Message for the Week
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As a Man Thinketh, so Is He, Part 1 of Chapter 8 of Awakening Love
As a Man Thinketh, so Is He, Part 1 of Chapter 8 of Awakening Love
Few wiser words have ever been spoken than these from Proverbs: “As a Man thinketh, so is he.” Many live in a hell of their own making without realizing their responsibility in this. And because they don’t realize this, they remain stuck. I will do my best in this chapter to help you see that this is unnecessary. Life can be challenging, but it need not be a hell.
Hell is supposedly a place of eternal torment. It is something you, your divine self, would never wish on anyone, but the ego might. Because the ego is devoid of love, it has no empathy and no remorse and no moral compass. Its only compass is its desires, and those get the ego into trouble. So, the ego has dreamed up a place—Hell—where it threatens to put people or put itself to keep itself in check. The ego uses fear to intimidate and manipulate others despite the fact that love works much better. But what does the ego know of love? It knows only fear.
Hell is a reflection of the ego, of the ego’s hatred, self-hatred, selfishness, and intolerance. Hell is everyone’s worst nightmare. It is absent of love, sympathy, compassion, and forgiveness, with no way out. It’s what you get when you take love, compassion, and forgiveness out of the picture.
Fortunately, love, compassion, and forgiveness are very much a part of the picture of life on earth. And fortunately, your true nature is not at all like the ego. It’s because you’re not like the ego that Hell is your worst nightmare. A world or realm without love would be horrible indeed for beings, like yourselves, that are of love. The unhappiness, despair, and cruelty would be unbearable.
And yet, societies can devolve into a hell of sorts. When the ego is allowed to reign, that is what happens. What keeps the ego in check? Besides your true nature and inborn moral compass, which points you toward love, the ego keeps itself in check to some extent through the superego, which is an aspect of the ego that judges and punishes the ego with shame and guilt—an interesting development in human evolution!
Through negative self-talk, shaming, and self-hatred, you judge and punish yourself internally for your mistakes and the things your ego causes you to do: “You are so stupid! How could you do that?” or “You’re getting nowhere spiritually” are the types of things you say to yourself. This is the superego. The superego is what believes in using punishment and cruelty to reform itself and others. The superego is no more evolved than the very primitive ego that gave birth to it.
The problem with shame is that it is neither the best deterrent to bad behavior nor the best teaching device. Shame is unloving and hurtful, and there’s a price to pay for shame, and that is self-esteem. When you shame someone, as the ego does, that person feels bad about himself or herself and remains vulnerable to further ego manipulation. Shame keeps people in the egoic state of consciousness, in a state of negativity.
To truly reform and transform people, they need support in moving out of the egoic state of consciousness. The first thing they need is love and forgiveness from others. This makes it easier for them to forgive themselves and to connect with the love within themselves. Then, it will be impossible for them to behave badly.
This is why forgiveness is so important and such a valuable tool for personal and societal transformation. Forgiveness allows people to begin again anew and reconnect with their innate loving nature rather than stay stuck in the egoic state of consciousness because of guilt, shame, or low self-esteem. Once people are connected with the love of their true nature, they begin to love themselves, and then they’ll behave lovingly toward others.
As a society, you must help people end the vicious cycle of self-hatred by forgiving them and giving them skills to improve themselves and become more loving. The first skill to offer them is meditation. Teach them to meditate. This is how people can most easily connect with their true nature and see the truth about the voice in their head. Once they’re on this road, transformation is possible. No one is so wayward that they can’t be uplifted by helping them connect with their innate loving nature. There is a solution to much of the crime and violence in society.
The other means of uplifting people is attending to their basic needs if those needs are not being met. Love them by giving them what they need to be healthy members of society. Do they need food? Give it to them. Do they need training or education? Give it to them. Do they need emotional healing or health care? Give it to them.
This is obvious, isn’t it? If people are committing crimes because they lack the basic necessities of life, then society has failed them. Serving those in your society this way is just good policy and good for society. If you don’t, you’ll pay the price through crime, incarceration, unrest, and unhappiness.
“Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me” means whatever good or harm you do to another, you do to yourself. Others are you in another disguise. You take care of them because that is how you would want to be treated. You “love one another” without exceptions—because there are no exceptions: Everyone is God. Everyone is your very own self, your divine self, in disguise.
People are healed and uplifted by one thing: love. Society is improved only through love, not through punishment or unequal treatment. Love is generous of spirit, caring, and compassionate. Love is also just and wise. Love gives, and it is wise enough to give what is needed and no more. You are always being guided in your giving by your intuition, inner wisdom, and the good feeling of rightness.
The reason given for not giving to those in need is often that giving will spoil them or make them lazy or weak. It’s true that giving inappropriately or giving too much to others can lead to dependency or lack of self-sufficiency. Unfortunately, that reasoning is too often just an excuse to be selfish and unconcerned about others. Be your “brother’s keeper.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Give—if only to ensure that you also will be given to in your time of need, in keeping with the law of karma.
When people do give, they discover that giving is its own reward, and they’ll continue to give simply because it feels good. And why does giving feel good? Because it’s the right thing to do. By all means, do what feels good, not in the sense of physical pleasures, but what feels good intrinsically. Love feels good, and this good feeling is part of your inner guidance system.
I said that it is impossible to love yourself if you believe that you are the ego and if you’re behaving like the ego, since the ego behaves badly. When you begin to give more and love more, all this changes, because this is doing the opposite of what the ego does. The reward of giving is not only that you make others feel good, which you surely do, but that you make yourself feel good about yourself.
This last part is important: You make yourself feel good! You have the power to make yourself feel good and to do things that result in loving yourself. You have always had this power, but most people don’t use it to their fullest. They’re too busy making themselves feel bad, creating their living hell.
Just as life can be hell, life can also be heaven, depending on what you are thinking and believing. So, we return to the chapter’s theme: “As a Man thinketh, so is he.” And you could add: As a Man thinketh, so does he feel. Your thoughts cause you to be a certain way and feel a certain way. So, let’s explore this further.
It all begins with a thought: A thought arises in your mind. You didn’t put that thought there, you didn’t call it up, you didn’t choose it from lots of other thoughts; it just showed up unbidden. You had nothing to do with that. Where did that thought come from?
It came from your unconscious mind. Although the unconscious mind is mysterious, it isn’t completely unknown territory. People have known about the unconscious mind for a long time. It’s a storehouse. It stores memories and all sorts of information and conditioning you’ve gathered throughout this and all your other lifetimes. It also houses the collective unconscious, which stores impressions gained from humanity’s history. And it stores the programming that is the ego.
But that’s not all: The unconscious mind is also a porthole to the soul. What I mean by this is that the soul’s lessons and the soul’s plan, including one’s personality, karma, talents, psychological issues, wounds, and proclivities from past lives, are part of the programming stored in the unconscious mind.
In short, the unconscious mind stores information from one’s current life, past lives, and humanity’s history as well as the soul’s programming and the ego’s programming. Just as your computer is programmed to perform specific tasks, you have programming that causes you to respond to life in habitual and programmed ways.
This is all to say that you are not in control of what thoughts arise from the unconscious mind and appear as the voice in your head. This is determined by forces beyond you, some of which are benevolent and some not, for there is one other aspect to the unconscious mind that must be mentioned: negative influence by nonphysical entities.
Just as those guiding you work with your unconscious mind to help and heal you, negative nonphysical entities can also influence you through your unconscious mind—if you are in a negative state. This is all the more reason to keep your thoughts as positive as possible, which I will say more about shortly.
I mention these negative entities because it’s important that you understand that some of the most ugly, hateful, and violent thoughts you have come from beyond you and beyond your ego, from nonphysical entities who have lost their way and are divorced from love.
I hesitate to use the word “possessed” because it’s so highly charged, but these negative entities can use the unconscious mind to cause people to do things that they would never do were it not for their influence. This influence is largely through the voice in the head, which arises from the unconscious mind.
These entities are not to be feared, as they are not powerful. But they cause many to hate themselves and even harm themselves and others. They are most certainly involved in most suicides and violent crimes and other sociopathic behavior. Eventually, these negative entities will “see the light,” literally and figuratively, and return to love, as everyone does.
If this phenomenon were more widely understood, there would be more compassion for criminal behavior and better tools for dealing with it. As it stands, the negativity heaped by society on those influenced in this way makes this a real win for negative entities, who want nothing more than to promulgate fear and hatred in human society.
If you’d like to understand more about this phenomenon and how to work with such negativity, I refer you to this author’s book Getting Free: Moving Beyond Negativity and Limiting Beliefs. The point I want to make here, now, is that your hateful and extremely negative thoughts are literally not yours. Your darkest thoughts are not coming from your ego but from beyond you. They’re being planted in your unconscious mind by those who wish to manipulate you and wreak havoc in your world.
There’s no reason to feel bad about having such thoughts, or even about the thoughts that come from your own ego. They mean nothing about you. Your true nature is love, and nothing these entities do can change that. As I said, these entities aren’t powerful except if you believe them and do their bidding.
The Way and the Truth and the Life, Part 2 of Chapter 7 of Awakening Love
The Way and the Truth and the Life, Part 2 of Chapter 7 of Awakening Love
True riches are to be had when you stop doing what the ego does and live as I did, if only because life will be so much easier. Put love first: “Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all else will be added unto you.” When you put first things first, life becomes so much easier and happier, and likely more abundant.
Who is this you that the ego is trying to make superior? It’s just an assortment of ideas about who you are. So much suffering and pain just to uphold an idea about yourself! This is wasted energy. How much happier and easier your life can be when you invest your energy in reality, in experiencing life just as it is, enjoying it, and flowing with it instead of arguing with it and bucking the river.
A river is the perfect metaphor for describing the difference between the ego’s way of being and love’s. Life is the river that carries you downstream, through all its twists and turns. As you travel down the river, you can like it or not, be happy or not, tell a sad story or not, be mad or not. The journey is still the same journey, but your experience of it will be very different depending on your internal state. You can also either paddle with the river or buck it and try to go upstream. That is your choice, and depending on what you choose, your experience will be very different.
You have been given free will. You can choose the ego’s perceptions of not good enough and “I don’t like,” or your divine self’s, which loves and embraces whatever is happening. You can be the happy traveler or the unhappy traveler. You are free to choose how you will be on the journey, but not taking the journey and not experiencing whatever is part of the journey is not an option.
How much better it is to accept the journey you are on. Your ego thinks it can shape the river and the journey to its liking, and that mistaken belief is the cause of much suffering. You have only so much control over the life you are given, but fortunately, something very wise and good is in control. When you see the truth—that life is the way it is and that it is a gift just as it is—then you can relax and enjoy the ride, even the rapids and the twists and turns.
On this journey, you’ll discover that you’ve been given all the courage, strength, patience, and wisdom you need. And you are not alone on this journey. Many unseen helpers and friends are accompanying you as well.
When you see life through your divine self’s eyes, life is divine, but when you see life through the ego’s eyes, you suffer. Once you realize this, you are free to choose how you will perceive life. This is the gift of free will. Eventually, everyone comes to see life through the eyes of love.
You are being given the gift of the Truth now, so that must mean you are ready for it. All that’s left is for you to exercise your free will to choose against the programming, against the path of least resistance. All that’s left is for you to choose love in every moment as best you can.
So far, I have given you three things to look out for and give up to help you move out of the egoic state of consciousness: judgments, comparisons, and uninformed opinions. These include “shoulds,” “should nots,” “could haves,” and “better than” and “less than.” These words are warning flags that you are caught in the ego’s perceptions.
Other words that trap you in the egoic state of consciousness are “I like,” “I don’t like,” “I want,” and “I don’t want.” These words indicate desires and preferences that keep you tied to the rollercoaster of feelings generated by the ego: If you’re experiencing what you like or what you want, you’re happy; if you aren’t, you aren’t happy.
Meanwhile, life is whatever it is, while the ego is labeling it good or bad, desirable or undesirable. Those labels determine whether you are happy going down the river or not. Without those labels, you’re just having the experience of going down the river and responding to each twist and turn as it occurs, using all the God-given resources you have at your disposal.
With these few, very powerful words—“I like, I don’t like, I want, I don’t want”—all emotions are created. When life doesn’t match your likes and wants, you feel sad, angry, unhappy, discontent, disappointed, jealous, envious, resentful, or fearful. If you didn’t hold your preferences and desires as meaningful and important—if you didn’t believe them—you would feel none of these feelings.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with your desires or these feelings, and you aren’t entirely in control of whether they arise or not. It is human to have desires and feelings like these because it’s human to have an ego. However, your destiny as a human being is to transcend your ego and become a Christed, or enlightened, human being, which is someone who sees the truth about life and the truth about desires and feelings. The truth is that it’s possible to have desires and feelings but not be had by them. It’s even possible to get to a place where you’re experiencing very few desires and negative feelings.
To become free of suffering, here is what you need to know: Your likes and wants keep you in a state of unnecessary suffering and at a distance from love, for you can’t be experiencing the negative feelings that result from your desires and be experiencing love. These are two different states of consciousness: the egoic state and the kingdom of heaven.
To move into the state where love abides, you must see the truth about these thoughts: “I want,” “I don’t want, “I like,” and “I don’t like.” The truth is that they are lies. They are made up. By whom? By the programming. They are what all human beings generally like and don’t like, and want and don’t want.
The problem is that your ego’s desires are irrelevant to what Life, with a capital “L,” wants. Life’s desires—Thy will—trump your ego’s will when these are in conflict. The way you discover what Life wants is by noticing what is coming out of the flow. Whatever is, is what Life wants, and happiness lies in desiring that, while suffering lies in desiring anything other than that.
Life is as it is. Sometimes you like it and sometimes you don’t, but that doesn’t change a thing. I can’t say this enough, because it really seems to you that your desires matter, like they somehow have the power to change what is. But it’s too late to change what is. I’m not saying you can’t change something in the future by taking steps to do that. You can take steps to change things going forward, but you can’t change what already is by not liking it and wanting it to be different. Your desires have no impact on the present moment except to make you discontent with it.
Forgive me, please, for repeating myself, but I do so because the programming is broken down through repetition. Human beings believe what they hear repeatedly, which is one of the reasons you believe what is in your head. The voice in your head and other people’s voices in their heads have repeated things to you so often that you’re convinced that these lies and half-truths are true.
So, bear with me, as I repeat something else: No one can do this work for you. Only you can neutralize the thoughts in your head by seeing their falseness and turning away from them, by choosing to give your attention to reality instead, to what you’re actually experiencing here and now.
What is your body experiencing? What intuitions, motivations, and inspirations, if any, are arising? What are you moved to do or not do? Is it time to do something or time to rest and just be? The answers to these questions are easy enough to ascertain, but you have to want to look in this direction. You have to want to be present to life.
To get to this place, two things are necessary. First, you have to have fallen out of love with the voice in your head because you’ve seen how untrue and unhelpful it is and what it does to your life. Second, you have to have realized that the present moment is sweet and has the answers to how to live your life.
“The kingdom of heaven is spread upon the earth, and people do not see it.” A life of beauty and delight is awaiting you if you but give your attention to the life you are given in this moment rather than to an imaginary life you wish you had. You will know when you have entered the kingdom of heaven when you feel this delight and the simple joy of just being.
The path of love requires that you practice doing the opposite of what the ego does. This often amounts to simply not doing something you usually do, such as complain. Every time you forgo the usual complaints, gossip, bragging, judging, and comparisons that the ego so readily engages in, the tendency to do these things is weakened.
Notice the desire to complain, gossip, brag, judge or whatever your ego especially likes doing and just say no. Instead of acting on it, don’t. Then, notice what that’s like to not have indulged in that. You just made your relationships and your life better. You just made it easier to love yourself and others and for others to love you.
What is it that can be aware, stop, and not do what you usually do? That is the you that is waking up from the egoic programming. You are waking up. You are becoming more aware, and that awareness can only lead to more and more awareness and awakeness. You are on your way to becoming a living master!
Once you step on the path of love, you are rewarded by love with every step you take, and taking those steps will become easier and easier. Once you stop behaving like the unloving ego and stop believing that’s who you are, you’ll discover how easy it is to love yourself and love life. What a wonderful discovery to realize that you are goodness incarnate! When you steadfastly walk this path, that is what you discover.
So, allow me to make some suggestions that will help you become more firmly established on this path. The first one is to replace complaints, desires, and anything else that steals your happiness with a practice of noticing what you’re grateful for. The instruction I gave you earlier was to not do what the ego does. A practice of gratitude makes this much easier to do because it gives you something else to do in place of what you usually do.
For instance, if your ego wants to complain about having to walk the dog, remind yourself how grateful you are to be able to walk and how grateful you are to have time to walk or how good this is for you or how wonderful you’ll feel afterwards or how happy your dog will be. Focus on what is good and positive about what is rather than on what you don’t like or what you wish were different. You can always find things to appreciate about the present moment.
The ego is in the habit of focusing on its desires rather than on what is good and beautiful about the way things are here and now. It overlooks and takes for granted what it has and focuses on what it doesn’t have, as if that is the key to happiness, when it’s just the opposite.
There is always something to be happy about. The ego might argue with that, but the divine self is simply happy to be alive, to exist. That is enough, and existing truly is enough to be happy. Happiness is just a matter of lowering the bar!
When you sit very quietly and just experience your beingness, you will eventually feel the peace, joy, and contentment of your true self. These wonderful feelings are there, and they are always there. You can learn to bring these feelings to the forefront. The more time you spend being present, the more you will experience peace, love, and joy as your foreground and the complaining, discontent mind in the background.
Another suggestion for when you find yourself caught up in the ego is to breathe more deeply and slowly for a few minutes. This will shift your consciousness more easily than anything else. Please do not underestimate the power of breathing slowly and deeply to change you from the inside out. Doing this will help you see things more positively. So, if you’re having difficulty with the gratitude practice, take a few slow, deep breaths first and then look around and count your blessings.
Look out onto the world with fresh eyes that are full of gratitude, which see beauty everywhere. Your divine self is in love with life and in love with seeing, hearing, feeling, and experiencing. The egoic state of consciousness dulls the experience of real life, but without the overlay of the ego’s desires and unhappiness, real life is wondrous, beautiful, rich, vibrant, and alive.
Those of you who meditate know what I’m talking about. Those of you who don’t will find out if you commit yourself to meditation over a period of time. There is a whole new world out there, a whole new way of experiencing the world awaiting you once you turn away from the imaginary you and begin experiencing life from your divine self’s perspective.