Friday, May 30, 2014

Solve One Problem...Get Another

The ego loves to keep us immersed in the "reality" of daily living.  It loves to create problems.  Problems distract us from noticing our separation from God.  If we weren't so busy solving all these pesky problems we might have more time to notice how insane this all is and start to pay more attention to solving our one real problem...that we need to get back to God.

(In previous postings, I've been talking about ego set ups.  There's the "I Can't Win No Matter What I Do", see here.  There's also "The Rug Got Pulled Out From Underneath Me", see here.)

One of the ways the ego keeps us wrapped up in worldly living and away from spiritual thinking is by giving us problems.  Lot's and lot's of problems.  In fact, we're never without problems.  If we solve a problem, not to worry, more will show up.  In fact, solve one...get two.  Problems are BIG and important!  They require our immediate attention, or they require ALL of our attention.  They are urgent.  They are critical.  They must be attended to or something TERRIBLE will happen!

Even worse are the never ending problems.  Most of us have at least one problem like this.  They stem from our false beliefs (for more on false beliefs, see here).  These are the kinds of problems that stick around...perhaps for a lifetime.  For some people, these kinds of problems have to do with money.  For others, with relationships, health or a lack of self worth.  We all know someone who has been sick with one illness after another practically from the moment they were born.  Or someone who can never seem to make a relationship stick.  There are also those people who self-destruct their lives on a regular basis because of their deep-seated false belief that they are not worthy, not love-able, and undeserving.

Okay, take a deep breath and let's look at the real "reality".  Problems are only perceptions.  There's nothing really wrong here.  We have air to breath and clothes to keep us warm.  The birds are singing and the sun still shines.  We have water to drink and food to eat.  Right now, right here, in this very moment, there are no problems here.  And in the next moment, and the next moment and the next moment.  There are no problems.  We are safe and we are loved by the divine.

We have the potential to fill our minds with love.  Or we can choose to indulge the ego and fill it with fear.

And since our thoughts are creative, when we fill our minds with fear thoughts, what are we creating in our lives?  Problems, of course!

So what are some good practical ways to end the perpetual problem cycle in our lives?

Well, first we can choose to cast out fear thoughts whenever we become aware of them.  This takes a great deal of strength of character and determination, but it can be done.  Thinking is habit and habits can be changed.  It is within our realm of power to insist on only allowing worthy thoughts in our minds.  And as our thoughts become cleansed, we create less chaos in our lives.  If we focus on loving thoughts and thoughts of gratitude, beautiful things show up in our lives.

The second way to reduce problems in our lives is to release the habit of judging others (see here, here and here.)  When we judge others, we are damaging ourselves.  We get what we give.  It's just how things work.  When we view others harshly, we view ourselves harshly too.  And that creates guilt down deep in our subconscious mind.  Even worse, when we have guilt, we believe that we should be punished.  And how do we punish ourselves?  Why, with problems, of course.

Just as with clearing our minds of fear thinking, ending the habit of judging is challenging.  It takes work and commitment, but it can be done!  Go cold turkey on judging today.  Just stop it.  (See here.)  Stop creating guilt and begin to create peace.

Finally, the third and most effective way to significantly reduce the problems in your life is through forgiveness.  Start by forgiving every problem you have in your present and every person that is even vaguely connected to these problems.  Once you've taken care of today's forgiveness needs, begin to systematically dig into your past and forgive all the hurts, wounds, anger and upset you have from your past problems.  (See here.)  And then go to work on forgiving your mental blocks and false beliefs  (see here.) Again, this may seem like a lot of work, and it is.  However, forgiveness dissipates problems.  As you forgive and release the world you have created, you will have fewer and fewer problems.

It's your choice to make.  Problems or happiness?

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Man in the Mirror

We judge the most that which reflects back to us the worst parts of ourselves.  When someone is really and truly irritating us, most often it is because we are irritated with parts of our own self that we dislike.

In order to grow, sometimes we have to look deep within at that which we don't want to see.

I am easily upset by people that get angry quickly at little things in life.  Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than sitting in a car with someone who is raging away at all the bad drivers of the world. I hate rages, upsets and rants.  I want everyone to behave like my father who would calmly and quietly steer the car clear of any road insanity or simply wait patiently for whatever difficulties were happening on the road to clear up.  Even in a sudden emergency, he would simply react, jerking the steering wheel or braking suddenly as needed but with little or no comment or judgment.  This is the behavior I crave.   

And yet, I see that the trait of impatience and anger resides deep within me.  

Of course, it used to be much stronger.  My years of forgiveness work have taken me to a place where I am usually calm in most situations.  However, I am perfectly capable of feeling a "disturbance in the force" under the right circumstances.  Or should I say wrong circumstances?  

When I feel angry that I am trapped in a car with someone who is angry at everyone else, aren't I just judging the angry person for being exactly what I am--angry?

When I become aware of something like this, I know it is time for me to do a little looking in the mirror.  Where is my anger coming from?  Have there been times in my past when I have felt frustrated or impatient with life and unable to move forward?  That is often the feeling we have when we are driving behind slow drivers or drivers that seem confused or unable to decide where they are going.  

Or, when in my past have I felt victimized or put upon?  When have I felt that my possible moves were being controlled or blocked by others? 

As Colin Tipping likes to say, "If you spot it, you got it".   Because our lives out-picture the contents of our mind, when we see something unpleasant in our world, it's time to ask ourselves the question, "Where in my thinking, did I bring this into my world?"

When we discover our own negative and fearful thoughts, it is time to do a little forgiveness work.

We can start right in front of us by forgiving whatever appeared in our own lives today that triggered all this introspection.  Then we can forgive whatever we find deep in our psyche that is our own version of negativity and fear related to today's events.  Finally, we can ask ourselves the question, "When did this kind of thinking first show up in my life?"  And, "At what other times has it surfaced?"  We can then forgive the people and circumstances involved in these earlier versions of today's issue.  If we are able to pinpoint it's source in our lives, this is the very best place to focus our forgiveness.  

Watching what we judge and doing this kind of forgiveness work around the things that press our buttons is a very effective way to clean and purify our minds.  In just a short time, we can come a long way toward releasing a great deal of fear and negativity.

Surprisingly, this work can be very pleasurable.  First, because it helps you feel so much better.  But secondly, because the sleuthing into our minds and our pasts is intriguing.  After all, what's more interesting than ourselves?  

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want

This was my reading for this morning in A Course in Miracles.  It's words on forgiveness are so beautiful that I wanted to share them with you.  From Workbook lesson 122:

What could you want forgiveness cannot give?  Do you want peace?  Forgiveness offers it.  Do you want happiness, a quiet mind, a certainty of purpose, and a sense of worth and beauty that transcends the world?  Do you want care and safety, and the warmth of sure protection always?  Do you want a quietness that cannot be disturbed, a gentleness that never can be hurt, a deep abiding comfort, and a rest so perfect it can never be upset?
All this forgiveness offers you and more.  It sparkles on your eyes as you awake, and gives you joy with which to meet the day.  It soothes your forehead while you sleep, and rests upon your eyelids so you see no dreams of fear and evil, malice and attack.  And when you wake again, it offers you another day of happiness and peace.  All this forgiveness offers you, and more.  
Forgiveness lets the veil be lifted up that hides the face of Christ from those who look with unforgiving eyes upon the world.  It lets you recognize the Son of God, and clears your memory of all dead thoughts so that remembrance of your Father can arise across the threshold of your mind.  What would you want forgiveness cannot give?  What gifts but these are worthy to be sought?  What fancied value, trivial effect or transient promise, never to be kept, can hold more hope than what forgiveness brings? 
Why would you seek an answer other than the answer that will answer everything?  Here is the perfect answer, given to imperfect questions, meaningless requests, halfhearted willingness to hear, and less than halfway diligence and partial trust.  Here is the answer!  Seek for it no more.  You will not find another one instead.  
If ever I find myself feeling less than content, I know I have forgiveness work to do.  I search my mind for the source of my unforgiveness.  Who am I feeling annoyed with?  Is there anyone or any thing that is bringing this particular form of fear into my life?

Even if it is only a vague feeling of discomfort, I know it must be forgiven.  I may not understand what it is that is making me feel uncomfortable, but I go ahead and apply one of my forgiveness processes to it anyway.

Then I think.  I look into my past and I look deep into my heart.  What is it about this situation that is unsettling me?  What false beliefs do I hold in my unconsciousness that are causing me to experience fear or anger or hurt or frustration?  How can I tie the feelings I am experiencing this day to experiences in my past?

What do I believe about the world and about myself?  Deep down in the dark recesses of my mind, do I secretly believe that I am not worthy of happiness, love and safety?  Do I believe there is not enough good for the rest of the world and me too?  Do I believe I am unloveable?  Do I believe I am guilty and deserve to be punished?  Beliefs like these and many others silently run our lives, causing us to behave eradically and often in ways that harm ourselves and others.

Looking deep at our beliefs, tracking them down to their source, remembering which events in our lives originally created these beliefs and forgiving, forgiving, forgiving is the way to happiness.  I try to forgive every aspect I can dig up.  I forgive the people and events causing me discomfort today, the people and events from its source in my past, the false belief I have embedded in my unconscious mind and any other experiences or thoughts I can discover in my consciousness that relate to this topic.

Doing this kind of mind cleaning and purifying does take commitment, but it pays off in spades.  As we forgive the world around us, slowly but steadily our trust and comfort in our world begins to build.

Forgive and be forgiven.  As you give you will receive.  --Also from Workbook Lesson 122
Peace flows into our minds and we become happy.

If you are unsure how to begin to forgive on this level, my book, "Forgiveness is the Key to Happiness" explains how you can successfully use forgiveness to create happiness in your life.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

It All Leads to Acceptance

"What if the very life you are living, and each and every experience that is coming to you now was being directly sent to you of your Father because your Father knows what is necessary to unravel within your consciousness to allow you to awaken?  What if the very things you are resisting are the very stepping stones to your homecoming?  What if you achieved a maturity along this pathway in which you were finally willing to let things be just as they are?" --The Way of Mastery p. 7

Is it possible that we could just trust the world we see around us, knowing that we don't know what anything is really for, that there is a larger plan unfurling in our lives, that everything that happens is for our higher good?


If we just could come to forgive our perceptions of this world, our interpretations, our labeling, our judgments.   We look at everything we see and we decide that it is good or bad, right or wrong, beautiful or ugly.  Why can't we just recognize that what we see simply just "is"?  For it is when we are finally able to accept what "is" as the way of things, that we are able to release the resistance.  And this is where the peace comes in.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

How to Release Our Stories of Worry

I just got back from visiting old friends in Los Angeles.  I met separately with four of my oldest friends and had some wonderful and joyful catching up time.

I did notice, however, that underneath the surface of everyone's busy lives, there was a story of worry.  One was worrying about illness, another finances and yet another some recent back surgeries.  It seems that few of us escape the "living hell" of fearful worrying.  And it seems to me that as we age, the worry often intensifies.

One friend was describing to me the overwhelming role worry is currently playing in her life. This friend has a grown son.  Although he experienced difficulties throughout his childhood and was given much professional help, it was only recently that he was diagnosed as having Asperger's Syndrone.  He is in his early twenties and is living at home.  He has great fears of living independently and, in fact, refuses to do so. He also has refused to go to college.  He has a simple job at a local supermarket where he works a few days a week.   He comes home and plays video games.  He has two or three friends that he plays with online and that occasionally will come to the house. Beyond that he has little social life.  He rarely leaves the house for anything except work.

My friend is coming to terms with the fact that her son will probably never leave home, will never have a better job than the one he has now, will never have many friends and will probably never have a girlfriend and marry.  This is not the life she had hoped for him.  This is not the life she had hoped for herself.  She is grieving.  She is worried for him.  She is afraid.  She said to me, "I need help.  I don't know how to stop feeling so emotional about this."

Sometimes our grief and worry get lodged into our minds and bodies and it begins to cycle through in an endless repeating loop which seems inescapable.

In an effort to quell the insanely repeating thoughts, we might try "changing the subject" in our minds, but the worry thoughts just keep coming back endlessly plaguing us.  Or we may try to "stuff" the worry down deep where it won't bother us, only to then find that it shows up larger than life at 3:00 in the morning in the form of paralyzing night terrors.

So what can she do to feel better?  The process I outline in "Forgiveness is the Key to Happiness" that would be very helpful for my friend is what I call "Feel the Feelings".  In this process, we set aside some deep introspective time to really allow ourselves to go deep into these feelings.  When we authentically sit with our fear, worry and grief and just watch it, allowing it to be whatever it is, allowing it to fully express itself, it dissipates.

If my friend does this process, she will find that she will be able to think about her son from a calmer place.  The terrible negative emotions that she currently feels will be transmuted and in the future, although she will still have the same son with the same challenges, she will feel acceptance about the situation.

What's your story of worry and how is it wreaking havoc in your life?

If you have a need for the "Feel the Feelings" process,  I have created a guided meditation that you can use in the quiet of your own home, Forgive Your Past Now  which can be downloaded to your computer or iphone for $2.99.  Using the download will teach you the process which you can then apply whenever you find that you have circumstances in your life that are causing your to feel fear.

The "Feel the Feelings" process is also explained in depth in my book. 

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Adyashanti on Forgiveness

I'm just loving Adyashanti's new book, Resurrecting Jesus.  To me, Adyashanti's teachings are universal. Sometimes when I read his words or hear him talk, I think, "He has to be a A Course in Miracles teacher, not a Budhist."  He is a true mystic.  In this new book, Adyshanti looks at Jesus's life and teachings from a fresh perspective and I'm finding it all very inspiring.

This morning in my reading I ran across this passage on forgiveness:

"Forgiveness comes from a deep openhearted state of compassion.  Really, it comes from our spiritual essence--which I call divine being--because from our spiritual essence there is an understanding of what suffering is all about. From the heart of divine being, what we realize is that everything that causes us pain and sorrow is ultimately born from misunderstanding.  It's a type of illusion.  When Jesus says "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," this is what he's pointing to.  When people are in a state of spiritual clarity--an inner state of psychological, emotional, and spiritual unity--then by the very nature of that unity, they don't act out of ignorance  Ignorance is simply a misunderstanding of the fundamental reality, of what we truly are.  

When we lose consciousness of our deepest self, our deepest being as divine being itself, then in a sense we go unconscious.  Part of us goes to sleep, you might say.  Then, we are prone to illusion.  We misunderstand things.  We think if someone insults us, for example, that we need to respond with anger; we forget that they're just expressing their own inner conflict, their own inner division, which is ultimately based on misunderstanding.  The very root of sin, to use Jesus' language, is something that can be forgiven  It's forgivable because it's an unconscious act, a result of being spiritually asleep.  We can't be blamed for being unconscious, for acting out our unconsciousness, even for feeling the effects of our unconsciousness within our psychology.  

Everyone has those days when you feel like you've woken up on the good side of the universe when everything just naturally feels whole and complete, when you're happy and at peace and you don't really know why.  When this happens you're more aligned with life, and you naturally go about the day as a much more open person.  You're more compassionate and you're more loving because compassion and love are expressions of being internally united.  So forgiveness is ultimately an act that comes from that inner unification.  One doesn't have to be entirely unified inwardly to forgive.  Forgiveness can also come out of the sense of open-heartedness, of understanding that nobody is perfect.  

The open heart is compassionate because it maintains an essential connection.  But as soon as we separate ourselves from another--as soon as we say, "No there's nothing in you that corresponds with something in me," as soon as we forget that you and I essentially share the same spiritual essence--then we cut ourselves off, and we go into blame.  Forgiveness comes from that deep intuition of our sameness, of our shared humanity.  That perception starts to lower the walls of defense, and being judgmental is ultimately a defensive game, a way of saying, "I am not like you."  To forgive is really a way of saying, "I see something in you that's the same as in me."  Then, even though you may be upset, even though the other person may have caused you pain or harm, when you connect with your shared humanity, there's forgiveness."   

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Who Are You Harming?

One who loves himself would never harm another. --Buddha

When we withhold forgiveness, we are harming others.

After all, if we carry grievances, they are based on judgments we make about others.   We are judging others to be "bad", or "mean", or "selfish", or "evil" or "wrong", or something similar.

Judgmental thoughts are attack thoughts.

Of course, we turn our "attacks" around in our heads.  We justify them.  We like to make ourselves out to be "right", "good" or "innocent".  We tell ourselves that we are the victim!  This is how we give ourselves permission to stay in a state of judgement.  "Go ahead and hold that grudge", we tell ourselves.  "We're the innocent victims here.  They are the evil perpetrator."

The issue is not who did what to whom.  It is, "Who are we all really, when we get deep down to the ultimate truth?"  We are all the same.  We are all Sons of God.  Each of us was created in the image of God. We are pure love.  And we are all One in our true home where we reside in the Mind of God.

When we see our very own personal truth, that we are really only love, we can begin to know our true value.  As we learn to value ourselves in our minds, we begin to love ourselves.  And it is only as we learn to love ourselves that we become capable of extending that love to others.  We can finally exchange our habit of judging, attacking and blaming others with the ability to look at everything that occurs with acceptance and love.

It's not that we condone behavior that upsets or wounds us, but we look beyond the earthly actions to the deeper truth.  Our trespasser is really only the same as us.  We are love and he is love, too.  And in this knowing comes acceptance and forgiveness.  When we forgive, we drop our attack thoughts and when we do so we are no longer harming our trespasser by holding them in a low place in our minds.

Importantly, as we release our trespasser we are also releasing ourselves from our own separation from love.  Returning to love is how we create inner peace in our lives.   

Monday, May 12, 2014

Son, Your Sins are Forgiven

I'm reading a wonderful book right now by Adyashanti called Resurrecting Jesus, Embodying the spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic.  Adiyashanti is himself a modern day mystic and his take on Jesus's life and teachings is fresh and beautiful.

This morning I was reading in Resurrecting Jesus about a healing Jesus performed in Mathew 2:5.  In it, a paralyzed man was brought to Jesus for healing.  Jesus simply said to him, "Son, your sins are forgiven." and the man was healed.

Adyshanti points out that the word sins, at that time, had simpler connotations than they have been given in the following 2,000 years.  The original Greek meaning for the word hamartia or sin, was to miss the mark. Another meaning is simply the word flaw.  Our current meaning of sin is so much darker and deeper.  We think of our sins as being evil and they are strongly attached to feelings of shame and guilt.

What if, instead of thinking of sin as the source of guilt and upset in our lives, we merely choose to see the ways we have missed the mark?  After all, we are simply trying to do what it takes to survive and find a few comforts here in our earthly reality, our space and time reality.  We all make mistakes here, we misjudge, we miss the mark.  We all have flaws.  Having a flaw is not inherently evil.

Adyashanti makes a second point; that the paralytic had to do nothing to be healed by Jesus.  He was merely brought into Jesus' presence.  "And this is really Jesus's greatest healing power, the power of his presence."

Jesus bestows his forgiveness on people as a kind of healing balm.  For a human being to receive true forgiveness is a potent thing.  When the forgiveness is authentic, it has a very deep and powerful effect.  Sometimes another forgives us, and sometimes we are called to forgive ourselves so that we can move on in a really heartful way.  When we repent (repent means to have a change of heart), our sin (missing the mark) is forgiven.  Then we are realigned with the wisdom of the unified heart.  --Adyashanti

Adyashanti goes on to say:

The healing balm is forgiveness; that's what heals the flaw.  That's what allows us to rebalance ourselves, to find our equilibrium-- psychic, emotional and spiritual.  That is really what Jesus does: he is righting the person,  helping them to quickly find internal balance.  When they find balance, when their inner state is unified, the healing takes place.

I really enjoy Adyashanti and I admire what he has to say here, but I think he misses one important point in what Jesus has to say.  The first word that Jesus says to this man is Son.  Jesus addresses him as Son, not as in "young man", after all, Jesus himself was only 30 at the time.  But rather as Son, Son of God, the Son of God, an essential member and vibrant part of the Sonship.

When Jesus uses the word Son, he is reminding the paralytic of his true identity, and Jesus is raising his own thinking.  He doesn't see a poor broken sinner in front of him.  Rather, he sees a true Son of God, one whom God created in his own image and whom is loved by God infinitely.  This man is just as God created him to be.  He is perfect, whole and complete.  He is eternal, everywhere and always, unchanging in his true state.

Let our own forgiveness be as Jesus's.  Let us know that everyone misses the mark sometimes.  We all have flaws.  Let us always be firmly anchored in the presence of the divine which resides in each of us.  And finally, let us look deep into the mind of our trespassers and know their deepest truth.  They are Sons of God.  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What Can You Give?

Forgiveness is a way we can give to others.

When we forgive others in our minds, we are offering them a chance to heal with us.  Of course, they may choose not to accept our gift.  But the important thing is that we have offered it.  And if they do choose to accept our forgiveness, we can absolutely rock their world.  And when we do that, we rock our own world, too.

"When a brother acts insanely, he is offering you an opportunity to bless him.  His need is yours.  You need the blessing you can offer him.  --A Course in Miracles, Text p. 127

You Get What You Give   This is such an inspirational talk by Pavi Meta on the subject of gifting and the joys that giving brings to our own lives.

What can I give to others?  What can you give?  We all have something precious that we can give away at any moment.  And when we give it away, it comes back to us tenfold.  That thing is forgiveness.

"I give you to the Holy Spirit as part of myself.  I know that you will be released, unless I want to use you to imprison myself.  In the name of my freedom, I choose your release, because I recognize that we will be released together."   --Ken Wapnick, A Course in Miracles Teacher

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Why is this Bugging Me?

"Therefore, in truth, understand well.  Forgiveness is essential.  What has not been forgiven in others, has not been forgiven in you.  But not by a God who sits outside of you, for He never judges.  What you have not forgiven in another or in the world is but a reflection of what you carry within as a burden that you cannot forgive of yourself."  --The Way of Mastery p.26
The next time you find yourself irritated with someone, ask yourself "Why is this bugging me?"  We are almost always most activated by those aspects we dislike in our own character.   Examining our irritations with others is a great way to learn what we need to forgive about ourselves.

For example, I hate a bossy know-it-all.  This is because these are repressed characteristics of my own personality.  I am always struggling to keep them at bay in my self and when I see someone who has let them loose, it just really irritates me!

Forgiveness is a chance to take a good long look in the mirror.  As Colin Tipping likes to say, "If you spot it, you got it!"

Sometimes it's hard to recognize yourself in another's abhorrent behavior.  Keep looking and you'll find yourself there.  It's not always obvious. You might say, "I am upset at a man who murdered his wife, but I'm not a murderer".  Yes, but do you ever have murderous thoughts?  Do you ever wish that someone who annoys you would just be gone?

I am learning to bring these "unattractive" elements of myself to the light of forgiveness.  I can only love others when I am capable of truly loving myself and loving myself means that I love and accept all parts of me.

In The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Debbie Ford recommends that we not only forgive our most unattractive characteristics but that we actually learn to accept and even celebrate them.  They can become our strengths.

For example,  my tendency towards bossy know-it-all-ness is the same characteristic which enables me to be a good teacher.  Yes, I have to reign it in and keep it under control, but if I wasn't such a bossy know-it-all, I would never have the courage and confidence to teach.  It's when I enfold my bossy know-it-all-ness in love that I am at my very best.

The universe serves us up the lessons we need the most on a platter.  It seems that everywhere I look there is another bossy know-it-all.  This is because this is a lesson I need to repeat often.  Importantly, as I forgive the bossy know-it-alls in my world, I forgive this same characteristic in myself.  And the more I forgive myself, the more I come to peace.  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Releasing Mental Blocks and False Beliefs

The past wreaks its havoc on our present.  We all live our lives through the filter of our pasts.  We can't avoid it altogether, of course, because our pasts have created who we are today.  However, each of us have experienced certain events in our pasts that effect us negatively today.

Memories of painful events (sometimes these memories are subconscious) define our thinking today.  Often these painful memories create "mental blocks" that cause us to think and act from fear or lack which, in turn, can create significant limitations in our current lives.  Forgiving and releasing these "mental blocks" frees us up to discover the magnificent potential we all have to live beautiful lives.

I don't really love telling personal stories about myself, but I have decided that I will do so here today in order to help you understand how these mental blocks are created and how we can let them go through forgiveness.

Although I am generally very healthy, for my entire life I have had issues with food.  As a tiny baby I had colic and continued to have stomach pain through my teen years.  Then I developed food allergies and sensitivities.  In my early 20's I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic.  Later it was discovered that I had a candida imbalance which means that the bacteria and yeasts in my gut were not in a healthy ratio.  All this eventually led to a very limited diet.  No dairy, wheat or grains, no sugar, no soy, no alcohol and so forth.

In the last year or two I have been working to heal this aspect of my life and I have lately begun to have some significant success with this healing.    Here's how it happened.

I have been working with a mentor, Reverend Penny Macek for some years now.  (She is sensational and if you would like to contact her, email me for her particulars.)  Reverend Penny knows how to dig in deep and she asks pointed questions to get at the root of things.  She also sometimes asks me to close my eyes for a brief moment and drop into my past.  She often asks the question, "When was the very first time that you remember feeling this way?"

One day, with my eyes closed in this manner, I felt myself drifting back to a moment when I was a toddler.  I was sitting in the kitchen in my high chair with my mother.  My father walked into the room all dressed in his business suit looking big, tall, authoritative and just a little scary.  He asked my mother if I had eaten my breakfast and when she told him that I was only playing with my food, he became visibly distressed.  I knew I had greatly disappointed him.

This was very upsetting for me.  I wanted to please my parents and I was well aware that my lack of appetite was concerning them.  However, my stomach hurt a lot whenever I ate and so I tried to avoid eating.  I was in one of those classic situations the ego loves to put us in.  I call it "The You Can't Win" scenario.  If I ate food I felt pain, if I didn't eat food, I was in trouble with my parents and they withheld love from me.

As it turns out, my father had been a very sickly child and was not expected to live.  His own parents went to great lengths to keep him healthy and to build up his strength.  I know now that his upset at my lack of interest in food was tying into his own fears and "mental blocks".  In addition, my mother was extremely slim, less than 100 pounds in those days and at the time was pregnant with my sister.  She ultimately only gained 20 pounds during that pregnancy so he was actually worrying a great deal about all three of us, my mother the unborn baby and me.  Each of us was "undernourished"  and even "sickly" in his mentlally blocked mind.

Anyway, this same scenario played out for a number of years as my father tried to get me to eat and I was mostly only able to pick at food.  I gradually came to believe all kinds of crazy things about food.  Here are some of them.

I am only loved if I eat.
I am punished when I eat.
I am punished when I don't eat.
I can't win. Life is not fair.
My parents approval is conditional.
Love can be taken away.
My good can be taken away.
I am not good enough.
I am abandoned.
I am rejected.

These are all "mental block" themes and we all have these or similar themes creating problems in our lives, usually on a subconscious level.  Once we know what these mental blocks are, we can forgive and release them.  This frees us up to live in greater peace and become more of our true potential.  After all, to use Byron Katie's famous question from "The Work", "What would I be without that thought?"

What would I be without the thought that I am punished when I eat?  Well, I probably wouldn't have food allergies and sensitivities, I probably wouldn't be diabetic, I probably wouldn't have Candida.  As I begin to release my false beliefs, these conditions and their symptoms are leaving my body and I am healing.

Then there are the bigger false beliefs to be dealt with such as "love is conditional" and "can be taken away" or "I am not good enough".  These must each be dealt with too.  I have been using a variety of methods to clear these beliefs from my mind.  The one I like the best is the "Feel the Feelings" technique which is Process # 3 in my book, "Forgiveness is the Key to Happiness".  (This process is also presented in my guided meditation, Forgive Your Past NOW for $2.99. )  I have also used a series of releasing prayers which Reverend Penny has given me, conducted some EFT and filled out numerous Radical Forgiveness forms, forgiven both my father and mother as well as food extensively and just taken the time to do some deep thinking and inquiry about this whole issue.

It may sound like a lot of work and bother for all this, but the payoff is my happiness.  Of course, I am much happier, now that I am able to eat more foods comfortably.  However, it's much bigger than that.  My overall happiness comes from the forgiveness work I have done on this subject.  As I forgive, I feel safer and more protected in the world. I am learning that the love that I experience in this life comes from inside me and not from outside sources.  As I begin to live with more love for myself, I find myself increasingly more and more capable of giving more love to the world around me.  This love comes back to me tenfold.  My happiness increases!

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

How to Forgive a Bully

Last night in my A Course in Miracles study group, a friend mentioned to me that one of her friends is currently reading my book, "Forgiveness is the Key to Happiness".  She is only partly though it, but she is coming to understand how important forgiveness is.  However, as many of us do, she has something big in her past that needs to be forgiven, and the idea of letting it go not only confuses but upsets her.  She was raped.  She said to my friend, "Why do I have to forgive someone who RAPED me??!!"

In addition, I've been thinking a lot lately about people around the world who are right now dealing with powerful bullies, dictators and political enemies that need to be forgiven.

I admit that this is a difficult kind of forgiveness.  It takes a little more soul searching and growth to forgive on this level than just forgiving the guy that stole your parking spot at the grocery store.

What's a bully, really?  Bullies are people who experience a great deal more fear than you and I do.  That's why they act out in ways that we would never ever consider.

Remember that everything that any of us do here is either an act of love or it is a call out for love.  That's it.  In every moment, we are either in a state of love or in a state of fear.

Where most of us drift back and forth between love and fear throughout each day, bullies have indulged their fearful sides.  More, or practically all, of their daily thoughts (both consciously and sub-consciously) relate to fear.  As they allow their fear to grow, their behavior becomes more and more aggressive.  The fear is the cause and their aggressive behavior is the effect.

Whenever we act out our fear, we create guilt in our minds (again this can be conscious or sub-conscious).  This means that the more a bully behaves like a bully, the more their guilt increases, which in turn, leads to even more fear.  After all, if we believe we are guilty, we also believe we should be punished.  The increased fear leads to ever more vicious and harmful behavior patterns.

A bully can be someone you know whom is merely unpleasant to be around, but he can also be threatening, combative or violent.  He/she can be a dictator, a rapist, a spouse batterer or even a verbal abuser.

Before you begin to approach forgiving a bully, it helps to do a little self-introspection.  Even though you may spend a great deal more of your time in love thinking than the bully you are forgiving, it's important to remember that we all have many fear thoughts each and every day.  When we judge a bully for indulging in fear, aren't we really judging him for something we often do ourselves?

Think back and review your life.  Haven't there been moments when you yourself behaved as a bully, even just a little tiny bit?  Did you ever bully your little brother or sister?  Were you ever part of a "popular" crowd in school that excluded or made fun of less popular kids?  Have you ever bossed your spouse around?  Your children?  Your employees?  Are you ever just the teensy-est little bit bossy?  Do you like to get your way?  Have you ever behaved selfishly?

The scale of your actions may be much smaller, but again, bully thinking is bully thinking.  When you are thinking and acting as a bully, you are out of alignment with love.

We all have things in our past we're not proud of.  Looking back we might see that at the time that we were behaving badly, we had our rationalizations.  We did what we thought was in our best interest at the time.  Yes, our little mis-behaviors are nothing compared to rape in terms of their effects.  But at the causal level they are the same.  They come from fear based thought.  And all fear based thought is the same.  It is simply non-loving.

One more thing you might try before you attempt to forgive a bully is empathy.  It's actually extremely sad that your bully feels so very alone and afraid that he believes his only option is to behave this way.  What caused all that fear?  What was his childhood like?  He must have experienced terrible rejection.  On a deep down level he must believe in his worthlessness or he wouldn't be so desperately trying to prove his value to himself through abusive acts.  Take a moment and think about his pain.  Think about how he suffers each day from fear, loneliness, guilt and self-hatred.

You certainly don't have to condone his actions, but can you find a little love somewhere in your heart to offer this poor tortured creature?  Just the smallest scrap of sympathy?  This is very important because when you are able to see another side of this situation you are taking your first step toward flipping the switch in your mind from fear to love.  You are releasing your own fear, and as you do this, you release your own guilt and pain.  This is how you find your peace.

If you feel you need help forgiving a bully I have three guided meditations that will teach you a process for forgiveness.  To forgive a bully that is harming you in your present, try Forgive Someone NOW.  To forgive someone from your past try Forgive Your Past NOW.