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

SENTIMENTALITY

          I have learned that there are many sources of misery and suffering in this world. It seems that every belief system has its pet theory. Buddhists believe that desire causes all suffering. Other religions claim separation from God (sin) causes suffering. Others believe that rejection of what is happening at any given moment causes suffering. Yet still others claim that fear causes suffering.  I offer the case of sentimentality as a major cause of suffering.

          When I say suffering and misery, I am referring to mental and emotional suffering. Physical pain as the result of physical trauma is unavoidable and actually the sign of healing. Mental and emotional suffering is the result of emotional trauma. While mental and emotional suffering cannot be seen, it certainly can be felt and often causes physical symptoms such as depression, illness and chronic conditions.

          Sentimentality is the result of attachment. We can be sentimental about people, things and ideas. This is often confused with love, and causes all kinds of emotional trauma when the object of the sentimentality changes. When we become attached to something or someone, we do not want to lose it. When we do lose it, and we always will because that is the way of this world, we suffer. It requires a higher level of consciousness and enlightenment to understand that everything changes; including people, and what we once became attached to is only temporary.

          When we talk about sentimentality, the most obvious object of attachment is “our stuff”, especially money. We believe that our stuff brings us comfort, security and power. This is an illusion. Many times we learn in history that the wealthy and powerful die penniless and isolated. Lottery winners oftentimes lose their wealth and dreams of security. We can lose our most prized possessions and lose any hope of joy and happiness along with it. I once owned a large house that was fully furnished with valuable collectibles. A business colleague persuaded me to rent it to her daughter. The daughter was addicted to crack cocaine and stole every item of furniture and art to sell for her addiction. At first I was outraged, but later could realize that it was a tremendous gift to show me how I was sentimentally attached to “my stuff”. When I let go of the sentimentality, I stopped suffering.

          People are also a great source of suffering. I cannot begin to count the number of people I have met who pine for their “soul mate.”  Even others, thinking that they have found their soul mate, suffer tremendously when these objects of affection and sentimentality change or leave. Suffering is great when those we depend on for happiness and security do not behave like we want them to behave. Having been a divorce lawyer for many years, I have yet to meet someone who wants to divorce that “bitch” or “bastard” who did not attach some affection or sentimentality to the relationship. When someone we have sentimentally attached to dies, great is our grief and suffering. We do not understand that these are the rules and everyone dies. We attach great emotional pain to the fact that we have been abandoned by those we “loved.” Again, it takes a great deal of consciousness and enlightenment to accept the inevitable and rejoice when someone we love dies.

       Another object of sentimentality is our beliefs. What we believe in oftentimes is utter nonsense, but try to convince someone of that. I have often said to people that we can be right or we can be happy, it is difficult to be both. The great philosopher Bertrand Russell said “I will never die for my beliefs, I might be wrong.”  We attach to our beliefs and will defend them to the death, or at least until we are convinced that we are wrong. Unfortunately, the more we are attached to our beliefs, the more difficult it is to be happy. The great conundrum is whether this is true if we believe we are happy. That question really makes my head hurt.

          The key is to remember that happiness has nothing to do with any of the above. Happiness is the result of our connection to our higher self, our higher consciousness, spirit, source, creator, or God. It has nothing to do with what we own, our beliefs or our relationships. Happiness is a symptom of the ultimate realization that everything is an illusion so we might as well have fun. The way to happiness is to serve others, live simply, and be humble. If you have the bad karma to have lots of stuff, a relationship with your soul mate, or a set of well reasoned beliefs, best of luck with that. Sometimes it is our struggles, misery and suffering that brings us to the realization that it is all an illusion and distraction from our true purpose, which is to be of service.

          So the next time you are upset, miserable or suffering, look at what you may be sentimental about. Is it something you have lost or something you want and can’t have at this time? Fear is simply a symptom of being sentimental. Be aware of your sentimentality and it will change. Be aware of your beliefs and they will change. Be aware of who you are and you will change. What fun!

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

DON’T YOU LOVE MERCURY RETROGRADE?

         There is a term in astrology that many people dread; mercury retrograde. It is that time when the planet Mercury appears to be going backwards in the sky due to the alignment of the planets as we go our merry way around the Sun. Anecdotally, it is a time when communications, electronics, plans, health, jobs and clarity simply breaks down. People experience noticeable miscalculations, misunderstandings, mistakes, disruptions, confusion, breakdowns, and sometimes chaos! Emails quit working, computers start doing weird stuff. Astrologers recommend that we not enter into any contracts or commitments during this time. The current mercury retrograde started four days ago and will last approximately two and a half more weeks. Personally I am having problems with my printer. It just won’t work when I want it to. I downloaded new drivers, rebooted, cursed and pulled my hair and nothing. Just when I was calling tech support everything in the queue started printing. Egad!

            Astrologers tell me that mercury retrograde is a very important time in the year when we are supposed to rethink, redo, recalibrate, reconnect and simply rest. Part of the problem of today’s society is that we don’t pace ourselves, we don’t take time to rest properly. We get sore, stiff, frustrated, stressed and ill because we don’t take time to contemplate our lives and simply relax. In many ways, mercury retrograde forces us to put the telephone down and go run in the grass.

            This time of the astrological calendar is also the perfect time to practice patience and non-reaction. When we have a feeling that something may not go the way we want, we can prepare ourselves to be patient and kind. Just because something isn’t happening the way we want right now, it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen later. All things come to those who don’t react. I have always said that the universe has a really crappy way of teaching patience. It usually means wading knee deep in a swamp of alligators. When alligators surround us, sometimes it is difficult to remember that our initial objective was to drain the swamp. So mercury retrograde is a time to remember what our original intentions were and how we may have lost the path to the life we want. Although it is best to put our past behind us, and to keep the future in front of us, sometimes it is good to contemplate and meditate on how we can improve our thoughts and behavior.

            Mercury retrograde also affects how we communicate with our self, how we talk to our self and how we think about our self. For the next two and one half weeks, we can be more aware of how we do all of those things and what we can do to be more positive, grateful and joyful. When we are marching full speed ahead, sometimes that is not possible. So when your laptop is doing amazingly stupid things or your printer isn’t working (really bad for a writer), it is a great time to look around and see how good we have it.

            It is a great time to get organized and clean up the clutter, not only in our minds but also in our closets, drawers and other storage areas. If you haven’t used it in a year, give it away. Clothing, computers, electronics and other possessions will block the flow of energy and abundance if you don’t keep things flowing. Go for a walk, take off your shoes, treat yourself to something fun and silly. Go outside your comfort zone. Mercury retrograde is a time of unexpected results and can be down right silly. So have fun! Laugh at your experiences and keep a journal. See how playful and joyful you can make this period. If you can find fun in mercury retrograde, you will find it everywhere. While everything is falling apart, contemplate how you can do and think in new ways with new results. If you have been doing something the same way forever, change it! If you haven’t heard from a friend, call them (if your telephone is working).

            Most importantly, don’t take anything personally for the next two and a half weeks (or the next two and one half lifetimes either). Many people will be having the same communications problems that you may be experiencing. You may find yourself asking yourself:  “did I say that out loud?” Well other people may be saying the same thing.  So if someone says something that may irritate or confuse, give them a break, it is mercury retrograde! Have fun, relax, and enjoy the new you!

            

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

PERCEPTION FOLLOWS JUDGMENT

           Perception drives everything. It defines our reality and determines how we will experience life. If we perceive the world as a scary place, it will be. If we perceive relationships with our self and others as difficult and painful they will be. It doesn’t matter what is really happening, how we perceive it is how it is for the individual. Underlying the perception is judgment. We decide and choose how we are going to perceive the world. This is the basis of the conclusion that we create our own reality. We perceive what we want to perceive. This all may be happening subconsciously and to the ordinary citizen life may seem to be random and chaotic. Life is neither; it is determined by how we perceive it.

            I read an interesting study the other day that reported that scientists have discovered that addictions are caused by environment, not by drugs. There was an experiment using rats decades ago where rats were given a choice between water and drug filled water. The rats apparently preferred the drug water. The conclusion was that drugs are inherently addicting. More recently, however, when the rats were given food, toys and room to play, they preferred the clean water. In another social experiment, Portugal decriminalized drug use. The money used to fight drugs was used to house and feed addicts. When people are taken out of stressful environments and placed into safe and nurturing environments, the majority of addicts voluntarily chose to stop using the drugs that they were “addicted” to. This is a huge shift in consciousness from victim (the drugs hooked me) to circumstantial (choosing to escape conditions). It goes to prove that we are making choices and judgments all the time either consciously or subconsciously that determine what we experience. This is why recovery programs have such a low percentage of success; as long as the addict continues in their perception of their condition they will be addicted to artificial ways to change their perception. That to me is proof that we are much more powerful than we believe, because we can control our perception one way or another. If all we have to do is change our perception to heal an addiction, then we are truly powerful.

            We see what we want to see. We can see the pile of garbage or the flower growing on the side. Or even both perhaps. We can see the good in people or the evil, or both. We can see the events in our lives as something we liked or we can be consumed by the events that we don’t like. The switch that determines whether we like what is happening or we don’t like what is happening is called judgment. When we can eliminate judgment from our lives we start to see life as it truly is from a detached and totally conscious viewpoint. We stop wanting things to be different, because what is the point? Without judgment, nothing is better than anything else. We stop reacting to life; we simply witness life. We cease experiencing anger, fear, rejection, and the host of other negative emotions that cause suffering. Everything simply is.

            It takes radical and rigorous honesty to be free of judgment. We have to admit to ourselves when we are being judgmental and stop it. Judgment is so deeply ingrained in our mental processes that it is like dandelion roots that keep growing back in the lawn of our thoughts. When we rid ourselves of judgment, all prejudices disappear and we can start to see people who they truly are. We start to see how others suffer because their judgments color their perception and we can have compassion because we know their suffering. Judgment affects everything, creating the perceptions of good/bad, right/wrong, and love/hate. When judgment is removed, all of those polar opposites disappear. This is the consciousness that will bring about huge change in the world and will allow groups to see other groups as they really are, not how prejudice and the resulting emotions color their perception.

            The bottom line is we have to examine what judgments are causing us to limit ourselves and prevent us from being happy. We have to dig deep under all of the rationalizations our psyches have built around our judgments that color our perception and create our reality.  Here is an example of how judgment alters perception that changes reality. If we believe/judge that events happen “to” us, we are in victim mode and we will be constantly afraid of what will happen next. We will be stressed and anxious about what can happen next. However, if we were to eliminate that judgment, or at least change the judgment to life happens “for” us, then we can relax, enjoy our lives and be happy. This is what we do to ourselves and we can easily change it to what we can do for ourselves. We are that powerful.

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

BEING AUTHENTIC

            I read all of the time that people need to be authentic; they need to be who they “really are.” In thinking about these principals, what does it really mean to be authentic? I mean how can you be someone other than you “really are”? I think in the bigger landscape, being authentic means telling people how you really feel, don’t sugarcoat what is going on inside your head. Being authentic also has to do with having integrity, say what you mean and mean what you say.

            Here are some suggestions on how to be more authentic.

1.              What everyone else thinks about you is none of your business.  We quickly lose ourselves in the trap of being someone we think will be popular with everyone else. It is a never-ending cycle, trying to figure out who you have to be to please others, and then abandoning yourself to be that illusion. It never works. We only make ourselves miserable trying to be someone we are not. Be the best person you can be, that is the only person you can be.

2.              Don’t hold grudges. When we resent something, we let that tape play over and over in our minds and instead of focusing on being the best person we can be, and being authentic, we are always suffering because we can’t figure out how to change the past. If something doesn’t work out, either the time wasn’t right or the desire you were grasping for wasn’t in your highest and best good. Let (inhale) it go (exhale). When we keep trying to relive the past, we are doomed to keep repeating the behavior that caused it. Change the behavior to change your results.

3.              Think for yourself. Peer pressure will always rob you of your integrity and authenticity. If it doesn’t feel right for you, go in a different direction. You may look back and find everyone following you. Many times we sacrifice ourselves to avoid conflict. Never, ever give up on yourself. It is through our struggles to be our self that we discover who we truly are.

4.              Let your yes, mean yes. Sometimes things don’t work out, but never say yes without a commitment to follow through. The foundation of integrity is to be dependable and never say you will do something that you don’t want to do or don’t know if you can do it. You can say, I will do my best, or say “I don’t know”. People who are not dependable are untrustworthy and untrustworthy people are not authentic. So if you mean “yes”, say it. Everything else is “no”. If you make an agreement, make a note of it. It is no excuse to forget. Forgetting to do something that you said you would do is out of integrity. Make sure that you allow enough time to accomplish what you agreed to do. Finally, if you discover you can’t deliver, let the others know immediately so they can make adjustments. If you are inconsistent, undependable, frequently late or change your mind repeatedly, you will lose whatever credibility you may have and people will start avoiding you like the plague.

5.              Kindly adjust. A popular saying in India when circumstances change is “kindly adjust”. It is similar to “go with the flow”. The point is that authentic people are not stupidly inflexible; they know life happens and can change plans when necessary. They are not afraid to ask for flexibility, nor are they afraid to change their plans when necessary.

6.              Put yourself first. Authentic people have to put their health and well-being first. Without health and well-being, you can’t help others. Your well-being is the platform from which you serve others. Your personal health is your greatest possession; the most significant foundation of any future you will have. Make your body your prized possession above all physical things. Spare no expense, re-prioritize and invest in your health. Your health is a long-range investment that will pay-off when you need it most.

7.              “No”. Everyone has the right to say “no” if “yes” is inappropriate. Say “yes” to ideas and processes that are in your best interest. Say “no” to those things that are not in your best interest. So what if you lose a relationship or job. There is nothing more valuable than your integrity. Selling out your principles to keep a friend or job is disempowering yourself and will only cause problems in the long run.

            To be authentic means to follow your own drummer, and to think for yourself. Do not be part of the crowd or go against your instincts and principles to influence or manipulate people. It may have some short-term advantage, but eventually people will discover you have no principles or integrity. Then you will be lost. Head up, keep walking and breathing, and do what you know is right. You are braver than you know and stronger than you think.

 

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

PEARLS

             When everything seems to be a challenge and life is hard, it is often difficult to maintain a sense of gratitude and faith. At times being happy feels impossible and ridiculously difficult to maintain. There is a Buddhist mantra about seeking enlightenment that goes: “dig deep and strike water, dive deep and find pearls.” When I first heard that statement years ago, I initially thought, “What the heck does that mean?” Years later I have a better understanding of what it means and how to apply it to daily life, especially when it feels like the rats are winning the rat race.

            When we say, “dig deep”, that means find a belief system that you resonate with and go deep. This might be a religion or a philosophy. It means study, read, pray, meditate and immerse yourself in its teachings and wisdom. It is helpful if you can find a teacher with integrity who can explain the more mystical aspects of the philosophy or religion, because the more you dig down into the foundations of the teachings, the more questions will come up. Oftentimes the biggest “aha” moments are found when you have solved a mystery, or come to an understanding of a teaching that is beyond those who do not apply themselves to the teaching. An example would be the concept of “all perception is projection”. Until we realize that we only see what we want to see, and usually a very subjective version of the truth, it is very difficult to grasp what life really is all about. Many times we are stressed and struggling to understand why events happen in our life when the truth is that we are causing the stress. Events happen whether we understand them or not. When we can experience an event and accept that we created it to learn something about our self, then the struggle disappears. Our minds are powerful imagination machines, and we can imagine something fun and exciting or we can imagine something horrible and frightening. So if we are experiencing stress and struggle, what are we projecting onto reality to create a holographic nightmare? When we can answer that question, then life becomes relatively simple.

            When we say “strike water”, we mean that we start to understand that there is more to life than what we think and feel. By that I mean that we start to understand that we are the creator of our reality and our minds are playing a large part of what we are experiencing. Many people have no idea how powerful we really are when we control our minds and our thoughts. Most people are at the mercy of their minds and thoughts, often victims of their minds that are allowed to run rampant through negativity and pain. When we think we are victims, we will be victimized. When we start to understand that we can control our mind and our thoughts, then life starts to flow in the direction we want. The “water” is the realization that we can control our thoughts and our mind. We can use meditation, affirmations, positive thinking, mantras, satsang and worship to ease our troubled thoughts and begin to connect with our higher consciousness and the divine.

            When we say “dive deep”, this is another metaphor for the concept that we digging deep into our subconscious to find the source of our thoughts, our demons, our beliefs and our pain. Water often times symbolizes our subconscious mind as we can’t see what is under the surface unless we are still and let our minds be still. We have to simply be, and let the contents of our subconscious mind settle to the bottom so that they can be seen from above. As we dive deeper and deeper into our subconscious mind, we will discover who we are and how we perceive ourselves to be. We will discover the traumas and injuries which caused us pain and suffering and realize that they are only memories and no longer real. Nothing is real in our subconscious; we just think it is. So we have to let these nightmares and dramas settle to the bottom so they may be removed.

            Finally, as we clear away the debris and muck at the bottom of our subconscious, we will begin to find the pearls of wisdom that were there all along. These include the highest teachings of the eastern philosophies and religions, that we are the creator that we have been searching for. We are not the doer, until we discover that we are. We are responsible for our own happiness. we can’t give that responsibility to anyone else. Finally, we are immortal spirits that take form over and over again and the biggest illusion of all is death. 

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

THE LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS

              Consciousness is a term which many people talk about but few really understand. Most vaguely know that having it is a good thing, and being un-conscious may be problematic. Many people go through life with the lowest entry level consciousness wishing things were different and wondering why life is so challenging. It doesn’t have to be that way. We are human beings and most of us don’t have the focus and discipline it takes to transcend the quirks and daggers completely all of the time. Sometimes we can, if we understand what the different levels of consciousness are.

            The entry level of consciousness is survival mode. We spend a lot of time in the past in order to survive the future. This is where victim consciousness is strongest, which is the belief that life happens “to” us and we have no control over anything that happens in this world. We are consumed with materialism because we believe that will keep us safe. The more we have in the bank accounts, our stock accounts and possessions hopefully will help us in hard times. We are always wishing life was different or better and we grasp for whatever our desires may be in the moment. Happiness is often confused with pleasure, for we feel good when we get what we want and we suffer when we don’t. We are controlled by our emotions. We suffer at all times, afraid that we will not get what we want and afraid we will lose what we have. We suffer from anxiety, high blood pressure and illness that are caused by the constant stress we create. We are trained by society and the powers that be to be stuck in this level of consciousness because we are controllable and easily manipulated.

            A next level of consciousness is self-awareness. In this level of consciousness we strive to discover who we are and what our purpose is. We begin to understand that our place in the world does not depend absolutely on what we possess. We start to examine the effect of our behavior and actions upon others, we relate to others and the world. We begin to be aware of the world and life is more than just survival and collection of possessions. It is at this level we become to be aware that there is more to life than survival. It is also the level that we begin to suspect that there is a God. Oftentimes we connect with a teacher or guide who has a higher level of consciousness to help us transcend the lower levels. We can transition from survival level to self-awareness through the practice of gratitude.

            The third level of consciousness is the dawning of the awareness that we are not who we think we are. We are not our thoughts, emotions or beliefs. Our awareness is not the same thing as our thoughts, memories or beliefs. The social conditioning that we experienced in the survival level begins to fall away and we seek the truth of what is really going on in life. We begin to connect with a larger consciousness that animates us and sustains us (all along). We are aware that the lower levels of consciousness are a dream state and we are beginning to wake up. We begin to take control of our mind and emotions, understanding that they will control us if we do not control them. We begin to focus more and more on the search for connection to the divine, universal aspect of our being. It is at this level we start to detach from our addictions to pleasure and pain, judgment as well as people, places and things. The need for companionship or a significant other decreases. We can transition from self-awareness to detachment through meditation and mantras.

            The fourth level of consciousness is forgetting our self and our selfish wants and desires. We are concerned solely how we can help others anyway possible. We have a deep and total compassion for all beings, we connect with the universal energy of love. We let go of our desires for sex, companionship, material possessions or status. We are only concerned with serving others and raising the consciousness of the planet. We begin to merge with universal knowledge and consciousness that results in longer periods of bliss and enjoyment of all that is. We spend longer times in meditation and solitude and seek only that connection with the divine that gives us joy. At this level we are in a state of being, and have dropped the need to do anything. Whatever actions we take are directed by our divine consciousness and intuition and for the good of all. We know that all of our needs will be met and we have let go of needless and foolish concerns of materialism. We transcend from the level of detachment to selflessness through focus on the divine.

            The highest level of consciousness is enlightenment. It is difficult to reach this level and to stay at this level for any length of time because it requires long periods of solitude and focused devoted thoughts to your divine self. It is simply a matter of reality because when we are at the highest level of consciousness we are not able to function in what most consider the real world or what some call the 3D world. We meditate for long periods of time, surrender the need for interaction with others because we are connected to the divine. Oftentimes we don’t eat or sleep, we simply bask in the arms of the divine.

            Most of the highest beings will spend time at the level of enlightment and then come back to the 3D world to interact with others. It is their karma to know the difference between being in the arms of their divine self and interacting with the real world. It is their recognized duty to help all beings raise their consciousness. We can be born into any level of consciousness. It is the grace of the divine that we can raise our consciousness anytime we like. It is also our ability to lower our consciousness at anytime based on our circumstances. This is what is known as free will. The choice is ours.

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

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!