When the mind is still, the heart opens.
When the heart is open, love flows freely.
When love flows freely, our oneness is revealed.
When our oneness is revealed, all suffering ends.
When all suffering ends, the search ends.
When the search ends, we have awakened.
When we have awakened, no thought can disturb us.
When no thought can disturb us, our mind is still.
Much of your life is spent thinking; even when you wish it would stop, it doesn’t, does it? We tend to think about how we feel too, which, of course, is not feeling at all — it’s thinking.
Through thought, our mind tells us that it is too uncomfortable to feel our feelings. We then get caught in a loop of thought about how painful we feel without ever really exploring our feelings. We can even have body sensations that confirm our thoughts about it. This tendency of the mind leads us down an exhaustive path of pain and suffering.
The truth is we must begin to notice this ploy of the mind to break free of it and then feel our feelings fully. However uncomfortable that may be—resisting them leads to a much lengthier healing process and an increased level of suffering.
Feelings are energy, and as such, they must keep flowing. Resisting them means we hold onto them, and the energy gets stuck in our body, which can cause physical pain and even illness.
Recognizing this truth or knowing it on an intellectual level is not enough; you must have a direct experience to embody this truth. We often end up stopping short on the spiritual path and in life of realizing this because the mind tells us that we know it already, whatever it is. Then we get distracted by thought again and sent down another path without ever having a direct experience. The mind has endless offers to distract us, and many of us can spend our whole life seeking and not finding. How many years or decades have you been looking?
Therefore, the next time you find yourself suffering, notice if you are in your head and having a conversation with yourself. Bring your attention down to your chest, the heart area, and notice that your thoughts begin to slow down. Then focus even more attention there and begin to feel your feelings. They literally are your friend and not something to fear. Know that the mind will try to stop you through thought, physical sensation, and intensity.
Be with your feelings, let whatever needs to arise, and let the energy flow again—knowing that you are entirely safe. Some of you may feel the energy flowing along with the emotion, and some may not. Either way is perfect. Do not let the mind come in and question whether you are doing it right or not; it is just another distraction. Keep your attention in the chest. If you are guided by the feeling to another part of the body, follow it. Just stay with your feelings and keep breathing. If it feels too overwhelming, you have the power to slow it down or stop it at any time.
The mind may tell you otherwise, but I can assure you this is the most loving thing you can do for yourself and your body. You are the only one who can offer yourself this kind of unconditional love. We have all felt someone’s love for us being taken away before because it was not unconditional. However, once you feel this kind of self-love, you will know it can never be taken away by anyone. Therefore, do not be afraid to feel your feelings because what is often disguised as pain can blossom into something beautiful if you let it.
“We see space as what separates us from everyone and everything. But what if space is what holds everything together; what if it connects everything.
Know that sometimes what we believe to be true is not the truth at all. What is true is that if we never question our beliefs, then our misguiding beliefs are sure to create pain and suffering in our lives. So whether you believe that space is what separates us or connects us, we must begin to question our beliefs. Inquiry at this level always leads to a greater understanding of who we are and the world around us—bringing more peace and comfort into our lives and those lives that we touch.”
If there is breath in the body, a fresh viewpoint is always available. Right or clear vision happens in the gap. The gap is devoid of beliefs, concepts, judgments, conditioning, and thought. What feeds all of these and our troubles in life is identifying with the endless flow of unsolicited thoughts we have every day.
Experiencing the gap is simple but often misunderstood or thought to be hard, impossible, or only for a few. Which is funny because what causes us to misunderstand or think it is hard, impossible, or only for a few is the very same mind that is causing our problems in the first place. Therefore, experiencing the gap is not the problem. The problem is the thought that says you cannot experience it or that you do not know how to do it. Once you identify with a thought that says you cannot do it, it becomes impossible until that thought is no longer believed. The mind will do what it must to keep you distracted and reinforce the impression that it is impossible. Seeing this becomes very clear in the gap.
We put our complete trust into something that misleads us all the time, our mind. We do this by identifying with whatever arises in it. Once we do, there is no opportunity for discernment or to question the information’s validity. When we slow the mind down, even a little bit, it creates some space to begin to question what it is telling us and to see that most, if not all, is false.
How do you begin to slow the mind down? By questioning what arises in it, which guides you into the gap. Can it be that simple? Yes, it can. But it does come with some challenges for many of us. We have developed a robust habit of identifying with our thoughts without question. And now, this habit is anchored in place after many years or decades of reinforcement.
Once we begin to see how incredibly untrue our thoughts can be, it can be unsettling at first. However, do not let this discourage you; it means you are onto something. So instead, let it motivate you and propel you forward. Continue questioning your thoughts as often as you can. Begin to question who you are. Are you the body, your feelings, your thoughts, or your personality? Are you something more significant than just those things? What is your true nature, your true self, do you know? Have you had direct experience with it?
Your true self or true nature refers to the aspect of your being that is entirely aware of its expanded nature no matter what you may be experiencing in your life of personhood. The gap I am speaking about is your expanded nature. It is stable and not bound by time. Our personal lives, the psychological self, on the other hand, is bound by time, and it is the one that experiences problems and suffers.
Now you may find what I just said hard to believe, but of course, that is just a thought. Is it based in fact or an assumption? Notice that thought can be observed.
We have all experienced our real nature or true self. In truth, everyone has experienced timelessness. Think of an experience where you lost track of time. Perhaps you were watching a sunset or enjoying the company of a friend; I am sure you can remember an experience like this where time ceased to exist or flew by. You were not distracted by thought during this time, but instead, you experienced oneness or presence.
Please verify what I am saying for yourself by beginning to watch your thoughts. See them slow down and notice how this affects your state of being. Perhaps you will feel more peace or joy, pay attention, and see what is different. As you practice, you will find at some point that you have dropped into the gap. The mind is no longer your master but has become your slave. Now it can be used when needed and no longer has the power to interfere with your life in the same way. It can only disturb you when you give it the ability to do so by identifying with what it has presented to you through your thoughts without question.
I awakened the other day with the word transition in my awareness—something we all experience many times during our lifetime. For example, a change in jobs, where we live, or a relationship, to name a few. I have never seen so many people experiencing a myriad of transitions simultaneously, at least not that I can remember in my 63 years.
During these times, many of us do not know what to do. We feel lost, fearful, anxious, or worried, maybe all of them. In some cases, we can feel excited about our new transitional prospects. Of course, excitement is not the word I would use for our experiences with Covid-19. And yet I can assure you that many of your thoughts around these events are not valid if investigated. And when investigated for their truth or lack thereof, we can calm our state. Of course, you must be willing to look and feel what you need to sincerely without resistance. Coming from greater awareness always leads to insight.
In our efforts during transitional times to find security and peace, we often move too quickly. We want things to go back the way they were, so we can feel safe, or at least the illusion of safety.
Decisions are made from a place of old thinking, beliefs, habits, conditioning, and behaviors. So, we make choices based on how things used to be instead of how they are now. We do not take the time to know what we want or who we have become in life. Do you want to make different choices moving forward? Choices from a more aware and awake state that lead to a more peaceful and joyful life? Then you must take some time to figure out who you have become, who you really are, and what you want. You must turn your autopilot off.
When we do not do this, we can easily make choices that send us right back where we use to be. The story looks different for a while, may even feel exciting, and then we end up one day feeling like before. And many of you have experienced this; you make a significant change thinking it will fix everything, and it solves nothing.
For example, I have seen many people come out of a long-term marriage and immediately look for a new relationship. They do not feel comfortable being alone or feel they need companionship to be happy. Therefore, they go looking for comfort and feeling happy from someone else instead of finding it in themselves. They find someone who feels like the one only to have it fail or find out later that they still do not feel the way they want. This is more common than you think and can happen in many different areas of one’s life.
Not taking the time to get to know who we are and what we want, not just what we think we want, only leads us down the road of suffering and making poor choices.
Trying to push and pull our way through life, thinking we are in control of it all the time is an illusion. Your best efforts to control everything in your life have failed, haven’t they?
I assure you that life takes care of life. It is time to live in the present moment. Wishing things to go back the way they were will change nothing. Instead of wanting things to go back the way they were, doesn’t it make sense to move forward from a new awareness instead of creating from old behaviors and conditioning?
Awareness is one of our greatest gifts and can change how you experience life. Taking the time to slow down and get to know ourselves from a more meaningful place is how we find the peace that is our birthright. It is always available to us and always with us. You only need to rediscover that underneath all the unsolicited thinking that tells you otherwise. You can do this by paying more attention to your thoughts.
Is this something you can do, or does your mind tell you otherwise? Observe your thoughts, and you will see the truth, or you are free to continue to follow their guidance without question. Will you follow the mind’s guidance or your souls? It is up to you to decide no one else can do it for you.
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.”
It is only immature people who believe, “I am separate; therefore, I can manipulate you, even exploit you, to ensure my own happiness.”
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.
All things connected to personhood come and go because this is how our human existence is experienced. Therefore, it is only natural that you understand that your thoughts also come and go.
Disharmony arises when we put too much attention on pointless thoughts, which when noticed flow continuously throughout the day. Once you put your attention on any random thought, it will carry you away from the present moment to some godforsaken place.
Our beliefs, which are created by this habitual thinking, also distract us from remaining in the present. Do not misunderstand; we need some of this mechanical thinking because it releases us from consciously having to think about routine matters. However, to be continuously carried away from the present moment by something that is fruitless only leads to confusion and suffering.
Becoming aware of this useless thinking is the first clue that will lead you to something better and to what is real and true. If you want to be free in life and peaceful, you need to let these thoughts go and stop following them down the rabbit hole.
The way back home is experienced when we remember not to follow the thoughts, then they no longer hypnotize us, and we can experience our original state. Notice that something can observe these thoughts. Have you ever asked from where are you able to watch these thoughts?
When we believe these worthless thoughts continuously and wholeheartedly, they create a delusional story that feeds the ego and keeps us stuck in life.
This is not something you figure out intellectually, and it does not happen through acquiring knowledge as the mind would have you THINK. To come home again, we must enter the silence of our natural state, the place that never comes and goes. You will know this place because it is always stable, unlike your mind. Is it from this place that you are watching the thoughts?
If you begin today to notice how your thoughts carry you away from the present moment, I promise that you will start to break your lifetime habit of falling down the rabbit hole. The practice of noticing alone will begin to break the obsession and one day awakens you to the beauty of your true nature once again.
In the beginning, the mind will struggle with your attempts to stop following this addictive thinking. Just remember that disturbing emotions, misperceptions, and confusions are not in accord with the nature of reality and your true state, they are signposts that you are on the right path. If you continue, eventually the minds fight to remain in dominant control will begin to weaken and at some point, you will no longer need to pick up every thought as it floats by wanting your attention.
Notice I am not telling you the thoughts will stop, only that you will have no interest in them. You do not have to struggle or get somewhere special, have a unique or powerful experience as the mind thinks to awaken. Just follow this simple practice of letting the thoughts go and see for yourself if it is helpful. You have nothing to lose except perhaps some of your disharmony, and maybe one day you will see that what you seek has been here all along waiting for you to wake up.
People have felt the need to judge others since the very first humans on the planet. Therefore, it does not surprise me that so many continue it today and of course, it is much easier these days to get into other people’s business with the internet and social media. However, that does not mean that we should just because we can.
It does not matter if the events were recent or happened decades ago. Now I understand if someone continues immoral, illegal or wrong behavior, that person should face the consequences of their actions. However, this should happen through the legal system, and if not unlawful, then it should be resolved appropriately by those involved but not by those sitting on the sidelines.
I did many things when I was younger that I would never do now because I learned from my mistakes. I certainly would not want to be judged today for only those actions.
I had a drinking problem for many years and know that I did many things wrong including drinking and driving. What if I could not get a job now or fired from one today for a DUI in 1977. Does that seem fair, especially since I have been sober for 31 years?
What happened to forgiveness, should something someone did 30 years ago say more about who they are today than all the things they have done since then?
Each one of us needs to ask ourselves what have I done in the past that I would not be proud of or want to be judged for today.
I am reminded John 8:7 from the Bible “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Surely, you do not have to be religious to understand that judging others is wrong.
Therefore, the next time you want to comment on someone else’s behavior take a pause. Do you have all the facts? Does what you are about to say come from the heart or your head? Why do you feel the need to comment? Are you an outsider looking in, and if you are, do you have a right to judge that person or their actions?
There are always better choices to be made than to judge someone.
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” ― Mother Teresa
Do not expect to live in a peaceful world or be peaceful in your own life if you cannot let go of your judgments for others or yourself.
Life is not about being correct; it is about being connected. Too often in life, we choose to fight to be right over connecting, being in the moment and listening. This causes separation and creates an environment of discord. We can no longer hear what someone else says because we are too busy formulating our response and being right. It is my way or the highway!
Love, understanding, compassion, and empathy only show up when we feel connected with someone, and the oneness of all things. If we only see our differences, we will never be able to find the middle ground or any lasting peace. We will forever remain in a state of anxiety, upset, anger and worry.
Therefore, we can always be right, or we can let go of our rigid thinking and be open to experiencing our true nature instead of who we have become, a conditioned, inflexible thinking human. We must find our way back to connection, awaken to our oneness and begin living in the present moment.
If you feel anxious, lost or live in worry and pain, then you are being called to begin this journey. Do not ignore the signs because it is your time to awaken. Let go of your resistance and the fight to be right and step on the path to self-discovery. It is here that you will find your way back to your true nature, find peace and a connection to something greater than yourself.