Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our Inner Lizard

I've been thinking a lot lately about something a Practitioner teacher of mine used to say, "Left to our own devices we tend to make things up on the downside." In other words, we tend to believe the worse case scenario in a given situation, especially when we don't have all the information. Perhaps someone makes a casual comment or remark and we think to ourselves, 'what's that supposed to mean?' Before you know it we've made up some horrible story around a few simple words only to find that it was not the case at all. We've made it up on the downside. We've tapped into a false belief about ourselves that has us convinced that we've done something wrong that merits punishment. Talk about a happiness buster!

Why do we make things up on the downside? Left to its own devices, we have an inner dialogue constantly running amok in our heads that tries to convince us that we are not good enough and never will be. It is that critical voice of our parent, a teacher or that perfectionist that holds up a stick that we could never measure up to. We also live in a world that continues to reinforce our feelings of inadequacy The Ralph Lauren model who made headline news this week is a perfect example. The ad department for Ralph Lauren Photoshopped so much weight off of a model's body, it made her head look freakishly large. If you click on the link above, scroll down the page and see what she really looks like. We are being fed the message that her looks are just not good enough. No wonder young girls develop eating disorders and the diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry.

These and other industries are dedicated to feeding our inner critic and it bombards us with fodder for our discontent. It keeps alive an inner dialogue that stops us from getting the things we want out of life. Remember, we create what we focus on - wanted or unwanted. When that inner negative rumble feeds our insecurities it gets reinforced by strong emotion and then it becomes our dominant point of attraction. We wonder why life isn't working out the way we want it to, completely oblivious to the voice that runs in the background - we've grown used to it. It's almost as if we're running on autopilot. The tail is wagging the dog. And then we wonder why we aren't living our dreams.

That's all about to change.

 It's time to blow the cover on that inner critic, expose it to the light and remind ourselves that I'm onto to you! Once you become aware of something, by virtue of your attention to it, it must change. Marianne Williamson used to say that conscious awareness is the first act of healing. We heal by noticing - it's as simple as that. A Course In Miracles calls that inner voice our ego self; Buddhism calls it the small ego; and Martha Beck calls this voice our inner lizard. We do not want to judge that part of ourselves or call it wrong, we simply acknowledge it in order to discharge its power. Martha Beck appeases her lizard with a peanut, while Abraham suggests that we thank it for sharing and then send it to its room.

I suggest you forge a strong connection with your source by whatever name you call it - God, The Universe, Your Higher Self, your Buddha Nature or Love. This is the truth of who we are. It is not something outside ourselves that we have to besiege in order to have good things in life - that's Santa Clause. I'm talking about highlighting the truth and making it dominant in your life by whatever means you deem effective - chanting, meditating, affirmations, gratitude lists - they are all effective. By practicing those things more throughout our day we affect those inner voices. Our default then begins to switch away from the knee jerk reaction of negativity - making things up on the down side - toward our more enlightened self, which bends over backwards to give us our heart's desire. When we begin to shift our point of attraction to a positive one, our lives change, our circumstances change and it becomes easier to focus on what's good and what's going right. The inner dialogue shifts.

This is profoundly different than just "thinking positively." That often comes across as void of compassion and an arrogant way of correcting another without dealing with our own lives. That would be negative denial - or as my friend Jacob would say, "putting pink icing on a shit cake." What we are doing is addressing the facts head on while refuting that they have any power over us. By all means deal with any negative voice that consistently reinforces pain by talking to someone - a therapist, minister, counselor, Rabbi or Practitioner. Find a way to appropriately vent your pain as you seek to let it go. Stop letting it leak out by complaining or calling something chronic or constant talk about how "that's just my luck." It does not serve our lives, it just perpetuates circumstances that we do not want. I'm talking about subscribing to a force that holds the galaxies in place. The Universe is so compliant that it seeks to give us what we want. Let's stop feeding it with our negative voices. Begin to recognize and acknowledge when you attract good things in your life, things that go right. Talk about those things more than you talk about what's wrong.

It is time to get a very strong vision for our lives - what it's about and what we are going to focus on. It begins by becoming conscious of our thoughts, our negative tapes. Just notice. We heal by noticing. Let's begin to notice what's going right, not what's going wrong as our training and our world has taught us. These are important times and we will change our lives by reaching deep within for a lasting and eternal truth that resides there, not by trying to get things from without.

I leave you this week with the very wise words from a dominant voice in forging peace in the world today, Daisaku Ikeda. A philosopher, educator, author and third president of the Soka Gakkai lay Buddhist organization. His yearly peace proposals submitted to the United Nations have made a profound impact on world leaders. Take heed to his words when he says, "Such things as money, fame and material possessions offer a fleeting satisfaction, something that can be called relative happiness. However, when we transform our lives internally, when we develop within ourselves a brilliant inner palace, then we can said to have established absolute happiness. If we develop a state of mind as vast and resplendent as a magnificent palace, then nothing - no matter where we go or what we may encounter in life - can undermine or destroy our happiness."

I also leave you with a video of someone who embodies positive denial - recognizing the facts but refuting the power they have over her. She refused to listen to the negative voices and made it up on the "upside!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Divided We Fall

I've been thinking a lot lately about how we perpetuate separation. It's that look out for number one, get what you can, greed mentality that got us into this economic mess in the first place. It's easy to look at Wall Street and the banking system and blame it on their greed and lack of regulation, but make no mistake, we contribute to that pot every time we blame, criticize or demean ourselves or another. We must begin to look at our actions as directly contributing to the whole - good or bad. We do not live in a vacuum. Quite the contrary.

Spiritual teachers tell us that we are all expressions emanating from the mind of God or the Universe. Scientists tell us that, as energetic beings living in an energetic world, we don't stop at our skin. Physicists tell us that the quantum particles that we are made up of are always in constant communication with each other whether they are in our body or in another's. Metaphysical teachers tell us that there is one Spirit individualized in each of us. Whatever you choose to believe, I think we can all agree that there is more to us than meets the eye. Even the most pragmatic amongst us understands that our presence impacts our environment.

I was so disappointed this last week as I saw some people take such great delight in President Obama's failure to secure the Olympics for Chicago. And, when a Congressman screamed out "You lie!" in the middle of a joint Congressional address to the country, I was taken aback by how divisive we've become. Us and them, a camp divided - so much anger. Whichever way you lean politically, it is important to understand that we are not singling ourselves out when fostering that kind of separation. In the ego's undying attempt to make us right, better and special we have just projected every one of our fears and shortcomings onto another. We think we've just set ourselves head and shoulders above the pack, when in fact we've just called ourselves a liar and a failure.

We are so busy trying to prove our own superiority that we have suffered the whole as a result. Is our country any better? Are we working together to solve the world's problems or are we just posturing for personal gain? It's easy to point a finger at politics, but it just represents our individual consciousnesses. Neville Goddard, author of The Power of Awareness puts it beautifully when he says, "Man's chief delusion is his conviction that there are causes other than his own state of consciousness."

We all contribute to our world and we make a choice at each moment what that contribution will be. When we demean, embarrass or belittle another, we merely exacerbate separation on all levels. Because we are such powerful creators, together we set the stage for either peace or war. I had a teacher who used to say that the only thing you should do behind someone's back is pat it. Let's "man up," "grow a backbone" and step out on the side of each other. Nothing feels better than contributing to the good of another - and because we are all one, it becomes a self-serving act. Let's feed that lovely "quantum incubator of all possibilities" that Gregg Braden talks about, with more love and less fear. Aren't you tired of hearing the battle rage when you turn on talk shows or the news? Aren't you tired of all the anger and the fear it instills?

Let's take our cue from the Counsel of Elders, a group of world leaders selected by Nelson Mandela who are committed to contributing their wisdom, leadership and integrity to tackle the key challenges facing the world today.

I would encourage you this week to get to the bottom of any anger that you have in your own life that continues to be projected out into the world as attack. This is deep and this is powerful. When you are willing to be changed on the level of cause and take ultimate responsibility for your life and how it contributes to the whole, you have just waged the most profound kind of peace there is. When we give up our attack thoughts, the ones that rage within us, we will begin to see our adversaries differently...we will begin to see our brothers.

I leave you this week with a quote by Rossabelle Believe who said, "Let there be such oneness between us, that when one cries, the other tastes salt."