Hello my fellow human Beings:
Do you find that you are feeling down about life?
Is fear or anxiety paralyzing your movements? Is guilt or shame weighing heavily on your mind and body? Is self-doubt and worry crippling you? Is anger or hatred blinding your path forward? Is pain or sadness trapping you in a pit of despair?
Do these negative thoughts, emotions and feelings imprison you in a living hell where you see the world through the bars of confinement and burden with grey-tinted glasses clouding your perspective on your surroundings?
Robert Holden, Ph.D., Director of The Happiness Project and Success Intelligence, wrote in his book Happiness Now!:
“Heaven and hell are states of mind. Guilt is hell, fear is hell, judgment is hell, heaven is love and self-acceptance. Heaven and hell are in your mind; and your mind goes with you wherever you go.”
Most people experience heaven and hell as they go through their daily lives. Their own self-judgments can either reward or condemn them to a state of heaven or a state of hell.
For anyone who grew up as self-critical, self-judgmental and seeking self-perfection as I did, you will know how you can personally torture yourself with negative thoughts of fear, worry, self-doubt, guilt, shame, etc. You needlessly worry about the opinions of others. You burden yourself with thoughts of “what will so-and-so think” or “I should have’s”. You fill your mind with negative thoughts to put you down.
But just because you think it, it doesn’t make it 100% true!
So how do we free ourselves of this mind-made prison of misery?
Buddhist monk and meditation master of the Thai Forest Tradition of Theravadan Buddhism, Ven. Achaan Chah noted:
“Only awareness can free us from our thoughts. In the moment we become aware that our thoughts are just thoughts rather than reality itself, we wake up from their spell and can return to presence.”
I personally experienced another ‘wakeup call’ this weekend at a day-long meditation retreat, where through sitting and walking in silence, in stillness and in meditation, I became more aware of the thought patterns of my mind and was able to let them go and just be present in the moment for some time.
In those moments of presence, when I was still, I once again experienced a state of calm, an overwhelming sense of peace, an aliveness and wholeness of body and spirit, the overflowing warmth of a timeless loving hug, and a feeling of pure joy. … It was heaven! … It was an awareness of my connection to my True Self, my Essential Being, my I-Am-ness.
By being still and connecting, I was able to awaken to my abundant life again, and break free from the shackles of my negative thoughts.
Experiencing this reminder of my I-Am-ness helped reenergize and refocus me to start the week ahead anew and empowered to share the gifts of my True Self with others.
Facilitator for Spirituality and the New Earth Story, Fr. James Conlon, Ph.D, wrote in his book From the Stars to the Street: Engaged Wisdom for a Brokenhearted World:
“Each of us has a core set of beliefs about who and what and why we are….I have thought long and hard about these realities of self, and finally was able to write my own set of “I ams”: I am stardust flowing out of the heart of divinity. I am who I am; it is by being who I am that I discover my authentic identity. I am called into intimacy, energetic love, and an ever-deepening capacity to embrace and celebrate my as-yet-unlived life. …I am invited to live in a world that is inclusive, a place of belonging that empowers me and others, that celebrates accomplishments, that is fuelled by hope, and that is identified by the touchstone categories of reciprocity and mutual enhancement. I am summoned to participate in the reinvention of humanity, to confront this withering moment in history with freedom and courage and an ever-deepening capacity to bring forth a world that is not yet but will become.”
So this week, I encourage you to take up the challenge to find time to be still each day, to connect with your True Self, your I-Am-ness, your infinite source of love, peace and joy, so that you can free yourself from your mind-made prison of suffering and live in the reality of the divine presence of True heavenly Spirit. For if we each lived more out of love, we would together all participate in the reinvention of humanity where all people could live abundantly as part of the one family of life!