Sunday, July 9, 2017

Who are my people?


 
I have been a counselor since the 1980's and recently retired. I became very skilled at sensing from within what each client sitting in front of me was experiencing and feeling. I had a deep desire to help and make a positive difference in their lives.  I felt no need to judge them good or bad, right or wrong. In fact I didn’t like to diagnosis, but knew I had to for insurance reimbursement. I had a deep understanding of what motivates and what causes their hurtful behaviors with empathy, not judgment. They were my people to help; I knew my role. I was a force for good; a force for making the world a little better place.
Since I have retired from psychotherapy, I have felt like there is a missing piece. It is not a longing or painful. It's not like needing to find another lover when you break up.  It's more like a phantom, a friendly ghost.  I spend many hours with myself in silence just being in the “now” sitting on my lanai among the smell of pine trees, the sounds of birds, and the companionship of Jaz, my yellow lab. My feelings of gratitude reach a level of bliss and peacefulness I have never known. I tell myself there is nothing I have to do, just be present and enjoy. There are no more health insurance claims to fill out, no more bills to collect, no more treatment plans, and no more phone calls to compassionless reluctant health insurance companies. Today I work in the garden, shop at the farmers’ stand, walk with Jaz and cook healthy meals. Sometimes I clean the house, do laundry and cut the grass.
 
It sounds very peaceful and it is and yet sometimes I remember and even dream about this phantom of a missing piece. Trying to please the phantom, I started a Meet up on Mindful Ageing and had a very nice turn out. It seems there is a great deal of interest in Mindful Ageing in Florida. I formed a Women’s Circle to replace the women’s groups I facilitated at the Mindfulness Center. Neither piece fit. It was as if my approach to the people who showed up in my life was coming from a different part of my brain. I wasn’t sure what I was doing in either situation. For sure I was not in the flow and the phantom showed up more and more. I found myself judging people with my keen ability to know what motivates others, replacing compassion. It was also very easy to get into the divisive worlds of politics and religion and label people acceptable and unacceptable based on their political and religious beliefs. I ended both the Meet up and the Women’s Circle. I was okay with more time alone on my lanai and started to read three books at a time. The books inspired me to want to share my insights and the missing piece phantom appeared once again.
 
I soon realized the problem was me; I didn’t know how to relate to the new people coming into my life and I no longer felt like a force for good in the world. I heard a story about a very special city bus driver who greeted all of his passengers with a smile and positive message. As they departed his bus he would tell them to have a good day or evening. When asked why he cared so much for his passengers, he replied, “These are my people.” These are the people God put on his bus to make a difference for good in their lives. He went on to say everybody can do something to make the world a better place. The words, “These are my people.” hit me like a ton of bricks. That’s it, who are my people? When I was a therapist the role was understood; I knew my people and they knew me. I didn’t judge them because they were my people. My authentic self felt empathy and compassion with a strong desire to help. I am not looking for  a missing  piece to recreate what I had, I am creating a new way to be a force for good. I am looking for my people.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Our True God Nature


Our True God Nature

Some ideas from Joseph Benner’s book The Impersonal Life

When we know our true nature we will be free. We will understand that there is no need to struggle, defend, or guard against things.  We will know nothing has gone wrong. We will learn that nothing needs to be fixed on the planet. That everything is just as it should be. Even our governments are exactly where they need to be as they reflect diverse beliefs and desires of the people. Nobody needs to be fixed; each of our paths will lead to our true nature. All the judgment and critical thinking of the ego is what keeps us from expressing the God within.

Joseph Benner tells us we will learn to accept all experiences as a lesson to teach us something about ourselves. When we are offended or hurt by others behavior or we judge others in a negative way, we are learning lessons of what needs to heal within ourselves. As we know our true nature we will be able to look at others differently, thanking them for being the reflection necessary to recognize our own short comings. People who we now judge we will thank for coming into our lives to teach us what we otherwise may not have been aware of without their assistance.

“But the reason you are enabled to see these faults and shortcomings, is not that you may criticize or judge your brother, but that I may arouse in you a definite resolve to overcome such faults and shortcomings in your own personality. For, mark you!--You would take no note of them in others were they not still in yourself; for I, within, then would not need to call them to your attention. “Joseph Benner

When we begin to realize that all people even the ones we now judge as rude, ignorant, obnoxious, greedy and cruel are here because we have attracted them into our lives for a reason for they are all important players in our journey to know our true nature.

“My Perfection is gradually unfolding from within you. As you more and more realize this, will the true meaning and use of the things, conditions and experiences I send be revealed unto you. For you will then begin to glimpse My Idea Within, and when you glimpse that Idea will you begin to know Me-your own Real Self.”—Benner

As we are able to view all of life’s experiences without labeling them good or bad we will be able to see that all is the natural order. Being present in that observation by loving, allowing and accepting the world as it is will lead to the joy of knowing our true self. I have always struggled with judgment and a critical attitude toward others. As I begin to understand that all this judgment is coming from my ego and the culture that teaches competition, comparison, and individualism, it is easier for me to begin letting go of judgment and replacing it with right statements. The one I am using is, “I am perfect whole and complete and so are you.”

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ted Kloski's Portrait


This morning I woke up thinking about Jung and the messages of Ted’s Portrait. The painting dances with dreamlike colorful archetypes and symbols inspired by the alchemists and Carl Jung. It seems to be saying we need to burn out all of our impurities to experience the joy of the gifts from the Garden. It is saying, we are guided by the collective unconscious winding through our Soul burning and draining impurities and integrating colorful missing pieces. The missing pieces come from the unconscious going to the conscious on a crooked path to individualized and authenticity. The Self is realized while living in harmony and balance. I believe The Ted Painting is demonstrating that process. As impurities are draining out, the beauty of The Garden is able to enter the body of consciousness. The sadness symbolizes compassion and concern for a planet of suffering and destruction. The drops of blood are colored with the wisdom of the Scarab’s contribution of synchronicities and intuition.

 

I am not sure if this is what the artist intended to say through this Portrait. The beauty of visual art is that the observer finds what is needed from the unconscious. It may not be the same message of the artist, making it even more valuable. The artist is exposing his beliefs and it is received in a way that is meaningful to another demonstrating Oneness. I may not understand the symbols of Greek Mythology because I have never studied Mythology, but I can still be influenced by the message because the characters live in the collected unconscious as archetypes.
 
The following is what I believe today about the Spiritual journey to Self.  I believe it may differ somewhat from what the artist is saying.  It comes as a collection of my journeys through Jungian Psychology, Buddhism and Metaphysics:  
 
I believe rather than a burning of impurities, the journey to the Garden is an awakening process. We awaken to know we are One with everything because God is all there is( metaphysical). We are the Garden and already there.  I change the Jungian concept of good and evil being on a continuum circle to a circle of light and darkness.   I believe it is our delusional view of life coming from the story of the Serpent, the Apple and Adam and Eve that creates suffering. As the archetypical story goes, once Adam and Eve ate the apple they became subjects of judgment living in a dark delusional world of good and evil. We have been brainwashed by a culture that teaches separation through the concept of good and evil. When we awake to Truth we understand that what we have been looking for isn’t being good or better, we know we our true nature is Love. Our path is to live in the light of non-judging and connectedness.

Jung's work is beneficial  because I do believe in the collective unconscious as a means of tapping into the Truth on our journey to understanding  Self.  When we sleep at night, we go to a place where we can encounter all that is in the way, blocking us from Truth and the Garden. When we wake in the morning, we wake up to Ego and the head which is always spinning some kind of grand false story we learned about good and evil and separation. If I stay in semi-awakeness, then I can catch the messages of truth before head takes over. It is a state of consciousness that brings wisdom.  I can reach this same state of consciousness in meditation,by experiencing a painting, reading poetry, watching a meaningful play or movie, getting lost in the senses of nature. These are the times we can tap into Universal truth wide awake.
 
Let’s throw in the metaphysical concept, that you get what you believe and you create your own reality. If you believe in the lies of good and evil and separateness, it becomes your reality.  You see all things as good or evil including self; you live a life judging everything as either good or badl, pleasant or unpleasant. If you no longer judge and believe only in Oneness united in Love than that is what you begin to experience and create.  When you replace judgment with curiosity, the world of duality ends and you experience the peaceful state of equanimity.
 
When I reject the concept of good and evil, I can create a new reality. Instead of burning the  impurities of evil through analysis, I awake to the divine nature of myself and all people.  It is a process of awakening out of the dark nightmare of our culture. It does not happen quickly because there are many cultural traps hanging out waiting to trick us into believing the lies.The darkness of these cultural traps can be negotiated through the use of practices. Mindfulness provides us with many practices promoting compassion, non-judgment, self-awareness, and equanimity.
 
As we transform our belief in separateness and judgment through an understanding of our true nature, we move through life recognizing the true nature and the divinity in all. We begin to see all humans with more compassion with no need to label their behavior as good or evil. Our labeling is  based on our own biases and projections, hidden in the darkness of our subconscious. We navigate a circle of consciousness from illuminating brightness to deep darkness. We all live someplace in that circle and each of us have times of great light and great darkness.
 
I believe there is another key to living in the light and that is allowing our emotions to be our messengers. A difficult emotion is a signal, letting us know where we are and what is happening.  Strong judgment of another is another cue to look within self to see what is being projected. When we can observe our emotions as a witness, we are already finding the way out of darkness. We actually are on a higher level of consciousness when we become the witness. When you know what is going on, you can use the practices and tools you have acquired to crawl out from under the false beliefs and fears. You regulate and learn from you emotions rather than act out. Even though we all fall into darkness from time to time, self awareness through an understanding of emotions  allows us to know where we are. Through the acceptance of the darkness is how we find the light.
 
 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Definition of Artist


June 12, 2017  Definition of Artist.

As I continue to ponder what is it I wish to do with this amazing life, I think of Meryl Streep who once told a reporter she would retire when she no longer has anything to say. She wishes to continue her participation in the world’s conversation. Nobody would doubt Meryl Streep is a great artist. When you Google “great artists” among the greats you will find a picture of Steve Jobs. I define an artists as someone who communicates the collected Truth. When you  witness the work of an artist  you experience their truth on all levels of your being, mind, body, spirit, Soul. Is an artist somebody who is expressing  their own unique truth in a conversation with the world? Is an artist somebody who causes a change in your brain that makes you wan to see more, learn more, be more?

We need artists of many kinds today. This is an interesting time in World History. Is it another time of darkness? We think we are so smart and so advanced; and yet we are so asleep, so cruel, and so destructive. Manipulation of truth is all around us and our collected Soul knows it. It knows the lies of the factory farmer who believes animals do not feel pain as we do; “they are just animals.” What does inflicting extreme suffering to another sentient being do to the Soul? Pharmaceutical executives twist research results to sell products they say will relieve suffering; products that harm the mind, body and spirit. Do their products block the Soul from truly relieving suffering? Politicians lie and manipulate the thinking and beliefs of their constituents. Their voters believe the lies and then vote in darkness causing their own loss of wellbeing. I wonder if liars become so good at lying, Truth is no longer available to them. We seek more and more, drowning in materialism, driven by the need to impress others, never experiencing what we really need; love that comes from connection and belonging. In contrast, “backward” indigenous people live simple lives using what Mother Nature provides, knowing how to connect to other living beings rather than things. They love and belong to Soul as they  preserve the earth with the practice of seven generations. They bless and respect the animals; they know bliss as they dance with nature. The bliss and joy today we seek to find from a pill, having more things, or fame.

We are so smart and yet we only believe the lies of society and what we can see; denying the existence of a world seen by mystics; a world of connection and Oneness in love with all living things. Artists often speak their truth in symbols to stay safe in the dark; a darkness that only values rational thinking, a darkness that disconnects senses and emotions. Is it not the senses and feelings that connect us to the Soul?  Can we define suffering as the experience of being disconnected from collected Truth, Love, and Soul?

We are so advanced and yet we suffer and we do not know why we suffer. So we look for the answers in the rational, outside of Self.  We eat the poison created by lies and manipulation. We chase our tails until we get sick and die. What happens to the poisoned soul as it transitions in death? I know not all people have peaceful deaths of a bright light. I have been with people who die in fear, anger and torment; there is no peace.  

I too have suffered chasing my tail trying to find love, belonging, acceptance and fame. In silence I stop chasing my tail and have glimpses of what the mystics know and experience. In silence I find my truth. What do I wish to discuss with the world? How can I be an artist sharing my message of truth? I believe we are all artist with a truth to share; a truth that is part of the collected Truth. How can we see it, feel it, hear it, touch it, taste it and share the message of Truth? There are many ways to communicate our truth to the world. We can share as a great actor like Meryl Streep, or a journalist, musician, teacher, chef, painter, poet, orator, writer, dancer, or faithful activist warrior standing up for all sentient beings and Earth herself.

What is my unique way of conversing in the world’s conversation? What do I wish to say?  Do you wish to be a part of the world conversation? What do you wish to say? Another definition of an artist may be work that is beyond passing time or work for money and fame. Art is work with no other purpose than expressing our truth for doing good. Work to decrease suffering. What is different about you so you can uniquely use the artist force to say something you care about? A life of wonder, beauty, and making a difference can change your whole reality of life and death bringing more light for this time we are living.