Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Note #162: Live a Thanks-in-Advance Life!


Happy Thanksgiving! 


Yes, there is Much to be Grateful for.

A few years ago while reading the biblical account of Jesus feeding five thousand people with a few loaves and fish, I was struck by the fact that he first gave thanks to God, and then, he proceeded to feed the people. Not only was there enough to feed them, but there were many basketfuls left over!
If I were in that situation it would probably go something like this: “Oh My God!  There are 5,000 hungry people here, and I have only 4 loaves and 4 fish! What do I do? God, can you help me out here?” 
Suddenly, loaves and fish rain down from the sky, enough to feed everyone. “Wow! Thank you!”
This is how most of us live our lives: Thanks-after-the-fact.  Coming from a consciousness of lack and need, we don’t trust that our needs will be met, and when they are, it seems like a gift from God. 
The biblical example, however, reveals how to live a Thanks-in-Advance life.  We have already been given all that we need to live a full, abundant and meaningful life.  You may not think that this is true if you currently have more bills than money, or covet something sparkly and new.  The truth is that we don’t know what would make us truly happy.  We can learn to live our lives with a consciousness of gratitude and trust, and then Life has a way of leading us to how we can best serve in the world, and supplying what we need to do so.   

There are two ways of looking at the world: Through the eyes of fear, anger and “there’s not enough!” or through the vision of appreciation, acceptance and trust.  We will see out there that which we feel within. If anger and fear encompass our thoughts, then we see a world that shows us many things to be angry about and fearful of.
The good news is that if trust and thanksgiving embrace our mind, we look upon a world that shows us many things to be grateful for. What would you see? The choice is yours.

Let’s apply this to needing a job. The mind filled with fear may tell you that you need a job for security and to pay your bills; or it may tell you that there are no jobs to be had.
How would a heart filled with Thanksgiving see it?  I am thankful that I have been given what I need to serve, may Love show me how I can be used today.  

Let Love Guide You.

To a certain degree, abundance and poverty have nothing to do with the numbers in your bank account, but have everything to do with thought. Thoughts of gratitude recognize inner riches and abundance, while thoughts of complaint and “I don’t have enough” are poverty.  Looking at the world through the eyes of Trust and Love changes the way we live – it opens the door to seeing what was there all along. 
Living a Thanks-in-Advance life is about remembering that as Love created you, you have everything, right now!

And so:
Look well to this day,
for it is life,
the very Best of Life!

In its brief course lie all
the realities and truth of existence,
the Joy of Growth,
the Splendor of Action,
the Glory of Power!

For yesterday is but a memory,
and tomorrow, only a vision
but Today well lived
makes every yesterday a memory of happiness,
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well therefore to this day.
                                                                     Ancient Sanskrit poem

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On 11-19-09 I gave a 50 minute talk on this topic. In it, I cover much more than I have written here.  Enjoy!

Living a Thanks-in-Advance Life!
MP3 File

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Note #161: Make Surrender a Habit



I am a prisoner of the ego-false self until I fully surrender to the Freedom-Self.  Webster defines surrender as: “to give oneself up, especially as a prisoner.”  This speaks to me because through the ego’s eyes this world is a prison, and with Love’s vision the world becomes a classroom where we learn that we are free now. 
The other night I was prompted to a “Holy Spirit Guides” message on making surrender a habit. * 

HSG: “We have been speaking of surrender. You have an idea of how little you surrender now [Busted!]. You have learned to surrender in some situations, but you have not yet learned to surrender in all. We must take what you do in some and extend it to all. This will take great commitment on your part, for the ego is willing for anything except surrender.”

Ego is unwilling to surrender because in identification with this false self, we view surrender as a giving up of who we think we are.  I see now that my current surrender practice is a moment-by-moment practice of shifting attention from the thought-stories in the mind to the silence of the Heart. 
A Course in Miracles does not use the word surrender, but its teachings on forgiveness are the same. With forgiveness I surrender that which is false in order to know that which is true.  Ego is fine with reading spiritual books and talking about spiritual ideas, but is unwilling for surrender because through surrender-forgiveness – ego dies.

HSG: “The ego wants you on the spiritual path. The spiritual path is a path of trying, seeking, discovering and sharing with others, all of which are actions in the world. It is not a path of Knowing and Being, because Knowing and Being cannot be found in action. Action may seem to be accomplished through one who is the embodiment of Knowing and Being, but that one is not acting. That one is following. Being is following, because following is joined, and joined is a part of the process of creation. Creation is never separate. It is a part Of and in full inclusion With. It is following, because following is never independent. Therefore, you prepare yourself for the pure act of creation by following one Voice within the world now.”


          This is a very interesting paragraph, and although I have read this message before, when I was prompted to it recently I saw it anew.  My work with the 7steps journal this year has led me to really understand that the true Self cannot be known through the intellect, through study or talking about it, it can only be known through the practice of shifting attention from ego-world-body-thought to Heart-stillness, to where the Self is.


However, there is a time for reading, discussing and studying spiritual principles, so please don’t read this and think that you are to get off the spiritual path because it is ego.  That is not what is being said here at all. We can instead acknowledge that one can be on a spiritual path with the ego, which will make it a continuous journey of seek, but do not find.

            Surrender is the path to Know thy Self, and at some point we must seek within rather than ‘out there’.  The important thing is to follow one’s own current-moment guidance.  Following guidance leads us to do things in the world, but it is a doing inspired from Heart-guidance versus thought-story.  (I go into this much more in the audio, see below for that link).

            HSG: “The ego will put up great resistance to this request [that of following one Voice]. The ego will tell you that complete following within the world is impossible, as some human matters cannot be left to Me. This is only resistance to full surrender. Full surrender is needed in order to know full oneness as I am.”
            Ego does tell us that it’s impossible doesn’t it?  We think that if we leave finding a job, a mate, bodily healing or anything else we think we want in the world up to some mysterious Voice…then surely we will lose in the end.  Yet, with surrender, the focus is taken off of outcome.

            During the teaching I was prompted to an entry in my 7steps journal, #97 **:


            RDA: “Abandon all future goals or desired outcomes. Any future ideal is based on the mind’s ideas of who I am, what I like, dislike, etc. Therefore, all future ideals are based on false premises and totally mistaken. Current-moment-heart with no thought for the future is the only true and trustworthy guide.  Whenever stories and perceptions of past, “I know” knowledge or future ideals appear in the mind, see them as meaningless vapors of nothing. Return attention to current-moment-heart. Be fully consistent in this practice.”
            I have a friend who told me that she only wants to date guys who are 6’5”.  Maybe the perfect person comes along who is 5’10” but she doesn’t even see him because she’s looking for 6’5”.  Of course this is a worldly example, but it is also a perfect example to describe how the false self operates: Based on what I like or dislike or who I think I am, I will attract or have this or that in the future.  Practice letting all such thoughts go.

            I was then prompted to #90:


            I can make plans and have ideas about the future, and about what I want to know, do or achieve, but all of it is conceived through the mind that is limited; the mind that plans based on past learning.  The Real Self is unlimited, and when I rest there, everything beyond this moment is a glorious open book!
            Let go of all notions about the future.  Consistently shift focus to the real-unlimited Reality that You are.

            Be willing to let go of all ideas about the future.  Anything we can think to imagine for ourselves in the future comes from scarcity-lack consciousness, which is inherent in the unconscious belief of being separated from our Source.  We’re asked to give up all of these goals and instead surrender to current-moment guidance.  
            The best example I know of is Regina Dawn Akers.  Several years ago she worked for a company and her highest goal at that time was to be a vice president in the company and she was fully on track to attain that goal.  Then…she was guided to quit her job and move to another state where she soon began to receive The Holy Spirit’s Interpretation of the New Testament aka NTI.  It is one the most amazing and life-changing books on the planet, and I for one am so thankful that she followed that guidance even though it scared her immensely. 

            HSG: “Here is what you are to do:
Focus on your willingness for full surrender. Whenever you remember, turn a situation over to Me. Let go of all attachment to what is done or not done or how it may be done. Make the surrender complete within your mind. When you feel complete surrender within, what to do will rise up. Follow that. That is the wave of oneness, which is the wave you shall ride Home. Ride that wave, and look for it continually. In this way, you will experience the least amount of delay.  
            “Do not think for yourself. Thinking for yourself is delay. Surrender all matters to Me until surrender is a matter of habit.”

            This is great news! I don’t have to know how to surrender fully; I need only be willing to.

Holy Spirit,
 to You who is my true Self,
I am willing for full surrender.

I am willing to let go of future desires and outcomes.
I let go of any thought about the future
that is based on the fears of today and yesterday.

I now turn all situations over to You.
I   am   willing   for   full   surrender.

I rest in the You that is Me.
Amen.



* This message can be found in its entirety at http://www.reginadawnakers.com under the monthly archives dated 12/10/06.   Quotes directly from the message begin with HSG:
**  My Steps to Self journal can be found here: http://www.stepstoself.blogspot.com


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This audio was recorded to a live internet audience on 11/11/12.
Much more was covered during that teaching on spiritual practice, the practice
Of surrender, also touched on healing the lack consciousness and what to do for retirement. ;) 




 
 
 
    MP3 File
 



Thursday, November 08, 2012

Note #160: My Brother, choose again.


For several weeks I have been very distracted yet even amidst these distractions, I continue to be willing to move deeper into knowing only God-Freedom-Self.  Recently while on a morning walk, my mind was filled with thoughts about a family member, politics and myriad other things, and I was reminded of a teaching in NTI Matthew, chapter 23, which says:

            “The world is but a distraction, and it distracts your from Heaven.  So you must live in the world, but not be of the world.  You do this by doing all things for Me…by giving all things the purpose of Heaven.  In this way, all things can be used to lead you to Me.  And I will show you how to use them.  So live in your world but be not distracted by it.”

            I was especially reminded of the line: “And I will show you how to use them.”  As I asked Spirit within to show me how to use these distractions for healing, I felt the inner direction to just focus on my current spiritual practice and let all these other things take care of themselves.

            Sometimes we may wonder how focusing only on spiritual practice is going to take care of things in the world.  I don’t know, but I do know that when I am distracted by ego’s thoughts of division, right or wrong and “I know…” I am not letting go, but very much holding onto that which I no longer want. 

            “To cling to your self, and your thoughts, and your fears, is to cling to illusion and to hold onto what you do not want.”  (NTI 1 Corinthians 3v10-15)

Part of my current practice is to shift attention from thought-stories about world-body-Sheryl to Heart-stillness-within. As I walked along and confirmed that I wanted to be more consistent with this practice, I looked down and saw a charm on the sidewalk in the shape of a heart.  I walked on, but was prompted to go back and pick it up.  It was just an inexpensive plastic heart charm, but in that moment it seemed like divine confirmation.  I decided to let it be a sort talisman to remind me of my true purpose.

Whatever we seem to be distracted by in the world, distractions are just attention-focus on thoughts in the mind.  And while some lifestyles may seem more conducive to decreasing attention on the world, really, we all have the same present moment, and in this moment we can choose to let heart purpose lead the way. 

This work demands brutal self-honesty in that, we must be willing to look at why we hold onto wanting to believe the stories in the mind about one another and the world.  We continue to listen to them and believe them because there is a part of us that does not want to know freedom.  In truth, we are free now, however, we are enslaved by our thoughts.

I am free now.  You are free now.  The reason spiritual practice is so important is because we are indeed mesmerized by body-person-world.  The Freedom-Self that I am exists here and now, but on a practical level, I will not come to know this by chanting it, talking about it or thinking about it.
The practice is about realizing that I cannot know the freedom that I am now while listening to stories in the mind that tell me who and what I am not.  I cannot hear the whispers of the true Self while focused on things that need to be changed about myself, another person or the world.

So…if the freedom-Self is here right now, how do I come to know this?

I can chant, “I am not a body, I am free.  I am not a body, I am free.  I am not a body, I am free…” and still feel like a vulnerable body in a fearful world.

Using bodily distractions as a practice example: let’s say you are currently listening to body thoughts about perhaps a health problem, appearance, aging, etc., and as you notice your attention focused on such thoughts, you can remind yourself:
Ah…I’m focusing on wanting to change something about my body.  I am still identified with this body as who I am.  I look at the thoughts and then shift attention from the thoughts to the heart.  I notice the stillness there.  I am that I am.  I am not a body, I am free.  (Note: in the audio recording I go through this practice.  It comes across better on audio than in the written word because I share various ways to practice.)

There is a difference between chanting an affirmation hoping to make it true, versus shifting attention from the thinking-mind and resting in the Heart-Self that exists right now.  It’s like changing a radio station from ego to Self.   

It’s important, however, not to copy someone else’s practice unless it really resonates with you.  Something that comes up frequently in my 7steps journal is that of current-moment remembrance.  In the willingness to turn within in any moment through a mantra, prayer, shifting attention or any other practice, we are then guided to how to be in that moment.

During the teaching I was prompted to NTI 1 Corinthians, Chapter 8 that speaks to what I have been sharing here:

“When you notice your mind is full and you want to become as an empty shell, you must refocus your mind from your head to your Heart. Your Heart will teach your mind the way of release, because your Heart is love.
"Your Heart, being of love, knows one purpose, and that is Love. Your head, being of thinking, knows many purposes, because that is “thinking.” Let go of theconfusion of the head and focus yourself on the purpose of the Heart. Focusing on onepurpose leads you clearly in one direction, but focusing on many purposes does not leadyou at all.”

Each person’s practice may be different, but we see the need for practice while hypnotized by a body-person-world.

            When you observe those thoughts that are mesmerized by the world, the body or a relationship and you return to a focus on truth, or Heart-stillness – as you do this consistently, then those practice moments begin to string together like a strand of graduated pearls one building on the next until peace and knowledge of true Self is all that you are.  Until then…we practice.  

            As we go about our lives this week, let us remember that we have a choice.  We can choose to shift attention from the world to the Self.  With heart devoted to purpose, my brother, choose again.


This audio was recorded on 11-5-12 and is 54 min.



 
 

 
    MP3 File
 




For more of my audios visit: http://sherylvalentineaudio.blogspot.com/