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

DOING IT “WRONG”

            I had a astrological reading the other day. After studying my star chart for a while, the astrologer told me that according to the positions of the planets and stars, I was destined to struggle because the struggle increased the speed of my growth. It was my destiny to feel like I was doing something wrong because it made me be more conscious of what I thought, said and did. In other words, it was my karma to always feel like I was making a mistake, and that I was a mistake. This was the grace that fueled my growth as a spiritual being.  So when I was feeling like I was screwing up, I was paying my karma. I wasn’t actually screwing up; I was living my life in accordance with the divine plan of my life. So the irony of my life is that when I feel like I am doing it wrong, I am doing it right.

            When talking to others I have discovered that most of us carry an irrational belief that somehow we will never get it right. Somehow there is a belief buried deep in our subconscious that we must be screwing up because if we were doing it right, we would be enlightened, or at least we would be more enlightened than we are at the moment. We succumb to the temptation of looking to the left and right and comparing ourselves to each other. This is guaranteed to create suffering. We forget that our karma has everything to do with where we are in the moment compared to everything else. We are where we are because of the choices we have made.

            Due to the fact that most of us were raised in an educational system of some sort, we were programmed with the belief that life is graded. If you do well, you get an A and if you don’t do well, you fail. Life is not based on a grading system. There are no “A’s” and there are no “F’s”. If there are, the only grader is our ego. If you look back on the education you received, I would be willing to bet that the best lessons you received in school were not in the classroom. Our best thinking is done when we allow our minds to roam and imagine. Quite frankly, I couldn’t tell you anything about what I studied in school. I can tell you a lot about all the times I thought I was screwing up.

            As we get older, we keep grading ourselves using different grading systems. The size of our bank accounts, the number of toys that we have, or the kind of relationships we have all are grading systems that we use to determine how we are doing.  These are all created by the mind, for the mind to keep the mind in power.

            The good news is that if you are reading this article you are ahead of the masses. If you are like me, it was a big relief to know that my angst was only an illusion I created to grow as rapidly as humanly possible.  The truth is that without my angst I would be stuck so deep in the creek mud that I could only get out with dynamite (otherwise known as divorce, disease, bankruptcy or disaster, all of which I have experienced). Compared to dynamite, I would take my angst every time. If you feel like you are a mistake, take heart! You actually have the potential to become enlightened. We either believe or don’t believe everything is God. If we do believe it, then we have to conclude that nothing is wrong.

            It is our ego that judges our situation to be “wrong.” When we feel like we are doing it wrong, we are in our heads. If we looked at our circumstances through our heart, we would know that it is right. Many people think that they are schizophrenic or bipolar because they always have dialogue going on in their head between an angel and a demon. The dialogue is actually between our hearts and our heads. It is our head/mind that labels life as “right” or “wrong”, just like we learned in school. Our hearts don’t care about any of that, our hearts only care about loving others and connecting with God.

            The truth is that life is a mystery most of the time. We are not supposed to know everything. If we did, our heads might explode. Whenever you think you understand it, you don’t. We think we are screwing up when we actually are unloading lifetimes of karma. The trick is not to panic and to keep breathing. I have discovered that the more I concentrate on my breath, the less I care about how I am “doing.” So if you find yourself stressed out because you think you will never get it right, relax. Join the crowd. At least you are in the crowd going where you want to go. So remember, when you think you are doing it wrong, you are doing it right.

             

 

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

EMOTIONAL MATURITY

           By definition, the longer we live on this planet, we have to get older. There are various physiological changes that we experience as we go through the process of aging. Ignoring the legends of immortal beings that walk the planet, we all grow older physically. Genetics, supplements, a positive attitude, plenty of water, exercise and healthy diets can help us look young as long as possible, but the best we can expect is a cause of death that reads: “died of advanced age.” I remember the slogans, “live fast, die young.”  Now that I am over 60, I look forward to my life well after 100 years of age.

            Even though physical maturity is inevitable, emotional maturity is not. I observe that many people with emotional and mental suffering are stuck in their emotional growth process somewhere in their adolescent years. Greed, immaturity, fear, blame, shame, resentments, anger, confusion and suffering are all signs of arrested emotional growth.  When we get stuck in our emotional development, we cease to learn how to take responsibility for our actions and our lives. We get stuck at the point of some trauma that happens in our life that we don’t know how to let go of or to process. Abuse, death of loved ones, an unkind word or a fearsome event can all cause arrested emotional development. When we stop growing emotionally, life becomes overwhelming.

            Many psychologists believe that we go through stages of development in our physical life. These stages are youth, adolescence, young adults, adults, and elders. You will notice that even though there are ages assigned to these stages, everyone is different and some people can appear to stay younger longer than others. However, we have to go through these stages eventually.

            Emotion development also goes through stages, and if we are healthy the emotional development matches physical development. I believe that we go through the emotional stages of helplessness and need, formation of personality, fear and suffering, responsibility and acceptance, and finally, peace. Again, although we all start at the state of helplessness and need, these stages are not age specific. We all have probably met people who are stuck in one of these stages.

           Trauma and training have a lot to do with where we are in these stages. If we suffer trauma of abuse (sexual, physical, emotional) we will get stuck in the fear and suffering stages. We believe that life is unfair, hard and dangerous. We all know people who are stuck in this stage. With help and guidance we can all grow through the fear and suffering stage into the acceptance and responsibility phase.

          When we experience fear, anger, shame, blame, guilt, and other negative emotions, it is because we are stuck in some aspect of our emotional development. Let me give you an example I recently experienced. I was counseling a person whose former spouse died. The couple had divorced because of the years of abuse one heaped upon the other. Someone had told my client that the former spouse may have been schizophrenic which may have caused them to act out all those years.

          My client had latched onto that backseat diagnosis and started blaming him or herself that if they had been more observant they could have gotten the abusive spouse help and saved the marriage. I was dumbfounded by the acrobatic logic this person had used to feel guilty and take total blame for the divorce. I asked some more questions and discovered that the person was actually blaming himself or herself for the abuse they had suffered, sort of a “battered spouse” syndrome.  It was quite enlightening to see how this person insisted that they were to blame for their former spouse’s abuse because they should have seen the mental illness and gotten the former spouse help.

          I started asking myself “how would an emotionally mature person handle this situation?” My opinion of that was that an emotionally mature person may have grieved the passing of someone they loved for a long time, but would not have taken responsibility for the abuse in the marriage. It appeared that the client’s taking on the guilt of not being “all knowing and all seeing” was a bit like playing God.

          True emotional maturity involves taking responsibility for your actions, not the actions of others. If we have to protect ourselves, emotional maturity means we do not feel guilty about that. If we find out something later that might have changed our earlier decisions, we do not beat up ourselves about that. We simply accept the lesson and go on about our lives as happily as possible.

           I contend that to be truly emotionally mature is to be happy. Certainly life has its experiences and we do not need to be “Pollyannaish”, but when we learn a lesson in life we can be grateful for the insight and change our behaviors. Life is always about course corrections. We keep going on our journeys until we learn new ways of thinking and acting and we change our course and behavior accordingly. We do not need to know everything that will happen in the future, we just need to know what we are going to do for the next few minutes.

           When we want to drive from Florida to Washington State, we do not need headlamps that will light up the whole way. All we need is headlamps that will light up the next one hundred feet. Emotional maturity means that when we come upon a bend in the road or an intersection, we make the necessary course correction that will get us to where we want to go. That can be all the way to Seattle or the next one hundred feet, whichever brings comfort.

            Similarly, emotional maturity brings happiness and fulfillment no matter what we are doing. We do not need to know our life purpose, the reason we are here. All we need to know is what we are going to do for the next few minutes, hour or day. Everything else is a great deal of speculation. We can be happy and fulfilled being a doctor, lawyer, or shaman. We can be happy being a baker, banker, barber or masseur. When we reach emotional maturity, we understand that what we do has nothing to do with how we feel.  If we are emotionally mature, we have the discipline to do the things that keep us healthy and feeling happy and to not do the things that cause us suffering. This is the blueprint that everyone is looking for.

            I have a spiritual teacher that is forever telling me to “get over it.” I have learned that really means, “Grow up.”  When I grow up, I want to be happy.

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

A CRISIS OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Recently a spiritual teacher and leader was calling on all “light workers” to pray for healing for the world and for an end to the world’s problems and strife so that love and happiness could rule supreme. This misunderstanding—that something is wrong with the world– is at the core of the issues challenging our reality at the moment. Not coincidentally, the world stock markets are plunging (again) and financial uncertainty is again at our doorstep. Financial doom and gloom are causing suffering all over the planet. It is my belief that it is the belief that something is wrong that is causing all of the suffering and misery so rampant around us.

Consciousness is a term often used by spiritual people but rarely understood. The simplest definition of consciousness is the manner in which we view the world. At the lowest form of consciousness, we are in survival mode, living from crisis to crisis. At the highest form of consciousness, also known as enlightenment, we realize that what we perceive is only an illusion and nothing is real. When we are enlightened, we know that we create our own reality.

The belief that something is wrong with the world is at the lower end of the scale of consciousness. When we are in survival mode, everything appears to be a threat and we constantly wish that the world would be different. We want love and harmony, peace and abundance to be available for everyone. What this rose-colored fantasy fails to consider is that without challenges and distress, we do not grow. All growth is painful and we have to take responsibility for our actions.

We blame governments, bankers and the rich for our economic woes. If you have a credit card and use it, then you are part of the problem. Try going off the grid for a while, canceling all bank accounts and pay everything with cash. Impossible for most people I would wager. However, if you have bank accounts, credit cards, a mortgage and charge accounts, then the only person you can blame for this financial mess is yourself. The only reason people have bank accounts and all the rest is for material gain. The big house, the big car, a spouse and lots of money are supposed to make you happy, but it doesn’t. It only contributes to the financial gluttony that is at the root of our financial upheaval.

The higher consciousness would recognize that we are only changing. Whether the change is good or bad is totally a matter of perception. Everything changes. We get older, we get sick, we get healthy, we get “it” or we don’t. When we view anything as bad or good, right or wrong we are experiencing a low level of consciousness. The only thing that is immortal is our awareness, our soul. It only seeks to join with God (however you perceive it).  We grieve the loss of others, pets, houses, money, youth and peace. What we forget is that we haven’t lost anything. It hasn’t gone anywhere. The great thing about this universe is that things do not go away, they change. If you are grieving anything, it is because you are at a lower level of consciousness and are afraid of change.

One of the most interesting aspects of human consciousness is that it changes as well. If we focus, we constantly raise our consciousness and start to enjoy happiness and clarity. If we are unfocused, our consciousness raises and lowers based upon our circumstances like a roller coaster. When we feel like life is a roller coaster ride, it is not life that is going up and down, it is our perception/consciousness that is going up and down.

So the world is a hugely dynamic place. Everything is changing all at once. This planet is where souls come to raise their consciousness at a very fast rate. Until we raise our consciousness to a height that recognizes that there is nothing wrong with the world, we will continue to suffer in lower consciousness. It is like we buy a ticket to ride on the roller coaster and then criticize the roller coaster for going up and down. Of course people are going to suffer and die. This is what we do on this planet until we realize it is all a game.

If we “should” do something, it would be to seek to connect with our awareness and raise our consciousness to enlightenment. It would probably surprise many people who are suffering because of failing bank balances to go to India and see the smiles on the faces of children who have never heard of Apple computers, cell phones or SUVs. Those smiles convince me that nothing is wrong with the planet. The only thing wrong is how we perceive it. If you have a big house and lots of rooms, start boarding homeless people. The world will sort itself out very quickly.

Rather than trying to fix the planet, we would accomplish far more if we were charitable, kind, forgiving and compassionate. Rather than criticizing anyone we would change the world if we let go of our fear and simply enjoyed what we are doing at the moment. Rather than comparing ourselves to others, if we accepted what is as a gift and be truly grateful then the world would become a wonder filled universe. There is nothing wrong with the world, it just is. There is nothing wrong with others; they just are a reflection of our perception. There is nothing wrong with us; we are simply here to be happy no matter what happens. If we focus on our own paths, it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing.