Choosing Our Own Way

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Viktor Frankl

Often, we decide what the right direction is for us based on what it is for others. Then we find that we are stuck with a goal without the necessary desire to reach it. A person may decide to go into his own business because he does not like authority. He does not consider how much he hates paperwork, long hours, paying people from money that he has not yet earned, and that he can’t do it all by himself. Instead of looking within to find what the real problems are and what the personal solutions might be —he looks outside to see what others had done.

This is the kind of confusion that we are faced with when we try to follow guidance from outside, and not of from within. When this choice becomes difficult, instead of seeking a different solution, most people just stick with the plan but find any number of obstacles to place in their paths to prevent its completion. They tell themselves and others that it is not that they won’t do it; it is just that there are too many things going on which currently stand in their way. What is really in their way is that it is not their goal. They do not have the passion to walk the chosen path. If we have no passion for what we do with our lives, we cannot do those things well or for long without getting sick, or off balance in some way.

This causes us to consciously face a direction that we are unconsciously running away from. This results in deadlock. I have seen many people in this position one way or another. They complain that everyone else gets opportunities except them; something always gets in their way. Or it is their karma to fail. That is just not true. What they are doing is building their lives from the plans of others. They are making choices based upon the successes of others. It is easier to walk the beaten path than to pave ones own. There was a time when that it worked for most people. Now, we are in an age of individuality. Difficult as it may seem, we are being forced from an inner need for satisfaction from a constant lack of external reinforcement to forge our own path to our own goal.

We have traveled far from that sacred connection to our true selves. Instead of deciding at which place we want to arrive, we first need to decide what inner satisfaction awaits us there, how much we are willing to sacrifice, and most importantly, before we follow another’s path, we must be certain that where others have gone holds the same treasure for us. Once we know the price we are willing to pay, and what it is that we really expect for that price, we have something that we are capable of working with. There really are two different soul paths: those for whom the destination justifies the journey and those for whom the journey is the destination.

It is not a question of one being the right way, and one being the wrong way. It is a question of which way is right for each individual. Some of us become workaholics because we want more and more; we do it for the prize at the end. Others become workaholics because their joy comes from the work they do. Again, neither is right nor wrong. To try to develop the attitude that others say is right, or to attempt to see the truth as others see it, can only lead to miserable and unfulfilled lives, if it is not our own way. There is a difference between what feels right and what others say is right. In these times, we are being asked to find that difference for ourselves.

Those who live their lives based on what works for others cannot remain committed to what they do. Who we are is what dictates what we can do well. We can only do well and for a sustained period of time, that which is in alignment with who we are. Otherwise self-esteem suffers; either we feel like failures, or we feel unsatisfied which leads us to feeling that we are defective because we are missing what we have been told is the obvious.

This is a time when personal truth, rather than conformity is needed for our own inner well-being and for the wellbeing of the whole, every aspect of our living must reflect the inner self. The Native American names such as: Lone Eagle, Running Bear, Night Watcher, are given based on the persons own unique qualities. They are invited to live their lives in fulfillment of those names. There was a time when we all took names that mirrored who we were. We were once in touch with ourselves and with our environment. We are being asked by our souls to return to that ancient spiritual center. We are being called from within to live who we are, to love who we are, and to do what reflects who we are. This is the dawning of a new age, an age of truth. We neither find happiness, nor satisfaction in living anyone else’s life. No one ever stands in the way of those who know where they are going. We have to go where we know from within.
When the world was disconnected, and there were such a things as distant shores, the structure of society was much stronger. The strength of a society or a religion to influence its members or followers rests strongly on the limitations of outside information that could otherwise be an influence or create choices that do not exist within the structure. The rules worked, not because they were right but because they were the only rules and pertained to everyone.

Since the end of WWII, slowly but consistently distant shores have become neighbors. Members of completely different societies have been unable to prevent the exchange of information. The world of yellow and the separate world of blue remain intact and self-fulfilling so long as yellow remains separate from blue. The rules of right and wrong, and even cause and effect work for all members of the yellow society or religion as they do for the blue although they may be in total contradiction with each other. However, when the members of the blue group and the members of the yellow group begin to mingle and share beliefs and information, a new green group emerges which inevitably destroys both the yellow and the blue. It does this because suddenly there exists and option, a choice, a way not previously known to either yellow or blue. In actuality it does not destroy the two separate groups but instead it is what they become, the product of their evolution.

The internet has completed the erasure of true borders, the world has now become a melting pot, and so, we can no longer look to any external governing principal for our lives, and how we live them or the direction that will work. We must now look within. There are too many truths ‘out there’ to find the one that will work; we must now journey deep into our own hearts and our own souls to find the truth that supersedes contradiction. This is the inner truth.

Mankind has mastered the lessons of leadership and brute force in the Age of Aries; it mastered the lessons of the herd mentality, the pain, suffering and fear of standing outside of the group, and the manipulations of power in the age of Pisces. It has now entered the school of equality through individuality. In this course, pain and suffering will come from inside when we feel our sense of self diminished. These are the ultimate challenges and lessons of the Age of Aquarius. It is not the energy of the individual merging and losing itself into the group but rather the group growing and becoming greater through the distinctly unique contribution of each individual. We are beginning to suffer depression and illness – not from being isolated from the group, but from being isolated from the self. Many of us think to ourselves, ‘I have what everyone says that I should have, I do what everyone says I should do, my life contains all of the pieces that everyone says should make me happy, yet, the pieces will not fit and I am slowly dying’.

Most people are too embarrassed to admit the panic and confusion that overtakes them when someone says, “Just be yourself”. The truth is, very few people know how to do that, or who that self is. So our first step in finding a fulfilling direction is finding the self that is seeking fulfillment and becoming an expression of that true and unique self living within each of us.

LEARNING WHAT IS ENOUGH

More or less is never enough, but enough is always enough.
No one who has enough is ever unhappy. Most of us actually have enough to be content right in front of us, but as we are programmed, we are not looking there to find it. We are looking at what someone else has or at what someone else tells us that we should have.

Enough means that you can finally stop seeking more. One day it dawned on me that if there were any reason that I should consider myself lucky, it would be that I always have enough. I have had very little money and I have had a lot of money, but at each stage the things that I wanted were within my reach. It was not that I did not know that there existed more than I had; I just never wanted more than I could have. My life was the most content; it had the most room for happiness, when I did not have those things that I could live without.

I have a friend who I always felt was very beautiful. She was short in height had beautiful dark hair and a beautiful olive complexion. She never felt that she was attractive because she was not a tall blond. It came to me that she could never be happy with herself, with that kind of image. How could she ever be happy with herself when the best that she could be could never be what she considered to be the best? So many people are not happy because what they believe will make them happy is always somewhere over there, yet to be obtained. When we do finally get that thing that is over there, suddenly there is another thing that is better than ours somewhere else. We are always wanting, always seeking what we do not have and always overlooking what we do have.

Happiness is always in having more, or in something else. We don’t have any idea how to have enough. Most of what we have today is ours because at some point we wanted it. What happened to the wanting when it became ours? It is a question of whether it was the thing that we wanted or just a feeling that we expected to have by owning it. We are conditioned only to be happy with more. The only way to be good enough is to be better. Being better gives us wiggle room for failure.

The funny thing is that we are that someone else with that something else to someone else. As we are looking at our neighbor, that same neighbor is looking at us. If this were to be our last moment, it would contain all that we will ever have. When we can want what we have we will have enough. What we have at any given moment must be enough because it is all that there is and because it is ours.

We have what the Universe intended for us to have in each moment of our lives. We are complete. If you can look back at your life and recapture the fullness of each experience, you will see that you have enough.

When we can look within to find our personal value and not attach it to things outside of ourselves we will then begin with enough. Whatever we have or whatever we lose, we still have the ability, and we still have the power within to build with what is left, even if it is nothing, it is a beginning. We are endowed with enough, anything that we add to that is extra. We are already complete.

The ultimate lesson is that we have always had enough, not from the birth of our physical form, but from the birth of our soul. For the soul this is an important lesson. Our journey here as souls is fourfold. First we must obtain, next we must see the emptiness in what we have obtained. Next we must let go and finally we must see and be in awe of, what is left after we have let go of all of the things that we have obtained.

Feeling Loved

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. 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.

Changing our lives

To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.
Confucius, BC 551-479, Chinese

We may not like the course our lives have taken and feel that a radical change is needed. Perhaps we decide that we need to change our economic level, or that we need a change in our lifestyle. Then we pull out our affirmations and/or our prayers and begin the process.

While it is true that we manifest our own reality, we do not accomplish this in a vacuum. If we are going to survive in these times ahead of us, we will have to understand that it takes two halves to make a whole; there are two forces at work in the accomplishment of every task. Everything that you do whether it is acting from an inner thrust will or reacting to external occurrence – is one half of the equation. It is the act of throwing the ball, of placing the mail in the box, or hitting the send key on the computer. The other half is the energy which guides our action to a given destination. By destination I mean outcome. Some of us never act, whatever we do is an automatic response to stimulus that we either brought with us into this life from past lives, or were conditioned by a repeated act in the past of this life.

If, for example in your past life you suffered deeply from conditions of poverty – in this life you will act towards money and material possessions as though you had experienced this suffering yesterday. You might instinctively hoard, regardless of how generous you would like to be. After a past life regression, or simply a conscious act which is counter to your instinct, then you are actively taking control of your own actions, so, although you are not now, master of your life – you are master of your actions. Many people have past lives in which they were murdered or tortured for speaking out. If that happened to you, you would find that when it comes time to speak up or speak out, you are gripped by an overwhelming fear. In fact, any time that we find ourselves in an outwardly nonthreatening situation and feel overwhelming fear or anger – we are reacting to something that has no relevance in this life but came from the past. Understanding this motivation and acting upon it will aid us in acting consciously – it will not, however, change the fact that the outcome is not a direct result of our actions alone.

There is mounting undeniable evidence that we come in to each life to fulfill a plan that if not chosen was at least understood and accepted by each of our souls. I liken it to a giant mechanical clock with infinite gears. Each gear revolves and as it does so it turns many other gears. Those gears in turn cause the turning of many other gears. Yet each gear is not the same size and does not revolve exactly like every other gear. It is that difference, however slight it may seem, that makes the every gear from the tiniest to the largest equally critical in the functioning of the whole clock of Time. Each of our lives is made up of experiences and the totality of our individual experiences becomes our gear. The specific turning of each gear, in essence, turns the entire clock. We are able to incarnate when our needs and the needs of the whole are a match. Our experiences connect the gears and not our actions because it is the experiences which connect us to others. Soul growth comes as our experiences change our perception of life, but the whole clock, of which each gear is a part manifests our physical reality based upon the outcome of our experiences as we as a whole perceive it.

Because each outcome is equally necessary regardless of the size of the gear that generates it, each outcome is determined by the Source who is able to see and know the purpose and destiny of the entire clock. That higher Presence determining each and every outcome is influenced by the growth of the all of the souls in gear during a cycle of incarnations. What this means is that as each of us change our attitudes that energy combines with the energy of other souls in the process of the same change and all of the outcomes begin to evolve as well in a higher direction.

Our lives are always lived in context. As children, our lives are lived within the context of our families, whose lives are lived within the context of their community, which functions within the context of the nation and so on. We can only change our lives within the context in which they are playing out. What we can change is the way in which we live our lives. Today, we must all acknowledge the economic, social and environmental context in which our lives are playing out. When we seek a change in our lives, what we are seeking, all that we are ever seeking is happiness. It cannot be found if we are hungry, in physical pain or lack shelter , but if we are not lacking in those basic needs, happiness is available in abundance. It is as simple as beginning with a glass that is half full rather than half empty. Happiness will never become a state of being until we are satisfied, until we have enough.

So long as we seek more, we will be dissatisfied with what we have. As long as we are dissatisfied with what we have, happiness will elude us. Within the context of the world today, we must change our focus from having more to becoming more. What we have falls into the category of ‘outcome’. It is not a result of what we have created, or earned in the material world, all of that is only what we have been given. Who we are, who we have become and who we will become is the only outcome that is totally within our control. As we become greater human beings by increasing our reflection of the spiritual being within, we infect others with our growth and they in turn grow. As we grow spiritually we change the context of the world in which we live. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Bobby Kennedy were faces of the Civil Rights Movement. But the changes that occurred were the result of changes in the hearts and souls of hundreds of thousand Americans who, regardless of race, felt a need to move in the direction of truth. It was a subtle change in the hearts of many that moved the country in a different direction, from separatism towards a greater union. This was not the result of technological or material growth, but of spiritual evolution. It was this Spiritual growth, led by a few great leaders, who would have been unable to lead had it not been for that vast number of individuals who had already become in their hearts, the change before the leaders led to manifest in the world. Change in the whole is accomplished through the inner changes of thousands, perhaps even millions. We cannot be led into evolution, it is an inner process. Just as we cannot change our lives without the inner process being complete. Otherwise we just change place.

We are seekers by nature. We are creators by nature. It is our nature to love, because our true nature is that of God. The energy of fulfillment, of happiness, of self-worth comes to us through the strength and power of our creations. Our creations feed us as we ourselves feed our Creator. However, that sense of happiness, of fulfillment eludes us when we seek it through creations in the material world. There are three reasons for this. The first reason is that when our creation is material, it is perishable. It makes no difference if we create a business, an empire; a better paying job, an invention, wealth, higher social status or a new and improved body, everything in the material world has a shelf life. The second reason is that whatever we build becomes the launching pad for someone to build it better. In the material world that which does not fade on its own will be destroyed by the competition. The third and most important reason is that deep within our souls, in that same place where we ultimately find our happiness and sense of fulfillment, lives the knowledge that we were not really in control of the final product. The true credit for the outcome belongs to some power other than us.

Our actions reflect who we are. What we seek reflects what we value. What we hold on to reflects what we treasure. And whatever we cannot live without becomes the master that we serve. One day I decided to run away from home with my friend Beverly, we were about eleven years old. When it came time to go, she changed her mind. She said that it didn’t matter where she went, because, “Wherever I go – I go”.

Changing our neighborhood, changing our social or financial status, changing our marital status are all illusory changes. They may change the view, but not the perspective of the viewer. We tend to need what we have, rather than have what we need. So whatever we have we become dependent on. Material things go from ‘it would be nice to have’ directly to ‘can’t live without’ the moment that we have them. That which we cannot live without possesses us.

An actor needs a role in order to perform. A role needs a play in order to exist. And as each role is essential to the evolving plotline of a play, each role is in some way essential to the evolution of the person as an actor. We are all souls inhabiting roles in the play called life. The role that we play cannot just change or end because the actor has lost interest. However, an actor can change a role from within, changing a villain to a sympathetic character without changing the lines, only by changing the delivery. This subtle, inner change of the character can open up new directions for the character that may alter not only the actor’s experience of the play, but the way in which the other actors play their parts, and finally the experience of the audience. The ending may be the same, but these subtle changes could take the sequel into a whole new direction.

For us to change this we must fully understand the reason that we chose the role that we are living. It is not that we cannot change our lives; however, it is not something we can do without true knowledge of ourselves, and the reasons for our choices. Most of the time, we are not working with the knowledge of, or the Spiritual reasons for, where our lives are at this moment. Without that knowledge, how can we change? We do not change our lives from the outside in, but from the inside out.

For us to change from the inside we must understand what is going on inside. Why were these experiences set up in the first place? The truth is, that when the work is done, the lessons learned and the understanding lived – we need no more for ourselves than food, water, and shelter to be as happy as the laughing Buddha. Once we have completed the work, we no longer want for ourselves. Usually, we tell ourselves that happiness must be there – simply because it is not here. Obviously, if it’s not here – it’s there. But the truth is that here is the only place that happiness and all of those other things can ever be because we only move from one here to another.

So it is incumbent on us to know, first, why we came here now, then what the particular circumstances of this’ here’ and this ‘now’ have within them for us, because there is a strong chance that whatever we are searching for is here now, and if it is not, then the key to opening the box that contains it definitely is. The Universe does not waste. Every drop of rain contains an answer for anyone willing to take the time to look. It is only through the challenges that we have faced and will face ahead of us that we can find the treasure we came to unearth. If we perceive that life just happens to us, and that is all that we get from it, we will never know where we are.

There is no punishment and no reward on earth from above. Life is not about punishment or rewards from the standpoint of the Creator. It is about experience. When things go well, we are not being rewarded for past good actions and when things go wrong we are not being punished for past bad actions. In either case, there is something that we have to learn, something that we have to pick up and include in our treasury of knowledge and growth. If it were that simple—either punishment or reward—then all of those who we consider good, would have good things happen to them and all those we consider bad, would have bad things happen to them, but, as we well know, that is not the case. How many times have we heard people say, “Bad things happen to good people.” Life is neither fair nor unfair, it just is. When we are in school, there are no fair subjects and no unfair subjects; there are no fair tests or unfair tests. The fairness of a test is based on the perception and level of preparedness of the person taking the test. It is the same with life. Things are unfair when we are not prepared to handle them and fair when we are.
To change our lives effectively, we must understand them thoroughly, and be prepared with the knowledge obtained through each experience both good and bad. This requires being conscious and not a victim. It requires a willingness to examine life, not just experience it. If we keep being hit with balls that come from out of nowhere, we must learn to catch them or learn to duck—something must be learned. If we are being taught to catch and we keep ducking, the balls won’t stop coming. If we are being taught to duck and we keep catching, the balls won’t stop coming. If we don’t take time to figure out why the balls keep coming, we cannot stop them. But, if we do figure out why they are coming and either master the lesson or make a conscious soul connected decision to put it off, we can change.

If we are not this, if we are not these bodies and these egos then these bodies and these egos must have some symbolic purpose. That is the way it is with our lives. If we want to have a different set of experiences, then we must discern the original purpose; the original function. If we want to change the play, the story, we must first understand our own role in it. Then we must change our approach to that role so that change will transform the approach of the other souls to their roles and to the character that we play. This change will travel forward until ultimately the play becomes a new one.
When children are born, we are struck early on with the realization that there is a very well defined personality in there. There are reactions based, at the least, upon some innate set of beliefs defining the world. Babies have responses to people and to outside stimuli that are not just like every other baby. Some babies respond to the world in ways that just could not have been observed in the limited environment in which they exist. We bring into each life a core belief. It could be what we died in our past life believing, it could be imprinted from many lives of being stuck in the same pattern, it could be exacerbated or just reinforced by the thoughts and feelings of the mother during pregnancy, or it could be an innate Spiritual knowledge. We could bring in the lessons learned at the end of our last life rather than the reaction to the experiences. Wherever it comes from, it is the preamble to our life’s story. It is the filter through which we interpret the world around us and the experiences that we have. It is the key to understanding our perception of and our responses to the world and our experiences in it. Often it is difficult to uncover because it is imprinted in our psyche in the womb, or at least before words. So it is like a knee jerk response, hit the knee the leg goes up, no thought required, and because no thought is required it cannot be filtered.

My father suffered from Parkinson’s disease from before I was born. It went untreated until my mid-teens when my father finally acknowledged it. However, it had been slowly breaking down his ability to think, he lost large periods of time which we never knew of because he had never been in the habit of coming home every night. When I was fourteen he had very little money left and we moved from a large house with five bedrooms to a small house with two. My sister’s core belief was “who a person is – is based on what a person has. One’s chance of survival is in proportion to one’s image”. So, she carried this in from her past life, and in the womb she knew that she was not wanted by my mother who tried everything that she could to accidentally miscarry. Coming in with this belief, reinforced by her experience in my mother’s womb, added the belief that the world was not safe for her. The fact that my mother fell instantly in love with her the moment that she was born, had no effect on her core belief. She saw every experience through the filter of a threat, and responded as one would to being threatened. She relied on the façade of wealth that she was born into to intimidate or impress. She never worked in school – never sought to be anything because her belief was that on her own merits she would fail. When our family moved from having more than many to having less than most, my sister, at the age of ten years old, was pushed her over the edge. Her life deteriorated and she just went from one bad situation to another. It did not matter where she was or what opportunities were ahead of her, she saw the world as chairs being moved around in the same unsafe room, and reacted accordingly. Perhaps she could have sought help, but you can’t seek help when you believe that it is your image of superiority and nothing more that keeps you safe. To seek help would be to admit imperfection which in turn would invite destruction.

Our core beliefs are not simple; they are as intricate as the myriad of past experiences which created them. Still, there is a theme. One theme may be that the opposite sex can’t be trusted; another theme may be that to be seen as standing out in any area is dangerous. It could be that the soul brought in the belief that survival depended on being in control. Some souls are not as influenced by past lives as they are influenced by their core spiritual selves. Whatever these beliefs are, they are the colors of our lives for better or for worse. Everyone walks the same streets our experiences of those streets are personalized by the colors that we bring to them. My core belief – the one thing that I have come to realize that is written in stone for me is that the Source, All-That-Is, the Presence, the energy that we often refer to as God, is Love itself, it is Goodness beyond measure, and the only and ultimate source of all wisdom. I believe that it is the energy and ultimate creator of every experience that we have for eternity. For me, this has always meant that although my life has had a plethora of disappointments, losses, rejection and apparent failure, I have sailed through each storm unaffected because the water under my boat has been calm. I have faced every challenge as an opportunity to gain something that would outweigh the price. Even when, as now, I wonder why I have been so blessed as to have been given such an overflowing reservoir of growth opportunities, my mind is immediately guided to see how much love has entered my life from unexpected sources.

When my parents lost everything I like my sister, had to confront the loss of face. After the immediate feeling of a knife in my gut at seeing our new home, the thoughts that ran through my mind were of how much stronger I would feel in my skin after this test. The most crucial step in changing our lives is asking ourselves what feelings, or fears motivate us. What do we believe causes us to be accepted and what causes us to be rejected? What does our world look like to us? What does it feel like to us? What possible reasons could one continuously end up in the same bad situation if you remove deserving it, earning it, poor judgment, and bad choices? What do we believe will happen if we do _____________ and why we believe that? Every experience under the sun contains a gift, and usually the difficult experiences contain an opportunity to see our own power, an opportunity to see that we are loved and therefore worth loving, that love is love from wherever it comes, or an opportunity to once and for all free us from past, outdated beliefs that constantly limit us.

When my sister finally lost everything that she hid behind, including her ability to maintain her façade, her only choice was to walk through her fears, for the sake of her children, and to attempt to build a life on her own with only who she is and not who she was with, or what she had. With each step she found that who she was seemed to be much greater than she ever believed. From here, she was free to finally step in the light as herself. Even having fewer things than she once had, she has what she never had before and that is herself. It did not happen because she changed her life, it happened because life changed her view. More often than not, if we do the work, we find that we can only change places and change circumstances so many times before all places and all circumstances feel the same. But if we are willing to change our view – then we automatically change our living, and if we change our living our lives move to new heights.