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.

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