Open Your Heart

burning heart on hands.It is never an open heart that hurts. It is always a closed one.

It is when we meet someone whose heart is closed us to us and we in turn close ours, that it hurts.

It is when we close our hearts to the world because love is taken away from us, that suffering begins.

Keeping our heart open is never painful. Closing it always is.

With practice we can learn to keep our heart open even when we experience loss or meet someone whose heart is closed to us.

It is when we choose love instead of fear that our situation will transform, our suffering will end and miracles will occur naturally as expressions of love.

A miracle is merely the translation of denial into truth. 

Because only love is real.

(This post is largely inspired by the works of Marianne Williamson. Direct quotes from A Course in Miracles in italics).

Free Will vs Handing Our Power Over

Climber on the summit.I guess I have been confused with free will for quite some time. I know I have it and that it is one of the fundamental laws of our existence. But I haven’t realized that it means that it is free. It doesn’t mean I have to be in control all the time. It only means that I may choose to be in control if that is my wish.

This means I may also choose to hand it over to God, My Higher Power, the Holy Spirit or whomever I choose to invite into my life. As a student of A Course in Miracles, I will choose the Holy Spirit.

I can look at my current life experience like my car. My own car. Since it is my car I can choose to drive it myself and I can choose to drive it wherever I want. If I choose to go driving in areas where I have no clue as to where I am or what lies ahead I will probably get lost. Which has happened many times.

I can however choose to invite the Holy Spirit into the driver’s seat and schooch over to the passenger seat myself, trusting that the Holy Spirit knows the road better than I do. That he knows where I should go and when, in the best interest of myself and everyone involved. This is no violation of my free will since I allow him to take control. At any point I can choose to kick him out and take over the driving myself. That is always my decision.

Today I invite the Holy Spirit into my driver’s seat. Please take over the steering wheel and take me to where I want to be. You know the way, and you know how to get there swiftly, safely and harmoniously. For everyone involved.

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of attending the Sunday service at Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles and during Rev. Michael B. Beckwith’s speech he said that fear leads to manipulation. Love leads to right action.

Key of successThat’s right. I believe that fear prevents us from handing over our power and instead try to sort out and manipulate our surroundings ourselves. With limited results. Love will allow us to trust a power greater than ourselves to lead us to wonderful places. The Universe has any miracle available at all times, and all I have to do is to get out of the way and allow it to work its wonders.

God only knows that my own futile attempts to drive the car has lead me astray so many times. Till now.

So Holy Spirit: Here are my car keys! Let’s go on a roadtrip. You know the way, so I’ll just sit back and enjoy the ride.

K

The Non-Existence of Nothing, Fear, Darkness and Lies

WaterfallIntoOceanOne of my favorite stories as a child was The Neverending Story where Bastian is called out to save the wondrous land of Fantastica from total destruction. The Nothing is slowly but surely consuming everything in its path, leaving a void of nothingness where once was life, colors and joy thriving in harmony. Everything and everyone in Fantastica are trying to escape this unspeakable menace of darkness and destruction, all flocking toward the Ivory Tower hoping that the empress can save them from total annihilation.

The ultimate solution to stop this juggernaut of destruction is as beautiful as it is simple: Bastian must shout his dead mother’s name. This does not just miraculously restore all of Fantastica to its former glory but also ensures its neverending expansion. But why does it have to be his mother’s name? Why not something else? Because the love he feels for his late mother is the purest form of unconditional love that is available to him. His mother’s name is therefore merely a symbol. The real healer here is the feeling of unconditional love it triggers within him. It didn’t even go on to repair anything. It just miraculously undid the rampages of The Nothing as if they had never happened in the first place.

This is beautiful. And as a student of A Course in Miracles there is a lot to appreciate in the message of The Neverending Story.

What is nothingness? What is darkness? What is fear?

Most people would be able to answer the first one quite easily. Nothingness is nothing. It’s the absence of something, anything and everything. It doesn’t exist. It’s as simple as that.

And darkness? Does it exist? Although darkness can feel very real in the blackness of your bedroom it doesn’t change the fact that it is simply the absence of light. Nothing else. According to A Course in Miracles darkness possesses no qualities of its own because light abolishes darkness merely by showing you it is not there. You cannot pour darkness into a lit room, but you pour light into a darkened room every time you flip the light switch.

Conflict, close up of two fists hitting each other over dramaticThen what about fear? Arguably the single most dominant force in the world of man. Fear tears us apart emotionally. Fear judges. Fear leads us to war with ourselves, our lovers, our friends, and our enemies alike.

What if fear has a relationship to love that is identical to the one that darkness has to light? Could it be that fear is not the presence of an evil and negative force, but rather only the absence of love. Is fear actually merely the absence of something good rather than the presence of something bad? Could it be this simple?

Yes it could. And as a student of A Course in Miracles I am getting increasingly certain that it is.

The Course teaches that only love is real. All else is an illusion of the mind. But then how can all the fear, misery and suffering in our lives, not to speak of in the world as a whole feel and look so real? There is unfathomable misery experienced by the millions on our planet every day. How can this not be real?

Although something painful may in fact seem and feel very real, it is also a matter of perception. Fear and suffering is subjective, felt in varying degrees depending on who is feeling it. It is, however only felt by the one who suffers. Anyone else can only empathetically imagine it, but not experience it. It is not their reality. Yet, it can feel very real because it has been made by our mind, and we will believe in everything we make. All beliefs are real to the believer.

Consider this:

You can make up a lie. You can tell this lie to a million people and these people all believe you. That doesn’t make your invented construct any more true or real, although it will feel real to the the one million people who believe you. What happens when the light of truth shines on a lie? The perceived realness of the lie dissolves as if it never existed at all. Do you remember Bernard Madoff’s ponzi scheme where countless of people’s savings vaporized in thin air as if it were never even there? In truth their money was gone as soon as it was put in the hands of Madoff, and their previous belief in that their money was safe did not in any way alter the fact that their savings no longer existed.

If we as human beings can accept that fear and love share the exact same relationship to each other as darkness does to light, it will transform our entire destiny. Because we will learn that the only cure to fear and suffering is love.

The Course teaches that whenever you find yourself in pain, a very appropriate question you can ask yourself is where am I not giving love in this situation? Contrary to popular belief giving love freely is never painful. It is when we close our hearts and start withholding love that the pain begins.

Broken Heart on Roses - Faded

Just think about it. What if fear, pain and suffering don’t really exist, but are only constructs of our delusional and out-of-control minds? Constructs we insist on believing in like we believe in so many lies we individually and collectively have made up. What if we could eradicate fear in our own lives simply by just loving more? What if we, like Bastian, had a magical word that could undo all the negativity that diminishes our enjoyment of life?

Just what if?

What if we as a culture and as a species haven’t yet evolved into living in love and harmony with each other, nature and the rest of the planet? (See, it doesn’t sound as crazy anymore, does it?). And what if the one thing that is missing every single time something is out of whack is something as simple, but yet infinitely powerful, as unconditional love?

Now that would be a revolution.

K

Are you growing through what you are going through?

WalkingOnWater

Life presents you with all sorts of problems and difficulties. Situations don’t turn out the way you want them to, people let you down and things go pear-shaped. As much as these struggles, big or small, are an integral part of everybody’s life, it is pretty normal to feel that something has gone wrong somewhere. The unpleasant notion that you are experiencing something you shouldn’t be experiencing in an ideal world.

MuscularBlackManPushupsI like to think that just as physical strength is not built while chilling out on the sofa, mental and spiritual strength is not created while floating around on a pink cloud. We need problems to grow and learn. Without a problem there can never be a solution. Without resistance there can never be any release.

When you learn something in school you are probably learning it because you don’t already know it. You attend lessons and are given problems in the form of assignments and exercises to practice your new skills. Everyone accepts this as a natural way of learning. However, when life presents you with the same opportunities to grow, learn and refine your skill-set then the normal response is to freak out and see the whole situation as something undesired. Something must have gone wrong.

Not long ago a friend came to me with a relationship problem. She has struggled in the relationship department for a while, and had now found a partner who wasn’t giving her what she wanted. She could not get the validation she craved and was therefore considering ending the relationship as she felt that the guy was not worthy of her. Just like many of her well-meaning girlfriends had already assured her he wasn’t.

My first reaction when listening to her talking about her heartache, doubts and stress in her relationship was that life had decided to send her a lesson in the form of a man who was not feeding her insecurities. This is an opportunity for her to learn that no one can ever love you enough if you don’t love yourself, and an opportunity to learn that the validation of others should be completely irrelevant. Others can only make you feel bad if you give them the power to rule your world.

Some might say that this is a cold response that lacks empathy. Don’t get me wrong, I have been where she is and know how devastatingly painful it is to crave the attention of someone who is not giving it to you. However, it was only through going through this pain and refusing to see it as something that was going to get to me, I was able to realize that I alone am in charge of how I feel. I had to learn this if I am ever to have a healthy relationship with anyone, and the universe presented me with the perfect learning situation for this. At a time when I was ready.

vintage flowers backgroundLife’s lessons should not be seen as punishment, but rather the opposite. It means that you are ready to grow some more, that you have the chance to become something greater and stronger than you already are. Tackling problems with this attitude is empowerment on a new level. Don’t ever see yourself as a victim, because trust me, the rest of the world is not seeing you as a victim until you proclaim that you are one. And how do we proclaim this? By complaining about the unfairness of your miserable life, which through the law of attraction just makes sure there is a steady supply of gloom headed your way.

A Course in Miracles starts by saying that it is a required course, which I think is a great way of seeing life. I see life as a course and embrace the contrast that is headed my way, because it was attracted by the best in me to make me stronger than I was before.

I saw an inspirational quote in a gym once:

  • It doesn’t get easier. You just get better.

I think that sums up life pretty well. Take every opportunity to grow and don’t have a meltdown whenever the universe sends you a lesson you can learn from. And chill out! It’s not like any of us are getting out alive.

Growingly yours,

Kristian

 

PS! Just like when you fail something in school, the universe will keep sending you the same lesson over and over again until you get it. How many times you want to re-live the same problem depends on how eager you are to learn.

 

Insidious Ego In My Head

The world as we know it is mostly driven by egos. On all levels. From conflicts between nations and religious warfare via corporate competition and political campaigns down to workplace politics, family dynamics and intimate relations. Although to various degrees, all of us have this innate urge to be heard, respected and appraised by others. And when this doesn’t happen (and I dare say this seems to happen more often than not) we react in a multitude of ways ranging from mildly indignant to downright cruel. Because it is only normal to react when our egos are hurt, right? Maybe. But it is not the only way, and certainly not the best way. Thankfully.

As I see it, the non-physical part of what I like to call me, is comprised of three components: my soul, my mind and my ego.

Zen stonesFirst and foremost is my soul which is the subtle essence of who I really am. The soul is indestructible, eternal and divine and the only part of my whole being which is capable of love as well as the source of my intuition.

Secondly, is my chattering and at times ungovernable mind. A cognitive tool I have been given to navigate this life experience, and until not long ago my mind was more or less in charge of the whole shebang I call life. I am slowly but surely learning to put my mind in the place where it belongs, namely as my faithful and obedient servant.

Then there is this third part. Easily insulted and humiliated, never completely satisfied and on an eternal mission to detect and mercilessly judge flaws in myself and others. It is everything my soul is not. It is my ego.

My earliest memory of having consciously thought of the phenomenon of the ego was several years back. Someone I dated repeatedly exclaimed “Well, I do have an ego!!” in order to justify his less amicable actions. Having never thought of this before I sort of initially assumed that honoring one’s ego was a normal and just thing to do. -I deserve to put me first! Needless to say, our little union quickly became history.

In Alcoholics Anonymous on the other hand, you learn that an important aspect the 12-step program of recovery is ego deflation. The ego is the origin of Stinkin’ thinkin’ and something that should never be honored. This resonated more with me than the previous notion.

With time I sort of developed an attitude of trying to recognize when my reactions were ego based and if they were, then try not to honor those influences. This is of course something that is easier said than done when gallons of adrenalin are flushing pure, undiluted insanity through your system and a clear, loving thought is nowhere to be seen. I had however not yet discovered the true nature of the ego: Pure malice.

DevilFace

The ego is “suspicious at best and vicious at worst.” And we should not underestimate its vengeance.Marianne Williamson

It was however not until I heard Marianne Williamson’s words on the ego in a recording from a workshop she held on A Course in Miracles that the penny really dropped. Never again could I be fooled into consciously believing that the ego should be honored some times and ignored other times. It will never have my best interest at heart. Not in a million years.

The Ego is an impostor that will make me self-sabotage everything good coming my way. It will set me up for failure and then mock me afterwards for having been so stupid to take the bait:

– Go on!! You know you want to! You deserve it!! You will enjoy it. Everyone else is doing it!! Come on now!

Then disaster strikes as if often does when I do something I shouldn’t have. And guess who stands shamelessly at the other end ready to assess my performance?

– How could you have been so stupid?? You should have known it would end like this!! It did the last time! You messed up again!! You’re hopeless!

This is only one of the numerous methods the ego has for making life miserable. Another effective trick is to convince me that I want, deserve and am worthy of something like a certain job or a romantic relationship, only to start finding flaws with my new job or special someone once it arrives. Never satisfied and always rejecting the now as anything but ideal and perfect. -There has to be something better out there!?! This can’t be it?!? Not to forget the oh-so-effective: This is too good to be true (-must find flaws)!

Marianne Williamson explained how she did not use to believe the Devil was real. She would convince herself: -The Devil only exists in my head, only to realize that in her head was the worst possible place in the universe it could be. Alas, meet your ego: The true Devil in your head!

Man on top of mountainSo how do we get rid of this dark force within us? We can’t eradicate the ego any more than we can eradicate darkness. But just like darkness cannot exist when light is shone on it, the power of the ego vanishes in the face of love. We need to recognize it for what it is, namely a force that is not acting in our best interest, and then choose not to act on the impulses it sends us. Choosing one’s reactions and emotions sounds like sorcery to many, but this is completely doable with practice. Meditation is an excellent way to build the mental stamina needed to face your ego without fear or compromise. Your ego can only ever hurt you or boss you around if you let it. 

Try to become aware of this the next time you feel the adrenalin pumping through your veins and you’re about to do something that may give you instant satisfaction but are likely to regret later. Like sending that angry email or buying that gorgeous thing you really cannot afford. Try to stop and ask yourself: Is this my ego trying to take over the show? And then try to choose a reaction that is in your best interest long-term. This is what true freedom is. Freedom from the ego’s cunning ways to make us screw things up.

In The Matrix the ubiquitous Agent Smith compares us humans to a virus on this planet. In our current state he might be on to something but I don’t think the human race is altogether incapable of harmony and sustainable abundance. That is if we collectively can learn to embrace our loving souls instead of our vicious egos. As a species we have the ability to create magnificent wonders as well as unfathomable destruction. Both forces are intrinsically embedded within every single one of us, in the form of the soul and the ego. Which voice we choose to make our master however, is entirely up to us.

Soulfully Yours,

Kristian