Thursday, April 29, 2010

Overcoming the Regrets from Victimization

"Whenever we succumb to our regrets, we open the door to suffering." 

There's nothing we can do about changing the past. It is something that no longer exists, except when we decide to resurrect it from our memories. As individuals, we are constantly resurrecting memories and attaching ourselves to them. So it's important for us to be mindful of our thoughts and the power they have over us.

By resurrecting dead events into our lives, we are engaging in a process that's designed to create suffering in our lives. And regardless to how we might like to believe resurrection of the past is a harmless, fanciful thing, it can have pernicious results.  Unfortunately, not all of our past memories are pleasant ones. Some of them are experiences we would like to forget, particularly those dealing with abuse, poverty, failed relationships, addictions, crimes, and so forth.

Nevertheless, whenever we revive past memories, we become primary players in intellectual gymnastics: A game based on regrets and suffering. It's not unlike a typical video game where the more we play this game, the more regrets we accumulate and the more intense suffering we bring into our lives. This is the easiest way to accumulate suffering while believing we are having fun playing a harmless mind game.

Throughout history the wise ones have warned us of the dangers we face from looking back. The biblical, synoptic spiritual writers shared considerable insights on the dangers of "looking back."  They warned us to "let the dead bury the dead." And that we are "the resurrection and the life."  And while many people may have interpreted their words to mean people who were actually dead, there are some of us who interpret their words to mean consciousness.

Meanwhile, if we examine consciousness very closely, it's easy to see the meaning of these passages as being related to each individual.  How do we make such a leap from dead bodies to dead experiences? Well, it's quite simple. We have within us both the power to resurrect and bring to life all of our past experiences -- good, bad, or indifferent.

It is our power of resurrection that is responsible for our regrets and the subsequent sufferings from them.  There's no one else responsible for what we think other than us. So when we look back, we, in a certain sense, "turn to salt" like the Biblical Lot's wife. We become victimized by our pasts.

Most of us become so mired in victimized past behavior that we find it difficult to look forward.  Our desires are destroyed by memories of past failures and regrets.  We began to doubt the power we have to do something different; something more enriching. We find ourselves living in the past hoping, wishing our lives could have been different. Unfortunately, we have allowed our consciousness to become overcome with past regrets.

For us to overcome the regrets holding us back, we must embark on a new journey. On this new journey, we must decide what we desire to see in our lives. And regardless to the number of failures we have had, they only exist in the past, which means they're dead.  Whenever we embark on a journey to achieve something, we first must create a strong desire for what we want to express in our lives.  This desire, or desires, must be free from all references to the past.  In other words, we must begin our journey equipped only with our desires.

Similarly, we must begin the journey in self-discovery.  This is not the introspective,  traditional psychoanalysis of self-discovery used my many therapists, but the  intuitive self-discovery of the power we already have within us. It's during the self-discovery process that we clear away the doubts blocking our awareness of this great power. However, on any journey, we need both the desires and the tools to guide us. If we are victimized by our regrets, then suffering will guide us. And if we are endowed with clarity, then enlightened wisdom will guide us.

As some of us know, there are many resources available to guide us on our journeys. Unfortunately, we sometimes are not aware of the resources within us. So we vainly search for answers from the outside.

Some of us might believe someone else is responsible for  "the resurrection and the life" that's happening in our lives. And if we do, we will undoubtedly become deeper enmeshed in our own self-imposed suffering. We lose sight of our own participation in everything that's happening in our lives. In other words, we lose the awareness to understand that we are the ones with the power and the responsibility for our actions. 

As enlightenment-seekers, we are working to achieve the clarity to awaken ourselves from victim consciousness. We are mindful of our actions. We are cognizant that our actions -- anger, hatred, jealously, envy, and so on -- are exact expressions of who we are in the moments they are happening. We are responsible for the intense anger, hatred, and violence we direct toward others and for our compassionate and humanitarian efforts to help others.

Regardless to  how we attempt to deny responsibility for actions, we are justly responsible for both the good and bad as defined by our beliefs. And as one of the writers said, "Deny me and I will deny you." 

When we deny our responsibility for our actions, we deny ourselves.  We are no longer aware of the power within us that's creating and the power that's expressing this creation.  Whether we recognize this or not, we are both creating and expressing everything that's happening in our lives. To deny this consciousness means it will deny us of the desires we want to see in our lives.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Swimming in the Deep Waters of Life

It's difficult for some of us to ever think or dream about truly having abundant lifestyles. Many of us feel this way because we have become accustomed to living in the shallow waters of life that's filled with emotional discord, anger, jealousy, envy, and poverty. Yet, if we look closely at our lives, we clearly discern that it's in the shallow waters where most victims are struggling for survival. Unfortunately, this is also where we find very little creativity and production.

Wherever we find victims, we find suffering. And beneath all the suffering, we find victim beliefs. Victim beliefs are what inextricably tie us to the shallow waters of life and weigh us down with fears and doubts. It's our beliefs that cause us to daydream about one day having all that we desire to have in life. It's our beliefs that prevent us from achieving our desires. And, conversely, it's our beliefs that have the power to fulfill all of our desires. Our beliefs are the source of everything positive, negative, and indifferent that's happening to us now.

When we choose to live in the shallow waters of life as victims, we are making a commitment to suffer. We suffer because of our desire to have something that we are not working to achieve. This is not premeditated suffer that we are bringing into our lives.  It's suffering that goes unnoticed in the details of our beliefs and actions. We don't think about the consequences of our actions while we're making the seemingly, innocuous  decisions. We give very little thought to pain we are creating in our lives by making these decisions.

Nevertheless most of us, who haven't taken the time to engage in self-discovery, don't really know why we feel victimized to live in the shallow waters of life. We just know we don't like the way we feel about how we're living or our role in creating the illusions that's causing us to suffer. And while we would like for all the suffering to magically disappear we know, at a deeper intuitive level, this is not going to happen.

For us to go beyond the shallow waters of life, rife with victim consciousness and into the spacious waters of enlightenment, we must do the work to change our beliefs.  To swim freely toward the deeper waters of enlightenment, we first must remove victim shackles from our consciousness. This means we must begin removing piece by piece the beliefs causing the suffering in our lives. While we might find this proposition to be a tedious, arduous task, this it what we must do free ourselves.

Most of us are stuck where we are in life because we feel overwhelmed by fears and doubts. This type of thinking has convinced us that we are powerless because of race, gender, class, lack of education, our names, or the way we talk.  And whenever we are confronted with our victimization, we seek ways to rationalize it away. We feel confused about the nature of our responsibility for how we are living. So we vainly attempt to explain it by espousing victim rhetoric to absolve ourselves from this horrific nightmare.

Some of us, who have allowed ourselves to be victimized by racism, politics, and economic machinations, cannot properly perceive ourselves as willing participants in accepting these illusions as realities. That's the reason we need to participate in self-discovery so we can clearly perceive our own actions.  As victims of our beliefs, we give power to others to shape and control how we think and live.

As enlighten seekers, we know the importance of understanding the origins of our beliefs. And in the case of our victim beliefs, we know they originated from many different sources -- parents, teachers, and society -- who taught us to think and live a certain way. If we're born into poverty, racism, and reared in the ghettos, then it's probably easier to teach us how to think and act as victims.

Meanwhile, if we're born  into wealth, privilege, and reared in affluent neighborhoods, then it's probably more difficult to teach us to think and live as victims.  Even though, at the deeper level of enlightenment, both groups are victims, they both require different tools to assist them with overcoming the suffering in their lives.

Our beliefs imprison us with expectations. We expect certain types of behavior from those living in the ghettos than those living in affluent neighborhoods. We think this way naturally, effortlessly. This causes us to label people by where they live. For example, we expect those in the ghettos to express poverty, violence, unemployment, failure and so forth. And in the more  affluent neighborhoods, we expect them  to express, wealth, peace, employment, success, and so on.   

Moreover, it's this type of reasoning that makes it very difficult for both groups to ever overcome the beliefs that's victimizing them. However, when we actively participate in self-discovery, we clearly know that while the cure for both groups' suffering is enlightenment, the treatment is different. And we also know that it's each person's responsibility to prescribe their own treatment to overcome the problems causing them to suffer.

Meanwhile, whenever we decide to move away from the mud, slime, dirt and suffering found in the shallow waters of life and swim in the open spacious waters of the ocean of enlightenment, we are able to free ourselves from the beliefs and illusions causing to believe we are victims.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fighting the Anger From Within

One of the greatest challenges facing us on our journeys to achieve enlightenment is anger.  We seem unable to control it. There's always something happening to provoke a sudden surge of anger from us. Even the small, innocuous, almost unnoticed acts by others can cause us to become suddenly aroused with anger. Anger is one of the most difficult emotions facing us on our journeys.

Whenever someone does anything we believe infringes on our freedoms to express power, we don't like it. We become angry; ready to defend our human sovereignty. This is the type of behavior that comes from our ignorance about enlightenment and happiness. It's not the same, yet it is in a certain sense, as the dreaded ignorance we all dislike. Most of us will not only become angry, but we will rise to the level of taking action against anyone who says we are ignorant.

By being ignorant of enlightenment is not something we should feel ashamed about. All of us are ignorant of enlightenment and happiness until we clear away all the victim beliefs of powerlessness. After all, when we think about it, we have been angry for most of our lives. We were angry even as little children, as teenagers, and as adults we are still angry. Unfortunately, some of us have been conditioned by our environments and cultures to live with anger. We are the children of anger.

It seems that wherever we turn, we see anger spewing from television pundits, politicians, spiritual leaders, and even from the everyday people we meet in grocery, retail, and shopping malls.  Anger is all around us. And it's here because of us. And until we recognize it's in us and do something about removing it, we will always be angry. Fortunately, we can do something to overcome our anger.  We can transform our thoughts to seek enlightenment.

Similarly, the moment we decide to seek enlightenment is the moment we desire to achieve happiness in our lives. The goal of happiness is inextricably tied to the goal of enlightenment. We cannot have one without the other. This means to achieve either one, we must first understand why we're angry. And to understand our angry, we must first begin the self-discovery process. It is from self-discovery -- the self-evaluation of the cause and effect of our behavior -- where we discover the nexus between anger and our beliefs.

There are some of us who are proponents of happiness and enlightenment. We believe it is the goal of all humans. We believe pure happiness provides us with the freedom to live empowered lives. We believe that there is a way of life beyond the pain and suffering we have endured for must of our lives. And we do so because of the brief moments of happiness we have experienced throughout our lives. This is not to be confused with the joy and pleasure we feel from external things and people. It's what we feel when we experience the completeness of being fulfilled by prayer and meditation.

Similarly, there are many others who believe that enlightenment and happiness can only be achieved when we're no longer human.  Accordingly, the goal of enlightenment and happiness is to prepare ourselves to experience it in the afterlife.  However, they believe we should work diligently to live virtuous and happy lives while we are here.  This means we should treat people with kindness, love, and respect. The happy, commodious life is the goal for all of us.

 Nevertheless, regardless to which viewpoint we choose, they both require us to remove the anger from our lives. And to do this, we need some tools to assist us.

We can begin the work by imagining what our lives would be like if we were not angry.  While in a blissful, angry free state of awareness, we can imagine ourselves acting calmly as drivers give us the finger as they abruptly cut in front of us on the freeway. There would be no anger, just acceptance without attachments. We can imagine ourselves unaffected by the gossip and criticism from relatives, friends, spouses, and colleagues. There's no anger, just acceptance without attachments.

Moreover, we can imagine ourselves free of anger whenever someone makes a disparaging comment about how we look, or about our race, gender, and religion. Nor would we become angry because of what someone on the world stage did or said that was against our beliefs. There's no anger, just acceptance without attachments.

After we finish imagining, we soon realize that imagining and reality are necessarily congruent with each other. And we must now fight to maintain our commitment to enlightenment in spite of what we believe is happening to us and our perceptions of the illusions we have created in the world. We must begin to cultivate our imaginations and synchronize them with the new realities we are creating from our behavior. In other words, we must create a new oasis of happiness from the anger we are currently experiencing in our lives.

The more intense the anger, the greater resolve we must have to enlightenment. This is very important to those of us who were born into angry environments festering with violence and poverty. We tend to express the most intense anger toward ourselves and everyone that looks like us. We are angry nearly all the time. We despise our living conditions, while envying others who have what we desire to possess.  And regardless to how we try to conceal our anger, it's still there, deep within us, waiting on the opportunity to spring forth with a vengeance.

Meanwhile, there are some of us who believe we can transform our thinking even while living in the midst of great despair and anger.  We are the enlightenment-seekers working to transform our victimized minds into ones that enrich our lives with enlightenment and happiness.  We are working to express our visions so others can see there are other options from which they can choose.  In other words, we can do something about the anger we feel in our lives.

As enlightenment-seekers we are working to free ourselves from attachments to all dogma.  We are committed to overcoming the beliefs that cause anger in our lives. We are working to do all that we can to achieve enlightenment while we are here on this planet.  We want our lives to have meaning and purpose in the present time. And for our visions to be clear and powerful.  We desire to have eyes that can see and ears that can hear the silent and peaceful thoughts of enlightenment guiding us on our journeys.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Going Beyond the Difficult Times

Today, many of us feel intimidated by what's happening in the world. The wars, starvation, unstoppable bickering by powerful countries, and the fratricidal warfare waging in many developing countries are all contributing to the uncertainties in our lives.  Those whom we trust to protect us seem to have abandoned us. Now, by all accounts, we are alone and worried about our futures. 

We have grown accustomed to depending on others to take care of us during the difficult and uncertain times. It seems that as far as we can remember someone has always been there to take care of us. And when we couldn't find someone to take care of us, we could always turn to The Creator to take care of us. As victims, many of us opined: "Someone has to protect us, it's always been this way."

Our dependency on others is a social phenomenon we pay very little attention to. It's like our furniture or a new suit, we only notice them when they're taken from us. Unfortunately, it is this social phenomenon that's the genesis of our spiritual and social welfare. These are the beliefs that inextricably tie us to victim consciousness and powerlessness.  

As many of us know by now, we are the creators of everything in our lives. If we are poor, it's based on what we think about our abilities to overcome poverty. If we are failing in school, work, our relationships, and in life, we are right there every step of the way making decisions and effecting outcomes.  At this level of development and action, there's nothing spiritual or otherwise telling us what to do.  We are acting based on what we think about ourselves and the powers we have to change the way we think and live.

At some point in time, we become victimized by the madness we have created in our lives and begin to search for a scapegoat or for a spiritual power to remove the madness from our lives. We find it difficult to believe we are responsible for the way we are living.  Even in the most difficult situations, most victims cannot accept that we created whatever is happening in our lives. 

Similarly, as children we could blame our parents for not having adequate incomes, educations, the personal disciplines to refrain from various addictions, or the propensity to provide us with the love and comfort we needed to feel secure within ourselves.  So a natural response to this is to blame them for the way we are living now. 

Nearly all victims at one time or another express the sad, pitiful stories of childhood.  And some share them after they believe they have succeeded in life.  These stories are intended to make the other victims feel good about themselves.  They are designed to give them hope.Yet most victims hear the stories and continue to live the way they are accustomed to living. No changes, nothing at all, except doubts and fears.  That's what most of us feel after the stories disappear.

After the sad stories are toppled by other sad stories, we find ourselves left with our memories of them.  We know at a certain level of consciousness that our parents, at least those equipped with good parenting skills, did the best they could with what they had.  And since we are now parents, we clearly know we desire the best of everything in life for our children.  However, if we ask them -- particularly the ones not doing too well in life -- what they think of their parents, we might be shocked at their answers.

Meanwhile, in spite of everything we work to do for others, we cannot live within their consciousness.  They pick and choose what lives there.  Although they are our children, we are not responsible for whatever madness they are experiencing in their lives.  They, and only they, are responsible. And they must do the work to change how they think and live.  Fortunately, if they take the time to reflect, to examine their behavior, they will clearly understand how the madness was created in their lives.

The goal of enlightenment is to wake us up from victim consciousness. To make us aware of the great power within ourselves. It is this power, which is revealed to us during the self-discovery process, that allows us to accept personal responsibility for what's happening in our lives.  And it is this awareness that allows us to become self-reliant on the intuitive power -- that which is beyond the victim -- we have to solve all of our problems.