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Posts Tagged ‘ego’

Back on the Bus

Posted by Amanda Gray on January 18, 2015

I had interviews last week for a new employment position.  Just before my second interview, I had an interesting dream:

I’m shopping with my mom, when, suddenly, I remember I have an interview at 11:30 AM.  As I look at my watch, I think that there’s no way I’ll be able to get to the interview on time.  I consider calling the employer to tell them of my mistake, or to reschedule, but then I remember that there’s a direct bus that could work.   

I find myself on the bus.  There’s several other people, but it’s not too full or too empty.  I start a conversation with someone next to me (a male).  I share my earlier fears and reveal my next fear: I’m wearing my shabbiest clothes – not at all appropriate for an interview!  I consider what I can do.  I decide that I’ll try to buy a nice jacket when I get off the bus, stretch the time, and be, perhaps 5 minutes late for the meeting.  There’s also some kind of discussion about my favourite movie of all time, which I decide is Star Wars, Return of the Jedi.  I consider that I should bring a DVD of this to my meeting – and I think I take a ‘back in time’ aside in order to pick it up at home.

As I get off the bus, I see that I have two minutes.  I race around the mall stores, but there’s too much choice, and there’s no jackets quickly apparent on the front racks. I’m wasting too much time.  So I decide to just take off the shabbiest clothing item I’m wearing, which is a white, threadbare vest, with several black marks on it.  

I get to my interview, which now appears to be with spiritual teacher, Adyashanti.  I join a group of students on the floor in front of Adya and his presentation whiteboard.  I have my DVD of Return of the Jedi and I notice that I’m wearing a nice, bright orange jersey top.  A perfectly sensible outfit for a spiritual student.  I’m entirely relieved. Edmonton City Bus

The dream tells me that I’m back on the bus – involved again with a community/group journey.  The bus isn’t parked anymore, nor is it predicting some sort of ‘end of game’ scenario (see post Erasing Programs, Rewriting Software).  It’s also interesting how every time my dream character thinks there’s a problem, it falls away with no effort.

The next item for attention is clothing.  Clothing has to do with the persona: anxieties about fitting in and being ‘well-suited’ for a new role.  Focus is on the upper body, which may be related to the heart.  White – the vest – is a color of light, purity, newness, and awareness.  But it’s also dirty and old, and I’m ashamed of it, indicating some self-worth issues.  And then I’m throwing it away, indicating a willing transition, and letting go of the past.  Discarding the shame.  Orange – the jersey top – according to my favourite dream resource (Cloud Nine – A Dreamers Dictionary) – is a color of “Balancing, creative expression, cutting through/penetrating, and female strength.”  Another book considers orange to represent nervous energy/anxiety.  I like the color, and it’s definitely energetic.  It also brings to mind ‘safety clothing’, fresh citrus fruit, and carrots.  So, I consider it a positive symbol in this context.

At the end, my meeting is with Adyashanti.  A symbol of spiritual guidance, enlightenment and love.  I become a student in the dream.  This, to me, indicates a very positive teaching/learning situation.  A decision to abandon little ego choices and choose, instead, with the higher holy Self.  I take this as a sign that I’ve truly kicked my ‘actor’ addiction – an egoic fantasy to ‘create’ myself.  That actor stuff never seemed to come naturally, and it never brought me much peace, just lots of effort.  So, I truly don’t want the egos tiny, self-serving goals anymore.  They’re not ever intended to be reached, actually, anyway.  Now, what I REALLY WANT is to cooperate with the universe, and trust that what’s simply given will bring me the greatest eternal gifts: peace, freedom, and joy.

Return of the Jedi was a movie I particularly loved when I was 13 years old.  This symbol comes up, first, because it may indeed be my favourite movie of all time, but also because it might be pointing to something specific about that TIME.  So, something that was happening around that age that’s arising in consciousness for healing now.  Emotions to be resolved.  What I can think of, that’s significant, is that it was the time of my first crush – with Luke Skywalker.  Something in his mysterious, dark cloaked entrance before Jabba the Hutt, his power using the force, and his brave actions saving everybody, really addled my hormonal and spongy teenage mind.  It was my first experience with ‘love’, and I think I felt that a movie character was ‘safe’ to love.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Since this dream, I’ve been hired for the company that was interviewing me.  Yippee!!  I feel like this dream was already predicting success, and showing me that it’s ‘safe’ to proceed.  I’m SOOOOOOO READY!!  And THRILLED.  And ON BOARD.  There’s also several symbols of the job situation itself that are interesting:

*  Keys: “A key part of yourself, the crux of an issue.  Keys unlock the doors of mystery; expose hidden/secret knowledge; lead to awareness/growth. They can represent release/freedom from entrapment, power, authority, honour (‘keys to the city’).  The union of opposites, therefore reduction of tension.”  I’d also add: security.  It also makes me think of the ‘Keymaster’ from Ghostbusters, who, in union with the ‘Gatekeeper’, opened a powerful portal.  And the Keymaster from the second Matrix movie, the one who had the key for Neo to get to the Architect.  Highly symbolically interesting!

*  Justice:  “Bringing equality, harmony or stability into a situation or relationship.  Asserting our rights and upholding the rights of others.  Balance in consciousness.”

*  School:  There’s that teaching/learning situation. Curiosity, play, and discovery.

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In reference to the ACIM passages I listed in my last post (Erasing Programs, Rewriting Software):  Yes, symbols are meaningless, ultimately, but it doesn’t mean spirit can’t use them while we have need of them.  Everything is a message from spirit, if we take it that way.  All pointing to our ultimate function – the unification of consciousness.  And THAT’S my REAL job. 

 Red heartIn love

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Following Inspiration

Posted by Amanda Gray on October 4, 2012

I spent nearly 3 months this past summer at the Living Miracles Monastery in Utah, USA.  Since my arrival, in May, I haven’t been inspired to blog.  An early lesson at the monastery taught me that I had been attempting to use writing to separate ‘true’ thoughts from ‘untrue’ thoughts.  A Course in Miracles teaches that an illusion is an illusion, full stop.  Therefore, no thought is true.

Spirit moves via inspiration, not thinking.  So, while I haven’t been inspired to write, and make lengthy stories out of a lot of blah blah blah, I have been inspired to make short videos.  Below is a link to my most recent creation – a music video – that, we might say, somewhat encapsulates my experiences at the monastery.  If you’re particularly keen, you may also notice other videos on my AnagramDay channel that were created while I was at the monastery.  Mostly, they’re videos of our ‘project days’ in which we prepared for the Strawberry Fields Forever Music Festival and Enlightenment Retreat at the end of July.  Enjoy!

 

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Slippery, Slippery

Posted by Amanda Gray on March 14, 2012

This morning, I’m on crack.  Not literally.  I only use that phrase to describe a quality of feeling.  The ideas that came to me this morning are so out-of-the-box that they induce a feeling that’s sort-of like intoxication.  The revelations are so ephemeral, so “slippery”, that the mind can’t grasp them, and so it’s orientation becomes rather “spacey”.

I’m just going to write how it came to me, and you can make heads or tails of it as you like.

I began on page 312 of the Text of A Course in Miracles, The Holy Instant and Special Relationships.  It says:

The holy instant is the Holy Spirit’s most useful learning device for teaching you love’s meaning. For it’s purpose is to suspend judgement entirely. Judgement always rests on the past, for past experience is the basis on which you judge. Judgement becomes impossible without the past, for without it you do not understand anything. You would make no attempt to judge, because it would be quite apparent to you that you do not understand what anything means. You are afraid of this because you believe that without the ego, all would be chaos. Yet I assure you that without the ego, all would be love.

The past is the ego’s chief learning device, for it is in the past that you learned to define your own needs and acquired methods for meeting them on your own terms.

I saw this as the way in which I create boundaries.  For example, I’ll give another this much cake, but not that much cake.  Then, the lesson goes on to say:

Yet you had judged against yourself first, or you would never have imagined that you needed your brothers as they were not. Unless you had seen yourself without love, you could not have judged them so like you in lack.

Then, to the next section on page 314, The Holy Instant and the Laws of God:

You have so little faith in yourself because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect love is in you. And so you seek without for what you cannot find without.

And:

God is an idea.

And:

In the holy instant you recognize the idea of love in you, and unite this idea with the Mind that thought it, and could not relinquish it.

Then I began to write about my experience:

I judge the ego/body of myself, guilt arises, then I project the guilt and judge the ego/body of another. I’m believing that because I’m sometimes selfish or annoyed, etc., that it makes me weak or incomplete. That I somehow need to fix myself, or another. I’m believing that the presence of selfishness casts out the presence of perfect love/God. But what if these IDEAS can and do co-exist? It’s only my DECISION to make “selfishness” a “bad” thing and keep it separate from “love” which is a “good” thing. I’m creating these arbitrary boundaries because I think I know something about what’s good & bad, what’s ego & Self.  HA!

I can have an IDEA that I’m a person, separate from other people, and project that idea into physical form to give it some authority of reality. Yet, if “ideas leave not their source“, then the projection can’t be “real”. It just seems so, especially if I keep choosing that idea over another idea – perhaps this – that we’re all created by and out of LOVE, so that we’re not separate “people” at all.  And if that idea comes from God, then it hasn’t left its source and we’re all still IN God. If “God” and “me” and “you” are all, simply, IDEAS, then we’re all the SAME. There’s nothing to JUDGE between!

I create separation and boundaries by judging ideas. In improv theatre, it’s called “blocking.”  Improv becomes very difficult if someone rejects ideas offered by their team-mates.  The flow of the improv is interrupted and the audience feels disappointed when an idea isn’t followed through.  As I’ve personally experienced, it’s also internally disruptive and feels terribly awkward.  Back then, I didn’t understand what was going wrong.  In fact, I just blamed my team-mate for doing a bad job.

Here, now I also understand the Course lesson, “I do not know what anything, including this, means.”  It’s because when I use judgement to arbitrarily separate ideas into categories of “good” and “bad”,  accepting some and rejecting others, this only separates me from source.  If I see it, instead, that I don’t know what these ideas MEAN, then I don’t attempt to categorize, I can just accept them all.  Perfect love means perfect acceptance.  If I accept that perfect love is within me, even when I’m feeling greedy or arrogant or angry, then I can accept the truth in the moment, however it arises, and STILL welcome it with LOVE.  In myself, or in another.

The Course says, on page 316:

In the holy instant God is remembered, and the language of communication with all your brothers is remembered with Him. For communication is remembered together, as is truth. There is no exclusion in the holy instant because the past is gone, and with it goes the whole basis for exclusion. Without its source exclusion vanishes. And this permits your Source, and that of all your brothers, to replace it in your awareness. God and the power of God will take Their rightful place in you, and you will experience the full communication of ideas with ideas. Through your ability to do this you will learn what you must be, for you will begin to understand what your Creator is, and what His creation is along with Him.

Ok… too slippery.  Too much… have to stop thinking about it now.

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I am Content, I am Tranquil

Posted by Amanda Gray on November 24, 2011

Normally, I prefer to write when I’m inspired.  Inspiration indicates the presence of spirit, and thus, I expect my words to reflect some amount of truth – as much as my present consciousness will allow, at least.  Yet, the rule would keep me from sharing with you the days, and weeks, where inspiration eludes me, the low points where much learning takes place.  Today, I write, not entirely without inspiration, but with much less than I usually create with.

By looking at the dark – not avoiding or denying it – and by realizing it’s meaninglessness, transcendence takes place.  I’m just coming through such a darkness.  It’s a place that I’ve visited often in my life, and since I started my spiritual journey, every time I visit is a chance to look at it again with fresh eyes.  Thus, due to the spiritual opportunity, I can’t call it a ‘bad’ darkness, and so, ultimately, I’m grateful for it.  Here, I’ll describe what I mean by ‘darkness’:

Habitually, my thoughts are extremely future-centric.  That is, I’m always thinking about the future: how I can make my life better, improve my lifestyle, learn new things, and have exiting adventures in the world.  As I allow myself to become engrossed in this future thinking, disappointment in my current life situation expands, I get headaches and gastritis, and I begin to feel unlovable and unworthy of goodness or pleasure of any kind.  A myriad ideas spring up: “I could take a course,” or “I could put on a play,” or “I could apply for a management position.”  As the thoughts become more convoluted, I begin to feel hopeless and confused about what to do, because I can’t make a definitive decision to confidently move forward with.  I’m stuck.  Then I brutally punish myself, and often attack the people around me too, especially those I most love.

This time, as I went through the usual routine, I really allowed the experience within me.  I watched the panorama of feelings inside my body – guilt, fear, and physical pain – and I watched the duelling oscillation of rejection and abandonment as they clashed their swords in my mind.  I would awake first thing in the morning and the future thoughts would start, immediately followed by intense fear in my gut.  I tried to surrender the fear, but it wouldn’t go away.  Then I considered that perhaps it wasn’t fear, perhaps it was spirit reminding me to be vigilant against the future thoughts.  Ahhh… yes, that was it.  Spirit was with me, in the words of the Course in Miracles, and it reminded me on page 134-135 of the Text:

The Holy Spirit always sides with you and your strength.  As long as you avoid His guidance in any way, you want to be weak.  Yet weakness is frightening.  What else, then, can this decision mean except that you want to be fearful?  The Holy Spirit never asks for sacrifice, but the ego always does.  When you are confused about this distinction in motivation, it can only be due to projection.  Projection is a confusion in motivation, and given this confusion, trust becomes impossible.  No one gladly obeys a guide he does not trust, but this does not mean that the guide is untrustworthy.  In this case, it always means that the follower is.  However, this, too, is merely a matter of his own belief.  Believing that he can betray, he believes that everything can betray him.  Yet this is only because he has elected to follow false guidance.  Unable to follow this guidance without fear, he associates fear with guidance, and refuses to follow any guidance at all.  […]  The only way out of the error is to decide that you do not have to decide anything.

Yes, it’s true that, often, I don’t trust myself.  What is it that I betray?  I betray contentment and peace with God’s Will – which means – what is happening right now: my current life situation.  Is there any problem with my life situation right now?  No.  Are all my needs being met?  Yes.  Thus, there’s nothing I need to decide.  I only need to let go of all the twisting, treacherous, Self betraying thoughts.

As my gastritis has also been acting up lately, I consulted my Dr. John DiamondLife Energy: Using the Meridians to Unlock the Hidden Power of Your Emotions, Life Energy book this morning.  In the section for the stomach meridian, I read about ‘Disappointment’:

Disappointment with oneself is reflected in a stomach meridian energy imbalance.  One may feel that he has let himself and others down, that he deserves to be demoted and has demoted himself in his own eyes.

So, I experience a chronic disappointment in myself and in my life situation.  An I’m not, and it’s not good enough.  That I need to prove my worth by having a better situation – more money, more respect, more knowledge, etc.

And also:

The prototype of this situation is a mother with her baby at her breast, supplying the baby’s needs. The baby is led to believe that if he is hungry, Mommy will provide the food.  If the food does not arrive, he feels disappointed.  The feeling that lies behind that is that he no longer has his favoured position with Mommy. (It may be significant in this regard that milk is used for the treatment of so many stomach conditions.) 

Yes… like gastritis.  Fancy that.  This passage also reflects the relationship I’m having with my Mom as we’ve returned to living together.  In the past, it’s true, my Mom disappointed me with the food supply.  It may have first occurred shortly after my birth when she returned to the hospital with a kidney infection, and I was abruptly abandoned of both breast milk and her gentle nurturing.  Or perhaps, later, when she was trying to switch my diet from puréed baby food to solid food.  I refused to eat the solid food, a conflict of will ensued between us, and, eventually, I became malnourished and had to be fed the powdered milk that was also being sent to Biafra at the time.  I was also put into the hospital for a week with a gastrointestinal infection.  Obviously, it put great strain, and, particularly, a tendency toward disappointment, on both of us.

This morning, my Mom and I were both expressing pain in the C1 joint at the back of the head – indicating the stomach meridian.  Hers was on the left side, and mine was on the right side.  Peas in a pod.  To correct the stomach meridian imbalance, Dr. Diamond recommends the affirmations, “I am content,” and “I am tranquil.”  Yup, it makes perfect sense.

A Course in Miracles concurs with the text on page 136:

The ego perceives nothing as wholly desirable.  Grace is the natural state of every Son of God.  When he is not in a state of grace, he is out of his natural environment and does not function well.  Everything he does becomes a strain, because he was not created for the environment he has made.

As I trap myself in future-centric thinking, I cannot wholly desire any of the ideas that spring to mind to improve my life, and I forget to be grateful for what I have.  The strain increases because I am trying to make something false and against holy guidance (which comes when needed, not earlier).

God watches over His children and denies them nothing.  Yet when they deny Him they do not know this, because they deny themselves everything.  You who could give the Love of God to everything you see and touch and remember, are literally denying Heaven to yourself.

I deny love to myself, as evidenced in the stomach meridian imbalance.  I deny the pleasure of food through gastritis pain, and the pleasure of rest through neck and headache pain.  As I move into gratitude, with the affirmations that “I AM CONTENT” (satiated) and “I AM TRANQUIL” (rested), I remember spirit and the care and love that is always coming from God.

Yes, these have been very good lessons.  May God’s blessings of contentment and tranquility be with you all, good readers.

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How do I Live an Authentic Life?

Posted by Amanda Gray on July 6, 2011

A Course in Miracles, Text, page 550:

Nothing you undertake with certain purpose and high resolve and happy confidence, holding your brother’s hand and keeping up to Heaven’s song, is difficult to do. But it is hard indeed to wander off, alone and miserable, down a road that leads to nothing and that has no purpose.

The past ten years of my life has been primarily characterized by a single goal of enlightenment, and it’s ‘process’ of separating the meaningful from the meaningless, the truth from illusion. I live for this work. I love this work. In the quote above: Nothing you undertake with certain purpose and high resolve and happy confidence, holding your brother’s hand and keeping up to Heaven’s song, is difficult to do. That’s how I feel when I’m meditating, or when I’m contemplating/praying about a stressful event from my day, or when I’m at a spiritual group meeting, or when I’m attending a retreat. Essentially, when I feel closest to spirit. The second part of the quote has characterized, pretty much, the rest of my life: But it is hard indeed to wander off, alone and miserable, down a road that leads to nothing and that has no purpose. Certainly, I’ve lived enough for three lifetimes, but it’s been, almost entirely, dissatisfying! I’ve done everything I can think of to do. Do, do, do. Learn, learn, learn. For what? I’m in the same place. I never ‘went’ anywhere. I never ‘got’ anything.

While the ego does an amazing job of substitution, it’s incapable of real and lasting love, peace or joy. Its selfishness, greed, hatred, and destruction are its only foundations, built entirely on shaky ground, but while these qualities are cherished, they can block the truth of the underlying Self. I have chased egoic illusions in the world, thinking that I could find the truth in the ‘right’ job, or the ‘right’ teaching, live in the ‘right’ place, or that the ‘right’ person could give me the ‘right’ answer. There has been no purpose to these wanderings and they have always ended painfully, just to shift again to a new, but similarly unsatisfactory situation. Will I continue to believe there’s someone out there who can tell me how to BE? That’s crazy!

I will not go one more step forward in the world to mis-create more suffering for myself and others. I will stop now and do the consciousness work that must be done. I feel that I’m at a major juncture and the choices I make now are crucial. I can continue with meaninglessness – taking ‘safe’ jobs and barely scraping by in poverty, mediocrity, and apathy – or I can, for the first time in ten years, define what is meaningful to me. If I’m ever going to take the risk of being myself, now is a very good time. If I set a true, meaningful goal now, then I can move forward with complete certainty. I’ll be able to disregard all thoughts of ‘getting’ something from the world and from others, and focus instead on what I have to give to them. I’m asking: what is my gift of true giving? How do I live an authentic life? How may I serve?

Adyashanti often asks his students, “What do you know that you don’t really want to know?” Right now, I would answer that I suspect I’ll go back on stage. I’m afraid of it, though, and when I think about performing, I feel a kind of ‘evil temptation’ with it. A mischievous smile will play at the corner of my lips, and it’s somehow associated with ‘acting’ and with ‘lies’.The Compassionate Samurai

I’ve been reading the book, The Compassionate Samurai by Brian Klemmer.

This stood out on page 83:

A person may become accustomed to telling people what he thinks they want to hear. When he does this, he’s really hiding. He’s not only hiding the total truth, but he’s also hiding a piece of himself that he really doesn’t want others to know.

Yes, that’s what comes from that ‘actor’ self – the ‘evil temptation’ to lie about myself – yet another part of me must have been aware of the lie and allowed it. If my higher self never stepped in to ‘save me’, it’s only because I never invited it to. Anyway, whatever’s being held back, it’s something that’s ‘bigger’ than the little egoic me, bigger than I’m comfortable with.

I quit acting ten years ago because I didn’t want to play a part anymore. I wanted to be myself. This time, I won’t go on stage hiding behind a role, promoting a fantasy, or speaking the words of another, I’ll be my Self and I’ll share the true gifts of my unique being. How? I don’t know. It’s not challenging to come up with ideas, I have a million, but what’s challenging is to pick one and stick to it. I often lose the motivation for an idea when I think about how much work is involved. Or how much I’d have to do by myself. Or how much it’ll cost. Sometimes I just hit this wall of “I can’t”. It’s almost like, if it’s something I really want… I can’t. Why can’t I? What am I so inspired by that I won’t lose motivation or energy for it overnight? What’s truly worth doing?

I recognize that, recently, my desire for spirit – to know myself, truth and God – has made me neglect and eschew my practical responsibilities. I’ve attempted to separate spirit from the world, but, yeah, I know it’s a mistake. Although I might wish it to be, enlightenment is not an ‘escape’ from the world. It’s true that in spiritual work, it’s necessary to surrender attachments and desires, but it’s also necessary to surrender resistances, and as long as I’m resisting mundane worldly experience – the action of love in the world – I’m missing half of the story. I’m missing “the forest for the trees.” I’ve been obtusely fixated on finding the ‘right’ tree (job). What qualities would make a ‘right’ tree anyway? The type of tree, or the shape of its boughs, or the colour of its foliage? Will the ‘right’ tree make me perfectly happy? No, I just set myself up for failure as I immediately focus on what’s wrong with each tree. Darting from tree to tree, I’m confused by the content of myriad details, and I miss the context of the fantastic forest around me – of wildlife, plants, flowers, insects, and rainbows. I put undue pressure on myself to find the ‘right’ tree, when I might just need to lean against a tree that’s right, for right now, and enjoy the moment in the woods.

I also see that I’ve got to quit trying to be perfect all the time. This is probably why I’ve been regularly haunted by a feeling of ‘impending doom’ at work. The doom is when everyone finds out that I’m a fake, that I’m not perfect, and that I’m pretending to be interested what I’m doing. I’ve taken work for the past ten years, almost solely on the basis of it being ‘safe’. Well, that’s over, I can’t choose that way anymore. I can’t force interest anymore. I’m no longer motivated by money, or position, or by being liked; I’m only motivated by something within me that says, “Yeah, this looks like fun. I want to participate in this game with these people.”

On page 71 of The Compassionate Samurai, Brian says:

When you live with death in mind, you’re not trying to preserve your life and simply survive, because you know it’s a lost cause. You play full-out because you don’t have anything to lose.

That’s a massive paradigm shift for me! Yes, I have merely tried to preserve my life, doing as little as I can, playing it safe. I used death as an excuse: if I’m only going to die anyway, why bother doing anything? But Brian clearly explains that death doesn’t have to be an excuse for a living death, it can be the reason for a full, passionate life.

Fascinating. These have all been awesome lessons.

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Big Secrets and Professional Help

Posted by Amanda Gray on June 29, 2011

Yesterday, I went to a psychiatrist. I finally admitted to myself that I’m stuck, terrified, living, pretty much, like I’m dead, and that I need serious, professional help. The more I try to think about my life, the more the thoughts spin in predictable loops and result in further confusion, indecision, resistance and anxiety.

The psychiatrist, Pat, was nice enough. She warned me that she might say some things I wouldn’t like, and while I was sure that I wanted that, she did succeed in challenging me in a way I didn’t expect. I explained to her that I’m particularly frustrated in my work experience, and that I keep finding myself in jobs that press all my anxiety buttons and eventually lead to my resignation. I told her that I would prefer to stay unemployed at this time in order to figure out what I really want to do. She suggested that any job would be better than no job. I didn’t like that. Any job? Inflict my insanity upon poor, defenceless employers and co-workers? So far, I’ve been good at quitting with notice before any major disaster, but taking a job while I’m so stressed could easily lead to being fired. That wouldn’t be helpful. True, it isn’t necessary to project the past onto the future, but without a plan or a goal up front, before I act, just sets me up for the same old story. The cycle starts and ends with me. That’s where I’m willing and ready to address the problem. But to take any job… well, that’s what I’ve already done for 10 years and I’m confident that it’s not working for me or anyone else. More accurately, any job, I can take… a job – a LIFE – that I might want and care about… well, that’s why I need a psychiatrist. On the other hand, perhaps a solid ‘Suck it up, Princess,’ is more applicable than I’d prefer to admit.

Ah, now you see, this is why I shouldn’t think too much. I swing too wildly between extremes! My Course in Miracles lesson had good advice about that this morning: Lesson 4: This thought about _____ does not mean anything. It is like the things I see in this room, [on this street, out this window, etc.]. Whew. Ok. That helps.

Interestingly, the night before my psychiatrist appointment, I realized that there’s a deep ego need to get ‘the right answer’. So, in my session with Pat, I noticed that I kept making statements followed by asking her, “Right?” She was great; she never fell into the game. Is there ever a ‘right’ answer? Can another person, whatever their credentials or enlightenment, ever give the ‘right’ answer to me? Truly, a psychiatrist isn’t supposed to give answers, they’re supposed to help one find the answers for themselves.

Pat gave me an assignment that I didn’t like initially as well. She wants me to write an essay about who I am, right now. I balked, “Yeah, well, the short answer is that I don’t know.” She suggested that I might need to return to the dreams and desires I had in adolescence. Like my desire to get famous? Ha! That was a retarded motivation then, and it would be an even more retarded motivation now. Finally, I conceded that there were a few interests I developed more recently, and that I could write about. Yes, I can admit, while there may be deep holes in what I know about who I am right now, there are a few things I’m clear about. I see that the ego likes to make blanket statements like “I know” or “I don’t know,” keeping to extreme points of view, but it’s more balanced and reasonable to admit that I know some things and I don’t know other things.

So, I’ll write the essay. I’ll write from a stream of consciousness instead of thinking about it too much. Funny, I would never have imagined that a simple writing assignment could rattle me. I used to be so good at feeling the fear and doing it anyway! After all, in my teens, I skydived – not just once – but three times! I used to be fearless! I used to be enthusiastic and ALIVE! What’s happened to me???

This morning, I watched a highly inspiring TEDxSinCity video. It’s by a white South-African man, Bruce Muzik, who tells his big secret to the world – that he’s a racist. He says that it’s the secrets we hold onto that limit us, and that when we reveal our secrets, we release ourselves back to life, to ALIVEness. I agree with him, and I had to consider: Do I have any secrets? What would I still keep hidden from others? Is there something I’m still ashamed of?

Well… there is something that I was hoping to share with the psychiatrist yesterday, but she seemed more interested in staying firmly in the present. Perhaps that’s appropriate to her function – or for our first session, anyway. I’ve spoken about my big secret, in general terms, with my Mom and a few close friends, but I’m not sure I revealed the details that I’m most ashamed of. It’s also possible that writing about it won’t be enough, because it has to do with my mouth and speaking. Must I yet speak the details aloud?

Last week, it arose that I feared and felt ashamed about my ‘mistakes’ – mistakes I made in the past, as well as mistakes I fear to make in the future. I also saw that this was how I most commonly judged others, based on what I perceived to be their ‘mistakes’. It’s also related to the ‘looming disaster’ that I think will happen at work. What if I make a mistake that can’t be fixed, one that I’ll have to feel guilty about – forever? Yes, I have experience with that kind of mistake and that kind of guilt. There’s a particular mistake that comes to mind. One that I made when I was a child.

I’m getting a bit of a headache. Do I dare tell you? How do I put it delicately? Will you hate me? Will you be disgusted with me? Could you love and forgive me, even though I haven’t been able to love and forgive myself?

I was nine years old. It happened in the summer, between grades 6 and 7. My parents dropped me off to stay the weekend with a classmate, Joanne. Joanne had two older brothers who were about 16 and 17 years old, and, for whatever reason, Joanne and I were left alone in their custody. I’m sure there were adults around, at some point, but I don’t remember them.

The memories I did retain, and further memories that I recovered a few years ago, are jumbled. I don’t know the order of events, but I know that, at first, I was a willing participant. A child’s normal curiosity. A child’s normal innocence and trust. We played hide and seek. We played rock music and danced. They asked me questions and paid a lot of attention to me. I felt powerful and sexy.

I thought we were having fun. The enormity of my mistake became clear when I entered the boy’s basement bedroom and saw the younger boy sitting on the bed, holding a jack-knife, threateningly. He ordered me to take off my clothes. “No.” I answered defiantly, but a knot of fear twisted in my gut. Oops.

I was forced to give the older boy a blow job. I still feel the knife blade pressed up under my arm. “Don’t use your teeth,” the younger boy instructed. I still feel the pain in my jaw as I became tired and pulled away. “No, no, you can’t stop!” they insisted. I still remember the rancid smell of his crotch as I closed my eyes and submitted. I still remember my shock and surprise as he exploded in my mouth. They laughed as I spit out his spunk with disgust, “I didn’t know it would do that!” I complained. My chin was a sticky mess and they didn’t let me wash it off. It irritated and itched as it dried.

There were other tortures, far worse ones.  There was, at least, a whole day and a whole night of entertainments in their exclusive company. I’m sure that most are better left unremembered and untold. Yet, I’ve told you the ‘secret’. The secret of my dirty, disgusting mouth.

On the second day, the younger boy threatened me again, “Don’t you ever tell anyone about this!” I shook my head, crying, “No, I won’t. I won’t say anything.” I kept my promise to him. Even when he was charged with rape later the same year and my Mom asked if anything had happened while I was there. I said no. I lied to her. I kept my promise to him, though, through my whole life, particularly in ways that couldn’t be anticipated. Perhaps it’s why I’ve always preferred to write about myself instead of speaking aloud. It’s also perhaps why I’m particularly inarticulate if I’m asked to defend myself. My facial expression is often tight-lipped, and I’ve recently developed a relentless circle of acne around my mouth – a constant reminder of my ‘dirty’ face. Also recently, I discovered that I’m allergic to dairy. Hmmm… yes, milk, yoghurt and cheese are similar to the consistency of spunk. Dairy, as a symbol, isn’t lost on me either: denial of pleasure (dairy is a pleasure food), denial of nurturing (mother’s milk), and, by extension, denial of self-love.

If I was subconsciously keeping the promise I made that day, you might very well ask how I performed as an actress and spoke before large audiences on a regular basis. Yes, well, I was always fine if I was playing a part or speaking from a script. Speaking for myself – no, that was my limitation. As much as I was subconsciously compelled to keep silent, I was also compelled by the opposite extreme, to be heard. Also, I had repressed the trauma throughout those years. My more recent commitment to the Self and its full realization brought those memories to the surface, along with the concomitant fear, guilt, shame, hurt, and various bizarre physical maladies, in order to be expressed, accepted, forgiven and released. It sucks, but that’s how it works. When it’s at the worst, I remember that it’s what I knowingly signed up for, and I’m grateful to finally shed it.  It has no control when it’s in the open.  It has ALL control when it’s kept hidden.

My grade 6 class photo is of a thin, beautiful, sparkling eyed, and broadly beaming girl. In grade 7, she’s fat, with reddish cheeks, and a tight, closed mouth. The light has gone out of her eyes. I found a diary entry from that time that could be related: “The more I think about you-know-what, the more I hate myself.” A lifelong suffering of migraine headaches, including sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting, began around the same time. My regular punishment and crucifixion, inflicted by subconscious guilt and self-hatred.

So that’s it. That’s my biggest, most shameful secret. Was it helpful to reveal it? Well, my body is now warm with kundalini energy, and I feel somewhat relieved. My forehead and neck still feel a bit tight, but not painful. It wasn’t so bad to tell. In writing, anyway.

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Timing is Everything

Posted by Amanda Gray on June 3, 2011

After a highly compelling conversation with one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Tom Glod, I decided it was time to go back to square one. As much as I’ve studied and practiced, practiced and studied, along my spiritual path, I never truly just dropped everything – every theory, every plan and every self-concept – and committed to spirit alone. I scheduled a silent retreat at home, complete with meditations, a satsang (a spiritual gathering – in this case, with my MP3 player and an Adyashanti retreat recording), some kinhin (walking meditation), several outdoor breaks and three meal times.

So, the day went very well. I stuck to my schedule, and was totally peaceful that night as I went to bed, intending to retreat again the next day.

When I awoke on day two, I began on the right track, but I was no sooner in my meditation chair for the first meditation period, when I decided NOT to do the schedule. After all, the day was going to be broken by a doctor’s appointment anyway. And so, just like that, I jumped up and became entirely engaged with all kinds of planning and self-concepts again. My day was also characterized with a great deal of anxiety, fear of (financial) deficiency and self-doubt.

What the heck happened? The tempter came and blasted me right out of my carefully crafted schedule of peace!

I contemplated the issue on the morning of the third day. Perhaps, during my retreat, I had successfully dropped all self-concepts and, perhaps, touched upon the nothingness of ‘no-self’. Perhaps, I touched upon it, but didn’t, at first, recognize how much it terrified me. So, the next day was the response, enacted by terror all day long. Run, rabbit, run! Hmmm…

Then I listened to a ‘Homework call’ by a spiritual teacher named Jennifer Hadley. She talked about some of her own experiences on the path, about how she was often choosing her judgements and opinions over choosing love. It was just the thing I needed to hear. The right teacher, with the right message, at the right time.

I had thought that the nothingness of no-self was the opposite condition of the ego-self. I could have a ‘this’ – the world of suffering and fear – or a ‘that’ of eternal blank emptiness. Yes, of course, it IS terrifying to drop everything I think I know – for NOTHING! But, I was just believing in another ego illusion – the duality of some-thing and no-thing. This was the ego, getting up inside the nothingness and hiding there! And this was the answer to the ‘hiding myself’ concept that I had been wondering about for quite some time too. (I wrote about it here.) Ultimately, the belief in ‘nothingness’ was based in fear, not in truth.

The truth is LOVE. Just as God is LOVE. I don’t have to choose between a ‘this’ or a ‘that’ – I just have to choose the only thing there really is – LOVE. I’ve been hiding from that choice. Love, itself, is the healer, not books, or theories, or knowledge, or ideas, or words, or anything else in the world I’m attached to. I have to give all those things up and commit to choosing ONE thing – yes, that’s right – LOVE.

The ego can’t hide in the illusion of nothingness anymore. I’ve seen through the lie and it’s completely powerless. I CAN choose love, for myself and everyone. When I forgive, I love. When I recognize everyone, including myself, without the burdens of their ‘problems’, I love. When everyone, including myself, is entirely worthy of unconditional love, it will be there.A Course in Miracles

It was also important to learn that if I’m in a downward spiral of fear and lack, I can still be grateful, because it means spirit is rooting out all my worldly attachments. It’s exposing every little illusion from every nook and cranny. As the junk is exposed, I’m closer to a full alignment with love – with God and all that is. Brilliant!

Thanks, as well, to David Hoffmeister, who was Jennifer’s guest for an online ‘Living ACIM’ class, on the previous evening, and who reminded us of this beautiful quote from the Course:

Love cannot be far behind a grateful heart and a thankful mind.

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My 2K Worth

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 23, 2011

After re-reading an old diary, I found my thoughts returning to old patterns.  Patterns that would try to convince me that I’m the same weak-willed, negative, depressed person I was back then.  I started to think about all the ways I used to give away my power:

  • I don’t know what I want, so I’ll just want whatever you want.
  • I can’t decide, so I’ll let you decide.
  • I’m afraid of control, so I’ll let you be in control (but I’ll hate you for it).
  • I can’t count on myself, so I better not let anyone else count on me.
  • I’ve been irresponsible in the past, so I better not accept any responsibility now, or I’ll just mess things up.
  • I’m not valuable and I have nothing of value to give.

The most influential woman in the world today is Lady Gaga.  But how does an ordinary girl become a Lady Gaga?  She tells us: I’m a Superstar and I was born this way, baby!  Ultimately, she believes in her Self!  She knows her own power.  She throws her Self into the ring, tangles with all those big music industry cats, and comes out the winner, because when a person knows what they really are – their immense power and strength – NO ONE can take it away.

Weak patterns of thinking (a.k.a. programming or ego) might convince me that I have to follow a limited social role, such as, women can’t be powerful, or a man must be in charge.  I might believe that how I dress defines what I am.  I’m taught to follow the rules and I don’t question them because I think they’re intended to provide reasonable boundaries of social order.  Yet, there are many rules I accept that have no purpose but to keep me limited and weak.  I MUST question these!

If I believe I’m weak and powerless, I’ll project that belief on the world, and the world will return every justification I need to keep believing it.  If I give my power to the world, the world will have all power over me.  If I think I only have 2 cents worth of value to give, then that’s all I’ll ever receive.

Lady Gaga tells her fans to believe in themselves.  Every shiny pair of eyes that look up to her really use her only as a ‘placeholder’ for their own power, beauty, and talent.  Just until they’re ready to remember that it was always theirs and take it back.

I own my power now, but I don’t own it alone.  It can’t be used selfishly.  True power can’t exist in a vacuum.   Power of the Self is only powerful when it’s shared with the whole of the Self.  And that means all the Superstars, everywhere, baby!  Put your paws up!

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Kundalini Risin’

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 21, 2011

Holy backlash, Batman!  I expected to write yesterday, but I was kept horizontal by a massive headache.  It started immediately after I finished my last post and continued, at peak, for about 36 hours.

I suspected that the pain was ego backlash.  Getting too close to the ‘fire’ of truth again.  Since I’ve experienced headaches and migraines (headache accompanied by nausea and vomiting) for most of my life, I followed the usual routine for relief, including painkillers, hot showers, tiger balm, massage, and bed rest.  I prayed to spirit for help and asked various questions: Pain, what are you trying to tell me?  What am I resisting so vehemently?  My Course in Miracles lesson (140) for the day was:

Only salvation can be said to cure.

I didn’t eat any dinner last night.  On an empty stomach, I took two more painkillers, put a Dr. David R. Hawkins CD in my player, and curled back under the covers to gently cradle my head in my hands and lie as still as possible.

The CD that I picked, casually, off the shelf, included a question that I had asked Dr. Hawkins in person that day.  The Doc had reminded me that I was strong and courageous, and that I could take my spiritual work lightly.  I listened to the whole CD, then a few restless hours went by.  I was lightly snoozing when a thought spontaneously arose:

Who is it that thinks it can resist?

My brain softened, melted into liquid, and in a download, I knew that the resistance was, entirely, an illusion.  In the same moment, I also knew that it had been beneficial to skip dinner, that indulgence with food had been another method I’d been using to defend against truth.  I sat up on the edge of my bed.  The clock read 10:30 pm.  Kundalini energy flowed, like exquisite tendrils of warm electric smoke, around my whole body.  The heart centre was aflame, like a flat, 10-inch disc under the thin crust of my ribcage.  I knew it was the kundalini energy that was restricted at the neck and causing the headache.  Oh, right.  It had happened before.  I paced around my bedroom, crying with profound joy and gratitude.  Using some previous Dr. Hawkins advice, I tried to ‘breath the energy up’ through the blockage and into my head.  It didn’t seem to make much difference, but by then, the pain was already greatly diminished, and I went back to bed to sleep peacefully through the rest of the night.

As I write, I’m experiencing warm kundalini flowing across my back.  It’s lovely.  My neck is twinging and weak, like it’s not properly attached at the ends, but, otherwise, I feel better.   Just toasted a little at the edges.

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