Sin

Posted Posted in Spirituality/Religion

The concept of sin is pretty powerful to many people, especially certain varieties of Christians. Are you ready to consider something interesting, to say the least? My studies have shown me that the word “sin” is actually a mistranslation. It originally meant “to miss the mark,” as in when an archer misses the target with her arrow. When she does this, is she evil and a pathetic failure? No! She simply pulls another arrow from her quiver and tries again. Practice makes perfect (when you practice the right way). She made a mistake. So she tries again.

I’m not a biblical scholar or a language expert, so I can only share what I’ve learned and let you look for yourself. But if this is true, then this is a horrendous misinterpretation of one small word! What pain this has caused people over the last 2000 years. “I’m a sinner! I’ve sinned! I’m so terrible!” If what I’ve learned is true, then that’s all a bunch of BS. When we make a mistake or wish we had handled something better, we only have to review what happened, learn from it, and try again the next time. No big deal.

So have a look for yourself at the history of the word “sin.” If it really does have a radically different meaning than what it commonly means today, then what a relief! First, let’s have a big, hearty laugh. After that, we might want to see how else we’ve “missed the mark” in interpreting Jesus’ words over the last 2000 years.

Shame

Posted Posted in Common Issues

Shame is something that you feel – it’s a feeling. All you can do is feel it, with no story, no thinking, no words even. Just feeling. Where in the body is it? Just roast in it – this is the fastest way out. So that pretty much takes care of feelings. It doesn’t mean the shame goes right away, but when it’s there, just remember to feel it (read Feelings 101).

The next step is the big one, and it involves your thoughts. What are you believing regarding this shame? It’s time to turn the lights on and see what’s living in your head. The thoughts are what allow feelings like shame to continue and to be intense. Search your mind to see what thoughts are there, and make sure to keep it very simple. There’s no need to get overwhelmed, because you can only examine one thought at a time. How refreshing! Just start the process and it’ll go where it needs to go.

For example, a person who has a pattern of feeling shame might realize that he believes he is not worthy of love. He might believe he is small and insignificant. She might believe she is inferior to others or that she fails in everything she does. When we search our mind and find one of these thoughts, it’s time to test it for truth, a la the great teacher Byron Katie (see Resources). Is it true? Many people would answer, “Yes.” Let’s take it a step further, then. Can we absolutely know that it’s 100% true? Uhhh… It’s usually hard to answer this one in the affirmative. Note that even 99.999% true isn’t good enough to be worthy of living in our heads. So pitch it. This takes care of the thought aspect, which is huge. Then the feeling will usually linger for a while longer. So you feel it and directly experience it without a story, without language, like we described above. This is the fastest way out.

When we do this work, we only have to feel what’s there and then look for any thoughts we’re believing that are not true. Start with one thought at a time. More will come as needed, so don’t worry about that – just start with one and test it for truth. If it’s not true, pitch it. Always continue to feel what’s there. Wash, rinse, repeat. You can apply this to any feeling. It’s not necessarily instant magic (although sometimes it really is), but after a while you might notice that you’re carrying a lighter load, and this feels good. It means you have a system that’s working and that’s taking you to more peace.

Stress

Posted Posted in Common Issues

Stress is something you feel, so it works just like other feelings. You feel it (read Feelings 101, The Sedona Method). When you get even a little stressed out, at that moment close your eyes, take a breath, and just feel the stress in your body. Don’t think, though, which means that you don’t want to think about why you are stressed or any of that. Don’t even label it beyond acknowledging that it is stress. Just close your eyes, take a breath, and thoroughly feel it.

When you get good at this, it can take only a few seconds to really make a difference. It keeps you on “reset” – it keeps you centered. When you don’t check in with your body when little stresses happen, the stress builds up until you are totally stressed out. This is when you might snap at someone or do something else that you don’t really want to do.

So when you see that phone call or email that you don’t want to see or the bill in the mail or the light turns red when you’re running late, catch it right away. Close your eyes, take a breath, and just let go. Remember where you are and what you are doing. Check in with what you are thinking. Is it true? (We always ask this about our thoughts.) And remind yourself that it’s okay and normal to feel stress in your body under these circumstances – no big deal – and you can proceed and handle the situation in a quality way. Stay centered – from my experience, it’s is much better than letting it build up.

Guilt

Posted Posted in Common Issues

Guilt can be pretty nasty. It’s one of the nastier things in the feelings department, in fact. Here’s the thing about guilt – there’s legitimate guilt and illegitimate guilt. Legitimate guilt basically means that you screwed up and you have to accept it and deal with the consequences. You have to deal with the situation. The situation can be huge, too.

One young mother left a burner on the stove and caused a fire, killing her infant child. I’ve left a burner on the stove before and no child was killed, no house burned down. Many people have left a burner on. This is nothing more than an accident. This mother was torn to pieces, and she beat herself up badly for leaving that burner on. This is legitimate guilt, because she did it. It was still an accident, though – that’s a fact. So it really doesn’t make sense to beat herself up. What’s done is done. This sounds cruel and harsh, but it’s true – the baby will not come back to life (unless, of course, you believe in reincarnation, in which case it’ll be in a different body). The mother will have her hands full processing this incredibly powerful event, but she can do it in time and with help if necessary.

Illegitimate guilt, on the other hand, means that you’re innocent – you really didn’t do anything wrong. A client was vacationing on an island that only had a flight out every other day. He heard that a loved one had fallen ill and took the next flight home. He had to wait a day, though, because of the sparse flight schedule. When he got home, the loved one had died. The man felt very guilty. The thought he had was, “I should’ve gotten there sooner.” I asked if he had taken the first available flight, and he replied that he had. So without a pilot’s license and a plane, none of which he had, he literally could not have gotten home any earlier. He did his absolute best. So for him to believe the thought “I should’ve gotten there sooner” is like him believing the thought “1 + 1 = 3.” Neither is true; both have to be thrown out with the trash. This is illegitimate guilt.

One thing to note is that that man’s false thought regarding getting home sooner was born out of love. He loved his relative so much that he desperately wanted to get home. Still, he has to admit that he did his best. He aced the test. He was on the next flight home. The fact that it was too late was not in his control. So beating himself up about this particular thing is not okay. It makes no sense. It’s a pattern, and patterns can be changed.

Are You Big Or Small?

Posted Posted in Spirituality/Religion

Do you think you are big or small? I’m not talking about you as a person, because I don’t believe that who you really has anything to do with a person. Your body and personal identity are temporary. Who you really are is not temporary! That’s my belief after a lot of looking around along with some interesting experiences, anyway. And it jives with all the spiritual teachers and world religions as well.

I heard Eckhart Tolle say that if you think you are small, small things will bother you. If you think you are big, then they will not. This is a great test to show you what you really believe about yourself. Many people come to believe something very lofty about their true identity, usually through religious or spiritual study. I agree with this, too. I believe that who we really are, after all is said and done, is eternal, changeless, immortal, already perfect spirit. Not bad, huh? So if somebody cuts me off on the road or if I spill coffee on myself, then would eternal, changeless, immortal, already perfect spirit really care? Could it? Those are small things! So the answer is hell no. This is a great too, because when these things happen and I react, I can remind myself of what I believe to be the truth. As I practice this, and life will give plenty of opportunities, I get more in touch with being big rather than small, and these things bother me less and less. After a while, you might notice that something happens and you are really not bothers. You know that that same things would’ve bothered you some time in the not-too-distant past, though. This is awesome! It’s quite empowering, and it shows you that you are headed in the right direction – to more and more peace. This is no less than the inner peace that Buddha and Jesus and all them have talked about. It’s pretty cool.

To take it another step further, would eternal, changeless, immortal, already perfect spirit care if its dog died? Or if its wife or husband left? Or if its body got sick, even cancerous? I’d have to say not at all. Where would we possibly draw the line between what is worthy of being upset or not? The seven billion people on earth would draw seven billion different lines. The only conclusion that makes sense to me is that eternal, changeless, immortal, already perfect spirit is literally untouchable by what happens here.

Isn’t it interesting how this might resonate with the story of Jesus being crucified? He appeared three days later and basically said, “Hey y’all – it’s cool because I’m not a body! Never was. And you aren’t, either. We’re spiritual beings who are untouchable by what happens here, as illlustrated by me appearing to you now. The worst possible thing happened to me, and look – who I really am is 100% fine. This is the lesson of the crucifixion.” I’m aware that plenty of priests and theologians wouldn’t agree with this, although plenty would. You can see in my post about Christianity how I feel about the man-made aspects of this religion. Pitch it. I’ll take Jesus all day long, though.

Another thing that jives with your true self being untouchable is near death experiences and out of body experiences. If you look around and ask around, you’ll see that tons and tons of people throughout time have had experiences in which they are not in their body. They are looking down at it and thinking, “What the hell is happening – that’s me down there, but this is really me up here!” When this happens, they realize that they really have nothing to do with that physical body. What a discovery! These people pretty much all come back saying that there was perfection where they were, and it was totally pain free. They might be looking at their dead body on the operating room table, too. Talk about bodily pain… They say there could be no pain where they were, in this other state. This helps show us that despite what happens here, we are okay in the end. Another thing to note, too, is that there are countless such stories and accounts. And they come from normal, intelligent, sane, not-weird people who did not ask for that experience. It just happened. Ask the doctors, too, because they hear about them. They tend not to talk about them, though. Until you ask…

So thing about who you really are. If you think you are big, then it’s time to challenge yourself when you are getting upset over small things. Don’t beat yourself up, though – there’s a difference. This is just something to think about. And if it’s true, it’s very good news.

My Spiritual Path

Posted Posted in Spirituality/Religion

Taken from the About section of this website:

From nice, innocent kid to long-haired math major college student at an elite southern university to short-haired math teacher to computer programmer to math graduate student to crystal-wearing energy healer/yogi to gig-playing mandolin player. Along the way, I got interested in the deeper questions (you can probably see where in the progression this occurred). I needed meaning in life, and the voice demanding it would not be quiet. A string of coincidences and one very strange occurrence had gotten my attention, and the logical “mathy” part of me could not deny that the world operates much differently than I had previously thought. My small world had been split open.

Before I knew it, I was a spiritual seeker with a very singular focus. My journey began in the energy world on a yogic path. I was a Pranic Healer and Arhatic Yogi. After a pretty intense year and a half, I had greatly expanded, but I realized that there were some serious questions that were not going to be answered there.

These answers soon came in the form of some audio recordings by two particular spiritual teachers, Eckhart Tolle and Gangaji. Now I was in the consciousness world. This was a much simpler path, as well as much more powerful and mature in my limited experience. I was ecstatic and free. The honeymoon ended after maybe a year or less, though, because another question surfaced that was not being adequately answered. That question was, “Why?” This world is a pretty cruel place when you really think about it, after all. Even vegan Buddhists have to kill things to live.

Once again, my question was answered right away. I was in the bookstore one day, and Disappearance of the Universe by Gary Renard practically fell off the shelf at me. I had long grown weary of anything that sounded New Agey, but something about this book was different. It led me to the spiritual document entitled A Course In Miracles, which has finally answered my questions. So far, anyway.

That was in late 2006. I’ve been putting the teachings into practice since then, getting better and better all the time. The result is a much more peaceful life. I’m still quite the student and make no claims otherwise. I have a lot to say, though, for those who are ready. That’s why I became a therapist/counselor.

Holding Grudges

Posted Posted in Other Cool Topics

When you hold a grudge, you hurt yourself. The other person is probably fine! It’s been said that it’s not the snakebite itself that hurts you, but rather the venom that travels through your body and wreaks havoc, maybe even killing you. Whoa.

If you’re tired of living like this, then it’s time to own it and move on. What we’re really talking about is forgiveness. Most of the world forgives like this: “I know you hurt me, but I’m going to be the bigger person and forgive. But I really remember what you did and I’m still pretty pissed about it.” Sound familiar? If somebody let you down, then it’s time to totally, 100% accept that they let you down. Nobody is perfect. Some people seem to be downright evil, in fact. If you need to stop hanging around these people, even if they’re your own family members, then that’s what you have to do. But in your mind you want to release them.

One of my teachers along the way, Master Choa Kok Sui (I know, cool name), talked about the outer world and the inner world. I love this – great way to think about it. As far as outer world goes, you might have to get a restraining order on someone. You might have to physically defend yourself. You definitely want to practice thorough forgiveness on the inner, though. This is done at the level of the mind. Master Choa talked about reminding yourself that that person is really a spiritual being at the end of the day who was confused and thought s/he was really a person. Of course that person did that to you! It’s identity confusion. So handle it however you need to in the outer/physical world, but practice forgiveness as best you can in your mind.

Sit down for a minute and try this. It can be hard, especially at first, so remember to be gentle with yourself. Just experiment with this and do your best. And remember that you’re not even doing it for the other person – you’re doing it for yourself. Walk lighter and be more at peace.