Sunday, December 11, 2011

Living IN the world without being OF the world

Several weeks ago I ended my weekly message (Penn State, The Church, and my Ego – Part 2) with the following:

"In short, what I learned is the critical importance of always trying to use 2 little words: '…for me.' I came to understand that my thoughts of 'right, normal, accepted, and Christian' were influenced more by my cultural/racial/educational/
economic sense of identity than by dogma or some form of religiosity. I found if I could simply add the prepositional phrase 'for me' to the end of most sentences, truth would begin to penetrate all the way to my True Self.  For example, rather than saying, 'The Bible is the source of truth in spiritual issues,' I began saying the Bible is my source of truth in spiritual issues because that makes sense for me.'

"Those 2 little words, 'for me,' began opening the door for me to accept someone else's different perception of the rightness of things – cultural or spiritual – as being just as valid for them as my perception was for me.

"That was the beginning of my spiritual journey. That's how it all started for me."

By adding the words “for me” or “to me” (depending on the context) I began to be more open to significant spiritual realities. I didn’t understand most of this while it was occurring to/in me. What I’m writing right now is from the benefit of almost 25 years of hindsight. However, when I am open to accept someone else’s different perception of the world and what is good, moral, and right, little miracles of spiritual reality begin to “pop” in my consciousness. During these little moments, time seems to stop, my worries fade into nothingness, my concentration isn’t distracted by random thoughts from my monkey mind, my focus is in the immediate Now. When I’m there, I am at peace. For a brief moment all the pieces of life’s seeming puzzle fit together and I am content. The Course in Miracles refers to these small moments as a “Holy Instant.”

All this, in effect, was what I was describing in last week’s message about my clump of creek muck.

[Some of you may not have seen all of my earlier messages. If you choose, you can go to my message archive to retrieve earlier messages. ] Simply click on Blog Archive.]

I heard a recent report on NPR about the use of mice in laboratories all over the world. My first thought: Who would have ever thought to do a study about this? Who cares? Then the gentleman proceeded to explain that it really does have an impact on the process of scientific exploration. If every lab in the world uses only mice, then the results of experimental drugs can be skewed. This made sense and it made me think: Don't we have to pay attention to this 3-dimensional world? The world of scientific discovery and validation? The world of our ego-perceptions? The world of power, prestige, money, wealth, and winning? Isn't it important?
How do we pay attention and maintain our focus on the cornerstone of our spiritual journey – that we are not humans with a spirit, but are loved, eternal spirits currently having a human experience?

Good questions. Really, really good questions.  Part of me right now simply wants to write: “If you have the answer, write me. I'll post it.” [LOL]

Think of a spectrum or scale. Living In the World is on the left side and Not Being Of the World is on the right side.

Where I try to draw the line between living in the world and not being of the world is a personal distinction I make for me. I must make that distinction constantly. My “distinction” will be different for you. It is different for my wife than for me. The line we draw as a couple is different from our individual lines and from other couples.

However, for me, the key issue is: The line is always moving.

A good indicator for me that my “line” needs adjusting is the reality of my serenity. My serenity is upset by my attachments – attachments to people, issues, expectations, ideas, or objects. The stronger my attachments the more my “line” moves toward the In-The-World end of the spectrum. The less serenity I feel, the more I know I am being buffeted by my Ego thought system. I will desperately try to fix the blame for my lack of serenity on people or events “out there” somewhere. But I know it’s all in how I am perceiving this world of mine. The more I perceive my Self as a human having a soul the more prone I am to a lack of serenity – the more fragile I am. The more I perceive my Self to be an already loved eternal spirit currently having a human experience, the more solid and dependable is my serenity.

I wish I could tell you my line never moves and that I have it all figured out and that I spend each day tip-toeing through the tulips as happy as can be. Alas, that ain’t the way it is! There are some days my line needs to be redrawn hourly. But there are more and more days where my line and me are on the same page and my serenity is palpable. Obviously, I like those days best – like the day when I really connected to my clump of creek muck [The Unity of Life – 12-04-2011].

Thanks for listening and, as always, it's okay to forward or share this, if you choose.


#2 – December 2011

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