We Can All Do Better, Start Now

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” -Maya Angelou

Did you notice that Maya Angelou did not say when you know better, you will do better? She said, when you know better, do better. Yes, it is a subtle difference but an important one. Just because we no better does not guarantee that we will do better, does it? If that were the case, the world would be very different than it is today.

You would think as a moral and civilized society that we would? Yes, I know there are times when we do. However, many times we do not, right? Have you ever wondered why that happens? Surely you are curious enough to wonder, aren’t you? It is easy to point figures at the government, some other person or entity, but have you ever asked yourself why don’t I do better when I know better?

For example, you know you should not eat that dessert or a particular food, but you do anyway. You find a way to justify it, just one more time, which turns into ten more times.

We all know that staying healthy requires exercise, but many do not take the time. Saying, I am too busy to exercise, I will start tomorrow, or perhaps you begin for a few days or weeks and then quit. Why did you stop? Was there a valid reason, or did the mind make one up for you?

Then there are problems like racism, the environment, and a host of other movements and issues that we may personally feel needs to be addressed. Still, we have yet to do better either collectively or individually.

We know when we have done something wrong, but we make excuses. It is not a big problem, so why should I trouble myself. Yes, we are masters at not doing what we could but instead opting to do what we want, no matter the consequences. I am sure that you could add to what I mentioned above; it seems endless to me. How about you?

Would you be willing to pick one thing or area in your personal life and do better? Where do you know better and yet struggle to do better? Pick one and make a permanent change for the better. You are more than capable of following through this time, so make it happen. When a thought comes in, or the mind tries to distract you from doing better, say no to the distraction. You will not regret it, so start now.

Going Home

I had a dream the other night that I was teaching people how to go home. No, not the physical place where we live, but a more profound place. A place that we all have experienced.

Going home has a particular meaning in the Christian faith and perhaps for others too, where after we die, we go to be with God and our loved ones who have passed away. I do not want to speak about a belief or the afterlife. I want to talk with you about the here and now.

We have all experienced the loss of time, deep joy, or a feeling of happiness that was so strong that the rest of the world disappeared. At least it seemed that way. Perhaps it happened while watching a sunset or spending time with your family or a lover. Maybe it happened during meditation, prayer, or just taking a walk. You may notice it can happen any time while doing anything or nothing at all. These experiences happen when we are immersed in oneness; when we let go of our identity with personhood and the ego is no longer in charge.

I called it an experience, but in truth, it is not an experience, it just seems that way. What you think of as having experience is the recognition or remembering of your authentic nature. We have identified so strongly with the life of personhood that we no longer feel, see, or remember our oneness. It is still there, always, and forever. However, the mind says that it requires effort to get back to it, that it may not be possible in this life, that it is separate from us or some other story that keeps us searching instead of being. And we have been so conditioned to believe what the mind tells us, that we follow its direction without question.

Therefore, whether you believe it is possible, takes effort, can happen instantly, or could take a long time, first, realize these are all just thoughts. Start by asking yourself this question. Do I know with one-hundred percent certainty that this thought is true? This question will bring clarity if answered honestly. Therefore, ask yourself this question around any thought that pops up. You will find it useful anytime, but especially so when you perceive the thought to be negative.

Simple right? Yes, of course, it is, but beware, when you go up against the cunning mind, it can be challenging. However, if you are willing, pay attention, and remember to ask the question, you will immediately begin to see benefits.

Finding Peace and Stability

Many believe that God resides outside them, a place they call heaven. People say when I die, I will be with God, or when a loved one has passed, they are now with God. Well, I say that God is within you, within everything you see, feel, and touch. If you are always looking for God outside yourself, you will never know lasting happiness or peace, because it will always come and go. If you pay attention, you will see that nothing in personhood is stable, and I know of only one place to find stability.

It is not until you begin looking within that you will find your true nature; that you will find your True-Self. Start self-inquiry today and find your way back home now, not later, or someday when the body dies. Discover the peace and stability that is always with you.

If you are an atheist or have other beliefs than in a God, you will also find this peace and stability through self-inquiry because when we know ourselves from this fundamental place, we discover the truth.

Begin to reconnect with the heart of consciousness by connecting with your physical heart first. Place your hands on your chest and feel the heart beating. Let go of any thoughts, feelings, or physical sensations that pull your attention away from being with God’s pulse, the Universe, or Divine Creation. Pick the label or word that works for you. Do not allow the mind too step in and distract you. It might say this is too simple, or it will not work, or I do not like this word or label. Watch the subtle way it creates an uncomfortable feeling in the body and all the other ways that it tries to take your attention. Come back to the beating heart and feel the peace that is greater than any distraction the mind can create.

Do this anytime you find yourself in worry, stress, or anxiety, whenever you want to feel the peace and stability of your True-Self. As you begin to experience this, you ground yourself in the present moment and your experience of personhood shifts. You will again remember what you have always known and forgotten. Come back to this simple practice throughout the day, if only for a moment. Anchor in the truth, so the mind’s ability to distract you will be weakened. Discover this through direct experience and not from a place of knowledge. Watch the mind say yes, I know this to be right and then send you in another direction. Do not try to stop the distractions; this is another distraction. Do not identify with them, and then they will have no power over you.  The mind will not stop trying to distract you, so let those distractions be an opportunity instead of a problem. Let them be a beacon, the guiding light, your wakeup call back to your True-Self.

“I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons, knocking on a door. It opens. I’ve been knocking from the inside.”

 ― Rumi 

Time to Understand and Know

We hate before we understand or know.
We do not take the time to understand or know.
We express anger before we understand or know.
We make judgments before we understand or know.
We make assumptions before we understand or know.
We stand in righteousness before we understand or know.
We disdainfully look at others before we understand or know.
We sit on the seat of white privilege before we understand or know.

Do we have to understand or know before we show compassion, empathy, kindness, or love?

What can you really understand or know? The truth of someone else’s experience cannot be known if we have not shared the experience. We cannot know someone else’s suffering if we have not carried their burdens. It can only be imagined, and that is not the truth, that is not reality. It is more comfortable to sit in judgment than to understand or know.

Human beings are souls of the Divine creator, no matter their religious beliefs, skin color, country of origin, or any other difference your mind points to, or says this person is not like me. Does everyone have to be like you to be accepted by you? Does everyone have to look like you, walk like you, talk like you to be approved by you?

When fear arises in you because of these differences, what do you do with that fear? I know the fear feels real to you, but do you need to be afraid? What if your fear was an indicator to take the time to get to understand and know, to see this person, their religion, or country on a deeper level, what would you find out? Would you find that perhaps at the core of their being, they are no different from you? Would you find that they want the same things for their children you want for yours? Would you find that they practice their religion for the same reason that you do? Would you find that many teachings in their faith are the same as yours? How would you figure this out unless you take the time to understand and know?

Sharing and feeling the burden and pain of others is genuine compassion.

It is time that our differences are no longer seen through our conditioning. We cannot allow our senses to be the guiding force of our reactions; we must respond appropriately from a place of understanding and knowing.

We must wake up and reach deeper to connect with our oneness, our sameness, and not just our differences. We must take time to understand and know what others are going through before we react from a place that does not reflect the truth of their experience. What would we find if we make this effort? Are we willing to try, or is it too hard? Would the world change if we did? Would we finally understand and know.

Deep Listening

Something extraordinary takes place when our thoughts become quiet, and we listen deeply to someone else share their truth, their pain. When our thoughts remain silent, and we feel a direct connection or oneness with this person, healing can happen. Genuinely listening to someone else is a benefit for both parties.

However, if we are forming a response, or think we know what they need to do, we will not allow the space for healing to happen. If we want to interject our thoughts or experiences before the other person is done sharing, we break this transformative connection. We are no longer deeply listening. At that moment, we lose our chance to be there wholly for that person.

Helping them is rarely about finding a solution, but being present and holding space so they can feel safe to share their truth, without judgment. Even a single thought of judgment may be seen or felt by the other person consciously and is always transmitted energetically, causing a blockage to wholeness.

Anyone can become a deep listener. Just know in the beginning, you will see your thoughts arising, and you must be careful not to get distracted, or to identify with them. Therefore, while learning to listen in this way, please know that you do not have to be perfect because any sincere attempt to listen to someone in this manner will be met by grace. Something special will take place for all involved. After some time and through awareness, your ability will naturally develop and evolve on its own. You may even find people whom you do not know sharing their truth with you. Your presence will become a brighter beacon of light and a blessing to all those around you. Remain steadfast to your intention, and you cannot fail.

Therefore, the next time you find yourself in a position to hear someone’s truth, try deep listening to be present with him or her. In fact, use it all the time because it connects you with your True-Self, and you will have a direct experience of the power of presence. 

The Necessary and Unnecessary

At some point, each one of us feels hurt in this life. I have not met anyone who has escaped the emotional disturbances of personhood, and whether we choose to blame someone else for this pain or not, our suffering is real.

One of the many benefits of spiritual maturity or what some would call waking up is knowing that we are not our hurt or pain, that we are something more significant. Life in personhood is always changing, and it is not stable or reliable. This knowledge alone will not change anything for you, but it does open the door to having a direct experience of your True-Self, and that will change everything for you. It will transform your relationship with life as you know it now.

Up to that point, we can become confused about our feelings and experiences or misinterpret them. However, once we stop identifying with every thought and feeling that arises, we can begin to differentiate between the necessary and unnecessary—an essential step towards addressing what needs to be taken care of and living life with greater peace and joy.

Finding Freedom from Worry, Stress, and Anxiety a FREE Online Event

Time: May 3, 2020, 4:00 – 5:00 PM PST

During this and future events, we will explore the emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of life. This is important because when we bring more awareness into our lives, we can begin to discover who we have become through social conditioning, our perceptions, and beliefs. Knowing this allows us to address the things that get in the way of experiencing life fully and connecting with our True-Self.

I will apply a fluid, interactive style to address your specific issues. Therefore, participants will be encouraged to share if they feel comfortable doing so; this way, we can address real-life challenges that are important to you. Participants will take away new insights, perspectives, and clarity about living life and their place in the world.

Join us on Zoom for this free event. First, join our Meetup Group then RSVP for tomorrow’s meeting. After you RSVP, you will receive the Zoom meeting ID.

If you have never used Zoom, it is straightforward. Find the appropriate app or plugin here Zoom Download. Just open the app or plugin, at the designated time open the app or plugin and add the meeting ID. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

The Snake and YOU

The snake is not the problem. The problem is the one troubled by the snake.

What does that mean? Please follow along to see if it becomes clear. The following is an essential step to start the process of integrating the body, mind, and spirit.

The mind, our thoughts, and feelings are not the problems. They only appear to be; the real problem is the one who is troubled by them. Who is this one, do you know?

Once we identify with what the mind says, true or not, we believe in it. Once accepted, it then can influence our life and state of being. Without identification and belief, a thought or feeling cannot change anything in our life or body.

Feelings that arise from identification like anxiety, worry, and fear will be softened or not disrupt your life at all if you do not identify with them. Of course, we can always choose to explore them if we want. However, how many times has your life been turned upside down by something someone did or said only to be gone the next day, without leaving any known lasting impact on your life? What if you had a way to go through these events without feeling upset, stressed, or anxious at that moment, would this interest you? Well, you can if you desire it, so keep reading.

You can use awareness to see this playing out. Do not take my word for it, look, and have direct experience for yourself. You have observed this phenomenon many times in your life. Do you pay attention to this remarkable ability? I hope so because this is such a powerful tool for changing your life, waking up and not continually falling victim to the myriad of meaningless thoughts and feelings that flow throughout your mind and life each day.

Besides, in those times, when you need to explore your feelings or thoughts to gain more clarity about your life, you can do it with a greater understanding—knowing that you are not your emotions or thoughts. Knowing they are a temporary phenomenon, and when you explore them from a more stable place, there is access to a keener intuition and greater clarity.

Remember that whatever form suffering takes in your life, it is observed through awareness. All things, all phenomenons’ that take place in personhood, can be found and seen to come and go. Notice that personhood is not stable. If you do not already recognize this, you only need to look with awareness to see it is true.

This does not mean that you should ignore your pain or not feel it; however, can you feel the freedom that comes from just knowing that you are not your suffering. There is a big difference between feeling your suffering and being your suffering. One feels that it is passing through you, and the other, as if you are stuck in it; it feels hopeless.

When we make a judgment about our pain, and we say, it is not acceptable, or not welcome in our lives, we have identified with it. We are saying it should not be happening and we are resisting what we are experiencing. In that instant, it morphs into suffering. What if we made the opposite decision and said it was okay or welcome, in which case our suffering would end, instantly. Nothing has changed; we still feel the pain, but our experience is altered, and everything feels different.

This is also something that you have had direct experience with before. It is where your perception changed about something or someone, and like magic, your experience changed. You were flying high and crashed, or feeling low, depressed, or sad, and you were lifted higher than you ever thought was possible.

Our actions, feelings, and lives are informed by our ideas, perceptions, and beliefs created through a lifetime of conditioning. When we see this, the opportunity to transcend any challenge in life is possible. Therefore, use the gift of awareness, notice that whatever arises in your life is a way to connect with the truth of who you are, instead of thinking that whatever occurs is who you are, see it for what it is, something temporary. Take your power back from that which has no power to begin with, and live your life with more balance and peace.

Know that through awareness, you can step into the space of the observer and see things more clearly. As you practice this, your life will naturally begin to shift. For many people, this will be a process and will require repetition to break the habit of always believing in what your thoughts tell you. One day you will recognize that this is not a space you step into, that there is nothing to find and nowhere to go.

You can believe this to be true or not, which will keep you stuck where you are, the only way out is through direct experience. I leave it up to you to make your choice. Perhaps you feel intuitively that there has to be something more to life. Or maybe you feel uncomfortable in life sometimes, or all the time, then I encourage you to explore what I have shared here. I urge you to open the door to meeting your True-Self and let go of who you have become, who you THiNK you are.

Experience the Resurrection of You

You have a thought, and the thought says that what is happening to me is being forced upon me.

Yet how we choose to experience what we perceive to be being forced upon us is wholly ours. The mind is not the dictator of how we feel about the experience we are having unless we let it. Unless we attach to the thought, give it legitimacy or said another way, identify with it. Because once we identify with it, it becomes real for us, not everyone, just us.

Have you ever experienced a period in your life where nothing had changed, and yet everything was different? Something did change, what was it? It was not something on the outside, but rather something within.

Was it a belief, perception, or some other concept of the mind that changed? When we begin to pay attention at this level by using awareness, nothing has to improve on the outside, and yet everything can be different, how we experience the world shifts.

This shows us the power of awareness and our ability to experience our lives in a new way. Yes, you can dethrone the dictator if you begin to pay more attention to its cunning ways.

Emotional Manipulation

It is only immature people who believe, “I am separate; therefore, I can manipulate you, even exploit you, to ensure my own happiness.”

-Eknath Easwaran

We see this play out with internet trolls, even so-called friends who like to send us things or post things to get a rise out of us. Do not let someone else’s misguided immaturity steal your peace. See them and their tactics for what they are; notice what arises in you when they attack and let it go.

This will take practice at first and take time to reverse a lifetime of habitual thinking, but you can do it and in much less time than you think.

Remember that no one has any power over how you feel. Your upset comes when you identify with what is said or seen; mission accomplished said the troll. No matter what enters your space or thoughts, remember you have the power and control, not them, and not your mind. No one can take that away from you, except the one who thinks it.