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Level Three: The Instrument - THRU Me

Posted June 27, 2015

whirling dervish watercolor


Are you tired of trying to manifest the life you want?

Tired of policing your thoughts?

Tired of worrying that every time you have a negative feeling or a down day, you're just attracting more misery to yourself?

Co-creating with the divine shouldn't be so exhausting!

I have good news. You can give it all up, hand it over to a higher power.

This is the level of THRU ME, a spiritual level in which you consciously allow Spirit to move through you, to use you as an agent of the universe.

This doesn't mean you are no longer creating your experience. You're just not doing it alone.

This is the third in a series of blogs about the four basic areas of consciousness, ways that human beings view themselves and their world. They are not linear steps to spiritual awakening – we bounce around among them – but you can see a progression.

TO Me – Stuff just happens.

I've been thinking some more about this level, because I would like to claim that I never feel like a victim. And truly, I don't have many days when I think, “Poor me.”

But . . .

I have any number of days when I'm angry about something or someone. Righteous indignation! How dare they!

And that's victim consciousness, too. I'm angry because I feel powerless to change a situation, and TO Me is powerless. Stuff just happens, and there's nothing I can do about it. Except get mad.

BY Me – I am the creator of my experience.

BY Me can be great fun. We get to play with creation. This is visualizing and affirming what you want. It's the Law of Attraction or Law of Mind Action.

You never have to leave BY Me behind, the same way you'll never stop using basic addition and subtraction. It's an important lesson in your spiritual growth.

But BY Me is limited by your imagination. You can only create what you can think up.

How many times has your good come in totally unexpected ways that you never dreamed? You might as well have relaxed and let everything unfold.

Which brings us to:

THRU Me --The divine flows through me.

In this third step, we make a huge shift in consciousness. We move from our small selves to our divine Selves. We become co-creators with God in a process initiated by Spirit, not by whatever we can devise at the level of personality.

We allow the one presence and power in the universe to move through us, work through us and create through us, as channels for the divine.

This is not something we have to learn; it is our spiritual DNA, a default setting. Our nature is divine. Our basic operating system is a partnership with the Source because we are part of it. One.

THRU Me clears a channel for the light of spirit to shine through you, for love to pour forth from of you, if you allow it to flow.

You become an instrument of the divine as effortlessly as a rosebud unfurls its petals and releases its heavenly fragrance.

What do we surrender to?

To our greatness, our divinity. Not to some power outside of us that will move us around like chess pieces on a board.

We surrender to our own higher selves. Our human selves are still right there, working alongside, but putting ego in service to the soul.

And what is it we surrender?

We give up worry, fear, anger, confusion and doubt. We surrender our human frailties to our own higher self, with faith we are part of something much bigger.

I have talked and written often about the paradox of creation vs. surrender, and this is where we hold that tension, in BY Me and THRU Me.

BY Me can be a healthy, empowered way to live – a great improvement over the victim of TO Me – but it's still ego driven. Eventually, manifesting houses, jobs and romantic partners isn't enough.

That restlessness you're feeling means you are moving into THRU Me.

I was relieved to learn there's a level beyond BY Me, because I was getting tired of trying to handle all my own creations!

But THRU Me is not throwing up your hands and saying, God, please fix this! That happens back in TO Me.

THRU Me is a partnership.

So what to we do in THRU Me? We learned the rules for creating and manifesting in BY Me, but exactly how does one live in the surrendered state of THRU Me?

Three simple things: Listen, allow, move.

There is nothing to figure out in THRU Me. You don't have to write down your vision or list all the qualities you want in a new job or mate or put affirmations on post-it notes.

THRU Me starts with listening.

Whether the divine communicates with you through visions, voices, gut feelings or deep intuition, your job is to stay in touch with it. Your higher self is offering to guide you.

So pay attention. Listen . . . then allow. Allow the divine to flow into you, through you and out to the world.

Allowing feels good. The opposite of allowing is resistance. We're in resistance whenever we wish things were different, and resistance is the biggest block to our good.

Listen, allow . . . then move. Do what you are guided and inspired to do.

The guidance might not make sense yet, and there's a good chance it's leading you out of your comfort zone. But this is You talking to you.

The more closely you listen, the fewer decisions you have to make at your limited human level. You are in league now with your own higher self.

THRU Me requires trust. It's about giving up control, releasing resistance and accepting what is. Trusting that whatever shows up is your highest good, happening for you.

This is a dance with the one presence and power in the universe. Eventually the closeness becomes indistinguishable, when you are authentically expressing your human and divine sides at the same time, all the time.

That's God expressing AS Me. We'll save that for next week.


PS – In the paradox of creation vs. surrender, which is easier for you? Do you like to create consciously with, say, vision boards and affirmations? Or would you rather follow guidance and trust it will all work out? If you've been leaning toward one method for a long time, try the other. Just for fun.

   

Level Two: The Designer - BY Me

Posted June 20, 2015

creative arm

I started this series last week to explore the four primary areas of consciousness, with the caveat that they are not steps to nirvana.

They're more like a cloverleaf or windowpane. We work in different areas at different times.

Still, some are more spiritually advanced than others.

  • First, I see life happening TO Me.
  • Then I recognize life is designed BY Me.
  • I surrender to a greater power that works THRU Me.
  • Finally, this divine power expresses AS me.

We started last week with TO me. Stuff just happens, I'm a victim, and there's nothing I can do but beg God for help.

The more mature end of that spectrum is to choose your attitude about what happens, to take responsibility for how you will react or feel. That alone is significant growth.

Then one day a thought might occur to you, or maybe someone will suggest: This is not happening to you but for you.

This puts life in a whole new light. And immediately raises questions.

If it's happening for me, then who set it up?

Who decides what I need?

How does everything line up perfectly?

You. You are doing all of it, like the director of a movie. You are the creator of your experience. Life is authored BY Me.

This second realm of consciousness is popularly called the Law of Attraction, but it is a spiritual principle that has been taught since ancient times.

The Bible says, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7)

The Buddha said, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.”

This is far more responsibility than you had in TO Me.

In BY Me, you can't blame anyone else or play the victim. You are designing your life in the areas of health, relationships and prosperity. You created what you have now, and you can change it.

Some people think that sounds harsh, but it's really good news. It means you can do or be anything you want.

Ernest Holmes said, “There is a power for good in the universe, and I can use it.”

We spend years learning how to use it, maybe lifetimes. Using our divine power may be the reason we took human form, so we could play with this principle, creating experiences for our soul's growth and learning.

Now, for some people who have been on a spiritual path for long time, the Law of Attraction has fallen out favor. It has been labeled materialistic or simplistic. “You can't have what you want just by wishing,” they argue.

Don't give up on this level. We have to learn this in order to move higher, like first grade before high school.

And no, this is not all there is to it. We will evolve in understanding that thoughts have creative power. Principles don't change, but we can go deeper into them.

Actually, we humans have been using BY Me to good effect. The world keeps getting better. Of course, we still have problems we want to solve, but overall, there is more peace, more food and clean water, more health care and more money on the planet. And more spiritual awareness.

What we see on the news are the gaps, the failures, the exceptions to the rule. Those are areas where we are still working.

That's the fun of BY Me – you can see the results.

Did you ever:

  • Think of a person, then run into them somewhere?
  • Visualize no rain for your picnic and enjoy beautiful weather?
  • Affirm a parking spot and find one?

Practice on little things, then move on to jobs, homes and relationships.

Eventually you'll become more interested in creating who you want to be, not just what you can do or have.

For instance, if you want peace in the world, are you being peace in the room?

Now, it's only fair to say, there are two catches to BY Me:

ONE. Not everyone wants the responsibility for creating his or her life.

Granted, it might be easier to fall back into being a victim -- less work, more sympathy.

And BY Me can feel overwhelming and lonely, creating your life. Some ask, “Where is God in all this?”

  • God is right there, expressing as you.
  • God is the power you have to create.
  • God is the free will that lets you choose.
  • God is the energy that responds to your thoughts, whether you call it universal law or the quantum field.

This is how creation works on our planet. There is no experience outside the divine.

TWO. Some worry that BY Me is uppity or grandiose.

A great many people don't trust themselves to create. They say, I have stinkin' thinkin' or I'll choose the wrong things or I don't know what's best for me.

But not everything you label “bad” is something you created by mistake.

Even people working consciously to create their experiences will sometimes encounter the death of a loved one, divorce, job loss or illness.

There are many times when it's hard to believe that events are happening FOR you, much less that you had a hand in creating it.

But you did.

At the deepest level of your soul, you volunteered. It might hurt now, but you wanted to learn this.

It helps me to remember human life is like a child's game of cops and robbers. “Bang, bang, you're dead.” No matter who gets shot, in the end we all get up and go home.

So step up to the BY Me arena. Be as awake as you can be, pay attention to your thoughts and attitudes and activate your imagination for good, because your thoughts will materialize. You are a powerful creator.

And you don't have to think it all up by yourself. You have unseen help available. That's next week in THRU Me.

PS – The best way to understand that you're creating at the deepest level of your soul is to look at the good that came out of painful events. Whether it's an illness, divorce, job loss or failure, what learning and growth came from it that you wouldn't have wanted to miss?

   

Level One: The Victim - TO Me

Posted June 14, 2015

stormy sky

As I write and talk about spirituality, I have a nagging feeling my audience is thinking, “Yes, but HOW.”

“Sounds nice, but HOW do I get there?”

“All this stuff about being on a spiritual journey and living in divine consciousness sounds lofty but impractical. TELL ME WHAT TO DO!”

I have three short answers to that:

  • There's no recipe or set of steps to tap into your spiritual depths. I wish there were.
  • What you do will be a million decisions, some every day, which will create heaven or hell in your life.
  • Even though I can't tell you exactly what to do, I can tell you what to look for.

And that's what I want to write about for the next four weeks, in a series of blogs about developing spiritual consciousness.

People wake up at different rates, of course, but there are four primary levels of awareness.

TO Me: I'm a victim of circumstance.

BY Me: I'm the creator of my experience.

THRU Me: I surrender to a higher power.

AS Me: I am conscious Spirit in human form.

They are linear only in the grand scheme of things. Most people start at TO me and, on their good days, end up at AS me. But most of us bounce around in the course of a day or even an hour.

Understanding these four states of being has become one of the most transformative elements of my spiritual journey. I thought they might help you, too.

I must give credit: I first heard about these four realms of consciousness from the effervescent Rev. Michael Beckwith, although I don't know whether they are original with him, then I learned more in a four-part Sunday series from the brilliant Rev. Petra Weldes at CSL Dallas. (Available on YouTube, January 2014)

Today, let's start with TO me:

Things happen TO me.

Life happens TO me.

I have no control or say in it.

Maybe it's God's will, maybe fate or destiny.

Stuff just happens.

This is unconscious living, the default setting for most people. It's what many of us were taught in some form: Life is tough and then you die.

At this level, we complain a lot, play Ain't It Awful, stay on guard for any slight and nurse old wounds.

Lots of fear and blame.

Not much self-reflection and almost no spiritual awareness.

Some people take this to extremes. Nothing is ever their fault. Some live as full time victims. (I wrote a blog on May 2 about belligerent victims.)

You don't have to be mugged or fired or dumped to feel like a victim. Self-pity is so routine that most of us hardly notice it.

That driver is an idiot!

That speaker was boring.

That movie was a dud.

It's their fault. I just have to put up with it. Poor me.

Sometimes even God is blamed for victimizing us – sending tests, insisting we do something or learn something against our will. Or God let this happen – divorce, illness, war, natural disasters.

Everyone has felt like a victim at times.

But sometimes, we are tapped with a glimmer of awareness.

  • Even if stuff just happens, I can choose my attitude.
  • Even if I can only play hand life dealt me, I can decide how to approach the game.
  • I don't have to get mad, or spend time and energy feeling guilt or fear. I can choose how to feel.

Some people stop with this awareness, and it's huge progress, just choosing how to respond.

Maybe they still think they are being buffeted by winds of fate. Maybe they believe they have no control over their lives. But at least they have some control over themselves and their reactions.

We can take one more step within the level of TO me: Take responsibility.

I don't mean the responsibility for creating what happens. That's next week in BY me.

For now, the way to stop believing you're a victim is to take responsibility for yourself and your feelings.

That speaker was boring?

I was bored by that speaker.

That movie was a dud?

That movie didn't appeal to me.

Hear the difference?

These are little things, but notice them. Listen to your own language, and you will start to shift your consciousness out of TO me.

Nobody can make you do anything, and nobody can make you feel a certain way. You have a choice.

I hate knowing this, by the way. Sometimes I want it to be their fault and their stuff that's being inflicted on me, being done TO me. But I know if it bothers me, it's my stuff. It might not bother someone else.

I'm not claiming that other people won't do bad things that hurt and upset you. They might really be wrong or unfair.

But your reaction to it, the power you give it, the degree to which you let it dominate your thoughts, is entirely up to you.

Eleanor Roosevelt said:

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

PS - This week, notice any area where you are holding onto victim consciousness. Whenever you see yourself as attacked or accused, inconvenienced or annoyed, if you're blaming anyone else, it's a reminder you can choose how you want to react or feel. That's the first step toward waking up.

   

Stop Resisting a Rest

Posted June 6, 2015

peaceful cabin with canoes


Everyone should have a sabbatical!

I'm about to take a month off work, for which I'm grateful, and really, everyone should do this.

Of course that's impossible for many. So I gave some thought to how you might create your own sabbatical.

First, stop working. Seriously, did you know most Americans don't take all the vacation time owed them? (I don't either, usually.) Before you rule out taking time off, devote some creativity to making it possible. If not for two weeks, then one week. Or a couple of days.

If you're not in a paying job, consider taking time off from whatever you usually do, whether it's babysitting grandchildren or care giving or volunteering for good causes. There must be a way they could get along without you for a while.

Even if you're at home and going to a job every day, you can invent short sabbaticals.

  • Turn off the TV. Maybe not cold turkey, but devote one or two evenings a week to reading instead. It's much more relaxing.
  • Or declare a device-free day. No phone, email, texting, Facebook. Or take them one at a time – no email today, no Facebook tomorrow.
  • Spend more time outside. Take a walk for fun, not to exercise, just to dawdle and notice nature. Or rock in a chair on the porch.
  • Try eating a meal in silence, alone or with someone. Focus on the food. Can you feel your cells being nourished? Think with gratitude about all that was required to provide this food for your plate.
  • Do something that makes you lose track of time – paint, play music, wrestle with the dog.

A sabbatical does not have to be a great swath of time. It's from the word Sabbath, which simply means rest.

I'm a believer in the magic of 15 minutes. Set a timer and give yourself permission to rest for 15 minutes without guilt!

  • Read a trashy novel for 15 minutes.
  • Go outside for 15 minutes. (Get your Vitamin D from the sun.)
  • Call a friend for 15 minutes.
  • Put your feet up for 15 minutes.
  • Stretch for 15 minutes.
  • Sit and stare into space for 15 minutes. Or doodle.

Try it twice a day and see whether your day seems more pleasant or fulfilling.

You might be better than I am at having fun, so finding ways to treat yourself could be a no-brainer. But a lot of us struggle with it.

My experience with sabbaticals is that it's easy for time to slip by and go to waste. I have to be deliberate about leisure – not just how to free up time but what to do with it.

I'm not planning any major accomplishments during the sabbatical. I don't want something to achieve hanging over me.

But I also don't want to go back to work in a month realizing I did nothing but watch reruns of Law and Order. (Although I do plan to binge on Season 3 of Netflix' Orange Is the New Black, coming out this Friday.)

I have a list of books to read, and some projects to investigate, some day trips I could take and friends to see. All optional and flexible. This being Texas in summer, I'll probably create my Sabbath mostly in the air conditioning.

Of course, rest is in the eye of the beholder. Your rest might be gardening or swimming laps or rock climbing, noodling around on the guitar or trying to write poetry. I know one guy who's never happier than when he's outdoors with a chainsaw!

You know what you love to do. Just do it deliberately. Spend time in ways that purposefully nourish your soul.

Make it a sabbatical.


PS – Last week, I finally submitted the manuscript for my next book, Hell in the Hallway, Light at the Door, about the spiritual path through change and transition. Hold positive thoughts for a smooth publishing process. The book should be in your hands this fall!

   




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