Once, when I was a teacher, I experienced valuable life lesson on how to avoid conflict, as I had a student test my resolve. The student, I’ll call “Laura,” had been tardy to class often and I had been following my standard protocol. However, on this day Laura took it to a new level. Never before had a student continued to be tardy after I had followed all the steps created to deter their late arrival, including a verbal warning, followed by a written warning, detention, and finally, office referral. Laura had already reached the referral stage and was still continuing to show up late, including on this particular day.
If we were to ask the Universe, “What purpose would you have me serve?” the answer would be simple. The Universe would say, “Pay attention to life so I can experience it through you.” In the absence of the ego and judgment, that’s exactly what would happen. Universal Consciousness, or Christ Consciousness, is allowed to experience life through our senses when we come from the place of the authentic self. This is why many spiritual teachers explain that we are not the doer. Once the psychological self is recognized and released, there is no self doing anything. There is only present moment awareness acting out of the place of awakened consciousness. Life then experiences Itself through you. Continue reading
Once, when I was teaching, I was reminded of the importance of making connections through stories. I shared a personal story with my students and they, in turn, opened up with many stories of their own. I was grateful for this reminder and continued the practice in future class lessons. On the drive home from work that day, it occurred to me that it is the ego that keeps us from sharing personal stories because it is what causes us to be afraid of being judged. That thought revealed a simple fact to me; ego gets in the way of truth.
The following story is taken from my book, The New Season: Journey Toward Enlightenment. I have presented it here in order to demonstrate the symbolism of some of the most profound ancient teachings to be found. More importantly, I hope to provide examples of how to incorporate this wisdom into one’s daily life. I hope you enjoy it:
Life often gives us examples of how we are connected to everything. I once read a story about a man who could “tap” another person and cause them to turn around, even though twenty feet or more separated them! Is this even possible? In the story it was stated that, out of forty people who passed by, only four failed to turn around when this man mentally “tapped” them. That is remarkable! (From The Lost Season by Jeffry Beers)
“Part of life’s beauty is that we are all connected, so that beauty is in me as well”
“The expansive energy that is there in everyone, was, in that moment, free, and in the stillness of the mind I felt that expansive energy as it flowed through me. ”
Presence of Mind and Body
Presence is where we find the deeper self, or authentic self, the one who is aware of the thoughts and emotions. Some refer to it as the witness. When we are the witness of our thoughts and emotions we are free to act independent of them. In a sense, this is what is meant by liberation, as we become liberated from the past/future thinking mind, which tends to regret past mistakes, and/or worry about future possibilities, both of which bring emotional suffering into the now. When we are in this particular frame of mind, we are actually not present. Instead, we are living in the past, which doesn’t exist, or living in the future, which has yet to take place. Many of the past philosophical teachings, by Confucius, Socrates, Buddha, Christ, and more, are centered on escaping the limiting beliefs of the ego and living in the present moment, which is all there really is. This is what is meant by Christ Intelligence, or Buddha nature.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. -Viktor E. Frankl
In order to be free from disruptive emotions, we must learn to become the witness of them. When we can watch our thoughts and emotions without acting on them, we create a space between the thought/emotion experience and our choice of action. In contrast, if we are not present enough to witness our mind and body, we come from the place of ego, which is to say, we re-act out of past experience, rather than act out of the present moment. When we react, we are acting in a similar, programmed way to past mental conditioning. Ironically, we are not choosing to act at all and instead, allowing the past conditioning to choose for us.
For example, someone who is an “angry person” has, in his past, most likely been rewarded for acting in an angry manner. In turn, his subconscious mind is lead to believe he will get what he wants from others by the use of anger. Consequently, when he wants another to comply with his wishes, he will react angrily. In other words, he will act in a similar way to a past experience because he believes it will help him get what he wants. However, all he will really do is create disharmony in his relationships.
The Falcon and the Quail
There is a story told by the Buddha of a young quail and a falcon. One day the falcon swooped down from the sky and snatched up the quail in its talons. As she was carrying the little quail away, he began to cry out, “Oh why did I not listen to my parents, I would not be in this predicament.”
“It is the ego that causes us to perceive separateness and the stronger the ego, the more separation there is between source energy and us.”
Once a friend sent me a text that said everything happens for a reason. I sent a text back that stated we are not always privy to that reason. The very next thing I read was this: “Chaos, then, is just a point of view. Things that appear random to a limited awareness fit into place perfectly when awareness is expanded.” This quote by Deepak Chopra points to the importance of expanding awareness to see the harmony in all things. The alternative is to allow the ego to convince us that separation is the rule, rather than the connectedness that runs deeper and remains hidden to the untrained eye.
A while ago I sat on the back porch and witnessed an amazing sunset. The trees framed vibrant colors in a select location, almost as if it were done on purpose just as a special gift to me. I could sense the difference of coming from the place of being a part of everything, intimately connected in every way, versus perceiving oneself as separate from everything and continually being acted upon by the environment. The former brings a sense of peace and joy while the latter brings a sense of pain and suffering. The difference is quite profound.