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July 2020

What are we supposed to do?

Everybody is telling everybody what they are supposed to care about and which outrageous event we are supposed to be shocked about. Everyone keeps asking us to “do something” about this or that.

Here is the problem I have: each day, there are billions of problems in the world that I would fix. I care, fully and profoundly, about every single cause and form of suffering. In this, I know that I am not alone. People are good. You care, we all care. But what are we supposed to do?

Is your cause racism? I agree, let’s end it. Now am I supposed to give the money I earned to a charitable bureaucracy to pay their staff, whose focus is mainly on taking more people’s money to do more of the same? How is that going to end racism? Maybe your cause is human trafficking? I agree, let’s end it. Is your solution to support a military invasion of a country, or what am I supposed to do about crimes committed by people who I don’t even know?

Every well-intentioned action has unintended consequences. If you are trying to raise awareness about any cause, then ask yourself, fundamentally, what do you want people to do? Talking about doing something isn’t doing something. Carrying guilt and shame about something you didn’t cause and can’t solve is harmful. What exactly is the purpose of bringing everyone’s attention to shocking, tragic events? To raise criminal penalties, which will cause more suffering? To convince us to vote differently—as if politicians have ever solved problems and cause no unintended harm? What are you trying to do by “raising awareness”?

If you want to do something that will fundamentally change the world, that will end the billions of problems and causes of suffering each day, then there is only one thing you can do. You can be love. You can bring your light into the world and you can heal. By doing so, you teach everyone the way. Those few whose torch you lit will do the same. Spouses, children, friends, neighbors, colleagues, strangers will be loved—which will undo the cause of all this violence, fear, error—the very source of all suffering, itself: ego.

But this will never happen if we continue to argue, to debate, to shame each other, to pull each other into the darkness, the despair, the anger, the injustice. The only way to transcend it is to align with love by placing all our attention there. I don’t want to hear about the billion problems. I know the world is lost in the ways of error. I want all my attention on the one solution: love.

Unconditional love is something we can do. Herein lies all the power—not in money, not in guilt and shame, not in debate, not in information, and not in battle. The world’s approach to solving any problem is ultimately impotent and has been since the dawn of time…which is why we are still in this mess. There is only one thing we have not tried. It is to just be love in all we see, all we are, all we feel, and all we do.  

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” Jesus Christ

“Jesus speaks of the inner 'I am'; the essence identity of every man and woman—every life form, in fact. He speaks of the life that you are. Some Christian mystics have called it the 'Christ within'. Buddhists call it your 'Buddha nature'. For Hindus, it is 'Atman', the indwelling God. When you are in touch with that dimension within yourself—and being in touch with it is your natural state, not some miraculous achievement—all your actions and relationships will reflect the oneness with all life that you sense deep within. This is love.” - Eckhart Tolle

Spiritual knowing transcends words, and the way this works is that different words start to mean the same thing. I understand the following words to all mean the same thing: love, life, I am, freedom, truth, consciousness, presence, spirit, soul, God, being, and many more words that are all one with the light—and are experienced as one joyful, peaceful state.

Then there are other words that all mean the same thing: the ego, the devil, fear, guilt, shame, sin, anger, pride, greed, destruction, sickness, suffering, death, and so many more words that are all different dimensions of darkness. These words are experienced as different things, as if you are stumbling around in the darkness, bruising yourself on different objects and feeling different pains—always lost and unable to find the way. This is what some people call “life”, but it isn’t life. It is confusion.

All the darkness can be undone by simply choosing only light. But make any of the concepts of confusion real, and the illusion will seem real to you.

“Laws, commandments, rules, and regulations are necessary for those who are cut off from who they are—the truth within. They prevent the worst excesses of the ego; and often they don’t even do that. 'Love, and do what you will,' said St. Augustine. Words cannot get much closer to the truth than that.”

“You are the truth. If you look for it elsewhere, you will be deceived every time.”  All quotes from A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Go within and trust. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.


Believe the past is real, and the future will be just like it

The past: a set of ideas about things that, in this present moment, are no longer true. The past and its stories exist only in our minds. As such, the past can be useful, but never real.

Useful, in the sense that we carry what is real about the past with us. Past love, friendships, or creations are real depending upon their existence in the present. Positive habits and work we have done in the past may also be real in that they shape us now. Similarly, errors of the past can be real in the present to the extent that we have learned the lessons and made corrections.

What is real about the past is only that which is real and alive in the present. Therefore, only the present is real. If a relationship or situation from the past holds no relevance to the present, it can be forgotten. If a wrong of the past has been corrected in the present, it should be forgiven.

The question is always this: what is real now? The present is where healing can occur, where progress can be made, where joy can be experienced, where love can be shared, where creation can occur. If what you do now extends on and on—remaining as part of this eternal present moment—then it has become lasting, real, eternal in this holy instant (what the mind would incorrectly understand as a "future” separate from now).

A better future is then, really a better present moment. You remain in a positive state of being. All your doing, relating, and creating is flowing from joy and peace. You and the people around you want this, will reward you for it, and will ask for more. They will experience happiness and goodness with you. Do not wait for the future, create it now.

It is always a question of now. To live as though the past and future are more real than the now is to live in darkness. The ongoing now is the only field where everything exists, has always existed, and always will. To see this obvious reality is to awaken from the mind-based dream, to destroy the ego, to end illusion and confusion, and to embrace all that is real and true. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.


The innocent see safety. (A Course in Miracles)

When we are completely innocent, we have nothing to fear. It is only where we have lied, attacked, or acted lovelessly that we are vulnerable to punishment, counter-attack, or abandonment.

The innocent are those who believe in their goodness and live their truth openly and unapologetically. Because we love ourselves, we love others. Because we love others, we willingly serve and create value. Because we serve and create value, we create financial and material abundance.

Safety is lack of fear. What is there to fear when punishment is not a real threat, when no secret can be revealed to hurt anyone...when, in the knowledge of our innocence, we know there is nothing to hide? True safety is the reality of innocence, and you are innocent in this present moment.

If you fear, you must believe you are guilty in the past and are allowing it to define your present. Come out from the dark. Tell the truth about the past, forgive yourself, and let it go. Deal with it lovingly in the present. If there is love in your life, you will be forgiven. If not, you will be released from bondage. You are now freed from guilt and it need never be real for you again.

You may have erred, but you must surely know you are innocent and good. Forgiveness means letting go of the error and making goodness real. The innocent then see safety and experience it as our ongoing state. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.


True faith is faith in love

Take your problems, your fears, your worries and offer them to the infinite power of love. They can only exist for you if love is being blocked or withheld in any way.

You can use whatever language or ideas that work for you, but the goal is not an embrace or identification with any particular religion or belief system; those are only the tools and the practices, but true faith is faith in love.

People have been confused, but this is the end of confusion. People have been suffering, but this is the end of suffering. People have been oppressed, but this is perfect freedom. People have been alone, but this is union. People have been living in fear, but love dispels all fear just as light ends darkness.

May all the Christians, Mormons, Taoists, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Athiests, Agnostics, Mystics and every single one of us agree on the one and only thing that we already do agree on: love.

Love is the answer to every challenge, the solution to every problem, the energy and thought system of God, the whole truth, the way and the light. According to my favorite book, "Sin is where love is not." (A Course in Miracles).

Now I ask a question to anyone who wants to answer, and I will respond to your answer: what problem exists in your life that love cannot solve? Please tell me and I will show you how to offer it to love, to solve it completely, here and now.


What is, just is

Each time we set out to change other people or do something about a situation, we fail. Worse yet, our interference starts a trail of unintended consequences and makes the situation worse.

So we should just do nothing, asks the mind? One might answer to the mind, you should do nothing if there are any negative emotions in me and if there is any unease or suffering. Loveless, ego-based doing is impotent, and it is far better to do nothing. Let things be as they are.

True power is in being, rather than doing. If you can be love, then love will effortlessly correct any error and cause no harm. Love is unconditional, meaning that the reality of a person or situation must first be accepted and embraced for love to exist.

Love without forgiveness and understanding is not love. Wanting to change someone or something is not love; rather, it is an act of resistance or withdrawal, which insanely attempts to go against truth, reality, or the free will of another.

State your loving truths, however and whenever you feel inspired, but make no consideration of the consequence because the true meaning or importance is not found in the realm of situations or consequences.

Unconditional love, joy, freedom, honesty, and openness—all words describing the same truth—this is the core of our being and the cornerstone of all true faith. Nothing outside of this has any importance and can be ignored for healing to occur. After all, healing is nothing other than coming to fully embrace the one truth that these words all point to. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.


Being a parent in the summer isn't always easy, right?

You look forward to it all winter, the beautiful weather, the outdoor activities, and the time with your children. But when summer arrives, parents often face a lot of pressures and frustrations.

How do we prioritize time with the family at the pool or beach, hiking and biking, traveling, or camping with the pressures and responsibilities of work or business? When we slack off at work, we feel guilty about that. Then when we focus on work while the kids are passing time idly on the couch, we also feel guilty about neglecting them. What is the right balance? Is there a way to do this right?

We all do our best—sometimes the grandparents help, some of us send the kids to a camp for a week, separated parents get a break by sharing custody, some parents get enough vacation time—but, even when the details are properly planned, all this time spent together is a true test of our family relationships. Can you be yourselves together? Can you be present, without stress, without that feeling that anything should be different from how it is?

Most people spend all their lives being here but wanting to be there, working toward some future destination. But each summer is a destination, and now we must learn to become present, to enjoy each other's company, to accept each other’s differences, to express our love even when we are hot, sweaty, tired, and being stung by mosquitoes.

Even under the best of circumstances, summer is a test of patience for any family. It isn’t getting any easier with all the technology, all the increasing complexity and pressures in our lives. But you can practice being still, sneak away for a rest or meditation when you can, be yourself, let unimportant things go, let yourself off the hook for whatever you’re not doing in any particular moment—and also give your spouse a break. This is not a time for faking or repressing emotions. It is a time to practice present moment awareness, acceptance, and unconditional love.

As we get some of this right, we build so much trust. As we get things wrong occasionally, we show that we are not perfect, and we ask for forgiveness.  Summer is a time for growth in the areas of life that matter most, the areas that are real, with the people who we love. It is a time when relationships are strengthened and beautiful memories are made, even if the days can be long and there can be unexpected challenges or frustrations. Forgive yourself, forgive your loved ones, enjoy summer!


What is freedom, and how can we be free?

These days, many fear the loss of freedom. In a few short months, states of emergencies have been declared, borders closed, and face masks enforced while social contact and movement has been restricted under highly questionable pretenses. Others fear so-called conspiracy theories having to do with future forced vaccinations, tracking, and so on. For any lover of freedom, this stuff is terrifying, and everything appears to be moving rapidly in the wrong direction.

But let me ask this: when exactly were we free? When we were born, we were given a social security number, forced to attend school, forced to pay taxes, use a currency, and to obey laws we never agreed to which were created by a government we never consented to take part in. For a long time, all digital communication between human beings has required verification of identity (via mobile phone confirmation), and the government spies on us at-will.

Cameras are everywhere, purchases are being tracked, analyzed, and dissected. Employers are monitoring computer use, there’s the social media corporations, and on and on. When exactly were we free in the external world?

Democracy has never been exactly real and fair to all. Before that, there were openly totalitarian dictatorships, and before that oppressive monarchies and religions. Freedom in the external world was removed from our lives right at the dawn of civilization, with that first step from the garden of Eden.

So what is freedom, and can we still be free? Freedom is not granted to us by governments, it is not found by cutting yourself off from others, and it is not in a statement, protest, or an act of rebellion.

In the truest sense of the word, to be free means to be absent of ego. What freedom is there if your mind continues torturing you, if you need egoic institutions to leave you alone, and if you continue to suffer in fear?

Because people do not know what freedom is—and often associate it with reckless or violent behaviors—violent institutions are required as a response, to keep error and confusion in check. If we only knew what freedom really is, then a new society would emerge that is absent of violence, oppression, or injustice.

To become free is to awaken to unconditional love, to humble yourself before God, and to practice true forgiveness. True freedom undoes violence and attack as you walk the path of perfect honesty and bliss—speaking only the truth and wanting only the truth—knowing that the truth is real, and it can only be love.

No government, no technology, nothing can take away your true freedom because it is accessed within and practiced each time you meet just one brother or sister who also knows what freedom is.  You were born complete, with everything you need to practice perfect freedom, and all the power to do so. All external attempts to limit freedom—as horrifying as it always is and as much suffering as it causes—will fail in time…for the simple reason that enough of us will always remember who we are.

You can be free now, but you must know what freedom is. Any freedom that can be limited by external factors and forces is no freedom at all. Furthermore, if you practice perfect freedom, no external authority will want to limit you because you are incapable of harm. To awaken is to become free, and it is yours now. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.


Nobody has ever gone so far down the wrong path that they cannot return to the right one

All what appears to be drama, crisis, and despair in today’s world is only the inevitable destination of the path we were on. One who fears or suffers from sickness is one whose diet and habits have gone off course. One who fears a diminished lifestyle or loss of possessions is someone who spent too much, borrowed too much, and reached for a life that was beyond their means. If a marriage is crumbling, it must have been built upon shallow ground. If there is angst, fear, depression, anxiety, or any form of suffering, it is for lack of a spiritual practice. The problems are not external. Reality is as it is. So, the solutions are entirely within our control.

It is you who is traveling down whatever path you are on. Rather than complaining about the scenery, understand that wherever you are is your chosen destination. You may have received a lot of bad advice, but ultimately every decision you made at every fork has been yours and has determined where you are. Accept this completely as the starting point if you want anything to improve.

From this point of acceptance, you can instantly create a new reality. The good news is that life’s path is not like a road or path through the forest. It isn’t necessary to retrace your steps all the way back to where you began and do it all over. In life, changing course is more like instantly awakening from a dream and finding yourself somewhere new.

Awake, you know that all authority is within. What matters now is how you feel. Is there a nice flow of energy and excitement each day? What about your thoughts? Do they bring lightness, inspiration, and positivity? Are your relationships harmonious? Is your purpose in life and work useful to anyone? Are you free to be you, express yourself and do what inspires you? All this is yours if you want it.

Total change, total healing is possible through an embrace of unconditional love—a humbling of oneself to God (God means whatever you want it to, but it must be loving or you haven't found God). It also takes a commitment to healthy habits, to an open mind and heart, and to meditation to create gaps in the stream of thought.

Here, you awaken to the recognition that everything real is now. When you are fully alive now, everything is perfect. Let go of the past, forget about the future, pay attention to your state of being now. We continue in the ongoing, eternal now.   


Everything the ego tells you that you need will hurt you. (A Course in Miracles)

“Although the ego urges you again and again to get, it leaves you nothing. For what you get it will demand of you.”

You are not at home in time; rather, in eternity. The ego seeks happiness and safety by denying the unavoidable realities of material existence, which is always unstable, always shifting and temporary. It seeks to get more and then to hold onto it—even if that means sacrificing your joy, your freedom, your entire life.

A Course in Miracles teaches us to trust in the energy of love, which it also calls the Holy Spirit, which I might also call the force of life itself or consciousness—which will always provide everything we need in the ongoing present moment without asking for any sacrifice and without stealing any joy.

It knows that the material world is shifting and unstable, that our physical form will grow, change, and then die—but to align with the thought system and energy of love is to know that, in its embrace, you are always safe, you will always have everything you need, and when something is no longer useful you can let it go.

The worldly answers of the psychologists, the educators, and all the so-called authorities combined know nothing other than confusion, but they are great teachers. Take in the lessons of the world, but evaluate everything within the perfect knowledge of love. You will not error, you will not lack, and you will know no fear. Love knows no fear because fear is your mind’s natural reaction to error. “Sin is where love is not,” and sin is nothing other than error that can be corrected in love. Fear can only exist within you to the extent love does not.

“Therefore, ask not of yourself what you need; for you do not know. And your advice to yourself will hurt you. For what you think you need will merely serve to tighten up your world against the light, and render you unwilling to question the value that this world can really hold for you.” (All quotes from A Course in Miracles). We continue tomorrow and each day after that.