Category: INSPIRATION



“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” ~Wayne Dyer

One day, I was complaining about not having enough days off to escape work and treat myself to a vacation. I was feeling stressed and tired. I can recall my stepfather looking into my eyes with a deep sense of peace and compassion.

“I hear you,” he said. “I know you work hard. Sometimes, I imagine myself jumping out of bed and going for a walk, whenever I want to.”

His words came like thunder. It was a wake-up call to remind me how blessed I was and how much I was taking it for granted, as if nothing was ever enough. And there he was, my stepfather, trapped in a wheelchair by a severe form of multiple sclerosis, dreaming of a nice walk in nature. That day, he was my teacher.

For too many years, I spent a lot of my precious time complaining. I thought I never had enough time, money, or love.

Many of us get stuck in the habit of projecting our happiness into an imaginary future instead of living in the only reality that is, the present moment. We often think thoughts like:

The day I get married, I will be happy.

The day I can afford a bigger house, I will be happy.

The day I make x amount of money, I will be happy.

Looking back on my life, I came to realize that I didn’t know how to be happy. I continuously kept myself busy, always running somewhere so I could achieve more or better. Turning my happiness into a project and waiting for “the big things” to happen so I could finally feel joyful and satisfied.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was a rat racer. Here’s what I mean by that:

In his book Happier, Tal Ben-Shahar (a Harvard professor, leading researcher, and author) defines four different happiness archetypes:

Nihilism

Nihilists have lost their joy in life, both present and future. They find no pleasure in their work or private life and expect no future benefits or rewards. They’ve given up and resigned to their fate.

Hedonism

Hedonists live for the moment and give little or no thought to future consequences and plans. Because they feel unchallenged by future goals or a purpose, they are often unfulfilled.

Rat Racing

The rat race archetype often sacrifices current pleasures and benefits in anticipation of some future rewards. This is likely the most familiar archetype to many of us (continuously setting new goals, never pleased, always busy).

It doesn’t mean that setting clear goals for the future is a bad practice. We all need a purpose and a clear vision. If we don’t even know what we want, how could we ever get that? The problem occurs when we attach our happiness to future outcomes without being able to see and appreciate what’s already good in our lives.

Rat racing is all about hunting for happiness, chasing an illusion, and never feeling content. The more we achieve, the more we want: another house, another car, another job, or more money.

Happiness

True happiness comes from keeping a healthy balance between the present and the future. It’s when we are capable of enjoying both the journey and the destination, focusing on today’s gifts, as well as our dreams, goals, and desires.

“Happiness is not about making it to the peak of the mountain nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain; happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.” ~Tal Ben-Shahar

The day I shifted my perception from stressed to blessed, everything changed. Here’s what I have learned and what worked well for me:

1. Happiness is a verb.

Research has shown that happiness is 50 percent connected to our genes, only 10 percent attributed to life circumstances, and 40 perfect correlated with our thoughts and behaviors. That’s why happiness is not a noun; it’s a verb. For those of us who are mentally healthy, it’s an attitude, a continuous inside job.

Many people are afraid to be happy, since they could lose it one day, and they let their worries ruin their joy.

I cultivate optimism and trust the flow of life. I shift my focus from what could go wrong to what could go right. Whatever I fear, it hasn’t happened yet. I embrace my future with the genuine curiosity of a child, and I choose to believe that something wonderful is waiting around the corner—that we live in a supportive Universe where everything unfolds perfectly, and things happen for my highest good.

If I see life with negativity, fearing that bad things could happen to me, my actions will likely attract the very things I’m trying to avoid. I’ve stopped letting my mind play with me and stress me with unnecessary fears, worries, and concerns about things that haven’t happen yet.

I nourish my mind with healthy thoughts, like this one:

“Life loves me. All is well in my world, and I am safe.” ~Louise Hay

2. I sweeten my life, every day.

I have seen that many beautiful moments and small pleasures come at a low cost or even for free.

If I don’t have time for my hobbies, I make it. I read a good book or watch a fun movie that brings me the joy and laughter.

I gather with non-judgmental people who love me just the way I am. The mere act of having a good conversation over a cup of coffee charges me with a high dose of positive energy.

I go for nice walks in the park and connect with nature.

I play with my dog.

I sometimes light a candle or some nice smelling incense. (Jasmine is my favorite.) It stimulates my creativity and makes me feel good.

I’ve stopped waiting for the VIP moments of the year (like my birthday) to embellish my house with fresh flowers.

I have created the habit of drinking water from a wine glass with a slice of lemon in it.

I enjoy my morning coffee from a beautiful cup with a red heart on it, to remind myself that love is all around.

I use the beautiful bed sheets and the nice towels instead of saving them for the guests, just because I’m worth it.

“Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift; that’s why we call it present.” ~Unknown

3. I grow dreams, not regrets.

The need for stability and security (including on a financial level) is a basic human need. No wonder we start rat racing if we don’t have enough money! But what is “enough”? Isn’t that a subjective qualifier, based on our individual needs and expectations?

I have met many wealthy people who were unhappy because their ego always wanted to get more or better. It’s like when we think, “Okay, I’ve got this house now, but when I can move my family into a bigger one, I will finally be happy.”

Another reason we project happiness into the future pertains to limiting (often culturally inherited) beliefs around money that keep us stuck in a survival mode.

Take my example: Years ago, I used to work in China. I lived in a beautiful compound in downtown Shanghai, all paid for by my company, and I was single, with no loans, debt, or financial commitments. It all looked wonderful, but deep inside, I was so unhappy!

I knew I always wanted to travel the world and meet people from different cultures. I had enough money to afford that, and still, I was so afraid of spending! Even today I am thankful to the good friend who insisted on me following her on a trip, because that’s how I finally managed to break that wall.

You see, I was raised in an Eastern-European middle-class family. As a child, I often saw my parents saving money for the “black days” of their pension years (the time when one would not earn a salary and could potentially “start starving.”) As a result, I followed the same behavior once I started to make my own money.

So here’s what I’ve learned: I won’t spend my precious younger years saving everything for my retirement. Saving money is a form of self-care, and something I currently do. However, I know I won’t die with my savings account, and I won’t look back on my life with regrets once I’m older. I invest in myself and in my learning, and I spend part of my money on experiences, making sure I gather more precious memories than material things.

“You will never regret what you do in life. You will only regret what you don’t do.” ~Wayne Dyer

4. I do what I love and love what I do.

We spend the majority of our lives at work. So if we’re not happy with our jobs, we’re not happy with most of life—another reason some of us start rat racing and hoping for something different.

Too many people live their precious lives in survival mode, like robots. Frustrated or drained on Monday mornings and looking forward to the weekends so that they can feel alive. When we’re happy with our work, there’s nothing wrong with Monday mornings.

If you find yourself stuck in a job you don’t like, know that you always have a choice to step outside your comfort zone and work toward something new. It may not be easy to change careers, especially if you have limited education and people depending on you. But it’s possible to do something you believe in, something that brings you genuine joy and fulfillment.

The key is to work toward that something new while also cultivating joy in your daily life so you don’t fall into the trap of waiting for the future to be happy; and also, to remind yourself that no matter what happens, even if your circumstances are never ideal, you can still be happy.

“The most important two days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” ~Mark Twain

5. I stay away from perfection.

To me, being a rat racer felt exhausting. I didn’t know how to have fun and relax. I was too busy trying to be perfect and do everything perfectly. It was tiring, and it made me feel like I was never good enough or worthy of the best things life had to offer.

Even when I transitioned into the job of my dreams, I was still unhappy. I kept thinking:

“The day I get to make that much money a month, I will be happy.”

“The day I know everything about this job, I will be happy.”

You see, even people who love what they do can be rat racers, if they are struggling with the need for perfection.

Today, I aim for progress instead of perfection, and I enjoy each step of my professional journey, celebrating every new lesson and every kind of achievement, no matter how big or small.

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never feel content.” ~Lev Tolstoi

6. I mind my own journey.

Another thing that keeps us trapped in rat racing is the behavior of comparing ourselves to others—the money we’re making, the status at work, the house we live in, and so on.

I now know everyone is on their own journey, and each time I dedicate moments of my life comparing, I find myself in someone else’s territory, not mine. It’s like trying to live in their story and life experience instead of my own.

I’ve come to understand that when I shift my focus and attention from other people to myself, I suddenly have more time and energy to create good things in my own life. So many people complain about not having enough time for themselves. If you want more time for yourself, mind your own business and see what happens.

“Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against your authentic self.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant

7. I am grateful.

In the past, I rarely said thank you or counted my blessings. Today, I practice gratitude as a morning ritual. I focus on what I have, rather than on what’s missing.

I make sure I start every day being thankful for my health; for having a loving family, a wonderful life partner, and a great job I love; for the creativity flow that helps me write such posts and the opportunity to share my insights and experiences with the world; and for the air I breathe and the sun that caresses my face.

“If the only prayer you ever say is Thank you, that will be enough.” ~Eckhart Tolle

I might not always get what I want, but I know I always get what I need. I see every day as a fresh start, a new opportunity for me to taste more of this juicy experience called living. Life is a precious gift and I intend to spend as much of it happy as possible.

And now, I would like to hear from you. What is your happiness archetype? What makes you truly happy?

About Sara Fabian
Sara Fabian is a women’s empowerment coach and inspirational speaker, on a mission to help professional women to discover their unique strengths, gifts and talents, boost their confidence, find their calling and live a meaningful life of purpose. For weekly inspiration, subscribe to her free newsletter at sarafabiancoaching.com or follow her on Facebook.

Experience the power of actively transforming your life with spiritual success coach Joanna Garzilli’s revolutionary 11 Spiritual Rules for creating Big Miracles, a lifechanging program to manifest everyday miracles, create radical prosperity, and live a life filled with purpose.

Imagine creating miracles every day. The power is in your hands with Big Miracles. Spiritual success coach Joanna Garzilli has helped countless clients, from executives to celebrities, make over their lives and find ultimate fulfillment. Now, she invites you to experience the power of her practical, prescriptive 11-step system to manifest miracles that lead to big breakthroughs in your life.

The 11 Spiritual Rules of Big Miracles will teach you exactly how to make huge positive changes in your life and replace anxiety with tranquility, self-doubt with self-acceptance, and insecurity with certainty about your life purpose—how to achieve your dreams and actively create miracles. Each chapter shows you, with encouragement and grace, both how to live its lessons and how doing so will create your miracle. Laying the foundation with the first rule, “Align with Spirit,” Garzilli illustrates how to build from there to:

Be a Spiritual Vehicle
Commit to Your Breakthrough
Forgive Mistakes
Live Without Ego
Believe in Your Ability
Accept Responsibility
Aim High
Take the Right Action
Be of Service
Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

With Big Miracles, you will discover how to nurture your connection to Spirit to move forward with momentum and create the outcomes you desire. Filled with deep wisdom, empowering meditations and journaling exercises, and concrete strategies for achieving the life of your dreams, Big Miracles is your own personal guide to creating the miracles you never thought possible.

Joanna Garzilli is a spiritual success coach, motivational speaker, and author of “Big Miracles: 11 Spiritual Rules For Ultimate Success,” publishing by Harper Collins on Valentine’s Day 2017. She is also co-founder of Hyper Chariot with her husband Nick, developing the ultimate transportation system of door to door space travel on earth. She has been featured in media nationally and internationally including: BBC News, BBC Radio, CNN Money, NBC, OK! TV, Kcal 9, CBS 2, LA Weekly, MTV, Huffington Post, Runway and Elle.

Over the past 20 years, Joanna has done thousands of intuitive readings and spiritual coaching sessions for business leaders, entrepreneurs and celebrities including some notable names: Ellen Burstyn, Goldie Hawn, Monica Lewinsky, Jenna Dewan Tatum, Vanessa Marcil, Ernie Banks Hall of Fame Baseball and Robbie Rogers U.S. Olympic Soccer team.

JOANNA GARZILLI: How to Attract Big Miracles! – The 11 Spiritual Rules for Ultimate Success!

In a time when we are bombarded from morning to evening with information from all sides as to what is best and what we “should” and “shouldn’t” do to live happy lives, how can anyone navigate through this massive sea of information and know what’s best for them to do in any given situation? In other words, is there a reliable way to make decisions and navigate wisely through life? Is there a way that takes into consideration who each individual is and what his or her needs, wants and desires are?

And the answer is yes, there is a way!

Because every single person alive has an Inner Compass! Every person has his or her own unique, personal, internal guidance system – which is working at all times and which is each person’s direct connection to the Great Universal Intelligence that created each of us and all of Life.

That’s what Barbara’s new book is about.

The book is about how to find, understand and use your internal guidance system, which Barbara calls the “Inner Compass”– to live a happier, more fulfilling, exciting and wonderful life.

The book is based on the understanding that this “Inner Compass” is, in every moment, giving us precise information as to what is the best way forward for each of us. And how does the Inner Compass do this? It does so by means of our emotions. In the book, Barbara explains the true significance of our emotions and how they are indicators of whether or not we are in alignment with the Great Universal Intelligence that has created all of us.

The promise of Barbara’s new book is that when we learn to listen to and follow our Inner Compass, we will be more in alignment with our True Selves and experience more flow, ease, joy, love, passion and enthusiasm in our lives. And as a result, we will be able to be of greater service to our families, friends and to the world in general.

In her new book, Barbara maps out:
– What is the Inner Compass and how does it work?
– How do we read the signals the Inner Compass is giving us in every now moment?
– What is the true significance of our emotions?
– How do we use the Inner Compass in practice – in our everyday lives, at work, in our relationships?
– What sabotages our ability to listen to and follow the Inner Compass?
– Is it selfish to follow the Inner Compass? What about other people?
– How can we constructively deal with the fear of other people’s disapproval, especially when the Inner Compass points us in a direction we believe other people will disapprove of or dislike?
– How can we gradually improve our ability to listen to and follow the Inner Compass?
– And much more!

Barbara’s new book is based on years of study and practice and on her many years of working with and helping clients deal with the universal challenges we all face in life. In short, a book you will want to have with you and read over and over again in the years to come!

Barbara Berger has written over 15 self-empowerment books, including the international bestseller “The Road to Power / Fast Food for the Soul” (30 languages), “Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life” (20 languages) and “The Awakening Human Being – A Guide to the Power of Mind”. Her new book “Find and Follow Your Inner Compass – Instant Guidance in an Age of Information Overload” will be released in mid-2017. American-born, Barbara now lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition to her books, she offers private coaching sessions to individuals who wish to work intensely with her (in her office in Copenhagen or on Skype or by telephone for people who live far away from Copenhagen). For more about Barbara Berger, see her Web site: http://www.beamteam.com

Jorrit Timmermans interviews Barbara Berger & Tim Ray on crisis and happiness

Authors Barbara Berger and Tim Ray talk about how to turn crisis into your friend and live a happier life by learning to distinguish between reality and your thinking. Barbara and Tim call this process of understanding the way your mind works “Getting Real”. Barbara Berger is the author of “Fast Food for the Soul” and “Are You Happy Now?” Tim Ray is the author of “Starbrow” and “Starwarrior. http://www.beamteam.com

In his new book, Reality Unveiled, Ziad Masri provides a coherent explanation of the workings of the Cosmos that makes sense and addresses some of our most profound questions.

An entrepreneur and author who’s taken the road less traveled, Ziad was driven early in life by the seemingly conflicting desires of worldly success and deep spiritual fulfillment, and set out on a 15-year journey of self-discovery. During this period he became an independent trader of the financial markets and built a highly successful coaching business, all the while exploring ancient spirituality, non-mainstream science, and mystical practices to find the deeper meaning of life and the universe. Emerging with a profound understanding of the hidden truths of reality, he is now on a mission to help people transform their lives and the world.

Through his books, articles, and online communities, he aims to guide people to awaken their consciousness and rise above their limited sense of self to live a deeply meaningful and enlightened life.

In his new book Reality Unveiled, Ziad Masri takes you on a profound journey into the heart of existence, revealing a breathtaking hidden reality that could transform your life forever. http://realityunveiled.com/

New Consciousness Radio
Unveiling the Nature of Reality with Ziad Masri

Such heavy times we live in, and so paradoxical… for while we have enormous material prosperity, light-speed digital connection, and fingertip access to nearly the entire history of human knowledge, we are strategically divided and frightened, force fed by a propagandized media and entertainment complex, and under the influence of a cultural sickness that values death above life.

In a reality such as this, planet earth is too oft viewed as an arena of conflict rather than a sea of possibility, and in this age, the gravity of lower consciousness is mighty heavy.

An upward shift in consciousness is the only way for the human race to survive this dilemma.

But the shift is not something that happens once, then is complete forever. It is more akin to sailing the high seas in a one-man sloop, where constant attention must be given to the tautness of its sails, or else the vessel sets aimlessly adrift.

Whichever direction the human race chooses to go is always the direct result of the level of consciousness in which individuals and the collective move from. If we make decisions and take action when fear, anxiety, scarcity, stress, and anger are at the helm, then we are certainly doomed. Should we, however, approach our burgeoning problems with care, creativity and respect for life, then any righteous outcome is possible. And likely.

The catch, though, is while we can direct the power of intention to elevate the spirit and experience first hand the rewards of higher consciousness, the downward pressures of society tend to draw us into dis-remembrance, leading to unwitting abdication of our personal power, and hence spiritual depletion. In this way we are too easily swept along with the prevailing winds of popular hysteria, mindlessly indulging in lower frequency mindsets.

Consciousness is eternally dynamic. Often a mere passing glance at the right idea is enough to rekindle the desire to see the manifestation of the higher self. For this, consider the following requisites for avoiding today’s traps of lower consciousness.

1.) Breakaway From the Popular Narrative and Create Your Own

So much energy is lost in the pursuit of the popular narrative of reality. They call it current events because the ever-evolving story is intended to carry you, your thoughts, and your focus away, toward some frivolous destination. The juicy stream of drama and detail that surfaces in media is formulated to commandeer your attention and direct it onto the destructive and consumptive qualities of the human experience. Attention is a most valuable commodity today, too valuable to give away, in fact.

Abandon the mainline script, jump ship, and direct your focus onto the story you are creating about your own life. Turn off, tune out and reject that which does not serve you well, and in this way you may retain ownership of your conscious self, avoiding the pitfalls of the reptilian and hive minds.

2.) Disengage in Confusion and Conflict for the Pursuit of Clarity

So much of public discourse today is a mindless exercise in chaos, and argumentation has supplanted thoughtfulness and respectful conversation. Confusion is the order of the day.

When the waters of the mind are agitated and disturbed by meritless conflict it is impossible to maintain a course toward the higher self. Clarity is a prize, and any activities, or non-activities, which serve to narrow your focus onto the truly important aspects of life, like self-development, are essential to spiritual growth and happiness. If it does not directly affect you, let others fight about it if they choose, while you practice laughter.

3.) Cultivate Meaning and Mythology in Your Life

What gives purpose to your daily actions? What is your ruling myth? Are you following the archetype of the hero, the caregiver, the rebel? What stirs your heart and kindles your passion? Do you even know?

So much of the noise in our culture confuses our daily purpose, distracting us from our personal path, and unless we stay aware of and continually assimilate our experiences and attitudes, always striving to maintain a genuine reason for our actions, we we sink along with the mundane into frustration and apathy. A day lost is like a year lost, you can’t retrieve them again. Life is much more rich, and happiness comes much more naturally when accept the challenge of creating purpose for ourselves.

Without myth and meaning in life, we a free-floating in the void, and anything flashy that comes along will auto magically fill the empty space, for better or for worse.

Final Thoughts

Such divisive, brutal, and uncertain times demand that we take ownership of our own hearts and minds. When we do this, we naturally experience the joys of higher consciousness, and then, only then, are we able to be effective in the greater struggle to achieve balance and equity in our ailing world. To be a change-maker, you must first and foremost make positive and lasting changes in yourself.

Dylan Charles is a student and teacher of Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, a practitioner of Yoga and Taoist arts, and an activist and idealist passionately engaged in the struggle for a more sustainable and just world for future generations. He is the editor of WakingTimes.com, the proprietor of OffgridOutpost.com, a grateful father and a man who seeks to enlighten others with the power of inspiring information and action. He may be contacted at wakingtimes@gmail.com.

This article (3 Things You Must Do to Avoid the Popular Trap of Lower Consciousness) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Dylan Charles and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.
Source: Waking Times


#1 New York Times Bestseller!

In her latest book, The Universe Has Your Back, New York Times best-selling author Gabrielle Bernstein teaches readers how to transform their fear into faith in order to live a divinely guided life. Each story and lesson in the book guides readers to release the blocks to what they most long for: happiness, security, and clear direction. The lessons help readers relinquish the need to control so they can relax into a sense of certainty and freedom. Readers will learn to stop chasing life and truly live.

Making the shift from fear to faith will give readers a sense of power in a world that all too often makes them feel utterly powerless. When the tragedies of the world seem overwhelming, this book will help guide them back to their true power.

Gabrielle says, “My commitment with this book is to wake up as many people as possible to their connection to faith and joy. In that connection, we can be guided to our true purpose: to be love and spread love. These words can no longer be cute buzz phrases that we merely post on social media. Rather, these words must be our mission. The happiness, safety, and security we long for lies in our commitment to love.”

When readers follow this path, they’ll begin to feel a swell of energy move through them. They will find strength when they are down, synchronicity and support when they’re lost, safety in the face of uncertainty, and joy when they are otherwise in pain. Follow the secrets revealed in this book to unleash the presence of your power and know always that The Universe Has Your Back.

Gabrielle is the New York Times best-selling author of May Cause Miracles. She appears regularly as an expert on NBC’s Today Show, has been featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday as a next-generation thought leader, and was named “a new role model” by the New York Times. She is also the author of the books Add More ~ing to Your Life, Spirit Junkie and her newest book Miracles Now. Gabrielle is the founder HerFuture.com, a social networking site for women to inspire, empower and connect.

Youtube named Gabrielle one of 16 Youtube Next Video Bloggers, she was named one of Mashable’s 11 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts for Inspiration and she’s featured on the Forbes List of 20 Best Branded Women. Gabrielle has a monthly segment on the Today show and weekly radio show on Hay House Radio. She has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times Sunday Styles, ELLE, OWN, Kathy Lee & Hoda, Oprah Radio, Anderson Live, Access Hollywood, Marie Claire, Health, SELF, Women’s Health, Glamor, The New York Times Thursday Styles, Sunday Times UK, featured on the cover Experience Life and Self-Made Magazines (top 50 Women in Business) and many more.

For gabrielle’s free videos and meditations visit http://gabbyb.tv/. Check out Gabrielle’s latest release: the Spirit Junkie Alarm App: http://gabbyb.tv/spirit-junkie-app

An Interview with Marianne Williamson on the role of the feminine, meditation and engaged spirituality in today’s world by Etan Ilfeld…

Etan Ilfeld: I notice that you mention God a lot, but you always use the masculine – why is that?

Marianne Williamson: I actually wrote a book called a Woman’s Worth, and it’s all about the Goddess – but I write primarily on the principles of the Course In Miracles. There’s one Truth and it’s spoken in many different ways. I do believe that they’re all just kaleidoscopic visions of universal, spiritual themes. But as someone who does lecture and write on the Course in Miracles, that is the language of the course; the traditional Judeo-Christian ‘God’ is He, and as I am Jewish and was raised Jewish, God being a he was never a problem for me. I appreciate that this may be a problem for some people and by all means they should use the language that works for them. Nobody up there is going “oh my god, get the words right!”

EI: Alanis Morissette played God in the film Dogma…
MW: As the Course in Miracles says, words are, at best, symbols. Now, I will say this as far as God being ‘he’. In the eastern religions there’s the Yin and the Yang. Yin is the feminine, earth principle and Yang is the masculine, sky or spirit principle. Now we call ‘Mother Earth’ feminine all the time – I never hear a man say “Why do we call it Mother Earth? Why don’t we call it FATHER Mother Earth?!”. Instinctively we relate to the energies of the earth as female; it’s kind of like a male or female plug, it’s not a genital issue, but it is a profound sense that the masculine enters into the feminine. In the sense that God is Masculine, Humanity is she, and the idea of God entering your heart, which is the mystical Christic perspective, that you are penetrated and impregnated by God, and out of your humanity, which is feminine, there is born the Christ which is neither masculine nor feminine. And so, there are ways in which the beautiful interplay of the masculine and feminine is experienced, as long as we keep it out of our anthropomorphic gender, genital based filters.

EI: You described a pseudo-Buddhist piece of Graffiti you once saw: “Don’t just do something, sit there!” . The Ego always wants to do something, and it’s important to, as you put it, “quietly seek the peace of God”. So often we forget that knowing how to not-do, is an action, too.

MW: Well, living in the modern world, we are constantly barraged by a clutter of ultimately meaningless stimulus. That’s day in, day out. Our ancestors didn’t have to deal with that, and the human brain literally is not set for that. When you do physical exercise you are training your physical muscles so that you can move. When you do spiritual exercise, you are training your internal, attitudinal muscles so you can remain motionless and non-reactive. People have no impulse control, the whole world has shpilkes, where the nervous system is like a crystal vase, too much water is coming in and everyone’s nervous system is shattered! And that’s what meditation helps with.

A lot of the spiritual reclamation of the soul has to do with the cultivation of a quiet mind, a quiet environment. In Judaism and Christianity, there is an expression: ‘the small still voice for God’. The ego speaks first and speaks loudest. And meditation gives us the capacity to hear this small still voice, that will not impose itself upon you but is there. Through meditation, prayer, serious spiritual practice we become finely tuned intuitional instruments.

EI: I understand you’ve got a new book coming out soon. I’d love to hear what it’s about.
MW: The title is ‘Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment’. View Here There has developed in our culture a way we’ve put a cheap yellow smile, the happy face, all over everything. It has given us a distrust of unhappiness. And just as there are storms in nature, and they serve a function, there are storms in normal life. People die, divorce, heartbreak, grief, financial loss, financial ruin, recovery, losing your job… and these can lead to very dark nights of trhe soul. What I think of as a psycho-therapeutic-pharmacological-industrial complex has kind of appropriated depression for its own purposes over the last few years, and woe to the person who questions that. Many depressing periods in life are certainly, validly deemed spiritual crises. And some may say “but you’re not a doctor!” and to them I would say, “How can I look to your mindset to heal a crisis of the soul if you don’t even acknowledge that the soul exists I hear people say that they have an anxiety disorder – this whole nation has an anxiety disorder!

Unfettered global capitalism is insane. The way we treat the planet is insane. We now know you can’t talk about the mental and emotional problems of an adolescent outside the context of the full family system. I think that now we need to talk about how we can’t take about the nature of individual suffering outside the context of the social-political structures of the nation. I think the issue is for us to realise is that over the last 100 years we have taken suffering and made it so much the issue of the individual that this has kept us from recognising some of the larger social forces that are depressing all of us, and that then keeps us from changing those forces.

EI: A Course in Miracles talks a lot about how Love and Fear are powerful drivers – the drivers. There’s a sentence that talks about how military power might try to take on terrorism, but only love has the power to dismantle the hate from which terrorism emerges. Could you explain that?

MW: First of all if, in the years previous to 9/11 if more people had seen the American flag decal on schools, roads, hospitals, supporting what they knew to be genuinely democratic institutions, then I think there might not have been a 9/11. There is no way to overestimate the part that the invasion of Iraq played in the creation of ISIL. In terms of spirituality, we have atoning to do. I don’t think Germany would be doing as well as it is today socially and economically if they had not done full mea culpa, full atonement, including reparations after World War 2.

Nations atone – the same spiritual principles that rule the transformation of an individual apply to a nation, because the nation is just a group of individuals. So, I don’t expect Tony Blair or George Bush to get on TV sometime soon and atone, but I think that is what we can do. The energy that pervades a system when a critical mass of the population comes to a new way of thinking can not be overestimated. The geopolitical economic principles that rule our society are not based on love, they’re based on short term economic gain for huge multinational corporate forces. As long as that is our bottom line as opposed to genuine humanitarian concern for a real effort to assuage unnecessary human suffering on this planet, then that will continue. Only deep spiritual reflectiveness and activism can make it right.

About the author: Marianne Williamson is an American spiritual teacher, author and lecturer. She has published eleven books, including four New York Times number one bestsellers. She is the founder of Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area, and the co-founder of The Peace Alliance, a grassroots campaign supporting legislation to establish a United States Department of Peace. She serves on the Board of Directors of the RESULTS organization, which works to end poverty in the United States and around the world. Williamson is also the force behind Sister Giant, a series of seminars and teaching sessions that provides women with the information and tools needed to be political candidates. Through these seminars, she encourages women to run for office and align their politics with their spiritual values.

You can listen to the full interview on Watkins Books youtube channel.

Source: Watkins Magazine

Following her near-death experience as shared in the New York Times bestseller Dying to Be Me, Anita Moorjani knows well the truths that exist beyond common knowledge and acceptance. The clarity she has gained has led her to further understand who she was born to be.

Part of that truth has involved contemplating the cultural myths infused into our everyday lives. Passed down from generation to generation, these myths are pervasive and influential. From the belief we reap what we sow to the idea we must always be positive, cultural myths are often accepted as truths without questioning. Moorjani asserts it is now time for questioning in order to help us reach our fully informed, authentic selves.

Moorjani explores these common myths in their real-world existence while presenting examples from her own life that reveal the falsehoods beneath the surface. By freeing ourselves from these ubiquitous expectations, we can break open an honest pathway to life as it was meant to be lived.

From the Author

Several of you have written to me saying “How can this possibly be heaven? If this is heaven, why does it feel like hell??” And I want to say that I’m actually not surprised by that reaction, and even when I came up with the title, I expected some of you to say that to me!! So let me explain. Many years ago, my life was hell too. I was bullied very badly as a child, and was taunted and discriminated against for the color of my skin and my family origin–something I had no control over. That really made my life miserable. And it certainly felt like hell when I was going through cancer, being in constant pain and fear for all those years.

Life truly was a struggle for me, and I lived in immense fear for a huge part of my life. I had always believed that life happens to us. In other words, I believed that I was a victim of my circumstances, so I was always reacting to life instead of creating life. Of course I didn’t believe I created my life circumstances. Who would create a childhood of bullying and discrimination, all of which shaped my thinking? Who would choose to be born as a woman into a culture that still believes women are inferior to men? Who would create cancer in their own life? Of course I was a victim of my circumstances. Or so I thought…until I “died”.

It’s been 10 years since I faced death and came out the other side. Now when I look back at these past 10 years, I can see that my life is so drastically different from what it was prior, that I sometimes wonder whether I actually came back from death, or whether I’m still in the other realm. All the fear I used to have, all the pain, all the insecurity – they are all gone! So much so that I wonder whether I’m still dead and this is heaven! Every day, I get to do stuff I love to do! Of course this feels like heaven!

But then I read the letters I have received over the last few years from so many of you, where you share your pain, and your fears. And also, I take a look around at the world around us. And it all brings me back down to earth. And I wonder, “Why can’t we all create this state of heaven for ourselves? What is preventing us from doing it? Why did it take death for me to realize how to live my life? Isn’t it a wasted life if people only learn the truth of how to live when they die?”

Those are the questions that inspired me to write this book. I don’t want you to have to wait until you die to learn how to live. Remember, we are all connected, and I feel what you feel. This book comes from my heart to yours.

Much Love,

Anita

LOOK INSIDE

★ ANITA MOORJANI: How to Find Heaven on Earth + Guided Meditation | Dying to Be Me

SHOW INTRODUCTION:
If you’ve ever thought we’ve got things flip-flopped backwards and upside-down on Earth, then do we have the Heaven on Earth show for you!

Today I’ll be talking with Anita Moorjani, the New York Times Best-selling author of Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing; and a guest I’ve been looking forward to speaking with for as long as we’ve had this show. She’s now the author of a beautiful new book, with a fantastic orange rose on the cover, What If This Is Heaven?: How Our Cultural Myths Prevent Us from Experiencing Heaven on Earth.

And that’s what I want to talk with her about today, how our cultural myths prevent us from experiencing Heaven on Earth and unconditional love.

That plus we’ll talk about, chocolate and deserts, perfume and handbags, cities vs. seaside’s, skirts and synchronicities, the significance of orange roses, and what in the world Battlestar Galactica, has to do with anything!

Everyone has things in their past that linger no matter how much we want to forget them.
Bitter memories, whether form childhood or broken relationships, can be hard to forgive. Then there are failures in one’s career that create self-doubt and insecurity today. The key is learning how to forgive and forget. Being able to forgive allows you to let go of the past. This isn’t something that always comes easily. Holding on to old grudges, resenting an ex-spouse, rekindling ancient grievances–the range of troubles brought on by an inability to forgive the past is vast. At any given moment, the majority of wars and civil conflicts around the world would end if one or both sides could simply forgive. Why don’t they?

The answers take us to the individual level, because no matter how large or small the conflict, lack of forgiveness is personal. Think back to someone you can’t forgive, and your reason will fall into the following categories:

You’re waiting to be proved right.

You still want revenge.

You feel a sense of righteous anger.

You’re sure the other side doesn’t deserve forgiveness.

You think they should forgive you first.

They crossed a line that should never be crossed.

You’re so emotional you can’t even think about forgiveness.

You’re scarred by a deep wound.

You don’t believe in forgiveness to begin with.

Human psychology is complex, and when hostility has a tangled story behind it, almost all of these reasons could be involved. Grudges fester and take on a life of their own when forgiveness isn’t present. I think it’s unrealistic to forgive someone unless you’ve actually resolved the reasons you have for blaming them. “Just let go” sounds good, but psychologically speaking it takes a process before you feel ready to drop your grievance.

The steps of forgiveness are straightforward enough, and we’ve all gone through them.

1. You decide that being angry and resentful has lasted long enough.

2. Your sense of blame no longer dominates.

3. A circumstance arises that allows you to communicate your desire to forgive.

4. You open yourself up to the one who hurt or offended you.

5. Better feelings begin to flow between you.

6. You see the other person’s viewpoint.

7. The old grudge is settled and no longer has the energy to spring up again.

These steps form a sequence that can only unfold if you take the first step, deciding that you’ve had enough of blame, anger, and resentment. In other words, there must be a shift by the rational mind. Anger is a powerful emotion, but not all-powerful. It can be subdued by reason, and in most cases, finding a reason to start the process of forgiveness is absolutely necessary.

Faced with something or someone you simply cannot forgive, including yourself, you need to reverse the reasons that keep you holding on to your anger and blame. Let’s review them in that light.

You’re waiting to be proved right.

Reversal: You realize that it’s not that important to be right. Good relations with anyone else, including your past self, depend on flexibility, a give and take. Besides, the act of waiting keeps you stuck. If you want to move on with your life, being stuck in the past prevents that from happening.

You still want revenge.

Reversal: Test the proposition that revenge is sweet. How often does revenge only bring on the next argument, war, or resentment? Consider that things will happen after you get your revenge, and those things aren’t under your control. Since revenge is almost never a final act, unintended consequences always loom. Finally, admit to yourself that the fantasy of revenge is an empty form of self-gratification.

You feel a sense of righteous anger.

Reversal: Feeling righteous is a way to connect a destructive emotion (anger, blame, resentment) to something positive, a sense of justice. But in reality the emotion hasn’t lost its negativity; you’ve merely cloaked it in a rationalization. True justice is impartial. It requires the kind of balanced equanimity that anger only distorts.

You’re sure the other side doesn’t deserve forgiveness.

Reversal: Apply common sense. Have others in your situation found a way to forgive? Did that decision work out better than holding on to a grievance forever? Look at the other side as impartially as you can. Do you see nothing but unmitigated wrong? Perhaps your certainty has stubborn bias behind it.

You think they should forgive you first.

Reversal: Consider what you would lose if you made the first move. Would you actually lose anything? Fears of being humiliated, rebuffed, or opposed are based on emotion. If you examine hostile situations that were peacefully settled, the side that stepped forward first is usually given the most credit.

They crossed a line that should never be crossed.

Reversal: Soften your absolutist position. Think of a line you crossed. Consider why it happened. The cause won’t simply be black and white. Once you can see your own transgressions with shades of gray, seeing someone else’s transgression no longer demands an absolutist judgment.

You’re so emotional you can’t even think about forgiveness.

Reversal: Consider the drawbacks of being dominated by anger and resentment. Forget the voice that tells you how good it is to forgive, how much bigger you will seem, etc. Instead, go into the negative emotion itself. work with it; get it to start to move. No one can take responsibility for your anger except you, and you won’t do that until you realize that negativity has made you its victim.

You’re scarred by a deep wound.

Reversal: consider if living in the present isn’t a way to heal old wounds–it often is. When you place your allegiance on the past, you are living in unreality. Wounds are one thing, but having a life here and now is another. The first step in psychological healing is the willingness to let get of ghosts from the past. You are not now the person you were then.

You don’t believe in forgiveness to begin with.

Reversal: this is rarely true. If you can find a single thing, however small, that you forgave, you will have to admit that in fact you do believe in forgiveness. You just haven’t gotten around to believing in it for this particular grievance. but if an eye for an eye is a moral doctrine that you owe strong allegiance to, be prepared to live with its consequences–they won’t be pretty.

If you sincerely try to reverse your reasons for withholding forgiveness, results will follow. It’s in your self-interest to forgive, but this realization cannot arrive as long as your consciousness is dominated by the illusion that anger is the right road to follow. Examine the beliefs that lie behind your allegiance to blame and resentment. This isn’t the same as healing, and it won’t bring automatic forgiveness. However, once you start to reverse your beliefs, new energies can enter the situation, and it’s these that bring healing.

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. The World Post and The Huffington Post global internet survey ranked Chopra #17 influential thinker in the world and #1 in Medicine. Chopra is the author of more than 80 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are Super Genes co-authored with Rudolph Tanzi, PhD and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine. http://www.deepakchopra.com
Source: Linkedin

Do You Meet These 16 Markers of a Higher Consciousness?

See how you resonate with the 16 characteristics of this evolved level of human consciousness, as described by Ervin Laszlo…

1. I am part of the world. The world is not outside of me, and I am not outside of the world. The world is in me, and I am in the world.

2. I am part of nature, and nature is part of me. I am what I am in my communication and communion with all living things. I am an irreducible and coherent whole with the web of life on the planet.

3. I am part of society, and society is part of me. I am what I am in my communication and communion with my fellow humans. I am an irreducible and coherent whole with the community of humans on the planet.

4. I am more than a skin-and-bone material organism. My body, and its cells and organs, are manifestations of what is truly me: a self-sustaining, self-evolving dynamic system arising, persisting and evolving in interaction with everything around me.

I am part of nature, and nature is part of me.

I am part of nature, and nature is part of me.

5. I am [an] evolved manifestation of the drive toward coherence and wholeness in the universe. It is the same essence, the same spirit that is inherent in all the things that arise and evolve in nature, whether on this planet or elsewhere in the infinite reaches of space and time.

6. There are no absolute boundaries and divisions in this world, only transition points where one set of relations yields prevalence to another. In me, in this self-maintaining and self-evolving coherence – and wholeness-oriented system, the relations that integrate the cells and organs of my body are prevalent.

7. The separate identity I attach to other humans and other things is but a convenient convention that facilitates my interaction with them. My family and my community are just as much “me” as the organs of my body. My body and mind, my family and my community, are interacting and interpenetrating, variously prevalent elements in the network of relations that encompasses all things in nature and the human world.

8. There are no “others” in the world: We are all living systems and we are all part of each other. The whole gamut of concepts and ideas that separates my identity, or the identity of any person or community, from the identity of other persons and communities are manifestations of this convenient but arbitrary convention.

My family and my community are just as much “me” as the organs of my body.

My family and my community are just as much “me” as the organs of my body.

9. Attempting to maintain the system I know as “me” through ruthless competition with the system I know as “you” is a grave mistake. It could damage the integrity of the embracing whole that frames both your life and mine. I cannot preserve my own life and wholeness by damaging that whole, even if damaging a part of it seems to bring me a short-term advantage. When I harm you, or anyone else around me, I harm myself.

10. Collaboration, not competition, is the royal road to the wholeness that hallmarks healthy systems in the world. Collaboration calls for empathy and solidarity, and ultimately for love. We are part of the same whole and so are part of each other.

11. The idea of “self-defense,” even of “national defense,” needs to be rethought. Patriotism if it aims to eliminate adversaries by force, and heroism even in the well-meaning execution of that aim, are mistaken aspirations. Comprehension, conciliation, and forgiveness are not signs of weakness; they are signs of courage.

12. “The good” for me and for every person in the world is not the possession and accumulation of personal wealth. Wealth, in money or in any material resource, is but a means for maintaining myself in my environment. Exclusive wealth is a threat to all people in the human community.

13. Beyond the sacred whole we recognize as the world in its totality, only life and its development have what philosophers call intrinsic value. All other things have merely instrumental value: value insofar as they add to or enhance intrinsic value. Material things in the world, and the energies and substances they harbor or generate, have value only if and insofar they contribute to life and well-being in the web of life on this Earth.

Collaboration, not competition.

Collaboration, not competition.

14. The true measure of my accomplishment and excellence is my readiness to give. Not the amount of what I give is the measure of my accomplishment and excellence, but the relation between what I give, and what my family and I need to live and to thrive.

15. Every healthy person has pleasure in giving: It is a higher pleasure than having. I am healthy and whole when I value giving over having. Sharing enhances the community of life, while possessing and accumulating creates demarcation, invites competition, and fuels envy. The share-society is the norm for all the communities of life on the planet; the have-society is typical only of modern-day humanity, and it is an aberration.

16. I recognize the aberration of modern-day humanity from the universal norm of coherence in the world, acknowledge my role in having perpetrated it. I pledge my commitment to restoring wholeness and coherence by becoming whole myself: whole in my thinking and acting — in my consciousness.

If you had an “aha experience” while reading even just one of these ideas, you have the foundations of Akashic [Unity] consciousness. And if you had this experience all the way through, you already possess this crucial consciousness.

Feature Image: Artist unknown

Source: Uplift Connect


There is more to meditation than simply sitting quietly and emptying our mind. When we look within and practice contemplative meditation, we will be able to connect to a higher world, and receive inspirations and guidance to live a better life. This book introduces various types of meditation, including calming meditation, purposeful meditation, reading meditation, reflective meditation, and meditation to communicate with heaven. Through reading and practicing meditation in this book, we can experience the miracle of meditation, which is to start living a life of peace, happiness, and success. With how-tos and answers to common questions about meditation, this simple but profound book will awaken your soul and encourage you to start living a more mindful, positive, and fulfilled life.


RYUHO OKAWA
is a global visionary, renowned spiritual leader, and best-selling author in Japan with a simple goal: to help people ­and true happiness and create a better world. His deep compassion and sense of responsibility for the happiness of each individual has prompted him to publish over 2000 titles of religious, spiritual, and self-development teachings, covering a broad range of topics including how our thoughts influence reality, the nature of love, and the path to enlightenment. He also writes on the topics of management and economy, as well as the relationship between religion and politics in the global context. To date, Okawa’s books have sold over 100 million copies worldwide and been translated into 28 languages.

Okawa has dedicated himself to improving society and creating a better world. In 1986, Okawa founded Happy Science as a spiritual movement dedicated to bringing greater happiness to humankind by uniting religions and cultures to live in harmony. Happy Science has grown rapidly from its beginnings in Japan to a worldwide organization with over 10 million members. Okawa is compassionately committed to the spiritual growth of others. In addition to writing and publishing books, he continues to give lectures around the world.

The Grand Strategy for Prosperity

In this video, Ryuho Okawa talks about the importance of making efforts and not to rely too much on other people or the government. Every one of us must perservere and to keep making efforts that will gradually make your country prosper. He empowers us to survive through tough times and guides us to choose a path to a more positive future.

Please refer to our official website for more information:
http://ryuho-okawa.com

You’re rolling along with a smile on your face and joy in your heart and then BAM! Something hits you. Or should that be someone…?

Whether it’s in person, on the phone, via text, or even on Facebook, you never know when someone is about to pull your trigger. It might be what is said or it might be the way it is said, but a certain combination of words has turned your smile into a frown and your joy into anger.

Sound familiar?

The problem is that your reaction comes from within you and is founded upon your past experience, your world view, and your ego. So regardless of whether or not the other person was trying to hurt you, the pain you feel is in your hands.

Luckily, if the problem stems from within, then the solution also lies in you.

But before you can find that solution, you have to do something quite challenging – you have to be aware.

Awareness sounds easy, right? If that were true, the world would contain far less conflict and negative energy than it does.

In fact, the vast majority of us go through life with only the most fleeting glimpses of true awareness. We neglect to stop and reflect upon our thoughts, to see them objectively for what they are, and instead let the world – and the people in it – direct our emotions and control our minds and mouths.

The truth is, however, that when someone sets off your trigger, you have a choice – one that will determine the course of your life in one way or another. So, awareness is all about recognizing the choice in front of you and making it in the way that puts you most at peace.

Do you retreat into yourself and launch a counter-attack, or do you embrace the opportunity to express your feelings and seek reconciliation?

Luckily, there are some steps you can take whenever you feel a defensive reaction bubbling inside of you:

1. Pause for thought.

When you feel like you are being attacked, the immediate response is usually one of retaliation. Instead, just do nothing at first; reign in your desire to react and take a moment to compose yourself.

Whatever you then decide to do, it will not be driven from those initial, often irrational thoughts.

2. Step into their shoes.

The other person may have said something to cause you offense, but try and look at things from their perspective. See through their eyes and from their mind and search for the thoughts and emotions that have led them to say what they have said.

Not agreeing with someone doesn’t mean you can’t comprehend their reasoning, and instead of going on the counteroffensive and attacking them back, if you can go through their logic, you will be better placed to form a non-inflammatory response.

3. Observe your feelings.

Feelings and thoughts are often mistaken for one another or simply lumped together, but they are, in fact, completely distinct elements of your being.

You can be happy because you achieve something, because you are with loved ones, or simply because it is a beautiful day. The same feeling occurs, but coming from different sources.

Thus, whatever is going on in your head, try to look deeper and really feel the feelings inside. Let go of all the thoughts that might be clouding your mind and just sit and breathe for 10 seconds. By separating and releasing the narrative you’ve created, you are just left with the feelings, and you should find that these subside once they are no longer receiving energy from your thoughts.

4. Know that it’s them, not you.

Whatever has been said or done by the other person, remember that it came from them and because of their world view. They have experienced a completely different life to you and their behavior comes about because of their unique history.

This is not to say that you should absolve them of any responsibility – we are all responsible to life – but you can take comfort in the fact that their attack on you was born in their psyche and it does not have to find a home in yours.

Remember: it’s their issue, not yours.

5. Let the heart drive when responding.

In those circumstances where a response is called for – and bear in mind that sometimes no response is the right response – be sure to come at it from a place of love.

Your mind may create the words and action, but it should be driven by the heart. When you do this, it helps to disarm the other person and pacify the situation at hand.

If you want to receive love, you first have to give it; taking this approach at those times when you’d normally show anger is a sure-fire way to reach a place of peace within yourself.

A defensive reaction to any given situation is one that will rarely result the way you’d have liked. Instead, fight the urge to engage in conflict and use your awareness of yourself, the other person, and the choice at hand to take the most harmonious path available.

This article has been republished from A Conscious Rethink

Living a soulful life in the moment

Too often we blunder through life like automatic robots, waking up to our morning coffees then soldiering on to work, only to return home again to follow the same ritual in the morning once again. Are we really spending time doing things that mean something to us, being present with the people who matter, connected to the richness of life?

Philosopher and writer Alan Watts asks the perennial questions about the meaning of life, taking us on a moving and thought provoking journey that will make you think more deeply about how and who you spend your time with.

A soulful look at living a life that’s alive and full.

Published on Jul 26, 2016

A film I made last night based on my favourite quotes from Alan Watts about how the way of looking at your life as a journey can be the most destructive way. Please have a listen to his wise words.

Scenes from Tree of Life

The Truths We’re Distracting Ourselves From

Dualistic notions, such as birth and death, being and non-being, sameness and otherness, coming and going, are the foundation of all afflictions. Meditating on the three doors of liberation helps us throw away these notions. The three doors of liberation, which are taught in every Buddhist tradition, are emptiness, signlessness, and aimlessness. Contemplating these three profound truths can help liberate us from fear and suffering. They are our doorways to freedom.

Living mindfully and with concentration, we see a deeper reality and are able to witness impermanence without fear, anger, or despair. Nirvana is not a place to get to. It’s not something in the future that we’re trying to reach. Nirvana is available to us right now. Emptiness, signlessness, and aimlessness are called the three doors of liberation because if we meditate on them, they will liberate us from all kinds of discriminative thinking so we can touch our true nature.

The three doors of liberation – emptiness, signlessness, and aimlessness.

The three doors of liberation – emptiness, signlessness, and aimlessness.

No Self: The Perfect Communication

The first door of liberation is emptiness. Emptiness is not a philosophy; it is a description of reality. Suppose you have two glasses, one full of tea and one without any tea. You would describe the glass without tea as empty, but empty of what? The glass is empty of tea, but it’s full of air. And the glass itself still exists, whether or not it contains any tea. Emptiness does not mean non-being. There is a big difference between emptiness and non-existence. In order to be empty, you have to be there.

Emptiness is always emptiness of something, just as consciousness is always consciousness of something. When we look into a beautiful chrysanthemum, we see that everything in the cosmos is present in that flower—clouds, sunshine, soil, minerals, space, and time. The flower can’t exist by itself alone. The glass, the flower, everything inside us and around us, and we ourselves are only empty of one thing: a separate independent existence.

The simplest description of emptiness in the Buddhist teachings is this sentence: This is because that is. A flower cannot exist by itself alone. To be can only mean to inter-be. To be by oneself alone is impossible. Everything else is present in the flower; the only thing the flower is empty of is itself.

Looking in this way, we begin to see that everything has the nature of emptiness. Sometimes that nature of emptiness is called non-self. But don’t worry, non-self doesn’t mean that you aren’t there. Just as the glass that’s empty of tea still exists, you still exist too, even without a separate self.

When we look at an action, we believe there needs to be a separate actor existing behind it. The wind blows, yet really there is no blower. There is only the wind, and if it doesn’t blow, it’s not the wind at all.

When we have a thought, we may believe there’s a thinker existing separately from the thought. As we cannot find a blower outside of the wind, nor a rainer outside of the rain, in the same way, there is no thinker existing outside of a thought. When we think something, we are those thoughts. We and our thoughts are not separate. When we say something, those words are us; there’s no speaker outside of the words. When we do something, our action is us. There’s no actor outside of the action.

When we think something, we are those thoughts.

When we think something, we are those thoughts.

There is a verse that’s sometimes recited before bowing to a statue of the Buddha that goes:

The one who bows
and the one who is bowed to
are both by nature empty.
Therefore the communication between us
is inexpressibly perfect.

A buddha is made only of non-buddha elements, just as I am made only of non-me elements. If you remove the non-me elements from me—the sun, the dirt, the garbage, the minerals, the water, my parents, and my society—there’s no me left. If you remove the non-buddha elements from a buddha, there’s no buddha left. Communication is perfect when we can understand that the one who bows and the one who is bowed to are both empty. This is meditation.

If we look at a child, we can see that we are fully present in every cell of that child. If we can’t understand how that child could possibly act a certain way, it’s helpful to remember that the child doesn’t have a separate self. A child’s parents and ancestors are inside of him. When he walks and talks, they walk and talk as well.

When we can see those around us with this understanding, instead of with anger and attachment, we enjoy the fruit of the contemplation on emptiness.

A child’s parents and ancestors are inside of him.

A child’s parents and ancestors are inside of him.

No Form: The Wonderful Journey of Singlessness

The second door of liberation is signlessness. A sign marks the appearance of something, its form. We recognize things based on their sign, but we are often fooled by the outer form of things. The Buddha said, “Where there is a sign, there is deception.”

For example, when we look up at the sky, we see a particular cloud. But if we look long enough, it seems the cloud we are looking at disappears. The cloud has become rain, mist, or snow, and we don’t recognize it anymore.

If you’ve grown attached to that cloud, you may think, “Oh, my beloved cloud, where are you now? I miss you. You’ve passed from being into non-being. I can’t see you anymore.” Maybe you don’t feel this way about a cloud, but this is certainly how you feel when you lose someone who is close to you. Just yesterday your friend was still alive. Now it seems that she has passed from being into non-being.

But in fact, our cloud is still there, because it’s impossible for a cloud to die. It may become snow, hail, or rain, but it won’t become nothing. It’s impossible to pass from being into non-being. Your beloved one is still somewhere there. If you have the wisdom of signlessness, you can still recognize your beloved one in her new forms.

Imagine that I pour some tea from a teapot into an empty glass. When I drink the tea, it changes form. If I give a talk soon after drinking that tea, the talk will have a little bit of tea in it. So the tea is not just in the pot. It has a journey. It travels and has many forms.

This is true for us as well. We are not only the body, thoughts, and feelings we have right now. Every thought, word, and action we produce continues after our bodies have disintegrated. We don’t need to worry about no longer existing. Our forms change, but nothing is lost. Whether the cloud has the form of a cloud, the rain, the river, or the tea, it continues on its wonderful journey.

Whether the cloud has the form of a cloud, the rain, or the tea, it continues on its journey.

Whether the cloud has the form of a cloud, the rain, or the tea, it continues on its journey.

No Goal: The Happiness of Aimlessness

The third door of liberation is aimlessness. Aimlessness means you don’t put anything in front of you as the object of your pursuit. What you are looking for is not outside of you; it is already here. You already are what you want to become. Concentrating on aimlessness releases your longing and craving for something in the future and elsewhere.

You may be running all your life instead of living it. You may be running after happiness, love, romance, success, or enlightenment. Concentrating on aimlessness consists of removing the object of your pursuit, your goal. If you are running after nirvana, you should know that nirvana is already there in yourself and in everything. If you are running after the Buddha, be aware that the Buddha is already in you. If you are seeking happiness, be aware that happiness is available in the here and now.

This insight helps you stop running. Only when you stop running can you get the fulfillment and happiness you have been looking for. A wave doesn’t have to go and look for water. It is water right in the here and now. A cedar tree doesn’t have any desire to be a pine or a cypress or even a bird. It’s a wonderful manifestation of the cosmos just as it is. You are the manifestation of the cosmos. You are wonderful just like that.

Only when you stop running can you get fulfillment and happiness.

Only when you stop running can you get fulfillment and happiness.

We are taught to think that if we are aimless, we won’t get anywhere. But where are we going? We think we are born and we have to achieve something before we die. Suppose we draw a line from left to right, representing the course of time. We pick one point—call it Point B—and we call it birth. Someone is born in this moment. We make a birth certificate for this baby, thinking that person exists starting at Point B. But in fact, the child was already there. Even before the moment of conception, the seeds of the child existed in other forms. Point B is a moment of continuation. There is no beginning.

We think there will be a moment when we stop being. On the imaginary line we have drawn, let’s call it Point D, death. We believe that at birth we passed from non-being into being, and we believe that at death we will pass from being back into non-being. Looking deeply into our notions of being and non-being, aware of the emptiness and signlessness of all things, we touch the reality of the birthless and deathless nature of all things.

When we walk through the doors of liberation, we extinguish all notions. There is no longer any need for fear. If the wave knows how to rest in the water, she enjoys going up and she enjoys going down. She’s not afraid of being and non-being. She’s not afraid of coming and going. She is capable of touching the ocean in herself. The three doors of liberation remind us that we are no different than the wave: empty, signless, and able to touch the ultimate inherent in us at any moment.

Source: UPLIFT

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