We Built A World For Our Egos, Now Let Us Build A Garden For Our Souls

Over the past seven or eight years, with increasing urgency, people have been asking me when things will go back to the way they were; when life will return to normal? We should not seek to once again walk that path that brought us here.  That is recovery.  We need to forge a new path, let us not recover, let us recycle the lessons that we learned from that past and create a New World, one that does not reach to scrape the sky but to touch the heart of Heaven.  Now is our chance to redefine what it means to be a human, and not an animal.

We are at the end of an age, imagine, lets say, one of those plastic bottles of Elmer’s glue that squeezes out. In the beginning, when it comes out it is smooth, tight, solid, dependable, it goes where it’s put, precisely and easily. But as the end draws near it may begin to slow down, requiring more force to get it out, but still, it comes. Once the end is reached, it comes out in jumps, starts, and sprays, it is almost impossible to direct, control, or depend on.

All of us alive today have been born at the end of this era, the Age of Pisces. The twentieth century was a critical century for mankind. The number 19 is a karmic number. It represents the needs of the self (1) versus the needs of humanity (9). This was the essence of the century, it highlighted separation from the whole, whether separation by race, religion, nationality, or economic status, we dealt with the loss of and the fight for human rights (9) throughout the world. We were forced to face our dark side. It first came to light with the Nazi’s and their attempt to annihilate the Jewish people. We have witnessed the Black people both in the United States, South Africa, and other counties being hung, killed, and treated as second-class citizens, we have seen many attempts at racial cleansing throughout this century and watched millions of people being slaughtered in tribal wars, and we have done nothing as Africa dies of AIDS. Nothing has been more open and in our faces than the issue of the rights of the few versus the rights of the whole.

We have been forced to see that there is a gap between the image that we held so proudly of ourselves as civilized beings and the reality of our darkness; we began to perceive our frailty, this has been our first unconscious inklings that perhaps, we could not trust ourselves or, for that matter, even life. It was the first, microscopic fissure in our façade. We began to speed up the pace of our lives: to get more life into a day, and more living into a life. Woman, after working in plants and doing the jobs that were previously held by men, began to feel that they could do more, have more, be more.

A generation of children was born into this atmosphere of dissatisfaction, and confusion. These children absorbed the emotions, existing all around them, into their souls; they observed the shattered image that man had once held with pride. Hidden in the closets were the skeletons of bigotry, hatred, and hypocrisy, which screamed out at them. This was a generation driven by an evolutionary intent to begin the process of exposing what was hidden by questioning the lies that had heretofore been accepted as natural. They came in to begin the dismantling of an age. They brought prejudice out into everyone’s faces to deal with; they insisted on civil rights, and woman’s rights. They demanded a world in which their parents had only pretended to live.

Aware that their parent’s generation had stood idly by, while Hitler massacred millions; made them commit to not just standing by and watching. They fought, peacefully, and violently, they lived hard and many died young: they were driven. Yet, it was also a generation whose strength was its numbers; that Vietnam thinned out badly, and whose weakness was its youth and its idealism. It made an enormous difference, but what it didn’t do, what it couldn’t do, was reach its goal; it could not create a beautiful world. It couldn’t do it because it ran up against a green wall of money and power. It believed that it knew the enemy, and the enemy was in front of it and had the power. So, it decided to regroup, go into the world to obtain the power from the enemy and change the world. Unfortunately, It did not know that idealism does not die, it transforms into cynicism. And when we get the power we become the enemy because the enemy does not have the power, the enemy is the power.

We, unknowingly, took the last step towards becoming the enemy…we turned our eyes to the power we needed to obtain our goals and through the power — lost sight of them. Power easily becomes Force. It is the ring in Lord of the Rings, and only those without desires can wear the ring, wield the power without being devoured by it. Our goals were full of God, but, when we turned to power and money, we became distanced from God. The light of God is a soft and eternally burning flame but the lights of the material world are like the lights of New York City at night. The man made lights are blinding, and make it harder to see the other lights, until they finally go out, by whatever means they go out — and they go out quickly; or they burn us out quickly.

The big lights are hungry, and greedy, they draw us in like moths to a flame, and so the closer we get, the more we want them, we become addicted until we overdose. The lights have become both stronger and stronger while the soft flame both harder and harder to find. Many of us joined the quest to put the ring where no one could find it. Few of us emerged untouched by the lure of the darkness that shines like neon lights. And by the time 1994 came along, we saw on television one million men women and children being brutally slaughtered in Rwanda, just as our parents had known about the Nazis and just as our parents turned a blind eye to the Nazis, we turned a blind eye to Rwanda…again, we did nothing. Since then, we have watched repeatedly as outbreaks of brutality and genocide have swept the world. As they might say in Star Wars, “The Dark Side is strong in humankind.”

Imagine being God. You have a garden that you created with love…into that garden you put the children who are the most precious to you. You provide them with everything they could possibly need. But they see something perhaps brighter and shinier than everything else and they turn away from what you offer them — and go to all that glitters. It is that old tree in the Garden all over again. We constantly create new kinds of shiny golden calves. Generation after generation of men and women are seduced, we bite the shiny apple, we worship the shiny statue while God looks on and sees His once beautiful garden all cut up, five of His children have ninety-five percent of the world locked up behind huge walls, while the other ninety-five of his children starve outside.

This is not the first time that He has watched us do this. The weak and oppressed unite to defeat the strong, then they in turn become the strong and oppress the weak; after the oppression becomes too much, again the weak unite and again the cycle starts over. The next step is that the stronger of those on the outside of the wall storm it and seize the resources…with the intention of sharing them among all, and then they decide to hoard rather than to share and then rebuild the walls once again; the persecuted becomes the persecutor they once defeated.

Part of our divine impulse is to create, it is inborn — if we cannot create we cannot survive. Yet, we are continuously being devoured by our creations because we keep falling in love with them. Or, we become so enamored with our own greatness that, reminiscent of Narcissus, we keep falling into our reflections and drowning. And in the image of Adam and Eve, we keep biting the apple. It is part of our nature and most of us sadly have been unable to rise above it.

The story of man’s birth, man’s temptation, man’s heroic effort to overcome, and defeat that temptation and his ultimate failure in doing so, leading to man’s final destruction by his own hand or because of his inflated belief in his own powers is his archetypal theme or perhaps it is a warning that has gone eternally unheeded, although it has been told in thousands of different ways from myths, to legends, to fairytales for thousands, maybe millions, of years. It has been repeated through the history of every mythological or historic civilization that has ever risen out of the hopes and dreams of the masses, and ultimately fallen tempted by the intoxication of power. Are we creating a new version of an old and repeated theme or are we writing a new one? Will we go down in history as the inhabitants of the lost Empire of America with legends told for generations of how we became too engrossed in our own power and destroyed ourselves? Or will we, through our actions, finally do something no other people have ever done; and bring the peace, that we have only dreamt of, to the world? Are we past the point of miracles?

The gift in this whole thing is that the story really never ends. It is a story that we are meant to relive, meant to recreate until we see, until we learn, that the ending is always the same. I believe that a large number of the souls here now, are the souls who have been in this school since Atlantis, some are here because they hadn’t learned the lesson at that time, others are here to help teach the lesson, and everyday new souls are entering who will be a part of the building process for the New Age. We are in that period of wandering in the desert, being tempted – tempted by power, tempted by money, and tempted by desire. At these times, like the Hebrews in the desert, Jesus in the wilderness and Buddha under the Bodhi tree we are tested, not to see if we deserve to enter the promised land, but to see if we are ready – if we have become the energy of love, unattached to the trappings of the world, or, if we still cling to the false gods of more money and more power and bigger and shinier things to own.

For that which guides them, the fire, will give them an illusion of truth, and will shine on them with a perishable beauty, and it will imprison them in a dark sweetness and captivate them with fragrant pleasure. And it will blind them with insatiable lust and burn their souls and become for them like a stake stuck in their heart which they can never dislodge. And like a bit in the mouth, it leads them according to its own desire. And it has fettered them with its chains and bound all their limbs with the bitterness of the bondage of lust for those visible things that will decay and change and swerve by impulse.” Jesus, ‘Book of Thomas the Contender’

Yet, it is all done with love, there is no judgment for not being ready. We just come back, and try again. We come back until we value only that which is worthy of value. This is the planet of choice, and we must choose whether we are rich or poor, healthy or ill, Black, White, Brown, Red, or Yellow. We all choose, love or hate, heal or harm, save or kill, or hold on or give away. It really is a matter of, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.” These bodies are symbols of our journey, everything is just a symbol created for our journey, so spiritually, it is better to add up how much we are still holding on to, than it is to measure how much we give. What we give to others, to the world, we give to God, what we hold onto, well…let’s just say, that it is what we keep from God. The more we give to God, the more joy and contentment we receive from God.

The painting is by Paul Hampton Crockett

Enlightenment is Living in the Love of The Light

Sometimes I anger myself because I can read something a hundred times and still not be able to really feel that I understand what I have read. I finally realized that the harder I try to grasp a concept, the more elusive it becomes. Yet, if I calmly put the question to my higher self, and then let it go, at some point the answer will come to me in a clear and easily understood manner.

This is the way it has been for me with the concept of enlightenment. I have read books, articles, and listened to so many lectures yet, it still eluded me. Last night I was reading the words of Lao Tsu, and although they used words like the Way and the Sage, it felt to me, as the though they still referring to the same concept as enlightenment.

At four twenty six a.m., I woke up; or at least it felt as though I was awake. In fact, I really believe that I was having a lucid dream. As I lay there in a place somewhere between being asleep and being awake I heard these words in my head, “The truth comes between thoughts, like during the times like this, between waking and sleeping. Whether one calls it flow, inaction, or being present, it is not trying, just being. One cannot seek enlightenment; it would be seeking what is not missing. To be enlightened we must simply be, and in the stillness of being the light within will shine and we will see. It is that seeing that is enlightenment”. Then shortly after I heard, “It is through the process of doing ordinary things that we brush up against the extraordinary”. I reached for a piece of paper to try and scribble down what I was hearing, because I knew that it would dissolve just as a dream dissolves into consciousness when we awaken.

Just then, I felt the enormity of NOW. It was as if time stood still. I felt as though I had slipped between words, literally I felt that there were words on either side of me and yet, they were at the same time an eternity away. I was in a void, there was neither a sight, nor a sound, but I was a part of everything, everything that has been, everything that could or will ever be, all the knowledge that could ever exist, and most of all – all of the unconditional love that could be experienced. I was in a place that felt older than eternity, and larger and deeper than outer space. I could sense that the things that we consider to be the real world were as substantive as a sheet of tissue paper floating in the eternal ether. We rely on words to manifest our world, but what is real, is what the words are attempting, with their limited ability, to describe.

What is enlightenment? I don’t know if it really can be described, but who cares whether it can or not? What I can say is that there are no requirements to experiencing it, except the willingness to be still in our minds. We spend so much time thinking about the road ahead and the road behind, punishing ourselves or blaming others for the past, and working so hard to guarantee the future. We completely overlook the opportunity to experience now. When the mind is full of thoughts, worries, expectations, plans and just plain noise, it is too full to receive light. It is that simple, one does not have to have credentials, nor does one have to be a highly evolved Master, we only have to be willing to let go and be.

In my search to understand the meaning of enlightenment, I realized that I only wanted to understand the means of attaining it. In all honesty I am not, at least not yet, a person who has mastered meditation. There are an average of fifty thousand thoughts that pass through the normal brain in a day. When we meditate, we do different exercises to still our minds and stop all of the noise that is in our heads. And so meditation is one possible way to reach that point of stillness, that point of being in which light can be received and enlightenment can be achieved. I myself, really don’t think very much, what I mean is that random worries, or plans, or whatever makes up those fifty thousand thoughts rarely enter my head, except, when I meditate. Most of the time, my mind is rather still or occupied with where I am and what I am doing. And so, when I try to still the noise that isn’t there in the first place I create noise that prevents me from meditating.

For people who are like me, absorption works much better than meditation. I allow myself to become fully absorbed in whatever I am doing, and in that process there are no extraneous thoughts filling my head. I remain, for the most part, an open channel. If I space out, or drift off, it is not to a thought; I am simply opening up more in that moment for whatever might come through. I am constantly receiving light, such as the light that becomes information. I know that it is from a source other than my own mind because it really has little relevance to my own life in any personal way. Or, if a thought comes to me that does have a personal relevance, I am shown how my personal situation plays out in a much broader picture that would be relevant to others as well as myself.

Enlightenment is something like slipping through a crack in time and space. And I believe that it is something that everyone can attain or at least glimpse in their lifetimes. But it is not something we can find by seeking. We have to be at the right place at the right time. That place is in the present and the time is God’s time. It isn’t something that we can find, or a place that we can plan to be at a certain hour every day, because our hour may not fit into God’s schedule. So, if we seek enlightenment, the best way to guarantee that we will receive it is to always be ready. That means, always being present in the moment, in the world and in the task that we are immediately involved in.

Because I wanted so much to experience enlightenment, I forgot what I had learned about asking and then letting go. The way we release a letter when we put it into the mailbox or hit the send button for e-mail. I had heard so many people tell me stories about their beautiful experiences during meditation. I wanted to go there so badly that it hurt. Then one night I told God that I surrendered to never seeing Nirvana. I would be fine, being like Moses who never entered the Promises Land. I resigned myself to the fact that it would not happen for me in this lifetime. And that was the night I went to sleep and found what I had been sleeping at 4:26 am. Not only did I then experience it, I learned that we all could. Enlightenment is only seeing it is having a light shown on what is right there. When Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find”, what did it mean? There is a sense of being lost in seeking, isn’t there? No one would seek anything if they knew where it was.

The answer that we find when we become enlightened is that there is no answer only a beautiful living Mystery. The answer to that mystery is on the horizon, which represents the end of our journey. The horizon is there regardless of the path that we travel or the direction that we choose. With every step we are awakening, with every moment we are becoming. Enlightenment comes when we let go of believing that we know. To be enlightened is to embrace the possibilities that live within the Mystery. There is only one certainty and that is that one need not know what the Light is to feel the all encompassing Love the flows within it. We need only seek to grow in Love, to be freed from the darkness, to be enlightened.

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.