Living a Dream

We are always living a dream. We cannot experience anything without thinking it first. Whatever thoughts we bring to mind create our experience, which lasts only as long as they are brought to mind. Our thoughts are uniquely our own; no two thinkers arrive at precisely the same thoughts, although many people can share a predilection for certain kinds of thoughts. So each life, truly, is a particular dream, experienced as it unfolds through each person’s thinking.

One of the first statements I saw from Sydney Banks is: “Life is a divine dream, suspended between time, space and matter.” I was fascinated by it, though I could not work out what it must mean at the time. It hung there in my imagination for a few years, equally puzzling to me each time I revisited it. Then I heard Syd speaking once about a conversation he had had with a scientist, in which Syd tried to point out that the constructs of time, space and matter are ideas we’ve made up to be able to talk about our universe. But the only truth is formless energy.  Peering through the thicket of already formed thoughts at formless energy is a pointless exercise. We are bound to be caught in the tangle of our thoughts, not seeing beyond them, if we try to work through them to clear a gateway to infinity.

That gave me the courage to ask Syd a question: “How can I understand that life is a divine dream, suspended between time, space and matter, if I cannot think about it?” At the time I asked that question, the only book Syd had published was Second Chance, in which there is considerable conversation about  SEEING (as opposed to seeing) and KNOWING (as opposed to knowing). The wise character in that book describes SEEING in these two passages, for example (although I highly recommend reading the entire book):

“Remember, I told you …. that there are more realities than meet the eye. This SEEING must come from an experience of SEEING another reality.” (p. 16)

“‘SEEING’ is what evolves man’s mind to a higher level of consciousness. It is this evolvement that enables him to psychologically understand himself and the world around him.” (p.26)

Syd did not answer my question directly, but instead asked me what I thought about Second Chance. I told him I was confused by it and did not know what it all meant. “Good,” he said, “it’s good to be able to admit you don’t know. That’s the opportunity for knowing. From a state of not knowing you are likely to SEE something new.”

So I remained baffled, but I dropped the whole idea of figuring it out. I found that acknowledging not knowing and being at peace with it had really quieted my mind down. Needing to know the answers all the time (a habit developed in elementary school where there was a high premium on being the first with your hand up) had been revving up my thinking a lot more than I had realized. From a quieter state of mind, I was able to glimpse that “SEEING” is spiritual and “seeing” is temporal: that is, SEEING is an experience beyond cognitive limits. SEEING is fluttering briefly into the emptiness before thought where you KNOW the power of thoughts forming, your own power to form thought, as a spiritual gift before form.  I realized that I had previously memorized, pondered about, and repeated the definitions of the Principles as they were always described, thus innocently focusing on the formed word to understand them, rather than awakening to the formless, the true Principles, the spiritual energy of all life in creation, before the words. I had been reading the notes, but missing the music.

That was one of the most exciting insights of my life, and it was a point of transformation. Oh, like all of us, I still talked about the logic of the Principles and described the inside-out outcomes of the ways we create and hold our thinking, but I knew that was all an interpretation of the point, not the point. Not the point. The point is beyond words, in Universal energy we all share and through which we become our formed selves. Seeing the pure energy at the source, though, we have certainty that anything we see or know now could change, simply with the formation of new thought. Access to that reality is through stillness, through quietude, not thinking harder.

Although we can talk about Thought and thoughts, we are pointing to the feeling of the power that frees us from any one thought to release the potential of infinite new thoughts. It doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks, how long they think it, or what they make of it, if they KNOW the Principles. That power is realized and experienced, not taught or learned. For me, in the instant I caught a glimpse of that, I SAW and KNEW the absolute absurdity of taking any thought seriously. No matter what. It’s no more possible to hang onto really beautiful thoughts than to drive away really ugly thoughts. They all pass naturally as the flow of formless energy continues to power us through life. We have to re-think them to “keep” them. When we SEE that for ourselves, we cannot possibly harm ourselves with our own thinking, any thinking. Because we KNOW we are living a dream brought to us by our unique imagination and the creative power of life. We know the dream is fleeting, evanescent, just images we create, passing across the screen of our minds, signifying nothing but the beautiful power to keep creating them.

For me, the depth of gratitude I feel for Sydney Banks for so simply expressing the possibility that any one of us, all of us, can SEE this for ourselves, is immeasurable.


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At the Heart of Thankfulness

This is how thankfulness (gratitude) works—for everyone: When our minds are cluttered, we don’t feel thankful. When our minds are clear, we do feel thankful. In truth, thankfulness has nothing to do with the world outside (our circumstances). Like any feeling or emotion, thankfulness is directly connected to our thinking. And because my head is fairly clear as I write this Thanksgiving-week article, I want to share the following with you.

My hope is that someday the world will catch on to the inside-out paradigm described above. That someday we’ll stop falling for the trick of the mind that has us looking outside for causes and cures for what we each feel on the inside. Looking outside—including for what we’re supposed to be thankful for—requires personal thought. And personal thought obstructs both our connection to God and our collective power to overcome.

In this spirit, here then is what’s truly important about thankfulness (in spite of all the personal reasons everyone talks about): People who tend to not look outside for the source of their feelings live in clarity of mind and thankfulness more often. Clear and thankful people give more than they take. They set examples of resilience. They are selfless, inspiring, determined, and loving. They help change the world for the better.

This time of year, many of us deliberately work against our nature. We force ourselves to be thankful, only to end up feeling confused and distressed. What we need to understand, instead, is that our feelings are not linked to the circumstances of our lives—although it often appears otherwise. That’s why those of us who don’t search for things to be personally thankful for are the most thankful, and productive, people alive.

Peace to the world this Thanksgiving,


Terror Versus Truth

Considering the horrific acts of last week, the world’s endured an emotional few days. Here, I’m going to do my best to help. And I’m going to start by pointing out the obvious: Everyone has a different personal opinion about what the free world should do to combat terror. Some are calling for immediate retaliation; others want to thoughtfully plan. Some want to close borders; others want to welcome those who are fleeing. Some are critical of the behavior of certain world leaders; others, supportive. Who is right? The answer is no one.

You see, it is impossible to find truth in behavior (what we should do next). If we could do that, we would all agree about what the next steps should be. Plus, some of us (me included) wouldn’t change our minds daily about the right or wrong next steps.

This is why we’re becoming more polarized by the minute: We’re getting lost in personal opinion because we’re not looking in the direction of truth. Love is truth. We’re all created equal is truth. Oneness is truth. God is truth. We all feel fear—which clouds our inner wisdom and ability to see the big picture—is truth. More important, looking to personal opinion, and away from truth, is exactly what the terrorists want us to do. They know that doing this will divide us, cripple our resilience, and eventually cause us to self-destruct.

As I said, everyone is emotional right now. Everyone is scared. This is normal and perfectly okay. For us to overcome, however, we must take a step back from our personal thinking and differences and find common ground. No matter what anyone says (or posts on social media), please understand that, like you, people are doing the best they can to make sense of the insanity. No one is trying to add to it.

It’s pretty simple, actually. Rather than counter or condemn, offer your neighbor a hand. Offer your neighbor your understanding. Offer your neighbor your love. We all work the same way inside. We’re all fighting the battle within. In this realization, there is unity, strength, and power. In this realization, there is truth. And truth will always prevail.

Back in Time

In the late 1800’s, Sigmund Freud formed a causal link in his own mind that didn’t really exist. He theorized that taking distressed patients back to their past—for the purpose of pinpointing the root cause of their distress—was the key to helping them. While it was obvious to Freud that this practice wasn’t always successful, it wasn’t obvious to him that, in truth, it never was. For a link to be causal (or true) it must occur 100 percent of the time.

Flash forward to today. Therapists, psychologists, and mental coaches are still following in Freud’s footsteps, drudging through people’s pasts in order to help them. Do you know that it’s standard practice to take victims of PTSD back to the supposed circumstance that caused their trauma? Sad but true. But, thankfully, what a handful of mental-health consultants, authors, and coaches (me included) have now come to realize is that a circumstance cannot actually cause trauma. Trauma can only come from a person’s thinking. This means it makes little sense to take people back to a moment in time that had nothing to do with their feelings in the first place.

Yet what about going back to a happy circumstance or as many mental coaches recommend, going back to productive performances in order to find answers to current struggles? Same deal. Thought is meant to come in and flow out. It’s against our nature to try to recapture a former feeling or technique. Several years ago, for instance, a now-famous instructor on the PGA tour decided to film his players’ swings, but only when they were playing well. Then when his players were playing poorly, they had a record of the good swing to fall back on. While, at times, this strategy yielded short-term success, the long-term results of this experiment proved disastrous.

To be clear, it is not against our nature for an insight (or revelation) about the past to randomly occur to us, sweeping us back in time. But this type of occurrence is illuminating, freeing, and productive. An insight about the past can never be strategically induced or forced. Doing this is a sure-fire recipe for a bad feeling and performance.

Bottom line? If you want to feel or perform better, don’t search for answers in the past. In fact, don’t search at all. Searching requires a tremendous amount of thought and, if anything, obstructs your innate ability to self-correct to clarity of mind. The past rests outside. The answers rest inside. Answers will rise to the surface to the extent that you carry on, stay in the game, or simply walk down life’s one-way street.

Everyday Satsang

Satsang is a Sanskrit word meaning “association with Truth,” or with “the Self.” In Hindu, Buddhist and other Eastern religious—and spiritual—worlds, this is a very common word that usually means: people coming together to listen to, to be with a spiritual teacher, and with each other, to “attend Satsang.” But[…]

Everyday Satsang

Satsang is a Sanskrit word meaning “association with Truth,” or with “the Self.” In Hindu, Buddhist and other Eastern religious—and spiritual—worlds, this is a very common word that usually means: people coming together to listen to, to be with a spiritual teacher, and with each other, to “attend Satsang.” But[…]

How Greg Hardy Looks to Me

Greg Hardy did damage. His actions were completely unacceptable. But like Greg Hardy, I’ve done damage. My behavior, a few times in my life, has been completely unacceptable. And the same goes for you and the many people who’ve jumped on the bandwagon of judgment.

I know what you’re thinking: “That may be true, but I never hit a woman. Domestic violence is just plain wrong.” Well, violence of any type is plain wrong. Verbal abuse is plain wrong. Bullying is plain wrong. Killing under the cloke of war is plain wrong. My question is: What the heck are we going to do about it?

So far, the standard answer for people like Hardy, and organizations like the NFL, is to throw the book at him. Suspend him from the league forever. Hmm, can someone please tell me what that’s going to do? How is suspending Hardy going to keep him from beating someone the next time he’s tempted? In the heat of emotion and rage, do you truly believe that a person is going to stop and say to himself, “I better not do this because if I do I’ll get suspended.” No chance. In fact, this type of discipline has been in place in virtually all walks of life forever. Has it really served as a deterrent? Is violence getting better or worse? We both know the unfortunate answer.

Greg Hardy needs help. Greg Hardy needs love. Greg Hardy needs to be taught that his feelings (anger, insecurity, frustration, etc.) don’t come from the behavior of his girlfriend. They don’t come from his past. They don’t come from his career. They come from within him! And, again, it’s not just Greg Hardy. It’s Israel. It’s Hamas. It’s the United States. It’s terrorists around the world. It’s you. It’s me. Feelings come from the inside. When thought is flowing through us, we feel good; when thought gets jammed, we feel bad. Until this principle is universally taught and understood, violence will continue to escalate.

It’s time to wake up, people. We’re all guilty of the same misunderstanding. You can’t wage war with another person if you grasp that your feelings come from your own thinking. Looking outside, blaming your troubles on something or someone else, and jumping on the bandwagon of judgment helps no one. It’s just plain wrong.