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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

KARMA IS AN ILLUSION

            Religions and philosophies teach us that there are three kinds of karma. There is (1) the karma that we are born with;  (2) the karma that we are creating at any one moment; and (3) karma we will encounter in the future. All of these karmas are created by action, whether by thought, word or deed. It is this karma that keeps us bound to the wheel of death and rebirth, for we keep coming back to pay off these karmic debts over and over again.

            The most intense karma is created by desire and craving. We long to be rich, powerful, or in control. We are attracted to pleasure and adverse to pain. We are like puppets on strings controlled by these addictions and aversions. For every longing and desire that we crave and do not experience in our lifetime, we are bound by karma to return to experience.  It is the desire and aversion that creates the karma that binds us to the cycle of death and rebirth.

            Furthermore, we believe that we create karma when we cause suffering in others, consciously or unconsciously. As we are all one, we have to experience that which we do to ourselves in order to understand what it feels like. This is the Mosaic law, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. The aspect of the law that is often overlooked is that since death is an illusion we will keep coming back to satisfy the law that must be satisfied. These are the teachings of the religions and philosophies.

            The higher teachings of the saints and enlightened masters state that all of this is an illusion we create for our own enlightenment. We perceive karma is self-perpetuating and inescapable because of our limited grasp of the situation we call life. However, the illusion can be overcome and enlightenment reached when we recognize the simple fact that we are the divine creators OF EVERYTHING and can change this by simply changing our minds.

            We can’t do this by ourselves. As Albert Einstein once stated, “a problem cannot be solved by the thinking that created it.”  The only way we can find our way out of the illusion is to find an enlightened teacher who can show us the way. In other words, it is our desire-filled conscious that keeps us enslaved to the operation of karma, and it takes a teacher or saint to show us how to detach from this illusion. This is why the teacher will tell us “to keep our eyes on the teacher” because it is the only way to escape the distraction of pleasure and pain. If we focus on the teacher and the teachings, we have a chance of self-realization and liberation. If we are constantly distracted by desire and avoidance, we will stay caught in the illusion of thoughts and matter.

            It is a self-fulfilling belief that karma is inescapable. Until we understand the nature of our thoughts and attachment to materialism we will always be hooked by karma and its operation. The only way to escape this illusion is by the practice and discipline of self-analysis and awareness of every thought, word and deed in the light of our own divinity. When we can see God at all times in ourselves and others, we will be freed from the operation of karma and its illusion.

            When someone does something that makes us feel like a victim, we are buying into the illusion of karma. When we feel imperfect, unworthy or unhappy, we are buying into the illusion of karma. When we compare ourselves to others or sit in judgment or lack, we are buying into the illusion of karma. Anytime we believe that we are anything other than God creating our experiences for our enlightenment, we are buying into the illusion of karma.

            By finding a saint or enlightened being and becoming a student, one can learn to discipline him or herself and through practice release the bondage of karma. Discipline comes from the word “disciple”, one who follows a teacher. By focusing on the teachings, one can let go of the illusion of materialism and thought forms that arise as addiction to pleasure and aversion to pain. By focusing on our innate goodness, one no longer strays from the five virtues; peace, love, truth, non-violence and right action. By contemplation and meditation of our role in this life to create the experiences that will lead us to enlightenment; we escape the (de)illusions of perception and projection.

            I had a wonderful experience in Scotland not too long ago. I was blessed with the occasion to stay with a man whose whole life is focused on helping others. On a day a winter storm was closing roads and airports, I went with him to help push total strangers out of snowdrifts. He laughs often and helps many. His first thought on arising is always “how may I serve?”  It was a humbling experience to be in his presence.  My guess is that he knew on some level that life is an illusion to be enjoyed and not suffered.

            We all get what we need when we are ready. When we follow a teacher and apply the teachings (disciple/discipline) we have a choice to believe that karma is inescapable or an illusion. We have a choice to follow a higher path to enlightenment or continue to wallow in the maya of our illusions. We have a choice to believe we are divine creators of our experiences or the victims of our karma. This is the true nature of  “free-ing” will.

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

AND GOD LAUGHED

The source of all misery and suffering is the illusion that we are separate from God. This illusion creates the fear that we will never get what we want or we will lose something we have and don’t want to lose.  It creates the illusion that we cease to exist when our bodies die. When this fear arises, it creates another illusion that if we don’t get what we want, we have done something wrong or we are in opposition to “God’s will”.  This raises the question of what we really want.

 

The source of all misery and suffering is the illusion that we are separate from God. This illusion creates the fear that we will never get what we want or we will lose something we have and don’t want to lose. It creates the illusion that we cease to exist when our bodies die. When this fear arises, it creates another illusion that if we don’t get what we want, we have done something wrong or we are in opposition to “God’s will.” This raises the question of what we really want.

The truth is we always get what is best for our journey to our own divinity. This is what our soul/spirit wants and is otherwise known as destiny. Only a relatively few beings on this planet actually understand the true nature of divinity and how we manifest events, experiences and even our life to come to it. The ultimate truth of reality is we create the illusion that we are separate from God (however you understand that) and it is up to each one of us to see through the illusion.

When we are born, we are as connected to our divinity as most people are going to get in this lifetime. If you ever look into a newborn infant’s eyes, you can even see God. This is total innocence, total mindlessness. In other words, our ego has not yet formed and we have no idea what is coming. Our world is a blank slate and anything is possible. Then we begin to interact with our world and the illusion begins to form. We are programmed, experience fear, competing egos and learn to compete with and judge each other. In other words, as we learn more and more about the world, we lose our innocence. This is part of the ancient metaphor of being kicked out of the Garden of Eden. When we gain knowledge (as opposed to wisdom), we begin to suffer.

God never leaves us, and is with us at all times in the form of happiness and enlightenment. This concept of divinity lies underneath our intellect, our egos and our false beliefs about the world. In order to experience “oneness”, we have to turn away from our egos and intellect and feel our way back to the bliss of “oneness”. One of the difficulties that we have experienced with finding our way back to the “Garden” of the state of happiness is that our words fail us. It is an experience that everyone can have in their lifetime, but logic and recipes will not get us there. We need help, trust and faith to get there.

The problem goes deeper due to the fact that we have made the intellect the God of our society. People spend far more time scheming, intellectualizing, exercising mind control and practicing “the Secrets” which might be effective to create material things or “attract” what we want, but is totally useless in finding happiness or our divinity. As one observer remarked long ago, “our best thinking got us here.” Again, this is the lesson of the Garden of Eden, when we metaphorically ate of the fruit of knowledge, we created the illusion of right and wrong and duality in its basic form.

The way back to the Garden is a lot simpler than we think (pun intended). What we have to do is to practice seeing through the illusion of separation and duality. If you are reading this article you have taken the first step, in recognizing that this is possible. If you believe this is possible, then it is and you are on the path to oneness with your God/divinity. If you do not believe this, then you will continue to struggle and suffer. Good luck with that. So you have to believe to do it. We are just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz going through all of her trials and struggle to get back to Kansas. In the end, she discovered that she had never left Kansas and it was all a dream. She woke from the dream when Glenda, the good witch, told her that all she had to do was to believe she could go back home, click her heels and repeat the mantra “there’s no place like home.” Can you see the “munchkins”, “witches” and “the Wizard of Oz” in your life?

We do not have to go on arduous and painful journeys to go back home. All we have to do is believe that we are there. The illusion will persist as long as we resist the belief that it is simply an illusion. When we believe that life is an illusion and everything we experience is to teach us that fact, we will be able to see through the illusion and experience our true nature and oneness with our divinity. We will no longer be victims, we will no longer hurt each other out of fear and delusion, and we can start living in the Garden again.

We are starting to wake up. I meet more and more people who are starting to truly grasp the notion that we are in a dream/illusion and we can create something else when we stop intellectualizing everything and start living with compassion and grace. It is not hard to be kind to others; it is not hard to have compassion for others. Even in these unsettled times, there is still more than enough abundance to go around. We need to stop wanting to be like rich and famous, we need to start helping each other and share what we have. This is what our divinity is pushing us to do.

Hopefully we will all open our hearts and minds and tear up the lists that must be fulfilled to become happy. When we make our happiness conditioned upon what we have, it is certain to never arrive. When we decide to be happy, no matter what, we can be happy. We need to stop planning for the future and start focusing on what we are doing right now. Are we happy? Are we helping others? Are we responding to each other with kindness and compassion or anger and fear? I am reminded that the quickest way to make God laugh is to make plans. Life is what happens when you planned for something else. So when God laughs, we should too.