Category Archives: There Is Only The Heart…

What shows up in a life lived from the heart is evidence of the Divine light in the people we encounter, and in life as it presents itself to us, again and again.

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

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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

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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.

Trust in the Rhythms of Your Life

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AJ Cann  CC BY-SA 2.0

Often, so often, we experience shifts in our everyday life, shifts of emotions, of intentions, of actions–all the while listening to the inner commentator, that insistent critic who evaluates everything, usually without offering us much mercy or compassion. Left to its own devices that critic takes over, and nothing we do escapes judgment–which of course means nothing anyone else does escapes judgment, either.

We resist this critic, but in fact half or wholly believe in what it says to us, so our resistance, in Borg terms, is futile.

Yet the truth is when all of that is going on–it is our life that’s going on! We are riding the waves of our heart and mind and spirit, with one dominant at any given moment, but all three involved, all the time.

What does that mean?

It means these are the rhythms of who we are and what our life is about–the shifts, the alternations in feelings and thoughts that come according to what we give our attention to. Our life is really a matter of attention and inattention–which is what creates the waves for us, the rising and sinking, the ebb and flow, the twists and turns, the sudden revelations or inspirations. Above all, it gives us access to the full awareness that we exist. It gives this access to us rightfully and joyfully, no matter what happens.

Most people operate during the day on an autopilot when it comes to awareness of their own life,  unless the inner critic is part and parcel of that awareness. But there is another way.

Awareness can exist without the inner critic. It is possible to simply observe what is going on with us without judgment. The feelings and thoughts will pass, change, alter, move on, or stop–nothing stays for very long. We can sense their rise and fall each moment or minute or hour or day and let it be as it is.

When we allow the rhythms of our life to exist of their own accord, we are recognizing they are who we are–a fantastically creative panoply of all we do and think and experience and feel.

You Are Meant to Thrive

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snow crystal https://www.flickr.com/photos/151798735@N05/33574539376/in/album-72157680437808676/

 

You are here to thrive in the unique essence of who you are. You were born in God’s grace. Everything good is intended for you. This is true at all levels of your being — emotional, spiritual, intellectual, psychological, mental, and practical. You are as unique as a snowflake, for no one like you will ever exist again exactly the same way.

So What Seems to Go Wrong, to Our Way of Thinking?

Somewhere along the line most of us picked up a different story, and for reasons mysterious and unwarranted, we believed it — that we were not worthy, that we had to doubt ourselves, that we were not loved.

The negativity we buy into informs us to one degree or another, in one endeavor or another, that we have less value.

Misconceptions

Such thinking and feeling derives from misconceptions, of which there are many. But these three seem to flourish more than others.

  • You believe what others think of you matters, even when they put you down.
  • You feel you must please others even when it defies your own sense of well-being.
  • You don’t trust in who you are.

Most people spend more time in inner criticism than they do in thinking positively about themselves — in a ratio of 80% to 20%. Even high achievers will do this. Even people who have done good works for humanity will doubt they have value. Artists and composers and successful entrepreneurs — the same story. As if they all had won the prize of success by fooling their audiences.

But self-criticism is not virtue. You deserve to thrive in joy, valuing who you are. There is no doubt of this.

How We Compensate

Someone said to me that it was wrong to boast about what they had done. I would probably agree that it is not the best way to proceed, for it rarely is done to share joy but to cover up insecurities.

But I am not thinking of that aspect so much as what happens to people when they do not trust their own right to become all that they can be — when they censor themselves out of fear, or assume the patterns of the past are fixed.

It is a truth that change is the only constant. There is always a chance to do things differently. There is always a way to alter the path you are on and move into something that matters to you.

Telling the Story

I wrote a post a while back called “The Stories We Tell Ourselves.” The thing is, the story we tell ourselves IS the one we believe, even if it’s wrong. It is a form of hypnosis we achieve so well because we tell ourselves this story many times a day.

Changing the story is not easy — but it is the best thing you can do for yourself. It is a process ongoing, as you learn and make adjustments and choose your path. External events can affect you so fast and so much. You need to give yourself space to let go of reflex actions and responses triggered by that inner hypnosis.

Shedding the Reaction

We are human, we are going to react, and we must feel what we feel. But let the negative feeling exist only for a split second. After that, shed it like a snake’s skin.

The negative opinion of others is not something we are meant to own and keep. We might learn something new, but we cannot thrive on such opinions. They do not belong to us.

Instead, we are meant to acknowledge the dance of life, the choreography of all that happens to us, whatever it is, and choose how we want to be from then on.

How?

Believe in the power that is within you…

Believe in the song that sings inside you…

Believe in your right to do and be…

It is your birthright.

You, in your human form, are the precious, tangible evocation of Spirit.

You are meant to thrive.

This Is the Forest Primeval

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This is the forest primeval

These words open Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem Evangeline, published in 1847:

“THIS is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.”

I have heard this poem since childhood, read aloud to me by my father and read also in school often. The sometimes archaic expressions did not phase us back then–we understood the idea was that we were meant to feel the words when we listened.

Although Longfellow tells the true story in this poem of a place called Acadie and the expulsion of the French from Nova Scotia by the British, separating two lovers, these opening words are an image from his home near the coast of Maine, at a time when the pristine wilderness in America still existed much as it had before the invasion of the Europeans in the early 1600s. This aspect carried great meaning to his contemporary audience, for the book went through six printings in its first six months and was received with enthusiasm internationally.

Why? It was more than the story. In the setting he gives, we are delivered into a region that existed much as it had for millennia, that had never until now been explored, that was still a symbol of the frontier to many, though soon that frontier would encompass the west at a furious pace. And it was a place also experiencing the encroachment of the foreign invasion–faster than could be dreamed.

There is a curious contradiction in the American  mindset, a two-sided vision of our reality. On the one hand is our materialism, our sense of ownership of the land and everything on it, there for the taking. On the other is awe, something embedded in us by the poets and artists and writers and painters and composers who have from the beginning attempted to explain this vast landscape in symbols of their own, an awe that at its source reveals a deep love and reverence for the incomprehensible beauty and gift of the earth we live on, of this wilderness we have entered. 

We have so far tended to learn only one side of that contradiction, the hunt and grab one.

Yet we are not bereft of the other side, the awe and acknowledgment of this wondrous land. It is still there to know.

God willing we keep it so.

“In My Father’s House Are Many Mansions”—Book of John, 14:2

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"In My Father's House Are Many Mansions"

These words from the Book of John tell us we are not alone. Each one of us is entitled to a place, a life of our own, and yet we are connected together in the consolation and caring vibration of God—“my Father’s house”.

These are mansions of the soul. Each one holds a soul experiencing the energy of the universe, living in the image of God, and living for a little while on this complicated, precious Earth.

The concept of separation is an illusion. Even our scientists admit this, that everything is connected by what they call a zero point field—that we exist in multiple dimensions at once, that time and space are artificial, and that NOTHING exists apart from this—that to think anything is separate is to describe the impossible. They know this now, but our mystics and wise men and women have known it for millennia.

Yet we live day to day as if our world is separate from everyone else’s. It’s true, our individual experience is different, one from the other. But our connection stands with us, powered in a hidden form, but there. When we think or feel that something vital is missing, every part of us—body, mind, and spirit–are negatively affected. The sense we have lost connection is in fact our greatest fear, because we KNOW in our deepest self its presence and power are what sustain us.

In truth the only thing missing is our embrace of ourselves as evidence of God in every moment. We can stand aside and claim that for others, but too often we seem unable to do this for ourselves. Everything that brings us despair or anxiety comes from not having faith that we matter.

The truth lies in knowing we are never alone, and realizing that we are indeed here for a reason—as the manifestation of the infinite, expanding creativity of God. No matter what we do or how we act and think, that truth does not alter. We are blessed by God before we take our first breath. We are blessed at the moment of conception.

We make choices that do not seem to serve us, but those choices eventually bring us the very awareness and the learning that we need most. This life on Earth is a school, if you like, for the spirit, but one in which we are not judged or categorized in any way. The larger picture is not ours to know, but this much we can trust–we ARE created out of the very image of the divine, and as souls in human form we always reside in God’s “house”–as surely as you take a breath now.

Living in the Christ Consciousness

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Christ Consciousness

The Christ Consciousness is a transformative power. The American prophet Edgar Cayce said this in a reading:

Question: What is the main purpose of this incarnation?
Answer: To glorify the Christ Consciousness in the earth — in the lives of those with whom ye come in contact, and to live the same thyself.
— Edgar Cayce Reading 2441-4

The Pattern of the Christ

The pattern of the Christ as we apply it in our lives reveals our awareness, our consciousness, of what it means to give service to God by how we treat those who cross our path. It registers at our deepest inner being, the heart of who we are. Cayce described this Christ pattern as the evidence of the oneness we have with God, for it gives us a way to enter a higher frequency of perception, and so accelerates our ability to feel compassion, to live with patience, and to offer kindness and love no matter what is going on.

Once we see in others the manifestation of God, evidence of the Christ Spirit, we give up judgment, resentment, and fear. We let go of the need to be “right,” and feel instead a freedom of spirit, a release from the inner demons of helplessness and powerlessness. We know instead that our job is to bring the actual living practice of this Christ Consciousness into all our encounters with others. We don’t choose who deserves our best self–we give it naturally because that is what we are–we become conduits, messengers, of the Christ Consciousness on earth.

How Does the Christ Consciousness Manifest?

This means simply we do not act with indifference, nor with violence–we do not speak with mockery nor disdain–and we do not yield to the ego’s need to defend itself by rejecting what we do not understand. We understand that we are first in God’s love, and that the same is true for everyone. No soul is left alone. The Christ Consciousness is the path of absolute acceptance of others as they are, not as we want them to be. As so many prophets and mystics have told us, “wanting” is lack and illusion. We are gifts of life, with all our flaws, for these very “flaws” are in truth manifestations of God’s infinite creative power, of a diversity that takes our breath away. Even a falling leaf is a creation to be revered. Everything is. We are meant to remember this.

What Then Must We Do?

In Luke it is written:

“And the people asked him [John the Baptist], saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely…

And as the people were in expectation, and …. mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.”

The life of Jesus was the presence of the Christ Consciousness incarnate, and he said over and over that his awareness was one each of us could gain and gather–if we were willing to live with that awareness and accept it as our own.

It could be said this is too difficult, or that it takes a lifetime and more to accomplish if it is possible at all. True on both counts. But there is a third way. It is very simple. We say “Enough of the old energy of fear and separation that has consumed and driven me. I welcome the Christ Consciousness into my heart.”  And so it is.

What Being Overwhelmed by the Election Really Means

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Tor Paulin--Kirlian (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A dear friend of mine, Preeti Agnani, listened to me rail and rant about the election results and then she said to me “We all are powerful vibrational beings.” Her message went on to describe how we choose the emotions we experience. I knew this intellectually, but it was not working so well in my heart. I could not understand what to me seemed so disastrous an outcome. Then she said the Master Planner knows all, and would not let something happen that did not benefit humanity and this earth.

She is right. And in that moment, all my rage ended, my anger evaporated, my judgment of those who had voted for the winner disappeared. My next thought was that I could no more understand what had happened than could the birds in flight or the trees shedding their leaves, but then it occurred to me the trees and the birds very likely understood the vitality of life far better than I did. They had absolute faith that their presence and anything that happened to them was intended, and an act of grace.

In the end, in the larger picture we as yet cannot see, there is a plan of great purpose and it is one formed and extended out to us by this Master Planner. We are never left bereft–we only think we are, which is what brings to us the overwhelming feeling of despair, regret, and powerlessness, such as I felt. Yet these negative feelings are not our birthright. Our birthright is freedom. We are meant to feel inner freedom no matter what happens around us.

Mirrors of Our Intentions

Events are mirrors for us–opportunities to see more clearly, and to choose our way, instead of reacting to what appears so overwhelming in the moment. We are meant to thrive in the world, in our lives, in our whole being. We make a mistake if we think anything external to ourselves can stop our capacity to feel joy at any time. It is always there for us.

I have spent a lifetime learning such ideas and ideals, yet until now I did not fully absorb the validity of how we are meant to live, to AGREE, no matter what, that we had this  freedom of choice. The catalyst for me was the shock I felt at the election outcome, a feeling that was more traumatic than 9/11, because it signaled a vast division and separation in my country–and in me. I had no idea how to move forward. I was choosing every hour–every minute–to stay inside that sense of utter futility. There seemed no way out of it.

Yet it was STILL an ongoing matter of personal choice to accept that state or to change it. In every moment I continued to have the freedom to choose my course and mindset and emotions.  I had only to look into what was and is, accept that what happened had its own trajectory, one that did not belong to me directly, and allow my own path to unfold again.

I have always loved the biblical verse from 1 Corinthians 13:12:

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

I will never choose again to enter that feeling of despair and outrage. I know its source–I know it grew out of an immense caring for others and this world–but the feeling that manifested of despair and outrage served no purpose–brought no relief–changed nothing.

Let It Go

The truth is we can only change ourselves. We do this by allowing the feeling of being overwhelmed to exist–it is our human aspect, after all, to feel emotions–but to give it the briefest duration, and then let it go. Emotions are not intended physiologically to endure. As I wrote in an earlier post–every emotion has a life span of 90 seconds at the cellular level. This is confirmed by science. When we let go of a negative emotion, we stop circling in an endless loop, in the lost and helpless state of mind and heart that overtakes us. When we allow positive feelings, they are signaled by light in the cell. This is true of all living things–like the kirlian photograph of a leaf shown above.

We drop that negative emotion as if it is a stone heated in a fire and placed in our hands. We let go of anything that brings us down, that makes us feel powerless. We say instead what my friend Preeti said, that we are powerful vibrational beings who can send ripples out into the world and effect the changes that matter to us. We do this by focusing on our own gifts, our own caring, our own compassion.

Another Way

I often consider this verse in my posts, from 1 Timothy 4:14:

Do not neglect the gift that is in you.”

When we yield to despair, to feeling helpless, to being overwhelmed–when we let these emotions stay with us–there is no way our inherent, innate, creative,  and unique gifts can be expressed. They are instead shadowed and crowded out by grief, by anger, by sadness, and by fear of what will come. Far better that we allow into our heart and mind the joy that does belong to us, the peace that is always within us–that we can ask to meet in silence–and the awareness of our extraordinary spirit.

For we are indeed spiritual beings having a human experience. And we are meant to honor that by the compassion, joy, and creative force we bring to every moment. That is our power.

We are intended to be here. We are an act of grace.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

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Eleanor Roosevelt

This is a hard one. But Eleanor Roosevelt knew what she was talking about. The former First Lady ranked in the top nine most widely admired people of the twentieth century. Her legacy, one among many, was to tell us “The choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” Yet her life was far from an easy one. Her experiences led her also to tell us this: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ “

How Others Can Make Us Feel

Perhaps the most frequent, and psychologically damaging, event we can experience is to have other people try to make us feel inferior to them. Parents, teachers, friends, and our peers have enormous  influence on our state of happiness–if we let them. We can feel good about ourselves and the careless disparaging or mocking words of someone else can change our state immediately for the worse–if we let them. We can feel genuine and deserved excitement at our achievements and yet the words of critics can sink our enthusiasm–if we let them.

Why?

The foundation of why we let other people affect our state of mind and heart lies in our willingness to forfeit our own life to theirs, symbolically, at least. We worry so much about being accepted that we are often willing to pay a high price for that approval. Sometimes we are aware of doing this. Many times we are not, until some event or crisis changes our perception.

In truth, our concern about what others think and feel toward us occupies way too much of our time. That kind of worry is like living a half life for the duration we spend immersed in it. It yields nothing for us–except distraction. It solves no problem. It does not enhance our life, or move us forward.

Others Have No Power Over Us

If we were aliens come to earth to study the species, how would we see this negative behavior in which earthlings spent time making others feel less important, less significant, less valued? Step back and imagine you are the observer, not the participant. The first, the most primary question you would ask is why people put up with it.

It’s a good question. We don’t have to. We cannot always stop others from careless or even cruel behavior, but we can stop ourselves from reacting to it.

A Way Into Freedom

Weakness is not being less–no one is “less” than anyone else–weakness is reacting with negative emotion to whatever is going on. We don’t have to do that.

When we understand this, we are free. Exactly what these very powerful words of Eleanor Roosevelt are telling us.

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Your Authentic Self–What Were Your Earliest Interests?

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Authentic Self

It is said that you experience your most authentic nature–your truest self–when you follow a path that matches your earliest traits and inclinations. Why? As children we are close to God, free of the limitations that come upon us all too fast later on as we try to fit in with the rules and behaviors both our families and our society desire and intend for us. Because of this, as children we are able to let our creative power express itself effortlessly. And what draws our attention most is always something that resonates not only with our soul purpose in life, but also within our heart.

All Too Often the Wrong Message Shuts Down Creativity

Many years ago a journalist wrote a story about his daughter, who was in first-grade. She  had brought home a drawing she had done in school. He wasn’t sure what it was, for it consisted of wide sweeping streaks of blue and green and in the center a patch of white, but looking at it he felt joy run through him, a lightness of being. To his chagrin, though, he had to ask his daughter what it was, and she just laughed and said “Why, it’s a sailboat in the wind!”

The next day he looked for the drawing to show to a friend but it wasn’t on the refrigerator door.

(more…)