Unconditional Love…

Unconditional Love…

When I first got involved in Innate Health, I heard a lot about unconditional love being the answer, no matter what the problem might be. Back then, it sounded nice, but meaningless, to me. I was stepping into this new world from a life that was totally transactional, a life of “If…then”. If I got this contract, then I could give my employees a Christmas bonus; if my daughter got straight A’s, then we would take her to DisneyWorld; if I lost five pounds, then I could wear the red dress to the party… Everything was conditional, including love. Both my husband and I would say things to each other that started with, “If you really loved me, you would…”

Now, 30-some years later, it is so vividly true to me that unconditional love is the answer to everything that it brings tears to my eyes just to think about it. Unconditional love has nothing to do with human transactions. Unconditional love arises in the spirit. It is the pure, uninhibited joy of being alive and integral to the universe.

Conditionality is a human transaction, a product of thought that imposes ideas on how things should be. We make and believe in our own assumptions without any understanding that they are our fabrications. We do not embrace the unpredictable variability of life or of everyone and everything in it. Anything we find acceptable must conform to our opinions and expectations. We reject people and things that don’t fit our ideas or do not make sense within our world view.

Unconditionality is the inchoate vitality before formed thought. It presents no judgment about life or anything in it. We surrender to the flow of it. Without expectations or judgments, we are immersed in being. Unpredictability, variability do not look disorderly or strange as life unfolds moment-to-moment. It just is. We just are. Everything is rich, fascinating, and materializing in the moment.

Unconditionality is profound love of life, of the beautiful energy surging through the universe and through us, and of the wonder of being united with the essential formless force, and yet creating our own passage within it. Unconditional love is the fullness of heart that emerges from pure appreciation of all of it — the darkness and the light, the perfect and the imperfect, the same and the different, the known and the unknown. Unconditional love is deep, soothing peace. In the “isness” of the universe,  there is nothing and no one to fear. We are safe in each present moment in the emerging wisdom that is always available to us. Wisdom is the knowledge that binds the universe together through the creative dynamic of being.

Why is the state of unconditional love the answer, no matter the problem?

The simple fact is that a person who is living with a free and clear mind in that unconditional feeling of gratitude and reverence for life does not bring to mind thoughts of harming or being harmed. No selfish, greedy thoughts. No mean, hurtful thoughts. No disappointed, discouraged thoughts. No resentful, vengeful thoughts. No anxious, fearful thoughts. That state of mind, that state of being, brings with it access to the flow of wisdom and confidence, moment-to-moment, that we can count on to guide us through life’s ups and downs. Wisdom propels us forward. Entertaining negative or dysfunctional or destructive thinking feels wrong and unpleasant if it enters the mind.  Those who understand the nature of thought turn away from such ideas — just allow them to pass without action — and look to quiet their thinking and embrace wisdom once more.

Is it unrealistic or even wildly pollyanna to imagine that such a state could come to dominate the experience of humanity? That is an unanswered question. Until we turn our backs on the belief that the content of our personal thinking is more important than our understanding of the true spiritual being through which we are generating that thinking, we will not know the answer. Beliefs seem powerful. They look very real to us while they are on our minds, especially when we don’t know how they got there. As more and more people come to recognize themselves as the agents of life, rather than seeing circumstances as the agency of their life, the ease with which humanity can find personal peace of mind and act from wisdom increases. When wisdom informs more and more of human choices, we will live in a different world, grounded in peace and hope, filled with unconditional love.

Once unconditional love is illuminated as the quintessential power to live, then who would not want to call it home? Who would willingly turn away from natural peace and joy?

 

Peace: The Heart of our Being

People “seek” peace. People say it is elusive. Transitory. Lost in a distant, simpler past. An illusion of childhood. Hidden in the wilderness, on mountain peaks, on placid waters. Embedded in lovely music, in hushed houses of worship, in sublime poetry. It appears we think peace is a state we visit, a temporary shelter from the storm of life.

What a comfort to discover that the search for peace begins and ends within us! Peace is the natural state of being before the formation of thoughts about ourselves. Peace is the deepest wellspring of survival, the source from which we keep mercurial life in perspective.

What gives me the right to say such a thing? No one could ever have “told” me that, or “persuaded” me of that. But in the presence of people who had discovered it for themselves and were, therefore, at peace and untroubled by variable thoughts, I stopped thinking so hard and fast myself. I calmed down, and then I SAW it for myself. It came as an insight, a realization about myself, about life. It was an immediate certainty that I am the agent of my own experience. The external world lost its power over me. Just like that, my perception flipped from that of a person living at the mercy of all the things happening around me to a person living at the effect of my own thinking about everything.

I recognized that I cannot change what happens around me; yet I knew I have the power to shape my experience of it from the strength of my own originality. My mind fluttered to rest, and for the first time in a long time, I felt free and empowered. I was sitting with a group in a restaurant when this beautiful moment happened and I never even mentioned it. It was my experience. I figured that my lunch companions were relieved that I had stopped talking so fast and asking so many questions, and I just relaxed and had a good time.

The most significant insight imaginable is not a big deal. It’s not a big deal because the peace was there all along; it IS who we are. Just settling back to who we really are feels natural and easy. But once we see it, we can’t “unsee” it. Even at moments when our minds start racing again, we know what we’re doing. It’s not scary; it’s temporary. Knowing we’re making it all up anyway and knowing there are infinite possibilities of what else we might be making up, we don’t get trapped in our own worst ideas. Peace is a dynamic state, the state of knowing, no matter what, that we are meant to thrive, always close to an answer we’d never dreamed of before.

The outcome of this remarkable awakening to how our own minds work and to our own psychological strength is that we become better problem-solvers. People think we’re in denial, but we aren’t. We are in invention. Accepting what is and re-imagining what we can make of it and where to go from there. Creating fresh ideas, unafraid of the untested.

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Peace: The Heart of our Being

People “seek” peace. People say it is elusive. Transitory. Lost in a distant, simpler past. An illusion of childhood. Hidden in the wilderness, on mountain peaks, on placid waters. Embedded in lovely music, in hushed houses of worship, in sublime poetry. It appears we think peace is a state we visit, a temporary shelter from the storm of life.

What a comfort to discover that the search for peace begins and ends within us! Peace is the natural state of being before the formation of thoughts about ourselves. Peace is the deepest wellspring of survival, the source from which we keep mercurial life in perspective.

What gives me the right to say such a thing? No one could ever have “told” me that, or “persuaded” me of that. But in the presence of people who had discovered it for themselves and were, therefore, at peace and untroubled by variable thoughts, I stopped thinking so hard and fast myself. I calmed down, and then I SAW it for myself. It came as an insight, a realization about myself, about life. It was an immediate certainty that I am the agent of my own experience. The external world lost its power over me. Just like that, my perception flipped from that of a person living at the mercy of all the things happening around me to a person living at the effect of my own thinking about everything.

I recognized that I cannot change what happens around me; yet I knew I have the power to shape my experience of it from the strength of my own originality. My mind fluttered to rest, and for the first time in a long time, I felt free and empowered. I was sitting with a group in a restaurant when this beautiful moment happened and I never even mentioned it. It was my experience. I figured that my lunch companions were relieved that I had stopped talking so fast and asking so many questions, and I just relaxed and had a good time.

The most significant insight imaginable is not a big deal. It’s not a big deal because the peace was there all along; it IS who we are. Just settling back to who we really are feels natural and easy. But once we see it, we can’t “unsee” it. Even at moments when our minds start racing again, we know what we’re doing. It’s not scary; it’s temporary. Knowing we’re making it all up anyway and knowing there are infinite possibilities of what else we might be making up, we don’t get trapped in our own worst ideas. Peace is a dynamic state, the state of knowing, no matter what, that we are meant to thrive, always close to an answer we’d never dreamed of before.

The outcome of this remarkable awakening to how our own minds work and to our own psychological strength is that we become better problem-solvers. People think we’re in denial, but we aren’t. We are in invention. Accepting what is and re-imagining what we can make of it and where to go from there. Creating fresh ideas, unafraid of the untested.

The post Peace: The Heart of our Being appeared first on Three Principles Living.

Peace: The Heart of our Being

People “seek” peace. People say it is elusive. Transitory. Lost in a distant, simpler past. An illusion of childhood. Hidden in the wilderness, on mountain peaks, on placid waters. Embedded in lovely music, in hushed houses of worship, in sublime poetry. It appears we think peace is a state we visit, a temporary shelter from the storm of life.

What a comfort to discover that the search for peace begins and ends within us! Peace is the natural state of being before the formation of thoughts about ourselves. Peace is the deepest wellspring of survival, the source from which we keep mercurial life in perspective.

What gives me the right to say such a thing? No one could ever have “told” me that, or “persuaded” me of that. But in the presence of people who had discovered it for themselves and were, therefore, at peace and untroubled by variable thoughts, I stopped thinking so hard and fast myself. I calmed down, and then I SAW it for myself. It came as an insight, a realization about myself, about life. It was an immediate certainty that I am the agent of my own experience. The external world lost its power over me. Just like that, my perception flipped from that of a person living at the mercy of all the things happening around me to a person living at the effect of my own thinking about everything.

I recognized that I cannot change what happens around me; yet I knew I have the power to shape my experience of it from the strength of my own originality. My mind fluttered to rest, and for the first time in a long time, I felt free and empowered. I was sitting with a group in a restaurant when this beautiful moment happened and I never even mentioned it. It was my experience. I figured that my lunch companions were relieved that I had stopped talking so fast and asking so many questions, and I just relaxed and had a good time.

The most significant insight imaginable is not a big deal. It’s not a big deal because the peace was there all along; it IS who we are. Just settling back to who we really are feels natural and easy. But once we see it, we can’t “unsee” it. Even at moments when our minds start racing again, we know what we’re doing. It’s not scary; it’s temporary. Knowing we’re making it all up anyway and knowing there are infinite possibilities of what else we might be making up, we don’t get trapped in our own worst ideas. Peace is a dynamic state, the state of knowing, no matter what, that we are meant to thrive, always close to an answer we’d never dreamed of before.

The outcome of this remarkable awakening to how our own minds work and to our own psychological strength is that we become better problem-solvers. People think we’re in denial, but we aren’t. We are in invention. Accepting what is and re-imagining what we can make of it and where to go from there. Creating fresh ideas, unafraid of the untested.

The post Peace: The Heart of our Being appeared first on Three Principles Living.

War and Peace

It is ultimately a matter of war and peace whether people across the world come to understand the role of their own and others’ thinking and fluctuating states of mind.

 We can look at behavioral options people experience along a scale from high levels of insecurity to high levels of security.

We can look at behavioral options people experience along a scale from high levels of insecurity to high levels of security and the thinking that makes sense in each state of mind.

One person at a time, when someone comes to understand how thought works and what is creating their experience of reality, they become increasingly secure. When a person feels secure, not living at the mercy of external factors, life does not look threatening. Secure people remain calm and exercise judgment, and look for insight and wisdom, rather than reacting or over-reacting without perspective. They recognize the power of beliefs within the context of knowing that each person becomes committed in their own way to their own beliefs, and nothing but their own insights will change their minds. They see with increasing clarity that people are all the same deep down: all people are constantly creating thoughts and then experiencing those thoughts as “reality”. Reality changes as our thoughts change. Knowing that, we lose our attachment to particular thoughts and gain awe for the very ability to keep thinking, to see beyond what we’ve thought so far. Respect for the shared human power to change keeps hope alive and allows us to see possibilities. It allows us peace within ourselves.

On the other hand, those who have no idea where thoughts come from and why reality looks different to different people are always prone to feel insecure, and cling to their thinking to ward off worsening insecurity. It is an either/or. Either we see the fluidity and creativity of thinking and understand that thoughts come and go and reality “shifts” as our thinking/feeling shifts — or we don’t see the fluidity of thinking and believe that thoughts have a life of their own and we have to hang onto our habitual thinking or fall prey to outside forces. Insecurity pushes people farther and farther away from tolerating differences and encourages the creation of elaborate systems of thought to make their own closely-held points of view feel/seem superior. It introduces the need to defend one’s position at all costs.

Two things are important to realize. Things that make absolute sense to us and seem quite obvious when we are insecure do not make any sense to us whatsoever when we are feeling secure. And the reverse is also true; things that seem quite appropriate and clear to us when we’re secure don’t make any sense at all when we are insecure. So as our states of mind change, the things we say, do and pursue are very different. A child who is angry and frustrated will stomp on and break a brand-new toy. In a quiet state, the child would pick up the toy and play with it.

What does this have to do with war and peace? War doesn’t come out  of the blue. War starts to make more and more sense to people who  are frightened and insecure and have no room in their thinking for “others”.  People who are calm and secure experience peace in their hearts and  minds, and thus seek and nurture peace.

Nations are assemblies of people who share a prevailing state of mind and perspective about the world. When people generally feel hopeful and optimistic, they make choices that reflect their level of security. They are inclusive and generous-spirited, and look for solutions that will do the least harm. When people start feeling frightened and pessimistic, they make choices that reflect their need to protect themselves and ward off enemies. They are exclusive and small-minded, and look for solutions that will keep them safe no matter if others experience harm. Out of a world dominated by leaders who live in fear and insecurity come many wars. The more brutal the fights, the more frightened people become, so they become trapped in a downward spiral of pain and despair. Nothing but war and more war makes sense to them — in that state of mind. In a moment of security, it would make no sense to them at all.

It is innocent because no one would choose killing and destruction if it appeared to them they actually had a choice. The key is understanding the illusion of that downward spiral, that insecurity breeds further insecurity until the moment we understand that all of it is built from our own thoughts. Stepping back, allowing the fear to pass and getting a fresh look can change everything.

Every human being on earth wants to have a happy life, but every human being on earth does not — yet — realize that that happiness is internally generated. No one has to suffer so that I will not suffer. When we realize that all people are creating their own thinking within the context of their own variable states of mind, we truly understand what creates human experience and behavior. We know not to pay attention to the thinking that comes to mind when we’re in an insecure, upset state of mind. And we know we can count on our thinking when our thoughts change and we feel calm and secure again. We navigate by the feeling of security. With the knowledge of how life is created from the inside out, we know that an instant of quiet into which one new thought comes can change everything. With that clarity about life, we know that peace is never more than a thought away, and we simply allow the thoughts that take us in the other direction to pass through our minds, just as we would watch a train cross the tracks, knowing that no matter how long it is, every train has a caboose!

“Thought, like the rudder of a ship, steers us to the safety of open waters or to the doom of rocky shores.”  Sydney Banks, The Missing Link, p. 56.

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The Depression Fairy is Imaginary

depression fairyDespite the protests of several of my clients recently, I must insist  there is no Depression Fairy who randomly visits us and sprinkles dreadful thoughts in our minds. Oh, I know she seems very real, and powerful, and quick to alight out of nowhere. But she is imaginary, as are her close friends, like the Anxiety Fairy and the Anger Fairy.

As much as that might be good news, for many people who have struggled with Depression for decades, it is initially distressing news.  What’s wrong, then, if there’s no invisible outside force causing depression?  For people who are depressed, believing they just can’t help it  because it “happens” to them and they have to do the best they can to forge on anyway  becomes a kind of familiar comfort. They look at cheerful, energetic people as either lucky or out of touch with “real” life. They become resigned to existence in the gray spectrum: colorless, unemotional, exhausting in its grim monotony. They feel helpless and hopeless.

I had a client tell me recently that she hardly gotten out of bed at all for three months. She just couldn’t. I asked if there was ever even once in that time when she did, when she got up and got dressed and did something anyway. There was. Her cat got very sick and she rallied to take the cat to the vet. I asked her what she thought it was that  gave her the energy to move then. She said, “I love that cat. I couldn’t bear to see her suffer. I had to stop thinking about myself and take care of her.”

That is a profound statement about the source, and the relief, for depression. Over the years, so many people have told me similar stories. They had never stopped to reflect on the significance of their brief interludes of sufficient energy to do something. Yet in every case, their little surges of energy started with a compelling thought that interrupted a relentless torrent of self-concern and turned their mind elsewhere. They reconnected with life beyond their self-absorption, even if briefly. I do not use “self-absorption” judgmentally. It is the very definition of depression: a focus on one’s own internal stresses, fears, terrors, insecurities to the exclusion of all else.

Whether they realize it or not, they can turn their own thinking elsewhere, and often they do. Without understanding of the power to do that, though, it doesn’t register as meaningful. It just seems to them that every once in a while they manage to feel a little stronger, a little better, a little more engaged in something. But, as one of my clients put it, “I know it won’t last.”

That thought alone — “It won’t last” — triggers the downward spiral back to depression. But it’s nothing more than a habitual thought. The power to slip down into the cave again does not belong to those words, but to the life we give them. We always get to be right because our thinking comes to life via our consciousness and creates a temporary reality, no matter what it is. Just knowing that — knowing for sure that we are the thinkers creating from within our own minds the reality we see — is the antidote to depression. We don’t have to “clean up” our thinking or replace bleak thoughts with bright ones, or do anything at all with the thoughts we’ve already formed. As soon as we have the realization that the power of thought does not reside in the content of what we bring to mind, but in ourselves, who continually make it up from nothing, we let upsetting thoughts pass and keep on allowing new thoughts to come to mind. Understanding how thought works naturally results in letting go of thoughts that aren’t helpful and are taking us down. No one wants to feel bad; without seeing that the feeling is a byproduct of the thoughts we are innocently creating, though, it doesn’t seem like we have a choice.  We come out of the shadows of our own thinking as soon as we own our power to think.

As a colleague of mine often says, “The power of a thought lasts as long as you think it, and not a moment longer.” There’s no Depression Fairy sprinkling us with her yucky fairy dust. We chart our own course via the thinking we do; we can change direction at any time. We made up the Depression Fairy, too. Isn’t the human imagination amazing?

“Hate, jealousy, insecurity. phobias and feelings of depression are all compounds of negative thoughts.

All feelings derive and become alive, whether negative or positive, from the power of Thought. …

Even if you disagree with what I say, it’s your thought.”

                                                                                                           Sydney Banks, The Missing Link, pp. 24-25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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