Silence

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“Before embarking on important undertakings sit quietly calm your senses and thoughts and meditate deeply. You will then be guided by the great creative power of Spirit.”

-Paramahansa Yogananda

 

Here I sit now – calming my senses and thoughts – about to begin this blog. This isn’t just some random quote I threw in to give further authority to my words. I practice this every time I write.

In fact, for just about everything I do these days, I will calm my mind with some form of meditation. Initially, meditation for me began as something I did for 5 to 15 minutes at a time, perhaps once in the morning and once at night (if I was lucky).

Eventually, meditation becomes a constant process, however, and you are never out of a state of meditation. But first, you must silence your head adequately enough to notice the gap between the torrent stream of thoughts.

 

“Be silent or let thy words be worth more than silence.”

-Pythagoras

 

Perhaps Pythagoras is merely a mathematician to you, and the main thing you are familiar with is his theorem. Nevertheless, Pythagoras was actually a highly advanced mystic who went through many of the world’s great mystery schools of the time.

He may be famous for geometry today, but at the time, he was known for his high level of consciousness. Therefore, when someone like him says to be silent, I personally take heed of his call.

This statement may be confusing to some, because the lack of worth placed on silence these days. Speaking is a conversation filler, and other people will often become uncomfortable if someone isn’t constantly talking.

Cell phones haven’t helped this problem, because when someone starts to become bored, the first thing they generally do is pull out their mobile and start checking their texts, emails, or social networks.

Start noticing when you take out your cell – are you bored, anxious, or is there a reason you really need to check it? Try limiting your mobile phone usage; it is an addiction for many, and I can promise you will enjoy your life more if you use it less.

If we constantly distract ourselves with conversations from different media, we will drown out that small voice in our heads that intuitively knows what is right for us. If we never listen to it, however, then it atrophies like a muscle that sits unused.

 

“Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite authors. I actually have this stitched on fabric and framed on my wall at home. These 12 words have an infinite amount of wisdom in them, and if you have been following my blog for a while now, I’m sure you have seen this quote before.

What exactly is it talking about though?

I began to allude to it in the previous section, but let me expand on what exactly the “whisper of God” is.

First, I must stress that there are actually two separate voices in your head. This may sound schizophrenic to you right now, but I don’t expect you to take my word for this – start to notice it in your own life.

There is the egoic mind, which is what we are accustomed to listening to. This is generally considered the “voice in your head,” because it is so loud and obnoxious.

It runs almost constantly throughout the day, and sometimes even worse at night when you are trying to go to sleep. Meditation’s purpose is to still this voice, so that you can begin to discern the second voice that has always been there (and always will be) with you quietly nudging you in the right direction.

 

“The memory of God comes to the quiet mind.”

-A Course in Miracles

 

An excellent book that I highly recommend in the aforementioned, “A Course in Miracles,” which this quote was taken from. Both Emerson and ACIM are saying essentially the same thing: Silence is the key to hearing God.

This is the second voice in your head that I was referring to earlier. Some might call this voice “intuition,” “Spirit,” or any number of other names. The name isn’t important, however, what matters is learning to listen.

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”

-Ram Dass

 

There is a Native American story titled, “Two Wolves,” to read it in its entirety, I have provided a link here: http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/TwoWolves-Cherokee.html

The basic premise is that a boy is conflicted between two metaphorical wolves; one of them is fear, and the other is love. His grandfather wisely tells him that the wolf that will win is the one that he feeds.

As it is with the “whisper of God,” and your ego; if you feed your ego with constant thinking and action, it will continue to prevail. However, if you feed your mind silence, then the other voice will start to come through stronger. The choice is up to you!

 

“All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”

-Blaise Pascal

 

Pascal makes a bold statement here, but I am in agreement with him. Perhaps if you’ve been considering meditation for a while now, but didn’t see the payoff, hopefully this may give you the nudge you’ve been waiting for.

For me personally, meditation was one of the hardest things I ever undertook. Nevertheless, looking back, I realize that it would have been even more difficult to never have started.

My mind was constantly running, and I couldn’t stand it any longer. I really couldn’t live with myself, especially when it was just me…alone…in silence…

Synchronically I came across a book about Buddhist meditation, even though I had never consciously considered anything like that before. I began without any kind of a teacher, just one very simple book.

Eventually this lead to many other spiritual endeavors, but it all started there. This one little book about meditation literally saved my life.

Looking back, I am so grateful to have found my spiritual path – yes, it was one of the most difficult undertakings of my life, but without it I would still be the same miserable person trapped inside his head.

I now hear God speaking softly to me every day, and I don’t need any sacred book to tell me there is such a thing called God, Buddha, Source, Allah, Brahman, or whatever other name you want to call it.

Because really those are all just names – trying to describe something ineffable and incomprehensible – God can only be grasped in silence ;)

 

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.”

-Mother Teresa

Judgment

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“Why do you behold the speck in your brother’s eye but do not consider the beam in your own eye?”

-Matthew 7:3

 

This quote from the Bible raises an intriguing question: Why is it easier to see the shortcomings in others, than it is to see them in yourself?

Conversely, the opposite is also true; the greatness in others is more easily recognizable in others, than that which exists in yourself.

If this Bible quote isn’t clear at this point, let me clarify one thing quickly before we proceed. It is referring to a “speck,” as in a speck of dust, or something very tiny. The “beam” is meant to represent something larger, like a beam of wood.

In different Bible verses, they use the term “log” and “splinter” instead. I chose this one, however, because it is one of the more often quoted and recognizable. Yet I was still able to include the other terms that I actually prefer also.

 

“If we judge others, it is because we are judging something in ourselves of which we are unaware.”

-John A. Sandford

 

Now let me bring up the second thesis to this blog. The first point is that seeing something in someone else is easier than viewing it in yourself.

The second point I would like to make is that when you see a trait in others, it exists in yourself as well.

This may be more difficult to accept, especially when taken to extreme examples. The first premise is simple enough, and I imagine none of you would argue.

My second proposition may take more convincing though. Perhaps another quote to tie these two ideas together would help at this point.

 

“Faults, mustard-small, of others, ye see well; your own as large as belfruit, ye see not.”

-Mahabharata

 

Don’t get caught up in the foreign language of this quote. “Mustard-small” refers to a mustard seed, which is an extremely small seed, and is actually referenced quite frequently in the Bible as well.

A “belfruit” is obviously a fruit, and it grows in southern Asia, particularly India, which is where the Mahabharata was written. It is about the size of a coconut, so it is a relatively large fruit.

So here we have again another quote from a sacred text, separated by massive amounts of time and space from the initial Bible quote, and yet they seem to be saying essentially the same thing.

The reason I think this ties the first two quotes and premises I already introduced is the following: If it is true that it is easier to see something in others, then it follows that something could exist in you that you are almost completely unconscious of existing.

Therefore, it is perfectly plausible that when we judge others, it is actually a judgment of something that we are unaware of existing in us.

 

“Anything that you resent and strongly react to in another is also in you.”

-Eckhart Tolle

 

Throughout my teenage years, I was a vehement atheist. I thought that anyone who was religious was deluded, and I would debate with them regularly.

Looking back with some perspective, I can see that was because there was a part of me that wanted to believe in religion, but couldn’t rationalize it with the scientific knowledge I had.

Since then, I have found much more of a synthesis between science and religion, and I can see how both of them are correct in a way.

I no longer get mad at people who are extremely religious (or scientific, which has become a “religion” in its own way). I have come to terms with where my judgment was coming from.

Once light is shed on our unconscious beliefs, we have the choice how to respond to a situation, as opposed to habitually reacting and letting our unconscious rule our lives.

But first we must become aware of the judgments we have been conditioned to believe. Once it is brought to the surface and becomes conscious, we have a choice what to do with it.

As long as that stuff stays buried under the surface, it will automatically control us without our permission.

 

“The fault of others is easily perceived, but that of oneself is difficult to perceive; a man winnows his neighbor’s faults like chaff, but his own fault he hides, as a cheat hides the bad die from the player.”

-Dhammapada

 

Is there any need to explain this ancient quote at this point? I am sure you are starting to get the idea…

The key point I want to bring up here is that we hide our own faults from ourselves. This is precisely what I was referring to in the previous section.

No one else is doing it to us; therefore, we have the power to change any time we wish.

Our greatest teachers are the people around us, because as it has been repeatedly stressed in this blog thus far, it is easier to see qualities in other people than in yourself.

Any time you find yourself reacting to a quality in someone else, take a moment for some self-reflection, and try to find where that judgment is coming from.

When you realize that you too, in fact, possess that trait to some degree, then it won’t hold the same unconscious power over you any longer.

This is such good news it cannot possibly be overly stated – when you judge others for anything – take it is an opportunity for you to grow spiritually as a person.

Your entire world perspective will be changed by this one small notion! Think about it for a moment…

Our greatest enemies can become our greatest teachers, because they have qualities in them that are so blatantly obvious to us, and yet we have been ignoring inside our own consciousness.

Don’t judge yourself if you haven’t been doing this – instead take this opportunity to shift your perspective and live more consciously ;)

 

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

-Carl Jung

Writer’s Workshop Wisdom

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For as long as I can remember, I have had a burning desire to become a spiritual author/teacher. I assumed it would “just happen” for me, because it was meant to be.

I’ve ignored many opportunities because I didn’t think I needed to bother with small steps. It was going to happen, and I knew it, so why waste my time?

But that is what life is: the step you can make in this moment, not some distant dream.

Far too long I have been waiting for someone to “find me” and immediately recognize the latent talent in me. Now I am finally beginning to realize I need to “find myself,” before the world is going to recognize anything.

Fate is like a treasure map, it may help guide and direct you, but if you don’t take the first step you’re not going to get anywhere – even if there is a chest of gold waiting for you with your name on it.

 

“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

-William Jennings Bryan

 

This past weekend I attended a Writer’s Workshop put on by Hay House publishers, and not waiting any longer for destiny is one of the biggest lessons that I’ve came away with.

Granted I have been taking some steps when I want to in order to actualize my dream of becoming an author, like blogging for example, but these steps are usually when it is convenient for me and I see an immediate payoff.

There have been countless chances I’ve passed up because I didn’t feel like they were necessary, or I didn’t feel like doing them at the time. I knew I should take advantage of them, but I ignored my intuition.

Now I am starting to carpe diem (seize the day) when I am being presented with opportunities that I know are good for me. Yesterday, the first day after the workshop ended, I started taking small steps I wouldn’t have normally taken.

Today, I am blogging about all of it – another step – let’s hope this momentum continues, and I don’t forget the lesson I learned.

 

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

I’ve decided that it is far too painful to live with the worry that I won’t live up to my potential, rather than the relatively small risk it takes to put myself out there in situations I might otherwise wish to avoid.

Ignoring that small voice inside you that whispers what is best for you is the worst kind of suffering.

I tried silencing it for far too long; sure, I would listen to it sometimes when it suited my egotistical needs, but that doesn’t satiate it.

Intuition never goes away I’ve learned, and rather than being able to quiet it by ignoring it, all that happens is that it becomes even LOUDER.

Additionally, it not only becomes louder and more pronounced; it starts showing up in all aspects of your life, usually when it is most inconvenient.

For a long time, I was able to pacify it by occasionally listening to it or numbing my mind to it with any number of means, so that I would be distracted enough to not have to hear it anymore.

The voice still stands, however, and now I am listening. Not only because there isn’t really a choice anymore, but also because I’ve found I am so much more happy and satisfied when I do.

It isn’t a matter of coercion any longer, I want to follow it where it leads me, because I’ve discovered that it never leads me astray.

Similar to a dog that misbehaves, my ego has lead me down the wrong path far too long, chewing up the furniture and shitting all over the carpet.

This may feel like freedom to the ego, but it is suffering for the Spirit.

When the dog (or ego) eventually discovers that by listening to the master (or Higher Self) is actually rewarding in-and-of-itself, and following the animal nature only leads to pain, this is enlightening.

Old dogs can learn new tricks, and this doggie just found himself behaving properly, so that he is being rewarded with a tasty bone ;)

Anger

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“How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.”

-Marcus Arelius

 

Although this blog is going to be about how useless holding on to anger is, I am not going to tell you that you should never experience anger. In fact, I’m not going to tell you to do anything, because that would imply some level of judgment.

Anger has its place in this world, but I feel like the vast majority of us are addicted to it unknowingly. We continue to feel angry well after the cause of it has left, and we only cause our own self further harm.

Eckhart Tolle tells a great story in his book, The Power of Now, about how he was at a park watching two waterfowl fight with each other.

They had their skirmish, but afterwards each of them literally “shook it off” by fluttering their wings, and then went about their business as if nothing had happened. Eckhart mentions how he thinks the birds were literally releasing the negative emotions by physical action, and I concur.

We as humans unfortunately aren’t trained as well as the animal kingdom in some respects, and so we clutch to anger as if our lives depended on it.

 

“To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.”

-Confucius

 

One of the reasons humans tend to grasp to anger is because it is a part of the story we tell ourselves about our life. Animals don’t have this problem, so they live much more spontaneously, rather than remembering the past or anticipating the future.

By continuing to remember something that may have caused you anger is worse than useless, it is damaging to yourself and peace of mind.

Whatever was done to you or someone else, you create additional and unnecessary pain by holding on to it. Forgiveness is key, not because you’ve been told to forgive others by just about every major religion and philosophy, but it is the key to your happiness.

Experiment with yourself and see if this isn’t true. When you find yourself thinking about something someone did that made you angry, see if it helps your state of mind or solves your problem.

A great time for many people is in traffic while driving. The next time someone cuts you off, or forgets to use their blinker, take note of how you are feeling.

Allow the anger to come up in the moment, but don’t identify yourself with it. Watch it pass as clouds floating through the sky.

Our emotions are transitory, but our mind likes to hold on to them.

 

“Indulge not thyself in the passion of anger; it is whetting a sword to wound thine own breast, or murder thy friend.”

- Akhenaten

 

For me personally, the single greatest thing I ever (unknowingly at the time) undertook was beginning to play golf. This may sound funny, but I assure you I’m completely serious – let me explain…

Golf is a sport that you are only ultimately competing with yourself. Although I was on the golf team and have played in numerous tournaments, it didn’t really matter what the other players I was competing against did.

You only have yourself to blame for a bad round, and it is easier to start to notice your anger when there aren’t other people involved, because we usually like to blame someone else initially.

How mad I used to get at myself! I can remember on more than one occasion throwing a golf club, or smashing them against the ground a number of times.

Pretty quickly, I realized my anger was doing absolutely nothing for me, and in fact, was actually disrupting my game for the rest of the round if I couldn’t let it go.

For golf, as many other sports, you have to be focused and in the moment, not thinking about how the last shot went.

Another aspect of golf that helped me get past my angry tendencies is that you are out in nature, walking around a beautiful course. It is hard to stay mad in the wilderness, simple as that.

Along with the exquisite scenery, golf also gives you a lot of time to think between shots. It is very meditative in this aspect, and beating yourself up between shots becomes tiresome.

As you start to become aware of your anger, and start to realize it isn’t constructful, that is the “beginning of the end” of anger, so-to-speak.

Simply becoming aware changes everything – awareness breeds further awareness – and you start to notice your anger sooner and sooner.

While taking that walk to the next shot, it would sometimes take me the entire walk until I realized I was repeating the same angry thought the whole time I was walking.

Nevertheless, as this happened more-and-more, I would gradually become aware of the anger quicker.

Eventually, I got to the point that as soon as I was starting to get angry, I would notice it, and just let it pass through me. I would “shake it off,” and enjoy the peaceful walk to my next shot.

These days I am a very calm, peaceful person, and it takes a lot for me to get angry. But when I was a teenager, anger used to disrupt my life in all aspects, not just golf.

Although golf may not be everyone’s path to anger-realization, perhaps you can find your own path to walk now ;)

 

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds, on the heel that has crushed it.”

-Mark Twain

Lucid Dreams

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This past week I went on a vacation with my girlfriend, Michelle, and her family to Hilton Head Island, SC. We enjoyed plenty of beach fun and ocean activities, but this blog isn’t about what happened to us while we were physically there.

We both experienced lucid dreams while we were there, on two separate nights. It had been a while since either of us had a lucid dream, much less consecutively.

For those of you who don’t know, a lucid dream is where you become aware that you are dreaming while you are still in the dream. I would imagine most of you have experienced this at some point if you’re reading this blog.

Usually for me, a dream becomes lucid when something out of the ordinary happens (not that my dreams aren’t unusual as it is) and then I find myself questioning what is going on.

Another lucid-activator for me is when I’m having a bad dream, and I want to get out of it. I would like to discuss this briefly, because I think it has waking-life implications.

If a dream is pleasant, it is much more comfortable to stay asleep. Why would you want to wake from a wonderful “vacation” in your mind?

When a dream is unpleasant, however, there is an impetus to get out of it. This is true for life as well, which is why I want to discuss this now.

I believe most spiritual seekers start out their search because there is something wrong with their life. The conditions may vary greatly, but there must be some dissatisfaction in order to desire to “awaken” from this reality.

This is certainly true for myself, and the majority of people I have spoken with as well. The only exception I can think of is when someone has a mystical experience that changes his or her outlook on life.

What started your drive towards the spiritual path you are currently on??

Although my life has always been quite lovely when looked at from a physical perspective, my mind has driven me crazy over the years with its incessant running.

This drove me to take up meditation in order to calm it, and from there I started exploring Buddhism, and then every other religion I could find after that…

If my life had been heavenly with no complaints what-so-ever, I never would have bothered trying to change anything. But because I couldn’t stand my mind any longer, I was willing to try anything.

Meditation has been very successful for me, I should mention now, as has studying various religions. Never do I feel more at home than when I’m studying a sacred text, or philosophizing with friends, teachers, or students.

It all began because I was uncomfortable, and I knew there had to be something better out there for me. As the movie “The Matrix” says, it was like there was a “splinter in my mind,” and I wanted it removed immediately!

I’m still working on removing that splinter completely, but I know I am on the right track ;)

Another thing that I would like to mention about the lucid dreams both Michelle and I had, is that both of us flew around.

Flying is something I pretty much always do when a dream becomes lucid – I can even remember being a child and doing this. No one taught me how, or even told me that you could fly in dreams; I just always knew you could fly.

Michelle had something happen in her dream that has happened to me many times though, and that is when you start doubting that you can fly, you start falling, or can’t even get off the ground to begin with.

One thing I have always thought was true since I was a little kid was that if you knew with absolute certainty that you could fly in waking-life, that you would be able to.

I personally believe ANYTHING is possible, and it is just our doubts that limit us.

I’m curious, what are your thoughts on this??

Walking on water is not only possible for someone like Jesus, but for any one of us.

In Matthew 21:21, it states, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, ‘Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea’; it shall be done.”

While I certainly don’t believe absolutely everything in the Bible, I think this is certainly true. It isn’t metaphorical, Jesus is literally saying any one of us can move a mountain into the sea just by willing it.

The key is to know with every fiber of your being that it can be done though. You can’t have even the smallest doubt, or else it won’t come to pass.

Perhaps some of you are thinking right now, “Well, if this Dean guy knows he can fly and move mountains, why doesn’t he”?

Well, there is a difference between intellectual knowledge, and experiential knowledge. I may have a theory that I can fly in waking-life, but there is still doubt in my mind because I’ve never done it, and I have never seen anyone else do it either.

Now I would like to conclude this blog by opening it up for comments from all of you. I would like to know two things, although anything you feel like talking about is welcome as well ;)

1.)    What started your spiritual journey, pain or pleasure?

2.)    Do you believe anything is possible in waking-life?

 

Ignorance

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“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is I know nothing.”

-Socrates

 

Although upon first reading this it may appear to be a contradiction, it is actually one of the more profound statements any philosopher has ever made.

Socrates is not to be taken lightly; he may have “played the fool” from time-to-time, but his ultimate purpose was to get people to think for themselves.

This is one of his more famous quotes, and I can remember reading it when I was younger. It didn’t make any sense to me at the time, and it wasn’t until I discovered his wisdom for myself that I actually began to fully comprehend the gravity of this statement.

While I may not be able to sufficiently explain to you what this quote is attempting to express, hopefully I can at least point you in the right direction so you may find it for yourself.

For most of us, when we are young we think we know everything. I am guilty of this myself, and am certainly not one to point any fingers.

I can empathize with those who think like this though. In addition, because I went through this myself, I feel like I can somewhat explain what it is like to “come out the other side.”

 

“The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.”

-John F. Kennedy

 

When we are young, we may think we know quite a bit, but that is because we have no idea how much there actually is to know.

There are many examples of this in life – one such example for me was beginning to travel the world.

I had grown up in a relatively small suburban city, and my parents never traveled much, so my home state was largely the extent of my experience traveling.

Therefore, I thought I knew quite a bit about my neighborhood, and naturally, I also assumed I knew about the rest of the world.

It wasn’t until I joined the military and started traveling all over the world that I realized just how small my hometown was, and how big the world really is.

The more I learned about the world, the more I realized how little I actually knew. This is precisely Socrates’ point!

Ironically, the more you learn, the more you realize you really don’t know much. Coming back to Socrates’ quote years later, I was struck with how profound it really is.

J.F.K. is making a similar statement above, which shows how Socrates is the wisest man in the world. Socrates had such great knowledge and wisdom, that he knew how ignorant he utterly was.

It is the mark of a great person to recognize how little they know. Those with the least knowledge tend to be the most confident, which is unfortunate to say the least.

 

“True wisdom is less presuming than folly. The wise man doubteth often, and changeth his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubteth not; he knoweth all things but his own ignorance.”

-Akhenaten

 

Oh Universe! How you love to play tricks!!!

As I was posting this quote, I looked up Akhenaten to get a little more background on him. I wanted to show the diversity that we have: a Greek from the 5th century B.C.E., a US President from modern times, along with an ancient Egyptian.

While looking him up, Google showed me in an oh-so-kind way that I had misspelled his name. Google asked me, “Did you mean: Akhenaten?” Yes Google, I did…

What a perfect example of Akhenaten’s quote – I almost feel his presence with me now, trying to pass some of his wisdom along to all of us. The background information now seems irrelevant, as I have just been shown a much greater lesson.

I am willing to change my mind, and although this is only a minor example, it demonstrates perfectly how humility must also play a part in wisdom, in addition to be willing to change.

When we are so confident that we have found the Truth, we won’t allow new information to enter our consciousness. This is called “selective bias,” where we seek out confirmation for we already believe, and ignore that which contradicts us.

Both science and religion are guilty of this I believe. Religion is probably more obvious to most of you how this operates, but certainly is not the only one.

Science has become almost as dogmatic as religion – becoming so certain they have the correct answers. Not all scientists themselves are guilty of this, and by its very nature, the scientific method should remedy this selective bias.

However, because humans interpret science, it is skewed through their own lenses, much as religious texts are.

I don’t mean to insult science or religion – I think both have a vital role to play in the world – it is we as humans that need to be willing to admit when we are wrong.

 

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”

-George Bernard Shaw

 

The Truth can only be found with an open mind. When we are so attached to our beliefs, Truth cannot find a foothold.

Change is the only constant in this world, and we must be willing to embrace it, or we will remain stuck.

I know for certain that I don’t have all the answers, and the more I grow as a person, the more I see I have changed just about every belief I ever held.

The elephant in the room is that WE are the only obstacle to the Truth ;)

 

“Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Blinded by the Light

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As I was driving home from work the other day, I had an interesting epiphany. It was nighttime, so I had my headlights on, but I couldn’t see anything except what was lit right in front of me.
There were many things around me, and I wanted to be able to tell what they were, but I wasn’t able to see them.
This got me thinking about how this situation is analogous to life – everyday spirituality in action!
You see, I wanted to be able to view the bigger picture, but was unable to because I was so focused on what was right in front of me.
My headlights did an excellent job of illuminating this for me, but they also limited my vision.
It is similar with life; we become so engrossed with problems immediately concerning us, that we cannot see the bigger picture.
If we could only take a step back, we would see that everything is exactly as it should be. What we fix our attention on, is what our reality becomes.
To drive this point home and bring it back to the car metaphor, if I had not been so transfixed on the headlights, my night vision would have opened up, and I would have been able to see a much broader picture.
Then I would know what was surrounding me, instead of looking through a very narrow lens.
Perhaps you are thinking this analogy doesn’t apply to life, because while driving a car it is of the utmost importance to know what is directly in front of you, and it really doesn’t matter what is around you.
A valid point, however, I am not stating that it isn’t important to know what you are driving into, I am merely stating that it would have been to my benefit to have a wider scope of vision.
Perhaps a deer was hiding in the grass off to the side of me, but I couldn’t see it, because it wasn’t right in front of me.
This is something that I imagine everyone would like to know, so they could avoid hitting it.
Life is similar, in the sense that perhaps a “deer,” or some life-changing event is on the horizon, but because you are so intensely focused on some minor detail you refuse to acknowledge it.
We are all capable of having an awareness that is much broader than the one we currently accept, and this limits us, just as only looking at what is lit by my headlights limited my vision.
Call it intuition, or the whisper of God if you like, but it is possible for all of us to “see” more than we currently experience.
What is right in front of you will always be easily viewable, just like with the headlights, so there is no need to focus your attention on that.
If I had allowed my night vision to open up, I would have been able to see with greater clarity all the things surrounding me, but if I needed to, I could always shift my attention back to the lights in front of me with no problem.
Then once the immediate danger had passed, I could once again begin to broaden my perspective.
It certainly behooves each of us to have 20/20 vision for what is coming up, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a broader knowledge than just that sliver of information?
Let’s say for example that you are so focused on what you are going to have for dinner, that you completely ignore the opportunity to make an important phone call.
Your attention is so fixed on dinner, that you forgot to call today – perhaps you were supposed to phone an old friend before they were going on vacation.
Now they have left, and will be out of contact for a few weeks. This may not seem like a drastic situation, but what if something much more dire occurred, like the friend was killed in a plane crash.
I don’t wish this on anyone; I am merely coming up with an extreme example of what might happen when your vision becomes so narrow that you don’t allow anything else to enter your consciousness.
While driving, if there had been a deer hiding out in the dark and suddenly jumped out, I likely would have crashed into it.
Our awareness has no bounds; it is essentially limitless. We only choose to focus on a tiny portion of reality because we are either unaware that it exists, or are fearful of what might happen if we take our eyes off the path directly in front of us.
I encourage you to broaden your perspective, and I promise your life will open up to you new avenues never dreamt possible before.

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.”
-Matthew 6:34

This is a difficult premise to accept, because we have been indoctrinated all of our life to worry about our problems, and somehow we feel that is going to help solve them.
I say it is only when we surrender that we are victorious. Worrying limits your mind, similar to running on a treadmill trying to get somewhere new. The mind can race around the same topic forever, and not get anywhere.
As Einstein said, and I will paraphrase to make it clearer, the level of consciousness that created a problem cannot be the one to solve it.
We must raise our consciousness and awareness so that a solution to the problem can present itself.
If we are so concerned about one aspect of our lives, our attention will remain there – stuck. We must broaden our vision so that we can see the bigger picture.
When this occurs, the information that has always been there will become clearer, and new avenues for exploration will open up that were previously not illuminated ;)

Reincarnation Proof?

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I have never told a story so controversial and revealing to date in a blog. To be honest, I am nervous to write about this publicly, but I feel it could be of great benefit to a number of people.
There are only a few people that know about this, and I have been very selecting in whom I have told. Now I am sharing it with the world, even though I realize I may face ridicule and doubt.
Nevertheless, here I go!
The following events are true, and happened to me a few years ago. They are the best proof I have for the existence of reincarnation, and since their occurrence, I have no doubt that reincarnation is real.
It all began when I went to get my first past life reading, but it certainly doesn’t end there.
I had what is called an “Akashic records” reading, which is slightly different from a traditional psychic past life reading. I have had both, and I have even been trained to use both methods myself, so I am familiar with them.
The person who gave me this first reading has since become a great friend of mine, although I started out as his student. I don’t think he would mind if I mentioned his name in this blog, but out of respect and because I don’t think it will help the story much, I will purposely omit his name.
During the reading, I couldn’t believe how well it seemed he knew me. I had never met him before, and yet he was telling me things I didn’t even know about myself at the time.
There were a number of important things mentioned then, but the one I want to write about today is one specific past life we had together.
Because I was skeptical of past lives, I wanted proof. The best way at the time I could think of was asking if I had ever been anyone famous, so that I could look him or her up and see if anything was familiar.
My wishes were fulfilled, and although I wasn’t given a name, I was given the dates the person lived, as well as a few details, like his profession and location.
It wasn’t difficult to find the lifetime in question with this information, and shortly after finding the man, I confirmed it with the Akashic reader.
Enough suspense, here is the name for those of you interested: Diego Velazquez.
Upon finding this out, I briefly researched his life. Luckily, he was an artist in Spain from the 17th century, so he had a few self-portraits, as well as information about his life.
He looked quite a bit like I do today, so I thought it was possible I was that person. He also sounded a lot like me, but I was still skeptical.
Because I wasn’t really sure if it was true or not, I let it go for a few months, and wasn’t in contact with the Akashic reader during this time because we didn’t really know each other.
I went back for another reading because I found the first one to be very helpful, and was starting to get to know this guy better. No more information about this lifetime was revealed, and honestly, I wasn’t as interested in that as I was about “finding myself.”
One day, however, I was researching the root of the word “mysticism” on Wikipedia. There (still) is a painting on the page that caught my eye titled, “The Appearance of the Holy Spirit before Saint Teresa of Ávila.”
Somehow, I just knew that I had been friends with the person who painted this from the Diego lifetime – there is no logical reason how or why – I just knew it.
Therefore, I began researching the artist of the painting, Peter Paul Rubens.
Now, when I had the initial Akashic reading, I was told that I had been friends with the reader, but he didn’t give me any details about himself. He had told me that he encouraged me to go to Italy to study, but that was about it.
As I was reading about Rubens, it all sounded strikingly familiar to the Akashic reader, although I was really just scrolling through quickly to determine if he had in fact known Diego.
Then I saw it – they had met, they had been friends, Rubens had encouraged Diego to go to Italy. I was stunned!
After reading that, I went to look at a self-portrait of Rubens – if I thought I looked like Diego, it was nothing compared to the resemblance of Rubens and my now friend.
Immediately I emailed him, asking if he had been Peter Paul Rubens – I felt like a fool even asking, but it had to be true.
He responded with a laugh, saying he had in fact, and asked how I found that out. I told him, and after this, we did some more spiritual work together, and got to know each other quite well.
That isn’t the end of the story though!
Sometime later, I had a dream in which Jesus appeared, floating towards me. I have had only three dreams where Jesus has appeared, and all of them have been extremely significant. This blog is already going to be long enough, so I won’t mention the other two, but I will discuss this one.
As he was floating towards me, I fell to the ground on my side, and can only describe what happened as having my life flash before my eyes. I imagine this must be what it is like to have a near-death-experience.
Except, it wasn’t this lifetime that flashed before my eyes – it was that of Diego’s.
After this happened, the dream became lucid (when you are aware that you are dreaming). Shortly after, however, I woke up completely astonished.
Nothing like this has ever happened before or since to me. Since then, I sometimes have glimpses of waking memories of Diego’s lifetime, but nothing specific. I also get this with a few other lifetimes, and they seem to becoming clearer as I become more conscious.
You would think this would be enough proof for me to validate that lifetime, but I had to ask one more person.
Another teacher of mine who has since become a good friend to this day, is a prominent psychic in Boulder, CO. I won’t mention her name as well, because I would prefer these people be allowed to make their own decision whether their names are included in this story out of the deep respect I have for them both.
I told her about the dream, but didn’t mention any of the previous events. All I did was ask if I had been Diego Velazquez. She was kind enough to give me a free reading through email, and confirmed that I had been him.
That finally did it for me – no further confirmation was needed.
Wow… Okay… That’s my story. It feels good to get that off my chest. My heart was racing as I was beginning this blog, but now I am feeling a sense of relief.
The purpose of sharing this story today is not to aggrandize myself, but I tell it with the hopes that it may open your mind to the possibility of reincarnation.
I have always been what I consider a very rational person, and I like having empirical evidence for something before I blindly believe.
Reincarnation was no different, and although I had thought for a long time before these events that past lives were a strong possibility, it took these seeming miracles to confirm it for me.
Naturally, I don’t expect this to mean as much to you as it did to me, but perhaps now you might seek your own proof with your eyes slightly more open ;)
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We are all Differently the Same

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Author Darren Hobden released a book recently about an astonishing memory he has. I finished reading it a few days ago, and wanted to write a blog post about it.
This will be a first for me – reviewing a book that is – but I wanted to share it with you because I believe it is important.
“We are all Differently the Same” is the title of the book, and Darren can say from first-hand experience that this is absolutely true due to his unique memory.
He shares many of his insights that he has gathered from this life, and how they tie into the period BEFORE this lifetime.
Yes – that is correct – Darren has memories from the period in-between lifetimes. There are a fair amount of people who have memories from previous lives, but Darren is the first person I know who has memories from the period he calls “Prior Life.”
This is the period when we are not incarnated in a body, and we shine with our pure soul essence. It is because of this that he knows how true the title of his book is.
I have known Darren through Facebook for about a year and a half now, and I can say in all honesty that he is one of the most genuine people I have ever “met.” There is no doubt in my mind that what he claims is true.
After reading less than 20 pages of his book, I started to get glimpses of my own Prior Life. It was very vague, but was similar to having watched a movie years ago, and then watching it again.
You know that you have seen it before, but you don’t quite remember the details. This is how I felt reading his book when he would talk about Prior Life and being in what he calls “The Room.”
The Room is where souls gather and await their incarnation. During this time, a variety of things happen.
One of the main points I took away from Darren’s time in The Room was that it really is true; we are truly all differently the same.
Souls do not judge each other in the same way we do on Earth, and Darren explains this is because we become “humanized.”
Becoming humanized is exactly what it sounds like, we start taking on characteristics of humans. These traits are things like anger, jealousy, and fear.
While growing up, the memories for Darren were much clearer, and as a child he didn’t allow himself to be bothered by things as much because he had the wisdom that we are not our bodies or personalities.
Understandably, as he grew older, he became more humanized himself. It must have been difficult to have knowledge that others didn’t, and in order to fit in it was necessary to adopt some less than desirable traits.
As souls we do not experience these things – while in The Room there is Love (with a capital ‘L’) for everyone. We do not judge each other, even though we can be on different stages of our journey as a soul.
Darren talks about how in The Room there are souls who are more and less advanced than yourself, but there is no envy for those further than you are, and there is no looking down on those who haven’t experienced as much as you have.
This is a beautiful message; one which I am striving to live every day.
Another interesting thing I found from his book was how there are teachers who help you go over your lifetimes in The Room.
While Darren does not have memories of previous lifetimes, he does remember going over some of them with one of these teachers in a journal or book of sorts.
His book is not about reincarnation, but it is obvious Darren knows we have multiple lifetimes, and he remembers experiencing a general satisfaction while going over his previous lives.
I am absolutely enthralled with the memories he does have, however, and I could read about Prior Life all day!
It sounds like such an amazing place, and after reading his book, I am convinced this “place” does exist. As I said, while reading I kept getting vague memories myself, although nothing specific.
Oftentimes I will get similar memories with my past lives, although at this point those memoires are much clearer for me – especially for certain lifetimes.
There is actually a long story I have about how I found about a lifetime I had with absolute certainty. I know who the person is, and I actually know who a friend of mine was who knew me in that life as well – I will most likely blog about this someday, but this blog is dedicated to Darren’s memories, not mine.
He begins the book by stating that before he wrote this book, he had told a total of eight people about his memories. This is completely understandable, because he feared being ridiculed and not believed.
I empathize with this, because I have told maybe a dozen people about my experience, and I have had people laugh at me and think I was crazy when I told them.
It is great Darren got the courage to write this book because his memories are fascinating, and he has inspired me to tell my story to the world, regardless of how some may receive it.
He has plans to publish a second book about Prior Life, and I cannot wait! It is so enlightening to read about how different we are in The Room from now; but ultimately, we are all the same ;)

Writer’s Block

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Yesterday I experienced something I have never had to deal with before – yup, it was writer’s block.
So I decided today to (ironically) write about it – luckily it hasn’t happened again yet…
I have went through brief periods where I couldn’t come up with something right away, but I have never had to just walk away from writing before. Nevertheless, here I am again today, back at it!
Now I am beginning to think I need to read a book on writer’s block, but seeing as how it doesn’t happen very often, and I seem to be doing just fine now, I’m not sure I need to.
What are your tricks to get out of it, and start writing again??
This was my first time being so severe, so I felt a little lost. I tried a number of things, but nothing seemed to work.
Looking back, I think it is because I wasn’t adequately prepared for what I was going to blog about (which is also why I’m still not going to go back to that yet).
The strangest thing was that I was actually inspired to write yesterday, which isn’t always the case. I even tried starting a second blog about a different subject, and I still couldn’t finish.
Generally, my writing ritual is pretty simple: I like to read something spiritual briefly before I start. The morning also seems to be the best time for me, so I always try to make it one of the first things I do after waking up.
Caffeinated coffee or tea is always a plus, and I generally have a cup next to me while I’m writing. Today is no exception; I have a nice cup of chai tea with me right now… sip… yummm…
Headphones’ playing classical music also helps me focus, because I can’t write when I am distracted. Lindsey Stirling is a modern artist I also listen to, who I highly recommend listening to if you’ve never heard her – she plays a wicked violin!
Do you have any rituals that help you get into writing mode??
After I had done everything that I normally do yesterday, I found myself just spewing random mindless dribble on the page. It wasn’t related to anything, and I couldn’t find any kind of cohesiveness.
Besides trying to write about an entirely different subject, I also tried a few other things…
I walked away, and lied down on the floor for a little while – while doing that, I tried yoga to get my mind balanced. When I went back to the computer, it was the same.
I ate some food, because I thought I might be hungry and that was the problem. When I finished, it was the same.
Distracting myself with some social media didn’t help, but then again that rarely helps me with any aspect of my life. I limit my time spent on Facebook, emails, Twitter, etc. because there is always one more thing to do or look at, and it can be a time trap.
Going for a walk in nature to clear my head would have been great, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to write and go for a walk. If I ever experience writer’s block again, I might just try this because the idea kept calling out to me.
Eventually, I just had to walk away because I was out of time and energy. I felt defeated at first, and was irritated that I spent a couple hours doing nothing constructive.
Afterwards, however, I found that I had gained some wisdom about trying to force my writing.
Writing isn’t something that you can make happen whenever you want. It isn’t like a light switch that you can come to at any time and just turn on or off.
This is a humbling idea, because it brings up the question: Who is doing the writing? I have considered this before, but it became much more personal when I couldn’t write.
It is necessary to allow the words to flow through you like water down a river, and the more you force it, the more you find yourself swimming upstream.
Sometimes it just isn’t the right time to be writing, and you have to accept that and move on no matter how much you desire to produce some results.
Although I found myself aggravated throughout the whole process, and shortly afterwards, I found peace within after contemplating some of these thoughts.
My ego was taken down a notch, and I came to a greater understanding, which is always a good thing I believe.
Thank you writer’s block, for showing me all these things!
I am still curious, however, what some of your methods are for preparing to write, or for getting through writer’s block??

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