“If everything is perfect, happening in Divine order, why bother doing anything?”
This question was recently posed to the audience of The Global Conversation’s Facebook page in an effort to find out what people think about what may be one of the most asked about — and perhaps most misunderstood — concepts in the new-thought community.
If there is a larger spiritual design to all of this — that is, all of life — if our ultimate outcome is already guaranteed, why in the world do we need to worry about changing or creating anything during our time on earth? Can’t we just sit back and enjoy the ride? Let the chips fall where they may?
Our Facebook question triggered some wonderful and diverse responses from people around the globe.
Yoga Wahyudi says: “because there’s no such thing as perfect.”
Could that be true, that we actually are less than perfect? That nothing is perfect? Is much of the world striving and struggling and reaching for what they may never be able to attain? Is it true that there is no higher purpose or all-encompassing perfection involved here?
There are religions in our world today that support the idea that we are flawed from the moment we enter into the realm of physicality. If we embrace that belief system, one that requires us to believe ourselves as separate from God, upon what then do we base our decision of whether or not to become active participants in the happenings in our world? Is it merely an exercise of atonement for our perceived defects, earning or receiving credit for our “good” deeds?
Tony Meade shared a quote from Albert Einstein: “Nothing happens until something moves.”
And Deanne Steinbeck offered this thought: “Even divine order requires action, every action you make has a butterfly effect and it may be one of your actions that inspires someone else and so on. We are here to learn, grow and love and for us to action our best self…..divine order requires each of us to action love into the world.”
So perhaps it is within our actions, our doingness, our creativity that we are experiencing the perfection of our choices? Would we ever be able to know who we are, to declare who we are, or express who we are if we never engaged in demonstrations of who we are?
The answers to these questions will depend largely upon what your belief and understanding is about why you are here, on this planet, to begin with. Conversations with God shared this powerful message with us:
“My divine purpose in dividing Me was to create sufficient parts of Me so that I could know Myself experientially. There is only one way for the Creator to know Itself experientially as the Creator, and that is to create. And so I gave to each of the countless parts of Me (to all of My spirit children) the same power to create which I have as the whole….My purpose in creating you, My spiritual offspring, was for Me to know Myself as God. I have no way to do that save through you. Thus it can be said (and has been, many times) that My purpose for you is that you should know yourself as Me.”
And it is within this message that I believe we are offered an understanding that most clearly explains the dichotomy that exists between “everything being perfect” and the call for creation. It comes to us not in the form of a commandment, but rather in the form of a gift from God, so that we may experience ourselves as the Divine and so that the Divine may know Herself experientially.
So when we are at the choice point, and we find ourselves being given an opportunity to decide, the important questions to ask ourselves are: Who am I? Where am I? Why am I where I am? And what do I intend to do about that? When we purposefully transform our thoughts into actions, we become powerful creators and active participants in the evolution of life…not only for ourselves, but for everyone.
– Rosa Parks experienced this when she chose to stand up to legally imposed racial segregation and faced her own arrest.
– Hotel workers at theTaj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India, experienced this when they placed their own lives at risk in efforts to protect guests during the deadly terrorist attacks in 2008.
– Nancy Lublin experiences this in her capacity as CEO at DoSomething.org, one of the country’s largest nonprofit organizations championing for young people and creating social change in the areas of bulling & violence, environment, homelessness, and human rights, just to name a few.
– Cassandra Curley experienced this when she walked 50 miles in each of the 50 states in 50 weeks in conjunction with her 50th birthday, spreading the message to anyone who would listen that peace is our natural state and that conflict is generated by fear.
So I pose the question again: If everything is perfect, happening in Divine order, why bother doing anything?
(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)
In Conversations with God, Book 1, we learn that “…all illness is self-created. Even conventional medical doctors are now seeing how people make themselves sick.”
Let’s look at what you need to do in order to get healthy, stay healthy, and stop making yourself sick.
There are three basic steps you have to take for stellar holistic health. If you are vigilant and careful, you can improve your own health, reduce occurrence of illness, heal yourself, and start feeling great! First you must cleanse and detoxify your body, inside and outside. Get rid of the toxins that are hanging around in your intestines, clogging your arteries, wearing out your organs, and causing symptoms. You must also detoxify your mind, thoughts and relationships. Second, you must learn to avoid toxins in everything possible from food, beauty products, air, water, household cleaners, emotions, and thoughts. Finally, you must nourish your body with good, clean, whole food and subject your body to nutrient-dense foods, exercise, positive thoughts, actions, and activities.
Today we will look at cleansing and detoxifying your body, mind, and relationships.
How To Cleanse and Detoxify Your Body
Detoxifying and cleansing your body can promote weight loss, boost your energy, and help your body heal itself naturally from many symptoms including digestive problems, acne, and inflammatory issues. Detoxifying isn’t anything new, the ancient Eastern medicines have been promoting detoxification for thousands of years.
In order to effectively experience a detoxifying cleanse, you need to relieve, clean, and nourish your body starting from the inside! Once your internal organs have experienced this refreshing break, they can work more effectively to do their jobs – and heal the body naturally.
During a detox, the blood, intestines, and liver are cleansed by using fasting, stimulation, elimination, and nourishment. You can detox for a day or two, or for weeks, depending on your needs and goals. You should ask your doctor first if you have any kind of compromising condition such as pregnancy, chronic disease, or cancer.
We are surrounded by toxins everywhere and in everything from our air, water, and food to our health and beauty products, household cleaners, and work environment. The body stores the toxins it can’t get rid of and will eventually have symptoms such as infections, fatigue, skin problems, mental fog, or even weight gain.
During any kind of detox, you should avoid coffee, alcohol, refined sugar, smoking, and household poisons. Get plenty of rest and quiet time, and eat light foods. Avoid meat and fatty foods.
A great way to detox your gut immune system is to do a hot water detox. For 1-2 weeks, simply drink a mug of heated water (plain – no lemon or flavors) every hour or so. The hot water will open up the drainage in your gut and allow toxins to flow out. Repeating this every hour or so for a few weeks will completely boost your immune system naturally!
For a gentle daily detox, drink a large glass of lukewarm water with lemon when you wake up. Give your body a half hour or hour before eating breakfast. This habit will help you rehydrate your body after sleeping and will wake up your digestion so it can perform its work later.
Many foods can assist your body in naturally detoxifying. Raw fruits and vegetables provide the most cleansing, especially greens such as broccoli, kale, swiss chard, dandelion, turnip, or beet greens. You can also do a 5-day juice-only fast and consume water and juices of fruits and vegetables only.
Herbal and Special Detoxification
You may also choose to use an herbal supplement that will promote gentle cleansing and elimination. Be sure to use completely pure herbal cleanse products without fillers, gluten, chemicals, and artificial color or flavor. Look for a product containing psyllium husk, marshmallow and licorice root, bitter gourd, and slippery elm bark.
After you complete a digestive cleanse/detox you may wish to do a liver cleanse as well as a gallbladder cleanse, especially if you have suffered from headaches, mental fog or confusion, or lethargy. The best liver detox products will contain bio-available turmeric and milk thistle. There are also total cleanse products that are packed with bio-available chlorella, spirulina, or other algaes, and probiotics that can do wonders for your system and energy level!
Detoxify Your Mind
You must also detoxify your mind, thoughts and relationships. Negative thinking and attitude, gossiping, judgmental thinking, and toxic relationships are planting the seeds of disease in your system.
A great way to start thinking more positively is to try affirmations. You can choose a daily affirming statement about your body, health, love, peace, or any area you need to work on being positive. For instance if you suffer from anxiety, use the affirmation “I am at peace.” Just thinking or meditating on affirmations can start reprogramming your mind.
If you are a negative person, try to identify your negative thoughts, stop, and reword the thought into a positive one. Doing this day after day will help you to become positive instead of negative. For instance, if you think about a part of your body you dislike such as your nose or your stomach, think about all of the good things that body part does for you instead of your thoughts about the bad side. Your thoughts about how big your stomach is can turn into “My stomach helps me daily to digest healthy food and make me heal.” You might even start eating more consciously with thought like that!
As far as relationships, if you are spending time with toxic people you have two choices: 1) Work to fix the problem, or 2) Eliminate the problem. Toxic relationships can take a toll on your health and it’s not worth it to maintain unhealthy relationships.
Now you are on your way to detoxifying your body, mind, and spirit! In Part 2, we will examine how to avoid toxins!
(Beth Anderson is a certified Holistic Health Coach and founder of the Holistic Health Hotspot in Evansville, Indiana. She is also the author of “The Holistic Diet: Achieve Your Ideal Weight, Be Happy and Healthy for Life.” Beth received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Beth is helping people improve their lives through nutrition and lifestyle education, health coaching, and by helping others to learn to make informed choices. Beth continues to spread understanding of the connection between body, mind, and spirit and encourages all to discern the truth about food, consumer products, environment, and life choices. You can find Beth on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HolisticHealthHotspot or email her at email@example.com)
Is there no way that people can talk? Not even when the possibility of war and the future of the planet could be at stake? What is it that stops us from talking out loud, in front of everybody, with the whole world watching? Why not utter transparency?
The situation that has developed between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — more commonly referred to as North Korea — and the United States has deteriorated to the point where the DPRK has publicly threatened to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the U.S., and has put its missile launching mechanisms on full-alert status, awaiting an order to fire from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has flown two B-2 stealth bombers from the U.S. mainland to South Korea, dropped a unarmed payload on a remote targeted area, and returned to their base in the U.S., as part of what America says is nothing more than standard yearly military exercises (but, some observers say, obviously to demonstrate to North Korea the ability of the U.S. to send aircraft not from a Pacific Ocean base — which North Korea could presumably target and destroy with its current missile capability — but directly from the U.S. mainland, to the Korean Peninsula and back again, in very short order).
All of this saber rattling apparently seems to both sides to be preferable to just sitting down and talking about how to resolve what is making everybody so upset.
U.S. sources say privately that it cannot talk directly with the DPRK now, of all times, just when North Korea has conducted both long-range missile firings and underground nuclear tests, both in violation of international arms agreements.
The United Nations Security Council punished North Korea for those violations by imposing even stricter economic sanctions on the reclusive Asian nation, and if the U.S. now opened bi-lateral talks with the DPRK, it would seem to be rewarding that nation for its bad behavior.
The DPRK, for its part, has said no to so-called six-party talks involving itself, South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan in addition to the U.S. It says it will not engage in such talk unless and until what it calls the “aggression” of the U.S. ends. North Korea blames the U.S. for spearheading the move by the U.N. to continue to impose, and to actually toughen, economic sanctions against the DPRK. It also says that joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises in South Korea are further examples of U.S. “aggression.”
And — apart and aside from the timing just now, following the DPRK’s missile and nuclear weapons tests — why has the U.S., even before now, refused to enter into the one-on-one talks with North Korea that the DPRK has long demanded? The U.S. has repeatedly explained its position, saying it will only speak directly with North Korea if the DPRK unilaterally dismantles its nuclear development program — a program undertaken, the U.S. points out, in direct violation of international non-nuclear-proliferation agreements.
The U.S. position is that it will not reward North Korea’s flaunting of those agreements, because that will just lead to more bad behavior, with the DPRK continually throwing temper and weapons tantrums to get what it wants. The North Korean government, meanwhile, says it has just as much a right to develop nuclear weapons as any of the nations that already have them, and refuses to be bullied by nations that didn’t think twice about developing their own nuclear weaponry, but now want other nations not to do it.
And so, we have a standstill. And a world on the edge of its seat, its people collectively worried about how high tensions can be ratcheted before something horrible happens. North Korea has already invalidated its armistice agreement with the south, and within the past few days has cut off its hotline between the north and the south, put in place to avoid mishaps and misunderstandings.
Part of the problem, U.S. sources say privately, is that even if talks did take place, North Korea has demonstrated that it will not keep its word regarding any agreements that might be reached. It has been alleged that the DPRK has said before that it would halt nuclear weapons development in exchange for economic and development aid, received that aid, then went ahead and further developed its nuclear capability anyway.
Meanwhile, few people doubt that if North Korea did launch a preemptive attack on any U.S. military base in the Pacific, much less on the U.S. mainland, that it would mean all-out war with America — which could lead to the nuclear holocaust that the world has long feared. Even if North Korea launched a limited military attack on South Korea, the U.S. would be bound by treaty to immediately defend the Korean peninsula’s southern nation. If the situation begins to look a little like children playing with matches in the dynamite room, that’s because it is.
So…what would New Spirituality principles call for in this situation? And what would you do if you were the North Korean leader or the President of the United States? I am most interested in hearing your comments, below.
“Life is a process of creation, and you keep living it as if it were a process of re-enactment” – (Conversations with God – Book 2)
As a parent, it is important to live life moment to moment, experiencing the journey that you have created with this new life, your child! However, most of us re-enact what we experienced as children, not the other way around. We re-enact parenting behaviors rather than create new parenting skills. Spiritual parenting is a new concept. It is a different approach to the traditional authoritarian style of parenting that society has handed down generation after generation, one which involves a new way of seeing your child and a new way to experience each other’s humanness.
I am writing this article because I have noticed so many parents parenting from the past, rather than from a natural progression of their life experiences. Most children are intuitive and have natural human senses. But it is often the case that parents do not allow their children to manifest their own thoughts and ideas. Instead, many parents dictate to children their own ideas about what they think life should be like or look like. Sometimes it is okay to follow their lead, allowing them to direct us in creating their futures. This will give us, the parent, more tools to work with as we move toward a new way of parenting. By listening to our children, we gain a new, creative way of parenting rather than re-enacting our own past experiences.
I realize that this little tad bit of information might seem confusing at first, but it is quite simple actually. I am suggesting that you step out of your mind…out of your past…and look into the future through the eyes of your child…into forever.
What does your “forever” look like? “Forever” for you may mean until the end of this physical life. To some, it could mean through many lifetimes for all eternity. To me, forever is a continued source of energy, one that exists in both the spiritual realm and the physical realm. It is a never-ending story, a continuation of your Soul’s creation, not a re-enactment from the beginning of this physical life…unless it is. My forever often doesn’t look anything like I think it should because I am constantly creating it. I am creating that which has been given to me, through me, and releasing the re-enactment of what I think was given to me.
I was given a wonderful example of this from a very good friend who longed to raise her son in a small town, because that is how she grew up, until one day she realized that her past is not the place to draw upon in an effort to create a life for her son. Rather, it was an attempt to simply relive what was meaningful and memorable to her. Creating a new direction with her son was a better path for both of them, and way more fun than simply doing over her own life.
By not re-enacting your childhood, what your parents created for you, you are embarking on a life experience that will fill you and your child/ren with new ideas, new hope, and keep your parenting “life spark” alive inside of you. Now, I hope you understand that this is merely my idea of a creative forever. There are no rules, no restrictions, just life unfolding. Will you allow a new unfolding to occur in your family?
My realization as a parent: My child and I can Co-Create the forever that we wish it to be.
(Laurie Lankins Farley has worked with Neale Donald Walsch for approximately 10 years. She is the Executive Director of his non-profit The School of the New Spirituality and creative co-director of CwGforParents.com. Laurie has published an inspirational children’s book “The Positive Little Soul.” She can be contacted at Parenting@TheGlobalConversation.com.)
(This week’s Addiction Column is hosting an article submitted by Cathy Taughinbaugh, Founder of “Treatment Talk.”)
I am the parent of a former addict.
When my daughter was 19, I realized she was addicted to crystal meth. It was late spring and she should have been finishing her sophomore year at college, but instead, because of her addiction, she was no longer attending classes. She had taken a job washing dogs and she had just been fired.
Through the years, I’ve asked myself why I didn’t know that my daughter was using drugs. As it turns out, she had been using on and off for the past four years, including her last two years of high school.
I found crystal meth in her backpack in the fall of her senior year. We had it identified, so we knew for sure what the drug was. Her father and I sat her down and listened carefully as she explained through her tears that she was holding it for her friends and that she did not use the drug. She said she would never do it again.
I honestly believe that she didn’t use again. For awhile.
As parents, we were shocked, frightened, and angry that she had made this choice to use drugs. We were filled with shame, and clearly in denial. We were naive to think that our little talk would make any difference in my daughter’s future choices.
She was grounded for a few weeks. She did attend a therapy appointment, but that didn’t go well, so we discontinued it. I try to stop myself, but I do occasionally think back on what we didn’t do: We didn’t drug test her. We didn’t send her to a drug education program. We didn’t change her environment. We did not regularly check her backpack and room, because if I’m brutally honest, I was too scared of what I would find.
There were a few minor infractions after that incident, but she kept her curfew, was accepted to college, and seemed to be functioning as a normal teenager.
I know now why I was in denial during that time. It is difficult to face a problem when you don’t have the answers. Drug use was new territory for me. I had never had any family member addicted and didn’t have a clue about crystal meth. Although I know now that I didn’t cause it, at the time, I didn’t want to face my role in my daughter’s addiction.
So like many parents, I continued on in my comfort zone. I wanted to continue the close relationship with my daughter and was not sure how to do that and be the drug warden at the same time.
But when she was almost 20 years old, her drug use became clear and that’s when I jumped into action. I called a few close friends that I thought could give me some guidance and help.
We found an educational consultant who put us on a path to healing. She agreed to treatment, and within one week she was on a plane to Utah to attend a Wilderness program for five weeks and then on to Southern California where she was in treatment for another three months. Finally, she lived in a sober home for six months.
Her program included getting a job and/or attending college. She did both and graduated from a local state university. A part-time job in a grocery store helped pay expenses while going back to school.
Today, I am a grateful parent. My daughter has continued in long-term recovery and is doing well. We both realized, first and foremost, that we needed to face our reality, change and grow.
Having an addicted child is not what any mom dreams for her child. This was the last thing I expected. The emotional exhaustion sends you down a devastating path. It is a journey to find your way back. The financial costs took my breath away.
For any family thrown into the midst of their child’s addiction, you feel the full range of emotions throughout the experience. From anxiety, to anger, frustration, sadness and grief, the emotions can consume you if you let them. You have to say goodbye to the child that once was and accept this new person whose life has become chaotic and unmanageable.
The control of your life that you once had is now gone. You know inside that you’ve also lost the power to make a difference in your child’s life while they are in the midst of their addiction.
Just like any addicted person, finding a spiritual side to my life and seeking the support of others is what saved me. It gave me the courage to ask for help, the strength to walk into that first Al-Anon meeting and the understanding that there was hope for my family.
Self care and support was essential for me. Addiction is draining on everyone but particularly those closest to the addict. As they say in the airlines, put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others. This is exactly what you need to do when you are dealing with your child’s drug or alcohol dependence. Work on healing yourself first before you try and heal your child.
My daughter has moved on with her life and doesn’t discuss her addiction often. She knows, however, that life can be hard due to poor choices and the disease of addiction. She also knows that there is always hope.
We both realized that our lives could change when we were ready to dig deep, overcome our fear and take on the challenge to begin again.
(Cathy Taughinbaugh is a Parent Recovery and Life Coach and Founder of Treatment Talk, a website dedicated to sharing and support for addiction, recovery and treatment. Cathy is committed to educating parents, young adults and teens about the dangers of substance abuse.)
First, thanks so much for the wonderful birthday wishes. I was so blessed to have received them from so many! I had a wonderful 50th birthday and I am looking forward to the next 50!
I write to you this week from Medford, Oregon, where I just finished attending and presenting at a CwG Spiritual Renewal Retreat with Neale Donald Walsch. These retreats are perhaps my favorite thing to do in the world, for they allow me to BE some of my most desired states of BEingness.
BEingness, as we discussed in the retreat this last week, has everything to do with creating your life experience. What I notice is that most have the formula backwards. Most attempt to create BEingness through either Doing or Having — if I do this or get that, I will then be the thing called happy. These two will not produce the long-term desired results simply because they are not the right tool for the job.
For example, a couple of my favorite States of Beingness are being helpful and being of service. Retreats are a wonderful way of allowing my Beingness to flow through me in a doingness way, called being a presenter, facilitator, helper, etc.
My recent appointment as the Executive Director of the Conversations with God Foundation has also kept me wonderfully engaged in my favored States of Beingness. I feel fortunate to have been reminded of this wisdom, what the Conversations with God material calls the “Be-Do-Have” paradigm. Choosing a State of Beingness prior to doing or having is the secret to creating a life you really love and desire.
I, like most, had it backwards. That is, I thought I had to Do or Have in order to BE. When I got that I could choose in advance what I wanted to experience, and that the choice itself would create the way to functionally have the experience, I got on with being those States of Being which have always provided me with the greatest joy.
Because I have chosen to BE helpful and to BE of service, life has provided me with so many ways to fulfill those desired states. That is, because I chose to BE first — that is, prior to Doing — life joined in with me and co-created the possibilities to BE-come those States of Being, which, by the way, have been, and continue to be, abundantly provided in the forms of Doing. And because I do so much as a result, I have so much to show for it. Yet neither Doing nor Having can ever create, with any long-term result, the experience of Beingness…that you must choose for yourself!
It truly is as Shakespeare said: “To Be or not To Be”! Remember that whatever your choice, life will comply and create the way to do and have that experience…so choose wisely!
It is so wonderful when you choose to be who you really are, for there you will find — or said better, co-create — your mission, purpose, and passion in life. Because I chose to BE the aspects of Divinity that fulfill my Soul’s desire, being helpful and being of service, the Doingness was and is always abundantly provided. This is the Law of Attraction.
There is great power in knowing and using this. That is, you can make up your life experience in advance, in the moment of now, or even in the past. I have seen many people awaken to the possibilities of recreating their lives anew just by choosing again. Choosing who you want to be is the simplest way to turn everything in life around in your favor. The universe awaits your decision and actions so that it can respond in like kind.
For example, I was literally built for the Doingness “jobs” that I currently have, like being a counselor or working for the Conversations with God Foundation. I could have never lined up the universe so perfectly to get these jobs, not even if I had tried. Being of service and being helpful created the path to this work, not the other way around.
The love that flows through me in my particular form of Doingness provides me with the experience of BE-coming the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever I held of who I am. When I am being of service, there is no greater gift I could experience. AND the way to BE that continues to show up each and every day. That is the power behind intention and choice. Try it for yourself!
If I may be so bold, may I share another form of my Doingness that could benefit your choice in Beingness? If you have never attended a Conversations with God retreat, it is an experience that I hope you gift yourself with soon. Those who take on recreating their lives anew in the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever they held of who they are find great benefit in gathering with others interested in creating similar outcomes. If you have not had the opportunity to share in that kind of joy, please consider joining me at one or both of our next retreats coming in June.
I am particularly excited about the upcoming retreats. Two possibilities exist for you to recreate yourself anew. First we take on Recovery in a practical way in our “CwG on Recovery” retreat on June 23 – June 26. The evening of the 26th, we move right into the “CwG Spiritual Renewal” retreat. It is sure to be a week of transformation for those who attend both.
Most know that one of my specialties is in the healing of addiction. Addiction is the extreme opposite of who you really are. Few in our world escape the impact of it and most are touched by it in some way. Addiction, by definition, is “The continued use of substances or behaviors despite negative consequences.” Whether it’s knowing someone or being one, addiction is one of the top causes of death on the planet today. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way.
“CwG on Recovery,” also known as “The Path to Peace” retreat, will focus on the healing of Dis-ease, not just recovery from addiction. I, along with a host of others, will cover the body, mind, emotional, and spiritual nature of healing, and of all life, using practical wisdom and tools to create balance.
The program will offer a Body-Mind-Emotion and Spiritual approach to recovery and healing, and consists of practical tools that work. Our time together will provide the information and inspiration to remove the road blocks to Recovery and create a clear path to a life of Happy, Joyous, and Free. I hope you can join me.
For more information about this or any other way I might help you BE-come that next grandest vision, please reach out. And use the Be-Do-Have paradigm consciously from now on and watch it make a world of difference in your life. And don’t believe me…just try it! Until next time, Blessed BE! – JR
(J.R. Westen, D.D., C.A.d, is a Holistic Health & Spiritual Counselor who has worked and presented side-by-side with Neale Donald Walsch for over a decade. He is passionate about helping individuals move beyond their emotional and spiritual challenges, transforming breakdowns into breakthroughs. His counseling and coaching provides practical wisdom and guidance that can be immediately incorporated to shift one’s experience of life.
As is true for most impactful teachers, J.R.’s own struggles and triumphs inspired him to find powerful ways of helping others. Sober since June 1, 1986, J.R.’s passion for helping individuals move through intense life challenges drove him to also specialize in Addiction and Grief Recovery.
J.R. currently shares his gift of counseling & coaching with individuals from around the world through the Wellness Center, Simply Vibrant, located on Long Island N.Y. In addition, he operates “Change House” a place where people come to transform. He also works with Escondido Sobering Services and now serves as the Director for the Conversations with God Foundation. He can be contacted at JR@CWG.ORG. )
The is the fifth part of an extended series of explorations on “enlightenment” as a human experience. The first, second, third and fourth entries in this series may be found in the archives.
At the conclusion of Part One I said that the danger of this business of enlightenment is two-fold. The first danger is thinking that there is something specific that you have to do in order go get there. And that if you don’t do that, you can’t get there. The second danger is thinking that your way to get there is the fastest, the best way to do it.
In Part Two I wrote of the time when Paramahansa Yogananda, or “Master” as he was called, came to America bringing a technique for “self-realization” — which was his phrase meaning “enlightenment.” Self-realization declares that when you realize who the Self is, you become enlightened. And Master described himself as having been enlightened. And, by the way, he was enlightened. He was enlightened because he said that he was and, I hate to break the spell that someone may be under, but to be enlightened is to say that you are. It is quite as simple as that.
In Part Three we looked at other “Masters” and other programs leading to “awakening” or “enlightenment,” not only Paramahansa Yogananda and the Self-Realization Fellowship, but also Maharishi and Transcendental Meditation, and, more contemporarily, Werner Erhard and the est program. There are many programs, many approaches, many paths developed by many masters. There is a book written called Many Lives, Many Masters written by my friend Brian Weiss, and he talks about the fact that there are many ways to reach the mountaintop. Which way, then, should we recommend? Which way, then, should we encourage others to take? And the end of Part Three I indicated that we would look next at the path that the Buddha took.
In Part Four we did just that, and then we ended with a brief look at an out-of-body experience that I had many years ago. I emerged from that experience with a two-word message: “Nothing matters.” I said to myself, “Nothing matters?? How can that be?” And I promised at the end of Part 4 that we would explore the “message behind the message.
The message behind the message is that if nothing matters intrinsically, then I am free to declare what I choose to have matter to me. But if something matters intrinsically, that is to say, if something matters to someone other than me, to someone else—shall we say God—then I had darn well better figure out what that is–especially if it matters so much to God. Because if I don’t figure out what it is, I will be the thing called “condemned”…or at the very least, “unenlightened.”
But God said to me, “Neale, nothing matters.” Therefore you are free to make matter what you choose to make matter in your life. And I mean that in two ways: not only to “make matter,” but to make something INTO matter. To cause a thing to become matter. That is, to make it physical matter in your life. In other words, to manifest in physical reality something that is pure matter out of invisible energy. To turn it into, to turn energy into, matter.
I have become so enlightened that I can sometimes barely explain what it is I am trying to say! You know you are enlightened when you can’t even articulate what your thoughts are. Either that or you’re totally crazy, one or the other. Wouldn’t it be funny if enlightenment and craziness were one and the same?
So if you think there is a path to enlightenment that is the only path, the best path, the fastest path, the one that everyone has to know about by 10 o’clock tomorrow morning, you will suddenly find yourself feeling pressure, stress, upset, and your ego will be deeply involved in convincing as many people as you can that that’s what’s so. And suddenly you will start acting not like a master at all, but like someone who is under a terrific amount of pressure and stress, because it will suddenly matter to you whether I get what you are trying to tell me.
If you are not careful, you will even start having quotas or goals. This is what often happens inside of organizations that begin to think they have “the answer,” and now they have to share it with others as fast as you can. You’ll have to get a certain number of other people to agree with you every week, or every month, or every year. And if you don’t meet those goals you will think that you have not done a good job. And yet, you have done a good job if you simply loved without expectation, without requirement, without needing anything in return.
Enlightenment, when it is all said and done, has nothing to do with what you do with your body or your mind. It has to do with what you do with your soul. If you simply love everyone whose life you touch endlessly unconditionally, with nothing needed or wanted in return, you have become enlightened and you have shown everyone whose life you touch how they may be enlightened as well. As fast as any other system that exists, like that. As fast as transcendental meditation, like that. As fast as joining the Self-Realization Fellowship, like that. As fast as taking est, like that. And if you learn to love yourself unconditionally, as well as everyone else, you heal your entire body without lifting a finger.
Now I want to discuss as well a thing called “health,” because many people believe that you are not enlightened unless you are in good health. Is enlightenment being in good health? And what is “good health” anyway?
Is good health having a body that has nothing wrong with it? Is good health living until you are 90 or 100 or 200 or 500? Is good health having no pain or nothing wrong with your physical form? Is good health the absence of anything that is not perfect or good in your physical experience? Or is good health being okay and in a place of joy and peace, no matter how things are?
What is “health”? What is optimum health, if it is not happiness?
I know people who exercise every day, lifting weights and run and work out, and their bodies are in great health, but their minds and their hearts and their souls are desperately sad. And I know people who are hardly able to lift up a toothpick, their bodies are in such bad health, but their hearts and their minds and their souls are so bright and they are so happy.
One such man is Ram Dass. Do you know of whom I speak? Ram Dass is a master, and I have met him personally. And he taught many people for many years. He wrote a book called…Be Here Now. And several years ago Ram Dass had a stroke. His body had a stroke and after that he couldn’t move his arm at all, I think it was his left arm that wouldn’t move. He could barely barely talk. And he was still a relatively young man; he was only 63 or something like that.
I met Ram Dass after his stroke, in a hotel room in Denver, and I’ll tell you something. I’ve never met a healthier man. I sat in that room with a real Master. I said, “Ram Dass, how are you?” And he sat there in his wheelchair and said, “I…am…won-der-ful.” That’s health…that’s health. That’s peace. That’s joy.
And when you have so much happiness, peace and joy, that you spend your life sharing it with everyone else’s life you touch, that’s enlightenment. You have become a master. When your life is no longer about you, has nothing to do with you, but is about everyone whose life you touch, you have become a master. For in the end, that is why you came here. Not to somehow “get better,” not to work on yourself. Consider the possibility that all the work you will ever need to is already done. All you have to do is know that. Remember the wonderful message from Conversations with God: “There is nothing you have to do, there is no where you have to go and there is no one you have to be, except exactly who you are being right now.”
So this is the time of your liberation. And we’ll speak more about what that looks like in our next entry here.
If you are a high school student (anywhere) and have participated in (any) sport or activity, it’s very likely that you have been asked (multiple times) to be a leader. Whether it was president, captain, treasurer, or secretary, taking on a role of leadership is nothing short of daunting. Though we may have tried to avoid it, by senior year the responsibility ultimately falls upon us to take the lead. (Lucky us). And so we ask ourselves:
Can I take up the reins? Can I fill those big shoes? Can I accept the challenge?
No matter what your answers are, you have nothing to fear. As seen by our flawless political systems, we have been conditioned to believe that being a leader is about standing behind a podium (with a teleprompter in the background), making scandalous remarks to the press (about the last session of Congress and the last episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, respectively), and promising for a better tomorrow (while accomplishing absolutely nothing today). Though it may make the whole “leadership deal” appear a lot easier, it hardly seems legitimate. Does this really sound like what a true leader does?
Being a leader is not about the next election, the infamy, or even the memorials. Instead of fixating on their personal gain, a true leader is focused on the collective gain. The answer to the questions above are not about stepping up and stepping over – but rather stepping aside. Lao Tzu, founding Chinese philosopher of Taoism and author of the Tao Te Ching, eloquently summed it up with the following:
are hardly known to their followers.
Next after them are the leaders
the people know and admire;
after them, those they fear;
after them, those they despise.
When the work’s done right,
with no fuss or boasting,
ordinary people say,
“Oh, we did it.”
Though Lao Tzu said these words in 500 BC, they still ring just as true in 2013 AD. Though a leader may have massive amounts of power, a true leader disregards their own ego and its conquest for more power. To be empowering, not powerful, is what drives a group to harmony, unity, and ultimately, success. By simply serving as a voice of inspiration, rather than authority, ideas from all ranks of the group can flourish. Letting the group speak for itself leads its members to recognize just how creative they are. Sensing their own abilities, the group fosters trust in each other’s potential. As the group recognizes their own awe, the final step of the leader is to let it all happen seamlessly without any indication of intervention. With this dynamic change, the followers and the leader become one; a singular body with a sole vision to be the best that they can be. With a single greatest vision of the grandest version, the group will thrive.
In my years of high school, I have had the honor of being Speech Captain and Student Director. In both of those years, our team was Regional Champions for Individual Events and State Finalists for Group Interpretation. Though yes, I was a leader for both of these highly respected and esteemed events, I cannot take responsibility for their successes. I only reminded them of their greatness. And with that reminder, they choose to be beyond great. I couldn’t ask for anything more. I love you Titans.
(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at Lauren@TheGlobalConversation.com)
Amy Adams, author of Book of Love: Poems to Light Your Way Home, caught my attention immediately when on one of the very first pages of her book she shared this definition: “abyss: the primal chaos before the creation.”
I knew I was about to venture into the Soul Space of someone who not only understood but actually experienced what it means to “create yourself anew” while at the same time it seemed as though life was actually falling apart. Amy describes how her journey into and through the darkness delivered her to Who She Is. And her poetry reflects a clear and at times gritty visualization of this process of awakening, transformation, and divine realization.
Amy’s authenticity and vulnerability are inviting and comforting and real. Raw emotions and powerful remembrances interweave her words and draw you into the space of her experience as she witnesses the dissolution of life as she once knew it, which ultimately gives birth to the realization of her highest potential through the gift of her creativity. Her life is a demonstration and her poems are a declaration of the universal concept that ALL change is for the better…even though it may not appear to be as we navigate through some of those hairpin turns that often accompany unbidden or unwanted changes.
Within the covers of this wonderful book, whose pages are overflowing with intimate thoughts and colorfully painted words, I especially love Amy’s poem entitled “The Only Thing Left to Do,” which consists of one single powerful word:
(Humaira/Amy Adams is a poet/writer/lyricist/facilitator who expresses mainly through the mediums of poetry, dance and song. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org , @amy1111adams on Twitter,Traveling Light Poetry and Dance on Facebook, or her website: The Dancing Pen. Amy has been interviewed by the online magazine, The Rusty Nail, and is a regular contributor to lightworkersworld.com. “Book of Love: Poems to Light Your Way Home” is available through xlibris.com, amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. She is currently working on her second book, “Book of Life: Poems for the Journey.”)
(If there is a book, movie, music CD, etc. that you would like to recommend to our worldwide audience, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com. Please label the topic: “Review”)
I have a book in me that is ready to come out, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I was in my early twenties and knew I wanted to be of service to this planet. I feel like I am going to burst with enthusiasm and joy for this project, yet I am also stuck because I am terrified it won’t happen and I have no idea how to go about this process. How do I allow this book to come to fruition without getting in my own way, as in trying to talk myself out of it, putting it off, staying inspired, etc.? This is so important to me, and I don’t want to lose this momentum I feel.
Congratulations, that’s great! And I get where you’re at – oftentimes in the same instance that brilliance and inspiration strike, fear, doubt and confusion as to how to proceed also enter the picture. This is of course normal but it doesn’t have to be your long-term experience with this project that’s so near and dear to your heart. I happen to have a client who is well into the writing process of his own book that is bursting out of him, but he started right where you are. While I’m no expert in book-writing, I do have some ideas and suggestions that have been very helpful for him, myself, and many others I know. Below are some tips that will hopefully help you out in remaining in alignment with this project, maintaining your energy and passion for it, and of course, help you finish it. Furthermore, these tips can be applied to anything you are working on that is of importance to you and you’d like to see come to fruition.
First of all, ideas, inspiration, motivation, and creativity all come from a place of alignment, or being centered and connected. When we’re in alignment, we have access to everything we need to create; when we’re out of alignment, we can only see about 6 inches in front of our faces and have very limited access (i.e. we feel uninspired, unmotivated, at a loss as to what to do, etc.). My advice would be to make being in alignment your top priority throughout this process (and all of life, really!), especially before each and every time you sit down to write. For example, many authors I know meditate, exercise or go for a walk outside, pray, practice gratitude or do all of the above before sitting down to write. It raises their vibration and gets them in a state of flow and receiving, and good things always come from that!
A great tip that was given to me by a certain best-selling author you may have heard of, this guy Neale Donald Walsch (wink wink), was to set sort of a sacred time to write as well as a minimum of time you are going to write for each day. For example, writing in the morning for at least 15 minutes a day. If you end up writing for longer than that, great, if just the 15 minutes, then that’s great, too. He also gave me the tip to never stop at the end of a chapter or paragraph, or even at the end of a sentence for that matter. Give yourself a place to easily pick up from. I thought that was brilliant. No wonder this guy has published so many books, eh?
Finally, one thing I have done as well as the client I mentioned earlier, is to give yourself a “writing retreat”, as in remove yourself from the everyday distractions and go somewhere simply to write for a few days. For example, my next writing retreat is 2 days at hotel where I will also pamper myself and spend some time relaxing (that’s how I happen to get my greatest inspiration and work done). In other words, make this fun and pleasurable! Carry that initial energy of excitement, enthusiasm, joy and passion forward as much as you can.
Can’t wait to read your book, Sam, be sure and let us know when it’s done!
(Nova Wightman is a CWG Life Coach, as well as the owner and operator of Go Within Life Coaching, www.gowithincoaching.com, specializing in helping individuals blend their spirituality with their humanity in a way that makes life more enjoyable, easy, and fulfilling. She can be reached at Nova@theglobalconversation.com. )
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