Where Did You Get Those Ideas?

In my own life, and in the lives of those I have taught through the years, frustration, sadness, anger, and disappointment usually arise because life does not meet our expectations or our definitions of what is right or perfect.

Who told you life had to be perfect for you to be happy?

Who told you life could ever be perfect?

Who told you that your belief system or opinions were the only path to contentment, to God?

Who told you that you are always right?

Who told you that the same form of government works in every culture and every nation?

Who told you that being without a life partner, or children, or great wealth means you are less than or that you won’t be content and happy?

Who said everything would be better if we all just thought alike, believed alike, lived alike?

I do not have all of the answers.

I know that where there is light, there are shadows and darkness.

I know that contrast helps me to see more clearly and to understand what I think, believe, and desire.

I know that a garden would be boring if every flower and plant in it was the same size, shape, and color.

I know that balance and wholeness require polarities, opposites.

I know that love and compassion are more important than opinions.

I know that I do not have all of the answers but, if we begin with love and compassion for ourselves and others, together we can find a lot of them.

Perhaps the first step is for each of us to soften our own edges so that we are more open, thoughtful, and aware. Who knows? Divine Love just may find a path between our softer edges to bring us into deeper peace and contentment than we ever dreamed.

Aum shanti, beloved.

Advertisements

Wholeness & Oneness

The practice of yoga has brought me to understand that body, mind and emotions are not separate things. They are all one manifestation of the soul or the life essence that is currently in human form. Ancient religions and philosophies, including yoga, teach us to overcome the flesh, to control the mind and to subdue the emotions. None of that ever worked for me. It created so much conflict within myself that it resulted in depression and a sense of hopelessness because I was never going to be good enough, never going to get it right.

Now, through the love, compassion and guidance of my teachers and mentors over the years, I have begun to understand the truth of non-separation, non-duality, oneness and wholeness. Last night I watched a show I had taped on the OWN network. Jane Fonda spoke of her life journey to wholeness. Several times she said, “We are not here to become perfect. We are here to become whole.”

Every particle of my being resonates with that truth. The journey is one of wholeness, remembering that I am one with the Source of all life. One of the word studies I did as a bible teacher was focused on this word “perfect.”  Jesus is quoted as having said, “Be ye perfect as my Father in heaven is perfect.” Those who came after him convinced me I was far from perfect and probably would never meet that standard. Everywhere I looked was paradox. Then I discovered a beautiful truth in the original language of the bible. The word perfect had an entirely different meaning than I had ever heard or understood. It means to come into maturity, to fulfill one’s purpose.

Stop and think about that. A fruit tree cannot bear fruit until it matures. Once it matures, it fulfills its purpose, which is to produce a specific fruit. An apple tree is perfect when it produces apples. When a human being matures, that being’s purpose is fulfilled as he or she remembers true self and lives in the oneness that has always been.

There is no separation between body, mind and emotions. We do, however, experience these parts of ourselves on different levels of awareness and resonance. Each has a different vibration on the energy level due to density. Obviously the body is the most dense substance and it has the lowest pattern of vibration. We experience human life through our physical body. Mind and emotions respond to the physical experience of the moment just as the body responds to the mental and emotional experiences we have.

Practicing hatha yoga (postures, breath, mindfulness) balances and calms the body, mind and emotions. The immediate purpose of our mat practice is to prepare us to turn within during our meditation practice. Meditation then deepens our balance and wholeness on all levels. It brings us into Oneness with All That Is. We remember who we are and why we are having this human experience.

For me, the discovery of oneness released me from the judgement and hopelessness that my belief in separation had created. Walter Littlemoon reminded me years ago that our names for God, in any language, are only to meet the need of our minds and our desire to share experience. In truth, the experience of Great Spirit, the Creator, God, Christ, Buddha, etc. is beyond language, thought, definition. It is our oneness with All That Is and how can words ever define or communicate that?

It is found and experienced in the silence within. The journey is into that sweet space where everything is quiet and as it is meant to be. Peace. Oneness. Wholeness. This is the essence of life, the essence of True Self or Soul. This is who I am, who you are, who we are as one.

In the oneness of All That Is, I am whole. In the wholeness of All That Is I am one.

Perfection – Good Luck With That!

A book could be written about where this idea of being perfect originates but let’s just deal with what is in this moment. I have been involved in countless conversations over the past forty years about how to be a better person, how to meet some standard that has been set, how to please God, gain God’s favor, etc. I began looking into myself at a relatively young age. The Judeo-Christian standard set for me left me sad, frustrated and extremely good at judging myself. All of this self-flagellation brought little lasting change and an ongoing battle with low level depression. Ultimately, I became a bible teacher and was fortunate to receive solid training in how to study and interpret the bible. Seeing the importance of things like historical context and word studies began to set me free.

For example, an Old Testament verse commands that a man must not wear women’s clothing. When that was spoken and recorded, everyone wore the equivalent of a dress! This historical data makes it necessary to look further and interpret context as well as multiple references. There are no other such admonitions, by the way, so the verse is best considered metaphorically.

Word study absolutely began to set me free from this idea of perfection. The meaning of the word “perfection” as used in the New Testament of the Christian bible is quite far from what we mean by perfection today. Jesus said we were to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. OK, I’m done then because that will never happen if I am to meet today’s standard of perfection. When properly translated and understood, the biblical use of this word means to fulfill our purpose, to mature into the fullness of our true nature. For example, an apple tree produces fruit once it has matured. When it produces fruit, it is fulfilling its nature – which is to produce apples – and that is perfect. A healthy tree produces healthy fruit. An unhealthy tree produces unhealthy fruit or none at all.

Now hope arises in me! Being perfect as a human being means to mature, to grow up and live a healthy life! It means to find out who I am, to recognize my True Self and live from my true nature! The Dalai Lama says we are created for happiness so, as I mature, I learn what makes me happy or what brings inner contentment and joy and I do that all the time! This is beginning to sound like fun.

God is Love. God loves me. Divine Love brings me into being. I am Love manifested in human form. Perfection or maturity is recognizing and believing that. Relax, Catherine Ann, be what you are. There is nothing more perfect that that! Everything exists in the wholeness and oneness of the Divine.

In the Oneness of All That Is, I am Whole.

In the Wholeness of All That Is, I am One.