Friday, March 26, 2010

New Perceptions on Enlightenment

Regardless to the number of times we tell someone to change, he or she won't listen until they're ready.  Unfortunately, most of us are victims of this type of behavior.  While we hear the words and intellectually process them, we remain steadfast with our beliefs. And when we are ready to change, we become receptive to new information and not a moment sooner.

For so many of us who are suffering from victim beliefs, it's challenging to listen to anyone, even those whom we believe are worthy to teach us something.  It's not that we don't want to listen, we just haven't reached the depths of despair where we are willing to stop inviting the pain and suffering into our lives. 

New things -- beliefs and actions -- frighten us. Old things -habits and beliefs -- make us feel more secure.   We believe there's greater safety in the known than the unknown. Since most of the people we know and interact with are victims, we find it more comforting to remain in our present state of being. There's no reason for us to do anything to change ourselves by leaving our family, friends, and others to their victim behavior. We would only be hurting ourselves.

When we decide to remove ourselves from our current dysfunctional behavior, we discover how deeply asleep we are with what's going on in our lives. Some of us, who have worked on ourselves for a few years, believe we're already awaken from our coma and everything was a dream.  We are now able to perceive our behavior from a different perspective.  We believe we are awake or enlightened.

From our half-awaken prism, we perceive ourselves to be free of victim beliefs.  We have accomplish so many things -- possessions, degrees, awards, and so on -- that validate our freedom.  And even when we experience pain and suffering in our lives, we believe it's different than what the authentic victims experience. We believe we have overcome our victimization.

Similarly, we begin to establish goals to enrich us with greater security. We search for this security with our eyes half-closed, our minds dulled by years of victim beliefs, and our unwillingness to expose ourselves to new information.  We are constantly struggling to live in darkness. Our commitment to victimhood is so great that we're unaware of the psychological and emotional cataracts clouding our visions while we are working  to change our behavior.

Nevertheless, at some point we're going to seek the necessary surgery to remove the cataracts blocking our vision. Unfortunately, until we do, we struggle to live, blinded by our beliefs, in a world where we're unable to clearly see the carnage from the wars, inner-city violence, poverty, illiteracy, and the widespread anger emanating from the intense suffering of those around us. With all of this happening around us, we continue to believe we are in a position to change our lives without ever seeing what's truly happening in our lives.

And despite our desires to separate ourselves from others, we remain fully connected to them. Our individualism is inextricably tied to our inability to see clearly. If we were not blinded by our victim beliefs, we would know we are an integral part of all humanity.  And our individualism was born from the blindness that created our egos. 

For us to clear away the victim beliefs, we must first become aware of their existence. It is this awareness that removes the cataracts from our visions so we're able to see life the way it is.  When we see life without victim beliefs, we free ourselves from the rationalizations used by victims to justify their behavior. We know clearly that our suffering comes from our actions. And that this means we are the cause of not only our suffering but what we think about it.

Unfortunately, to perceive life without our victim beliefs is a daunting experience for most of us. We have lived this way for so long until it's difficult to believe it's possible to live our lives without pain and suffering. Our lives have always been defined by our powerlessness, our suffering.

For us to imagine ourselves living victim-free lives, we cannot continue to believe we are victims.  The nexus from victim to enlightenment is action.  The actions we take each day, even those we believe are insignificant, become our gateway to a more expansive, spacious consciousness. This helps us to remove our victim beliefs without causing us to incorporate more pain and suffering in our lives.

Today many people find it empowering to worship men like Jesus, The Christ, Buddha, Krishna, Muhammad, and others.  Yet they find it so difficult to commit themselves to do the work (actions) they did to change from thinking of themselves as victims (at some point in their lives they were dependent on others for their existence) to achieving enlightenment.

They first had to overcome the beliefs taught to them as children by their guides -- parents, teachers, and society -- before they could discover the enlightenment within themselves. Then, as enlightened men, they were able to see clearly the suffering around them.  This empowered them to share their light (enlightenment) with others to assist them with their search for enlightenment.

The road to enlightenment is one that's been traveled by many people.  And when we remove the victim beliefs from our eyes, we can clearly see the footprints they left for us. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts.  The work to overcome our victimization is the light we all must use to guide us toward enlightenment.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Rising from the Depths of Despair

When we reach points in our lives that place us in great despair, we are usually ready to listen, to have open minds.  This point of desperation is not a pleasant place to be.  Yet it is only from this level of despair and pain that we are able to discover the source of our inner power.  This is the place where self-discovery occurs.

Many of us find it difficult to even acknowledge we have reached such a lowly point in our lives.  It's difficult for us to admit when we are in pain.  It's not something we want to discuss with our friends, relatives,  and coworkers. We find this is too embarrassing to share with others. And since we have rarely, if ever, been taught to trust our inner power, we begin to sink deeper into realms of despair.

At the level of great despair, we seek answers from traditional sources -- psychologists, gurus, ministers, motivational sales-persons, and so on -- to provide us with the expected magical solutions.  We believe they know, because of their training, more about what's causing us to suffer than we do.

Some of us seek solutions in food, drinks, drugs, and other mind altering chemicals in desperate attempts to move beyond the intense pain causing us to doubt ourselves.  We are willing to do almost anything to escape from the pain, except to stop and examine how we created so much pain and suffering in our lives.  We are hesitant to begin the journey of self-discovery.

After a while, we all know who's responsible for bringing the pain into our lives.  Regardless to how we want to blame others -- society, parents, spouses, friends, and so on -- we know that there were no decisions made in our lives without us being present. At every step, every juncture in our lives, we have been there, actively participating in all the decisions.  Whether it was to buy a car, house, clothes, take a vacation, dine in an expensive restaurant or attend a musical concert, we made the decision to do it.  And, in many instances, it didn't matter whether we could afford it or not. 

Now that the decisions have wrought great havoc on us, we want to absolve, to disassociate ourselves from them.  Unfortunately, this is not the way to enlightenment.  The way to enlightenment begins with self-discovery.  To rise from the depths of despair, we must actively participate in understanding how we made the decisions that are causing us so much pain.

The decisions we make today are the ones that will help us overcome the pain we are feeling now.  If the decisions are replicas of the ones we usually make, then the results will be more pain and less clarity.  So we must take this opportunity to rise from the depths of despair by beginning the self-discovery process.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Living by the Side of the Road

Some of us are finding it difficult to reconcile our current emotional and financial situations with our dreams.    We never imagined it was possible for us to rise so high and fall so low.  We thought we were protected by our investments and jobs.  It's incredulous to believe our lives were so inextricably tied to the financial collapse of the banks, insurance, and housing markets.   Unfortunately, that's what happened..

Many of us watched with sheer horror and disbelief as the housing bubble burst into economic flames. And when the fire was over there was nothing left but its ashes and our shattered dreams. The security we had work so hard to persevere was gone and we were left by the side of the road wondering what to do with our burnt dreams.

The basic idea of being an American and living in this country is to believe and feel we are secure.  Everything is predicated on our feeling secure from foreign attacks and domestic meltdowns. To destroy this belief is to destroy who we believe we are. And this removes the ground beneath our feet.  We feel the earth moving and we become uncomfortable, uneasy, and restless.

The thought of the ground moving beneath us is frightening. Although we work all our lives to prevent this from happening to us, most of us inevitably reach the point where we feel the ground moving beneath us. This makes us feel powerless, unsure of what to do next.  Even though, unbeknown to us, it's been moving beneath us all the time. However, because of our willingness to perceive our lives from the prism of illusions  -- money, fame, and possessions -- we anesthetize our minds to ignore the constant changes shaping our decisions and behavior.  We are too preoccupied with trying to control and manage the illusions than with trying to understand what's actually happening to us.

During these financial woeful times, it's difficult to function properly with the economic and social vicissitudes constantly disguising themselves as insecurity and security, happiness and sadness and so on. These are the mindful illusions that have us living by the side of the road.  Perhaps, from a distorted perspective, we find it soothing to attach ourselves to these illusions. After all, when you think about it, it seems that some of us have found ways to successfully manage them.

Although there are many people suffering because of the financial meltdown, there are some who seem  totally unaffected by it.  At least, it appears to some of us, they have enough of the illusions to anesthetize them into a comatose state of security. While the unemployed, and others working day and night to keep their homes and feed their families, the masters of illusions remain oblivious to concerning themselves with paying for life's basic necessities: electricity, gas, food, water, telephone, cable, Internet, mortgage, rent, and so forth.

Whenever we find ourselves living by the side of the road, it's sometimes easy to cast aspersions at those who have managed the illusions better than us. There's a tendency for us to question the fairness of life itself. We begin to complain there's something unfair about some people having more than others.  Yet if we look closely at this seemingly social anomaly, there's nothing unfair about it all. 

The perceptions of unfairness comes from our living as victims on the side of road.  We believe we are powerless to enter onto the road of enlightenment that allows us to clearly perceive the illusions as they really exist. This awakens us to clearly discern the false sense of security found in the illusions closely guarded by those with money, fame, and possessions. We know the ground is also moving beneath them and at some point, they will feel its power. 

Meanwhile, those of us with less of the illusions -- money, fame, and possessions --  believe we must get them if we want to feel good about ourselves.  If not, we will continue to languish in pain and suffering by the side of the road. Unfortunately, we have not become aware of the intrinsic pain and suffering within the illusions we seek.

Now is the time for us to clear our minds so that we can perceive our lives the way they really are, not what we believe them to be.  The notion or belief in security is simply an illusory desire.  To go beyond the illusions we must be willing to enter onto the road of enlightenment. While the road (consciousness) is secure within itself, it's not the security we have been taught to seek. Life on the enlightenment road is provides us with the security to live purpose-fulfilled lives without being victimized by illusions.

As enlightenment seekers we clearly know we can never achieve the security promised to us by the illusions because our existence on this planet is temporary. And because we know our existence is temporary there's no need for us to create undue pain and suffering working to create permanence while we are here. It's simply not possible.

Nevertheless, for us to overcome the pain and suffering from our illusions, we must be willing to release ourselves from its shackles. We must stop projecting power into our illusions. Whenever we perceive our lives without the illusions, we become aware of the limitless possibilities available to us. So when we learn to treat our problems for what they truly are, we will ultimately understand that our problems are nothing more than figments of our illusions.

The road to enlightenment is available only to those who are willing to free ourselves from illusions of security. We must become vulnerable before we can become free.