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Posts Tagged ‘trust’

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.

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

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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A War Over Food

Posted by Amanda Gray on November 30, 2011

Last night, I was reading page 143 of the text of A Course in Miracles.  It said:

If God’s Will for you is complete peace and joy, unless you experience only this you must be refusing to acknowledge His Will.  […]  You cannot exempt yourself from His laws, although you can disobey them.  Yet if you do, and only if you do, you will feel lonely and helpless, because you are denying yourself everything.  […]  My will is His, and your decision to hear me is the decision to hear His Voice and abide in His Will.  […]  You must accept guidance from within.

I was reminded of an occasion a few years ago.  I was with my family at a Montana’s restaurant to celebrate a birthday.  I was enjoying a half rack of baby back ribs and was becoming full.  I lifted a rib from the plate, and as I considered whether I could handle another bite, a VERY clear voice in my head said, “No.”  My next thought was, “But, what happens if I do?”  Would I be struck down with a bolt of lightning?  It’s only a piece of meat and I’ve already eaten half of this rack, so what harm could there be?  I took another bite… and when nothing further happened, I finished the rib.  Huh.  Strange.  As I shortly tucked into some truly indulgent doughnuts for dessert, I put the incident out of my mind.

As I remembered it again, I realized that it was a case of ignoring guidance from within.  Yes, I can disobey.  It’s my decision to make.  I’m free to do so.  And, at the time, there appeared to be no negative consequences to it.  Yet, the invitation of guidance wasn’t extended to me again for a long time after that.  It was like a test.  Was I ready to follow higher wisdom yet?  No, apparently I wasn’t.  I was like Eve in the Garden.  My garden was Montana’s.  My apple was a luscious, meaty, sweet, baby back rib.  Oh, the temptation!  I realize today that when I choose against such direct and clear guidance, I also choose against my innocence.  The opposite of innocence is ‘knowledge’.  So I’m preferring to think that I know more than God knows.  Yet, it’s just a pretend kind of knowledge, an illusion of ego.

Just like every teenager begins to question authority as they begin to develop their egos, they also suddenly think they know everything.  They stretch the boundaries of right and wrong, good and bad.  “My Dad told me to do it this way, but what happens if I do it another way?  I can think of a hundred other ways to do it, so why shouldn’t I try something else?  Why is his way right, and my way wrong?”  And they quickly learn that they can do it another way and it usually works out fine.  Yet, there must be guilt in those decisions too.  We must choose to believe that the authority doesn’t have our best interests at heart, that they would guide us in a detrimental way.  We must create a division of right and wrong and vacillate as we attempt to decide which is which.  We must give up the innocence of our childhood.  And, as time goes on, we lose that childhood innocence more and more.  And, less and less, we trust the authorities around us.  And as we trust them less, we trust ourselves less.   And, if we’re really hard headed, like I have been, we keep trying to do everything by ourselves, to keep control of every detail, because we know how it should be done, and they don’t.  Ultimately, we trade innocence, freedom, peace, and joy for ‘knowledge’, guilt, indecision and anxiety.  Why would we continue to choose such pain, if the alternative is just to listen to and trust the authority of a greater wisdom?

What does it mean to “accept guidance from within”?  Well, today I understand that it’s not just some mental exercise of words, I have to actually be willing to DO what I’m told to do.  I have to trust the inner wisdom, even if my past experience tells me something different about it.  Do I want to keep repeating the past?  How far has that gotten me?

 

This morning, upon awakening, I started to consider some other food issues.  I realized that often, when my mom cooks food for me, I become bitchy and attack her.  I complain that she didn’t make the food I’d most prefer, or cook it the way I’d most like.  I can observe that I’m doing it, but, for some reason, I can’t seem to curb the negative habit.  This morning, I related the issue back to the time in my childhood when mom tried to switch me from baby food to solid food.  A battle of will ensued between us and she withheld the soft baby food, hoping that I would become hungry enough to eat the solid food.  I didn’t.  Eventually, I became malnourished and had to be hospitalized with a gastro-intestinal infection.  (I mentioned this in my last entry: I Am Content, I Am Tranquil.)

I saw the similarity between the two situations.  Just as my mom ‘withheld’ the food I preferred as a baby, I believe she’s ‘withholding’ the food I prefer now.  Even though I’ve tried to tell her what I like, she continues to make food to her own satisfaction, not to mine.  It’s become the same battle of wills.  As I become more frustrated, I become more bitchy.  And I’ve generated a gastritis condition in my stomach.  Yes, it’s the past repeating itself, exactly.

Then I realized that I’m not the only one complaining over the food.  My mom does it too.  If I cook for her, and she doesn’t give me step by step instructions for how she wants it, she complains about it in exactly the same way I complain about her food.  Often, if we go out to a new restaurant together, she’ll bitterly complaint about the food that’s offered.  I see her inner child come out, whining and crying, because the food is improperly cooked, or tastes bad.  And because she’s stuck in that childish state, she can’t make adult choices to reasonably address the situation – to send the food back, or whatever.  It also doesn’t escape notice, that she also has major stomach and digestion conditions.

Don’t get it twisted, this war is NOT over food.  No.  Food is only the symbol.  This war is over love.  For my mom, food has always been the way she’s expressed love to her family.  She’s been greatly blessed with a talent and joy of cooking that I acknowledge openly.  Yet, when I complain about her cooking, I’m telling her that I’m rejecting, directly, her gift of creation and, indirectly, her love.  I’m also confirming my own belief that I’m unworthy of her love.  If I allowed my mom the freedom to make whatever she choose to, and accepted her gift with total gratitude, we would both experience perfect peace and joy.  We would both be accepting God’s Will (what IS).  We make a mistake when we try to control one another.  We mistakenly put the importance on the FORM (food), instead of on the MEANING (love).  As we both make the error, we both need healing.

We suffered greatly over the food incident when I was a baby.  I don’t remember what I really felt at the time, of course, but I can safely assume that I felt rejected, unloved and abandoned.  My mom has told me that she felt guilt, regret and depression.  Why choose to repeat the past?  Why choose to continue to suffer?  No, it can end.  This morning I prayed and surrendered the error to the Holy Spirit and asked for a healing miracle.  Will I be healed alone?  No, of course not.  My mom will be healed as well.

My Course lesson today adds on page 145 and 146:

Freedom is the only gift you can offer to God’s Sons, being an acknowledgment of what they are and what He is.  Freedom is creation, because it is love.  […]  Your identification is with the Father AND with the Son.  It cannot be with One and not the Other.

My identification is with God AND the Son – the Son is Jesus, or holy guidance within, but ALSO as my holy mother.  I offer her freedom to create as she chooses and I accept her gift of love with gratitude.

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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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A LOVE Road Trip

Posted by Amanda Gray on September 27, 2011

I finished my seasonal bee farm job and went straight into a new adventure – driving to Arizona to see the last lecture from one of my most favourite teachers of enlightenment, Dr. David R. Hawkins.  I’d never driven that far by myself and I had many fears going into it, but spirit prepared me with two lessons for the journey: “Don’t be afraid” and “trust your brothers”.  As it happened, that was all I needed to remember.

Every time I got into a driving challenge – like having to pass a huge house in the middle of the road, in the pouring rain, with one windshield wiper – I just remembered, “Don’t be afraid.”  When the road became narrow, and winding, and unexpectedly taking me on a ‘scenic route’ up a mountain in Utah, I remembered, “Don’t be afraid.”  When I got to Salt Lake City in rush hour, so fatigued I wasn’t sure I could make it one more inch, I remembered, “Don’t be afraid.”

Although I had maps available on my cell phone, I only used a general highway map of the US, and then asked people for specific directions along the way – as well as asking for inner guidance as much as possible.  When I asked someone for directions, I simply trusted them to guide me truly and they usually did.  Trusting the directions from others got me directly to my destination about 99% of the time.

As I arrived at Salt Lake City, I stopped at the tourist information booth for help to get my campsite.  The tourist information guy said to take exit 310, but as I checked my AAA campsite book, it said to take exit 308.  Oh no, what should I trust?  Well, inner guidance saved the day.  Exit 310 looked a little too industrial, and I couldn’t get over to the right lane, so I passed it.  At exit 308, I got off, and found myself on another highway going the other direction.  What???  In a panic, I immediately exited.  I saw a Shell station, and decided to get gas and then figure out where to go from there.  Fortunately, the gas pump wouldn’t work (I have no zip code to enter!), so I had to go into the store to talk to the attendant.  While there, I asked for directions.  Miracle!  The K.O.A. was only 5 blocks straight up the street.  Wow!

The Course in Miracles has a lesson: I am under no laws but God’s.  Well, apparently, I’m under no MAPS but God’s too!

There were a couple of times when I couldn’t figure out what to do next.  I was simply too tired, stressed, and couldn’t think straight.  At those points, I simply had to stop, take a breath, and say to myself, “I don’t know what to do.”  My mind would be empty for a moment, and then, the very next thought would solve the entire problem, with almost no effort on my part.  Those were total miracle moments!

My three-day journey to Prescott, Arizona was challenging and stressful, but also wonderful and peaceful.  I had all the inner resources necessary, and then anything else I needed was easily and presently obtained.  In Prescott, I got to catch up with many good friends, and see the most loving Dr. Hawkins one last time.  The abundant love energy in the room was so profound… I cried almost the whole time.  I met a few other lovely people throughout the day, and thoroughly enjoyed myself!

On Sunday, as my main cohort scattered in various directions, I felt uncertain about what to do next.  There was no need to return home at any particular time, so I thought I might travel around some more, but no specific invitation or guidance materialized.  I consulted my US map, but it offered no help either. I was looking for an alternative route to take me up through British Columbia, but the only decent alternative was along the coast, which was much too far out of my way.  The only place that wasn’t out-of-the-way, was Las Vegas.  I hadn’t been there since 1995, so I decided it would be a fun side journey.

A black car without air conditioning is totally masochistic in Nevada.  Just sayin’.  And the Interstate 40 is certainly the busiest highway in the States.  Regardless, it was a short and simple five-hour drive.  I was pleasantly surprised to find free, covered parking at the Treasure Island hotel and signed up for one night.  (Now that I look back, for the measly few hours I stayed in my room, I should’ve just slept in my car.)  I had some nice Vietnamese food for dinner, walked around for a while, chatted with some lovely people, and then took in the Cirque du Soleil LOVE show.  Love was the theme that week, after all.  It was a spectacular show and worth every minute and every dollar I spent.

I awoke early the next morning.  Ahh… what to do, where to go?  I thought I would spend most of the day in Vegas, but suddenly, I couldn’t think of a single thing I still wanted to do there.  There were no matinée shows, nothing I cared to eat, no shopping I needed to do, and no more sites I cared to see.  I was in the greatest adult playground in the world, and I was BORED!  All I wanted was to go HOME.

I made a beeline to the Interstate 15 and gum-booted ‘er.  The trip up was far more difficult than the trip down.  I was tired and sick, and I was resistant to all the hours and miles that were now just in the way.  I didn’t want to drive anymore.  Ah, well.  More challenges, more lessons, and, in the end, I arrived home no worse for wear.

Yes, it was a grand adventure.  Adventures, of course, by definition, come with ups and downs.  I was stretched, mulched, and freed in all kinds of ways.  Am I a little less fearful driving in strange places?  Definitely.  Am I more trusting of strangers?  Yes.  Am I more trusting of my Self?  Amen and hallelujah!  Am I richer with LOVE in my heart? Certainly.  Have I let go of a few attachments and comforts?  Yup.  Then I am successful and accomplished.  Yippee!

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Topic of the Week: Trust

Posted by Amanda Gray on July 14, 2011

I saw my therapist again. I didn’t think the meeting was particularly helpful – I left more confused than when I started – but I had some important thoughts afterward. I realized that I have particular difficulties with trust.

  • I rarely trust others – they’re often unreliable, may abuse their power, and may make mistakes that could result in pain (or death) for me.
  • I rarely trust myself – my thoughts, feelings, abilities, or decisions. OMG, I make mistakes, am unreliable, and abuse my power too!

I can, generally, trust people who appear to have their heads on straight. Those that have confidence in themselves allow me to confide. Like, for example, the great spiritual teachers I’ve followed. But people, who seem just as confused and doubtful as myself, are anathema, and I won’t trust them at all. I also notice that I’ll trust a man more than I’ll trust a woman, and it’s particularly true if the man is gay.  Yet, if a man expresses any sexual interest in me, he’s automatically and totally, untrustworthy!

When I had a boyfriend, this was always a key issue. No matter what he did, I always believed he was ‘out to get me’. I would accuse him of trying to control me (without acknowledging that I was trying to control him), and since I usually behaved in alternating extremes, I either trusted him with far too much, and too soon, or with nothing at all. It was all deeply unconscious, at the time, of course, and I’m sure we both played into it equally. Our unconscious energies ‘clicked’, and that’s why we attracted each other.

As soon as I stopped having intimate relationships with men, I started projecting my trust issues to my work. If I distrust, I can find the untrustworthy anywhere. On page 462 of the text of A Course in Miracles, it says:

Yes, it [ I ] can dream it found an enemy [the untrustworthy], but this will shift even as it attacks, so that it runs at once to find another, and never comes to rest in victory. And as it runs, it turns against itself, thinking it caught a glimpse of the great enemy who always eludes its murderous attack by turning into something else.

Therefore, when I’m tired of projecting distrust on something else, then I project it on myself. After all, something has to be the untrustworthy ‘enemy’. If I distrust, and feel weakened, something must be the cause. Something or someone must have taken my power, and left me helpless. And since I think I can’t trust myself, perhaps I’m doing it; I become the enemy, in my own split mind. The Course says on page 463:

Could he admit that no one made him powerless? Reason would surely bid him seek no longer what is not there to find [the enemy boyfriend, or the enemy job]. Yet, first he must be willing to perceive a world where it is not. It is not necessary that he understand how he can see it. Nor should he try [but, oh, I have]. For if he focuses on what he cannot understand [no kidding], he will but emphasize his helplessness, and let sin [a.k.a. unforgivable mistakes] tell him his enemy must be himself.

The projection goes from outside, to inside, and:

[…] your belief that truth may be the enemy you yet may find. Here, then, would seem to be the last remaining hope of finding sin [mistakes], and not accepting power.

How can I trust myself to choose anything, even truth or power, when so much of my choosing has been a mistake? As my choosing became more and more erratic over the years, I saw that no choice ever led to lasting happiness. Happiness was inconstant – and so, it couldn’t be trusted either.

Elusive happiness, or happiness in changing form that shifts with time and place, is an illusion that has no meaning. Happiness must be constant, because it is attained by giving up the wish for the inconstant. Joy cannot be perceived except through constant vision. And constant vision can be given only to those who wish for constancy.

I tested the world through goggles of distrust, and found it lacking. Like an army of little tin soldiers, I knocked it all down. I proclaimed the whole world to be false, inconstant, and untrustworthy. My toy box got smaller and smaller, darker and darker. I felt more and more helpless. I appealed to many: “Help me,” I begged. But they couldn’t help – no, they can’t. Somehow, I have to trust myself to choose again.

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Dreaming, Acting, Living

Posted by Amanda Gray on June 5, 2011

The most important point to understand about dreams is that all the characters and symbols are aspects of the dreamer. So when I dream about a boy – it’s me, a teacher – it’s me, a house – it’s me, a bear – it’s me, a jewelled necklace – it’s me, etc. If I cast myself as a jewelled necklace, what does the necklace say about me? Am I a sparkly, diamond necklace, or a dull, unpolished necklace? Did I steal the necklace, or was the necklace given to me as a gift? Every aspect of the necklace may be considered, and what I learn will shine light upon the particular fragment of myself that’s showing up as a jewelled necklace.

Dreams that are most common to me are ones where I’m performing in a theatrical play or in a film, or where I’m participating in an acting class. Sometimes I’m trying on costumes, or I’m auditioning for a part, or I’m observing other actors as they perform. Sometimes, in nightmares, I dream that it’s time to go onstage, and I suddenly realize, in terror, that I haven’t learned my lines and I have no idea what to do!

As I discussed my theatrical dream anxieties with my family this morning, we learned that we all have the same dreams, in slightly different forms. My Aunt dreams that she’s in school, but hasn’t prepared for an exam. My Mom dreams that she’s supposed to cook a meal, but doesn’t have any groceries in the fridge. Does everyone have the same complex? Does everyone harbour fears of the same impending disaster?  What do these dreams say about our lives?

Then I started thinking further about life as a play. Like Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” Just as a dream at night is a microcosm of our ‘dream of life,’ so a play on a stage is a microcosm of our ‘play of life.’ I thought about how I’ve often judged the characters in the play of life, including myself, or times when I’ve judged the script, or the playwright (God). Then a number of questions arose in my mind:

  • Do I fear that I don’t know my part or my lines?
  • Am I afraid that it’s my fault that I didn’t study my part in advance?
  • Am I afraid to accept the part that was written for me? Am I afraid I’m unworthy of it?
  • Do I fear that the lead in Hamlet is too much responsibility for me?
  • Am I afraid that I’m unsupported by the other actors?
  • Am I afraid that I’ll make a mistake and ruin the whole play?
  • What if others find out I didn’t study my part? What if I’m a total fool in front of the entire audience?
  • Am I trying to control the play and the other characters?

Two of the most mystical experiences of my life happened when I was performing on stage. The first time, I was performing the lead role of Rose in the play “A Shayna Maidle” in theatre school. It was a short run, only 5 or 6 performances, and I realize now that I made the most mistakes on stage ever during that run. It was my habit to memorize my lines immediately, word for word, and so thoroughly that I rarely, if ever, called for a line during rehearsal. Yet, on the first performance of this show, on preview night in front of an audience of critics, I blanked, and had to call for a line. Since the Stage Manager was no longer ‘on book’ – we all had to wait an extraordinary length of time to get back on track. I was so embarrassed! On another night, I broke a ceramic lamp onstage and neglected to address the problem in the moment, by improvising some other way of turning on the light, or by taking the time to clean up. My acting teacher gave me heck after the show. He said that the audience expected me to ‘live’ in the moment of the play, and that I was cheating them if I ignored the moment, in favour of sticking blindly to the script. The mystical moment was when I had an ‘out of body’ experience – I found myself watching the show from the front row of the audience! I came off stage that night and complained to my teacher, “That was my most horrible performance ever!”

“No,” he said, “It was your BEST performance ever.”

“What? I wasn’t even THERE!”

“Yes, that’s exactly why it was so good.”

The second mystical experience was quite similar to the first. This time I was performing a monologue in a ‘contest’ for actors, models and singers. There was a judging panel and a full audience comprised of performers family members. Now that I think back, I remember that I also performed a song, and that the last note of the song was a horrible disaster. I can’t remember if the song preceded the monologue or vice versa, but never the less, about halfway through my 3-minute monologue, I left my body. I hovered high above myself, to the right side, and I became aware of this amazing energy. The energy was flowing out of ‘me’ toward the audience, and then, I could feel it flowing back to ‘me’ from them. I was fascinated with watching this energy flow back and forth. I remember seeing a lady with glasses sit forward in her seat, listening intently, and I remember looking down at my body, still doing its thing while I sojourned like a balloon in mid-air. Next thing I knew, I was finishing the last line of the monologue. I did as I was taught, to ‘throw and keep throwing,’ and then, I bowed my head and took a small step back. Suddenly, to my unbelieving surprise, the audience exploded with applause, cheers and hoots – more than I’d ever heard in my life! Apparently, when I’m not there – the body is an amazing actor!

Performing allowed complete control and safety. I knew the script, I knew the lines, everyone was going to do exactly what I expected them to do, and we were all going to do it the same way over and over, and over again. Within this perfect bubble of certainty, I didn’t feel afraid and could completely relax. I trusted the time and space inside the bubble, and I think that’s what allowed for those mystical out-of-body experiences.

What would it take for me to trust life in the same way? Must I have the same level of control? Must I have a perfect a script for every word I speak, or every action I perform? Do I have to ensure that everyone else is performing the same script? Must I automatically judge the ‘play of life,’ as it is, as inadequate and in need of my help? Do I have to become the playwright (God) as well as the actor? Yes, that is, exactly, what the ego would try to do.

What would happen if I didn’t judge the production? What if I didn’t have to control the play or the other actors? What if I just TRUSTED the playwright (God)? Even if it seems that I don’t know the play, or the lines, or my role, or every other actor’s role, do I really need to know? What if I could surrender my need to know? What if I allowed myself to drop my idea of the script entirely? What if I drop all the ideas of all the characters I would play? Could I simply improvise? And allow others to improvise? Could I allow the play to be written fresh in each moment?

Just as all the characters and symbols in my nightly dreams are aspects of myself, so all the characters and symbols of the play are aspects of myself. The stage – is me, the audience – is me, the candlestick and the mistletoe – is me, the other actor – is me. Is my fellow actor dressed as a Jesus or as an alcoholic? Do I invite him onto my stage to share the spotlight, or do I banish him off into the darkness of the wings? Could we both play the same part? Could we play the part so well, we stop acting? If we stop acting, could we wake up, entirely, from the play?

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No One Can Fail Who Seeks to Reach the Truth

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 11, 2011

Today I seek and find all that I want.  My single purpose offers it to me.  No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.
A Course in Miracles, Lesson131, Pg. 240

Last night, I listened to a recording by spiritual teacher, Adyashanti.  His teaching, like the Course in Miracles, is very direct.  It brought up some intriguing questions and inspiration:

  • If I’m waiting for the mind or my feelings to still, I’ll wait forever.  No waiting is necessary.  The truth – on every level of being (physical/spiritual) – is available immediately.
  • How is my apathy (anger, fear, etc.) seeing the world?  What would it say?  My apathy says, I don’t want to be here.
  • Then: Is it true? (That I don’t want to be here.)
  • Then, an inspiration: When did I first decide not to BE… HERE?  (Here, in the Self.)
  • Then: When did I first choose to hide my Self?

I’ve been working with this riddle of ‘hiding my Self’ since it first came up in a dream about a month ago.  Several of my consciously developed friends pointed it out as well, and I make it a policy never to ignore advice that’s corroborated by a couple or more sources.  I agree that it’s an important area to examine, but, so far, I’m not getting anything.  So, alas, it’s still percolating.  Perhaps the more direct questions, as above, will help further.

Adyashanti also said that the ‘instantaneous downloads’ of knowledge I’ve experienced on occasion, are natural to the Self, and that it’s actually natural to get them all the time.  Adya called it PRAJNA.  Yes, please, I’d like to have more prajna.  Continuous prajna.  That’d be awesome!

Also, after some further thought about the Course lesson from yesterday – about surrendering all value I’ve placed in the world – I remember that, yes, that is how it goes.  I had forgotten.  Of course, I can continue to play in the world, keep seeking endlessly for useless trinkets, and delay myself for eons, even, if I really want to.  But do I want that?  NOOOOO!!!  Because I really want the ONLY useful, meaningful thing there is: the Self.  I want to rest in the source, the ground, of my being.  It is, absolutely, the most important thing to me, but sometimes, it seems I forget, and then I have to re-focus and re-establish my intention. Adya suggested that it’s painful to leave the Self – and yes, I think that perhaps I’m conscious of that when I’m wandering and getting wrapped up in goofy worldly distractions.  Perhaps it’s related to a particular anxiety I’ve experienced lately too.  Perhaps seeking out in the world has truly become anathema to me now.  Well, that, or I’ve become agoraphobic.  So, really, I don’t know.  I’m just guessing.  Is it appropriate for me to relinquish the world at this time?  Is it natural to have lost most of my interest in it?  I want to take care that I’m not creating aversions, or rejecting it, or hiding from it, but it’s true that I see very little point in most worldly activities – and I don’t think it sees much point in me either, frankly.  That sounds funny, but it does seem to be letting go of me, just as much as I’m letting go of it.  So, it’s a mutual relinquishment.

Like my Course lesson says, I can’t fail.  Whew.  Good.  I’m really sick of being a total failure.  The spiritual path is sometimes difficult, and it’s certainly strange, but there’s nothing else for me to do.  Spirit has it’s own energy now and I simply need to follow… or I’ll be dragged.  Yeah, I think I prefer to follow willingly.

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Whisper the Words That I Don’t Want to Tell

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 10, 2011

I promised to be honest, didn’t I?  Hmmm… well, here it is.  I, absolutely, don’t want to write about this.  I don’t want you to read it.  Stop now, don’t go any further.  I mean it.

I would rather have you think I’m a genuinely spiritual person.  That after 10 years of study, meditation and prayer, I’ve developed something extraordinary.  That I can help you find love, success and happiness in this world.  The truth, if those are the things you want, is that I’m the last person you should listen to.

The truth is that I have no idea what this life is about.  I’ve spent 41 years trying to figure it out, and I’m nothing but a total failure.  That’s right.  I’m not mincing words here. A total failure.  Success, love and happiness have completely eluded me.  I have grasped at meagre scraps of short-lived pleasures, to merely return to the same, sorry, mono-state of disappointment.  The pleasurable doesn’t last.  What can I do to find lasting happiness?  As far as I can tell from my experience, lasting happiness cannot be found in this world.

Yesterday, I was talking about choosing directions, and I said that, left or right, any direction I tried to take in the past has provoked fear. And, really, it’s only become more and more fearful as I’ve aged, due to the underlying dread that, perhaps, I’ll NEVER get it right.  That, truly, EVERY path will be wrong, disappointing, and disastrous.  Could it be true?  Is this all there is?

What I appreciate about A Course in Miracles is that it’s a direct teaching.  Statements of high spiritual truth are short and in plain language.  Today my lesson is 130, on page 237:

It is impossible to see two worlds.

The lesson says:

Fear has made everything you think you see.

Wow.  Really?  I can’t, even remotely, wrap my mind around that!  It goes on to say that if I value anything here, then I’m not free, and I’m not seeing reality.  Don’t value ANYTHING here?  That’s totally depressing!  I can’t believe it. 

So, it’s good that the Course doesn’t expect me to believe it.  I’m just expected to follow the instructions and do what it says.  I’m, seriously, out of other alternatives.  I’ve been following the Course for six years… should I finally trust that it actually means what it says?  Is it truly offering me what’s in my own best interest?  Do I quit being lazy or re-interpreting the Course instructions?  Do I quit thinking that I know what I want or what to do?  Does it really expect me to surrender the ENTIRE world?  Everything I think I love? What happens if I do?

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Question Me a Koan, Riddle Me a Truth

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 9, 2011

Let me be very clear. I do not, as of this moment, abide in the Self. From what I understand, one either does or doesn’t. There is no in between. There is no ‘kinda’. The good news, though, from what I hear, is that it’s only ever an instant away. It could happen anytime, without warning. Not by virtue of something I do, but simply by the right set of circumstances coming together to form it. Like the starting of a fire – it happens spontaneously when the right combination of flammable material, oxygen and heat come together.

Like divine sparks, I’ve had glimpses of the Self. I’ve had instantaneous ‘downloads’ of knowledge that have greatly inspired my faith along the way. Sometimes, they have even stayed with me for a few hours. I’ve also experienced very high states of joy and gratitude that have been wondrous… yet, deceptive. Only the ego experiences something. An experience implies separation. I just learned this recently. It’s easy to get attached to these states, but, ultimately, they’re not what I want.

To be absolutely clear, this website is not about answers, it’s about questions. Jesus Christ said, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.” Zen masters pose riddles, called koans, to their students. A Course in Miracles workbook poses a statement of spiritual truth each day for a year. These questions and spiritual truths – riddles, in short – can’t be answered by the mind, or understood by logical deduction. They’re meant to induce the mind to surrender, to give up trying to answer or understand. To allow the inherent mystery of the riddle and form space around it, so divine grace may enter.

For the past 10 years, I’ve been rather obsessive about the study of enlightenment from a variety of sources and teachers, yet, I know less now than when I started. Fortunately, I can’t study much anymore because I just get confused. It’s best for me now to focus on a single riddle, and let it percolate. Not thinking about it or looking for an answer, just gently refreshing the riddle occasionally, and then being as still as possible with it. A Course in Miracles is my primary resource. I’ve been studying the Course for six years. Yes, apparently, I’m a very slow learner.

Talking about slow learning, yesterday, I was thinking about the various paths I’ve taken in my life, and the times that I’ve been really stuck with indecision. If I turn right, do I irrevocably lose the path that turned left? I have definitely believed in strict either/or decisions, in the past. Do I still believe in them? Well, if the path to the right is unknown, and the path to the left is also unknown, then left and right are the same: unknown. It’s that very unknown that provokes fear and indecision. How can I choose if every direction is completely terrifying? In those times, I’ve relied upon the maxim: If in doubt, don’t. This simple statement is my bottom line for every tough decision I’ve faced for many years now. Even if the mind is chock full of doubt, the Self knows. If I’m just patient, and surrender the tendency to worry, eventually the anxiety is replaced with peace, and the answer appears, perfectly clear. Then, actually, there is no choosing at all. It becomes the unified path of choiceless choice.

Eventually, the Self just has to be trusted. To pose a riddle, and trust that the Self has heard and will help. That’s difficult for an ego, so it takes practice. If an answer comes, great, and if it doesn’t, then I probably didn’t need it anyway. The point is, first, to ask.

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