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

The Least Importance

            Many times we experience events in life that we think are big deals. They may force us to change direction, change jobs, change relationships, change living circumstances, or even change lives. We place great importance on these life events. However, from a higher perspective these events are only as important as we make them. I was meditating today on the saying “and life goes on”, and several things occurred to me. Most importantly there is nothing in life that takes priority over enjoying it.

            Think back to the events that you place the most importance on in your life. Death of a loved one, winning an award, getting married, having children, a stroke of good or bad luck, winning the lottery, going to jail, getting a driver’s license, or many other events can loom large in our memory. But are they important compared to health, happiness or being calm in the face of unexpected occurrences? When we can take life’s unexpected twists and turns without drama and without negative emotion, we have solved many of life’s problems.

            My father was an extremely emotional and excitable person. Everything that happened in his life was either the best thing that ever happened to him or the worst thing that ever happened to him. His pendulum swings of emotions seemed to keep him either extremely happy or extremely angry. He perfected the Olympic sport of pole-vaulting over mouse turds. For those around him, it was extremely stressful. It was extremely stressful for him. He made it work for him for 90 years, but I would not recommend it as a lifestyle for most people.

            As I read all of the media posts these days, we are either facing Armageddon at the end of September or being “left behind”. The hysteria is growing to the point that the world consciousness is expecting “something” to happen. It is anybody’s guess what that will be. All of the channels are typically vague, with “doors opening”, “downloads approaching”, “portals opening to 5D love” and other prophecies that mean absolutely nothing. The funny part about most predictions is they are so vague that they could be as true today as at the end of September.

            The best advice I ever got on how to live a stress free life is to minimize drama and don’t worry, be happy. Another way of saying that is “don’t make mountains out of nothing”. When we can accept the past, the present and the future as a fun filled carnival ride that doesn’t mean anything other than that. We certainly can seek to improve the lives of others less fortunate than ourselves, but even if we can’t be what we want it isn’t important. If we keep mouse turds small, and mountains smaller, then our life will become happier and more peaceful. Make your mantra: “it isn’t that important” and see how your life changes. It may surprise you.

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

The Source of Stress

            We all deal with stress, but where does it come from? Many times life throws curve balls that we weren’t expecting. Why do we experience any sort of stress or anxiety when something unexpected happens? Is it really as simple as when something happens that we don’t like that we get stressed? Or is it just a symptom of fear of the future? Is there any way to eliminate stress from our lives?

            The beginning to eliminating stress is to realize that the triggers to our stress were formed early in life. Perhaps your parents were struggling to make ends meet and were constantly sending negative messages about money to you. Messages of lack, bad luck, life is unfair, blame and anxiety about money will create similar patterns in young, impressionable children. Perhaps your parents struggled with their relationship and sent you messages of guilt, shame, jealousy, rejection, abandonment or insecurity, again creating triggers in the young minds that were watching. Often times buried memories and feelings will bubble up liter in life as stress. If your parents often expressed feelings of victimhood, you will have learned how to react to life in similar ways. So our parents are oftentimes the source of our anxiety because that is how they taught us to experience life and that anxiety is a necessary part of life.

            If we were programmed for perfection, we were set up for stress. I am not talking about the perfection of acceptance; I am talking about the concept that everything has to happen as we plan it. As life is what happens when we had something else planned, a program of perfection will create stress. The more expectations that we have, the more anxiety and stress we will have. If we were always trying to be perfect little boys and girls to please our parents, trying to find the approval of others, trying to get the attention of parents or authority figures, stress was our constant invisible companion.

            If our parents were highly judgmental, and constantly criticized you or others, we also learned to be judgmental in our life view. By constantly perceiving that the world is wrong, and you are right, the tension between the wrong and right will produce stress. The observation of negative talk by young children often instills negative self-talk in the child. When all we do is constantly criticize ourselves, we create the feeling of anxiety through self-hatred.

            So what to do? The first thing we have to do is take responsibility for our behavior and actions. If we caused something that wasn’t intended, accept that and make whatever changes are necessary to not repeat that behavior. Stop living for approval or attention. We have nothing to prove to anyone else, and we can’t take on their problems or expectations. It would be easy to say let go of all expectations, but doing that is very difficult. We all achieve more when we have goals and plan for those goals, so expectations can be positive. However, we can choose to move through life with calmness and serenity.

            The second thing we have to do is examine our beliefs and thinking. Are we programmed for stress or are we programmed for calmness and peace? If we are constantly practicing what I call “worst case scenario” thinking, that is what we will experience. If we change that thinking to “best case scenario” thinking, we will create a much less stressful experience. Stop negative self-talk. Find what makes you feel relaxed and calm and stick to that. Our body believes what we say to it, so be aware of how we talk to ourselves. Change fear to excitement. If we are afraid of a situation, simply say to yourself: “I am excited about this”.

            Finally, if you feel anxious or stressed, detach and take a mental step away from the situation. Don’t carry burdens around with you like a backpack full of rocks. Let go of expectations of any sort. If you don’t expect anything, then whatever happens is just what was supposed to happen. It isn’t failure, it isn’t bad luck, and it isn’t the universe out to get you. It is what happened. At the end of the day, let go of all stress. Don’t watch the news. Meditate. Take control of how you end your day. Although we can’t control what happens, we can control how we react to it. RELAX. Breathe deeply. Do the best you can. Let go of everything else. The truth is we are the source of stress.

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

Love or Lust?

            Eureka! I have found it! The problem all along has been vocabulary. As many of you know, I wrote an award winning book called “What Is Love?” that looks at all of the confusion society has with the term love. This confusion has not been resolved by all of the new age fanciful romantic homilies to the notion of true love, soul mates, twin flames and such. Personally I have been married twice and had many “gf’s” but have never found “the one”. I completely understand the post on Facebook the other day, “You know that life lesson that you swore was your soul mate?” My picker has been diagnosed as “broken”, my karmic bus proclaimed to have four flat tires and my mantra is “I suck at girls.”

            My childhood training about love has heightened the dilemma. My parents taught me to completely disempower myself to those who I am supposed to love. They further taught me that if I loved someone then I had to completely become co-dependent and sacrifice whatever needed to be sacrificed. My experience with fundamentalist Christians only deepened the training with the notion that “you don’t get divorced, no matter what. Put your faith in Jesus.” My experience is Jesus doesn’t do marriage counseling. This training was underscored with the painful lessons that if you don’t become co-dependent and disempower yourself to the ones you “love” then they will leave you. My parents would withdraw their love and affection; my wives would simply withdraw into their personal hell in order to teach me the error of my ways.

            There was a parody of a popular song several years ago entitled “Love Hurts Part II”. It lamented the end of love because the parties weren’t getting what they wanted out of the relationship. And there is the true root cause of the problem. We don’t know what love is, we only know love as a completely different emotion called “lust”. Now I am not only talking about sexual lust, although for most people that is the crux of the matter. Many people go into relationship to secure a supply of steady sex. That is the purpose behind romance after all. Romance is simply a Middle Age version of stalking and capturing your prey. Some French poet long ago decided that poetry, flowers and candy was sure bait to set the trap for some young lad or lass. And the primal need for sex and candy became civilized.

            Lust is much more than the craving for sex. It is the craving for companionship and attention. When we find someone that fits our parameters, that is “like-minded”, then we go animalistic and want that person to be by our side for the rest of our lives. That is not love that is lust. When we meet someone that is attractive in just the way we want our true love to look, we “fall in love”. We do not “fall in love”, we “fall in lust.” If you are feeling a little resistance to this truth, it is probably because we have heard that “lust” is a bad word. The Christians have labeled lust as one of the seven deadly sins. So we can’t admit to one of the oldest emotions in our repertoire, because of fear that we may become a sinner.

            Quite to the contrary, if it weren’t for lust, none of us would be here. If our parents had not lusted for each other, the chemistry would not have been there and they would not have satisfied their lust ending in us. There is a real need for lust in perpetuating the species, so there obviously isn’t anything wrong with that. Thank heaven for that. But I digress.

            So if everything physical is lust, what is love? As I explain in my book, love has nothing to do with what we get out of a relationship. If you are unhappy in a relationship because you are not getting what you want, then you have lust, not love. Love goes out, lust comes in. Love is simply compassion. Compassion is the human response to the suffering of others. In fact, the ideal love we all talk about, unconditional love is also known as “compassionate detachment”. When we unconditionally love another, we wish them well. That is all. If you are attracted to that person in any way, your love has turned into lust. Attraction is a desire that you want the other person to fulfill. Detachment is the absence of that attraction.

            So if we truly love someone, we do not care whether they are beside us or not. When we do care, that is lust. When we admit that to ourselves, then we begin to take control over our lives. We can let go of the lust and simply enjoy the love. To make this even more clear, when people tell us to “love ourselves”, that does not mean to become narcissistic. That simply means to accept ourselves exactly as we are and don’t try to be someone we are not. It means to tell the truth to others and ourselves and not to hurt anyone. It means to do loving actions without any desire for gain or return. When we start being selfish, we are starting to lust for ourselves.

            We have to start to admit the truth of what motivates us and why we do what we do if we are going to stop suffering. If we suffer because the target of our lust is not staying still in their cage, then we have to take responsibility for what we do to keep them there. Love would open the cage door, lust puts more padlocks on them. When we truly love ourselves and others, we don’t need anyone else to make us happy. We just are happy.

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

The Gift of Reality

            Today is the anniversary of one of the most important events of my (this) lifetime, my birth. I shudder to think how long ago that was. Switchboards had wires and plugs, telephones were rotary dialed, recording was done by stenographers, copying was done with carbon paper and music came at three speeds, 33.3, 45 and 78 rpm’s. There were no TV’s and most musical entertainment was either on the radio or live bands. The best selling song in the US was Via Con Dios by Les Paul and Mary Ford. I had to laugh today; I described a repeating thought pattern as a scratched record. The people I was talking to had no idea what I was talking about. Only people who have experienced playing a scratched vinyl record would or could know what that was.

            I marvel today at technology. Basically we have the world in a smartphone. Dick Tracy’s cartoon wrist communicator is now a reality. So many terms will be lost on future generations; such as “encyclopedia salesman”,  “hard back books”,  and “wind up watches”. I suppose that our intellectual advances have improved our lives, but have we gotten any closer to reality?

            We had a discussion today whether we are any wiser today than we were years ago. Simply because we have more information does not mean we are any wiser. If we look around the world, the argument can be made that we actually have devolved into even more violence, more strife, more hunger, more disease, and more suffering. The religions are becoming even more violent and polarized. The Catholic Church is becoming more open about the horrors that priests have inflicted upon their parishioners. There seems to be a general decrease in spirituality, despite all of the posts and blogs about vibration, energy, ascendency, evolution and change.

            This begs the question of what reality is, anyway? The more science digs, the less it seems we know. The deeper it gets, the more the esoteric teachings of the masters seem to be correct. The stars, the moon and the stars may actually be inside of us and all of the astrophysics in the world are becoming moot. Scientists are starting to discover that our universe may not have a beginning point and there was no “big bang” after all. They are looking for “dark matter” and “dark space” which I suspect is a beginning of the understanding of the creative force of the universe. It would be ironic to the extreme that science proves the existence of God when they were looking for just the opposite.

            There is an intangible quality of getting old that I can’t explain. As I get older, everything seems to become more and more irrelevant. The most important things in life are not what I have achieved, but how I achieved them. Our motivation for whatever we do in life is much more important than what we achieve. I was taught from birth that achievements are the only yardstick in life, but what I have discovered is that my beliefs are the most important possessions. The value I place on myself is quantum levels more important than the physicality of my life. Accepting the events in my life as a manifestation of my beliefs places me in charge of my life, I am no longer a victim.

            Most importantly, I am discovering that perception of reality and reality may be the same thing. Philosophers and quantum physicists can debate the difference but the practical effect for me is they are the same thing. It is up to me to create my reality by how accurate the filters I place between my consciousness and the 3d world. As I grow in experience and wisdom, I find that I can magically transform a disaster into a miracle. I always wanted to be a wizard, after all. The more detached that I become, the less judgmental I can be. The less I am judgmental, the more I can enjoy whatever is happening in my life. The more I can enjoy the events that transpire in my life, the happier I am. I am just being me. And it was worth all of the effort.

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

Love Your Enemy

           One of the greatest teachings in the New Testament is the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus. In that talk, he clarified the Ten Commandments and gave two new commandments: (1) put God before all things and (2) treat others as you would treat yourself. In elaborating or clarifying the Ten Commandments, he instructed us to love our enemies. This was in direct contradiction to Mosaic Law which allowed an eye for an eye. It was a revolutionary concept in the West, although it was centuries old in the East.

            I used to be an ordained deacon in the Southern Baptist Church. The church I attended was a fundamentalist charismatic version, which meant that it taught the inerrancy of the Bible, i.e. “The Gospel Truth.” The older I get, the idiocracy of a literal interpretation of the Bible becomes unavoidable. Then I got it, the Bible was never meant to be taken literally, it is a metaphorical story of human nature. When we read about people slaughtering the innocents, or sacrificing babies, it is only a metaphor for the darkness that lives in us. We are capable of great acts of compassion and mercy, as well as great acts of darkness and pain.

            Keeping this in mind, I got a whole new perspective on the words “Love your enemy.” What Jesus was talking about was loving yourself. How many of us spend hours upon hours beating ourselves up for the past and limiting our future? I have written many articles about the importance of loving ourselves in order to have a fulfilling and happy life. I wonder if Jesus ever regretted anything or beat himself up because he might have done something differently or “better.” I would guess not.

            One of the aspects of enlightenment I notice among most enlightened or self-realized beings is that they do not regret the past. They accept life as a great learning experience and everything happens for us to help propel us to a greater understanding of why we are here and what role we play. Most of them tell of the importance of letting memories go, to not judge ourselves and to detach from the experience. It is the only way we can let accept all of our being and integrate it into the whole.

            Furthermore, obviously Jesus understood the concept of unity consciousness, and the notion that we are all one. If we hate another, then we hate ourselves. Until we can heal this hate, there will be no peace in the world. I pray everyday that we can all find peace in our hearts and that our leaders will quit using violence and armed conflict as our first resort. When we look around the planet and see all of the armed conflict, if we study history we will find ourselves at the core of those conflicts. We have been arming terrorists for years, and now we are giving “aid” to all of the countries in the Middle East that they use to buy weapons or US Treasury Bills. We are sowing the seeds of our own destruction.

            Why don’t we stop sending money? Why don’t we send food, teachers, shelters and other compassionate resources? When will we learn the error of our ways and start to make this world a peaceful planet? Only God and a few ultra wealthy people know the answer to those questions. It is not too late, it is never too late. Let us let go of the violence in our psyche and find peace in our own hearts. Then we can spread that light out into the world.

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

I Think I See The Problem

            To be honest, I spend way too much time on Facebook. However, it is the only way I can see what is happening in the lives of ones I love. It certainly is easier than having to track them down and talk to them like a Jewish mother. It has become more and more apparent to me that Facebook is the bastion of conspiracy theory, doomsday predictions and Armageddon hysteria. I also remember seeing a van somewhere on my travels that had the words “The world will end on ___________”. This was based on some religious leader’s interpretation of the Bible.  The date was crossed out and a new date painted on the van. These days, the end of September will be a life changer.

            It seems to me that we focus too much of our attention on what is going to go wrong, rather than what is going right. This is called fear of the future. Many people suffer anxiety disorders, stress and behavioral disorders because they have fear of the future. They do this because they obsess on what they don’t like about their lives and project it into the future. They never can sit down and relax and enjoy the moment.

            One Christmas, I decided to go to Israel and experience Christmas in Jerusalem. After all, Bethlehem is just a mile from Jerusalem and I could go to the manger and grok all of that energy. I took a tour of Bethlehem and spent the night in the cathedral where the manger is traditionally located. Bethlehem has a population of approximately 14,000. On Christmas Eve it swells to approximately 200,000. The Secretary of the United Nations was there, the Archbishop of Jerusalem was there. Due to terrorist concerns, there were also a lot of armed soldiers carrying automatic weapons. That is the point of this story.  The effect of fear of the future requires automatic weapons for the celebration of birth of a being that is called the prince of peace.

            If millions of people believe the same thing, it is likely to come true. While in Bethlehem I learned that around 300AD the wife of the Roman Emperor Constantine chose the location of the grotto, the purported manger. There is no evidence that this was the actual birthplace She built a cathedral there and it has been accepted as the birthplace of Jesus ever since. It is impossible to estimate how many millions of beings have believed, and now believe, that Bethlehem was the birthplace of Jesus. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people travel to Bethlehem every Christmas Eve every year.

            It is in this way that we create our own reality, whether individually or en masse. What we believe is our reality. So what are we doing perpetuating a myth that something terrible will happen at the end of September? For those of us that are more spiritually advanced than others, it is our duty to bring light to the darkness. We must think positive loving thoughts and be of service to the world. It is the light that offsets the darkness and allows others to come to the light as well. So get out those mala beads boys and girls and be of service to others.

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

I Don’t Miss You

    Whenever someone we “love” leaves us for a short while, or even a long while, it is common for people to say “I miss you”. We say that about people who have left this lifetime, or people who are gone for a few days. We say that about places, objects, pets, jobs, and many other subjects that are no longer with us. Many people don’t realize what we are really saying and how that is a lie. When we say: “I miss you”, we are saying that we are incomplete without that person or object. Of course that is not true because the highest teachings tell us that (1) we are perfect, (2) we are complete just as we are and (3) we are all one. It is an illusion that the person, place or thing has separated from us. Additionally, when we put someone, some place or something in our heart, they are never gone from us.
    So what are we saying? We are trapped in the illusion the ego puts us in, that we need someone, some place or something to make us happy. We are acknowledging that we have dis-empowered ourselves to what is outside of ourselves and we are acknowledging that we need to love ourself more. Now this may sound harsh but if you think about it, you will realize the truth of that statement. What is the feeling of “missing” something? It is the feeling of being incomplete, of needing something outside of us to be happy. It is an expression of separation anxiety. However, it is the epitome of self-love to be complete in and of ourselves and not need anything outside of us to be happy. After all, when we love ourselves, we do not need anyone else or anything else to be happy.
    Some people may argue that what is the big deal, it is just a way of saying “I love you” and they are only words anyway. The problem is that the thoughts that we think and the words that we say create our reality. When we say “I miss you”, that is saying to the universe that we are in a state of lack and are in victim consciousness. There is a subconscious message that we are suffering because of that other person and that other person is to blame. Is that the message that we want to put out to the universe? If all of this talk about attracting what you think about is correct, all we are doing is attracting more lack and suffering. Not good.
    What comes out of our mouth is more important than what we put in it. When we say “I miss you” we are giving that person power over us. All they have to do is leave and we will suffer. You do not want to give anyone that kind of power over you. We have to be complete and happy no matter what other people are doing or we will suffer even when they are with us. I went through a powerful life lesson recently in a relationship where I did just that. I went through separation anxiety ever time the other person left me. I can promise you that it is vastly empowering to get to a place where that doesn’t matter.
        I saw on Facebook yesterday a sign that said: “Remember that time you thought a life lesson was your soulmate?” That was very poignant to me because it is a pattern that has played out over and over again in my life until now. Now I am empowered and do not need someone else to make me happy.
    If you would like to say something that is much more empowering and more truthful than “I miss you”, say “I look forward to the next time we see each other”. Can you feel the difference in the energy of those two statements? One is coming from a place of victim-hood, the other is from a place of power. You are complete; you do not need anything else and you are confident. The power of the second statement is palpable. It is these kind of subtle changes in our thinking and our words that can change our life. “I miss you” is a statement of pain; “I look forward to the next time we see each other” is a statement of hope. In fact, many languages have phrases that mean exactly that. “Au revoir” (french), “arrivederci” (italian), “hasta luego” (spanish) all mean “until we see each other again”. Even “goodbye” means “may god be with you”.
    It is important to remember that we are all one; that means we never go anywhere. Death is an illusion; we are all one. Someone may not be in our line of sight; they are still there. When someone goes into another room, do you “miss them”? I hope not. If so, separation anxiety has really got you by the throat. The truth is there is no difference between the two. The ultimate truth is when we say “I miss you”, we are doubting the divine. Everything that happens in our life is in the divine plan; everything that happens to us is designed to bring us home. When we suffer because someone leaves; we are playing god. Last time I checked that job was filled very nicely. So when we are suffering because of our circumstances, it is a pop quiz to determine our faith in the divine and trust that all will be perfect. How are you doing?

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

The Secret to a Happy Relationship

I am told that researchers took a survey of people who described their relationship as “happy” or “very happy”. The most common traits of their relationship included:

(1)  4 hugs a day.

(2)  Spending at least 22 periods of “quality time” together every month, like going for a walk or sharing a meal.

(3)  7 nights at home together every month.

(4)  2 romantic walks a month and at least one visit to a bar, restaurant or the movies every month without the kids or other friends.

(5)  And couples should spend at least one evening away from their partner each month, with other friends.

 

It is worth a try.

 

(borrowed from Facebook)

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

Resentment

     A couple was hurrying down the sidewalk in a rainstorm. The wife was carrying a bag of groceries and the husband held the umbrella. They got to an intersection and the husband saw a beautiful woman trip and fall. He dropped the umbrella and picked the stranger up and carried her to shelter and checked to make sure she was uninjured. He picked up the umbrella and continued to walk his wife home. When they got home, the wife turned to her husband and angrily said: “ why did you drop the umbrella and pick up that woman?” The husband replied: “I put that woman down a long time ago. Why are you still carrying her?”
    Resentment comes from Latin words that mean: “to think repeatedly”. It is also known as negative obsessive thinking “NOT ™”. It is always beneficial for people to reference the past in order to enable them to live better lives. However, when we obsessively dwell on events in the past that we have interpreted and perceived negatively, we make our own prison. We try to work things out in our mind and try to find some solution to the perceived negative event. We analyze and fantasize, all in an attempt to change the event. Of course the event will never change, but we can change our perception of it. We play “what if” and hold conversations in our mind that will never happen. I call it “pole vaulting over mouse turds” or “mental masturbation”.
    Resentment only causes stress. Stress occurs when we do not accept the truth of what happened and is happening in our life. When we only think of ourselves and how unfair our life is, we not only cause stress in our bodies but we cause dis-ease in our body as well. It is constructive to contemplate and objectively analyze the events in our life, but when we feel negative about it we cause problems. Interestingly enough, we always have been told that a problem shared is a problem halved, but when we are in resentment mode we tend to find friends to commiserate with and unless your friend is positive and objective, you only compound the problem by gossip and enabling. It only reinforces our victim consciousness.
    Thought patterns are habitual, we will always respond to stimuli with the most prevalent thought pattern. I tend to believe that when we think negatively, it is a habit. Like all habits, it can be changed. However, that takes focus and discipline, two words our ego mind hates. So how do we stop the resentment and form new thinking patterns? Affirmations! Every time we think a negative thought, or a thought that feels negative, we catch ourselves and say “stop it, everything is alright!” Other affirmations include: “I choose love!”, “I am not my thoughts”, or “Thank you God”.  Any of these positive affirmations will change our mind and we can let go of the burden of resentment.  If you need more drastic reinforcement, put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it every time you catch yourself resenting something. A bit harsh but it works. Put down your burdens, enjoy your life and be happy.     

 

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

Why Bad Things Happen To Good People

            The whole issue of bad and good is an illusion. When we ask this question, we are falling into victim consciousness, which is the idea that events in our lives happen to us, not for us. It is all a matter of perspective. Victim consciousness is the belief that “I didn’t deserve it” or “life isn’t fair”. The truth is life is unquestionably fair. The problem is we have limited perspective and can’t see the bigger picture. I can’t count how many times I have experienced what I thought was a disaster and later discovered it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I have heard over and over from others the same discovery. The question is not “why bad things happen to good people?”, the question is why do we judge and condemn?

            Major tragedies like the Holocaust and the recent shootings of innocent people occur for reasons I do not understand. That does not mean that they are meaningless. Everyone on the planet has a role to play, and sometimes the purpose of that role is hidden until we have the consciousness to understand it. Concepts like karma and fate are human constructs that we attempt to explain the unexplainable. That is why life is and always will be a mystery. I can only hope that the Holocaust happened to teach us humility and compassion, a lesson that was largely lost on the world. We are slow learners.

            Until we choose to learn from tragedy and suffering, we are doomed to continue to create it. We have to start within each one of us, we have to stop hating ourselves. The violence that we see in the world is only a reflection of the violence that we hold within our own beliefs and mind. Until we change the way we interact with each other and ourselves we will continue to experience our greatest suffering. I remember a scene in the movie “Starman” starring Jeff Bridges when he forces a hunter to experience the death of a dear that a child he taught to hunt, killed. The horror and guilt the man had to face changed him forever. We have to have compassion for each other and connect with the pain we inflict on others.

            Many times we cause pain as a defense mechanism in reaction to stimuli. This is because we do not practice calm and balance in our lives. We react to fear because we do not breathe properly and go into fight or flight. If we could just breathe deeply and evenly in all situations we could avoid most of the defensive striking out when we feel threatened. We can’t control the actions of other people but we can control our own actions. If we respond with calm dignity to emotional attacks from others we can deflate the situation rather quickly. If we react to fear with fear, we only escalate the fear. So breathe!

            There are no “good” people or “bad” people. There are only people who are the product of the environment that they grew up in and the way people treated them. People who were loved and nurtured generally don’t go into schools and start shooting people. When we stop putting labels on people the true picture begins to emerge. Our minds tend to organize things in categories; we want to put people in boxes. This is why we tend to stereotype and prejudge people. We need to stop that if we are going to begin to see the truth of who people are.

            When I walk down the street in New York city, I am constantly being asked by someone to stop and talk about an issue. Whether it is Lesbian/Gay equality, Atheist equality, or the effect of Chemtrails, they do not understand that they are perpetuating the problem. They are putting labels on things that do not deserve a label. A great practice is to stop putting labels on things, to stop judging things for at least an hour. Then you may see that there are no “bad” things happening to “good” people.