Divine Balance

cloud-754365_1280pixabayHere’s a thought I keep having, based on my own inner, gut intuition. I feel the Divine is not one gender or the other, but both. It seems a duality based, humanistic standard to judge the Divine by the boxes of separation we place ourselves into.

To me the Divine feels very Feminine, yet also has very Masculine energy. If we have both (and we do) then how can the Divine only have one or the other? It is Balance Supreme. We humans are the ones who are in a state of separation and dualism. Our ultimate goal seems to be to return to the Oneness, not continue seeking which side is the “right” one.

Feminine and Masculine have truly been out of balance for endless ages. I see and feel it in the Earth and her people. I feel it in myself and in others. We all have this imbalance. I hope we can heal it by seeing the wholeness of all. Loving all of it. If we honor only one, we surely suppress the other. We will come further with healing ourselves if we seek balance and wholeness, which is truly Divine. The Divine cannot be separated at Its core.

Giving and Receiving Our Talents

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Photo: Pixabay

Many of us wrestle with an underlying feeling that it is not OK for us to succeed at anything we attempt. This deeply buried belief keeps us from fully embracing our talents and our own understanding of God. We hold ourselves back. We self-sabotage and we keep ourselves small.

For years, I felt it was not safe and somehow wrong for me to fully express myself or to allow myself to receive anything in return for my talents. I subconsciously felt intimidated and resentful of others who were free of this belief and who lived in grace and abundance.

I told myself it was much more important to be a good person, to love others and serve Truth, God. I believed that it was impossible to do these things while feeling whole and being blessed in life. As if being happy, safe and well somehow nullified any good that had been done. What I am realizing is that I can serve God best by fully being the light I was created to be, by fully using my talent and by fully following my intuition, insight and inspiration. When I do these things, I find that I am serving God and all Creation to the fullest of my ability. I am also happy.

When I shine, I feel most in alignment with God. I recognize that everything each of us does can be done in service of each other and God. It is a matter of doing it from a standpoint of love and service, rather than fear, limit, lack or greed. My being unafraid of my own light allows those around me to also be happy and shine in their own way.

Holding myself separate from those that made more money than me or had more success was being judgmental of them and myself. I saw myself as better or more holy than they were because I had less.

Recently I was listening to a successful musician who chants and sings of the love of the Divine. It was deeply moving and very beautiful. Her face was happy and serene. She embodied the love she sang of. I thought, ‘What a wonderful service she does for all who hear her! She is at peace and encourages that in her behavior and her music. She uplifts others to that same Peace of God.’ And it flooded my awareness that she is a very holy person using her talents to serve others and being rewarded for it. I was grateful that she decided to let her light shine and grateful she earned a living doing it so that as many as possible might be able to hear her.

The most important thing, for me, is to do everything I do in the full service of God and others. It is not for my own ends, though I may greatly enjoy the outcome. The point is to release my own expectations of what I should or should not be provided with and serve. Serve all day, in every way, in everything I do and with every being I encounter. To me this means being happy in myself and happy that I am serving so that I can share my happiness with others in all that I do.

Neuroscience has shown again and again that kindness, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude increase our brain’s capacity for happiness. When we are happy, we have even more to share! It is the same thing that every religious tradition has taught for all of history. It is healthy for us and healthy for those around us. It is freeing and rewarding, both on an energetic and a physical level.

This is being in alignment with a spiritually healthy life and with serving God. This is the opposite of being selfish and greedy. This is actually allowing our cups  to be filled so that it can overflow to others.

As long as we see our abilities as small and our blessings few, we will never be free to fully give of what we have. What is there to give if we don’t believe we have enough or that we are enough? We first must have faith in what we have and be full of gratitude for our talents and the abundance that flows from them. Through this, our talents will expand and so will our service and the rewards that flow from using our talents for the greater good. When we believe we have little and may lose what we have, we don’t allow for anything different to happen.

This all made me think of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, 14-30. The ones who were given talents and made use of them in the world received more talents and were rewarded. The one who hid his talent and made no use of it for fear it would be taken away lost his talent and had nothing. When we use our talents for the good of others, we are rewarded with more. And when we fear we don’t have enough and may lose what we do have, we never enjoy what we have and therefore have already lost it and may lose even more. Those that are grateful don’t demand more, yet they receive it.

Surrender your demands and expectations. Choose to be filled with gratitude and service. By allowing what is good to flow through us, and freely allowing it to flow from us, we honor the flow of giving and receiving. We can stop fighting Universal Law and recognize we are fully part of it. We can open our arms to embrace it, loving it and letting it love us back.

We can celebrate each day and all that flows from us and to us.

Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities

Rights Responsiblities2There seems to be a general clamoring, grasping and hungry dissatisfaction that infects so many individual people across the world. It spreads like a virus from one of us to the other. We often urge each other to carry this misplaced longing for more into the streets, the media, our politics, driving each other to anger and, often to acts of hate or at least unkindness and inconsideration.

I feel in my heart that we all hold the light of God inside of us. None are separate from this, as far as I can see, though some chose to hold themselves as separate. In my eyes, if we all carry the light of God, then we all are the same. Kindness and love are for all, without question.

Most everyone seems to feel that they have had rights taken away and many feel inner shame for taking the rights of others, though the latter are usually too defensive to admit it. In the end, it seems that people everywhere are mad as hell about the whole “rights” and “freedom” issue, regardless of their gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, or anything else.

That leads to a whole lot of people pushing against each other. That is not the same thing as loving each other or being kind. It is not the same thing as recognizing the light of God in ourselves and each other. Whenever you hear someone say, “I have the right to fill in the blank“, that is said from a place of victimhood and anger. It is said with indignation.

I don’t deny that there are injustices. They are everywhere. But becoming reactionary certainly doesn’t resolve that. Many of the greatest injustices are created either by those who have forgotten their own inner light or by those who refuse to recognize it.

When you find yourself using your rights to do or say something unkind, even if you really do have the legal right, maybe it is a good time to consider the other person’s rights, even if only for a moment. Or even more importantly, consider the larger ramifications of the thing you are about to say or do. How will it impact you? How will it impact the other person or the people around you? Does it have possible larger consequences for society or for your family? Every action you do and every word you speak ripples out beyond your immediate sphere. It has an effect on others far beyond what you see right in front of you.

The right to worship as we choose does not mean that we are ought to mock those who don’t choose to worship as we do. It means that we are all free to perceive the world, ourselves and God in whatever way makes sense to us, without forcing those views upon others. That implies respect of each other’s views and an allowance that they will differ. If that respect is present, violence has no need to rear its head.

It may be true that we have the right to express ourselves freely, but does that mean we have to use that right to scornfully condemn or mock another? To use shame to control what another does? We can choose simply express who we are respectfully, with love, honor and dignity for ourselves and all others. We can honor the fact that everyone else has the right to express themselves freely, too. Even if we don’t like what or how they express. Otherwise we are only choosing this freedom for ourselves, not for others.

Maybe a law has given you the right to express yourself in a way that allows you to say cruel things to another, to mock them and ridicule them. Maybe you have the legal right to even say that you want them dead, as long as you make it clear that you are joking or you do it within a creative context. Does this mean it is not hurtful or even frightening for that person or group of people? It would be for me, especially if this was done by a large group of people. This is bullying, not love. It does not honor our inner light. This is one person using their “rights” to violate the rights of another.

How many times in the last 20 to 30 years have you witnessed violence erupting because a person or group of people felt they had to push back because their rights were being violated? Particularly their rights of speech, expression or religion. If you look at the larger picture, how many times has it been because of situations just like the one I just described?

A group standing for their right for something can become very indignant and that can lead to irrational decisions. Our egos get in the way when we are stuck in being right and proving it. We lose sight of the bigger picture and of other people. We forget how to be kind. There are often much more important things than our rights. Like the rights of us all. Like simply being loving and patient and gentle with each soul on this planet instead of running with the belief that any of us have the right to trample on any of the others. Even if they trample us first.

Having the belief that we have to kill or be killed leads to us all treating each other like crap, every day. It leads to more death, war and chaos. There is no chance, ever, for light to come in and let something new grow. We have had a long rampage of destruction, hate and oppression in the world. The only way to stop that and turn it to something new is to be different inside ourselves and in the way we treat each other.

We have to start looking for what we can give to each other and move away from the attitude of concerning ourselves with what others may be trying to take from us. We have to look for opportunities to show compassion and to see the soul of our fellow human, rather than find opportunities to close our hearts and turn away. We have to do the best we can to see the fear that drives us, and recognize that it’s the same fear that drives our fellow human as well. We are not different inside, though we may live our lives in different ways.

We will not all get to the place where we can honor each other’s inner light at once. Try not to concern yourself too much with those who aren’t there yet. That puts you back in the mindset of believing someone else needs to change and the whole cycle starts again. Change yourself and your behaviors. Others will follow. This may be our greatest responsibility to ourselves and to each other. Rights don’t work very well or last very long without honoring that.

Stop Reacting and Look Inside Yourself!

Change yourself tolstoyEvery day I see people saying how much they want there to be love and peace in the world. I do it too. We want people to stop hating, to be kind, to be considerate, compassionate and respectful. We also want people to be wiser, stronger, braver.

In fact, it seems we all have a long list of things we expect from other people. Lots of shoulds and shouldn’ts. Even truly kind, loving and patient people have a hard time making it through an entire day without being rubbed the wrong way or feeling deflated by another’s actions at some point in their day.

There is nothing wrong with having our own perspective of how we wish to see things go. Each of us brings unique view of the world and this world would give us less to learn if that weren’t true.

But what happens when you feel yourself getting aggravated because someone is taking longer than you feel they should in front of you in line? Or they are behind you in line and are rushing you to finish?

What happens when you see a news story where people died because people were displaying their religious or political views in a violent way?

What do you do when someone speaks aggressively to you out of their own hate or their own intolerance for another’s hate? Or in any number of similar situations throughout the day when our views and needs push up against the views and needs of another?

Most all of us react, at least inside ourselves, at least for a moment, by wanting the person we are upset with to behave differently. We are internally alarmed that this person is not following the path we have decided is the safe and appropriate one. We are angry or afraid.

So our typical reaction is to respond by hating back or being angry with those who are angry. So that news story that outraged us? What is outrage but violence? When we rage about something we feel is wrong are we actually changing it or are we sending more hate and anger out into the world?

Emotions can be signals for us to make a change. These emotions are meant to protect us. But we can also get very swept away by the chemical reactions they create in our bodies. We can start to believe everything these chemical reactions tell us and we can develop thoughts and stories–lots of them–to back all this up.

Maybe a change does need to be made when we hear another story about a murder or a suicide or you hear others gossiping. But maybe the first change needs to start with how we respond inside ourselves.

Maybe we can pay attention to how we tend to our emotions and our thoughts and treat them as real things that have an effect on the world, because they do. Other people’s emotions and thoughts are what created the very issues we react to all day, right? We can’t ever change other people’s emotions and thoughts. But we can deal with our own. Those we can change.

When we feel someone is sending anger and hate toward us, it is hard to respond with something different. Your mind tells you it is only safe to respond with anger and hate. But that only creates more of the same. It is the mentality that starts arguments, leads to murders, suicides and wars. It leaves us all empty.

We can teach our brains that it is safe to respond differently. We can learn to respond to our body sensations and our breath and recognize that underneath it all, we are feeling the need to protect ourselves or society. By responding to our immediate surroundings, body sensations and breath, we can begin to calm down a bit. We can see choices.

Sometimes the choice is simply to release the need to react. To have compassion for another’s human failings, just as we have failings throughout our own day. But, even if an action does need to be taken, having the space of calmness opens our mind to seeing what responses might make a true change in the situation. And it allows us to respond with an open heart as well.

Change made from an open heart and an open mind is expansive, creative and loving. It heals. Change that is attempted from a reactionary place of indignation, resentment or outright hate may even lead to something happening. We may even call this a change, but it will seldom be for the long term good and it will never be loving or healing. It is not growth.

I know we really want the world to heal. I know we really want to see, feel and experience love and peace in the world. I know we all want to be supported and accepted in the world. We each have to take our own responsibility for our part in that puzzle.

That doesn’t mean working harder to make the other guy change. It means we each have to keep taking a closer look inside. Over and over, all day long, every single day. And changing ourselves .

Not by shaming ourselves, but by being gentle, loving and strong with ourselves. We have to be our own guides and the kindest parents and teachers we could have ever hoped for.

As we practice that with ourselves each day, we will begin to practice love and kindness with each other more easily. As our sharp reactions change to loving and wise responses, the people around us will begin to respond differently. As our energy shifts, it will ripple out. Start within yourself. Have peace there first.

Healing and Releasing Painful Memories

Painful memoriesSomething I have personally learned is that when people are hurt badly by an experience or a person they tend to cling to it and even begin to identify themselves with that pain and that experience to a large degree. It is not possible to stop forming your identity around that pain and that experience until you forgive the person or persons and let go of the experience that caused your hurt. It has to be released before it will stop hurting you over and over. It is the only way to really care for yourself and heal. Purposely going back and revisiting painful experiences and holding onto hurt feelings is dangerous. You are recreating that pain anew each time and this is only destructive and will lead to anger.

Memories may resurface, but there is no need to dwell in them. Very painful memories can tend to flood us with overwhelming amounts of emotion and it seems to only grow stronger over time when we allow ourselves to stay with the thoughts. Our perception of the memory is not the same any longer. It begins to take on a life of its own and this is how we can form our identity around it. When children have started forming their identities around painful memories, like loss, then it is even more difficult for them to comprehend how to break this cycle and heal. This understanding must come as an adult for them, and it will be a struggle as they continue to cycle back through the pain, thinking they are doomed to live in misery forever. This thought itself perpetuates the cycle and leads them into more difficulty.

Not continuing on with thought processes or speech patterns that follow this cycle can help break it and that is an important thing to do for healing to begin. As long as a person continues to feel that they were wronged, or that something should have gone a different way than it did, that person will continue to feel miserable. Railing against your loss or your suffering in anger and sorrow, no matter how long you do it will never change what happened. It only makes feelings of suffering and anger stronger and the experience of loss or suffering is essentially being relived inside. This can only lead to further harm. It also leads to us creating many incorrect perceptions based on the flooding of pain from previous life stages and previous states of perception. It becomes very difficult to see the peace and happiness that can be found in your present if you are looking at things through a lens of altered perceptions fostered by revisiting painful memories.

However, starting in the present moment and recognizing good things with gratitude is helpful and begins the process to healing and breaking the cycle of going back to pain. Focusing on the small things, like breathing, gradually brings awareness back to what you are feeling right now. This awareness can be used to acknowledge and accept the feelings as they come, learning how to feel them and let them pass without holding onto them. Emotions about very difficult events arise and these emotions are not easy to feel without dwelling, especially at the beginning. Taking five or ten minutes of quiet time in which you can sit alone and let these feelings come is helpful. This is short enough to not be difficult to find in a day and to not allow time for ruminating on the feelings that come up. Each one comes, is recognized, and then is let go. This begins to allow for sorting. The recognition will also come that thoughts and emotions arise but they also fade to the background. This can give a sense of peace that the true inner self is not truly as rocked by external events as we tend to believe.

Facing Fear with Equanimity

 

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Every person is the same at their essence. This is a truth that many accept as a basic concept of life, but it can be very hard to put the concept down and keep this truth in mind in actual life practice. Our emotions (and other people’s emotions) can begin to cloud this truth. We all experience positive and negative emotions. Yet, when we feel a negative emotion, such as fear or anger towards another person, we lose sight of that person’s positive emotions and traits. The same happens when we feel strong positive emotions toward a person. We forget that they have negative emotions that lead them to negative actions. Either way, we have forgotten the truth that this other human is exactly the same at the core of their being.

When we experience fear toward another person that often becomes anger, outrage or hatred. Because we are afraid, we often tell ourselves only negative things about the person. The more we do this, the more the person seems less like a human being and more like a demon, a monster, or a villain. We only make them seem more frightening and we only become more afraid and unable to handle ourselves. This creates a combative stance within us and makes us feel terrible, not to mention that it only worsens the possibility of handling the situation well.

Slowing down a bit when we see a negative response arise in ourselves can give us the few seconds we need to remind ourselves that the other person has positive emotions (and traits) that you may have been unable to notice right in the moment. They are human. Somebody loves them deeply. They hurt and feel fear also. They were once a baby, pure and clean. Seeing all these things can help the mind to let go of the dark curtain and see the other person as simply human. No better than, no worse than, but the same as us all.

It seems we all have a person or a situation that sends our thoughts racing with an emotional extreme. While any emotional extreme can send us reeling, we can recognize that they all pass and wait them out so that we can see the truth behind the clouds.