Finding peace of mind and courage in an age of anxiety
The Secret to Life
Becoming a Friend of God: Understanding and Resolving Your Inner Conflicts
The Magic of Self Observation in the Meditative State
Spiritual Recovery – How Do I Wipe the Slate Clean and Start Over Again
Finding the Way Back from Corruption to Innocence
How to Stop Reacting to Pressure
The Spiritual Side of Life
The Secret to a Stress-Free Life
Awareness, The Secret to Real Recovery
Starting Over Again
Spiritual Recovery From Drug Addiction
All About Impatience
Understanding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Be Ye Not Conformed to the World
How Do We Know There is a God Who Cares About Us?
A Listener Asks
Quietly Work Out Your Own Salvation
Repentance: The Happy Sad Emotion of the Blessed
The Road to Spiritual Recovery: Giving Up Resentment and Hostility
How to Become Free Indeed
Back to Basics: Spiritual Recovery
Overcoming Resentment and Its Traumas
Another Look at Faith
The "How" of Spiritual Recovery, Part 1
The "How" of Spiritual Recovery, Part 2
The Secret to a Stress-Free Life
"What, Me Worry?" How to Stop Struggling
Is Food Your Secret Lover and Enabler
Why Practice the Meditation Exercise
The Secret to Life is in Response
The Way of Wisdom
Meditation and Anger Management
Meditate to Move With the Right Energy
Some people will go to the ends of the earth to find enlightenment. But the truth is that it can be found in your own back yard. In the wonderful children's story The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy looks for happiness in far away places. But at the end of her adventures, she discovers that happiness is back in Kansas at home with her beloved family.
I've said it a thousand times, but I'll say it again: conscience is your closest link to God. Enlightenment is discovering, and then living in God's Light of Truth. God is your Spiritual Parent, and knowing things in your heart is when you are close to Him. Your home is within, close to God the Father.
His Light shines within, but we have all fallen away from it into the pseudo reality of the imagination. We live in thinking and fantasy, and submerge ourselves in emotions.
When we are lost in thinking, we are separated from the Light. This Light is intuition: a way of knowing without words. For example, sometimes you just see injustice or sometimes you get a sense that something is not quite right about someone. When you heed the wordless warning of intuition, you are protected and safe. But for the most part we do not notice or we discount and doubt that voiceless voice within. No wonder we err.
Here's another example of God's delicate unobtrusive providence. At some point in your life you may have been delicately nudged in a certain direction that was right for you, and by going along with that gentle nudge you ended up where you belonged, doing what was right for you.
This wordless knowing is intuition--your soul's perceiving and knowing in a wordless way in the light.
When you obey this guidance, which is without images or words, you are lead to safety and to be where you are supposed to be.
But we are all led astray by temptation, tease and challenge on the outside. The loud voice and rhetoric of the world is very convincing, and it knows just how to appeal to your ego and your particular weaknesses. We doubt our intuition and listen to the loud voice of the worldly tempters. These tempters, who come in various guises, tempt you to be ambitious, to study, to grab for knowledge, to go for the gusto, to live for the moment or to seek the love of the world.
If you are not the ambitious type, then they mock, ridicule, and ostracize you. They make you feel like the ugly duckling, and your resentment of them then tempts you to prove something to them or grab for what you have been denied.
For worldly approval, we cop out. For a moment of pleasure, a high or to get what we think is our heart's desire, we well ourselves down the river. This puts us in conflict with intuition. And the conflict we have with intuition, we feel as conscience. This conflict is a positive thing. It is meant to wake us up to see our error and come back to what is right. It is actually God gently tapping on the door of your mind, and like the good Father that He is, gently and wordlessly asking you to come back home and walk with Him.
Deep down we sense in a wordless way that living and moving and having our being in a simple guileless way will permit us to be our real self. And deep down we also know (though we doubt it) that all the blessings and benefits, true success and prosperity (without guilt) can be had by living properly and not being ambitious.
Yet, our ego pride being what it is, we turn our backs because we want something out there too much or there is something we just don't want to give up.
We all have to learn our lesson. Years later, we discover that we turned our back on our true lodestar.
We groan and mourn our errors and wrongs. We want to turn back and return to honor, simplicity, innocence, and courage. We want to live rightly. We want a second chance to be a good husband, wife, son, daughter, parent or friend. Like Dorothy, we want to go back to Kansas, but we don't know how.
Luckily there is a way back. It involves once again grasping with firm conviction the beautiful truths you once knew and loved as a child. It means standing for principle, even if it means losing the favor of the world.
Most of all, it means realizing that what now feels like conscience is God's Light of Truth still delicately pursuing you and gently calling you back. It only makes you feel bad because you strayed from it and have conflict with it.
But if you can soften your pride and yield to conscience, your soul will begin to be purged, and you will be on your way back to all the good you ever hoped for. It begins right here and now as you read these words.
Most of our problems—health, mental, spiritual, and emotional—are a result of conflict. This conflict has three aspects: conflict with self, conflict with others, and conflict with conscience.
By far the most important resolution of conflict is that of conflict with conscience. The proper resolution of this conflict will begin to resolve the other types of conflict as well. So, we will look in turn at each of the types of conflict, beginning with conflict with conscience.
Conscience is another word for intuition: what we wordlessly know deep down in our hearts. Intuition is how the soul knows. The soul that is close to the Inner Light of Truth is near to God.
God sends His Light, and it shines within. In this Light we see and know, and this inner Light is an infallible guide. It keeps us from error and steers us along the lines that the Good Lord had in mind for us.
Intuition is our guide and our lifeline to God. Through intuition, we realize, discover, and are imparted understanding. We also have peace of mind-- a peace from God, as a result of peace with God.
Those people who follow their intuition, to any significant degree, become inventors, explorers, discoverers, geniuses, and mystics.
To a greater or lesser extent, anyone who develops their own God given talents and uses them for the good of others according to God's purposes is following intuition. Without knowing these individuals personally, I think it is safe to say that people like Albert Einstein, Susan B. Anthony, Winston Churchill, and Ansel Adams followed their intuition and the pattern waiting to unfold for them.
There is a pattern waiting to unfold for us all. Sometimes we get a glimpse of it in advance.
We remember that we once saw it ahead, like deja vu. Other times we are warned of danger about to occur, and we avoid it.
When we walk in the light of conscience, mostly we live moment by moment, playing one note at a time, and we are shown enough to live that one moment properly. A lifetime of moments lived properly leads to the formation of character and to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. People who get very close to the inner Light because they love it so, take delight in God's principles, and who yearn for truth and to do right will become the Paul, David, Moses, Enoch's, Mary, John, or Ruth.
The amazing thing is that intuition is there for all of us. But we fail to follow it, we doubt it, we ignore it, and then we can't find it. We listen to the so called experts on the outside. We let their voices out shout the still small voice within. We follow our teachers, professors, advisors, and other experts instead of intuition. When they lead us into error, we resent them.
When we fail to develop our own pre-ordained pattern, because we copped out to others, we develop conflict with ourselves and with our conscience. We sense something not quite right about the way we are proceeding.
When we fail in some small but critical moment (or which there are many in life), we retreat into the images of imagination where we relive the past and plan for the future. We listen to the voice of the serpent (the same one that got Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden) still whispering ego supporting notions in our thought processes. We think these notions are our very own thinking and so we follow them. But they are not. They originate outside and below. Following them we are deceived and led into error.
After listening to the permissive voice, we fall into error. The morning after the night before, intuition returns as conscience (twenty twenty hindsight). We wonder why we listened to others instead of heeding the wordless hunch that tried to warn us.
Alas, most of us continue to believe the lies about glory and greatness through knowledge and ambition, setting goals and striving to have it all. We want personal glory, and if not glory then wealth. If not wealth, then pride or power through study. If not power, then righteousness and a sense of goodness through words of good and religious study. Then we want things to distract us from conscience. And if not many things, then relief from guilt and a cure for our ills. So we keep reaching for a goal in one form or another. Tempters come in many guises, sometimes as a friend or a leader who promises to restore your dignity.
Sometimes the tempter stands behind the pulpit, challenging you to spiritual pride. Sometimes the tempter, having utterly corrupted you with pressure and tease, now plays the role of consoling friend, still recognizing your ego and offering it a false comfort, in the form of approval, pleasure, reassurances, or pills.
Only when we have been led into great error and when we hit rock bottom, are we forced to stop and take a good look at ourselves. Now intuition feels like the cold hard light of reality.
For those of us who are blessed, we finally begin to believe our intuition, and we regret having doubted it and followed the pied pipers who led us astray.
All of this is to say that when we ignore or fail to follow our intuition, we develop conflict with it. You see, the pattern of good is always there, waiting to unfold. But when we do not heed and follow it, it remains a latent pattern. We sense the inner light as conscience when our present predicament makes us aware of the discrepancy between the potential good and our present deviation from that good.
Intuition is unwavering because there is a force behind it: love. You see, your intuition, being from God, contains both wisdom and love. When we are disobedient and rebel against it: we come into conflict with God's love, which we feel as conscience.
Were we, at any point, to have a change of heart, and instead of running from conscience, permit it to overwhelm us and show us our error, we would experience regret, pain, shame and sadness. But after the temporary pain would come relief, as we are reconciled to conscience, intuition, and the God Who loves us.
Were you reconciled to intuition, you would once again begin to move intuitively. And more wonderfully, a mystical process of redemption and justification would take place, whereby your thinking, your emotions, your body, and your life would be brought back into harmony with God's purpose.
Conflict with conscience would cease. You would become friends with conscience. Conflict with God would cease, as you would now welcome His involvement in your life and welcome His guidance.
Now a friend of God and a friend of truth, you would begin to learn how to relate to other people. You would discover that anger and resentment not only set up road blocks to honest and kind communication, but anger and resentment also hurt yourself.
Seeing its wrong attitude (pride) and how it uses the handmaiden of anger to judge others and survive pridefully, the now wiser soul gives up anger and weans itself from what supports pride. Likewise, the now wiser (enlightened) soul sees how resentment is another survival mechanism of pride. When the pride is forced to see a truth it hates, it resorts to resentment to maintain itself.
Seeing the error of resentment, the enlightened person realizes that resentment must be given up. And when resentment and anger are given up, the pride is weakened and begins to let go of its grip on the person.
Now the person finds that he or she is able to relate to others humbly and honestly. The new found kindness and courage have a healing effect on relations with others.
A simple reconciliation with Truth and continuing to abide in that Truth (by a daily commitment of proper meditation) lead to a cascade of right choices and good relations. Conflict with God ceases, as well as unhealthy conflict with others.
Conflict with ourselves is basically when we are pulled in two or more directions. We don't know what to do, so we follow others. We are lead in many conflicting directions that go nowhere. We are led into error. Soon we are tense because we are compelled to seek the external motivation and stimulation we now need but which we want to run from because we know it will bring pain, conflict and guilt.
Another thing: if we are not yet fully committed to what is right, we are double minded. We are torn between what is right and what our selfish ego wants.
We may have wanted to do right, but we were also afraid of missing out on some selfish advantage.
Fortunately, the meditation exercise will permit you to stand back and observe all this. It will give you the power to make a free choice: to go the familiar old way that always leads to pain, or to quietly say "no" to the old way.
Before locating and becoming friends with intuition, we always doubted it. We listened more to friends, authorities or so called experts. And there was often a conflict between the quiet inner way of discovering, and the struggling ambitious way they challenged you to pursue.
Often their advice was just plain wrong. Other times their advice may have been technically correct (such as when our parents give us good counsel), but their timing was off or was tainted with anger. So naturally we resented them and rejected their advice. Conflict also arises when they taught us to go about doing technically helpful things with the wrong energy.
For example, authorities often challenge us to be good or try harder, but when we use effort and will to achieve even a good end, it leaves us guilty because it conflicts with the inner way of grace. There is a razor's edge between, for example, being industrious and being ambitious. There is a difference between doing what is right for selfish advantage and doing it out of the goodness of one's heart.
An example of using the wrong kind of energy to accomplish something (and which thus leads to conflict with self) is the way we have been taught to go about trying to recover when we have physical symptoms.
We usually resent our body for failing and try to force it to get better. Our loveless pressure upon the body is not conducive to wholesome restoration and repair.
Our loveless chemical applications, for example, only succeed in masking symptoms or in inducing a transfer of symptoms to some other system or level or our body. We all know what the result is when we people don't really listen to each other. What do you think the result is when we are impatient with our body and don't listen to it?
We err when we look for symptom relief instead of the seeking to discover the real cause. We grow impatient with our body. Where is the love?
But when the soul is attuned to the inner Light, it has access to wisdom and love. The soul, now blessed with grace, becomes a kind master for the body. With understanding, the soul listens to the body and then intuitively finds the way. Graced with intuition and a clear perception, the person will find the right path, often discovering some emotional block which was preventing repair.
Sometimes we do need the help of medical professionals, and their skillful technology and knowledge. If we do, our intuition will help us find the doctor who has understanding and the right kind of treatment for us. Having let go of impatience and resentment, we may now cooperate with the good doctor and, being a better patient, now maximize our benefit from his or her help because of our newfound grace.
Mostly, when we learn to give up harmful negative emotions, unhealthy environments and unhealthy practices, our body will be able to rally naturally.
Perhaps with a little help from the good doctor to weather the emergency, our body is able to rally and begin to recuperate.
Without grace, conflict leads to inhibition and fear. Lack of understanding leads to confusion and worry.
Unable to relate to ourselves, our bodies, and our fellow human beings properly, we sense a growing despair.
The door to all this negativity closes when the soul learns to be still and come before its Creator. Conflict with God ceases. We gain a right relationship with God, the Wellspring of all that is good. By giving up judgment, anger, and selfish advantage, the soul learns to obey Him and gain His approval.
A simple reconciliation with Truth, and continuing to abide in that Truth (by a daily commitment of proper meditation) lead to a cascade of right choices and good relations.
Fortunately, the meditation exercise will permit you to stand back and observe. And it will give you the power to make a free choice: to go the familiar old way of resentment and striving, or to quietly say no to the old way by embracing principle, not because you have to, but because you want to and are free to, thanks to the grace of God.
Learn to see your own errors without loathing or resenting yourself. Most of your aberrant behavior and mishandling occur in situations where you once reacted badly long ago. Now negative emotions arise, and these emotions make you feel and then have thoughts that correspond to the feelings. These thoughts and emotions that now rise had once compelled erroneous thought, word or deed.
But now, if you can find the meditative state of mind, you will be able to mentally stand back and observe the emotions and thoughts that rise; and although they may pain you, you will be able to separate from them and calmly observe them for what they are.
No longer a part of them, you will no longer feel stained by them. After a period of observing your wrong emotions, the thoughts that rise, as well as the old compulsive activity, you will find one day that you are free to act or not act, depending on the inclination of your soul. Before you had to yell at the other person, run away, become out of control, or reach for a drink.
Now you find that you can quietly say "no" and let the moment pass.
Many negative thought patterns and habits will quickly go away with observation. Some, however, are stubborn and may plague you for a long time.
Troublesome and negative thoughts tempt you to get involved with them. That is why you must learn the art of remaining objective to people, suggestions, arguments, as well as thoughts and images.
Bear in mind that troublesome and persistent thoughts may simply be past programming or suggestions made by someone who you reacted to. But there may also be spiritual factors involved. When we sin, the spirit of that sin gets in, and then it torments from its new home within.
Therefore, learn well the practice of standing back and remaining distant. Struggle with negative thoughts, whether from people, past circumstances or spirit induced, only makes them. Do not struggle with them. That is what they want you to do. Go the other way: stand back and observe them from the neutral zone.
This basic and fundamental principle will hold you in good stead. It will form the foundation of your newfound approach to life. Stand back, observe, and do not enter into the fray.
Always the tempter (who comes in various guises) will seek to get you involved, pulled into an argument, or going along with something that is not true. Bear in mind also that temptation can be very subtle.
Remember, the serpent was the most subtle creature of all. You must be objective and aware, scanning from an objective perspective in the Light of Truth.
Detached and uninvolved, you are free to observe the next subtle temptation.
Temptation is always seeking to degrade you. But it cannot, unless your respond with doubt and emotion.
Through doubt and emotion, you give up energy, as you literally lose something of yourself, both energy and selfhood. In exchange, you get something of the tempter who becomes you.
But if you do not react; and instead hold fast and keep the faith—the tempter is left powerless and exposed. He or she has egg on his face.
He may run away as a coward. He may try a different approach. All you need do is watch--aloof, fearless, detached, and not fall into being involved.
Temptation is defeated when you do not react.
By not reacting you remain aware; and you are free to see the next appeal. Whereas when you get involved with one intrigue or appeal, your consciousness is encumbered by one involvement, and you don't see the next one. This is something like after having stumbled on something, a person can become obsessed with watching for something not to stumble on, and miss seeing the overhanging branch.
Can you now see how the Truth sets you free? Can you see how sin enslaves? Can you see how God's laws (such as the Ten Commandments) are not simply harsh rules—they are actually meant to protect us from falling into bondage?
Look at all the various forms of bondage: addiction, fascination, obsession, compulsion, and obligation.
Even failure is a form of bondage, if you can't help but fail in everything. In other words you are trapped into failing because you cannot succeed. However for others, succeeding (in the usual ambitious sense) is also a trap. They can't stop succeeding.
Look at resentment, and how it takes away joy and spontaneity, how it robs you of being reasonable or happy. What is bondage, but being trapped in a dark dungeon of resentment, despair, doom and gloom (which resentment leads to)?
The depressed person does not have a "chemical imbalance" problem; he or she has a reaction problem. He or she is reacting to some situation, notion, suggestion, or person with negative emotions. And the worst emotion of all is resentment.
Without love, grace or faith to cope with the issue or negative suggestion, the person makes the classic mistake of resenting it. Unfortunately, resentment, by its very nature, separates a person from the inner fount of love and understanding. Therefore, you would be wise to first look for resentment, and when you see it—let it go. Of course there are situations when we become sad or need to grieve, such as when a loved one or a pet dies, we see some tragic loss occur to ourselves or others. It is just natural to be troubled or sad. I grieved when my dad died.
But even here, time heals all wounds, and after a period of grieving, normalcy returns. What blocks natural recovery and prolongs the unhappiness is that, all too often, resentment mixes in and blocks recuperation and restoration. Resentment both blocks a healing catharsis, because the ego hangs onto the dubious value or resenting and therefore reinforcing the negative memory. This resentment is often associated with a negative suggestion that torments the mind. Secondly, resentment cuts us off from our own ground of love and grace. Then many bad things can happen: not only hanging onto a morbid self destructive notion, but also a repression of negative emotions, leaving unfinished business, and the eventual surfacing of symptoms in the form sickness, pain, or even cancer. Resentment is a hidden cause of cancer.
Therefore watch out for resentment. A person can even resent their deceased parent for leaving them, or resent God for letting it happen. Let go of the resentment, and then the natural emotions can run their course and restoration will occur.
Joy, cheerfulness, light heartedness, and yes, love are the natural state for humans. When you are blocked from these (by resentment), then you are trapped and enslaved to a dark, negative morbid existence.
Can you now see why you cannot make yourself good or make yourself happy? You are in the wrong place.
Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, you have to go home again. You have to cross over the line from darkness into light, from the dungeon of despair to a Heaven on earth.
You cannot make it happen of yourself, but you can give up what is blocking you and preventing you from getting help from God.
When you are in the right place, then the light and love available there will change you, without effort on your part.
In short, it the energy of your own willfulness, especially ambition or resentment, that keeps you in the wrong place, perversely trying to make things happen. This is also what got you there in the first place.
Therefore, cease and desist from your struggling. Give up trying to make good happen. Instead, focus on watching for resentment and letting it pass.
Bear in mind that because you have responded and reacted to temptation in the past, it knows your weaknesses very well. It is familiar with you, both what excites you to ambition and what makes you resentful.
What it fears is that you will awaken, that you will meditate for objectivity, and that you will stand back and call upon God. It fears being observed for what it is, and it fears exposure. Most of all, it fears that you will see that it exists and has posed as you, feeding your mind with thoughts from a false conscience that appeals to you in your daydreams and in your morbid reveries and worry.
It fears that you will see that it exists in you, and that you will separate from it, cease struggling, call upon God, and permit the Light from God to deal it a decisive blow.
Here are a couple of tricks it will use. In the past, it always egged you on. It took advantage of your resentment, for example, to encourage you to some endeavor. It gave you many reasons for the undertaking. It told you anything that would work.
Because it knows that once you believe and follow, you will then defend the action as your very own. It poses as your conscience, so that its ideas and suggestions appear to be your very own.
And as you strive toward a goal (which it tempted you to have), when you begin to falter or question what you are doing, it accuses you of being lazy or not trying hard enough. As soon as you show signs of life, of waking up and finding yourself, it will remind you of your past failings, hoping to demoralize you and make you afraid of standing up for yourself. It will try to make you doubt the wisdom of meditating and coming to the Light. It will encourage you to try visualizations or ineffective techniques. It will be opposed to the whole idea of proper meditation.
You must understand that the whole worldly system of willfulness and struggling, and of endlessly striving for goals, is designed to serve pride.
This is currently Satan's kingdom because of all the people who can't stop serving him. The moment you stop striving, wanting, projecting, daydreaming of success or cure, and the moment you stop wanting things and fixating on goals to strive toward—you start to wake up and begin to see the truth about your forlorn and empty life.
That is why the powers that be, the ones you are now serving (and they, too, have their master), won't ever give you peace.
They want you striving for goals: that is how they keep you entranced. As long as they are able to keep a hope of earthly glory in your mind, and as long as you keep trying to "get yours" in the system, you won't be able to stop, slow down and begin to see that the advantage always goes to the ones you are serving, just like in gambling, the advantage always goes to the casino.
In your efforts to make yourself big, you actually become nothing. In your efforts to grab for success, you become a failure.
The average person is also in league with the powers that be to keep everyone endlessly striving and goal seeking so that no one will become aware of the truth, call their bluff, and stand as a credible contrast to the way of the world.