- Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2002
- 8849 words
GF: Welcome to our chat tonight. Before we start, I want to examine the interior Work at the root of our efforts to realize Truth and the real reason why we attempt what we do along these lines.
Virtually everyone will admit they want a spiritual life; for starters this just sounds like something that one should have! But probe a bit deeper and by default, in stages, you will hear various declarations that run the gamut from a belief in some incarnation as a source of their salvation, to the belief that they are, themselves, the living light -- demigods on their way to Godhood.
The former group holds that they have been given the keys to the Kingdom and need do nothing except affirm that this is so, while the latter ones claim that they are not only already in heaven, but that they are making it a better place for their being there! All of these assertions are as silly as they are empty, fear-filled, and vain.
It can be stated, categorically, that any person who believes in such things -- as in a passage to heaven as their right for merely professing some belief -- or who asserts he or she is already being one of heaven's bulwarks -- is not just deluded, but constitutes a real danger to anyone foolish enough to believe in their assertion of having such privileges.
This statement can be made without reservation because the fact of its reality is all around us; our lives are the evidence. The choice of our daily actions testifies to the truth of our (present) spiritual shallowness, so that seen aright these facts verify that few have the spiritual life that they claim -- either in a "time to come" or in their professed "now."
We who would be changed must be willing to examine ourselves. Truth must be our religion. We must look at what it is that occupies our minds and hearts for the vast majority of our time. And this vision is easy to obtain if only we won't turn our heads away from what is before our eyes. Let's look at what is there.
We move from stressful concerns about our tomorrows to resentment towards anyone who threatens our projected peace. We condemn ourselves for our own weaknesses as fast as we fall asleep in them, and then give ourselves over to their destructive pleasures. We would rather dream of better times to come than contend with those bitter parts of our nature that actively contaminate our present.
If we want a Real Life we should make a list of these contradictions in our own consciousness. And to this thought please add the following: Fear not your findings, but if you must, then fear as necessary until you see through these fears. See the Truth of your self in yourself and that Truth -- its Light -- will attend to what you have been unable to do until now: let go of yourself.
The point is made well enough: The suffering that marks our day-to-day lives shouts out the opposite of our claim to a consensual life in the light. Yet, we languish because of the lies we tell ourselves and then turn a deaf ear to the sounds of the world within and around us that proclaim this truth.
"The medicine is bitter, but it heals," said Vernon Howard about seeing these same truths. So, never mind if these words seem stringent or even negative to you. I assure you the ideas being presented here are your Friend. And know this next thought also to be true: It is the nature of Truth to heal -- to help, to correct and confirm what is Good, and not to condemn and criticize. The truth of any discovery about ourselves acts upon us as do beams of light that show us -- at once -- where we stand now, spiritually speaking, and the Way back to the Land of Light from which this intervening Light has its origin.
For those of us who can recognize the reality behind these words, and that they reveal a true need for a real transformation, the time for this change in our consciousness must be Now. The place for this Work must be wherever we are regardless of circumstance. And everything inside and outside of us must be subjected to this awakening intention to become New in the Truth.
Not coincidentally, our study has brought us full circle. Only we are returned where we began with something we did not have at the outset: the understanding that something more than an imagined light must go before us, and that our wish to be New without the work to see it through is like hoping we can hear the seashore by pressing a postcard of the ocean to our ear.
Now we must inquire what is our actual and individual part in this true transformational process? What is it that is required of us if we wish to fulfill this nascent longing that we have to be liberated from the stress, sorrow, and captivity of our shallow self? The answer to these fundamental questions is as short as it is, at first, seemingly bittersweet: We must die to ourselves.
This idea of "losing one's life in order to gain it" is spiritually Timeless, preceding the life of the Christ to whom it is most commonly attributed; and even when considered by the few who dare to wonder its meaning, still it remains widely misunderstood. The question remains: Will we be one of the few who not only explores its telling, but will we do what we are told in our discoveries?
We will look closely at this question and other important ideas concerning our subsequent findings near to the close of our chat tonight. At that time I will send along some additional insights into what it means to give up oneself for the sake of a life in the Light of Truth.
Now we can get started with your questions and comments, but please work to remember that our task here on-line together is to address what is real and what leads us to authentic self-transformation. Let's discuss those issues you are at work upon within yourself. Let's not spend our time wandering through frivolous philosophical questions or imaginary spiritual ideas.
What would you like to talk about tonight? Let's see what we can learn together.
joesmith: I was recently in a situation where my girlfriend and I heard my cell phone ring twice when it was in fact locked in her car (windows shut), 30 feet away. When we were inside the car with all windows shut and air conditioning blasting loudly, we eventually found the phone, and a call was registered at the same time! This is unexplainable. Was this something spiritual, even though the call had no significance?
GF: One of the features, gifts, that come to the individual who begins awakening to what is his or her True Nature, is the gradual realization that there is a part of them that is not limited in its awareness by their physical location. Many such encouragements await a person along the path to Real Life, but of themselves, these phenomena only point to the proof that we are capable of being conscious in much wider realms of Reality.
Walkalong: Often while I am working I have this strong feeling that this (my current occupation) is not what I am supposed to be doing with my life. A feeling of depression comes along with this. Is this feeling the truth reaching out to me, or is it a mirage designed to keep me from seeing the truth? Do people have a true purpose in life, aside from finding the truth?
GF: In short, yes, people do have within them certain qualities of character whose fulfillment is found only through finding that craft, that art, that science, whatever, that resonates with this quality best. As far as if you are doing what you should be doing, only you can know the truth of your situation. Be patient, be watchful. Keep your eyes and heart open. Intuition will strengthen and you will see better your path.
njbg: Do I take it that this "character" you speak of is a part of our True Nature, or is it a part of the self that is wanting to be in relationship with the True Nature? And is the True Nature the Light itself? I'm still trying to get the language straight... it can be confusing.
GF: Yes, the language can be confusing, and it's not all that important, to tell you the truth. The character is a part of what is our True Nature, but it isn't that nature itself any more than one wave on the sea is the whole of the ocean. These are features, qualities, expressions of energy, all of which we are intended to be conscious within and to share in their consciousness.
stu: Vernon Howard at times advised dealing with negative emotions by offering them no resistance, letting yourself be overwhelmed by them while doing nothing about them; at other times he indicated we should refuse the admittance of negativities into our minds, which is quite a different approach. Can these be harmonized?
GF: Mr. Howard never advocated allowing any negative state to become a dominating force through identifying with it. Seeing that one is overwhelmed by a dark condition is very different than agreeing or disagreeing with the being that state calls up in a man. Try to see the difference. Stay awake and watchful. Be willing to see what you are without agreeing to "be" it.
Judy: Stating this as briefly as I can, I am in a position where I've been told that I have every right to make a complaint to the state about an insurance agent who lied to us and caused us to lose money. The state will investigate, and he could possibly be fined and even lose his license. I would do this to prevent him from hurting anyone else, but strangely I almost feel sorry for him also. How do I decide whether or not to proceed?
GF: If you know from direct experience that a thief is loose and doing damage to others as was done to you by this person, it is your responsibility, without getting caught up in the conflict of it, to report such a psychopath. Never feel sorry for those who have stolen from you. This doesn't mean, on the other hand, that we haven't compassion. There is a difference. It's compassionate to report him.
seeker: Sometimes the evil in this world demands our attention as staying free in body does these days. What can we do to keep ourselves spiritually alive while attending to pressing matters "out there," and does dying to oneself have anything to do with our obligations to society?
GF: There is no contradiction whatsoever between the Work to be attentive and aware of ourselves inwardly, and attending to the matters that are of a worldly origin. As long as we think our first obligation is to the world out there, we are not living but dying for our mistaken, and in our mistaken, understanding of the purpose of this life.
jaybird: One of your recent Key Lessons on the website states that if we were to work toward becoming aware of the secret sorrow of others, and our part in this, we would "wash away... all useless and dark despair". How does seeing the sorrow in others help us grow spiritually, and what do you mean by "our part in this"?
GF: We cannot see anything in any human being (or in the Universe for that matter) that is not at the moment seen the same as a part of ourselves. Seeing the sorrow in others becomes a natural kind of seeing because we are growing conscious of the sadness in us caused by our spiritual isolation from God. This pain we have we blame on others and therefore wind up being a part of their sorrow. Try to see the whole of this.
BDF: Is there ever a right reason to end a relationship that we think isn't good for us when we consider that all of our experiences with (and of) other people are merely reflections of things in ourselves?
GF: You mustn't confuse the two issues you have brought up here. We must close out relationships that compromise us, whether they are exterior or interior in nature. The fact that other people are reflections of ourselves does not mean that we must agree to embrace people who are inherently self-punishing and otherwise destructive with no wish to be different. See the difference in these two cases.
jill: Recently my dad had some health problems which could lead to something or may not. The thought of losing him crushed me, but I realized that what hurt was the thought of not having him there for me. This terrified me, this selfishness. Is truth showing me this about myself?
GF: This is a good thing to see and I'll help you clarify the lesson. As you said, the pain was the thought of what life would be without him, as opposed to the conception of feeling pain for him because he won't be there. All of us dwell in relationship with our thoughts about people and not the individuals themselves. What you have seen will begin to change your relationships. Keep going.
njbg: What would you say to the idea that our "civilization" is living a story (that we were meant to rule the world) that pits us against life, as opposed to peoples that live in relative harmony with it, and that the individual spiritual/psychological problem[s] that you and others address are a microcosm of this phenomenon? Is it rubbish?
GF: I'm not exactly sure of your question, but I will suggest that what we call our civilization is nothing more than the collective consciousness of the individuals in it all of whom, being spiritually asleep, see one another as being apart from themselves. This unconscious separation is the root of ambition, fear, and ultimately, destructive forms of dependency.
njbg: I'm reading about tribal cultures these days, and it really seems that they don't have the same sort of "problems" that we "civilized" people do. They're not separated from each other or the universe like we are (though only in our heads, I know). So, it seems, this separation from the "Light," our being spiritually asleep it's a phenomenon having to do with the "civilized" world, is it not?
GF: Yes and no. True enough that social life, civilized man, woman, does not share in life the way tribal cultures may. On the other hand, the simplistic life of a native of any undeveloped region is without many of the developing features personality needs to grow and that Spirit uses for its purposes.
njbg: What are some of these developing features that personality needs to grow, that a native of an undeveloped area doesn't have?
GF: This is a very complex subject and cannot be answered in a simplistic way. Our social personality is rich and cannot realize Truth as a camel cannot pass through the eye of a needle. Yet, it is this same level of self that must be sacrificed, died to so that Spirit may be born in us.
alex: I am trying my best to come awake during each day. I take my breaks at work in my car as often as available, but I am having trouble with the mornings. It doesn't seem to matter how early I get to bed or how consciously I try to fall asleep, I get the worst night's sleep and can't get up. I can't make it to work on time for a solid week. I'm not making excuses and I am devoting as much energy now to this specific problem until its solved. What else can I do?
GF: Get to work on time. Get up in time to do your inner work. Never mind all the parts of you telling you what you can and can't do, or for that matter, how tired or weary you may be in your efforts to achieve this proper interior Aim. We have in us parts dedicated to keeping us captive in the habitual patterns of our present sleeping existence. Walk out. It can be done.
Ruth: Although nothing is calamitous or tragic or threatening in my life now, I awaken each morning with a deep sense of sadness. This often follows nights of wartime type nightmares, where I am with those who are trapped, or fleeing I banish all thoughts of such throughout the day, but it is recurrent, intermittent. Is there something about mornings that literally has to be waded through, like a river of tears not one's own? I observe all that's necessary for good sleep: No stimulants, plenty of fresh air, movement it is not on the bio level and appears to have its own timetable, out of the control of willpower.
GF: We are far more subject to negative influences while we are asleep in body. The mind now only has its own content to collect itself by as there is no "awake" self there to choose the right path from the wrong one. The more you work to stay awake and aware in the daylight hours, the new energy that is born in you will guard you at night.
Ruth: "...will guard you at night" YES! As soon as I read it I saw an image created for me by a father who claimed to be a non-believer but was one of the most deeply religious people I knew in a life of 72 years now. The guardian angel IS the new energy whose birth we "attend" to......I say simple prayers night and morning, and now shall add the guardian spirit image and claim it as my own. God bless you, Guy, or rather we are blessed.
GF: Good; now start over. Refuse the despair. All such states are lies whose reality belongs to the self that identifies with aching because it has no other life!
Geralyn: Do you have any advice for "observing" yourself when you work at a job that requires serious mental effort and problem solving? I find myself constantly getting "sucked" into my projects at work and then leave the office realizing that I wasn't present to myself all day.
GF: This is an important question because we must each find ways to live in two worlds at once. There is nothing that should interfere with serious mental problem-solving while at your desk. But when you look up from your paper, use the very movement of your head upward to remind you of the Heaven above you and your wish to be awake in It. Start with this and then find more ways.
DanG: Why is it a good thing not to add our comments to what we see, such as a pretty sunset, a beautiful mountain?
GF: Because what is seen, the nature of it, where it is seen within us, and the parts of us that do this seeing, have nothing in common with the thoughts or sense of self those thoughts cause as they start talking. Stay silent. It's best.
BDF: There seem to be few people who really are interested in finding the "light". Yet, there are many people who spend time in churches. Should we as Truth seekers avoid places like a church? Is there anything good there for us?
GF: Wherever a man goes who has it in his heart to love the Truth, the Truth will be there in abundance for him. No place need be avoided, or for that matter sought out for the purpose of enlarging one's relationship with what is Good and True.
seeker: Wherever a man goes who has it in his heart to love the Truth, the Truth will be there in abundance for him. What a beautiful thought!
GF: Yes it is, and best of all, I can assure you it's the Truth.
looneykin: While going through our day to day journey, we should stumble. Do we dust ourselves off and move on, or examine the cause of why we stumbled in the first place?
GF: I was just talking about this very subject at one of our morning meetings. We can only truly learn what causes us to fall by being conscious in the moment of everything involved as we take that psychological tumble. Thinking back over crashes with life only breathes life into the thought-nature that believes its thoughts about the event are the same as the event. They are not. Choose to be awake now.
Deepa: What is the harm in reliving past good experiences over and over in the mind, and how does one stop doing it?
GF: Simply put, scenes that are revisited produce sensations of life that are not Real Life at all. If a person wants to spend their existence in a dream, then they will have to pay the price of both finding themselves in nightmares that are uncalled for by the dreamer as well as the painful shocks of having their pleasant dream interrupted without notice. Each much choose his own path.
johndbethea: What is the simplest way for staying in the present moment?
GF: It's all a question of where one places and keeps one's attention. The usual mind, the sleeping mind, is always a captive of the thoughts it generates as it considers these thoughts. The mind awakening (do it now) is conscious of its interior and exterior environment. Come awake and know that you are aware of the seer and the seen. That's it. Work at this.
JohnO: Can you elaborate on the difference between Attention and awareness?
GF: Awareness is an undefined field of consciousness and Attention is what connects a person to whatever it falls upon in that field.
JohnO: Can you explain how attention attracts events, i.e., does our errant attention attract misfortune, etc.?
GF: We are, as are all things, under the laws of attraction at all levels. The unconscious thought that recalls a past conflict attracts to it all the content from the mind it needs in order to make the experience "real." When one's mind wanders, it will attract to it qualities similar to the character of the one who walks.
JohnO: Regarding the answer you gave, is Attention created by focusing Awareness upon a specified field?
GF: Awareness is what allows us to realize that what we see, we are. Attention is what connects us to whatever it is in this awareness whose Light is both the field that holds the objects as well as the material of those objects themselves.
JohnO: So commanding our attention upon an outcome will attract/manifest it? How can I practice this in my daily (outward) work?
GF: In a word, yes, but one must become aware of what he or she calls their attention. Something will manifest for attention animates, but best be careful what one asks for.
JohnO: Spiritually speaking, is our will anything more than the power to direct our awareness and attention?
GF: To answer this question one must first know the nature of the will of God, of Truth, (which does exist) only then can one understand such things as you have asked. Is the ray of sunlight different from the sun from which it is sent out?
JohnO: What exactly is imagination? Is it a type of attention? Does it manifest positive and negative effects just like attention? For example, if I'm working to find employment along with the physical work of interviews, etc., I must use my awareness to monitor my attention/imagination to make sure it is focused on the positive, and not misdirecting me through negative imagination/attentions. Would awareness then be there to register negative possibilities/considerations without indulging in them?
GF: What you have said here is a good beginning. But add to your thinking that much of what we call positive imagination is the fruit of being fearful of some otherwise imagined negative outcome. So this kind of imagining turns out to be resistance: a source of much unseen suffering, for sure.
Rael: For years I have felt like Joshua walking around the city of Jericho, always returning to the same place with nothing changed. What has changed is that the negative annoyances which once seemed like gnats, are now like killer bees, painful and unrelenting. The negativities have been magnified, but still I see no way out. What is the way out?
GF: The negativities that you are experiencing have not been magnified, but are the direct (and positive) effect of a degree of increased self-awareness. Try to remember this Truth: Darkness that is seen will cry out how dark things are because what is seeing it is New Light in us and the darkness does not want us in relationship with this dawning Light. Keep working. Come visit the Foundation here in Southern Oregon.
Rael: Killer bees, standing in line, fly up and sting me. I am aware of this, yet I have not been able to see any signs of relief from this continual torment. The Prodigal son had the fatted calf, the valley of the shadow had green pastures, yet I remain uncomforted. How long must one endure before being comforted or rescued?
GF: The story goes that Abraham had his hand raised over Isaac and about to bring the knife down when at the last moment his hand was stayed (by the voice of the angel). Your question assumes that the self being purified knows when it reaches purity. It cannot known this.
CHERYL: I always think of the lion story in The Secret of Letting Go... to learn about going away from the wrong to find the right, but how do we know what s truly wrong with shades of grey?
GF: Awakening to the Light and in the Light that already lives within us is not just a nice idea. It is the Truth of us. It is what we must realize in this life if we are to become conscious of what is right and bright for us in this life. As you work and do your part in cultivating a God-Centered Life, that living light will grow and increasingly help you discern what is now for you shades of grey.
James1: The other night I was alone on the beach trying to remain in the moment. As I became more aware of myself, I felt what I could only call fear gripping me. What prompted my trip there was an apparent plateau (and frustration) I've hit in my own work. Is this correct or imagination? I believe this fear holds dominance.
GF: I can't say this strongly enough: The dark and destructive parts of us only defeat us to the degree that these same unenlightened aspects of ourselves get us to agree and identify with their punishing presence. Yes, it is tempting to feel frustrated, defeated over apparent lack of spiritual success, but don't fall for it. See through it, and you'll leave these parts of yourself behind you where they belong.
jill: How can someone not worry about the future, especially if they have money problems? Is doing what you can in the moment, without the actual worrying taking over the action you could be taking, part of the answer?
GF: Worry of any kind is a self-compromising, life-stealing, energy-draining, confusion-making negative state. It only seems to help because of how strongly its negative force makes us feel at the moment. Drop the worry, come awake, do what is practical. Punishing ourselves is not practical, and clearly counterproductive.
Freedom: Why are we so sick? When I sit in the sun instead of the shade, my body sweats to cool me down without consciousness. The "autopilot" of my body seems to work in my favor, even if deciding to run in the sun was a wrong idea to keep cool. Why don't spiritual truths have a gland that sweats when you are wrong? Why do we get so sick, instead of naturally better?
GF: The good news is, we do have these "parts" in our consciousness that will tell us when we are going about something that compromises our wish for the spiritual life. The task is to awaken in that "body" of which these features that point to what is True are already active and waiting to guide us and keep us in the safety of Spirit.
lonestar: I've recently made a conscious decision to let my guard down with other people -- to try and be myself. Why do I care so much about what other people think and say about me? How can I "Be me -- worry-free"?
GF: The reason that most of us are so concerned with what others think about us is because the unseen way in which we evaluate ourselves when around others is through a process of unconsciously considering what WE think they are thinking about us. This internal considering on our part breeds both insecurity and the self that feels this negative state of concern. See the truth of this.
Alison: I wake up every morning with the intention of prayer, and even many afternoons when I come from work I intend to pick up something positive to read, or even try to spend some time with myself, and I find all these things so hard to accomplish. What can I do to become "One with myself" so as to reach that height I'm trying to achieve?
GF: One of the ways in which we defeat ourselves along the path is by trying to live up to "our" ideas of what it means to be spiritual. Forget all this business about what you can't do and just get busy doing some small part of your wish. Even if it's only for thirty seconds when you get home, do that. If you, your wish for Truth, will lead in this way, the rest of you is sure to follow and your inner life will grow.
looneykin: How can we control lashing out or being defensive with others as with rude remarks or smart-mouthed criticisms?
GF: It is best when possible not to try to hurt someone who has hurt us. This is the Aim, but it is not based in an image we wish to fulfill of ourselves, but rather within our growing awareness that we cannot hurt another without having first hurt ourselves. If and when we fail in this Aim, we must not excuse that we have had our attention and will diverted into self-defeating actions. Start over instead.
seeker: What can we do when we want to observe a recurrent negative thought that keeps troubling us, but the moment we actively turn our awareness on, it scrambles like a cockroach under the refrigerator when the lights get turned on?
GF: Keep the lights on. Our awareness of some particular self-punishing potential in us must be kept with us in vigilance at all times. The darkness can hide, it can run, and it can even shape-shift, but it cannot live in the Light. Again, keep the lights on and the bugs will eventually find another place to dwell.
CHERYL: This reminds me to read again The Secret of Letting Go all these questions I have to turn up the light.
GF: Your affirmation about reading the "Letting Go" book again just made me think that if you haven't heard the new tape series "Heart & Soul of Freedom," this would be a wonderful addition to your interior study and work. These talks amplify greatly the "Letting Go" material.
JamesOne: Is Christ's life on earth, death, and resurrection a story of what we must go through personally within ourselves? Are we to go through the internal ridicule and doubt to realize the truth which is somehow already there?
GF: In short, the answer to your question is yes. And, oh, what a story! Everything is on our side if we will only be willing to put ourselves on the Side of the Light that wants us to not just read this Story of stories, but to accept our part in it.
randys: When anger overwhelms me, I know I am out of control and the self I am at the time is convinced it is right to feel that way. I then come to my senses and feel guilt over the incidence. My question is "although I know I am the observer of both selves, in the moment I am one or the other." Does that ever change?
GF: The true act of observing one's self is without being identified with what one sees in the moment. If we suffer over what we see, it is because we are still identified and in many ways absorbed in that nature that we think we are watching. As you work at becoming more self-conscious and aware of yourself in the moment, you will naturally realize greater separation from the various selves that you see.
Freedom: How do I make a list of contradictions in my own consciousness without starting from a false sense of honesty, or falling into one quickly. How do we die without immediately thinking of something to die from?
GF: In a few moments, I will outline some specific ideas that will help you with this task. Be sure and stay for the posting of these insights coming up.
jill: Thinking about something over and over again, whether it be an experience or a spiritual discovery, is the thought nature trying to pull us down again?
GF: Yes, anytime we find ourselves being drawn back into past experience, it is the nature of thought at work for the purposes of at once confirming the sense of self this revisitation produces even as it relishes the safety of these self-produced dreams.
Legacy: I am fascinated with your books and spiritual teachings. How did you become so spiritually enlightened? The reason I ask is that I want to become spiritually enlightened myself.
GF: We are all on this earth to realize a Relationship with what is Whole, True, Divine, and Light-giving. This Relationship is at once present within us even as we must work to fulfill its Promise for us. Nothing can stop the sincere man or woman who wishes a life in God more than they want to fill themselves with the life of themselves. This is true. I know it.
randys: I find it incredibly difficult "to come awake"! I am convinced that the "I" that needs more money, sex and power is all there is. My higher self shows up very infrequently. What do you recommend? Meditation? Or will there come a point when enough is enough?
GF: We all need constant reminders and encouragement to do the work of becoming conscious of ourselves in ourselves. It is very difficult without this kind of help. If you are not a Tape Club Member already, or if you have not listened to various talks on tape whose title resonates with you, get these things. If you don't like them, send them back, no problem. But do take a step towards the Truth. It will put out Its hand.
Kaye: Do the concepts in "THE FOUR AGREEMENTS" blend with this path of awareness and being awake, not dreaming?
GF: I have no idea what these "Agreements" are and therefore I can't answer the question the way you've stated it. On the other hand, I will say that if this material you've mentioned does not blend with awakening from the dream life, then I would be in disagreement with its concepts. We must awaken. That is the beginning of everything Real.
Peter: How do you lift yourself above loving someone who does not love you? (However, they did give me a gift in understanding love better.)
GF: If you've really received the gift you speak of, then can't you see that for this gift of deeper understanding you have been lifted above someone who does not love you?
Roy: Although a day doesn't go by that I'm not working with these ideas, even if it's just "thinking" about them, still I have this almost constant gnawing that tells me it's not enough. Do we have a way to measure real progress to bring contentment from knowing we're moving forward? Can we see the process of our transformation, or is it like the butterfly that never knows it was a caterpillar?
GF: We cannot know our own progress other than through a strange realization (from time to time) where, after an event in which our usual I used to act in one way is not there doing its usual (negative) behavior.
Bluerose: In speaking about emotions, for example grief, when a loved person dies, I understand that we must go through a grieving period. When is grief a good grief and when is it not?
GF: See the difference between crying for the loss of someone vs. crying for your self. One is natural and passes naturally. The other is unnatural and never goes away because that self needs the stimulation to exist as it imagines it does.
Walkalong: Sometimes while I am dreaming, I dream that I am daydreaming and wake myself up, or even while asleep I am aware of my thoughts about myself as if I am awake. Is this a real sign that I am beginning to wake up?
GF: Such breaks in the cloud covering of thought indicate the sun is having an impact on the day. Keep going.
Smokey: I have also had dreams that I'm daydreaming. I even had one where Guy Finley was sitting in a chair beside my bed saying "wake up, wake up!" Remembering the dream has helped me stay awake spiritually. Is this progress? Thank you, Guy if it is!
GF: Anything that helps us awaken serves what is true within us. Within all of us dwells the Light that is constantly trying to break through.
FAUST: Have you ever accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?
GF: I have a number of comments to make regarding this question, and my comments are for those with ears to hear. All questions like this presuppose that the one asking it has a real interest in the Life of the Truth that he or she professes to have (by asking what they have). Such questions are not inquiries, but demands for confirmation of the self asking them; a confirmation it receives, incidentally, regardless of the question being answered in the affirmative OR the negative. Further, if one looks closely at such questions, one can see that in them is a secret form of intimidation based upon an either/or mentality: either you agree with my assertions or you are an outcast amongst those of us who are special enough to know the right words to affirm. So, seeing as how Christ Himself was (is still) an outcast because he would not submit to answer questions that posited either you embrace the Commandments given by God to Moses as they are, OR you are a devil and a defiled creature, I am happy to place myself on the side of Christ and tell you that this question (as asked above) is as meaningless (in itself) as is the sense of self that it provides for anyone who asks it while already knowing the answer they thusly demand.
rousseau: I sometimes feel as if I don't know the right questions to ask. But I do feel pangs in the body. I practice being aware when they arrive and am trying to develop a sense for their nature. Specifically, a chest pain has been continuing, but it's a good/bad feeling and feels best after meditation. Any comments?
GF: These sensations and movements in the heart, head, or along the spine are natural and not to be feared or resisted. Watch them as you would anything in yourself. If you have a history of heart problems, consult your physician.
steveb: Do you suggest meditation of any kind as a means to quiet the mind?
GF: Yes, by all means. Meditation should, and can be, a whole way of life, not just a daily duty. A quiet mind sees. A noisy mind cannot discern anything.
njbg: With all due respect (genuinely), let the product sell itself, right? I've always believed that. Isn't that the test of a true product? If the public really needs it, then it shouldn't be necessary to dress it up (with capital letters and exclamation points) and/or shove it in our faces (I'm referring to the advertisements thrown in by the Chathost). I don't mean to sound hostile, it seems like your foundation is genuine, but I wonder sometimes because of all the advertising.
GF: Your comments are appreciated. It (advertising) is always a question before us and I take full responsibility for the results you see. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel, nor should anyone deliberately shine a flashlight into the eyes of another. Where the line rests is a constant inquiry here at Life of Learning Foundation, as it exists solely through the support of others buying products and making donations. If you have any ideas how to succeed in telling the public that there is a Way out without advertising that such a Way exists, please e-mail the Foundation your suggestions. We are willing to learn a better way at all times.
JStarr: My spouse is an emotional powder keg who has no interest in inner change (she DOES seem to enjoy the social aspects of religion). How can I minimize the effects of the damage that she inflicts on my children?
GF: Be the truest, most kind and awake man you can be not only to her, but your children who (ultimately) determine what is real through the actions they see, not the words they hear. What is True always wins out; be true to what you know and are willing to work for. The rest will work itself out.
FAUST: In light of all the recent developments since Israel became a nation in 1948, it's clear to see that the prophecies in the books of the Bible (mainly Revelations) are coming to pass. What do you make of the fact that there is an asteroid predicted to maybe hit earth in 2017? The Bible says a star will fall on Earth in the Tribulation. Does this give you pause to think?
GF: Not even for a moment.
Ruth: Can you please repeat now what you once said, that the clear water of our own well AND the walls of that well (where we find ourselves in life) are one, that we are meant to be and act just where we are? It reminds me of an Eastern saying: "The heart of holiness lies in the actions and interactions of daily life." Have I got your message straight?
GF: Yes, as long as you do not rely upon the comfort of its imagery to keep you living under psychological conditions contrary to your wish to be free.
steveb: Have you spent any time in India? If you listen to travelers' talk of their experiences there, there seems to be a special quality to life there that promotes spiritual understanding or is that a myth?
GF: I have spent time there; it is a place of dire contrasts mostly myth (at this point in time), but the explosion of myth is the birth of truth.
joan: Reading your messages always enlightens me during the most down points of my life. Thanks for your spiritual messages that give me strength.
GF: There is comfort in the Truth, no doubt, but (as I suspect you already know), the same Truth comes not to bring peace, but with a sword. I will trust that you understand that what is to awaken us must, necessarily, shake us from time to time!
MikeD: Vernon Howard suggests we do our day to day tasks without emotion. What is the role of our emotions in our spiritual work?
GF: See the difference: Not tasks without emotion, but to be free from drawing upon these various emotional states for a sense of self through unconscious identification with them.
JStarr: Is it possible to have a BIG life-altering (awakening) experience? Daily work seems like such a slow and unsteady process. How can we move faster along the spiritual highway?
GF: Our task is to do the work to see that the ground of ourselves is prepared as best we know how to do. What comes out of this ground, how, when, and in what degree, should be left to the One who moved us (in the first place) to begin sowing the Seeds of Truth.
GF: The appointed time for our chat has about run its course and I want to be sure we have the time to finish sending you my remaining notes on the nature of our spiritual Work of dying to self.
We are asked by Truth, shown, as it were, by its perennial Light in us, the need for losing what we have mistaken as being our life. In exchange for giving up this lesser life we may realize the unmistakable influx of a Timeless Spirit whose Loving Wisdom makes Its home in us. And contrary to popular belief this exchange of one life for The Life is non-negotiable.
But what exactly does this perennial Truth -- to "lose one's life in order to gain it" -- mean? How does this idea strike us, and what part of us responds? Are we like Nicodemus of the New Testament who, when told by Christ that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven a man must be reborn in Spirit, interpreted this literally and asked "does this mean one must re-enter his mother's womb?"
To understand what it means to "die to our self" we must first investigate what it means to be "living" from what we presently consider being our self. The following description, while necessarily brief, does not come up short in its accuracy. Do take the time to consider what is shown in the following insights.
Essentially, what we experience as being our "self" -- for the most part -- is our many-layered registrations of whatever sensations we may be having in the moment due to our perception of the conditions around us; a necessarily limited consciousness that works out to be little more than a constantly changing sense of self created by our various reactions to events.
Even more interesting is the realization that the true and unseen nature of these events in our life -- the actual character of what is perceived by us as being external to us -- is neither what we think it is, nor is the whole of it taking place outside of us. What we are actually experiencing, as our reality, is what our thoughts and feelings are "telling" us about the event.
And what also remains unseen is that these same thoughts that are actively describing our present moment to us are themselves creatures of the past; un-living constructs of memory, bits and pieces of "what was" drawn together through mechanical association and then referenced and deferred to so that we may "know" what has happened to us and what should be done about it!
Of course it may be argued that our thought nature is a "living" system, for it is. But, there is living in the blast furnace of relentless thinking with its dark effect that includes a "time self" born of the opposites, and then there is the possibility of Life outside of time in the birth of our eternal being realized in the Light. So dying to oneself implies not only understanding what must be sacrificed in us -- this time nature and its sufferings born of its own ceaseless selfish considerations -- but, for this dawning realization, to be willing to do the true inner work that our new discoveries direct us to undertake in their cause.
For the purpose of bringing this study "down to earth" we will now look at some of the "ways" in which we may each begin working to consciously die to our self. It will be most helpful if we can keep in mind what was stated earlier as regards what actually constitutes the make-up of our present sense of self -- with all of its unconscious causes generated in our sleeping consciousness.
Here is the key idea we will work with, and then I will give some explanation of what it means along with a few exercises for its implementation. We must die to the "I" in us, that familiar sense of our self that derives its life through its relationship with whatever it picks up and holds in its "hands" for the moment. For instance here is one meaning of what this last idea entails:
When we are angry, the active sense of "I" in us -- a simmering self that stands there holding onto a heated state -- has its "life" in us for only as long as it is enabled to fuel the fires of certain negative thoughts and feelings. This self searches for what to do about the burning it feels, even as it clings to and unconsciously fans the very states that it feels singeing it!
To die to this "I" means we must drop -- consciously end -- our relationship with the negative states that support this same sense of self. When we will dare to let go of these sensations that manifest and support our "right" to be self-destructive -- in that same moment goes with it our mistaken sense of "I." It has no life apart from the unconscious machine that makes it appear and ache.
Here are a few other areas where we can work to lose ourselves for the sake of gaining our Real Life: Maybe you can catch yourself about to run off in an anxious state to try and quell some fear of a negatively anticipated moment to come. Deliberately step out of that dark flood of fearful, rushed feelings, and into your awakened awareness that this stressed condition, its conflict, and the sense of self it is generating, are secret conspirators. You can do this once you realize that these punishing and punished parts of you are indeed "one for all" -- but that none of them are for you!
Die to the threats of any unwanted moment, and that fear-filled sense of "I" that lives only to resolve them will fade away as well. Then true Fearlessness itself will take the place of this shaking self. Lastly, here is an advanced lesson in this special inner work of dying to oneself: Try to see the self that loves to revel in suffering. Watch your self about to take center stage in the dark drama of something you are sure has been pressed upon you, and right there, right then, walk off the stage. Pull the curtains closed on these self-pitying feelings and you shut down the theater of the absurd -- the belief that the self that suffers can rescue the suffering self!
We must each find our own ways and means to do this work of dying to self even though the actual inner task is always the same. And of this you may be assured: There is never a shortage of self-stuff to see when it comes to opportunities to lay our self down for the sake of Truth.
Let me remind you, once again, of the Key lesson that sits at the heart of this study: It is not your True Self that fades away when you agree to lose your life in order to gain it. No, it is only your thought-supported sense of self that disappears from view, much as a dark cloud that obscures the sun is dissolved into transparency as the warming light rains down upon it.
You have been given the insight and special knowledge you need to proceed and succeed at what few before you have ever had handed to them. Use these Truths to make True your wish for a real Life in the Light. Nothing can keep you from doing the Work it takes to be free because Freedom Itself stands behind these Truths now in your hands.
Our time has run out for now. Until we meet again, Thursday, September 5, remember yourselves, your Aim for a God-Centered Life, and above all your right responsibility in this wish for the Eternal to have its day of dawning in you. Good night.