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January 2020

February 2020

Abscondo Podcast #76: How to handle toxic relationships and abuse

I'm all about extending love and living with an open heart and mind. But sometimes situations and people can be toxic and you have to say no. What do you do when a relationship or situation becomes abusive or harmful?

Listen here or wherever you normally listen to podcasts.

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To be fully alive is to go through life with an open mind and heart.

For life to flow, your default reaction to every situation or opportunity is to say yes. A river cannot flow when it is blocked, and neither can you. However, sometimes we must also say no.

On those cases when you feel it is right to say no, you do so gently and with a heavy heart—knowing that healing of the person or situation is needed and contemplating whether there is anything loving you might be able to say or do that would help that healing occur.

The world is still in the grip of ego, and so it is filled with illusions of fear and errors in thought and deed. You cannot embrace error and illusion or pretend that it is anything other than what it is. To do so is to stray from your path of truth where you are fully alive. Wherever you say no, it is only to the ego.

You can, however, say no while keeping and open heart and mind. Now, without any separation, you walk the honest path, accepting all that is, and loving everyone for what is real in them. In so doing, you shine the light and show the way.

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Top 10 reasons why marriage ruins love and is completely unnecessary

If you are thinking about getting married someday, I hope this message inspires you to think twice. If you are already married, I hope these words help you and your partner overcome the damage that marriage may have done to you and that, together, you may heal in love. I’m not against marriage, but I am in favor of perfect love that never fades, inner peace, family stability and joyfulness—all of which marriage fails to deliver.

We’ve all heard the opinions against marriage, but sometimes it feels like deciding against marriage is deciding against life-long companionship, children, stability and all those wonderful things which marriage supposedly brings. Nothing is further from the truth! My position against marriage is a position in favor of everything marriage supposedly offers but fails to do so.

Here are my top 10 reasons that marriage fails to deliver what it promises:

1) Marriage places too much focus on the superficial.

When you are in love with someone and decide to be together forever, you should spend your time celebrating that love in private while at the same time looking at the reality of what it means to bring your lives together. There are the living arrangements, the finances, the household chores, the interests and hobbies you both need space for, the family and friendship relationships in both your lives, and so much more.

What do engaged couples do instead? During the wedding planning phase, they spend far too much time and money on the superficial: wedding dresses, cakes, flowers, venues, guest lists, on and on. So much wasted on things that nobody really cares about—things that have nothing to do with your long-term happiness or success as an individual or a couple.

Wedding planning is a huge distraction from everything a couple should enjoy focusing on and making real steps toward. If you want to spend your life together with someone, why not just get started with life instead of this huge, kind of silly spectacle called a wedding?

2) Marriage often prevents couples from real communication and from finding their true path.

Despite what the movies tell us and everyone believes, there is more than one way to do a committed relationship. When two souls unite and your lives merge, why not start with a blank canvass?

What are your needs and those of your partner? Do you believe in unconditional love? Do you practice total openness? Or are there boundaries that you wish to clearly establish? How do you feel about meaningful communication with exes or even new friendships or flirtations?

Marriage is a rigid idea that limits your ability to decide your own reality as a couple. If you're mature enough to commit to each other, you don’t need marriage. Just be open about how you feel, what you need, what excites you, what scares you—and then allow your partner space to do the same.

This is a journey and it takes some time, but if you can get to total understanding through true communication along with trial and error, you will end up with a committed relationship that meets everyone’s needs—and you don’t need any institution to agree with your choices.

3) Marriage is about roles, not about authenticity, honesty and acceptance.

That blissful feeling of being in love is what happens when two people are open and accepting of one another. If you can continue to do this, that feeling of perfect love with no resentment continues—even for life.

To get married is to ruin this feeling of love by agreeing to accept a bunch of default rules and by playing a role. If, one day, you or your partner find yourselves with thoughts, feelings or needs which fall outside the rules and conventions of marriage, now you feel like the relationship has failed. No, in this case the idea of marriage has failed; not necessarily your relationship.

It is enough that you love one another, always be open, and always do your best to accept truth and to work through your feelings together in love. Marriage is this huge, scary, restrictive thing that makes true communication and openness more difficult. 

4) Marriage takes away your freedom to love and to follow your own life path.

Why should the church or the state have anything to say about the way you love or what you choose to do with another consenting adult? Too often, marriage is something people jump into without even understanding it and then, when it fails, they are at the mercy of the courts to decide things that the couple should have worked out on their own.

Why not talk about everything upfront? Will we have kids? How many? What happens if we decide to break up? What if I cheat? What if either of us wants an open relationship? What is your position on debt? Do we want to combine our money or do we want to keep it separate? How would we separate the money if one day we ever split up?

To sign a contract limiting your freedom to love is a tragically foolish decision. Talk about it. Work it out. Regardless of whether you are married, don’t have kids or combine your finances until you are in full agreement and trust each other completely. The stakes are far too high and marriage doesn’t make it any safer!

5) Marriage punishes failure.

Nobody wants a relationship to fail. That’s never the plan. It isn’t as though you need to setup a huge punishment or put forth this ridiculous contract to prevent your partner from leaving you. They aren’t going to leave. That’s why you’re deciding to live together, to have kids and everything, right?

If the whole thing ends up falling apart, that’s tragic enough. On top of this, you don’t need to go through the painful and expensive legal process called divorce. Work things out day-by-day and never agree to anything you might regret later.

Oh, and when it comes to kids: respect each other. You are both parents, you both do your best, and even if your relationship ends it doesn’t mean you have a right to remove the other parent from the child’s life. You are both adults and want to do your best. Show some respect to the person you love or once loved. Work it out as the decent people you are.

If this fails and you must get the courts involved for custody issues or child support, you can do that even if you’ve never been married. Marriage adds nothing of value here.

6) Marriage brings a set of rules that most people cannot adhere to.

Let’s get real, these days it is extremely unlikely for two people to fall in love and never have any needs or desires outside the relationship. I’m not saying that every relationship needs to be an open relationship, but whatever you do agree to should be between you—and it should be specifically talked about, understood, and agreed to by both parties without any reservations. Otherwise, marriage or no marriage, you aren’t ready to start a life together.

Oftentimes, marriage helps people avoid these kinds of honest conversations and difficult decisions. Then, you end up quite shocked later to find out who you married. Open-up, have some real conversations, be honest. You may be surprised to find out how exciting and enjoyable this is—even if it can be scary at first. But there’s no other way for two people to make a life-long relationship work and to establish real trust.

7) Marriage is so scary that people end up alone.

These days, so many people stay single because they are terrified about the idea of marriage. They want to spend their lives with that special person, they want children, but the idea of marriage is so huge and scary that they sabotage relationships before it gets to this stage. This is tragic.

You don’t need to be married in order to live together and to have children. If marriage scares you, then don’t do it. Enjoy your relationship. Be yourself. Live your life.

8) Marriage adds nothing.

Are we talking about hospital visitation rights? Inheritance? This can be dealt with directly with separate contracts and agreements (as can everything else in life).

I would have a very difficult time coming up with reasons that marriage makes sense. What is the purpose? To spend your savings for a big day? To post pictures that aren’t entirely honest? To trap someone for life? What exactly does marriage add?

9) Marriage is way too expensive.

The wedding dress, the food and drinks, the travel, the venue, the flowers, the invitations—what if you kept that money in your savings account or used it to actually start your life together?

Would you not sleep better just skipping that year-long engagement where you are pressured by salespeople (and your partner) to spend all your money on things you don’t want?

10) An untethered love relationship and life together is far more romantic!

Do you want the most important decision of your life to be something so unoriginal that you have nothing to say about it? Or do you want to blaze your own trail as an individual, couple, and family?

We were not born just to adhere to a set of rules that have already been figured out. Follow the path of normalcy, guided by fear, and your life will not have much impact. You will not be remembered for anything in particular and you will not have much of a story to tell.

Everything you want is found in your freedom to do it. You don’t have to sacrifice your freedom for perfect love, a committed, loving relationship and family. Nothing is found in sacrifice, while instead everything is…well…sacrificed. Be brave enough to have it all and give the same to the person you love.

A committed relationship is a creative endeavor which also happens to be the most enjoyable and meaningful thing we do in life. Allow yourself to grow, to be you, and to let your love flow freely. Whether or not you are married, do not give marriage any importance.

What matters is only the love you share and the most romantic thing you can do is own it, celebrate it, and live it on your terms. Marriage doesn’t matter, what's between you and that special person does.

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How much love and abundance do we turn away?

The mind finds endless excuses to say no. Maybe you aren’t sure you’ll succeed. You’re afraid. You don’t see a future with this person. You don’t want to be hurt or embarrassed.

Always suspicious and unsure, the mind rejects life’s possibilities. While the mind is good at solving intellectual problems and going about the practical aspects of life, the stuff we care most about isn’t practical or intellectual at all. We want to feel loved, to feel excited about each new day, to be understood, to grow and to try new things—we want to feel alive!

How many human connections have you avoided, turned away, or decided to cut off? How many opportunities did you say no to, or not even get to because you cut off a relationship before it could develop into a wonderful life situation? The mind’s impulse to resist and to separate is the source of suffering, loneliness, and lack.

To live your best life requires a heart and mind that is wide open and a soul that is untethered. Stop trying to figure out and define everything. Say yes to new connections and experiences, then accept and feel the reality of what comes into your life in the present. Make natural adjustments based upon the reality before you.

When it comes to what matters most in life, the mind is no guiding light. Allow reality and experience to lead you instead by saying yes.

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You are guilty in time, but not in eternity. (A Course in Miracles)

When you think honestly about things you’ve done or things you might do, you may indeed consider yourself guilty. If to sin is to miss the mark of perfect love, then indeed we are all sinners. Yet a fundamental teaching of true spirituality and a necessary condition for self-love is to know that you are not guilty. How can this be reconciled?

By eternity is meant the present moment. Eternity does not mean that time goes on forever; rather, that time doesn’t exist. There was never a time when it was not now. Yes, everything is always changing and so are we—but it is all happening in this eternal now.

To understand the concepts of time and eternity correctly is to learn to forgive yourself and others. To carry any guilt or baggage from the past is to go about the now in a twisted way—to act in ways that continue to miss the mark even though you could do better. Now consider this: in this moment, are you guilty of anything? No.

To forgive yourself for the past is to reconcile it and to address it with presence and perfect love now. To forgive others is to teach and allow them the same opportunity for correction. We are divine beings—rays of light all part of the oneness of light. We are not guilty, though we have errored. The good news is that error can be corrected now (and it is always now). When error is corrected, what purpose is there for holding anyone guilty for the past?

You can use your mind to judge your past guilt, but then you can use the thought system of perfect love to undo it now. Your mind’s use of time is a practical tool, and is necessary in this world. But your memories and your imagination is not the full truth of what is.

In the eternal present, you are innocent. Be here and align with unconditional love. Feel guilt melt away and no longer even exist.

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There is only a higher good, which includes the bad. (Eckhart Tolle)

This statement may sound a bit like denial. From the perspective of the mind, of course good and bad things do happen. However, the message is to allow things to be as they are.

This is forgiveness and, as Eckhart Tolle explains, “forgiveness of the present is even more important than forgiveness of the past.”

We’re not talking about achieving happiness—happiness has to do with an external situation. We are talking about inner peace. It’s impossible to be happy when someone you love dies or when a tragedy happens; but you can stay connected to a sense of inner peace at all times.

Acceptance doesn’t mean doing nothing. It means accepting what is even as you do whatever you have to do in response. Of course the unobserved, egoic mind cannot accept unconditionally; but you can.

Aware of your still, silent identity as consciousness, you can always choose acceptance of what is. Do this, and you have transcended the mind-dominated state. Your doing is then inspired from the higher realm of universal intelligence beyond the mind.

When you are no longer your ego, love is unconditional and relationships are enjoyable. Your ongoing state of being is peaceful. You no longer attack in any form. You create value and serve rather than take. Your suffering is diminished and your beautiful state of being brings abundance in all areas of life.

Unconditional acceptance of things aligns you with the good which has no opposite.

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If this were the real world, God would be cruel. (A Course in Miracles)

Confusion about God arises from confusion about reality, itself. When people speak of "the real world", they are talking about a world in which guilt is real, where attack is justified, and where love can be first given and then withdrawn. They are talking about a world in which politics are corrupt, governments exploit, the media lies, the church calls us sinners, and school makes us ill with its endless lessons of sacrifice. 

We have come to think of the real world as sitting in traffic, doing our homework, going to work, paying our taxes and obeying the law. We have learned the world's lessons so well that we believe suffering is good and enjoyment is for the foolish or weak. What a strange thought system we have adopted and what a cruel world we have made.

Certain species of animals are domesticated: dogs, cats, cows, chickens and more. Only animals that agree to their own domestication can be domesticated. Bears, wolves, deer and countless other species would not agree to their own domestication because they fail to see the benefit.

For the past several thousand years, humans have been domesticated by other humans because, at some point, we saw the benefits of greater safety, stability and comfort. We were sold an idea and we agreed to it. Now, largely detached from nature, we no longer know how to survive in the state of nature and we are no longer so sure any of this was a good idea.

Spiritual awakening simply means remember what is and has always been real about us; even before our domestication. Who we are is not of this artificial world we have been trained to see. All of society is what human minds did and what other human minds agreed to. It is what we have made and what we have accepted. 

God did not make this world of suffering; we did. God made the perfect nature within us and the perfect balance of this world before our confused minds became a cancer upon it.

To heal is to look upon God's creations as real, not our own. By turning reality upside down in this way, our minds may once again serve truth and we shall once again do no harm. Seeing the real "real world" once again is spiritual awakening.

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The supreme good is like water, which nourishes all things without trying to. (Tao Te Ching)

When the forces of nature use water, water serves its purpose.

Like water, I surrender to the balance of things so that I may be used.

I need not understand any of it to accept my function completely.

Yet I know that my purpose is realized.

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Only the love within has any authority to lead you.

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Centralization is the idea that an officially-sanctioned person or organization has legitimate authority and responsibility to lead people.

Rather than simply doing what excites or inspires us, we've agreed to a society that allows schools to shape and limit our learning. We stare blindly at the phone or TV rather than bringing our own experiences to life. We attend formally organized events rather than relating with others freely. We respond to promotions as if the ideas presented were legitimate or the information were true.

Because of this entrenched worldview, our so-called freedom is little more than a choice of how we choose to associate between external affiliations and allegiances. To accept the very idea of centralization means that we must learn to doubt ourselves and to see ourselves as having no authority over ourselves.

This domestication of humans has been going on for a few thousand years, but it isn’t freedom and it isn’t the experience of being fully alive. We no longer have to see the world in this way. We no longer have to agree with it.

If something excites you, then upon your authority over yourself, you can do it. The feeling of excitement or inspiration is nature nudging you in the right direction. If you feel lousy, that's nature telling you to stop doing it. This message is so obvious it sounds silly, yet we don't live this way because of our belief in external authority. 

The truth is that external authority cannot be trusted and, therefore, centralization never works. When enough of us look to the truth within for guidance, decentralization emerges and the experience of true freedom in this world arises. Decentralization sets you free to think what you want, to accept what you feel, and to connect with other people as you desire in loving honesty and openness. Decentralization is your birthright, and is unstoppable if we have faith and courage.

Look at this fearful, confused world and see that those external voices of control have no authority; nor does the confused, egoic mind. Only the love within has any authority lead you. To live fully, let your goodness within light the way.

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When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad. (Tao Te Ching)

If there is a good to be pursued or held onto, then there must also be a bad which should be resisted or fought against. To judge at all is to create a negative where there otherwise was none.

Any notion of beauty and ugliness or good and bad are evaluations of the external. By judging the external, we attempt to give supremacy to form. The underlying assumption is, then, that beautiful weather is required for happiness while stormy weather causes suffering. But external reality is such that we cannot only accept the parts we would keep and fight against the parts we would reject. This is to wish for the entire universe to be different from how it is. Here, we have found the sure cause of suffering.

Attempt to make reality different from how it is and live painfully out of alignment with the truth. Wish for that which isn’t and weaken yourself by losing access to what is. Of course, some experiences in life are more enjoyable than others. We can continue to enjoy whatever we do enjoy. But a spiritually awakened being, absent of judgment, also finds aliveness in places where others don’t look. We transcend the ups and downs by remaining rooted in the calm stillness of being.

By simply observing the leafless tree in the grayness of winter without labels or judgments, the mind can be still and negative emotion can be undone. By responding to people or situations through intuition rather than mental judgment, we allow love and energy to flow continuously from within.

Observe the mind’s judgments and practice letting those thoughts go. Don’t follow them. Notice any stress or tension or inner resistance to what is and let it go as well. Your salvation is not found in any evaluation of good and bad; rather, in presence and being. Observe the mind, and all of reality, as the silent observer—consciousness itself. I am. 

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