A short video clip of Cesar Millan and Eckhart Tolle talking about the positive energy that dogs (I would extend that to all animals) bring to our lives, showed up in my inbox this morning, and I wanted to share it with you. Sending you all thoughts of harmony, happiness, and fun today! Mary
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about limiting beliefs and how so often we just accept them as “REALITY”. Several years ago, I began to experience an effect of my thinking, that I didn’t think was the result of my thinking. It involved the work that I do as a spiritual counselor. I found that a number of clients were either reluctant, or forgot, to pay me. Some said they would and never did, others paid me less than my hourly rate, and still others intimated that it wasn’t spiritual to charge for the work that I did.
This was quite distressing for me, and I began to try to figure out how to deal with it. I decided that I needed to be clearer about expecting payment, and went about formulating a “spiel” that I’d give before each session. Nothing changed. In my frustration at “them” I finally hit my head against my own belief: I struggled with my worth and value as a spiritual counselor. A part of me didn’t feel as though I deserved payment. What I did as “work” seemed so natural to me, that I placed very little value on it, and so this belief was beautifully (I can tell you it didn’t feel beautiful at the time) reflected back to me in the attitude of some of my clients regarding our financial agreement.
It may sound unbelievable to say that once I recognized this, everything changed, but it did. Clients who had not paid in the past began to pay ahead of time. Some people even gave me more than my rate. The “problem” disappeared overnight.
The world, my world, shows me who I am/what I am thinking and believing….always. My “struggles” always arise to show me how I’m limiting myself. Once I see that my thinking (even if the whole world seems to believe the opposite) is the only thing blocking me, I become free….and things on the outside change to reflect this.
Some of my thoughts of freedom are: everything that I need (and desire at my deepest level) is provided, there is nothing to fear, there are no problems, life is Good, God/Spirit is within me and everything seen and unseen, all is unfolding perfectly….
If you’d like to comment with some of your favorite freedom thoughts, or thoughts that remind you of who you truly are, please do!
“When we fight with our failing we ignore the entrance to the shrine itself and wrestle with the guardian, fierce figure, on the side of good.” From David Whyte’s, The Faces at Braga
Many years ago, someone recommended to me the teachings of Seth*as important spiritual information. I can’t remember if I was given a tape, or how I first heard this “being” speaking through the voice of Jane Roberts, but I was immediately (and almost violently) turned off. It would be years before I stumbled across Seth again but this time, I was riveted, enthralled, and couldn’t get enough of what once seemed like rubbish.
I also began to notice a pattern within myself. I’d had the same strong negative reaction when I first heard Eckhart Tolle, Esther Hicks (who had herself gone to hear Jane Roberts speak, and years later began doing the same work which she calls the teachings of “Abraham”), and countless books which at first reading, I couldn’t understand, but criticized anyway. In the 1990’s, I briefly dated a man who used to say, “We are all gods” and I thought he was a blasphemous idiot. There’s a scripture in the New Testament which basically says, “God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise”**.
I love to turn on the radio and catch the teaching of Joyce Meyer. I don’t agree with much of her theology or social/political points of view, but she has a consistent and uplifting message about living life to the fullest and I appreciate her as much as I do the teachings of Alan Watts, Neville Goddard, William Blake, Seth, Edgar Cayce, Norman Vincent Peale, Abraham, Thich Nhat Hanh….the list of places where I find spiritual sustenance are limitless…when I have an open mind.
So back to my initial negative reactions to these teachers. I see that I was afraid that my view of reality would being challenged. Afraid that if I opened myself up to these ideas, I would be in danger somehow…and in a way, that was the truth. Every time my ego gets challenged and proven wrong (or at least is seen as limited) it is like a little death of the old self. I now know myself enough to recognize this pattern. It’s a good thing to be aware of our self-protective reactions when the “self” that we think we are protecting is just a limiting belief.
* Seth is the internationally acclaimed spiritual teacher who spoke through the author Jane Roberts while she was in trance, and coined the phrase “You Create Your Own Reality.” Seth’s empowering message literally launched the New Age movement. (taken from the website http://www.sethlearningcenter.org)
** 1 Corinthians 1:27
I heard someone say that you can tell who your friends are by how they stand by you when “the —-hits the fan” and I’m not disputing this, but what I’ve noticed lately is rather the opposite; You can tell who your friends are by how they stand with you when something wonderful happens in your life.
Jealousy is an insidious beast, and gone unrecognized, can ruin relationships and lives. I’d like to think that I’d woken up enough to realize that everyone’s success is really mine and that every happy surprise or gift given to another is just a confirmation that my life is on track as well, and I thought that I had pretty much stepped into this, leaving behind the belief in competition among my fellow humans….until the other day when an old friend emailed with some wonderful news about an opportunity she’d been offered.
As I read her email, I noticed my body tense up. I felt a rush of heat, I felt some anger, and I felt surprised that I felt this way. I began to criticize myself for this reaction until I closed my eyes and said, “Thank you. Thank you for showing me that this jealousy is still in me. It had hidden itself away for quite a while, as a matter of fact, I couldn’t even remember (before this incident) the last time I felt jealous. But there it was. My gift that day. My only question was, “What am I going to do with it?”
I didn’t need to do much. As soon as I saw it and said thank you for the opportunity to grow through this, my emotions changed and I genuinely felt happy for her, and for myself. What a joy to feel true happiness. But before the happiness could “surface” I needed to admit (at least to myself) the jealousy. So many of us on a conscious spiritual path don’t want to acknowledge our unhappy emotions or petty thoughts because it seems like they are showing us that we aren’t as evolved as we hoped we were. My ego does not enjoy these reminders that I am still growing, waking up, and that I haven’t yet “arrived” at total enlightenment. But these negative emotions can be wonderful friends and helpers when we remember to say thank you (and also to laugh at ourselves…just a little).
“‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.” Alice Walker
I recently found a very old religious medal from Lourdes. I had a strong desire to wear it, so I polished up a dainty sterling chain and put it on. For about a month, I wore it every day, not even taking it off at night. Then one day, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to wear it anymore but had the thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t take it off.” So I didn’t.
This went on for a couple of weeks and what came to light was my superstition about religious relics and items. I realized that I had a belief that this little medal had some sort of healing power and as much as I don’t like to admit that, I found myself even a little afraid to take it off, like something bad would happen if I did.
Last week, I was holding my 6 month old grandson, Griffin, and he grabbed the medal and ripped it right off my neck. The little chain broke, and he looked at me in such a startled and delighted way that it made me laugh and he began to laugh too. It didn’t take any reflection on my part to realize what had happened.
Over and over again, I find the wisdom of this Universe working lovingly to help me to let go of old, limiting beliefs…sometimes, I can recognize one of these beliefs and am able to let it go, at other times, it is ripped away and I have the choice to lament the loss or to see it as the helping hand of God/Spirit/My Higher Self.
“Have you ever struggled to find work or love only to find them after you have given up? This is the paradox of letting go. Let go, in order to achieve. Letting go is God’s Law.” Mary Manin Morrissey
I was listening to Stephen Kiernan, talk about his writing process this past Saturday, and was struck when he said that he was a much better re-writer than writer. It was only a passing comment but it was as if a megaphone was broadcasting this message just for me. I’d only ever heard one other person say that they enjoyed rewriting.
I asked him to elaborate and he talked about his writing process and how the fast and furious pace of getting ideas down on paper was his first step, but going back, re-reading, re-writing, adding, deleting, and shaping the writing, was his second, very enjoyable, step.
As I listened to him, an inner door opened. I began to think,”What if I can look at rewriting in a different way? What if I could stop thinking that it was a struggle?”
I’ve always cringed when artists lamented the difficulties of doing their art, and never thought I’d bought into the struggling artist archetype (nobly, or not so nobly, suffering, for their art) and suddenly I realized that I had…not about my painting, but about writing. I cannot count the number of times I’ve thought, “I love getting ideas down on paper, but I don’t like editing them.” And I believed that nobody else did either.
Life is made difficult by whatever beliefs I hold about it. It doesn’t really matter how those beliefs got planted in my mind. It doesn’t matter if 99.9% of writers believe that rewriting is a drag, it is my belief that will determine my experience of rewriting, and in that moment, listening to Stephen talk about rewriting, I realized that I was holding onto the belief it was a “necessary evil”.
This man’s casual comment was a life changing, belief challenging, event for me. All he did was to mention something that he loved to do and I began to think, “Maybe I can love it too.” I know the effect wouldn’t have been the same if he’d said, “You should enjoy rewriting” or even if he’d tried to teach/show us how to do it… if he didn’t enjoy it himself.
Several years ago, my mother told me that she liked grocery shopping. I never knew that about her, and had never heard anyone else say that they liked to grocery shop. I’d always looked at it as if it was a chore, but my view of it changed on that day and I began to enjoy it more and more. Years ago, I was complaining to an elderly nun about the brutally cold weather. I was sure she’d agree with me but she looked at me with the sweetest smile and said, “I love the winter. The colder, the better”, and now on bitterly cold days, I think of Sister Bernadette and smile.
It’s easy to talk about what is wrong, what or who we don’t like, our fears, suspicions, struggles, pains, and unhappiness…and there is a place for that, but oh what delight to hear someone talk about what they love. What good we can do for ourselves, and for untold others, when we simply acknowledge what we love.
“Love cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.” Karl Menninger
I’ve heard the concept, “Everything that is happening to you, right now, is a result of your own thinking”, for a long time, and I’ve believed it to be true. I could even see how through unconscious, unhappy, thoughts, I’ve called many unpleasant things into my life. And even though I’ve accepted this truth, it always seemed a little bit like a punishing, condemning (of myself) approach to the challenging situations that I was currently struggling with. It felt like there was a big cosmic finger wagging at me saying, “OK, missy. You have created this mess and now you must pay the price!” It was also a vaguely threatening voice and the fear-message it carried was,”Don’t do that again!”
So I tried really hard to be different; to stop making mistakes, to be worthy, nice, honest, loving, open, accepting ….. I tried really hard to be a “spiritual person” so I wouldn’t get punished again, but just when I thought I finally figured out how to live without struggle, BAM, something would happen and I’d feel all of the old familiar emotions; blame, doubt, anger, self-loathing and discouragement. A voice in my head would taunt me with thoughts like, “You are just never going to get this are you? And why should you? You don’t have good enough thoughts, you eat a crappy diet, you’re undisciplined, you don’t meditate the right way, you’re way too selfish, you’re not that nice, you have a warped sense of humor…..” But the worst thought was, “You are never going to awaken.”
Then one day, I realized that all of the struggles I’d gone through, and were going currently going through, were things that I had chosen, not consciously, but at the deeper/higher level of my being. In a flash of insight I realized that the struggles were the necessary elements for awakening. I also realized that I had taken on certain challenges with the express purpose of overcoming them as a part of my unique path to awakening. I could see that they were actually the teachers that I had called forth.
Suddenly the vision came to me of a huge playing field/obstacle course and I could see each of us choosing a different and unique strand on the grid/line though the labyrinth, with all of the ups and downs, mountains and valleys, rivers, trenches, burned bridges, and dead ends, that ultimately led to the goal. There wasn’t a straight line for anyone playing this game and this was perfect, but for most of my life, I felt like I was on the wrong path and would look around at others and wonder why I couldn’t be like them…especially those who appeared to be awake. Then I’d try to get on their path by reading their books, attending their services or meetings, meditating in just a certain way, repeating certain mantras or prayers that they said were “the key”, signing up for (yet another) workshop or retreat that promised to open my heart, mind, eyes and ears. I’d feel inspired for a while but when the struggles (in my mind) returned, I would feel like a failure again….and hate the path that I was on.
But one day this changed and I knew that “the way” (my way) had been so clear, so simple, so perfectly tuned to who I was, that I had missed it. In that moment, my heart, mind, eyes and ears were opened to a new level of knowing that, yes, I created my realities and struggles, but instead of feeling this as a discouraging concept, I could see that this was the path to awakening and enlightenment and that the point of this game/life wasn’t to avoid, wish away, or hate struggles, but simply to be open to the Truth of what they were trying to show me. It was such a “lowly” seeming path that in all of my reaching and striving to be a better (i.e. different) person, I had missed it.
I could finally see that they had been trying to guide and lovingly teach me, for all of my life, but since I kept hating them, calling them bad, believing they were despicable, unfortunate, mistakes (much the way I viewed myself) they became tormentors for me and evidence of what I was doing wrong which blinded me to the truth of what they were/are: loving portals to awakening, expansion, abundance, and Good, not here to teach me a lesson (in the old strict, school master way) but to bring me to Heaven/Enlightened Consciousness/The Field of All Good/My Higher Self/God.
My path is not a mistake… and neither is yours. The so-called struggles cease to be struggles when I welcome them and with an open and curious mind, listening to and following their wisdom…wisdom that once gleaned, can be helpful to others, but not so I can say, “Walk in my steps”, but walk in and embrace your unique path, be open to it, for it will teach you everything you’ve been wanting to know, bring you your true heart’s desire, and finally make you grateful for who and what you are.