Posts

Karma the Teacher

We sometimes speak of karma as an instrument of Divine retribution - as a sword with which God is standing ready to strike down those who transgress Its laws. For many of us this is because we grew up in the framework of traditional Christianity with its vengeful and tyrannical Jehovah. We may have distanced ourselves from the surface trappings of our childhood religion, but the fundamental attitudes are deeply ingrained and harder to escape.

If karma were intended for punishment, it would be an incredibly inaccurate tool. "Good" things happen to "bad" people, and vice versa. This observation led me to conclude in an earlier post that things happen in the physical Universe at random. It's also possible that our opinions of "good" and "bad" are off the mark. But it's clear that there's no strong correlation between behavior and worldly rewards, whether behavior is measured against the traditional standards of our youth, or the "…

Suffering At Our Own Hands

When we feel that we have been mistreated - either by another person or by the mysterious workings of the Universe - we tend to take refuge in self-pity.  The irony of this is that self-pity, and any other device that ego uses to focus attention on itself, is no refuge, but rather a way of perpetuating the pain inflicted upon us, that left alone would quickly dissipate.
How much suffering we inflict upon ourselves! This is well illustrated, albeit in a different context, by the Zen story "Two Monks and a Woman" that is told and discussed at this link. When someone mistreats us, the greatest suffering we experience is not the direct result of the mistreatment, but the result of the way we react to it. The event and the pain inflicted from outside pass in an instant; any pain that is felt thereafter comes from inside. This is the most important teaching I can ever give about suffering, and I urge you to mindfully apply it to your own experience until it becomes an integral part…

Mindfully replace fear with Love

Fear is a dominant force among us today. Partly this is due to the inherent uncertainty of events and our inability to control them. A great deal of ambient fear is also generated by the many media sources that bombard us constantly. Those sources must attract our attention in order to survive. Media do not hesitate to focus on negativity, or to exaggerate and even fabricate their stories of imminent danger. They have learned that fear, and the negative emotions such as hatred that it engenders, are powerful magnets to our egos. Ego thrives on fear and negative emotions; they reinforce its paranoia and support its demand for our exclusive attention. In many ways, the media are the voices of ego. 

We live in an environment of instant communication and constant exposure to the agendas of others.  That environment insists that we respond, and we may develop the habit of reacting immediately to every stimulus. This means that our reactions are not thought out, but are based on  irrational …

Unsubscribe

My email inbox attracts lots of messages that I don't want or need. Most of it is from people or websites that I may have visited once, or from online vendors I have patronized in the past. Periodically, in order to prevent these unsolicited messages from flooding my mailbox and overwhelming the few that I actually want to read, I go through and click on the tiny "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of the message. In that way I am able to reduce the distracting clutter and focus on the messages that are really important.
Life these days is a lot like my email inbox. I am constantly bombarded by messages from people I may know slightly, or from people I don't recall ever knowing, wanting my attention for their political cause, their candidate, their product or service, or their particular approach to spirituality and healing. These messages come over the television, on the phone, in newspapers and magazines, and of course over the Internet in emails or popup ads. 
In addit…

Love Always Wins

A friend asks, "Why haven't we as a society made more spiritual progress?" There are at least two ways of interpreting current events in light of that question, but to begin with the more obvious one, our progress can't be measured by the things we see in the news - lives and property damaged or destroyed, hateful messages and deeds - but by the extent to which our (individual and societal) response is sourced in love and compassion rather than violence and hatred. By that measure it may well be that we as a society haven't progressed since we baby boomers were young adults, or indeed have regressed, but we must look beyond the news to find out. Each of us is responsible to look into our own soul and ask whether we are contributing to the problem or to the solution through the energies we resonate to and broadcast. If we collectively have not raised the level of our energy, our vibration, beyond the negativity that ego generates, then we cannot expect love and co…

Posts about ego and the higher Self

Recognizing guidance

There are inflection points in life where individuals become aware of the many messages of support and guidance that the Universe sends them. Those messages are always there. What makes them stand out in one's experience is that they seem responsive to the internal questioning that is rising closer to the surface of consciousness. Uncertainty and meditation in combination attract guidance. This is an interactive phenomenon between the individual consciousness and Spirit. Since individual consciousness is only an imperfect manifestation of Spirit, one could see this as Spirit refining consciousness to be more in alignment with itself. Uncertainty is only a surface condition; the Spirit within always knows the correct course to follow. What is necessary is to bring this knowledge to the light of everyday awareness so that it can guide action. When the clouds of uncertainty begin to dispel, like the calming of ripples on the surface of a clear pool, the Spirit within recognizes its m…