An excerpt concerning life balance published with permission from the beautiful, newly reprinted Being in Balance, Hay House, Inc. (2016)
The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird sleeps in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul, a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities…” — James Allen
One of the huge imbalances in life is the disparity between your daily existence, with its routines and habits, and the dream you have deep within yourself of some extraordinarily satisfying way of living.
In the quote that opens this [article], James Allen poetically explains that the dream is the magical realm out of which newly created life emerges. Buried within you is an unlimited capacity for creation, what Allen calls “a waking angel” that’s anxious to plant seedlings to fulfill your dreams and your destiny.
True imagination is not fanciful daydreaming, it is fire from heaven.” — Ernest Holmes
I simply couldn’t resist adding the Ernest Holmes quote describing this dynamic imagination as “fire from heaven.”
Notice each day whether you are choosing to live in fear or love. Fear can keep you disconnected from the loving presence inside of you. Causing fear is a tactic of the ego, whether it be your own ego or the world’s ego. The world’s ego is a reflection of individual ego power and the amount of fear that is active. Fear is present when we forget that we are a part of God’s divine design. Learning to experience authentic love means abandoning ego’s insistence that you have much to fear and that you are in an unfriendly world. You can make the decision to be free from fear and doubt and return to the brilliant light of love that is always with you. Who you really are is that unclouded love.
Here are some ideas for bringing love rather than fear into your life: Continue Reading
Quietly communing with God, when we are searching for guidance, is a way of temporarily turning off our ego-mind. Instead of our ego-self thinking, “I can fix this,” we are willing to immerse our perceived problem into our higher self. For those of us who grew up believing life is a “do-it-yourself” project, it can be hard to admit that we need help just to survive. Like a drop of water separated from its source the little mind is unable to create and sustain life. When the drop of water rejoins the ocean it has all the powers of its source. The drop of water separate from its source symbolizes our ego-self when we are separated from our source of omnipotent power.
With our divine connection we are always in touch with the solutions we are seeking. Problems persist when we fail to recognize, realize, and finally, quietly commune with our own source, power, spirit, God.
I think of Abraham Lincoln watching his beloved Union crumbling under the energy of hatred that engulfed this country. He wrote, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.” He is saying, “I surrender to my source and turn this huge problem over to that same power that moves the stars.” You can do the same thing in times of strife. “Let go and let God,” as they say in the recovery movement. Continue Reading
If you want to be a voice for peace in the world, begin by making peace a permanent condition of your own life. Your higher self knows the way, and all it takes is awareness and a determination to listen to the calling of love, forgiveness, and kindness as you move through your days. Here are a few ideas to think about:
You must offer peace to have it. Think of yourself as a peaceful person. Watch out for your ego’s inclination to take offense and ramp up confrontation and disturbance in the lives of others. Try saying, “You are really having a rough day,” to a harried clerk, rather than, “I’ve been waiting for fifteen minutes already.” Let your loving presence, not your ego, guide your words and actions.
Remember that grievances bring turmoil while communication brings peace. You can shed grievances by letting go of your own self-absorption and practicing forgiveness. If you are angry toward someone in your life, work at communicating with that person. A few moments of discussion and forgiveness can send the turmoil away and weaken the influence of your anxiety-loving ego.
Give yourself the gift of a silent retreat every day. Even if it is only for a few moments, experience this key to higher awareness. Shut down the inner dialogue and see the difference between the constant chatter and the bliss of your silent connection to the Universe. This is the surest way to ease control away from ego and move into the inner vision of peace that is your birthright.
Remind yourself that the greatest technique for bringing peace into your life is to always choose being kind when you have a choice between being right or being kind. This is the single most effective method I know for having a sense of peace. And you have that choice in all your interactions.
“No man is an island, entire of himself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main….”
John Donne, 1624
Are you familiar with these classic lines? Here seventeenth century metaphysical poet John Donne expresses the idea of oneness and unity consciousness. Ancient mystical wisdom tells us that in the garden of the mystics, distinctions such as I, you, he, she, and they do not exist. To reach a higher state of awareness and bliss in our lives, we must understand the truth of that first line, “no man is an island.” That can happen only when our ego gets the message.
Our ego insists that we are separate from others and defined by where our boundaries stop and others start. Similarly, our ego tells us that we are separate from our environment and that we are here to sort of push it around as we desire. Yet mystical teachers and poets are always reminding us of our connectedness and the oneness of everything and everyone. We must look beneath the surface and beyond appearances to grasp the unity consciousness they speak of.
Imagine a wave or a drop of water considering itself apart from the ocean. It is weak when separated, but returned to its source it is as powerful as the ocean. Thinking of ourselves as separate from others, we lose the power of our Source and diminish the whole of humanity. When you see yourself as connected to everyone, you stop judging others and begin to see all of us connected to the same unseen silent life force.
Compassion becomes an automatic reaction when you see all of humanity as one undivided and indivisible family. Viewing all others as family members lets you feel more compassion and love toward them. John Donne’s words remind us that we all need each other. Continue Reading
In my movie The Shift, I talk with the film crew about “quantum moments” and the changes that people undergo after having one of these awakenings of spirit. Thousands of people have reported experiencing these moments and describe the following shift which occurred in their awareness of life. They talk about having made the move from an ego-driven life perspective to a spiritually balanced one and feel that they have become more authentic beings.
Two research psychologists from the University of New Mexico, Dr. William Miller and Dr. Janet C’de Baca were intrigued by such stories of sudden and unexpected personal transformation. For their book, Quantum Change: When Epiphanies and Sudden Insights Transform Ordinary Lives, Miller and C’de Baca collected stories of people who reported having “quantum moments” and studied the experience of “quantum change” through the lens of scientific psychology. They describe quantum change as “a vivid, surprising, benevolent, and enduring personal transformation.” These quantum moments that turn life upside down are characterized by these four qualities; that is, they are vivid, surprising, benevolent, and enduring. They are intense enough for us to notice every detail and to remember them forever. They are surprising—unexpected, uninvited, and unforeseen. Continue Reading
I am often asked, “How do I know whether it is my ego or my higher spirit beckoning me at any given moment in life?” At any given moment, you are choosing between two pictures or evaluations of yourself. Your choices include the one offered by your soul, or higher self, which I think of as the voice of God, and the one offered by the ego, or your false idea of yourself. The answer to the question above is, “If it brings you a sense of peace, then it is your higher self at work.” Your higher self is always nudging you toward a resolution of the conflicts that you experience in your life, so that you will have room for serenity and harmony. If you are living with inner turmoil, continually quarreling with yourself and feeling anxious and fearful, then you are allowing ego to dominate your life.
In every moment, you have the option to choose peace for yourself. Your false self thrives on inner anxiety because that is what it thinks it needs to stay alive. Ego promotes thoughts like these: I cannot be happy or content; I must be a bad person; If I am feeling peaceful then I will simply vegetate; I must constantly look at how others are living and performing in order to assess my value. The ego wants you Continue Reading
No one has ever seen the face of ego. It is like a ghost that we accept as a controlling influence in our lives. I look upon the ego as nothing more than an idea that each of us has about ourselves. The ego is only an illusion, but a very influential one. Letting the ego-illusion become your identity can prevent you from knowing your true self. Ego, the false idea of believing that you are what you have or what you do, is a backwards way of assessing and living life.
You’ve probably noticed the word AMBULANCE written backwards on the front of a vehicle so that a person seeing it in their rear-view mirror can read it. When you look into a mirror, what you see is backwards, too. Your right hand is your left, your eyes are reversed. You understand that this is a backward view that you are seeing and you make the appropriate adjustments. You do not confuse reality with the image in the mirror.
The ego-idea of yourself is very much like the mirror example, without the adjustments. Your ego wants you to look for the inside on the outside. The outer illusion is the major preoccupation of the ego.
The ego-idea has been with us ever since we began to think. It sends us false messages about our true nature. It leads us to make assumptions about what will make us happy and we end up Continue Reading
Comfort and luxury are usually the chief requirements of life for your ego—its top priorities tend to be accumulations, achievements, and the approval of others. Consider a new alternative for what makes you happy, one that soars beyond the superficial demands of the ego. The only thing that you need for this state of joy is something to be passionate about. Something that speaks only to you…that gets you tingling inside with excitement…that will not go away…that radiates within you…that sends you into a frenzy of good feeling because it makes you feel purposeful and connected to your Source of being. It doesn’t matter what it is. The only requirement is that you feel intensely about it and are willing to act with enthusiasm, awakening the sleeping God within you.
As Abraham Maslow once observed about self-actualizing people: “They must be what they can be.” Take a moment to think about what you can be, and contrast that with what you’ve chosen to be up until now. So what can you be? Perhaps you have an idea you’ve been carrying around with you for decades, such as a book that you know needs to be written, which only you have the wisdom to create. Can you get so passionate about realizing your vision that you activate the presence of God to assist you in co-creating your dreams? Remember, the mere presence of that passion, nothing more, is evidence that the energy of the Divine creating spirit is alive and well in you. That’s all you need—just the willingness to allow your passion to speak up and awaken from its dormant status. You don’t have to know how to activate your long-buried enthusiasm or precisely what to focus on. Continue Reading
There’s nothing natural about living a life filled with stress and anxiety, having feelings of despair or depression, and needing pills to tranquilize yourself. Agitated thoughts that produce high blood pressure, a nervous stomach, persistent feelings of discomfort, an inability to relax or sleep, and frequent displays of displeasure and outrage are violating your natural state. Believe it or not, you have the power to create the naturally stress-free and tranquil life you desire. You can utilize this power to attract frustration or joy, anxiety or peace. So if it’s natural to have feelings of well-being, why is it that we seem to experience so much “unwellness” and tension?
The truth is that there is no actual stress or anxiety in the world; it’s your thoughts that create these false beliefs. You can’t package stress, touch it, or see it. There are only people engaged in stressful thinking. That pesky ego is at work when you’re experiencing stress or anxiety. We speak of stress as if it were present in the world as something that attacks us. But the stress in your body is rarely the result of external forces or entities attacking you; it’s the result of the weakened connection to Source caused by the belief that ego is who you are. You are peace and joy, but you’ve allowed your ego to dominate your life. Here’s a short list of stress-inducing thoughts that originate in your ego self: Continue Reading
You’ve often heard me say that the Tao is filled with paradox. In the 59th verse of the Tao Te Ching, for example, we find what looks like the paradoxical idea that a no-limits life begins with self-control, moderation, and thrift. Living in thrift and moderation means being in harmony with the world through your generous nature. Be one who accumulates a warehouse full of virtue by living in accordance with the Tao. When virtue is what you have to give away, you’ll naturally be more moderate, humble, and less demanding. Feel joyful knowing that the example you’re setting is helping others make the right choices, too. Practice living without limits by gathering virtue.
For years I practiced gathering virtue without realizing it. I sent hundreds of thousands of books to individuals and organizations at my own expense, getting into the habit of beginning each day with this act of love. I spent a great deal of time giving away much of what I earned, almost all of it anonymously. I didn’t realize it at the time, but what I was doing was accumulating virtue, or what I facetiously call “God points.”
I then found that not all of my life was to be peaks and mountaintops. Yet when I succeeded in getting out from under what felt like a mountain, I was virtually unscathed. This is because I was so deeply rooted and firmly planted in the Tao that my original vision was to be a lasting one, impervious to external circumstances.
Change the way you look at your life by moderating your ego. See yourself as a being who gives rather than collects, and live on what you need rather than practicing conspicuous consumption. You’ll begin to see that your purpose has more to do with Tao consciousness than ego directives. When you moderate your demands and use only what you and your family require, you’ll gather virtue points by serving rather than accumulating. Lao-tzu reminds us that this is “the secret of long life and lasting vision.”
Make a commitment to gather five virtue points today. Imagine how the Divine Source must be operating in order to maintain the creation cycles of life, and do five things that match up to it. Pick up a piece of someone else’s trash, which is an example of excess; anonymously give a gift to someone in need; or perform any other actions that help you accumulate virtue and remain deeply rooted in the Tao.
How may I serve others so that they may have what I desire? The answer to this seemingly contradictory question holds the key to authentic inner peace. Many callers to my radio show are struggling with fears, worries, and concerns that stem, as they see it, from unfulfilled desires. I usually suggest that they try wanting something more for others than they want it for themselves. The love required to do this turns their focus away from the constant turmoil of the ego and instead opens real possibilities for living their highest and most joyful purpose.
Supportiveness, or service to others, is one of the four cardinal virtues described by Lao-tzu. When you extend yourself in a spirit of giving, helping, or loving, you act as God acts. Imagine shifting your attention off of yourself and asking the universal mind: How may I serve? When you do so, the message you are sending is: I’m not thinking about myself and what I can or can’t have. Your attention is on making someone else feel better. Continue Reading