Monday, January 18, 2010

Part II...

Picking up where we left off ...

~ All Change Begins with an Ideal.
Motives, purposes and ideals are at the heart of all change. We shape our tangible life with our attitudes, thoughts, and emotions. "Mind is the builder." If we want to change anything in life, we have to start with the motivational level. Once we've identified and focused on the motivation, everything falls into place. We enable a "shift" inside us --- a shift in intentionality that enables us to see and respond to life in a new fresh way. Almost as if my "magic", former obstacles turn into opportunities. This is part of learning to see the world in terms of connectedness, rather than from a perspective of differences. "Us vs. them" turns into US. Rather than competition, our actions result in what is beneficial for everyone.

~ All Time is One Time.
Perhaps those feelings of deja vu are clues to "something more" ... perhaps science is discovering, via quantum physics, that all is not as it seems to be. That even time is an illusion. Perhaps, if we tune in to our inner lives, we'll find clues that time is more complex, less definable, less linear, than we thought. Perhaps the eternal now is more real. Eternity is about the quality of how we experience the present moment. It is the experience of the infinite that breaks through every moment in time. What if we could harness the energy we put into worrying about the future, and redirect it into experiencing eternity NOW...?

~ Success Is Not Measured by Materiality.
Soul-success is an elusive concept. How do we measure the growth of the soul? It may well be that by all outward appearances, a person's life could be described as a "failure." But there's no telling of the spiritual/inward growth that person could be experiencing. Judge not by appearances. In fact, it's often our "failures" (in the practical/material realm) that are catalysts to look more deeply into the invisible spiritual world. The Kingdom of God which is in our midst, within us.

~ Spiritual Growth Requires Courage.
We can be inspired 'til the cows come home, but at some point we have to act on that inspiration, and that takes courage. "He without an ideal is sorry indeed; he with an ideal and lacking courage to live it is sorrier still. Know that." Courage is not in the absence of fear, but action in the face of it. And then fear, a mere shadow, a no-thing, fades in the Light of Love. Courage is the choice we make to act on that which we know is more important than the fear we may feel.

~ Evil is Real and Comes in Many Forms.
We cannot deal with evil "out there" until we have dealt with evil "in here" -- within our own selves. For the evil out there is merely that which is projected from within ourselves and others. I rather like this quote: "There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us." The evil we see perpetuated by others, is a reflection of the evil within us (do not get distracted by the trivialities of "degrees" of the evil). Here are some of the forms evil can take:
Lack of Awareness. Evil urges us to become more and more unaware, more and more distracted.

Extremism. One form of evil involves holding to an extreme point of view, denying the validity of any counterbalancing view. We see this clearly in others -- what's hard to see is our own tendency to go to extremes.

Aggression/Invasion. We see this most clearly in warfare, but all human relationships have the potential for this evil. We attempt to subvert the free will of others through overpowering them with our own will. It's a mature thing to learn to stand up for oneself, with integrity, and yet without becoming aggressive and invasive to another.

Twisting of a Gift. For instance, we may have a talent for motivating others, but we can twist this into controlling and manipulating others "for their own good."

Willfulness. We have the daily choice (many times daily) to choose life or death, help or harm. Learning or stagnating. When we sense the thought, "Oh, forget it - I'll do what I want!" and our want is not to help another, perhaps we've wallowed into willfulness.

As tempting as it is to focus on evil on the national and international scale, we are encouraged instead to look within ... to look at how we may be manifesting any form of evil in our own lives ... to look to where our own ego is running the show ... to look at the urgency of our own log in our own eye.

~ Learn to Stand Up for Yourself; Learn to Say "No" When it's Needed.
Sometimes we have to learn to say no, before we can say yes. Any of us who have raised children can attest to this playing out in their early lives (wondering now, if we don't let them say "no", can they ever really learn to say a whole-hearted "yes"...?). It takes a high degree of mental health and maturity to be able to set boundaries, and define ourselves with our "no." We can let others know who we are, and how we want to be treated. If we don't tell them, how will they know? If we don't tell them, what are we asking for by default? And if we don't tell them with the same kindness and respect we wish to receive, what are we teaching them? We cannot experience love and intimacy with another, unless we can first define our own boundaries. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, sometimes loving another may require that we step back, say no, define ourself, and then reaching out to build a relational bridge to that person. We can learn to be self-assertive, without being egotistical. We can be angry, even angry that we have been unjustly treated, without reacting IN anger. The anger is a sign ... and we can interpret the sign (is this offending my ego, or the Spirit? am I desiring to lash out in kind, or to repair a relationship?), and respond in a life-affirming, other-honoring way.

Shalom, Dena

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