I have another interview waiting in the wings for tomorrow. But I have a few thoughts to share today and I figured the interview would get more views tomorrow than today, since everyone is probably doing family things – whether or not they actually celebrate Easter.
For my family it’s more about being together (and in younger days who could find the most eggs). And the holiday is a good chance to think about beginnings and on-goings.
Don’t get me wrong – despite the overly (and needlessly) melodramatic presentation on the video, there are good ideas presented in accessible ways. I think the one that struck me the most was that the Universe is there waiting on you – your Butler, so to speak. Of all the notions presented his one was new. I always thought I was here to serve the Universe (or God, according to my Baltimore Catechism). So this is a radical notion for me. It rather turns things inside out, like when I started to believe that the soul isn’t inside of me (somewhere around the rib cage – a young child’s visual that took a long time to leave), but rather I exist inside the soul/spirit. That I am thus ever protected (against what I’m not sure, but my inner child really likes that idea of protection). Lately I’ve begun to vision my soul/spirit as a spiral like the Milky Way that flings itself out and mingles with all the other energy – energy that both moves away from me and towards me. I like that one a lot.
Back to The Secret. As I take it, The Secret is about being able to create your own life. This is hardly new, it is as old as "Be careful what you wish for" beautifully illustrated in the short story, The Monkey’s Paw.written in 1902 by W. W. Jacobs.
Today’s version has more to do with creating wealth, which can be renamed Prosperity and Abundance – but I’m not going to quibble with the ends, because in order to get to the end you have to learn the process of intentional living which, according to my own experience, brings with it other lessons that stretch you out as you learn to "be careful what you wish for."
Some others who are writing beautifully about the concept, without calling it a "secret," (which, in truth it isn’t. Eastern Philosophy has been talking about intentional living and letting go of the ego for thousands and thousands of years) include:
Tama Kieves, This Time I Dance (2002 and the first publication was self-published), and the importance of believing in yourself never mind what the world at large says. This Time I Dance walks you through the ups and downs of believing in yourself – in other words, Tama doesn’t promise you a rose garden unless you count the thorns. "’Oh, this is great,’ I thought, ‘I’ve wrecked a Rolls-Royce career so that I can grow as wide as a Buddha and contemplate the daisies on my quilt.’…in this slow-down, melt-down phase of your journey, you have the opportunity to sort through the layers of your self and decide which ones travel on and which ones get shelved. The fire we seek will burn through old roles. We will lose our well-told stories to find our whispering soul…on this inside-out, inspried path to true work, the relationship we develop with ourselves is more important than anything else. There is nothing else. All work we love comes from the love we give ourselves."
Christina Baldwin, The Seven Whispers (2002), the book that actually got me thinking about all this. I read Christina when I was working on my thesis. The concepts in her book, Calling the Circle (1998), were an integral part of the thinking that formed the basis of my thesis on Story and Social Change: how the stories we tell ourselves, personally and culturally, shape the world we live in; how finding the strands of the story that no longer work and reweaving them can change both us and the world. This is a small book and I’ll share the "whispers" she expounds on here because they are simple and beautiful: "Maintain peace of mind; move at the pace of guidance [makes me think: don’t move faster than your guardian angel can fly]; practice certainty of purpose [intentional living]; surrender to surprise; ask for what you need and offer what you can; love the folks in front of you; return to the world.
Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (2005), is a treatise on understanding the deeper You, that is the real Self as opposed to the little you that is your ego talking (and creating most of the world’s problems). Snippet: "The ego is always on guard against any kind of perceived diminishment. Automatic ego-repair mechanisms come into effect to restore the mental form of "me." when someone blames or criticizes me, that to the ego is a diminishment of self, and it will immediately attempt to repair its diminished sense of self through self-justification, defense, or blaming. whether the other person is right or wrong is irrelevant to the ego. It is much more interested in self-preservation than in the truth…All repair mechanisms make perfect sense to the ego but are actually dysfunctional…A powerful spiritual practice is consciously to allow the diminishment of ego when it happens without attempting to restore it."
The ego is a storyteller, hence my fascination with this strand of thought (a continuation of my thesis study). The voice in your head telling you "what if" and "if only" stories is your ego – it keeps you in the past or in the future, but never in the present, which is where your power is.
Pema Chodron, in The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness (1991), notes "In Taoism there’s a famous saying that goes, "The Tao that can be spoken is not the ultimate Tao." Another way you could say that, although I’ve never seen it translated this way, is, "As soon as you begin to believe in something, then you can no longer see anything else." The truth you believe in and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new. [This includes belief in The Secret – I am hoping that being conscious or unconscious, instead of words that are pathway directions, don’t become labels. Which is much of my problem with Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram, often methods of self-learning co-opted to pigeon hole instead of expand).
Byron Katie, Living What is (2002)[i.e. Living in the Now], offers 4 questions that made no sense to me until I heard her do it on line and then a great big "aha" happened. "No one can hurt me – that’s my job." [see my above statement about protection]. "For some of us, life is controlled by our thoughts about work and money. But if our thinking is clear, how could work or money be the problem? Our thinking is all we need to change. It’s all we can change. This is very good news.
"Many of us are motivated by a desire for success. But what is success? What do we want to achieve? We do only three things in life: We stand, we sit, we lie horizontal. Once we’ve found success, we’ll still be sitting somewhere, until we stand, and we’ll stand until we lie down or sit again….Without a story, we’re successful wherever we are"
Byron Katie’s inquiry, called The Work, consists of these questions: It it true? Can I absolutely know that it’s true? How do I react when I think that thought? Who would I be without the thought? and then Turn it around. Listen here.
Finally (for today, but hardly finally or all inclusive), there are The Teachings of Abraham ("Josseph Campbell said, "Follow your bliss.." Abraham shows you where you left your compass.), channeled through Esther Hicks who works with her husband Jerry: The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent: Living the Art of Allowing (2006) and an earlier book Ask and It Is Given. They have an on-line every-day quotation that comes via email if you’re interested. "People often misunderstand their role in this magnificent process of Eternal expansion, humbly seeing themselves as insignificant in the larger scheme of things. Some believe that God, or some Higher Power, has created all things, including them, and that now they are here on planet Earth working to achieve a more Godly state, or to achieve God’s approval. Others have decided that the world is Godless, and so they, therefore, strive to please no one.
"From our broader, Non-Physical vantage point, we understand the power, purpose, and value of the human Being, …You are not inferior Beings in need of enlightenment. You are not insignificant particles in a vast, unending Universe. You are not misguided or forgotten children trying to find your way home…You are powerful Leading-Edge creators riding the most significant wave of expansion that has ever occurred. And it is our desire that you return to your conscious awareness of this so that your time in this physical body can be one of deliberate, conscious joy!"
Since this whole post is my thought for the day, I’ll end with some snow pictures (snow! in Southern Maryland! on April 7th!) for you to enjoy.