Saturday, May 31, 2014

Experiencing the Peace and Truth of the Realities of Spirit

I received some significant traffic about last week’s message [Msg-4-May-2014: Coping With My Ocean of Guilt and Shame] concerning the Hawaiian spiritual practice of Ho’oponopono. Most of the traffic was positive; some indicated confusion, as if Ho’oponopono was some form of “spiritual gimmickry.”
When I was writing my book, How the Bible became the Bible, Infinity Publishing (ISBN: 978-0-7414-2993-3), I struggled a lot trying to use words to describe what had happened to me spiritually as I got sober with the grateful help of Alcoholics Anonymous. I simply couldn’t do it. I couldn’t describe with the written word the reality and significance of my transformation. It was very frustrating. 
I decided, in the end, to concentrate that discussion in its own chapter, The Difficulty in Finding the Right Words (Chapter 9).  From a literary point of view this seemed to help with the flow of the book. However, my internal frustration and dissatisfaction remained. Words can be horrible buckets with which to convey very personal spiritual realities. That is further complicated by the fact that, even if I were to communicate my unfolding spirituality in a way that allowed readers to fully grasp what I was saying about me, it would have nothing to do with those same readers experiencing their own spiritual realities. Whether or not the words of mine (or the Apostle Paul, or the writers of the Gospel of Mark, or John of Patmos, or Wayne Dyer, or Eckert Tolle, or Deepak Chopra, or Marianne Williamson, or anyone else) resonate with you – simply believing this happened to me or other writers does not mean it will happen to you.
The realities of Spirit are experienced, not arrived at intellectually. The Truth of Spirit is known on a visceral level, not as a logical conclusion to a series of philosophical arguments. The Truth of Spirit brings a Peace I simply know from my insides. And I have learned to recognize when it is missing.
There are significant similarities between Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and Ho’oponopono. To acknowledge that one of these “speaks” to me more readily than the others does not elevate that one above the others. It simply means, at this particular time, that particular approach and language resonates better with me. The same is true with you.
Simply rejoice!
In AA, whenever I had gotten too involved in my own life, I have experienced a change in perception – which changed my world – by following the suggested path of getting involved in the life of another alcoholic. By honestly sharing my experience, strength and hope with another I forgot about my own pity-pot – my own self-absorbed perceptions. Those actions allowed the Truth of Spirit to unfold. As it’s often stated in AA: Change the way your look at things and the things you look at change. In ACIM I have experienced the process of forgiveness as described in the Course and felt the frustration, anxiety, and fear of my error-filled perceptions melt away as the Holy Spirit whispered to me different ways to look at situations, people, and events. In Ho’oponopono I have used the suggested process of repeating its mantra: “I’m sorry. I love you. Please forgive me. Thank you.”  This mantra evokes the 3-step process of repentance, forgiveness, and transmutation. I have found my inside-me turmoil begin to dissipate.
All these processes are similar and very effective tools to encourage my willingness to ask for help and to encourage my openness to see things differently. And not only do I get better but my universe responds and heals. It’s always a miracle when this happens!
If you are talking about how the principles of AA and its suggested Twelve Steps of recovery allowed the Spirit of your Higher Power to transform you and someone else describes a similar transformation following the principles of ACIM – simply rejoice! If someone describes something similar following the cleansing steps of Ho’oponopono, simply rejoice! If people describe how a Paul-type road-to-Damascus revelation or a Buddhist “external observer” revelation was transformational for them, simply rejoice!
The experience of a spiritual transformation is the Truth that brings Peace. The reality of freedom that Truth and Peace bring is beyond words. I just know it viscerally, and although I still try, it is frustrating to communicate. [As I write this, I am working on uncovering the thoughts that compel me to feel that I have to still try to put it in words. I am asking myself, “Why?”
When I begin to believe my transformation is “better” than your transformation, I know my ego has “kidnapped” me once again. I then use the Steps of AA, ACIM’s process of forgiveness, or the cleansing of Ho’oponopono to correct that error. That correction will open the door to allow my Holy Spirit to begin nudging me back to the experience of Truth and Peace that I have tasted before in my spirituality.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#1 Jun, 2014
Copyright, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

Coping With My Ocean of Guilt and Shame

Last week [Msg-3-May-2014; Quantum Physics and My Spirituality] I referred to and quoted from the book Opening The Aloha Mind – Healing Self, Healing the World with Ho’oponopono, by Jim Nourse, PhD [Balboa Press (Hay House), 2013]. While looking at a problem of broken axles he asked himself, “Which was the problem – the situation itself or my appraisal of it?” [p. 13]
His realization is very similar to what I’m learning in A Course in Miracles (ACIM). I perceive people, things, and events through a filter of my past interpretations of selective memories. He also quotes a quip I first heard at Princeton: A person commented to his therapist, “Life just keeps throwing me one thing after another.” The therapist replied, “No, your life is throwing you the same thing over and over again.” As I’ve been trying to recognize my perceptions as non-reality, I’ve discovered an ocean of guilt/shame inside me – an overflowing reservoir. I realize I’ve been trying for years, through the Twelve Steps of AA, to find the answer to the question: “Where did all this stuff come from? What caused my ocean’s beginning?”  
Nourse’s description of how the Ho’oponopono healing experience operates to cleanse and forgive me (and also change the world around me!) is very, very similar to the process of forgiveness in ACIM, and the Course defines forgiveness as our primary function in this world.
In ACIM the forgiveness process goes like this: I forgive the perceptions/images I've made or projected, and I forgive the people in these perceptions/images; I forgive myself for projecting my perceptions/images; I ask the Holy Spirit to help me see another way of looking at this situation/person – and then I still my mind and listen for the Holy Spirit's whispers. (Remember: This last step is not my job. It just happens).
According to Nourse, the Ho’oponopono process proceeds by addressing our collective “memory,” which is not the same as our western idea of memory. Memory is not my recollection of my Dad or Mom or brother “doing something” to me or my recollection of me doing something “bad.” It is an unformed mass of data from the collective psyche and the cosmos at large. For example, rather than responding in an unconditional acceptance of things exactly as they are in the NOW, I perceive a situation as a problem, or worry, or threat, or fear. That’s a clear sign that I’m operating from my experience with my ocean of subconscious unformed stuff from the cosmos. To use Ho’oponopono for cleansing, I must take full responsibility for the situation.  My taking responsibility does not mean that I take on the blame for or burden of what happened to you. It means that I accept the fact that the underlying [unformed stuff in my subconscious] is in the cosmos and, therefore, also in me.” [p. 66] The cleansing continues in a 3-step process: repentance, forgiveness, and transmutation. Virtually the same three steps as in ACIM.
Nourse’s description of this collective, unconscious memory [Chapter Seven] is an absolutely beautiful description of what I have known as my “ocean of guilt/shame.” It’s the first time I have seen words like these. What an enormous relief that is for me. [I have discussed this concept before under the term Race Consciousness (Race as in Human Race). For example, Msg-3-Jan-2013 is about Shared Illusions]. The psychoanalyst Dr. Carl Jung, who first defined the term Collective Unconscious, was too cerebral for me to internalize when I studied him in graduate school.
Ho’oponopono doesn’t deal with the source – the prime cause – of where my guilt/shame comes from. ACIM doesn’t really dwell on it either. ACIM states that the Holy Spirit will honor an honest, gut-level willingness to perceive things differently or to see the world through different, spiritual “eyes.” ACIM describes this as vision rather than sight.
What I’ve come to understand while integrating these two very similar messages is that it doesn’t matter where my ocean of guilt/shame comes from. My earliest memories are not of this ocean, but early experiences of the ocean’s effect on me. Over and over I learned – incorrectly – to perceive the results of my ocean as confirmation that I was defective. I was inadequate. There was something inherently wrong with me. It wasn’t a conclusion based on things I did differently or incorrectly – it was that I, personally and wholly, was incomplete and somehow inferior because of it. That became my constant filter through which I perceived everything.
Consequently, I wear some pretty big buttons on my chest. They all say:  “If you want to see a very visceral reaction, just press here.” Some of these buttons are looks of exasperation at who I am or how I think, non-verbal communication that I’m merely being tolerated, susceptibility to “should” and “ought” statements, or envy (as AAers often say: “… wanting to be someone else, somewhere else, doing something else”). In short, each of these buttons has a direct connection, or siphon, to my ocean of guilt/shame. Push one of these buttons and you’ll get a very defensive reaction or justifying discourse from me – not based in the reality of the present moment – but based on my perception of the situation as it comes straight from my ocean and tells me that who I am simply isn’t enough. Since I don’t like to be reminded of that, I will blame you anyway I can.
What jumped out at me reading Nourse’s book was I don’t need to figure out where my ocean comes from. That focus of reflective thought has gotten me nowhere. I simply need to truly trust that becoming aware and willing will allow the Holy Spirit to begin neutralizing my ocean and freeing that energy for His use. That will also have a very positive impact on you, as well.
That is the icing on the cake – as the Holy Spirit cleanses me and allows me to have a different healthier perception of NOW, it cleanses the world around me. Each cleansing, multiple times daily, removes psychic “stuff” that has blocked my inner light, the light of my True Self – an already-loved eternal spirit currently having a human experience. I am not shining my light brighter – I am allowing my already-there light to shine more clearly now that some of my ocean of “stuff” is out of the way.
A Course in Miracles and the indigenous Hawaiian Ho’oponopono – who woulda thunk it? It’s a positive affirmation for me that Truth, after all, is Truth. It will set me free.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#4 May, 2014

Copyright, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014

Quantum Physics and My Spirituality

Writing about a storm he experienced in Hawaii, Jim Nourse wrote: “Where the sunny day met the boundary of the storm there was a stunning alchemical fog of a furious wind blasting and conjoining sand, ocean spray and rain with sunlight turned diffuse and orange in a chaos of sensation.” [Jim Nourse, PhD, The Aloha Mind, Balboa Press (Hay House), 2013]
He went on to describe how the storm was creating havoc with back-country roads – washout and huge water-filled potholes. They encountered some guys who had broken an axle in trying to get through one of these obstacles. They picked them up and, on their way to a repair shop, saw a woman in a field having similar problems with some farm equipment. She, too, had issues with an axle – and the fellows and she referred to their predicament in terms of the storm “sticking” their truck or tractor. 
… I was reflecting on how we would have dealt with ‘sticking’ our truck: walk until we had cell connection, arrange for a tow truck, and do what one does to get back to normal. What for us would be an inconvenience, to these individuals could easily be a profound hardship. In their shoes, would I have mentally amplified this inconvenience into a full-blown hardship? Had I become so soft and attached to agendas that this would rise to the level of emergency in my mind? Which was the problem – the situation itself or my appraisal of it? My attention was drawn back to the conversation that had by now established the fact that the situation sucked all around. The young woman paused thoughtfully, then looked up at the sky and swung her arm with hand upraised in a wide ark and announced for all to hear ‘But… It’s a beautiful day!!!’ We burst into laughter and headed on down the road.” [p.13]
Nourse made an interesting observation. Which was the real problem: The actual situation or my appraisal of it? A Course in Miracles (ACIM) has taught me how the power of my perception has created or can change my universe. AA has taught me that if I change the way I look at things, the things I look at change. I think we’re all saying the same thing – verbalizing the same experienced reality.
This reality of perception also is the guiding principle behind the growing science of Quantum Physics. I remember studying in a college course, The Philosophy of Science, that scientists couldn’t tell if light was really a wave or a piece of matter/energy called a photon. The philosophical issue, however, was that we couldn’t really observe light in its natural state. When scientists would try to observe natural light, their observations themselves would affect the state of the light they were observing. Behind Quantum Physics is the same conundrum: While observing infinitesimally small objects, physicists cannot determine if they are looking at matter or energy and that the “looking at them” can change them.
Newtonian physics (Isaac Newton) held that there were absolute laws that governed pieces of matter – whether it was a piece of wood, a grain of sand, an atom, or a star. It was concrete identifiable stuff. It was matter. Cartesian philosophy (Rene Descartes) separated reality into matter and spirit – the body was matter, the soul was spirit. Never the twain should meet. Both Newton and Descartes worked in the realm of physics, mathematics, and philosophy, but their combined effort produced the Newtonian/Cartesian view of the world we have lived in for almost 400 years. Physics and science deals with matter or stuff. Religion (and maybe psychology) deals with spirit and non-matter.
As Nourse put it: “While the Newtonian/Cartesian paradigm made possible stupendous developments in science, technology and medicine, it has also created casualties. By splitting mind and body, it has alienated us from ourselves. By declaring material reality as the only domain worthy of being called real, it has alienated us from spiritual sources of emotional nurturance and meaning. By positing the human observer as unrelated to what is observed, it has alienated us from the natural world…. [We in the West have] the most sophisticated level of control over the environment, yet [we are] left psychologically and spiritually empty….
The Newtonian view held up quite well, so long as we supposed that the minutest assemblages of matter consisted only of the tiniest particles in motion according to the laws of motion. The atom depicted as a solar system in miniature illustrates this contention. However, as the early quantum physicists peered deeply into this level of existence, what they found was that matter – rather than being substantial or solid in any way – exists fundamentally as a probability wave. The act of observation forces the probability wave into a defined state that is then recognized as matter. Nourse goes on to conclude:
What we call reality, then, is dependent upon the consciousness of an observer. By implication, there is no ‘out there’ as a concretized material world. The perception of an ‘out there’ is the result of the interaction of consciousness with a probability matrix. Thus, we are intimately involved in the creation of the world by sequential acts of perception, on a moment to moment basis.  [p.26-7]
Several weeks ago I wrote about the power of my ego and the perverse illusionary world I and all humanity have created. However, I now comprehend the true nature of this creation: It doesn’t really exist. [Msg-04-Apr-2014; Comprehending The Force Of My Ego]
ACIM teaches that peace and understanding happen together. One cannot exist without the other. [T:14, XI, 12]  And, boy, do I need peace! Peace and understanding come in the eternal NOW. Not in the past nor the future.  The text goes on to say, “I do not know what anything, including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me.” [T: 14, XI, 6]
In the NOW, I know my true freedom and peace, as an already-loved eternal spirit currently living in a human body. That’s all there really is. That’s the only true reality. It’s where I meet the Holy Spirit. As the Course states in the Introduction to the Text: “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. [And my illusionary world is unreal] Herein lies the peace of God.”
I never knew I was really studying Quantum Physics as I study the Course. I never knew I was comprehending Quantum Physics as I was following AA’s Twelve Steps to sobriety and finding, along the way, a true sense of spirituality.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#3 May, 2014

Copyright, 2014

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dealing With The Inner and Outer Worlds

A subscriber and friend wrote, as a result of last week’s message [“Smile And Watch The Pure Joy Of Doing Things Differently” - Msg-1-May-2014]
Good Morning Don!  Your message kind of parallels what I have been expressing this week....some people can and do change, can recognize fear and then try to get beyond it.  But, it seems to me that we humans, collectively, suffer the plight of ignorance, choose to follow, and choose to not change.  From George Carlin all the way back to the early thinkers there is recognition of ignorance, ignorance of the masses.  For  me it appears that ignorance (resistance to change) rules our planet,  always has, perhaps always will…. I think that I have realistically… rationalized that maybe we are presented with a scenario where if we want to achieve happiness & peace, it is going to be achieved through a struggle against massive programming against that end.  Does that make sense? 
Yes it makes sense, but those kinds of thoughts have proven to me to be both confusing and avoiding in terms of the real issues. In my message of April, 2014 [“Comprehending The Force Of My Ego”] I wrote: [The world of the ego that we describe is]: a world of fear, anger, hate, lust, resentment, revenge, envy, and greed. I [You have added “ignorance” to that list.]
… It is a world each of us create by the way we look at it. It’s simply our perception. Change our perception and the world changes. I’ve experienced this at times, and it’s an amazing miracle. As I’ve learned – and shared in these messages – if I change the way I look at things, the things I look at change. 
But it seems so daunting. The world seems so violent and fearful. That attitude makes me want to quit before I begin. But that’s my perception again – my ego raising its head presenting me with this task to change the world. My “task” is not to fix the world by simply changing the way I look at it. I am simply to be willing to NOT listen to what I think and to be willing to let the Holy Spirit give me another way of looking at things or people. I need to keep the focus only on me and my thoughts. I need to be willing to think differently. I need to be willing to ask for a different way of perceiving. That’s all. He’ll take it from there.
 This is so tough to imagine. Believe me – I know. Personally, I don’t have the capacity to deal with “the masses,” as you described. My plate is full enough just dealing with me.
I recently heard a new-to-me quote: “If I don’t go within, I go without.” In other words, when I read something that really strikes me, my first, rather knee-jerk, reaction is to say something like: “Boy! I really wish my boss, spouse, son, daughter, neighbor, the Republicans, the British, the poor, or the wealthy, could read this.” I’m still training myself to respond with: “How does this apply to me? Although I don’t like it when my spouse does this, I’m really doing the same thing.” Ugh! I don’t like going within.
I have to always remember that the ego-based world I see is the illusionary world of separateness and form. The spirit-based world is the true world of oneness and content. Perhaps this will help. It’s a quote from Deepak Chopra, The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, Crown Publishing Group, 2009, pp108-109, 113:
“Your true identity is neither the inner nor the outer world. You are the creator of both. The same source that creates thoughts, feelings, memories, emotions, and all subjective experience simultaneously creates the objective world that matches your subjective state. If you don’t like what is happening around you, don’t try to ‘fix it.’ That would be like polishing the mirror hoping to change the reflection you see in it. In order to change what you see, there has to be a new message coming from source…. Quantum physics completely agress with this idea [of the relationship between the inner and outer world]….
“The difference [between the world’s wisdom traditions and physics] is that [the wisdom traditions] link the two while physics gives primary value to inert [outer] matter, although this is beginning to change…. Suppose you don’t like a situation in your life. You perceive that there is an outside circumstance or relationship that is at fault. Merely turning to positive thinking isn’t going to make a difference. You can think as positively as you like about your troubles, but this is a superficial mood; it doesn’t go to the source. In fact, to artificially manipulate your thoughts, even in a positive direction, can increase stress and worsen the situation. The solution is to change both inner and outer reality simultaneously. Consciousness permeates everything. It functions to create change at four fundamental levels: being, feeling, thinking, and doing….
“Almost all the work done on the spiritual path consists of two things: clearing away obstacles, and reaching a deeper level of awareness. In these ways you can open a connection to your true self and you remove the ego’s resistance. Yet even at the beginning of the path, being mindful of your role as the witness is very effective. When you achieve this state, you are grounded, alert, flexible, and ready to act from the highest level. Shifting to the witness is a subtle action. It requires that you ‘just stop.’”
Chopra’s suggestion to “Just Stop” is the same as ACIM’s admonishment to be willing to NOT listen to what I think and to be willing to let the Holy Spirit give me another way of looking at things or people.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#2 May, 2014

Copyright, 2014