Several months ago, my friend Elaine introduced me to a free online subscription to receive thought-provoking quotes from John-Roger, a prolific metaphysical author. One of his books is entitled Loving Each Day; the daily emails carry the same name. Frequently, I save some of these powerful quotes in a special folder on my computer. Several weeks ago, I not only saved one, I printed it and posted it on my desk:
Nothing here is designed to hurt or harm you. It is all for you to use to lift yourself into Spirit. It all points you toward God.
It is all for your benefit.
I was reminded of that quote several times this week, as I walked through the Chicago and San Antonio airports, observing yet another inconvenient shift in the air travel experience. I had to check in my carry-on bag–something I’ve avoided like the plague for years, since spending my entire Hawaiian vacation without my luggage. I also had to trash the potentially refreshing bottle of water that I received at the front desk when I checked out of my hotel. These were annoyances; but they didn’t bother me nearly as much as a word that I heard repeatedly throughout my trip:
“Travel has gotten so scary,” they said. “Times are scary. The world is a scary place.” Nearby, eyes rolled and heads nodded in solemn agreement.
From where I’m sitting, it’s not the travel or the times or the world that’s scary, it’s our thoughts. It’s our universal inability to fully comprehend how Life works, and our proclivity toward separating and judging everybody and everything, based on our religious beliefs. And, our religion is the only one that’s right. Of course.
Let’s take a look at that, shall we? A careful investigation reveals that no matter what rituals, regulations, restrictions and rules the world’s religions wrap around their beliefs about what God is and what God does, all of them seem to agree on a few key principles that not only make the physical world less scary; they paint a totally different picture of Life and consequently, God.
Author Jeffrey Moses spent a decade traveling around the world, studying its religious scriptures, and he made an interesting discovery. All of them shared some basic Truths. His research culminated in a simple little book entitled Oneness–Great Principles Shared by All Religions. It’s one of the favorites in my spiritual library.
A quick glance at Moses’ table of contents reveals a few of the pearls that he found in practically every holy book; wisdom that too many of us have lost. A few are quite applicable right now:
The Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.)
There Is One God.
God Is Love.
Man Is Created in God’s Image.
Heaven Is Within.
Conquer with Love.
Blessed Are the Peacemakers.
Do Not Harm Anything.
As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap.
Let’s come to a screeching halt at that last one. It’s the one that I call “the karma memo”, the one that asserts that life is round: whatever you do circles back to you. For me, it’s the one that declares that Life is not only fair, navigating through it is dramatically simple.
I can’t help but notice that the message of the karma memo syncs up with several other Life principles shared by religions as diverse as Christianity and Confucianism: The Golden Rule, Do Not Harm Anything, Conquer with Love, and Judge Not. They all say the same thing in different ways, just in case we didn’t get it the first time. There appears to have been a concerted effort to drill this into our brains.
Ironically, even though these principles have been making the same declarations for centuries, we’re still choosing to do to others what we would not want them to do to us. We’re still harming others. We’re still trying to conquer through violence. We’re still judging without the expectation of being judged. We’re still waging war, fully expecting it to result in peace. Utterly fascinating.
Thousands of years have passed, and we still don’t get it. We still don’t understand that if the world is scary, our enemies didn’t make it that way; we did. We have planted and fertilized beliefs that Life is unfair and that God has announced a plan to torture us sadistically for eons, if we behave like humans and make mistakes.
It’s no surprise that our world appears to be a scary place. What we are looking at, Loved Ones, is the harvest of our own terror.
We’ve made it a ritual: Every morning we rise and take our places in the service line at a virtual buffet of fear, plates in hand. We ingest each mouthful, savoring each morsel. We keep our spiritual digestive systems in constant motion.
Unlike the rest of the stuff that seems to find its way into and out of our bodies, fear attaches itself to our inner being, keeping us always on the defensive, always ready to attack. We never seem to eliminate it from our systems, as evidenced every time we burp, “The world is scarier than it’s ever been.”
As fast as we can say “Jiminy Christmas”, others are nodding in solemn agreement. And the buffet table is instantly refilled for our next feast.
Ancient wisdom says that what we sow, we reap; but we’re too scared to be clear-minded enough to choose a peaceful, joyful harvest. Instead, we have agreed to let others dictate just how frightenened we should be at any given time. They play us like a kid’s xylophone, by color, until we’re scared enough to leap head first into the quid pro quo “you started it, so I’m going to finish it” abyss. We’ve allow ourselves to be chased right smack dab into the Dark Side, where the so-called terrorists lurk.
It’s not exactly the itinerary we thought we had booked. Oh, but we certainly did it. We just weren’t paying attention. We weren’t monitoring our thoughts. We weren’t questioning our beliefs. We weren’t listening closely to our words. If we were, we’d notice that we constantly give voice and life to our fears.
Fear wails bloody murder at such a high decibel that it rattles the very core of our being. All that racket prevents us from discerning a single word of wisdom that our omnipresent “still small voice” is trying to impart.
When we believe that we’re merely vulnerable physical bodies, unworthy in the sight of God, everything is potentially threatening. When we believe we are insignificant beings that are separated from a very distant and heinously punitive God who intervenes capriciously and lets bad things happen to good people, everything is potentially terrifying–from flying in a plane to falling in love.
Fear is truly a bad actor, the prototype for the ridiculously spoiled child who can’t be controlled by her parent. Fear has an absolute hissy fit until we agree to believe that the Golden Rule, Do unto others ONLY that which we want others to do to us, applies to everybody else.
Fear makes us believe that we must retaliate when someone violates us. It makes us forget that what is done to us is precisely what we’ve done at some point in our souls’ eternal life. It’s always stirring up mess, urging us to punish rather than forgive; then it plays the nut role when the circle becomes full and someone retaliates against us, rather than forgives.
This pitiful drama has encored ad nauseum, and will continue to do so until we learn some simple and ancient Life principles–or at least read them with some level of comprehension.
Fear insists that we should control the time and circumstances under which our enemy gets his or her due; and we should take care of that piece of business immediately, if not sooner. By contrast, faith in the fairness of Life (and God) makes it easy to remember that we should control nothing but our own consequences, knowing that our every action naturally meets its own joyful or painful karmic come-uppins–and so will our enemies’.
Many of us don’t understand karma, what it is and how it works. Most of us dismiss it as woo-woo and opt for woe-woe. I explain the concept quite simply in one of my other favorite books, EARTH Is the MOTHER of All Drama Queens.
Here’s the short version: Karma is the natural consequence of each action; it establishes natural balance. For example, you hurt me in some way. That pain might show up on the surface as my pain, but in reality what you’ve really done is sign a virtual requisition for someone to hurt you. You can’t see it with your physical eye and Lord knows, I certainly can’t–what with my crocodile tears, my whining, wailing, and that annoying runny nose.
Even though I might feel vulnerable, maybe even weak, in reality I have the power to make a life-altering decision. My decision is not going to change your life, it’s going to change mine. Problem is, I have to make this critically important decision under extremely stressful conditions.
What I know is that you will naturally attract someone to hurt you as deeply as you have hurt me. I merely have to decide whether I will be the one who puts that hurting on you.
If I understand that retaliating puts my signature on a requisition for someone to hurt me again, I will make the choice that doesn’t causes me more pain: I will choose to allow you to reap the natural consequences of your actions, instead of bumping my head in the karmic clothes dryer with you.
The problem is that when we’re stressed, we really don’t think clearly, do we? Our reactions are knee-jerk, habitual. We almost have to re-program ourselves, practice choosing joyful consequences with the small violations we encounter on a daily basis: smiling at the woman on her cell phone who almost ran into our lane, showering blessings the co-worker who makes our work day miserable, forgiving the dude in the express line with 30 items.
With enough practice, as I suggested a very nice woman earlier this week, we’ll be able to tackle the Biggies: I imagine that she will actually be able to send Light and Love to the friend who stole her husband and is trying to be mother to her kids. She will generously give both of those souls loving allowance to reap what they’ve sown–and back away.
We are not bodies. We just think we are. Our bodies are merely costumes we wear over our eternal spirits. And we don’t know our spirits’ histories. We don’t know if a situation is, as I like to say, “karma created or karma completed.” But we don’t have to know.
All we really need to grasp is this: Forgiveness transforms all of our consequences. It keeps us on the air conditioned side of the karmic clothes dryer. On the cool side, nothing is unforgivable.
Forgive your trespasser. Forgive yourself. Free yourself. Let the buzzer on the dryer announce that this karmic cycle is finally done. Hop out of that joker, empty out the lint basket, and keep it moving.
Or you can keep spinning. That’s what free will is all about. We get to choose our consequences. No one’s taking score. No one’s going to punish us for millions of years for human error–no one that calls itself Love, anyway. And, excuse me, no one else counts.
From the balcony of Earth’s theater, we can see so clearly that the track records of everything we’ve sown and all the consequences we naturally reap travel with our eternal souls, not our finite bodies. Planet Earth, physical life, the stuff and the people we’re looking at, this fascinating world that seems light years from God, is an illusion, pure fantasy. We think it’s real because it’s all our physical eyes can see.
See this: The physical world is constantly changing. Absolutely nothing here is absolute. Nothing here remains unchanged. Nothing here lives forever.
Real Life, on the other hand, is eternally the same; nothing changes. The rules apply evenly, for every soul. Not one escapes the consequences of its actions–ever.
Real Life is always fair. Physical life, by contrast, is always fear. We can’t plant seeds of fear and expect a harvest of faith. We have the freedom to believe, as John-Roger says, “Nothing here is designed to hurt or harm you. It is all for you to use to lift yourself into Spirit. It all points you toward God. It is all for your benefit.” Or, we can believe that others can harm us without harming themselves; that it’s up to us to settle the score; that the world was designed to be painful and scary; and that in another place, far, far away, lives a God who gives us the freedom to make choices and sadistically punishes us for…making choices.
Plant your seeds wisely; choose your thoughts, actions and reactions with a real understanding of how to stop your personal cycle of pains, big and small. And if you must be afraid, be afraid of forgetting that.
Know that I love you.