May all beings be at peace, may all beings be free of suffering, and may all beings remember who they are.
One of the things that I keep coming across, that always remains a mystery to me is how easily I forget. We all come here knowing that we are divine children of God. So is everybody else. Yet you could get into a traffic jam five minutes from now and slide back into error thinking. Why does it happen so quickly? I can be in this marvelous state of Unity consciousness where everything's wonderful and I'm cool. Then bam, something happens and I'm right back into that rabbit hole.
One of the discoveries that I made is this. If you've ever stopped to listen to the chatter that's going on in your mind, you begin to realize that it's a nonstop story that's spinning out all the time. Even when you're asleep, it's a soap opera. Even if you're not conscious of it, it's directing your life and your feelings. You think you're in conscious control of your life, but over 80% of what you think is determined by the unconscious chatter that's going on in your mind. You're listening to Days of our Lives all day long. The problem is, you're acting as if everything you hear is true and you make it the truth without even thinking about it. Not only is it not true, but it's not even your story.
So much of this story we're telling ourselves is stories that we've been told about ourselves, what you look like. We grow up being imprinted with all sorts of stories from parents, from friends, from church, etc. Most of the time, without even thinking about it, we're living out those stories as being the truth and they're not even close. You're Irish and here's what that means. You're this you're that.
By the time we're adolescents, we're covered with all these bumper stickers of labels and stories that we have been told. We don't even think about them not being true because we don't seem to have any other place to go with them. Somebody told me this story so it must be true. I don't even bother questioning it anymore. By the time I became an adolescent, I was so covered with stories that other people told me and I thought that they were true. I didn't know there was a way out of that. It took me another 50 years to figure out there was a way out of that, that they weren't my stories to begin with. Not only were they not true, they weren't mine.
If I am at a stop sign, looking in my rear view mirror at the person behind me, in 15 seconds I'm making up a story about what I think they're thinking about me. How far removed from reality is it that I start thinking about what I think somebody else's thinking about me? How much time and effort is going into either arguing with the story that I made up for myself or making up another one? "When I get that degree I'll be happy. When I move into that apartment... When I get a new car... When that relationship works... If the company I'm working with would stay in the red, then I'd be successful. If only the government would straighten up, then I could be at peace." These meaningless, and sometimes destructive scripts spin out all day long. They create the world we live in and they're not even true. Most of the time they're not even ours.
The stories are always changing. They seem to be about the present, but they're always about predicting the future. Based on past experience, they're always obsessed with being right and being in control, and of course, you're the star of the show. Little did we know that most of the time, even though we're the star of the show, we're either going to be a victim or a martyr.
One of the most important things to remember about these is the solution to the problems that we are creating for ourselves are all "out there" someplace. As long as they're "out there," there's never going to be a solution. It's never going to work. But in every story you've ever told yourself, the solution is going to be some sort of magical thing that has to happen out there, not in here. You can't love yourself where you are because where you are is never going to be enough. You can never simply be. Whatever you might have gathered in self love and healing and positive energy, it all disappears the next day and you have to start all over again. The storyteller that you and I have within ourselves was molded from fear and guilt and shame.
Can you imagine if you woke up in the morning and an angel were to come along and take this little digital tape recorder and of pop it in your head? This recorder would only turn on when you were saying negative about yourself like "Oh, stupid me. Why did I do that?" Then, before you went to bed at night, the angel shows up again and pulled out the recorder, put it down next to your alarm clock, pressed the play button and said, "You need to listen to this consciously."
How long do you think the recording would last? How do you think you would feel after you listened consciously to all of the stuff that you were telling yourself all day long? No wonder I feel depressed, or helpless, or stuck, because that's going on all day long. It's a continual drain of energy, a continual masking of the peace and truth of who we really are.
In contrast, just consider Myrtle Fillmore's prayer that started this whole thing called Unity. "I am a divine child of God. I do not inherit illness."
There's such a huge difference between the stories we are telling ourselves and the truth of the divine power of who you truly are. Go back for a minute to the healing miracles of Jesus. I always thought the miracles he did were kind of like magic tricks. You can look at someone and suddenly their leprosy's gone. I really sat with this for a while. The conclusion that I came to was that it wasn't a magic trick at all. Jesus saw the perfection in these people, not the illusion of illness, not the illusion of sickness, not the illusion of anything being wrong. "I see the perfection in you. And because my image of the perfection of who you are is so strong and so powerful, it will overcome your perception or your illusion of sickness or disease or unwellness." It wasn't about a story anybody was telling, it was about the truth. "I see the truth of who you are. And because I see the truth of who you are, nothing else can exist in the light of that. I see the perfection of who you are. And because I see the perfection of who you are, it overcomes anything that looks like illusion or disease or imperfection." The higher self, the truth of who you are lives in stillness.
The strength of unconditional love. The power of light over darkness. The power of love over fear. There's no story that can encompass those realities. It's too big. For example, the wonderful story about the prodigal son, which I know you're all familiar with. The kid gets his inheritance, goes out on his own, and squanders it all. He winds up feeding the pigs in a foreign country and the pigs are eating better than he is. He decided to go home to his father. He makes up this little speech: "Father I've sinned against you and against God...: Before he get the words out the father says, "Get him a robe, get a ring on his finger, kill the fatted calf." In other words,the prodigal son never left home because he never left the father's love. The father's love was always completely unconditional, no matter what was going on with him, he never left the father's unconditional love. That's the truth. The other part is a story we're tellingl. The truth is that you never left my love.
What would it be like if we lived in that state of understanding and growth, just for five minutes? What would it be like to know that whatever it is you need is right here before you? What would it be like to know that the lessons you've decided to learn, the healing you've decided to put into effect is right here right now? It's not a story. It's not a maybe. It's the truth of who you are in this moment. What would it be like if in a moment of fear and doubt and turmoil and anger, you would remember?
If I could get out of whatever story I'm telling myself and be open to the grace and transformation of surrender, maybe I could recognize that what is causing my pain and my distress is holding onto a story. That's just not true.
What would it be like if, instead of trying to beat my self-centeredness into submission - which only gives it more energy - if I just became aware of the areas in my life that are already working? Spirit spoke to me one day and said, "Why don't you start working with what's already working instead of trying to change all those things that are not working?" All the things that didn't work in my life, they're still not working. All of the energy I expended trying to make them work kind of went down the drain. Why don't you start working with what's already working? As you do that, the negativity seems to begin to disappear, because I'm not giving it any more energy. It's like tying off a dead branch on a tree, the negative energy that I'm producing in my life will just fall off. If I focus on the positive energy in my life the negative dies by attrition. I don't have to do anything, just stop giving my energy to that anger, stop giving it my negativity.
Some people never get to the point of realizing that it's just a story that they're living. They don't realize that is not true to begin with living a life of unawareness. And I think that's what Thoreau meant when he said, "God to have reached the point of death and to realize that I have never lived." It's not a judgment on somebody else. That's simply an awareness that we know people like that and we've been there ourselves. What would it be like if we held them in the light of the truth of who they are and let them decide where they want to go with that?
You are the maker of your life. You are the one who puts values on things. You are the one who creates the value. What are you telling yourself this morning that's not true? What script are you writing that is holding you in limitation? Is it a story I'm telling myself or is it the reality of who I am?
It is only with the heart that one sees rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye. Spirit of God let me release my false perceptions and limited thinking. Let me see myself as whole, but may see myself and all other people as whole, as your child, as a being of light, a being as love. Let me see that always, no matter what words might be spoken or actions taken, the truth of who I am shines through.
That's the whole message. That's what the whole thing is all about. You don't have to live in limitation. You don't have to be stuck in the stories you're telling yourself, or that other people told you. You are never alone. You never have to live in fear, shame or guilt. None of that is who you are. You are a divine child of God. End of story.
May all beings be at peace, may all beings be free of suffering, and may all beings remember who they are.