It’s always good to go back to (or stick with) the basics. These are six of the most important broad lessons I have learned from six years since starting to explore spirituality more in-depth (with five of those years being something of a boot camp in spirituality:)…
1.) Choose love always– It almost seems too simple to be true, but the truth tends to be simple. Just about every moment we’re making just one choice, between love and fear (and the virtually infinite combinations of two that make for the experience of this dualistic world).
A little over five years ago, in the depths of the Amazon jungle, I had an experience of unconditional love that far surpassed any previous idea or notion of how profound love could be. It was like if normally the love in my heart is a faucet of water suddenly it was replaced with a waterfall. I believe that was a taste of Divine love, but we all have that connection to Divinity hidden somewhere deep within us.
The more we choose love, and drop our fears, judgments, conditionings, worries, and all the barriers we put between ourselves and peace, between ourselves and others, and between ourselves and Love…the more fulfilling and amazing life becomes. In order to really open hearts to others to love more and more deeply, it requires forgiveness, or the ability to see the good and the light in others and positive intent behind whatever facades are being displayed. Some people think forgiveness signifies weakness on some level but it is the exact opposite. Forgiveness allows us to be in our own power, rather than letting other people affect our mood or energy, we take back the ability to lessen how other people’s actions affect us negatively and get to consciously choose how we experience our day and our life.
When we die, if you read some near-death experiences, the repeated theme over and over again is that after we died the only real question about our lives that will matter is, “How well did we love?” Don’t let a crazy world convince you that anything else really matters all that much.
2.) If love is the door, trust is the key– Love might be the final answer…but how do we get there? Mainstream culture and society teach the vast majority of us to distrust. In order for love to flourish and the heart to really open, there needs to be a certain amount of trust…trust that everything is fine, trust that you’re going to be fine…trust that you’re safe. Many paths aim to awaken people through a complete surrendering to the present moment. But that on a deep level requires a real letting go, and to let go, even for a second, requires the mind to just really let go of the need to try to self-preserve whatever it is always trying to protect (yourself physically, emotionally, your status, your place in the universe, etc.). This is an act of trust, or faith if you will. A trust that the universe will watch after us, and everything we need will show up in our lives even if our life is not going as planned or how we imagined or projected it would be.
So when I say we need to trust does that mean indiscriminate trust? No, of course not. There are a lot of things we should not trust. In fact, sadly many people put their trust in the exact things we should not be trusting, at all. Like trusting that we should value what society tells us we should value, or that the majority of products sold in your average supermarket are are actually safe (a huge number of mainstream cosmetics, medicines, food, and even things as basic as shampoo and toothpaste are in many cases toxic). Unfortunately, our society is quite backwards in many ways and we have all somehow managed to live in a world where a certain amount of manipulativeness and what could be perceived as craziness has become accepted as the norm.
What we need to learn to trust is much bigger than society. We need to learn to trust in the flow of life itself (or God if you will). To do this, it helps to have a certain amount of trust also in ourselves. Ultimately, when we trust that life is taking care of us, that everything is (and will be OK), that we are being guided. When that happens, we start to align ourselves with the universe, with nature, we start to notice more synchronicity (the synchronicity might be there before that, but the more aligned we are the more obvious it starts to become). Things don’t always go exactly how we planned or want, but we’re able to allow that, to flow with that, to relax into the changes rather than stress and strain against them. That doesn’t mean we become pushovers and just let anybody do anything they want with us or sit by and never take action. We often feel subconsciously like we need fear, or anger, or other negative emotions to speak up or take action. This is actually not true. Love and compassion and the desire to make a positive impact for the sake of itself (not out of fear of punishment or guilt and shame for not doing it) is enough motivation to speak or act when we need to.
When we trust, that allows us to really relax and drop a lot of the voices and stories of fear that come up in our minds. We start to see the world through a different lens, one that perceives the good in people and life. It allows us to really let our guard down a bit and open our hearts.
3.) Everything is here to help you…if you believe it is. This is closely linked to the point on trust above, but deserves it’s own number. Henry Ford once said, “If you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’ll likely be right either way.” Many people (including myself) have enormous subconscious resistance the first time they hear that “everything is here to help you…if you believe it is.” It just does not seem to match our experiences. We can all think of lots of instances in our life (or other people’s lives) when things seemed to be going pretty well and then something happens [you lost your job, your relationship, your money, your health, etc.] and all of sudden it’s like the wind gets completely knocked out of our sails and life seems tougher and like it’s working against us rather than for us.
But how many of us actually really have learned deeply to do the #2 thing on this list: trust in the universe? Most of us are suspicious or fearful to some degree that life is going to take away whatever it is that we value (relationships, health, finances, etc.). Rather than seeing everything as a chance to learn to trust, to surrender to what is, to show us what we need to heal and what where we are not trusting, most of us resist, struggle, fear, and worry everyday about how things were, are, or how they might go in the future. How often in life are we suffering not because of what is actually happening but because of something that happened, might possibly happen, or is possibly happening? Our beliefs are what is actually causing us most of our suffering, not our actual circumstances in life.
So here is the paradox, we make out of life what we choose to make out of it based on the lens we’re perceiving life with. If somebody had the belief that everything in life was here to hurt them, or be a curse in their life, it’s pretty easy for most people to see that would be an extremely unhappy person no matter what “good” happened to them, the person’s perceptual filter would not allow it to actually help them be happy in their life. Everything would become a negative self-fulfilling prophecy. Yet, if you tell people the opposite, that everything is here to help them if they believe it, they have a much tougher time in many cases seeing that is true. But if it’s true for the negative, it’s also true for the positive. But in order for us to believe it, we need to really trust the universe. What if every time things don’t go how we expect or hope rather than start compulsively worrying or fearing what might come of it, we saw it as an opportunity to see where in ourselves we are wounded or hurt and need healing, where we aren’t trusting, where (and why) we are holding on to things that are not meant for us, where we are not living aligned with our values and truth, and where we can make the most of whatever the current situation is actually offering us. Earth is basically a big school for us to all learn and grow. The more we can feel gratitude for the lessons as they come, the more we do not let disappointments deter us or stick around long. We start to look for the silver lining in all situations and the good that can come out of seemingly unfortunate circumstances, and because we do this it allows us to become opportunists. We feel an ever growing gratitude (which is also the foundation for true abundance) in ourselves and wake up feeling ready and driven to face the day ahead.
4.) The subconscious is what needs to change. Spiritual principles really are not that complicated. Trust, love, peace, generosity. Many spiritual concepts can be understood intellectually in a short amount of time. This is an important first step. Yet, a person can have a lot of spiritual intellectual knowledge, reading about how they are really love, light, and bliss, and even on one level believe in it (intellectually) and still be very unhappy. Why is that? It is because we all have these deeply held beliefs, negative cellular memories and generational memories (i.e. traumas), and myriad conditionings stemming from many lifetimes. The subconscious is amazingly vast. Biologist and spiritual scientist Bruce Lipton says the consicous mind processes 2000 bits of information per second and the subconscious processes 4 billion bits per second. That’s two million times more! The mind consists of many, many different layers, levels, and dimensions.
In Infinite Love Healing, we work on multiple levels of healing, working on healing and clearing stuff we do not need from this lifetime, stuff that we have inherited (the same way we can inherit eye color or positive characteristics from our parents we can also inherit suffering), stuff from the collective level (all of us are interconnected in the collective consciousness), stuff from past lifetimes, and stuff from what we call the soul level. Healing on any one of these levels is not enough to have deep transformation, we need to change our conditionings and beliefs in all of them in my experience or progress is slow and quite limited.
The subconscious is emotional in nature. It’s always trying to protect us, to keep us safe. Unfortunately, many ways it has been trained to keep us safe actually do the exact opposite. For instance, worrying or stressing about your health actually has the effect of making your health worse, not better. Fearing failure rather than trusting and feeling grateful knowing things are (and will) work out often leads to failure that could otherwise have been success. Fear tends to lend itself to more fear (and self-destructive) behavior, whereas love leads to more love. These are separate loops, and cutting through the loops of fear in the subconscious that the mind is creating to protect itself is a big part of any real transformative work.
However, it is important that when working on changing our subconscious we don’t focus too much on what’s wrong, though, like we’re some problem that needs fixing. Abundance and love and gratitude tend to lead to more abundance and love and gratitude, and lack tends to lead towards more lack. When we focus on the light, the love, the peace, and abundance in us, and honor the good that is already within us, that starts to grow. Then, of course, the paradox is we can still take the time to heal and transmute stuff that comes up that is not in alignment with our deeper inner light. So we deal with the shadow, but focus mostly on the light.
5.) Spirituality is every moment, everywhere. Meditating, doing yoga or Tai Chi, doing energy healing, praying, or whatever formal sort of spiritual practice you do is great and is definitely important to help us remove the blocks from our mind that prevent us from realizing the peace and love already within. However, to be truly congruent in our spiritual practice, the ideals we have in our spiritual practices need to be brought into our everyday lives. Otherwise, we are not really committed to bringing about the life that is in line with our highest vision of ourself and we take five steps forward and four steps back (rather than nine steps forward).
I love Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, it changed my life. It’s beautiful because of its simplicity and truth and people at very different stages in their life on different paths will understand what he says differently. It cuts through all the mind made stories that are not true and helps to shine light on the essence of spirituality.
That being said, one thing about just the “accept the present moment as it is” is that for deeper acceptance to be there (there are many levels of acceptance or lack thereof) there needs to be a deep openness. This is an openness on many levels of our being, including the heart. So in any true acceptance (versus some other near-shadow of acceptance like apathy or disinterest), a tell-tale sign should be there is love there always. In India, they have different categorizations of spiritual paths: bhakti (devotion) which is the path of love, Vipassana or Zen, the paths of awareness, jnana, the path of knowledge, etc. There is no limit on the number of paths. The universe is infinitely creative, so saying there is just one way to get to the top of a mountain is not true. Ultimately, however, all paths need to lead to a similar place of unity, love, and peace. Progressively, I think many people in the West are on more and more different paths of integration, but that’s a different blog.
6.) Don’t limit yourself. We are taught to only think so much (or little) of who we are, our capabilities, how good life can be (or isn’t), how good we can feel, and what our future (and present) can hold. We are all at our core divine beings in human form, yet many of us feel very small and far from this reality: people feel cut-off, lots of guilt and shame, lots of fear, and just generally as a whole we are disconnected from our true nature. We live in a reality here in this particular world where fear has taken a big root and seems many times in the world when you look at the events as a whole to have the upper hand. This isn’t true. Where there is fear, somewhere buried beneath is always Love, just waiting for the right moment to show itself (the opposite isn’t true in this case…where there is full on Love fear is absent). We are at a time of crazy changes in the world, and I think the speed and magnitude of changes in the outer world are also a reflection of what is going on within us. We live at a time with unprecedented resources to learn from, with amazing access to teachers, philosophies, systems, and technologies from all over the planet to help us reconnect with our truth, our soul’s deepest desires.
Major transformation is possible and I think the vast majority of humans vastly underestimate how good we could feel on a daily basis, how deep our love can grow, and how blessed our lives could be and feel on a daily basis. People as a whole greatly underestimate the range of experiences (both good and bad) that a human can have in this lifetime. But in order to start living lives of greater and greater levels of trust, love, peace, and abundance we need to get out of what we have been taught on all levels (by family, friends, culture, society, instiuttions, and religions), and deeply explore what this life really means for itself.
It’s very comfortable to stay in a box or a simple framework for understanding our world. When we realize that all boxes, even seemingly nice boxes, are limiting us in certain ways, and tend to create an “us vs them” type of view of the world, then we can start to break free. The more we can really commit to living life committed to love (or peace or awareness or any truth driven value), and be true to ourselves first and foremost, the more we can begin to live our own unique lives and paths to their fullest expression.
If you are reading this I believe you are capable of far more than you currently believe, you are much more (and simultaneously less) than you believe you are, and can feel way more love, peace, joy, and even bliss in this lifetime than you probably imagine. The only question is: Do you want it enough or would you rather value limitations? The choice is up to each and every one of us, every moment, everyday. Collectively, we’ll either grow in love together, or the ship of humanity will very quickly become the Titanic.
I’ll see you on the other side of the ocean.