LOOKING FOR HAPPINESS? TRY SPIRITUAL PRACTICES!

 

“If we cannot be happy in spite of our difficulties, what good is our spiritual practice?”

~Maha Ghosananda

 “There is a direct connection between the quality of my life in every respect and the quality and quantity of my spiritual practices.”

~ Jim Lockard

I saw a post on social media the other day which said in essence, “I haven’t been happy since November 6, 2016.” That’s a long time not to be happy. It is also a sign that the person who posted that statement believes that his or her happiness is tied to external conditions – conditions over which he or she has little or no control.

Poster - Einstein quote on External ConditionsUnhappiness, in its various forms (anger, depression, complaining, etc.), is like a plague in our times. Amplified by social media (especially the comments sections!!), and driven by the 24-hour news cycle, it is an epidemic. While it may seem reasonable to be unhappy in the world today, it is a creative energy that we cannot afford to expand. Our thoughts are creative, as we in New Thought know, and unhappy thoughts can make unhappiness a habit.

“Complaining becomes a habit. Focusing on the negative also becomes a habit. It’s one of the most detrimental habits you can possibly have. It can negatively impact you socially, affecting your personal happiness, but it can also subconsciously sabotage your money and success.”

~ T. Harv Eker

 

The answer IS NOT to ignore the world around us or to stop caring about the well-being of others or what is best for society. The answer IS to recognize that there is always suffering in the world, that everyone is on his or her own pathway in life, that some of us will be destructive, even cruel. Having the spiritual discipline to see what is and what is not mine to do is critical. Developing the spiritual poise to discern how and where to engage and to show love, wisdom, and compassion at all times is so critical. Our practices help us to develop these qualities to levels which allow us to live a happy life and still be a positive influence, still stand up to injustice, still care deeply about our planet.

“Realize you can be happy this moment for no reason. Otherwise, you eternally depend on conditions for happiness. Unconscious of this moment, you remain a victim of circumstances.”

~ Arthur D. Saftlas 

Happiness Five Miles

Cultivating happiness as a way of being is different from having moments of happiness. A happy way of being means that we are viewing the world through a lens of inner acceptance of joy. We have decided to be happy and not allow external conditions to rob us of the joy of life. This may sound like a contradiction, but it is only contradictory to the conditioning we face in our society – driven by old limited ideas, mass media wanting to gather our eyes and ears to sell us things, and habit. When we clear our consciousness of blind adherence to such a worldview, other possibilities open up to us – including happiness.

“Things that matter are not easy. Feelings of happiness are easy. Happiness is not. Flirting is easy. Love is not. Saying you’re friends is easy. Being friends is not.”

~ David Levithan

 “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”

 ~ C.G Jung

The quotes above speak to the reality that a happy way of being does not mean a life without challenges or sadness. The speak to a life of determination and being unattached to external outcomes. The difficulties of sustaining a happy way of being are largely due to the truth that most of us are surrounded by people and a society which has developed a fear-based way of being. Rising above this into happiness takes clear intention, disciplined practice, and a conscious awareness of who we really are.

Poster - Rumi - Eyes Are Open

“Each of us must learn to live with paradox, or we cannot live peacefully or happily even a single day of our lives. In fact, we must even learn to love paradox, or we will never be wise, forgiving, or possess the patience of good relationships.”

~ Richard Rohr

The unpredictability of life and all of its paradoxes are not things to be feared, but to be deeply appreciated. There are wonders we have yet to access, surprises around every corner, and aspects of ourselves which we have not yet revealed. Bringing a way of being to this reality which supports openness to the new and to paradox means that we will be happy more of the time. And every “miracle” starts with a problem. Positive spiritual warriorship includes the ability to discern whether, where, and how to engage. Warriorship includes a healthy version of the Destroyer Archetype – the aspect of self which, when mature, knows how to remove things which no longer serve us, or are our responsibility.

Our practices should include forgiveness and gratitude. Forgiveness to release needless attachment to grievances and old wounds; gratitude to foster deep recognition of the blessings of every life.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

~ G.K. Chesterton

 

Happiness is a decision which, with practice, becomes a way of being.

 

Copyright 2018 – Jim Lockard

You can see my regular blog posts for AGNT here:  https://www.agnt.today/blog

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THIS IS NOT A TEST: BECOMING A SPIRITUAL ADULT

“The universe is never testing you, it’s simply giving you an opportunity to practice all that you say you are.”

~ Maryam Hasnaa

The United States and much of the western (developed) world is in the midst of a temper tantrum. The last two times there were big temper tantrums, we had World Wars I&II, so this is serious business. There is a backlash from many who have been left behind by the increasingly rapid rate of cultural change unfolding across humanity. It is not all that surprising for those who are centered lower on the spiral to be reacting in an immature fashion, but we also have many centered higher on the spiral who are also behaving badly.

VMEMEs Simplified

The temper tantrum of the present has been elected into governments across the west, and more mature voices have been loudly criticized. Social media provides a platform for much of this behavior – the treatment of Senator John McCain and his family as he nears death is a good example. Immature and disdainful comments come from across social media and within the White House and no one there tries to silence them. We are institutionalizing immaturity.

To a significant degree this trend in our politics comes as an angry backlash to two things: the failure of political leaders to affect either the rapid rate of change or to find ways for those who do not adapt to that change to feel better about themselves (both impossible tasks); and, more pointedly, the clear disdain shown by many higher on the spiral for those who are centered at lower levels (“Deplorables” anyone?). When immaturity reigns across the spectrum, we cannot fulfill our potential. Maturity is staying balanced, focused, and, above all, compassionate despite the dissonance around you.

“What was overwhelming to the child can be borne by the adult if he or she has grown in consciousness.”

~ James Hollis, Jungian analyst

A critically important part of the process of learning and applying New Thought principles in one’s life is the realization of a more spiritually mature self. As Cindy Wigglesworth (LINK) and others have shown, spiritual maturity is built upon emotional maturity. Both are essential to heal human systems, whether at the national political level or at the spiritual community level.

SQ21 Intelligences Pyramid

From DEEPCHANGE.com

Spiritual maturity reveals itself at each developmental (spiral) level, but always includes a capacity for kindness and an acceptance of ambiguity. As James Hollis says:

“The test of a psychologically mature person, and therefore spiritually mature, will be found in his or her capacity to handle what one might call the Triple A’s: anxiety, ambiguity and ambivalence.”

~ James Hollis

This “test” is not an exam from the universe – it is simply the out-picturing of one’s consciousness – we are either in the range of spiritual maturity or we have not yet reached it. A spiritually mature person can face the realities of being human, which include anxiety, ambiguity, and ambivalence, while staying in balance. Perhaps spiritual maturity/intelligence is in part the capacity to experience sadness without turning it into resentment.

We are not, by ourselves, going to heal humanity or fix the world – we can, however, learn how to live in this world in a spiritually mature way and by doing that, ripples of influence are generated and added to the overall consciousness of humanity. We can become positive influencers by cultivating a presence of love, kindness, compassion, and personal accountability.

“If you’re looking at the world and not grieving…then you’re not Conscious. But if you’re looking at the world and not rejoicing in the miraculous possibilities for healing it…then you’re Spiritually Immature.”

~ Marianne Williamson

compassionate-heart-cloud

The spiritually mature person does not see life as a test, nor the world as a classroom, nor Spirit as some divine test proctor. Our lives are our reality, and we are designed to naturally learn and grow toward a fuller realization of our human capacities. These capacities are significant, and it takes a level of maturity to govern and express them with wisdom and compassion. New Thought principles are the best guides I have ever found for this journey of life, but we must practice them in increasingly expansive ways, for we are expansive beings. Our potential for growth is unending.

We are at choice in every moment – including every moment watching the news or scrolling through our social media feeds. How to receive information and how to respond are both choices which require some workvisualizing, affirming, meditating – to create our consciousness of being from which our reaction come. I want my reactions to be from the highest level of emotional and spiritual maturity which I can manage. Don’t you?

The only choice we have as we mature
is how we inhabit our vulnerability,
how we become larger and more courageous
and more compassionate
through our intimacy with disappearance.

~ David Whyte

Beautiful Beginnings

Until we can look upon our fellow humans (and ourselves) through eyes of love, compassion, and acceptance, we are not spiritually mature. If we make them “other” we lose our awareness of connection, and with it, our capacity for compassion. Seeing oneness means being exposed to sadness, but also to a mature version of hope – one which resonates heart to heart and mind to mind.

I am reflected in you and you in me. We share a universe which is beyond our capacity to know fully. May we bring the best of ourselves to each interaction, to every thought, action, and reaction. May Peace prevail on earth. #TheBelovedCommunity

‎”You are a child of innocence, born to wonder all your days. Do not believe it to be a gift that you lost somewhere along the way, as if the hurts you have done or that were done to you could steal its light from the center of your soul. Innocence is not the absence of pain, but the ability to face truth as an adult while still seeing with the eyes of a child. Innocence is hope. It is vision. It is love. God grant that each of us, for all the darkness we have endured, will always have the grace of innocence: the belief that what is to come will be better than what has been.”

~ Bishop Steven Charleston 

Your comments are appreciated. Thank you for reading. If you know of someone else who may find value in this post, or others on this blog, please feel free to share it with them.

Copyright 2018 – Jim Lockard

 

WHEN THE TRUTH GETS REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE

“If the Truth makes free when it is told, and we are not free, then the Truth has not been told. The Truth that the Good belongs to us is greater than the idea that we might give our time, our labor, our life, and all we are to the Good, and still never satisfy it. To tell how impossible it is for us to give enough to God breeds rebellion at existing orders. To tell that the Good asks nothing of us but to receive its substance, will rest and comfort the people.”

~ Emma Curtis Hopkins, Scientific Christian Mental Practice

1a Michelle Wolf

Michelle Wolf – NYTimes photo

The uproar over comedian Michelle Wolf’s appearance at the Washington Correspondents’ Dinner the other night is the latest example of how our differing worldviews (NYTimes – LINK) (RedState -LINK) and our insecurity about them can mushroom into something both ugly and filled with potential. Our idea of truth is always influenced, if not wholly determined, by the worldview which we bring to any situation (as can be seen in the articles in the links above). This is something that we usually ignore or deny. We have had many such moments of contested “truth” across the globe in this time of disruption – this time of movement along the Spiral where the upward movement is driven by the creation of increasingly complex systems of technology and social structures. The concepts and worldviews we bring into changing times are insufficient to carry us through those times. We must adapt, creatively and, ideally, in healthy ways.

“One prerequisite for originality is clearly that a person shall not be inclined to impose his preconceptions on the fact as he sees it. Rather, he must be able to learn something new, even if this means that the ideas and notions that are comfortable or dear to him may be overturned.”

~ David Bohm

The usual responses from the political left and right emerged quickly on social and regular media, with many in the press being caught in the middle, fearing a further erosion of trust in them and their institutions. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion and no one has room for a different opinion than his or her own. The details of the situation are less important than how the incident reflects on the national and international mood these days – we are in a culture war, and a few shooting wars as well, and every position must be defended with volume and righteousness, despite the lack of evidence of many minds being changed on any side.

The complexity of life is an essential part of the evolutionary processes by which we, and the entire universe, develop. Complexity is a sign of growth, something to be nurtured, adapted to, and embraced. It is not to be confused with being complicated, which is something else altogether.

“I want to say that short circuiting complexity is never a good idea. It makes life complicated. Complicated and complex are not the same thing. Complex looks like an ocean; whole and alive with a vitality that is generated through interrelational, interdependent processes.”

~ Nora Bateson

Perhaps this is a good time to reflect on my own worldview(s) and to notice my reactions to things said and done, whether in actuality or on social media. This advice applies no matter my position on any issue, by the way. We could all do with a bit more honest introspection about our beliefs as well as our sensitivities to dissonance and discomfort. The world around us is struggling to grow toward a greater capability to support humanity on this planet, and this will require expanded capacities from us.

“You can get sympathy, or you can get better, but you can’t get both. You can be in your comfort zone or you can have growth, but you can’t have both. You can be interested, or you can be sold-out-committed, but you can’t entertain both. You can have excuses or have results, but you can’t do both. Choose the path that develops your visceral fortitude.”

~ Mario Cortes

Here, Cortes hits the nail on the proverbial head. We all design our response systems – the ways that we automatically react to behaviors and ideas – and we too seldom examine whether these systems are working for or against us. Once we have programmed our habitual ways of reacting, we are at the mercy of what we experience – the locus of control shifts from within to without – and we are at risk of continual disruption of our power to act wisely. We do this, mostly unconsciously, as a way of avoiding fear and discomfort – natural things to want to avoid. But in doing so, we often redesign our response system to avoid growth, because nothing new grows from comfort. Comfort is overrated.

“The invitation to accept the diamond of life is not an invitation to safety and comfort. It is an invitation to live life fully and completely, which is never safe and is often uncomfortable…’If I am safe enough, then I can relax.’ I am talking about recognizing that you can relax right now, even though you aren’t completely safe, and you never will be.”

~ Gangaji

Spirituality is not an invitation AWAY from life, it is an invitation TOWARD life. And the fullness of life is messy, glorious, uncomfortable, joyful, terrifying, and challenging. We are designed to adapt upward along the Spiral (LINK) toward greater and greater capacities for living fully in a complex world. There are, of course, times when we need to retreat for a time, to heal or to rest, but such times are the exception, not the norm. Thriving requires alignment of mind, heart, and action toward the greatest possible expression of personal potential. We serve creation by living fully, creatively, and with courage.

I Affirm

My affirming statement regarding this is:

I am free of the need and the capacity to be knocked off balance by the comments or actions of others. I see the need for all kinds of expression by those who are on their own path, or who may be trapped by unconscious biases. I help where I can but take no responsibility for the behaviors of others. My life is an unfolding affirmation of possibility. I do not react with fear, I respond with love. I am comfortable with who I am and willing to be uncomfortable in the fact of what I do not understand. I know that my good is not affected by the limitations of others unless I give them that power. I hold my power within, I continually scan my responses to ensure my consciousness is one of love, power, peace, and compassion.

Make your own version of this and repeat as needed. We who are on a spiritual pathway are called to be part of the ongoing resolution of humanity’s growing pains. We recognize the struggles of birth and know that they are a natural part of our experience. We resist nothing and accept only the good. All is well. Incidents such as Michelle Wolf’s comedy need not do anything other that lead us to take a deeper look within ourselves to see where we can express greater compassion.

Let us use our spiritual communities as places where we affirm all of this for ourselves. Let us put our energies into creating spaces of care, love, compassion – but also courage, strength, and engagement. Let us learn to be examples of how to be in the face of fear, fake news, narcissism, greed, and other examples of human frailties. Let us make a difference for good in some way, every day.

“I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don’t want to shrink back just because something isn’t easy. I want to push back and make more room in the area between I can’t and I can.”

~ Kristin Armstrong

As always, your comments are welcome!

Copyright 2018 – Jim Lockard

 

WHEN YOU FEEL OVERWHELMED

“I’m worried about everything.”

~ Michael Ian Black, @michaelianblack on Twitter

It is easy to become overwhelmed these days. The increasing complexities of everyday life are being compounded by a litany of social ills, chaotic and corrupt politics, and the breakdown of trust in our institutions. There is terrorism, mass shootings, racism, sexism, and more in our society. We are blasted from all sides by fear, anger, and calls for attention to this or that issue. The media and social media are filled with examples of natural disasters, crimes, corruption, and tragedy – and now theses things spread farther and faster than ever before. I see friends driven to crowdfunding sites to pay for healthcare or basic expenses, and others for whom “retirement” has become a distant dream. As I sit writing this, news is breaking about a fifth bombing in Austin, Texas and a new school shooting in Maryland. It seems there is no break from “breaking news.”

Breaking News Fear

One result of these issues is that New Thought is beginning to turn outward so as to engage more fully in the issues of the world. While this is an essential, and perhaps inevitable, consequence of our cultural evolution, it nevertheless puts additional stress on us, as change always does. We are called to bring forth a higher version of ourselves and our teaching into the world. This process of emergence adds to our stress levels even as we see its rightness and necessity.

“We grow from challenge. We grow from taking something on.”

~James Hollis, Jungian analyst

While our Power is internal, we are activated by our environment. We must respond to what we find in our lives, both at the macro and micro levels. Emergence of new qualities and possibilities comes as an adaptive mechanism to changing life conditions. It seems that we in the western societies, particularly in the United States, find ourselves in conditions which demand a spiritually based response. We must do more than sit in meditation and prayer-treatment (although both practices are necessary for our personal sense of stability); but we must act from a place of spiritual poise.

“Only a person who has lived through a time that threatens his life and that valuable substance, his individual freedom, with war, power, and tyrannical ideologies – only he knows how much courage, how much honesty and determination are needed to maintain the inner self in such a time of herd insanity.”

~ Stefan Zweig

Complexity and Chaos

The apparent chaos of our current times can be seen as a reaction to rapid increases in the complexity of our living conditions. Many people have not adapted to these increases in complexity for a variety of reasons. They are frustrated, and that frustration is increasingly showing up as fear and anger. They want to bring what they see as a runaway social system to a halt and return to some version of a better yesterday when life seemed more manageable.

What we see termed “nationalistic” or identity politics is a version of that desire to reign in change. When we fail to adapt to greater complexity, we will naturally see that complexity as wrong in some way. Nationalistic politicians, ironically often using very complex psychological methodologies (LINK), will tap into this frustration and resentment to gain power – the power to try to turn back the clock in some way, usually by gaining control over the society’s institutions. We are in such a cycle now, and it appears that there is a great deal of chaos in our future as the larger societal structures adjust to these dynamics. It is easy to be in overwhelm and to seek to join in this apparent battle for the values of our culture. Better to rise above that approach and to engage via the compassionate heart.

compassion-heart-inverted

“That we go numb along the way is to be expected. Even the bravest among us, who give their lives to care for others, go numb with fatigue, when the heart can take in no more, when we need time to digest all we meet. Overloaded and overwhelmed, we start to pull back from the world, so we can internalize what the world keeps giving us. Perhaps the noblest private act is the unheralded effort to return: to open our hearts once they’ve closed, to open our souls once they’ve shied away, to soften our minds once they’ve been hardened by the storms of our day.”

~ Mark Nepo

When we are overwhelmed, we need to take time to heal, to rest. There is nothing wrong with needing some time away from the chaos. But in that process, we must work to keep, or to regain, a positive frame of mind. We must do our praying, our meditating, our affirming every day. Our spiritual practices are essential to the development of true spiritual poise – to a consciousness of empowerment and to the compassionate heart.

Spiritual Practices Kit

“No greater good can come to you than to know that the Power already within you is the power to live, the power to create.  Not only to create for yourself, but to create for others — the power to do good, the power to heal, the power to prosper.”

~ Ernest Holmes, YOUR INVISIBLE POWER

Our teaching tells us that no outside condition is stronger than our internal potential. We are called to rise to the occasion, to embrace and thrive in changing times, to reveal the Truth of our being in each moment. We are the ones we have been waiting for – it is our turn to step into the world around us and bring a powerful, realized consciousness of healing and love.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

~ Marianne Williamson

 As always, your comments are welcomed. Feel free to share this blog with others who may be interested.

Copyright 2018 – Jim Lockard

 

A TIME FOR HEART-CENTERED COURAGE, STRENGTH, AND PERSONAL TOUGHNESS

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”

~ Robert Schuller

For many people on our planet today, times are tough. Even in the United States, among the most prosperous nations on earth, many are suffering in serious ways – from poverty, disease, discrimination, and the like. Others are finding the political turmoil of current times to be very difficult to live with – they are feeling increasingly hopeless.

We can look at all kinds of reasons for this – but that is not the point of this post. What I wish to address here is how to apply New Thought spiritual principles to our lives at times like these – including being careful how we label such times. We are in the midst of vast emerging change driven by cultural evolution. It is critical that we stay deeply and consciously rooted in our spiritual nature so that we remain strong and effective in directing our lives.

“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word love here not merely in a personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace —not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”

~ James Baldwin

There is more to you than meets the eye; more than you can even imagine. You are born out of and remain within an Infinite Spirit and your good, your peace of mind, are not determined by external factors, by who is in what political office, unless you allow them to be.

whitelion

New Thought teachings are about the realization of an empowerment, a birthright, which has always existed and never been diminished. It is not a teaching about how to hide from harsh conditions – it is a teaching about how to transcend them by transforming consciousness.

“Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and they make them alone. The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful…and decide what you want and need and must do. It’s a tough, unimaginably lonely and complicated way to be in the world. But that’s the deal: you have to live; you can’t live by slogans, dead ideas, clichés, or national flags. Finding an identity is easy. It’s the easy way out.”

~ Zadie Smith

There are, of course, times when we are seriously wounded, times when a retreat is necessary for healing, however, such times are relatively rare when you think about it. I hear people saying they just want to go and hide until everything is better. These voices are more numerous today, driven by the antics of the current administration in Washington, or by some other more localized difficulty. These issues do not warrant hiding or retreating, they warrant standing in our full power and integrity. We are all capable of crafting creative change in our systems – all of them. This requires the deep realization of inner strength and a practice of being in dominion emotionally – even on Facebook and Twitter.

“People need to be encouraged. People need to be reminded of how wonderful they are. People need to be believed in—told that they are brave and smart and capable of accomplishing all the dreams they dream and more. Remind each other of this.”

~ Stacey Jean Speer

Most of life is challenging in one way or another, and we have our own devices to make it more challenging than it needs to be much of the time. It’s called self-sabotage, and it is yet another proof of our power over our experience, isn’t it? Metaphysics tells us that everything that comes into our experience contains the potential to bring forth something new and more useful from within us. What is being called forth from you in these times?

“Be patient and tough. Someday this pain will be useful to you.”

~ Ovid

Toughness is something that is rarely talked about in New Thought circles today (in my experience anyway). We talk about being loving and heart-centered and often speak of these qualities as if toughness were not an important aspect of their expression. I think that in trying to move away from the perceived authoritarianism of our past (and of our own personal pasts), we have become so non-authoritarian as to be largely ineffectual in the world – and, I suggest, this is also too often the case in our own lives. The pendulum has swung a bit too far in the opposite direction – there is little to no authority in our organizations today – and too little in how we practice our teaching. (LINK to posts on the Green vMEME) We are called to find a more balanced approach – to express our authority in ways that are both clear and compassionate.

 

“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.”

~ Anne Lamott

There are limits to our ability to apply our principles. We may not like to hear this, but it is the truth. Those limits may be conditional – I may not have developed the consciousness to simply think peace on earth into existence yet – but I suspect that many are more than conditional. I believe that we do not single-handedly create realitywe influence external reality, which we co-create with others. We are the sole creators of our experience of that reality. This means that we must find ways to cooperate with others to change things beyond our individual capacities to heal.

The word courage means strength of the heart. Loving peopletruly loving people – are very tough – they do not abuse others and they do not allow others to abuse them. Toughness in a heart-centered person respects boundaries, speaks Truth to power, holds themselves and others accountable, and expects the best from themselves and others. They live courageous lives, which, when practiced regularly, becomes a natural way of being.

“We must combine the toughness of the serpent with the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

I question I often ask myself is “How does a student of New Thought refuse to engage the outer world when so much of that world is in pain?” Aside from personal fear, which is normal and can be overcome, how have we come to align with belief systems which propagate suffering and inequity, or which believe in scarcity and lack? How do we not stand for justice, help the needy, spiritually educate those willing? How do we bicker, argue, and engage in endless circular conversations on social media (including our list serves)? How do we fail to do our own spiritual practices in a rigorous way – leaving our fears not soothed, our wisdom and strength not energized?

 

I plan to focus the remainder of 2017 on crafting a new vision for my life in 2018 – to be more present, more authentic, more focused on being my True Self, and more of a contributor to the world around me. And to be a better husband, father, friend, and citizen (of the world). I can’t think of a better way to spend my time.

“You must be willing to change. You must be willing to break the deal you made with the devils within. You must be willing to leave the past and not be tempted to rebound when times are tough. You must be willing to let go of everything and anyone that takes you back to your mistakes. You must be willing to have hope. You must be willing to have hope that you can change and that you will and that you will be better. You must believe you are worthy of change and you are worthy of improvement and you are worthy of being the best. You must be willing to set aside your negative notions about life, about hardships, about people, about things, about yourself. You must be willing to stop feeling sorry for yourself while looking at the world move around you. Get up and make something of yourself.”

~ Jack Barakat

Your comments are welcome in the section below. If you find this blog to be of value, please consider following it – you will get an email whenever a new post is published.

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

I will be speaking at a special event in La Jolla, California in January – the information and registration is at this link: http://lornabright.com/gathering/

Positive Gathering Jan 2018.png

 

 

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND GRATITUDE – A HEALING PERSPECTIVE

“Sexual harassment is not an inevitability. The narrative that men can’t help themselves is insulting to men. Prove it wrong.”

~ Lauren Duca on Twitter

What are we going to do with all of these MEN?

A tsunami of sexual harassment and violence allegations is crashing the shores, with seemingly universal experiences of harassment by women. Prominent men are losing their jobs, having their shows cancelled, and being vilified in regular and social media. (LINK) (LINK) Very courageous women are sharing stories of wounding which are often raw and always sad.

We have a culture-wide problem, one that has been largely (and conveniently) veiled from general public awareness over the years – sexual harassment is a nearly universal experience for women in our society. And it happens over and over again. That we as a society could repress such a universal pattern of behavior – allow so many women to be harmed in so many ways (physically, psychologically, destroyed careers and reputations), and so many men to continue patterns of perpetration – to PREY on women, speaks to a large element of our collective Shadow. *

This is very much a man problem (LINK to my previous blog post). We men need to be better versions of ourselves, behave better toward women, become champions of equality in the best sense. We must stop empowering and enabling other men who are predatory. We must become more conscious of what it means to see women as equal human beings and to channel biological desires and patterns in healthy ways. Men in our culture have some deep-seated problems: 76% of all suicides are by men, with suicide being the biggest cause of death for men under 35. Yet, men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women. Men need to break the stigma and end the silence. Yes, we do.

“I have suggested that women look at men this way: if they took away their own network of intimate friends, those with whom they share their personal journey, removed their sense of instinctual guidance, concluded that they were almost wholly alone in the world, and understood that they would be defined only by standards of productivity external to them, then they would know the inner state of the average man.”

~ James Hollis, Jungian Therapist 

It is incumbent upon men to do the work to heal themselves, to support other men in their healing, to do forgiveness work, and, where possible, to make amends to those they have harmed.

But . . . what about wholeness? Are men the only people in our society? Can any organism truly heal without participation from the entirety of the organism? For that matter, can any organism become sick without participation from the entirety of itself? Can one party heal a relationship? I suggest that women have forgiveness work to do as well – for themselves, for other women, and toward men, individually and generally. For only through forgiveness can spiritual freedom be realized. And we must remember that in no case does forgiveness mean that anyone is relieved of their accountability or the consequences of their behavior.

The Shadow elements of our society are held by all of us. And while we may have inherited the patriarchal nature of western culture, the major reason for our current situation, we all have a role to play in our healing. Women are beginning to play their role by coming forward and speaking up in greater numbers and with greater determination than in the past. Men need to play the role of acceptance and active healing methodologies. Institutions, which are male dominated still, need to play the role of holding people accountable to create an environment of equality, safety, and good mental health (which, by the way, is also good for the institutions).

Pooh - Patriarchy

As Claire Dederer writes in The Paris Review (LINK) – how we view the issue and its resolution is key to the prospects for healing. In her brilliant and well-crafted essay, she gets the concept of the Shadow, without naming it as such.

“But hold up for a minute: who is this ‘we’ that’s always turning up in critical writing anyway? ‘We’ is an escape hatch. ‘We’ is cheap. ‘We’ is a way of simultaneously sloughing off personal responsibility and taking on the mantle of easy authority. It’s the voice of the middle-brow male critic, the one who truly believes he knows how everyone else should think. ‘We’ is corrupt. ‘We’ is make-believe. The real question is this: can I love the art but hate the artist? Can you? When I say ‘we,’ I mean ‘I.’ I mean you.”

“The psychic theater of the public condemnation of monsters can be seen as a kind of elaborate misdirection: nothing to see here. I’m no monster. Meanwhile, hey, you might want to take a closer look at THAT guy over there.”

~ Claire Dederer

The Shadow dynamic of projection and denial takes us into that “we” territory and tells us that it is okay to call others “monsters” while feeling no accountability ourselves. It may feel good, even feel true, but it is neither. Until we own what we have repressed, individually and collectively, we are at the mercy of those darker aspects within us.

And here it is: Thanksgiving week in the United States. What a perfect time to practice gratitude! We in New Thought recognize gratitude as a creative element. We are grateful in advance of receiving because we know gratitude in advance to be an attractor for our good. I am practicing being grateful for this moment of uncomfortable, even painful awakening, because I imagine the new ways of being to which it is leading us. That future good exists only as potential and it must be brought into being by a consciousness of high expectation, gratitude, and action. #TheBelovedCommunity will be created out of Love, Compassion, and Forgiveness!

Oz - Love Compassion Forgiveness Oh My

Has it occurred to you that this emergence of the sexual harassment issue is part of something larger that is occurring? Nothing this massive happens in a vacuum. We are in the throes of the emergence of a deep realization that much of what we have believed about ourselves and our cultural heritage is false, or, at a minimum, no longer serves us. We are seeing the denial of that realization drive political and social movements that seek to return us to a time before that realization began to dawn.

“When I was a student at Cambridge I remember an anthropology professor holding up a picture of a bone with 28 incisions carved in it. ‘This is often considered to be man’s first attempt at a calendar’ she explained. She paused as we dutifully wrote this down. ‘My question to you is this – what man needs to mark 28 days? I would suggest to you that this is woman’s first attempt at a calendar.’ It was a moment that changed my life. In that second, I stopped to question almost everything I had been taught about the past. How often had I overlooked women’s contributions?”

~ Sandi Toksvig

The nationalistic movements in the US, Europe, and elsewhere are, in one sense, attempts to recover a lost innocence – or, more accurately, a lost ignorance. People rationalize that all will be well again if we just get these reminders of our awakening out of our sight. Return the people of color to where they came from; promote policies that disempower women, especially regarding their sexuality and reproductive autonomy; seal our borders and bring back the old restrictions mentioned in The Bible. Then everything will be okay. Our treasured but outdated worldviews will no longer be threatened. All led by a serial sexual harasser who occupies the White House.

The resolution of each individual’s masculine and feminine natures is one of the great tasks of life. Learning to bring each of these basic elements of creation into balance within ourselves is massively demanding. But until we have done that – balanced what Carl Jung called amima and animus (LINK) within, we will project disharmony out into the world, most particularly into our gender-based relationships.

Our larger western culture has, for the most part, assiduously encouraged the denial of this task. We teach our boys to be exclusively “masculine” and our girls to be exclusively “feminine,” virtually guaranteeing that there will be an abundance of unhealthy relationships, not to mention, institutional biases against anyone who seemingly violates the rigid definitions relating to gender and its appearance. Jung saw this as a deep societal problem, as did Ernest Holmes.

“A human being coming from unity is both male and female, and has within both attributes of reality. In some the male predominates, and others the female.  We have two distinct types of one fundamental principle. There is also an intermediate sex. That is one in which it seems where the two attributes seem equally balanced. The greatest men and women of the ages have belonged to this type. For it is a more complete balance between the two, which really are one.”

~ Ernest Holmes, 1926 Science of Mind Edition

As we struggle to put the sexual harassment dynamic into context while dealing with fresh wounds and older wounds freshly exposed, we are called to attend to both the acute need to heal and assist others in healing, and to see and act upon the larger emergence of a new awareness. That new awareness, if cultivated with Love, Compassion, and Forgiveness will become a new, more healthy and creative way of being.

I am in gratitude, not because anyone was harassed or hurt, but because we can use the brave responses to these acts to propel us to a higher level of being. By staying focused on that desired outcome, visualizing it daily, I can do the work in front of me to be a positive contributor to healing myself, my own relationships, and, ultimately, my society. I will use the New Thought perspective on gratitude and healing as fully as possible.

Let us direct our thinking to high expectations of love, mutual respect, compassion, and creativity this Holiday Season. Let us take what we have been given and create something new and wonderful from it. Let us resolve to do better by ourselves and one another.

. . . for all tomorrow’s good
May rest today upon your gratitude,
For he who gives thanks before the wine
Is pressed from grapes still clinging to the vine
Has shown a faith above, beyond the present hour
And his thanksgiving holds the future flower.
~ From “The Voice Celestial” by Ernest and Fenwicke Holmes (LINK)

Your comments are welcome. Feel free to share this post. Have a joyous and a conscious Thanksgiving filled with gratitude for what has been, for what is, and for what is to come!

Sexual Equality Gender

*I am aware there are instances where the genders of perpetrator and victim are either reversed, or both are of the same gender. I will stay with the male/female description for clarity and brevity here, but urge all to remember that similar dynamics are valid regardless of the genders of those involved.

 

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

THRIVING SKILL: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

“You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is both a quality and a skill. It is a quality in that you possess it, at least in potential, naturally; it is a skill in that it requires cultivation and attention to manifest at high levels. I have blogged about it several times (LINK).

Daniel Goleman defines emotional intelligence (LINK) as “The capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.” EQ is one of multiple intelligences that we have as human beings. It is among the most important. It is different from IQ, or math and verbal intelligence. Have you ever known someone who was really smart intellectually, but really bad at relationships? That person probably has a high IQ and a low EQ. EQ forms the basis for Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) (LINK) which is essential for those on any kind of advanced spiritual path.

SQ21 Intelligences Pyramid

From DEEPCHANGE.com

“There is no change from darkness to light or from inertia to movement without emotion.”

~ C.G. Jung

Most of our human problems in relationships and in dealing with human issues (politics anyone?) are due to some lack of development in EQ. I call it a Thriving Skill because it is so essential to relationships of all kinds and, more importantly, to the development of true compassion (LINK).

Poster - Compassion - Hoffer Quote

Consider your experience on social media. Have you seen any evidence of a lack of emotional maturity there? Of course – in fact, our online discourse is filled with examples of people who cannot direct their emotions, and who fall prey to their most vile beliefs and actions under the relative anonymity of social media. Imagine Facebook or Twitter with a high level of EQ. It would be a very different experience. And, of course, there are many examples of high EQ online – but you must use your Thriving Skill of Discernment (LINK) to find and connect with them. This is very important in this time of great cultural transition.

“The central reality of our times is that we are in such a transition moment. This is not an easy moment as already human suffering and environment loss are widespread. It is not a guaranteed transition, as it will require tremendous human creativity, emotional intelligence, and spiritual strength.”

~ Mary Evelyn Tucker and Brian Swimme

The challenges in working with EQ are, first, how to increase one’s own level of EQ, and second, how to inspire others to increase their own. A paradox is that when one’s EQ needs development, one often resists either by being in denial about the truth and claiming high EQ for themselves, or by expressing pride in their low EQ – being rude, harsh, controlling and otherwise destructive. It is challenging for leaders to work to improve the overall EQ of a group or organizations – it can be a very touchy subject. Assuming that the leader(s) has a good degree of EQ, then a good approach can be a combination of modeling high EQ and setting agreed-upon standards for human conduct that will reflect higher EQ (whether that has been actualized or not). Through practice of adhering to such standards (such as: we are all respectful toward one another during meetings), EQ can be developed.

Wings Clipped

We must remember that very few of us had strong EQ modeled for us growing up. If you think about how many adults in your childhood expressed a high degree of EQ, the number will probably be small. If not, good for you! So we must assume that many of the people in our spiritual communities have a need to develop greater levels of EQ, including those in leadership. If we all had higher levels of EQ, our prayer-treatment request lists would be much smaller. Often what is needed is to pray for greater EQ for yourself and those on your prayer list.

“Back of nearly every discord or disorder, there is some subjective complex, or mental knot, that needs to be untied; generally, some suppressed emotion, which perhaps is centered around the affections – the likes and dislikes, the loves and passions, and everything which goes with them. These knots must be untied, and it is the business of the practitioner to untie them.”

~ Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind

It is said that our body is the storehouse of our emotional experience. Therefore, it is critical that we develop positive EQ and learn to direct our emotions more frequently to uplift and joy. Sadness is also a positive emotion, in that it comes from a healthy place within us – we are saddened by loss and separation. Enmity, condemnation, and most anger come from unhealed places with us. When these negative feelings take hold, we are incapable of generating compassion.

Increasing one’s EQ contributes to a host of benefits within and without. High EQ people are better leaders, better life partners, better friends, and better parents. Effort and energy put into developing higher EQ reap great benefits in every area of life – including physical health. Spiritual growth is largely a product of EQ and SQ (about which another blog post is forthcoming).

“When we practice generating compassion, we can expect to experience the fear of our pain. Compassion practice is daring. It involves learning to relax and allow ourselves to move gently toward what scares us. The trick to doing this is to stay with emotional distress without tightening into aversion, to let fear soften us rather than harden into resistance.”

~ Pema Chödrön

If we are to be about the work of CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY in our local spiritual communities, we need to be about the work of developing higher EQ within those communities. EQ becomes the basis for higher SQ, which is the higher-order intelligence that is needed to be agents for positive transformation in our world.

“DAILY PRACTICE: Push hard to get better, become smarter, grow your devotion to the truth, fuel your commitment to beauty, refine your emotional intelligence, hone your dreams, negotiate with your shadow, cure your ignorance, shed your pettiness, heighten your drive to look for the best in people, and soften your heart — even as you always accept yourself for exactly who you are with all of your so-called imperfections.” ‪

~ Rob Brezny

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

Note: I’ll be speaking and presenting a workshop based on my book, CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY at the Music City Center for Spiritual Living in NASHVILLE, TN on Sunday, October 12th – here is a link to their website for more information about attending or watching on video (LINK).

THRIVING SKILL: FINDING THE SWEET SPOT BETWEEN CERTAINTY AND UNCERTAINTY

“Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. People are irrational.”

~ Hugh Mackay 

We can be certain that there is an Intelligence in the Universe to which we may come, that will guide and inspire us, a love which overshadows. God is real to the one who believes in the Supreme Spirit, real to the soul that senses its unity with the Whole.”

~ Ernest Holmes

We find ourselves in times for which few, if any of us are prepared. Human societies and cultures are changing more and more quickly, and there are no maps for where we are headed. No one has been where we are headed before, and the rate of change is so fast there is no “ramping up” process where existing knowledge has the time to adopt new knowledge for smooth transitions. Our institutions – church, government, business, science – used to show us the way forward, but they are disintegrating before our eyes, along with our trust in them.

integrity-4We used to be sure of many things – however as we have learned more about ourselves and our world, we have seen that much of what we were sure of was false or incomplete. We are beginning to realize that often, it was the very institutions in which we trusted that were misleading us for reasons ranging from innocent to malevolent. The traditionalist values that held western culture together for hundreds of years, despite wars and other tragedies, are being abandoned by many as relics of a past that no longer serves us. The values which are emerging in their place demand a differently constructed society. This has both positive and negative impacts – we are too likely to throw out the stabilizing values of traditionalism with the values that no longer serve. Our doubts can become all-consuming.

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.”

~ Voltaire

Those of you who are familiar with the Spiral Dynamics™ Model (an increasingly essential area of knowledge) can see how the model applies here, but I am not going to focus on that in this post.

Poster - Old Ways New Doors

There is a dynamic tension between the myriad uncertainties of life and the need to have some degree of certainty in our faith in the Intelligence of the Universe. This tension is increased with the growing uncertainties that come with a time in which many of the “certainties” that we grew up with are being challenged or toppled. Those who have developed an evolutionary approach to life will handle this better than those who have not.

“As an adolescent, I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life — so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls.”

~ Matt Cartmill

With increasing complexity comes a greater array of positive and negative outcomes of newly emerging values systems. A case in point: one of the “gifts” of the newly emerging Levels of Existence is social media. This aspect of the internet brings us into the world of instantaneous communications in multiple directions. We are no longer passive consumers of news from a town crier, newspaper, radio, or television newscast – we can engage and deliver content of our own creation or we can multiply the effect of content by sharing it. The responses can be instantaneous and unfiltered – and offer a rude awakening, as we discover the degree to which others hold our ideas and viewpoints in contempt. We are swept away by social media exchanges that trigger our emotions and demand fast and strong input if we are to get our point across. We are all amateurs at this.

“Amateurs [are] just regular people who get obsessed by something and spend a ton of time thinking out loud about it… Raw enthusiasm is contagious. The world is changing at such a rapid rate that it’s turning us all into amateurs. Even for professionals, the best way to flourish is to retain an amateur’s spirit and embrace uncertainty and the unknown.”

~ Austin Kleon

The pace of exchange on social media, along with the vitriol that has become part and parcel of the experience, leaves us no time to simply sit with an idea before responding. We get emotionally caught-up in the flow and act like an addict seeking a fix as we seek to convince others of our opinion, or, failing that, we make sure that they know the error of their ways (to put it mildly). In turn, we are subjected to screeds and venom from people we thought we knew better, hardly know at all, or never heard of before (some of whom are not even human, but “bots” designed to carry messages and spread ideas, true and false).

social-media-shouting

In this respect, social media reflects the need for greater emotional and social intelligence (LINK) (LINK) in our culture. Being on social media is, all too often, like being in the sandbox with immature children. We find that those who have yet to develop a healthy level of emotional intelligence often need an enemy – someone or some set of values to defend oneself from and to attack when it is safe to do so. Social media can provide such cover – it is impersonal enough that many say vitriolic and hateful things that they would never say in person.

“The real existence of an enemy upon whom one can foist off everything evil is an enormous relief to one’s conscience. You can then at least say, without hesitation, who the devil is; you are quite certain that the cause of your misfortune is outside, and not in your own attitude.”

~ Carl Jung

And yet, it is increasingly essential for many of us to be online and involved with social media. There is also an addictive quality to the experience (LINK).  Some abstain (or try to), but find that they are missing a valuable form of connection with others who may not be available by other means. How do we engage in this arena as keep our sanity? How do we approach it in a healthy way?

Meditate.

Pray.

Develop your Emotional & Spiritual Intelligence.

It is something to explore in future posts. As always, your comments are welcomed!

A thousand times I have ascertained and found it to be true:

the affairs of this world are really nothing into nothing.

Still though, we should dance.

~ Hafiz 

Beautiful Dance

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

 

 

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THEM? WHY DON’T THEY CHANGE THEIR MINDS?

“When prehistoric fossils were first discovered in rocks, 18th century scientists insisted that they were natural formations, accidental conformations of rock, rather than undertake a massive revision of all their ideas about nature and the age of the earth.”

~ Colin Wilson

Sometimes it seems as if 75% of social media posts are attempts to change someone’s mind about something. And, have you noticed, it rarely, if ever, works. The same is true of many of our conversations and most, if not all the Sunday lessons presented by New Thought Spiritual Leaders.

Despite all the effort, we see very few changed minds. Oh, some are changed over time – because that person decides to change, but no one’s mind is changed without their cooperation.

“Change is hard because people don’t only think on the surface level. Deep down people have mental maps of reality — embedded sets of assumptions, narratives and terms that organize thinking. . .. Can (they) change their underlying mentality to adapt to these realities? Intellectual history says no. People almost never change their underlying narratives or unconscious frameworks.”

~ David Brooks, NYTimes 1/29/2013

As human beings, we are built to believe that what we already believe is true and to seek out data that agrees with what we already believe. We have built-in brain structures that make us tend to view the world as if it conforms to what we already believe. These structures create blind spots to information that does not conform with what we already believe; and even if forced to view the contradictory information, we can easily rationalize a way around it and keep our same beliefs. We have known this about ourselves for a long time.

fact-and-belief

THE SIX MISTAKES WE MAKE ~ CICERO

1. Believing you can profit from hurting another.
2. Worrying about things you can’t change.
3. To insist that something is impossible just because you can’t do it.
4. Holding fast to trivial pride, preference, and prejudice.
5. People stop learning.
6. Trying to compel others to believe and live as you do.

That #6, is a big one. In New Thought teachings, we learn to change our own mind – not to change the mind of others. Why? Because we have no such power over others. True, we may be able to influence others, but a changed mind must come from within that person. We may be able to make someone behave in a certain way through coercion or force, but that is very unlikely to change their mind. A famous story about the legendary Religious Science minister Raymond Charles Barker (LINK) tells of the time that he had books entitled “How to Change Other People” put in the church bookstore. Many people eagerly purchased them, only to find when opening them that they were blank inside. The next Sunday he spoke about the need to change yourself.

But that is only half of the story.

Changing minds can only happen in a conversation, never in a lecture. Each person must be willing to open their mind to a new possibility – to “go out onto the skinny branches,” as Dr. Arleen Bump often says. There must be an inner dialogue in response to any lecture in which the person moved toward a new belief.

“Our blind spot, from a person or people point of view, keeps us from seeing that we do indeed have greatly enhanced direct access to the deeper sources of creativity and commitment, both as individuals and as communities. It is one of our most hopeful sources of confidence because we can access a deeper presence, power, and purpose from within.” 

~ C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U

We both enter the conversation with blind spots which you can imagine as being created by the fear that any belief in opposition is a threat to us. Unless we go deeper than our normal surface level (what Scharmer calls Downloading), we will not open the mind, heart, or will – the keys to a changed mind. Like medieval knights in a joust, we will have only two possible outcomes – win or lose – and it is unlikely that any minds will be changed. Unfortunately, we also have blind spots to our ability to go deeper than our surface consciousness.

But, only when we go deeper, into the realms of mind, heart, and will, can we direct our change processes with intention and purpose. In his Theory U Model (LINK), Scharmer shows how this process can be self-directed in individuals and groups.

“Time and again we try to cope with situations using collective instruments that are out of tune. Rather than stopping to tune them, we increase the pace, hire consultants who want to increase productivity by further reducing the time devoted to tuning and practicing, hire new conductors who promise to conduct even faster, and so forth. But the obvious thing to do—to stop and tune the instruments collectively—doesn’t come easily because it requires a shift of the mind to a deeper level of operating.” 

~ C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U

We can influence others, but how? Often, we insult them and their beliefs, or do things to undermine their success. This is because we are as attached to our own beliefs as they are to theirs and we have our own blind spots! Our belief system tells us that different beliefs can be dangerous to us. Our motivation to convert others to our way of thinking is usually based on an unconscious need to feel safe. When we react out of fear with anger, we will likely influence others to keep their own beliefs! We see the results of such largely unconscious thinking in many social media posts. Until we learn to break with the past and focus on what is wanting to emerge, we will stay in conflict.

“Isn’t there a way to break the patterns of the past and tune into our highest future possibility—and to begin to operate from that place? . . . The ability to shift from reacting against the past to leaning into and presenting an emerging future is probably the single most important leadership capacity today.”

~ C. Otto Scharmer

Whether you are a leader or not, this awareness is important. We all have blind spots, we all have current beliefs that we will unconsciously defend (rightly or wrongly), and we all will attempt to get others to join us in our blind spots and beliefs. At the same time, others will be trying to get you to join them in their blind spots and beliefs. And so, we go in circles. It can get exhausting and lead to depression and even rage.

theory-u

 

We serve ourselves well when we include these qualities and skills in our spiritual practices and in our organizational practices. If we are to strengthen our ability to stand in Truth, even when uncomfortable, we must be able to release what no longer serves us. We can only let go by healing our blind spots – by being open to amazement. This requires us to bring the process to conscious awareness more often (“What am I missing right now? Where am I locked into a belief? Is it true?”).

mirror-you-are-perfect-as-you-are2

You may come to see that the intransigence of others is a reflection of your own intransigence. That your inner unconscious fears that what you believe is the only right way to believe has created a big blind spot to the validity of different points of view. Which is not to say that you are wrong in your belief, only that your fear and the resulting blind spots make you incapable of seeing other possibilities and empathizing the those who believe differently.

“This is the moment when what we need most is enough people with the skill, heart, and wisdom to help us pull ourselves back from the edge of breakdown and onto a different path.”

~ C. Otto Scharmer

Our New Thought principles (LINK) always lead in the same direction – toward self-awareness and self-development. We do our work in consciousness on ourselves and we transform our belief system toward something greater within the realm of Infinite Possibility. When we are transformed, our experience of life is changed and our influence of others is also changed. Maybe they didn’t need to change at all. Maybe our holding them as “wrong” was a case of spiritual arrogance on our part. Maybe our own transformation created a space for them to expand their awareness and development.

I do my spiritual work.

I cease declaring anyone my enemy.

I embrace my connection to the Infinite.

I am transformed and my experience shifts accordingly.

 

“Change is inevitable. Progression is a choice.”

~ Sonya Teclin

As always, your comments are appreciated. Feel free to share this post with others who may be interested. Thank you!

 

Text Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

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By Jim Lockard

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