Timeless advice, insight, and guidance from twenty years of helping people
Ann Landers Had it Right 13
A 19 Year Retrospective 17
Understanding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 23
Could Your Problems Have a Basis in Emotions? 43
Be Ye Not Conformed to the World, Part 1 46
A Listener Asks 51
Quietly Work Out Your Own Salvation 64
Repentance: The Happy Sad Emotion of the Blessed 67
The Road to Spiritual Recovery: Giving Up Resentment and Hostility 70
How to Become Free Indeed 76
Meditation and Anger Management 81
Becoming a Friend of God 85
Spiritual Recovery and Survival in Hard Times 92
Love is Patience 98
The Miracle of Love and Patience 100
My Husband and I Argue All the Time 104
Fathers: Just How Important is Dad, Part 1 118
How Important Is Dad, Part 2 123
My People Perish for a Lack of Knowledge 128
Are There No More Good Men Left? 132
Good Dads and Fathers: We Need Them More than Ever 136
Whatever Happened to the Good Life? 139
How to Stop Reacting to Pressure 148
The Spiritual Side of Life 161
Self Control: How to Without Repression 174
Overcoming Your Reactions to Pressure Learning 177
Practicing the Presence 180
All About Impatience 185
The Way of Wisdom 192
The Power of Uncompromising Truth 195
Innocence Lost, Innocence Regained 207
Becoming Free to be Fully Human 219
The Magic of Self Observation in the Meditative State 232
The Error of Striving from A to Z 238
Raising Kids Without Pressure 242
Back to Basics 245
The "How" of Spiritual Recovery, Part 1 253
The "How" of Spiritual Recovery, Part 2 258
Back to Basics: How to Solve All Your Problems 266
Coping with Manipulation and Confusing People 270
Meditation: The Way to Courage 275
The Secret to a Stress-Free Life 281
Why Practice the Meditation Exercise 284
Food: Friend or Foe? 287
Dealing With the Stress of Confusion and Information Overload 299
Special Problems Today 307
Why God Gives Us Parents 324
Understanding the Role of Knowledge in Our Failings 331
Faith and Love 342
Remember Ann Landers? She was the famous advice columnist who had a daily column in hundreds of newspapers from coast to coast. People sent her troubling personal problems. She gave advice, often quite good.
I'll never forget something she said. Near the end of her long and illustrious career, she was interviewed by someone who asked her: After all your years of giving advice, if you could give people just one piece of advice—what would it be?
Being in the advice business myself, I could not wait to hear her response. She thought about it for a moment and then responded:
"If I could give people just one piece of advice, it would be to be more forgiving."
She had seen too many relationships and families destroyed by resentment, unforgiveness, and grudges. She had seen too many people destroyed by bitterness and unhappiness, the result of not forgiving another. Her advice: Be more forgiving.
All I can say is "amen."
If a person were to set out to ruin their own life, there would be no "better" way than through harboring resentment against others.
Resentment (hatred), you see, is a big trauma for a human being. We were never meant to hate. We were created in the image and likeness of God. We are creatures of love. When we are patient with others, our Heavenly Father is patient with us. When we forgive others He forgives us.
When we do not judge and do not resent, we remain in His good graces and we enjoy His love and warmth. Just like the plant lives in the sun and gets its life from the sun, so the human soul was made to live in God's light.
When we resent another, we cut ourselves off from His love. When you resent, you can actually feel the negativity and emptiness.
Resentment is a very big trauma. It forms a memory that sticks in your craw. Worse yet, resentment and hatred cut us off from our own good.
It is true that others are cruel or mean, others are confusing and others made errors. But when we resent them, we lose patience with them. This negative energy of impatience and hostility then sustains the fallen ego that lives apart from God and experiences conflict with God.
We think we have a right to judge and resent. We think we can get away with resenting. But we only reap what we sow. When we exercise our right to hate another, we are doing a terrible thing. It is unfair to the other person. It tempts them to hate us back. Being cut of from life devastates our own being.
Many of us were abused, rejected, mistreated or traumatized when we were young. Our being was devastated, and some of us have never fully recovered.
We went out in the world seeking love to fill the emptiness. We used people, food, substances and distractions. But none satisfied. When they did not, we felt betrayed, resented them and then felt all the more empty.
Others of us were not really mistreated or abused and yet we too felt empty, loveless and went out into the world looking for love. There we discovered abuse.
Why is it that we become so empty and feel so unloved? Why are we so needy that we grovel before others for a few crumbs of approval or settle for the most lowly and sometimes loathsome substitutes for love?
It is not what others did to us. Nor is it because of what we were denied or thought we were denied. It is because we became resentful and hateful. Resentment cuts us off from our connection to God within.
Resentment cuts us off from the wellspring of good to which we have access when we are not resentful. It was our own resentment that hurt us more than anything.
We feel empty and we then blame those who did something to us. But blame only reinforces and adds another layer of resentment, keeping us apart from our Creator. Whether we blame others or turn the blame on ourselves, blame is a way of justifying our hate. All it does is keep us tied to bitter memories and cut off from the healing balm of God's love.
Our need for human love is to fill the emptiness from not having God's love. That is why what we call love often ends up in fighting and hurt feelings. What we call love is a substitute for the agape, emotionless love we all need. This agape love would correct our childish need for love. And when we found the love of the Father it would immunize us from hurting or being hurt by others.
But remember what Christ said: "If you forgive others, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, He will not forgive you."
Therefore, I would like you to consider watching for resentment in yourself. When you see it, stand back and let it pass. You will be glad you did. By learning to be patient with others, you will find the love from God welling up inside you.
It was March of 1990 that I walked into the offices of KEST Radio to inquire about buying airtime. Back then, KEST had a penthouse on Market Street in San Francisco. My account representative and producer was LeBaron King, a truly fine gentleman who later became a producer at KNBR. I don't know where he is now, but I hope he is doing well.
I began at 11:30 AM and did my program live from the studio. I took calls and it was fun.
As the years went by I had airtime at various hours. But not once was the program ever self supporting.
Of course, I have had doubts. I've often wondered if I'm just wasting my time, doing an imitation of someone else. Or perhaps doing a vanity thing.
I also often wonder if I might have been intended to do something important, but through personal failing I proved myself to be unworthy of the calling.
Yet I am still here and still saying the same thing as I did 19 years ago. What I say is true.
One thing I do know for sure is, as Madame Guyon once said, I cannot deny the truth that God did touch upon my life and rescue me from darkness.
Nor can I deny that I am capable of putting into words the way to come back to God through intuition, repentance, standing back from thought, and being more forgiving and less reactive.
Whatever failings and weaknesses I may have, I know what I know; and I can express the "how" of recovery better than anyone I have ever heard with one notable exception.
I'm sure that whatever comes of me and of my program, I will certainly receive better than I deserve.
I will make a few general observations based on my 19 years' experience.
First, I would like to comment on differences I see between now and 19 years ago.
First of all, people are not responding as they once did. People today have fallen into the hands of the experts who support and drug them. Today, everything is organized into big organizations and bureaucracies.
Even many churches are big and slick. And many of the small ones are slick too. Every helper and organization has a website, a radio or television outreach, books, newsletters, and lots of support groups.
These organizations absorb all the resources. Especially the big ones. Through their sheer size alone, they outmaneuver and overwhelm any little guy. Mom and pop office supply stores, mom and pop gas stations, and mom and pop farms are dying or dead. And so it is becoming with small outreaches.
Today everyone thinks they are experts, just because they took a psychology course or read a book.
Everyone has attended seminars, visited many websites, and has an opinion on everything. Today everyone has a surface familiarity with counseling, drugs, religion, and spirituality. They have tasted of the smorgasbord of both corrupting experience and then "help." They think they know it all.
A thousand churches, a thousand forms of spirituality, a thousand social service agencies, and a thousand counselors, each cleverly marketing itself, means that everyone has been diagnosed, treated, supported, and often drugged.
There's an old expression "when everything is important, nothing is important." In the same way, when every helper is valid, then almost nothing is valid. Sure, some of the help with spiritual problems is valid. But which ones?
It is for this reason that many people have become smart alecks and smug. They think they already know the answers. Or they think they have been given the answers. The attitude of smug satisfaction stops searching. The kind of help that gives glib answers and the kind of help that offers symptom removal as "help" stops searching.
I also believe that the widespread use of marijuana provides a false comfort for people. It also stops meaningful searching. A marijuana smoker thinks he knows something profound when he really doesn't.
In a nutshell, there is too much of everything today, including help. Most of it useless. That which is helpful is either diluted or lost in the shuffle.
Another thing. Today's person has grown disrespectful of authority. Only those authorities that cater to the ego are heeded, because of their cleverness and guile. But true old fashioned authorities are not heeded. The reason is two fold.
First of all, many grandfathers, fathers, and politicians are not the solid, staid, trustworthy, and honorable statesmen and noblemen that they once were. Today many are weak, selfish, confused, and immature. Too many of them are at the casinos, buying lottery tickets or looking for a second childhood.
Many have fallen and failed. They have also aired their dirty laundry in public. And so the sons and daughters of a generation of selfish weak leaders have no respect for them.
Nevertheless there are many good dads, clergy and bosses around. Some of them are very noble. Though they have feet of clay, they lead mostly exemplary lives and with the years have acquired wisdom. But television portrays dads as weak and dumb. The media in general is populated mostly with people who hate traditional authority and seek to undermine it. So we are assaulted with the prurient, the uncouth, the debased, and the foolish. We have seen too much.
Today, many people have a flip, loose, casual familiarity that strips everyone of dignity.
However, it is not their fault. They are the creation of a generation of men that were selfish, promiscuous, and drug taking. They are the creation of a media that hates traditional values and will degrade men and their God every chance it gets.
Today we are enamored of knowledge and technology. Though technology can be helpful and sometimes very useful, it must not be worshipped or looked to instead of the Creator.
God gave us technology for its usefulness, but not to be misused. Unfortunately, in our fallen state of mind, we misuse everything.
Put first the Kingdom of God and His right way, and all other things will be added to you. These are the words of the Messiah. And nowhere is this more true than when it comes to raw knowledge (and its derivative science and technology).
When we truly love God, love our neighbor, and seek first to do God's will, then we will be able to use knowledge and technology for the glory of God and the betterment of our fellow human beings.
Remember what Christ said: The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.
When we use words of knowledge as a substitute for the Word in our heart, then that knowledge replaces the Word and mortifies us. It takes the place of the Word and understanding, and unless we are blessed to realize what has happened, we remain a prisoner of knowledge and precluded from receiving the Word.
There are many examples in nature of one thing taking the place of another, thus preventing the other from taking its appointed duty. For example, I have heard that one of the unfortunate properties of fluoride (which is in most of our drinking water, bottled water, and juices nowadays) is that it takes the place of iodine in the thyroid gland.
Because we are distracted and because we look to science and technology to save us, we can hardly believe that the simple path of sitting quietly and finding the Light within is the way to true life.
Only the sincere seeker will be able to do so. But because so many have been led so far astray, there will be very great sufferings to be had by a rebellious, ignorant and prideful generation. In times past, at least people knew that living a chaste and honorable life was important. Even Mafia criminals dressed respectably and shielded their wife and children from the corruption they were involved with. They knew there was good and evil, and they knew there was right and wrong.
But today, many people are so misled and ignorant, and so far from common sense, that they do not even realize these basic truths. Never have people been as much in the dark as today.
And so, if someone comes along and talks about repentance or quietly realizing error—they are not even listened to.
The words of Paul are very telling and apply today as never before:
"And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
When a person has no love of truth, there is nothing you can do for them. The closer a society lives to reality and truth, the more orderly and beneficial it is to its inhabitants. But when a society falls completely away from truth, only troubles and sorrows can happen (except for those blessed few who wake up).
Perhaps the times we live in are like the days of Noah or like Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet I can't help but feel that we are worse off today because many of our educational, governmental, and even church leaders are completely separated from reality. They do not know there is right and wrong, and they use their office and power to teach a gullible populace error.
Never will it be more important to meditate properly and go through life with a detached observing attitude. You will need your detachment, and you will need the delicate guidance of the Spirit so that you will know what moves to make and what to say or not say. - 3 - Understanding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
First some basics. A famous and well known life stress survey lists various events--such as death of a spouse, change in living conditions, change in job, etc. The person is asked to check off which ones he or she has recently experienced and then add up a score. The higher the score, the more stress the person may be under.
What is interesting to me is how many, if not all, of these stressful situations, are changes. It appears that change itself is stressful. A change in jobs. A change in homes. A change in living arrangements. A change in lifestyle (adjusting to the loss of a loved one, for example). A change in locale.
It may be interesting or even fun (though not necessarily) to go on a trip, move to a new apartment, or change jobs--but for the average person, there is stress involved.
So now let's look at the biggest change that occurred to the human race: the fall in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve went from being in Paradise to a living hell. They went from living forever to dying. They went from having God's approval to getting His disapproval.
Laugh if you will. But if you dare to keep reading this article your eyes may be opened to see the truth of it.
In our own lives, many of us will never go to a war zone, though some of us will. But we may experience theft, mugging, attempted rape, racism, prejudice, betrayal or unfairness somewhere along the way.
Do you see why these are so potentially stressful? They involve a big change—from a Paradisiacal state of mind and being to a lower state of doubt, hate, and the awakening of beastly desires and hungers.
But I must quickly add that we may fully recover from the event if our faith and love remain intact or if we are restored to faith and love at some later point. This restoration most often depends upon a spiritual change of heart: awakening through the touch of God and a willingness to let go of resentment.
Before again stating the solution (forgiveness), I will describe in more detail the nature of the problem. The trauma is a result of a loss of innocence, a loss of faith, a loss of trust, a loss of love for others (when we hate them). The psychic trauma (and resulting physical changes) results from a loss of faith in good or a loss of love.
More often than not, the losses are the result not so much of what happened to us, but of our resentment and hatred of another. Our resentment cuts us off from the inner fount of love. And when we are cut off, we experience the loss. Let me repeat this important point one more time. What cuts us off from faith, peace of mind, innocence, joy, and even development (along the lines that God had in mind for us) is resentment and hatred.
When you hate, you are separated from innocence; and then you feel the loss. And then the typical egotistical response is to redouble our resentment of the other person because of the loss.
But again, here is a very important point. The fall and the loss does not have to happen. We do not have to lose our faith or love. If we do not, then we will not change or be rendered sensitive to stress. And if we do fall, through loss of faith or through hate, then we can recover when we forgive. And to be able to forgive requires a reconciliation with conscience. This happens when we are repented.
Here is a very beautiful and comforting thought. When Adam fell, through disobedience in the Garden of Eden, he was traumatized and corrupted by the objects in the scene. He began to change and began to die.
Adam was very sorry, which you can read about in the Lost Books of the Bible. But there was no hope of reconciliation to the Source of life, joy, and love because there was no mediator and no one to make expiation acceptable to God. It is said that God did have some compassion upon Adam and made him this comforting promise: He told Adam that a Redeemer would come from his seed. But we who live in this 21st century can recover from any and all trauma, even our inherited trauma induced natures, now that Christ has come in the flesh. Through Him, the repentant soul may be reconciled to conscience, to God and to inner wholeness. All we need do is cry out to God and be willing to let go of our trauma sustaining resentments.
When our soul cries out to God and He responds with an inner drawing of our soul toward its ground of being, we experience a change of heart and attitude. In the Light of Truth, we see our wrong (doubting and hating). We are sorry and receive forgiveness. We see in this light that God is our Father and that He loves us. And this profound realization comforts our soul and renders the past unimportant.
In the light of truth, we experience many profound revelations, among them that the ones who hurt us could not stop themselves. They had been victimized and penetrated, and now were doing unto others what was done to them. They may not even have been themselves; something unholy was operating through them.
Seeing this truth, we drop our grudges. Our soul refinds its heavenly abode in the inner light from God. And as the soul recovers, positive changes begin to occur in all aspects of our being. This, in a nutshell, is the story of salvation, which may be implemented in your life beginning in this very second if you respond with joy to this message and are ready to begin your return to innocence.
Let us now continue to look at some typical situations which may result in a second fall, something like the one Adam and Eve experienced. In the light of the happy ending I have just outlined, you can now see how the fall and errors unfolded.
When you were little, you were close to God. You were self contained and full of joy. You loved discovering things. You were probably fearless. You loved your mommy and daddy, your brothers and sisters, your pets, and your doll or stuffed animals. You also knew deep down in a wordless way that God exists.
But when betrayal and cruelty entered your life, it was at the hands of wicked people or people to whom it had been done. The evil action of another shocked you. It may have caused you to lose faith in what you know in your heart. It may have caused you to resent or hate. And when you did, the hate separated you from your own ground of being and initiated you into an animal jungle of beasts and evil.
Humans are very sensitive creatures. We have a soul or consciousness by which we can sense the presence of good or evil, right or wrong. We can sense love or the absence thereof. That is why if dad fails to protect you, it is a shock. If mother betrays you, rejects you, or brings strange men into the home, it is a shock. If other kids tease and are cruel, for no reason, it is shocking.
But what really causes the fall is our reaction--especially when we resent, hate or judge the other person. Resentment and judgment separate us from love, from the Heavenly Estate within, and join us to the world that tempted us.
Before your first trauma you were innocent and close to Heaven. Afterwards, you became externalized and began to change. Slowly you fell away from the inner Light and drew closer and closer to the sensual and the hell just beyond it.
In your own life you experienced a second fall from being close to Heaven and Paradise to an external jungle of cunning, treachery, deception, hatred, and injustice.
Do you see the magnitude of this change? Can you see that when you fell, you began to adapt to the animal and devilish world that had penetrated you? Now you find yourself trapped in a jungle hell in the mind and in the flesh.
Christ said: the Kingdom of Heaven is within you. Refind the Heavenly Estate within. Begin responding to it again, and it will seal you off from the world of cruelty and hate.
The world of betrayal, cruelty, and meaninglessness won't be able to hurt you again. Learn the meditation so you can be still and refind the inner world of good, which even now silently testifies to the truth of these words.
What connects you to the wrong in the environment is, first of all, resentment. Hatred is the emotional connection to the wrong on the outside.
Now you must forgive by not hating. Forgiving others does not mean that we have to like them or even have anything more to do with them. Forgiveness means to no longer hate and resent. It also means to not judge (condemn with a pinch of resentment). It means to see the wrong or error, but to discern it without feelings or censure.
If someone in your past did you wrong, forgiveness does not mean that we have to pretend that nothing happened. That would keep the unfinished business suppressed. Pretending nothing happened also subtly licenses the wrongdoer and lets him or her off the hook.
No, forgiveness does not mean to accept and pretend. It means to see the wrong, but no longer hate or resent. In other words, if a neighbor stole your money and now wants to pretend that everything is okay: it is perfectly possible to forgive (not resent the person), but also expose him and report him to the police.
The key is to do whatever you have to do, without resentment.
The other connection to the traumatizing world is that you are still looking for love and fulfillment on the outside. Can you see that any "love" or reassurance that the world offers is for the changeling creature you became when you reacted to injustice and wrong? The world's love only makes you more wrong and keeps you in your fallen condition
But don't hate others for their phony love. They cannot help themselves.
Forgive others, for "they know not what they do." Seek within and find love from your Creator. You won't have to resent others anymore when they fail to love you in a way that is truly good for you. Your fulfillment will be from within.
Doubt is the other cause of the fall from the stable state, the innocent state, and the safe state.
I addressed resentment first, because it is usually the first cause of our childhood traumas. These are the deepest, the earliest, and sometimes the most difficult because they often involve a resentment of parents or God. Remember: meditate for objectivity, and you will be forgiven for your wrong (mostly for hatred), and then you will be able to forgive those who hurt or failed you.
Resentment is bad; but doubt is equally devastating. It is often connected with resentment, because doubt of the true and the good renders us sensitive and destabilized so that we start to resent because others are able to upset us. And because our faith has been devastated, we begin to look to others to lead us, and we then resent both our growing dependency on them and that they lead us into error.
Here are a couple of examples of how doubt can begin. A child trusts in his or her parents who stand in for God. Kids are not yet ready to relate directly to God. They relate to their parents. When the parents are good, stable, and stand for principle, the child feels secure that all is well. When a parent betrays a child (such as in a divorce where dad goes away and doesn't come back or when a child is abused by a parent), it usually devastates the child's faith in good and thus, in a round about way, in God.
An untoward event occurs, such as an accident happening to a family member. Instead of bearing it with dignity and calm composure, the parent becomes emotional and upset. The emotional climate created by the parent does two things.
One, it affects the child, making the child react emotionally too. Most kids mirror their parent's emotions. So when the parent is upset, so is the child. Emotional upset tends to undermine faith. Remember, faith means trusting in good, God and providence. Being emotional (afraid or upset) is evidence that our faith system is failing.
Secondly, the faithless emotional climate in which the child is immersed also tends to make the child question God and to doubt providence.
This also happens when a child is subjected to some injustice, such as a parent treating one child better than another. Or being falsely accused. Or being blamed for something that is not the child's fault.
The child may still trust his intuition because he clearly sees the injustice, but can be separated from his ground of being through hatred of the parent.
Enough of these types of incidents, and the child will also have undermined her trust in justice and the triumph of what is right.
More horribly, the child may begin to doubt himself and loses trust in his own perceptions.
Even if the child does not question whether there is such a thing as right and whether right prevails—if parents or others try to confuse the child about what he sees--the child may begin to doubt whether he can see for himself what is true or right. When injustice is said to be justice; when wrong is said to be right; and right is said to be wrong—the resulting confusion may have a devastating effect on the child, who doubts his own perceptions.
Now that you understand how emotional climates, cruel injustice, or deceit can undermine faith, you understand how being a soldier, a law enforcement officer, or a child who lives in a place where violence and mayhem are frequent are in danger of having their faith undermined by what they see. The cruelty and violence they see can tempt them to hate. And the deceit and human treachery they see can tempt them to judge.
A policeman can become bitter. A person from a gang infested neighborhood can become demoralized. A person in an amoral corporation can become cynical. Seeing first hand the wrong behavior of some church leader can cause someone to resent and reject Christianity.
Hate separates us from the inner ground of good which is our stabilizing center. If there is confusion, mayhem and chaos, this tends to make one emotional. And remember what we said—emotion, itself, tends to shake and destabilize.
That is why a person in a war zone, personnel who go to trauma scenes, law enforcement officers, and kids who just experienced a family tragedy rely on their superiors to be calm, dispassionate, understanding, and steadfast.
Except for those few who have sought and found a deep unemotional bond of faith with the Creator within, most people have to rely on authorities and law and order for stability. But when parents are upset, when a soldier begins to wonder if the war is just and leading to some good closure, when a police offer begins to wonder if everybody is on the take, and when a kid begins to wonder if everybody is lying and cheating, they are tempted to doubt good, truth, and the power of good. And yes, they are tempted to doubt God.
One of the most rabid atheists and communists I have heard actually grew up in a Christian home and as a young adult was the director of a church choir. I have no doubt that he saw deceit and sneaky or open wrong in those who put on a facade of religiosity. It inspired a burning hatred of them and a doubt of God.
Doubt is a very insidious thing. I must say that today just about everything out there tempts us to doubt. This morning I happened to hear two programs on the radio that led to a deep realization. First I heard Armstrong and Getty interview a man who wrote a book about the mean spirited shallow personal attacks that are frequent in the media. The hosts commented that this is also very common on the internet today.
For example, after a blog article, there is often a long string of often vicious and cruel remarks by anonymous people. One of the hosts said that he fears the internet is degenerating into the rise to power of "the lowest common denominator."
This could be said of not just the internet, but of television, sports, music, religion, and other cultural activities. As we degenerate morally and spiritually, our art forms follow suit. We the degenerate masses turn our art into temptations that cater to our rotten egos. We do not want them to uplift or shame us by their nobility. We need them to be increasingly degenerate, and we need them to tease and distract us.
Such degeneracy, morally and intellectually, tempts the young to doubt that there is truth or goodness. The degenerate art forms tempt them to debase themselves; and when they do, they will also clamor for entertainment that will love them just as they are.
A second program was a radio interview of a writer named Tim Coody, who wrote a book called Meaningless Words and Broken Covenants. In the interview he pointed out how many people use words that end up meaning nothing. They promise a lot but deliver little. They say things that they do not mean or will never make good on.
I pondered what I had just heard; and I realized that evil, operating from its hidden abode, must be rubbing its hands in glee. When words begin to lose their meaning, it leads to a debasement of society. Worse, it casts doubt in people's minds. Can you see that when someone lies, when an authority does a bad thing, or when people use shallow rhetoric to impress or hurt-- the real bad is not so much the particular act but the effect it has on others?
Doubt begins with a failure of our faith system because of our reaction to the deceit, wrong, or injustice others commit. Deceit separates words from meaning. An insane person will use words that are based in delusion and have no connection with reality.
A deceiver is deliberately using words that have no basis in reality. A sociopath says things he does not mean. He is severed from conscience.
The addict will lie to get his drugs or escape the consequences of his addiction. He will say anything, but then goes back to his drugs.
Let your words be few and meaningful, a wise man once said.
When more and more people in society deceive, lie, live in delusions, or are separated from reality and conscience—it tempts others to doubt truth and good. And it tempts them to lie too (since they think everybody else is doing it).
Your protection and your recovery depend on becoming reconnected to realty and to the God of reality, Whose Presence we first know as conscience. He sends His light, and when we welcome the redeeming wordless correction of conscience, we become a friend of God.
Just because others are insane, sociopaths, delusional, or deliberate deceivers—don't let them destroy your rapport with inner conscience. Just because another is in error and argues vehemently for some wrong idea, do not let it disturb you and cause you to fall because you resent them.
Your first line of defense is two-fold. One, don't doubt what you wordlessly know in your heart is right. Two, don't resent or hate those who are wrong or in error.
By not doubting, you remain close to faith. By not resenting, you remain close to love. It's that simple.
Here are a couple of tips that will help you. Realize that when a person falls away from intuition, conscience, and the heavenly order implicit in the wordless truth and good, they are falling away from God. In essence, they are devastated. And if that condition remains permanent, they are thus destroyed.
Somebody did a number on them and laid a trip on them. They were once innocent little kids too. Seeing that they are victims will help you not hate them.
Do not feel sorry for them either. You cannot help them.
If you feel sorry for them or think that you can somehow save them, you are entering into a relationship with error that may lead to your fall.
Second, do not get pulled into arguments with wrong people. State your points simply and calmly, and then let it go. Walk away, if need be. Remember that emotions tend to destabilize us and pull us into the imagination and physical changes. If you find yourself being pulled into an argument, stand back. Regain your mental distance.
Likewise, don't try to figure people out or analyze why they went wrong. Instead, spend your time meditating for objectivity and patience.
When you are looking at lying, cheating, stealing, deceit, rhetoric, tease, cruelty, mayhem, violence, or insanity, you are seeing the results of a society that has fallen away from God. The victims are everywhere. Don't become a victim yourself.
A final note. Many of us created a troublesome trauma for ourselves (and then have to suffer the post traumatic symptoms) because of our over-reactions to something we ourselves did.
For example, one boy ran from a fight, and others saw him run. His embarrassment and self loathing for having been seen running created a huge trauma for him. Whether he should have stayed to fight or whether fleeing was the wise thing to do, I do not know. What I do know is that a huge resentment of self, of those who saw him, and of the situation are making the memory stick in his craw.
He should begin to meditate for objectivity. What is keeping the memory alive is resenting it in the present.
In other words, the past is gone. We cannot live in the past; the only time we have to actually live is in the now present. So if you are resenting it now, you are despoiling your present. And since the present is the only time we can really live, the resentment ruins our life. The memory and the reactions are reinforced by resentment in the present. Therefore, do not resent the memory when it arises. Don't try to deal with it in any way. Calmly observe it, but pull back from drifting away with it. Stand back and just watch it from the neutral zone until it passes. If you behaved badly, then just see that you did. Bear the pain and embarrassment, but don't resent it.
Let me change gears for just a moment to deal with another kind of troublesome thought. Learning to stand back and observe thoughts without resenting them, being involved with them, or struggling with them is very good advice for any troublesome thought, including scary or vile thoughts.
Realize that evil is able to make use of the imagination and the cache of memories and images to try to fascinate and torment us.
Just watch the thoughts without trying to deal with them. They are not your thoughts. If they were, you could control them at will.
In the past you may have used them for distraction, entertainment, or ego building purposes. Now you know better. Don't use them, don't resent them—just watch them until they lose their power to entertain or frighten you.
Think of them as like a very bad old movie—the type that is on very late at night on television.
If you were in a room with the television blaring at the other end of the room with some really bad movie on—you wouldn't get involved with it. It would just be useless distant noise. Likewise, the morbid and vile thoughts that arise. They are no longer credible. Observe them from a mental distance. Don't deal with them in any way. Don't repress them; don't be fascinated by them. Just observe them from the neutral zone until they lose their power and fade away.
Back to our example of the boy who ran from a fight and had flashbacks and pain over it decades later. Let me just say that he is making the classic mistake of dwelling on the past with resentment. All of us have made mistakes in the past. All of us have failed to act nobly and courageously. Some of us have become angry and took action that hurt ourselves or others. But we must learn how to see our errors and wrong objectively.
If you see your error in the light of truth, you will also see the "why" of it, and whatever your wrong was, you can be sorry and then be forgiven by conscience (God).
Then you can put it aside, forgive and forget, and move on.
Likewise you can't change your erroneous or embarrassing actions of the past. If someone saw you make a fool of yourself, run like coward, or forget your lines—don't resent the ones who saw you, yourself, or the memory. Let it go. Make it unimportant. You can't change the past. Just live on as best you can from now on.
Dwelling in the past to try to change things or to beat up on oneself is just an egotistical act, a selfish act.
While you are dwelling on the past because it pains your ego, you is not living fully in the present. You are not there for others fully, or aware enough to avoid mistakes in the present.
Our big mistake is trying to deal with our errors and faults egotistically. You must learn to meditate and how to stand back and observe memories in God's light of truth.
Let Him deal with your error, your sin, and let Him be in charge of reforming you. As long as you try to deal with your own sins and make yourself better through crocodile tears or through trying to make up for something (to save your pride), it is purely egotistical.
If you hurt another in the past, they can forgive you. Even as you have forgiven others who hurt you.
And now that you know better, you can avoid creating new small but troublesome traumas by remaining calm instead of over-reacting to life's vicissitudes.
Don't get upset when traffic is slow, when another makes an error, when something breaks, or when you bump your knee on a table. If you remain calm, you won't form memories and tension that will trouble you later.
Meditation will also help you with terrible real memories of horrors you had nothing to do with--things you may have witnessed that bothered you or shocked you. Whether it's seeing another kid do something very inappropriate or being in a war zone—don't resent having seen it, and don't resent anyone.
Practice your meditation, and when the image rises to torment you, don't resent it. In the past it was your resentment that gave it power and kept it alive. Now just watch and let the light deal with it. When you no longer struggle with it, and instead calmly observe it in the light, with time it will fade and recede until it is no longer an issue.
Re-find the inner door and live in a beautiful and blessed present. Slowly but surely the memories of the traumas of the past will diminish and become unimportant. You will be progressively freed to live a happy and productive life and be a better mom, dad, husband, wife, and neighbor.
Let me close with this. We are creatures of trauma. We have all been traumatized. We are even traumatized by the false ego consoling love we received from our mother when we were babes. We were traumatized by our father not being there for us. We were traumatized by the heartless school system, and by the destruction of our innocence. We were traumatized by the ego supportive love of friends. We were shocked by the pushiness of strangers and the naughtiness of neighbors. Nothing was sacred.
For awhile we questioned and shied away from the false love of the world. We tried to be true, we tried to stay pure, and we meant what we said. But as time went by, we began to go along to get along. For this we received the approval of others. We began to feel comfortable with falsity, foolishness, and pretense. Nothing shocked us anymore. We probably viewed this as positive: a sign of becoming tough, cool, and street smart. But the truth is we were changing for the worse.
Here's a little illustration to show just how powerful environment is. I recently heard that a goldfish in a small bowl will stay a small size. But the same type of goldfish in a big pond will grow to be large.
The environment has a profound effect on the organism. It provides both a growth factor and restraint. Its invisible emanations are a source of life and security. The organism becomes adapted to and comfortable in its environment. If the environment changes, the organism must adapt or die. Some changes, though seemingly small, will result in the death of the organism. In fact, any change usually hastens the demise of the creature. Each change required the organism to use adaptive energy, or life force, to adapt to the stress of the change.
Positive changes, such as the alternation of night and day or the changing of the seasons, when routine and circumscribed, do provide a growth stimulus and prevent stagnation. Nevertheless, all adaptation requires the use of energy, and sooner or later every creature dies.
Of course, we humans were not meant to be subject to the environment. We were meant to be subject only to God. Before the fall, nature was subject to Adam, not the other way around. Adam would not have changed or died.
We, the progeny of Adam several generations removed, are born inheriting the kind of life that Adam left us: the earthy life that leads to death. And so we react and respond to the environment, we change, and eventually die.
Christ was the second Adam. Those who are blessed to search and find, discover the mysterious process of salvation and are reborn into the family of God. They become impervious to stress and change. Instead, they begin to be restored to their original innocence, and one day may be translated in the flesh to become imperishable.
Salvation is both instantaneous and drawn out over time. At some magic moment when the soul is ready to accept salvation, God answers its silent cries and draws His child to Him.
But there is much to see and discover. There is a lot of baggage to be dealt with. Fortunately, this process is in the hands of the Creator.
The sincere seeker and finder meditates daily for mental distance and to download a little of the magical stardust of inspiration. Then, going out into the world, he or she has ample opportunity to practice being patient, to speak up when appropriate, and to love by not hating and to love by not using.
It is like boot camp. The husband learns how to deal with his wife. The wife how to drop judgment and guilefulness. We learn how to win an argument without anger. We learn how to get more done without struggle. We learn the right measure of giving and withholding.
Plus there is ample opportunity to observe little reactions, phoniness, cruelties, and impatiences that we have learned and picked up during our years of defection from the Light. Each error and subtle wrong reaction is observed; and then changed through the action of the light.
Also during our years of wandering around in the dark, many dangerous and subtle physical changes have occurred as we adapted to our noxious environments. Plus we suffered a heavy toll due to our emotional reactions to stress. As we stop over-reacting, our body has a chance to heal and restore. Some bigger issues, the result of our wrong way of living, may surface to be healed in the light. They appear to be new, but they are actually issues that had been festering for a long time.
Some may resolve themselves now that we have removed ourselves from wrong environments and have moderated our eating practices. Some will resolve themselves quickly. Others will take some time for the body to heal itself.
Some may require the help of the good doctor. Now blessed with common sense and intuition, we will be able to find our way and find the doctor who has the right treatment to help with our infirmity.
You will no longer be shocked by what you see. Your meditation will afford you mental distance, and in the Light of Truth you will see that most people are lost and that the whole world lies in error. You will be able to be in the world but not of the world. You will be able to go about your business, be a mom, dad, boss, worker, neighbor, without being too close to others in an unhealthy way. You can still be friendly, but without the sticky life absorbing emotions you once reveled in.
You will no longer hurt others or be hurt.
If your honesty pains some people, it is only because you are awakening them to the truth. It is only painful to their worldly ego which feels like it is dying in the presence of truth. But just think how happy the person will be if their soul awakens and is set free to be a child of God.
Therefore any "hurt" that the truth brings is a good hurt. Awakening is not comfortable at first.
Realize that you could not help but be corrupted. It was not your choice. You inherited a fallen nature and an ego that can't help but respond to tease and lies. We are first of the flesh and later of the spirit. Reacting to tease, getting excited, taking up challenges, and so on is part of growing up. Our egos cannot grow without teases and challenges (but we need good and wise parents to shield us from unnatural and unnecessary tease).
But even if your parents had been perfect, you probably would have resented them anyway for not letting you have your way or for not seeing you in a good light. That's the nature of the ego. Now you know better. Before, you could not change yourself even if you wanted to.
So don't resent yourself for having fallen. And don't resent others for their acts of commission or omission.