Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

THE PATH OF PEACE

            Sweet Jesus there is so much fighting and violence on the planet these days. Unfortunately much of it was financed or created by United States Intelligence Agencies, otherwise known as US. We do not need any more warriors to fight for peace. What we need are warriors of peace. We must instill the qualities of courage, wisdom, love and kindness into our children and ourselves if we are to survive the Armageddon that is raging around us. As one fatally injured three-year-old Syrian boy told his doctors, “I am going to complain to God about you.” We must rediscover the principals of reconciliation, harmony, cooperation and empathy and apply them to all who are dispossessed, injured, angry and vengeful. If not, we all will suffer the consequences of our failure to find the path of peace.

            The path of peace begins within each one of us. Everyone has a soul that can be refined and enlightened, and everyone has a path of peace to follow. No one can be left behind. We are here for no other purpose but to find the path to peace, realize our divinity and find our enlightenment. The path of peace begins in the heart and goes from there into our world. We must find the peace that exists in our heart and leave behind the constant battles of our minds. The famous Bhagavad Gita is all about the conflict between right values (Pandavas) and selfish desires (Kurus) that will always battle in our minds. We must leave that battle behind and discover the peace beyond all understanding that lives in our hearts. We do not need anything to begin; heaven exists right where we are.

            We must let go of the illusion of separation. We are all one; we all came from the same source. Isn’t it ironic that most of the warfare is now being waged between tribes who were once one? Cousins are fighting cousins; enemies were families not so long ago. This is exactly as predicted by the Bhagavad Gita 5000 years ago. We must return to the unity and common source that created us and remember that it is this illusion of separation that causes all suffering in the world. We have to remember that we either grow or die. To kill one another over religious nonsense or forgotten wrongs is not growth; it is death.

            Do not compare yourself to anyone one. There is nothing to compare. We are each unique into our self and any perception of have and have not is simply an illusion created by those who would wish to control us. Always keep our minds clear of any thoughts of lack or less than. Be a warrior and keep our minds clean and peaceful. The battles are won and lost between the ears.

            We all have forgotten to breathe. When we breathe in, we must expand to the ends of time and space, when we exhale we bring all of it back into us. When we breathe in, we need to inhale all of the energy of heaven and its promises of peace and joy. When we exhale, we need to release all hatred, evil, lust, greed, selfishness and fear. When we breathe properly, we have no time or desire to harm another human being. When you breathe, feel the rise and fall of the tide and the waves within you. All life exists within you. Life does not exist anywhere else.

            If we fight, we must fight to clean our water, air and land and protect Mother Earth. It is insane to pollute the only source of life, we will not survive for long. Everything we do must be with the goal of protecting our habitat. Not only are we one with each other, we are one with our planet. Water, earth, mountains, air and oceans combine to keep us safe. We must return the favor.

            Be mindful. Be aware of life, plants, animals and each other. Study each other intensely. If we are aware of all of who we are, we could not conceive of doing violence against each other. Each one of us is an incredibly complex and multidimensional being. Who is so arrogant to destroy such beauty and miracles of life? Fill our hearts with seeds of compassion and understanding. Let each one germinate from the muck and mire of negativity around us like the lotus blossom arises from the stagnant waters. Fill yourself with the power of wisdom and enlightenment.

            The Path of Peace requires focus, vigilance and discipline. However, it is much easier to travel the Path of Peace than to destroy all that we know. We all believe that we are justified in taking life when the time comes, but that is an illusion. Life is eternal and never dies. We have just forgotten.

            

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

ESCAPING FROM REALITY

             We live our lives of quiet desperation and wish that things were different. We feel stuck in this world, having no control over our lives and our circumstances. We work hard and then harder to get ahead and seem to lose ground. We search for love and it eludes us; our soul mate never shows up no matter how many workshops or energy sessions we attend. We look at our neighbors and despair that we are losing the rat race. We seek counseling and the secrets to happiness. It doesn’t matter what we do or what we have, there is always that sense of anxiety and longing for something else. We are afraid that we will not get what we want, and when we manifest it we are afraid that we will lose it. Buddha called this “samsara”, or the “dream”. Samsara is the world, as humans with an unsettled and agitated mind perceive it. I call it a false reality invented by our unrealized ignorance.

            There is a story about Sai Baba, a revered holy man in India who recently left this reality. A man suffering from insomnia came to him and asked Baba to help him sleep. Baba referred the man to a yogi master who taught him how to breathe and yoga. The man returned to Baba to thank him as he was finally able to sleep. Baba told him, “if you want to sleep, follow the yogi. If you want to wake up, follow me.” There are some basic principals that we can follow to “wake up”. These may or may not make you happy, but at least you will have the tools to be so.

1. Being busy does not equal being successful.

It’s surprising how easy it is to lose sight of the important things in life. Busy schedules and weekly routines have a tendency to make us numb and unconscious. We forget where we put our keys, we need personal assistants to remind us what day it is. We become walking zombies.

Look at everyone around you. They all seem so busy — running from meeting to meeting and firing off emails. Yet how many of them are really producing, really succeeding at a high level? Success doesn’t come from movement and activity. It comes from focus — from ensuring that your time is used efficiently and productively. You get the same number of hours in the day as everyone else. Use yours wisely. After all, you’re the product of your output, not your effort. Make certain your efforts are dedicated to tasks that get results.

Speed is not the same as efficiency. Slow down. Breathe. Focus on what you are wanting to achieve. Achievement is not success. Success is being happy.

2. There is no success and no failure.

The biggest achievements often come when you’re feeling the most frustrated and the most stuck. It’s this frustration that forces you to think differently, to look outside the box and see the solution that you’ve been missing. Life takes patience and the ability to maintain a good attitude even while suffering for what you believe in. In the long run, there is no success or failure. There are only lessons about what is important and what makes you happy. The fact that someone has more money or possessions or a trophy spouse has no relevance to a happy person.

3. Fear is not real, never regret.

Many of us believe that death is the worst thing that can happen, followed closely by ridicule and poverty. We often dwell on our memories, incarcerating ourselves in the prison of the past. We regret what we have done and are afraid to do anything new because we are convinced by our memories that we are losers and will always fail. We do understand that we are never doomed, we are never failures. We are always works in progress and we all have the potential to change the world. The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive.

4. Love and self-worth must come from within.

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own destiny.  When we look at others, we disempower ourselves to them. When you feel good about something that you’ve done, don’t allow anyone’s opinions or accomplishments to take that away from you. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain — you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.

Stop looking for someone to make you happy. That is not their job. Your job is to be authentic, strong, caring, kind and considerate. When you have those qualities, you will be happy. So many people postpone their happiness because they are waiting for someone to do that for them. The truth is even if you find your soulmate, you will not be happy because they can’t make you happy. Most of us fantasize that someone will show up that do everything for us and be everything for us. Unfortunately, that is a fantasy because the universe does not revolve around us. When we love ourselves and have self-worth, it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. We are a bright light shining for everyone.

The other problem with looking for a soulmate is we limit our compassion and caring to that one person. We have a bigger role to play, we have to be kind and compassionate to all people. We have to love everyone equally, not just one person. Realize that our roles are much bigger than we know and our lives will expand to include what we want.

5. Your friends are your mirror to yourself.

Look at who you spend your time with. Are they friendly, supportive, kind, caring, inspiring and nurturing? If not, you need to look at your behavior and actions because they are probably reflecting who you are. Do you spend all of your time gossiping? Do you spend all of your time regreting and talking about the past? Do you endlessly and constantly criticise yourself and others? These are the bars of the jail cell you have built yourself in this world. Consider being what you want in your life. Be friendly, supportive, kind, caring, inspiring and nurturing. If your friends are reflecting what you want to change, change your friends. When we surround ourselves with people who are filled with negativity, that is what we have to deal with on a daily basis.

6. No one gets out of here alive.

Yes, we die, often before we are ready. Yet when someone dies unexpectedly it causes us to take stock of our own life — what’s really important, how we spend our time, and how we treat other people.

Remind yourself every morning when you wake up that each day is a gift, and you have to make the most of it. The moment you start acting like life is a blessing is the moment it will start acting like one. Despite the debate on what and where God is, the truth is we create the kind of day we live from the first waking breath. A great day begins with a great thought. Choose wisely.

7. Stop judging.

Life goes a lot smoother once you let go of negative emotions. When we judge something or someone to be bad, we are judging ourselves. Grudges and resentment let negative events from your past ruin today’s happiness. Hate and anger destroy your joy in life. In order to free yourself from negative thoughts and emotions, stop judging. Recognize that everyone is doing the best they can and everything that happens in life is a lesson. If someone cheats you or cheats on you, free yourself and thank them. If you leave a relationship or a job, it is the universe’s way of expanding your life and your awareness.  You now understand the pain of that experience and you are much wiser. If you are the cause of the event, take responsibility and accept the consequences of your actions.

No one is a victim. No one can force anyone to make decisions and take actions that run contrary to their values and aspirations. You created your past, just like you are creating your future. If you’re feeling stuck, it’s probably because you’re afraid to take the steps and change what is necessary to achieve your goals and live your dreams. Let go of your fear. It’s always better to be at the start of a path you want to be on than being at the end of one you don’t.

8. Forget the past.

It is our memories of the past which trap us in this false reality. No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future. Mark Twain said, “Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.” It’s impossible to be happy if you’re constantly somewhere else, unable to fully embrace the reality (good or bad) of this very moment. Accept your past. If you don’t make peace with your past, it will never leave you and, in doing so, it will create your future. Accept the uncertainty of the future. There is a reason that we don’t know everything at once. Our heads would explode. The universe created time expressly for that reason, so everything would not happen at once. 

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

A MONTH OF MANTRAS

            Life is determined by what we are thinking. The quantity and quality of thoughts that go through our consciousness can cause us to raise our consciousness to the highest realms or be thoroughly depressed. When we are learning to control our thoughts, the easiest way to avoid negative thinking and implant positive thoughts is to repeat mantras, or positive statements to ourselves over and over again. The more often we repeat these positive statements, the more positive-ness and joy we will experience.

            Behavioral scientists state that new habits are formed in 21 days of repetitive behavior. I have listed 30 mantras below which I believe are highly effective to change our mind and moods to positivity. You can say one for 21 days or more or simply go through the list and rotate from month to month. The idea is to get your mind to start thinking positively automatically. Once you can do that, your life will change dramatically.

1.     I am not my thoughts, beliefs, emotions or feelings. I am a divine child of God.

2.     I heal all thoughts and beliefs that cause me suffering. They are an illusion.

3.     I am calm and filled with peace.

4.     Everything is working out perfectly in my best and highest good.

5.     I focus on my own path.

6.     God arise in me and show me your plan for me.

7.     All of my needs will be met and I am relaxed.

8.     I am grateful for my body, my life and all that are in it.

9.     Everything changes, including me.

10.  Patience is a gift.

11.  The only difference between a miracle and a disaster is my perception.

12.  I create all that I perceive. I only perceive joy, abundance and thankfulness.

13.  I let go of all resistance to life.

14.  Everyone has a choice. I choose to be happy.

15.  Just for today, I am happy.

16.  Just for today, I radiate hope, love and happiness.

17.  I am a powerful being of light shining love on everyone and everything I perceive.

18.  I am filled with the power of God.

19.  I reclaim all of my power which I have given to others.

20.  I am my own teacher and guide.

21.  Everyone loves me in their own way.

22.  I transmute all fear into love.

23.  Life is not about what I can get. Life is about what I can give.

24.  I open my heart and raise my eyes to God.

25.  Slow down and relax.

26.  I see myself through Heaven’s eyes.

27.  I give this relationship to God and let it unfold perfectly in divine grace.

28.  I am filled with joy, divine energy and beauty. I am perfect.

29.  Every day in every way I am getting better and better.

30.  I love you. Please forgive me. I am sorry. Thank you.

I would love to hear from you after you have done a 30-day cycle. My email is James @jamesgrayrobinson.com.

 

 

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

POWER

            I have been manifesting some life lessons lately. Life lessons are experiences that we come to this planet to have and learn. The difference between life lessons and the ordinary daily lessons we experience is that life lessons often involve deeply rooted, often-subconscious beliefs that cause us to limit ourselves and suffer.  These are our “sacred cows,” the beliefs that are so deeply imbedded into our psyche that we don’t even know they are there. We manifest “life lessons” to bring our attention to the root cause of these experiences so that we can see what is limiting our consciousness and life experiences.

            One of the most frequent life lessons involves relationships. Relationships include any interaction, whether it is with a parent spouse, child, coworker, boss, or authority figure. If you are experiencing disharmony, lack, frustration, negative emotions of any kind, or feelings of abandonment or rejection, you can be sure it is a life lesson which you are creating to show you a belief that is no longer working for you.

            If someone is not behaving like you want and you are suffering as a result, the first step is to detach from the drama of the situation and ask yourself what you need to see about this experience. It is likely that this experience has happened before in your life and you need to see the pattern of it. If at anytime you have said to yourself  “not again”, you can be sure that there is a pattern you need to see about your behavior, not the behavior of other person. Anytime you blame suffering on another person, this is perhaps a life lesson on how you always project your issues on another person.

            One of the most common causes of suffering in relationship is the subconscious attempt of one person to make the other responsible for his/her happiness. We all know that only we are responsible for our happiness, but if you experience suffering because of the behavior of someone else, this is called “disempowerment” or making someone other than yourself responsible for your happiness. If someone’s behavior can cause you great joy or great suffering, you have likely disempowered yourself to that person.

            True power is created when we can stay grounded and centered no matter what someone else is doing. We lose our power or give our power away when we make ourselves miserable due to the behavior of someone else. Did someone say an unkind word that caused suffering? You gave your power away. Feelings hurt? You gave your power away. Are you anxious or worried about someone or something? You have given your power away. Are you experiencing feelings of lack or victimhood? You have given your power away.

            Thousands of self-help books claim to prescribe the formula for self-empowerment. You don’t need to read a book; you just have to accept the fact that you are giving your power away every time you don’t like something.  If you can recognize what you are doing, you can simply stop it. If you are not aware you are doing it, you can’t change anything. So if you are mired in the fear of lack or victimhood, you probably will have a hard time understanding that you created this situation so you can see how you are giving your power away. So accept the responsibility of your creation and stop resisting.

            There are a couple of simple (maybe not easy) ways to take your power back. The goal is to be happy with yourself no matter what is going on around you. The most powerful person in the world is the person who is happy. Do you feel alone and unloved? Be happy and see how people are magnetized to you. Do you feel like you are a loser? Be happy and see the abundance flow. Do you feel like you are a victim? Be happy and you will never be a victim again. 

            So the ultimate question is how to get off the drama train and be happy. The only thing that is required to be happy is to understand you are God’s representative here on Earth and you are experiencing your life to rejoin God. Now if you are an atheist, you can be happy if you understand that happiness flows from acceptance. There is nothing wrong with the planet, only our perception of it. What we experience in life is not as important as what we believe about what we experienced.  If we believe something is good, all will be good and we will experience a life filled with light. If we believe it is bad, we will experience a life filled with darkness and shadow. It is all the same life; the difference is how we perceive it.

            Just remember when we receive life lessons, we asked for this. All of us on the spiritual path asked for enlightenment, consciousness or just a better life. The joke is that life happens when we had something else planned. The reality is that when we asked for enlightenment we left kindergarten and immediately enrolled in the graduate level programs of consciousness. At that level we have to be responsible for everything we perceive, including our happiness. We have to quit giving our power away to people, places and things and start reclaiming our own happiness. This is the source of true power.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

MAYDAY ON EARTH DAY

             Earth Day is an annual event held on April 22. The dream of the hippy movement of the 1960’s, it is an annual celebration and reminder of the importance of ecology and environmental protection. This year was no exception; there were grand celebrations all over the country celebrating this important reminder to be kind to Mother Earth. The problem is, is it doing any good?

            There are some things that don’t look good for our life on Mother Earth, some of which we are responsible for, and some we aren’t. Pollution is one of the biggest killers, affecting more than 100 million worldwide. More than 3 million kids under the age of 5 years die every year due to environmental factors like pollution. Pollution kills more than 1 million seabirds and 100 million mammals every year. More than 1 billion people worldwide don’t have access to safe drinking water and 5000 people die every day as a result of drinking unclean water. The garbage dumped in the ocean every year is roughly around 14 billion pounds. Plastic is the major constituent. Americans buy more than 29 million bottles of water every year. Only 13% of these bottles are recycled every year.m There are two areas in the Pacific, one off the western seaboard and one between Japan and Hawaii that are huge garbage collection points. Oceans are becoming more acidic rue to green house emissions from fossil fuel.

            Approximately 46% of the lakes in America are extremely polluted and not safe for swimming, fishing and aquatic life. People who live in high-density air pollution area, have 20% higher risk of dying from lung cancer, than people living in less polluted areas. United States produces 30% of the world’s waste and uses 25 % of the worlds natural resources. The Mississippi River dumps 1.5 million metric tons of nitrogen pollution in the Gulf of Mexico every year. Every year around one trillion gallons of untreated sewage and industrial waste is dumped in the U.S water. China is the world’s largest producer of carbon dioxide. United States is number 2. There are more than 500 million cars in the world and by 2030 the number will rise to 1 billion. This means pollution level will be more than double.

            The tsunami in Japan in 2011 created debris for 70 miles, which consists of cars, plastic, dead bodies and radioactive waste. Pollution in China can change the weather in United States. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 6400 people die every year in Mexico due to air pollution. A single person in United States produces 2 kilograms of garbage every day. In 1987, the U.S. released 1.2 million tons of toxic chemicals into our atmosphere, 670,000 tons into our soil, and 250,000 tons into our water. In the US, 41% of all insecticides are used on corn. Eighty per cent of these are used to treat a pest that could be controlled simply by rotating the corn for one year with any other crop.   

            Projected increases in fertilizer use for food production and in wastewater effluents over the next three decades suggest there will be a 10-20 percent global increase in river nitrogen flows to coastal ecosystems. Half of the world’s wetlands have been lost since 1900. Every day, 2 million tons of human waste is dumped into rivers and waterways. Water pollution is getting worse because known polluters are moving to third world countries that don’t have stringent water regulations.

            The world population is predicted to grow from 6.9 billion in 2010 to 8.3 billion in 2030 and to 9.1 billion in 2050. At the same time, urban population is projected to increase by 2.9 billion, to a total of 6.3 billion in 2050. Between 1991 and 2000 over 665,000 people died in 2,557 natural disasters of which 90% were water related. Since 1900 more than 11 million people have died as a consequence of drought and more than 2 billion have been affected by drought, more than any other physical hazard. The frequency and intensity of such hazards is generally rising. A study of 141 countries found that more women than men die from natural hazards, and that this disparity is linked most strongly to women’s unequal socio-economic status. Globally, diarrhea is the leading cause of illness and death, and 88% of diarrheal deaths are due to a lack of access to sanitation facilities, together with inadequate availability of water for hygiene and unsafe drinking water.

            While any effort to focus on ecology and environmental protection is important, it is obvious that one day a year is not enough. What is it going to take for you to get involved in the rescue of Mother Earth? Research the ways to reduce pollution. Recycle, carpool and pick up trash where you can. Be conscious about Mother Earth. Our great grandchildren are depending on us.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

THE ART OF PREMA AGNI

            Many times we have conflict with people or ideas that make us suffer. Due to the fact that we don’t know how to properly respond to these conflicts, we suffer even more. We beat ourselves up because we don’t know what to do.  When we take action to avoid suffering and we don’t get the results we want, we suffer more. The path to enlightenment is concerned, in part, with the discovery of how to respond to conflict and adversity in a conscious way. We become aware of the thoughts that produce suffering, and how to deal with those thoughts. When a thought arises that causes suffering, the proper response to the thought is to love the thought. We can’t stop suffering by hating the suffering. This negative response only causes more suffering.

            The conscious way to deal with suffering is to contemplate the thought that is causing the suffering and to let go of it and all attachments to it. The thought might be that we are unworthy, unlovable, stupid or variations on those themes. The thought might be about how others are compared to us. The thought may be about how life is unfair or that God has abandoned us. We become attached to these thoughts and they become engrained in our subconscious. As long as they stay in our mind, we will suffer. When they surface into our conscious mind, we become enmeshed in the emotions that these thoughts cause and forget to deal with the thought itself.

            Thoughts are not real, no matter how attached we become to them. We are not our thoughts. When we can detach from our thoughts, we can let go of the emotions they create and stop suffering. When a thought arises, we need to be able to look at it as simply a thought and nothing more. It is an illusion, a neuron flashing on and off in our brain. It helps me to compare a thought to a cloud in the sky floating across the blue sky. The blue sky is my true self, the observer, and blissful awareness. The clouds that separate the mind from the blue sky can be wispy or hurricane forces depending on the nature of the thought. In all cases the thought is not the sky. When I do not allow myself to become attached to the thought, eventually it will float away like a cloud.

            Whenever I have a thought that causes suffering, such as judgments or critical thinking, I can either obsess on it or allow it to float away. When I obsess on it, it will stay in my consciousness for much longer periods of time, causing suffering like a radioactive isotope buried in my mind. There are ways to consciously remove these thoughts from my consciousness. One way to let go is to replace it with a pleasant thought, such as “cancel, I send love.” Every time a thought arises that causes me pain or suffering, I simply override it with “cancel, I send love.” This is a highly effective way to let go of thoughts.

            I like to use another technique as well, the technique of placing the thought, and the object of the thought, into a fire of purple and pink flame. I call this the Prema Agni flame (Prema Agni means “fire of divine love”).  I imagine that these flames burn and destroy the thought and what ever the thought was about. The flames are pleasant to the touch and do not hurt the thought or the object of the thought, simply removing them from my awareness and consciousness. I may have to do this repeatedly for a thought or an object that is particularly painful and is deeply engrained. However, eventually the thought will disappear and the suffering will be eliminated. For example, if we have to deal with an unpleasant person, or someone that is creating conflict, we can put that person in the fire of purple flame. Eventually that person will stop being unpleasant, we can resolve the issue or that person will disappear from our awareness. This technique is truly magical.

            I recently had an unpleasant encounter with someone that caused me to doubt myself and dislike that person. I put that person and all of the thoughts I was having with that person into the fire of Prema Agni flame and watched it all go up in smoke as an offering to the universe. In a relatively short period of time I was able to stop thinking about that person, think positively about myself and get over it.  I was amazed at how quickly this happened because I normally would obsess over this for days. Instead I processed these thoughts in a matter of minutes. Whatever suffering I was experiencing quickly stopped and I was able to return to a state of grace.

            There are other ways to deal with unpleasant, painful thoughts, but these two are the most effective way of dealing with them. When we practice these techniques, they will start to engage as soon as a thought flashes into our consciousness. This automatically avoids melodrama and suffering and allows us to respond in love, not react in fear. When we can stay grounded in these teachings, our lives become less stressful, chaotic and painful. When we can focus on these teachings, we begin to experience the nature of enlightenment. Enjoy!

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

LIFE VS. THE SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS

              The second law of thermodynamics states that given a constant state of energy and matter (the universe), the amount of usable energy will decrease until the universe devolves and complex structures decay until the system reaches a state of complete disorder and stillness. In other words, according to science, at some point in the distant future the Universe will be in complete chaos until it goes completely dark. On the other hand, we have the concept of life, which constantly strives to put chaos into order and continually strives to recreate it.

            This struggle between the physical devolution of systems and the creative nature of life oftentimes appears in our lives as the destruction of what we know and creation of something new and better. In shamanism, this is known as going through the “dark night of the soul” and emerging “into the light”. It is the natural order of things. This is also known as the “roller coaster” of life and the pendulum of polarity. We experience life as a cycle for a reason, it is the way life works. Things destruct (2d Law of Thermodynamics) and things are recreated (life).

            In various cultures this is represented by various means. In the east, the cycle of yin/yang is constantly flowing from one state into another. It also is reflected in the concept of reincarnation, in which a physical being comes to a state of stillness (death) and is reborn into another physical being (life). In Hinduism, the god Kali (the destroyer) comes to dismantle all that is an illusion to allow what is real to be revealed. I am sure that all of this is intellectually interesting, but what do these concepts have to do with John Q. Citizen?

            The first thing to realize is that life and experience moves in predictable cycles. These are not random, they are dictated by the interplay between physics and life. On the one hand the universe is devolving into randomness and on the other life is evolving to God. These may actually be the same thing on higher levels. In any event, we constantly go between pleasure and pain, happiness and fear, birth and death. The question should be why are we always resisting the natural order of life and physics? We don’t want things to change, but they must. We must learn to accept it all. When we are in pleasure, enjoy the pleasure, but know that it will eventually cycle into pain. Enjoy the pain because we know it will cycle back into pleasure.

            Beings with higher consciousness tell me that life can be managed, and with proper discipline and thought control we can minimize the pain and maximize the pleasure. Even higher beings, like Buddha, will tell you by letting go of desire we can eliminate the cycle of pleasure and pain and experience constant bliss. This begs the question of whether you want to give up the cycle of pleasure and pain. I seem to relish both the intensity of pleasure and the intensity of pain. I certainly have experienced my share of both.

            I am at that point in life that I am watching my father die. He is old, he is not well and he is tired. He is resisting going to the next adventure because he is afraid of the unknown. It is the resistance born of fear. I completely understand his angst, I am going through my own angst of watching him go through his final stages. I also am going through the angst of living in a world that has cycles of pain and pleasure, life and death and light and dark. I pray to God to ease my father’s suffering and to give him peace. I pray to God to ease my suffering and to give me peace. I pray to God to ease your suffering and to give your peace. All of this is to say that I have great compassion for all beings because I know it is a scientific certainty that we will all experience what my father is experiencing and it is also a scientific certainty that we must embrace change. And if we do not embrace change, we will suffer change. That is our choice and what is known as “free will”. If there is anything we have a choice about, it is whether we suffer. Embrace the light, embrace the dark, embrace pain, and embrace pleasure. Seek the divine who can through grace help us rise above it all. And may all beings be happy.

           

           

            

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

THE TRUE MEANING OF CONSCIOUSNESS

                 I wrote this article in December, but it has a timeless message. I considered calling this article “The True Meaning of Christmas”. Even though there are probably thousands of books, sermons, articles, webinars and other self-help literature out there with that title “The True Meaning of Christmas”, the question continues to be contemplated by all sorts of people. For me, the whole message of the prophet named Jesus/Jessua was to become more conscious and that the only hope for happiness (peace on Earth) was to change the way we think.

            The first thing that most Christians don’t realize is that Jesus’s message is a common message. The same themes were shared by Buddha, the Hindu God Krisna in the Bhagavad Gita, Mohammed in the Koran, Sai Baba in his many discourses and many other teachers and sages throughout the history of mankind. Kind of makes you wonder why we have so much trouble with the concept of being happy doesn’t it?

            In order to apply the principles of Consciousness/Christmas one has to be focused. We have to focus on the effects of our actions on others, we have to focus on the fact that most of what we perceive to be real is actually an illusion, we have to focus on the fact that suffering is our own creation, and we have to focus on the fact that life is a gift in any form, and it should not be taken from anyone.

            I certainly applaud all of the efforts to support our troops who are fighting everywhere for peace. The True Meaning of Consciousness is that we are perpetuating our own suffering by hurting others, no matter what the reason. Perhaps it would be a better idea to bring those soldiers home.

        Consciousness requires the focus on serving others without regard of reward or recognition. Not just on holidays, but everyday of the year. In relationships, consciousness requires the focus on the wellbeing of your partner, not of your own wellbeing. Consciousness recognizes the illusion of right and wrong; there is only what you want or what I want. Consciousness recognizes the illusion of separation consciousness that causes the myths of soul mates and marriage in the first place. I think what most people are looking for in a “soul mate” is actually someone who will be obedient. Consciousness recognizes that if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you are with (okay so I borrowed that one).

            Consciousness has to do with being aware of everything that is happening around you. Let someone else have that prime parking space at the mall, go park a long way away and get some exercise. When we go shopping with our kids, make sure they understand that they are buying it for some needy family, not themselves. Instead of taking a family ski vacation, use the money to make someone else’s life easier. Pay their heating bill or rent for a month. Have our children make handmade gifts for their classmates.

            The most important thing is to realize that each of us is the child that is born on Christmas Day, and every day we are lucky enough to wake up. We may have to go through challenges and adversity just like the metaphorical Christ child, but we can have just as big an impact on the world. The question is are we focused on that potential or are we focused on what everyone else is doing? Do people still feel insecure and unworthy because they don’t have as much material stuff as other people? Consciousness would have us realize that what we have has nothing to do with how we feel. Consciousness teaches us that how we feel determines what we have. We have total control over this circumstance. Only we determine how we feel. No one can make us feel this way or that way; consciousness knows that it our individual responsibility of how we feel.

            So today, give yourself the best gift of all and start focusing on what you can do to help others and to think less about yourself. We can rise above being defined by Wall Street and Madison Avenue.  We can stop caring about how our bodies and faces compare to others and start caring about picking up trash and being kind to people. We can stop criticizing others and ourselves. We can stop gossiping and start imagining what life can be if we focus on the welfare of others.

            It is a far more conscious choice to be in church on Monday than it is on Sunday.  Depending on your focus, you can be in church every minute of every day. Consciousness knows that God is in us and we don’t have to go anywhere to find God. So have a wonderful day and ask for some consciousness this year. That never goes out of style.

 

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

LIVING FROM THE HEART

            What does it mean to live in the heart? Why is that different from living in the mind? How can you tell whether you are in your head or your heart? The place to start this inquiry is to understand that the organ we refer to as the heart is more than just a pump moving blood around the body. It has over 40,000 neurons and communicates with the brain and the digestive tract regarding blood flow and circulation. When the heart communicates with the brain that something is off balance, we can feel it. This is where “light headedness”, or “dizziness” can come in which is the direct result of the heart not being in sync with the rest of our body. Something is off.

            Researchers have discovered that the electromagnetic field generated by the heart is much larger than any other organ, including the brain. This field is approximately 8-10 feet in diameter for a healthy person. This would explain why people who are sensitive to the fluctuations in electromagnetic fields can tell when a heart is diseased or distressed. Similarly, people who are experiencing large amounts of stress or anxiety due to disappointment or loss will experience fluctuations in their electromagnetic field that is often called it “a broken heart”.

            While there is no empirical evidence to prove what perceptions are harbored in the heart versus the head, there are some experiences I have lived that would tell me that there are distinctions between the types of perceptions we have when we are “heart-centered” and when we are “ego-centered”. These differences are quite dramatic and life changing. They show me that focusing on perceiving the world through the heart or while being “in the heart” make a big difference from “being in my head”.

            A few years ago I was brutally attacked by some gang members in Dublin Ireland. Due to my martial arts training I was able to disarm my two attackers and get them on the ground. At the time I was at a spiritual workshop and had been focusing on “being in my heart.” As a result, I did not want to hurt these attackers, once they were on the ground I was able to get away even though I was badly beaten. I never once thought of hurting them, I was only concerned with disarming them without any serious damage to anyone of us. I did not feel any emotions about them personally, I was able to see that it was a life lesson about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I believe that the “being in my heart” enabled me to see the whole incident in a completely objective, non-judgmental way. It is the mind, the ego that would judge these people and make them villains and me a victim. I was actually grateful for the experience and that I was not permanently injured. The curious thing was that I did not have to forgive them. Being in the heart means that you understand that everything happens for a reason and there is nothing wrong. It is the ego that labels events “right or wrong”. Forgiveness is a concept that is only necessary if you believe something is wrong. Thus, I was able to love both the experience and the individuals involved.

            Many of us have experienced a loss of a loved one through death or moving on, or the break up of a relationship. I have been divorced twice, and both were very painful to me. When I meditate and go into my heart to experience those memories from my heart, I discover that there is no pain associated with those memories in my heart. It is the mind, the ego that attaches emotions to the memories. It is almost like the heart has no memory. There is no need for a memory when you are in your heart. We developed our memory for self-defense purposes, so we could remember what hurts and what is dangerous. I wonder if there is anyone who only remembers pleasant memories and never remembers painful memories? If there are, I would bet that they spend most of their time being in their heart.

            When I am in my heart, I feel calm and peaceful, whatever is going on around me. When I am in my head, I experience the negative emotions, anxiety, worry, fear. That is what our primitive minds, our ancient minds do…worry about survival and longevity. The heart cares not about these things; it only is concerned about radiating love and happiness.

            So how do you get into your heart? Meditate and relax. Feel your awareness drop from your head into your heart. Use your imagination to envision the joy and peace of being in a safe, calm, peaceful place. That is your heart. Leave all of your fears and anxieties behind in your head. Feel a warmth and golden light fill your chest cavity and expand throughout your body. Sit with this feeling for as long as you can. Start with short intervals, five minutes every hour. Expand these intervals as you can until you can keep this feeling as you go about your day. There are several immediate benefits. First, you will notice that all of your worries and anxieties melt away under the warmth of the golden light. Second, you will notice that your body responds to this new feeling with relaxation and well-being. Third, you will notice that people will start responding to you in a much different manner, with kindness and affection. Fourth, people will ask “have you lost weight?” The more you can stay in your heart, the more you will shift your reality to peace, happiness and calm. That is what we all want and it is called “heaven”.

 

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

THE MIRACLE OF A BROKEN HEART

            It is my experience that the ancient teachings (God) come to me in times of my greatest growth and help me to understand that everything is in my highest good. I had the sublime and transformational experience recently of not getting what (or who) I really, really, really wanted. Specifically, I met someone that I have a great deal in common with, and share many common beliefs, profoundly enjoy every minute with this person and was convinced that I had finally found my soul mate. The kicker was that this person is in a relationship that they are not willing to leave. So by not getting what I want, I got to feel the old familiar intense pain of a broken heart.

            The illusion of separation is greatest in these situations. Imagine someone who doesn’t even know of the existence of the illusion of separation who faces this situation. Most people would go into victimhood and depression. However, the teachings tell us that when we don’t get what we want, a space is opened up in our psyche that either causes our greatest suffering or gives us the opportunity to fill it with a connection with the divine. That part of the spiritual journey is called the dark night of the soul. We cry out to our higher self for comfort and guidance, and the cry is answered with peace and equanimity. Stated another way, a broken heart is one way God uses to come into our heart.

            I am well aware that the illusion of a broken heart is a melodramatic reaction to not getting my way and wishing life was different. It is an adult version of a temper tantrum.  The teachings state that the cause of all suffering is wishing life were different. So the truth of the phenomenon of any emotional trauma is that it is our reaction to not getting what we want. The path to enlightenment is paved with the stones of not getting what we want. After all, if we got what we wanted all of the time, there would be no motivation, no opportunity to change our beliefs about ourselves and grow.

            What is different about this experience is that realization that I caused it and am fully responsible for the lesson. The poor woman probably was not ready for a committed relationship (especially with me) but that did not stop me from building romantic castles in the air and making plans for our eternal bliss. She probably didn’t know what hit her. A full frontal assault from a highly spiritual Leo is daunting, I would imagine. Even more important is the lesson that we cannot find love outside of ourselves. By reaching outside of myself to find love in the form of this person I created in my own mind, I created this scenario. When the full light of the being that I am shined on this illusion, it evaporated like the morning dew.

            It is humbling at times to realize just how powerful we are. The uncomfortable question is how am I behaving in order to create this reflection of my heart? Do I disregard my feelings or not love myself the way I need? These are important questions for my own spiritual growth, for the people I encounter in my life are merely reflections of how I relate to myself. There is lots of food for contemplation from this experience.

            The most important question is how do I move on? I have decided that I will be open to whatever happens and look forward to seeing who I become after all of this. I find that as I move along the spiritual path, my feelings have become much more intense.  I feel joy and pleasure much more intensely as well as feeling loss and drama more intensely. If I were honest with myself I would admit that I saw this event coming. I saw the red flags and chose to ignore them. Obviously this was a lesson that was necessary for my spiritual growth (as are all of my experiences).  Everything is important in this experience. I am sure there are many more revelations to come. I do feel calmer, centered and grounded than before the experience, perhaps that was the purpose of the whole drama.

            I am reminded that one of the milestones of enlightenment is being able to be happy in my unhappiness.  Whenever we feel unhappy, or ask a question, that is our ego. Whenever we feel happy, that is our heart. When we can let go of our thoughts, to remember that we are not our thoughts, we can be still and feel the happiness. Everyone plays a role in this drama we call life. I am going to play my role, the role of happiness.