Affirmations

free_at_last

You are safe.

You are worth loving.

You are moving towards greater and greater security and prosperity.

You deserve love and peace and plenty.

Your Higher Power will never forsake you, including after death.

You have the right to say NO to those who ask you for help, love, or attention.

The healthier you get, the stronger and safer you will be.

You will see your loved ones again some day.

You can comfort yourself.

You are safe.

To Know That One Already Has

gleeTo Know That One Already Has is the tenth and most creative level of consciousness available to beings in physical reality.  It is a divine state of sureness in which one knows that one possesses everything one needs, has needed, and will ever need to overflow with happiness, safety, and joy. I know it is possible to experience such a level of consciousness while still in physical reality because I experienced such a state once, during a vision that came to me while I was working as office assistant to an environmental lawyer (see my blog entitled “To Love”). In this vision I felt suspended in a sea of light which knew me utterly, supported me without question, and desired nothing from me. At that instant I felt safe for the first time in my life, and I burst into tears of relief. At that instant, I knew that I already possessed everything I needed for happiness and joy. I felt complete.

It was not a state in which I was able to remain. I was and am still too bound up with my force, threat, and blame wounds to do that. But I know that, having experienced once, the consciousness of my completeness remains within me available to me again when I am ready for it.

Since I had this experience I have run into other people who have had it, too. Some of them have experienced it while on drugs; others, in meditation. Many religions report mystics,  saints, and devotees experiencing such states of completion, and record the ecstasies that arise from the experience of such states.

The state of knowing that one already has is, I believe, our true state. It is a deep state of rest. And that is why some mystics, saints, and devotees can demonstrate, while still in the physical body, acts of divine compassion and apparent self-sacrifice. I say “apparent” because, when one has achieved awareness of one’s essential completeness and safety, one knows, deep down in one’s core, that food, clothing, status, money, physical possessions, even the body itself, are not who one really is. They are accompaniments, adornments, temporarily useful perhaps, but ultimately releasable because I recognize the real me already possesses—and always will possess—deepest, eternal safety within the Divine Heart of Love.

Self-sacrifice that arises from the consciousness That One Already Has is very different from self-sacrifice that arises from force, threat, or blame. Force, threat, and blame triggered self-sacrifice is an act of violence against the self, a decision to deny oneself what one needs for happiness and joy so that others will prosper instead. And such self-sacrifice is invariably accompanied by buried resentment. Psychologists sometimes call a pattern of resentful self-sacrifice “codependency“: an addictive pattern of denying myself what I need in hopes that my giving to another will prompt him or her to give me what I need.

And so the cycle of self-examination continues, leading me back again and again to the necessity To Accept With Intent To Learn, so that I might Understand Physically, Understand Spiritually, Give myself what I need, and ultimately Know That I Already Have everything I require for happiness and joy: Love Itself, Who is eternal, changeless, undiminishable, and intensely, supremely personal.

To Love

Krishna_Embracing_the_Gopis_LACMA_M.77.19.23The ninth level of consciousness is the level of consciousness that I call To Love. It is a level of consciousness that is firmly rooted in all the levels of consciousness that have come before it. In order To Love, one must learn To Accept, To Understand, and To Give oneself what one needs in order To Give to others from an overflow of safety, contentment, and strength (rather than self-sacrificial starvation). For I firmly believe that only when one has been deeply nourished can one possess the strength of self required for truly loving others.

What do I mean by “love” in this context? On a human level, To Love means To Accept As Kin: to accept and treat another as though he or she were a member of one’s own family, a brother or a sister (always bearing in mind that such acceptance does not permit others to treat us with force, threat or blame).

On a nonmaterialist level, To Love means to open oneself entirely to God, to Goddess, to Spirit, to Goodness and Truth Itself. Such love involves the willingness to be totally transparent to scrutiny, because one has accepted and understood oneself in all one’s parts, wounds, limitations, and patterns. When one risks such transparency before God, one can find oneself overwhelmed by a sense of divine love so powerful it can reduce us to tears.

This has actually happened to me. Many years ago I worked as an office assistant to an environmental lawyer who was a devotee of the Hindu mystic Mother Meera. I’d been doing psychic work for many years, but I was in a vulnerable place, having recently lost my lover to suicide, my beloved younger brother to AIDS, and my mother to alcoholism. I was not (and am not) a Hindu, but what I knew of Mother Meera I liked very much; she seemed genuinely kind and giving, a clear channel for grace to those who came to her in Germany for her sessions of silent darshan.

One day, when I was typing away on my IBM Selectric, I heard my boss talking on the phone with Mother Meera’s righthand woman, Adelakshmi. Suddenly I heard him exclaim, “Mother!”, in a delighted voice: Mother Meera had broken into their conversation via a third phoneline, something she rarely did. The moment I heard my boss say Meera’s name, an odd and wonderful thing happened.

I was aware of my body sitting there at the keyboard, and of my boss’s voice talking to Meera over the phone. But simultaneously I felt suspended in a vast sea of light, an ocean that was pure consciousness and personally aware of me. That ocean knew me down to my smallest particle, supported me unreservedly and without question, and—most wondrous of all—desired nothing from me in return, because it needed nothing, being complete within itself. I had never experienced unconditional love before, and I wept uncontrollably sitting there at my typewriter in that environmental law office.

The experience faded, as such numinous experiences usually do. But the memory of it has never faded. I know what unconditional love feels like, and my experience of it has enabled me—rarely, to be sure, and not without considerable vacillation—to have moments in which I have been enabled to show unconditional love to others. And I believe that only by experiencing the divine heart of love in this way can we be raised to the most creative level of consciousness of all: To Know That One Already Has.

NEXT: To Know That One Already Has.

To Give

homelessmenhuggingI began this thread by reviewing the least creative levels of consciousness, those levels that limit most the creative expression of consciousness in physical reality. These consciousness levels I call:

  • To Control and To Be Controlled Absolutely
  • To Force and To Be Forced
  • To Threaten and To Be Threatened  
  • To Blame and To Be Blamed Undeservedly 

To raise myself from these levels of consciousness, all I need do is say, “Yes,” to the reality of my suffering and be willing to learn from my experience. This immediately brings me to the more creative level of consciousness that I call:

  • To Accept With Intent to Learn

Next I needed to understand how my situation came about, including any forces involved in its creation and maintenance. To accomplish this understanding, I found I needed to ask questions: first, questions designed to uncover the physical and psychological processes involved in my suffering; and second, if I required further understanding, questions designed to uncover the broader spiritual, theoretical, or historical processes involved in my suffering. Asking these questions raised me to the next most creative levels of consciousness, levels that I call:

  • To Understand Physically
  • To Understand Spiritually

Now I find myself at the next most creative level of consciousness, the level of consciousness I call:

  • To Give

To Give is a dynamic level of consciousness, one that involves willingness to take any and all nonabusive steps necessary To Give myself the physical, emotional, intellectual, or spiritual resources required for healing the situation that is causing my suffering. Finding such resources almost always involves asking others for help. This can be very hard to do, particularly if I am ashamed of the part I may have played in bringing my situation about or permitting it to come about. Such shame arises from the consciousness level of To Blame. And we have seen already that in order to raise myself from my the consciousness level of To Blame I must accept that I feel this way and be willing to learn from it. This raises me from the consciousness level of To Blame to the level I call To Accept With Intent to Learn, which in turn opens my mind To Understand Physically and Spiritually the dynamics of my shame and readies me To Give myself the help I need to heal my situation.

The wonderful thing is that, once I get into the habit of taking the action to give myself the help I need to relieve my suffering, that attitude of To Give overflows to others. I find an inner strength welling up in me, a feeling of sureness, dignity, and rightness that others see and wish to emulate. Giving from an overflow of enjoyed resources is a very different experience from the kind of codependent giving that many of us mistake for noble spirituality. It raises one immediately to the level of consciousness that I call To Love.

Don’t misunderstand me here: sacrifice has its place in spiritual evolution. But sacrifice as it is commonly practiced by religious ascetics and martyrs often arises from the consciousness level of To Force, and does not, in the end, succeed in healing the endless power struggle that characterizes so much of civilization. (To understand the proper place of sacrifice in the greater scheme of things, see my future blog, To Know That One Already Has.)

NEXT: To Love.

To Understand Spiritually

buddhaSometimes understanding of the physical and psychological elements and processes involved in a painful situation is not enough to correct the situation, or to prevent the situation from occurring. In such cases it may be helpful to ask questions designed to uncover the greater or deeper context in which the situation has arisen. Understanding a situation from the broadest possible viewpoint I call To Understand Spiritually.

What I consider broad understanding may not be what you consider broad understanding. To the materialist, the broadest possible understanding of a situation may be accomplished by considering the theoretical, philosophical, ethical, moral, historical, or cultural influences on the situation. To the religiously inclined person, the broadest possible understanding may involve exploring the karmic, energic, metaphysical, mythic, or divine influences on the situation.

I consider both approaches useful as long as the seeker of understanding maintains an open mind during the search. Some of us become so attached to a particular way of looking at the world that we become blind to certain truths. It is all too easy to dismiss elements of a situation when they appear to challenge one’s belief systems.

It is vital to bear in mind that the purpose of understanding my painful situation is so that I can take steps to relieve the suffering my situation is causing me. This may seem obvious, but I have found that in many cases, despite years of suffering over a situation of force, threat, or blame, I find that I resist taking the steps necessary to change my situation. Sometimes my resistance is connected to fear of failure or fear of punishment should I succeed in changing my situation (threat). Sometimes my resistance is connected to belief that I do not deserve for my suffering to be relieved (blame). In such cases, I must recognize and accept my resistance with the intention of learning from it, just as I had to do when I began raising myself from control, force, threat, and blame in the first place.

By continuously cultivating an attitude of willingness to accept and learn from reality, I keep my heart open to positive change. And this enables me to attain an even more creative level of consciousness, the level of consciousness that I call To Give.

NEXT: To Give.

To Understand Physically

magnifying_glassOnce a sufferer has lifted him- or herself from To Control Absolutely, To Force, To Threaten, and To Blame to the consciousness level of To Accept With Intent To Learn, the sufferer naturally moves into the next more creative levels of consciousness, which I call To Understand Physically and To Understand Spiritually. How does one move to these levels? By asking questions.

All human progress, whether personal or public, comes from individuals asking questions. Physical understanding involves asking questions about the physical and psychological processes and elements involved in a situation:

  • Who is involved in the situation?
  • What exactly is happening?
  • When did the situation first manifest?
  • Where did the situation first manifest?
  • How did the situation come about?

And so forth. Asking such questions lifts the consciousness to the level I call To Understand Physically, and the answers can equip one to take practical action to balance, heal, escape from, or exploit a painful situation to one’s benefit.

Physical understanding is sufficient for solving a great many of the problems we face every day. But sometimes our suffering is so great, or the causes of our suffering are so elusive or problematical, that a deeper understanding of our situation is called for. And that brings the questioner to the next level of consciousness, which I call To Understand Spiritually.

To Accept With Intent To Learn

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At the heart of consciousness is a level I call To Accept With Intent To Learn. One achieves this level of consciousness simply by saying, “Yes,” to whatever spiritual, intellectual, emotional, or physical pain one finds oneself resisting.  Please note that “To Accept With Intent To Learn” is not the same thing as:

  • To agree that the pain is just;
  • To agree that I deserve the pain because I am a bad person;
  • To surrender to the pain and let it overwhelm me;
  • To wallow in the pain; or
  • To glorify the pain as a some kind of spiritual, moral, or ethical martyrdom.

To Accept With Intent To Learn means that I accept that this is the situation I am experiencing right now and that I wish to acknowledge it fully so I may learn from it. In other words, I agree to cooperate fully with the reality of a painful situation so that the problem underlying the pain can be solved and the suffering can be relieved.

Taking this attitude of acceptance instantaneously raises consciousness from the uncreative levels I call To Control Absolutely, To Force, To Threaten, and To Blame to the next level of consciousness, which I call To Understand Physically.

Many of us find it much easier to accept and learn from others than we do to accept and learn from ourselves. Therefore the flip side of To Accept With Intent To Learn is To Accept Oneself With Intent To Learn. Taking this attitude of self-acceptance instantaneously raises consciousness from the uncreative levels I call To Permit Oneself To Be Controlled Absolutely, To Be Forced, To Be Threatened, and To Accept Blame That One Does Not Deserve to the next level of consciousness, which I call To Understand Oneself Physically.

NEXT: To Understand Physically.

To Blame

ImageTo Blame is the fourth least creative level of consciousness after To Control Absolutely, To Force, and To Threaten. As To Threaten focuses the soul’s attention on the future, thus inhibiting balanced creative action in the face of fear, so To Blame traps the soul in the past. Persons focused on the consciousness level of To Blame cannot stop hating, and therefore can never be free of those forces that have hurt them.

To Blame consciousness not only traps those focused within it, forcing them to relive over and over again the hurts of the past; it also erodes, slowly but surely, their sense of proportion and responsibility, until the original hurt and its perpetrators loom larger and larger in the consciousness until they become a sufferer’s Higher Power. To Blame consciousness also erodes one’s sense of responsibility, tempting the soul to attribute all its travails to the persons and incidents who have harmed it, therefore robbing the soul of its power to make positive choices.

Does this mean that we must crush our anger over wrongs done us and throw ourselves with gritted teeth into the arms of forgiveness? Of course not. The only way to forgiveness is through anger: acknowledging it; using it to help us take positive steps to extricate ourselves from harmful situations and people; and when we feel safe enough to do so, slowly beginning to permit ourselves to soften around our anger and the memories that gave rise to it. Eventually the hurts become part of the landscape of the inner self, like the soft eroded hills of the Appalachians, which once, eons ago, were massive and forbidding.

The flip side of To Blame is To Accept Blame One Does Not Deserve. Unjust guilt feelings and the shame that accompanies them can drive people to suicide. Abused children and spouses frequently blame themselves for their abusers’ actions; rape sufferers have often been accused of “asking for it” because they were dressed in a sexually appealing way when they were violated. Religious groups regularly target specific fringe populations as particularly hateful to God. And when members of such fringe populations internalize that hatred, accepting that censure, terrible things can happen.

My former pastor, a kind and brilliant man who ran the Evangelical Presbyterian Church I once belonged to, committed suicide because he was homosexual. He was not a child molester. He had not hidden his attraction to men from the board of elders who oversaw his stewardship of the church, and had vowed a celibate life. He had continued to pastor his congregation with wisdom and prudence, and was known in the larger community for his work in comforting dying AIDS patients. But in the end, his acceptance of our religious group’s censure of homosexual desire killed him.

To Control Absolutely, To Force, To Threaten, and To Blame are the four least creative consciousness levels. And they are not static; once the consciousness starts to collapse, it tends to keep going. People who blame others tend to be easily threatened. Fearful people tend to turn to force to protect themselves. And violent people engender violent societies in which individual freedoms are eventually abrogated entirely.

How does one stop the collapse of one’s consciousness into less and less creative levels? How does one lift oneself out of To Control or To Be Controlled, To Force or To Be Forced, To Threaten or To Be Threatened, To Blame or To Accept Blame One Does Not Deserve?

NEXT: To Accept With Intent To Learn.

To Threaten

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Slightly more creative than To Force is the consciousness level that I call To Threaten. Persons operating on this consciousness level live in the future almost exclusively. As a result, their power and resources are consumed in barricading themselves against enemies that may not yet exist and disasters that may never materialize. Consumed by fear and dread, they may project onto innocent bystanders their fears of betrayal and humiliation, thereby creating the ideal conditions for those very experiences, which thrive in conditions of suspicion and panic.

The consciousness level of To Threaten easily collapses into the consciousness level of To Force, as anyone can tell you who has witnessed a panicked crowd erupt into violence. Groups operating on the level of To Threaten are easily controlled by politicians and religious tyrants, so keeping a population afraid is a popular technique employed by Force-level rulers throughout history.

The other side of To Threaten is To Be Threatened. Persons who have suffered from To Be Threatened consciousness for long periods frequently have blocks to their spleen chakras, the energy centers around the mid-abdomen associated with evaluation, trust, and analytical ability.  When I allow my reason and intuition to be clouded by brain chemicals urging me to fight or flee, I cannot attain the objectivity to properly assess my situation. In such cases I am more likely to become a victim.

NEXT: To Blame.

To Force

mushroomcloudSlightly more creative than the level of consciousness I call “To Control Absolutely” is the level of consciousness I call To Force. People and civilizations operating on the consciousness level of To Force—like those on the level of To Control Absolutely—still tend to view the world around them as an enemy to be conquered in order to obtain wanted safety, housing, food, sex, goods, and other commodities. However, people operating on the level of To Force are not as ego-blinded as those on the level of To Control Absolutely. Though self-centered, they are capable of empathy, once they get their needs met; and though they may glorify militarism, conquest, and aggression, they can at times relax and feel more or less secure, something that those on the level of To Control Absolutely can never do.

People invested in To Force can include not only violent criminals, violent gang members, militant groups and professional mercenaries, but can also include aggressive corporations, businesses that despoil the environment for profit, spouse- child- and animal-abusers, thieves and barroom brawlers—all those who believe that they must take what they want in order to enjoy it, rather than learn to cooperate with others to get their needs met.

The flip side of To Force is the consciousness-level I call To Allow Oneself To Be Forced or To Allow Oneself To Be Victimized. This consciousness level does not include random or one-time abuse victims who are truly incapable of removing themselves from the line of fire. This consciousness level includes those who believe that the only way they can get the security or love they want is to allow themselves to be subjected to repeated abuse, and who therefore refuse to remove themselves from abusive situations even though it is in their power to do so. People stuck on this level of consciousness can also include those who abuse their bodies for the sake of religion, fitness, peace of mind, or weight loss; binge eaters; binge dieters; anorexics; bulimics; exercise addicts; compulsive eaters; those who cut themselves to relieve anxiety; and sadomasochists. In such cases, one can be both abuser and victim simultaneously.

Root chakra blocks are common among persons operating on the consciousness level of To Force and To Allow Oneself To Be Forced. Impotence, feelings of powerlessness, frustration, and rage can jeopardize job, sex life, and material security. Persons operating on these consciousness levels are also much more likely to become involved in workplace accidents, car crashes, and premature fatalities.

NEXT: To Threaten.