John 3:16

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Q: My contemplation for the day is “For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son.”  Does this have a different meaning other than how it is traditionally interpreted?  Is there another way to see this other than God sending a savior to save us?

A: Yes and no. Yes, He literally gave His son so that humanity could be saved.  This can be a little hard to comprehend, that God has a son, literally, and that you are now “saved” because of his sacrifice.  So there is another way of looking at it as well.

Upon close examination of your contemplation for the day, we find that not only are we saved if we accept this, but that we are unconditionally loved.  For some reason, this is not emphasized near as much as the fact that Jesus is our Savior that God sent for us.  But if you stop, pull back from your absorption in your everyday tasks, you can feel God’s love enveloping us.  It feels like an all-encompassing peace, a peace that is there at all times, in all situations.

So, to answer your question, yes, God really did give his only begotten son because he so loved the world.  And if you really want to feel the gift in this, stop and feel God’s love all around us.  When the world seems like it has gone mad, God’s love is always there, will always be there, Amen.

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Relaxing the pressure of time

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Q: How can we relax the pressure of time?

A: First, one has to realize that most of the pressures of “time” are actually pressures of “the ego”.  Time can’t put pressure on you at all. If someone, or even you, tell you that you have to get something done by a certain hour, time of day, or day, this is not time, but someone’s, or your own opinion on what is wanted.  A simple technique to help with this is to ask yourself, “Is it true?”

> Is it true I need to pay my bills on time?
> Is it true I need to make dinner by this time?
> Is it true that I need to retire at this age?
> Is it true that I need to be doing such and such with my career by such and such a time?

The ego’s demands are endless. To try and pacify the ego will never work.  By its very nature, the ego is a problem generator/solver.  It will find a problem in virtually anything, then try and figure out how to fix it.

However, when you ask yourself “Is it true I need to go to the store by such and such a time?” a curious thing happens. All of a sudden, you find all these constrictions of time, all these needs, are actually “wants”. You want to be on time to work to do a good job.  You want to retire by a certain age. You want to save this much money by this time.  And so on.

Just feel the feeling that you get when you say “I want”, vs. “I need”. The “I need” is a confirmation of the emptiness of the ego.  It says “I need this to be happy, to be complete”. “I want” is very different.

It’s natural for us to want things, and when you acknowledge this, you are allowing yourself to be exactly as you are. It is only when “I want” morphs into “I need” that stress develops.

Try this experiment on yourself.

 

The meaning of life, and how to be in the world but not of it.

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Q: Why are we here? What is the meaning of life?

A: The meaning of life is experience.

Q: Can you offer advice on how we can be in the world but not “of” the world?

A: This means that you live in this world, you incarnate in here, but you are also aware of: more than this reality, awareness itself, and what your spirit came here to do.  So you are aware of these three realities.

Incarnation allows our spirit to experience what it wants/needs to experience in material form, and awareness makes us automatically aware of this.  All three need to be attended to in order to be a fully integrated being.

Some religions and teachings focus on the materiality of this incarnation only. Others teach you to transcend this material world completely, that this world is just a dream.  Both have something missing from the big picture.

While it is true that you want to transcend this material world, it is more accurate to say that you want to transcend the idea that only the material world exists, to become aware of awareness itself, and to become aware of your intuition, which is a window into viewing what your spirit longs for, what it came here to do.  But how does one do this?

The first step is to become aware, to allow yourself to believe that there is more than just the material world.  This belief allows for the reality of awareness and spirit to enter into your conscious awareness.

Once you become aware of this expanded reality, focus on your awareness.  When you do this, you more consciously live your life, allowing you more of a bird’s eye view of what is happening so that you can act more in line with what your spirit has come here to do.

So, step one, open yourself up to awareness.  Step two, put your attention on awareness.  Step three, become fully aware of what you are doing.  Step four, you will naturally develop your intuition, one of its functions being to make you aware of the longings of the soul.  This is a continuing, meditative existence.  It is a continual process. In this way, you are living in the world, but are aware of much more.  You are in the world, but not of it.

As an aside, I think I should talk a little about the material world, intuition, and awareness.  

Open your eyes, and you see the material world.  It is what is.  That’s easy to see.  When you look at the world, what is looking is awareness.  It is happening automatically.  So the material world is what is, and awareness is what sees the material world.

If you focus on awareness, eventually you will also become aware of intuition.  What is intuition?  It is an internal, automatic knowingness that is in constant communication with you that is often overlooked because of our natural preoccupation with the material world.

To become more aware of intuition, focus on awareness.  This will make you more present in the moment to experience your existence more fully and automatically develop your awareness of intuition.

These three things — the material world, awareness, and intuition — seem pretty simple then.  The confusion comes about when the ego steps in.

While awareness makes you automatically aware of the material world and your intuition, sounding very simple, what your ego does is come along and comment on everything.  It makes so much noise and is present so much of the time that people think that their ego is what they are.

To help yourself out of this confusion, once again, concentrate on awareness.  This will allow you to see your ego for what it is, an automatic movement, based on past fear that occurs within your consciousness.

Once you see how automatic it is, and that it occurs within your consciousness, it becomes another thing, just like someone’s voice or a TV in the background, as you observe your life.

Different types of meditation. (Part 2)

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(continued from previous post)

There is meditation of ego consciousness.  This meditation is not best done in a quiet space, unlike the awareness meditation. It is analogous to a meditation on the inner parent consciousness.  It is actually best done while partaking in your everyday activities.

During this meditation, you watch your ego, as you go about your activities of daily living.  You watch yourself eat breakfast, you watch yourself read the news, you watch yourself watch TV, you watch yourself go to work.  In this way, you become very aware of your ego, and as you become more aware, you naturally align yourself more with your higher self, your witness consciousness.

This can become very automatic, and is a great meditation to perform every day.  Most people know about sitting down or lying to meditate, but do not practice this type of waking, day-to-day meditation, and, therefore, their sitting or lying meditation is confined to the meditation cushion instead of filling their daily lives.

In this way, you can perform sitting or lying meditation for years with little to no change.  Incorporate waking walking meditation into your life, consistently, every day, for a huge shift in consciousness.

It is important to note that the parent consciousness often does not accept the animal consciousness (inner child), or the adult consciousness (witness consciousness).  It is often the source of criticism, prejudices, and strife, both inwardly and outwardly.  Also, by not accepting its other parts, its keeps us stressed and limits our spiritual growth.

It is important to note that the parent consciousness (ego) is rooted in fear, and its biggest fear is losing control.  It sees accepting the adult and child consciousness as losing control, and this is why it is constantly at war with them.

There is also a meditation of the animal consciousness, or what is known as the “inner child.” This mediation is best done by watching what happens when you are stressed, upset, want something, and so on.  It is the part of you that wants what it wants, when it wants it, and if doesn’t get it, it will pout, be outwardly aggressive, inwardly aggressive, or passive aggressive.

It is important to watch this part of your consciousness when it arises, and not take action on its behalf.  Taking action based on the feelings of the inner child will most often result in unwanted repercussions later on or immediately in life.  This is also the most difficult meditation to perform.  To watch your animal consciousness in the heat of an argument is a very difficult and advanced thing to do.  

So, as you can see, all three meditations bring you back to the ultimate meditation, the meditation of consciousness.  Perform the inner adult (witness) meditation during times of peace, the inner parent (ego) meditation during your daily life, and the inner child (animal consciousness) meditation during times of stress.

All three will strengthen your higher self, or witness consciousness, and ultimately allow for a more peaceful, happier life.

Different types of meditation.

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Q: What is meditation? What is the best way to meditate?

A: First, it goes without saying that there are many, many different ways to meditate.  To determine the best way to meditate, you first have to decide what you are going for.

It’s best of course to be completely honest about this.  If you say that you are meditating on awareness, but the whole time you are concentrating on opening your chakras, your results are going to be very mixed up and inconsistent at best.

Are you trying to manifest money? A lover?  Are you trying to relax? Are you trying to open up the chakras, or open up to the siddhis? Or are you trying to become more aware of awareness itself?  I’m going to tell you about meditating on awareness.

First, most people in meditation circles are aware of meditations based on awareness.  This is best done in a relatively quiet space, where you are really doing nothing but being aware, aware of where consciousness takes you.  This is really a meditation of witness consciousness, or your higher self.  It is also akin to becoming aware of the inner adult persona, who is balanced, rational, and loves all parts of itself like its children.

This may become a meditation where you become very aware of the automatic nature of your ego, constantly making noise, trying to figure and refigure things out, in the past present, and the future.  It’s curious how the ego is constantly trying to rewrite and reconfigure events of the past, the present, and the future.

This meditation may also make you much more aware of your surroundings and/or the constant presence of peace which surrounds and envelops everything, like the air we breath.

But there are other meditations of awareness.  These are important because to be free of the dominating nature of the ego, we must be aware of and accept all parts of ourselves at all times, whether it be while it’s quiet, noisy, during the day, and during times of stress and conflict. Only by knowing all the parts of ourselves and accepting them can we be free.

Continued in next post.

The ego: what it is and how to be free of its hold.

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Q: What exactly is the ego?  How do I free myself from it?  How do I get out from under its control?

A:  The ego is really a figment of our imagination.  It is a collection of thoughts about itself, the world, the way things should be, the way they are, and so on.  It’s the sum collection of our thought patterns.  It is not a real thing, and is always changing.  It is very real as a collection of thoughts, but very unreal in that if you don’t think of it, it takes a back seat to witness consciousness, which is more in line with what you really are.

How can it be real if you witness something, and your perspective changes, your ego changes?  The only thing that stays constant is the witness consciousness.  The ego is always changing, morphing into a thought process that tries to make sense of the world, because it sees itself separate from the world, out of control, and it’s scared.

The ego is always looking for security by imagining someway it can get (imaginarily) control of the world.  Really, our ego has no control of the world, what is happening in the world, or even how our ego is imagining things.  If there is any choice, and this is debatable, it is the choice to put our attention more on the witness, to let the ego and the world be as it is — to let the world and your ego be exactly as they are.

Now this does not mean to act out of the ego, to do what it tells you, or to be a victim of the world and its goings on.  It does not mean to be lethargic or passive in the world.  Quite the contrary.  When you choose to identify more from the witness, choices about action become much easier and automatic.  It’s like consciousness itself is running our life, making our decisions, rather than the ego.  We become perfectly aligned with what is, in perfect sync with life’s evolution.

By the way, when we are totally identified with the ego, the ego seems very big, it seems like a really big deal.  Everything is so dramatic.  However, the more you become aligned with witness consciousness, the smaller the ego looks, the less important it looks.  Eventually, you cannot even take the ego seriously.

Everyone has an ego.  The point is not to get rid of the ego or kill it off.  The goal is to recognize the ego and all of the ways it keeps you in the game.  This frees ourselves from the control of our ego, and lets us live and experience life.  This is the way to get out of the control of the ego.

Also, the ego is not “bad,” just as a thought that you need to go to the bathroom is not “bad.”  It’s just a collection of thoughts about its perceptions, being unaware of itself and the witness consciousness.   It’s an automatic thing.  Do you want to see how automatic it is?  Just sit down, in quiet, with no distractions.  I know most people think this is hard, but actually all distractions are manufactured by the ego.  In reality, peace, tranquility, and silence is the background in which our ego exists, and makes its noise.

So sit down quietly.  Notice all the thoughts that appear to the witness consciousness:  I’m not doing this right.  I should be working.  I should be making dinner.  I’m bored.  This isn’t working.  Where did these thoughts come from?  Are they automatic, or did you make a conscious decision to think them? The answer is obvious.  They occurred automatically.  If they occurred automatically, and you have no control over them, what responsibility for them do you have?  

You own them, they’re yours, but in reality, you don’t have control of them.  You’re not to “blame” for them.  The choice you have is what you pay attention to, and what you believe (although this is highly debatable as well).

When you choose to align with witness consciousness, you get to choose what to do with your ego’s thoughts.  Do you listen to them?  Do you act on them?  Do you even believe them?  The choice becomes yours.

Also, the more you align with witness consciousness, the more choices miraculously occur.  Witness consciousness allows in more choices for you to make, especially ones that seem “out of the box.”

How to know if your spiritual practice is working.

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Q: How do I know if the spiritual work I am doing is working?

A: If your spiritual work is working, overall, you will feel less stress in life.  You will be more truthful with yourself and others, and if you need to confront someone to be truthful, you will feel less stress about it, less anger, and more at peace with this person and yourself.

You will feel a natural tendency to replace anger and resentment with understanding and compassion of others and the world. You will feel a natural aversion towards stressful, divisive places and situations.  You will be naturally pulled toward your practice, even if it temporarily causes upheaval.  Things that used to upset you do not anymore.  These are some good yardsticks.

Anxious for enlightenment?

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Q: What advice would you give to those who are impatient with their daily, everyday lives and are eager for enlightenment?

A: I would tell them that this is quite normal from the perspective of the ego. The ego is always impatient, because the moment is always silent. This causes fear in the ego which makes it run.

I would tell them to accept this about their ego, and that only by accepting it will they be able to let it go and to transcend it.  I would tell them by accepting their ego, they will automatically feel more at peace, and paradoxically, they will be much closer to enlightenment.

See the ego in all its twists and turns it performs in an effort to co-opt the moment, and accept it for what it is — a fear-based collection of thoughts that is desperately looking to escape this scary moment and get security, even if it is imaginary security.  This will do a lot in bringing you closer to enlightenment.

 In other words, don’t do anything about the ego.  To get away from it, just accept it for what it is and make it your new job to watch it.  This will put you in touch with witness consciousness in a hurry and do more for you than years of therapy.

And just like anything else, the more you practice it, the more natural it becomes, the better you get at it, until it becomes completely natural to identify with the witness, not the ego.

What to do when you feel angry.

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Q: What should I do when I feel anger rising up in me?

A: Take a step back.  Witness your anger.  Why is it there?  Are you wrestling with reality, telling reality that something should be other than it is? This is the first step in dealing with your anger, seeing how your ego wants things rather than what really is.

Another reason why anger pops up is because it may be more acceptable for you to feel anger and dictate the way a situation should be rather than deal with the more threatening emotions that your ego is trying to cover up with anger.  Are you scared?  Are you embarrassed?  Keep asking yourself why you feel these emotions beneath the anger.

Usually, if you do it with sincerity and persistence, they will bring you back to a core reason for this anger.  Once you get to this core issue, feel the feeling of this core issue.  Watch how this core issue makes your ego react.  Witness this.  This will dissipate the energy from this core issue and unravel the whole stack.

For small things, this may happen quickly.  For larger things, it may take much longer and take much more courage and inner honesty.  But once you get to this core issue, and you learn the truth of your anger, you will either be able to take more effective action if action is required, or your perspective will change, dissipating your anger, allowing you to be happier, more relaxed, and at peace.

Either way, you win with this practice.

What to do when someone is angry with you.

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Q: What should I do when someone is angry at me or treats me unkindly?

A:  The best thing to do is to try and put yourself in their shoes. What are they feeling, what is their perspective?  What are their past experiences in life, and how is this affecting their point of view now?  How are they viewing you?

This practice pulls you out of the duality of victim/victimizer, and puts you into the experience of compassion.  There’s always a reason why someone acts in a certain way, and usually it has very little to do with you.  Usually the person who is experiencing anger is acting reactively from their ego.  Don’t take it personally.

To take it personally puts you at odds with the person, which the person can consciously or unconsciously perceive, and keeps the drama going.  To see the person compassionately usually takes the energy out of the anger, and often times will take the person back, out of their angry state, and make them realize that their anger has very little to do with you.

Of course, to practice this takes time and dedication with identifying more with the watcher than your ego.  Be patient, and practice this consistently.  Often times it will resolve and issue.  If it does not, it will free your energy up to make much better decisions.

Should you confront this person about their anger?  Should you discontinue associating with this person because of their anger?  When you are watching from the witness instead of reacting from your ego, the choice will become clearer and clearer with time.