The Seeker of Peace

Why Do Anything?
January 28, 2009, 1:13 pm
Filed under: Non-duality, World | Tags: , , , , ,

For a while now, I’ve struggled with the motivation to do anything. It’s not that my ego doesn’t find worldly distractions to keep me busy. Rather, it’s been hard to see anything as too important. As I wrote three months ago about working in a world of illusion, non-dualistic traditions teach that the world is illusory. So, why put a lot of effort into work, retirement planning, home maintenance, etc.?

There are people who are enlightened (or at least claim to be) and live with very little material wealth, doing very little in the material world. Would that be easier and a less encumbered path? While that didn’t feel right to me, I thought it might be my ego attachment to worldly success.

Fortunately, I had a realization today that gave me new clarity. Yes, the world is illusory and meaningless. However, what I perceive is a reflection of what I do. If I do something that is an expression of joy and love, then my (illusory) world will contain more joy and love.

The enlightened people who seem to tread lightly on the material world are probably doing more than I realize to express their love. Certainly, being apathetic is not an expression of love at all. This speaks strongly towards the importance of doing something that brings more love and joy into my world.

I spend a lot of time doing things that are counterproductive in this sense. Reading the news, which is usually bad news, hardly brings more love and joy. Whereas writing that story that’s been bouncing around in my head, if done with the right attitude, could be an expression of love.

Perhaps this is the explanation of the old Zen saying, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” I had thought that the saying meant that you still have to do your worldly chores after awakening, but now I think it goes deeper. Maybe it means that after awakening, you can do the same tasks as manifestations of your love.

For an unawakened person such as myself, making tasks a manifestation of my love might be a good place to start. As an approach, it’s certainly a way to snap out of apathy.

Deserving Happiness
January 15, 2009, 11:56 am
Filed under: Forgiveness, Non-duality, spirituality | Tags: , , , ,

When I use the Sedona Method to work on a goal, I invariably have the thought “I don’t deserve it.” Why not? The answer goes back to the guilt and shame I feel over my past – as if punishing myself for past deeds will somehow help.

I had some new insight into this, thanks to A Course in Miracles. I wrote a few weeks ago about the lesson, “To give and to receive are one in truth.” I realized that giving peace and joy to others created it in me. I found it much easier than just trying to create self-love out of nowhere, something I still find very hard.

Today I’m on ACIM lesson 119, which reviews that same topic, “To give and to receive are one in truth.” As I meditated on it, it occurred to me that the same applies to being deserving.

I’ve long felt that most people don’t deserve happiness. I’ve been very judgmental – everyone is too dumb, greedy, lazy, or (ironically) too worldly and not focused enough on spirituality. If we’re all one, what does that make me?

This has been a major unexplored flaw in my thinking. I try to love people, and see their perfection. However, I judge myself against them. I used to make comparisons on worldly possessions and needs; now, I’m more “spiritual” in that I make comparisons based on happiness. (“Sure, she’s rich, but she’s obviously miserable…”)

It’s time for me to acknowledge that everyone deserves happiness. Even if I don’t get it myself, everyone else should still have it. The more I think about others deserving it, the more I feel that I do too.

Letting Go to Control?
January 8, 2009, 9:35 am
Filed under: Non-duality, spirituality | Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve spent a couple of weeks in a “spiritual slump,” feeling like my ego had largely reasserted control. Over the past several days, I’ve been feeling steadily better.

I received an email newsletter a couple of days ago that helped a lot. It was from Mechthild Ruggier, who used to be a Sedona Method instructor. In the letter, she says, “…[the Sedona Method] is also a method and as such it reinforces the belief that ‘the more you release the freer you get.’ This keeps you in a never ending cycle of releasing to gain more freedom, happiness, success, whatever, always looking to the future.”

As it turns out, this is exactly what I needed to hear. I follow a Sedona Method message board, and people there often talk about exactly that: releasing for hours at a time to get further freedom. I’ve tried releasing for hours at a time, and each time I became frustrated that it didn’t seem to make much difference.

Ruggier’s message made me realize what I should have known before: I was releasing to change things, make myself freer, and improve my life. As much as I spent time letting go of “wanting control,” the whole point of the exercise for me was to change myself. And I would get sucked into the idea of spending more time releasing so I could change myself faster – i.e., I released more because I wanted more control!

A Course In Miracles Lesson 110, “I am as God created me,” also helped me with this realization. Trying to change “me” is a fruitless exercise. The “me” that matters is unchanging and perfect.

The Sedona Method includes many exercises to let go of the stories that keep us separate, and I still find it useful for this. Where I went wrong was to believe the hype and testimonials: that using the Method would make me and my life better. In many ways it has made my life better. However, using it for that reason is ultimately self-defeating, another ego trap of wanting control.

Why is Self-Love So Hard?
January 6, 2009, 10:40 am
Filed under: Forgiveness, God, spirituality, World | Tags: , , , , ,

A few months ago I wrote a post about self-love. I had realized that forgiving myself was easier than loving myself.

I had an insight yesterday into why loving myself is so difficult. I was doing A Course In Miracles lesson 110, “I am as God created me.” The core of this lesson, that there’s a core of divine perfection within, is something that the Workbook has covered many times – I guess it just took a lot of repetition to get through to me.

Loving myself, in the sense of true, unconditional love, effectively requires me to let go of my ego and separateness, revealing the divine inside. My existence in the (illusory) world has been full of problems, guilt, blame, and judgment. How could I possibly love myself in that context? My actions in this world don’t merit love.

Therefore, to love myself, I have to put aside what I’ve done in the world (and what the world has done to me). Loving myself, in effect, requires dropping my whole story, my sense of separation, my being special and unique. Isn’t that the end goal of the path to enlightenment? It’s a difficult place to start.

Maybe some people have an easy time jumping into self-love. As I wrote earlier, though, it’s easy to instead fall into the trap of searching for worldly deeds to pat ourselves on the back about, thus reinforcing the ego.

As I let go of my story, I have more moments of love towards myself and others. For me, it seems to be a consequence, not a catalyst, of letting go.

Written Releasing
January 2, 2009, 3:02 pm
Filed under: spirituality | Tags: , , ,

In the Sedona Method course, Hale Dwoskin suggests writing thoughts down as we release them. His explanation is that the paper serves, in a sense, as a releasing partner. I did this when I first took the audio course about a year and a half ago. Soon afterwards, being an efficiency expert, I created word processor templates and switched to typing my answers instead.

As I wrote last week, I’ve been going through a patch where releasing has been much more difficult for me. With the holidays over, company gone, and kids soon to return to school, I figured now was the time to dedicate myself to getting past my resistance. I decided to go back to trying pen and paper while doing an “advantages and disadvantages” exercise on my health, an area where I’ve been conflicted for a while.

I’ve written before about how I was able to get insight by free writing about my job and spiritual progress. I don’t know if I would have gotten similar results by typing. I wondered if releasing with paper would be more productive than typing my thoughts had been.

The answer was most definitely yes. The process went much slower than with a computer, in the sense of the number of thoughts released per hour. However, the process seemed much more effective, and I felt a deeper sense of relief and insight.

I don’t know what it is about typing that makes it less effective for me as a releasing tool. Maybe it’s that I associate the computer with working, or that the “efficiency” of a computer made me move on to the next thought too quickly. In any case, using a computer was definitely a false economy for me.

I’m still working myself out of the spiritual slump that I’ve been in the past couple of weeks. I guess this is a reminder that sometimes it’s just best to go back to basics.