Understanding, Power, Freedom, and Wisdom

January 8, 2012

To truly have, possess, and master some thing or experience, we must not want it too much—so much that we feel grief without it. Grief is only the feeling of loss of a perceived part of oneself, and anything we identify with that much is a draw on our energy—a negative, not a positive.

Of course, the best way to have something we do not have is to have a burning desire for it. But we don’t have to identify ourselves with it to the point that we feel loss without it. If we do that, we’ve crossed the line from freedom to bondage, because we’re focusing on the lack of the thing we want, instead of its desired presence.

Freedom focuses on the thing (or not!). Bondage focuses on the lack of the thing. Each is a production of our already-existing understanding, and understanding is power! We focus on a wanted thing because we have power. We focus on the lack of a wanted thing because we do not have power.

The Universe loves us, and It provides us with every good thing, in accordance with our level of understanding. When we understand this, we will be more able and willing to see that our lack of something we want is because of our lack of understanding.  (And with understanding we may well realize that we don’t want it!)

The Universe’s understanding is Perfect. Ours is not.

When we let go of our attachment to the idea of the thing we want too much but don’t have, it will finally be able to come to us—if, without the attachment to the idea, we still desire it!

Understanding is part of wisdom. All things are allowed to the wise person, if those things enhance and enrich our existence, rather than causing us harm or bondage—in other words, if those things are in accord with our inner being, with our True Self.

The Universe graciously withholds from wise people the things and experiences that would bring us bondage, rather than freedom! Those things would cause us bondage if we want them too much—that is, if we identify them with ourselves, which means that we confuse them with ourselves and feel grief or loss with their absence.

If we let go of our unhealthy attachment to these ideas, though, we will allow the Universe to bring them to us—if those things or experiences are good for us. The Universe automatically brings good things to us, to the degree that we are wise (which means “in the absence of unhealthy desires,” because we only have unhealthy desires to the degree that we are unwise!).

The less wise we are, the more “shit” we cause to happen in our lives. The less wise we are, the less we understand what is good for us. The less wise we are, the fewer good things we are asking the Universe for and, consequently, the fewer good things the Universe brings to us!

We get what our understanding allows us to have. The greater our understanding, the greater our wisdom. The greater our wisdom, the better our desires. The better our desires, the greater the good we experience as a result of them.

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Coincidences

October 10, 2011

I used to say, “What a coincidence!” But then I realized that there are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason.

Everything that happens to you in life is a lesson. If you choose to learn the lesson, you move on to the next lesson. If you choose not to learn, you will repeat the lesson as many times as it takes to learn.

The Universe, which we are taught is an immense empty space filled with matter here and there, is much more than that. The Universe—the world around you—is alive, and it knows you. It wants what is best for you, whether you know what’s best for you or not. The Universe responds to you in accordance with your state of mind.

The Universe is endlessly patient with you. (I’ve marveled at this!) There are lessons to be learned, and growing to be done, but your Teacher isn’t in a rush to get you there. Nevertheless, when you are ready, opportunities for learning will present themselves to you. The Universe lines up events, circumstances, and relationships that give you just what you need to learn and grow:

“In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”

If you learn—if you “pass the test”—then you will be rewarded with a new level of joy and understanding. If you don’t learn, then you will repeat the test, under similar circumstances, in the future:

“To him who has, more will be given. To him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

What we call “coincidences” are not coincidences at all. They’re the Universe’s responses to what you need. Sometimes they’re “signs” that tell you you’re on the right or wrong track.

I don’t know the mechanism involved here. Maybe you transmit signals through your thoughts, like radio waves, that the Universe picks up and responds to. Maybe the universe knows your mind intimately and brings the necessary people and circumstances to you automatically. Maybe your life is an image projected from your mind onto the “screen” of the world around you, so that you in effect create the life you’re living.

Maybe all of these descriptions are valid.

What I know is that life unfolds in keeping with your current level of understanding. As you learn, it gets better. There’s something loving and intelligent that wants what is best for you and works with you to give you what you need in order to grow. (Sometimes it seems like you get what you don’t want, but in retrospect you will see how that event or relationship worked to make you a better person.) This loving and intelligent Thing works through the world around you.

The Universe is alive! And your life is the most amazing thing that you can imagine.


The End of Suffering

October 3, 2011

Suffering is a sign of wrong thinking. If we correct our thinking in a particular case, that particular suffering will stop. For example, if I really want to stay with a certain woman but she ends the relationship, I will suffer as long as I desire that relationship. When I accept its end, though, my suffering will stop.

(This is an example of why the Buddha said that desire causes suffering.)

The end of suffering brings a new experience: understanding. We suffer because we don’t understand, but understanding frees us from suffering—and then that suffering leaves our experience.

You know a lot about yourself if you understand what makes you suffer.


The Good Life

September 30, 2011

The Good Life is the life lived with understanding. There are many wrong ideas about life. These ideas can produce a “fake” you that you believe is the “real” you. If you increase your understanding of life, though, and throw away the wrong ideas you have, you will begin to live the Good Life and your fears will disappear. You will love and be loved more, and you will be happier.

The way to increase your understanding is to be completely honest—first with yourself and then with everyone else. Always ask yourself, “Is this true?” or “Is this right?” and answer yourself with the truth. If you honestly seek the truth, you will find it.

(Freshly edited on December 19, 2016.)


Purpose and Meaning

September 28, 2011

All matter in the universe tends to find equilibrium. Hot things cool down to the temperatures around them, substances break down into elements, and gasses spread out until an entire space is filled with them evenly.

Not so with life. Life forms tend to get more complex and diverse over time. This doesn’t appear to make sense in the world of matter! What is it that makes life improve and get more complex over time?

It’s whatever animates a living being, and which dis-animates the body at death. Call it what you want, but you don’t have to believe in it. It’s there! It can’t be measured as part of an experiment, which is why it isn’t in science textbooks. Nevertheless, this thing called Soul is responsible for life.

The purpose of life, in general, is twofold. First, it is the accumulated experience and growth of all life forms—learning—which leads to the second: the development of physical beings in whom this Soul can have full expression.

The qualities of Soul include love, forgiveness, peace, and unity. As the more developed humans progress in understanding, these characteristics will become more and more common.  We can see this “spiritual” development in many people today.

As we understand life more, our individual lives become more meaningful to us. As we learn, we lose our attachments to cherished objects and learn to let go. When we let go, we suddenly find that we just gained everything and that there is meaning wherever we go. We carry it with us.

People who haven’t figured this out yet often choose an arbitrary purpose for their own lives and pursue it. This still gives them some satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment, but it doesn’t compare to the sense of fulfillment that comes with understanding.

Real understanding of your own true purpose is like living with the light on, compared to being in the dark all the time.

(Written in 2005 and freshly edited on December 19, 2016.)


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