You do not need to be hard on yourself for being where you are. Wherever you are, whatever you have become- you are at an OK place now, and the universe understands fully why you got to where you are. You made a lot of choices to get here- both those you remember and many you do not- and it is OK that you made those choices.
Simultaneously, oftentimes spiritual growth is only possible when we recognize where we have failed. In response to our fear and the negative self-perceptions that we have bought into over the course of our lifetimes, we commonly tell ourselves stories about why we are worthy or justified. In fact, we are already worthy and justified; none of the stories are required. However, those stories do often prevent us from seeing where, in fact, we could be more loving. We can become blind to where we need to grow when we think we are already grown up.
Being both totally OK with where you are and also simultaneously being aware of your shortcomings requires a profound amount of both full self-love and humility. Self-love and humility are not opposites; we can and should develop both qualities simultaneously. The path for doing so is a complex and personal journey that is not easily articulated. Yet wherever you are, allow yourself today to recognize it is OK that you are where you are, no matter the circumstances you may find yourself in. Accepting ourselves by accepting our circumstances and our part in those circumstances is a powerful step toward lasting peace.
We are fundamentally beings of freedom and love. We are not born into the world “sinful”- meaning in any way opposed to or separated from God. In fact we can never escape God, for that which we call God is our very root and nature, and nothing in all Creation exists apart from it/ Him. In fact, we have come into the world for the very purpose of making hard, messy choices within a set of constraints that permit us to learn to operate lovingly within a hard, messy environment. We are encouraged to use free will, in order to grow and participate in Creation. God knows we are making choices. We are not punished for making choices, even if they harm others. Punishment is not needed: as countless thousands of Near Death Experiences tell us, after our life we will inevitably experience a “life review” process in which we will come to understand and actually feel the full effect that all of our choices had on others, and we will be fully able to judge ourselves. Also, importantly, God in His loving wisdom has set out certain “universal laws” of operation that naturally and inevitably guide each individual in growing toward love. The ability to make mistakes is a necessary part of that process.
Some may say that the sinful and narcissistic nature of man is evident. Yet narcissism is no more than a natural consequence of a yet undeveloped spirit seeking to make choices within challenging constraints. Ego- the erection of self-protective justifications, beliefs, and identity- is no more than a great castle of illusion built by the individual to protect himself from facing his own fear. Man who acts narcissistically is acting from ego and from fear. He does so because his spirit has not “grown up” enough yet to make the more loving or fearless choice within his current history and constraint set, not because he is inherently bad or separated from God in any way.
When my children are whining or fighting, I do not think, “what sinful or selfish people!” Rather, I see joyous and loving beings who are befuddled by a situation. We as adults are not much different. Our ego structures and beliefs may be complex, well justified, and built high over a lifetime- but beneath it all, we, too, are beings of love and light!
Original sin, then, is a myth. The truth is original sinlessness- followed by very real conscious beings making very tough choices in a very real simulation called physical incarnation.
We are taught to constantly focus outside of ourselves. We have things to do, places to go, bills to pay, appointments to keep, and people to interact with. We need to eat, sleep, walk, talk, and move. We think we are our physical bodies, and we perceive others as theirs. We even believe quite firmly that what is “real” is that which is outside of us that can be verified by others.
Yet through meditation, one begins to get profound glimpses of a much larger truth: all of that which is taking place “outside” of us is in fact taking place “inside” of us!
You are not the objects of your experience that have beheld your attention for so long (the objects of your experience include both the perception of physical objects and also your thoughts and emotions). Rather, the objects of your experience are taking place within your awareness. The sense data that you experience even when others verify what is “outside” of you is also taking place within your awareness of it.
When you gently and gradually quiet your physically-focused mind-self, and you permit yourself to sink deeply into simply “What Is” in the present moment, you will eventually find without any effort that there are treasures within you that go beyond all the treasures of the physical world of form. How remarkable it is that such fantastic treasures go unnoticed by us while we are on Earth! Indeed, they often do. Yet, they do not have to. Take a few moments today to allow yourself to take even one gentle step towards actually dwelling quietly with your own awareness. If you can quiet your thought-momentum sufficiently, when you least expect it you may just get a sense of the incalculable and unspeakably precious treasures that are, in fact, within YOU!
Fundamentally what we are is conscious awareness. Fundamentally what we do is exercise intent by making choices. Put another way: the fundamental substance is consciousness; the fundamental force is intent. These statements are true no matter what reality system we are in and no matter how things may currently appear “outside” of us.
Consciousness may elect to participate in experiences that provide rich constraints in which difficult choices may be made. Physical reality is one of those meaningful constraint-sets.
Yet even here, because focus is a part of intent, focus itself is a creator of momentum. When we focus on a certain perception, that perception grows. Physical reality is meant to give us the opportunity to have the experience that our nurtured perceptions yield to us.
It is valuable to recognize this phenomenon because it allows us to take back our power. How? We can move away from perceiving the world as a place that happens “to” us, and gradually shift our perspective towards recognizing that in fact the power lies within us. This may seem like a big leap in such an immersive and challenging environment; indeed in this reality it can take time to institute substantive internal or external change. But we do have the power to change our momentum in every single “now” moment. “Now” is always the moment! We can choose now to focus on the good instead of the “bad.” We can choose now to dwell on the love in the world, and not the fear.
We are not powerless to our circumstances, but are in fact powerful creators who are able even to commit ourselves to the temporary illusion of powerlessness.
If you have relinquished your power in your own mind, it is OK to take it back! Become familiar with how you are perceiving your experience. Choose to focus on the positive, even as you fully confront and embrace the negative. Your awareness is at the root of all of it. Change the momentum of your experience by intentionally choosing what you focus on and how you decide to interpret what happens in your life. You as consciousness have that very real power- it’s time to remember that you do!