- Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2002
- 7940 words
GF: Welcome everyone and Happy Holidays to you. I am sure that it is safe to say that worldwide, over the last few days, billions of people have made New Years resolutions. Perhaps you are one of these individuals who long to take control of their destiny: to be more kind, less lazy, better disciplined, or not be as selfish and self-centered.
But I would assert that every year, even as the total number of people who make these resolutions increases (due to growth in our population), there is also a steady decline in the number of people who hold out any real hope in their own powers to further perfect themselves. And it isnt that their spirit isnt willing -- only that the upward path before them seems too steep.
The truth is, most of us fall into both of these categories! We want to change our self but find it to be intractable -- with wants of its own that seem to easily outweigh our wishes to be self-determining. And so it is that we gradually reach that place in our lives where we recognize that simply coming up with more wishes is a waste. If we are to change, something else is needed.
With this honest assessment of our present situation in mind, lets start by gathering the facts such as this one all-important idea that follows. Through it we will learn what is possible and what is not. And when, at the close of tonights chat, we return to these ideas to amplify some of the following vital points, you will see their significance even more deeply.
Change does not take place tomorrow. We do not lose weight, develop our art, or mysteriously become more kind or conscientious an hour from now. Either we change ourselves in the moment, or not at all. This is a challenging concept to grasp because our present mind, the way in which we see things take place around us, shows us that effect follows cause in a perceptible stream of time.
Madison Avenue advertising capitalizes on this, our perception of "before and after." We are sold the idea of becoming what we wish to be as time unfolds. In one sense, this is true. We do see the effects of our efforts to perfect ourselves appear before us in the passage of time. Yet too often we also witness these same changes evaporate as time moves on. We need to understand why.
These visible, physical manifestations of self-change are themselves merely the effects of what are invisible, spiritual principles. And without coming to understand these higher principles, then self-change, if it occurs at all, is either accidental or temporary -- the effect of some passing desires whose energies, once spent, return us right back to the shape of our former self.
If we would do better, we must know better, beginning with the following Higher Knowledge that we must have before its possible to make any resolutions with any reliability:
It is our attention that produces and empowers change in us. Said in slightly different words, those things that manifest themselves in our lives are what we have given our attention to.
For example, if our attention is given over to angry emotions, then soon this same attention is swimming in a dark sea of negative thoughts that serve only to justify the growing waves of rage within us. The inevitable outcome of this kind of captured attention is an outburst or attack upon someone. We manifest the misery we make though unconscious attention. It is a Law.
So, in returning to our theme of making some resolve that we wont get angry anymore, or that we will help others instead of hurting them, this much should be clear: Until we learn what it means to be in conscious command of our attention, our disappointments and heartaches must continue. Again, this is all under Law. Now, to this knowledge we must add a few more fascinating facts.
The power of attention is, in itself, strangely indiscriminate. What this means is that our attention, of itself, cares neither for what it alights upon, nor what it calls into creation through its power to manifest. For proof of this fact, we need only watch for five minutes the scattered operations of our own mind.
We attend to virtually any thought or feeling flying through us, providing that it supplies us with some particular sense of self. Our attention to these vagrant states increases their vitality. Their growing strength only serves to deepen our unconscious identification with their presence -- and so we produce our own punishments. But this is another story to be told at a later date.
What is important now -- if we wish to elevate the content and quality of our lives -- is to understand how to take conscious command of our own attention. Until we can realize this power, the only kind of changes there can be for us will revolve around where our attention accidentally lands, and then what we are obligated to go through as a result of this relationship.
At the close of our chat tonight I will pass along some additional Knowledge regarding what we must understand about ourselves before we can make any real changes in ourselves.
What would you like to discuss this evening? What ideas can we talk about that will be helpful to you and everyone with us tonight?
jmiller: When you described that attention is simply roaming around in us, churning out a lower life until we choose to want to work with it - what is the inner exchange that is occurring spiritually, and why is it like listening for something so distant if it is so close?
GF: There is, in those for whom this is true, a "still, small voice." Call this what you will, there is within people who feel as we do, a certain unsettled power that attracts us towards something unseen. Last night in class, I spoke of this topic of attention and awakening. The talk is titled "New Knowledge to Create a New You." E-mail Chris through the website if you want to get this talk. Its helpful.
3: After 18 years of chewing tobacco, I have stopped. This seems to be the most difficult thing to do. Any suggestions?
GF: When the desire comes up in you to do what you dont want to do, at that moment do your best to take your attention off of the promise in the pleasure imagined in these moments and remember instead your real wish, which is to be free. If you do this properly, your remembering of this intention will include recalling how much distaste you have for doing self-destructive actions. Work at it.
markus: Isnt the self that desires to quit chewing tobacco or to be nice to customers or not to eat the tenth cookie the same false self that desires to do those things?
GF: Within us there is an Intelligence that knows better than to destroy itself. Our Aim is to first awaken to this Wise Self, and then come into compliance with its Life.
Roy: In a recent talk you said "all thought is memory." This brought up two questions for me: What about creativity? Is true creativity only when we can "consciously remember"? And, can "selfishness" then be described as being immersed in an "unconscious sea of memory," deriving a sense of self from thinking of past experiences?
GF: I think you have said this fairly well. True creativity always involves our awakened relationship with the Higher parts of ourselves that are receiving direct impressions from on High. Selfishness is a form of the unconscious mind seeking outside of itself for the fulfillment of yet another self-created image that is empty and void -- therefore, it must cling all the more to such pictures.
Roy: Then I suspect that there is little in art that is truly creative. Can I pursue this creative state then by working with attention as you described in the opening comments? And in this context could it be said that to be truly creative is the same as being "un-selfish"?
GF: Yes, our task is to place ourselves, to be willing to give ourselves over to whatever that creative longing is in our heart that calls to us. If we will do our part, that which has called us will not fail to come to us. When it does, we know it for what it presents within us and the sense of promise that is fulfilled in us by its presence.
seeker: I know I have become a better person from listening to you, and my spirit is increasing. My problem is that I keep trying to "fix" my life (marriage, career, money)! Why do I still let the feeling that "nothing is going to change unless I make it happen" rule me? Deep down I know I always felt abandoned by life and everyone in it. How do you trust and hope for things "unseen"?
GF: The question youve asked is one that everyone who is sincere upon the Upper Path must eventually ask. Ill rephrase it for you: How do I keep my life going and at the same time enter into a relationship with my God? Whats troublesome to us is why these two aspects of what should be one life seem to be in conflict with one another. The issue isnt what we take it to be. We must be active in this life in order to learn from it. But theres a big difference between the process of discovery in our relationships and trying to prove ourselves in them. Thats the real rub. If it werent for parts of us pursuing ways to perpetuate who we have been, what weve known, and what we think we have to have to be happy, there would be no contest between what now seem disparate paths.
CD: How do you know when its time to enter into a relationship with a woman? I mean, how do you know its lifes want and not yours false self trying to complete itself, etc.? It seems I always drive women away by becoming too needy. I know its not the right thing to do, but I keep doing it. Any suggestions?
GF: Yes. It is a very dangerous aspect of ones inner work where through the fear of what I will learn about myself I stop doing the things that I want to do because of what Ill see doing them. Theres no avoiding the "battle" that must take place between certain desirous aspects of self and their hindering effect in our development. Vernon Howard taught "the way out is through." Stay awake and jump in! Youll learn. Youll change.
jill: How can people have a relationship with each other if there is no spiritual awareness? It seems to me that it is destined to end because each is trying to fill their own desires.
GF: Surely you can understand that human beings have relationships based on all manner of conditions - physical, cultural, traditional -- the list goes on and on. Now, the question is as to whether these relationships can develop, and youre right, they can go no farther because there is nothing deeper in them than the elementary laws that attract such people to one another.
asa27: But what if bad people flock to me because of my easy going nature? Does that mean I am the one who is attracting them?
GF: There is no relationship between being "easy going"and being weak or gullible. Buzzards do not fly around the heads of living lions.
CD: How do I keep out thoughts of needing a certain somebody in my life? I know its the opposites working in me. Some insight into this would be a great help.
GF: Look at it like this: trying not to think about someone is like trying not to see something that you are holding up in front of your own eyes. Instead of struggling to be free of this condition, study what is going on in you that is creating it. Only this can cancel the opposites.
Judy: You commented to someone last month that we should not concern ourselves about thoughts regarding what happens to us after we die. Its difficult not to, considering that this world is just a learning experience and not the main event (thank God). I realize that were supposed to live for the moment while were here, but whats wrong with looking forward to our final destination?
GF: When one truly knows the fact of something, there can be no fear in that person concerning such a fact. Try to see this. It is fear mostly that wants to see into a personal future for assurance that the self doing the seeing will be there in that future. All I can tell you is that this self, this false self that fears the end of itself, has never existed in Reality and cannot make itself real by imagination.
Jason: I have found that it seems easier to remember myself and my wish to live a God-centered life in the evening hours after the day has passed and most of my energy has been spent. How can I better remember myself and my aim when I need them the most?
GF: If you dont already take a certain amount of time every morning to do the inner work of remembering yourself and placing your wish for God to be in your life, then by all means, begin tomorrow. Everything is under law, in all worlds. What we give our attention to at one point itself extends past that point. All things have a kind of mass and momentum, including ones wish to stay awake. Start sooner and work harder.
asa27: The idea of mass and momentum seems somewhat frightening when considering the bad we are subject to and have already within us. What can I do to use this momentum and mass for the good only?
GF: Everything begins with becoming conscious of what we are connected to. Just as downward trending forces have their "mass and momentum" so too do upward spiraling energies have their attraction -- and by working to stay inwardly connected with these forces of Light, we not only disconnect ourselves from what is dark and headed "down," but rise as we do.
jill: When I get what I want, it turns into a nightmare. I truly see that this thing I thought that would make me happy is a nightmare and I am becoming more and more unsure of these ideas when they come. I dont know what to rely on anymore because the unhappiness that I feel when I get what I want is unbelievable. Is this normal?
GF: Not only is what you are going through normal for someone who wishes to become Real, it is mandatory. You should be grateful that the parts of you that produce what used to be sweet dreams are now incapable of hiding the inherent punishment in all such unconsciously pursued opposites. Just keep watching while keeping your wish alive to learn the Truth of yourself. All is well.
jill: Is finding out your ideas of happiness are the cause of your unhappiness over and over again the growth you are supposed to experience in life?
GF: Discovering this unconscious dynamic that has been driving ones life is the beginning of the end of the reign of that nature. As the mind awakens to its own unconscious contradictions, it gradually ceases to participate in that process. It slows down, and silence takes the place of futile activity.
rlg: What is "self"?
GF: Essentially, "self" is a construction of past experiences having been stored in thoughts and emotion. But it is also that which looks back upon these same conditioned aspects and then measures itself from them. Lastly, it is a required feature in this life, i.e. the formation of personality, to interact with conditions of a physical and psycho/social nature.
rlg: Isnt that what you call the "false self" and what we are trying to get away from? Then what is the "true self"?
GF: Yes, the false self is a term I have used. Other traditions give it different names, but all defining the same illusory nature. I dont want to limit the idea of True Self which is all words can do, but I will pass along one thought concerning it: True Self never has to think about itself in order to know its own existence.
asa27: Why do we feel happy when we have fleeting moments of anticipated future happenings? It seems so strong and real. Is this OK, or totally wrong?
GF: One of the ways in which self supplies itself with pleasant sensations is through the process of imagination. It projects an image that it fills with content from its own past and then as it gazes upon this content-rich image, derives a sense of pleasure from this relationship. The caveat is the image is unreal and so is the self that feels real for gazing upon it.
forsthaus: It has been my understanding of the work that it is a process and not a goal. Yet, I hear constant references to someone being enlightened or having achieved enlightenment. Is there such a state? Is this just a common misconception?
GF: First, the whole of this life is itself (in this physical reality) a constant process of unfolding. Therefore, because of this nature of change, it may be said our task is to be willing to awaken and not to be concerned with what it is we awaken to. On the other hand, in Real Time, all is done. "It is finished," as Christ said, referring both to his work for the moment and the world into which he ascended. Forget about enlightenment to come. Be awake now.
asa27: Do all people who leave a long relationship need time to be by themselves first? Is it a must that the first person after that is only a rebound?
GF: Everyone is different. There are no rules relative to the amount of time it takes to heal, nor is any relationship following a broken one necessarily a rebound.
ADB: Is it possible to have developed/created a false self around a relationship such as a long-term marriage - a false self that is certain distancing behaviors and fear-based behaviors that keep a person from being especially close to their partner? If so, what can a person do to remedy this situation (beyond working at waking up)? Can a person apply the teachings in "Waking Up Together" to this?
GF: Yes, what you have said shows that you already know the truth of your own question. And as far as how to change such a conditioned, captive feeling relationship, the only way possible is for there to be an essential change in the nature of at least one of the parties involved. This should be obvious, as without such change, unconscious conditions must continue to dominate the relationship.
ADB: So to change the nature is to wake up as often as is possible? Is there more necessary?
GF: Changing ourselves begins with awakening to ourselves. As we see what is True and false, dark and Light within us, acting upon us and through us, we begin to learn what is in our power to do and what is not. Gradually, our awakening leads to our spiritual "dying" because part of our discovery is the realization that we are not the self we imagined ourselves into being. Then after this, there are still other stages.
Rocan: Is awareness God? When we wake up from our minds scenario, does that mean now we are in the presence of God? And are those awakenings registered in mind?
GF: Just as it can be said that water is the ocean, but at the same time not the ocean, so is it true that our awareness of God is Gods awareness of us. Try not to be concerned about particulars when it comes to understanding the overall promise of awakening ones self into a God-centered life. If we will do our part of this Work, all that we need to know about that relationship will be given to us by the One who has given us His Life.
Bonj: Do words have power? Are there good words and are there bad words?
GF: Youve heard the expression, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me." This is true enough. Yet, it should be said that words are embodied vibration, and that vibration is the form of force, and that in this universe there are forces that are for our Real Life and those against it.
asa27: I can honestly say that I am one of the most honest, loving persons I know and yet people almost always get the wrong impression and fear me. I have even been fired from several "promising jobs" despite my high level of skill and integrity. Any advice?
GF: Sometimes its difficult to see ourselves as we really are. But this is the only hope we have. I learned long ago that anyone who was critical of me had already seen something about me that I hadnt seen myself. Getting negative towards others and defending ourselves keeps us from using the great mirror that life gives us in which to see ourselves and then free ourselves from what we have seen that is untrue.
Barry: When you first started on the Path, perhaps when you began working with Mr. Howard, did you have a lot of the same questions that we as your chatroom participants have every month?
GF: Oh yes, and more. As the mind begins to be stirred by Higher Impressions, it suddenly feels like it has to know everything before it can be happy. This level of mind, this thought nature, is acting out all thats available to it given its present level of knowledge. Our Work teaches us that thought cannot resolve the questions that thought brings up. Gradually, this becomes clear to us and we let go of our burning to know. Then new understanding flows in.
Eric: Does a persons True Nature live forever?
GF: The simple answer to your question is yes. The difficult part is not mistaking the knowledge of the Eternal for what may be the conscious realization of it.
Dieter: You once said that Judas Iscariot was acting out a part in the betrayal of Jesus. Can you explain that further please?
GF: This is a broad subject, not terribly suited to this environment, but Ill say one thing about the subject. Christ knew what Judas would do. Therefore, Judas could do nothing else, or the Great Drama would not have transpired as it did, teaching us what it does. It is thought possible that Judas knew ahead of time his role in this drama, something we can see might be true just as we can see we are about to do something we dont want to but wind up doing it anyway. It just is written that way.
Dieter: Can the Foundation direct me to further information on learning more about the Great Drama? This sounds interesting!
GF: If you havent already listened to my new cassette album, "Secret Teachings of the Sacred Testament," I would get these three tapes and listen to the six talks upon them. They will help you understand more of this Great Drama of which we are invited to enter.
Kruger: If I am not to think of myself as either good or bad, then what is to be said of my evil actions?
GF: Youre confusing the ideas. New Age nonsense proffers up the trash that one is neither good nor bad, therefore, all things in life are fair game to it. It is the judgment of ourselves wherein we must not hate the darkness that we see within ourselves. You dont have to "think" theres something wrong when youre doing it. One can feel, know, that wrongness without taking thought for himself or judging himself.
scofield: As I work on becoming "more awake," I am also realizing how many people there are that are truly "asleep"-- people who think that they are all-knowing, religious leaders, etc. When approached with your thoughts, they tend to argue and try to emphasize their point or Gods way, i.e., being born again, scripture quotes, etc.
GF: Yes, this is very common, and part of your growing process is realizing to whom you should and should not speak of these principles. Christ Himself said, "Cast not your pearls before swine." The other point of this is that most people only know what is true by what they can press this knowledge against and call untrue. The more you see these types, the freer you will be from wanting to interact with them on these issues.
scofield: In regards to your answer, my father (who has now passed away) was also "very religious" and was quite leery of your teachings. He didnt like the fact that you did not quote scripture nor did you have the physical verses outlined. It sends a chill down my spine to think that he may not have known the "Truth."
GF: All of us end up (in both senses of the word) becoming what is the secret core of our heart. If in our hearts God has put His Good, then we might make many mistakes (in life), but we will still rise because of the Light in us that lifts us this way. Ours is not to say (in cases such as you outline here) who has and who has not this Light. If you loved your father, remember him this way. If you didnt, try to let go of whatever negative states remain in your heart towards him. This is loving at another level.
Panda: It appears correct that every moment has its own truth, thus a human being is a point of awareness to all the truths he has gleaned up until that moment which conditions the perceptions to the subsequent moments with their unique truths. In the absence of gleaning truths between moments is thought, which is a deceiver. Thus it seems that one just has to continually go through and forward, each new truth gleaned from that moment.
GF: Its all about letting go. Its the beginning, the middle, and the end. Our present self has to look at itself, think about itself, feel itself in order to continue itself in time. Our Real Self is Timeless and needs take no thought for itself or its actions.
asa27: Do you know if people who are mentally disabled can be helped by these understandings or do they simply "not count" because of their physical state? What are these people to do? They are in torment everyday and seem unable to "walk through" or be still. Any comment?
GF: Much depends upon why you ask this question. If it is an idle one, just wondering, it is a waste, and detrimental to your development. If, on the other hand, you know and care for someone such as you describe above, then follow your heart. If you wish them to be healed and to know some peace through the Truths you are finding, BE for that person what you wish for them - as this is probably the best that can be hoped for given their condition.
hudnut23: Yesterday I caught myself not in the Present Moment and thinking about my future in connection with a positive passion of mine. It didnt turn painful, instead it became more like planning for something. My questions are: (1) How does one design their own destiny in a positive way if they dont first think about it? (2) Is ambition the wrong and fearful way to go about taking responsibility for your own future? (3) Is all thinking about that future just something in me trying to give me a false sense of self?
GF: First, we have no self-determining destiny that can be found independently of what our attention is upon moment-to-moment. One can think about a practical requirement for "tomorrow" without forming a self in the process wholl be enriched for the coming of that dream. Any sense of self that is created through identifying with a time to come is the seed of suffering.
Dieter: In your March chat room transcripts you responded to a question posted by Jonathan who said he was torn between two choices and wanted to know how he could determine the True One. Your answer confused me. You said that when we dont know what to do we should do nothing. "Watch and see what happens. Watching works and action delivers." Is there a contradiction between "do nothing/watch" and "action delivers"?
GF: No, not at all. When things arent clear and it is possible for one to wait for clarity to appear, then this kind of waiting and watching is a form of action. How so? Because we are active inwardly towards the unconscious parts of ourselves that want us to just jump in and get it done so that this self can then feel in control again.
tweety: I work very hard to keep my attention on my inner state and outer conditions simultaneously while at work. Then a customer asks for their car and wants to pay later, and I get very excited, sarcastic, and heated up. What do I do with this state?
GF: As you work as you are describing, and gradually begin to recognize that under certain conditions certain unconscious aspects of your nature are going to pop out, you will learn how to be there "before" yourself. At that point, you will have the opportunity to begin to bear this nature, and in that state begin to die to these parts of yourself that presently pop up and push you around.
Kruger: Recently you said that, "Those with whom we assemble we will soon resemble is an immutable law." If this is an absolute then I am at a loss to understand everything you teach because life is full of negative influences. The only way to avoid them would be to isolate ourselves from everyone and everything, and I know you do not advocate that. So, how do we prevail in light of this immutable law
GF: Assembling with others does not mean simply being in the physical presence of people. For instance, one may assemble with a crowd of crazy thoughts in their own mind. One may assemble with a group of people whose common mindset it is to talk about how miserable life is. It is our inner position that provides either punishment or the possibility of realizing the promise of Freedom.
faust: Is the deduction that there is no such thing as failure -- you just didnt get the result youd hoped for a valid one? And if so/not, why do we carry this sense of failure around with us? Why do we allow this false sense of self to rob us of our true nature? We recognize the dark clouds, we know they pass, but the depth of the feeling is so great in some of us. We need strength.
GF: The truth is that there is no such thing as failure because of one beautiful, timeless fact: Nothing in the universe can prohibit you from learning whatever is necessary to change the conditions that formerly held you captive.
Wayne: I have been in a marriage for 19 years and for the last 6 years it has not been good. What criteria is the best to use to decide if its time to quit? We put up with each other and thats it. Is a successful relationship one that lasts for a certain amount of time?
GF: Certainly nothing can be more difficult than knowing that something either has come to an end or must, especially when we have so much seemingly invested in it. A successful relationship is Timeless in that it is a place of nourishment, growth, and developing wisdom. This criteria we all know is the True one. What we must do is learn to be true to ourselves
rlg: My mother is very religious and what you would call a Jesus freak. When I mentioned these ideas to her, she flipped out and said I was into New Age. Now I am bombarded with narrow-minded books from her about the end times and how many will come in my name. How do I deal with this? I feel like religious people are very negative and try to keep others in fear.
GF: One can be kind to his mother without having to prove to his mother that he is right or that she is wrong. Learn what it means to separate yourself from conditions to which there is no possibility of joining yourself. Again, be kind. Dont punish. Keep your distance spiritually.
jmiller: Have there ever been world leaders who were awake? If so, on what level did they fail or succeed?
GF: There are some schools that attest to the fact that in certain ages there were a few individuals in positions of leadership that helped to facilitate the perpetuation of true schools and ideas. For instance, the architects of Notre Dame belong to a school that kept certain teachings alive through mathematical form. Im sure there have been others.
Wuckei: I am more than 70 years old and often I have the feeling that some of my ancestors, especially my father, are near me. What can you say about the spirits of those who lived before us still being near in a friendly way?
GF: This is a great and mysterious universe that we live in. I have no doubt that it is multi-dimensional and that what we perceive as time is merely a cross-section of a greater reality. Nothing new can be created and nothing can be destroyed.
Beckycs: Recently, I have been experiencing a perplexing sense of being lost. Any situation or direction I even attempt to reach for in my life feels empty. It is kind of a been there, done that feeling. I feel like I am supposed to be doing something with it, but I am standing still and there is no path that indicates which direction to travel. So I have been waiting, but sometimes I am not sure that is what I am supposed to be doing either.
GF: These times where nothing seems to be stirring in our lives because of our willingness to no longer stir ourselves do not mean that all has come to a standstill. To the contrary, such moments in our lives may be the most rich in their possibilities. Imagine a seed sitting beneath the earth. It sees nothing and yet something in it knows it is intended to be doing what it is yet incapable of doing in its present state. Stay where you are.
adt: Ive been divorced for a year and cannot seem to put my ex-wifes current actions (the past Ive dealt with) out of mind. I cannot manage to let them go and enjoy life (except for my time with the kids). Is there a "quick" way to focus on me without thinking of her current actions?
GF: If someone walked into your house uninvited and their very presence there was a pain to you, how long would you grant them permission to stay before you? Begin to see these recurring visitations of the images of your wife and her actions as unwanted guests who have no right to be in your house, meaning your mind and heart. Drop the thought. Leave it where it falls. Dont pick it up again. Over and over you must do this.
Wayne: Power in communications - I always do my best to be soft spoken and polite in my demeanor of communication towards others, but this doesnt always work (get results). When is it appropriate to use power (loud, strong words) to communicate? Please help.
GF: If by power you mean powered by a negative state, and you wish to have a God-centered life, then it is never appropriate to use such powers. Why? No one will consciously hurt himself. Picking up a negative state weakens the one who does so. This means the self that wants that kind of power is the negative nature itself hiding behind the idea of doing right. I hope this helps.
tweety: You say we must be in conscious command of our attention. How does this connect with anger that is always unconscious?
GF: Anger is a negative emotional energy that needs an image to dwell upon to sustain itself in our psychic body. This is where blame and self-justification come into the picture when we get upset. We need to take our attention back from these images of whom to blame, and instead place it upon being aware of what the fires in us are doing to us in the moment.
asa27: Is it wrong to love or be in love with people who have not made the transition into higher self or who seem too scared to start to break out of themselves? When does help and consideration become useless babysitting?
GF: This is for each of us who face such circumstances to deal with. Basically one has a good idea of whom in his or her life is beyond reach with these ideas. What we need is the courage to leave dead-end relationships of all kinds, not just with people.
hudnut23: Where do you draw the line between judgment and being discerning?
GF: Judging always has the acrid taste of self in it. To discern what is true or false requires no sense of self through being identified.
sure: Do we ever get to the point where we can use memory of negative emotions as our contrast, or are the negative emotions going to always rise up in us?
GF: Negative emotions are always a substitute for real understanding. So, the more we learn that is true about ourselves and our lives, the less we will be inclined to (unconsciously) rely upon these lower responses to reality.
blessed12: Thank you so much for your latest release, "Seekers Guide to Self-Freedom." On page 261 you comment that the belief that "there is no such thing as evil" is false. Can you give us some more insight into this?
GF: Everything in our Work must be understood as existing in scale and at levels. For an eagle, spider webs are not an evil because where eagles dare to fly spiders cant spin their traps.
Kapt: I have read four of your books and have really connected with them on many levels. However, I still struggle with one nagging thought. This all seems so selfish. Do not care about what others think, take care of number one, seems to be what I see most. What am I missing?
GF: In a word, everything. These teachings have nothing to do with putting oneself first - in fact, far from such a notion. We are learning (if we are) that there lives within us a nature that does put itself before all things (including its creator) and this self is incapable of love. This false self only cares what others think as long as those thoughts are about it. What we are putting first is our wish to see this fact and to place this nature where it belongs.. last!
Valley: September 11th gave me a feeling of lingering sadness, and I also work for the well-known corporation that has recently gone bankrupt. All along, I have been working on myself to stay positive. Now I am not sure if I really am being positive or have just gone numb. Which of your books or tapes would you recommend at this time?
GF: I think this tape can lend you some needed Light and encouragement at this time: "The One Word that Ends Fear, Hatred and Worry" -- item # 467 -- has a second side entitled, "Reawaken Your Love for Life in 3 Simple Steps." Order through our website or call the Foundation. Ask for Chris or Peg or Donna at (541)476-1200.
kdhchi: In Indian scripture, there is a line (attributed to Krishna) "I use memories, I do not allow memories to use me." Could you elaborate on this?
GF: The God Nature in us, as Christ speaks of this, is the Vine, and we are the branches. What IS has no need to gain a sense of itself through what WAS, i.e., memories. We, as we are at present, derive our sense of self almost exclusively from thinking about ourselves and our lives, all of which is memory based.
sure: Does visualizing oneself as being loving, kind, considerate, at peace, and joyful while meditating help to bring about those positive emotions in a person?
GF: Why visualize a state of self that has to be imagined when, if we can become quiet enough, we can actually merge with the energies we now have to think to know?
faust: Please explain what you mean by "you are no feeling that you have." This is a very neat observation and I want to know more about it.
GF: Just as the ocean is where waves take place, but waves are not the ocean, so too is this true when it comes to our emotions. We are a body for their expression and our real nature is a medium of a sort through which these forces rise up from any number of different sources both earthly and cosmic.
GF: It is almost time to close our chat, but before we do I want to pass on my remaining thoughts about what is required of us to be able to make real changes in our lives.
Briefly, in my opening remarks about resolutions, we examined the facts that prove it is our attention that produces (for us) our experience and what we manifest through it. We will pick up the lesson from this point: The missing key to commanding this little-understood power called attention is our power of intention. Here is why: Our intention (alone) gives direction to our attention. Now lets put these ideas together:
What we manifest, what we do in life and become as individuals, is the secret result of intention, attention, and manifestation. If we take the first letters of these three Principles and put them together we find the words: "I AM". Which brings us to our last point as to why it is that so many of our resolutions end up as shipwrecks -- as broken hopes on the reefs of regret.
Please think through this next idea until you can see not only the truth hidden in it, but also how this same truth applies to why self-transformation has been so elusive. Here it is: No intention of ours, regardless of how noble or true, is any more powerful than our ability to remember it. Apart from its pure logic, this one idea is filled with spiritual gold.
The reason why we do not change, or otherwise make real our resolve to rise above who we have been, is that we are always forgetting ourselves. We go to sleep spiritually. We doze in dreams of better times to come -- of some happier self to be -- at the expense of being awake to what is our one real need: To be New Now.
The cost of our inattention is incalculable, not because of what happens to us outwardly as a result of this distracted self, but because of what does not happen to us inwardly. Certainly changes still take place in us, but these are accidental. These accidents produce chaos and conflict and such states are the seeds of disintegration.
We must add one last note to this study to help serve us in our resolve to rise above our former self: Whenever we can be awake to ourselves and remember our right intention, the rest of the work is done for us. This is spiritual Law as well.
Our intention to be mindful, patient, honest, disciplined -- whatever our higher wish may be -- places our attention, unmistakably, upon our new aim. And it is this same intention, the upward direction of it, that reveals those dark forces at work within us set against our wish and that seek to drag us down. To see the whole of these wonders being described is to realize their powers.
Our attention manifests our intention Now, even as our intention directs (and protects) our attention, keeping us from forgetting ourselves and manifesting what is unwanted. When these Principles are active within us, we no longer have to resort to dreams about self-change because instead of waiting to become what cannot be, we do the conscious inner work of being what we intend.
Can you see the immense inner difference in these two possibilities? Of course our work to be conscious, to have real intention, and pay true attention is difficult! But compare this path to unconsciously being run through endless unintended changes. Suddenly the practice of this special interior work becomes equivalent to a walk in a sun-filled park.
Now, for practical purposes, lets bring these ideas into our everyday world. To begin, take just one intention (of yours) and keep it before you at all times. Dont attempt something too big - or innocuous -- like "staying awake" or "being all things to all people." Such lofty aims are not attainable at our present level and you will only slip into harmful states of imagination.
Keep your intention simple to start. For example, make it your intention to be patient with others who displease you; or intend to say, "Yes!" to life whenever negativity in you wants to cry out, "No!" Perhaps make it your aim to pray without ceasing, to hold your attention without wavering on the remembrance of God by recalling repeatedly some feature of the Divine.
Of course such choices are personal, but no matter what intention you make, keep it before you -- alive and present -- at all times. And know this next fact to be both sure and kind: We will fail (often!) at keeping our newly intended wish -- but this kind of "failure" will change our very essence, something our worldly successes have not been able to do! Find out!
See you at our next chat on Thursday, February 7th, same time and place. Until that time remember yourselves and your wish for Real Life. Work at keeping your spiritual intention before you -- whatever roads you may walk -- and watch how God watches over you, seeing to it that you grow in all that is Good.