Blog From 2010
Good things can have bad outcomes. Bad things can have good outcomes. Rather than panicking or rejoicing, wait and see.
When a man won the lottery, his wife decided her share of the windfall provided the money to leave him and start anew.
A corporate officer attained a major promotion and a big raise, but gave him new responsibilities, ulcers and gray hair.
Twelve years ago, a man contracted a severe form of arthritis. He was in bed for a year, but the disease strengthened his immune system and he recovered. Although he has been HIV-positive for ten years, his strong immune system has protected him from any T-cell decrease or the onset of AIDS.
A woman who had a car accident met her husband while recovering in the hospital.
After spending most of his adult life working as an electronic specialist for a major corporation, a man lost his job when the company closed down. He moved to Arizona and started a home-security alarm business. Today he makes a lot more money and prefers his mountain lifestyle.
Don’t try to second-guess the universe. Things often happen because they are destined to happen - to get us from here to there, so we can resolve our karma and fulfill our dharma - our earthly purpose.
“Always follow your heart, it knows the way” is a hand-lettered sign on the copyboard by my computer.
Eastern wisdom says, “follow the path with a heart.”
You could interpret this “heart wisdom” to mean follow a path that resonates with who you are, what you want to be, where you find joy, and who you want to be with.
Or you can look at the wisdom from a higher perspective, which perceives your spiritual heart to be the center of your soul. This spiritual heart is your connection to God, the Tao, the Universe, the All That Is.
According to the mystics, if you can move your consciousness from your head to your heart, you will transcend all problems. Freedom from the self will be found by following this heart-centered path through life.
The path is a state of consciousness--a mind-set allowing you to be in the world but not of it. There are five steps to put you on the path.
1. ACCEPT SELF-RESPONSIBILITY. If you accept karma, you accept that you and you alone are responsible for your experiences. There is no one to blame. You needed each unpleasant (or downright painful) experience in your past to teach yourself what you came here to learn. What were the lessons? You don’t want to miss the lessons. Accept others without judgment, blame, expectations or attempting to control.
2. ACCEPT WHAT IS. When you recognize what is, you stop wasting mental or physical energy attempting to change what cannot be changed. I am not advising you to passively accept life. What you have the potential to change, go ahead and change. But recognize the things you can do nothing about, and stop wasting your time complaining about them. Gravity exists, that’s what is. Your mate is quiet and stubborn, that’s what is. Greedy corporations exist, that’s what is.
3. DEVELOP DETACHED MIND. When your state of mind fluctuates only from positive to neutral as outside conditions change, you have learned detachment. Accept self-responsibility, accept what is, and monitor reactions that are not in keeping with the above. Detached mind will result.
4. MONITOR VIEWPOINT. The way you experience life results from the way you choose to view what happens to you. Your viewpoint is the deciding factor in whether you experience a situation positively or negatively.
5. ACT WITH COMPASSION. Compassion is passion transformed--a desirelessness state of mind from which you give mercy or supply aid with no expectations of remuneration or acknowledgment.
Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Neither time, birth, death, nor rebirth can ever separate those who have formed a deep mental, spiritual or physical bond.
Physical separation and parting for more than a short period of time, as we know it, is impossible. Mental separation is unknown on a subconscious level. Communication will always continue, although it may not be consciously perceived.
People with whom you have a deep bond in this life have been close to you in a previous lifetime. You may have been lovers, friends or relatives in another time and another place.
Lovers from the past will reincarnate within the same time frame again and again. Although they will not remember their past lives when they meet in their next life, they will be strongly attracted to each other and their love will be renewed. In each new incarnation the love will deepen; hopefully, it will grow more unselfish, until, after many lives, love is perfected.
In all relationships, each individual fulfills their karma, either through atonement or reward. When you have the opportunity for a reward relationship, there is an indescribable bond that forms the two of you as one. I was lucky to find this late in life. Love truly is the most powerful force in the universe.
Conflict results from wanting something your way and not getting it. the sure way to attain peace of mind is to be concerned only with joyful giving, without expectations, and to let go of attachment.
No one other than yourself can give you anything, advice or material goods that will result in lasting peace and satisfaction. Peace of mind comes from viewpoint—how you view what you do and what happens in your life. You and you alone can choose to view life as a hostile separateness or a tranquil oneness.
Metaphysicians believe that peace is the door to the inner kingdom of God. From this moment on, thought your day, stop and remember to experience peace. Breathe deeply and take a few moments to relax and feel peaceful. Ask yourself, “What at this moment is lacking?” The more you do this the more peaceful you will become. Look at the things in your life that create turmoil and consider how you can stop judging and blaming. Let go of your expectations of approval or control. Accept what is and detach from the negativity by letting it flow though you without affecting you.
In my Zen-based Bushido Training I talk about Samurai detachment from different perspectives, including patience. Patience means to hold back in your inclination to immediately respond to the extreme emotions of anger, anxiety, fear, hate, or adoration.
The idea is to detach enough to allow yourself to move past your automatic response and determine what your real feelings are. Give yourself time to consider the repercussions and to weigh your response against your values. Decide what kind of response will best serve you. In so doing, you may achieve understanding that leads to inner harmony ... or you may choose to act in a decisive way when the timing is exactly right.
This is not a matter of repressing your real feelings, but of thinking before responding. The Samurai may have also been sharpening his sword and calculating his adversary’s weaknesses during this patience period.
“Self-Observation” is an extension of patience. The idea is very simple: DO NOT RESIST; JUST OBSERVE. Observe what is happening without resistance, which is a fear-based emotion. Fear clouds the mind and can block you from striking accurately, or acting decisively. And it is resistance to what is that causes your suffering. You want circumstances and people to be the way you want them to be, but when they aren’t, you resist who they are and suffer as a result.
When you observe your feelings of sadness, or anger, or envy, you identify with the feeling. You say, “I’m angry.” You don’t separate what you feel from who you are. You’re not the anger. The anger is fear generated by past programming.
Self-Observation helps you make this distinction and allows you to depersonalize your negative feelings. Instead of saying, “I’m angry,” say, “It is angry.” Instead of saying, “I’m bored,” say, “It is bored.”
By detaching from this false sense of identity, you detach from the stress it creates. You also program your mind to view undesirable situations in a way that does not generate negative mental programming, which will have to be balanced in the future.
BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION DETACHMENT PROCESS
The following process is a powerful way to accelerate detachment. Be sure you want what you ask for. The idea is to write at least a dozen statements--sentences that express your fears. Let’s assume you’re a woman and you realize your relationship with your husband has come to an end. But you fear having to experience all the pain or letting go and starting over again. Each sentence expresses a fear and is followed by another sentence that begins with STOP. This second sentence is then voice recorded with emotion. Here’s how it works:
You say out loud, “I need John to survive mentally and physically.” Then you press “play” on the voice recorder and hear, “STOP! John has already shown you how little her cares about your needs. You easily survive mentally and physically without him.”
“Maybe there’s still a chance that John and I can find a way to work things out.”
“STOP! You no longer deny the relationship is over and the two of you will now go your own ways. You accept what is.”
“If John and I part, the pain will go on and on for a very long time.”
“STOP! If you and John part, you have the power and ability to sever the emotional ties with a minimum of attachment. You create a happy, successful life without him.”
“I don’t know if I have the strength to start over.”
“STOP! You absolutely have the strength to start over. Starting over is far superior to tolerating a pain-filled life and repressing who you are.
INSTRUCTIONS: Write out many more statements that cover all aspects of the relationship. You record only the “STOP statements. Then you verbally speak the first statement, and immediately push play to hear the STOP statement. Repeat the statements 10 times, and do the process three or four times a day. You don’t have to induce an altered-state while running the process, but if you do, it will have much more programming power.
Do you know someone who thinks they’re always right? No matter the situation, they are the final word? It will help you to understand they were programmed to be exactly the way they are. And you can use the knowledge to your advantage.
Your subconscious mind is a memory bank and operates very much like a computer. It’s programmed for survival and for you to be “right.” Everything you consider saying or doing is quickly run through your data banks, comparing the present to related past experiences. Your computer then approves your actions as compared to the past, for in the past you “survived.”
Computers are logically programmed machines and cannot be wrong. To be wrong is a malfunction. If your subconscious computer allowed you to be wrong, its survival is threatened. So, the only way it can work is to make you feel correct. It does not reason and it does not care if you get what you want out of life. It just needs to be right to protect itself, even if you lose the game.
To rise above this programming, learn to be aware of your programming so you can detach from the buttons that cause you to act like a robot. A robot has no choice in the way it acts. It has wiring and circuits that are set so when a button is pushed, it reacts according to programming. In many areas of your life you’re programmed the same way. When your button is pushed you need to be right. Even if you’re not right, you’ll find some way to justify yourself. Only those with enlightened awareness of how human beings work understand this. Winning the game is far more satisfying than getting to be right.
Years ago I had the following discussion in one of my seminars:
“Can the need to be right come from past-life programming?” asked Anita, a pretty woman in her mid-twenties.
“We are all programmed to need to be right, just as we’re programmed to stand and walk on our feet,” I replied. “But an excessive need to be right might go back to a past-life cause.”
“But what do you do? My fiancé has to be right about everything, all the time. No one else is ever right. It’s enough to drive you nuts.” She rolled her eyes at the ceiling.
“Do you want to remain with him?”
“Of course, I love him.”
“Then you’d better develop an enlightened attitude allowing him to be right while you win the game. You have to learn to override your own ‘rightness’ button. Knowing how he is programmed to function, you can let him be right. Remember, unless you allow him to be right, his survival is threatened and there is going to be trouble. So you can quickly allow him to be right with a phrase such as, ‘I understand how you feel.’ In so doing, you learn to override your own ‘rightness’ button. Knowing how he is programmed to function, you can let him be right. You’re not admitting he is right, you’re just taking him off ‘tilt.’ His survival will no longer be threatened and he can concentrate upon the problem.”
Winning the game is far more satisfying than getting to be right.
BALANCE. What images does the word “balance” invoke for you? For me, it’s the yin/yang symbol, followed by the image of a tightrope walker, carrying a pole.
The Universe functions as a yin/yang balance, resulting in a tension between opposites (yin is negative and yang positive). We all contain the energy of these dual aspects: love/hate, harmony/chaos, good/evil. Tension is necessary for structure to exist. Human beings are energy structures, and without tension we don’t exist. As a result, there is always yin balance in our lives. Typical examples would be, self-denial, over-committing to the point of feeling frazzled, excess hard work, gambling, dwelling upon negativity, dangerous activities, sexual affairs, arguing, fighting, drugs, drinking, and illness.
In my seminars I talk about replacing yin energy expressions with positive challenges. But for this column, I want to stick with the general perception of balance.
As for the tightrope walker, he’s never in perfect balance. He continually moves the pole up and down and shifts weight from the right to the left. A little too much movement in one direction is quickly balanced by shifting weight in the other direction. The walker is never really in perfect balance for more than a moment. If he were, he would fall.
Life is a tightrope and like the tightrope walker you’ll never be in balance for long. If you were to strive to avoid all extremes you’d limit your life and would certainly generate anxiety. Don’t use this thinking as an excuse to be overindulgent, but if that’s what you need to do, you’ll soon generate an opposite pull of the forces.
One of the friends I mentioned has been working seven days a week in a hostile environment--pushing himself to the point of being unable to sleep. And guess who just ended up sick in bed for several days?
If you know you’re badly out of balance, take action before your body and mind finds a way of doing it for you. But stop worrying about finding perfect balance. If you can replace yin behavior with positive challenge, do it. Instead of endangering your mental or physical health, find a way to generate the needed experience, but in a way that can serve you.
From the perspective of reincarnation, we swing back and forth through our lifetimes in an ongoing quest to attain balance. And from this overview, good really isn’t good and bad isn’t bad. They’re not opposites in conflict, but two harmonious aspects of the same thing. An automobile battery offers a good analogy. Within the battery are charged metal plates. One is charged positive, the next negative, the next positive, and so on. The positive plate is not “good” anymore than the negative plate is “bad.” The interaction resulting from this alternating charge is what creates the energy you experience when you twist the key in your car’s ignition.
In the book, “The Tao of Love” by Ivan Hoffman (Prima Publishing), the author discusses balance: “Everything in the world is in a state of balance with everything else. Such is the nature of the yin and yang, of the Tao itself. There cannot be winter without spring; there cannot be life without death, there cannot be happiness without sadness.
“Whenever one component of that relationship changes, by definition the other component or components must also change to maintain the equilibrium. There can never be a state of disequilibrium in the natural scheme of things, for out-of-balance situations, both in nature and in the lives of human beings, will always attempt to right themselves, much like water seeking to find its own level once the pressures are turned off.”
Here’s a concept to consider:
Everything that surrounds you is an extension of you. Your mate, children, home, furniture, car, pets, yard, office, and career are all physical expressions of your belief system and attitudes. Your environment is a manifestation of your energy and core beliefs, expressing your self-image and cultural overview.
And what mind has created, mind can change.
Change begins with the acceptance of new beliefs. Beliefs generate your thoughts and emotions, which create your experiences. If you aren’t happy with your current life and want to change it, you need to change your core beliefs about allowing yourself to experience what you desire.
Your disharmonious beliefs are like a cage, restricting your potential and your life. But if you want to escape from the cage, you must first recognize that it exists and you’re not free. YOU CANNOT CHANGE WHAT YOU DO NOT RECOGNIZE.
Sadly, most people are unaware they exist in a self-created prison.
What can you learn about yourself by examining your key life areas as an extension of you-- a manifestation of your energy and core beliefs:
Let’s say, as an example, your yard and office are a mess. This may be a manifestation of a lack of control in your life. You would be served by cleaning up these areas as first steps of taking control of your life. Explore how this lack of control is reflected other areas. What do you want? Begin mind programming with techniques that follow in the next example.
If your primary relationship no longer reflects who are, explore your part in creating the way it is. Who have you become? Then consider what you desire to happen--be honest. Once you have clarity of intent, you can begin to program new beliefs in keeping with your desires.
Programming: Behavior wags the tail of feelings, so act in keeping with your desires and new feelings will follow. Visualize what you desire as if it were already so. Create vivid mental movies in which you’re living the life you desire you to live. Leave personalities out of the visualizations. If you visualize your mate doing something you want them to do, but it isn’t in keeping with who they are, you’re using black power and creating karma. Instead, visualize yourself living the life you desire with a loving (faceless) spouse. That way, if it’s your karma to bond with someone new, you’re not programming yourself into a corner.
Also, in meditation or self-hypnosis, give yourself positive suggestions worded as if what you desire were already accomplished. Self-talk--positive affirmations spoken out loud while you’re driving or home alone, is also powerful programming.
While conducting a seminar a few years ago, a female participant told me she would prefer not to know anything about karma. “Knowing that even my thoughts are creating karma is overwhelming,” she said and sighed.
“And the motive and intent and desire behind your thoughts,” I added.
“Even worse,” she said. “If I didn’t know these things, my life would be easier.”
The incident reminded me of the story of an Eskimo hunter who asked the local missionary priest, “If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?”
“No,” said the priest. “Not if you did not know.”
“Then why,” asked the Eskimo, “did you tell me?”
... which reminds me of another story in response to some recent emails. For those who need a “cosmic sign” to point the way, I love the following from Charlotte Joko Beck’s book, “Everyday Zen” (Harper & Row 1989):
To avoid the rising water during a flood, a man climbed up on the roof of his house to await rescue. Eventually a rowboat arrived and the rescue team shouted for him to climb into the boat.
“No, no. God will save me,” he said. “I’m praying.”
The water rose higher and higher until it covered the man’s legs. Another rowboat happened by and they tried to coax him into the boat. Again he said, “No, no. God will save me. I’m praying. I’m praying.”
When the water had risen to the man’s neck, a helicopter arrived and hovered above him. The rescuers shouted, “This is your last chance, grab the ladder.”
“No, God will save me,” said the man as his head slipped beneath the water and he drowned.
When the man got to heaven, he said to God, “Why didn’t you try to save me?”
God said, “I did. I sent you two rowboats and a helicopter.” ï ï ï ï
And while we’re on the subject of heaven, let me share the story of a young man who crossed over into spirit and upon his arrival at the Pearly Gates, was welcomed by St. Peter. “You’ll like it here in heaven,” said St. Peter, “we play a lot of sports. Monday and Thursdays are tennis. Tuesdays and Fridays we play baseball.
“Well,” said the young man, “I’m really not into sports.”
“Then perhaps you’ll enjoy Wednesday nights where we have a big dinner and plenty of wine is passed around several times. Cigars. You’ll be able to let your hair down.”
“I really don’t like to drink or smoke,” said the young man.
“Oh well,” said St. Peter. “You’ll certainly enjoy Saturday nights. We have a dance and some beautiful women always attend. There is plenty of goings-on, if you know what I mean.”
“Actually, I don’t really enjoy the company of women,” said the young man.
St. Peter starred at the young man, then nodded. “Are you a homosexual by chance?”
“Oh no sir.”
“Pity, said St. Peter, “you won’t enjoy Sunday nights either!”
New beginnings are always a step into the unknown. Your present environment may be one of chaos and total confusion, but it will evolve into a state of peace and growth. More than ever, this is a time to maintain your principles and draw upon your awareness of higher knowledge. Deal with your problems one at a time and act on the most important considerations first. There is no need to feel overpowered. You have the power and ability to resolve the disorder and establish a superior situation in the future.
New beginnings are an ideal time to move from an attached mind to a detached one. The vast majority of people on this planet live out their lives knowing only the attached mind, which fluctuates from positive to negative as outside conditions change—from happiness and joy down through neutrality, to the basement of emotions: depression, anger, hostility and fear.
A detached mind allows fluctuation only from positive to neutral as outside conditions change. You accept all the joy and happiness life has to offer, but your state of mind drops no further than neutral because you understand you can’t control others or manipulate unalterable realities.