Monkey Mind: Is There a Cure?

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What is the monkey mind? It is believed that the term originated in Buddhism to describe the constant mental chatter that scrambles through our mind like a troupe of busy monkeys. The monkey mind generates a false perception of reality that often has us running in fear and anxiety away from possible danger we cannot control.

Our chattering little monkey may not always present as a sense of danger. It may simply rattle on as a preoccupation with perceived possibilities of the past or future, mental noise that has no bearing on anything in particular.

When it comes to achieving mental and emotional peace, we need to recognize the difference between life in the here and now and the constant scanning of future and past possibilities. I have said before that we only worry over things we can do nothing about. These things are mental and emotional projections that have us wrestling with questions of what if rather than dealing only in the moment with what is.

Jesus recognized the need to still the busy mind. At one point he said to his disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). Yet it isn’t enough to simply go to a lonely place. We tend to take our monkeys with us.

It is important to pay attention to how we are using our mind. Are we allowing ourselves to be present? Some balk at the idea of practicing the Presence in meditation. We may want to begin simply with the practice of being present. Mindfulness. We can achieve mindfulness by taking a few moments to focus on something as simple as our breath. We can feel and appreciate the warmth of the sun, or the loving response of a pet. The practice of being present is a necessary step to becoming aware of the Presence.

The monkey mind will probably always be with us. The more we recognize it for what it is, the better we become at letting go of its incessant chatter.

Expression is Attraction

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Much has been written about the law of attraction and how we can use it to accomplish just about anything we desire. We are told by our new-age gurus that we put this law in motion by setting our intention. What most do not include in their presentation is that the law of attraction is an effect, not a cause. This law is not put in motion because we decide to set a particular intention. As the following passage illustrates, the law of attraction is in perpetual operation.  

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart” (Luke 6:45).

It is the character of the man, good or evil, not his intention, that determines what he attracts. The law of expression, first cause, will always manifest as the equivalent to what is stored up in the heart, regardless of the intention.

When Jesus advised to seek first the kingdom, he was calling attention to the importance of discovering the spiritual bedrock of our own being. Metaphorically speaking, this is the good man in the passage above. The evil man is the senses-based self-image disconnected from its spiritual core. When we are grounded in our spiritual center of power, our intentions naturally express as strength. When we are consciously disconnected from our spiritual center, our intentions focus on protecting our weaknesses. This spiritual law of expression was artistically stated in Shakespeare’s work, Hamlet:

“This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

The self in question is not the culturally influenced personality that we hold out for the world to see. It is that innermost sense of self we have always known, though sometimes kept under a bushel. The law of expression carries the goodness stored in the heart of our soul, naturally attracting to us the best and the highest in all ways.

How Prayer Works

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There are basically two types of prayer. The first, which is most common, is petitionary prayer. Petitionary prayer begins with the premise that we are separate from God. We have a problem. God has the solution. We petition God to act on our behalf and solve our problem.  

The second type is affirmative prayer. This type of prayer begins with the understanding that we are one with God. Our prayer aligns us with the creatively uplifting action of God. We do not need to persuade God to act. Affirmative prayer brings our thinking and our expectation (faith) into harmony with the creative activity of God.

What is the basis of this creative activity? God as love is drawing to us that which is for our highest good and dissolving that which is not. Jesus warned against reciting prayers containing many words. We simply acknowledge that love is now doing its perfect work in our situation. Jesus encouraged his listeners to believe they had already received that which they asked for in prayer. And what are we asking for in prayer? We are seeking to bring forth that which is for our highest good. We probably have an idea of what we think this should be, but then we add, this or something better. This keeps our mind open to greater and better possibilities.

Jesus also said that the Father knows our needs even before we ask. We will not get a stone when we ask for bread. This is an attitude of trust. Think of the creative life force that is God as a natural, healing, prospering flow. You are, at this moment, being carried by this flow to that which is for your highest good.

A simple affirmative spoken prayer directed to a specific issue can go something like this:

The infinite wisdom of God is now drawing to me that which is for my highest good and dissolving that which is not. Thank you, God, for the perfect solution now being made manifest.

Make this prayer an attitude that you carry throughout your day. Also, take quiet times to refresh and recharge your faith in the highest good now unfolding.

The Truth That Sets You Free

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A basic reason we argue over religion is because we do not clarify the nature of the paradigm we and others embrace. The paradigm is the basic premise that initiates a specific trajectory of logic. Unlike the two rails of the train track that appear to meet in the distance, the paradigms of separation and oneness will never meet. People make the choice to be on one side or the other.

The train track, however, must be understood as one thing, not two. This means that it needs both rails to be whole. Remove one rail and the track cannot function as intended. One rail is the appearance of separation from God, the other rail is the truth of our oneness. The whole train track represents the truth of oneness in a world full of appearances of separation.

The spiritual path is like the train track that requires both rails. If we go too far to the rail of separation, we deny our own spiritual wholeness. If we go too far to the rail of oneness, we may not function so well in a world that believes separation from God is the norm. 

There is a major difference between the belief in separation and the acknowledgment of the appearance of separation.

When we leave this body, all problems associated with it disappear. This means that 100% of our problems are resolved. The spiritual path, which is our challenge of learning to live successfully in a world of appearances dissolves. The train track goes away. We experience the truth of our oneness with God with absolutely no struggle. This is why no one wants to come back to their body. All their questions are answered. All their perceived inadequacies are resolved. Every problem associated with the human condition is gone.

The problem is, we have a body. Because we have a body, we have a train track with two rails. We have the truth of our oneness with God, and we have an abundance of appearances that suggest we are separate from God.

“I do not pray that thou should take them out of the world, but that thou should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

John 17:15-16

The Coming Kingdom

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For the early Christian under Roman suppression, one of the most appealing aspects of the book of Revelation was the promise of a new world full of joy and free of suffering.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband…” (Rev. 20:1-2).

Derived from the book of Ezekiel, this vision of a new Jerusalem represents the long-held hope of the dawning of the kingdom of God. In the coming three decades, however, the Jewish revolt against the Roman empire would produce only a brief glimmer of hope, followed by complete devastation of the Jewish population.  

Among the sayings of Jesus, the kingdom of God is a central theme. If we pay close attention to what he meant by this phrase, we see in this oft-quoted passage that he was not talking about a brick-and-mortar phenomenon, but the dawning of a new state of consciousness.

“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is within you’” (Luke 17:20-21).

When it comes to understanding this notion of an inner kingdom, our Judeo/Christian heritage has produced a great stumbling block by indoctrinating us with the belief that we are separate from God, and that the future, saving intervention of God will indeed be accompanied with signs to be observed.

In contrast, Jesus spoke of the need for a new birth, a new way of thinking and being that is intuitively rather than intellectually experienced. During the crucifixion, this transition is symbolized by the rending of the curtain covering the temple’s Holy of Holies, the so-called dwelling place of God where only certain priests were permitted to enter.

“And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom …” (Matthew 27:51).

The universe is not striving to perfection. It is perfect now. Likewise, the kingdom of God is not a thing of the future. It is a present reality to all who have the intuitive eyes to see.

A New Revelation

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Allow me to share with you a little secret. The only reason I have ever been interested in the book of Revelation is to help people understand that it has nothing to do with the events of today. Though there are a few passages that, when taken out of context, invoke inspiration, most of it is confusing to those who lack understanding of the historical context in which it originally appeared.

Revelation is a New Testament example of the classical apocalyptic genre. The 13th chapter of Mark, known as the little apocalypse, is another. The book of Daniel is an Old Testament equivalent. Apocalyptic writing usually appears when the authors producing it are part of a persecuted community. In the case of Daniel, the Jews were under Persian persecution. Revelation appeared during the Roman persecution of Christians.

Apocalyptic language depicts a great battle between the forces of good and evil. The apocalyptic community of the Essenes envisioned a battle between the sons of darkness and the sons of light. In their eyes, the sons of darkness included the Romans and Jewish leadership they believed had hijacked pure Judaism. The envisioned battle, which takes place on a cosmic scale, culminates under a variety of names such as the end of days, the end times, judgment day, or the day of the Lord. We must understand that these authors do not see the end times as the end of history but as the end of the present evil age, when the oppressor is overthrown and the oppressed emerge victorious.

Revelation was a promise to the Christians that Jesus would soon return and the overthrow of the great beast that was Rome would commence. The book appeared somewhere around AD 95-100. Christianity was not actually sanctioned by the Roman empire until the reign of Constantine the Great (AD 306-337). The intended message of Revelation to the early Christian community was simple: Hold fast, the days of persecution are numbered. Jesus is returning soon. “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done” (Rev. 22:12). “Surely I am coming soon” (Rev. 22:20).

Because Jesus did not return as promised, Revelation fell into obscurity. When it emerged many years later, it did so disconnected from its historical context and theologians routinely began treating it as prophecy. To our present day, religious professionals have attempted to decipher the symbols in ways that inspire hope that the evil forces at work in our current affairs are about to be overthrown. A book so rich in symbolism has, through the centuries, proven to be fertile ground for the active imagination. Not a single one of their predictions have come to fruition.

One beautiful takeaway that is true of anyone under the oppression of that great beast of fear is found in these passages:

“Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4).

The Essence of Christmas

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Christ is the essence of God individualized in each of us. However, we have accepted as the basis of our identity, ideas of lack and limitation. These have found expression in our minds, our bodies, and our circumstances. Our hope of glory lies in recovering the awareness of our spiritual core. We re-establish our identity in the Word (soul) so that Word may become flesh, full of grace and truth, and dwell among us.

Mary represents the spiritually receptive intuition. She is the higher Self that is open to the things of Spirit. She is our intuitive nature, that part of us that knows there is more to life than this human, physical existence.

Joseph represents the intellectual aspect of our spiritual awakening. We must reassess the function of our intellect. Before, it was the leader, the teacher, the presenter of new ideas. Now it becomes the observer, the student, the discerner of eternal truths. It beholds divine ideas that are untouched by the limitations of human thought, born out of the virgin regions of the soul.

The shepherds represent our ability to watch over our thoughts. They represent our innate ability to discern and judge from the spiritual perspective. In the same way the shepherd keeps watch over his flock by night, so we keep watch over the flock of our thoughts and feelings. In daily periods of quiet, we remember that we are spiritual beings, here to express the highest and best that is in us. We let go of all that is not constructive, so that we may focus this wonderful energy and power of our spirit on the good.

The wise men from the east represent the innate wisdom of the soul. Just as there is a wisdom that knows how to unfold a mighty oak tree from within a tiny, insignificant acorn, so there is a wisdom that knows how to unfold the full potential of the soul through the mind and heart of each one of us. Sometimes we are afraid to move out of current conditions of limitation because it doesn’t appear that we have the knowledge to successfully pull it off. When we commit ourselves to growth, to changes that will encourage the bringing forth new dimensions of the emerging soul, the wisdom we need is given, as we need it.

Intelligence and Order

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Advent Series, Part 4 of 4

In this four-part series, we are treating Advent as an intuitive awakening. Our focus is on the meditative process. Follow the same preparations from the first week. Bring your awareness into the region of the solar plexus using the simple statement, I Am.

Open your mind to the quickening presence of intelligence. Your entire being is already permeated with intelligence. The functions of your body are all governed by it. You see and experience intelligence as order in your breathing, the beating of your heart, and all the many activities within the universe of your body of which you are not even aware. You see intelligence in the flower, in your pet, in the birds, and the clouds that sail across the sky.

As you relax and let go, get the sense of this truth that you are completely immersed in intelligence and that your life is now unfolding in perfect order. Affirm:

The very essence of my being is intelligence. My mind is clear. My thinking is orderly. My vision is clear. I see things in their highest relation to the whole. My soul is vibrant with the wisdom of the universe. In all I do, I move forward in confidence and in peace.

Release all feelings of uncertainty about your life and know the intelligence of your soul is guiding your every step. Lift your spiritual eyes away from all appearances and see yourself as a conduit through which infinite intelligence is expressing as you.

Everyone and everything becomes part of your success in living. If your life seems to be pushing you to the left when you think you should go right, then know the intelligence expressing as your soul is now at work. Do not strain to work out plans or struggle to control events. Hold fast to the truth that the wisdom of your soul is directing your life, that the order and success you desire is unfolding with every new development.

Power and Strength

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In this four-part series, we are treating Advent as an intuitive awakening. Our focus is on the meditative process. Follow the same preparations from the first week and bring your awareness into the region of the solar plexus using the simple statement, I Am. See and feel your soul radiating power. Power manifests in a wide range of ways, from the unfathomable power of the sun to the simple unfolding of a leaf. Power divides our cells and fuels all aspects of our being.

Power rises in your being as physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength. You may call on strength to hold a steady course, to take one more step when your world seems to crumble around you, or to steady your faith in the well-being of a loved one. Strength may manifest as the courage to make an apology or it may express as the power to say no to behavior you know as destructive.

With your attention focused at your center, sense the power of your soul rising from your innermost depths and radiating throughout your being. Affirm:

I am an expression of pure power. The full radiance of my soul empowers me to steadfastness in all that I am and all that I do. My strength is boundless, my power has no limits.

If you are feeling powerless to do anything about some condition in your life, release the emotional energy of helplessness as you use this affirmation. Again, do not try to make anything happen or even look for changes in your life. Simply allow the flow of power to rise in your being and know it expresses as the strength you need, as you need it. Take a series of deep breaths. With each one, breathe in power and breathe out strength. Power is the essence of your being. You are never without it.

Love & Understanding

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In this four-part series, we are treating Advent as an intuitive awakening. Our focus is on the meditative process. Follow the same preparations from the first week and bring your awareness into the region of the solar plexus using the simple statement, I Am.  See and feel your soul radiating love. This beautiful energy of love works for the highest good of all concerned, sometimes attracting and sometimes repelling or dissolving, depending on how the highest good is to manifest. Whether love attracts or dissolves is not a decision you make, but one you trust love to sort out as it flows in and through every aspect of your being and your life. Love lifts your vision in a way that imparts the understanding to see and know what needs to be done. Affirm:

I am guided by the understanding that love imparts.

Love is my essence. Love is my being.

Love is the balancing action in all my relationships and all conditions in my life.

See your body immersed in love. See every aspect of your life, especially those areas that are troubled, completely engulfed in the love that radiates as your soul. See love doing its perfect work and become willing to do your part in that work when the understanding dictates. Loving your neighbor may result in strengthening your relationship or dissolving it. This is a much better alternative than trying to force yourself to love them because you think you are supposed to. You may not always be able to muster the kind word or take that right action that will bring agreement with another. Still, you can know that invoking love will fit all the pieces together, will tie up the loose ends, and move all concerned to their best and highest good. Love reveals that this is true even when your good intentions at diplomacy fail miserably, or fear drives your own actions. The love that expresses as your soul is greater than all human frailty. Your unloving thoughts and actions or the unloving thoughts and actions of another do nothing to alter love itself. Love does not depend on how loving or unloving you are.

Let all of this go and simply see your entire being immersed in love. Experience love’s healing warmth. Let it melt away your stress and your struggle to be loved. You are more than loved. You are love itself.