Surviving a Crisis

The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper.
Aristotle.

My son has a close friend TJ. I had noticed his father at different school functions. Jerry was blind and had one leg. His attitude was so completely at peace with his situation that I thought he must have spent most of his life this way. After all, how could anyone seem so happy unless he had had a lifetime to adjust to such tragic circumstances?

I learned that it had only happened a year and a half before. I was shocked that such relatively little time had passed and that everything was so normal. This caused me to look back over my life and the many crises and tragedies I myself have had to face and I found that the only thing I had to regret was the length of time I spent on self-pity. Regardless of what we go through, eventually, we must face that moment when it becomes necessary to evaluate the living of our lives and not our lives themselves. You see, we have no control over what happens to us, but we do have control over how we react, and how we react could possibly determine the quality of the rest of our lives. Although it may seem difficult to control a reaction, reaction is a function of the lower mind. It is a habit. I had my hair pulled when I was a child so as I grew, anytime someone reached their hand in a way that appeared, to me, to be coming towards my head, I would flinch and pull back. Once I became conscious of this reaction, I began to do it less and less, first intentionally, and later not reacting became a habit. It took time to build up our reactions and it will take time to change them, but they can be changed.

We are each being faced, right now, with some form of personal crisis, within a national crisis within a world crisis. At this time, as perhaps at no other, it would be difficult to find one individual on the planet who is not at this time dealing with a crisis. We, in this country, are dealing with the effects of the Iraq War, the destruction caused by the climate changes, and our evaporating economy, while at the same time every individual is dealing with some form of personal, political, financial, racial or religious crisis. So, it helps to know that we are not suffering alone but have actually joined the suffering of mankind.

Putting it in this perspective, we must rise above our personal situations and understand that this is a time of change in the universe. There have been unprecedented increases in the sunspot activity in recent months. The atmospheres of various planets including our own have been going through drastic changes. We have just entered a new millennium, but with all things being synchronistic, we can say that the entire universe is also entering a new era.

For change to occur there must first be a period of breakdown; logically, there cannot be a breakdown without chaos and crisis. That which is not built to move to the next level must be transformed. The beginning of the last millennium was dominated by the advent of Christianity. The first years of breakdown and realignment of previously held beliefs were difficult years. They were not easy years in which to be incarnated, yet many souls chose them for their growth.

I read a book, “Life before Life<!–[if supportFields]> XE “Life before Life” < ![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]>< ![endif]–>“, by Helen Wambach which is now out of print, in which she, during the course of a few years, regressed over one thousand people from all over the country, to the time before they were born. She asked each person to find out the answers to a list of questions, one of which was why they chose this time to be here. The overwhelming reason was that this is a time of so much change and chaos on one hand, and so much available spiritual knowledge on the other, that it offers each soul the rare opportunity in which to fit many lifetimes worth of growth.

When life doesn’t work the way that, we planned or hoped it would, we can’t sit around until we rot; feeling miserable because we were given lemons. We just have to make lemonade. Sure, it is never easy, but the history of the world and the history of our own lives tell us that this too shall pass. And when it does, it is important that we have not wasted this valuable time in self-pity. When God closes one door, He opens another. It may be a struggle at first to face a new door, but it is worth the effort. For every pain, and every heartache there is a seed of equivalent benefit. If we take this as an opportunity to move to the next level, we will find that many of us are being given an opportunity to recreate our lives in a way that we never before believed possible. For so many years now I have been living under an cloud of debt. In the past few years I have felt like the commercial where a couple want to move their house is hovering over their heads. It has been a constant panic, will we lose the house, the cars, the insurance – or even, will we eat. I constantly fear that I will exhaust my reserves of faith if this goes on much longer. Then, as irony would have it, Easter Sunday my husband walked outside to find that both of our cars had been repossessed. I was initially distraught, I felt violated, lost, and how could we work without transportation? I just felt that this was the domino that would knock the whole building of dominos down. And it could have, no car – no work – no money – no home. But, a funny thing happened after the shock wore off – I felt just them most exhilarating sense of relief knowing two more payments that we could not afford to make were no longer hovering over our heads.

Just a few years before this, I was in the same position only this time I was renting and six months behind in my rent. I had this moment – you know – a movie moment when everything stops in mid-action, and I said to myself, ‘I have done all that I can do, I have tried everything that I can try, if we lose everything and end up in a shelter – it will be God’s will, and we will all learn what we arrived at this experience to learn and climb up from there.’ In that moment there was an energy shift in my life. A crisis can last ten years, or it can last ten minutes. It lasts as long as we remain in crisis mode and ends when we enter acceptance that what is – is, and move on to plan b – or at least to formulating a plan be. Anything that we do, that is not wallowing in the approaching trauma or existing trauma will shift the energy. I shifts from what was or will be lost – to what was or will be gained. Acceptance is the train out of suffering. It is the open door that allows new air to come in. Above all, acceptance allows us to realize that we are in good hands – always. And nothing happens that we did not choose before we came – and for the highest of reasons.

I asked for…
I asked for strength…. and was given difficulties to make me strong. I asked for wisdom…. and was given problems to solve. I asked for prosperity… and was given brain and brawn to work. I asked for courage… and was given danger to overcome. I asked for love… and was given troubled people to help. I asked for favors… and was given opportunities. I received nothing I wanted… I received everything I needed.
From “The Analects of Confucius” – a philosophical translation, by Roger Ames and Henry Rosemont
 

Being Loved Requires Being, Feeling Loved Requires Loving


1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor , and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; 6 rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; 7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 10 but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known. 13 But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13

When I was a very young child I noticed how unhappy everyone in my family was. I then began to notice that there was so much of the same unhappiness all around me. I watched it, but I also shared it. Everyone felt unloved. At least, I know that is what we believed we felt. It is as though we are all standing in line facing and focusing all of our effort on receiving the love we need from the person standing in front of us, whose back we are facing. If we could all just turn around and give exactly what we are seeking to the person behind us, seeking the same love and approval, we would all, in turn, receive what stands between wholeness and ourselves.

I believed that if someone married me, I would feel loved; I would be happy. Then I believed that if I had a child of my own, THEN I would feel loved and be happy. When my only hopes for happiness left me still feeling worthless, I entered therapy. I went to the Alfred Adler clinic in New York City. On the intake questionnaire they asked: If you died, what would you want written on your gravestone. My response was, “Denise was WELL LOVED”. I believed that if by the time I died, my legacy was having been loved by many then I would know that somewhere along my journey on this earth I had found the happiness that I was seeking. All I thought I ever wanted was to feel loved. But what feeling loved really meant to me had nothing to do with another person loving me, but having some person convince me that I was worthy of loving.

I think about that gravestone often, and at various points in my life I have revisited the inscription considering what I would want written at each of those points in my life. At one point, about ten years ago, I arrived at my final revision of that stone. I realized that I would know that my life was all that I could have asked of it, if my gravestone says, “Denise LOVED WELL”. The reality is that the only way that the void of love within remains constantly filled is if it is constantly poured out to others. Here is a story that I read somewhere:

“With an angel for his guide, the visitor is first ushered through the gates of Hell, which, he is surprised to find, are made of finely wrought gold. The gates, in fact, are incomparably lovely, as is the verdant land¬scape that lies beyond them. All this is quite astonishing to the visitor, who turns to his angelic guide in disbelief. “It’s all so beautiful,” the man says. “The sight of the meadows and mountains . . . the sounds of the birds singing in the trees … the scent of thousands of flowers. . . .” And then another scent catches his attention: the aroma of food being prepared.
The angel leads the visitor toward an immense banquet table laden with every sort of delicacy. However, something is terribly wrong. Hundreds of people are seated around the table, but they all appear to be starving. Their emaciated condition is painful to see in the midst of such bounty, but even worse is the frustration and anger they are obviously experiencing. Each person at the table has a long-handled spoon chained to his wrist. The handles are so long that no one can place food in his mouth. But that does not prevent the condemned souls from trying. For all eternity, they are struggling to feed themselves a meal that is right before them, but that might as well be a hundred miles away. Taken aback by the tragic spectacle, the visitor is now more than ready to visit Paradise, and the angel immediately complies. At once they pass through an¬other set of golden gates, alike in every detail to the gates of hell. In fact, a great deal about the two locales seems to be identical, including the banquet table and the diners chained to their utensils. But the people around this table are well fed and happy, despite the fact that their circumstances are identical to those of the damned. The difference is not in the physical situation, but in how they respond to it. As you might have guessed by now, instead of trying to feed themselves, each of the souls at this table feeds the one across the table.”

Remembering that the ego through which we incarnate in each lifetime is little more than an accumulation of experiences and beliefs of our past lives. Change – growth and the merging of the ego and higher self are instigated by the soul. Each life is the next chapter in the evolution of the soul. This plotline of this life carries with it a repetition of situations from prior lives that were not resolved, not balanced. It also contains new areas experiences and challenges for further growth, and the fruit of lessons that we have mastered from past lives to share with others in this one. All souls who are late young, mature or old have lived through lifetimes of conditioning as beings stained at birth by original sin. Few adults living today were not there at the birth of this age, which is drawing to a close, and this age was born with the imprint of original sin.

The majority of people on earth, or at least in the western countries feel in some way inferior to almost everyone else alive. I have admired to so many people who I believed were confident, and self-assured only to find out that the singular difference between them and me was that they were better at pretending. Some assuage their feelings of inadequacy by telling themselves that they are superior to others. The more they immerse themselves in their superiority the less they have to acknowledge their feelings of inferiority. Some make a great show of telling everyone how great they are, while others find a skill, talent, or physique that they use to draw a constant flow of accolades. Then of course, there are embellishments such as wealth, fame and power to make one look superior.

People insist that their religion is the only religion acceptable to God out of a need to feel superior. It is the need to feel superior that causes people to insist that their choice of worship is the only true choice of worship. Jealousy is a sign of insecurity – God could not be jealous unless He was insecure about all of the other gods being worshiped. However, if there is only one God then that one God is not jealous, not wrathful, and not angry because all of those are symptoms of insecurity. Regardless of how superior we appear, and how content we may be with that appearance, within ourselves there are no props that can change how we feel. So, we look to intimate relationships to give us that feeling of adequacy by showering us with love. The problem is that the material world or rather the external world is impermanent. Whatever fills us up today will be insufficient to the task tomorrow. Someone will always come along smarter, prettier, wealthier, more powerful, more famous, more creative, more talented, younger etc. Everything external that matters today will not matter tomorrow, next week, next year, or whenever. Whatever exists in the external world has a shelf life. If that is where we seek our value, or sense of lovability, then we must acknowledge the expiration date.

Our past lives of belief in original sin have convinced us that we are defective. Now is the time to understand and to instill in the young children born at the dawn of this new age that we are each created so perfectly, so flawlessly, that there will never be more than one of each of us. We are each so perfect that we cannot be duplicated. We are each original signed creations of our Source, and there is not now, and will never be an artist superior to our creator, nor will there ever be materials superior to those from which we are made because we are made from the Creator. It is the uniqueness of our design that makes us each so great. And we are each here to add that unique color, that unique quality that is each of us to the great work of art that is in a constant state of becoming, entitled “Life”.

Love is. It does not exist because of what we do, or who we are. Love is unconditional. Many people have found through regressions that they suffer from debilitating illnesses in this life so that they have the opportunity to be taken care of, and to feel love from others who receive nothing in return. It is the only way that their souls can guarantee the experience. If someone loves us and we push them away because the love does not come wrapped in the package that we are expecting, although may they move away – they do not stop loving us.

All of this concern over being loved and being lovable dissolves into itself when we stop worrying about being loved and strive to be love itself. No amount of love, adoration, worship or praise can change how we feel about ourselves when the lights go dim. Most people I know who do not feel loved are really not very loving. Whatever they give to others or do for others has some form of string attached, even if it is a required amount of expressed appreciation. They may not feel that they are measuring, but they can give an extremely accurate account of their expressions of love – for people who are not keeping track. Whatever experiences have closed them down do not matter.

I once thought that we were given love in proportion to the love that we give.  This is not true.  Many people who are too fearful to love are themselves loved unconditionally.  They are given this love so that if at any time they choose to understand what true loving is, they have it available to learn from.  However, it does not matter to these people that they are truly loved, because being loved is not the same as feeling loved.  So, until we are willing to open ourselves to give love – even if the whole world loved us – we would still feel unloved.  Feeling the love that is sometimes all around us is only possible when we give it.

If we want to feel loved we must take the risk of loving unconditionally. And what happens when we do this, is that we forget about what we are not getting because we are overwhelmed with the joy of what we are giving. Then suddenly, out of the blue, we look around and are astounded by the amount of love that is coming to us.

Getting What We Really Want

We usually do not ask the Universe for what we really want.We ask for what we think it looks like, so when we get what we ask for, we are disappointed.

We usually do not ask the Universe for what we really want.We ask for what we think it looks like, so when we get what we ask for, we are disappointed.” Once we have made a commitment we have focused our energies that focus creates a clear direction for the Universeto interpret and help guide us towards.Focus brings clarity.Once our desiresare focused we are clear.Once we are clear our goal is understood and immediately the Universe begins to work. Having this focus means trusting that the Universe will guide our steps, even if it is not where we think it should be. It may not even be where we want it to be.The external world dominates our thinking and we make our plans based upon its rules.The Universe does not act in terms of physical categories, or forms, it acts in terms of the need to be filled on a soul level.

A position may appear before me, or someone may speak to me regarding a particular career and I will decide that it is what I want.This position or career stimulates within me a feeling of satisfaction, or accomplishment.That feeling is why I want that position, and so it is the feeling and not the position that the Universewill bring to me. The position is only the form that I assume will provide the feeling.It is the boxthat I assume contains what it is that I really want. This understanding is critical.

The Universemay not bring me that particular position because in actuality that position was not going to give me what I was really looking for.It is that underlying need, that underlying feeling that Universe will bring me.So when we focus, it must not be merely on the outer appearanceof what we desire, but primarily on the feeling we anticipate that it will fill us with.

The ego is a bag with a hole in the bottom.What is fed through the ego empties into the soul.The problem is that food for the ego is waste for the soul.The ego cannot be satiated, that happens in the soul.Do we want to feel secure, or is it the sense of achievement that we desire? What does our soul receivefrom whatever it is that we are going after?When we see ourselves with whatever it is that we seek, how does it feel?We may seek the physical form of something but it is really the essence that we perceive is contained within that form that we are after.When we are attracted to the physical form what is being drawn to that form is the ego.The ego sees the thing, the person, or the position as a way to satisfy a craving.Yet, when we attain what the ego is attracted to, we are still empty within.When we override the ego and connect with the feeling of it, we are closer to the truth.Truth is what the Universe will at all times bring to our lives.

I may think that I want John, but in fact I want what I imagine being with John will feel like.It may very well be that what I think I will feel with John is not in any way what I would actually feel from him.He may not be who I think he is.I am.However if I focus on what it is that I want to feel, and open myself to any possible way that it may be brought to me, I am in a much better position to have my real needs met.When I am clear on what qualities I am seeking in a mate, even if I am hoping it is John, it will be those qualities that the Universewill provide.If I do not get John that does not mean that I will not get what I am seeking, it only means that what I am seeking is not John.

The Universe is constantly answering our prayers.It is we, who are not really in touch with what we are actually praying for.We may have an idea of the form that we imagine it will come in, but we need to leave the knowledge of the actual form up to the Universe.We need to trust that we will get what we really want.When we obtain what the egoseeks, we temporarily scratch an itch.When we obtain what the soul is seeking, we remove the cause of the itch.If we let go and have faith, we will get the enduringquality that our soul is seeking.

This is a lesson that may take us forever to learn.Very often the Universewill give us exactly what we ask for, and often when that happens we are disappointed because it is never what we thought it would be.The egosees a box, wants the box and gets the box.The soul opens the box to get what is inside and beholds that it is empty.The ego does not look inside.It does not even comprehend the meaning of inside.To satisfy the ego at the expense of the soul is to put a piece of tape on a hole in the dam.It will not hold.The satisfaction of the soul fills the hole with the same materialthat the dam itself is made of.Therefore, there is permanent repair.

What we do not realize is that the Universemay have presented us with exactly what we really wanted many times over, but we didn’t know it because we didn’t like the box.Each time that it appeared before us, we simply passed it by without noticing. Our egowas in the way.The Universe gives us what our ego asks for so that at some point we will begin to realize that the problem is not what we keep getting, but what we keep asking for.

We may be so entrenched in what we expect to see that we miss what is before us.Finally we learn that perhaps we need to look deeper to findwhat we really want and rephrase the request.It is valuable to go inside and dig beneath all of the layers of what we want to find out what we need from it.We need to find the feeling we are seeking.What is the experience meant to satisfy on the deepest level?Once we know what we need to feel, we will be able to focus clearly upon what it is that we want.When we can focus, we will find that we do get exactly what we want. There are as many ways to express love as there are people to express it.

There are certain things that are very difficult to recognize as adults if they were absent in childhood.If we were not given the love that we needed as children by either or both of our parents, we find it almost impossible to recognize love as adults.Love is an invisible energy that is transmitted through even the most trivial action.If you were not loved, you do not understand this.And so, you look to the world outside for almost Shakespearean expressions of love.Loving and grand shows of affection are two different things.A person who was taught to say, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, who was trained as a child to always call home, to always ask about someone’s health and well being is a person who was taught to be polite.My daughter is extremely dramatic.When she was young, she would exhibit dramatic shows of affection.It didn’t even mean that she cared, it just means that she is a drama queen.A person can be impolite, inconsiderate and unemotional and still love deeply.I have known many extremely well mannered people who went through all of the ‘shoulds’ but really didn’t care about anyone.I have known too many people who have gone through life feeling unloved, all the while turning away those who love them because they did not recognize the form that it came in.

These people, desperately seeking love, were attracted to individuals who were natural at presenting a façade of loving or even caring when in fact their actions and words were empty, or self-serving.And it is easy to fall into this because if you don’t know what it feels like – you go after what it looks like.Unfortunately love looks like air, so since we can’t see it, we search for what we normally find containing it, a balloon, so when we think that we have love, often times all we have is a balloon.One of the greatest gifts that I have received is this particular understanding.I have learned that the value of a gift lies in its value to the giver, not to the receiver or to the general public.I know that some people love me because they give me the hardest thing for them to give and that is trust.I know that other people love me because they won’t go away no matter what I do.My father never did one thing that would fit on the list of expressions of love – but I knew that he loved me when he stopped at the Howard Johnsons to have pancakes with me when I went to work with him.

Sometimes getting what we really want requires taking the time to go inside and find out what it is that we want from it.If we do this, we will find that what we want from it may be in it, or it may not be in it at all. Knowing what we need to receive from what we want to achieve will give us a far greater chance at satisfaction.It removes the appetite from being the decision maker so that we may be really nourished. If we can attract to us that which we believe we want, we will cut out a great deal of disappointment and suffering if we are not focused on what we believe that we want but we believe that we want is what we also know that we need.When we know that what we want is a box and what we need is not the box but its content, then we can accept that only God knows which boxis right for us.


 

First We Believe the World To Be A Certain Way And Then Our Belief Creates A Perception That Proves It Right

There is no such thing as a fact; all that exists is a perception. Even a fact would be irrelevant in one’s life it one did not perceive it as such.

How we perceive a situation determines a different reaction and each reaction creates a different outcome. A perception can ruin our lives, and allow opportunities to pass us by. Another can take us to incredible new possibilities. No one remembers how many times we fall only how many times we rise. If we perceive ourselves as being victims we will be victimized.

Lets us say that there is, in fact, an objective reality. It would make very little difference unless it was somehow able to pierce through all subjective realities because our actions are subjectively driven. Let’s say that two people are dating and one is very jealous. The other partner goes to luncheon interview with a man in a position to offer a great employment opportunity, the opportunity of a lifetime. The lunch meeting is in a restaurant that is within a hotel. The jealous lover happens to see the two of them enter the hotel lobby, of course they are heading to the restaurant, but that is not what the jealous partner sees. The jealous partner waits outside for them to exit, and attacks the potential employer. The relationship ends and the jealous lover believes that his partner cheated on him. A person goes to a job interview and the man doing the interview has had a very difficult day, he just caught his lover cheating on him (so he believes) the first applicant enters the office and immediately assumes that the expression on the interviewer’s face means that he took an immediate dislike to him and doesn’t even attempt to sell himself because he believes that he lost the position as soon as he walked in the door. The next applicant, seeing the expression of the interviewer’s face decides to take his obvious mood as a challenge and begins his interview asking concerned questions about the interviewer’s day. Because this applicant did not perceive the interviewer’s expression as a reflection of his qualifications, he handled to interview in a way that landed him the position.

Only the Universe knows all of the facts. All that we will ever know is what we perceive to be the facts and even that perception is subject to change along with all other perceptions. Our perceptions will determine our actions or reactions to any given situation. Things appear the way the majority believes them to be. The truth, as we know it, is not based on reality it is based on consensus. An observation is relative to the perception of the observer.

Every opportunity in life is open to you if you perceive it as your opportunity. If you perceive a wall to be a dead end, you will turn back and allow it to prevent your passage. If you perceive it merely as an obstacle you will get a ladder and climb over it. Regardless of what situation you are in, there are those who will perceive it as better than theirs and those who will perceive it as worse. There will be those who perceive a situation as a beginning and those who perceive it as an end. If we want to change our lives we have to change our perception of them.

There is a story about a man who had two sons. One son was always happy one was never happy. So the father decided one Christmas to give the son who was never happy every possible toy imaginable. The other son he gave nothing but horse manure. When he went into the room of the son who was never happy, he found the boy sitting on the floor looking very sad. When he asked why the boy said that with so many toys there would never be enough room to play. When he went into the room of the son with the horse manure, he found the boy smiling and singing with a shovel in his hand just shoveling away. When the father asked his son why he was so happy he said, “With all of this manure there must to be a pony.”

People, who are truly happy, seem to illuminate peace. We may find that they have nothing more to be happy about than we have. On the surface it may seem that they have even less. Sometimes it may seem to us that they live in a fool’s paradise, but how foolish can one be who lives in paradise? I have had many losses and disappointments in my life. I have a friend who was constantly telling me that I am lucky. I believed that she was saying that because somehow she chose not to acknowledge all of the obstacles that I had to overcome. But finally she explained to me that she saw me as lucky because I faced each obstacle as an opportunity and so I was able to flow with life without so much suffering. I always said that if this is where I am, it is where I am meant to be, and there is something here for me to receive.

Those of us who amass large sums of money, huge holdings in real estate, diamonds, furs, cars, all of the emblems of wealth and or fame, do so because they perceive a world in which ones value is based upon these things, without them one is nobody, worthless. Living in this perceived reality is an enormous amount of work, because one always needs more just be remain good enough because in the material world, that bar is constantly rising, today’s penthouse is tomorrows basement, and so today’s person of worth is tomorrows worthless person. This is why we do not own what we have, but what we have owns us, so long as we believe that it in any way defines us.

Regardless of what anyone says, a conscious person, in a world of suffering caused primarily because of poverty. The only reason for a person with even a modicum of compassion to cling to wealth is because it holds his identity. Today, having so much more than we need while so many have so much less than they need to survive is like walking around with a fur coat made of pelts that are still dripping blood. Only the loss of identity – which could seem like the loss of our own lives, could allow us this caveat to perceiving the suffering around us. We are able to justify even to ourselves, whatever we do or do not do, based upon the need of our egos to feel safe. And if the ego believes that wealth and power are all that keeps it safe, that perception will allow us to justify what we could never justify directly to our souls. This is the same as the man before could not just beat up a man and leave the woman who turned his world, unless, his perception justified his actions.

We move through the physical world, but we live in a world of perception. One person perceives himself or herself as poor because that person has only one bathroom. Someone else perceives that same person as rich because he or she actually has a bathroom in their home instead of an outhouse. Someone else perceives the person with the outhouse as rich because instead of an outhouse he only has a hole in the ground.

We cannot change our lives until we know exactly how we perceive them. Changing our physical world will do nothing for us because the physical world is only the backdrop against which we live our lives. Our story as well as our history is played out within our perceptions. Once we truly understand how we perceive our world we will automatically understand that there are also other ways. Each way of perceiving any situation or any experience has its own unique set of possibilities and choices.

Happy people see beauty in things that unhappy people don’t see. It is not because they would not see them as beautiful. It is because they do not see them at all. Happy people find what the Buddhist call, “the bless in the mess”. They do not notice what is lost they notice what is found. I remember a job I had that made my life so miserable that I quit. Having no job my grandmother made my home life so uncomfortable that I went out to look for a job on my birthday. Thanks to that first job ending and my grandmothers nagging, my next job lead to my eventually starting my own business making close to one million dollars a year.

I quit my job without thinking I did not take the time to feel sorry for myself. I did not allow myself the time to engage in a long period of self-pity or self-destructive behavior. I did not see the loss of my job as the end so I did not miss that opportunity. But I have to add that opportunity is a train that runs twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. It may take determination to find the station, but the only way we miss it is if we perceive it as non-existent if it is not where we expect it to be.

Christ said, Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]” (Gospel of Thomas)

We can’t change what is, but since what is has probably never been seen by the human eye, all that we have to do is change what we perceive it to be and we will change the path that lay before us, obstacles become challenges, and we no longer seek until we quit, we seek until we find. Life is a series of experiences, and whether our lives we wonderful adventures, or tortuous hell is only a matter of perception, it is a matter, not of life itself but of our experience of it. What we see, determines how we respond, and how we respond determines our life’s experience.

CHANGING OUR BELIEFS

There is no point in searching for happiness unless we believe we can be happy. We may find many things, but we only keep what we believe to be ours by rights.

We all have underlying beliefs which form the foundation of our lives. These beliefs determine the way that we respond to the world. We believe that we have a certain place in the world. We believe that we have certain entitlements or lack thereof. We believe that the world will respond to us in a certain way and that there are things that we can and cannot achieve. Some of these beliefs are conscious, some are not. Many of them only become apparent to us when they hurt us.

Tana, my oldest daughter, and I had been fighting about her lack of attention to school. She had no understanding of the consequences of her actions. I was up against a brick wall and could not break through. One day we went out to lunch with a friend, and when I left the table to go to the Ladies Room Tana and my friend were talking about her failing in school. When I returned to the table I overheard my friend asking Tana what would happen if she really failed, what would she do? Her response was, “My mommy will fix it…she always does”.

I felt as though someone had hit me over the head with a sledgehammer. I did this, were the first words that I heard in my head. I have ruined my daughter’s life. This belief of hers covertly affects each decision that is made. It’s not a thought, something that one weighs when life is happening; it has a quiet, unfelt weight. It is just there, but it is the determining factor. Sadly, I passed this one on to her.

When I was a child I was expected to be perfect. I was expected to bring home A’s from school, no fanfare, no reward, just expected. I began noticing that when my friends brought home A’s they were rewarded by their parents for their hard work, I simply heard, “So, what else would we expect of you.” So in fourth grade I decided to fail, you know, start from the bottom so maybe I would receive some appreciation for my hard work. How could I believe myself to be worthy of love? I was taught that it was conditional, and the conditions were always somewhere beyond my best efforts. So, in fourth grade I proudly walked into my house with a Big Red “D”. My mother immediately made an appointment with the Principal. She insisted that my fourth grade teacher was prejudiced and gave me the grade because of it. After all, I had never in my life brought home less than an A.

I don’t understand how she did it, considering the fact that I really earned that “D”, but she did. It was changed to an A. This created a foundation belief. If I wanted acknowledgement, I had better give it to myself. There was no prize out there for me. These moments that impress us deeply are difficult to change. It was my “D” and she took it away. Whenever I had a favorite toy, or doll, my father would take it away from me and give it to a poor child, because I could get another one. But I couldn’t get another on that was my favorite. When I was young I was a pack rat. I collected everything and kept my collections in my closet. My grandmother went into my closet one day and decided to clean out the “garbage”. She threw away all of my collections. I would hoard every penny of my allowance and every penny that I could find and save it all in a kitty bank. One day, I walked into my room and it sat broken in half and empty on my dresser. No one took responsibility for taking the money or for breaking the bank until almost six months later; when finally my mother admitted to it. I was being taught from the youngest age, that attachment caused suffering. This was a foundation belief. I sabotaged everything, I could not let myself fail, but I could not let myself succeed either. Whatever I had I lost. After each loss I committed to doing things differently the next time, but I couldn’t, my beliefs created the program that my subconscious ran. And I just worked the program.

The key to understanding our subconscious programming is that we can’t just affirm it away, we can’t just understand it away. A program is not designed by the conscious mind, and so it cannot be upgraded by it. Our programs are designed by our emotional mind through repeated emotional feedback. The more painful the experience that designed the program, the more safeguards, firewalls, and passwords are installed to prevent us from tampering with it. In order to change a belief based program, we must act consciously contrary to our instinct. We must do this enough to impress upon our subconscious mind that the new way is a more state of the art security system. Only through acting as if, and realizing the results of the new way, can we change a response or a behavior that has been set up as a defense mechanism. In other words, “Fake till you make it”. We cannot just reject a prior belief. Of course, we can, it just won’t make any difference in our lives, because we can’t change the program that will automatically act on that belief. If someone has a quality that you see attracts to them what you want, act like in those ways that you see working. Eventually, those actions will provide enough feedback to your subconscious to be accepted as the new way.

My soul, my heart – could not accept love that was earned, love that was conditional. But my subconscious believed that the only way to be loved was to earn it. So, if I believed that someone loved me for something that I did, or the way that I looked or carried myself – eventually I resent that person and acted in a way that would make them leave me. If someone came along who just seemed to love me for who I was, I distanced myself from that person like the plague because according to my program, my belief, if I didn’t earn love I would lose it. So I set up a lose, lose situation – and as crazy as it sounds, my subconscious did it for my own good.

There are the beliefs that we can list, and those we just live. The ones that we live have deep roots. My grandmother believed that you have no one but yourself to depend upon. She believed that if you don’t hold on tightly to everything it will disappear. Every decision that she made emanated from those beliefs. Everything that we face in our lives is filtered through the lens of our beliefs. If you know the beliefs of a person you can easily predict how they will hand any situation.

We can change our clothes, we can change our minds, but changing our beliefs is something altogether different. A belief has a deep root. We can’t just pull it out without replanting, without acting as if we hold a different belief.

When I was a child people would occasionally compliment the way I looked or some talent that I had like painting. When that happened I could feel the fury building up inside of my mother. I could feel her jealousy in my soul. I would pay. So my belief was that if I stand out, if I am publicly outstanding in any area, I will pay. So I crave the light and at the same time I shun it. This is so deeply rooted that I can’t change it despite my understanding of its cause. What I can do is act as if I did not believe that I would suffer. So, I decided to give a lecture to a woman’s group. I wasn’t punished, I did not suffer and it felt so wonderful to share that I began upgrading my old belief through this action and replacing it with the new belief that this is a good thing. It is not easy and takes a lot of work, Rome was not built in a day and cannot be rebuilt in a day, but it can be rebuilt.

The distance between a familiar set of beliefs and one that is new and unfamiliar feels infinite. Crossing that space between fully believing one thing and believing something else feels the same as stepping off of a cliff. Act as if you are not afraid when you are shaking with fear. Hold your head high as if you own the room, when you feel like you should be sweeping it. It is not easy, but the results are worth it. Look, you can’t visualize that you no longer smoke until the desire abates. You can’t visualize yourself hating potato chips until you do. You have to stop smoking – to become a non-smoker. You have to stop eating the potato chips, to stop craving them. You must replace a program with an opposite program to neutralize it and allow the new program to run instead.

When we are born we have a personality. This personality has been formed out of all of our past life experiences, good and bad it is filled with programs developed as a result of the past. Our natural talents come from lives of hard work and practice, our automatic fear are programmed to protect us from past life experiences. The programs are activated by certain stimuli, and reinforced in childhood. We enter each life to utilize the gifts and understanding that have been programmed and to reprogram the areas where we are stuck in spiritually self-destructive programming. When we change our beliefs we are entering a strange new country. In time though, that country become home. In order to make the transition it helps to realize that we can always go back to what we once believed. We have choice.

If our lives are not working the way that we want them to, there is something in our beliefs about our living, not in our lives, that is not working. When we try to change, we cannot maintain it because it is contrary to what we believe. We are not able to commit unless it is to something that we believe. We may change our direction, but if we are going left and still believe that we should be going right we will never see the value in having made the change.

One of the obstacles that we face in changing our beliefs is our need to be right. We need to realize that whatever it was that we once believed was completely appropriate for our lives at the time that we developed that belief. That belief gave us a sense of safety on ground that we walked at the time. Now however, things have changed and the facts that those beliefs were based upon are no longer applicable. Accordingly our beliefs must evolve.

It is not that what we have believed up until now was wrong, and therefore the way that we lived was wrong. It is that what we believed worked in the environment in which they were developed and now those beliefs must evolve to accommodate the here and now.

We can change our beliefs without damaging our sense of self by understanding that all beliefs have a reason for being. We don’t just believe something because we are stupid. We believe things because in order for us to have the experiences that we are meant to grow from the Universe has programmed our personalities to react to the stimuli of our family environment by forming these beliefs.

Using Astrological examples, if a Pisces steps on your foot he/she will apologize profusely for not seeing it. The preprogrammed belief being, if it goes wrong it is my fault. A Taurus who steps on your foot will tell you to watch where you put your foot. Thus believing that if you were not in the way you would not have been stepped on, your problem. If it were a Scorpio you might be accused of trying to trip them. They are obviously programmed with trust issues! Through our beliefs we make sense of the environment in which we must not only survive but thrive. Yet since we are here to evolve it only makes sense that our beliefs evolve in the same manner.

These are very difficult times that we are experiencing now. Nothing is as it was. It is as though everything looks as it did, the form is there but nothing has the same substance. This is a transitional period. We are forming a new reality and therefore the old one is losing its power. We are being forced to seek within ourselves and find the truth. It is what we cannot touch that has the greatest strength, consistency and dependability.

Whatever we can touch, will fade and pass away. Nothing will ever be the way it was. Nothing will ever work the way that it did. Yet if we allow ourselves to grow do the work to change our beliefs, our programming, we will find a strength and sense of self-empowerment that we never believed possible. Life is now miraculous; we are living in the possible all we need is to believe in the fact that nothing asked of us by the Source, the Universe is for anything but our good. Imagine the truth as a three-hundred-sixty degree circle, with every degree being a degree of the truth. We enter our incarnations at zero degrees of truth. That zero degree of truth is the foundation of our first beliefs, it is what our first program is built upon. It is TRUTH. Only, when we reach ten degrees, we see a greater truth and must reprogram our beliefs to accommodate the larger vision of truth that is now available for us to see if we are willing. At no point, were we wrong. The only way to be wrong is to have ten degrees of the truth visible and insist on seeing only the first one. We all see the truth, but it is only when we reach the three-hundred-and-sixtieth degree, that we know the whole truth. If we do not allow that there is always more truth to see, and that seeing it does not make the current truth less true, we will prevent ourselves from the greater experiences, the greater joys that lie in the greater truth.

Our beliefs need to be in alignment not only with our lives as they are but as we want them to be. We must believe in who we are, in who we are here to become, and in the process of that becoming. It is through the building of positive beliefs that we create a positive life. Our beliefs are where we begin when we build faith. And faith is the cornerstone of our successes. The doors to our future are opened by the faith built upon our beliefs. It is through our beliefs that we have the vision to see those doors and through our faith that we have the power to open them.

It is our beliefs that empower our obstacles. I have a friend who was afraid to go back to school even though she knew that she had an opportunity and that it would help her achieve her goals. Yet she was afraid because she believed that she was learning disabled. After speaking about it for a while she acknowledged to me that when she was a child there was such disruption in her home that it was very difficult for her to focus on schoolwork. There were so many emotional disturbances during her childhood that school took a back seat and so she did not do well. Today she is not in her parent’s home anymore. She is not a helpless child anymore, but still the belief that she is somehow unable to learn is still standing in the way of her progress. This is a belief that is built upon a prior view of the truth, but not connected with the current visible truth.
Our beliefs build the mountains that are in our way or they bring us the faith to move those mountains.

“… verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” (Mark 11:23)

BECOMING COMFORTABLE WITH CHANGE

Change has neither thought nor action, because it is in the state of absolute quiet and inactivity, and when acted on, it immediately penetrates all things. If it were not the most spirit-like thing in the world, how can it take part in this universal transformation? (Confucianism. I Ching, Great Commentary 1.10.4)
To be prepared for life is to be comfortable with change. It isn’t change itself that makes us uncomfortable. We are not afraid when we decide to change our homes, or change our minds. The change that we are afraid of is the change that comes from outside of us. It is not change that we fear it is the loss control over our lives.

This is what change means to us. We have come to believe that things should happen a certain way, that life should be lived a certain way. Children need consistency. Everyone needs consistency. Consistency stands for dependability. Yet the consistency that is needed is not material it is spiritual. it is truth.
Children need truth, as we all do. Sometimes the truth hurts our feelings, sometimes it makes us feel uncomfortable, but in the end it gives us something to trust. Regardless of how it feels, the truth is sturdy and strong, solid beneath our feet. It gives us a place where we can go back to, a place that we can count on in the midst of this changing world.

For so long we have lived our lives based on appearances. We have smiled though our hearts were breaking. Living our lives in houses that we could not afford to maintain appearances. Our Society has become so dependent upon these illusions that when they fail to keep their forms we become afraid. I was speaking to my stockbroker the other day and I mentioned the recent market crash. He corrected me and said that it was an adjustment. That is really true. Life is in a state of adjustment now. Things around us are not crazy they are real. The illusions that we have been so dependent upon cannot be maintained. In order to have consistency in our lives we must accept consistent change.

Life will never be as it was because it was not real. We lived our lives based not upon what was truth but upon what worked. If it worked, it was truth. If enough people believed it then it worked and if it worked it was truth. Now all of our beliefs have been questioned because nothing seems to work. Nothing working simply means that nothing is staying the same. As much as we realize that we never step into the same river twice, we still believe that there are things that can be guaranteed.

As children we all held a picture of what our lives would be like when we grew up. Reaching our teens and early twenties we either solidified this picture or developed a new one more in line with the world around us. This picture, whatever it was represented fulfillment for us. This was real. For most of us, this picture of happiness was refined as we grew older, not to a more perfect image of our own wants and needs but a more perfect image of the ideals according to our family or society. Television contributed to our picture of what reality was supposed to be.

All of those unwritten rulebooks that served the generations that lived before were burned in the sixties. The reality that existed before was torn to shreds during the sixties. The roles of men and women, the roles of government, and any form of authority were to be forever changed by the sixties generation. The rules were permanently and irrevocably destroyed. From that time on the mass consciousness could never trust those rules again. What we had accepted as real did not exist anymore. The problem for all of us living today is that the rules were never rewritten. We have since been lost, and brought into this world children who are also lost. All of us have nothing to draw from that we can trust. No consistent reality. We have lived in a world where we have nothing that we can trust. There are no rules that are proven to be trustworthy.

For us, the reality that was in place for generations is now only a fairy tale. We know what once was happiness, in terms of what we should want for our lives, but we don’t know how to get it, and if we do, we don’t know how to trust it anyway. Few of us really know what we want because the world has become hazy, foggy.

Now we must become comfortable with ourselves. The Universal agreements that were holding our facts in place are no longer working. We must find the truth within ourselves and see that it is only within that truth that we are safe. When we are flowing with life it is not moving past us. When we embrace change as growth it does not rock our worlds. Change is not sudden it is constant.

When something seems to happen suddenly it is because we have resisted its coming for so long that the pressure has built up and finally broken through. We are constantly in a state of change from moment to moment and that is evolution. Nothing stays the same that is real. However dealing with change on a personal level and on a societal level is a process. The first step in the process is to see the truth to see that things the way that they are do not work any longer. Once we see the truth we become shaken. After we are shaken, we begin to do everything in our power to recreate the lie, to hold on to the way that it was or the way that we want it to be.

The problem is that once we really know the truth we cannot maintain the lie. When the illusion falls apart for the last time we accept it. This acceptance brings peace. This peace brings power. It is the truth that does not change and the one that we must seek, that truth is our faith in God, and the workings of His Universe.

Anything that does not change does not continue. We must stop thinking of change as different than growth. There is no difference; change is only another word for growth. Embrace change, because it means that we are living. Life flows like water. What is not real will not survive. We can’t be hard on ourselves. We do not find the changes in our lives comfortable because we do not accept that change is a process, and that acceptance is also a process and the time that it takes is very individual. It never takes too long or happens too fast, it happens the way it should for each individual.

When we have a strong center, and a strong core we are not affected by change. When we have faith in God and in the Universe we have freedom and security in the material world. Change becomes flow, because we see and acknowledge and even honor its purpose. Although we live on this planet and within our own lives we are always also living above. Change becomes merely the train that we ride on in order for us to reach our ultimate destination.