The Othello Bach Show Blog
With your host Othello Bach
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7/17/19 – Show 29: Finding and Losing Love … It’s easy to fall in love, and oh, so painful to lose it. So, it might be beneficial to take a look at the process and see if we can gain a clearer understanding.
There are two reasons why it’s easy to fall in love, and both are generally overlooked. The first is: when we meet new people, we know nothing about them, and they know nothing about us; therefore, there is nothing for us to judge against. We assume the other person wants to be accepted, just as we do, so we say and do “acceptable” things, and ask “acceptable” questions. We also listen to what the new person says, and we say what we think they want to hear. The second reason is: We see and hear everything through the filter of our belief. If the other person indicates he or she enjoys our presence, we find that interesting and quite lovable—just the kind of person we hoped to meet. If the other person tells of some past, failed relationship, and places the blame on someone else, we want to believe what we’re hearing, and we do. Of course, the other person is doing exactly what we are – looking through the filter of his or her belief… seeing and concluding, “this is just the kind of person I hoped to meet. Both people believe they see the other person correctly—and quickly grow very fond of each other. They are filled with hope and excitement, and for the next few weeks find themselves daydreaming about wonderfully romantic moments with each other. All of their thoughts are warm, loving, generous, and accepting. It’s easy to believe they are falling in love. They are happy and affectionate with each other, and more relaxed and accepting than usual, in all situations and circumstances. The more they are in each other’s presence, the deeper their affection grows. All the while, nothing has happened except they have projected a loving image of what they believe about themselves onto the other person, and think that they see the truth. Once they’ve declared their love for each other, certain responses are expected. In a monogamous society, fidelity, is one of those expectations. If either of them ignores this expectation, the bond breaks. The one who feels victimized suddenly replaces loving thoughts with angry thoughts of blame and betrayal. The euphoric splendor of love that lifted their spirits and created bliss, vanishes.
We do not—and cannot—see each other with physical eyes. To “see” means to understand, and until we understand that love is felt only when we are thinking loving thoughts about someone else—we will trick and torment ourselves. Unless we remember that thought creates emotion, nothing in our life will ever be significantly different. To feel love we must give love—and we give it by thinking loving thoughts of others. The only thing we can know with certainty about others is that they were created by the same Creator that created us, and loves all of us beyond anything we can imagine. We have each been given absolute control over our lives, which is accomplished by controlling our emotions. We’ve also been given the mental ability to decide what we want, and how we want to feel. Nothing on earth usurps our authority to control ourselves. When loving feelings are replaced by sadness and a sense of loss, we are “out of control.” We’ve ignorantly traded happiness for misery. We are not dependent on others to make us happy, but we are instructed to love and forgive them if we want to be happy. When we cry and feel sorry for ourselves, it’s obvious we’ve misperceived and are, in fact, punishing ourselves.
All we know about others is: they were created by the same Loving Creator that we were. This, we must respect; otherwise, we are rejecting our own Creator. We cannot see into other’s minds and hear their thoughts, but we can acknowledge that they are as loved and adored by The Creator, as we are. When we are devastated because we have misperceived, the only way to ease the pain is to admit that we saw what we wanted to see and heard what we wanted to hear, and then forgive ourselves for misunderstanding. How can we expect to know others when we don’t know ourselves?
No one “falls” in love. Love is not an accident; it’s a deliberate move toward sanity. When we finally move in love’s direction, we suddenly feel as if we’ve slipped into another world—and we have! We’ve moved into a heavenly realm. Love often seems to “just happen,” but nothing “just happens.” We live in the cause-and-effect world of our mind. Our thoughts and beliefs are “Cause,” and our emotions are the “Effect.” We know this because two people can have the same experience, but respond differently. One may experience the situation as horrifying while the other finds it exhilarating. Everyone wants love, but few know where to find it. Who would guess that we lost it among all of our painful and frightening thoughts? Yet, it’s there, hoping to be remembered, and invited to help.
What we love, we hold close; It’s obvious this is true of our Creator. How much closer can Love be, than in our mind?
7/10/19 – Show 28: Opposing Beliefs, Part 2 … I want to follow up on last week’s podcast which dealt with our sacred, but opposing beliefs. Clearly, we believe in two false gods, as well as the God of Love and all Creation. The first false god is Satan, and I call him a false god because we believe he can seduce God’s children into following him right into hell. The other false god is a punitive version of God, the Creator. This one is counting our mistakes and willing to let us, his children, burn in hell if we screw up too much.
The tragedy surrounding fearful beliefs is that fear prevents the outcome we hope for; it reveals our lack of faith, and the First Commandment demands absolute faith. If we are unwilling to give up our fearful beliefs, then the best we can hope for is that a true believer is praying for our prayers to be answered. When the majority of our prayers go unanswered, we often soothe ourselves with rationale, such as, “Maybe my unanswered prayer just means not now. Or maybe it means I need to learn patience. What it means is: we can’t love God with all a heart, mind, and soul AND maintain our fearful beliefs. The most we can do is placate ourselves with “what ifs” and “maybes.”
At some point, we must wake up to the fact that our allegiance is split three ways between opposing beliefs; consequently, we can never have total faith in the outcome of our prayers. The best we have to offer God is 30%. Little wonder so few of our prayers are answered. Our belief in Satan exposes our faith in evil. However, it does NOT expose what we keep well hidden from ourselves, and that is our unstated belief that Satan has equal or greater power than God… or that God gave Satan permission to tempt, torture, and destroy His creations… His children!
Now, before some listener comes through the podcast cable to destroy me, please ask yourself, HOW ELSE COULD SATAN GET AWAY WITH HARMING GOD’S CHILDREN? To do that, Satan must be as powerful, or more powerful than God, or he has God’s consent and permission. Is it reasonable to assume God created a situation in which His children are at risk 24 hours a day for their entire earthly existence? If so, is that a loving Father? What earthly parents would allow that? Do we think earthly parents are more loving than God? I don’t know any parents who would willingly stand by and watch as their children are being stalked and lured away without trying to save them. Yet, this is what most of us believe about God. It’s not surprising that those who believe this cannot love God with all their heart, mind, and soul. Who could? Do we believe it because those who lived before us believed it and taught it to us? Do we believe it because hell is vividly described in the book of Revelation?
By the way, Revelation was not added to the Bible until the fourth century. That’s when Bishop Eusebius of Caesaria provided the first complete surviving list of the material that should be included in the Christian Bible. After listing those that he recommended for inclusion, he said, “To these may be added, if thought proper, the Revelation of John.” When the Roman Catholic Church had the Bible finally assembled as they thought it should be, their Bishops final prayer over the matter (which I found on the Internet) was: “Lord Jesus, let your prayer of unity for Christians become a reality, in your way. We have absolute confidence that you can bring your people together. We give you absolute permission to move. Amen.” I had to laugh at the idea that the Bishops thought Jesus needed their permission “to move,” on their prayer, or on anything, for that matter. As I said last week, I think we’ve been duped. Our subconscious is filled with useless nonsense that governs our every thought and action.
Anyone who likes science fiction will love Revelation which was written by someone named John. The Bishops weren’t sure if this was John whom Jesus loved the most, but they thought it might be, so they gave him the credit. He was on the island of Patmos at the time of his writing. I’ve read that Patmos is known for its high quality marijuana. If that’s true, maybe John was tangled up in some weed. Many-headed snakes and dragons spewing death, disease, and destruction are a little hard to believe. Nonetheless, Revelation scares the bejesus out of most people, but that isn’t all bad from a church’s point of view; frightened people return regularly to tithe and support the teachings they believe are necessary to achieve salvation.
In my opinion, which may mean nothing to anyone but me, I believe love is the answer in all situations and circumstances. Love accomplishes far more than fear, and frees us to love more completely—with all our heart, mind, and soul. If we do what we love, thinking about who and what we love, speak loving words and do loving things for others, our lives are rich and satisfying. I know it’s not easily accomplished while we live in a fearful society, but it’s not impossible. What’s impossible is believing in opposing powers and expecting to be happy and have our prayers answered. Hopefully, we’ll wake up one day and realize that what Jesus said is true: “The Kingdom of Heaven has already come to you; the Kingdom of Heaven is within.” If we believed that, our false gods would instantly disappear, and with them would go every conceivable limitation, sickness, and problem. That’s worth striving for, don’t you think?
7/3/19 – Show 27: Opposing Beliefs, Part 1 … we’ve been taught that God is perfect, and we were created in His image. If that’s true, why do we believe we are imperfect? Can a perfect Creator create something imperfect and not lose His perfection in the process?
Imperfect creations are evidence of imperfection. What if we’re perfect but don’t believe we are? We were given free will to believe anything we choose, so isn’t it possible that we believe something untrue? If that’s the case, why would we have done that? What could have made us want to stop identifying with perfection? In fact, what makes us stop doing anything we like, except fear, and what could be more terrifying than accepting the overwhelming responsibility to be like our Creator? Is fear what prompted us to deny our perfection? Was it fear that prompted Adam and Eve to eat from The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil even though they were told not to? Consider what the name of that tree implies. What could it mean other than, “Don’t think you know what’s good and what’s evil.” In other words—Don’t play God.
We’re aware that we have free will and can believe anything we want, and we do, so why would we choose to believe we are unlike our creator? Was it the overwhelming responsibility that came with it? Or was it that we didn’t like being told to stay away from ideas of good and evil. Maybe we wanted independence to do things “our way.” I’m questioning because it makes no sense to think that we were created in the image of a Perfect Being, but we are imperfect. However, it does explain why we are so fixated on our bodies, and so critical of their every slight imperfection. We want to be like our Creator – except for the obligation it entails–so we turned our attention to our bodies. Unfortunately, bodies do nothing on their own. They can’t take a single step without our mind’s consent and participation. But our mind can leave our body sitting on a park bench, while it is on the far side of the earth. Even with our mind’s obvious power and independence, it is still our bodies that get most of our attention. We constantly judge our body and everyone else’s. We “play God” with bodies, and trick ourselves into believing we know who and what is good and evil.
Our minds work perfectly from the instant we enter the world, but we must teach our bodies how to do everything… turn over, sit up, walk, etc. The Great Mind that created us, and remains with us, accepts everything we believe as “our truth.” It is Love, so it judges nothing; consequently, when we reach flawed conclusions, we suffer the consequences of our ignorance. The more we repeat a flawed belief, and the longer we hold it, the more difficult it is to let it go. Only repetitious reasoning, and accepting a loving belief, can do that.
Constant fear often turns to hate and attack, but how do we attack an invisible belief? We can’t, so we try to ignore it, and hide it in the back of our mind. We concentrate on our body, unaware that our buried belief is still alive. It’s still influencing every thought and decision we make. Unlike bodies, minds remember; so although buried and ignored, it continues to create havoc in our bodies, and our daily lives. Belief is the strongest power on earth. Flawed beliefs convince us there is always more to fear. They negatively influence the power of our prayers, because they reveal our lack of faith. Then, convinced we are powerless, we clean and dress our treasured bodies and take them to church, hoping something will be said to alleviate our fear. All too often, our beliefs are reinforced, and we leave, still afraid of God, and feeling imperfect. Frightening beliefs prompt us to project fear everywhere. Of course, our greatest fear is death, and losing our bodies. This dread reveals how child-like we are. Death is the monster under our bed.
We have great faith in our imperfection, and dread the consequences, but we still play God and constantly judge—providing evidence that we believe in opposing powers – one good, and one evil. How strange is that? What could oppose God? We have also learned that God is Love; but fear causes such confusion that we forget that Love doesn’t oppose anything. Love accepts all things. Fear creates our resistance. Most religions teach us to judge—to choose between good and evil, and that death leads to eternal reward or punishment. How can this not create fear? It also creates another inescapable situation: Fear blocks reason, searches for escape, and runs for the nearest exit—even if it’s another illusion—another trap.
That’s apparently what we’ve done and where we are – stuck where Adam got stuck. We took the first exit, and focused all of our attention on our bodies. Now, our Creator is the last person we want to meet, and the last person we will meet. The only way to free ourselves is to pay more attention to our minds, and stop judging. Stop playing God. Until we do, our fearful, unloving beliefs will continue to damage the health of our beloved bodies.
We cannot escape our mind except through fantasy–which we’ve already done. Tragically, our beliefs prevent us from wanting to meet our Creator. How sad is that? Scripture assures us that “Truth will set us free,” so let’s check “our truth” with a quick two-questions-test.
• What does “our truth” free us from that nonbelievers must endure? Answer: Nothing. We suffer the same problems, diseases, and death as nonbelievers.
• What does “our truth” free us to do that nonbelievers can’t do? Answer: Nothing. They can do anything we can.
Clearly, we’ve tricked ourselves into believing something other than truth. Now, one final thought: the first chapter of Genesis tells us that a deep sleep fell over Adam, but there’s no place in the entire Bible that says he ever woke up. It appears we’ve joined him in his nightmare of guilt and imperfection.
6/26/19 – Show 26: Searching For The Expected … today I’m going to talk about how we search for truth because sometimes we search and don’t find. This morning, I took a grapefruit from the fridge and reached for my favorite knife in the knife caddy. It wasn’t there, so, I went to the silverware drawer, thinking I might have absent-mindedly put it there, but I hadn’t. So I looked in the dishwasher; still no luck. I stood in the kitchen trying to remember if I’d carried it into another part of the house while rushing to answer the phone. I checked the phone tables. Nope. Not there, either. Finally, I went back into the kitchen and reached for another knife. That’s when I saw it. My favorite knife wasn’t in the caddy. For some reason, I had laid it on the counter, beside the caddy. Amazed that I had overlooked it, I shook my head, and wondered how many really important things I overlook because I expect them to be in a specific place. So… I thought about it, and realized that we often overlook things that aren’t where we believe they “should” be… or where we expect them to be. When that happens, we frequently decide the thing is lost, and give up our search.
Consciousness of the physical world limits awareness of the mental/spiritual world; consequently, when a need arises in the mental/spiritual realm, we often try to “fix it” with a physical remedy. For instance, when our negative emotions—anger, fear, and loneliness create hunger for peace and love, we may try to relieve our emotional hunger with physical food. We expect some relief, but we only add to our emotional problems. Consequently, 60 to 65% of Americans are overweight, and 25% are classified as obese. Others try to satisfy their hunger for love by searching for someone to make them feel loved. This expectation has worldwide acceptance. However, in our society, divorce statistics reveal that almost half of our marriages end in divorce, but that doesn’t keep us from looking for – and expecting to find – someone else to make us happy. Consequently, dating sites flourish as lonely, love-starved people search for fulfillment through other lonely, love-starved people. Unfortunately, most of us never realize that the emotion we call love is experienced only when we are thinking loving thoughts of others.
Scripture tells us, “It is better to give than receive,” because AS we give, we DO receive, but who expects to find love in his or her mind – that decadent place where ungodly ideas sprout and grow? How can love be found in a trash bin like that? Love is found there because our minds are connected to the Divine Mind, which is Love. If it weren’t, how could we expect prayers to be answered? Strangely, even though we know this, we hesitate to examine our mind because we’re afraid of all the nastiness we’ll find. We do not expect to find love.
We have misperceived our mind. We call it stupid, unreliable, and even condemn it as “evil”. We’ve convinced ourselves that it is limited. We say, “I can’t do that! I can’t do this! I’m not talented… not creative!” So we dismiss It as worthless and disregard Its gentle emotional nudging, urging us to think more lovingly of each other. The most sacred place in the universe is our mind—the Residence of the Divine. Yet, because it costs us nothing, we consider it virtually worthless, and use it only to navigate the physical world. This allows us to remain ignorant (and hopefully innocent) about what we cannot see with our physical eyes. We know it was given to us, but who gives away precious possessions? Only a fool would do that. Does this mean we think The Divine is foolish? No, but we do reject the idea that Divine Love dwells in the garbage can of our mind. We can’t see Divine Love… can’t take our bodies and belongings inside it, so how do we know it’s worth anything? Well… how about testing it? Why not spend a few minutes a day thinking loving thoughts? Forget all judgements, criticisms and disappointments. For just a few minutes each day, look for love in every person, situation and circumstance.
Scripture tells us that Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven has already come to you. The Kingdom of Heaven is within.” Perhaps we could experience a little bit of heaven on earth if we searched for love in everyone, and in every situation and circumstance. We must give what we want to receive. Most Christians recognize this idea as one expressed by Jesus. He said, “It is better to give than receive.” He knew that we always receive what we give, and that thinking IS giving.
Understanding and wisdom have no physical properties, yet we know their value surpasses earthly treasures. Jesus addressed the treasure of our mind this way: He said, “A man goes out into a field and finds a treasure. He hides it then sells all he has and buys that field.” If we believed, and expected that we could buy Divine Love to protect us forever, who wouldn’t sell everything to own It? Unfortunately, we believe Divine Love is “beyond the clouds somewhere,” while we are stuck here. This belief creates the expectation that death, alone, can free us to “get to heaven.” It also ignores Jesus’ words: “The Kingdom of heaven has already come to you; the Kingdom of Heaven is within.” In other words, we already have what we’re looking for, but we don’t believe it, so we can’t see it. Like my knife this morning, it wasn’t where I expected it to be, so I completely overlooked it.
6/19/19 – Show 25: Ignorance Or Evil … our ignorance is literally killing us. Submerged in misunderstanding we attack each other with thoughts, words, and deeds, and without knowing it, simultaneously attack ourselves.
Most of us have heard that we are not to judge, but lack of understanding prevents us from recognizing that when we blame our troubles on someone else … we are playing judge – a role for which we have no credentials, no authority, and certainly no understanding. No one sees every situation exactly as we do, because we see the world through different belief systems. Yet, it is possible for everyone to make the same mistake—to confuse perception with reality, or truth. We can believe that what we see with our eyes shows us the truth, when, in fact, physical eyes cannot see mental, emotional or spiritual reality. These realities are revealed through understanding – seen only through our Real Eyes… when we realize we are in no position to pronounce judgment on anyone because we are blind to others and ourselves. We see hurtful deeds but we do not see the warped beliefs and tangled thinking that prompted the person to think he or she was doing the “right” thing. Likewise, when we judge that person, we are making the same mistake—and for an understandable reason: we have all been introduced to, and accepted, the idea of good versus evil. Then we allow that belief to define and explain all behaviors and action—and, at that point, we stop thinking. Even those who reject all spiritual concepts accept the limited “good VS evil” explanation—and judge others and themselves on a minute-by-minute basis.
So, it is this idea… the idea of good versus evil… that I would like to challenge. Scripture tells us that God is Love. If this is true, then how did evil enter the picture? – especially, when Scripture also says we were created in Love’s image? If this is true, then we, too, are loving creators—and create with love. So what introduced ideas of evil… except ignorance? …. What else could keep us from accepting that we are like our Loving Creator? What, except misunderstanding convinces us that what we see with our eyes is true? Without understanding, we create something false – something unlike Love and ourselves. Then, being ignorant, we fail to see that we created it, so we deny our part the lie alive.
In ignorance, we misunderstand the “fallen angel”—the one we call Satan or the Devil. Would Love, could Love create something evil…or something that could evolve into evil? Would Love—Divine Intelligence–create something it could not control? If so, wouldn’t that something be IN control? To believe that is to doom ourselves because there would be nothing we can do about it. Unless, of course, WE are the fallen angel… the ones who believes in evil… and the ones who have removed Love’s power from our life. We are the ones loved so much that we were given free will… so that we could do anything our little hearts desired. Including to NOT LOVE each other. Is this why we pray and plead for help, when in fact, if we looked lovingly, with understanding, on every situation, we would see love. We would think loving thoughts and feel loved, and convince ourselves that we and everyone have Love. But that’s not what we do. Instead, we’ve convinced ourselves good and evil can co-exist in a world created by Love, for love.
Opposites cannot co-exist. Darkness and light, hot and cold, good and evil, cannot co-exist. Darkness is the absence of light, cold is the absence of heat, evil is the absence of love. When we are afraid that love is insufficient, we ignore it, become afraid, and want to punish someone for what we’ve ignorantly done to ourselves. We’ve looked without love and grown afraid. We’ve created fear—the state of mind that prompts what we call evil—and then we project it onto someone else. Certain that we’ve identified our evil offenders, we self-righteously judge against them, and then blame them for what we have done to ourselves. We have become the loveless creatures who condemn others—and ourselves—to live in fear. Then, in our ignorance, we continue to hurt others and ourselves, never questioning our beliefs, and eager to pass our self-righteous ignorance onto our children.
This is where we are. Our fearful minds hold twisted beliefs that allow us to justify horrendous acts such as murder. Terrified of “evil”, and convinced that the misery we’ve created is someone else’s fault, we are constantly aware of the non-existent reality of evil. Our beliefs are far more hateful and terrifying than loving… so much so that even questioning our own beliefs prompts guilt and shame. Yet, just a moment’s thought could relieve the fear that questioning is “wrong.” Love does not dodge questions; fear does that. Fear resists self-examination; Love welcomes it. It isn’t our love that silences our questions; it’s our fear — our ignorance and lack of love. On this plane we cannot know the horrors that scrambled another’s mind and prompts horrible actions. Nor do we need to know. We only need to look through the eyes of love and understand that anyone who looks through the eyes of fear is quickly convinced that unloving actions are “necessary.”
Who, but the ignorant, can convince themselves that punishing someone else will make their own life better? Who but the ignorant would think they could escape the same fate? However, the slightest bit of willingness to think with love, quickly changes the life of the thinker, and improves the life of everyone they see. A world created by a Loving Creator, whose creations are like their Creator, cannot be evil; but they can, in ignorance, forget their reality – who and what they are.
If we Look for love in every situation and circumstance, we will see it. We may also see ignorance, but that’s understandable—and forgivable; we’re all ignorant in many ways and about many things.
6/12/19 – Show 24: Our Separated Self … we are everyone. Our belief makes it appear that we are separated into different “selves.” Yes, belief, creates the illusion that we are separated from the Unseen and from each other. In truth, there is no separation between beings, whether we are human beings, or being an insect, a plant, or any other thing. Our seeming separation is an illusion created by the belief that we are separated from, and unlike the Intelligence that created all things. Intertwined with this belief is the illusion of past and future. In reality, there is only the eternal present—the tiny moment between blinks of our eyes. What we call past and future do not exist except as beliefs. The past is gone and the future can never arrive; both reside in non-existent “time zones;” yet our thinking about both is where most of our present time is spent. The present is everlasting and eternally filled with love, if we are willing to think of it. Love is always just a thought away, and because there is no separation between us, everyone, and every “thing” benefits from our loving thoughts.
All thought is shared. Sadness lives in the illusion of the past, and fear, in the illusion of the future. We fear the future will be like (or worse) than the past. When the present is spent dwelling in non-existent time zones, it is overlooked and “wasted,” and it will remain so until we recognize the beautiful benefits experienced by consciously focusing our attention on the present. The present is for love, and love is only experienced in the present — when we are thinking about it, because thinking creates emotion – an emotion that corresponds identically with the thought. Therefore, when we feel sad, angry, afraid or worried… we are being alerted that we are using the present improperly and ineffectively, literally creating effects we do not want—and unwittingly sharing them with everyone else. When we share hurtful, painful thoughts we are not being “bad” or “evil” but we are exposing our ignorance… our lack of understanding. Who, but those who do not understand, choose to hurt themselves, and deny themselves love?
Scripture tells us that God is love, omniscient (all knowing) and omnipresent (present everywhere at all times.) Too often, misunderstanding turns this comforting thought into fear and dread. Instead of seeing it as the gift of constant love and protection, it is interpreted as menacing surveillance… an all seeing eye watching to find the guilty, to chalk up our wrongs. If, as Scripture says, “God is love,” then there is nothing to fear, because Scripture also tell us that Love is patient and kind, and does not keep a record of wrongs.
Since the beginning of the illusion of time — as past, present and future, our belief that we are separated from our Unseen Source, also separates us from understanding. Confused, we think we DO understand. We believe we are each alone, having little or no effect on each other except through direct physical contact. To even consider that our thoughts, alone, might have the slightest effect is seen as amusement at best, and most likely as lunacy.
Most who call themselves Christians—do not believe what Jesus said. He said that we can do all the things that he did, and even more, but who among us can demonstrate such power? Most Christians have more faith in an aspirin than in the idea that their own thoughts can cause or remove a headache. Even if someone had sufficient faith in Jesus’ words: “You can do the things I have done, and even greater things,” –and performed a miracle! — who would believe it in this day of photo-shopped pictures and “doctored” videos? Who wouldn’t immediately say, “That’s faked.” Even so, we still—and always will–have a choice between listening through and seeing through the filter of our limiting beliefs, or asking our Unseen Source to let us see the Truth. Is it possible we don’t want to see it?… Don’t want the responsibility that comes with it? Can we even imagine life without hearing our own complaints about some past injustice? Do we actually believe there’s an advantage in being limited? Is it easier to be a victim than a victor? Is pity more sacred to us than the power to help others? Or perhaps, are the hardships of life more acceptable and entertaining than having the ability to suspend them? I asked, because I counseled Viet Nam vets in the 1980s, and I was stunned to learn that some of them who came home without legs, yearned to go back and continue fighting. When I asked why, the answer was generally the same: “There is nothing more exhilarating than being shot at.” Are we like that? Is it more exciting and entertaining to be miserable and blaming someone else than in living in peace and love?
Just a question… one we should each ask ourselves as we refuse to accept that we have any “real” power over anything. How would life change if we believed that we are just one part of One Being and that we have an effect upon our Whole Self?
6/5/19 – Show 23: Design Your Success … today I’m going to talk about how to design success. We often have dreams and goals that seem to continually escape our grasp. Whether we want peace of mind… a better job… or to lose 40 pounds, we can have what we want if we pay close attention, carefully craft our thinking, and adjust our vocabulary and actions to reach our goal.
Thoughts and words are the controlling factors of our lives. Somehow we’ve managed to overlook and ignore this Unseen Power for so long, we unwittingly use it against ourselves and interfere with our own success. We dwell on our doubts and fears, and collect them from other people. Sometimes we collect them from people who’ve never fulfilled their own dreams—but they’re sure they know all the pitfalls associated with our dreams, and they gladly share them and help us fail, too.
Words and thoughts are power tools. Think before you speak and refuse to listen to those who are quick to describe how difficult it will be. If you don’t want problems, stop using the word problem. Describe various situations and circumstances as situations and circumstances. A problem is difficult, so think and speak of situations and circumstances. These words remove the tension and discouragement that the word problem creates. Situations and circumstances are neutral unless we think and say they are bad, horrible, or miserable. When we begin to listen and hear ourselves speak, this awareness, alone, begins to re-shape our experience. When we tell ourselves what we want to hear, instead of what we fear, we have an immediate response that lifts our spirit. If we repeat our desire, and start looking for ways to fulfill it, we will see possibilities.
Put your goal on paper. Define it as realistically as you can. State what you want… and pick a date to have it accomplished. Again, be realistic. If you want to lose 40 pounds in a week, unless you cut off your legs, it’s not likely to happen. Next, list five things you can do to start making your goal a reality, and do at least one of those things every day. When you do one thing, mark it off and add another. Always keep five things on the list, and do something on the list every day until you have what you want. Next, write a short statement to help you stay encouraged — a one-line affirmation, such as, “I can and will make my desire a reality.” Memorize it and recite it at every opportunity… while you’re waiting for a red light to change… while taking a walk… and on your drive home, and always, ALWAYS, repeat it before you go to sleep. Let your subconscious store it overnight. If you lack self-confidence in certain situations, you can benefit by reciting, “I am calm and confident in all situations.” As you say it, imagine being calm and confident in situations that usually make you uncomfortable. Imagine your success. Ignore all doubts by reciting your affirmation.
As you work to replace an old belief, you may feel like a fraud while reciting an affirmation that is not yet true for you. Don’t let this stop you. The only way to replace any belief is the same way we acquired the old one – with repetitive words, and imagination. Beliefs are powerful, but so are thoughts, and imagining is thinking. It is up to each of us to fulfill our dreams; no one can do it for us.
I am convinced that when I was 24, it was my ignorance and naiveté that allowed me to write a bestselling novel on my first attempt. I was a nonreader until I was 13. At the end of 8th grade, while cheating on yet another spelling test, I finally realized the secret to reading — letters have sound assignments! Perhaps this seems so improbable you doubt it, so let me give you a little background. I had seen my mother burn to death when I was seven. My younger siblings and I were immediately placed in an orphanage, and separated for the next 11 years. I assume that a fair amount of shock hindered my ability to learn. Whatever the reason, I didn’t understand how anyone knew which letters formed what words. I don’t know if my teachers noticed or cared, but I got no special instruction. So when I finally figured it out, I hid under my covers at night, and with a flashlight, taught myself to read—based entirely on the fact that I had 13 letters in my name and I knew how they sounded. So I struggled until I finally figured out all the sounds. When I wrote my first novel, I had absolutely no information. I had never attended a writing class and I didn’t know it was supposed to be difficult. The thought of rejection never entered my mind. My ignorance was so vast that I didn’t have a single word of negative information to discourage me.
Today, with negative information crowding our mind from numerous sources, it takes perseverance to override it. It wasn’t until I enrolled in a writing class that I learned how difficult it was supposed to be. So my advice is: Set your goals and ignore those who tell you can’t succeed—including your own doubts and fears. If you are interested in a precise 30-day program to improve the odds of succeeding, I recommend a book called The Happiness Option. It’s on Amazon. I wrote it, and it’s all about setting goals and succeeding. The paperback version is about $8.00, and the digital version is almost free.
5/29/19 – Show 22: Affirmations … today I’m going to talk about affirmations – affirmative statements that positively influence our lives.
Actually, everything we think and say impacts our life, and often the expressions and ideas we’ve accepted over the years both reinforce and solidify negative beliefs that hinder our progress in all areas. Consequently, we need to pay attention… to listen to ourselves and become aware of ideas that may be interfering with our happiness and health. Only then are we likely to hear and recognize the stumbling blocks we’ve placed in our path, and notice that beliefs we’ve considered harmless, are actually stumbling blocks, keeping our goals out of reach.
Most of our “thinking time” is spent concerned with our bodies. We rarely consider our mind. We’ve all heard the expression, “out of sight, out of mind,” and for the most part, it’s true… and nothing is more out of sight than our mind? Without realizing it, we frequently fail to fulfill our fondest dreams because we are actually affirming and re-affirming our doubts and fears – and manifesting them, as well.
We acquired our beliefs through repetition. All learning is acquired that way. We surround ourselves with those who believe as we do. We listen to those who validate our beliefs, and avoid those who don’t. However, we rarely examine our beliefs to see if they are benefitting or hindering us as we strive toward happiness, health, and overall success. Advertisers are aware that we learn through repetition. They run the same ad hundreds of times because they know enough people will be convinced to make the product successful.
So today, I’m going to share some affirmations, and tips on how to write your own affirmations. All of our hopes, dreams, and desires are a little different, so tailor yours meet your specific goals. First, do not mention the “problem” that you want to eliminate. In fact, eliminate it from your thinking and your conversations. Give it no life; let it die of neglect. For example, if you want to eliminate insomnia, affirm: “I sleep soundly through the night and awaken refreshed and energized.” As you repeat the words, imagine yourself soundly asleep, awakening refreshed. Do not say: “I no longer suffer from insomnia.” Mentioning the problem keeps it “alive.” Remove the word from your vocabulary. Also stop thinking about it. Thoughts are as powerful as spoken words. Your subconscious “hears” them and remembers them for you. It also hears and remembers what others say. If others ask about your insomnia, ignore them by changing the subject, or by saying, “Let’s talk about something else.” The only word that the subconscious does not act on is the word “not” or it’s contraction, n’t. The reason? There is nothing your subconscious can’t and/or doesn’t remember for you. It doesn’t accept the word not, period. For this reason, every affirmation needs to be worded positively… no “nots” and no contractions for “not.” For instance, if you say: “Insomnia doesn’t bother me now.” You will compound your problem because your subconscious will hear: “Insomnia does bothers me now.” When someone asks, “Are you sleeping any better?” Say, “Yes, thank you!” “Yes!” is an affirmation you want to make, if you honestly want to sleep through the night. If you prefer pity, say, “Oh, it’s still a struggle,” and it will be, and you will also be pitiful.
This principle applies to all affirmations: Speak your desire in a strong, affirmative statement and an equally firm voice, and refuse to think or speak about “the problem” again. We are each “the problem” and the solution. We are judge, jury, and jailor of ourselves, and also the warden who releases us. We ignorantly trap ourselves while holding the key to our cell. We get out the same way we got in – with words and thoughts that prompt action.
You may find some of the following affirmations helpful.
Affirmations for Weight Loss: I eat only to satisfy physical hunger, and I am easily satisfied. I know the difference between physical and emotional hunger. I am always burning calories and losing weight.
Affirmations to Reduce Stress: I overlook my mistakes and the mistakes of others. I am at peace. I leave all judgment to the Divine. Everyone is doing the best they can, including me.
Affirmations to Re-establish Health: I forgive quickly, and I am healed by forgetting. The power of love within me restores me to perfect health. I make peace with myself and others, and I restore perfect health.
Affirmations for Creating Prosperity: My life is rewarding; I always expect the best. My thoughts, plans, and actions profit me. I help others prosper and they prosper me.
Suggestions That Create Better Relationships: I bring love and acceptance to all my relationships. I put others at ease and they are at ease with me. I appreciate others and they appreciate me.
Suggestions That Build Confidence: Others respond well to me. I am accepting, acceptable, and accepted. I am calm and confident in all situations.
When old attitudes pop up to discourage you, instantly begin repeating the affirmation that feels most helpful to you. If you’re alone, speak out loud. Spoken aloud, your affirmations have more impact because you are involving your voice, hearing, and mind. If speaking aloud would be awkward, repeat the affirmation several times in your mind.
Affirmations have an immediate and positive effect on your attitude, but repetition is the key to long-lasting effects. When we have spent years unwittingly insulting and belittling ourselves, it takes time to have a significant and lasting influence on our mind. Be patient but determined, because left unchecked, the same “problems” will continue throughout your life.
5/22/19 – Show 21: The Precious Present … we often wish we could forget portions of the past, and ignore certain fears about the future. We can do both, of course, and if we do, we’ll substantially improve our lives. The past is gone—irretrievably so! We can relive it as many times as we want—but only through memories. Unfortunately, each time we retrieve an unhappy memory, we not only make ourselves miserable, we also spew harmful chemical throughout our bodies. Likewise, each time we dwell on some future dread, we spew the same nasty chemicals. Not only do we destroy our happiness, we also miss present opportunities that dwell only in the present. The opportunities may or may not come again, but unless we guard our thinking, we will likely miss the next opportunities, too.
What’s so great about the present? Well, just as a tragic or terrifying movie creates a lingering dark mood it also blinds us to the immediate beauty around us. While dwelling on the dark, heavy feeling, we don’t notice the beauty—and sometimes the opportunity—we’ve been hoping for. The power of thought is always present. Each of us has the ability to open our minds to new possibilities… new ideas… and create hope and expectation, or… rob us of hope and create despair.
The words we use to express our thoughts are as important as the thought is. What we say to ourselves about others, and ourselves, affects the outcomes of our life. Our subconscious stores literally stores everything we think and say. It makes no judgment as to the rightness or wrongness of our thoughts and words. It accepts every thought, spoken or unspoken, as absolute Truth. Consequently, when we are convinced that our past is holding us back and the future will be no better… we practically guarantee our future will be the same.
Perhaps we’ve already convinced ourselves that we are never going to attain our goal. If so, it will take effort to change that belief; but it can be done. The change may not happen immediately, but if we change what we tell ourselves and others, we will experience immediate emotional benefits, and eventually reach our desired outcome. One way to help ourselves is to write positive statements attesting to our intelligence and ability to meet our goal. Once written, read the statement several times a day–(aloud, if the situation will allow). Also, help others believe in their abilities. By doing so, we strengthen our belief in ourselves. As we encourage others, we are encouraged, too, and we reach our goals sooner and with greater ease. For instance, if we meet a friend or acquaintance who expresses fears concerning the future, say something to alleviate the fear. “I’m sure it will all work out the way you want,” helps the other person and us, too. Pay attention to what others say. When a friend dwells on past horrors, say something to distract from the memory, such as, “I’m so glad you made it through that! Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to enjoy this today!” Then ease into another topic—one that directs attention toward something pleasant. We may have to do this two or three times before our friend finally gives up their gloom and doom. But if we persist, it will happen.
Years ago, in a beauty shop, a very attractive older woman recited all the surgeries she had endured over the years, and she did so loudly and in graphic detail. Pretty soon everyone else in the shop fell silent. I, however, grew so weary of her litany of sorrows that I decided to distract her. Each time she paused even for a breath, I complemented her about something. At first, she just nodded as if to say, “I heard you,” then she continued her saga. I continued, too — to interject. “I love your ring!”… “What a pretty purse!”… “That sequined sweater is beautiful!” I went on and on, but she refused to be distracted… until I asked a question: “Excuse me, but where did we get those shoes? I want a pair like that!”. “Nordstrom basement,” she replied, and she finally smiled. “I got them on sale for half price!” After that, she turned with equal eagerness to discussing the best bargains in town. Across the shop, a couple of hairdressers glanced at me and gave me a ‘thumbs up’, and soon the shop returned to normal, with dozens of private conversations going on. That day, I was determined to be present in mind as well as body and help the woman stop her dismal train of thought. She was a hard nut to crack, but when I asked a question, she finally opened up and talked about something else.
Some situations are harder than others, but if we are determined, we can help others as we help ourselves. Why allow others to destroy the present for us, when we can help them and ourselves at the same time – and turn the present into something enjoyable?
5/15/19 – Show 20: Controlling Our Responses … we all want control of our life, and most of us try to do it by controlling others… trying to force them to conform to our desires—which never works. We will never be able to control our lives until we stop trying to control other people and the various situations and circumstances we encounter. In order to take take control of our responses we need to understand why we respond the way we do. Then—and only then—will we respond differently.
We do not see and hear others; we see and hear through the filter of our beliefs—and respond according. We see and hear what we are looking for and listening for. Example: Let’s say we were chubby, timid children, often criticized and mocked by your playmates. We report this to our parents, who, instead of supporting us or offering helpful advice, say, “Well, if you would lose a few pounds, they wouldn’t make fun of you. You need to join in more! You never let yourself have any fun.” Consequently, we would enter adulthood believing we are misfits and losers. Then, accepting this description of us is true and accurate, we would respond with intensely negative emotions at even a hint that we are unacceptable.
We will also continue to identify with the painful “loser” label, even if we win honors and recognition for outstanding performance in some area. We may pretend to accept the award or trophy, but we will feel like a fraud—a cheater who has everyone fooled, and we will still respond with anger and/or depression at any suggestion that we are lacking. The reason is: we identify with their critical assessment! Consequently, we will dismiss all compliments and praise because we believe we have tricked others into believing something that is not true. If, on the other hand, if we do not believe we are a loser, and do not accept their assessment of us, we shrug and dismiss insulting remarks as meaningless nonsense. Another example: If we believe in hexes and curses, we can be easily terrorized by someone threatening to put a curse on us, but if we don’t believe in hexes a curses, and someone says a curse has been put on us, we will scoff, smile, and dismiss the idea without further consideration.
Our personal identity goes with us everywhere and into every situation and circumstance we encounter. The first notion that we might not be seeing some situations accurately generally prompts us to immediately seek the company of those with whom we identify. Questioning our beliefs seems to set off an emotional alarm the screams: “I need help!” after which, depression follows. This alarm forces us to seek like-minded friends, counsellors, or religious leaders. We want to validate our identity; prove we are “okay” and “right.” It also pushes those with extreme beliefs to validate their extreme identity on like-minded websites. However, as long as we understand the process, we do not need to “reach out” for help; we need to reach in… to look at our beliefs and see if we want to continue living with it, or if we want to change it to a belief that allows us to feel strong, helpful, useful, and productive.
This may sound like an impossible task, but it’s not. If we look logically at what we know about our minds, our emotions, and our bodies, we see that it is possible to take control of ourselves if we want to. And we do it the same way we acquired our present belief: through repetition. We become aware of our self-loathing thoughts and constantly contradict them. If we learned we were stupid, we write affirmations that instill a different idea, such as: “I am intelligent. I am capable of handling all areas of my life competently. I am sufficient to meet all of my needs.” Once we realize we have control and can change an ineffective belief, the process is not difficult. Through simple repetition, we replace the old belief with one that allows us to feel better and respond differently to other people and ideas. What we “know” we learned through repetition; consequently, we repetitiously recite what we WANT to be true until it is true. At that point, we realize our reactions and responses to others have changed. What once insulted, hurt, and angered us is dismissed without noticeable effect.
As we work on developing a belief that allows us to enjoy a better self-image, we may occasionally be surprised that some comments still “hurt.” For instance, if you’re working on self-confidence and someone asks, “Why are you avoiding eye contact? You never look directly at me when we’re talking.” Instead of allowing you “hurt” feelings to show, be grateful to have that pointed out if you were unaware of it. If you were aware of it, make a mental note to write an affirmation that says, “I am at ease and make direct eye contact when talking with others.” And as you read it, imagine it. It’s also helpful to admit it, and say, “I’m working on that.” Admitting that you are working on it, says, “agree with you.” Agreeing with your critic instantly removes them from the position of power and gives it to you.
Ultimately, we are our victimizer and savior, our jailor and rescuer. We can stop tormenting ourselves anytime we choose, or continue until we’re dead and buried. The choice is ours. Each of us holds the key to our own success.
5/8/19 – Show 19: Our Unseen Cause … we live in a confused and confusing world. We identify with our body’s needs and desires, then try to reconcile our “wants” with our beliefs, rarely taking into consideration the totality of our being— including our Unseen Cause. Fear and caution rule our existence. We desire peace and freedom while clinging to our fearful beliefs.
Past hurts convince us we can be hurt again. We lock up everything we treasure, including our love; only certain people, situations and ideas are acceptable. We can’t imagine loving everyone. We worry about our health, happiness, and prosperity, and for those we love. We listen carefully to the various causes of pain and suffering and try to avoid the same problems by asking, “What caused it?” Then, whatever is blamed, we fear and shun, at least for a while. Then, before we’re even sure we’re safe from that threat, a greater threat appears.
Sometimes we pray, begging that we or someone else be spared some atrocious malady. Without realizing it, our fear confirms our lack of faith that prayer will be answered. We also doubt we are sufficiently worthy to have our prayers answered. Then there’s the fact that we are praying to an ‘outside deity’ which confirms that we do not believe we are sufficient to “save” ourselves.
Absorbed in the physical, most of us believe our brain is our mind. Our brain is to our mind as one grain of sand is to an endless beach. The brain is physical, for remembering and dealing with the physical world so that we don’t have to re-learn everything every day. Our mind is part of our Great Unseen Cause–without which, we would not exist. Our Cause allows us to believe anything we choose and manifest a corresponding effect. Just as fish do not realize that water is their Life Source—at least, not until they’re out of it—we, too, fail to realize we are moving and breathing in our Cause.
There is no separation between us and our Cause—the Intelligence that set everything in motion. Although It is known by many names—God, Allah, Jehovah, Divine Intelligence, Infinite Love—and a dozen other names, it’s doubtful It cares what It is called as long as we recognize that we and our world exist because of It. It makes no difference how we arrived at this point; it’s obvious we’re here and free to believe anything we choose. To argue over when and how it began is a needless waste of energy. Speaking of energy… science has now established that there is more energy in one centimeter of empty space than in all matter in the universe, combined. Now, imagine our Unseen Cause as all-encompassing as space. Would It not fulfill much of what we know about our Cause, the one we call God? Space is omnipresent, (present everywhere), inside and outside of everything, existing without intruding. What if it’s also Omniscient (all knowing) and knows each of us as well as It knows Itself? If that were so, or even if we believed it, wouldn’t it be a far greater comfort than believing that an ancient, long-bearded man is hiding far beyond the clouds, listening to our prayers?
The incredible energy of space also exists within and between every atom and cell of our body. We are filled with it—but ignore it in favor of an “outside Deity.” When Jesus was asked, “When will the Kingdom of Heaven come?” He answered, “The Kingdom of Heaven has already come to you; the Kingdom of Heaven is within!” Did he mean within our bodies or our minds… and if it exists within our bodies, wouldn’t our mind know it? Is it possible that we don’t want to know? We certainly don’t want the responsibility that comes with knowing that, like fish, we move and breathe in the Substance that is our life! Whom would we blame for all our forms of suffering? If we believed we were filled with our Cause, there would be no need to fear a Devil; we could banish any Devil with mere thought. Hmm. Come to think of it, we can do that right now, can’t we? Perhaps we don’t because we don’t want to be Cause. We prefer to keep our power hidden. It’s easier to be a victim. So we forget that Jesus said, “You can do the things I do, and even greater things.” It appears we’ve forgotten a lot.
By the way, this presentation is not intended to start a new religion (heaven forbid!) but to stimulate thinking… and for the sheer joy of exploring possibilities. We wouldn’t have a mind if our Cause hadn’t hoped we would use it.
5/1/19 – Show 18: Respecting The Unseen … spiritual things are all those which cannot be seen with physical eyes. I’m talking about the very Essence of Life—thoughts, ideas, concepts, emotions, beliefs, desires, hopes, dreams, dreads, and expectations—to mention a few. Then there are things we can see, such as animals and plants, and we can watch them grow, but we can’t see their Essence—that which allows and prompts them to grow. It is through the Unseen that we experience life with thoughts and emotions which cannot be limited to a single practice, endeavor, or category because they are common and constant in every detail and moment of physical existence.
Most people have never considered that their every thought is spiritual in nature, regardless of how unloving the thought might be. We know we cannot see others thoughts, nor can they see ours, and we like it that way. In fact, we treasure our anonymity. Who wants all of his/her thoughts known? Consequently, we have hidden the truth about our thoughts from ourselves, and no longer consider them particularly valuable. We have also hidden the fact that as we think, speak, read and listen, every word is absorbed into the deepest part of our mind, the subconscious. We are unaware that every word becomes a part of us—the very definition of ourselves—who and what we believe we are. Our subconscious is similar to a bank where we have a “Self” account, and that we and everyone else can make deposits and withdrawals. The deposits are words and ideas that increase our sense of self-worth, while the withdrawals decrease it.
Our “Self” account remains active from birth until our last physical breath. But there’s more! Unfortunately, this part totally escapes our awareness. When we criticize, demean and judge others… whether in words, thoughts, or deeds, our “Self” account automatically withdraws an exact amount of self-worth from our account. This is the “Do unto others AS you would have them do unto you,” reminder that we all know. AS is the significant word in that statement, because AS we do unto others we also do unto ourselves. Why and how does this happen? It’s our mind’s way of sending us a silent alarm, alerting us to the fact that we are making a mistake. The “objectionable” emotion we feel when we disapprove of someone else’s thoughts, beliefs or actions is our cue to “withdraw immediately.” Otherwise, we will also withdraw from our Self account.
All thoughts, whether loving or unloving, are spiritual communications and equally powerful. As we think and speak our Self account is instantly increased or decreased. If those we judge learn of our disparaging remarks, they may make similar remarks about us. If so, they, too, will withdraw an exact amount from their self-worth accounts. If they do not learn of it; only our account is reduced. Perhaps we are thinking about how sinful Mary and Tom are. This thought doesn’t touch Mary’s or Tom’s account… but self-worth is withdrawn from us. We are the “givers” of criticism; therefore, we are the receivers of the deductions. Our “receipt” is emotional – we will feel less confident and certain about ourselves, in all sorts of situations. Meanwhile, Mary’s and Tom’s accounts is left untouched.
We cannot see another person’s reality because our vision is tainted by our belief. We have hidden this process—this truth—from ourselves for so long, very few of us are aware of it. However, we didn’t do it alone; we had plenty of help. Everyone, including ministers judge, criticize, and condemn others. The flawed belief is that judging will (somehow) benefit the judge, the judged, and hopefully others. This mistake doesn’t make us bad; it reveals our ignorance. We have all overlooked the significance of the little, but powerful word “as.” When Jesus said, “Do unto others AS you would have them do unto you,” he wasn’t suggesting that ignoring his advice would make us “bad,” or that following his advice would make us “better,” he was simply explaining how our mind works, and how to use it. In other words: what we give, we receive.
We have all been trained to judge the world through physical eyes – and we believe that what we see and hear is true… so how do we retrain ourselves? How do we ignore what the whole world believes? First, look at those who profit (or think they profit) from continuing to promote ignorance. This list includes everyone who makes money by appealing to our vanities, and by keeping us afraid of everything from sickness to eventually burning in the fictitious fires of hell. We create hell here and now when we do not understand the proper use of our own mind. If the remedies and guarantees worked, those who profit from them, would be exempt from guilt and fear, but they suffer the same consequences as we do for our ignorance.
We don’t live in a bad world with bad people; we live in a confused world with ignorant people. However, with a little understanding, we can vastly change our own lives, and hopefully, help others along the way. To dismiss the incredible power of thought and use it against others and ourselves is as reckless as using a power saw to trim our toenails. Generation after countless generation has been crippled by it, and still we train others to do the same. The correct use of the power of thought is to love. Used correctly, understanding quickly replaces ignorance.
4/24/19 – Show 17: Are We Spiritual Thinkers? … I have a tough question to answer: Are we spiritual thinkers? The answer is “yes” and “no.” Thoughts are spiritual in nature, but most of our thinking is about the physical world. Certainly, we can—and do– think about the physical world, but so many of our thoughts are unpleasant, uncaring and unloving, all we do is add to our confusion.
Thought is a creative medium; when we apply it to the physical world, it’s often “wasted,” meaning that it can’t and doesn’t satisfy us, doesn’t quell our yearning for peace, or help feel acceptable and ‘good.’ Example: Years ago, I had a friend who restlessly rearranged her furniture every month. After a week or so, she was bored with the new arrangement, and would start considering how to arrange it next month. She continually roamed the stores looking for new pictures and decorator items, even though she had an unused bedroom filled with things she had already bought and set aside. Thought prompts action, but when the thought is strictly about the physical, it’s basically useless. Our sense of “goodness” and “worthiness” can’t be satisfied through our physical senses alone. Trying to find contentment there is like Dumpster Diving, hoping to find a fresh piece of lemon meringue pie, undisturbed, on a clean paper plate. Undoubtedly, disappointing. Most of us spend each day dealing with the physical world; consequently, our worthless thoughts leave us feeling worthless. Yes, we can change the physical world, but changing it brings only a temporary—and sometimes momentary– satisfaction. The satisfaction we’re craving comes from understanding which resides in a much deeper level of our mind, far from the noise and chatter of the physical world.
When thinking on religious concepts, generally, we think and study to reinforce or present beliefs. Unfortunately, there is so much more to understand than we’ve been taught, this time is wasted, too. We’re seeking answers to questions we haven’t yet asked. As long as we feel the sting of rejection and anger when our beliefs are challenged, we haven’t yet opened ourselves to new understanding… to answers that prompt emotional growth. Physical comfort, such as a new house or car – can’t create emotional stability or true happiness. We all know that. Yet, it’s obvious that we don’t know what does.
The physical world is noisy, and fear-based; it appeals to our ego and creates the illusion that things are important, that some of us have more and are better than others. The spiritual world is undisturbed by this mistake. It dwells in quietness, waiting to share peace with quiet minds seeking understanding. There is plenty of evidence in the physical world to convince us that amassing fortunes will not and cannot bring true satisfaction. Our time is far better spent asking ourselves simple questions and allowing the answers to surface. “Who and what am I? Why am I here? I seem to be missing something… overlooking something important. What is it?”
With eyes closed, remain quiet and still. Stop searching. Wait for the answers. If they do not come today, try again tomorrow, and the day after. Allow your “listening” to go out beyond your walls, above the earth, around the earth, into space. Keep listening to the quietness as you imagine drifting in deep space, or moving through an ocean or over wheat fields. Then focus on one small thing… such as a blade of grass… imagine going inside that blade of grass and feeling its life, feeling it draw moisture and nutrition from the earth… and keep listening… always listening. When you’re ready to hear, you will answer your own questions. If you hear no answers, repeat the same process again the next day. Begin with the same questions. Let your mind roam the planet and universe. You are not your body, you are a spiritual being, you go where your mind goes. Let it be free, all the while listening to the silence which will whisper the answers.
That’s spiritual thinking and listening. This is where our time is best spent. We have the answers within us, but we have focused on the physical world for so long, we’ve forgotten who and what we are. We are spiritual beings; our bodies are avatars. We dictate where they go, what they say, and what they know. It’s obvious that we can sit in a room with others and appear to be listening to their conversation while our mind is hundreds of miles away, focused on someone or something else.
We are a mind, and we are free! We are hiding in a body. For the time being, we’ve tricked ourselves into believing we are our avatars. We can wake up now or later. All indications are, it will be later. We like our bodies even as we hate them. Of course, hating them makes them sick, and we cry when they die, but there’s no evidence we’re tired of hiding in them, and certainly no evidence we understand what we done. Yeah. It looks like it will be later.
4/17/19 – Show 16: Who And What Is Spiritual … the word spiritual is generally associated with religious belief, but limiting it to religion makes it almost meaningless. Our spirit is most often identified as our emotions, such as, “The news lifted my spirit immediately,” or “He’s dispirited about something.”
Spiritual “things” are felt and experienced, but unseen… invisible. Now, think of all the aspects of life that are unseen and absolutely essential to life… that are evidence of life, and without which there would be no life. How about space that appears between and within all things… or the space that both connects and separates our bodies, and all physical things? Think about the space that reaches to the outer limits of the known universes, and beyond, then compare it to the space between our thoughts, or the uncountable numbers of atoms which form our bodies. What about the unseen air we breathe, the unseen thoughts we think, our unseen memories and beliefs, concepts, and attitudes that are both common and unique to each of us? Only a few unseen “things” are listed here, but hopefully it’s enough to expand our understanding of the word spiritual.
All thought is as spiritual and has the same power to move us physically, and emotionally. The thought, “I’m going to the car wash,” is as spiritual and has the same unseen power as “I’m going to church to worship God.” Our physical eyes see only the physical world, but our spiritual world cannot be limited to the physical. Everyone is spiritually directed in the physical world; however because our thoughts dwell on the physical, few even suspects they are spiritually directed. This direction is obvious in all living things except humans. By what power do plants “know” to grow and sustain their life by drawing nutrients from the earth?
Humans have lost awareness of this fact, except as it applies to religion, but even in our forgetfulness, our unseen powers have not been diminished. They are at work every second in every detail—often inappropriately and unwittingly against ourselves. Few of us ever suspect that our thoughts might be spiritual in nature and behaving like unseen angels, instantly obeying our orders”—(which we aren’t aware we gave), and which instantly deliver emotional and physical responses.” For instance, we think: “I’ll get the mail,” and immediately, we get up and walk to the mailbox.” To what power did our physical body respond… other than our own thought?
We know that we cannot see into each other’s thoughts; nor can others see into ours, but that doesn’t mean there are no thoughts; it means that thoughts are spiritual… unseen… not part of the physical world. They have the power to move us across the room or around the physical world… or to move into the unseen world of spirit so that we can appreciate that without this unseen power, we would not move at all; we would not exist as beings of any kind.
To assume our thoughts are impotent and of no consequence, is as ridiculous as assuming that when we sleep the world actually disappears. We understand that it disappears only from our awareness. If we slept for 100 years, we might have trouble remembering the names of our children who died 30 years before we awoke. We might not even recall our own name, and we certainly wouldn’t recognize all the changes made in the physical world while we slept. The devices, gadgets and machines would overwhelm our senses, to say nothing of the changing standards and customs. If we slept for 10,000 years, we would feel like an alien from another planet, confused and terrified of everything and everyone.
Humanity is no less confused and frightened today because we have forgotten our Spiritual Self for so many centuries we don’t know who or what we are—other than a body that believes it will grow old and die. There’s far more to us than our limited body and our pitiful efforts to keep it alive, but we must want to know our Spiritual Unseen Self before we can begin to awaken. We have forgotten it for so long, it requires dedication and determination to awaken. Not only are we hindered by all we’ve forgotten, but everyone else has too; yet, we can awaken if we want. First, we must take our awareness off our physical body and open it to an awareness of our Unseen Self. Thoughts are our connection to our Unseen Self, and our connection to the Source of the unseen world of Spirit.
Dwell on the Unseen parts of the physical world; they are everywhere. The unseen is the life-power within all living things. Speaking of the Unseen, I will end with a statement from Samit Kumar Gupta, a physicist at Nanjing University. It was written five years ago. “According to our current understanding of physics, every region of space is awash with different kinds of fields composed of waves of varying lengths. Each wave always has at least some energy. When physicists calculate the minimum amount of energy a wave can possess, they find that every cubic centimeter of empty space contains more energy than the total energy of all the matter in the known universe!”
Space, like thought, is unseen, and therefore, spiritual.
4/10/19 – Show 15: Learning To Listen … we’ve all said or heard someone say, “If I hear it with my own ears I’ll believe it.” Or…“I didn’t believe it until I heard it with my own ears!” These statements seem to make sense, but what seems true, often isn’t. Our bodies are physical; our mind is not. It abides in the unseen realm of spiritual realities, and works in tandem with our physical senses and our beliefs. All beliefs are spiritual in nature because they are unseen. We call the result of this process perception.
Yes, we hear with our ears, but what we perceive about what we hear is filtered through our beliefs, which vary vastly from person to person. We hear sounds and words, but are unaware that we are LISTENING through the filter of our belief, which “tweaks” every word and influences every idea. If this weren’t so, we would accept everything we think, say and hear as “truth”…but we don’t. We gather information through our physical senses, filter it through our beliefs, and instantly determine if we agree or disagree. If we agree, we relax internally and are willing to listen to more… as long as we agree. When we hear something that doesn’t fit into our belief system, our reaction is more like a fire alarm. All of our senses awaken, ready to defend our belief. Even though we may say nothing, we feel resistance in every cell. Muscles tense, heart quickens, blood pressure rises, and our mind races with defensive arguments. If we’re hearing completely new information on a topic that interests us—we pay attention and listen to see if we agree or want to “close” our mind.
The only time we willingly lift our belief filter is when we are convinced that some part of our life will be improved by lifting it. When that happens, we seek more or “better” information on a specific topic, such as finance, marriage counseling or spiritual guidance. In other words, when we decide to become students and actually learn, we willingly lift our belief filters. Even then, it’s difficult to keep our filter out of our way. Our moral beliefs – the ‘rights and wrongs filter’ is generally “in place” before we’re out of elementary school. At that point, it’s a “soft lock” on further understanding, and can still be influenced. If the belief is left unchallenged, it will be reinforced with every thought we think and every decision we make, until it becomes solid and impenetrable. No one is exempt from this process.
Mistaking perception for truth deafens and blinds us to Spirit, or intuition; consequently, we often hear or say, “I had a feeling something awful would happen! I shouldn’t have gone there.” Or… “My gut reaction was, “Stop! But I didn’t trust it. I thought I was just scared.” Animals can’t speak, but they listen to what we ignore and ignorantly dismiss. In fact, we’ve ignored it so long, we rarely even notice it. Nor, do we listen to the good advice we give to others. We tell others to “Move on!” and “Let it go,” while we cling to beliefs that destroy our happiness, health and progress. If we pay attention to the advice we give, eventually we realize that our advice was meant for us, as well. Our ‘words of wisdom’ may or may not apply to the listener, but they always apply to us; otherwise, the thought we expressed wouldn’t have crossed our mind. For instance: When we’re in an argument, if we want to say, “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” or “You don’t understand!” our words are meant for us, too. Otherwise, the thoughts wouldn’t enter our mind.
Thought is unseen and belongs to the realm of Spirit, but we overlook this point because most of our thoughts are focused on the physical. This focus deafens us to each other and drastically impedes our ability to see and hear correctly. Logic is unable to enter and influence understanding because nothing in the physical world can open a closed mind—a mind that believes it already knows. We see evidence of this everywhere. People are sometimes willing to die for their belief, but few are willing to question it. All faiths teach us to love, but when love is perceived through fearful beliefs, we become afraid of each other. Our warped perception allows us to see good and evil simultaneously in everyone, creating fear of truly loving anyone.
The notion that we know the truth is an illusion—a trick we’ve played on ourselves. We have learned to justify our loveless behavior, sometimes to the point of killing those who believe differently– and then feel good about it. As others listen through their various belief filters, the ideas we express are easily misperceived. A comment made in jest may be “heard” as an insult or even a challenge. No one sees and hears exactly what the speaker intends because we cannot see or hear outside our own belief system– and no two are exactly the same. This being the case, anyone and everyone listening to this podcast will hear and perceive it differently. Some may mock and dismiss this information as silly babble; others may accept part of it, while still others may feel criticized and condemned. However, since these are my thoughts, this message is for me, to reinforce and solidify my belief. If others see an advantage in accepting it, they are welcome to it. If they don’t believe a word of it, that’s okay, too.
We don’t live in a world of good/bad/right and wrong. We live in a world of illusions, created by perception.
4/3/19 – Show 14: Pain Is In The Past … today’s topic is pain… all kinds of pain — something we’ve all experienced to greater and lesser degrees. However, we are frequently unaware that the cause of pain is always in the past. If we stub our toe on a table leg, or drop a rock on our foot, by the time we feel the pain, the “cause” is gone. Over! It was, of course, our inattentiveness, that caused the action that created the pain. Now that we feel the pain, we are forced to pay attention. We can blame the table or rock… or accept responsibility for creating the pain because we weren’t paying attention. If we cut our finger… the knife that caused our pain is usually in our other hand. We may throw the knife across the room, but we are not really angry at the it; we’re angry with ourselves for not paying attention to how close our fingers were to the blade.
With physical pain, we can easily understand that it’s ridiculous to blame objects and things for our careless lack of attention. But when it comes to emotional pain, we are practically deaf and blind… and totally clueless. We see what we are looking for and hear what we are listening for, and both our sight and hearing are filtered through our beliefs. Generally, what we see and hear that falls outside our belief system, we simply dismiss it. It’s of no use to us. If it conflicts with our belief, we may argue against it– out loud, then to ourselves. If we agree with what we see and hear, we may simply nod or walk away, at peace.
We create our emotional pain by thinking—generally, by remembering some painful incident, but fear of the future also creates pain. When we imagining a fearful, unwanted outcome in the future… whether it’s loss of a job… loss of a love… or loss of our health… we create anxiety – a form of pain called fear. Pain is always associated with the past, while fear is associated with the future.
To think is to experience because thought creates emotion. It may be our thought, or one expressed by someone else. To remember is to re-think. When we remember something said or done that hurt or offended us, we are re-inflicting emotional pain on ourselves. We were hurt once by someone else, and if we remember that hurt every day for the next year, we re-hurt ourselves 364 times! Try to imagine how ridiculous it would be if someone accidentally dropped a 2-pound rock on his toe… experienced the excruciating pain… then pick up that rock and drop it on his toe again—every day — for the next ten years. Most likely, he would be diagnosed as insane; and most certainly, he would soon be crippled by the action.
So… how sane is it to remember—re-think and re-create— and re-live the emotional pain of past insults and injuries? And yet, almost all of us know someone who is “stuck” on his or her painful past, and frequently repeats the same stories… utterly locked and lost in the past. The connection between thought and emotion is as absolute as the connection is between water and wet. The two cannot be separated. We can, however decide to pay attention to our thoughts and deliberately stop painful memories by replacing them with thoughts that create comfort and a sense of well-being. It takes determination—a true desire for a happier/healthier existence—but we can do it. And we WILL do it if we honestly want a happier, more rewarding life.
There are ways to train your mind away from painful memories. The one I have found most effective is to make a 1 or 2-word list of the memories that seem to destroy an otherwise pleasant situation. Then, directly opposite that list, make another list: one of alternative thoughts that makes you happy.
Divorce – Daughter’s upcoming birthday
Mom’s funeral – Plan a short trip to someplace you love.
Being fired – Start my own business… or look for a new and better employment.
Condition your mind to immediately jump from the painful thought to one that makes you feel good when you think about it.
Nothing and no one “makes” us happy. It is up to each of us to take charge of our lives by taking charge of our thoughts. Our bodies reside in physical structures, but our “emotional self” lives in our mind—along with our thoughts and beliefs. Thought—and only thought–creates emotion. Therefore, if we want to stop feeling sad, lonely, victimized and rejected, we must stop re-living hurtful memories and projecting failure into all thoughts about the future. It’s not difficult to replace one thought with another. If you are unwilling to do it then accepted the truth about yourself: you would rather be tortured and pitied than happy and successful. This doesn’t make you a “bad” person, but it does make you – and everyone around you—miserable.
3/27/19 – Show 13: Response To Listener Email … perhaps some of you remember an email I read on the air from a woman named Sylvia. She’s 59 and was struggling to rebuild her life after a divorce. I just received a second email from her and I would like to share it, too.
It says… Hi, Othello. I can’t believe it’s only been six weeks since I first wrote you, but I want you to know I took your advice. It was hard at first, trying to get still and remember what I loved as a child. I spent two weeks trying! My mind kept going back to the divorce and all the awful stuff surrounding it. But then, one day, I actually remembered how much fun I had in third grade when I was in a play. Then, I remembered I was in another play in the fifth grade, and I loved that, too! Some of the best moments of my marriage were when we had parties and played games, like Charades. Maybe I’ve always been a ham, and didn’t realize it. So I contacted our local theatre group… auditioned for their up-coming play – and got a small part. I only have six lines, but they’re all funny! And I love the whole cast. After a few practices, they began to feel like family. So, thank you for telling me to remember what I loved as a child! Maybe this is what I was born to do. Who knows? All I know for sure is that I’m on my way to feeling like a whole person again. Thank you. Sylvia. P.S. I always look forward to you next podcast.
Well, first, let me thank Sylvia for giving us the update on her situation. I also want to reiterate and re-emphasize some of the ideas expressed six weeks ago when she was struggling to regain control of her life. All of us face “re-starts” in our life. Long held dreams are crushed, and we’re left feeling devastated. Wonderful and rewarding positions are suddenly whisked away for one reason or another, and there’s nothing to do but try to pick ourselves up and start again—sometimes in a totally new and terrifying direction. Death, divorce, and job loss are among the most common reasons for re-starts, and there are dozens of legitimate concerns and complications connected to these issues. But staring at the problems, concerns and complications will not change the situation. Answers aren’t found in a pile of problems. Answers lie in a whole different area, in a pile of possible solutions, and to identify the most likely answers takes 1) our willingness to consider them, and 2) 110% of our attention. Only then will we lift the blinder of our belief that we have an insurmountable problem, and reach for an answer. What can keep us from doing that, except ourselves?
To begin again, in any area, it’s extremely helpful to identify our goal. What do we want? What kind of situation seems comfortable and rewarding when we imagine it? Once we identify our goal, there’s an easy formula for staying focused.
Using pencil and paper, design a Goal Focus Plan
1: State the Goal and project a deadline to meet it. (Yes, we may have to move the deadline more than once, but without it, it’s easy to become distracted and give up.)
2: Make a list of five things that can be done toward making the goal a reality.
3: Everyday, do at least one thing on that list to make it happen. If it’s possible to do more, then do more than one.
4. After we’ve done that thing, mark it off the list and add another. Always keep five things on the list until the goal is met.
5. Write an affirmation for success, such as: I am confident I’ll find the perfect situation to meet my needs. Then memorize that line and repeat it several times a day—especially while waiting at a red light or waiting in a doctor’s office. Putting this kind of thought into our mind regularly, reminds us to keep looking for a new situation and encourages us to believe in ourselves.
Sometimes, we think we want success, when we really don’t. For instance, I once had a client who had owned a lucrative business, but during his divorce he became so distraught, he let the business dwindle and die. So he sought my help. I relaxed him with hypnosis, suggested he would provide answers to change his situation, and asked him to make the same Goal Focus Plan that I suggested above. He left feeling energized and sure he could rebuild his business, and made an appointment for the next week. To my surprise, when he returned, he was down and depressed again. I asked why, and he said, “I made the list and realized if I did the first thing on it, I could restart my business.” I said, “That’s good, isn’t it?” He shook his head. “Nope. Not good. I also realized why I let the business go. I’m not going to let that bitch have half of it. I’ll restart it after the divorce is final.” We hide our least becoming qualities from ourselves—and he suddenly came face to face with one of his. I have no idea how his life progressed from that day on, but he was more interested in vengeance than success, at least, at that point.
We can all make decisions that postpone our happiness and success. That doesn’t mean we’re “bad” or “evil;” it just means that for the time being, we see an advantage in being unhappy and unsuccessful. As in all situations, it’s just a choice.
3/20/19 – Show 12: How To Find Love … there are many shared ideas that expose our lack of understanding. One such idea is: “You must love yourself before you can love others.” Nothing could be further from the truth. We feel love when we give it – when we’re thinking loving thoughts about someone else. Thought creates emotion; therefore, loving thoughts instantly create the warm, satisfying emotion called love, which generally prompts loving actions.
Most Americans have had some exposure to Christianity, if only the verse, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” It’s often quoted, but few seem to grasp the significance of the little word “as.” As means: at the same time, too the same extent, degree, proportion, depth. It also means when, while and because. As means all of these things. Knowing this expands the meaning of this verse. It precisely details how we are to love, and when we will feel loved. Example: If the definition of the little word “as” were included in this verse, it would read: “Love your neighbor to the same extent, degree, proportion, and at the same time you’re doing that, you will love yourself. When we love others, we feel the love we have for them, and get to experience the joy of it. We love and loathe ourselves to the exact extent that we love or loathe others. Not more, not less.
We learn to love and accept ourselves as we think loving, accepting thoughts of others. Understanding this helps explains another verse we’ve all heard, but often doesn’t make sense to us. “It’s better to give than to receive.” This is true for the same reason the “love your neighbor” verse is true. When we show someone else they are appreciated and valued, we are rewarded with a sense of appreciation and value, too. We feel acceptable as we help others feel acceptable. Likewise, when we withhold love and acceptance from anyone, we withhold it from ourselves. The opportunities for giving and withholding love are endless. We’ve all experienced the fullness of giving and the emptiness of withholding love, but we often fail to recognize the inevitable consequences. We can withhold love and replace it with bitter words and insults; or withhold it with silence and refusing to make eye contact. To withhold love is to blame someone else for what we are doing, and of course, we are ignorantly cheating ourselves.
It is NEVER true that someone else has hurt us. Pain, like love, is an inside job. We hurt or comfort ourselves. Others can try to help, but we are the ones who must do the work and accept the reality that we will always feel empty when we withhold love, and always feel condemned as we condemn others. We cannot escape the pain of the judgments we make against others.
Most of us have also heard the Christian teaching: Judge not that you be not judged – and it never occurs to us that all of the most quoted scriptures are saying the same thing: As you think, feel, and judge… you will experience the same love, fear, guilt, etc. This means the same thing as “love your neighbor as you love yourself,” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The meaning of the verse, “Judge not that you be not judged” is generally interpreted to mean: if we judge someone, God will judge us, but it, too, means, If you judge others, you will feel judged by others. You will feel guilty; and we are guilty of blaming them for what we have done to ourselves. This response is inevitable and occurs in all kinds of relationships. The one who judges also feels judged. There is no escaping this result. When husbands or wives “fool around,” they feel guilty, and so do their spouses– who judge against them, and themselves. The spouses instantly feel condemned and wonder: How was I lacking? What did I do wrong? Why am I no longer good enough?
We cannot change the fact that we will feel judged AS we judge, so it’s wise to accept that reality, and stop playing judge. All of the finger-pointing and blame meant to absolve us from guilt actually confirms, deepens, and strengthens it. Because our thoughts are based on our beliefs and create our emotions, we are both prisoner and jailer to ourselves. Understanding is our only hope for release.
No one believes exactly as we do; therefore, no one sees our situation exactly as we do. They do not think our thoughts or create our emotions. We are the judge who condemns us, and our release depends on understanding– recognizing that we are not in a position to judge anyone—because we cannot see beyond our own beliefs! The answer lies is relinquishing all judgment because it’s only when we stop playing judge that we are released.
No one else can think our thoughts or create our emotions. No one makes us feel loved or unloved. We do that all by ourselves. No one is responsible for anything we feel, except us. AS we give, we receive–at the same time, in the same way, to the same extent, and without exception. However, it is possible to accept our differences, and be happy that we are each allowed choose the belief that “makes sense” to us.
3/13/19 – Show 11: Why Forgive … there are times in everyone’s life when emotional pain cuts so deeply and severely that we’re literally crippled by it. When it consumes both mind and body, we neglect simple, ordinary tasks and often overlook the needs of those we love. Then, to our dismay, some friend or family member who seems oblivious to our pain suggests that we forgive and forget, and get on with our life. At that point, we’re angered at the injustice of it all. Why should our pain be overlooked? We’re entitled to it and completely justified in our anger! Why should we release our resentment toward the one who caused it?
While this is honestly our experience, it reveals our lack of understanding. No one on earth sees a situation or circumstance exactly as we do. Each of us perceives every situation differently—because our perception is based on our beliefs. No two of us believe exactly the same; consequently we misperceive both the words and actions of others. We know our “offender” is wrong because he or she doesn’t really know us! That’s true, but it’s also true that we don’t know our offender. The fact that we are offended by someone else’s perception of us exposes our lack of understanding. If we understood, we would overlook each other’s misperceptions, the same as we overlook a toddler’s bed wetting. If it weren’t so tragic, it would be funny. Imagine two color-blind people arguing over the color of a garment which neither sees correctly. That’s, literally, all that’s going on; we believe we know when we haven’t a clue. Consequently, it never crosses our mind that we are creating our own misery by hanging onto angry thoughts, grudges and misperceptions.
We don’t expect the blind to see or the deaf to hear, and as long as we remain unaware that we, too, are blinded by our lack of understanding, we will continue to stumble into each other, knock each other down, and blame the other person for being on the wrong path and getting in our way. The twisted belief systems that assure us we are “right” and others are wrong create this miserable situation. Yet, no one can force us to open our minds’ eye to understanding… to see a more effective way to live. We have the freedom to choose any belief that suits us. If we believe our suffering is ‘proof’ of our goodness we will refuse to give it up even though we know there is another choice.
As a hypnotherapist, I sometimes counseled people who felt that suffering made them “good.” One client admitted as soon as she sat down, “I was born to suffer. God is testing me.” I said, “Okay. So why are you here?” She rubbed her forehead, then her neck, and said, “I want to get rid of my headaches and stiff neck.” I asked, “Isn’t that part of the suffering you’re supposed to endure?” She shook her head. “No, no. He wants me to feel bad inside. And I do! I feel guilty and cry a lot because I’ve committed lots of sins.” I worked with her once a week for four weeks, trying to gently ease her into a different understanding and a more loving image of her God, but she clung to her belief that suffering made her ‘good.’ Her headaches and stiff neck disappeared temporarily. A few weeks later I met her in a store and asked how she was doing. It was no surprise to learn the headaches and neck problems had returned, which she said was good… then added, “I must have been wrong to go to you, because God obviously wants my body to suffer, too.” Then she smiled and added, “I’m still being tested.” I nodded, and wished her well. She had chosen her path and felt privileged to believe that her God cared enough to continually test her faith.
Like young children, adults love fairy tales, too—especially, scary tales. If we ever awaken from our self-induced nightmare of pain and suffering, the world’s economy will probably collapse overnight because 90% of it is based on profits gained from our fears… fear of death, sickness, poverty, loneliness, and a hundred other imagined fears and ‘lacks.’ The benefit of forgiveness can’t be realized until we understand that our body’s eyes cannot see beyond the physical. Misperceiving is not wrong, but it is often painful and always unnecessary. If we ignore our bodies and concentrate on our minds—where all the answers are waiting – those who want understanding will find it.
Forgiveness allows us to overlook misperceptions—both ours and others’. At that point, we can reach a new understanding–one that allows us to overlook misperceptions–both ours and others’. Forgiveness is about freedom… freedom from guilt and shame, and freedom to recognize there was, and is, nothing to forgive.
3/6/19 – Show 10: What Do We Know? … I want to discuss the difference between knowing and believing. When we decide we know something… anything… we stop looking for answers. We literally stop thinking about it. For instance, once we learn to tie our shoes, we stop asking how to do it or wondering about it. The mystery is solved, the task accomplished—and after we learn, we do it the same way, every day thereafter. Perhaps there are dozens of other ways to tie shoes, but we don’t ask and don’t care. We know one way, and we’re content to let everyone else tie them however they want. Of course, learning to tie shoes is not terribly important… not life threatening… but the principle behind the illustration is, when we think we know, we stop learning.
Do we know that everyone sees the color green exactly as we do? We are taught that grass is green. Therefore, although we may see it as blue, if we learn to call it green, we will believe and say it is green. It’s obvious that our physical senses are not dependable gauges. Some people like the taste of blueberries, others don’t. The same is true for colors, odors, sounds, and sights. Our physical senses indicate that we are each different. We have all learned to recognize the color we call green… to recognize the sound of a drum, the taste of blueberries, the touch of a kitten’s fur, and to recognize things by sight—but that doesn’t mean we all see the same color, enjoy the sound of a drum, the taste of blueberries, or the touch of a kitten’s fur. If it did, we would all prefer the same things and enjoy the same experiences, but we don’t. We accept these differences as “normal,” but refuse to accept different spiritual beliefs. We are often willing to fight for our spiritual beliefs even if it means breaking one of the tenets of our faith to do so.
Why is an invisible idea – a belief – more threatening than an invisible taste or smell? Perhaps because it is only a belief? How can we know our belief is “true” when we don’t even know why some enjoy the taste of liver and others despise it? Is it our uncertainty, our lack of knowing that blinds us to the possibility that we can all live together peacefully, even with different beliefs? Do we know that different ideas are unacceptable or have we just stopped thinking because we believe we know? There’s a great difference between believing and knowing. One of the most recent and obvious examples occurred in 2011, when a tsunami swept over Japan. Before it hit, animals knew to run to higher ground, and did. The people did not know, and over 1500 died. That’s the difference between knowing and believing.
When we “know” something there’s no need to quarrel or fight. We simply respond to what we know, regardless of what other’s think and believe. When we fool ourselves into believing we know THE TRUTH about anything, we become pawns for the legions who will quickly take advantage of our ignorance. A recent example was aired on NPR. The host of the show asked an executive at a large pharmaceutical corporation, “What is the best pain-reliever on the market?” He chuckled and said, “A placebo, of course!” It’s extremely easy to profit from ignorance. Consequently, multitudes are exploited daily, in hundreds of ways.
What we know doesn’t need to be taught. We enter this world knowing what we need, and when we need it: We hunger for food, thirst for water, long for love, acceptance and understanding, and often need shelter. Instinctively, like so-called “lower” animals, we sense that we should examine the various ideas offered us. Too frequently, though, our parents, friends and teachers have already stopped searching. So, eventually, we decide it’s easier to accept their beliefs than to keep searching. So we stop, too.
However, the search to know is always more exciting and rewarding than accepting a secondhand belief, convincing ourselves that we know, then fighting to protect our belief. Whether we believe in a Divine Designer or Evolution doesn’t change the obvious — that we are each allowed to believe whatever we choose. If we believe it’s a Divine Plan, who would dare insist the Designer made a mistake—and what good would it do? If we evolved from “lower” animals, does our willingness to kill each other over something we cannot control indicate that we have stopped evolving? Strangely, it appears that believers in the Divine are more eager to fight over what they cannot change. Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to assume that it may be part of a Divine Plan?
Convoluted reasoning isn’t “wrong,” but it is unreasonable and exposes our confusion between belief and knowing. For instance, after we know how to tie our shoes, we don’t argue about which way is best. Nor do we insist the other ways are wrong. We accept there are other ways –and we know one, so we’re content!
The distinguishing attributes of knowing and belief are easily identified. Knowing accepts challenge with serenity while belief erupts defensively. It appears our ignorance has left us “sitting ducks” for those who can, and do, profit from it.
2/27/19 – Show 9: What Do We See? … most of us are unaware that we have a filter in our mind that influences everything we see, hear, and think. It is fully operational and performs flawlessly 24-hours a day, for as long as we live. One of its functions is to work in tandem with our ability to perceive, while honoring our right to freedom and choice. Just as dark sunglasses filter the sun, and red ones cast a rosy glow over everything, this mental filter colors all of our understanding. It is the strongest of all our intellectual abilities, and therefore, treasured. No one can touch it unless we allow them, yet many try. Even though most of us are only vaguely aware of it, it remains a faithful servant that influences every area of our life.
The filter is belief. It is a teaching tool meant to assist us, to help us understand ourselves and others so that we can live peacefully together. Unfortunately, because we don’t pay much attention to our minds, we lose awareness of belief’s significant influence. Instead of using it to help us, we unwittingly use it destructively — against ourselves and others. Belief warps our perception. It convinces us that we see truth and reality, when we don’t. For instance, if we believe the world is filled with evil people, we’ll experience it as a frightening place. Without realizing it, we will look for and see evidence… proof!… that evil is all around us. We see it because we project our belief onto everything we see, and allow it to interpret everything we hear. Fortunately, and unfortunately, what we believe about others and the world in general—we also believe about ourselves. There is no separation between us and our belief. Conversely, if we believe people are inherently good, we’ll look for, and see, proof of their goodness. Then, we feel “good.” But this is also an illusion. It’s more comforting than the belief that the world is evil, but it is no less of an illusion. The world just is; we are the bringers of ideas and beliefs.
The message our mind is trying to reveal to us is: physical eyes cannot, and do not, reveal spiritual reality. “Goodness” and “evil” exist in a mental/spiritual reality. Here’s a true story that illustrates the power of belief and perception—even when it’s an illusion: A middle-aged man in California, terrified that someone would break into his house and harm him or his wife, kept a baseball bat beside his bed. Afraid, he always slept fitfully. Then, one night he heard someone trying to open a window. He grabbed the bat and ran to the window just as the intruder pushed his way into the room. The man savagely beat the intruder to death then called the police to report what happened. The man and his wife waited in the living room for the police. When they arrived, and turned the intruder over, the man screamed and fell to his knees. He had just killed his son who had apparently forgotten his house key. The man’s fearful belief created a terrifying illusion that prompted him to act swiftly and brutally, and he did.
When we believe we see goodness and evil, we trick ourselves. We see physical actions; we cannot see intentions, motivations, beliefs or outcomes. When we create the illusion that we know “The Truth,” we “play” God.” First, we convince ourselves that we know what is true then we pass judgment on everyone and everything—from a neighbor’s weed-infested lawn to our own soul. We may want to exempt ourselves from judgment, we can’t escape the painful effects of the judgments we pass on others. We suffer guilt and regret, too.
All sacred texts advise us NOT to judge. Yet, even as the preachers rail against it, they do it. Like those who fill the pews, as the preacher perceives, he or she projects “right and wrong” judgment onto others. As long as we remain unaware of this process, we can’t begin to unravel other obstacles that impede our understanding. Most of us say we “know” we are spiritual beings, but we don’t really believe it. The evidence is too great to list here, but the following examples will suffice. We often feel depressed, angry, confused, frightened, dispirited and hateful. These are not characteristics or attributes of a spiritual being.
It is obvious that we can and do believe whatever we want. When we are ready to open our minds to a new awareness, we will… and there will always be more to learn. When we stop judging, we will also stop fearing and feeling guilty—and not one second sooner. Yes, our beliefs are sacred to us. Often, we are willing to die for them. We generally acquire them from people we love, so they are precious heirlooms. Just the thought of abandoning them creates sadness and guilt, so we seldom do.
We are each in charge of our mind, thoughts, and emotional responses. Nothing on earth can “make us” change a single thought or belief, and we will not do so unless we’re convinced there’s an advantage in changing. We can also live our entire life believing that we see “the Truth” — as we stumble through one tragic illusion after another. We can believe we see the truth, but we can’t make it so. We can also correct our errors, but only if we recognize they are errors. Choosing to ignore our mind isn’t wrong or bad; but it does extend our misery, because as long as we remain ignorant we are unable to offer significant assistance to others, or ourselves.
EXERCISE: (to enhance spiritual understanding and minimize the effects of frightening beliefs). In every situation and circumstance, look for love – and only love. Love exists in every being, every situation and every circumstance. If we are determined to see it, we will.
2/20/19 – Show 8: Cause and Effect … let’s think about the kind of world we live in—not who’s good, bad, right or wrong… but the cause and effect factor that we can easily see all around us. For instance, if we see a dented fender, we know something caused it. If we’re startled by a loud noise, we know something caused it. If we arrive home tonight to find a broken window in our house or apartment, we immediately try to determine what or who caused it.
So, we know we live in a cause-and-effect world. But why do we stop with the physical world? What about our mental and emotional world… when we feel depressed… afraid… worried or guilty? What causes us to feel these things? Do insults and fear prompt our depression and anger? If we make an innocent remark that hurts someone’s feelings, do we feel guilty? These are the usual responses. But how reasonable is it to assume any of this is true? Actually, it’s not reasonable at all. We are each the cause of the emotional effects we experience. We are the ones who decide if we are right or wrong, guilty or innocent, in every situation. Others can accuse us of anything… but if we are not guilty of what we’re being accused of, we will not identify and will not feel guilty. We can, however, decide to be offended because we are being accused, and at that point, we are the cause of our anger and indignation. We have insulted and offended ourselves. Yes, that’s our choice, and many choose it every day. Even if someone insults and embarrasses us publicly, we have the same choice and will experience the same cause-and-effect response emotionally. We can, of course, choose a different response. It is possible to shrug and dismiss the insult as soon as it hits our ears. We’re the choosers of all our responses.
Learning to dismiss emotional responses that pump harmful chemicals into our bodies takes determination, but it can be done. Depression, anger, and fear are emotions that age and sicken our bodies. Most of us know this, so why do we continue to mistreat ourselves? Perhaps one of the reasons is we’re afraid of what others will think if we behave differently than they do… so we confirm each other’s “goodness or badness” based on how others would respond in a similar situation. Here’s an example that helped open my eyes to how mistaken I can be in making such judgments and assumptions. Years ago, I went to visit my girlfriend, Mary. She and her boyfriend, Tom, a real estate agent, were both drinking. She was making dinner and he was slouched on the couch. I’m not sure what he said to prompt her anger, but suddenly she erupted, and yelled, “You’re a loser! A dumb loser. You’ll never amount to anything or have anything but that old beat-up car. Get out of here! Now! And don’t come back!” I cringed with embarrassed for him. He left, head-down, looking as humiliated as I would have been had I been in his place.
Fast forward two years. Mary and I were in a restaurant enjoying lunch, when she looked up, and whispered, “You’ll never believe who just walked in!” Her tone warned me to not look back. “Who?” I whispered. “Tom! He looks terrific, and he’s with a beautiful woman!” Before Tom and the beautiful woman sat down, he saw Mary, and urged his date to our table. “Hello, Mary,” he said politely, then turned to his date and said, “Mary’s the woman who saved my life!” He smiled at Mary, and continued, “What you said the last time we saw each other… well, you forced me to take a look at myself, and I decided to do something about it.” Then he took his date’s left hand and held it out for us to admire a huge diamond on her finger. “We’re getting married,” he said. “I’ve done very well, and I owe it all to you, Mary. Thank you for telling me the truth.” Mary smiled stiffly and nodded, and I sat stunned–not by the diamond, not by the engagement, not even by his words. I was stunned that he wasn’t destroyed — as I thought he would be! He chose to use Mary’s ugly, angry assessment of him as a catalyst for change.
We never know how any situation is going to end, but we assume we do, and our assumption is based on nothing but our limited and very fallible beliefs. Without knowing it, Tom became a cause-and-effect inspiration for me. We live in a cause-and-effect world; we can decide to accept and work with it, or continue to blame someone else for our problems.
2/13/19 – Show 7: Listener Email … Othello, I heard your show last week and I was glad to learn that listeners can email topic suggestions. I’m so hurt and confused right now, I don’t know what to do. I’m 59, and my husband left me eight months ago. We were married 30 years. He wouldn’t say why he was leaving; he just packed up, and left. I received divorce papers in the mail two weeks later. I can’t tell you how crushed I’ve been. I cried for a month, but finally calmed down. For the last six months I’ve tried to figure out what I’m going to do, and how I’m going to regain enough confidence to get my life going again. I have no idea where or how to start. However, I’m not looking for another man—at least, not anytime soon. I’ve been in counseling for 3 months but I can’t say I feel much better. My counselor keeps saying I need to go to work or get involved with a social group. I’ve thought about it, but can’t find the motivation to do those things. Nothing sounds interesting. My kids, a daughter and 2 sons, are grown and have lives of their own now. I’m okay money-wise. Not rich, but okay. I Googled your name, and know you’ve been through a lot of painful stuff – but you still managed to go on with your life. So please talk about this. I know lots of women, like me, will appreciate it…..Sylvia.
Thanks for the email, Sylvia. You’re correct when you say lots of women are facing this problem—and it’s understandable. Men frequently face the same problem, too, but today, I’ll concentrate on you. Knowing your age, I assume that you grew up believing that once married, your sole purpose in life was to set aside your personal desires and focus on your family – your husband and children. Now, you feel lost.
First, try to remember what you loved to do as a child. What was your favorite pastime? Singing? Dancing? Riding your bike? What subjects interested you most in school? Was there homework you loved? Or did you prefer to be outside, sitting under a tress with a good book… or maybe playing basketball with the boys? Try to remember how you loved to spend your free time as a child. Women 50 and older who have devoted themselves to being a good mother and wife frequently can’t remember what thrilled them as a child. If you can’t easily recall, lie down, get very still and quiet inside, and let your mind wander back to pleasant childhood moments. Pay attention to what was happening around you, and what part you played in it. If you can’t remember immediately, don’t fret over it. Just lie down each day for at least 15 minutes and deliberately think back to enjoyable moments. If you want to remember, you will. Then, once you remember, you’ll know where to start to find a path for rebuilding your life. For instance, if, as a child, your greatest pleasure involved physical activity, you might enjoy being involved in a hiking or cycling club, or even a gym. If you loved coloring books and coloring—look for an art class. If you enjoyed helping others with their work, you might like tutoring or volunteering at a school or local charity.
The things we loved as children frequently indicate where our greatest interest lies. In my 25 years as a counselor and hypnotherapist, one client who faced your situation, stands out in my mind. Like you, her kids were married and gone when her husband died. She felt utterly useless and unwanted. When I asked her the questions I asked you, she remembered how she loved to sing, and hoped to be a singer when she grew up. But once married, she even stopped listening to music because it made her feel torn. She thought a good wife and mother shouldn’t yearn to be anything else, and until I asked, she had totally forgotten her love for singing. Once she remembered, she immediately began singing with the radio, bought a karaoke machine, practiced, and eventually, sang with a local band.
So don’t despair, Sylvia. Instead, get quiet and remember your childhood passion. Find an adult version to satisfy that passion, and renew your confidence. Nothing can stop you – except you. Think about what you love… dwell on what you want — and dismiss every thought of anger, loss and rejection. It’s not easy, but you can do it. We all can. Go for it! Then write me and tell me how you succeeded! Thanks again for writing!
2/6/19 – Show 6: Understanding the Subconscious … today I’m going to discuss the influence of our powerful and loyal servant, the subconscious. As you know, there are times when we want to accomplish something—anything from losing weight to overcoming depression, to starting our own business, but for some reason, the task seems insurmountable. We do well and feel hopeful for a few days, then somehow, all of our resolve disappears into who-knows-what or where. With some understanding on how our subconscious mind functions, the task becomes manageable. It’s still a task, but we can do it.
The subconscious “works” like a recorder that saves every thought AND the emotions that accompany it. When we have repeatedly thought and re-thought, felt and re-felt a particular emotion, we have literally built a synapsis bridge from one part of our brain to another. Then, like a computer, the brain anticipates our favorite topic, and stands by, ready to prompt us to cross that bridge again. This is why we sometimes go to sleep feeling optimistic and certain we’ll meet our goal, but wake up depressed, doubting we’ll ever meet it. Without conscious prompting, our subconscious has favorite “loser” thoughts waiting and anxious to give us exactly WHAT WE HAVE GIVEN IT – discouraging thoughts and emotions. Sometimes it does so the instant we open our eyes and continues throughout the day…after day… after day.
So… how do we stop it? We consciously take charge! Even if it often doesn’t seem so, our conscious mind is the decision-maker. If we decide to take control we can. Our subconscious DECIDES NOTHING. It remembers everything so that we don’t have to learn how to walk, talk, and dress ourselves again every day. As children, we may have decided we were bad, ugly, and stupid… and thought it so many times that, as adults, it’s still an operational belief—lodged in the “favorite thought” category. If so, it keeps “working for us,” convincing us that we’re bad, ugly, and stupid. If we never challenge that belief, it will remain, and we will eventually “prove” it’s true. We’ll give up and surrender in defeat. Let me give you a personal example: I couldn’t read until I was 13, and by then I had built a bridge of monumental strength to that idea. Consequently, when I accomplished anything, I felt like a fraud—as if everyone knew I was too stupid to have done it. When I sold my first novel and wanted to order it at the bookstore, I couldn’t find the nerve to mention that I wrote it. I “knew” I was too dumb to be a writer. That belief hung around until I had sold 13 books. At that point, I finally decided to overcome it, and I told everyone I met that I was a writer – and gave them the titles. The bridge began to dissolve.
Write an affirmative statement about whatever you want to accomplish-the dream that constantly escapes you. Repeat that statement dozens of times every day to refute the idea of failure. Here’s an example: You are creative, you want to open your own store to sell your creations, whatever they are. If so, repeatedly say and think, “I’ll find a way to open my own store.” Then talk to others, tell them your dream, and listen to their ideas.” Imagine being in your store, putting away merchandise, talking to customers, laughing and selling your creations.
This is the formula:
• Decide what you desire and refute the belief that you can’t have it or don’t deserve it. Every time doubt enters your mind, get rid of it by stating: “I will find a way to do it!”
• Visualize being in the situation you desire. Take time to see the details and hear the conversations you want to hear.
• Tell everyone you know and let others help you.
• Speak the truth about yourself before you retire at night. Say, “I am intelligent, resourceful and creative. I have everything I need to make this happen. I will do it!”
Whatever you think you “need,” you don’t. “But it costs a lot; I don’t have the money!”. You have a mind, a mouth, acquaintances… you’ll find a way to get the money, unless you allow your old beliefs to discourage you.
Another tip about the subconscious: It has no sense of humor. Let me illustrate. Let’s say… you tell someone your dream (and because you feel like a fraud) you self-consciously joke: “Of course, it’s probably just a pipe dream and will never happen!” Resist that temptation or you’ll add another layer of strength to your “loser” belief. The subconscious doesn’t discriminate; it honors EVERY word and thought you give it!
If you think this advice is worthless, then you have not begun to understand the power of your mind. We are each a power house of strength if we know how to use our minds properly. When we are ignorant about how to use it, we misuse it, and hurt ourselves — much like a toddler who sticks a nail into an electrical outlet. Used properly, the outlet provides wonderful advantages. Used improperly, we may not survive the shock.
Make conscious decisions about how you want your life to proceed, and honor that decision. You can do it; we all can.
1/30/19 – Show 5: Our Unintended Prayers … today I’m going to talk about prayer, because I think we’ve tricked ourselves into believing something untrue. It appears we believe that the thoughts and words we express as “prayers,” are the only ones that reach the awareness of the Divine. Maybe we spend five minutes a day praying… and the rest of the day resenting the past, fearing the future, or complaining about the present. These words and thoughts are our unintended prayers, and they are answered as certainly as the ones we call our “real” prayers. However, because there are so many more unintended prayers – with answers we don’t want–they often overshadow the answers we do want.
Fortunately, The Divine, created a way for us to instantly recognize when we are sending an unintended prayer. Our thoughts have been linked to our emotions. Therefore, when our emotions change from loving, patient and kind to unloving impatient and unkind, our uncomfortable emotions are subtle alarms, warning us to “get off that track! Abandon that train of thought!” Few of us respect our mind and thoughts. No one else can see them, so they are essentially ignored. Of course, we have “free will,” so we can respect and be grateful for the subtle alarms, or ignore them indefinitely, torture ourselves, and even convince ourselves that we have nothing to do with creating our problems. When we don’t understand or accept that our disquieting emotions are responses to our present but unintentional prayers, we feel as if our “real” prayers are being ignored. They aren’t, of course; it’s just that our constant, unintended prayers are also being answered, and are preventing us from experiencing our intended prayers. Consequently, we begin to doubt ourselves and the Divine. We falsely imagine there is nothing trustworthy, nothing certain. We feel alone, ignored, and unloved. Of course, none of this is true. We’ve just arrived at another flawed conclusion—and unwittingly pushed happiness, health, and success further away.
Ignorance doesn’t prevent negative consequences; it guarantees them. The wonderful truth in all of this is that each of us is allowed to monitor or ignore the cause-and-effect consequences of our thoughts and words. The instruction, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is not a request to be “nice” or burn in the everlasting flames of hell of some ungodly, vengeful god — it is the formula for creating a loving peaceful existence, or making our lives a living hell. Example: When we recall a past injustice, we feel resentful and angry again. When we worry about the future, we feel afraid, and these hateful, poisonous thoughts produce poisonous chemicals that break down the very cells of our bodies. Once sick, but still unaware that we have sickened ourselves, we pray for Divine intervention to make us well—and we do so even as we continue thinking frightening thoughts of dying, and clinging to our ignorant, loveless beliefs. We pray for miracles, never realizing that our lack of faith in love – prevents us from performing the miracle for which we pray. We read that Jesus performed miracles, and hear preachers talk about his miracles, but Jesus never once said he performed a miracle. When miraculous healings occurred, he gave all the credit to the healed person. He said, “Your faith has made you whole,” and “It is done unto you as you believe.” He also said, “It’s not what goes into your mouth that makes you sick, it’s what come out of it.” Far too often, what comes out of our mouths are expressions of anger, doubt, and fear – or lack of faith.
It’s not easy to live in the physical world and believe that God is Love, because we’ve all been taught that God is an All-Seeing Judge, with a huge, eternally burning furnace where we may suffer forever. If God is Love, then Love is God on earth. Love is filled with God-like Power. The sweetest, most delightful emotion we know is love. It fills us with joy. When we are loving, we are sharing peace, hope and healing. Love strengthens and reconstitutes our minds and our bodies. When we withhold love from anyone–even those we call evil—we are asking that it be withheld from us, too. What we ask for others, we will receive, too, because what we think about others, is merely what we think and believe about ourselves – projected onto them. All thoughts are prayers, and all prayers are answered.
God is Love and Love lives or dies in our mind. We can spend a few minutes each day praying for Divine Intervention—(which we already have!) or refuse to accept the obvious – that our thoughts and daily conversations are unintended prayers—that will be answered. Nothing will change until we accept that only loving, patient, and kind thoughts bring the results we desire, because we were created out of love, in the image of love, by Love. Only a flawed belief blinds us to this truth.
Pray with purpose, keeping in mind that we each receive according to what we give others. Anything less and we will receive less, too. Thinking is giving, so let’s think well of others and be well ourselves.
1/23/19 – Show 4: Memories … I want to discuss a topic we all know very well – our memories! We have some we love and some we wish we didn’t’ have. Of course, the ones we wish we didn’t have are the ones that just won’t go away. They haunt us off and on for years – sometimes, for a lifetime. Even our sweetest memories leave us feeling a sense of loss – because the wonderful moment is gone.
I’m going to remind you of something you already know, but maybe haven’t thought of for a long time. It’s just five little but extremely powerful words: To think is to live. Let me repeat that: to think is to live. As you know, when we stop thinking, we’re pronounced dead. Not only do we live through our thoughts, we literally give life to whatever we’re thinking, and guess whose life we’re giving – our own! So why do we live so much through memories? To remember is to re-think and re-live. The characters are always the same and the story doesn’t change, but because EVERY THOUGHT CREATES A CORRESPONDING EMOTION, we re-experience the corresponding fear, anger, hurt again. Does this sound rational to you? Who in their right mind wants to re-experience pain? Do we remember in order to condemn these people again? Whether their offense occurred yesterday or 50 years ago — we are ones presently condemning ourselves to re-suffer the misery … by remembering! It’s as though we think we are helpless to stop it. We are not helpless! We don’t have to recall and re-suffer old injuries. Each of us has the ability to control our mind. We can think on any subject, any topic, so why choose to re-experience past pain? Are we convinced that we need punishing? Or is it that we don’t know any better? I prefer to think the latter so with that in mind, I would like to share a little information.
Memories do NOT come of their own accord; they do not have the power to do that. As we think, our thoughts create electrical currents called synapses. They fire from one part of the brain to another, and as they do, they leave a very fine trail. If we repeatedly return to the same memory, the trail thickens and becomes stronger, and will actually build a bridge – a LINK to THAT specific memory. Then, much like a computer remembers our favorite website and prompts us to go there with a single key stroke, our brains remember and anticipate our most-visited thought –- and instantly takes us to THE BRIDGE that links us to our favorite memories. Once this pattern is established, and we want to stop wasting our time and our life this way, we do it the same way that we created the memory link — through repetition. We repeatedly stop the memories as soon as we’re aware of them, and deliberately choose another thought – one that makes us feel better. The good news is this: because our mind and spirit prefer to feel peaceful and relaxed – it takes less time AND EFFORT to create a new bridge that leads to peace, a new “favorites” link, if you will. And there’s MORE good news! When we stop returning to the same thought, the same memory, the synoptic bridge thins, weakens – and disappears! Use it or lose it applies in many instances – and this one is advantageous!
As mention in my introduction, I had an extremely traumatic childhood. At 18, I tried to commit suicide but only managed to put myself in a 2-day coma. After that, I realized that I dared not look back. I sensed that I had to keep my mind out of that rubbish can of the past or I would wreck the rest of my life. Later, as a hypnotherapist, I created a plan, based on what I had done, to help others move beyond their painful memories. The plan has 4 steps:
• Make a written list of the painful memories. This will help you recognize them more quickly when they come to mind.
• Put the list in an envelope and DECIDE to Ignore the memories.
• Make a list of personally empowering statements, such as “I am intelligent and GRATEFUL that I can control my mind – and I WILL.
• Copy THAT LIST several times. Put a copy in every room of your house or apartment. Put a copy in your pocket or purse, and in your car. Removes the temptation to say, “I was so depressed I couldn’t think of an empowering thought.”
Remember what I said last week… unhappy thoughts not only create doubt and make it more difficult to meet your goals, they also release harmful chemicals into your body that create serious heal problems. Anyway you look at it, reliving the past is an irrational waste of your life!
1/16/19 – Show 3: Creating Happiness … who and what makes you happy? Let me guess… your husband or wife. Your children, friends, or parents? Maybe it’s a particular situation or special circumstance, such as a better job, more money, or a bigger, better house. These are the kinds of things that most people associate with happiness. And guess what? They are also the exact things that make them miserable, furious, stressed-out, and depressed.
How do the things that make us happy also make us miserable? Somewhere, deep in our consciousness, we all know the answer. None of these things make us happy or unhappy.
Other people and things have nothing to do with our emotions. Only our thoughts create our emotions. Every good and bad thing we can think of is labeled good or bad by us. If we judge something as good, we’re happy. If we judge it as bad, we’re not happy. We all know, of course, that the very thing we say is good, someone else will judge as bad, and vice versa. The thing itself is neither. It just is.
Let’s use money as the example. Some people think it’s their savior and others think it’s the root of all evil. The truth is: money is printed paper or stamped coins. It has only the value we give it. To some, $5.00 is like a million; to others a million is like $5.00. Every situation and circumstance is only a matter of perception — information gleaned through our physical senses, and colored by our beliefs. Consequently, it is easy for us to deceive ourselves. Then, of course, once deceived, we unwitting deceive others.
We are each creating our own happiness and misery because every thought creates a corresponding emotion — but most of us don’t realize it. Many who are aware of the process ignore it because they wish it weren’t true, so they refuse to accept responsibility for the emotions they create. It’s always easier to blame (or credit) someone else. We say things, such as, “He makes me so happy!” or “She makes me furious!” One reason we do this is… no one would be sympathetic to our misery if we admitted to hurting ourselves. If we told the truth and said, “Last night I had a choice between making myself feel good or miserable, and I chose misery. I kept rehashing what George and Mary did, and got so depressed I hardly slept a wink!” The easiest way to escape this childish behavior is to stop judging everything as right or wrong, good or bad. We have no idea what is prompting someone else’s actions or how every situation is going to turn out. Horrible situations sometimes turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to us. If we believe a situation needs correcting… find an effective way to correct it because criticism and judgment don’t change anything — except to destroy our peace and negatively influence our health.
If you would like to feel peaceful for 24 hours, try this: Suspend all judgment for a full 24 hours. Really! Judge nothing – not even a paper cup in the street. Pick it up and toss it as though you’re the one who dropped it, or let it be what it is: a paper cup in the street. You’ll be amazed at how peaceful and refreshed you’ll feel at the end of the day.
I imposed this restricting on myself many years ago, and I still try to practice it today. I decided to drop all descriptive words—all adjective and adverbs from my various observations. When I began the exercise I lived in a large city and walked six blocks to and from a little place to have lunch, and I would often become irritated at the loud, noisy traffic, the crowded and cracked sidewalks, the rude pedestrians, etc. When I decided to identify these things merely as traffic, sidewalks, and pedestrians—with no judgment attached, my walk no longer irritated me. In fact, I began to notice other things—things that gave me pleasure. A window box with flowers. A song drifting from a window, etc. An old couple holding hands. Trust me… the world won’t fall apart if you suspend judgment for one day, and if you—like me—find relief in doing so, you might want make it a daily practice.
Remember: every thought creates a corresponding emotion. What—exactly, does that mean? Well, it’s as simple as this: Lift your index finger. Now notice… did your fingernail rise with it? THAT’S how unnoticed, simultaneous, and connected thoughts are to emotions. That connection can’t be broken. It can only be ignored – but only at the expense of our peace, happiness and health.
So, if a situation makes you smile, enjoy it! If it doesn’t, let it pass.
1/9/19 – Show 2: Imagine Success … we’re all aware that everyone wants peace, love, health, happiness and success, and yet, it seems that since we first cried for a dry diaper, these things keep slipping beyond our reach. Throughout childhood, we accumulate memories of being denied what we want. Maybe at age two, we wanted the pretty flowers on the coffee table, but every time we reached for them, our hands were slapped. Later, we said we wanted to be someone special — an actress, an astronaut, or famous athlete… and were told to forget it — we weren’t smart enough, tall enough or good looking enough. Or there wasn’t enough money.
Although most of our childhood memories have disappeared from our conscious mind, they remain stored in our subconscious, and they have slowly but surely hardened into a solid belief that stops us from living a truly fulfilling life. Certainly, our adult desires are different from those of our youth, but if the old belief is still active, it’s likely that our adult desires will remain unfulfilled, too. Perhaps we’ve tried many times to reach a particular goal, but have failed. This, of course, only reinforced the belief that we can’t be or have what we want. The belief may have become so strong we no longer even fantasize about reaching our goal. We’ve decided “this is as good as it gets.”
The power of belief can’t be exaggerated or overstated; it affects every decision we make. Once we’re convinced that we can’t have what we want, it’s possible to live our whole life and never suspect we are operating from a false self-limiting belief. The good news is: we can replace the old, discouraging belief with a new belief that encourages and empowers us. And we do it the same way we learned to accept the old belief — through REPETITION. We repeatedly tell ourselves that we are free to live as we choose; that we are competent to create the situations and circumstances we desire. We actually write out such statements: “ I am free to create the conditions and circumstances that I want.” We memorize the statement and repeat it to ourselves several times a day. And we repeatedly imagine our success until we finally convince ourselves and suddenly discover that we have the courage to realistically pursue our goal.
Now, listen carefully. I’m about to give you some very important information. Are you listening? While our subconscious holds and remembers everything we experience… it does NOT know the difference between fact and fiction. It accepts anything and everything we tell it – and when we imagine anything – what we want or what we don’t want – we are telling it what to remember! Therefore, if we repeatedly imagine fulfilling our desires, it will accept our imaginings as truth—exactly as it would if we had already succeeded. If we imagine success repeatedly, our subconscious stores what we imagine as ACTUAL SUCCESSES and we begin to replace the old belief with a new reality. We have given our subconscious a roadmap or pattern to follow – and it will ASSIST us instead of hindering and stopping us!
We can literally “give” ourselves a different past—one that helps us succeed when, if fact, it was anything but helpful. A good example is a female client– I’ll call Sue — who came to me, literally in tears, and said her husband of two years was divorcing her because she couldn’t cook. I’m not kidding. He had grown up with a mother who was a fabulous cook, and Sue continuously ruined everything she tried to cook. She also told me that her own mother was also a great cook, and frequently made sumptuous meals for large numbers of guest. I asked if she ever cooked with her mother, and she said, “No!. She would never let me in the kitchen when she was cooking. When I asked, she always said, “No, you’ll just make a mess. You don’t know what to do.” Obviously, her mom’s words stuck. So I relaxed her, and had her imagine she was three years old, sitting on the counter top while her mother stirred a batch of cookies. After the cookies were on the cookie sheet, I had her imagine her mom handing her the spoon to lick. Then, I had her imagine she was six and helping her mom make cookies. From there, I had her imagine herself at two year intervals, always cooking a little more, until she was 18, when I had her see herself cooking a huge meal for a dozen people, and everyone raving about how great it was. Well… I’ve never had faster confirmation of a success than I did with her. The next morning, my phone was ringing as I entered my office. It was Sue’s husband. He said, “Thank you! Thank you! For saving our marriage! For the first time in two years, Sue made me a delicious meal! You saved our marriage!.” I didn’t, of course; Sue saved it by seeking help.
If we really want a new experience, we don’t need someone else to tell us what to imagine. All we need to do is identify what we want… relaxed ourselves… and see our past as we wish it had been. We imagine being young and getting the encouragement we desired… we see ourselves a little older…. learning more, doing more of what we truly want to do. We can each do for ourselves what I helped Sue do. Remember… our subconscious doesn’t know the difference between fact and fiction. It stores everything as absolute truth, as if it happened just that way. Try it! Build a belief in yourself. And, if you need a relaxation tape to help you relax, get one.
1/2/19 – Show 1: #MeToo … today, I want to add my name to the Me, Too movement. I’m a 77-yr-old woman who had the misfortune to experience both incest and rape. The incest perp was my father when I was seven—the night that we buried my mother who had just burned to death in a house fire. The rape happened when I was 18 and went for my first job interview. I’ve written about this in my memoir, ‘Cry into the Wind,” if you’re interested in the details. It’s on Amazon. But for those who only want a brief overview of how it affects a young child to be molested, well, in a nutshell, it leaves the child feeling “stupid,” “dirty” and “ugly” well into adulthood. For me, a great part of the agony was that I despised and feared my father whom I also loved. I wanted to still love him but I was afraid of him, and later, I also feared all men who resembled him… hair color, height, mannerisms.
A few weeks after my mother died, my three younger siblings and I were put in an orphanage and separated for the next 11 years. It was a cold and brutal place and for whatever reason, I did not learn to read… so I became an extremely clever cheater. I was 13 before I realized letters had sound assignments! Once I understood the concept, knowing I had 13 letters in my name – half the alphabet! – I swiped a flashlight from the kitchen warehouse where I worked, and sneaked it under the covers with a book, and slowly taught myself. While struggling through my second book, Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, I began to experience a terrible fear… so much so that I stopped reading, tried to slow my breathing and figure out why I was so afraid. It didn’t take long for me to realize that someone else’s words going through my brain were making me feel afraid. For a moment, that amazed me. But my next thought was: “If words can make me feel afraid, I can tell myself words that make myself feel whatever I want to feel!”. I understood the enormity of that revelation, but that’s not to say I remembered it throughout all of the ups and downs of my teen years. I wasn’t dedicated to remembering it until after the rape at 18, and surviving my suicide attempt. At that point, I knew I had to start over, reteach myself how to think. I knew I couldn’t look back; couldn’t let myself dwell on anything except what I wanted. I wasn’t sure what that was, but I was sure it wasn’t in the rearview mirror of my mind.
I wrote my first novel—a thriller—when I was 23 and it sold to Avon Books. It became a bestseller, as did my first six books—three thrillers and three children’s books. Now, if this makes male readers think, “Well, it doesn’t have to emotionally cripple a woman if she’s raped. She can get over it.” Yes, she can, but incest and rape make it a thousand times more difficult—for girls and boys. To physically overpower a child or an adult—for sexual gratification that can be satisfied with your own hand is tantamount to admitting, “I am too dumb to remember I have hands.” The need to overpower anyone reveals fear of weaknesses and deficiencies, and the act of subduing a child or a woman will not alleviate either. Yes, it’s survivable, but it’s also miserable and needless. It proves nothing about the one attacked, and nothing worthwhile to the one struggling to feel powerful. Those attacked are not really diminished or “less” than they were, but some never realize it, and spend the rest of their lives feeling “soiled.” Likewise, the attackers prove nothing “good” about themselves. They are left with a shame that cuts so deep they joke and brag about it those who will keep their “secrets.” This is the only way they can feel “big, important, and powerful—a pitiful effort to sound proud. Statistics reveal that one in three girls and one in four boys are molested. Perhaps some who are listening now.
With that in mind, I’ll close with this: If you, whether female or male, were molested as a child or an adult, nothing can stop you from being all that you want to be. Reclaim your life! Don’t look back except when holding the hand of someone who is trembling from the same experience. Then, say, “I have felt the pain you feel, but you have not been permanently damaged. Go on with your life, live it as you want it to be. Look forward. Set goals, and honor yourself by keeping those goals. Be who you were born to be. Don’t hate; it steals your resolve. Simply ignore the memory. Let it die of neglect, and soon you’ll replace it with wonderful memories of your successes.” The “Me, too” movement is important. Men must learn that overpowering someone with less physical strength proves weakness, not strength. Real strength is revealed through understanding and respect.