Congratulations, you made it! Every small act, intention, and detail of the universe all worked together for your being here. The cells that formed you came together specifically to manifest you. Existence needed you to be here as yourself. And you made it! The entire world is a different place because you exist. The way you experience the world changes all of our experiences of the world. This is how much you matter. You are important. You are on purpose. When you experience a victory, we all win. When you are full of sorrow, we all weep. When you express yourself as you truly are, you give each of us the gift you were meant to bring to our existence. When you look on the world with love, acceptance, peace, and joy, you are providing the opportunity for everyone else to experience that world. Everything worked together perfectly for your being here, and is working perfectly for your existence as yourself. Congratulations and thank you for irreversibly impacting the whole of existence.
“Whenever there is unhappiness in the background of your life (or even in the foreground), you can see which of these thoughts applies and fill in your own content according to your personal situation:
‘There is something that needs to happen in my life before I can be at peace (happy, fulfilled, etc.). And I resent that it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe my resentment will finally make it happen.’
‘Something happened in the past that should not have happened, and I resent that. If that hadn’t happened, I would be at peace now.’
‘Something is happening now that should not be happening, and it is preventing me from being at peace now.’
Often the unconscious beliefs are directed toward a person and so “happening” becomes “doing”:
‘You should do this or that so that I can be at peace. And I resent that you haven’t done it yet. Maybe my resentment will make you do it.’
‘Something you (or I) did, said, or failed to do in the past is preventing me from being at peace now.’
‘What you are doing or failing to do now is preventing me from being at peace.’” (Tolle 114)
Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? Seeing them without content lays bare the structure of the egoic mind that does not recognize the present moment, living in the phantom past and future. Shining the light of your own awareness on the voice of the ego is the beginning of its end.
Humans are promoters, givers, energy mathematicians. We are always adding the energy behind our actions to a pool of like energy. This can be recognized in negative emotions, which add their “low” energy to negative energy created by painful experiences from the past. Has anyone ever tried to make you laugh when you were upset or angry? In my experience, there is a part of the self in that situation that wants to stay upset. It only wants to feel worse, to add to itself.
Your actions and intentions cast a vote in the energy and experience of the world around you. The energy that creates war multiplies through more war. To diminish the energy of separation and pain, we need to cultivate a higher frequency of energy that creates different outcomes. It is inspiring to hear it so simply put, and well received, in this video that I couldn’t wait to share:
When I was a little kid I longed to know who I really was. I remember wishing someone could just tell me. I envied my friends from foreign countries who had a strong national identity. I thought they really knew who they were. I tried finding my identity in things, like being a writer, an actress, a musician. But nothing ever stuck.
Now I am grateful for that. I didn’t yet realize that the self attached to thoughts and things was the ego, the parasitic mind that can only survive through attachment to forms. It wasn’t until the summer I turned 23 that I suddenly realized what a gift it was to experience the self without definitions and attachments. It was then, when I realized what I was not, that I became open to finding out who my true self was, how it expressed itself, and how the true self was more expansive and inclusive than I could have ever thought up with my mind.
At first, not buying into your own thought created identity can feel like a black hole with no end in sight. There is another side. You will know it through inexplicable feelings of joy, love, and the state of peace. For me, it still becomes obscured by the ego at various points throughout the day. The good news is, that once you’ve experienced your true self it continues to grow in presence and power, no matter how the ego may try to reassert itself. So who are you? Try asking yourself without answering with words, and let your self show you.
I love this short video with Eckhart Tolle because it can give you an experience of your true nature as pure consciousness, as the watcher:
I recently talked about experiencing negative emotions and how to sit with them until they dissipate. Sometimes a situation triggers a host of negative reactions that are disproportionate to the event itself. For me, this tends to be how my pain body awakens. The pain body is the energy of past experiences of pain that haven’t been fully processed and continue to live on in the body. When the pain body wakes up it brings with it the opportunity to dissolve the pain you’ve been unconsciously carrying around. It also means you have to feel it, sit with it, and not allow yourself to get distracted.
This happened to me just the other day, and as I was comfortably lying there I found myself wanting to scroll around on my phone, or see what was on TV. If I had allowed myself to get up and go about my day the pain body would have subsided, and I would have gone on having a fine time. But the energy I was experiencing wouldn’t have been dissolved. It would have come up again when the opportunity was right. So I gave myself permission to feel both the uncomfortable negative energy, and the inertia pulling me to get up and do something else. This is an endlessly worthwhile practice. I plan on living for many years, and the benefits of practicing how to deal with negative emotions will be of great assistance on a journey that largely includes letting go.
It is also helpful to learn how to be with negative emotions, and a feeling of restlessness, because it can show you how to accept these energy forces in your friends and partners. I intend for this practice to help me allow my loved ones to experience whatever it is they are going through. It can be just as difficult, if not more, to bring acceptance to the suffering of a loved one. First trying out surrender for yourself can tremendously aid you when you see someone you love going through the same thing. If your loved one is suffering, and there isn’t any physical solution you can bring to them, you can surrender to their pain and be a peaceful presence in their time of need.
As a child growing up my mother would always sit at my bedside when I would cry into my pillow for whatever reason. Even if it wasn’t visible at the time, just having her there helped me heal faster and more profoundly than I would have on my own.
Even further, you can bring surrender to the suffering of those you don’t know but witness day-to-day. When I see homeless human beings on the street I don’t pity them. I see them for the true radiant being that we both are, let go of any judgment of their situation, and smile with a genuine sense of connectedness. If I have a dollar bill I offer it, but even then it is not the money that is healing. The healing takes place in the moment that we are present with each other, without the judgment of the thinking mind, in the kind of communion that sees through the veil of form into our shared reality. Every attempt to “just be” is different, whether it is with myself, a loved one, or someone I just met. No matter how it goes, to let go of judgment and allow the experience to be as it is, is what I call success.
Recently I’ve spotted a couple scary looking millipede-esq bugs creeping around the corners of the ceiling in my new apartment. These bugs aren’t new to me, they’re everywhere in Chicago. I even had them in my old apartment, but they are relatively harmless and only show up one at a time. As some of you might know, I have a history with bug infestation, and thankfully this is not one of those situations. After living through a real infestation, the occasional bug isn’t too disturbing to me. At least, that is what I have been telling myself.
The reality of the situation is that since I have seen a few of these bugs I now am looking for them. I scan the walls to check if there are any creepy crawlers. The law of attraction is a powerful tool, whether used consciously or not. So how do I let go of this new, yet ever so familiar, neurosis? Surrender can transform any situation, but the way I scan the room makes it clear that I haven’t surrendered. Which is why I’ve decided to replace what I’m looking for.
Recently I’ve been attracted to metallic purses. I made the decision, that every time my eyes drift towards the ceiling I’m going to replace the image of my many-legged nemesis with the image of a beautiful silver purse. Yes, this sounds silly, but it is transforming an unpleasant situation containing the burden of past experience, to a pleasant experiment in manifestation. Will my silver purse actually find its way into my life? Whether it shows up physically or not, the living room of my mind is free of infestation and filled with beauty.
What negative situations are you unconsciously looking for? Whether it is a worry situation, a negative self-image, or the oh so common “waiting for the other shoe to drop in times of joy” syndrome, see what you can replace with a positive image or thought. Nothing will be lost by replacing these negative thoughts, which pretend to be all-important, besides the negative outcomes they create. What can be gained? The only way to find out is to give it a try.
Yesterday I cited the old adage, “The more you give, the more you get.” While this is true, it requires a disclaimer: you can only give what you have. In concrete terms, this means that if you are giving away heaps of money on a credit card, money that you don’t actually possess, then you will not end up receiving. Instead, that which you borrowed will end up being taken from you one way or another. Part of the accumulation of financial debt is simply giving what you do not have.
This principle also operates in relationships. If you are always trying to help others, give them advice and a shoulder to cry on, but never ask for assistance yourself, you are giving away what you don’t have. I love the way Brené Brown put it when talking to Oprah about giving and receiving help: if you give help freely, but consider yourself a person that doesn’t ask for help, then every time you are giving help to someone you are judging them. You are saying, “It is okay for you to ask for help, but not me. I’m not the kind of person that does that.” To give genuinely, you must first possess.
This also comes up in love relationships. I’ve heard many times that you must first love yourself before you love others. But what does that actually mean? To figure that out I look at the way I treat myself. When I forgive myself for making mistakes, have compassion for my shortcomings, comfort myself in times of grief, and let myself laugh and be joyful every single day, I can see that I am truly loving myself. It is a lot easier to refrain from criticizing your partner for gaining a couple pounds, than it is yourself. That is where the practice of loving yourself comes in. The more compassion you can exercise on yourself, the more genuinely your compassion will be experienced by others.
Yesterday at the grocery store my thoughts attempted to gain my attention by worrying about the price of my groceries. Worry is a common pattern for the mind. But going into the grocery store I knew I had enough money in my bank account to buy groceries. I knew that I wasn’t borrowing money from the credit card company that I didn’t already have at my disposal. Of course, that doesn’t matter to the mind, which attempts to use any situation to place itself firmly at the center of your attention, often through negative reactions. So I allowed myself to enjoy the exchange of giving and receiving.
The first step in giving is to check your bank account. How much love do you have in your bank account? How much gratitude? How much forgiveness? Your funds will only be depleted if you are giving what you don’t have. Start with yourself. Practice gratitude and self-forgiveness. If it is physical money that is an issue for you in the exchange of energy, create some savings; pay yourself before you pay everyone else. Whether physical or spiritual, you can only give what you already have. And once you have, and start becoming part of the exchange, there is no end to the growth of giving and receiving you can experience.