Tag Archives: anger

Supreme confidence. Supreme humility.

This is how we best bring our gifts to service in the world.

The voices that would have you believe you are not good enough, not smart enough, not prepared enough, not articulate enough… are actually one in the same voice– the voice of ego. The small mind.

Much has been written about the empty nature of the ego; its basis on memory. Nothing more than a list of preferences FOR and AGAINST. Put another way, a list of desires and fears. Both desire (attraction toward something) and fear (repulsion from something) are nothing more than attachment. They are two sides of the same ‘coin’. The ‘coin’ of attachment.

When you turn your attention away from the intellect, from the small mind, and toward the heart, you take the wind out of the ego’s sails.

The doubting, nagging nature of the ego, like a chameleon, changes voice, color, and tone to suit its own needs; to protect its own “survival.” Of course, in Reality, there IS no ego; not really. There is only LOVE. There is only The One. The ego is simply the name we give to a collection of thought patterns when we choose to close our eyes and turn away from our True Source.

Like a child who covers his eyes and believes the world has disappeared because he can no longer see it, we generate thoughts of abandonment, fear, pain, suffering, and tragedy. We seek solace outside of ourselves; through shopping, sex, alcohol, drugs, exercise, travel, eating… the list goes on. We imagine that the intellect and the physical body define our Being, then we spend our lives trying to protect them, believing we are keeping our “identity” alive.

And all the while, the energies of every ascended master, every guide and guardian, live within our hearts. The entire universe is located within our hearts.

When we turn our attention inward, to the heart, we open the door to these energies and sources of wisdom, which are there at all times. (Being timeless, they are ever present; time is simply a construct that we perceive and assume to be true.) If the Divine Source of Love resides within every single one of us, how can any of us ever be abandoned? How can any of us ever fail? How can any of us ever feel unloved?

Only by defining ourselves by our physical bodies and intellects (preferred thought patterns).

Supreme Confidence

Bring forth your brilliance and light with supreme confidence. This is not ‘cockiness’. This is not ego. This is simply allowing your true light to shine. Are you good at fixing cars? Fix them with passion. Are you good at teaching things to others? Give that gift away freely, as often as possible. Do you have a green thumb… love to garden? Pour your heart into it. There is no gift that is mundane or small or unimportant. Every time you step into what you love, you express the brilliance of the Source of Love.

Supreme Humility

Understanding that this brilliance shines not from the ego, but from the Source of Love, there is no need to be afraid of shining. Yes, thoughts of doubt may arise. (“Who am I to act like a writer, or a painter, a gardener, a mathematician, an inventor, a mother?”) Yes, thoughts of fear may arise. (“They will think I’m egotistical. They won’t love me. I will be alone.”) Again, these thoughts do not arise from the heart; from the Source of Love. Therefore, they are unreal. They are grounded in fantasy.

Recognizing that this brilliance flows through us from the Source of Love, we understand that we are channels for the expression of light and love. The brighter we shine, the deeper our simultaneous sense of joy and humility. We are expressions of the Source of Love.

As has been said by other masters, what is real is timeless and formless. The flipside of this is that anything that can be perceived through the senses is unreal. Anything that has a beginning, middle, and end is unreal. It is hollow, like a toilet paper roll. Our physical bodies are perfect examples. They have a lifespan; a beginning, middle, and end. They are bound by the transitory nature of ‘existence’ on this plane.

When we mistakenly identify with our physical bodies, our environmental surroundings, the material goods we claim to ‘own’, we pretend to experience birth, life, and death. By shifting our identification to the Real (that which cannot be seen, heard, touched, tasted, smelled, or imagined), we correctly perceive experience on this plane as expression of the Divine in all its forms… The Source of Love wearing 7 billion different masks at a costume party.

We go to war. We experience intense pain, suffering, tragedy. We experience hatred, fear, and endless selfishness and greed. We witness selfless acts of courage, kindness, compassion, and fearlessness. All of this, without exception, brings us back to the True Source of Love. As has been said by the masters, “Evil is Ego in the act of Miscreation.”

All souls are expressions of the One. All souls are timeless. Bulletproof. All roads lead to The One.

You simply cannot fail. You are love. So shine. As brightly as you know how. And encourage others to do the same. This is your natural state.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Living a joyful life

Heart-Full-ness

So perhaps now is the time to manifest a new way of being in the world. A world that has no attachments to the past or the future. A place where not a smidgen of question about these things amounts to anything.

This is what we say to you. If doubt is what you choose, so you have chosen. If anger is what you choose, so you have chosen. Is this what you want? Where is your mindfulness?

Let us get to the heart of the matter. Where is your heart-full-ness? The heart of the matter — the meat. The heart does not know past and present. It simply is. The mind will play with the heart, but the heart does not change based on the mind’s experience. It stays unhurt.

Anahata. Blameless.

Leave a comment

Filed under Living a joyful life

Love: Seeing Through the Lens of the Heart

In my dream I’m walking through various corridors. I look down and realize that I am carrying a gun in my hand. A loaded gun, cocked and ready to fire. As I walk through a maze of people, I keep trying to de-cock the gun and put it on safety, keenly aware of how important it is to keep the barrel pointed at the ground and away from all the people I kept randomly encountering.

I wake up with the understanding that any new-found power and awareness calls for increased responsibility and self-discipline. The more power we have to manifest our thought forms into fruition here in the physical realm, the more careful we need to be about the kinds of thought forms we choose to cultivate.

Today’s topic is Love.
Not romantic ‘Valentine’s Day’ love. Not ‘sexy-time’ love. Not country-song ‘you broke my heart’ love. Not ‘ice cream’ love. These are all misnomers; the small mind’s attempts to capture in a word what it means to desire.

The small mind, associated with the self-preservation of the ego, is a trickster. When we see love through the lens of the small mind, it feels as though there’s much at stake. This so-called ‘love’ is actually a form of grasping and attachment. (The “coin” of attachment has two sides: desire/grasping, which is the memory of pleasure; and fear/aversion, which is the memory of pain.)

This path is characterized by a fear of losing arguments, fear of looking bad, feelings of self-sacrifice, feelings of loss, and an attitude of martyrdom. Sadness, anger, frustration, self-righteous indignation, and a desire to ‘keep score’ are also road signs along this path, signalling that we are seeing the world through the lens of the small mind. Any claim to be acting from a place of ‘love’ on this path is misperception.
Actual love involves seeing the world through the lens of the Heart. This path is characterized by the relaxed understanding that there’s nothing to lose; nothing at stake. Nothing being sacrificed. Even the grittiest moments of apparent conflict, when seen through the lens of the Heart, are couched in gentleness, calm, and a desire to understand and communicate with compassion.

Recently, I recognized an opportunity for this very practice, as it unfolded. Someone asked me a question in a professional setting. Having just completed a brief report on the subject and e-mailed it out only moments earlier, I answered the question very quickly, with joy and excitement in my heart for my accomplishment. The questioner stood there a moment, then walked in and closed the door, sharing with me a very powerful emotional response of pain, sadness and suffering at the hands of my verbal attack.

Attack?

I felt surprised. Confused. But clearly, regardless of the message I felt I had sent, the message received had been very different.

In that moment, I noticed my heart was racing. Okay, that’s fine, I thought. I reached over to a glass of water sitting on my desk and took a drink, focusing on my breath. Though tempted to fall into my usual routine of shifting to the lens of the small mind and playing the game of competing victimization, somehow I was able to turn away from that and see the person before me through the lens of the Heart. This person clearly felt angry (which can always be traced back to fear; fear of losing something or of not getting something), this person felt sad, this person felt disrespected and not valued. This person felt not loved.

While recognizing and empathizing with the other person’s emotional states, those thought forms, I was careful not to take them on as my own. Somehow, I remained lovingly detached, observing them through the lens of the Heart. Only from this place of loving detachment could I maintain my “balance” and my ability to respond calmly and with compassion. (I can only help a drowning person if I, myself, am not drowning.)

And even as this person chose to remain standing while I sat, and even as they pointed a finger at me and raised their voice, I could see the tears in their eyes. I could hear and feel the underlying sadness and pain. In that moment, I realized that I didn’t WANT to ‘win’. Through the lens of the small mind, if my attention is on identifying attackers, then any little thing I perceive can feel like an attack. In this rare and precious moment, I did not feel attacked. I honestly felt no desire to ‘calculate’ my way out of being ‘in trouble’. (And I knew I could not be ‘in trouble’: I had expressed myself from a place of joy. I had nothing to be ashamed of.) No one was right or wrong. There were simply two people in a room, and one was sharing their perceived pain.

Big realizations happened for me in that moment. I realized that I truly appreciated this new information that was being shared. I had no desire to come across as harsh or uncaring, yet somehow that’s exactly how I had come across to this person. This was extremely valuable information that was being shared. This person was actually helping me to become more aware of the unintended messages that I sometimes send through my words and actions.

And it was being shared with a bold sense of honesty. In the moment. In all its rawness. No matter what judgments I might have about it, I could appreciate that this person was being authentic. This kind of authenticity is courageous, in my book. What a beautiful example for me to follow.

After focusing on really hearing this person and checking for confirmation that I truly understood what they were feeling, I thanked them for their honesty, authenticity and courage. I noticed internally that my heart rate had slowed. Though we were “standing close to the emotional fire”, I felt calm and relaxed. Even joyful. I realized I was not ‘losing face’ through the act of apologizing to this person for how I’d come across, or by sharing with them that I admired and respected them and never, ever wished to cause them suffering. There was no crushing blow to my ego. I did not feel like I was losing any sort of fight, or giving up any sort of position of power.

In fact, the only feeling I experienced was a calm sense of joy as the gulf of our misunderstanding closed, bringing us closer to one another.

In the end, we hugged. The next day, instead of falling back into a sense of discomfort and embarrassment, I walked up at an opportune moment with a smile and asked how they were doing. “Are you feeling okay after yesterday?” People can tell when we mean it; when we’re speaking from a place of love, through the lens of the heart.
How do I know when I’m seeing through the lens of the heart? Simple. Just look for these tell-tale signs: Experience of joy. Smile on your face. Laughter. Lightness. A sense of effortlessness.

The story doesn’t end here.

The Ascended Masters know that new-found power and awareness call for a new sense of responsibility and self-discipline. After we hugged and the other person went about their business, I felt a joy and sense of connection I’ve rarely ever known. And suddenly, I wasn’t sure what to ‘do’ with all that joy.

Again I found myself temped to shift back to the lens of the small mind. The joy coursing through my heart and chest, as well as the sensation of feeling relaxed, happy, and powerful, was a new and almost unsettling feeling. My small mind tried to get me to doubt it… to start replaying the entire scene and figure out what I could have said or should have said… to find holes in the other person’s argument. “If you’re feeling THIS good,” the small mind whispered in my ear, “then you MUST have missed something!”

Small twinges of fear tried to creep in: What if you’re in trouble tomorrow? What if you can’t actually handle this pressure of happiness? What if you were wrong?

I had to remind myself simply to stay in the heart and trust my joy. I literally used my right hand to physically tap the heart area of my chest and said the word “love” out loud to myself repeatedly in order to bring my focus out of my head and back to my heart. Turning my attention AWAY from the thought-forms of fear and shifting focus back to the heart helped to extinguish those thoughts, and put an easy smile back on my face.
The Ascended Masters urge us to strengthen our practice of disciplining the mind. Our minds are tools of creation, in a very real sense. We’re here on earth to practice learning to control our minds and to create with them. This is a training ground for us to practice: the less practice we have, the longer it takes for a thought-form to manifest in the physical realm. The benefit of this is the opportunity to cancel out negative thought-forms before they manifest by generating and cultivating loving thought-forms.
But the more power we attain, the more mastery is needed because LESS time passes between having a thought and the physical manifestation of that thought. If we don’t have mastery over our thoughts, then we set up conditions for manifesting what may NOT be for the highest good.
Fortunately, we get to practice with the wooden sword before we get the steel one. By shifting our attention back to the heart, from moment to moment throughout the day, we purify our minds and generate loving thought-forms, helping to raise the vibration of the planet. Only the slightest fraction of an increase will make a tremendous positive difference, transmuting fear and aggression into love and compassion for all beings. Best to start right this moment!
Ascended Master Djwhal Khul is currently holding lectures on this topic for souls who wish to visit his ashram on the inner planes. His lectures are to assist all of us who visit in truly understanding why mastery is needed and how it can be gained. He invites us to simply ask aloud before falling asleep at night to be taken to Master Djwhal Khul’s ashram to attend his Mastery Lectures. Whether we remember anything consciously the next morning, wisdom will be retained and will help us gain mastery over the thought-forms we cultivate.

Tim Birchard, M.Ed. is a recording musician, Reiki master-teacher in the Usui tradition, and adult educator. He is a founding member of Blue Lotus Feet, an improvisational kirtan group based in Durango, Colorado dedicated to raising spiritual awareness and nurturing inner connection in the Four Corners region and around the world. For more information, contact Tim at timbirchard@gmail.com or visit www.bluelotusfeet.com .

2 Comments

Filed under Living a joyful life

Abundance Consciousness and the Art of Taking Full Responsibility

When we talk about ‘abundance consciousness’, what exactly do we mean?

Do we mean an attitude of, “Everything’s fine!”, no matter what is hitting the fan at a particular moment? Burying our heads in the sand in order to avoid discomfort? Magical, wishful thinking?

No.

Abundance consciousness simply means a focus on gratitude; acknowledgment of all the blessings that are, in fact, showering down upon us. Right now. As we speak. And it goes hand-in-hand with the art of taking full responsibility for our lives right now. In this very moment.

For example… I once worked for a food bank in the southern U.S. My job was to inspect 360 food pantries in 21 counties, ensuring that certain quality standards were met. One month I was inspecting a particular food pantry. The next month, now unemployed, I found myself visiting the very same food pantry. But this time, instead of carrying a clip board, I was empty-handed, and asking for food.

In that moment, I remember feeling a wide variety of emotions, most of them fear-based. Yet I realized that I had the choice to either focus on what I did NOT have, or to focus on what I DID have. I chose the latter, focusing on gratitude, and it moved me in the direction of happiness and the recognition of the abundance that was already present in my life. I shifted my focus to my arms and legs, which were still serving me quite well. I focused on my hearing, my eyesight, and other aspects of my physical health. I thought about how nice it was to have a car. To have a roof over my head. To have the privilege of having my own apartment. Of living near supermarkets. And food pantries. Of receiving this generous offering of food from this particular food pantry on this day. I shifted my focus to my good fortune of learning just a little more humility… of knocking just a few more rough edges off my jagged little ego.

And I remembered that I had choice. I had the choice of getting fired up, updating my resume and getting it out into the world. Knocking on doors. Getting up early. Hitting the pavement. Researching. Making phone calls. Following up. Smiling. Being friendly. Cheerful. Polishing my strengths and sharing them. Working on my weaknesses to improve them.

Focusing on gratitude helped me to keep my chin up during this time, and helped motivate me to move forward. Yes, there were times of intense pressure that required keen focus and sustained action. Times when the adrenaline was flowing and my nerves were rattling. But my focus on abundance consciousness helped me to remember that I had many talents, abilities, and gifts at my disposal; that it WAS worth trying, risking, and continuing to get back on that horse, no matter how many times I felt I’d been thrown.

I’m not so sure I would have taken the same path, made the same choices, and maintained the same positive outlook had I focused on deprivation and all that was going ‘wrong’ in my life.

I chose abundance consciousness, but I did not choose to try to shut out discomfort. (Okay, maybe once or twice.) It IS possible for us to choose gratitude while simultaneously choosing to fully experience all of our emotions, including discomfort. This discomfort can propel us forward, motivating us to persist in our efforts toward healthy, positive change. While discomfort is, by definition, uncomfortable, it certainly isn’t in-and-of-itself ‘bad’. It’s a signal. A street sign. A tool. It’s information. And if I let myself sit in its presence long enough, I can come to the understanding that it’s my teacher. My cheerleader. Maybe even one of my best friends.

Abundance consciousness does not say, “everything’s fine; no need to change.” Abundance consciousness says, “Wow… look at all the tools I have! Let’s get busy!”

Leave a comment

Filed under Living a joyful life

Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries with pet owners

“Oh, it’s okay… she won’t bite.”

As I open the car door and turn to step out of the car, I look up to see two dogs fast approaching. I raise my right foot and hold it in the air. The dog stops suddenly and takes a step back. The owner quickly takes hold of the dog’s collar and then, holding the dog’s collar, slowly brings the dog’s nose closer to my leg.

“She just wants to sniff you.”

I look at my fellow human being and wonder: Do I have any say in the matter?

Why is it that so many dog owners are happy to tell me that their dog is perfectly safe, and that I should have no concerns about letting this animal put its jaws and teeth right next to my leg to satisfy its curiosity? What happens if the dog smells something it doesn’t like and responds by biting me? Isn’t it then a little too late, now that I have to pay for a hospital visit and rabies shots, to run up, regain control of their dog, and apologize?

(I’m reminded of my routine bicycle ride to work last week, when I found myself face-to-face with an angry dog, up on its hind legs, teeth bared, straining against the leash as its owner struggled to keep it from lunging at my body as I rode by. Zen told me to keep riding, since the only thing that had been disturbed was my thought process. Still I find myself turning over and over in my mind the various other possible outcomes. So much for my Zen training.)

And setting aside safety issues and the potential unpredictability of mammals lower on the food chain, what if I simply PREFER not to have dogs rubbing their noses and fur against my body?

Whose needs come first: a dog’s, or a human’s?

It’s my responsibility to set and maintain healthy boundaries around my own body. It’s also my responsibility to make sure that my body doesn’t collide with anyone else’s body; by extension, it’s my responsibility to make sure that my dog doesn’t violate the personal boundaries around other peoples’ bodies.

So why is it that when a dog owner refuses to respect my personal boundaries and I’m put in the position to maintain them myself, she or he becomes so defensive and protective of their dog?

I’m sitting in the park minding my own business. A dog runs up and starts trying to sniff my body. I make adjustments to prevent the dog from doing so.

And suddenly, I’m the jerk?

In this case, I happened to be helping a dear friend with a project that involved being on the dog owner’s property. So I kept my mouth shut. More or less. But the more this pattern wore on through the day, the more unhappy I felt. Now that I’ve had some time to tease apart the issues at hand, I feel better prepared to articulate my concerns. I’m realizing that setting and maintaining healthy boundaries with people can mean making requests regarding how they control their pets. Now I understand that I need to be ready to make the following requests:

“I understand that you love your dog, and I respect that. I need to know what action you’re going to take to keep your dog at least three feet away from my body. If your dog gets closer to my body than that, I need to know what action you’re comfortable with me taking; do you prefer I move my leg quickly and make a sharp sound? Do you prefer I shake my gloves in your dog’s face? Because if you don’t care enough to control your dog and respect my personal boundaries, I certainly plan to maintain them for myself.”

“If you don’t like any of those choices, dog lover, then I leave it to you to maintain control of your dog.”

If that doesn’t work, then I make the choice to remove myself from the situation, whether other people experience emotional discomfort or not.

At the end of the day, this isn’t a ‘dog’ issue, or a ‘pet’ issue at all.

It’s a matter of respecting another human being’s freedom to choose whether to get close to animals or not. It’s a matter of recognizing that just because I love dogs doesn’t mean that everyone loves dogs. When I let my dog walk up and sniff you, I’m disregarding your freedom to choose that outcome. And when you protect your own freedom to choose by preventing the dog from getting close enough to sniff your body and I respond by chastising you, I’m demonstrating a total lack of awareness that your happiness may not include dog slobber on your clothing and body.

What do you think, fellow human being? Where’s the line?



2 Comments

Filed under About

Discomfort continued: A blinking light

A blinking light can mean a lot of things.

Danger ahead.

We’re recording now.

An execution.

A birthday party.

Photo copyright Tim Birchard 2011.

At the end of the day, a blinking light is simply designed to get our attention. “Hey. Look over here. There’s something you should see.”

Discomfort is a lot like that blinking light. It’s simply a signal. All it tells us is to pay attention. On its own, it’s neutral. Judgment free. It’s just a blinking light.

Once we begin to pay attention carefully enough, we can gather added information.

“Ah. I’m in an abusive relationship. It’s time to leave.”

“My pace is a little too quick right now. I’d better back off a little.”

“I just said something that this person doesn’t like, and he is letting me know he doesn’t appreciate it.”

If I slam on the brakes every time I see a blinking light, I’m going to cause traffic accidents. Likewise, if I assume the victim role every time I experience discomfort, I’m going to miss important opportunities to receive honest feedback about how my actions are being received. I’m going to lose out on opportunities to learn. To grow. To become.

Photo copyright Tim Birchard 2011.

If I simply relax and let myself become fully present in the moment, others around me may experience discomfort. As long as I’m staying in integrity with myself (not causing physical, mental or emotional injury to others or myself), I’m on the right path.

Another person’s discomfort need not by the measure of my own emotional state. Put another way, if you’re crying, I can help the situation by remaining calm. If you feel offended, I can add value to the situation by breathing and staying relaxed.

A finger pointed in my direction does not make me guilty of anything. A pat on the back does not make me a hero.

What we say about anyone reveals more about ourselves than anything else.

Thoughts?

1 Comment

Filed under About

Flavors of discomfort

Abuse is uncomfortable. But not all discomfort is abuse.

Discomfort can be used as a tool for inspiring change, growth, and transformation.

Photo copyright Tim Birchard 2011.

It’s important to pay attention to discomfort; it can be a valuable signal that we’re putting ourselves in danger, or that others are treating us in unhealthy ways.

People who are not aware of the difference between abuse, which is damaging, and discomfort, which is simply an indicator that an area in our life needs attention, can jump to the conclusion that any time they experience discomfort, they are being abused or mistreated.

Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries often involves bearing witness to the discomfort of another. Becoming comfortable with another’s discomfort (given we are not causing mental, physical, or emotional injury) is key to this type of growth.

If I clearly and respectfully state my needs (knowing full well that they may not be met) and the person I’m talking to begins crying, runs up the stairs, and slams the door, it’s easy for onlookers to put blame on me. “If that person got upset enough to run away crying and slam the door, then you must have done something wrong. Their behavior is evidence of your guilt.”

This is broken thinking. And sadly, it’s all too common.

If I ask for your feedback on my album cover draft and you tell me you don’t like it, and follow up with concrete reasons why you don’t like it, I may experience emotional discomfort. And at that moment, I find myself at a fork in the road; I have a choice. I can either claim abuse and try to make you responsible for my emotional state (“you hurt my feelings!”). Or I can recognize that you respect me enough to share your honest thoughts and feelings with me, knowing full well that I might experience discomfort.

Photo copyright Tim Birchard 2011.

In my book, this is the definition of true friendship. As Oscar Wilde said, “Friends stab you in the front.” I’ll take that ANY DAY over someone who tries to protect my feelings (and ultimately, their own) by being dishonest with me.

How about you? How are you becoming more comfortable with discomfort in your life? How do you distinguish between healthy and unhealthy discomfort in your life? In your music? In your art?

Leave a comment

Filed under About