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Monica Pickard spent twenty years of her adult life as a child care provider. During that time, with the help of her husband, she raised her son who has been diagnosed with Autism and Developmental Delay. She learned to navigate a world that was new to her – the world of Special Needs. She now shares these experiences and the wisdom they taught her, with love and heartfelt compassion for the human condition.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Living Our Beliefs: Energizing the Soul

            In the previous post, we explored some religious definitions and I wrote about the connections between our spiritual beliefs, our thinking, and science. Today I will show how science / energy, works in our lives. First, it may help us understand the role science plays if we get to know the ego more intimately.
            Take a moment to read the photo to the left. It perfectly shows the difference between ego and soul. Knowing when we are acting from ego and when we are acting from our soul is essential when living our beliefs. In my last post, I showed, with the help of Jack Kornfield, that the early Christians thought of the various aspects of the ego as demons. Eckhart Tolle, author of many books including The Power of Now and A New Earth, calls it the voice in the head; Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, refers to it as your roommate that is your constant companion; Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, calls it the inner Judge; and finally, Dr. Phillip McGraw, psychologist, author, and host of The Dr. Phil Show, refers to it as your internal dialogue. It can be thought of as the dark side of human beings or even the devil on your shoulder whispering in your ear. It is easy to think of the ego as a bad thing, but it is really just part of our humanness. When we realize how it works, we can use it to our advantage, turning it into a transmitter of light and love, helping us to live the life we have always wanted. 
            In the last post, I wrote about repenting and understanding it means to change your thinking. Changing your thinking is how you get control of your ego, but first you must begin to recognize it when it brings thoughts into your mind. You do that by being consciously aware that you are thinking. You notice an emotion you are having then you observe the thought that created that emotion. At that moment you can choose to let the thought go, to create a new thought, or agree with it and feed it with more thoughts. Feeding it with more thoughts energizes the thought and the emotion. This is the way most people live most of the time because it never occurs to them to control their own thoughts. An angry, sad, or happy thought comes in, they feel angry, sad, or happy as a result and they run with it; feeding it more thoughts, agreeing with it, labeling, and making assumptions while the conversation with their ‘self’ continues in their head without their realizing it. The next step is to challenge the thought that created the emotion, asking, is this true? Am I making an assumption that I don’t really know to be true? The answer is always, always, always, no, it is not true and yes, I am making an assumption that I don’t really know to be true. You have to be super honest, though, because if you are looking for evidence that it is true, or if you want it to be true, you won’t be able to change the thought because your mind is closed to new ideas. Then ask yourself, how would I feel if it weren’t true? How would I feel without that thought? Spiritual teacher, Byron Katie, says that asking those questions allows our minds to return to their true, peaceful nature. 

            Don Miguel Ruiz urges us to never make assumptions about anything, but our egos love to make them. The absolute truth is that we don’t know the reasons for anyone else’s judgments or actions. We can’t know because we are not inside their head. The assumptions we make come from our own reality, which is created by our own thoughts, and it is not anyone else’s version of reality. We make an observation and place a judgment on it based on our thoughts, feelings, desires, outlook on the world, etc. These ideas come from within us and are a product of the environment in which we live. For example, some people like sports, others do not. Your feelings about sports depend on the experiences you have and are shaped by your environment. There is no right or wrong way to feel about sports because we all have different experiences. This is true for every judgment we have. Our judgments are not right or wrong, but they are not true, either. They only appear true to us because of our previous experience and the feelings surrounding them. You might say they are true for us, but only for us. When we apply this change of thought to our big problems it can change our lives for the better. We begin to see the world and the people around us differently and begin to truly live our beliefs. It is easier to start with the little things, however. Changing our thoughts about the little annoyances gives us practice for remaining aware when something big happens to disrupt our lives.
            To better understand how our thoughts affect our problems, we can look to our feelings about our children’s disabilities.  Are you sad about your child’s disability because you are making assumptions about their future, or about the way things ‘should be?’ Do you assume others are judging your child’s behavior? Do you want a different reality than the one you have? What emotions are created in you when you think this way? The cue for you to question these thoughts is the emotion that arose when you thought them. A negative thought that causes you to suffer does not have to remain part of your life for long periods of time. Question the validity of your thoughts and see what you come up with. It may take several tries and many weeks or months before you are ready to accept that you can choose to feel differently about your child’s disability.
Disabilities and illnesses are very hard to accept. It feels like you are settling for less than you want, or like you are betraying your child by accepting it. You may feel that it is your motivation for helping your child and that, without the feeling, you won’t strive to make changes. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Your power for change is strengthened when you react from your soul rather than your ego. You want the best for the people you love, but your desire and judgment about what is ‘best’ is the source of your suffering. You are arguing with reality. You may be stressing yourself out trying to change reality like I did. Or, you may sink into a depression because you know you're not in control, but you want to be in control. I have found that gaining wisdom about the forces in the universe has helped me to accept God’s mystery.
            God works in mysterious ways, but when a problem comes into our life, we want to solve the mystery. We want to know why God gives hardships to us and especially to our children. I believe our soul is our connection to God and it longs to help us discover joy and peace. It attracts situations into our life to help us shed the things that are blocking us from profound joy and peace. These situations are meant to teach us the serenity of accepting the things we cannot change; the courage to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference. That’s all well and good, but how can there ever be peace when my child is suffering? How can there ever be peace when our lives are so different from the way they are supposed to be? How can accepting this bring me joy and peace when my child will not be healed? 
            It may help to understand that God – the Creative Force, Soul, Energy – whatever name you want to apply to It, is always guiding us towards living with purpose and on purpose. Most people sleepwalk through their lives, never even knowing they are asleep, as I spoke of earlier. Our problems are supposed to wake us up, but without some knowledge of this wisdom, we react to people and situations with a negative ego. We resist, complain, become depressed, and are hopeless about the future. These reactions will do nothing to heal the problem and they create more turmoil in our lives. Our actions and reactions affect our future and the future of the people we are interacting with. We can’t know what the effect will be, but once we understand the connection between our ego and our soul, we know without a shadow of a doubt that there will be an effect. For a clear example of this, you can read my post on KarmaIn that post, I show how my past actions in a particular situation may have impacted my life and my child’s life. I cannot know for sure if those actions are linked with my child’s disability, but I believe in karma. I believe that my child is in my life to teach me things I need to learn. I do not believe in a punishing god, but I do believe in a Creative Force that gives us whatever experience we need to grow into joy, peace, and courage. If you are of a science mind, you probably think this is all airy-fairy, spiritual nonsense, right? Sit tight. These are the things religion is meant to teach us, but believing in God is not essential to creating a wonderful life as long as we understand the science. If we don’t understand the ego and the energy that is created by our thoughts and actions it is much more difficult to make conscious choices. We must remain aware of the karmic consequences at all times because it is through karma that we create our lives.
            Now I want to take a look at various cultural references to karma including references to it in the bible. Most people understand karma in terms of acting badly towards someone and later something bad happens to you. That is what it is, but there is also good karma. Jesus speaks of karma in the language of his time when he speaks of reaping what you sow, getting back what you gave, and judging not lest we be judged. Those who classify themselves as spiritual but not religious understand karma as the Law of Attraction. Science minded people understand karma as the law of cause and effect. See, Science People, I finally got there! These are the different cultural terms we use for the same universal law, what I call the Creative Force of Love. These laws are written throughout the bible, but they are masked by our limited understanding of the language used in the bible. Understanding karma helps us to live our beliefs by reminding us to treat others the way we want to be treated.            
              Karma works through the energy frequencies of our actions, thoughts, and words. For instance, what do we generally think of when we think of words? Usually, we think that they are language and communication. We don’t think of words as a force. Not only are they a force, they are the Creative Force. 
“Your word is the power that you have to create. Your word is the gift that comes directly from God. The Gospel of John in the bible, speaking of the creation of the universe, says, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the Word is God.” Through the word, you express your creative power. It is through the word that you manifest everything.”
~ Don Miguel Ruiz
             Thoughts and words are creative energy in motion which creates emotion in us and in others. Some words, spoken or thought, are of a higher frequency than others. The higher energy frequencies create loving, happy emotions while the lower frequencies create hateful, unhappy emotions. The thoughts you think and the actions you take go out as waves of energy vibrating at a certain frequency and they come back as an energy wave of the same frequency. The intention behind our thoughts and actions determines the frequency of the energy. Einstein showed that energy (ethereal) and mass (solid) are equal; that energy can become mass and mass can become energy. The energy frequency of our words and actions along with the resulting effects are things we can observe in our lives if we look for it. To look for it, we must be aware of our attitudes, thoughts, actions, and spoken words in combination with what is present in our lives. Are we more often negative or positive? What is present; turmoil, problems, fear, and lack; or cooperation, ease, courage, and abundance? Whatever you struggle with is your cue to change your thinking, attitude, and actions because you are creating / attracting these into your life. Think of your life as a university; each struggle is a lesson in the classroom of life, designed to teach you something that will bring you closer to joy, peace, and fulfillment. Understanding this wisdom has brought me joy and peace without changing my son’s diagnosis. Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. God is love and lovingly mirrors us. What you seek you will find. Seek love, joy, peace, cooperation.
 
            What we now know about the ego, some early Christian definitions, and science shows us that the Creative Force of Love works through our Soul in tandem with our ego, not outside of us. The Creative Force of Love cooperates with whatever we want, non-judgmentally. Our thoughts, actions, and intentions bring forth the energy of God, giving us whatever we choose. This is the reason that choosing consciously – living your life on purpose, repenting – can change your life for the better. It’s not rocket science, but it is spiritual science showing us how to live our beliefs.
            I sincerely hope this has helped you in some way. Next time I will discuss in more detail the ways in which our intentions impact our relationships on a more personal level. I look forward to it! Take care.

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