Feeling Bad / Feeling Good

Every moment we have a choice to feel bad or feel good. Happiness is just taking advantage of that choice.

When I feel bad and don’t know how to feel good, I ask myself what is so important that I can’t let go of feeling bad.

Depression is rampant in the USA. It is one of those things one can feel powerless about, and is a good state to practice this on. What is so important that I’d rather feel depressed? Well it requires some inner work no doubts, I know from experience helping people with long term depression. But let me reassure you, depression is not a personality disorder, nor is it caused by chemical imbalance as our culture seems eager to believe. Depression causes that chemical imbalance. Depression is simply the result of giving up or not remembering who we really are and if we started this at 3 years old… we have it as a running tape within us… it may not be easy to remember why we started it… but it is important to search so we can reclaim our sense of self and be free to see that we have a choice so we can embrace it.

Blessings!

GOD

Saying God doesn’t exist is like saying unconditional love does not exist. There is no difference. God is like a combination of unconditional love and Universal Consciousness at the same time, but once you experience one of the two, the other one is right there with it; they are inseparable.

I once did not believe in unconditional love. Then one day I asked life: “If there is such a thing, I want to experience it!” Two months later I experienced it. I could not stay in that space, but the time it lasted felt so awesome I wanted to stay in it forever. When I asked how to get back there, the answer was: “Stop worrying!”

I have come a long way since then but I am nowhere close to being in the space of unconditional love all the time. I have experienced that awesome feeling a few more times after that. So one thing I know for certain, it exists, and it is worth giving up every addiction, every belief, or every desire, that is in conflict with its quest.

If you are atheist or agnostic it is because you don’t believe in the God that has been presented to you. I don’t blame you. It is healthy to be skeptical. I have heard of people asking God to show him(her)self to them… without experiencing anything different in their life. And thus felt they got some kind of confirmation that God does not exist. The problem is that you cannot experience unconditional love with your intellect, so you have to be willing to have an experience that is not intellectual…

I am not saying anyone has to believe in God. But why hesitate at the possibility of unconditional love? Why give up on it before trying?

I am pointing this out because it matters. We live in a world in which people in power operate as though they have given up on love. And it is a difficult world to live in for that reason. A lot of people end up with mental illnesses or homeless because love is not a priority.

Oh! It is not an easy quest. Giving up is easier.

INTUITION IN PSYCHOTHERAPY

At first she had reached a point where she was falling asleep. I suggested her little inner girl was angry but was not letting anyone see it.

She woke up suddenly in tears, and came out the kind of anger that had not been given permission forever… tears flowed and so many insights on how the abuse had misinformed her understanding of love and disrupted her whole life. As I was listening I was thinking to the intensity that human drama can reach. I was realizing if we only saw that we are spirits we would not get caught up in the drama and be so hurt for so long by other people’s misguided behaviors… but we don’t know and it gets so messy and so messed up and childhoods are stolen away, broken to pieces…

I let her get through it all anger and tears and coming on her own to revisiting her life. Then, at a moment of quiet, it just came out of me. I said: This is an incredible human story. So very intensely and horribly human… but you are not human, you are spirit.

At first she was taken aback a little, like I was dismissing her experience. “But I am human!” she said. “Yes, ” I reassured her. And I added, “and you are a spirit having that human experience.” She had heard that before. But she felt a little shaken both by the experience of feeling that particular anger so deeply for the first time and then by having the reassurance of feeling her emotions be swept from under her to see her life suddenly from a different perspective yet again: what if she saw the whole thing from the perspective of her spirit?

I was afraid I had spoken too soon about her being spirit.

This morning I saw her completely transformed. She told me she went out after getting up, a bit after sunrise, and did not realize how estranged from nature she had been, her spirit completely starved. She said my words had woken her up to her spirit again and she felt how much she craved to reconnect with nature…. perhaps even thinking about moving to the woods or at least to the country… That deep an experience!

Wow! How speaking the gentle truth at the right time can move someone to unexpected realms so quickly!

Thanks spirit for guiding me to help out where I can. I love working with you all!

Life is miraculous!

BODY – MIND – SPIRIT

What are the Roles of the Body, the Mind and the Spirit?

The Mind

Let’s start with the mind. When I lead groups and ask people what they use their minds for, I get the following answers:
1) I use my mind to be creative and solve problems
2) I use my mind to organize things
3) I make decisions with my mind

In these answers, there is an implicit acceptance of our mind as the highest source of knowing. When I say it this way many people then say that their spirit is the highest source of knowing. But how often do we ask our mind to quiet down so we can hear our spirit? Too often people tell me they cannot quiet their mind down and their mind seems to run the show… There is a sense that they have absolutely no power over this situation and they give up the fight… When we let the mind run the show of our life we tend to create agitation, resistance, stress, and chaos. I don’t believe that is the life we each want… but we often feel trapped in it…

So there is this notion that we need to listen to something wiser than our mind, to listen to our spirit… but how to do that when the mind is so busy taking the whole space?

Our mind is useful. But it uses the past to make decisions and to think about things. It does not have access to new information unless we give it new information. Einstein used to say and I paraphrase: “We don’t solve new problems with old solutions!” But that is all the mind can do!

The Body

And what is the role of your body? It seems all we know about the body is it serves to experience pleasure and pain, and to move us places. We want pleasure and we try and avoid pain. When we do this we split ourselves off from our body… and the result is we cause suffering. Here’s how it works. The experience of pain in our body is what it feels like when the energy is trapped. The energy does not get trapped on its own. We contract because of the fear of pain. In contracting our physical body, we block energy and create the pain we were trying to avoid. The body becomes a memory of all the things we have blocked and that is what causes diseases and aging. There is this notion that problems come as a natural cause of aging. I disagree. It is not aging, It is the accumulation of energy trapped inside that causes problems as we age.

The solution lies in acknowledging our body’s experience physically. As we do this by accepting and feeling the physical sensations in our body, we release pain, and insights come that help you grow as a human being. These insights never become available otherwise and they are not accessible to the mind until the body is paid attention to.

Yoga is one way to help release these blocked energies is a safe manner. Meditation alone can cause imbalances,

The Spirit

The spirit is your connection to everything. It is you… and so much more than you have experienced as a human being. When we have not experienced our spirit, we do not know what we are missing. It is like living a life as a pauper and having never seen wealth. But once we have seen wealth, we can no longer ignore it… it changes how we see our self.
Our spirit is a source of inspiration and when we access it, we bring new material to the mind, so we can learn to question old tapes and find meaning and joy that we did not know or had forgotten about. It shifts our perception of our self and our purpose in life. We open to contentment we did not know was possible.

Stress as a Symptom of a Need for Integration/Wholeness

We cannot just work with the body or the mind or the spirit separately. It is our responsibility to help them relate to each other. Somehow, as we do this, we realize that we are the ones who have caused the separation in the first place. And at a deeper level, they are not separated… so we spend energy recreating the separation every moment… That is the source of our stress and fatigue!

WHAT IS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE?

A while ago, a friend of mine told me her parents loved her unconditionally as a child. What she had told me prior led me to believe she was not seeing reality as it was… but who was I to burst her beautiful bubble? It turns out her telling me this was a beautiful gift. It occurred to me that, if unconditional love existed, I really wanted to experience it. A couple of months later I had that experience. I was working on some painful experience from my childhood – something I had worked on many times before without being able to free myself from its pain. This time I approached it differently. Instead of trying to fix my childhood problem, I decided to accept it as it was and just accepted the experience. After some effort and dedication to stay with the pain and experience it, I eventually got to a place where a dam opened up inside and I cried freely. At that moment, I experienced unconditional love. I saw how beautiful the planet was and the following wisdom came to me: THE WORLD DOES NOT WANT TO BE CHANGED, JUST LOVED.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO EXPERIENCE BLISS?

One afternoon I felt really disgusted and I did not know why. I felt so disgusted that I got exhausted and went to bed. Before falling asleep I just asked: “What is this disgust about?” I woke up 2 hours later with the words clear in my mind as though engraved: “Disgust is fear of love!” That gave new meaning to the place of love in my life and how I dealt with it. So I wanted to write about love but did not know where to start. So I asked inwardly, my eyes closed, and then a face showed up and kissed me on the lips. I did not name that face back then. I just experienced the delightful kiss and came out of it so blissful that I had to go outside for a walk. I felt like hugging everyone and, of course, did not… very aware of how it might be perceived. The beauty I saw walking down the streets is still fresh in my mind. We are never very far from bliss. We just don’t know how close it is waiting for us to ask.

In this time of Holidays, give yourself a gift, ask to experience bliss, and then share your bliss with everyone!

LOVE!

Introduction

The Beatles were right: “All you need is love!” I would even say… All you need is self-love! But that would not flow as well in a song. A long time ago I realized that love was not like emotions. Love is not in the same category because love does not come from your thoughts, it comes from opening your heart. I never understood when people said in movies or real life: “I don’t feel love for you anymore!” It did not make sense because the reason we fall out of love is that something like anger or fear gets in the way. It suffices to recognize the source of the anger or fear and we can easily tune back to love again. Sometimes we need to leave relationships behind, but not out of anger or fear. Instead we leave each other out of love and respect for the other and for our self.Part of the problem in relationships is that too often we want or expect our partner to love us when it is really our responsibility to love our self. That’s why I say that all we need is self-love. It would be difficult to live this life if we needed someone to love us in order to grow and be healthy. It helps to be loved when we cannot find it in our self to love who we are, but it is not essential.

Stories Pointing Toward Self-Love

The first time I became aware of self-love is when someone asked me to say “I love you!” to myself in a mirror. I remember I had a tough time then. That was a difficult realization yet a worthwhile one.Another time I was getting angry at a widespread bumper sticker: “Jesus loves you!” It really rubbed me the wrong way because my whole being resented that someone else would pretend to know what Jesus thought of me. There were some swear words in my mind as well! But one day, despite my resentment, I asked myself: “… and what if it were true?” So I imagined what it would be like if I allowed Jesus to love me. The result astonished me. I saw how I had resisted anyone’s love because I wanted to be loved by my parents first. I could have waited a long time! In that experience I saw how accepting to be loved healed the way I saw my parents. I saw that they actually loved me, that my problem was that it wasn’t how I wanted to be loved. I could then receive how they were able to love me.

Another time, much later, I was practicing a healing approach according to Bruno Groening. You can check him out online. It is a simple approach of tuning in to the healing stream of the Universe while experiencing your physical body and trusting that healing is happening whether it takes 1 second or several years for you to actually experience the results. Practicing this teaches one about the nature of faith and self-love. It is a beautiful practice. One day Bruno came to me etherically and asked me to join him and Jesus and Buddha and many enlightened beings. I had a tough time accepting. I did not feel worthy. When I finally accepted the invitation, something shifted in me. The next day I found myself closer than I ever felt to anyone I met on street. I experienced that there was no distance between me and the street kid from a poor family in my 19th ward neighborhood. I experienced myself and drug dealers without any judgment, without any sense of one being better than the other. I could have been them. That was a beautifully peaceful experience.

More recently, I experienced yet another level of self-love. Loving myself is not just being able to say: “I love myself!” and feeling it, or allowing someone else to love me. It is about trusting that what I want to make of my life is possible. It is about believing in my dreams and keeping an open heart whether things appear to work out or not, whether I see results or not, whether I get support or not. It is not about fighting for what I want and being more assertive in the world. It is about recognizing when I lose faith, and not pretending. It is about recognizing when I get scared and embracing myself and working at reopening my heart. It is about becoming aware of thoughts and beliefs that are not supportive of my dreams and recognizing these thoughts and beliefs are not me.

Self-love is not glamorous. It takes you in the mud of your life. It is a journey that brings to your consciousness all the thoughts and beliefs, and all the hurt that are now on tapes in your semi-consciousness and run your life but are no longer nourishing you! Self-love is about patiently catching those tapes from the corner of your mind and inner wisdom and recognizing their lie. Nobody else can do it for you!

Gifts

There are gifts at some point… One of them is that life is to be celebrated as any event is an opportunity for personal and collective enlightenment! Another is our purpose in life becomes clear and comes to us with little effort. Another is joy.

Path to Love

These gifts point us in the right direction because as it turns out meditating on celebration and joy while paying attention to our thoughts an physical experience (avoiding denial) accelerate the path to unconditional love.Have fun on your journey!

LIVING OUR PURPOSE

Introduction
       This article can be read without reading the previous article called: LOVE. But it might be useful to go back and read it if you want to get inspired after reading this article. Part I was about a selected few instances where self-love knocked at my door. The purpose was to encourage you to reflect on how self-love knocks at your door in your life.
       The purpose of this article is to go a step deeper: We each have a role to play in the evolution of humanity and the only way to play it is to recognize what our purpose is. That is a form of awakening. It is happening… revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Wisconsin, and then more recently Occupy Wall Street and all the other occupy that followed. It reminds me of Rosa Park, Martin Luther King, and you! We may think that it is too far away to try and figure it out, so we put it aside, and focus on material things and needs. We fall back on our responsibilities: feeding our family, paying our bills, taking much needed vacations, etc… But living our purpose is not as far away as we think. And routine life takes us there anyway… but it may take much longer and we may endure traumatic life experiences to wake us up: relationships break up, jobs loss, bankruptcy, accidents, terminal illnesses, etc., etc.
Where to Start
       Trauma is the result of fear of love. Wars are the result of fear of love. Oppressions of all sort are the result of fear of love. This shows the extent of the problem for humanity as a whole! The suffering in each of our lives is the result of fear of love. We each experience some love and we seem easily satisfied with a little, so little, that we accept or fight anything that comes our way. We are so much more than we think. We are infinite. That means infinite love is available to us. But we often live as though we don’t believe it.
       We cannot see our purpose if we are scared of love. We may not realize that our struggles come from fear of love. We may not see that we are scared of love or the extent to which we are. So the first step is to see where in our lives our own fear of love expressed/expresses itself.
Trauma and Oppressions as the Result of Fear of Love
       Perhaps this statement is not as obvious to you as it is to me. When two people are hurting each other, what might happen if one of the two suddenly realizes that the other is hurt and is scared of not being lovable? What might happen for instance if, in the moment someone is about to be raped/tortured/abused, the potential victim gets in touch with her/his own sense of being lovable? Imagine that s/he talks softly to the about-to-be-abuser and says: “No… listen… you do it all wrong… this does not feel good… let me show you…” (or something more directly appropriate to the situation, or simply train oneself to forgive if there is nothing that can be said). That would be a dramatic unexpected turn of event, wouldn’t it? To get there, the potential victim has to step out of her/his fear of love. I was describing this scenario to one of my students once and she told me that a friend of hers had done exactly this with a potential rapist. The man, who was about to rape her, ran away. He could not handle it!
       So underneath trauma and oppression is a dance where fear of love is being expressed. If it is seen for what it is, if awareness comes, there is a chance that feeling lovable can replace the fear of love and for the process of healing to take place.
       I think we each live with trauma, more than we acknowledge. We hide from it and protect it because of shame or because we are scared to look into it because we seem to be stuck if we let it overwhelm us. I think that the solution is to see the fear of love that is being expressed in our painful stories. We need to see that that fear is not real, that it is illusion… and to see instead the radical realization that the beauty of love is the only thing that is real and life transforming. It comes from a shift in perception. We just need to try that shift, over and over, as life events knock at our door, until one day it is there and we wonder why we could not see and feel it before. It had always been there!
Enlightenment, Here and Now… Really?
Fear of love in the world affects all of us. The result is, as the Buddhists say, that we are asleep but we don’t know it. One day some of us wake up, like in Egypt, and Libya, and Wisconsin… and it helps the rest of us wake up if we let it touch us. But until then we live unaware of our own fear of love, of the infinite love available, of the full importance of love and compassion in our own life. We live unaware that enlightenment is here and now… And we live waiting, longing, striving… not seeing that we already have the key to bliss. The key is two fold: 1) see the fear of love in your heart, and 2) see how it keeps you from knowing yourself. And then simply open yourself, empty from hurt, stories and beliefs you thought were yours, and dive into the unknown infinite love.
       Yes, it takes practice, but when you see and feel it, you realize you had the key all along!
Life Purpose
       We each need each other. We each have something that needs to be shared with each other: art, research, celebration, humble sharing of power, uplifting acts, kindness, love, words, hugs, touch, books, documentaries, sharing our stories, connecting, forgiving, taking the street, speaking up, holding our authentic space… Our authentic sharing is our true nourishment for each other! Christianity represents this with the body and blood of Christ in the form of the Eucharist and the wine. Sikhs share the ‘Karah Parshad.’ I am sure other traditions have something equivalent. But it is no longer enough… we need authentic nourishment from each other.

 

BEFRIEND YOURSELF

Mirror, mirror…
Look at yourself in the mirror. Look into your eyes. What do you see? Are they aligned, collaborating toward the same focus, or not? Is each eye sending the same energy? Feel the energy sent by each of your eyes? What is it? Do you feel soothed or agitated by it? If the energy is not as soothing as you would hope for, can you accept yourself and let peace and relaxation spread within you so gently and deeply that the light in your eyes softens and becomes pure love? Take your time. After the exercise, are your eyes more aligned & more interested in the same focus?
Wants or Soul Dreams
Can you see how your wants (even just having enough to support yourself and/or your family) prevent you from listening to the world’s needs?
If you suspend your wants with trust and innocence for a moment, can you hear your soul dreams? Can you feel the difference it makes to focus on one versus the other in your heart & in your being?
What is the distance between your wants and your soul dreams? Can you imagine and see that choosing your wants over your dreams limits your possibilities… but choosing your dreams will take care of all your needs?
Being Loving or Being Love by Elaine Desing
Elaine has a regular newsletter and on her March 22, 2010 issue she discussed the difference between being loving and being love. The first one involves a decision about whether you can entrust your love toward another, one person at a time, the second involves a question about yourself, who you choose to be, once and for all. To read the entire message please click on Elaine’s website link: http://www.elaineholistic.com/
Befriend your Soul by Yogi Bhajan
“What is meditation? When you empty yourself and let the Universe come in you.”
“Patience pays. Wait. Let the hand of God work for you. One who has created you let Him create all the environments, circumstances, and facilities & faculties.
“Oh individual, why you are in a very doubtful state? One who has made you will take care of you. One who has created this universe, all the planets, planetary faculties and facilities on Earth, He is the One who has created you. Wait, have patience, lean on him, and all best things will come to you.
“Dwell in God. Dwell in God. Dwell in God. Befriend your soul. Dwell in God and befriend your soul. Dwell in God and befriend your soul. All the faculties and facilities of the Creation, which are in your best interest, shall be at your feet. You need million things; million things will reach you, if you are stable, established, firm, patient. Remember, Creator watches over you and Creation is ready to serve you, if you just…be you.
“So please take away the ghost of your life and stop chasing around. Consolidate. Concentrate. Be you. And may all the peace & peaceful environments, prosperity approach you forever. Sat Nam.”

HEALING WORDS

Looking back…
When first wife and I broke up, I was devastated because I believed in my commitment to her and I did not understand what happened between us. I remember the moment I told her after 4 months of therapy that went nowhere that I had to move on with my life, that it was over. At that moment she first tried to get me to stay even though 4 months earlier she had made the first move to leave. But then we knew it was over. We shared with each other how much we still loved each other. “Yes that’s what’s hard about this!” Then she told me that women will love me. That moment of honest sharing after months of struggling to figure out how to keep living together was the most healing moment in our relationship for me. I did not consciously know I felt unlovable. How did she know to tell me that women would love me?

Another time one of my teachers once told me: “Don’t you dare take anything personally!” Wow! Years later, I am somewhat better at it… but every time I dig myself into an emotional black hole, you can bet I took something personally!

Negative Self-Talk

Some words we hear or tell ourselves are painful… The only way to heal from this that I am aware of is to stop trying to ignore them and push through… Instead we need to recognize and feel deep within that these words are lies… When we see/feel the lie, we can finally stop holding on to the negativity and the truth comes.
Our negative self-talk came in place of accepting some painful feelings resulting from one or sometimes many experiences. Freedom comes from accepting those unbearable feelings. Freedom comes from being able to laugh at our own insane self-talk — not take them seriously. Freedom comes from realizing that this life is not about you, it is about the love you are able to share and if you are worried about you, people will feel you as withholding love… Don’t withhold your love!
The Thin Line Between Being Healing and Giving Advice
The other side of receiving is giving healing words and that can be very close to giving advice. Most of the advice I have been given did not work for me. The reason is that people tend to give advice without getting to know the person they give advice to. It is not because something works for you that it will work for someone else. Why not? Because we each have our journey and our lessons to learn. So before trying to be helpful to someone it is important to get to know the person, to be curious, to care that the help we give is not to make us feel better but to really help the other person. If you have an attachment to whether the other person uses your suggestions, you are giving this advice for your own benefit. If it is something you need, don’t disguise it as a suggestion: know what you want and ask for what you want. If it is truly a suggestion, then you will know because you will to be willing to let the other person do exactly what s/he wants to do and be there to support him or her whether s/he is following your suggestion or not!
I think the best advice to someone is when the other person really feels heard and when it benefits everyone else around that person as well…
A Healing Offering
Talking with the other person is not the only way to know what is likely to be helpful. Here’s the story of a little old lady with Lou Gehrig’s disease who kept everyone awake at night.
A friend of mine, a nurse, worked in a hospice overnight. I was awake one such night and felt like calling her. She picked up the phone and told me she was having a hard time with an old lady with Lou Gehrig’s disease screaming and throwing her orange juice at her bedroom window requiring all her attention and waking everyone else. My friend was usually calm, full of love and joy with her patients, but right then she was overwhelmed.
I told her I would meditate on it and I’d call her back 15 minutes later. She told me she’d rather call me in case anyone was able to fall asleep in the meantime.
In my meditation, I wanted to connect with this little old lady. I wanted to know how she felt inside. So I tuned in to her. We learn this technique as part of Sat Nam Rasayan, a healing modality taught in Kundalini Yoga according to Yogi Bhajan. It is no deep mystery, we can all do this and perhaps some of you already do this without knowing it has a name!!! When I tuned in to this little old lady, I felt as though my body was on fire. I asked myself what it would feel like if instead of orange juice she drank water. The agitation went down. I asked myself what would happen if she touched the grass with her bare feet. I felt cooling and peace. So when my friend called back, I told her: “The orange juice agitates her, instead give her water, it will cool her down. And if anyone can take her outside during the day so she can touch the grass with her bare feet, that would be very helpful!”
I had my doubts that anyone would have the patience to do this. That was not taking into account that my friend is so nice that no one can say “no!” to her and the love the family had for this little old lady… A week or two later, I had a call from my friend, she told me someone wanted to talk to me. It was the daughter of the little old lady who kept every one awake at night. The daughter thanked me. She told me that she and her family did just what I suggested everyday taking her outside on her wheelchair and taking her shoes and socks off to let her touch the grass with her bare feet. And, since then, her mother had been sleeping 2 to 4 hours every night. And everyone else slept much better as a result in the hospice!!