Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Inner Peace

Finding inner peace can be difficult. We meditate, do yoga, read books, go to workshops, learn mantras, hang affirmations on our refrigerators and yet we remain troubled. What are we missing? Is it just that we are not sufficiently spiritual? Are we not doing it right? That is how it feels much of the time.

Years ago I learned about spirituality through Zen meditation. I sat morning and evening, religiously (if you will pardon the pun), seven days a week, at least twice a day. I got calm, my breathing deepened and the world slowed down as I began to focus on what was really important in life. My friends noticed the changes occurring in me. I went deep. I touched a place of inner peace and calm I had no idea even existed.

Bliss? Hardly. It scared the hell out of me! I had to quit for a while. I had never known that level of openness and feeling that vulnerable shook me to my core. It would be some time before I had the courage to go that deeply or feel that vulnerable again. Fortunately, the experience planted something so deep and powerful in me that I could not ignore it. I had to pursue it. So here I am, 30 years later, eternally grateful for an experience that literally scared the daylights out of me. But the fear I experienced then is the same fear that keeps most people from finding inner peace today.

In order for the transformation to the God Space to occur, the self must surrender to the vastness that is the universe. This presents the ego with its greatest fear: the loss of self. The ego, based in your beliefs, stands in opposition to the God Space. It seeks completely different ends.

Beliefs and the ego function through the creation of difference. You are this, I am that. You are attractive, I am overweight - that sort of thing. Being able to separate, even though it means putting ourselves down, gives us a sense of control and the illusion of safety. If I am different from you, then I can separate from you and pull up my drawbridge if I get into trouble. It gives me a way to hide.

Where the ego operates through separation, the God Space operates through unity and harmony. In the God Space there is nothing to restrict the flow of information or energy. There is no separation. There are no drawbridges to pull up. There are no beliefs and no values. There is no good or bad, things just are.

Since energy flows freely in the God Space, there is awareness of everything, instead of the limited perspective we hold in waking reality. In the God Space there is no me, there is no you, as we know them here. There is only compassion, which is our natural state. Therefore there can be no fear, for there is nothing to fear. Fear can only live in the shadow that is the unknown.

In the God Space there is no thinking, for there is nothing to think about! There is an old clich that goes, God does not have to think. When you have total awareness, you just do what needs to be done. You dont have to think about it. This concept can be difficult for Westerners to accept because we are heavily conditioned to depend on our thinking and logic. We have been taught that this is one of mans greatest attributes. After all, it is what separates us from the dumb animals and the ignorant savages.

To an ego accustomed to living in a world of separation, the seeming chaos of the God Space is very threatening. In waking reality, the mind controls everything. In the God Space it controls nothing. In the God Space, the ego ceases to function because it is irrelevant! It is the threat of losing these defenses that frightens us. We are asked to give up that which we think has given us shelter from the hurts and bruises of life. It is a lot like asking an ostrich to give up the sand it hides its head in. To an outsider, the ostrichs behavior makes little sense, but to the ostrich, that sand is pretty important.

There is also an incredible irony here. In giving up the small self, one gains a vast, intimate knowledge and connection with the rest of the universe. Letting go of the small self is a minuscule sacrifice measured against an incredible gain. It is like putting quarters into a slot machine and hitting the jackpot every time! Yes, you spend your quarters, but look at what you gain! The wonderful thing about the God Space is that there is no risk. The outcome is guaranteed before you even make the commitment!

But what if I wont be able to do it? the ego says. Im afraid I wont measure up. We fear that our petition to be loved will be rejected and that we will be left standing naked in the awful truth that we are lacking. This is a fascinating part of the process of transformation. Even though almost every human fears failing the test, it is impossible for us to fail! We are a part of the God Consciousness and the outcome is pre-ordained.

In our past lives the ego dominated our behavior and destined our lives to turn out badly. Near the end, facing destruction, we finally turned to God for rescue. But the dominance of our egos left little room for anything other than me, my pain, my misery. There was little God could or would do because we had closed the door to real help. And we were going to need this painful experience to eventually motivate us to change. But, as a result, we felt abandoned. The residue of those old wounds can make surrender to the God Space difficult today. After all, what would you do if the Creator told you that you werent worth His time or trouble?

Spiritual dilemmas are unique in that they have only one outcome. There is only one destination, one Truth. No matter what circuitous route you take, you must eventually come to know the truth about who and what you are. That is the perfection of the process, and it applies to individuals, families, nations and to all humankind. You can resist and make life more difficult and more painful than is necessary. I did for years! (But this was also a vital part of my healing process.) You may feel unworthy, but there is no way you can be unworthy. That truth must eventually win out. There is simply nowhere else for you to go!

Life is not about becoming something different than you are. Life is finding out that it is safe to let go of the protective beliefs you cling to that are not you. When you take the risk to let go of your beliefs, you stand closer to the God Space.

You are already the magnificent being you are becoming. Most people do not understand this. The evolution is not in you; it is in your consciousness. The change is a change of perspective as you surrender to the truth that God has always been in control. What shifts is the way you see things. Your learning, the comprehension you will gain, is the crux of the transformational process called enlightenment.

The knowledge of how to come home has been with us for thousands of years, and if it were just about knowledge, you would have made changes to yourself long ago. When it comes to things like being loving or living your life, you know what you need to do, because that comes naturally from the God Space. But of course, doing it is another matter. So, where do you begin? As with all spiritual concepts, the answer is easy to understand but somewhat more difficult to practice:


It means just what it says. Good, bad, indifferent love it. Beautiful, ugly, joyful, sad, and even painful love it.[1] That may sound crazy, but that is what living from the God Space means. Everything that happens occurs for a purpose, even though we often do not understand what that purpose is. Loving Everything, means finding the faith to trust in Gods process. The path you have taken will eventually require that you love everything anyway, so you might as well get on with it.

You are being twisted and pulled into a new form, and no one likes doing that, so you are not going to like a lot of what happens here. But when you resist the process, it makes life that much more difficult. Dont be masochistic about it, but recognize that this process will ultimately lead to your enlightenment. Besides in the meantime, living nearer to the God Space makes daily life incredibly more joyous and peaceful. Oh, and by the way, while you are learning to love everything, remember that the most important part of Loving Everything is loving yourself!

[1] Gay Hendricks has been teaching this concept for years and I am grateful to him for the idea.

Ross Bishop is a shaman practicing in Charlottesville, VA. You can learn more about him and find more of his writings at his web site, http://www.rossbishop.com

Bob Proctor and the Science of Getting Rich

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