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That Frozen movie last year (number five box office earning film of all time) had that song Let It Go. This year we have Ryan Adams singing Let Go. Even Taylor Swift is a Blank Space Shaking It Off. The subject of not holding on seems currently on point for little and big babies alike.

I guess with all the shit overwhelming and bombarding us right now, all the empty opinions and trite imperatives, we have no choice but to let go and let go and let go or drown fast.

For help, read Letting Go by Dr David Hawkins.

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“As a person constantly surrenders, physical and psychosomatic disorders improve and frequently disappear altogether.” – Dr David Hawkins, Letting Go.

When I was a little girl I had very vivid dreams that I enjoyed more than being awake. At certain points in my dreams I would realise that I was in fact dreaming, and that if something terrifying was happening that I didn’t like, such as being eaten by a giant tortoise, I could stop the dream and make the tortoise do something different. I think I learned how to do this because my dreams were so often terrifying and I had to adapt to them somehow. But when I realised I was dreaming, I was really free to have fun.

Sleeping is lovely, yes, but even more lovely when you know you’re dreaming.

There seems to be a link between believing that falsehoods are true and being insane. That seems obvious. And yet we are all so very insane because we don’t know we’re dreaming. What we perceive is mostly fantasy.

“Can you really know that is true?” asks Byron Katie. There is nothing that survives this test if we are brave enough to be honest. 

Ask this question often enough and you start to see how all our reality is something invented, and how much power we therefore actually have to invent our lives as a pleasant dream – that we can stop the tortoise from eating us any time we want.

Time brutally and mercifully proves to me that I am wrong about everything, so it’s most efficient to admit the truth sooner rather than later. Mostly I’m wrong. I don’t know. But so what?

Victor Frankl advised that we reinvent life into a quest for meaning, that we see every challenge in every minute as a gateway to awareness and power, which is helpful advice for us if we are to survive this concentration camp of life. Forty years later Andy Warhol described being born as like being kidnapped and then sold into slavery, and I agree with that, which is why I think everyone can relate to Frankl’s writings even if they have never incurred any official hardship or ever met a Nazi officer or had to line up daily to survive selection for a gas chamber.

The more prepared I am to be honest and let go of what I think is true but isn’t, the more sane I find I become.

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Guy Bourdin
Pentax Calendar
1981
Asahi Optical Company Limited. Tokyo, Japan
© Estate of Guy Bourdin

 

 

If you want something better to read than this blog I can suggest at least two books that are infinitely more helpful.

The concepts in both these books overlap: their point is to let go of illusions. Illusions are ideas about reality that are untrue which we mistake for truth. Because they are based in fear, they create fear and misery and confusion. The books approach this task of releasing illusions from different angles.

Hawkins’ “Letting Go” is about acknowledging each feeling that arrises from lower levels of consciousness, experiencing it, and then allowing it to dissolve as we realise it isn’t really true. It’s a de-cluttering, a bit like if you lived in a house full of smashed glasses and you then decided that instead of cutting yourself every second minute you might instead start sweeping the glass out and letting it go.

Ideas that come from grief, guilt, shame, anger, pride, and even reason are ideas that serve a purpose. They are helpful in our awakening and perfectly fine. But they are not the truth. We see that our thoughts are things that can be disposed of because they are passing fantasies, and this makes room for different levels of perception.

Loving What Is” teaches that the glass that cuts us every second minute isn’t really the problem. Being cut by glass is no worse than the fact we are dying in every moment. That in itself might be a very good thing, and it probably is. The problem is the stories we tell ourselves about why the glass is cutting us. Nothing in life is bad or a problem. Hurt comes from hurt thoughts. We create stories about why things are bad, and these stories create pain. When we learn to challenge our thoughts and stories, asking whether they could really be true, and whether they are not something we are creating in our mind for ourselves, we are able to stop hurting ourselves with our thoughts about things. Nothing needs to be painful anymore. Life can just happen.

I disliked Loving What Is when I first read Katie’s work, because it inverted everything I understood about life to the point of me finding it offensive. “No one is hurting me, I am hurting me?” How could that be possible? Why on earth would I want to do that? “I am offending myself? I am being mean to myself? I do all the same things that I dislike in other people?” It’s not possible! But now I understand and it’s a favourite book.

In essence, life is a dream and at this point all I want to do is to make my dream a nice one. I don’t need to get worried about nothing. There is no imperative, I just want room to breathe in peace and to see what is beautiful about life that I wasn’t allowing myself to see.

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We make ourselves stressed. This stress comes from our beliefs. If we have stressful beliefs, we will find that we become stressed.

If there is a task we believe we need to complete, for instance, those who seemingly prevent us from completing the task become our enemy. The idea that we must complete the task is any example of a stressful illusion.

If we believe we need love from someone to feel safe, they will become our enemy when they choose not to be loving. This belief makes us stressed. It isn’t true, and yet because we believe it to be true, we are disconnected from the peace that comes from truth.

Stressful beliefs are those that tell us that people and things need to be a certain way for us to feel safe, good and joyful. Each time we mistake the source of our peace for something outside of ourselves – an achievement or applause – we become enslaved by a stressful illusion.

The idea that another person can make us feel safe and good is a stressful believe. We cannot have an honest relationship with anyone or anything that we depend upon to feel peaceful. Because we are reliant for our sense of peace, we will choose not to see the truth so as to avoid what we consider an uncooperative reality. Dependency means that we will prefer the illusion of safety to truth.

Stress cannot exist when we aren’t dependent on the external world for our sense of peace. “I thought I needed that to feel peaceful, but actually I do not.”

This can be our discovery each time we uncover a stressed illusion about what we thought we needed from the world. Each disappointment can teach us about what we are seeking outside of ourselves, and about what we don’t really need after all.

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The more we experience the bliss of being, the more all other things become progressively lacklustre. We become bored with what had formerly excited us. People, places and objects that thrilled us and annoyed us become things we scarcely notice. We let go of the sense that our judgments are truth.

We see things we might not have seen before. When people talk, we may start to hear their love or their desperation in ways we had never before noticed. We notice these things in ourselves also. We become more in tune with the truth behind things because we are more in tune with the truth behind ourselves.

The bliss of being is a state we move into when we release our attachment to finding love in anything other than loving awareness. Until then, we may look for love and bliss it in what we do or what we have. We may be thrilled temporarily, but we have only been distracted from our fears for a mere moment.

We can spend our whole lives moving from distraction to distraction. Escape and avoidance underpin much of our economy. Entertainment, consumption, work and liquor would be of far less interest to us if it were not for the perpetual seeking of avoidance of our feelings.

Seeking love in the wrong place makes us angry and confused and disillusioned. If we expect to find infinite peace and contentment where it cannot be found, we are in fact hurting ourselves. It is unkind to deceive to anyone, ourselves included.

The bliss of being is what remains when we have let go of everything else because we have learnt that nothing else is needed.

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With time it becomes exhausting to care about things that are not very important. As we get older we have less energy to spend on seeking approval or getting things that we mistakenly believe we need. With less energy and time to waste, we become more discerning. What appeared important to us in the morning is revealed as inconsequential by afternoon.

The less time we have, the more we value our time. This is why life must be finite for it to be meaningful. Death and limits are a gift.

As our energy flags, so too do our desires. We see that they are a drain on our vitality and that they distract us from what we really are. With experience and perspective, we are no longer strangled by the grip of our erroneous ideas about life.

Every time we become sick or slow or deflated or depressed, we have the opportunity to see the truth about what is important. Weakened, we no longer have the energy to sustain what is false, and so to survive we must let go of every unnecessary thing. This lack of energy and patience for falsehood frees us to discover what is true.

Lighter, we find a ‘new lease on life’. We have had to remove what is unnecessary, and what seemed like an obstacle was in fact a forced letting go.

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We are all full of negative feelings that perpetuate negative experiences. These can be released to make room for higher levels of consciousness. How?

Our first task is to become aware of what we feel. This is an achievement in itself, as we are often terrified of our own negative feelings. They are repressed and can only find unconscious outlets.

Resisting a feeling only perpetuates it. It can only be dissolved by sitting with it and being perfectly fine with the feeling as it is.  Feelings are a gateway to learning, and we need patience to learn. Listening to our feelings will tell us what is stored up inside us.

No feeling is bad. No feeling is true, either. Guilt and shame only repress feelings further. We can become curious about how we feel. We can embrace how we feel, however unpleasant that feeling is. This instantly goes a long way towards lightening the load. It shifts us into courage and acceptance and love. The fear is diluted and dissolved.

But we must experience each feeling fully to learn exactly what it is. It must be allowed to fully manifest. Its energy must be released. Repression simply hides it away again, and repressed feelings are not released. We need to stay in the feeling so that it is uncovered.

We do this privately. It is not to be expressed to anyone but ourselves, because our feelings are our business only. If we are angry and express anger to the person we mistake for the source of our anger, then we aren’t in a position to become free from the anger. We have given the anger away, and we cannot learn from it. Anger will be replaced by guilt as we feel ashamed of what we have done.

Feelings that aren’t resisted become lighter. Eventually they become so light that they drift away. They might become as light as laughter. When we let go of a feeling, we can start to see terrifying situations as somewhat humorous. We discover things about situations we had never been able to see before. Reality is changed, because we have changed.

Releasing negativity is the gateway to higher consciousness, because it makes room within us for higher states of being.

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The world around us reminds us of who we are inside. As we interact with the world, we only see what we are.

We can only be made depressed by the evening news if we have sadness and despair within. We can only be made furious by a friend if we have fury to give away. Ideas only stick with us if they connect to what is inside. They slip away, unnoticed and discarded, if they don’t connect to us in any way.

All goodness that we experience in the world is the result of our inner goodness being awakened. Love and joy in the external world awaken the love and joy within us. The person who operates from pure reason will see endless challenges to reason and a world full of things to be reasoned out. We live and die by the level of our own consciousness.

If we experience negativity, we can only do so because we have the ability to engage negative feelings. This ability comes from having negativity to give away to the world. We only feel the emotions that we have within us to feel. If we did not have negativity within, we could not feel negatively about things, and therefore we would not see anything to be upset with.

To be afraid of the dark, we must first have fear within us. The darkness is possibly a gift that helps us to understand how afraid we really are but had repressed, but instead we may mistake darkness as the enemy. We blame the dark for our fear. The dark is however a helpful place for us to shove all our fears with a seemingly plausible explanation. We will believe: “I am not afraid, the dark is making me afraid.” Because we don’t want to see our own inner fear, we decide that it is caused by something else.

Because we all contain many accumulated stresses that come from fear, apathy, desire, guilt, pride and anger, we connect to these ideas in the world around us. We mistake what is within us for the truth. The angry person knows that they have been harmed. The person without anger within them knows that they cannot really ever be harmed by anything. Closer to the truth is that our inner negativity is causing all outer negative experiences of life.

We can take responsibility for our experience of life by seeking to release the negativity within. When we release negative energies we will see a different world entirely. We will see the things that people who are filled with love, acceptance and bliss see. We will understand that truth is subjective and entirely contingent on the quality of what is within us.

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When we are completely absorbed in what we are doing, we are without thought. Time passes and we hardly notice. We aren’t thinking. Our minds are still and they don’t trouble us. We may be very busy, but we create without a single thought being necessary. Without thoughts there are no stresses.

Within us already is an awareness of everything we need to know.

We can connect to this awareness. Love, joy, bliss, peace, creativity – these are accessed through a higher level of awareness. They transcend the limits of thought.

If this is what we wish to experience for ourselves and for others, then our reliance of thought must be relinquished. Seeking truth in thought keeps us trapped at the limits of thought.

Ideas may illuminate aspects of what lies within us, but they are only guides. They do not tell us what reality really is. Thought is no access point to truth.

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groucho marx

Because we are laughed at, I don’t think people really understand how essential [comedians] are to their sanity. If it weren’t for the brief respite we give the world with our foolishness, the world would see mass suicide in numbers that compare favorably with the death rate of the lemmings. I’m sure most of you have heard the story of the man who, desperately ill, goes to an analyst and tells the doctor that he has lost his desire to live and that is seriously considering suicide. The doctor listens to his tale of melancholia and then tells the patient that what he needs is a good belly laugh. He then advises the unhappy man to go to the circus that night and spend the evening laughing at Grock, the world’s funniest clown. The doctor sums it up, “After you have seen Grock, I am sure you will be much happier.” The patient rises to his feet, looks sadly at the doctor, turns and ambles toward the door. As he starts to leave the doctor says, “By the way, what is your name?” The man turns and regards the analyst with sorrowful eyes. “I am Grock.”
— Groucho Marx, Groucho And Me

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Want to know my opinion? This is how I explain it.

I think that much of what we consider human personality is a product of the energy forces prevalent on planet earth and our solar system.

We evolved in an environment – earth – where there is a constant flow of energy forces. Earth has an energy flow and so do our neighbouring planets. Our bodies and personalities and minds evolved in tune with these forces. Human personality is not some divinely imposed truth – it is perhaps instead the admixture of our own solar system’s energy that we have taken for an absolute. These energies have been implanted upon us and evolved into us and we are simply products of our astral environment.

We are susceptible to the weather because we are a part of the weather. We are little planets ourselves with our own energy systems, but no person exists in a vacuum. The larger energies are constantly moving and they continue to affect us. Small shifts in the way the larger energy is flowing will affect us keenly, some more consciously than others.

Each planet in our solar system has its own specific energetic characteristics. Who knows why. There is no why, it just simply is that way. Each heavenly body products different kinds of gamma rays, electrical rays, etcetera ad infinitum.

We can tune in to the flow of energy, or we can try to resist it. It’s a lot easier to go with the flow, and a lot more satisfying.

 

 

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Where the planets are at the moment we are born seems to imprint upon each of us. Who knows why. A human nervous system is a delicate thing and perhaps it’s similar to the way in which our upbringing imprints upon us, albeit over far longer developmental period. The astrological arrangement at the moment of our birth will give us the characteristics of a particular arrangement. Certain energies will exist in harmony, other energies will clash. This will give us our personality and temperament: what we do with this is up to us. Personality is simply the energy that wants to express itself through us in this lifetime, because we are the fragment of the solar system and universe as it was at the moment we are born, and we live out the dynamic of who we are until we die.

A personality only lasts a lifetime. A personality can be challenging, both for us and for those around us. But challenge is the source of creativity and further evolution: it brings further creation and destruction.

The ancients observed the effect of the planets. They created a system. They discovered that the full spectrum of human experience could be divided into 12 signs and houses. Perhaps they used intuition to discern this information? Perhaps it was given to them by a connection to higher intelligence of some kind? Perhaps it was hard fought data collection of some ancient civilisation that has now been long forgotten? Perhaps we will find out, one day.

All I know is that a person born an Aries, for instance, the first sign of the zodiac- which means they were born at a time when the Sun was in the sign of Aries – will carry that Aries energy with them. Similarly the Piscean will always carry Piscean energy in them. The sun in our birth chart – a  drawing of where all the planets were at the exact time we were born – determines our identity and primary way of being and thriving in the world. It is our eternal truth, our gold. The position of the moon in our chart will tell us about our emotional needs. Mercury will tell you about how a person communicates and thinks. Venus will tell you about what a person values and finds beautiful. Mars explains a person’s approach to taking action. Jupiter tells you were a person is lucky and abundant. Saturn tells you where a person needs to learn to find authority and mastery. Neptune describes a person’s dream life and creativity. Uranus tells you about a generation’s attitude towards experimentation and innovation. Pluto governs a person’s transformative powers.

Of course this summary is so brief and lacking as to be negligent. The vital point to astrology is that it is a language of symbolism, and the meaning of the signs, the planets, the houses and the asteroids lies beyond a paragraph of well-chosen descriptors. The astrologer is someone who has come to understand what these energies and forces mean beyond simple description. They are symbologists.

A person’s chart will often contain conflicting energies. Their sun might want to shine brightly, but their moon might want them to withdraw and live hermetically. Within the balancing of these often contradictory energies we find ourselves being challenges to solve the problem of being alive. Conflict is  a source of creative power, and people with conflicted charts are often the most driven to succeed. When are a too comfortable, we flounder.

Astrology is useful in giving validation to your intuition. Our astrology chart will tell us what we knew all along, but didn’t perhaps have the courage to admit. Perhaps we were too confused, because our personalities can be very confusing. Almost never will someone visit a good astrologer and not come away somehow opened up by the experience.

Why is astrology useful? For starters, it makes you feel less crazy.

Right now Mars and Saturn are conjunct, and it is a dark moon. This means that Mars energy is being combined with Saturn energy. Saturn is all about the overcoming of challenges, and Mars is all about taking action. A dark moon is, however, not the time to take big action. It is a time for introspection and reflection. This sort of energy is pretty intense and it can either drag you down or transform your life. If you didn’t follow astrology, you might just think there was something wrong with you. You might just think you were having a bad week.

When I listen to my astrologer, it’s as if she is reading my mind, simply because she knows exactly what is going on in the solar system. That’s how energy works. It’s everywhere in the same moment, including within us.

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I used to think Nietzsche was the smartest person I’d ever read. And then I discovered Krishnamurti. When I talk about smartness, I’m talking about my preference for intelligence that transcends reason and becomes sublime. I’m talking about intelligence that is less concerned with fixed positions and entertains paradoxes and seeks transcendence. That, to me, is clever.

Nietzsche was pretty clever but ultimately he had too many beliefs and they got in the way of his better ideas.

When it comes to God or Spaghetti Monsters or philosophers, beliefs are where the troubles begin. If you need to believe in something, it probably isn’t worth believing in.

To know God, you must experience the divine. You don’t need to believe in anything. Believing is pointless.

“God is not a conviction: it is an experience not based on any belief or dogma, or on any previous experience.” – J. Krishnamurti

To expand.

“You all believe in different ways, but your belief has no reality whatsoever. Reality is what you are, what you do, what you think, and your belief in God is merely an escape from your monotonous, stupid and cruel life. You can change your mind, your opinion, but truth or God is not a conviction: it is an experience not based on any belief or dogma, or on any previous experience. If you have an experience born of belief, your experience is the conditioned response of that belief. Belief is a denial of truth, belief hinders truth; to believe in God is not to find God. Neither the believer nor the non-believer will find God; because reality is the unknown, and your belief or non-belief in the unknown is merely a self-projection and therefore not real.”

Some people jive with the experience. Some people don’t. Those who are open to the experience are probably those who aren’t consumed by their thoughts about what God is and isn’t. They don’t care so much about beliefs, because they appreciate that reality and truth are found in what is, not in a thought about what is. They don’t need to know, and so they are free to experience.

Beliefs create conflict and division. They create religious divides. They are routed in the desire to know so that we won’t be afraid. They are protections. And they are illusions.

The need to know and control shuts us off from experiencing truth. And so it is our very beliefs – the protections we cling to – that prevent us from being able to experience the truth of the divine through experience.

Our task? To need less beliefs and become more open to the experience of what is. If in doubt, avoid believing in anything. It’s too limiting.

mary oliver keep some room in your heart

In a past life I was a serial killer. Sweet little me. And here I am, a few hundred years later in linear history, typing away on my soul mate, my MacBook Air. Maybe this is what bad karma looks like.

I discovered this secret history, to my horror, during a past life regression. My life was brutal. I played my hand as dealt and became an exemplary brute.

I couldn’t think of anything worse than being a serial killer. I can’t even stand to watch a movie where someone gets shot. It offends my delicate sensibilities. My bad karma is having to remember that I was once a serial killer.

But why so precious? This righteous morality is a trap.

It’s assumed that when it comes to souls, there’s some sort of imperative to believe in them, or else. We need to know. We need to be right. We can’t afford to make mistakes. God forbid we be wrong about anything. Hellfire awaits and so on. Make perfect choices or suffer eternal damnation.

We want to know and we all want to be gods so we can’t be judged by those gods who are so much smarter than us. Apparently we are being judged. But by whom, exactly?

Why are we so eager to know everything? You need to be very clever to not feel compelled to know everything. Living the mystery requires the ability to entertain paradoxes, which requires a higher level of intelligence than most of us can sustain.

We take ourselves so seriously because we haven’t yet taken ourselves seriously enough to realise our limits. We are human. We are ignorant. We are flawed. Ignorance goes with being human. We are all wrong and we endure and we can learn how to love it all.

Humility is honesty. It doesn’t attempt to conceal our inescapable imperfection and therefore isn’t surprised or offended by it. Learning about your own ignorance is discovering your own humanity. It’s a liberation: to be what you are. 

If we are ashamed of our humanity we become its victims. If we love our humanity, we cannot err, because such love is divine. We only transcend our humanity by embodying love, not by knowing the answer or being right.

Some people think it’s immoral to be ignorant, or to be comfortable with ignorance. Some people think acceptance is immoral. Some people think it’s immoral to love serial killers. I’m not sure where these people get their morality from.

I’m not interested in this sort of superficial morality. It’s insulting and unloving and ineffective.

“What? A god who loves men, provided only that they believe in him, and who casts an evil eye and threats upon anyone who does not believe in this love? What? A love encapsulated in if-clauses attributed to an almighty god?”

That’s what Nietzsche had to say on the point, I agree that attributing if-clauses to the divine doesn’t make any sense. Divine love isn’t something to be earned. It is something we can connect to if we want to embody it, certainly, but that is our choice.

Importantly, there is no rule that says you need to be enlightened or Godlike in your choices. There is no imperative to be anything other than what you are.

But of course I am not a god and so there are a lot of things in life that disgust me. Things I cannot love. Parts of humanity I repudiate. Love that I withhold.

But discovering that you were a serial killer in a past life puts a lot of things into perspective. The veil of ignorance – struggle against it as we might – starts to appear heaven sent.

I’m glad the people I killed don’t know it’s me when I stand next to them in the supermarket or write them love letters. It would be stifling if we knew too much about what we really are and where we have been and where we come from. Nothing would get done. We’d be standing in the supermarket and we’d look over and see the person who’d knifed us in an alley a millennia ago. It would be upsetting and distracting.

Our ignorance requires ignorance of our ignorances. We’d want justice and we’d waste our lives on past grievances. And to what end? So we can prove ourselves right and moral?

As Nietzsche once again offered as explanation, “Without forgetting it is quite impossible to live at all.” The human experience is contingent on our ignorance.

Nietzsche had some comical ideas about religion and women, but I was a serial killer in my past life – very probably around the same time in history that Nietzsche was alive – I’m not going to get uppity about it. But even his perspectives could have done with a lot more tempering. I’m sure he would agree.

Not all perspectives are equally truthful and valuable. We can only aim to seek out more refined perspectives. More joyful, loving perspectives. Perspectivism, Nietzsche called it.

Perspectivism is a long way away from right and wrong.

Nietzsche didn’t like religion and he didn’t like pity and he didn’t like humans. He liked supermen. What he meant by pity isn’t exactly clear because empathy/pity/sympathy doesn’t translate neatly into English. Christianity for Nietzsche was nihilistic, because it was about being humble. He didn’t think humility made people better. He thought it was crippling. He thought it was self-negation.

Nietzsche didn’t want to be human, all too human. I wonder what sort of books Nietzsche would have written if he hadn’t been a near-cripple himself. He was bed-ridden with migraines and god knows what. What if he hadn’t been in a permanently bad mood? Who can say. He probably would have been too happy to write a single page.

I’ve never been afraid of being disabled myself because I’ve always thought it would probably make me a better writer. I’m a bit nervous about dying though because I might come back again as a serial killer. I don’t have control over these things, and that makes me slightly nervous.

But maybe that’s just what the world needs. More serial killers. More tragedy to inspire us towards love. It can’t be discounted. Maybe in the divine order the people who disgust me most are in fact benevolent of souls who have chosen to come back so as to enlighten the rest of us, to teach us all how to be more loving in the face of horror and cruelty? Maybe it takes a very enlightened soul to choose to do unenlightened things so as to teach us how to love? What an immoral thing to even consider, much less write down.

Maybe it’s better to have perfect relationships. Maybe it’s better that no one was ever killed unjustly, ever. Maybe it’s better to have a horror story of a life so that you get the chance to build something resembling character, so that you learn the true meaning and value of love.

I was reading about a woman whose father was violently abusive. Her mother was a classic doormat. Three decades into the marriage, the mother finally gets the backbone to say: “enough, I’m out of here.” And so the father turns to putty and becomes mister agreeable. Did he do his wife a favour, pushing her to find her voice and her worth and her strength? Or was this guy just rotten? The daughter was reflecting. She was trying reconcile her disdain for her father with the self-reliance his brutality brought to her life. It had made her a force in the world. Should she be mad at him? Was it honest to be mad at him for making her so strong?

I think life is made a lot harder by imagining that we are too good for its challenges. We are too good to have to deal with its horrors. As if they didn’t have any value. As if we were too pristine for them.

To exploit the full value of my weaknesses, I’ve needed to humble myself significantly.

I don’t know what’s going on but I do know that love is the only way out of the horrors. And we only learn to love through the horror and the challenge of seeing its value.

More refined perspectives come from higher consciousness. Love consciousness. Divine consciousness. Unconditional acceptance. Nietzsche called it Amor Fati.

“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendacity in the face of what is necessary—but love it.”

Can you love everything?

“I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.”

If I can’t love humanity, with its flaws – if I can’t connect to divine love, I can never move beyond it.

That is our common problem.

It’s a true challenge.

But being right or moral has nothing to do with enlightenment. It mainly just gets in the way of our ability to love.

g.k. chesterton what's wrong with the world

Dear Sirs,

I am.

Sincerely G.K Chesterton.

People who try hard to do their best and not cause problems might struggle the most to discover that they are, in fact, just as much of the problem as everyone else.

It can be a truly sobering moment to discover your own contribution to the ills of the world. And it usually doesn’t come unless we have the time and space to reflect.

Which of our values are perhaps the most perniciously problematic?

– Believing that the mind and intellect can solve all problems

– Believing that solutions come from arguments and proofs

– Believing that our choices don’t have implications for the whole of humanity, even our smallest buying choices

– Believing that following designated moulds for success in any field, be it work or relationships, will be helpful rather than deadening

– Believing that we don’t perpetuate the exact dynamic in the world that we are living right now in our own lives, whether that is fear, hatred or consumerism

– Believing that the fact that another person is below our standards is the problem, rather than the nature of our standards themselves

– Believing that we deserve more because of the conditions and country of our birth

– Believing that the surface of our choices is a valid means for judging their substance

Wherever we are dead is where we are unable to give, serve and offer ourselves to the world and to the people who need us and our love.

It is vital to be aware that you and I are equally responsible for every single problem in the world today. We are playing a part. And we can start to undo the mess, however insurmountable it might seem. It is not our fault. It is simply necessary to understand that nothing will get better unless we get in and do whatever is necessary.

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It’s possible to spend our whole lives in a state of perpetual lament for what is lost.

We can hate our loss. We can forever ponder the “if only” propositions. We can wallow and lament.

To be alive is to potentially mourn the loss of every moment and eventually, every single aspect of the human experience.

The final stage of mourning is acceptance. To let go and move on, we need to find a way to move freely into acceptance. This is something anyone can learn.

When we lack acceptance, it means that we don’t see the value that comes from all things being finite, the value that comes from things coming and going from our lives, and the value of things being exactly as they are.

In truth, all things are perfect exactly as they are.

We might not want to believe it. We might think that pain and loss are unnatural.

But pain does not mean we need to suffer, to paraphrase Buddha. The suffering part is always optional, and is only caused by the fact that we don’t see our loss in proper balance. We pathologise it, and we pathologise ourselves for being at one with the creative process of life. We are at one with the comings and goings of all things.

It simply is what it is, and whatever is, is perfect. Even our mistakes. Even our tragedies.

We assume that loss is sinister. Loss can be transformed into a blessing when we open our eyes to those blessings. When we do this, we create balance. We don’t over-emphasise the bad or the good: we simple see things as perfect – as beyond good and evil.

Loss is inherent in life. Loss is part of all creative processes. Not all things can stay with us, and nor should they. If they did, our lives would be overstuffed.

There would be no room for more. We would be stifled by the permanency of everything. We could never become adults because we would be afraid of losing our childhood. Some people are. We would never marry because we would not want to lose our old identity as single to create a new state of being. To become an expert is to lose some of the carefree whimsy of the amateur.

Sometimes we are over-eager to lose things, and so we rush too quickly into our choices because we aren’t at peace with being where we need to be right now.

We aren’t at peace with being alone, so we rush into the wrong relationship. We aren’t at peace with being in our relationship, so we rush out of it.

This is perfect also. This is how we eventually learn to not rush, and how we learn to just be where we are, and be where we are, completely accepting of it all.

Just as often, the reason why a thing might leave our lives is not at all apparent to us. It doesn’t seem to make sense why the parcel was lost in the mail. It doesn’t make sense why we chose to eject from our lives the person we love more than anyone else, or why they chose to do the same to us.

It doesn’t make sense why our friend had to die, or why we might have had our innocence or optimism or wealth seemingly stolen from us. We loose hours from our life every day. Why do we age? Why do we decay? Why are we insulted and rejected?

Denial is where most of us dwell. It isn’t the perfect escape it might seem. Because it is an unconscious state, it causes pain. The truth always catches up with us. And when it hits us, it hits us brutally.

I’ve had this happen to me dozens of times. I can go months – or years – in a state of denial, only for the reality to hit me hard at a moment of unawares.

Our denial is a sign that we are terrified of things as they are. It can be a helpful way to cope, but it doesn’t allow us to be in a state of love or genuine creativity.

We can be angry about what is, and we can look for someone to blame. I have blamed a lot of people for a lot of things without even realising it.

We can be depressed about things, which is just our anger turned inwards. I’ve felt this just as often.

We can bargain with ourselves, and pursue the “if only” lines of inquiry. My personal favourite, and the stuff that blues music is made of. It can be a very tempting way to wile away the hours.

It’s always so easy to see how others are resisting what is, but it is very challenging to see our own lack of acceptance.

But these emotions are common to all of us. Most of us know what they feel like. But we don’t need to if we learn to move into a more permanent state of general acceptance.

How do we know we aren’t accepting?

– We are irritated
– We are hurt
– We are offended
– We are rude
– We are anxious
– We are resentful
– We are shut down
– We are depressed
– We are obsessed

Life isn’t the problem. Our lack of acceptance is the problem.

It can be more challenging to accept to accept some things than others, but there is nothing we can’t accept if we conscious choose to see the value in our loss. It’s surprising to discover this value, and too often we aren’t even prepared to look for it.

Acceptance is only possible when we value the experience that we had, as it was, for what it was: finite. It needed to end. That’s why it ended.

We can even accept our non-acceptance. We can accept the non-acceptance of others. We can accept all things without prejudice.

Choosing to accept all things makes all things acceptable.

We also need to value the fact that other people see things differently, and are here to contribute different energy to the world. In time this value always becomes more obvious to us.

The only things that manifest in the world are the things that need to manifest.

We needed to lose that money, that person, that dream. We needed to be bullied so that we could become strong, so that we could become a healer. We needed to be a bully so that we could discover the truth about our anger – or the anger that made us into a bully.

It was exactly what was necessary at that time, and it has now moved on from our lives to make room for something else to fill its place.

If we “ruin” something, it’s because it needed to be ruined. Whatever is, is perfect. Nothing is ruined. The clock was simply up. It was already ruined.

If we start to embrace all our losses as gifts, then we find power in the natural process of life rather than being disempowered and stifled by it. We get into flow with the process, and so we move faster along our path.

In truth, nothing in our life is ever lost energetically. Only the form is lost. When we lose a parent, we invite a new energy into our lives to parent us. When we lose love, we invite love from other surprising places.

The more conscious we are of this, the more we can be open to this new energy when it comes our way. We won’t expect all parents or lovers to look exactly like the ones we have known before.

One of the most joyful experiences I know of is to reflect on the pure beauty of a past moment of joy. That moment is gone, and yet we are always connected to it. These moments are never the moments we expect.

The most beautiful moments in life will look nothing like our ideals.

This is a reminder of how little merit there is in being too devoted to our idealism.

Once we regret that it is now past, we poison it. We can delight that it is past so that we can now enjoy it as a memory. If we let ourselves value it as something which has past, we find we can swoon with pleasure and gratitude.

To move on, say thank you for what was. Spend time remembering the beauty of it. Remember the beauty of the bad and the good. See the worst moments are beautiful in some way. Be surprised by how lovely things are in retrospect – even the worst things – when they are with the people you love the most.

I’ve started to suspect that the worst fight with someone you love is more precious than lifetimes of lukewarm moments: that the worst insult from someone you hold dear is, in time, as lovely to you as a kiss.

It doesn’t add anything to get caught up in thoughts of being wrong, because nothing in life happens the way it is supposed to happen. You will always be wrong if you judge things constantly, and nothing happens the “right” way.

If we are attached to ideals, we ruin our lives. Being consumed with the right way – with an ideal of perfection – means we are contemptuous of what is. Seeing beauty is a conscious choice in each moment. It’s always there.

Even your intolerance is necessary. Even every flaw and judgment is necessary. There is no need to be upset by what you have done or could have done differently.

The odd thing about life is that with enough time, it is clear than there is nothing to regret. Even the gravest of insults can, at long last, seem amusing. We just need to learn to value them.

[ Image via ]

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O ME, man of slack faith so long!

Standing aloof–denying portions so long;
Only aware to-day of compact, all-diffused truth;
Discovering to-day there is no lie, or form of lie, and can be none,
but grows as inevitably upon itself as the truth does upon itself,
Or as any law of the earth, or any natural production of the earth does.

(This is curious, and may not be realized immediately–But it must be realized;
I feel in myself that I represent falsehoods equally with the rest, And that the universe does.)

Where has fail’d a perfect return, indifferent of lies or the truth?
Is it upon the ground, or in water or fire? or in the spirit of man?
or in the meat and blood?

Meditating among liars, and retreating sternly into myself, I see
that there are really no liars or lies after all,
And that nothing fails its perfect return–And that what are called
lies are perfect returns,
And that each thing exactly represents itself, and what has preceded it,
And that the truth includes all, and is compact, just as much as space is compact,

And that there is no flaw or vacuum in the amount of the truth–but
that all is truth without exception;
And henceforth I will go celebrate anything I see or am,
And sing and laugh, and deny nothing.

Walt Whitman

Image Via.

calvino

When I was younger I remember my dad was a lot more serious. Over the last ten years he has developed a style of conversation whereby he turns every problem into a joke. Nowadays at least half of the things he says are a joke.

It’s actually impressive to watch him talk with people and to see the jokes he can create from absolutely nowhere. It can be frustrating when you are yourself being serious and someone is determined to take things lightly.

[Italo Calvino’s Six Memos For The Next Millennium]

Before long he manages to melt my heart and I’m laughing along with him.

Because he “refuses to argue, no one argues with him.” It is actually possible to solve many more problems with lightness than with seriousness, and I’ve seen him do it repeatedly. Sometimes he does get serious again, and I realise how much more effective the other dad is.

Seriousness doesn’t work. And I should know. I’m lil mis serious, given half the opportunity. I guess this gives me extra-special authority to suggest that the good-life is certainly found elsewhere.

Seriousness is an often quite beguiling trap. We might believe that our seriousness protects us. Our vigilance may seem to stop us from making mistakes and from ruining our lives.

Oddly, seriousness actually leads to our making a lot of mistakes and is the fastest way to ruin your life that I can think of. I know because I have fallen into the trap on a near daily basis since I was a teenager.

I think I became super serious around the age of 14 because that’s about when I became terrified of “ruining my life”. It seems odd to try to protect yourself from disappointment by anticipating disappointment, but I didn’t realise I had any other options.

To that end, I let go of my old very carefree self, and dived head long into protect myself with good grades and a good university degree. The habit stuck. It’s been very, very hard to shake free of my seriousness, and it’s ruined many years of creative work that required instead a light, open heart.

What’s worse, serious people are hell to be around. Eventually you just decide that you need to break up with the overly serious person – particularly when that person is yourself – and step into the light.

The only way out is to jump off the carousel. “This isn’t working. I want lightness.” And so we jump off, and decide to lighten things up.

It’s a huge relief.

But there is often equally huge amounts of guilt associated with not being constantly vigilant and worried. We might truly believe that that is the path to a good life.

In truth, the things that make life great are never heavy. A light heart lets us attract inspiration, compassion, freedom and love. A heavy heart makes these things impossible.

Not surprisingly, anything I’ve been too serious about has never worked out. Ever.

Sure, it’s gotten me grades and degrees. But what do those things matter if your heart isn’t in them too? You just end up with a lot of stuff that reinforces your fears.

You can’t create a life you actually love around goals begotten through seriousness. Centring your life around fear has been the recipe for our collective modern horror story.

The problem with being serious is that it impairs your judgment, which leads you to making bad choices. Uninspired choices.

It keeps you stuck in choices that fill you with despair. It makes you set your standards far too low, because serious is settling for fear over the freedom of love and inspiration.

Seriousness focuses your energy into preventing imagined future failure. But if we focus on avoiding fear, we unwittingly reinforce those fears. We invest energy into them and then it just spirals.

Intuition becomes totally blocked and we are left to fend for ourselves with only our hapless intellect to help. Your intellect isn’t powerful enough to create anything worthwhile or inspired, but when you’re serious, the intellect is all you have.

So can you thrive in life without seriousness?

Absolutely.

I think reverence is a better choice. Sometimes seriousness and reverence are mistaken for each other. Some people think you shouldn’t smile in church. People can have a lot of unhelpful ideas.

Reverence makes us lovingly respectful, conscious and devoted at a high level – because we love. Seriousness makes us respectful, focused and careful at a low level – because we fear.

Authentic reverence is actually light. It’s joyful. It’s appreciative. It sees you and life around you as divine and worthy of respect, love and inspiration. It lifts up your heart, not crushes your heart with fear.

“Life is divine, beautiful. I want to contribute goodness. I want to connect with the beauty. I want to celebrate my natural talents and what inspires me.” That’s what reverence does to us. It lifts us up and opens us up.

To get to a higher vibration and live from love and inspiration, you actually need to lighten up. A lot. Love and bliss are very light states of being. We can’t connect to the power of lightness if we are too serious.

Think of yourself like a balloon. If you are loaded up with rocks, you’ll stay low. You might think staying low is safe. But if you drop the rocks and fill up with helium, the view gets a lot better. And you can go with the flow and see the whole world. You can see life from a much higher perspective, and make better choices.

If you choose reverence over seriousness, you don’t have to worry about your life falling apart the moment you stop being vigilant. Reverence is just as connected and observant, it simply focuses on the goodness of life.

Reverence directs us towards love. It helps us to create a life we actually love because it centres our focus onto what is valuable. Reverence for what is valuable in ourselves and the world inspires us to devote ourselves to what is valuable.

How do we let go of seriousness?

Letting go starts with trusting in the power of lightness and love. Inspiration travels at the speed of light – maybe faster, even – and we need to be light enough to go with that inspiration.

Protecting ourselves from seriousness is important. We really need to be very careful about the people we spend our time with, so that our energy isn’t constantly drained.

Some people are critical for sport. Some people worry for sport. These people can be extremely entertaining, but this kind of entertainment comes at a price.

Being around heavy people is a huge drain. If we have to battle against people’s fears constantly, it can’t help but drain us. If we have to justify our more light-hearted approach, we are wasting precious energy. We need boundaries.

We also need to constantly replenish ourselves with lighter energy. Daily laughter – as much as possible – is the best medicine. Prioritising laughter is something that only happens when we finally see its value as a philosophy for living.

Praying is a great way to lighten up your life. Prayer is usually considered something serious, but if your prayers are serious, they are a lot less powerful.

We can be light and reverent at the same time. If you actually love life and live the divine, then you are more likely to generate a light, loving feeling from that love.

Prayer makes us lighter, because it gives our problems over to the universe. It is asking God and the divine to direct us on the right path and to prevent things from coming to us if they are not right for us. It trusts that all things will be taken care of, and we only need to show up and give our heart.

We can pray and humbly, sincerely, gently offer our worries up to the universe for them to be taken care of for us. Worrying doesn’t solve a problem anyway.

What solves problems is raising our energy so that creative solutions can freely come to us. Being open is what solves problems. And we can’t be open if we are caught up in worry.

I really love this quote.

If you are distressed over anything, it means that you are not fully surrendered to God’s will, although it may seem that you are living according to His will. – St. Silouan the Athonite

We can actively choose to release worry thoughts the moment they emerge, and train our brains to let go of fear. We can stay a quick affirmation or prayer the moment we are becoming serious.

Allow me to be light and open, trusting that I am taken care of.

I trust that the answer is coming to me and that things will happen as they should.

On a purely cognitive level, this belief that answers will come effortlessly is a self-fulfilling prophesy, as it opens up the creative power of our minds to expect the solutions.

It also takes the strain off our minds, so we become more orientated on the solutions, rather than dwelling our energy into the problem itself, which just reinforces it.

Seriousness and worry are a choice

We don’t have to buy into seriousness. We can choose a different energy altogether and in so doing, choose to really thrive rather than to merely protect from failure.

We can become serious about our fun, and in so doing, connect to something that is neither just pure seriousness or pure fun, but which values the necessary lightness of doing truly inspired work.

Taking fun as simply fun and earnestness in earnest shows how thoroughly thou none of the two discernest. – Piet Hein

flemming hoeg piet hein serious fun

[ my dad with Piet Hien having what is presumably serious fun?]

STAIR IMAGE VIA

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Why do some people tend towards brutality and cruelty?

How did they become so cold and dead in their hearts?

Where might generalised paranoia and hatefulness come from?

Why do we – good hearted, kind people that we are – find ourselves sometimes ruining peoples’ days or breaking their hearts and spirits?

It can be a challenge to find compassion for an apparently soulless person. It takes great awareness to realise and remember that the soulless person has almost always had their soul ripped from them by some other soulless person.

Almost all violent criminals witnessed great brutality in their childhood: either towards themselves or towards their closest family members. Being exposed to too much soullessness is contagious, and if we don’t protect ourselves from lower energy and hateful messages, then they can traumatise us and leave us imprinted in a way that is challenging to reverse.

The psychologist Dr Robert Firestone was very moved by the tragedy of human beings unwittingly perpetuating their hurts in a cycle of physical and spiritual violence. His work as a psychologist was centred around dismantling the mechanics by which we victimise others as a response to our own lack of love.

“You tend to do what was done to you. That seems to be the pattern in these cases.”

If you ever struggle to have compassion for violent criminals, this three minute video will do a lot to open your eyes and heart.

We have all experienced shame and humiliation, and it has effected our ability to be loving to some degree. The soulless person has experienced so much, however, that it has killed their soul. If we lived in a universe that was providing us with no love whatsoever, we too would find our souls perish. 

Some people’s spirits have even left their body because the aura has become so polluted and dark that a spirit can’t stand to live there any longer.

It’s quite possible that a little bit of all our souls has become deadened, to the degree to which our own universe has been loveless. We may struggle with empathy if little empathy was ever shown to us. We might struggle with feeling secure about who we are if no one around us showed confidence in who we were.

We model ourselves on how we were treated in our development stages, and then perpetuate that model onto the world around us.

The human being isn’t perfectly at one with their spirit. To the extent that we were not shown love, there is a part of all of us that is soulless.

Even in the absence of abuse, neglect and trauma, our own soullessness makes us a danger to be around. It allows us to behave in unwittingly hurtful ways. If we are out of tune with what is loving, it is because part of our soul has been frozen with a lack of love. If we reclaim our soul and lovingly resuscitate it, we will build a connection to ourselves that allows us to be aware of our energy and the effect that it has on others.

Some people are vibrating at a higher, purer level, whereas some people have been caught at lower frequencies. Many very kind people with good hearts operate with a mixed energy system. Some days they are sweetness and light; other days they are knocked out of balance and become hurtful. To the extent that we have dark, lower energies lurking in our aura, we will be at risk of hurting others and ourselves.

Only we can choose to purify our energy and move towards increasing lightness. We can eschew the things and thoughts that contaminate our aura. We can make choices that are peaceful and avoid music, noises, bars, workplaces and friends who perpetuate fear, hateful and dark energies. We can avoid people who doubt us or criticise us or want to control us for their own agendas. It requires a conscious choice. It requires that we love ourselves enough to value what is best for us.

It is not impossible to move into the light if we give ourselves enough nurturance. It might mean saying no to things we thought we loved very much, including certain friendships and substances and activities. It might mean letting go of television or consumerism. It will definitely mean doing more things that we love and that bring us love: walks in nature, long baths, authentic connection with people we love, following our passions and intuition.

The more intuitive we become, the more we start to see energy as something very real. We will start to tune more and more in to the effects of our every thought and conversation. We will gradually become very careful about what we choose to let into our lives, and what thoughts we choose to let enter our brain.

The intuitive person will stop making themselves wrong for their non-conformist choices and for following unusual, inspired guidance. They will stop hurting themselves by forcing themselves to be someone they are not. They will be unwilling to be drained.

Whereas previously we might of thought of ourselves as crazy for eschewing certain types of foods, lightbulbs, clothing fabrics, wall paint colours, conversations, running paths – the intuitive person realises that we need to be very careful what we have around us, because many features of modern life don’t support health and serenity.

Meditation is a vital tool for bringing awareness to our thoughts. It lets us discover our thoughts and anxieties, and trains us in the art of letting thoughts go. Actively choosing love is just as vital, because it is a choice that shifts our energy into a higher state. Connecting to loving thoughts lifts us up instantly.

And if we have traumatic patterns imprinted on us, causing anxiety, PTSD, disfunction and fear, it behoves us to get professional help to release the negative patterns and become lighter. But only we can make that choice and value ourselves enough to let go of what is clogging our energy flow and keeping us down.

Every bit of darkness we let go of shifts us into greater lightness and the freedom it brings, and makes creating a life we love increasingly natural. We need to be the ones who embrace the light and who put an end to the perpetuation of fear and hate in the world.

If we don’t start with ourselves, we are in no position to criticise others for what they aren’t doing to move towards the light. Intuition has the added benefit of protecting us from other hurtful energies, letting us know what things and which people to avoid. Lightness protects us, and it protects others equally.

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wyoming road

The right goals can actually do a lot to make us feel more focused and less anxious. They contribute to our healthy search for meaning. Egotistical goals tend, however, to be toxic. It often isn’t so easy to tell the difference between what is based in inspiration, and what is based in ego.

Inspired goals create more light and love in our lives. Egoic goals create more anxiety and fear.

Here are seven principles of inspired goal setting that I’ve collected from Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. It was a joy to discover this book, because there are so few good writings available on how to literally “steer your life with soul.”

Principle 1

“It is not we who create, but universal intelligence that creates through us.” 

It’s not us who is doing the creating and achieving. We are simply a vehicle through which life creates and expresses itself. We don’t need to force anything, we just need to let who we are flow and unfold.  Fear and Ego only block the way, and are very useful as lessons in what doesn’t work.

Principle 2

“Even though you have a goal, what you are doing in the present moment needs to remain the focal point of your attention; otherwise, you will fall out of alignment with universal purpose.”

Too much focus on the desired end result sacrifices the importance of the present moment. An inspired goal must be a reward in each moment. It must feel good every day. If we loose focus on what is rewarding for us in the moment, then we cannot create anything that is rewarding for us in the long term.

Principle 3

“When there is stress, it is usually a sign that the ego has returned, and you are cutting yourself off from the creative power of the universe.”

The ego is fearful and creates stress. When we start to feel afraid, anxious or worried, we can be sure we aren’t in a state of enthusiasm and inspiration. Stress is a sign that we are doing something wrong and need to reconsider our intention.

Principle 4

“Ego’s wanting always tries to take from something or someone; enthusiasm gives out its own abundance.”

An inspired goal creates and offers value to the world. An egotistical goal is focused on the recognition, respect and rewards that you can get. It is much less fun to think about rewards than it is to think about the wonderful things that you can create. In fact, creating is arguably the greatest of all bliss.

Principle 5

“Make sure your vision or goal is not an inflated image of yourself and therefore a concealed form of ego.”

It’s tempting to construct a fantasy image of the life our goals will bring us. We will be loved, comforted and supported in every way. Only the ego needs things to feel safe. The ego is needy. If your goals feel a little needy, they aren’t really inspired.

Principle 6

“You cannot manifest what you want; you can only manifest what you already have.”

If we want to offer something valuable to the world, then we must create and cultivate that value in ourselves. If we want to share ourselves lovingly with the world, then we must learn first to embody love in ourselves. It’s quite easy to become love, success, abundance, simply by choosing those thoughts for yourself as a habit. When they become trained into our brain, then that will be all that we are able to create.

Principle 7

“If you are content with being nobody in particular, content not to stand out, you align yourself with the power of the universe.” 

Effective goals are not about making you become “more”. They are not designed to make you stand out or be above others. Effective goals are about expressing more universal creative power through you, so that you can contribute to the evolution of life and consciousness. That is the flow of the universe, and going with the flow is the smartest goal there is.

 IMAGE VIA TUMBLR.

lao tzu bunny tumblr

Is it just me or does this bunny look a bit like Lao Tzu?

lao tzu statue

I first read the Tao Te Ching when I was 18. At this time, I’d not once had it suggested to me that ego, discipline and goals might be an impediment to success.

The Tao Te Ching seemed almost perverse to me in its humility, and yet somehow I knew that I was the one who was perverse. Eventually, I knew, the tao would win.

Here are my five favourite lessons for you to absorb in less than five minutes.

Lesson 1

Flow around obstacles,
  don’t confront them.
Don’t struggle to succeed.
Wait for the right moment.

Situations will resolve themselves in their own time of their own accord. If you are in flow with your universe and the energy of the universe, all things happen perfectly without struggle or aggression. Let go, and let God, as they say.

Lesson 2

Streams and rivers flow to the sea
because it lies below them.
That’s why it’s the greatest body of water.

It takes greatness to place yourself below others, and placing yourself below others simultaneously makes you great. Trying to be above others is a waste of energy that could be spent on simply being what you are and letting all things flow to you.

Lesson 3

The wise stand out,
because they see themselves as part of the whole.
They stand out,
because they don’t want to impress.
They achieve great things,
because they don’t look for recognition.
Their wisdom is contained in what they are,
not their opinions.
They refuse to argue, 
so no one argues with them.

Trying to look important is foolish. If you are important, you won’t need to try, and you don’t ever become a person of value through striving to assert that you are right or valuable. Standing out, achievements, having strong opinions: these things are distractions. Most importantly, you always have the choice not to argue about anything, and thus avoid all arguments forever.

Lesson 4

Give up, and you will succeed.

There is no greater success than not needing to succeed. Only then can a success be enjoyed and valued for what it is, not more or less. The greatest success is the giving up of your fears, illusions and need to succeed.

Lesson 5

Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
and the world will govern itself.
The more artful and crafty the plan,
the stranger the outcome.
The more laws are posted,
the more thieves appear.
If I keep from imposing on people,
they become themselves.

Too much control destroys things. Too much imposition on yourself stops you from becoming yourself. Having too much of a plan creates unnatural outcomes. Letting go allows the flow of life to govern, and you are at one with yourself and the universe.

As Eckhart Tolle expresses it so elegantly in A New Earth:

“Action, although necessary, is only a secondary factor in manifesting our external reality. The primary factor in creation is consciousness. No matter how active we are, how much effort we make, our state of consciousness creates our world, and if there is no change on that inner level, no amount of action will make any difference. We would only re-create modified versions of the same world again and again, a world that is an external reflection of the ego.”

benjamin hoff tao of pooh

Benjamin Hoff’s Tao of Pooh also puts it all together quite neatly.

“Things just happen in the right way, at the right time. At least when you let them, when you work with circumstances instead of saying, ‘This isn’t supposed to be happening this way,’ and trying harder to make it happen some other way.”