Discovering The Pattern That Separates You From God – Part 5

In this end post of our 5-part series, we will finish looking at the final 11 of the 29 questions we posed to ourselves (see Your Personal Responsibility In Cleaning God’s House – Part 2), all of which were windows we could look into to examine how we both view and live out the major themes in our lives – all of which determine their quality and outcome. Let’s finish this up:

19. How do you feel when someone thinks you are wrong?
20. What conflicts do you have in life?
21. How do you manipulate people?
25. List the dramas in your life.

(Questions 22 through 24 will be answered in the next section)

As a whole, your answers to the above questions will reveal your unworkable actions and the associated consequences that you endure, i.e. your conflicts in life. Most conflicts occur within relationship, where they mirror the inner conflicts of those being related.

We think others make us wrong, but it is only events that open an old wound within – those damaged places where we think we are wrong – we make us wrong.

Other conflicts arise when we try to manipulate others into being like us, so that we can justify our strategies in life.

All of our conflict-generating behaviors spawn the recurring dramas in our lives. Drama will cease when we get a clear picture of how and why we have been doing life, that has not brought us peace and love and commit to doing otherwise – replacing strategies based upon false beliefs with workable stratagem founded upon the truth.

22. How do you listen in a conversation?
23. What are your fears?
24. How do you avoid the present moment?
27. List you impulsive behaviors.

(Question 25 was answered in the previous section and 26 will be answered in the next.)

Most people don’t listen in conversation. Notice where conversation only takes place in the present moment. Many people see the general unknowable-ness of the present moment as their greatest source of fear. Thus, everyone is running from the present by way of impulsive behaviors: zoning out in media, immersing themselves in busyness, or indulging in addictions. They are clamoring for relief from their inner conflicts, but they only wind up with temporary blindness. The conflicts continue to grow because their roots are not being addressed. The only way to resolve conflict is to seek truth.

26. Who do you feel has abandoned you?

Nothing is permanent. That’s why we must stay present to those who are meaningful (that should be everybody) in our lives – present to receive the unique gift(s) that only these people were meant to bring. Once you receive them, you can hold the people and the gifts in your heart forever.

You have no control over whether someone leaves you or not; but you can examine the series of events that preceded that exit to find out if you contributed to it. If you did, (without judgment) make the necessary corrections in your beliefs and behaviors so you don’t rinse and repeat in your next relationship. If you were not a factor in their leaving, it was a problem that your partner had and wasn’t willing or ready to resolve it with you – nothing personal!

28. What meaning do you bring to your emotion?

Emotions are just thoughts with energy attached. They come and go against your will, so forget about trying to control them. You don’t have to hide them. Instead, you can choose how you act them out through changing how you relate to them, by dropping the false, unworkable meanings that you’ve attached to them. Sit with the energy of your emotions. Listen to the conversation in your head at the time and see what your body is doing. Consider that you can do this emotion differently and that truth will bring you peace.

29. What do you cling to?

You cling to whatever it is you’re afraid of losing; yet we’ve seen that everything in this universe is only on loan. Ironically, the tighter you cling to something due to fear of loss, the more moments you lose to enjoy it while it’s there.

It’s far better to hold everything in the palm of an open hand so that the blessing of that gift can be received and then passed onto the next person it was meant to bless. In so doing, your open and empty hand is now ready to receive your next gift…

Now, 29 questions later, you have a pretty clear picture of how you see life, what you think about it, how you react to it, and what those views and knee-jerk reactions have cost you.

Clearly, most of us have been going through life with a distinct disadvantage. We’ve been trying to make the best of our lives while simultaneously fostering a mind infestation that distorts our reality and everything in it – including ourselves. We can only rise above our self-induced crippling by eliminating the toxic environment that is the source of it. We need to clean house and invite reality (God) to come home. When we invite the truth and stand by it, we’ll see that the voice in our head (or any other source of opposition) cannot stand in the face of it.

How we do that is by thinking in a new way. That new way is not really new, we’ve just been turning our backs to it. It is God’s way – a way that places amongst its core values both compassion and acceptance.

To be continued…
Goodnight and God bless.

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December 26 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Discovering The Pattern That Separates You From God – Part 4

In the first 3 parts of this series, we plunged the depths of the meanings behind the first 9 of 29 questions (that hopefully you’ve already answered – see Your Personal Responsibility In Cleaning God’s House – Part 2) designed to see the pattern of life you live out that poses a barrier to your communion with God. Let’s continue…

10. Describe what you feel the future holds for you.

Are you waiting for a future where you finally get it all together? Guess what? No one ever gets it all together. You position yourself to get it together by walking in God’s ways. He brings you all together:

…He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. Phil. 1:6 AMP

We are a work in progress. Life on Earth is a training ground. There is no goal. LIFE IS THE GOAL! It’s a journey where we put one spirit-led foot in front of the other until our Savior takes us home.

If you are waiting for any kind of a future, you are missing out on life because it only happens in the present moment – not in some nebulous future.

Waiting for a happy future? Doesn’t exist. Happiness comes from engaging in the present, making the decision to be happy regardless of your circumstances.

Looking for love and acceptance in the future? God gave you those things the moment He thought you into being. (Eph. 1:4) Regardless of what may have tarnished your past, God has redeemed you from it through the cleansing blood of His Son.

11. What meaning have you brought to life?

Do you wake each day with gratitude and an exuberant expectancy, or do you rise with wrenched guts and tears threatening to burst forth? If it is the former, you are living consciously, engaged in healing, giving and loving. If the latter, you’re living a life enmeshed with the meanings of the wounded child within. Don’t punish yourself for that. You are courageously working in this series so that the latter becomes the former. You deserve great love and compassion for your efforts.

12. Are you dissatisfied with life?

Your satisfaction or dissatisfaction with your life hinge upon the meaning(s) you bring to your life. That is not to downplay those real events in your life that unhinged you and brought real feelings of grief, pain, misery, disappointment or shame. Yet regardless of the reality or lack of it in your ‘events,’ it is the meanings that you create around them that determine your view of life and how you live it.

Thus, we can go to meditation and remind ourselves that nothing earthly is permanent. We snoop into our real or unreal roots (meanings) of our vision of life and our reactions to it, let them wash over us and bury them – knowing that we can construct new truth-based meanings of life that empower us to heal.

All situations have something to teach us. When we commit to learning what it is instead of running, our unworkable ‘stuff’ will be revealed and we can let that go. If, during our meditative examination, we think we’ve reached our limits and are standing on the edge of a frightful abyss, we can stop and breathe and look at where that false belief stems from. If we jump, we’ll land on solid ground in the present moment with one more fear behind us.

But this can only happen if we keep our eyes wide open in the presence of our vexation and let go of any efforts of trying to control the world. ‘Letting go’ allows us to be free to face life without fear. When we practice living at peace instead of indulging in drama and our responsive knee-jerk reactions, life is manageable.

Instead of sinking into suffering if we experience pain, we can offer ourselves love, compassion and kindness. If we feel loss, we can look at why we feel the need to cling by examining the meanings that motivate us to do that – our desires, aggressions and denials. We can see them for the conditioned lies that they are and let them go.

Once we learn the lesson that life is presenting, it will stop haunting us. Often, those lessons push our ‘hot buttons.’ This is a wonderful opportunity to learn why those hot buttons exist – a time to disqualify and eliminate more baseless beliefs. We can become walking pillars of peace in a world of pandemonium.

Other than our relationship with God and ourselves, all things come and go. They’re all on loan to us. So we can’t really lose anything; it wasn’t ours to begin with. Thus, we want to cherish our loved ones in the present moment, and tap into their love-print in our heart when they are not. We are never alone and true love never dies.

Change is not loss but opportunity for new possibilities.

13. What makes you angry?

The answer is simple. It is the same things that make you afraid. (See part 3 of this series.) You’ve already learned that anger kills (see Characteristics Of A Life When God Is Absent – Part 3). When you feel it manifest within you, stop and breathe, look at what you are listening to in your head and how you are also getting angry with yourself. Defuse and replace the meanings behind that commotion and practice forgiveness and acceptance for both you and the object of your anger.

14. What does everyone think about you?
15. What do you think is wrong with you?
16. Why don’t you accept yourself?
17. What secrets are you keeping?
18. What lies do you tell?

The answers to all of these questions have the same roots. They stem from the things you don’t accept about yourself and the lies you tell in an attempt to conceal them. (By the way, you really don’t know what anybody thinks of you.)

The ‘unacceptable things’ are either something you’ve done in the past that you’ve attached a negative meaning to, or a negative belief you took on as a child. The past cannot be changed. While you are examining your answers to these questions, it’s a good time to go to God for forgiveness:

He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy towards those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Ps. 103:10 – 12. NKJV

So let up on yourself. Look deep at any belief you may harbor that opposes your perfection and realize it is a lie…

We’re heading for the home stretch. Next time.
Goodnight and God bless.

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December 19 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Discovering The Pattern That Separates You From God – Part 3

In the first two parts of this series, we looked at the meanings behind the first 4 of 29 questions designed to help you see the pattern of life you live that suppresses your spirit, which separates you from your Creator. Continuing on…

5. Who is in your life?

Who you choose to hang out with and whom you don’t, says a lot about you. Deep down, we all want to be surrounded with people who love and accept us for who we are. Yet we rarely reveal that true self to others, so we sabotage ourselves – settling only for those who are attracted to our masks.

We pick ‘safe people,’ people like us who won’t call us out on the unworkable strategies that constitute our pattern. Indeed, they are likely living by similar schemes. That way, everybody in the group can validate each others self-victimization. You can figure out how you are being by looking at your friends. If you see character flaws in them, you can rest assured they are the same flaws that you believe you have.

The solution is to let the real you out to play and see whom that attracts. (You’ll be pleasantly surprised.) You may certainly lose some of your present friends and maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

But you’re stuck with your family, yes? Consider that they might be easier to be around if you’d quit blaming them for how your life is turning out. They too have suffered from the same mind-bending as you have. Most of the time, they weren’t trying to be disagreeable; they were just acting out their own hurts. Not personal! They only want the same love and acceptance that you do. After you give love and acceptance to yourself, try giving it to them.

Your entire relationship may change – or not, if they cannot let go of there own survival strategies. Accept them for who they are and what they are able to give in the moment. Examine how you let them push your self-conditioned ‘hot buttons,’ and refuse to play on that level anymore. You will then know that you did your best. At the very least, your relationship to them will change for the better.

Let’s say that you did have someone who truly was malicious in your life but they are not in it anymore for whatever reason. You must still forgive them for your sake.

They did perpetrate a real hurt upon you, which led to sadness and eventually to suffering. You may even blame yourself for what they did, feeling hopeless, helpless, and guilty. This ‘frame of reference’ affects the way you look at everything.

Consider what kind of abuse could have caused your abuser to be so monstrous. Apply compassion and forgiveness when you realize what a great pain they must have suffered. Then you will be able to get on with the business of living. And forgive yourself. Maybe you aided your abuser, maybe not. Either way, you made the best choice at the time with the tools that you had to survive. If you could have seen a better way, you would have taken it.

If you still have abusive people in your life, forgive them as above but firm up your healthy boundaries so that they can no longer do you harm!

Accept that some people allow evil to fester within and steer clear of them. You’re not responsible; neither can you change them. You can pray for them.

Apply gobs of love and compassion for yourself if you see that you’ve allowed this evil to stay in your presence, because you were hoping that some scraps of love and acceptance would be thrown your way. (Look deep, because it’s probably how you relate to everyone.) In which case, you’ve been trying to recreate the perfect parent, friend or lover in that toxic relationship. Just acknowledge it and let that person in the mirror know that it is time to quit beating him or herself up.

When you give yourself that love and compassion, you will attract the kind of relationships that enhance those qualities in your life. As you recognize that only you are responsible for how your life turns out, you will be able to steer it on a much more loving course.

You’ll be able to see who and what anyone around you is being, which allows you to be free of their strategies, and stop making what they say or do personal. Your life will be cleansed of toxicity.

There was a sub-question to #5. It was ‘How do you want these people to change?’ If you examine your answers, you’ll see that most of the changes are the ones you want to see in yourself. Take them to your meditation, asking yourself: ‘Do I need to make these changes? Why have I been running strategies in opposition to them?’ Drop the strategies and the changes will happen by themselves.

6. Who have caused or continue to cause you pain?
7. Who have you chosen not to forgive?
8. Who are your enemies?

These 3 questions are a subset of question #5.

No one can cause you pain; you must choose to be hurt. (I’m not talking about those who actually abuse you physically or emotionally. However, if it is in your power to get away from them and you’ve not done so, you need to look deeply within, to find out what your ‘payoff’ is that you believe is worth the pain of remaining a victim.)

Meditate about the people who ‘hurt’ you. How do you feel when they are around you? Do those feelings have any validity in present tense? It’s very possible your feelings are rooted in past events and may not be related to this person at all.

If, after careful consideration, you still feel justified, look to see if you’ve earnestly tried to communicate what you feel to this person. It’s possible they have no clue about how you feel because they are too far into their own head.

Apply compassion. They too have been wounded in life. Perhaps you can help them see something they have not been conscious of.

For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend… Job. 6:14 NASB

The people you have chosen not to forgive are those with whom you have a pain response. Ultimately, whatever they have done, you must forgive them as God forgives you. (Mk. 11:25) It doesn’t mean that you have to like them or have them in your proximity.

If you don’t forgive, you lock up hate and bitterness inside, and it eats away at you like a cancer. You will hate yourself for hating. Every human problem is rooted in a lack of love for oneself. You must expel any and all forms of hate from your heart.

Who are your enemies? They are the same people whom you perceive have caused you pain and that you’ve chosen not to forgive. You cannot afford to have enemies. Jesus told us to love our enemies. (Mt. 5:44) Begin by loving the person you’ve made the biggest enemy – yourself. Then, you can radiate that out of you. Acceptance always follows unconditional love. When you become your own best friend, your world will be filled with friends.

A friend loves at all times… Pr. 17:17 NKJV

9. What are you afraid of?

Writing down all the thoughts, emotions, and sensations that appear before your fear manifests, shows you how you do fear. Remember, most fear is based on imaginary future possibilities (that voice in your head invents) that are based on unresolved anxieties over your past.

Most people run from their fears in a frantic dash that actually keeps their fears in front of their face. That’s a sure way of guaranteeing a life full of misery. Let’s bring all our fears to our meditation:

Are you afraid someone will find out who you really are? That’s funny because most of us don’t know who we are. However, we can find out if we lovingly examine the construct of our masks. Every flaw that you think you have is a product of a broken relationship, out of which you desperately and courageously created a survival mechanism. You only had a wounded heart problem. There was no problem with your true self – never was, never will be.

All you’ve ever deserved was unconditional love and compassion. Give it to yourself. Be yourself. And then the opinions of others won’t matter, because they have as much value as farts in the wind.

Are you afraid of failure? Failure is only a step that brings you closer to success. Without failure, there is no forward progress. It doesn’t mean there is anything inherently wrong with you.

There is no perfect way of doing anything and you’ll have far more freedom without the bondage of perfectionism (which is only a way of protecting ourselves from failure by continuous tinkering instead of finishing).

Are you afraid of relationship? More fear of rejection. The only way to move beyond this fear is to form an unconditional love relationship with God and with you. Then everyone around you will want to be related to you.

Are you afraid of dying? Only having a relationship with God can cure that.

Are you afraid of the unknown (change)? Other than God, there is no constant. Change is the only guarantee that we have. In fact, if not for change (e.g. cellular growth and differentiation) there would be no life. No one knows what’s going to happen next. Even that what you think works best in your life will change.

Neither do we have any control over this universe. Freedom appears when we let that notion of ‘being in control’ go. (The only thing that can control your life is what you don’t know. That’s why it’s so imperative to stay conscious.)

We are all part of this changing universe, which makes every moment a gift with endless possibilities. We should be living in awe at this mysterious chaos, at this chance to take this love-filled journey that is always available to those who choose to remain awake and to let go – again and again.

Regardless of what you’re afraid of, those fears are only based upon unexamined beliefs from meanings that you made up as a child. Love and happiness cannot coexist with fear. I vote for letting the fear go. Look at your fears and the strategies you support them with, and see how they’ve kept you from living.

Commit to not running. Face those false fears and see the lies that they are constructed from. Let go, and live…

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Ps. 27:1 ESV

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Ps. 118.6 NKJV

Next time: more of what inquiring minds need to know.
Good night and God bless.

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December 10 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Discovering The Pattern That Separates You From God – Part 2

In part one of this series, we examined the meanings of the first 2 of 29 questions (that you’ve hopefully answered) which are designed to reveal the pattern of how you live your life when you’re living it by the ways of the world – the ways that separate you from God. Let’s continue…

3. What causes you sadness?

First, let’s take a look at what sadness is. It is a normal emotion, usually preceded by loss. We grieve over the loss of a favorite thing, a pet, or a loved one – dealt to us by death, absence, or abandonment. Life always changes, as do the players and playthings we share our life with. It is the natural progression of things.

‘Being sad’ is what we do when we contemplate how that loss affects us. It’s how we’re wired. It’s natural to grieve and then to get over it. You can bring your sadness to your meditation, praying to God first for insight. You will see that sadness is a way your heart tells you that you have a hurt, which needs to be healed. When you recognize the hurt, you can ask Jesus for the healing.

Conversely, if you dwell on and cling to your sadness, that feeling morphs into ‘suffering,’ and your life begins to bleed out of you. But suffering is only based upon opinions that you have and continue to hold onto. The only way to get suffering out of your world is to get it out of you.

So, if you’ve already taken on suffering as a way to be, you can free yourself by returning to your meditation (with Christ as your ally) and see how it is that you do suffering. Look at what heavy meanings you’ve attached to your sadness. Ask yourself if there is any validity to those meanings (usually not), and let them go. Sadness is only an emotion – a burst of energy with a physical sensation attached. Any other meaning you’ve attached to your sadness is meaning-less.

What if you just acknowledged your sadness and chose not to make yourself, others, or the world wrong because you feel that way?

If there were a little child standing in front of you who was feeling sad, wouldn’t you be led to comfort him or her? How about you comfort yourself? You can do that while you are meditating about your sadness by acknowledging that this is one of those moments where you need to give yourself more love and compassion. (When you do this, you more readily connect with Christ’s love and compassion, because love becomes more recognizable.)

Ask yourself, ‘Why am I sad?’ Look at all of the reasons you’ve lain at the root of your sadness and question their truthfulness. Ask Jesus to reveal anything else that you are suppressing or denying so that you can scrutinize those as well.

Here are some common roots of sadness:

a. I lost my car, dog, spouse, child, etc. – regardless of the reason why:

It’s okay to be sad over these reasons, but we must grieve and then move on. Life is all about change, so there will always be loss. But think about this: in most cases, it’s not a certain thing or person who brings you joy, it’s the change in the state of your heart when they are in your presence. Your spiritual heart makes a joy-filled imprint of that state, so that you can reach inside and touch that joy at any time. So in reality, nothing ever leaves you. Keep in mind that any illusion that you are separate from others is the most common root of suffering.

Coming out of sadness is accomplished by reframing your thinking, by tapping into your heart more than your head. It’s about changing your focus from ‘They’re gone from my life forever!’ to one of ‘I’ve been so blessed to have had them in my life and to be able to hold onto the treasures they’ve left behind in my heart forever.’

b. I’ve done horrible things. I’m a horrible person.

Maybe you have done horrible things, but who you are is still perfect. You were preoccupied with an illusion of what you thought you had to engage in, to survive life. Everyone has committed transgressions that they wish they had not. Ask God to forgive you; He promises that He will. (2 Chr. 7:14). Therefore, you have His permission (and His mandate to you) to forgive yourself.

God only asks us to do the things that exhort others and ourselves. What we also need to do is to stay alert for the moments when it is necessary to make ‘course corrections’ when we slip back into the world. As we do that, we can again pray for insight, go to meditation and examine our ways, and root out the unworkable ones. The thing we do not want to do is beat ourselves up. We sally forth and do our best without worrying about whether or not it’s perfect.

c. I had a horrible past. (To be examined in question #4.)

When you suffer, acknowledge that you’re holding onto something. Question why that it is, and ask yourself if that’s a wise thing to do. (Not!) Then, let that something go. Keep applying unconditional love and compassion to yourself and your suffering will be replaced with joy. Go and do the same for others. Nothing helps you get rid of your suffering more effectively than helping others get rid of theirs.

A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken. Pr. 15:13 AMP

4. What is Your Life Story?

Meditate on every sentence you have written in your Discovery Journal. Ask God to show you what is real. Have you embellished your past? Replace it with the truth. Realize that your Life Story was co-authored by you and that voice in your head. No one on this planet will have the exact same viewpoint as you, so it’s pointless to defend it.

Upon deep examination, you’ll see your story as a plethora of unexamined beliefs, judgments and opinions that you’ve attached to the events in your life. Out of that, you’ve made some people larger-than-life and gave them power over you that they did not have. You’ve also brought judgment against yourself for what you did or didn’t do. You changed the way you live your life to protect yourself from what you thought your past taught you.

More than likely, you’ve also surrounded yourself with people who have similar sufferings, so that you can validate and keep your Life Story alive. It’s that story that keeps you sad, because you continually relive your regrets in your head. Thus, your present time is just an extension of that same false past.

It doesn’t matter if your past was truly horrific or if you made it mean something horrific. The outcome is the same. Even though your Life Story is riddled with lies, it is where you turn for guidance.

What needs to happen is to not live out that story any longer. That can only be done if you stay in the present moment and set aside what it is you think you know. Begin by refusing to worry about the future. Other than asking God to help you prudently plan the direction you’d like to see your life go, forget about the future. It’s not in the present; therefore, it’s not real.

When we find our minds churning over thoughts of what might happen, (99% of them never do) we can look in meditation at why these anxious thoughts are present and let them go. That way we stay open to whatever we experience, seeing how that feels, and let the meanings we’ve given to it go. Experiencing our experiences teaches us compassion for others – knowing they too have suffered for having had theirs.

There is no problem ‘out there.’ There is only life. There is nothing or no one that needs to change in order for you to have the life that you want.

Happiness is an inside job. Again, practice giving love and compassion to yourself – especially when you find yourself slipping back into your story. At that recognition, (without judgment) return to the present moment. Be patient with yourself.

In the present moment, you have the power to choose the actions that lead to a perfect life for your perfect (Christ-forgiven) self. Leave written reminders everywhere to stay awake in the present. Let go of your expectations and be open to surprise.

Practice accepting life as God put it out there. Sit still with it, instead of trying to run away from it. Life is change. When you stop resisting that, you’ll find yourself more and more in the present.

Give up any semblance of control over life and its inhabitants. God is the only One in control, thankfully, because He only has your highest and best interests in mind. The only thing that blocks His efforts is your faith in your Life Story – your faith in the lies that you tell yourself.

…he who breathes out lies shall perish. Pr. 19:9 ESV

Give up that Life Story and live.

That story is always present when you are experiencing negativity about anything. It means you’ve dropped out of the present moment. Stop whatever you’re doing and return to the breath…

Peeling the layers away. It’s a good thing. Stay tuned…
Good night and God bless.

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December 05 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »