It’s all about how we choose to look at our world, how we choose to treat others.
Let me tell an old Sufi story.
A man enters a village and goes to see the Sufi master. The visitor says to the Sufi master, “I’m thinking about moving to this village. And I’m wondering, can you tell me what the people are like here?”
The Sufi master says, “Why don’t you tell me where you came from? And what were the people like there?”
And the man says, “It’s an awful place. Those people are robbers and cheats and liars.”
The Sufi master thinks a moment and says, “Unfortunately, that’s how most of the people are here too.”
And the man says, “Too bad!” He goes away and never comes back.
A few days later, another visitor comes to the Sufi master and says, “I’m thinking of moving here. Can you tell me what the people are like?”
And the Sufi Master asks the same question he asked the other guy. He says, “What are the people like where you’re coming from?
And he says, “Oh, they’re wonderful, compassionate people. And leaving them is going to be so difficult for me. I really am going to miss them.”
And the Sufi master says to him, “Ah well, fortunately, people here are like that too.”
So this story begs the question, “How do you see your world, right? Because the one person sees liars and thieves all around him while the second person sees compassionate and loving people.
What Are We Thinking?
Let’s ask ourselves then, what kind of mechanics are going on in our thinking when we go about our day, when we live in our world?
For example, since everybody’s talking about this right now, the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Palestine. I confess, I’m very sad that after so many years, hundreds, thousands maybe, no peace can endure in this region of the world. It makes me think about what went on in Ireland as well, between the Catholics and the Protestants.
Fear, suspicion and animosity have existed in every part of our globe since there were more than two separate groups of people, if you know what I mean!
So this is not an unusual situation and we certainly have seen it many times before. But I told that story because what I want to point out is that it’s really all about perception. It’s all about how we choose to look at our world, how we choose to treat others.
We Have a Choice
We have a choice. And for me, the choice is one of two things. It’s either,
- I’m living with fear in my heart. In which case, I will experience the need, an absolute need, to defend myself because i see trouble coming at me from all directions. When you live in a state of fear, and you see enemies all around you, that’s the kind of life you’re going to have and it’s going to be incredibly difficult for you and for everybody else around you.
- On the other hand, if you are coming from love, if you’re feeling good about yourself, if you are happy within yourself, if you’re living your life in a way that makes you feel good and useful and part of a larger experience that you are sharing happily with other people to the best of your ability, then you’re going to see a very different world. You’re going to see a world of cooperation, of compassion, of smiling faces and happy occasions.
I mean this very seriously. I can’t stress this enough– that your inner life determines your outer life.
You may say “That’s unbelievable; that there’s war going on and people are killing people and terrible things are happening. And I can’t stop that. And it has nothing to do with my attitude.”
I’ve heard many people say that and apparently that seems to be true. I don’t question that. What I do question is what kind of life do you want to live?
The Buck Stops Here
The buck stops here. It stops here because I as an individual can do absolutely nothing about what’s going on in Israel and Palestine. I’m just one little person. I’m sitting here in my living room and there’s nothing I can do. So I have a choice. I can get myself all worked up about the situation and feel horrible and stressed. That would be a normal reaction.
Or I can step back and do something I try to do as often throughout the day as I can, and that is to ask my Inner Intelligence. “I feel upset about this situation. What should I do?” Am I supposed to do anything? I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking the question. I’m confused, I’m upset, I’m disappointed, I’m angry. Whatever it is I am. And so I’m asking this question because I need help. I know I can’t do it on my own. I know I don’t have the answer. So I need to ask that question.
But if I ask that question of other people this is what usually happens:
The ego speaks first– that’s the fearful part of the mind. It is the one that’s most often in control. And so I’m going to go out and ask other people who are coming from their fear place and they’re going to say, “Oh my God, let’s get guns or let’s blow something up.” This is a never-ending cycle of attack and defense. Can any good come out of stress and fear?
Or, hopefully, I can sit back for a moment and tune in to what I know resides in every single one of us. What I call our Higher Self or I.I. There are many names you can call it. You can call it intuition. You can call it universal consciousness or your angels. Whatever you want to call it is not important. What’s important is the recognition that there is within you something that links you to everything and everybody else.
The Link to Truth
It is an Innate Intelligence that we all have that connects us to the truth, the truth in the moment for me, not for anybody else, but for me. And when I have that, when I know that and I trust it, I get answers. That’s what happens. Eventually, if you do this frequently enough and it becomes a companion Who travels with you through your day, it happens almost automatically.
But when you’re really struggling and you lose your cool, if you can remember to stop for a moment and say, “Wait a minute, I have that something inside of me that has the answer and I just have to be still and listen,” you’ll be amazed at what happens.
It takes practice. I’m not going to say that the first time you do it, you will always get an answer. The ego will jump in and try to ‘protect’ you from ‘danger.’ This is another thing that I have to stress– our resistance to peace is enormous. In this world, we’re so indoctrinated into the idea of defense and attack that it takes quite an effort to allow ourselves to see the situation differently; not from the defense-attack perspective, but from an open-minded attitude that is curious. It asks, “Just what am I supposed to do? How am I to get through this situation?”
It’s never a good idea to deny your feelings. You can feel angry, upset, whatever it is, but you don’t want to hold on to those feelings because they feel crappy. And they will make you sick if you keep them. So you want to find an answer. And as I said, don’t go out there, because if you go out there, I have doubts about what answer you might get. You need to go within yourself and ask from a place of willingness to learn something new, to gain another more peaceful perspective; to look with new eyes, to see a picture of what a resolution can be.
The Answers Will Come
And it’s amazing because, if you do this regularly, you will find that you will start getting answers, you will have a new awareness, and it’ll come in multiple ways. I can’t tell you how it’s going to come for you. You probably won’t hear a loud booming voice telling you, “Do this!” (Some people do hear a voice and it doesn’t mean they’re delusional.) But it might be that the phone rings and it’s a friend of yours and the friend says blah, blah, blah. And you know that’s the answer you needed. It can come through a stranger. It can come taking a walk in the woods. You could have a dream and wake up and know you got your answer. It’s not the form that it comes in, it’s the content that tells you, yes, this is the answer.
So now you’ve got your answer you can relax, right? But doubts begin to tribble in. “How do i know it’s the right answer?” How do you know? Again, this is something that happens over time. It’s a gradual process of building trust in the guidance you receive from your I.I. (Innate Intelligence). Therefore, you get the guidance, and you see if it’s the solution that feels right. (As you grow in trust, there will come a time when you have no need to wait and see.)
Also one of the ways you can tell is that you find you feel peaceful and it creates peace in your environment. That’s the criteria for knowing that that guidance comes from a loving source rather than a fear source. OK, so again, it takes practice just like anything else, because you’ve spent your whole life doing something a certain way. And change is so hard for our ego. We’re so connected to our old ways that to consider there could be another way is not easy.
The answer you receive could be quite shocking. Suddenly you get an answer that’s counter to what you always thought or did.
Part of you is going to say, “Hey, what kind of a jerk have i been for the last 40 or 50 years doing it this way?” And yeah, your ego is going to hate that. Egos hate being wrong. So you push it away.
And that’s part of the difficulty of accepting a new idea, a new way of being in your life. You don’t want to have to say you were wrong. But once you can get past that, (I just love being wrong because now I’m happier) who cares if you were wrong if it gives you a happy result? Doesn’t that make sense? Makes sense to me!
Change is Possible!
The lesson I read this morning in my Course in Miracles Workbook: “I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt.” OK, so it’s me that makes the decision to feel hurt. Not somebody else. It doesn’t come from the cosmos. It comes from my decision. And it’s my decision to want a change that’s going to relieve my stress and bring a solution.
That’s the power of our mind to accept this is true- that you can elect, you can choose, you can decide to get rid of those thoughts that are causing you distress– even over this conflict in the Middle East.
I have feelings about it. My ego gets wrapped up in the drama. But as I said above, there’s a part of me that says since I can do nothing, I’m going to sit back and ask my I.I. “What should I do? Am I supposed to do anything, or how should I look at this?” and wait for an answer. And the answer that I got this morning was what I’m telling you right now.
My peace is very important to me. I hope your peace is important to you because if it is, then you will take up my suggestion. When we learn to trust our Inner Guidance, (I.I.) life becomes a whole different experience; a way of being that brings joy and light and happiness and makes you want to get up and put on pumpkin colors today because you want to enjoy the season. You want to enjoy the people and things around you. You want to go out and breathe the cool, fresh air and be in the moment. You want what’s available to you in this moment to do, to be, to have.
Have a Conversation
And again, I’m always checking in with my I.I. I’m having a conversation with my Higher Self all throughout the day, not just when I’m upset about something, but because all through the day i have issues to face. I have situations that come up. Should I do this or should I do that? And they require me to take action. And I don’t want to take action with the fear part of my mind, but with the loving part of my mind which is going to come when I step back and let my I.I. speak to me.
I hope the next village you enter will be filled with wonderful, compassionate people just like you!
Everything begins with a thought. So please notice your thoughts and let go of the ones that are causing you distress.
Love and Peace Always,