The Othello Bach Show Blog
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12/4/19 – Show 47: From Invisible To Visible … we know that “things spiritual” are not visible. Spiritual concepts and laws cannot be seen with the body’s eyes. We accept that God’s Laws are Divine Ideas and because they are ideas, they cannot be seen. In truth, all laws, including those made by man are merely ideas. Man-made laws are enforced by imposing physical penalties on those who refuse to honor the idea and limit their behavior accordingly.
The difference between man-made laws and spiritual laws is that man-made laws can be broken (and frequently are) without penalty. For instance, the law may state that we cannot drive over 65 mph without receiving a penalty. Clearly, we can break that law. If no one is present to witness our breaking the law, no penalty will be imposed. Spiritual laws, on the other hand, always prompt a reward or penalty. Therefore, if we believe (accept the idea) that we must honor all laws – God’s and man’s – and we drive over 65 mph, we will very likely experience punishment in the form of guilt. Guilt is the punishment – sort of a Spiritual Citation – that we must pay for ignoring an idea that we believe is “good,” or for our benefit.
When we understand that all laws are invisible, it becomes obvious that the visible world is governed by the invisible. In spite of this obvious truth, we continue to have greater faith in the visible. As long as this is true, however, we will continue to experience problems. The solution, then, is convincing ourselves to believe the truth. In our deepest innermost self, we know the spiritual teachings of Jesus are true. Now, we must work to believe what he said, and to the same degree that he believed it.
So, how do we develop faith in the invisible when our lives are filled with the visible? We rush from home to work, place to place, person to person, and thing to thing, caring for our belongings and tending to all our physical “stuff.” We’re on the phone or computer, in our cars, walking in malls, down streets and sidewalks, combing our hair, brushing our teeth, and busy doing and seeing a thousand other physical things each day. Yet, all these things came from an idea, from a mind, which is invisible. Even as you read or hear these words they become part of the physical world, but the mind and thoughts behind them are not.
Lift your eyes a moment and consider the various objects in the room. As you look, remember that before each object existed, it was an idea. As I write this, I see my keyboard, my monitor screen, desk, pen, coffee cup, stapler, etc. Regardless of how these things came into my possession, each object began as an idea in the mind of a creator or inventor. No doubt, each object began as a partially developed idea. As the creator thought more about it, the idea expanded in various directions until it seemed plausible, or “real enough” that the creator could put his thoughts on paper. Perhaps the object was first represented in a drawing or a sketch. If so, that was the first physical presentation. If it was described in words, the description was its first physical representation. Then, over hours, days, weeks or years, the creator continued to develop the idea until it became a physical object that could be seen with physical eyes.
Everything in existence was first an idea. The invisible always precedes the visible. The invisible is the “cause” and the visible is the “effect.” Reality or “real life” begins in the mind and takes form in the physical world.
Although laws and principles are invisible, we see their application everywhere. Mathematicians use the principle of mathematics freely, while others apply it to the extent of their understanding. Regardless of how a mathematics principle is used, it remains complete and undisturbed by our use of it. It can be ignored or disregarded, but it will continue being what it is—a mathematics principle. Regardless of how well we understand the principle, it will never make itself visible. It is an idea, a concept, as real as anything we see with our physical eyes, and yet it will forever remain invisible.
When we understand and use the principle of mathematics, we realize it is a practical tool that can benefit us. However, it cannot benefit us unless we use it. Even though we understand it, if we fail to use it, it cannot help us. However, understanding alone is not enough. For instance, if we need to cut 500 calories a day from our diet in order to lose weight, the principle of mathematics will not automatically calculate the number of calories in each food and determine which foods we should eat less, or eliminate entirely. The laws are simply there to use. It is only when we apply them correctly that we can to determine how to proceed.
We need to pay attention and gain a better understanding of the invisible spiritual principle that manifests itself in the visible world. Although The Principle is invisible, the results are visible.
We know we have found and are using a spiritual principle correctly, in the same way we know we are using a principle of mathematics correctly—we know by the results. Look around today and observe what the Divine Mind has created and what man has made. The difference is striking. What the Divine has created lives, grows, and moves without anything physical touching it, and each creation reproduces itself. What man makes has no life, does not grow, does not move of its own power, and does not reproduce.
Now, ask yourself, are you of man or God?
Thoughts, concepts, ideas, beliefs and understanding are invisible. Minds are obviously unseen, spiritual instruments, and as such are bound by spiritual law. God is the Law of Love. The only correct use of the mind is to love. When we use it correctly, we create joyous experiences for others and ourselves. Used incorrectly to create anger, guilt, doubt and fear—for ourselves and others, and we forget the glorious truth of our identity: we are not of man, but of God.
11/27/19 – Show 46: Eternal Presence … Divine ideas and thoughts stand behind all human awareness, seeking to be recognized through the doorway of the mind. The pulse of Christ is the core of every living soul, and the Presence of God waits patiently for recognition. We must become aware that this Oneness between the seen and the unseen already exists, and there is nothing we have to “do” to make it happen. It is fully operational and merely awaits our acceptance. We can make ourselves aware of God’s indwelling presence if we pause to sense It several times a day.
The Spirit of God lives within us, wanting to give us all that we desire, but It can only give what we are willing to accept. God is love; therefore, the Spirit’s nature is to love. Love always wants to give; therefore, God always wants to give to his creations, as we want to give to ours. When we are unaware that Spirit is always trying to fulfill our desires, we cannot accept Its gifts. When we believe we are separated from God, we believe a lie that prohibits Spirit from bestowing upon us the very gifts for which we long. If we merely open our consciousness to Divine Wisdom and know that the “Father within” is Wisdom, then answers and guidance rush forth as expressions of His love.
God knows us through our mind and communicates with us through our awareness. Therefore, the only real way we can give anything to God is through our thoughts. Our thoughts, then, are our “asking.” God allows us to choose which thoughts we want to think, and as we think we are reinforcing a belief in God or a belief in the physical world. Jesus said, “It is done unto you as you believe,” and “Ask and you will receive.” Therefore, what we hold in our awareness is critical. If our days are spent mulling over problems, then we have “asked for” more problems. If we spend our time thinking that we are separated from God and the world is suffering, we will experience an even greater sense of alienation and suffering.
When we are unaware that our thoughts are “asking,” we unwittingly ask for what we do not want. Jesus said, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person, out of the good treasure of the heart, … for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. (Matt 6:43-45)
The “abundance of the heart” is our belief. What we speak is first in our mind. It is there as thought and belief. Because God is an indwelling presence, we cannot hide these from Him. This is also how He knows before we ask what we want. He knows what we believe and, therefore, what we desire.
Once we accept this absolute inner-connection with God, and realize that all our imaginings have been known to Him—and that He still loves us and remains with us—we can begin to accept ourselves. We also begin to understand the absolute necessity to change our thoughts and imaginings. We must use our minds to develop a belief in His presence and appreciate that He gives back to us exactly what we have given to Him.
If good health is our desire, we “ask” for good health by imagining ourselves as healthy, filled with energy, life and happiness, or “like” Him. In our mind’s eye, we see ourselves doing the things we want to do, enjoying the activities we desire to take part in, all the while, giving thanks to God. And even as we imagine it, we give thanks. If good health is what we desire for someone else, we imagine them fully recovered, enjoying life to its fullest. All the while, we see ourselves praising God for this wonderful gift. And even as we imagine it, we give thanks. If more loving relationships are our desire, then we see ourselves enjoying wonderful relationships with everyone. Everyone in the scene we imagine is filled with love and caring, sharing only what is good, wholesome and productive. All the while, we imagine ourselves praising God for our good fortune. And even as we imagine it, we give thanks. If more rewarding work is desired, then “ask” for it by imagining yourself doing exactly what you want to do, loving every minute of it, and all the while, giving thanks, and even as you imagine it, give thanks. If spiritual understanding is your desire, then imagine yourself filled with understanding, explaining spiritual principles with ease and grace.
Imagine others seeking you for help, and the Indwelling Presence rushing to overtake your mind and using your mouth to explain. See yourself at work, at play, and at peace, when suddenly understanding comes to you, resolving the life issues with which you’ve struggled. Imagine being filled with love and praising God for the new understanding. And even as you imagine it, give thanks. As we begin to imagine, or “ask” for these things, we begin to believe they will happen. We begin to develop the faith and confidence necessary to do what is required to “make” them grow. We begin to trust God’s indwelling presence and expect Him to respond. We open our consciousness to Him, start looking for—and seeing—results. At that point, our thanksgiving grows in sincerity because we are witnessing the development of our faith. We realize that what we have “asked” has been given.
Jesus said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put in your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” (Matt 6:37-38)
We cannot afford to indulge in fear-based thoughts and beliefs, imagining sickness, poverty, conflict, catastrophe and loveless relationships. Whether these are thoughts of the past, present or future, they lead only to the destruction of our faith, and waste our life. Let’s be faithful servants, serving a loving, giving God instead of the godless, fear-based beliefs of the world.
11/20/19 – Show 45: Where Are We Going? … have you ever heard a sermon on the scripture “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will last forever … or a sermon that explains where heaven is going? Why would it go anywhere when that’s where everyone wants to go? Will it pass away before we get there? Is it already gone? How can we know?
Scripture tells us there will be a new heaven and a new earth. I can sort of see the need for a new earth… but a new heaven? Why would that be necessary? Isn’t it a perfect place, big enough to include everyone… and where we’ve been promised eternal joy? How can it be eternal if it’s going to pass away and we’re going to get a new one?
Then, there’s Jesus words in Matt. 18:18, saying “What you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven, and what you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven.” Hmmm. Think about that. What do we permit on earth that we don’t expect to be in heaven? How about anger, hatred, pain, disease, and death? What about the idea that what we prohibit on earth… will be prohibited in heaven? What do we prohibit here? Do we prohibit the idea that we were created in the image of our Perfect Creator, and therefore, we must be like Him? Do we prohibit others from our idea of heaven? Do we prohibit the belief that Jesus words “You can do what I have done, and ever greater things,” from becoming our reality? Who among us believes that? Are we, then, nonbelievers? Have we prohibited God from living among and within us, and hidden Him out in the sky somewhere?
Considering Jesus words about what we permit and prohibit on earth being exactly what will be permitted and prohibited in heaven … it appears heaven will be no different from earth OR… heaven and earth will pass away as separate places, separate concepts, and we can bring heaven to earth if we stop believing they are separate places, and accept what Jesus said when he was asked, “When will the Kingdom of Heaven come?… and He said, “The Kingdom of heaven has already come to you. It is within.” Within what? Within whom? Within each of us if we believe and accept it, and treat others and ourselves as if we’re already there!
Perhaps then, we’ll understand that there is nothing but our PRESENT belief that keeps God and heaven in the sky while we suffer and die on earth. Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is already here but we don’t believe it, so we can’t experience it. He also said, “It is done unto you as you believe.” Imagine how the world would change if even a few of us believed it. Do we even consider the possibility that we can do the things Jesus did? Or do we consider such a thought to be arrogant and sacrilegious? to even consider it? Some believe that statement was only meant for the apostles and not for the rest of us. However, he said, “It is done unto you as you believe? Was that just for those with him at the time… or for all of us?
How would the earth change if we all believed Him? Surely, sickness, suffering, war, fear, hate and death would disappear, and the earth would be transformed into something closely resembling heaven. Are the new heaven and the new earth delayed only by us, as we refuse to believe that we, like Jesus, are capable of bringing heaven to earth… and both will disappear as separate places, separate concepts.
To accomplish that, we must believe what he said. So, if we want to at least try… how would we begin? First, we have to decide if we want to believe it… or if believing is more threatening than remaining and dying on earth. Next, it seems we would have to recognize and accept that we were created in the image of God and that what God creates we cannot change. We can believe we’ve changed, but if God is all-powerful (as we say we believe), what he creates is as unchangeable as He is.
It’s obvious that we don’t believe that. We believe we all enter this world as innocent beings, but somehow, morph into sinful, condemnable creatures that God is willing to punish and destroy. In other words, we believe we’ve changed from what God created into something unholy and unworthy of His love and acceptance. We have no such power! The only power we have arises from our beliefs. If we believe we’ve changed from innocent beings which were created in the image of God—then so it seems; but “seeming” is evidences that it may not be true. However, we can believe it’s true, even though scripture denies it. Belief, whether correct or incorrect, is the strongest power on earth. Our beliefs are treasured because we learned them from those we trusted and treasured, such as our parents, grandparents, beloved friends, etc.
After asking ourselves if we want to be in heaven or stuck here on earth, the next question is: Do we think we can change what God created? In other words, do we believe we are greater than God? If not, then using common logic, perhaps we can accept the statement: “I have not done what I believed I had done. I remain as my Creator created me.” This statement allows us to start forgiving ourselves and accepting ourselves and others as Godly beings. Only then can we begin to transform earth into heaven. We permit love for everyone and prohibit judgment and condemnation. We stop judging everyone, including ourselves. We cannot and have not changed what God created. We, like God, are here to love, and only love. Accepting this allows us to open our minds to the idea that God and heaven are not in some distant place in the universe, but rather, are within us, and are our Reality. At that point, we’ll begin to experience a new heaven and a new earth.
11/6/19 – Show 44: Our Imperfect Perfection … I do not know a single person who believes they are perfect. What a shame! So I’m going to present a few thoughts that may or may not help us recognize our perfection.
First, and most obvious – Scripture tells us that we were created in the image and likeness of our Creator, whom we believe is perfect. Equally obvious is the fact that we do not believe that. Hmmm. Are we then nonbelievers? If so, perhaps a little evidence to the contrary will help. When we are miserable… aren’t we perfectly miserable? When we are exhausted, is our exhaustion not “perfect, whole and complete” with every ounce of energy used up and deflated? When we are “in love,” we often say, “It’s heavenly,” and, indeed, it is. What could be more perfect than heaven? When we are furious at a situation, circumstance, or person…aren’t our feelings of fury perfectly matching the angry thoughts we’ve been harboring? When we are thrilled, isn’t the thrill perfectly in accord with whatever success or delight we’re experiencing? When we are awed and grateful to see a breathtaking sunset, doesn’t our gratitude and reverence perfectly reflect the beauty of the sunset? When we are brought to tears by the love that gushes through us, are we not experiencing and demonstrating perfect love? When we are afraid, doesn’t our fear prompt the perfect response? Our heart pounds, our mind whirls looking for escape, and adrenalin surges through us. Isn’t that a perfect response to fear?… our emotions always perfectly match our thoughts.
Now, let’s consider our actions – When we are miserable, and alone, our actions perfectly match our emotions. We may flop down on the couch in a fit of depression. However, if others are around, we may modify our actions to hide our misery, which, of course, increases our misery, bringing it to total perfection. When exhausted, we flop down on the nearest chair, couch or bed, exhale a loud sigh, and close our eyes to rest… glad a tough task is finished. If someone interrupts our respite, we groan and carry on like it will surely kill us. Our exhaustion is perfect, and we need to rest. Conversely, when we’re “in love” (or thinking thoughts we love) our energy is inexhaustible. We feel as if we could run ten miles without slowing down. We are attentive to others, kind and polite, and filled with joy. We are exactly where we want to be – in love, and our actions perfectly reflect our emotions. When fearful, our behavior reflects our fear. Great fear can prompt us to scream or to whisper. We search for a place to hide, to protect ourselves. Once hidden, we shiver and shake fearing we’ll be discovered. Our actions perfectly reflect our fear.
When our expectations are not met because others have interfered with our plans, disappointment frequently becomes blistering anger, or fury. We yell and scream, and throw things, or withdraw completely and refused to discuss anything with anyone. Our fury and torment is perfect. No one dares to challenge or try to appease us. Perfect fury is a bomb with the timer set to explode, and we sense we are better off away from it.
Awe and gratitude open our eyes and our minds, close our mouths, and bring peace to our whole being—inside and out. No words are adequate to express the deep spiritual joy and reverence we experience. We are perfectly humbled and inspired. When we’ve worked hard and completed a job or project that pleases us, we bask in perfect peace. We allow our mind and body to relax. We did the job well, acknowledge our accomplishment, and privately soak in the pride and perfect peace that follows its completion.
So why do we shun the notion that we are like our Creator? Regardless of what we’re thinking, we create perfect images in our mind and identical emotions and actions. Even when we try to hide our less-than-desirable emotions, others usually see and feel them, and will usually ask, “Is everything okay?” or “Are you alright?”
Perhaps the belief that we’re imperfect is the only thing keeping us from accepting that we remain as we were created.
Consider how we would relax if we knew that our mistakes mean nothing unless we believe they do, because that’s all that’s happening. Just as a mother retains no memory of the number of dirty diapers or spilled glasses of milk she cleaned before her toddler developed skills necessary to control their body The Divine Mind keeps no record of our mistakes—actions we judge as “wrong.” That’s our judgment, not His. Scripture says, “The father, himself, does not judge anyone.” Then it adds: “He left that up to us.” Realizing we have a choice, perhaps it’s time we behave more like Him and stop all judgment, including our own mistakes.
A perfect Creator makes no mistakes. Scripture says we were created in His image. Why don’t we just accept that… enjoy our lives… do the best we can and ignore our mistakes and the mistakes of others. Peace will surely follow.
Maybe we could all try it for just one day, and see if we don’t feel better than usual when we climb into bed. Personally, I’ve discovered that if I eliminate all adjectives and adverbs from my thinking, I am more at peace. In other words, if I ignore the weeds and look only at the flowers, my energy level rises with my spirit.
10/30/19 – Show 43: Try a Little Logic … it’s obvious we do not understand that what’s true in the physical world is true in the spiritual world. For instance, we know opposites cannot coexist. Hot and cold, wet and dry, love and hate, peace and war are never in the same place simultaneously. Yet, strangely, we try to have faith in opposing concepts, such as good and evil, right and wrong, salvation and condemnation, and a Loving God and a ruthless God who is willing to torture his children forever.
Consequently, we vacillate between hope and doubt, and are willing to fight and defend what we cannot explain nor totally accept. So why not apply a little logic and see if we can find a path, and stumble our way out of this confusing maze? Do loving fathers deliberately place their children in terrifying situations where they can be harmed or tortured endlessly? If we can’t accept that an earthly father would do this, why do we think our spiritual Father would? We arrest parents who harm their children, so why don’t we put to rest the ridiculous notion that God, the Source of Life and Love, would allow his children to be harmed? We know that love does not terrify and torture. So how did this illogical idea become the foundation of almost every religion? Was it mere ignorance, passed off as truth, and handed down from generation to generation for centuries? Whatever the process, it became a rock-solid, mindless belief that paralyzes reason, and holds the world hostage.
Those who came before us did not understand, nor do we, that a mind trapped in fear immediately looks for escape and takes the first exit it sees. Fearing condemnation, it blames the first “thing” it sees. Then, unaware that it has trapped itself, it cannot free itself. The cause of fear always seems to be outside us, so it never occurs to us that we have frightened ourselves. How much easier it must have been centuries ago, to lay the blame on an invisible presence…declare it the Source of all evil, and name it Satan? Then, believing we had identified The Source, we exonerated ourselves and temporarily relieved our guilt. Sadly, the same crippling process continues today, and it will continue until we realize it is a mistake.
Fear always creates guilt because we entered this world as perfectly innocent beings—as guiltless as God—because we were created in His image. Therefore, blaming anyone or any ‘thing’ for our problems—including an imaginary evil being—immediately obliterates understanding, and eliminates the possibility (in our mind) that we were created in the image of God. The illusion that an invisible being constantly tempts us to do “wrong” traps us in endless confusion and leaves us unable to rescue ourselves.
We know when we think frightening thoughts, we feel afraid. We know we are in charge of our thoughts, and we can believe anything, so why aren’t we willing to acknowledge and admit that a Loving God would never allow an evil presence to harm or influence His Creations? Is it because we think it’s arrogant to accept our perfection along with our Creator’s? If so, then is it not equally arrogant to deny it?… to say, “I don’t believe it, even though Scripture says I was created in God’s image.” Our Father does not condemn us for irrational thinking and illogical beliefs. He waits patiently for us to grow up, mature, and reason our way out of the dilemma we’ve created. He loves and respects His Creations, and makes His intelligence and peace available for the asking.
A Perfect and Loving Creator creates perfect and loving children and allows them to choose fantasies or accept their reality, and His patience is as everlasting as His Love. We are the “fallen angel” that wants control of the Kingdom, but because we refuse to accept our likeness to our Creator, we are afraid of Him and of our own creations. Of course, this creates an untenable situation, because a mind that holds opposing beliefs cannot have complete faith in either. The best it can give is 50% — half of what is required by the First Commandment.
However, our loving Father is aware of our fear and limited understanding, and of our God-given ability to create images that frighten us. He sees how we try to rid ourselves of them by projecting them elsewhere and blaming someone or some ‘thing’ else. He also knows that we do not know ourselves, and can’t know ourselves until we accept that we were created in His image. Until then, we will continue in our confusion, ignorant of our mistake.
This is where we are 2,000 years after Jesus said, “You can do the things that I do, and even greater things.” He also said, “The Kingdom of Heaven has already come; it is within.” Therefore, it is within our power to control our lives, but to accept that control, we must love, and only love—the Creator and all of His Creations—just as He does.
Scripture tells us that love does not keep a record of wrongs; it is patient, kind, and accepts all things—which includes us, no matter what we believe. Our Creator is not waiting to punish us. He is patiently waiting for us to accept our true identity, to love and appreciate Who and What we are. After centuries of denying our reality and believing we are unworthy to even imagine we resemble our Creator, this idea is difficult to accept. Yet, unless and until we do, we will continue to create exactly what we do not want– sickness, poverty, war and death, and blame it all on someone or something outside us—including an imaginary evil called Satan.”
10/23/19 – Show 42: A Letter From Shelly … I received a letter from a listener which I’d like to share as well as my response.
Hello, Othello. You don’t know me, but I’ve read your memoir and feel like I know you. When I saw that you have a radio podcast, I started listening and thought maybe you could help me. My childhood was similar to yours in lots of ways. I spent 10 years in foster homes because my mom was hooked on drugs and died when I was 8. She wasn’t married, so I never knew my dad.
My first foster home was awful. I was there about a month when my foster dad started coming into my room at night… always when it was very late, and everyone else was asleep. He would wake me up by putting one hand over my mouth … and the other, inside my pajamas. He always whispered, “Shhh. Shhh.” I wanted to scream but was too scared. I thought of biting his hand, but was scared he would hit me really hard. There were 2 other kids there, a 6-year-old girl named Lisa and the foster parent’s son. He was 4. I don’t know if our foster dad ever got into Lisa’s bed, and I never asked her.
One night while he was in my bed, my foster mom shined a flashlight into my room, and he jumped up. She immediately turned the light off and went back to their room, and he followed her. The next day when I came home from school, a lady came and took Lisa and me to different foster parents, and we never saw each other again. My new foster parents were really nice and adopted me when I was 13. I still live with them. I’m 21 now, but I feel so guilty because I never said anything about my first foster dad. What if he went into Lisa’s room, too? I hate myself for being so scared that I’ve never told anyone about this.
I work at a temp agency, sending people to different jobs. I meet lots guys my age there, and some ask me out, but I’m afraid to date, so I always turn them down. I can still feel my foster dad’s hand over my mouth. I really wish I could be a normal person. I don’t want to live alone all of my life. I hope you talk about this sometime on your show. I know I need help. Thank you, Shelly – (not my real name.)
I was so touched by Shelly’s story that I responded immediately. Here’s the letter: “Hello, Shelly, Thank you so much for writing. I hope I can help. You said you have never talked about your first foster dad with anyone, and that you feel guilty about what may have happened to Lisa. So, I suggest you talk with your parents. They loved you enough to adopt you, so they’ll listen and understand. Actually, I’m confident they already know, because the Foster Care System shares a child’s history when they are placed in a new home. Perhaps your parents are waiting for you to trust them enough to tell them.
You are not guilty of anything; however, by hiding your pain and refusing to talk about it – you make yourself feel guilty. When we keep secrets about ourselves, it’s because we’re afraid others will condemn us if they know the truth; consequently, guilt and fear are always experienced together. The only mistake you’re making, Shelly, is hiding your painful memories from those you love, and who love you. There’s no need to spend another minute fearing condemnation. You’re the only one condemning you. What happened in the past has no effect on the present unless we hang on to it and keep remembering it. It sounds as if you have relived it so many times that you’ve made yourself afraid of all men. That’s truly unfortunate, because no two people are alike. We can believe they are, but if we do, we believe a lie.
Get this off your chest and out of your mind; otherwise you will create exactly what you say you don’t want—to be alone the rest of your life. No matter how much fear and pain we experience, we are never permanently damaged by it… unless we decide we are. You may want to look at it this way: You survived your childhood – which proves you are incredibly strong. Now, don’t keep your strength hidden! Instead, recognize and appreciate how strong and resilient you are. When ugly memories return, immediately switch to thoughts that please you. Train yourself to think about what makes you feel hopeful and successful. If we don’t train our minds, they behave like an untrained puppy, and piddle all over our life. We train our minds by immediately switching from painful thoughts, to thoughts that make us feel strong and happy.
There’s nothing stopping you, me—or anyone—from being happy and successful except what we belief about ourselves. Belief has power. When we believe we have no control, we let other people, and our own thoughts control us. If we believe we’re guilty and don’t deserve peace, love, and contentment, we refuse to take control of our mind and our lives, we blame others, and never allow ourselves to be happy and successful. Beliefs are powerful, but we can change them and rescue ourselves if we really want change.
There is no need to keep being afraid and ashamed. You have already wasted enough of your life doing that. Talk to your mom and dad. Trust them. They’ve proven their love for you. Now, you can return their love and start loving yourself by opening up and admitting your guilt and fears; they’ll love you even more. Also, in the last section of my memoir, there’s a self-help recovery section, called “The Happiness Program”. I created it to help with my own recovery. Thank you for writing. I hope this helps. Othello.
You can find Othello’s memoir “Cry Into The Wind” and her other books at Amazon (click/tap here).
10/16/19 – Show 41: Accepting the Lie (a short story by Othello Bach) … there was an extremely intelligent and powerful man of great wealth, and equal generosity. In one way or another, he had helped everyone in the community. He married a beautiful woman who had such a kind, loving spirit that everyone who met her felt better after being in her presence. The whole town attended their wedding. Soon, this couple had a beautiful, bright son. They loved him so much they couldn’t find a name that seemed appropriate, so they finally decided on Myson—M-Y-S-O-N. They wanted him to always know they loved him and were proud to be his parents.
One day, when Myson was just old enough to pull himself up on a table or chair and stand, his mother took him to the back yard and put him in a wooden play pen. He quickly pulled himself up and smiled, and just as he did, his mother heard someone banging on the front door. She left Myson in the playpen and hurried through her large house to answer the door. To her surprise, no one was there. Thinking she must have imagined the banging, she shrugged, closed the door, and returned to the backyard. But Myson wasn’t there. The playpen stood empty, and one of his toys lay across the yard. Frantically, she glanced around and called his name as she ran toward the toy. The large yard had many lush bushes, trees, and flowers, and she searched behind every one of them, but Myson was nowhere to be found. She knew he couldn’t walk, yet in her panic she couldn’t help but search. Finally, with tears streaking her face, she ran into town to tell her husband that Myson was missing. He immediately involved the local authorities, and soon the whole town was searching for their beautiful baby.
All the while, a thin, dirty man drove a team of horses and pulled a small wagon out of town and into the country. Screams of terror rose from beneath a filthy quilt in the wagon as it bumped and bounced over a rough, rocky road. The man drove the horses faster and faster, and chuckled under his breath, because he knew the ransom money would be his ticket to wealth and comfort. He easily escaped to his shack in the country, where his wife waited—aware of what her husband was doing. When she heard the horses return and heard the boy’s terrified screams, she smiled and left the shack to meet them. Certain that their plan would work, she couldn’t help but laugh when she saw the beautiful child. She rushed him inside and told him to be quiet. When he continued to cry, she hit him. He cried harder. Confused and terrified, he cried himself to sleep while the man and his wife sat by lantern light and delighted in their present success and soon-to-be riches.
But success didn’t come. Myson’s father declared that whoever took his son would be put to death when he was found, and because of his power and wealth, the authorities, and all the town’s people, agreed to it. So, instead of collecting ransom money, the thin man and his wife moved further and further from the town, and the more they had to deal with the boy, the more they resented having taken him. They treated him with such cruelty, and insulted him as he grew, that Myson became a weary young man with no confidence, and little hope. Convinced that he was as stupid as they said, and was deserving of their insults and punishment, he suffered great loneliness. He sometimes thought he knew what it felt like to be held against loving softness, or lifted by strong, but gentle arms, but as time went on it all seemed more and more like fantasy. There were no certain memories, so… convinced that he was the thin man’s son, he accepted that he was as dull-witted and loathsome as he was told; consequently, he had no dreams of love and success. Thus, it was for many years, until he finally became like the man he believed was his father. He could only think of mischief, lies and cheating ways to satisfy his constant anger, resentment, and confusion.
When Myson was 45, and working as a blacksmith, both the man and his wife died. That same day, a lovely lady rode into town and needed her horse reshod. As Myson worked, she stood by and watched, and when he finished, she said, “You remind me of a man I once knew when I was a child. You look remarkably like him.” Myson listened, but said nothing. “He was a very wealthy, intelligent, and handsome man, who was married to a beautiful and kind woman.” Myson remained silent. He felt too stupid and inept to say anything. The woman cocked her head as her memories trickled back. “They had a beautiful baby, but it was kidnapped.” Not knowing what else to say, Myson sighed, and mumbled, “That’s too bad.” The woman cocked her head and smiled, questioningly, “Were you, by chance, adopted?” Myson laughed. “Unfortunately, no. My parents were poor, angry and mean. Now, thank God, they’re dead.” “Oh,” the woman said. “I’m sorry. It’s just… just that you look so much like that man. I hoped you might have been adopted.” “No such luck,” Myson responded. “Here’s your bill, ma’am.” The woman took the bill, nodded, and reached into her purse for $3.00. “Well,” she said, “I wish you had been that boy. A fortune still waits for him, and will be held at the bank for him — for one hundred years after his disappearance!” Myson nodded, again, but didn’t respond. He was glad to have $3.00. He could stay at the hotel across the street, eat a couple of decent meals and bathe before collapsing into bed. “Thank you!” the woman yelled as she mounted her horse and rode off.
The moral to this story? No matter what we’ve been taught, and believe, we were created in the image of our Creator, and there’s no time limit placed on claiming our birthright.
10/2/19 – Show 40: Bored and Restless Minds … our Mind never sleeps because it resides within the Unseen Power that we call God—where we and everything else reside. Consciousness sleeps and often even doses when it thinks it’s awake, but our Mind simply waits patiently for us to awaken to the benefits of Its power. Consciousness repeats almost every thought it had yesterday, the day before, and almost every day of its life. “Get up, eat breakfast, go to work, work some more, eat lunch…work more and go home, eat dinner, watch TV, try not to think about bills and ugly encounters at work… yawn, stretch, scratch, and go to bed.
Our Mind is stable and certain. Repetitive consciousness can appear stable, but it is not. Living within the Divine, it is always aware…if only vaguely, that there’s more to life than what it’s experiencing. Consequently, consciousness vacillates between the comfort of no-thought and no-effort repetition, and absolute, unbearable boredom. It is hungry for stimulation–something different, something new and exciting. Unfortunately, this hunger often prompts us to try the impossible: to satisfy our mind’s hunger with physical food—which only irritates, aggravates and depresses consciousness because it is judgmental and aware of the body’s size and shape. As our hunger lingers, and the awareness of “something more” whispers through the halls of our consciousness, we become restless. We’re certain something is missing, but we don’t know what.
Generally, we look for other things to do and places to go. We comb the Internet for ideas, talk to our friends and learn what they’re doing…and we consider a hundred other short-term solutions. We’re determined to experience something different and relieve our restlessness and boredom. So we excitedly plan a vacation, convinced that our restless spirit will be renewed—and it is, while we’re vacationing. However, once home, we quickly fall back into our repetitious thoughts and actions, and our boredom returns. Then one day, in a fit of depression, we ask ourselves: “Is this all there is? Surely, there’s more!” We’re beginning to sense we’re wasting our time – and our life.
The role of consciousness is awareness—awareness of itself, others, and all things…which includes God. Unfortunately, consciousness has learned to fear and to judge, so it projects its judgmental beliefs on God… sees Love as terrifying… and would rather die than come face to face with Absolute Love. Consequently, it is terrified of self-examination, so we distract ourselves with physical entertainment and physical problems. It’s impossible to love what we do not know, and we do not know God or ourselves. Until we do, we can’t know others or our Creator. Only by knowing ourselves are we given a glimpse into the Divine mind that created and loves us.
Boredom is the first “nudge” that moves us in the direction of understanding, and asks “Why have we stopped learning and searching for answers?” As children, we learned something almost daily. Often we learned that what we learned yesterday should be forgotten. Yesterday we learned that we could take our friend’s toy while he wasn’t looking. The next day we also learned that our mother would swat our behind and march us back to apologize and return the toy. At the same time, we learned to judge what’s right and what’s wrong—and, we learned we were “wrong.” Somehow we overlooked the sweetest lesson that although we made a mistake, we were still loved. Consciousness always dwells on what it fears.
So, we learned that lesson well, and as adults, it serves us poorly. It makes us afraid to question what we’ve learned. We have no trouble judging others or ourselves, but we refuse self-examination. Our beliefs convince us that we could be found lacking, and we certainly don’t want that confirmed, so we refuse to look. We don’t search; we don’t question. We do everything the same every day, and if others vary from what we’ve been taught, we judge against them.
Learning has stopped, so we often feel bored. Boredom morphs into intolerable restlessness, so we start looking outside us again, trying to satisfy ourselves. We concentrate on improving our bodies and continue to ignore our Mind. Another vacation, perhaps? Or do we need a new relationship… a new spouse? Whose fault is it that life feels so meaningless? Surely, not ours, we’re doing everything we can to make it meaningful. Yes, we’re doing everything we can EXCEPT THINKING… exploring ideas… asking questions, and trying to accept that we each have direct, immediate, and unlimited access to the Creator—within us.
We are here to give and receive love, but how can we love others when we don’t know or love ourselves? How can we love ourselves when we refuse to use our minds to learn about ourselves? We need to search, and scream, if that’s what it takes to hold our attention! Shout: “What am I doing here? What am I supposed to be doing? What am I overlooking? Where do I begin to search?” It’s okay to scream and shout, and when our tantrum is over, we need to be so quiet that we can hear our heart beat. If we fall asleep, that’s okay. No need to worry; we’ll receive answers. When we ask in earnest, we always receive answers.
The point is: Stop fearing God. We cannot love what we also fear. Love welcomes questions because they promote understanding. Boredom hides behind fear, and fear hides behind ignorance—which is totally unnecessary because understanding is available for the asking. We can ask to have our beliefs validated, and they will be. Or we can ask for understanding, even if it exposes flaws within our belief, and that will be answered as well.
The only “evil force” interfering with our lives is fear. Surely, we can find the courage to look within—where Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is. We can continue to live by the flawed conclusions we reached as children, but our bored consciousness will continue to ask, “Is this it? Is this all there is?” –Even though it knows better.
9/25/19 – Show 39: Willing Participants … parents create a will—a legally binding document, so they can assist their children even after they’re gone. Some parents gladly deny themselves luxuries so they can leave more to their children.
Now, consider how thoughtful and generous our Creator is. We have access to our endless inheritance now — while we’re here on earth! We were each given our own will—and complete access to our inheritance. We have the power to create whatever we want, and whether or not we realize it, we are accessing our inheritance 24 hours a day… every day of our lives. All that’s required to access this treasure trove of gifts—is our willingness to accept whatever we’re thinking. If we’re unaware that thinking is willing, we’ll often be startled and dismayed by what we receive. What we give—(and thinking is giving)—is what we’ll receive. Our inheritance is never withheld, and we access it so easily and naturally that we often don’t even notice it. When we’re unaware of this, the situations and circumstances of our life seem to “just happen.” Consequently, we’re left to deal with a myriad–and miserable…situations that we must scramble to resolve.
Strangely, even though the “things that just happen,” continue to plague us every day, it rarely enters our mind that we may be the cause of our troubles. Then, finally, our endless troubles force us to think and talk about a wonderful place called heaven, where all our troubles will disappear. In the meantime, we assemble a list of people and circumstances to blame for our problems—including God. While wrestling with one painful situation after another, we often hear or think that God is testing us—so we cling tightly to our beliefs and try to be good—or better than we have been.
Why would a Perfect, All-knowing Creator need to test His creations? Is it possible that He doesn’t know what He created? —or that His creation could possibly be flawed? They can believe they are flawed, but they can’t be flawed—or the Creator would no longer be perfect. If He had any doubts about our abilities, would he have given us free will? Are we determined to ignore the obvious… that we have created God in our image; and consequently, imagine He is upset with us, and is punishing us for our mistakes? How crazy is that? Do we honestly believe God doesn’t know what He created… or that he created imperfect beings? How can a Perfect Creator create imperfect beings without destroying his own perfection in the process?
Apparently, we believe some of these convoluted ideas; otherwise, there would be no reason to cry over our unanswered prayers. We actually blame our Loving Creator, who has given us instant and effortless access to anything and everything we want. Why would we do that unless we believe He is like us–flawed, spiteful, vengeful, and eager to punish us for our “wrongs”? In other words, we fear Him far more than we love Him. It’s not possible to love with all our heart, mind, and soul, when we also fear the object of our love. We may love the power and majesty of a 500-pound gorilla, but we do not rush to embrace it. Instead, we admire it from afar… glad that it’s caged.
It’s clear that we deny any likeness to our Creator, and imagine He is like us. Consequently, we keep him caged and hidden… somewhere beyond the clouds. Scripture tells us that God is Love, but clearly, we do not believe it. Our flawed belief doesn’t interfere with Truth, but it does interfere with our acceptance of Truth. 1st Corinthians, the 13th Chapter, gives us a complete definition of Love: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; It does not keep a record of wrongs. (NIV Bible).
We have generously been given “free will” to live as we choose. We can enjoy peace and happiness, or endure endless turmoil and misery merely by choosing our beliefs and thoughts. We know how willpower “works” in the physical world: we use it to deny ourselves some things in order to accept other things that we value more. We’ve all used willpower in one way or another. One of the most common ways is to deny ourselves specific foods in order to reduce our body weight. We even refuse to buy our favorite snacks so that we won’t be tempted to weaken our resolve. We do all this with mere thought! That’s willpower. It’s obvious that we know how to use willpower to deny ourselves, so why don’t we use it to deny frightening beliefs and painful memories? If we restrict these, peace will come of its own accord.
We enter this world with special talents and abilities, and want to participate in life using these talents and abilities to create the life we desire. We yearn to fulfill our hopes and dreams, but before we know it, we also learn to doubt and question others– which prompts us to doubt and question ourselves. We are told to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This isn’t because it’s “nice,” or so that others will like us; it’s because AS we do unto others, we simultaneously do unto ourselves. As we respond to anyone—including God—we respond to ourselves. In simpler words: what we give, we receive. Jesus said it this way, “It is done unto you as you believe.”
We seem to have forgotten that we’ve been given free-will, and that we can believe anything we choose. That being the case, wouldn’t it be wiser and more profitable to exercise a little willpower, and focus all of our attention on the idea that God is Love, and we are free to enjoy our inheritance now, as well as later? Our Loving Creator isn’t denying us anything or trying to “teach us” that we’re being naughty boys and girls.
He knows what He created—and what messes we’ve made. He also knows we’ve been given everything we need to create any situation we want—and that we’re smart enough to figure it out. Now, He waits patiently for us to stop fearing Him, blaming Him, and others, and use our willpower to concentrate on love. Then, and only then, will we be able to accept our full inheritance.
9/18/19 – Show 38: Picture It … a friend recently told me he felt trapped in the hectic, irritating, sales environment where he works. He said that he loved the job, but dreaded going to work each day because of the irritating attitudes he was forced to deal with. “You don’t need to quit,” I said, “Just change your response to the conditions.”
Then I explained how to do that. I said, “First, relax your body by imagining something pleasant, and keep imagining it until you feel your body relax. Then, imagine yourself at work, with all the conditions that you dread each day, except, see yourself remaining calm. Hear the noise, see the chaos, but picture yourself moving through all of it, as if you’re walking along on your favorite beach.” I asked him to imagine this at least three times each night before going to sleep. I had no idea if he would follow my suggestions, but when I saw him the next week, his body and face were much more relaxed. He said he had a very good week. Then with a bit of surprise in his voice, he said, “I did what you said—and it worked.” I wasn’t surprised, of course, but I was extremely happy for him.
We’ve all heard that “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and it is, which is why advertisers use pictures to promote their products. What might take a thousand words to describe can instantly be seen in a picture. However, unseen things, such as thoughts and beliefs must be imagined because there is no way to photograph them. Yet, if we imagine them… “picture” them, we make them more real to us, and we’re more likely to remember them.
A detailed description in a book can create a vivid mental image that’s remembered for years. The same is true when telling each other something as simple as how our day went. As we speak, the listener mentally pictures it, and it becomes part of their memory, too. Our shared thoughts prompt others to picture comfort, sadness, fear, or anger, depending on the tale we’re telling. Often, when we’re discouraged, a sad or frightening image from the past will suddenly pop up and deepen our sadness. It seems as if it pops up without prompting, but that’s not true. They come because we are thinking “like” thoughts… feeling “like” emotions. We don’t recognize our part in it because it happens so naturally, “like” bending our legs to sit. Who notices that?
All of our thoughts and “pictures” are saved in our subconscious, which gives them back to us when we are considering similar situations and creating similar emotions. It does this because it’s designed to respond to our conscious thoughts. It is a part of our intelligence, and designed to give us exactly what we want. We have free will; it does not. This is part of the Divine Plan that allows us total freedom. Our Designer knows we are intelligent enough to recognize the connection. We are allowed to “play dumb” as long as we want, with the penalty being: we punish ourselves. Our stubbornness to accept the obvious does not affect the love and devotion our Designer has for us, but it drastically reduces the amount and degree of joy we experience. If we understand this, we will pick and choose our thoughts and beliefs more carefully. There’s no such thing as an “idle” thought or “idle” word. Thoughts and words are equally creative.
The whole mental/emotional/physical process is so seamlessly integrated that there is never a moment when we are not choosing to heal or harm our bodies. We cannot touch our Essence… our “soul” because it is safely protected by our Creator. However, the belief that we can destroy what we did not create and cannot see—our soul—is the primary—and mistaken– belief that destroys our bodies. Denying this guarantees it will continue. It’s also easy to deny that we think about what we want, but consider a couple of examples. When we’re cold, we want warmth, and think about finding heat. If we’re too warm, we want to shed clothes or find an air conditioner. We picture these things, and at the first opportunity, we do them.
If we appreciated and valued our minds the way we appreciate and value our bodies, we’d give up our denial and save ourselves. For instance, if our shoes hurt our feet, we take them off as soon as we can. If a mosquito bites us, we kill it, and spray a repellant to keep others away. Why don’t we respond to our mental/emotional hurts and pains this way? Is it that we feel justified in punishing ourselves? Or because our lives are so dull, drab, and meaningless, pain is the only evidence that we’re alive? Without realizing it, we are disrespecting our real Self—the one we can’t see. It lives inside our mind, because we believe our body is our real Self. So that’s what we think about—our body’s needs, desires, and comfort. We picture it as our true self because we, and everyone else, can see it. Seeing it with our physical eyes convinces us of its importance, so we take care of its needs first. We wash it, feed it, take it everywhere we go…tire it out, then let it rest. When it wakes up, we do it all again.
There’s a better option, if we want it. We can picture ourselves experiencing life differently, and eliminate the unnecessary pain and suffering. Here’s how: Remember: Our imagined “pictures” are remembered as if they are absolutely true. Every time we look at them, we strengthen our belief in the picture we’re imagining. If we constantly review discouraging pictures, we doubt our abilities and worthiness, and interfere with our health, happiness, and success. Surely, that’s enough to make us pay closer attention, and imagine better outcomes.
9/11/19 – Show 37: Our Other Name … have you noticed that we have two first names? We have one that others know us by, and one we use to identify ourselves. We have our earthly family name and our Spiritual family name. Our spiritual family name is mentioned several times in the Scriptures, in both, the Old and New Testaments. Our spiritual name is the same as God’s, which is “I Am.” What I find most interesting about this is: we only use our earthly family name when introducing ourselves; the rest of the time we use God’s name, “I Am.” In fact, we have no other way to express ourselves. We say, “I am this, I am that. I am sick, I am lucky, I am depressed”, but rarely do we use our God-like name to express God-like qualities. Is that because we feel it would be arrogant to say, “I am loving, generous, accepting, giving and forgiving? Yet, we do not hesitate to say “I am hurting, afraid, angry or miserable,” – although none of these ideas honor God.
So… what does it mean to take God’s name in vain? Are we using it in vain? For instance, when we say or think, “I am angry or depressed, are we not using God-given power to create an emotional reality unlike God? Certainly, we are making it seem so. Is using His name in connection with profanity the only way to take His name in vain? Do ideas such as “I can’t, “I’m furious,” or “I’m depressed,” also call upon Him in vain? To do anything “in vain,” means that our efforts will not have the desired effect… we are wasting our time. For instance, although we can think, “I am worthless” and create a corresponding emotional effect—or a feeling of worthlessness— we have not and cannot make ourselves worthless or ineffective. Consequently, we have used the Power of I Am in vain. We’ve wasted our time.
A mind that believes the lies it tells itself — lies such as, “I am powerless” is confused and does not recognize the magnitude of its mistake. If it remains “lost” in confusion, it will inevitably sicken the body. Then, believing itself powerless, it will not realize that it is fully capable of rescuing itself; therefore, it is unable to correct itself.
We have been misled, and have misled ourselves. Without realizing it, we have used God’s name in vain so constantly, it is considered acceptable. For instance, when we think or say, “I can’t understand this,” we lie to ourselves. The reality of the situation is that we don’t want to understand. To understand requires effort and change in some way. It would eliminate our excuses and prompt us to accept responsibility for the havoc we create, complain about, and blame on others.
Then, there’s the hidden truth– that we are afraid of God. We’ve learned, and taught, that we should be humble. To accept that we have any God-likeness seems arrogant. Yet, we exercise God-like quality each time we think or speak about anything, including our perceived lacks, limitations and deficiencies—and by doing so, we increase them. The truly humble do not deny their God-likeness; they gratefully accept it and extend it to others. Still, we continue in our ignorance to take God’s name in vain, and say, “I am sick,” “I am worried,” and “I am afraid,” and the result is always as we have said. Simultaneously, we create a corresponding emotional effect that makes it seem as though it’s true, but “seeming” isn’t truth. “Seeming” is an acknowledgement that what appears to be true– may not be.
We are not helpless victims. We have not limited our power; we’ve ignorantly used it against ourselves, and created an illusion that makes it seem we are powerless. There is only one way out of the illusion, and that’s to accept our Godliness—our God-likeness, and use it to benefit ourselves and others. When we want to see and experience something different, we must look for something different. Instead of looking for what is wrong with our lives—or anyone else’s—look for what’s good about it. We always see what we’re looking for. Instead of thinking and talking about what we can’t do or don’t have, give thanks for what we can do and do have. Instead of criticizing others, overlook their mistakes. This reminds us to overlook our mistakes, as well. If we pay attention and change our I AM thoughts to reflect our desires, these will multiply, too.
Harboring resentments and fears as though they are treasures, is certain to sicken our bodies. Then, believing we are powerless to heal ourselves, we believe we need expensive remedies. Then, believing the pill or serum will make us well, we actually begin to think we will get better—so we do. Unfortunately, it rarely occurs to us that it was merely “done unto us as we believed.”
We live and die according to our beliefs, and because we believe in sickness, we experience sickness. Not only do we see what we believe; we believe what we see. What we do NOT believe is that we were created in the image of our Creator, and therefore, we have access to the Creator’s power. Most of us are completely unaware that using the words “I am,” literally links the power of God to our words. This “connection” is obviously a Divine Plan, and a Divine Plan is one that we cannot change. If we recognize and use it, we can help ourselves and others. If we don’t, we will continue to use it in vain, hurt ourselves, and teach others that they are powerless, too.
9/4/19 – Show 36: Thinking … have you ever had an original thought? I don’t mean a thought that no one else has ever thought… I mean a thought that you have never thought, and have never heard anyone else express? I ask, because original thoughts are truly extraordinary. Most of us think and re-think the same thoughts about the same ideas and situations we’ve thought all of our lives; and most of those concern our bodies and emotions. We think about how our body feels, looks, and smells, or about how we feel about certain people—family members, co-workers, friends, etc. We also dwell on chores to be done, places we must go, our children’s needs, and problems. None of these thoughts are original; however, they represent almost 100 percent of our thinking.
If you have ever tried to think an original thought, you know it’s one of the most difficult of all human tasks because most of us don’t actually think, we respond as we’ve always responded to various situations. We do this because it’s not possible to think outside our beliefs. We generally learn our beliefs from people we respect and love; so they are treasured. Or, we taught ourselves through trial and error, and treasure them because we love ourselves. Consequently, we often would rather die for our beliefs than question them. Yet, it is obviously our beliefs that are influencing our thoughts, and therefore, all of our emotions.
It’s not “wrong” or “bad” to think the same thoughts and respond the same way every day of our lives, but if we aren’t happy, our beliefs are the reason—the cause. Beliefs are the strongest and most protected power on earth. Absolutely no one can force us to change, challenge, or re-think them –except us; the holder of the belief. The lock on our mind is impenetrable. Only we can open it, and we won’t open it unless our pain is greater than our fear of questioning ourselves. When we look at the world’s problems, those suffering and in pain, it’s obvious that we all hold some malfunctioning beliefs; otherwise, peace and joy would reign everywhere, and it doesn’t.
It appears there is one central belief that separates us, making us distrust each other.
What could it be other than we don’t trust ourselves and we project our distrust onto everyone else. In our minds we separate ourselves from “them. Why would we do that? Do we think we’re insufficient to resolve life’s various problems? Are we afraid we’ll have to tweak our beliefs in order to have peace? Could we forgive ourselves if we did that? Do we fear we’ll be exposed as “mistaken or wrong?” Could we accept peace and happiness if it meant replacing our present understanding—with a modified belief?
Almost 30 years ago, I challenged myself to think an original thought. I put no conditions on the challenge; the new thought could be on any topic. At the time, I had a hypnotherapy center in San Luis Obispo, CA, and I made a 5 or 6-hour drive back to Orange County almost every weekend to visit my family. During those hours I challenged myself to think a new thought. Months passed without success. Then one evening as I was complaining to myself about the traffic and my weary legs and butt, the new thought came: “I could learn to fly an airplane and be there in minutes instead of hours!” I remember shouting, “A new thought!” I also realized it was true. I could do that. I had the money to at least rent a plane, if I chose to do that.
Following through on that particular thought wasn’t required for me to learn my lesson: I could think a new thought—new to me, anyway, and it would solve my weary-butt problem. My almost uncontainable delight arose because I saw there was a solution, if I wanted to accept it; and I had thought a totally new thought! Granted, this thought did not challenge my spiritual beliefs, but it did challenge my financial beliefs until I realized I could actually pay for lessons and rent a plane. Of course, that it didn’t challenge my spiritual beliefs is the better part of my point today, because even when we’re determined to think a new thought on any subject, it’s almost impossible. We will not challenge a spiritual belief, unless we’re convinced the advantage far outweigh our fears.
I also remember when I first challenged my spiritual beliefs—which was about ten years prior to my “new thought” effort. For many years I had prayed for one of my brothers because his life constantly stayed in shambles. Then, when I was 35, I received a call that he had committed suicide… and his wife had abandoned their two small children. I immediately volunteered to take the children, but that didn’t relieve my agony over my brother. So I began to question myself. Why weren’t my prayers answered? Only a hateful God would ignore them. That’s when I realized that I and my brother believed in a false, vengeful god – one who punished us for our mistakes and problems. It took three years to sort through the trash I had accepted as truth, and find the God of Love, and it was worth every minute of that three years.
Perhaps the next time you’re feeling depressed or upset you’ll try examining your beliefs. Perhaps there’s a new thought wanting to break through but an old stubborn belief is blocking it.
If we’re confident there’s an answer to our problems but we don’t see it, try affirming:
“I open my mind to new understanding, new thoughts, and greater health and happiness. I am in control of my mind. I can do this. It may take days, weeks, or months, but if you’re determined and persevere, you’ll succeed.
8/28/19 – Show 35: The Recipe (a short story by Othello Bach) … Mr. and Mrs. Staller were on vacation in France, when in the middle of the afternoon they happened upon a small out-of-the way restaurant. They hadn’t yet had lunch and decided to stop and eat. Five or six tables with white linen clothes stood empty in the center of the room, and several booths hugged the walls.
Except for the Stallers, and a waiter who rushed out to greet them, the dining room was empty. The Stallers quickly discovered they were unable to read the menu, and asked for assistance. Reluctantly, they accepted the waiter’s recommendations. Then Mr. Staller noticed a newspaper clipping printed on the back of the menu. It was written in English, and they were delighted to learn that this particular little restaurant enjoyed a distinguished worldwide reputation. The columnist profusely praised the cook and mentioned that the recipes were all from a small village in Southern France, and that they had never been shared with anyone. Several dishes on the menu were reviewed and the Staller’s were pleased to see that the waiter had recommended one that had been mentioned in the column.
When their meals were served, Mr. and Mrs. Staller took the first bites with great anticipation. “Oh!” exclaimed Mr. Staller, “this is the best food I’ve ever tasted!” Mrs. Staller nodded and swooned over the delicious morsel in her mouth. They ate slowly, savoring every bite, and talking of nothing except how happy they were that they had happened upon the restaurant.
“I’ve got to have this recipe!” Mrs. Staller said when the waiter returned. “I simply must have it.” The waiter smiled politely and said that the cook did not share these recipes. “Oh, but I must have it!” Mrs. Staller insisted. “Please tell the cook I would like to speak with him.” The waiter shrugged, offered a weak and apologetic smile and disappeared into the kitchen.
A few minutes later, a small woman, who looked to be about sixty, approached the table. Her apron was sprinkled with flour and multi-colored spots from the various dishes she had prepared that day. She self-consciously touched her hair and in broken English introduced herself as the chef, Madame Mimi John. “Oh, Madam! You have served us food for royalty!” Mrs. Staller gushed. “It is so delicious! I simply must have the recipe!” Madame John smiled and lowered her eyes. After a moment she looked up and sighed. “I much pleased you enjoy. But I do not give out my recipes. They my livelihood. You know?” “Please… just this once,” insisted Mrs. Staller. “I can’t bear to think that I’ll never taste this wonderful food again.” “We’ll gladly pay,” Mr. Staller interjected. “You name the price. Like my wife, I don’t want to live the rest of my life without tasting this meal again.” “No price,” Madame John said. “Apologies.”
Then she turned and walked toward the kitchen, but as she neared it, she stopped, turned, and went back to the Staller’s table. The Stallers smiled and waited for her to speak. “My mind change,” the little woman began. “My grandson… he fifteen… be very sick. My daughter, she need much help with bill. How much you pay for recipe?’ The Stallers looked at each other. “A hundred dollars,” Mrs. Staller volunteered. Madame John shook her head “Two hundred?” asked Mr. Staller. “Five.” Madame John said in a strong, unequivocal tone. “Not take less.” Again, the Stallers glanced at each other. “Give it to her,” Mrs. Staller said. “I can’t bear to think I’ll never eat this delicious meal again. And think of the fun we’ll have serving it at dinner parties.” Mr. Staller nodded agreeably. “Five hundred. And may your grandson be healthy again, soon.” “No, not happen,” Madame John said quietly. “We know he die.”
With that, Mr. Staller handed Madame John his credit card. She processed it and returned with the receipt. Mrs. Staller opened the folded paper and marveled that it was hand written on an oil-stained page that had been torn from a book. Then, to her horror, she realized it was written in French. “But I can’t read it!” Mrs. Staller gasped. “You must translate it for me!” “Yes,” Madame John said. “I do that.” She took the recipe, sat at a nearby table and translated it to English and gave it to Mrs. Staller. “It was grandmama’s,” Madame John said. “But okay you take. I have in my mind. But please, do not let know I give to you. Please.” Mrs. Staller pressed the recipe to her heart. “You have my word.”
Minutes later, as the Staller’s drove to their next destination, Mrs. Staller read the recipe aloud. When she finished, they glanced at each other, then sat quietly staring out the window. Finally, Mrs. Staller said, “Can you believe that? This stupid recipe takes two whole days of constant attention! Do this, do that, let it sit, let it rise, marinate this, combined these two ingredients and simmer slowly for three hours…. And on and on and on! I never heard of such a ridiculous thing!” Mrs. Staller knew immediately that she would never prepare the dish just for the two of them, and she doubted that she would go to such trouble for company. But, then again, it was honestly the best food she had ever tasted.
Back home, the treasured recipe was tucked away in her favorite cookbook, and eventually forgotten. They sometimes talked about the sumptuous meal, and longed to enjoy it again, but somehow, it was never the right time to do it. Then one morning, several years later, Mr. Staller noticed a story in the newspaper about Madame John. She had passed away. It also said that her famous recipe book would be auctioned off at Sothbys in New York, and that one page had been torn from the priceless book. Sothbys was offering $10,000 to anyone who could produce the missing page.” Mr. Staller excitedly read the story to his wife. “Where is it?” he asked. Panic crossed her face. “I’m—I’m not sure. I put it…” She turned and headed for the kitchen. “I put it in—“ She stopped dead in her tracks. “It was in the recipe book I sold at our garage sale last Spring. I forgot it was there!” Mr. Staller closed his eyes and groaned. “Are you sure?” Tears slipped down Mrs. Staller’s face. “I forgot it was there!”
Moral: Our greatest treasure is hidden within our minds; forget it—and regret it.
8/21/19 – Show 34: Playing God … for centuries, artists have tried to capture the image of God. Scripture tells us that God is Love. Love is neither feminine nor masculine, yet we can’t imagine anything without form, so we have imagined Love, our Creator, as a man with a body. Unable to imagine anything unlike us, we’ve concluded that Love responds to us the same way we respond to each other. In other words, we have created God in our image.
All images first appear in the imagination. Once imagined, they can be projected anywhere and everywhere, any time – and they are. There are many ways to see our physical image, but our physical image does not reflect our real Self—the Self that thinks – and was created in the image of Love. Love has no physical properties; consequently, we see only our body self.
With our Real Self hidden, it’s easy to forget who and what we are, and that our minds are instruments of Love. When we don’t know this, or we forget it, it’s easy to misuse our mind. When we have angry, resentful or frightening thoughts, we are misusing an instrument created only for loving. The result is emotionally upsetting, and physically damaging. These responses are alarms – warnings to “Stop! Re-think–or be hurt!” This situation occurs because we believe we see reality, when, in fact, we don’t. We see our beliefs projected onto others and into every situation, and this distorts everything we see. For instance, if we see a woman chasing a man who is running with a purse, we immediately think “purse-snatcher,” although the man may be the woman’s husband, and he’s rushing ahead of her to reach the bank before it closes. Her paycheck is in the purse and if he doesn’t make it in time, their account will be overdrawn.
Love exists in every situation, because all are created in the image of Love. When we don’t know this, or we forget it, we “play God”– the harsh, judgmental God we’ve been taught, and accepted. Scripture tells us that God is Love. In John 5:22 we’re told, “The Father, Himself, does not judge anyone.” Nor did Jesus. In John 12:47, he’s quoted as saying, “I came not to judge the world, but to save it.” He also said, ‘Your words will be used to judge you, either to declare you innocent or guilty.” Matt. 12:37. Whether thought or spoken, our words simultaneously create identical emotions. We judge ourselves ON THE SPOT, and instantly know if we have just “condemned” or “saved” ourselves from creating more hellish situations. Negative emotions reveal that we’re making a mistake, trying to use the power of Love for unloving purposes. That can’t be done, so we unwittingly punished ourselves.
When we believe we are “right” to make judgments, we are following a false god, and demonstrating that we do not know ourselves, and we do not know the God of Love. If we realize our mistake, we can begin to monitor our thoughts, and retrain ourselves to think lovingly. Or, we can spend our whole earthly existence hurting ourselves. Love has given us free-will, and allows us to exercise it. Those who understand they are hurting themselves will begin looking for love in every situation. Where they cannot see it in the physical world, they will acknowledge that only ignorance judges and prevents us from seeing love. Just as ignorance prompts a toddler to stick a hairpin or nail into an electrical outlet, we ignorantly judge and play God—creating pain and problems for ourselves and others.
Minds are made for loving; therefore, unloving thoughts are proof of our ignorance, and the cause of our pain and problems. When we decide to love, and only love, we begin to forgive ourselves for all of our ignorant thoughts and misdeeds.
Love, the Creator, does not forgive because Love does not condemn. It knows Its creations are perfect, and allows each to punish, forgive, and reward him or herself. To judge others is to “play God.” When we’re angry, vengeful and hateful toward others, we are playing the role of the false, punitive God we’ve accepted. We pretend he’s somewhere outside us; but we’ve kept him alive, well, and hidden of our confused minds. When we feel guilty, and judge that we are unworthy of peace, love, and happiness… we are playing the harsh, unforgiving and false god who exists only as a belief. We keep the false god alive by refusing to accept that Love is God. Love is Divine Intelligence, the Creative Source of all that is. Our minds are always connected to Love’s power. Love does not condemn us for our mistakes. Instead, Love allows us to learn at our own pace. First, we must learn to pay attention, and realize that Love has generously connected our thoughts and emotions—so that we’re always self-sufficient and able to rescue ourselves.
In closing, I suggest a mental/spiritual exercise that will speed acceptance of your Self and all others—as love. For a few minutes each day, allow your mind to drift over all the people you know. Do not choose some and eliminate others. Focus on each that comes to mind. As their names or faces surface, affirm: He is love. She is love. If I do not see it, I must be looking for something else. Therefore, I will search my own mind until I see this person as love. When I see it in others, I will see it in myself. Before you begin this exercise, you may want to copy this affirmation. In a short time, you’ll have it memorized.
8/14/19 – Show 33: Recovering From Trauma … when we have been stunned by trauma, we often feel that we’ll never recover. Any devastating experience can convince us that we are forever changed… limited in our ability to succeed and be happy.
I know, first-hand, that tragedy does not rob us of our power to cope or limit our ability to live richly rewarding lives. However, our response to traumatic situations can easily immobilize us and steal our confidence. As I stated in my first podcast, my childhood was filled with multiple traumas, and for years I felt helpless to overcome them. Then, because I stumbled on new understanding, I was able me to rescue myself. That new understanding was simply this: My thoughts create my emotions. When I fully grasped the depth of this statement, my perception changed, and I was able to take control of my life.
Later, as I studied to become a hypnotherapist, I learned that our subconscious does not know the difference between fact and fiction; it stores every thought (including memories) as TRUTH. Consequently, when we remember a horrifying experience, it is recorded again in our subconscious—as if it just happened again! This means… if we were raped once, but remember it every day for a year, the subconscious records each memory as a new rape. It’s as though we’ve been raped 365 times.
Little wonder some of us never recover from such experiences. However, the real tragedy is that so many know so little about their minds, they have no clue that they are compounding the very problem that they are trying to avoid. So, how do we recover from trauma and restore confidence, hopes and dreams? First, we decide to prove that we are not helpless, nor permanently damaged, and we prove it the same way we destroyed our confidence, hopes and dreams. We consciously and deliberately replace the painful memories with ideas that lift our spirit and create a sense of hope and satisfaction. We choose an idea that brings us great pleasure. Then, we write an affirmative statement that expresses that idea – then we memorize it so that it’s always with us to rebut any memory or thought of defeat that enters our mind.
In many ways, our minds are similar to computers. For instance, all thoughts are saved in our subconscious, and our most frequent thoughts are accepted as our “favorites.” Unfortunately, most of our “favorites” are self-defeating beliefs based on memories. We have recalled them so often that our subconscious voluntarily brings them to our mind more often than we want to think of them, and always when we are feeling optimistic and confident—just in time to discourage us from taking a new, more positive action. We need to be aware of this, but not defeated by it. This is “normal” and is an extremely useful tool which we can use to our advantage, once we know how.
There is no way to rid ourselves of painful memories, EXCEPT to replace them. So our first task is to jot down two or three sentences that remind us of our hopes and dreams. Next, we memorize these sentences; they are the ammunition we will use to rescue ourselves. If we’re in a situation where we can speak aloud, we need to read our hopes and dreams aloud. Saying and hearing our words strengthens their effectiveness. Then we repeat the memorized lines until we begin to feel a sense of hope. Then imagine living the dreams. Feel the joy and the excitement of success. We allow pleasant emotions to flood our senses. Repeat the statement, and imagine its fulfillment again and again. If we’re determined, we can and will retrain our subconscious to honor the new thoughts. Simultaneously, old frightening thoughts begin to die. Refuse to give them even a moment’s attention. This is how we retrain our subconscious to works for us.
There is no exception to this process. All of our minds “work” the same. Every thought creates a corresponding emotion. Our conscious thoughts are preserved in the subconscious and honored as “truth.” If we know this, we can immediately begin to take charge of our life. When we have repeatedly victimized ourselves with memories of fearful experiences, we often feel like frauds as we tell ourselves something as simple as “I am intelligent. I can do this.” When our subconscious holds beliefs that we are “unacceptable,” the new, positive thoughts seem like lies. The temptation is to think, “Who am I kidding?” Yet, if we persist, we will overcome the idea that we are unacceptable and insufficient. At that moment, we will also realize that we have not been permanently damaged. We have rescued ourselves!
What we believe IS our experience, so why settle for fear and doubt when we can have complete confidence that we are in charge of our lives. Once we realize that we have survived a particularly harrowing situation—fear disappears and confidence grows. We’ve proven that if the same traumatic incident happened again, we could survive it. In this way, we teach ourselves that we are never permanently damaged. When others believe they have been “scarred” for life, remind them that a scar is evidence that an injury has healed. The thoughts and memories we ignore die of their own accord. Remembering gives them the only life they have. If we don’t know this, we can waste our whole lifetime being miserable and pitiful.
I’d like to close with a personal story. Years ago, I met an elderly woman in a nursing home. Her name was Gladys. She allowed herself to be consumed by childhood memories and resentments, even into the nursing home. She was extremely bitter over what she perceived as, “Mother’s favoritism of my sister.” She told me that her sister had been stricken by polio, and died at the age of 8. Her mother fell into a deep depression that lasted for years—and Gladys was largely ignored, or at least, she thought so. She made it clear that she wanted sympathy, not help. She ignored all attempts to lift her spirits, and recited a litany of grievances as evidence of how she had been neglected. Now, as she approached the end of her life, she wanted everyone to know how she had suffered.
Such a tragic waste of life happens when we are ignorant of our mind’s power and ability to rescue us. We need only to remember that we are never permanently damaged—unless we choose to be.
Now, I have an affirmation for you may want to memorize. I am indomitable. My mind is clear; my spirit is strong. I will fulfill my hopes and dreams. I am indomitable.
If you need help remembering it, write it down.
8/7/19 – Show 32: The Great Piece of String (a short story by Othello Bach) …Tom Higgins sat on the curb in front of Earl’s Drug Store where unemployed teenagers gathered on summer mornings, hoping a local farmer would hire them for a few hours. In the gutter, he noticed a piece of twine about a yard long, and picked it up. A few minutes later, Rudy wandered up and sat down. “Whatcha got?” Rudy asked, nodding to the piece of string. “Nothing,” said Tom. “Just a dumb ol’ piece of string. Rudy watched closely as Tom wove the string in and out of his fingers. “That’s a great piece of string,” he said. “It’s just string! “Tom asked impatiently. “No,” Rudy said, “that’s a great piece of string!” “When’s the last time you ate?” Tom asked. “Yesterday.” Rudy couldn’t keep his eyes off the string. “I’d buy you a donut,” Tom said, “but I don’t have any money.” After a moment, he added, “Sure hope someone comes by with a job.” “Me, too,” replied Rudy. “Hey, can I see that piece of string?” Tom sighed as if dealing with an idiot. “Here, take it! It’s nothing! Just a dump ol’ piece of string!” He shoved the string at Rudy. Rudy smiled, spread the string between his hands, and in a reverent voice said, “That’s a great piece of string. Thanks.”
Tom scoffed as Rudy stood and walked across the street. “You’re happier than an idiot with a piece of string, aren’t you, Rudy?” Rudy ignored Tom and kept walking, all the while examining every inch of the string. He had walked two blocks when he came upon a young boy outside a small grocery store. The boy seemed upset as he tried to force a friendly, tail-wagging black dog to “stay” beside a lamp pole. Grappling with the dog’s collar, the boy said angrily, “I mean it, Millie! Stay here! You can’t go inside.” “Can I help?” Rudy asked. “If you can make her stay, you can!” the boy cried. “My mom sent me to get milk for my baby brother and Millie came with me. Now, she wants to go in the store, and they say, “No dogs inside!” “Well, I have a great piece of string,” Rudy said, “Would you like for me to tie her to the lamp pole until you get the milk?” “Yes!” the boy said, holding Millie’s collar so Rudy could tie the string. Minutes later, the boy came out carrying a half-gallon of milk. “That looks heavy,” Rudy observed. “It would be okay, if Millie hadn’t come,” the boy said. “because I spend half my time chasing her.” “Well, why don’t I walk with you,” said Rudy. “I can carry the milk or hold Rudy’s string.” “You take Millie,” the boy said, “she pulls me all over the place.” Rudy agreed, and the three walked several blocks to a house where a worried-looking woman, carrying a screaming baby, met them at the door. Minutes later, the baby hushed crying, and as Rudy was unleashing Millie and saying goodbye to the boy, the woman called through the door, “Thank you, so much. How can I repay you?” “A glass of milk would be nice,” Rudy said, and a few minutes later he was eating an egg sandwich and having a glass of milk. Then, making sure his string was securely tucked in his pocket, he thanked the lady and said, “I’m just glad I had this great piece of string and was able to help.”
Around noon, Rudy went to the park. He liked being in the park because his father had been a gardener who loved plants and flowers. For years, Rudy had worked with him, tending other people’s gardens. Now, however, as Rudy tried to relax, he heard a child crying, and a man’s impatient voice, “Calm down! “We’ll think of something!” Rudy followed the sounds and saw a young father and boy near a footbridge that crossed a stream. The father waded into the water and retrieved a small broken raft about a foot long. It had crashed against some rocks and split in two, but the tiny plastic people glued to the miniature logs sat rigidly in place. The boy, about six, sobbed uncontrollably as he reached for his broken toy. “I’m sorry,” his dad said. “I guess we didn’t make it as sea worthy as we thought.” “Will this help?” Rudy asked, handing the man his piece of string. “You might be able to tie it together.” “Sure enough,” said the boy’s father. “I’ll bet it’ll work.” They boy’s tears died instantly when the raft was repaired. He put it in the water, then moved along the edge of the stream, keeping track of its slow, drifting progress. “You saved the day,” said the father. “His mother and I are divorced. I have him only one day every two weeks, so when our plans don’t work out, I feel terrible.” “You don’t mind if I wait around for my piece of string, do you?” Rudy asked, a little embarrassed. “I’ll stay over here, out of the way.” “Not at all.” The man joined his son, and Rudy watched for an hour as the two played with the raft. As they left, the man reached into a cooler and handed Rudy a cold bottle of water and a peanut butter sandwich. “Thanks for the help.” Rudy gratefully accepted the gifts, and with his string returned to his pocket, he sat down to eat. This was really a great piece of string. He wasn’t making any money, but he sure was making people happy, and he certainly wasn’t going hungry.
After napping in the park, Rudy decided to go back into town and see if Tom was around. He wanted to tell him about the great piece of string. Tom wasn’t there, so Rudy figured someone had picked him up for work. He would come back later. Just then, an elderly woman came down the street, pulling a bag of groceries in a little, rusty, red wagon, when suddenly one side of the handle broke. Rudy wasted no time using his string to pull the wagon home for the woman. They had a nice conversation, and although she didn’t cook for him as he had secretly hoped, she did give him two dollars for helping her.
It was almost sundown when Rudy got back into town. Tom still hadn’t returned. Store lights were being turned off up and down the street, and a man carried a large box from an appliance store. He set it in his open car trunk, then wrestled with the box, shoving it this way and that—but regardless of where he moved it, he still couldn’t get the trunk to close. Realizing his dilemma, he rushed back to the store but it was now dark and the door was locked. The man groaned. “Need a piece of string?” Rudy asked. The man whirled around. “What kind of idiotic question is that? Of course, I need a piece of string!” Rudy smiled. “Well, I just happen to have one.” The man stared, dumbfounded, as Rudy held up the string. Together, they tied the trunk lid down. “Thanks,” said the man. “Sorry I yelled at you.” “Well, you can’t have my string,” said Rudy. “That’s a great piece of string.” The man reached for his wallet. “Here, I’ll buy you a whole ball of string.” “I don’t want a whole ball of string,” Rudy said firmly. “I want that piece of string.” The man rolled his eyes. “I can’t believe this! I don’t have time to drive home and then bring you back.” “That’s okay,” said Rudy, “I’ll walk back. But I want my piece of string.” Exasperated, the man sighed and nodded. “Get in. But you’ll have to walk back.”
The two didn’t speak for the longest time then finally the man said, “What’s so special about that piece of string?” “I don’t know,” Rudy admitted. “But ever since I got it, it’s taken good care of me.” Then, he recounted his day with his great piece of string. The man smiled and shook his head as he turned into a private drive with huge pillars on either side of the entrance. Rudy gaped at the size of the man’s house, sprawled behind a wide, sweeping driveway. Neatly manicured shrubbery, trees, and flowers dotted the landscape, colorful in the lights along the drive. “Wow, you have a beautiful home!” he said. “I haven’t seen a house like this since my father died.” The man looked skeptical. “You lived in a house like this?” Rudy laughed at the idea. “No. He had a gardening service. We took care of the lawns and gardens.” “Yeah?” The man asked. “You’re a gardener?” “Well, I know all about it,” Rudy said,” but I didn’t own the business. My father did.” “How long did you work with him?” Rudy thought about it. “’Bout eight years, I guess. Since I was six – when I wasn’t in school, I mean.” The man smiled as he parked the car. “What’s your name?” “Rudy. Rudy Salazar.” Then he added quickly, “Well, it’s really Rudolfo, but I don’t tell many people that.” The man turned off the headlights. “Well, Rudy, My name’s Jerry Martin. Our gardener quit two days ago, and we haven’t found a replacement yet. Would you like to see if you can handle the job?” Suddenly dazed and unable to move his mouth, Rudy nodded. All he could think of was the great piece of string, and all that it had led to. “Yes, sir!” he finally blurted. “I’d love to!” “Great! If it’s all right with you, you can spend the night in the gardener’s cottage out back. There are clean uniforms in the closets. Then, in the morning, we’ll discuss the details.” Dumbstruck, Rudy could only nod. “I’m sorry,” the man said, “do you have someone expecting you home?” Rudy thought about the ducks in the park, and how they woke him up every fifteen minutes, and he smiled. “Naw,” he said. “I won’t be missed.”
That night, after a long shower, Rudy climbed into bed, and stared at the piece of string on the bedside table. Stupid Tom. He should have known that was a great piece of string! Anybody could see it!
7/31/19 – Show 31: Our Fear of Differences … there are variations throughout all species. Each has specific DNA and develops accordingly, always striving to fulfill its purpose and reach its full potential. Some grow quickly, some slowly, in different seasons, different conditions, and each in its own “DNA determined” way. All variations of life appear to accept this arrangement, except humans. We believe that we have greater intelligence than “lower” forms of life, but this is one of those instances when that seems questionable.
We are often agitated and aggressive over differences—differences that can’t be changed by anyone — skin color, nationality and genetics among them. What could make us dislike someone for a condition they had no “say” in, and they are helpless to change? Only raw ignorance does that. Ignorance prompts fear and resistance to what we don’t understand. We think something is “wrong,” and convince ourselves it’s true. Thoughts are not based on truth; they’re based on belief. Until we understand AND ACCEPT this unbreakable relationship between our thoughts and emotions, we will experience fear and guilt and never get to the truth.
When our devotion is split between love and fear, then guilt—fear’s faithful sidekick–raises its ugly head to bite us. This is especially noticeable when we are judging differences that pose no threat to us. Guilt and fear are both detours away from love, but guilt is a more destructive trap, and more difficult to escape, because unkind deeds can’t be undone. Consequently, guilt is the most poisonous of all our negative emotions. Our glands spew toxic combinations of chemicals throughout our bodies. Without realizing it, we are literally punishing ourselves. A loving mind apologizes for its mistakes and stops the damage guilt produces, while a hardened, fearful mind eventually hates and attacks what it fears, and continues to poison the body.
Fear-based religious beliefs make generous contributions to this tragic situation, because the believers’ subconscious holds the threat of hell behind every thought. Blinded by their beliefs, they find something to fear in every situation. Such a sad and obscene approach to life has more to do with terror than truth—which urges us to love, respect, and accept each other. Teaching anything other than love exposes our lack of understanding. When we ignorantly and arrogantly see others as “lost” or “wrong” we are projecting our fearful beliefs onto them. Few know it, and even fewer want to believe it, but fear is the only evil we face. We’ve been taught to identify this “evil” as Satan–a separate entity, outside us, in the same way we think of God being somewhere in the sky, above and outside us.
Fear convinces us that we are always in jeopardy. Generally, our fears concern our bodies; rarely are we concerned with our minds—which control our bodies. It’s convenient to see what we fear as outside us, because it gives us someone or something to blame. It also keeps us ignorant of the fact that we are ignorant, and relieves us of the responsibility of correcting our misperception.
We are here to love and respect others—not fear and reject others. When we reject others for what they cannot change, we are also rejecting their Creator–the same Creator that created us. That seems a little dull-witted, doesn’t it? Yet, how can we be expected to believe otherwise when most of our churches teach a condemning, judgmental belief about a God Who is willing to destroy His own creations—and torture them forever? This fear-based belief has nothing to do with love, and we are told by John that God Is Love. Jesus, our Example, told us and showed us how to love and accept each other. We are different colors, have different genetics, speak different languages, and have been taught different faiths so that we can learn to accept and love each other. Unless and until we do, we can’t begin to love our Creator, whom we have cast from our mind and hidden in some imaginary place in the sky. Scripture quotes Jesus as asking, “How can you love God whom you have not seen, when you don’t love your brother whom you have seen?
We are autonomous and can teach ourselves to love if love is what we want. Or we can continue responding like frightened dogs that have been bred and trained to fight. Constant abuse and fear makes them mean… and it affects us the same way. Yes, we can continue condemning ourselves as we condemn others, even though we are fully capable of governing our minds and bodies with love. However, when we are unaware of this—which most people are—we’re easily convinced there is something to fear. In the same way, we misperceive when we think that someone else makes us happy. New relationships frequently include such comments as, “He (or she) makes me happy.” This statement is as inaccurate as “He hurt my feelings.”
We create all of our emotions entirely with our thoughts, which are based on our beliefs. Thoughts and emotions are as inextricably linked as our hands are linked to our arms. Raise your hand, and your arm rises. Lower your hand and your arm falls. The two work together seamlessly. The thought and emotion connection works just as seamlessly. It’s a teaching device, intended to help us learn when we’ve strayed from love—or God. Ignorance prompts us to misuse it… frighten ourselves, and create hell on earth. All of us are created in the image of God; therefore, when we reject others we are “playing god,” rejecting their Creator, as well as our own! No wonder it literally makes us sick.
7/24/19 – Show 30: What’s Meant to Be … years ago, while window-shopping with a friend, we stopped to admired a dress. After a moment, she said, wistfully, “My color… my style.” Then shrugged, sighed, and added, “Oh, well, if it’s meant to be, it will be.” I knew she had the means to buy it, if she wanted it, so I asked, “Why don’t you try it on, and see how it looks. If you wait, it may be gone.” She shrugged again, and said, “If it’s gone tomorrow, then it wasn’t meant to be mine.” Her logic puzzled me then, just as it does today when someone says, “If it’s meant to be, it will be.” Their tone often says more than their words. I hear a note of sad resignation in their voices, as if they believe a Divine Decision may not be in their favor.
The Divine Mind has already established what is meant to be. We are one of those decisions. It created us in Its image, and left earthly decisions to us. So what decisions are we wanting the Divine to make that we can’t make? Is our hesitancy prompted by our fear of making a mistake? Do we feel guilty for making decisions that satisfy our desires? Is it an attempt to ‘turn everything over “to God?” Or have we forgotten that we have minds, and were created in His image? Or… do we not believe that? Do we think that the Creator of all things is really concerned with what we wear, what car we drive, or where we live? If that’s so, I’m convinced that it’s a done deal, and we only think we have a choice.
Fear creates hesitancy – so let’s explore a few possible mind-sets:
• We know we don’t NEED the thing we want; we just want it, and that feels selfish… and wrong.
• We’re afraid to spend the money that may be needed for something else.
• We want a “sign from God” that it’s okay to have what we want… that we’ve made the right decision.
• We feel guilty spending on ourselves when others need help.
All of these “reasons” suggest that we fear punishment in one form or another. Clearly, we have a deeply rooted belief in our limitations and inability to make good, or “right” decisions.
Let’s take a minute to look at the lie we’ve accepted, the lie that has become a hardened belief as solid as a concrete slab. This fear-based belief obliterates the truth that we were created in the image of our Creator! What could be a harsher punishment? Yet, we chose it and willingly maintain it. We have traded an immeasurable fortune—the healing power of love– for the crippling power of fear, and we did it simply by moving our attention away from Love and placing it on evil. Our solid belief in evil blinds us to the truth, so that we see no resemblance between ourselves and our Creator. We feel arrogant and “evil” to even suggest such a comparison. Imagine how devastated we would be if our children denied any connection or resemblance to us.
The good news is: although we are like God, He is not like us. Being Love, He overlooks our childish fears, and continues to love us even when we believe a lie and behave like stubborn brats—insisting there’s a REAL monster hiding in our bedroom closet. Actually, that monster isn’t in our bedroom closet; we’ve hidden him in the closet of our mind—the same closet where we stuffed God! However, God is not bothered by an evil being which he did not create, and therefore, knows it doesn’t exist!
Tragically, what we refuse to believe is that we were created in the image of our Creator; therefore, we refuse to accept the power of it… to acknowledge that what we imagine and believe is real only to us — the believers. Why would we do such a thing? Because we can. We are free to believe anything we choose. We’re afraid of the evil monster, but we’re more afraid of God because He could get rid of the monster, and he’s left that up to us because He doesn’t interfere with our creations. If He did, we would no longer enjoy “free will.” He didn’t create the evil monster; we did! So it’s our responsibility to get rid of it.
We’ve forgotten that we have limitless power we’ve never used. We can also forget evil—stop thinking about it, and looking for it—and let it die of neglect. It has no choice but to die if we forget it, because it lives only in our minds and is nourished by our thoughts of it. We provide the only life it has. Let the evil monster disappear from the closet, and leave only God. If we trust that God is Love, we will open the door; if we don’t, we’ll keep it closed. There is no evil; there is only ignorance; we are proof of that. Unfortunately, most of us believe we are both good and evil, and that there’s nothing we can do about it, so we beg for forgiveness, but remain uncertain about our eternal “landing” place.
Our belief in, and consciousness of evil doesn’t limit the power of love, but it does impede our understanding. It doesn’t matter that the belief in evil permeates the whole world, or that preachers and priests believe in it, too – we are the metaphorical “fallen angel” who ignorantly, and unnecessarily, denied—and continues to deny–our likeness to our Creator.
That’s sad, isn’t it?
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.