No matter their dysfunction, when I sort through the layers of anger, fear, complacency, narcissism, pride, hurt, or whatever ego baggage, I find people who profoundly love their husband, wife or partner, and I experience people who love their children, parents family and friends with a deep abiding love that is always remarkable and astounding. No matter who I talk with, I always find this love at the core of the human experience, and I can’t help but feel the profound unconditional love that unites us in our common humanity.
Heaven is not a time or a place, but is rather a state of mind where we know the profound joy of our intimate connection with those in our lives and with all creation where we directly experience the remarkable beauty and goodness in ourselves and in those around us. It is something we can experience here and now when we release our fears and shift our perspective. From this perspective, the truth about humanity is that we are all in love with each other and we just don’t know it. Our fears have blocked the awareness of our deep connection with others around us and so we feel alone.
We are all just different aspects of the One, experiencing itself from different points of view, and when I look on the people around me, I see an expression of the infinite love of God looking back at me. I know everyone has their fears, their emotional problems and their ego baggage, but they are all, every one of them a good person with their own hopes and dreams with someone who loves them and sees the good in them. They love and struggle and feel just as I do. Seeing past people’s emotional baggage to their core I see the divine reflected back at me and again I know I am blessed to be constantly surrounded by the reminders of the overwhelming love of Spirit in the faces of everyone I meet.
It’s time to wake up and release the fears that keep you locked in old dysfunctional patterns of blaming yourself or others. It’s time to find your center and embrace and release the pain and hurt of your past and wake up to the joy of living. There is a little piece of heaven inside you and in everyone you meet. Finding happiness and successful living in your goals and relationships just takes a willingness to release your fears and your old patterns of blame and guilt towards yourself and others. You can find and hold your center and open your eyes to the profound depth of love all around you now. This joy of heaven within you and around you is the pearl of great price and nothing else will satisfy you or bring you peace.
All of us act out because of our emotional wounds. Look past surface appearances to see the good in another person, and you will see the good in yourself. Help to understand and have compassion for the wound in others and you will heal your own wounds as well. Go with kindness towards the relationship or situation where you are the most hurt, the angriest, or the most afraid, because the wound is where the light enters you. When you see through the labels you put on others and consciously walk towards and through the fires of your anger and fear you will find just another being that is good on the inside, just like you. There you will find the beauty of your Soul in the healing moment patiently waiting for you.
When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.
“Africans have a thing called Ubuntu. We believe that a person is a person through other persons. That my humanity is caught up, bound up, inextricably, with yours. When I dehumanize you, I dehumanize myself. The solitary human being is a contradiction in terms. Therefore you seek to work for the common good because your humanity comes into its own in community, in belonging.”
Your mind is the most powerful piece of equipment in the galaxy and you can choose to tune it into anger, fear, hatred, or to unconditional love or anything in between. This is your choice, and no power in the universe can stop you either way. Your life circumstances are simply the out-picturing of your inner state of awareness and whatever frequency you tune in with your thoughts and feelings will translate into your actions and ultimately into the circumstances and relationships of your life.
I learned how to stay in relationship with my mom without becoming a doormat and without fighting with her all the time. Simply put it takes being honest about my own issues without taking her emotions personally. It takes avoiding both fight and flight and finding the third option by simply holding my center and realizing her emotions are not my fault and that I am not to blame for her anger or sadness. It is allowing her to have her emotions and allowing me to have mine. When I can do this, then we always got along just fine and I was no longer subject to the changes in her volatile emotions. Holding my center no matter what emotions or praise or criticism anyone projects towards me is what I do in my best moments with my loved ones and in counseling every day that creates a profound space of unconditional love that is beautiful and deeply satisfying.
About seven or eight years ago my weight went over 200 lbs and most of my clothes wouldn’t fit me anymore. Like many of adults over 40 in our society today, I was losing the battle of the mid-life waistline bulge and my body could no longer handle my addiction to Starbucks, carbohydrate-loaded snacks, deserts and other forms of sugar. Instead of dealing with my addiction, I packed up all the clothes that wouldn’t fit me and I put them in a box, vowing that one day I would find the discipline to lose the weight, beat my addiction to sugar and fit into my old clothes again. Well, I've recently lost weight on a paleo diet and today is the day.
The Sufi’s have an ancient saying that we have 50,000 layers between us and God, but there is nothing between God and us. I know the truth is that Spirit is with me here and now and that I am never alone. That is Reality, and the love of Spirit surrounds me, even when the fears of my ego blind me to the truth.
You can live in the paradigm of your fear-based thinking and allow the ghosts of your past make your choices for you, or you can face your demons and begin to wake up from the dream of your life drama to the reality of love that is the real Truth, and no power in the universe can stop you either way. You have the power to create your own heaven or your own hell here and now, and every moment of your life you are either digging the hole of your problems deeper, or you are moving towards an awareness of your essential wholeness.
your emotional issues are embedded in the history of your family tree as well. When you transform the problems and emotional breakdowns in your life, you are healing your family tree and you are breaking the cycles of suffering passed down through your family lineage. It can be helpful to step back and look at the big picture of your path of growth in life and learn to understand and embrace the legacy of the emotional suffering and find the joy in your family tree.
Are you ready to let your anger go? Are you ready to release your addiction to blame or feeling victimized by others or by life situations? Are you ready to look within to understand, embrace and begin to release the fears that sabotage your relationships, which block your success and steal your joy? You can live the life of your dreams and you can unleash the greatness within you when you are ready to release your fears and let the best part of you shine. But here’s the thing, you can have a life you love or you can have your anger, your outrage and all your other fear-based emotions but you can’t have both. You get to choose.
The bottom line is this: YOU DON'T HAVE TO SACRIFICE YOUR HAPPINESS FOR ANYTHING! You can use whatever happens in your life for growth and healing or you can let the fear-based narrative of your life story run your life. When your negative emotions are triggered by life challenges, you can self reflect and use the moment to face and release your fears. You can disconnect your experience from your life narrative about your experience or you can allow your fears to take over and you can become more bitter. Your choice. Whether or not you continue to center yourself on the present moment or whether you give into the fears of the narrative of your life story is your choice alone.
As I get older, I’m finding that my Spirit is not off on some mountain in Tibet but is right here at home at 4 o’clock in the morning with my son asleep beside me. I’m finding joy by embracing the daily routine and the responsibilities of being a husband and a father, and I’m finding God in the faces of my wife and children, in my coworkers and friends, and in the playful conversation with the checkout lady at the Safeway down the street. I’m feeling like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz saying that happiness is not somewhere over the rainbow but is right here in my own backyard. I’m also realizing that living a fulfilled life of abundance requires only that I let go of my fears and allow a shift in my perception.
The rituals of any religion or spiritual path all create a sacred emotional, mental and spiritual space designed to open people’s minds to their connection to the Whole and see our connection to all of life beyond our individual perspective. These rituals and traditions can help us to free our minds from our experience of the isolation of our individual ego awareness. Whatever your religion or belief system, it comes down to the same thing; we are all connected to the whole and we are all a part of something greater than ourselves.
So how do you protect a butterfly? Of course, the answer is to set it free. If you try to put it in a cage or control it in some manner, even with good intentions, it will only harm this tender creature. So many times in our lives we try to control other people or situations because we think we know what’s best, but usually what happens is that we simply create unnecessary conflicts that complicate the relationships with the people in our lives. Often the best way for a relationship or a situation to heal is to let it be and allow the situation to unfold and let others live their lives as they see fit and make their own choices in their own way.
Despite any appearances, there is nothing but love. Everything else is all smoke and mirrors. This doesn’t mean to ignore the problems of the world, or be blind to your difficulties and struggles in life. It is important to be practical and realistic about whatever problems you face, but rather it’s even more important to ground your awareness on the fundamental reality of love that is the foundation of our connection with all life. Regardless of appearances, we are all simply different aspects of the One, experiencing itself from different points of view.
. God is constantly speaking to all of us in a variety of ways, and if you want to pay attention, you will see the signs. The love of Spirit is ever as close as our breath and our heartbeat, but it takes willingness on our part to open our minds to our connection with the One. Open your mind to this connection and any situation in life becomes an opportunity for communion or communication with the Divine. Don’t take my word for this, simply try looking for God in your life experiences and make your own judgements.
it is even more important for us today to keep our awareness tuned into the essential unconditional Love that is our nature and is at the heart of every human being. Wherever you go, you carry with you the divine goodness that is your birthright. You can tune your psyche into the common humanity in everyone you see and to the connection of all things which opens your mind to the reality of unconditional love underlying everything, or you can interpret everything based on the anxiety created by the fear-based thinking of our culture and your past conditioning. Ultimately, this is really the only choice you have to make; to perceive everything in your world through the lens of love or through the paradigm of fear. Every time you choose either way, you train your psyche to go down the path of fear or the path of love. Every moment in your life, your choices are defining your conscious awareness.
The Buddha called suffering a holy truth, because our suffering has the capacity of showing us the path to liberation. Embrace your suffering and let it reveal to you the way to peace.
- Tich Nhat Hanh
I know down to the marrow of my bones that the way to emotional freedom lies in facing, embracing and going through the emotional suffering to get to the transformation on the other side. You will not grow until you face and release your fears, period. You can face your fears and grow in a proactive manner or you can wait until life smacks you down because you have avoided the problem until the resulting crises hits you square between the eyes; your choice.
The profound love that we have always shared continues to come to the forefront of our interactions more and more with each passing year. Instead of the inner noise of our fears and conflicts, there is now a silence in the space between us that is so tender and beautiful that I don’t have words for the quiet depth of love that I allow myself to experience in her presence.
“All suffering is either remembered or anticipated, never experienced in the present moment” - Course in Miracles
You choose how to respond to life events. You ultimately have the power to choose even how you interpret situations, and if you practice, you can consciously choose how you think about something or how you feel about something based on your wisdom and inner knowing rather than allowing your ego-based fears to control this process. This skill takes practice, because most of us are used to allowing our unconscious programming from our past make these choices for us, but you do have a choice.
You are more than what is troubling you. A very real part of you exists beyond your worries, beyond your doubts, independent from the troubles and frustrations of the present moment. Step back and observe yourself as you experience each moment. Be present. Watch yourself think as you take action and as you experience emotions. Your body may experience pain, and yet the pain is not you. Your mind may encounter troubles and yet you are not those troubles.
I am talking about finding your pearl of great price, getting your priorities straight and going for what is most important in your life with everything you have. Maybe your dream is a big change in your job or relationships or maybe it’s simply learning to speak your truth and create healthy relationships where you are or have an inner shift and learn to be happy where you are now. When you look within and do a gut check, you already know what you want and you know where you are living your truth and where you are selling out on your dreams. Whatever it is, why settle for less and why allow toxic thoughts or situations to dominate your life simply because your fear says you should play it safe and settle for less?
Allah, Jesus, Buddha, the Force; Reality is what it is regardless of your perspective or interpretation. This is not about any particular material, spiritual or religious belief system, yet every religion has some version of the idea that you are made in God’s image; that the essence and the core of what it is to be human is Divine and this Divinity is the essence of your true nature and is at the center of your being. Any belief system is only useful if it helps you to align with your Source but essentially this is not about some belief system; this is about having a direct experience of who you are, and living your life and making your daily decisions from this knowing. This power manifests in your life and everything works whenever you align with this Source.
You can face the fears in your life. When you face your internal fears, then the external issues that appear to be causing your problems will resolve. The fundamental truth here is that your inner reality out-pictures as your outer reality and when you overcome the fears within yourself, the demons of your life become the daemons of your inspiration and transformation. There is no magic to this. Simply put, your fears create the repeating patterns of problems in your life, and when you face your fears, then you learn to face your life problems in a new and more effective manner so that these issues are resolved.
Imagine our nation as a single entity or a single family. Any family or individual who would have the kind of contentious and difficult decision making process going on in their head that compares to the level of blame and criticism that goes on in our halls of power in Washington every day would have some serious mental health problems. Any individual who acted out the types of conflicts that happen between our leaders in Washington D.C. every day could be considered to have a diagnosable mental health disorder.
All suffering is either anticipated or remembered, but never experienced in the present moment. The more present you are in the now, the more your suffering disappears and the awareness of the presence of overwhelming love becomes more insistent, more alive and more real. This love then begins to influence your every action, your every thought and your every emotion and you enter the flow more easily and more consistently until your life becomes an expression of the Divine.