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15 Minutes

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Today I want to share a story. It could involve anyone and the story could take place anywhere at any time. Whether this situation has happened to you or not, I’m sure you will recognize yourselves in it to some degree. My hope is that you will read it and get a sense of how often this type of scenario gets played out and how sad and unnecessary this kind of situation really is.

Your partner had to be out of the house for the evening. You anticipate her return and your mind is filled with how you will spend your time together and what it will be like. As the evening goes on, you look more and more forward to seeing her at the time you expect she will return. That time comes and goes and you find yourself even more eager to see her. More time passes and now you begin to experience all kinds of thoughts…projections of what may have happened, or maybe memories of other times she was late. Your emotional state is now becoming unstable.

By the time she arrives home, 15 minutes have passed since the time you expected her. Now, when she opens the door, all smiles and happy to see you, she is not met with a smile and hug in return, but a cold shoulder and a questioning attitude.

What caused the shift between loving partner excited to welcome her home, to upset partner who detaches from the woman he loves?

15 minutes.

That’s right…15 insignificant minutes. Does it even matter what happened in those 15 minutes? You may think so. For most, if she got stuck in traffic due to an accident it would be more acceptable than if she remained to talk with friends or colleagues for an extra 15 minutes. In truth, it doesn’t matter what happened, the fact is that it happened and now you have taken it as some sort of personal assault.

So, instead of enjoying the rest of the evening together, you now spend it apart. You, feeling angry at her, and her, feeling confused about what happened.

What a shame it is to be bound by your expectations. It leaves no room for change…no room for life. You make plans in your own mind involving others. When those others don’t function in perfect alignment with your internal plans, who pays the price? Everyone does. You suffer because your expectations which come from your desires aren’t met and, as a result, you experience pain; your pain causes you to pull away from those you love because you see them as the reason for your pain. If she had just come home 15 minutes earlier, everything would be just fine, right? So, in your world, there is no room for another person to experience their own life without it being a constant source of anxiety, frustration and judgment on your part. Your emotional state is at the mercy of all the things you can’t control.

Imagine for a moment that it didn’t matter. That you could desire a certain outcome, but not be disappointed when it didn’t play out the way you planned. Who is it who wants to control everyone around them, anyway? Only the personal self…the one who can’t stand to not have things go just the way he thinks they should…the one who takes it personally whenever anything isn’t just perfect in his world…the one who experiences pleasure here and there but can never achieve true happiness. It’s the sense of you…your personal identity.

Now, let’s go back to the man and woman in the story. If he had been capable of remaining in his heart, a very important thing would have happened. He would have experienced the only thing that really mattered when she got home…his love for her. He would have felt his love and he would have expressed his love. He also would have been able to receive the love she was giving him when she arrived.

15 minutes…an insignificant amount of time and an equally insignificant detail that served to drive a wedge between two people who love each other.

Learn to accept that it’s always going to be something. People who love you will not always meet your inner expectations of them. Even if they want to, they can’t always, because life happens. You need to shift your focus from being the victim to viewing them from a place of innocence. A child would say that if someone loves me, why would he want to hurt me? Exactly….if she loves you, she is not intentionally late just to anger you, which is the basis of the story you ended up concocting and then believing about her. That isn’t love, plain and simple. So, stop withholding your love from her when she functions from innocence and it doesn’t go your way. Just let it all go and focus on the only thing that ever mattered anyway…

15 minutes can only be experienced as 15 minutes when the self is identified. In the present moment, there is only that…the present moment. No one can ever be late in the present moment.

Shusara

Easy is Not an Option

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We live in a time when spirituality is easy access. Those seeking God don't have to track down a Guru in a remote village in the Himalayas, beg to be made a student and then work and wait for long periods of time for the smallest morsels of instruction from your teacher. Everything you could possibly desire to know is all at your fingertips if you have a computer and an internet connection.  While it appears that this wealth of information has been a benefit to humanity, it also comes with its own problem.  You see, the spiritual aspirant who left everything behind to find his guru had already demonstrated a level of dedication. When the call comes, it is not easy to make the necessary changes in your life to heed that call. It always requires a certain level of sacrifice and it's meant to; that sacrifice separates the wheat from the chaff. After all, many are called, but few are chosen.

Where is the sacrifice in today's seeker? When you can jump into one form of spiritual teaching and then bounce to another, and yet another until you find the one that most closely fits "you," where is the dedication? Where is the sacrifice? Where is the surrender? You expect God to hand you the keys to the Kingdom, yet you turn tail and run at the first sign of personal challenge. I can't tell you how many people have come to one of my satsang sessions and have never returned, or came a few times and then left, or even came for a whole year and then left. Why? Because at some point it got too hard for them to be constantly pushed past their comfort zone, that's why. Contrary to current popular bellief, spiritual work is not all "love and light." If that was the case, you all would have ascended by now. True liberation requires fierce dedication and the willingness to challenge your own beliefs, feelings, thoughts....the very essence of who you believe yourself to be. And after that, it requires the courage and the will to consciously dismantle all of it. It can be absolutely gut-wrenching work and will bring you to the deepest levels of pain you have ever experienced. Your liberation, or salvation, is your reward for all that hard work. And by liberation, I don't just mean that you get to be done with physicality at the end of this lifetime. As a liberated being, you get to live FREE in this world while you are still in form. As a free being, you live in complete inner peace and are capable of fully experiencing all the joys and pure magic of life! Nothing touches you anymore...regardless of outside appearances.

Dissolving the personal self is similar to the traditional way of breaking a horse. The mind fights back, over and over and over. It tries different tactics and it looks for ways to decieve and trick you. Eventually, it surrenders and remains calm, but it's only after a lot of hard and very consistent effort by the trainer. The difference is that the horse is being pushed and trained by an outside source, while your mind has to do all this work to itself, which to those who prefer to live in denial seems rather masochistic and unsavory. Do you still think your redemption is easy? Do you still want to believe that if you just sit in meditation all the time and create your world around you so that it's as stress-free as possible then it will all work out and you'll be lifted in grace? Honestly, if you do, then you're kidding yourself and you can swim in that denial as long as you want. As Jesus said in A Course in Miracles, "If you want to be like me, I will help you, knowing that we are alike. If you want to be different, I will wait until you change your mind. And you will change your mind."

So, if you are serious about your desire to realize God in this lifetime, or even if it's not that lofty and you just want to move past all the self-sabotaging and misery the personal self brings to the party, it's time to seriously get to work. I will tell you this. It will be hard. Easy is not an option. The question is, how hard do you want to make it? It's like removing a bandage. Do you want to take your time, subjecting yourself to every seemingly endless moment of discomfort, or is it better to just take a deep breath and rip it off? I know what I chose. What you will choose is your free will.

Your life itself is your spiritual work...all of it with no exceptions. To be lazy in your life is to be lazy in your spiritual work. What does it serve to continually enable lazy behaviors in your life? How you approach your life shows your level of inner character. Sorry to break it to you and burst your bubble of what "enlightenment" looks like, but the greater your level of mastery, the harder you work. True masters are very hard working people. Just look at this mess of a world! Do you honestly think that, with everything that needs to happen here, the masters just sit around in meditation and stroll in their gardens? You can't begin to understand the immense amount of energy they expend in their work, on all levels.

You play around with spirituality because you are lazy and want everything to be easy. You say you want peace and love, but you have no stomach for sacrifice or discomfort. You remain victim to the world and you can cocoon yourself in your "love and light" bubble, but your fear and pain will remain underneath the surface, waiting patiently until you finally heed the call of your inner God-Self, telling you the time has come to return home. Who knows how many more lifetimes it will be before you muster up the courage to fight the ultimate battle, but fight it you must if you ever want this endless cycle of birth, death and forgetfullness to end.

You have eternity to get serious about walking the path, but why wait?

Shusara

 

The Risk of Spiritual Sunburn

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Good day to you!

A common occurrence among spiritual seekers is the falling apart of aspects of their lives after they have begun deeper inner work. People make a naïve assumption that just because they are on a spiritual path and are beginning to feel more peace in their lives that everything will be smooth sailing going forward. There are multiple reasons why this isn't the case, but today I want to focus on one of them. Let it serve as a gentle reminder for you going forward.

In the early stages of spiritual growth, the seeker who is looking to "spirituality" to solve all his problems, and believes it will, does indeed experience a greater sense of joy and peace in his world. Akin to the placebo effect, just the belief in the concept that seeking God brings greater joy is enough to bring the appearance of greater joy to the seeker. However, the effect isn’t sustainable as long as the beliefs (cause) that held one’s suffering in place are seen through and transmuted, and it takes time to reach that level of self-inquiry.

This is where the danger of spiritual sunburn presents itself. How many of you have had the experience of going to the beach on vacation and getting sunburned the very first day? If you haven’t, surely you know someone who has. Why does this happen? Obviously, the intensity of the sun’s rays is greater than the capacity of untanned skin to integrate it smoothly. Beach lovers have all learned this lesson and they will take time to tan in increments before taking a trip to the beach and then, even for the first few days at the beach, they will be moderate in the amount of sun they allow on their skin. This process enables them to achieve that beautiful dark tan they desired, without the negative side effects of painful, and later peeling, skin associated with sunburn.

Many spiritual aspirants have succumbed to the sunburn experienced when the call for God is made from a place of either being just naïve or, more dangerously, self-righteous. Unless you are being guided by a physical teacher, you probably don’t have the awareness that it is in your best interest to move through your work in small, step by step, increments, allowing the energetic fields to increase in vibration slowly and the physical form to then integrate these energetic changes. After seeing the positive outcome of initial levels of spiritual work, it’s easy to think that you’re ready to handle more and you may naively ask for more without recognizing that what you ask for, you will receive in ways you don’t expect. This type of spiritual aspirant, after making such a mistake, will learn quickly that all lessons will come in their perfect timing and they will then walk the path as it comes to them, without trying to force it.

The other type of aspirant, who asks for “more” from a self-righteous place, sets himself up for a hard time in the physical world. I cringe every time I hear a student say the words “bring it on!” because I know what that means. Your spiritual path consists of many levels and layers of initiation, all occurring in specific order. You can’t just skip a level and jump up two, but you can be brought the lessons of both of those levels concurrently. I have seen seekers, caught up in the moment of experiencing new levels of awareness, literally tell the masters to send them more, because they’re ready for it. And I have watched those same seekers get pounded by the outside world, where all your lessons present themselves to you. I’ve seen them lose jobs, lose partners, lose homes, and on and on. Why? Because they asked for it. In a moment of feeling indestructible and overly self-confident, they unknowingly asked for harder lessons to come faster. If you hold the attitude of self-confidence in your spiritual work, the masters will bring you the tests to see if you’re actually worthy of that level of confidence. Confidence is exuded from a master in the most humble of ways. One who gets cocky about their level of mastery is still firmly entrenched in the personal I and most certainly requires more lessons in order to go deeper into that aspect. “Bring it on” are not words uttered out of divine humility.

You must demonstrate wisdom on your path, lest you get burned by the initiatory lessons of Self-realization. As I tell my students, if you were to go from the lower energetic resonance of a beginning seeker who is just recognizing the desire for Truth, to the high-level resonance of an enlightened being, you would literally burn up. The body’s nervous system would not be able to handle the abrupt shift and it would kill the body. Just touching the physical body of someone who is currently in the energy of the Unified Field is enough to kill you. Now, imagine that level energy coming into you from the inside. Like Cate Blanchett’s character in “Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull,” your mind/body couldn’t handle that much knowledge/energy all at once and it would be the end of your experience in this time/space hologram.

Mark my words well, and may your divine humility be your sunscreen, dear Ones.

Shusara