Must the Spiritual Path Be Difficult?

Many people get seduced into thinking that if they are walking a spiritual path, they will obtain some sort of divine protection from anything that is too difficult and too painful.  The fact is, the spiritual path is difficult.  No matter how you slice it, it comes up difficult.

It’s good to know this from the start. Contrary to several New Thought schools, the spiritual journey is not a skip down a rosy path collecting buckets of bliss along the way as we magically evolve.  Evolution is hard work.  Spirit guide Spotted Eagle says, “The harder you work, the harder it gets”.  He also suggests that bliss is overrated, perhaps because in terms of evolutionary growth, we get more mileage from encountering the challenges of life.

The spiritual path is difficult because rather than protecting you, it will drive you right into the heart of your issues. Here is your opportunity to evolve, and it requires you to face, not run from, your issues.  During this process, be prepared to watch a part of yourself get torn to threads. It’s useful to understand that this is, in fact, the inauthentic part of you, the part comprised wholly of the beliefs/ideas/opinions/fantasies you have nurtured most of your life, but letting go of this part will be painful none-the-less.

If you want, you can wait a few more lifetimes. But why wait?  Here are some guide posts and tools to help you along the way.

For those of you who are at a difficult juncture, just a little farther up ahead (oh, all right—after you trudge over Mt. Everest) you will discover something interesting about “difficult”.  It’s a perception. Something is difficult only if you perceive it as difficult.  Any “obstacle” on the path is only an obstacle if you perceive it that way. It all depends on what thoughts your mind is feeding you. You cannot change the event, but you can change your perception of it. You can change how you are going to dance with it. Experimenting with your perception will alter your experience entirely. No event that the universe places in your path comes with a Do Not Remove tag that says “DIFFICULT–OBSTACLE”. It is only your mind that puts that label on it, and you can remove it any time you want.  The first tool then is to grant yourself the freedom to change and experiment with your perception of what crosses your path.

By the time you’ve trudged over Mt. Everest, much of your story, your belief system, your ego, and the thoughts you identified with all your life will have been torn to threads. It’s OK if they’re still hanging loosely all around you. Gather those torn threads if you want, and put them in your pocket, because even though the fabric of your old self can never be restored, it will probably be too painful to throw the threads away just yet. You will need to grieve each one, so take your time. Some pieces you can part with easily. With others, you’ll need to swim through what feels like an ocean of grief. There’s no way of short-cutting this process.  Allow each thread its due. You must swim through your grief carefully, mindfully, lest you fall into self-pity or blame or guilt or shame or outrage during this process, and then have to begin all over again. Simply grieve what is lost, without going into a story. After you grieve cleanly, each thread will gently drift away. There is no hurry. The second tool then, is to grieve each belief, each agenda, each fantasy that your trudge over Mt. Everest has rendered useless and torn to threads.

When you are presented with your next mountain and look carefully at your perception of it, you will discover something else that will help you travel your path. Seeing it as “difficult” is not only a perception, it can also be loaded with judgment.  Your judgment takes you out of the present moment and puts you inside a small box where you are blind.  Trying to view the outer world through the narrow and distorted lens of your judgments will never allow you to clearly perceive what’s on your path and how you can best respond to it. Your judgment sits on top of a mountain of resistance. This mountain of resistance is of your own making, and it can loom larger than the ‘mountain’ the universe has put before you. When you resist what the universe has already created, you are taking on the universe, and that is a battle you will never win. It will tire your spirit and deplete all your physical energy reserves.

What to do? Let go of your judgments born of your agenda, your time schedule, your beliefs, your fears, etc. Give up your resistance. The universe has put a mountain before you—there it stands. It has already happened, so there is no point in resisting it. It is what it is. Until you learn acceptance, the spiritual path will wear you out. It is not the path that must change; it is you that must change. The more you relinquish your resistance to it, the lighter the going gets. All mountains are opportunities to lighten your load. The third tool is to give up your resistance.

In the final analysis, is the spiritual path difficult?  It depends on where you’re standing at any given moment, and from which mountain you are looking. Just make sure you’re not standing on a rock that pretends it is easy. Difficult is a good place to start.  Then, practice changing your perceptions, grieve what needs to be grieved, and lower your resistance. The path may not be easy, but you can learn to travel it with more ease.

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Understanding Life’s Challenges————— When “Bad” Things Happen

In the course of anyone’s lifetime, “bad” things are guaranteed to happen. Yet there is nothing wrong with these “bad” things—nor is there anything “right” about them either. They simply happen.  They are neither good nor bad, right nor wrong, and human judgment, as always, is best left out of the equation.  It  is much more useful and accurate to see these events as challenges.  Challenges, in all sizes, shapes and forms, are essential to an evolving life; they are essential to a spiritual life; they are essential to our journey here on earth, and they are not going away.

Nor are we “bad” because something challenging crosses our path. We do not need to blame ourselves. Challenges can sometimes be consequences, but they are not punishments hurled at us from above because we are bad.  We need to do away with this myth, as well as the myth that “bad things should only happen to bad people”; or “life is wrong when bad things happen to good people”.  Challenges cross everyone’s path.  All challenges, regardless of their source, are opportunities for us to grow; they are opportunities for us to take our power back from what we are afraid of; opportunities for us to become powerful and authentic and find out who we really are.

Challenges enable us to become powerful because they automatically trigger our deepest issues and force us to face our fears.  Notice that one of the first things you do when such a challenge occurs is to go into a story about what happened and even what the future will be like.  Your mind creates a story loaded with your own personal, fear-based distortions that have always colored your world. Challenges magnify your story, and so give you the opportunity to recognize what your story is, see your distorted thinking, and free yourself from it. It is only by changing our perceptions, thinking, and behavior that we can move forward fearlessly in the direction of our dreams. It is our fear-based thinking that holds us back from living a life that we love, and challenges are what give us the opportunity to confront and change that thinking.

We can’t change or control what happens to us, or the challenges that we may encounter ahead. But we can pay attention to how we respond to them. Meeting challenges responsibly is hard work. Challenges show us what spiritual homework we still need to do; they show us where we are at spiritually. When a challenge hits us, we need to take our attention off why it happened, and focus on what now? We need to put our full attention on ourselves, what we are feeling and thinking, and how we are taking care of ourselves.

Once we are paying attention, we will begin to notice what our mind is up to.  Are we resisting what has already happened? Are we slipping into our conditioning to blame or feel outrage, shame, guilt or self-pity? If so, then we have left the present moment and are caught in our story. Or, instead, are we able to feel the authentic human emotions of grief, anger, and confusion without making up a story? In other words, can we use this challenge to learn how to grieve without going into pity or self-pity? Can we feel our authentic anger at the human journey without going into outrage, self-righteousness, or blame? Can we accept there is much we will never know about the human journey, and feel our confusion without going into shame or guilt?  We will need to remind ourselves again and again that we are not our thoughts. Challenges provide us with the opportunity to notice what our mind is trying to hook us with. Through our response to challenges, we are able to evolve our thinking, and thus evolve the way we respond to life and the way we use our spiritual energy.   When we can observe what our mind is making up, we are then in a position to change it, and use our energy more responsibly.

The only things we can really control and change in this life are our own perceptions, thought patterns and behavior. The fact is, that’s enough. That’s our ticket into creating a life we love, and challenges can provide the ride that will take us there.

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How To Keep Your Power

Power is attractive and enticing.  We all want to feel powerful, and we want others to see us as powerful.   This is as it should be.  Yet, we have an uncanny ability–habit?–to continually give our power away.  Humans have been handing over their power on a silver platter for thousands of years.

Who do we give it to? From political leaders and religious icons to the person walking down the street, generally speaking we give our power away to anyone we think can make our journey on earth easier, safer, and pain-free; anyone who convinces us they have a quick fix, or will do the work for us, or take our problems away; anyone who will protect us from the consequences of traveling on this earth plane. Besides people, we give our power to an assortment of belief systems, thoughts and ideologies that promise the above.

It is ironic. Even though we each chose to experience this journey in the earth dimension, the first thing we will trade in is that very experience. When we encounter the difficult bumps in the road, we want to give up, get out, medicate, or turn the whole thing over to someone else to do for us.

Does it work?  Never. Giving our power away leads us into bigger problems, bigger bumps, more complicated consequences, and general unhappiness. Giving our power away ultimately leads to disappointments, feelings of betrayal, and massive participation in the blame game. It is a waste of our energy, for giving  power to others can never produce any worthwhile or long-lasting results. How ironic, again, that when the person or belief system we’ve given our power to doesn’t give us the promised goods, we turn on it or them.  It does not occur to us to question whether giving our power to anyone or anything in the first place was a good idea. It does not occur to us to ask if we ourselves are responsible. Instead, we kill the king, martyr the savior, divorce the partner …and promptly look for another. Out comes our silver platter with our power placed on it, asking for takers, asking for someone or something else to be responsible for our journey. Around and around we go through the centuries, missing the opportunity each time to realize the problem isn’t with them, it is with us and our endless willingness to give our power away.

The fact is, no one can do the journey for you. Further, you don’t really need anyone or anything to do it for you because you carry within yourself all the tools that you need. One secret ingredient that will help you walk your path powerfully is something no one likes to talk about: pain. You must be willing to feel your pain. Pain is common to the human journey, and everyone’s path is painful. Pain is not as bad as you may think. It is much better than the suffering that entails when you give your power to others or to a belief system in the false hope of getting rid of the pain you must encounter on your journey.  When we are willing to be OK with the pain, we are much less likely to give our power away because we’ll have removed one of the main reasons why we give away power to others in the first place. We will also be less likely to medicate for the same reason.  We’ll know that medicating is just an avoidance of those difficult and painful bumps which we all must eventually face.

The word power has a very solid and grounded feel to it, and you feel it the more you claim your  journey. When you take your power back and keep your energy within your own path, it is available for you to use in facing those obstacles and bumps on your road.   You can have friends, guides, teachers, supporters, leaders by your side, but the obstacles in your path are yours alone to face. No one can ever stand in that spot on your path but you. Everyone else is on the sidelines of your journey. It is unfair to others to try to place your obstacles in their lap, even if they ask for them. You must walk your walk yourself, every single inch of it. That is power.  You can’t help but feel powerful when you really get that you are absolutely and completely responsible for your responses and how you use your energy on a path that is uniquely all yours.

How do you keep your power, then? You need to be willing to keep your power. You need to be aware of the age-old human tendency to place power on a platter and hand it over to others and others’ belief systems in an attempt to avoid pain, and resist that tendency. It is very subtle, so be aware that we do it often, in all sorts of small and large ways. You need to be aware that while others may give you pieces of the puzzle, you’ll have to put them together yourself. The path you journey on is yours alone to figure out, and by doing so, you and your path become authentic and powerful testimonials to your spiritual energy.

The final irony in the human weakness to relinquish our power and our path is that we are each extremely powerful and sophisticated spiritual energies, or we would not have contemplated journeying to this very difficult human dimension.  More than contemplating, we have all decided to actually experience it!  Power is your middle name. So the next time you are tempted to place your power outside yourself and look for a new leader, a new ideology, a new savior to bring you happiness and smooth out the painful obstacles on your road, know that a portion of your spiritual energy is having a huge ‘belly-laugh’ over the absurdness of such a situation!

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Observe, Observe, & Observe Some More!

You can never do it enough. It will often bring surprises. Most times we hate to do it.  We’d rather create our own fantasies. We’d rather swim in the pool of our own beliefs, and wrap ourselves up in the cozy blanket of our own opinions. We’d rather be in denial.  We’d rather medicate. We’d rather run, or we’d rather stay and project.

Observing your thoughts, the way you act, and the choices that you make, is a skill, even an art, and it yields a very strange journey.  Be prepared for the unexpected. In a nutshell, my own personal experience and understanding of self-observation looks something like this:

  1. First, we begin to glean that there is actually something to observe.  This takes about 20 years.
  2. We become curious and observe for one second.  We are so freaked by what we observe that we retreat and medicate for at least 10 years.
  3. We still desire to evolve. After decades of attending self-help workshops, we realize that our spiritual development requires that we observe.
  4. We resolve to observe, and begin the process anew.
  5. Through observation, we discover we must un-do everything we learned in our New Age workshops.
  6. Through observation, we discover we must give up our fantasies, our beliefs, our opinions, even our affirmations.
  7. We enter a state of confusion and total disorientation.
  8. We fall into despair, stay there for a while, and wallow.
  9. We blame and curse the people, the earth plane, the game, the whole enchilada.
  10. We realize we’ve stopped observing.
  11. We resolve to observe again. It’s not so bad this time.
  12. We observe our thought patterns when we want to repeat steps 8 and 9.
  13. We observe that by observation we can zap those thought patterns that have held us by the throat for the over 50 years we’ve been alive on this planet. That feels good. It feels like power. We like it.
  14. We begin to look forward to those old thought patterns returning so we can fine-tune our zapping powers and see what else we will discover. We happily accept that we are very powerful.
  15. Whatever is in the moment, we observe it’s our choice how we play. As long as we are observing, we will always have a choice.
  16. We observe that every next moment is punctuated with uncertainty. Sometimes this observation is pleasant, and sometimes it is unpleasant.  We’re OK with both, because we can see that whatever the present situation, there is always potential and possibility.
  17. We discover uncertainty is a very interesting dance partner. It gives us the opportunity to be quite powerful and quite creative.
  18. The more we observe, the more we are able to observe, and the more there is to observe.
  19. The whole enchilada starts to look a whole lot different.
  20. ?

What will you discover when you journey into the realm of observation? I haven’t a clue. I just know this has been my experience. But I can promise you that for anyone who does it, observing will open a very interesting door.  It is perhaps the key to those  famous words inscribed above the Temple of Apollo at Delphi over 3,000 years ago:  Know Thyself.  Who are you?  You’ll find out by observing.

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Why Are We Rushing?

As a former New Yorker, I understand the drive to rush. New Yorkers are always in a hurry.  And they walk fast.  I considered myself a successful New Yorker because I could outwalk almost anyone next to me.  I could cross the street faster, get to the bus stop quicker, dodge my way through a subway crowd and be the first to slide into an empty seat. Like most New Yorkers, I was always in a hurry because I had so much to do. Now that I am far removed from New York, both in years and miles, I wonder what all that rushing was for?  Did I ‘achieve’ more because I rushed?  I don’t think so. I probably crammed more into a day than most, but to what end?  I do not know.  Whatever seemed important at the time, no longer seems important now.

One thing I have come to realize  is that behind all that rushing is fear.  Not an obvious fear, but fear, nonetheless.  We  become driven by the myth that there is some destination point, some arrival point that we must hurry up and get to. We  rush through our lives because we are afraid that we may ‘miss out’, ‘arrive too late’, or not get to that magical destination point.  Having rushed all my life, I can tell you there is no such thing as a destination point.  We never ‘arrive’; there will always be a further destination point that our mind will trick us into believing exists just up ahead.  At some point we begin to realize that it’s all about the process, the present process, and that the  journey is never-ending.

In reality, our very rushing causes us to miss out on the essences that we most want in life.  Life is a feeling experience, and we can only feel in the now moment.  The feeling experiences that we want out of life can only be experienced in the present.  Yet somehow, our mind has tricked us into believing it’s all ‘up ahead’.  We get so focused on that future destination point that we miss completely the life that is happening in front of our eyes.  If we stop for a moment, we may see that at least some of what we most want is already here, hiding in some small corner of the present moment, waiting for us to water it with our attention so that it can grow bigger.

It’s not easy to take your foot off fourth gear if you’re a rush-aholic. You have to re-configure your priorities.  What really are you here to achieve?  What’s the fear that’s driving you? It takes a lot of  soul-searching, clarity and discipline to give up all that hurrying toward future-based fantasies and that mythical, magical arrival point.  Whatever causes you to stop rushing, be grateful for it. Sometimes, your worn out, exhausted body may be the one to put on the brakes.  You’re forced to stop. You can no longer rush. You’ll find yourself  in a strange environment; you’ll even experience culture shock.  Such is what it is like for a rush-aholic to finally arrive in the present.

The present moment–aahh, could this be the arrival point you were always seeking?  As you move toward becoming a recovering rush-aholic, you’ll find the future will begin to drop away. Don’t be alarmed… no, you are not dying.  There is something up ahead, but you no longer try to live there.  You can take your time.  You understand that you can feel only in the present, so what’s the rush?

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Life Without Judgment

We consume an enormous amount of energy judging others and judging ourselves. A day doesn’t go by when we do not pass judgment.  This is no accident.  We’re conditioned to judge. Judgment is encouraged because it oils the joints that support the status quo and the existing power structures. Like programmed robots, we dive daily and dutifully into the pool of judgment.  Judgment is a habit, a conditioning, a pastime, and an obsession.

We have a deep-rooted belief that if we let go of judgment, society will fall apart. But just what are we holding together?  Perhaps the fabric of society that our judgments hold together is the most toxic part of a society. What would happen if we loosened the grip of judgment in our lives? What might a society look like if over half the judgments we indulge in were scrapped away?

For starters, we’d be giving ourselves and each other a lot more freedom and a lot more space. We’d stop butting into everyone’s lives. We’d stop judging other people’s life styles, their affairs, their actions, their choices. We’d learn the difference between being interested in what others are doing, and judging what others are doing. We’d learn the difference between laws that are truly necessary in a society, and fear-based judgments disguised as laws, that in fact inhibit the evolution of a society and shackle parts of the human experience. Many of our fears masquerading as laws turn into a crime what we find discomforting–or else what we find profitable, such as the criminalization of  drugs.

The freedom and space we give to others to live their lives as they wish equates equally to the freedom and space we give to ourselves to live our lives as we choose. With less judgment and the peering eyes of those around us, we’d experience a human journey that contains more ease, more alignment with our evolutionary purpose, more authenticity, and we’d have greater energy available to focus and direct toward useful and satisfying life experiments.  We’d understand that the human journey is just that:  a journey, always in process and always an experiment, and for the most part, completely beyond human judgment.

Why is this so? Spirit guide Spotted Eagle points out that we are all ancient spiritual energies. This ancient energy that is you and I is individuated and differentiated. It has been personally “us” for a long time, and we each are unique according to the different dimensions we have chosen to experience with our spiritual energy. Since we know that energy is neither created nor destroyed, it is an understatement to say our journeys have been long. We have been journeying and experimenting and evolving our energy for billions of years and beyond. Our human lifetime is a small, quick flicker in the total scheme of who we are. We do not know what any soul or spiritual energy may be working on in this particular lifetime, so it is hubris for us to attempt to judge any human life. Instead of judging, it is more accurate to understand that everyone, without exception, is on a sacred  journey of evolution.

When we begin to understand that there is a much bigger picture at work, we can more easily extend to each human being who has chosen to experience this quite difficult earth plane, a large amount of respect and honor. We can give them a wide berth to journey as they are called, knowing that no matter what their circumstances, or how they appear, there is more going on than meets the human eye. When we look at others, we can know that they are incredibly powerful to choose and change and evolve their journey at every moment. (For an insightful blog on extending compassion to others instead of judgment or pity, visit channel Jennie Marlow’s blog on Compassion).

Judging is a peculiarly human thing to do–it does not exist in any other dimension. We will drop our judgments the minute we drop our physical body. But while we are here, we can learn from our judgments and keep them under supervision.  Judgment unsupervised entangles our spirit and leaves us living lives trapped by the conditioning of society. Examining our own judgments will give us clues as to what that conditioning is, how it works, and the assumptions upon which we and our society run. Which assumptions are we ready to change?  How do we wish to evolve ourselves and our society? When we drop our end of the judgment rope, we are learning to be responsible with our energy, and we free ourselves to move in creative and productive directions that truly enhance our lives and bring us joy.

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Breaking Free

Freedom is a great essence. It’s one of my favorites and probably ranks high on everyone’s list. Yet I wouldn’t say that being free is an easy state to achieve.  More often than not, I spend most of my time in the ‘breaking’ part of breaking free, the ‘trying to become free’ part.

Perhaps it is because there is so much to break from, to be free from, that I spend so much time in that mode. At this particular juncture on our evolutionary journey, there is a whole lot that we are breaking from–both on the inside and the outside, as individuals and as nations and as a global community. We are breaking from economic structures that have existed for centuries that no longer support us; from ways of surviving based on an outdated, tribal model of dominating or being subservient to a dominator; from trying to control the earth, control the resources, control the future, control each other; from deeply ingrained conditioned reactions that are used to hold the ‘tribe’ together, such as shame, blame, guilt, outrage, pity and self-pity; from beliefs that bind and blind us; from the obsession to judge and pass judgment. In fact, there is not too much that we are not breaking from or need to break free from during these times.

It is worth noting that the process of breaking free from anything can’t happen until you first realize that you are not free. It is a substantial spiritual step to realize you are really not free; that, in fact, you are living in a prison. It is an equally substantial step to see it is a prison of your own making existing inside your head, or that you have unconsciously agreed to living in a prison because everyone else is. And the next giant step is to do something about it.

These steps do not come easily. It is only when living in a box is no longer acceptable, or when some crisis forces you into awareness, or when the structures in our collective lives collapse under their own weight, or when the earth sends us continual, loud messages that we must change, that we have the marvelous opportunity to confront our prison and to break free. We can then begin our evolution in earnest. You break free because you must.

The change starts where the prison is:  inside your head, with your thinking. It starts with a change in perception. Your perceptions influence your behavior and the choices that you make. As you clean up your inside world so that you no longer are held captive to the thinking, beliefs and habits of the past, you begin to view the outside world through a different lens. You perceive the journey differently, you respond differently, and you make different choices.

You and I are part of civilization at a time of collapse.  We are both the wrecking crew and the clean-up crew, as well as the designers of the future. We span all these roles sometimes in the course of a single day. Standing in the midst of a huge rubble pile, we see that there is still more to come down.   If we are to become powerful, we must keep breaking free from old ways of thinking, perceiving and doing. Breaking free is the task we have given ourselves by being born duirng this time. The more we are able to free ourselves on the inside, the more change we are able to usher in on the outside.

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Torpedo Your Fantasies!

Why”, you say, “should I get rid of my fantasies? I have spent many idle hours embellishing them.”   Then you add with a sorrowful glance to the ground, “Besides, they’re all I have these days.”

AAh, if that were only true.  But alas, we humans are much more powerful than we’d like to admit, and with a little clarity on this subject, we might be motivated to get off our fantasy float forever and become a lot more productive… and happier.

Fantasies are about the future. They are made-up scenarios that make us feel good, or so we think. In reality, fantasies medicate us from showing up in real time. They keep us from taking stock of what is in our ‘now’.

“But wait!”, you say. “I did show up in my ‘now’. And it stinks. And that’s exactly why I am building plenty of fantasies.”

It is true that for many of us, the present we find ourselves in is not exactly what we desire. But if we linger long enough, we will also discover the next step that is actualizable for us in this ‘now’.  This step is golden and well worth giving up your fantasies for, because it will lead you out of “what stinks” onto the path that will take you to your heart’s desires. If you spend your time fantasizing about the future, you will never be around in the now to see the real steps that are possible–and even necessary–for you right now.

Spotted Eagle, a spirit guide, likes to say, “We’re always at the airport when our ship comes in.”  You can trust that the universe is bringing in your ship every moment, but are you here to see it? If we can discipline ourselves to ditch the airplane ride to fantasy island and keep ourselves in real time, one moment at a time, we will find we no longer have the need for fantasies.

But first, we need to understand the present moment. Contrary to popular New Age beliefs, the present  moment is not for the faint of heart….
Read the Entire Article

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The Human Animal

What makes us buckle under when we feel the pressure of fear? Survival fears have prompted homo-sapiens to make millions of out-of-power choices. For centuries we have reacted to fear by engaging in unreasonable and often horrific, animalistic acts of aggression and domination.  Why does our intelligence, our compassion, our common sense get thrown out the window when we are under severe pressure? Why, as both individuals and nations, do we lose our spiritual compass when in the presence of fear?

Part of the answer can be found in our biology. We are indeed, the human animal. The physical body that carries us through this earth journey shares about 97% of its DNA with the chimpanzee. As a species, we are little more than a glorified ape. Chimpanzees, as we know from Jane Goodall’s extensive research, commit assassinations, mass murders and serial killings. Yet since civilization began, we humans have been attempting to transcend our biology and act in a more conscious and enlightened way, worthy of the divine soul that inhabits these animal bodies. But when we are under pressure, when we are in the grip of fear, the bridge we’ve been patiently building between the divine and the animal quickly snaps. Under the pressure of fear, we become the human animal, exhibiting greater violence than any other species in the animal kingdom.

Fear has most of us by the throat. It is just a matter of degree and intensity as to when we succumb to our DNA.  For some, just a little bit of pressure on the jugular causes them to throw reason, awareness, divine compassion, or what they most love in life to the winds.

We are engaged in a grand experiment. Can what we call the human spirit transcend its physical biology and act in accord with the divinity that we truly are?   Can we take our power back from fear and learn to respond to fear consciously? The earth plane is the PhD course in overcoming fear. Our success in this classroom and our ability to help evolve this great experiment rests on our willingness to become conscious, self-aware and connected to our divinity when we are in the presence of fear.

It is the most difficult work we will ever do while on this earth plane. The first step is to understand the nature of the classroom and to begin to understand the ground rules. We can accept that fear is not going anywhere, and that we have a biological tendency to act out like an ape when we feel fear. We can remember that we are part of a great experiment. Then we can roll up our sleeves and begin the process of becoming more self-aware; we can start to walk the very narrow path that will allow us to stay focused on our spiritual mission to overcome fear.

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Making Friends With Fear

The fact is, we can’t get rid of fear. Why? Because the earth dimension is marvelously designed as the perfect classroom in fear.  Our purpose in signing up for this class is to understand fear and overcome fear in this lifetime.

Take a look around at this classroom. Nowhere in the physical universe will you encounter such a rich and diverse array of physical forms, both natural and made by the human hand. Everywhere you look there is physical form: the paper you are reading, your computer, the chair you are sitting on, the clothes you are wearing, the food you eat, the house you live in, the trees outside your door, the river that rushes by in the woods, the birds in the sky, the bugs under your feet. All is form on planet Earth.

One thing we know about form is that it does not last. Whether it is a piece of chocolate, our physical bodies, the Sangre de Cristo mountains, or the Earth planet itself, all physical form eventually dissolves, dies, disappears.  That is the nature of the physical universe, and this causes fear. The impermanence of earthly life and the uncertainty of life cause survival fears in all humans.

Part of our challenge, then, is this: can we learn to accept the impermanence of life? Can we learn to allow the uncertainty which is present in every moment? As we journey through this dimension in a human body that has a fairly short “shelf life”, can we overcome our individual  fears?

A look at our past shows us how difficult this assignment has been and the very slow progress we have made as a species in this area. Under the pressure of fear we’ve made poor choices. We continue to spend our energies trying to control and dominate our lives and each other, caught in the illusion that this is the way out of having to deal with the earth lessons of impermanence and uncertainty. We give up the direction our hearts would take us for the illusion of security in a dimension that by its very nature is insecure. Around and around like squirrels in a cage we go, century after century, hedging the very thing we came here to learn.  Our evolution depends upon our willingness to do the inner work required to respond to fear consciously. Overcoming fear is the journey.

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