November 19, 2011

Most people think that a victim, like an “addict,” is a real person: “someone who has been hurt in the past.” To me, though, a victim is simply “someone who does not yet realize his or her own power.”

When you’re hurt, you naturally feel pain—you feel negative or bad about it in some way. But if you realize your own sovereign power over your thoughts and emotions—and, therefore, your body and behavior as well—you don’t get caught in the thought-cycle trap of “victimization.” Once you begin to label yourself a “victim” (or allow someone else to label you!) and you identify with that mindset, you then begin to produce the behavior and circumstances—relationship problems and all—that you think a “victim” is supposed to have.

It’s important to understand that all of us, although we’re individuals, are the product of our culture. The idea of a “victim” is what some Jungian folks might call a “cultural archetype.” Since birth, we’ve all come into contact (either in our personal experience or through TV, movies, stories, etc.) with someone—often a fictional character!—who is identified as a “victim” of some external circumstance or event.  These people tend to have certain mindsets, behaviors and problems: all negative! For whatever reasons (which are unique to the individual), we might identify with that person—especially if it’s Mom or Dad or another person close to us when we’re learning as a child how to operate in the world. People are copycats, especially when we’re young.

Why does one rape victim overcome the negative effects of the experience, while another never seems to get over it—letting that experience reduce the quality of her future relationships and behaviors? The difference is on the mental level, the level of thoughts and emotions. Our emotions follow our thoughts, and “self-powerful” thinking results (eventually) in positive, powerful emotions and better circumstances. On the other hand, “victim” thinking produces weak, negative emotions, which then bring us into negative situations that reinforce that thinking.

To overcome or avoid “victim” thinking, I think it’s important first to recognize that we have ultimate control over our own thoughts and how much negativity we will allow to determine the course of our lives. We allow our own “victim” mindset! Second, I think it’s essential to let go of that terrible thing that happened in the past. You’re not that person now, and the harm doesn’t have to happen to you continually—unless you’re in the habit of replaying that event on the movie screen in your mind.

That movie screen produces your future!

The best way that I know of to let go of pain is to have an emotional release. “Deep” crying—the kind that connects us with that original pain, not the “oh, woe is me” kind—helps us to overcome negativity and let it go. If we learn not to let these bad things attach to us when they happen—if we can release them and get on with life—then, in my opinion, we never have to fear being a “victim,” no matter what negative events might befall us.

Eventually, we learn that our “victim” mindset produces more victimization in our experience, and that moving beyond that mental dis-ease frees us from the real-life circumstances that reinforce that unhealthy mindset. The inner produces the outer.

So, in a nutshell, a victim is a person with a “self-powerless” mindset that they don’t yet know how to get out of. When they get out of it, they cease to be a victim! The truly strong people are those who refuse to let events or circumstances break them on the inside: those who have moved beyond seeing themselves as “victims.”

(Written in 2007)

We Command the Gods

November 18, 2011

“When spirit rises and commands, the gods are ready to obey.”

—James Allen, in As a Man Thinketh

Ernest Holmes explained the three aspects of existence in his monumental work The Science of Mind. In his description, conscious mind, or “Spirit,” decides and envisions what is to be, while subjective mind, or “Law,” receives this direction and brings about the envisioned circumstances as an expression in the physical world, or “Body.”

Spirit imagines, desires, and directs; Law receives and acts; and Body expresses. This view of the Trinity lies at the very core of Holmes’ philosophy and in many ancient wisdom teachings.

The “gods,” as typified in the quote above and in myths throughout human history, are the natural laws or forces which together form the “Law,” collectively bringing about the desires of the constantly-visualizing Spirit. We might imagine them as agents or aspects of the Divine, from our point of view, and also as psychological principles that apply to the ongoing flow of our own life experiences from the inside out.

These functions have been labeled and personified variously as “gods,” “archetypes,” “archangels,” and so on. These agents’ consistency of action and purpose might give them the appearance of personality or character to those who become aware of them, and so people’s visualization of them throughout history as figures or beings is easy to understand.

(I am not describing demons, ghosts, or other beings that might occupy a lower level of what we think of as the “spiritual” world. These beings, if they exist, are not agents of the Divine but beings like us, with their own agendas.)

As it turns out (as we Western humans are just now beginning to re-learn after a 2,000-year detour through the spiritual Dark Ages), the “gods” are the servants of men. As agents or facets of the Divine principle of Law, they do what they’re told: they bring about what Spirit (conscious mind) desires and impresses upon them through thought. This includes the desires of humans, who are individualized expressions of that same conscious mind or Spirit on this physical plane.

During billions of years of development in the physical universe, the workings of conscious mind were not visible. Conscious mind was something like what we usually think of as God: the invisible First Cause behind All That Is, whose will the Law brings forth into reality even while the Cause Itself remains hidden amidst the physical universe which is Its Self-expression.

Since the rise of humans from the ranks of advanced life forms, however, Spirit has finally developed—from within an organism!—the ability to affect reality in the same creative fashion that has always operated behind the scenes. Law expresses through (non-human and human) life as instinct, while Spirit expresses through (human) life as insight, intuition, and creative power—thought.

Perhaps the defining characteristic of humans is that we are uniquely capable of forming thoughts that do not conform to reality and then believing them to be true, or possible, which then makes them real in our experience. For example, if people think “the gods” are superior to themselves (as most people do), then the gods (as agents of Law, remember) will submit to the will of conscious mind (in us) and act as if it really were true. They will respond to that thought-direction and bring about circumstances that make them appear to be superior to that person.

Law always follows the direction of Spirit (conscious mind), and as long as the individual is willing to entertain incorrect thoughts about life, his thoughts will continue to be confirmed in his experience as “the gods” follow his thought-directions. In this way, his whole existence (even if it has to be filtered through a lie) confirms the thing that he really believes and thinks about life.

If, however, people awaken to the fact of their creative power over these forces—forces they might never have been aware of before now—they can make the gods dance in their favor if that’s what they desire. As Holmes said himself, “We should control the subjective and not let it control us.”

As expressions of conscious mind, then, it might be helpful for us to realize that we command the gods.

Inward and Outward

November 17, 2011

To focus “inward,” into the mind, emotions, and beyond, is to focus “outward.”

We are accustomed to thinking of the inner and outer aspects of Life as separate: the mind, emotions, and so on are “inside” (or a part of) our self, and we visualize these non-physical parts of self as contained within our bodies. Likewise, the world we can see, hear, feel, smell, and taste—but which is not connected to our own nerve endings—we think of as being “outside” of ourselves.

This incomplete perception is a product of “five-sensory” thinking, up to and including the scientific mindset. In the five-sensory view, we begin with the visible body as the basic unit of function and then we categorize and divide the rest of reality in relation to it. This process seems to be a natural and expected result of having evolved from (apparently five-sensory) animals. This is only an incomplete mindset that understanding will reveal and correct as humanity grows in our ability to discern, identify, and explain the subtler regions of experience: the realms of existence that we consider to be “non-physical.”

Might it be that the physical aspect of Reality (including our physical bodies) is only the most obvious effect of a mainly non-physical reality, which our five senses can only point to or hint at, but never discover and describe?

To go inward, within the individual mind, is to go outward, as it were: not into physical reality per se, but into the dynamic, invisible fields of awareness whose reaches extend beyond the physical and which lie beneath—and determine—physical experience and expression. In this way, the inner and outer worlds of reality are mirror images of each other.

Spiritual Precipitation into the Physical

October 29, 2011

The physical world, including the body, is but one layer of expression of the greater Self that comprises many conditions, most of which are normally outside the range of human sensory perception. In other words, most of Reality passes us by as we sit, unawares. Meanwhile, Reality—the physical part of it that we know and are—tries to make sense of itself in the best ways it knows how, in accordance with the particular physical structure (body) that It occupies.

Life energy is expressed in this physical form through nerves, which are this energy’s pathways, so to speak. There are centers of this energy, which correspond to major muscular groups in the body: biceps, triceps, deltoids, quadriceps, heart, and so on. That’s why massage can be so therapeutic. Muscle massage deals with this energy and its ability to flow through the body.

Chronic muscular tension is a sign of resistance to, or coagulation of, this energy. We call this condition of non-flow or coagulation “stress,” and we know today that it kills us early and in large numbers. Stress is resisting or hindering life energy instead of allowing it. Its most obvious physical manifestation is chronic muscular tension, including the heart muscle, although stress also shows itself eventually in many other unpleasant bodily conditions.

The unobstructed flow of life energy “through” our physical being is an ongoing process that we are participating in at all times—and usually hindering as a result of our incorrect perception of ourselves and our relationship to others and to the world around us. This incorrect perception is inherently limiting because it comes from the perspective of the physical, rather than the spiritual.

At the same time, we have a certain kind of awareness that we might call “spiritual”—a sense that we generally aren’t taught to use. (We aren’t taught specifically not to use it, either, but we generally don’t and it’s there nevertheless.) This spiritual sense detects, measures, evaluates, and responds to energies in its vicinity on a level we’re normally not aware of. The results of these interactions coagulate or condense on this spiritual or psychic level and then precipitate or “trickle down” to us, here in the physical.

This precipitation is largely what we refer to as “our lives.”

Emotion is the word I’ll use to try to contain the physical (human) effects of these interactions of numerous, layered, intricate, and indelible channels of awareness through which flows the interminable echo of Consciousness in our physical world. This world that we see as ultimately real—and the “objective truth” against which we tend to judge other (people’s) perspectives as “right” or “wrong”—is, in reality, only the individualized coagulation of this Energy-Consciousness. This coagulation is caused by the Divine Urge (the mysterious “will of God”) and dissipated by means of forgiveness and healing.

In other words, the Reality we live in is the result of a multitude of Energy-Consciousness interactions between our “higher” self and other energies on some spiritual level. We exist here so that we can correct unseen wrongs within ourselves and return to our more permanent existence, better in some way than we were when we “came” here at birth.

As heirs of this culture-carrying Life Essence, we are powerful to release past effects and coagulations, thereby dissipating their potentially negative effects upon us and the world around us—on many different and, in many cases, hidden levels of awareness. The means whereby we achieve this unity of will that permits the free and unobstructed flow of life energy is human relationship, typified primarily in the male-female interaction.

This movement toward unity is also evident and powerful to overcome coagulation in other relationships, such as parent-child, friend-friend, and clergy-faithful. (There is an undeniable power in the cloth to harness the innate awareness of the temporal and the eternal in the “average, ordinary” human being.)

All of creation aches to feel the oneness of unity again. In separateness there is pain, but there is healing as well: there is meaning, which can be fulfilled in our individual lives and relationships. As healing happens on an individual scale, its effects are radiated outward through paths of relationship of various degrees of power. True power lies underneath who-knows-how-many layers of intersections and bisections of planes of exchange of energy and consciousness on many levels—like threads in a Cosmic tapestry.

There’s no Bad Guy against whom we’re all fighting to wrestle back control of some long-forgotten thing that people used to bash each other’s heads over. Just wrinkles, for each of us to smooth out on our own side of the bed.

What are we to do with these fleeting moments of tenderness between the womb and the tomb, but kiss our grandparents before they die and teach our kids to do better?

What Is Reality?

October 14, 2011

Reality is what you believe it to be. This doesn’t mean that whatever you believe is true, though. It means that whatever you believe to be true will be shown to you to be true in your own experience.

In other words, as much truth as you are aware of will be the amount of truth you experience in your daily life.

For example, if you believe you’re not good for much compared to other people and that you can’t run ten miles, guess what? You’ll find that you’re not good for much compared to other people and you can’t run ten miles. Your self-limiting belief will be your reality. Someone else’s more or less limiting set of beliefs will constitute their own reality. We see by the amount of light we shine. And where does our light come from? From our True Self within us.

In truth, the only thing in this life that can or does limit you is your self-concept, the collection of beliefs about who you are and what you’re able to do. As you shed self-limiting beliefs, you find yourself able to do more things, better, than you could before.

Realization of these truths isn’t a fast meal ticket to whatever you desire, though. Awakening is a process. You’ll be able to advance toward a more powerful, happier, and more successful mindset gradually, as you learn and as your brain “rewires” itself.

To leap from a “disabled welfare recipient with diabetes” kind of mindset to a “king of industry” mindset is possible, but not overnight. What a shock to the system it would be!

If you reach for, and practice thinking, the least-limiting beliefs you currently hold in mind, you will eventually reach a point, a mindset, that you couldn’t reach from where you were before. From that new vantage point, an even better spot will be visible. Remember to cast aside the old beliefs as you outgrow them, though. Conflicting beliefs can result in inaction or worse.

It is important to note here that beliefs are self-limiting. That’s why they’re in a separate category called “beliefs.” If we knew them to be true, we would call them “facts.” Beliefs can also be called opinions, assumptions, arguments, positions, viewpoints, and assertions.

To know what is true, real, and good, we must rise above such illusory bases of reality and learn to know. This means coming to know who you are and what your relationship is to the world and people around you. It means answering, for good, your questions about God and happiness, among many other questions.

Tomorrow I’ll share one way to do it. You could call it my own 10-step program for finding God in your life.

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