It Is Time to Change the World

It is time to change the world.

The scientists have many answers, but the politicians and business people won’t listen, and won’t let the information be heard.

The businessmen won’t do it, because their main interest is profit, and they do not see the connection between profit and making the world a place for everyone to thrive.

The politicians won’t do it, because their interests lie only in getting re-elected, and they are tied to leaders whose only interest is power. Their love of power will destroy the world, because they do not understand that the only real power is the power of love.

Now, before you jump to the idea that love is just an airy-fairy, sentimental feeling, think again. Love as we use it now is some romantic notion, and the word has been so misused and abused that it means nothing. “Oooh! I love that green jacket!” “I love chocolate.” “Love ya!”

Real love is connection. The connection between atoms, which form molecules. The connection between mother and child. The connection between all humans. The connection between moons and planets, planets and stars. Love is the connective tissue that binds all things together, and when we ignore it, we ignore the fundamental principle that rules the Universe. When we ignore it, we do so at our own peril. Love connects us; hate divides us. But we are still all connected, despite the emotional turmoil of our times.

Everything is connected. People starving in one section of the planet means we are all going to suffer. Cutting down forests to profit the few means we destroy the lungs of the planet, which provide all of us with oxygen. Polluting our oceans means we pollute our future.

It is time to change the world. We are not meant to be a polluted, disease-ridden, oxygen- deprived species floating around on a ruined, decaying planet.

Having money will do nothing for you, if there is no food to eat, no air to breathe, and no water to drink. Having power over a destroyed world will bring you no profit or joy. Love – recognition of the connection of all living things – is the answer. I’m not a big Bible reader, but to those who revel in their money, their profit, their status, their power, and to those who support them, the question should be put to them:

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

It is time to change the world, to create answers and solutions. But they will come at a cost, and we must be willing to pay any price to make these changes. When you truly see the connection between all beings, you cannot hate, you cannot turn away when help is needed. You will want to work to correct the course humanity is on, and thus correct the course of planet Earth.

We are all from the same source – race, religion, culture, economic status – these should not divide us. They are just false constructs. We are all humans, and we should all be stewards for Planet Earth and its inhabitants. The inhabitants are us! We need to be caretakers of all of us. It’s time to change the world.

It is time to change the world. And yes, we can do it. It is a matter of standing up for what is right for all beings, and standing up for the Earth, which is our home.

Who wrote this? A human. One person among many. There is no need for one name, because people will instantly ask, “What does (s)he know? What makes him/her an authority?” The answer is that this idea is not unique to one human. Thousands, probably millions, know this. But in the onslaught of corruption in politics, finance, and various industries, their voices are not heard, and if they are heard, they are ignored. Not only humans, but almost all animals know this truth about love and connection. Among themselves they know this as surely as they know the sun brings light. This knowledge is straight-knowledge, within their cells, connected to the source of things. Humans have the ability to touch such truths, but have ignored it, in favor of power, monetary wealth and pleasures. But this is the Truth. It makes no difference if you believe it. The Truth is true.

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Fathers and Daddies

This was written in about a half hour. I had been thinking about my father, and how fortunate I was to have had, however briefly, both a father and a daddy. For me there is a certain distinction between the two. I thought about several friends I have had whose fathers or mothers were abusive, but who still, once their child was an adult, demanded their respect and admiration and time, none of which they had earned nor deserved. So this just poured out of me.

Having not written a blog in almost a year – though I have been productive in writing other things – I decided it was time to write something, and this is the first thing that showed up in my mind. It might not be relevant to many, but it might apply to someone you know. The gist is that love is something to be given freely, not demanded, and if someone deserves it, it is probably not necessary to demand it.

Some people have a man in their lives who is their father, or their daddy – the man who contributed to their birth, and then stayed around to nurture and raise them. If they are lucky, they got both – father and daddy. .

A daddy is a treasure, and is frequently found in the same body as a father. Daddies throw you up in the air when you are a baby. They tickle you, delighted by your laughter. They hurt when you are sad. When daddies get home from work, you run to them as if you haven’t seen them in forever, and then leap up, to get the biggest hug. Daddies play games with you, squirt you when you’re swimming, make you laugh, and always have your back. They will teach you sports, or math, or whatever it is you need to learn. And if they can’t do it, they will find someone who can. In general daddies are cheerleaders.

A father is the man who is there for you as you grow up and mature. He listens to you, takes your ideas and concerns seriously, and from his experience and integrity he is able to guide you through the difficult challenges and circumstances that from time to time assail you. A father answers your questions, or guides you in finding the answers. A father is a teacher, a guide, and hopefully a role model. If you are really lucky, he also provides a moral compass for you as you mature.

Most people in the daddy role are also fathers. Sometimes you get someone who is more one than the other. But he is one of the most important people in your life. The wonderful thing about this person is that you never need to earn his love – it is given freely, continually, and never falters, even on the occasions when you do something unforgivable or unthinkable. Usually at that point this person will cry inside for you, but his love will be there when you realize that you have been less than your stellar self, and he will show you, with his love and his compassion, that you still are your stellar self, you just messed up a bit.

There may be a time when your father/daddy and your mother/mommy split up. If both of them are mature and nurturing, they will still keep up their roles, and be there for you no matter what. Sadly, this is not always the case.

Since this is an essay about fathers/daddies, I will say this: when a man contributes a sperm but nothing more to your existence, he is not a father or a daddy. He is a sperm donor. When a sperm donor turns on you, is unkind, unwilling and unable to nurture, support, and contribute to your well-being, he cannot claim the title of father or daddy. When his emotions run more towards anger, derision and dismissal, he is dishonoring the title he could have had, but has forsaken. Father/Daddy – these are sacred titles, only bestowed on those who fulfill the role with honor.

A sperm donor cannot make demands on your time or your affections. These are given freely by you, because they are deserved, but they are not subject to demand. So – if you have such a person in your life, even if a guidance counselor in your school says to you, “Of course you love him! He’s your father!” – you do not have to love him, except in the more abstract sense that we are all One, and he is part of the One.

But – and this is a big thing – while you may not be able to love him, what you should work on is forgiveness. You do this not for him but for yourself. Do not hold on to all the negative emotions this person evokes in you. Rather release them, forgive him, and show compassion for this person who is, in fact, isolated by his own misery, in a prison he began creating years ago in response to whatever things in his life made him so hurt and angry and afraid to be kind.

Sometimes, by the way, if you have been unfortunate to have a sperm donor instead of a father/daddy, someone else comes into your life and takes on that role. How fortunate you are! These are often the best of the best. If you have someone like that, count your many blessings.

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I met a young woman the other day at Trader Joe’s. I had seen her only a short while before at another store in the same shopping center. I was struck by her beauty, and so when I saw her for the second time, I said, “You were just in Whole Foods a little while ago.”

“Yes,” she said, “I was.”

“I noticed you immediately when you walked in, and was struck by your beautiful face.”

She was flustered for a moment, then pointed at me and said, “Well, look at you!”

“Dearheart, we’re not discussing me,” I said, “I look fine, but you are radiant.”

“But that’s just it – I can’t wait to be old,” she replied. Then, fearing she might have insulted me by calling me old, “Well, I mean, I can’t wait to age.”

“Why wait? You’re aging right now, as you stand here.”

“Oh my God, you’re right! This changes everything!”

“Actually, it doesn’t change anything, it just gives you a different viewpoint. You are aging, but if you wait until you feel old, you will have missed out on all the fun of seeing yourself change, and grow, and become. Aging is the process of change. The key to enjoying it is – pay attention.”

So that was the brief conversation I had with the young lady, and we went on our separate ways. I thought about this later, and realized that the exchange, though short, was actually somewhat profound. How often we don’t see what is occurring in our lives as it is actually happening. We may react to it, but we don’t necessarily pay attention to it enough for it to be a catalyst for change, growth or opportunity. Sometimes we get stuck in the moment and we don’t see anything else past it for a long time.

It reminded me a bit of the last act of “Our Town,” a play by Thornton Wilder, in which one of the main characters, Emily, has died. She is with the other townspeople who have passed on, and she wants to go back to revisit just one day on Earth. Not a very important one, just to go back and see everyone. She is warned against it.

When she goes back – for the day of her 11th birthday – she realizes that no one is really seeing one another. “Let’s really look at one another!…It goes so fast….I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed… “

When she gets back to the place where all the passed-on townspeople are, she asks: “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?”

She has said her good-bye to Earth in a sweet remembrance of some of the mundane but lovely things in life – clocks ticking, sunflowers, food, coffee, new-ironed dresses, hot baths, sleeping, waking up. And there it is – all the things that we take for granted, don’t even notice – and then we are old.

One of the townspeople says to her: “Yes, now you know… That’s what it was to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those about you. To spend and waste time as though you had a million years…. Ignorance and blindness.”

So – in the middle of sad times, we want them gone. In the middle of good times, we want them to stay forever. But do we really pay attention to either? Do we see them in the haze of our own desire for them to be – or not be – what we do or don’t want?

Pay attention. Take the time to see what is there, and look inside to how you feel, and to what is happening. Sit with it. Be with that specific time, so that it is precious or awful for that moment. You can live with that. You can live much better with that than simply passing it by, and slowly aging without even knowing that that’s what’s been happening.

Paying attention can mean that at the end of your life you will hopefully have lived well, consciously, and that you will not have wasted your time waiting for the next moment to come, while the one you are in is still in front of you.

Age well – en-joy each moment, even the sad stuff. Treat it as if it will never come again. Ha! Pay attention right now, as you sit after reading this. Look in, look out –  pay attention.

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I meditate every day – sometimes more than once a day. My purpose in meditating is very different from what it was when I began. When I began the journey that led me to a spiritual practice and meditation, I thought meditation was about being still, quiet, not thinking, and being relaxed. Mostly it was supposed to be about staying calm, having an empty mind. Lots of luck on that last one.

My spiritual search began when I was still in school, and I asked myself the question, “Who am I? Who am I without my personality attributes and talents?” I asked a friend what she thought. She said, “Well, you’re Davina.” I said I didn’t think that was the answer.

After many years, joining groups, leaving groups, disappointments and disillusionments, I woke up to the realization that there were things I had to discover on my own, by learning and by experience.

I began to read books on ancient wisdom, written by a variety of people. I read physicists and cosmologists and esotericists, the old and new testaments, Hindu and Buddhist teachings.. The most important things I learned about meditation came from a variety of sources, and from my own experience.

I learned that there was a spiritual purpose behind meditation that was far beyond getting still and quiet. Meditation’s true purpose is so much more than simply feeling better so you can cope with life. (And I’m not saying that those are bad things, but they’re just a partial view of the entirety of the purpose and benefits of meditation.)

While at first meditation may seem to be something that “takes you away” from things for a while, I have come to see meditation as a way to bring me to my Self, in the highest sense. I now see myself as the observer of my thinking, and I know my thoughts are not me. I see each human as a spark from a much larger flame, and when we meditate we focus our tiny flame until it is united with the larger one. We become connected to that part of us that knows no boundaries, no limits, no insecurities, no opinions, no needs.

In its highest use, meditation is actually a service. It is a means for reaching higher levels of consciousness, for uniting ourselves with something beyond our small selves. In meditation we place ourselves in a position to receive higher energies, and function like tuning stations for these energies. Hopefully, we then pass them on in some way.

Though what is happening currently on planet Earth doesn’t look too pretty, the fact is that the human race is in the process of evolving. Raising consciousness to a higher level is part of that evolutionary process. So in meditating we are helping true evolution to occur. Imagine a time when humans can communicate without bullets or bombs, but with deep communication and understanding. Imagine a time when someone can say something offensive, and instead of striking back, you can simply observe it all, with no flashback reaction. You might respond, but you wouldn’t automatically react as an animal does when threatened. I believe that sane behavior will be the result of evolution, and I believe that through meditation we become more capable of such behavior.

So for many years now, each day I read, I study a bit, and I meditate. I am changed, and changing. Yet under all the change I am eternally the same. I have always been that still point, but now I am coming to know that. Now when I meditate, I am meditating not just for myself, but for everyone. One point of stillness aids the whole human family to rise.

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I don’t think there is a person on Earth who would reject the idea that balance and harmony are ideal situations for any living organism, and, for that matter, any planet or solar system or galaxy. The mental, emotional and physical states we experience are a direct result of how much balance and harmony we possess, or how much of these two traits we lack.

More and more researchers are discovering that emotional balance has a dramatic effect on physical and mental balance. Stress causes illness. I know. I have had to deal with illness that I know was caused by stress. And sometimes we simply take the stress for granted, and forget what it was like when we were completely at ease.

A sign at the Sonoma Ashram in Sonoma, California reads: “Nothing is worth losing your peace.” More and more I am finding that this is true. There is SO much out there that can grab hold of our peaceful state and make us crazy. Politics, the environment, schools, pollution, bad behavior, tragedies, domination by electronics, our children, their children, someone else’s children, noise. There is an endless list.

What is the remedy? How do we help the world? How do we make it better?

You might not like the answer, but it’s this: Start with yourself. Find beauty each day. Find a way to be kind to people. Be kind to yourself. Instead of being frustrated while waiting in line, or in traffic, use the time to simply be silent, and breathe. Be grateful wherever you are, for that moment. Keep your own energy as clean and bright as you can, and you will be one spot of light in the dark.

I know, I know – big deal. YES. IT IS. Because in doing this, you are being an example, feeling better about yourself and the world. And your light will radiate on others. It will make a difference.

A Quick Parable:
An old man walking along the beach littered with starfish after a storm came across a young boy who was tossing the starfish back in the ocean. Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. The boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.

The old man laughed. “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and, turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”

Get out there and shine, and create harmony around you. Guarantee it will make a difference. YOU will make a difference. And you will feel a difference.

Oh, come on – just try it! You know how sometimes you’re walking along smiling, and someone smiles back at you? That smile is a reflection of you.

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Reaching for Higher Ground

Recently a short paragraph in some reading material I’m studying gave me a bit of a jolt. I thought about it, and several days and several walks in the park later, I came up with some ideas about why I’m on the path I’m on. The mental meanderings I went through were thought-provoking.

Paraphrased, the paragraph said that the creative activity of the imagination is the first organizing influence that operates on and within the energies of a person who wants to move to higher ground (to the Higher Self). That’s what it said – the organizing influence that works on your energies to move you to a higher place in your consciousness is the creative imagination.

What? Okay, wait. What? This took me a while to digest. When I first thought about this idea, I thought about the imagination and what it means to me. My ideas included daydreaming, imagery and visualization. And then there is the imagination that runs on and on, making mountains out of molehills. These are all aspects of the imagination, but considering the creative activity of the imagination as an organizing influence, as something that affects spirituality – that was a new concept.

I thought of the famous quote of Einstein’s: “IMAGINATION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN KNOWLEDGE.” A poster with Einstein’s bushy head and these words hung in my classroom for many, many years. I believe this completely, without question. But as I walked along, I thought, “Okay, I feel this is true. But why is it true?”

What I came up with is that knowledge is what we already know; it is, in a sense, in the past. We can find it in books, in past experiences, on Google. Knowledge is what’s already been found or learned. And it’s fixed in time; after a while what we know may not even be true any more.

Imagination, on the other hand, looks to what we don’t know. It’s what creates, what brings into being that which we don’t already know. And that gave me a clue as to why imagination is a key to the Higher Self.

I began to think about my Higher Self. More specifically, I thought about what it would be composed of, what it would look or act like. I’ve always felt an intuitive sense of this, but really, what would my Higher Self be like if I met her? Am I ever my higher self? How close am I – or is anyone else – to meeting the Higher Self?

I thought first about what my Higher Mind would be like. For one thing, I decided that it would view all things symbolically. The principal of “as above, so below” would be the basis for its functioning. So everything I see would be viewed only as a manifestation – a symbol, so to speak – of something higher. No matter if it be a person, an animal, a rock or tree – I would see beyond the physicality of it, and know that the light of Spirit is within it. I would know that the outer presence is simply the embodiment of that light, but it’s the light that counts. I would know this completely and with total certainty as a given, not simply intellectually. Everything I encounter is a meeting with spirit, or essence. (This reminded me of the title of a book I read awhile ago: That Which Transpires behind That Which Appears.)

Then I thought of my emotional component. What would that be like? The word love came to mind, but not the love of romance, or even the love of a parent for a child, or the affection of one friend for another. I imagined it would be more like total, unconditional acceptance, knowing; more of a doing than a feeling.

I’ve often said that if I could treat every human I meet with the same acceptance I show for every dog or cat or other creature, I would be a saint. When I go on my morning walk I greet each person I see, but each dog is greeted with delight and such joy – as if they were all long lost friends. And the interesting thing is that dogs I’ve never met instantly come up to me. Once in a while they try to follow me home. There is something in my whole openness about animals and nature that says, “You are perfect and I see you that way.” Now, why can’t I do that with people? Notice, I said, “do that” – not feel that. It’s something of a conundrum, to be able to greet an animal with no restraint, no armor, no facade, yet the species I’m most like poses more a of a problem.

Well, what if I did that with people? What if I actually delighted in every person I met? Just to know how wonderful they are. That would be an aspect of my higher emotional state. I would see them clearly, without any of my own “stuff” – or theirs – to get in the way of our relationship. In fact, though I could use any emotion I chose at any time, I would not have any emotional baggage, if I were my higher self.

If someone said something mean, cruel or unkind, or I saw something happen that was not right – what then? I walked around a little, thinking about this. It was puzzling – how would my higher emotional self respond to really dreadful behavior? There are a lot of people in the world who do unkind, cruel things; there is a lot of greed, anger and violence in the world.

The answer came to me in the word respond. I believe the emotional part of me would respond, rather than react. I would not feel that emotional pang, or tug; no rise of reacting anger or hurt would occur. Instead, I would be able to listen, to observer, to understand. Perhaps I would have words or actions that could soothe. But the entire emotional transaction would not involve my getting caught up in being right, in demanding someone behave, etc. First of all, I would know that underneath, this person is still the reflection of the Whole, and therefore there is a light somewhere in there. (Okay, maybe the light is really, really dim, or maybe it’s blocked by the darkness of the person…but there is some spark, I’m sure.)

Then I thought of the physical part of me. What would that be like? I believe my mental and emotional states would be in alignment to the point where my physical body would follow suit – as above, so below. I would be able to communicate to my body through my love for each and every cell, each organ, and I would be able to heal myself. Now, I know this is possible; I believe it and I have done it. I haven’t been able to do it in all instances, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. I just have to know my body a little better, and operate from that knowing place.


So then I went back to the imagination. What does all this have to do with organizing my energies for the journey to my Higher Self? How does this actually work?

And I realized that it was working all this time, to help me see a future self. All the time that I was winding through my questions, I was continually posing the question that invariably evokes the imagination: what if?

Here I was, asking myself, “What if?” and projecting what would happen if…. And of course, I took myself on a journey of “what if…?” and came up with a compact synopsis of my Higher Self. This whole exploration was organized by my imagination. Believe me, I will be looking at this for a looong time, so it’s really just the beginning.


Then another phrase came to mind: acting AS IF. Some people call this “fake it ‘til you make it” but I don’t think this is quite the same thing. Acting AS IF is a conscious choosing of how you will be, and following through with it. It takes will, something I struggle with on moment to moment basis.

For me that rounded out the picture – higher mind, love and will. If I could call upon these three, act as if I were already my Higher Self, I would eventually see results. My imagination would have organized my energies so that I could act as if I were my best self.

I already see results with animals and plants – I just have to get to the point where I can respond to humans – and to myself – the same way. I’m working on it – it’s slow going, but it’s better than not going at all…
HERE’S A STORY SOMEONE SENT ME IN AN E-MAIL YEARS AGO – I THINK IT FITS IN HERE. If it doesn’t seem to fit, at least it’s a cute story.

There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God was, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer, and he started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her, and opened his suitcase. He was about to drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie.

She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that he wanted to see it again, and so he offered her a root beer. Once again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon, eating and smiling, but they never said a word. As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was, and he got up to leave. But before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman, and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “Oh, I had lunch with God.”

Before his mother could respond, he said, “You know what? She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”

Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of pure joy and peace on her face. He asked, “Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?”

“Oh,” she answered, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.” Before her son could respond, she added, “You know, he’s a lot younger than I expected.”

How much do we see – in a flower, a person, something or someone we see every day? Do we see beyond the anger or the pain, to that which is beyond it, behind it, within it? Do we see the light that’s there? Maybe we just need to look a little deeper, or look at it as if it’s already there.

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I saw a sign in my gym the other day: “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

I thought about this, and of course made a short list. I’d write the best short stories ever; I’d star in a play at a major theater; I’d paint wonderful paintings that hang in a high-end gallery.

I thought about this some more on my walk, and the idea that I could not fail intrigued me. First I thought about the failure in terms of ability. If I write a fabulous short story, what then constitutes my success? Selling it? Making money? Or is the accomplishment the success, whether it ever sees broad publication or not? And who decides? I have read some novels and short stories that I think are abysmal. But they are published, in the library or a book store, shiny cover and all. Some might say the author is successful. Friends who read my short stories think they are excellent, should be published, etc. So though unpublished, am I a success or failure?

My paintings, my acting have both been praised. Am I unsuccessful because I’m not in a high end gallery, paintings being snatched up by collectors who put them in storage spaces as investments? Must I be on stage at the Orpheum in order to be a successful actress?

Then I thought about the whole idea of simply knowing I could not fail. Take acting, for example. If I audition for a play, there is always a built in sense of anticipation and excitement, along with the tension of hope. But if I know the part will be mine, no matter what, then the audition would be a bit of wasted time, since the outcome would be a foregone conclusion.

Now, of course, the first few times I was assured success, it might be fun – even exhilarating. But after a while I think it would make a life a little lifeless. I mean, the whole idea of striving to achieve is lost if I know I’m not going to have to strive, I’m there. Always. And to me, striving is part of the excitement of living, of gaining knowledge, ability, breadth of performance.

The other aspect of this question is the word fail. If I am not cast in a play because the director wants a younger cast, or she wants someone who looks like the daughter who’s been cast, or she wants someone heavier, does that mean I’ve failed?

If I’m in a relationship for many years that is wonderful, but then the dynamics shift, and we separate, have we failed?

This whole issue is interesting because I find that much of what we attempt in life has a built in component of success or failure to the endeavor. Without the necessity of striving to reach beyond where we have already achieved, life might not be any fun. Isn’t life about reaching beyond where we are, and gaining confidence that we will succeed because “I am so good,” yet knowing there might be someone better. And if I keep striving, the someone might eventually be me!

My brother once told me that I should always play tennis with players who play better than I do. At first this seemed a bit foolish; I would never win. But is winning the only mark of success? If I only played with people I could beat, then I’d be assured of winning, but is that success, if I never really improve? Is being the best in a little pond success? Playing with the better players might mean sure failure at first, but I’d have to keep pushing myself past my original boundaries in order to succeed, to win once in a while. And isn’t the ultimate victory, the real success, in my improvement?

Maybe the possibility of failure is actually a spur to greatness. If we know that failure is a possibility, then we keep striving to improve, and we keep challenging ourselves to broaden our skills.  Then – without any outside force telling us, “You cannot fail,” we get to the point where we succeed because we have brought ourselves to that point. In this case, the promise of success lies within us; it is infused within us. And that inner force is where true success lies.

One added note: The idea of testing is so absurd, because the assumption is that if you get the wrong answer, then you are a failure.  Wrong answers give us information, as Thomas Edison and many other inventors and researchers have learned. We don’t educate our students about the value of the wrong answer, nor do we teach them how to regroup after failure. This is a vital component of being a healthy human being. We will fail at something in our lives. It’s what we do after that, how we conduct ourselves, that counts.

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Just a reminder – please feel free to pass on my blogs to others. I’m happy to know if someone finds it worth sharing.

This blog entry is excerpted from a talk I gave last September 20th at the Sonoma Ashram. I was asked to give the talk, and when I asked what the topic should be, I was told, “How to be a good container.”

“We’re not talking Tupperware here, are we….?”

First, I had to think of what the title meant: Being a Good Container. We all know what a container is – it’s something that holds and stores things. One of its characteristics is that it can be opened to distribute some of its contents, or simply emptied because the stuff in it is old, unwanted or unuseable. If all of the contents are removed, it can be filled up again, maybe with something better. So a container isn’t a static thing; it always has the potential to be filled and emptied, its contents rearranged or changed.

So here we are – all of us containers. Unlike Tupperware, which is not responsible for what we deposit in it, we as containers are responsible for everything we hold on to – beneficial or not. So a key issue is what we choose to contain, and how we use our “contents.” What’s within us and how do we use it? And when do we empty a portion of the container?

Let’s consider a refrigerator, which is, like us, a large container holding many smaller containers. I think almost everyone has had the experience of going into the refrigerator, maybe to clean it out, maybe searching for that small jar of something you know you bought last Thursday, and coming across a container that has been sitting in the fridge for a loooong time. You open the container. Your visual and olfactory senses are assaulted. ECCH! What is this stuff? What did it used to be? And why is it still in here?

And then, right next to it, is a tiny gold foil packet. You open it. It’s chocolate. Not just any chocolate, but the fabulous Belgian chocolate your friend brought back from her trip to Europe. Wow! That’s where that went!

I think this metaphor is an apt one, because there can be a lot in the container we call “I” or “Me” that has been sitting in some corner for a long time, unexamined. A prejudice, an attitude, a feeling, a fear, a grudge, a loss. And it’s not very attractive or useful, but it’s still there, festering. Or, there could be a wonderful experience or helpful thoughts, maybe a talk that we heard, but then just stored away without really using the wisdom imparted. Alongside the moldering, awful stuff, small gems sit in a corner, available, but idle, unused.

Just like the refrigerator metaphor, if you don’t open the door, shine a light, and look at what’s in there, the container we call “me, myself or I” can hold on to all sorts of stuff; it will go unexamined unless we look. After we look at what’s in there, we have to decide what we want to keep, and what we want to discard. We don’t want to be containers for putrefying, possibly poisonous stuff, and we do want to see what’s good and useful in there, maybe move it to the front of our consciousness, where it’s more readily available.

Within us are many thoughts and ideas, perhaps based on knowledge gained through experience or study, or maybe acquired second hand. Some of our ideas, often fixed in our minds, are from conclusions we drew from an experience. These can unconsciously keep us in a pattern of thought which no longer serves us well. The thought, “Well, I’ll never do that again” comes to mind. But, over time, “that” can become a large category, and we find ourselves shut off from new experiences: I’ll never fall in love again; I’ll never trust people; I’ll never leave the country. This can become a long list.

There are also deep-seated, unexamined ideas we were exposed to when we were young, that we accepted without question. These can be prejudices, belief systems, or even ideas about ourselves that we just absorbed without thinking. We need to turn a light on them and see them clearly. These can turn out to be false, but you’re still operating as if they are true, and they have power over you.. (Examples: You can’t do that. You’re so clumsy. You never do anything right. You can’t sing, draw, dance, blah blah blah. Those [pick a minority] people are lazy, cheats, shiftless, dirty…)

Along with thoughts are memories, some good, some not so good. How many bad memories are attached to bad old feelings, regrets, grudges, misunderstandings never cleared up, prejudices we took on as our own, but which we acquired from someone else? And how many of those memories are distorted by our own frame of mind and the conclusions we drew from the experience at the time, which we may now find to be false.

When we examine the negative things closely, we have to think, “Do I want to be a container for these?” “Do I want to be angry with someone, now in his late 60’s and a successful doctor, who was a bit of a jerk in high school?” “Do I want to hate someone who hurt my feelings three years ago? Three weeks ago? Yesterday?” How long do we hold on to this stuff before dumping it out?

When we hold on to hurt feelings from years ago, or even from a few days ago, the good stuff gets crowded out by them. So maybe it’s time to examine the stuff in our container and let go of those things which don’t serve us well. Forgive, release, fill it with light, transform it and send it on its way. Talking to someone who was involved in an incident in which you are stuck in negative emotions can help, and if that’s possible, try it. But work to let it go – it’s taking up too much room..

Some of our feelings may be in the form of fears. If they stay unexamined, they control us. Sometimes just admitting it, or getting to the bottom of the fear, is enough to start an exodus of those contents.

I do want to mention Emotional Freedom Technique, or Tapping. While definitely a weird-looking practice, it can help to alleviate fears, angers from an old incident, even pain. I know this from experience, and I’m just passing the information along in case you want to work yourself at getting rid of stuff that’s taking up room in your life. You can go on line to find out more.

Once we’ve looked at what we don’t want to hold on to, we look at what we want to keep, get more of, and share. We see what we want to attract and refill ourselves with. When the stuff we don’t want any more is out of the way, not blocking the good from getting in, there is lots of room for adding wonderful experiences to the container that is us. For example, when fear of intimacy is gone, we are open and free to find warm relationships, a sense of belonging within a group, and a happier life.

And to do that, look to the heart, and to imagination. “The heart has reasons whereof reason knows nothing.” (Blaise Pascal) Use your imagination to fill yourself with possibilities for a beautiful planet, a wonderful life, good relationships. Begin to devote a tiny part of every day to putting some good thoughts into the container. When you walk somewhere, even if it’s only a block or two, notice the colors, the trees, the feel of your steps as you walk. Remember that everything is made of Divine energy – we all come from stardust.

From time to time, do an “attitude” check. Attitude affects deeply the circumstances we are in. Learn to see the gift, even when it is not the gift thought we wanted. In the book Illusions by Richard Bach, is the comment: Life never gives you a problem without a gift in its hand.” It is our inner disposition that determines how we see the world, and how we see its gifts. So part of being a good container is to be always in touch with our inner disposition, the feeling in our heart. Your mind may say,”That tree is so scraggly.” But your heart might say, “That little tree is a symbol of nature surviving here. I love that tree.”

Life is not arranged for our own personal gratification; we have to do the arranging. Even the mundane, everyday things around us are filled with potential for joy if we choose to see them. I read a phrase once which was, “the irradiation of the daily life.” This phrase is so marvelous. To me it means we must learn to understand the deep significance of the familiar, to understand that we live the laws of the universe every day; our hearts beat to rhythms we cannot hear. Breathe in the joys from customary, daily existence, see the reality behind the veil. Then you live each day in the midst of the extraordinary, and then you are a container for all that is good. And when you open that container, there is so much to share, and there is so much to fill it up again, that you will never be empty.


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A portion of this blog is a reproduction of a letter – with permission from the person to whom it was originally sent. It was sent to him because he had committed a transgression which I will not reveal, but which caused him to be in disgrace with most of his family, and he was sent to prison. He is my friend, but I had lost track of him for several years, and no amount of searching, e-mailing or phoning uncovered where he was until I finally reached someone who gave me his address in prison.

He wrote to me about what had happened, and was very open about his feelings. He said he could never forgive himself for what he did, and from the way he wrote I felt that he was suffering from such self-loathing and condemnation. I began to think about this a lot. After a couple of days, I wrote to him, and, as I wrote, I had the feeling that the words I was spilling on to the page were not entirely from me – they were words that had a higher essence to them, and I simply let them flow.

My friend has since worked hard to forgive himself, and I think in so doing, he has also learned how to view others with a spirit of understanding and forgiveness.

I recently thought about this letter again, which was written over a year ago, and I wrote to ask my friend if I could post it on my blog. He agreed.

One more comment: I refer to God in this letter. I do not see God as an old person on a throne with a beard, or long hair, sitting quietly and meting out judgments, or smiling and loving everyone. The God I refer to is an intelligence, a consciousness so vast that it is incomprehensible to us. The entire universe is the manifestation of this God, this consciousness. Look closely at a pansy, a honeybee, a butterfly. Think of the miracle of a group of cells dividing over and over until they make a decision to become a specific part of a body. And think of a small group of those cells suddenly moving slowly in a rhythm that defines the heart, and begins to send blood pulsing through the veins, and on to the brain. THAT is the manifestation of the consciousness I think of as God. Not religion; not someone who must only be spoken to through intermediaries wearing special clothes or performing ceremonies. The God I refer to is living and breathing every second through every thing on this planet – from stones to stardust; from germs to geraniums; from petals to people.

Okay – looong digression – but now that I’ve made myself clear, here, with permission from my friend, is the letter he received, with some small revision. What I want to make clear is that I received this message as well, and I’m just passing it on. It is about self forgiveness, but you can also think about it with regard to someone whom you know would like your forgiveness, who hasn’t forgiven him/herself.
The most significant relationship right now is your relationship with yourself. You have expressed such deep remorse, an inability and an unwillingness to forgive yourself, and such a sense that you have lost something forever. It is very important that you take a soul view of this; do not continue to believe that if you don’t forgive yourself, that will somehow ease the fact of your transgression. It will not.

Bear in mind, I am not saying you are to be excused. But forgiveness has nothing to do with excusing behavior, or condoning it. It has to do with coming to grips with the fact that we are such flawed beings, who make horrendous misjudgments and missteps. We are frail, and we do not do the right thing all the time, or even much of the time. Yet, if you believe in God – a consciousness so vast that it is incomprehensible unless we open ourselves to it by breaking down the barriers which the personality creates – if you believe in God, then you have to realize the extreme importance of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is vital to the survival of the human race, and it supersedes any self-pity or self-flagellation we may want to engage in, in order to make ourselves feel better. Yes, I said feel better. For if we can continue to berate ourselves about having done something horrendous, then we know we are not the awful person we thought – we have the good sense to be angry with this disgusting human who did such an awful thing – but we are separate from him. Yet if we step back, face who we are, and exercise forgiveness for the wretched mess which is (part of) our personal self, then we have set the stage for redemption. Because even as you are a human being, you are also God, as is everyone and everything around you. We all reflect God in all variations, including yielding to temptation.

I wish I were saying this better. I do not think that not forgiving yourself for the rest of your life is a good or wise thing. And I think forgiving yourself may be the most difficult thing you have ever done. I will say again that forgiving is not about condoning, nor is it excusing. It is acceptance and realization. I believe that you have begun the first part of the process of rebuilding the relationship with yourself – you have looked at, seen the truth. But the truth is not just that you surrendered to temptations, urges, whatever we would call them. The truth is also that you are a decent man who made a dreadful mistake, and it has hurt others, all of which you are looking at and seeing clearly. This willingness to see clearly is the beginning of re-establishing your relationship with your Self.

As a Soul you are whole, good, and full of love. And you must act as a Soul and forgive the stupid personality who risked so much for a moment, and lost so much. You must forgive him as an act of charity for the human race, and for God, so that the energy of this act can be transmuted, rather than held in a hard block of stone for eternity. There are so many who suffer from the same realization of having done something they feel is so dreadful. Forgiveness brings light, and shifts energy, to give all transgressors a chance to do better, to redeem.

Release it – you will do better in the future. You will atone, you will carry the remembrance of it, but to not forgive is as much a sin as any other. Forgiveness says, “God is Love, and I am part of God, and I accept that Love from myself, even as I know I have done something wretched.”

Remember the golden rule, which is the key to all human behavior: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you wish to understand how to forgive others, you must understand what it is to forgive yourself.

If it helps any at all, I forgive you – and I, too, am a reflection of God.

Davina –

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Some time ago in one of my blogs I wrote about a guy whose girlfriend breaks up with him.  “He’s filled with despair, is tired, has no energy.  He’s dirty, hasn’t showered in days, his apartment’s a mess, he’s a mess.  His girlfriend calls. ‘I’m so, so sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking. Please, please forgive me. Can I at least come over and talk to you, explain what happened?’ He says she can come over in two hours.

Suddenly he’s full of energy. He cleans the apartment, changes the linens, showers, does a load of laundry, gets dressed and runs downstairs to the small market to get some basics.  He’s bursting with energy.  So the question is – where was all this guy’s energy before his girlfriend called? And how did he get it back?  The answer is, of course, that it was always there. And, he was using it – all of it. He was using all of his energy to feel bad – and doing a great job! It takes a LOT of energy to be miserable. And he got it back when he believed his life had changed back to what he wanted it to be.”

So that was the gist of the blog. I recently re-read it, and thought about what had been going on with me a few weeks ago. I was going in for a medical procedure, one that I had asked for, because I thought something wasn’t working right. As the day approached, and I had to go through three days of prepping for the procedure, special diet, etc., I found I was really not myself. I was a bit listless, and worried, didn’t really want to be around friends.

Then I saw what I was doing to myself, and I decided to take matters back into my own hands, realizing that I had given myself over to the scarethink of the medical community. I meditated, did some EFT (called Tapping in some circles) and also went for a walk. And during that time, which took up much of the afternoon, I had many realizations.

On my walk I came to some conclusions about what had been going on. I don’t think it’s unique to me, just as the situation above with the guy and his lost girlfriend is not unique. Maybe it’s just another another possible way of looking at the issues that plague us .

When we have been active, healthy and social, then become ill or have health concerns, the world changes. We can feel a terrible loss, and we mourn the vibrant person we once were; sometimes we act as if that person is about to disappear.  We fail to realize that much of the energy we had before we began to worry is still in there, and we lose sight of the fact that we can draw on a large pool of energy for help.

In fact, we often use some of our valuable energy to worry; we focus on what might  happen, robbing ourselves of the energy resources at our disposal. The life we expected to have, want to have, starts to get buried under all sorts of emotional considerations. And the mind doesn’t help – it goes on roiling away, reinforcing fears and anxieties.

Activities like tapping, acupressure or other techniques are invaluable in helping us regain the energy and vitality we thought was gone from life. Why? Because all of the accumulated pains and afflictions – physical as well as emotional – embed themselves in our cells, which hold on to the pain. Tapping helps to draw out this embedded pain, just the way a poultice might for a skin infection.  No only are the anxieties and worries alleviated, but the symptoms often abate as well.

What I have experienced, and what I have come to know, is that when you use acupressure points, as one does in tapping, and talk about the issues that are painful, be they physical or emotional, you actually draw out the pain locked within your body, and as that pain releases, it frees up the locked-up energy and vitality you thought was gone forever. The energy you regain may have to be channeled differently, but at least you gain a greater control of your life.

I met my friend Becca, a meditation and yoga teacher for many years, because I wanted to do some tapping with a professional after an illness that left me feeling bereft.  I found out  that she began tapping when she was bed-ridden with two disintegrating discs, was in terrible pain, and did not see much joy happening in her life. She had overworked herself into being almost crippled.

She still has the two disintegrating discs, thought you wouldn’t know it to meet her;  she’s active, teaches yoga and meditation, does retreats, and has a full life with her husband. And Sofia, the cat. (Must never forget the cat.) She changed her life through tapping, diet and yoga, and I believe this is possible for anyone.

We are each the captain of our ship, the god of the galaxy that is our body. And it is up to us to manipulate and maneuver the energy in the best way possible to make sure that we have a healthy, happy life, despite physical disabilities or emotional upsets that are part of everyday living. If it means change of diet, (it frequently does) change of lifestyle in terms of behavior, schedules and activities, (it frequently does) and change of outlook, (it frequently does) it’s worth it. It all depends upon what kind of changes you’re willing to make; what’s the tradeoff worth? For some people the tradeoff is not worth the effort involved. But for those who are willing to find a way to make life better, the results are there to be experienced.

And by the way, all the energy I used to worry about my health, I re-channeled into being proactive about it. As a result, I feel more awake and more alive, I’m dancing again, I’ve gotten rid of a medication that was used to cover up (not cure) a stress-related problem. I no longer need it. (One down, one to go!)

Life is a grand buffet – choose wisely what you take from the table.

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