing work you love, you are aligned that way.

If you are touched by the call of a bird at dawn, you are aligned.

If you find joy watching a field at night that is filled with fireflies, you are aligned.

If you have a pet you love, you are aligned.

If you take delight in something joyful, you are aligned.

If you feel love even for those people you don’t like, you are aligned.

If you realize you are here in the image of God, you are aligned.

If you honor who you are right now, this instant, you are aligned, and the rest of life is ready to unfold before you in the best possible way. Why? Because you are living from the heart, which is aligned with Spirit. How? You let your heart be the primary guide for everything.

It holds the diamond light that is you.