Answer Comes In A Dream, pt. 2

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories

I wrote recently about a client who kept releasing on a major issue that he had been having with his dad. Finally, and quite unexpectedly, the answer came to him in the form of a very realistic dream. If you haven’t read it, it’s pretty fascinating, to say the least (read Answer Comes In A Dream). I thought you might be interested in the follow-up, so here it is.

My client ended up finally calling his dad, who lives far away, for the first time in maybe a year. Are you ready for what happened? It went just like it did in the dream. Cool. My client explained that he had gotten all of his dad’s messages and texts over that year, and he explained exactly why he hadn’t been ready to respond at the time. His dad was very apologetic for his past behaviors, and he was extremely happy to be in contact with his son again. The whole thing worked like a charm. My client said that he was totally calm, because he felt like he was reading from a script. Of course the script was the contents of a dream from about a month prior.

Here’s the cool thing… My client said, “My dad’s reaction, including the tone, was the weirdest part because it was so close to the dream.” Awesome! Magic really does happen, folks, when we let it. It happens on its schedule, though, and not ours. I’ve tried demanding that it happen according to how I thought it should happen, and that doesn’t work – take my word for it. It was a thorough effort on my part, though…

This reminds me of premonition dreams, which are pretty mind-blowing. That’s when you have a dream and then realize later when you’re awake that your life at that moment is exactly like what you dreamed earlier. Exactly. This will be a separate blog post, though. The main focus on this one isn’t dreams, per se, because the dream was just the vehicle for the magic, for the answer. The point here is that when we do our inner work first by releasing on our problems, the outer world can follow in ways we can’t even imagine. As I’ve mentioned before, though, here’s the trick – we can’t do the releasing in order to bring about the outer changes. If you catch yourself doing that, and I do all the time, then just laugh and release those slick efforts, too. Release anything and everything that might resemble an inner knot in any way. If it’s tight, then let it go. Let go, let go, let go. Then deal with the outer world in an appropriate way. When we do this, we never know what will happen. It might even come in the form of a dream.

Am I Qualified To Judge?

Posted Posted in Essential Topics

Things happen all the time that we don’t want to happen. Big things might include death, disease, divorce, injury, and job loss. Smaller things might include spilling the spaghetti sauce on the counter or being slightly late to an appointment. Humans are sponges from the time we come out of the womb, learning things all the time, and one of the things that we learn right away is to judge things as being good or bad. This kind of basic judgment is so commonplace that we take it to be our birthright. To judge things as being good or bad is just such an obvious thing to do, and nobody really questions it. Here at A Clean Mind, though, we question it. This is because if we really look, we might see that we aren’t really qualified to judge… anything. And if we aren’t qualified to judge but we keep doing it anyway, then this will inevitably bring us some pain. And like much of the pain that we talk about here, this pain is self-inflicted. And that’s the best kind, because it means we can do something about it. Inner peace, here we come!

Speaking of peace, the novel War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy has 1440 pages. It’s a very long book. And no, I have not read it. Even the movie is too long for me… If I were to open up this book to some random page, hand it to you, ask you to read one random sentence, and then ask you to tell me what the book is about, you would laugh at me. You’d tell me that you couldn’t possibly know what the book is about because you have such limited information – you’ve only read one sentence, which is a tiny fraction of the whole thing. Only an insane person would think that one sentence made for a qualified judge of that huge book.

Well folks, when it comes to judging things as being good or bad, almost all humans are totally insane! This may sound unsettling at first, but you’ll learn to get comfortable with it… The reason we’re not qualified to judge things is that we just don’t have enough information to do so. We don’t have enough information, so we are not qualified. So let’s stop the madness.

There are two major areas in which we don’t have enough information to judge. The first involves time. Our access to the past is skewed heavily by our memory, and we don’t see the future yet. Think about all the times something terrible happened and some time down the road you saw it differently. You saw that you ended up much better off from that experience. Maybe you were in a bad relationship or a bad job and it ended, but not on your terms. You thought it was the end of the world, and then you found yourself in a much, much better relationship or job. You ended up being thankful that you got dumped or fired. But thankful is the last thing you were feeling when it happened! So when the end of the world happens now, let’s keep this in mind and just stay neutral on judging.

Another major area in which we don’t have enough information to judge involves other people. The fact is that I just don’t know what’s best for everyone involved in a particular situation. If I really tell the truth, I don’t even know what’s best for me! So I should be careful when there’s a situation involving other people and I’m tempted to judge it as being not good.

So what’s the problem with judging, anyway? The problem is that it basically amounts to saying, “Life should be different than it is right now.” But life is as it is right now! So we want to accept it and deal with it as best we can. The alternative to judging is just staying neutral. What happened has happened. What’s the next step? Whatever it is, just do it. The commentary in your head that’s going on about how bad this or that is does nothing but make you feel worse. Oh, and it also tends to make you less equipped to actually deal with the situation. Not good.

Judging happens so automatically that it might be tough to catch at first. Or it might be totally obvious right away. Judging goes right along with what I’ve written about timing, too. Same idea. The trick is catching your judgy stories earlier and earlier and then training yourself to stop in that moment and get out of your head. After a while, you’ll notice that you’re becoming much more neutral when things go south. You’re accepting what happens in life without the drama, and you’re dealing with things as needed. And you’re more peaceful and better at handling tough situations, all at the same time. Good job!

So when you’re telling yourself that something is bad and this is making you feel even worse, remind yourself that you’re not really qualified to judge. You haven’t seen the whole of time play out, and you don’t know what’s best in the end for everyone involved. You might also want to use our nice tool and tell yourself right away, “This has happened.” I’m not saying you should be jumping for joy every time your car breaks down or your dog dies. I’m just saying that tough situations are a part of life, and we have to deal with them. We can deal with them either with or without the story that says how much they suck. That story makes things worse in my experience, and it’s nothing more than a habit we’ve picked up since we were young. And habits can be re-programmed with knowledge and then practice. You have the knowledge, so it’s your option to practice. That’s a great option to have, too. The goal is always more peace despite life’s ups and downs. As always, let me know if I can help!

Thanksgiving

Posted Posted in Other Cool Topics

I think it was literally within the last couple of years that I made the connection between Thanksgiving and giving thanks. Since I was born, I had always done the same thing on Thanksgiving – go to my aunt and uncle’s house with lots of family and eat a big turkey meal in the early afternoon. I guess I’m slow sometimes with obvious things. When Christmas gets closer, I’ll tell you about how I literally didn’t associate Christmas with Jesus until I was like 21 or so. Seriously. It was about opening presents. Anyway, I thought a few words about giving thanks might be in order, because sometimes we don’t feel very thankful. And that’s okay.

Being thankful can have a powerful effect on humans. I’ve written before about stress levels and brain states and the book Wired For Joy (read It’s Just a Brain State!). The author, Dr. Laurel Mellin, gives specific tools for moving from stressed brain states to more relaxed ones. She developed these tools after doing years and years of some serious scientific research, and guess what? Writing down or saying what we’re thankful for or grateful for is a prominent part of at least one of those tools. So there’s something to it.

The trick is that sometimes we’re in a pissy mood and just don’t feel very thankful. And sometimes, we feel like our life is not going very well and we really don’t feel thankful at all. In these cases, it might be helpful to stop what you’re doing, accept that feeling of being unthankful and let it be there but without holding it, and then go a bit deeper in terms of what you might be thankful for. Lower your standards a bit, because for one, it could always be worse. Some people might question that, but it’s true if you really look. We just aren’t qualified to judge our lives since we don’t see the whole picture. We see a narrow part, so we have to put off that impulse to judge good or bad, success or failure, etc.

I’ve found that when I’ve felt not very thankful and I’ve stopped and released that, and then just sat for a minute or two, more thankful thoughts and feelings have emerged. I think they’re always there, but they get covered up.

Anyway, that’s my two cents on Thanksgiving. I know that plenty of people are very thankful for their lives and plenty of others aren’t. If you aren’t, you might be able to go a little bit deeper and end up feeling more at peace with it.

The Holidays

Posted Posted in Other Cool Topics

Welcome to another round of the holidays, folks! I recently had a client come for a pre-Thanksgiving tune up, and I have more who will be coming in for the post-Thanksgiving decompression. And Christmas will be the same. One client was scheduling her next appointment for the week after Thanksgiving, and I asked her if she was sure she wanted to come back so soon (I try to work myself out of a job). She said something like, “Hell no – I definitely have to come back after being with my family!” I laughed.

So what is it about the holidays that’s so stressful? Aren’t they supposed to be fun? Of course they are plenty fun, but there’s some normal, built-in stress as well. This is because there’s travel, crowds, lines, traffic, extra expenses, busy schedules, and… family! Since readers of A Clean Mind are EXPERTS on stress, though, we should be perfectly fine – as long we stay on it, of course. Nip it in the bud the second you notice it and then go on about your day. Repeat as needed. When you feel like you really are learning how to let stress flow through you and not build up so much (it’s really not that hard when you practice), then the holidays become an excellent annual measuring stick for how you’re doing. I think that way of looking at it, and the rest of life for that matter, puts a nice spin on things so that we’re not resisting. Good stuff.

Finally, let’s talk about family for a second. This is mostly for people who dread hanging out with their families during the holidays. If this is you, then first know that there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s just how it is now. So let’s totally accept it without judging it as being good or bad. Again, it’s just how it is now. If you dread hanging out with your family during the holidays, then let’s clear some of that out. Close your eyes for a moment and go there. Think about your family for just for a second and then feel that dread or stress that arises in your body. And let it be there. And let it go. And breathe. Good work. Back to family…

Some people tend try to sway or change some members of their family and they end up in the same bad conversations over and over. And nobody changes. And they’ve been doing this for years. I’d consider just letting it go this year and seeing how that works for you. Be on the lookout for political rants and arguments, too – just a heads up.

On the flip side, some people tend to not let their family members change, holding them to some outdated past version of themselves. And some people use the whole “unconditional love” thing to justify their own patterns and habits that aren’t so great. Some feel like they can act like a total ass… because it’s my family! They have to love me! Most people don’t act like a total ass, but it might be more subtle. If you take a look at yourself to see if this rings true at all, then that’s great. Just do it totally non-judgmentally. Very relaxed. It’s just a pattern, so laugh at it. No big deal. This weakens it so you can actually do something about it.

Family is one of the best measuring sticks out there for your growth. So if it might help, then make a plan before you hang out with them. Something like “no political conversations with Uncle Ralph” or something more serious – it works the same. Then do your best to implement the plan. When all is said and done, compare your experience to years past and ask yourself if you had more peace this year. What worked and what didn’t? It’s pretty cool when you look at it in this way, and you might even end up being pretty pleased with your progress over time. This allows you to be in charge of your happiness rather than being a helpless victim who has to hang out with these crazy people. That’s not a fun place to be. Having said that, I realize there’s some truth in those words for many people, so definitely remember what you can control and what you can’t and go from there. Happy Holidays!

Dealing With A**holes

Posted Posted in Other Cool Topics

A friend recently asked if I had ever written about how to deal with a**holes. Hey – her words, not mine. In the interest of cleaning up our language here at A Clean Mind, let’s call them AHs. There, that sounds much better. I’m not going to sugar coat it and say, “people who are not always as considerate of others as they could be” or something ridiculous like that. We all know what AH means, and we’ve all experienced them.

So my friend was working a job that has a strong customer service component to it, in the middle of her shift, and she was compelled to ask this question – how do you deal with AHs? What she really said was, “I just had to deal with an AH and I’m annoyed right now.” What I said was that it’s not even personal. It’s just a fact that some people act like AHs. A good way to think of it is that they’re just doing their job. The last thing that I want to do is have my happiness depend on an AH not acting like an AH. That’s outer peace, and we’re always going for inner peace here – that’s a much better plan. If I depend on you for me to be happy, then you have immense power over me. Not a good plan. But at least it’s optional!

So let an AH be an AH. Knowing about Feelings 101 is huge, though. Just Sedona any reaction you have right then and there. You can even be smiling right back at them while they’re in the middle of acting like an AH, and little do they know that you’re actually totally aware of your inner temperature rising. And you’re fine with that because you’re reminding yourself that the anger and irritation rising in you is just a normal feeling under the circumstances, and feelings pass. No big deal. When we don’t do this, it builds up and then we feel terrible after. This is how the AH seems to have power over us. The second you notice your reaction, don’t let it get stuck. Just feel it and let it move on out of your system when it’s ready. This can be quite empowering when you practice and get the hang of it, because that same reaction used to have power. Now you can smile and let it pass. Thus the AH becomes a measuring stick for your growth and progress as you sail the seas towards inner peace. And yes, that was incredibly cheesy, but it just popped in so I rolled with it…

While we’re always concerned with how we see things as opposed to the things themselves, let’s be realistic. If your living situation has a strong AH component built-in, and you can change it, then by all means feel free to change it. Congratulation, you’ve graduated! You may now move on. This might mean changing jobs, changing partners, or changing one or more friends. First we focus on what we can do internally, but then it’s fine to make outer changes. We never want to rely totally on the outer changes, though. First inner, then outer. So if my friend has to change jobs, then she’ll begin that process. But she knows how to handle AHs in the meantime. And maybe it’s just the occasional AH that gets her down and the job is just fine overall. In that case, she will keep the job and just accept that sometimes she might have to deal with an AH or four.

Finally, let me speak to the AH. You are not an AH; rather, you act like an AH a lot. Huge difference. Nobody is a pattern, but we act out patterns so much that we identify with them. We’ll eventually talk more about the essential question of “Who Am I?” here at A Clean Mind, but for now let’s just note that the truth of who you are is in no way limited to a pattern, even if it’s been a lifelong pattern. Any pattern can be busted now. You notice it now, and you stop. Then you go on living and repeat the process. It can take a while, but you can also get results pretty quickly – every situation is different. So the AH will eventually (I hope) get tired of acting that way and treating other people that way. Some part of the AH is aware that s/he acts like this. This is very fixable if there’s a real desire to change. But for the recipient of the AH-ness (like my friend), it’s not always your job to try to change the AH. I’d just focus on learning how to take your power back so you’re not so powerless to them.

And now I will go on about my day, laughing at the fact that I have a blog post called “Dealing with A**holes.” So classy. I love that we can really take the gloves off here at A Clean Mind, though. It lets us get down to business and get some quality work done. Cheers to you and the AHs in your life! And good luck as you reframe the AHs and instead call them MSs – Measuring Sticks. Now they’re your teacher, and they’re much more useful to you.

Venting

Posted Posted in Other Cool Topics

We’ve all experienced “venting,” both as the giver and as the receiver. Venting when someone is basically complaining about something in their life they’ don’t like. It can be pretty annoying. A little bit is fine, but the habitual venters need something very important – a quick education about what venting is and why they’re doing it. Like much of what we talk about here at A Clean Mind, it’s not rocket science, but our society doesn’t talk about this kind of thing a whole lot. The problem with venting is that it doesn’t work. It wears out the “ventees,” too. And no, that’s definitely not a word. Actually, it probably is a word in Scrabble. Have you noticed how just about any combination of letters is somehow a word in Scrabble? Wait – why are we talking about Scrabble now?? Back to venting…

Here’s the key to understanding venting – like arguing, venting is a form of expressing feeling. Usually that feeling is anger or frustration. We’ve talked a lot about feelings and the three things you can do with them – suppress them, express them, or feel them (always recall Feelings 101 and The Sedona Method). And only one of things works in terms of letting the feeling leave your system. When we suppress or express, the feeling stays intact. When we feel, it gets it moving. Most people think of yelling, throwing something, or punching a wall when they think of expressing a feeling like anger, but venting has the exact same dynamic – it’s nothing more than an expression.

So what can a person do instead of vent? Feel. There’s an impulse to vent. When this impulse is noticed, the first thing to do is to definitely not talk! Do not open your mouth. Please. Take a breath and feel what’s there. Get it moving. When it has moved some, you’ve done your job and you can continue with what you were doing. Ideally, you’ll notice that the need to vent is gone or at least diminished. You might still need to talk to someone about the issue at hand, but now you’ll just talk. When you remove expression from venting, you have talking. As I said above, the dynamic is exactly the same as it is with arguing, but just toned down some.

Isn’t this simple when you understand it? I love it. You really can cut down your venting and arguing dramatically when you learn this and then actually practice it. Your friends and others in your life will be very appreciative, too. Nobody likes to hear someone vent all the time. When you vent all the time, you wear them out. So give it a try. And if you’re more of a receiver, all I can say is good luck trying to get the venter to understand this and try it out. Be gentle. You can always email them this link and say it was an accident. Good luck and happy non-venting!

Grief And Loss

Posted Posted in Common Issues

A friend in her twenties is about to lose her step-mother, with whom she is very close, to cancer. The news of the cancer first came about several months ago, so it hasn’t been very long. Then yesterday the doctors said she only had a few days to live. My friend is having a tough time.

She is experiencing what is called “grief” or “loss.” Grief is already pretty rough, and this situation is compounded due to the suddenness of the situation. Her grandfather died within the last year, but he was in his eighties and had lived a long, full life. It seemed more normal. Sudden cancer for someone who would normally live a good bit longer isn’t so normal, though, so it can be much tougher to deal with. And the grief from her grandfather’s passing, while more expected, is still in the mix. It all adds up.

Grief is a very strange thing. It’s like a roller coaster that works differently for everyone. People experience every feeling you can think of, with no rhyme or reason. They come at you in varying levels of intensity and duration. Some people have trouble sleeping or have very little appetite. Other people think they’re going crazy, too, being absent-minded and doing things they’ve never done before like putting their keys in the refrigerator. Some people experience all of the above, plus more. That’s grief. The only rule is that there are no rules.

Actually, there’s another rule, and it’s pretty good news, especially under the circumstances. A huge portion of grief is in the feelings department, and feelings are still temporary. They can be incredibly strong and they last a very long time, but permanent they are not. That’s the law of feelings, and it will never change. You usually don’t want to tell a person this, though, if it’s in the heat of the moment and you’re supporting them by listening to them and being a good friend. This might make them upset, because at that moment they’re not able to see beyond the intensity of their feelings and thoughts. This intensity will eventually subside, though, if they let it.

Another aspect to my friend’s situation that has complicated it has to do with her religious/spiritual beliefs. She comes from a Christian background and is pretty mad at God now. She might even be doubting God’s existence. All I can say is that’s a pretty normal way to feel under the circumstances. This just isn’t easy. If it’s possible to put any decision about God on hold for the time being, that would be the best plan. Let the intense feelings subside some. Let the rapid thoughts slow down. Give your self six months or a year or an indefinite amount of time before you revisit this. Keep being as good a person as you can in the meantime, and you’ll have nothing to worry about, nothing to fear. That I can promise. It’s perfectly okay to have these thoughts. Just let them be and put them aside for now.

My friend is also sick of people saying, “It’ll be okay.” She says, “No it won’t be okay, because my step-mom is about to be dead.” And she’s right. Life will move on, though, as it always does. My own dad died about ten years ago, and he’s no longer here. That’s just the truth. Grief counselors talk about how things will never be exactly the same, but eventually you find “the new normal.” That’s simply the best you can do. We can’t be in denial and get stuck, though. And we have to be willing to let those roller coaster feelings be there when they’re there without holding onto them. Let them pass when they’re ready to pass.

Some people find relief just by learning that what they’re experiencing is normal. It doesn’t mean it’s fun, but it’s normal – that roller coaster is what it looks like. The best thing to do is just keep life simple, remind yourself that this is what grief looks like, and try to take as much care of yourself as you can. Be gentle with yourself. Keep life simple if you can. Try to get some air, to exercise, to eat something even if you have no appetite. Get as much rest as you can. Avoid stressful situations as best you can. Slow down. This lets that roller coast ride run its course. If we do these things as best we can, it will run its course eventually. Eventually.

Should I Call Them Problems?

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories, Other Cool Topics

I’ve always said that I don’t really see problems as problems. I don’t really call them that. They aren’t fun, but they’re there, so we have to deal with them… only because they’re already there. So we might as well reframe them. I was going to write about this at some point, and then a client and I were talking about it and I loved how he put it. I was  frantically scribbling down as words as he spoke. With his permission, of course…

He said, “I don’t call them problems, I call them lessons.” Why does this help us out? Because when we call them lessons, it emphasizes that there’s something to learn. And what do we learn? We learn how to handle it the right way so we don’t have to repeat it.

This reminds me of a very moving story that I heard from a fellow attendee at The Monroe Institute’s Gateway Voyage Program back in 2006. She said that her elderly mother had been pretty severely beaten and robbed once. She could not figure out how someone could possibly beat a defenseless old lady that badly – it was totally beyond her comprehension. Emotions were obviously strong – extreme anger and heart-breaking sadness. My friend’s sisters were outraged and were filled with extreme hatred toward the attacker. They wanted this person to die and were totally focused on revenge. My friend saw things differently, though. While she felt many of the same feelings as her sisters, she saw this is a test and she really wanted to pass the test. She did not want to have to retake this one. She prayed or meditated about it and asked for help to handle it the right way and learn whatever she had to learn. In doing this, she was not trying to go about it alone. She didn’t know what the lesson was, but she asked for help in learning it. This allowed her to forgive the attacker as best she could. And note that you can still have someone locked up, defend yourself, or get a restraining order on someone. That’s the outer world. Forgiveness happens in the inner world, though – it’s internal. You view the person as a spiritual being who actually thought s/he was that person. Identity confusion. You forgive the spirit and then do what you have to do to the body. Hearing that story had a very powerful effect on all of us who were in that room, and tears were flowing.

Back to my client and our discussion of problems, he also said, “Sometimes I call them challenges. Problems sound like something you cannot resolve, but challenges sound like an opportunity to take action to do something about it and to learn. You can do something about a challenge, but you just carry around a problem. It’s heavy, too.” Well said! In the interest of being verbose, though (SAT Word Alert!!!)… the distinction here is one of power. “Problem” sounds like you’re a powerless victim. “Challenge” sounds like you have some power to deal with the situation. HUGE difference…

And this leads to a third way to view problems – as situations. Why? Because that’s what they are! This strips them of the bad connotations. It’s a situation, so deal with the situation as best you can. Be very clear about what you can control versus what you can’t, too – that’s important. If you can’t control something, don’t waste your time thinking about it – you’ll just make yourself feel worse.

As the immortal Forrest Gump’s mother said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” And I did not plan on quoting Forrest Gump today, or ever for that matter – it just channeled in. But it’s true – we don’t know what we’re going to get. I love some of those chocolates, like the ones with caramel or toffee in them. But some of them make me feel downright nauseous. Like the ones with the gross colored fillings – what’s up with those? The point is that there’s always good and bad around the corner – always fun and not-so-fun. There’s no point in fighting that or denying that. We don’t have to make those tough times tougher by our choice of language, though. Instead, we might as well use language to our advantage.

Answer Comes In A Dream

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories

I talk a lot about how the fast way of handling our issues is to do inner work first (read Inner vs. Outer). Release those inner knots first and then do what needs to be done in the outer world after that. And always keep releasing as long as you need to. This is the downstream way, flowing with the current. I’ve talked about how we can’t expect amazing results, but we often get them anyway. And sometimes they come in ways we couldn’t have possibly scripted ourselves. Truth really can be stranger than fiction, as they say. One of my clients recently had one of those experiences. This is pretty cool…

So my client had had a falling out with his dad a while back, like maybe a year ago or close to it. He very much wants to reconcile with him, but he’s been unsure of how exactly to do this. I’ve always said to just keep releasing, keep letting go, and let the answer come when it’s time. Well, apparently it’s time. The answer has come, and the form in which it came was pretty astonishing – a dream.

My client had a very, very vivid dream in which he was back home with his family and he said to his dad, “We have to talk.” They went into a different room and talked, and it went very well. When he awoke, he realized, “I have the answer!” He said that he usually doesn’t remember his dreams very well, but this was like no other dream – he remembered it crystal clear. And he’s going to say to his dad exactly what he said in the dream. He was literally given the exact answer to this problem that had been weighing on him for a while. Hells yeah!

He also said that when he awoke, he felt “so great and peaceful and… free. It was so awesome.” He had had that feeling once before about five years ago, and that was when he had been meditating, I believe with a spiritual group. He had meditated more than once with them, but this one particular time he had gotten to a totally different place, a place of total peace and freedom. This is how he felt the morning after the dream. And he said that it ended up being  “a great day,” despite the fact that he works a very busy, stressful job and that day he worked with a particularly stressful co-worker. He releases on her a lot, by the way…

So that’s the story. Pretty darn cool. It’s an extreme example of the possibilities that are out there for you. I realize there are plenty of people out there who have vivid dream lives and remember their dreams quite well. Something different happened to my client, though, because he normally doesn’t remember his dreams so well. And the feeling he had when he awoke, that same feeling he had experienced once before in meditation… that signaled that there was something different going on. By consistently releasing when he felt he needed to, he was able to untie those inner knots surrounding the issue with his father and, as my friend Dr. Larry Burk says, Let Magic Happen. Is this really my job?? I love it!

Religion 101

Posted Posted in Spirituality/Religion

Today it’s time to talk about everybody’s favorite non-controversial topic, religion! Next we can talk about sex and politics… These are really just some very general thoughts about religion, but they’re pretty healthy to ponder.

My take on the world’s main religions is that they were all started by someone who knew what was up. You could use the term “enlightened” or whatever – no need to be picky there. But someone had some real knowledge and shared this knowledge with others. Before you knew it, there was a following. Then that person died. Inevitably, the followers didn’t “get it” as well as the teacher. They just weren’t there yet. They’re the ones who continued sharing the teachings, though, and over time a religion had developed. You can see where there might be a problem, a dilution of the message. I’m not saying that anybody did anything with bad intentions; quite the opposite, in fact. In most cases, these followers had huge hearts and wonderful intentions, which were simply to share the teachings of the master who was no longer alive. They weren’t the master, though.

At this point, the “telephone game” begins. Remember that game from kindergarten? There are a bunch of young kids sitting in a circle and the teacher whispers something to one of them, who whispers it to the kid next to him, who does the same until the message has gone all the way around the circle. Then the final version of the message is compared to the original version. And it’s never the same. This is what happens to religions.

Another issue is that different followers have different takes on the teachings, different interpretations. There are also usually power struggles, too. This is normal when more than one person wants to lead. We end up with splits after no more than two or three generations from when the teacher dies. It’s happened within every major religion or spiritual group. It’s happening in the Course In Miracles community now. The original copyright of the book A Course In Miracles, was struck down by the courts not too long ago, and the material is now considered public domain. Interesting…

So if the above observations of religions are true, what do we do? Are religions bad? Is there anything wrong with them? Absolutely not. If you’ve found something that works for you, then that’s great – stick with it. It’s probably not the best idea to consider it to be the absolute truth, though. It’s also a good idea to look as deeply as you can at the teachings of the original master, like Jesus or Buddha in the case of Christianity or Buddhism. Try to separate their spiritual gold from the man-made stuff that came later from their followers. There’s quite a difference if you start to look. Lots of people notice this but don’t talk about it. Let’s talk about it!!! If you look deeply like this, you might even find the central themes of the religions to be in agreement, themes like we’re really spiritual beings and this is not really our home. When you see these deeper similarities, you’re probably getting closer to the truth.

Well, that’s Religion 101 from A Clean Mind. Just the basics, but healthy attitudes to have. More peaceful, that’s for sure… And if you get offended by this kind of talk or have a strong reaction, you have the opportunity to take a deeper look at why that would be (read What Pushes Your Buttons?). Most of us are really staying on the surface with our religions. Go deep. Then go deeper. If you find that something you thought to be true is not true, then you don’t want it anyway! So pitch it – and there’s no time like the present. Also, each religion has had its share of mystics, so check out some of what those people have had to say. Christianity has had lots of great mystics, for instance, but it seems like they’re not exactly advertised or promoted. Now with the internet it’s easier than ever to take a look for yourself. This can be a pretty exciting journey for someone who has never delved into it. I absolutely LOVE talking about this kind of stuff, so of course let me know if I can help. Enjoy!