Spiritual Teacher

Training to be a Teacher or Coach

A Toltec is an Artist, their expression their paint, Life thier canvas.

Becoming, and Being a Life Coach or Spiritual Teacher
The word “teacher” has seemed quite inadequate to me for some time now. So I have taken up finding a better term for what I do. As a starting point I looked at the definitions of Teacher.

In many spiritual traditions the term Master is used. In the definition of master it refers to a person’s skill and proficiency as an artist or craftsman. There is also a reference to a religious leader. (I’ll refrain from using this one as religion often clouds things up by putting rules and definition boxes on the Divine.)

So, here is my dilemma. I don’t like either of them as so many assumptions are already projected on to such titles.. I could use term teacher or master just to simplify things for people, they certainly apply. But as I will explain further on, I feel they fall short of the clarity that I am seeking. I could also use Nagual, Shaman, Witness, or Dream Master. In my world of understanding, these are far more accurate, but to people who do not share my experience, and therefore perception, these terms are probably vague and confusing. For some people, the usage is more confusing than clarifying. And this is an attempt to keep it simple, and in terms of common sense. I often use Life Coach these days because it is more acceptable to people although it doesn’t really say what I do.

Let me share an interpretation of the term, master and we might see how other people might not see it this way. A master is someone who has proficiency and skillfulness of their art or craft. Well, in one point of view, we are creators of our life, or dream as referred to in Toltec mythology. Let’s say that our life dream is made up of everything that we think, feel, say, interpret, and do. It is highly unlikely that anyone has created a life identical to our own. In the world of billions of creators, each person’s life dream is an original work. It is also not likely that someone could duplicate such a life, even given all sorts of insights. If you consider identical twins, they don’t create their life the same way. Not even close.

So each of us is a creator of a personal dream, a work of art in the expression of our life and each creation could never be duplicated. I’d say that this is a kind of mastery, a creation that we may not have previously considered to be a work of art.

Now people may disagree and say that it’s not really mastery if it is filled with fear, judgments, jealousy, and all kinds of drama. We’ll I think that there are some great examples of artistry that are filled with drama. Take for example a play by Shakespeare. Macbeth is filled with drama and it is an incredible work of art. Any performer in one of those roles, that plays it well, is certainly a master. Now, what if people have been playing these dramatic roles so well for so long that they are completely immersed in the character? They do this in their life as their personality?

They are so practiced at playing the role of fear, judgments, anger, sadness, etc., that they do it every day without any second guessing. This is truly an amazing feat. We might call mastery in the way they dream their life. Completely unaware of choice, but a mastery just the same. If we look at how people live their lives and see it as roles they practice and play every day, then we see that everyone is a master. Their life dream is different from every other person. Some people are masters of drama, fear, anger, jealousy while some are masters of love, happiness and fun. But most people have some combination of the two. Whatever their life dream, it is an original work of art, a masterpiece. Therefore, everyone is a master. Perhaps it is clearer that what these words mean to me are completely different from what they mean to other people.

About that word “teacher”
Teacher: one who teaches: one who’s occupation is to instruct. ( this definition didn’t help very much) So I went further.

Teach: to instruct by precept, example, or experience. (this one has a chance but we will clarify.)

For starters there is not enough emphasis on the part where there needs to be someone there learning/growing in order for teaching to be happening. If there is a teacher alone in the forest and no one is there learning, is he teaching? But I digress. Here’s my point. If we teach by example, or experience, then isn’t how we live our life a teaching? If we scream at our employees or co-workers, or children, then we are teaching by example. And they are learning by experience. If we shame our children they are learning by experiencing us. If we elevate their emotions and have them embrace happiness, then that is what we are teaching. If we respect people, then that is what people are experiencing. And that is what is being taught. We are teaching whenever we are sharing our expressions with others, and they experience our expressions. People learn by experiencing someone else’s expressions.

I see everyone sharing their opinion, emotions, and attitudes. In doing so, they are teaching others. Where ever people are experiencing another’s dream, there is a chance for learning. People don’t have to be in front of a class to be teaching. Parents teach children, brothers teach sisters, school kids teach each other on the play ground. Children teach parents and teachers as well, just through experiencing each others attitudes, actions, and personal dream of life. In this same fashion adults teach other whenever they interact. So, by this perspective, I see everyone as a teacher. Each person is teaching other people their own life dream through every expression. Each person is sharing their viewpoints, opinions, emotions, and attitudes that they have mastered in their personal dream. Of course most of this is all done without any awareness that this is what is happening.

So, the way I see it, everyone is a master of their life dream and each person is sharing their mastery to everyone they interact with. So everyone is also a teacher to others of how to dream. Whether we are aware that we are masters and teachers or not, does not change the dynamic. Some interact with awareness and others not.

There are many masters.
If there is something that you wish to master, then one of the fastest ways to learn is to study with someone who has mastered what you desire to learn; provided that they will teach you. If you want to master the violin, study someone who is a master of the violin. If you want to master sculpting, study with a master sculptor.

If you desire to master love and happiness, study with someone who is masterful in their love happiness.

If you would like your children to be happy, then practice being happy yourself, for they will be learning from you, just by them observing and interacting with you.

We are all learning from each other, and we are all teaching each other, whether we are aware that we are doing it or not. The thing to keep in mind is that it is all much easier and faster with awareness.

How to become a Master?
I’ve recently had many inquiries from individuals wishing to teach the Toltec work. The questions vary in range, and include issues of marketing themselves, and the various institutions associated with don Miguel’s work. The extrinsic logistical issues are not that important compared to the intrinsic qualities of a person’s personal dream. You can only really share what is in your personal dream.

In guiding others, I came to a realization that I could not teach what I was not able to do for myself. By the same token, I chose to study with people who had mastered what I wanted to learn. They could teach me how they were living. I did not need a better intellectual definition of “impeccability”. It was much more valuable to spend time with someone who was really impeccable, and learn about how they viewed the world and lived their life.

If you were going to climb Mt. Everest, would you hire a guide that had not been there before? If you want to consider yourself a guide, and you can not get yourself to the mountain top of Unconditional Love, don’t expect others to follow.

Consider the journey out of hell. Would you allow someone to guide you who has not found the way out themselves? If you wanted to live a life of unconditional love, would you study with someone who wasn’t able to live it themselves? If you are considering being a teacher, you must be willing to be humbled with accepting what you have not yet mastered. If not, you will eventually become an obstacle to your students.

As a teacher, If you want to teach Impeccability, then live your life that way.
If you want to assist others in dreaming a life of Joy and Love in every moment, then do it yourself. Notice the definition above about teacher where it uses the word “example”. If you don’t know the way, and you want to get there yourself, hire a qualified guide. It is possible to figure it out on your own. A few have done it, but it can be much easier and faster with a guide. Personally, I can not fathom passing through challenges I have encountered without guidance.

The Toltec Route
People who have just read don Miguel’s books, contact me and ask about being a teacher. They want to become one. The whole idea is a little funny to me. It is like asking one of those mountain guides; “How do you become a guide on Everest.” I imagine that you dedicate your life to the process for starters, and then you add a lot of patience for your own process as it takes some years. At least that is what I’ve seen the best teachers do.

Some people have done a great deal of inner work in their life, and it is not too far to stretch to understand this way of teaching. Just in the way some climbers have a great deal of experience before attempting Everest. Some have even ascended the same Mountain, but by a different route. Meaning, they have already mastered unconditional love, and are happy in their life, and all their relationships. Then it is just a matter of becoming familiar with the Toltec route up the mountain, and gaining the experience guiding others along this route. With each person, the time, effort, and process will vary. No two climbers ever step in the same place.

But for those that show up, and have never climbed a mountain, I am at a loss for words to describe the journey that they will undertake to become a master of reaching the mountain of Unconditional Love. But I have no doubt that the journey will be worth it. It is an epic feat.

Do I need to wait for Mastery to teach?
Don’t assume that because you are not a master of happiness or love, that you don’t have something worthwhile to share, or have no right being a teacher. I don’t think I wrote that up there. And if I did write it, it would just be my personal opinion anyway. And nothing that others necessarily are required to live by. ( just keeping this all in perspective here. This whole thing that I’ve written here is just a viewpoint from my personal dream. No one else need live by my words. They are their own master artist. Keep this in mind as we go. )

As we journey one of the interesting avenues that we can explore is sharing our new found awareness, tools, love, and support with others. If this is in the role of a “teacher”, then so be it. When we consider some of the reasons why we teach, one of the most elegant is that it provides us an opportunity to practice the unconditional love that we seek to master. Then share your love in whatever forms you wish. But it doesn’t have to be as a “Spiritual Teacher”. I know people who have incredible personal dreams, and have no desire to teach in a formal setting. They do it as school teachers, office managers, executives, doctors, and secretaries. Without “trying”, without making an effort, just by their everyday interactions of being themselves, the people around them are affected by their presence. Their teaching is in how they live their life, and they don’t have the need to tell anyone they are doing it. This can be just as valuable to transforming the world. When you are living in a more abundant state of happiness, other people around you will be affected, and most of them may not even know it.

A Beginners Trap
What to be aware of as we share the way we dream life with others is the quality of what we are sharing. Too often a beginning teacher will trap themselves in an image of what they believe a teacher should be. They often feel like they should always have the answers, or “be” a certain way. With these kinds of ideas, they limit their behavior, and thereby sacrifice their personal freedom in order to be what they believe a “spiritual teacher” is “supposed to be”. This is a very fast and effective way for a teacher to fall into misery. And a good gate to pass through as we continue mastering unconditional love for ourselves. As I said earlier, this teaching route can be humbling.

What is embodied by those great teachers is their humility. In their humbleness they act to serve their students. They are not there for the accolades or praise from their students, they are there because they enjoy serving them. And what they are serving them is their love. As a teacher, you become the servant, placing the student’s needs ahead of your own. You operate based on what is best for them, and their freedom. And not, based on what you think would be best for them. This is a very fine line that becomes clearer through experience, practice, and time.

In the early years of teaching, as your mastery is still growing you may encounter individuals that have more unconditional love and happiness in their dream than your own. They are seeking, but what you have to offer, they already mastered for themselves. A person may also grow to this level through working with you. At this point perhaps they have outgrown you as a teacher. At this point, this student is best served by sending them on to a teacher that has more to share. This level of service to your students is truly a gesture of humility. There is a lot of that humility to be found on this teaching route.

Responsibility to the Student
There is an aspect of teaching that is profoundly important to me, yet is rarely talked about. It has to do with the responsibility that a teacher has to a student. Students will often put the teacher on a pedestal. They assume that the teacher knows something that they don’t, and then rely on the teacher’s guidance. Whether the teacher realizes it or not, people will make an authority figure out of him or her. By doing so, the student puts their faith, or personal power, in the words of their teacher. This is not necessarily bad. If a person is in a high degree of hell, and they need help to get out of it, they are often better off listening to someone who has moved past those demons, than to the judge and victim in their own mind.

When a student puts their trust in a teacher, the teacher then has a great responsibility to the student. The teacher is in service to the student. But, this does not mean that the teacher is responsible for the student. The student remains always responsible for their own choices, actions, and results of their actions.

In the beginning of my time as a teacher, I did not appreciate the level of responsibility that students put in my hand. In one manner I did, because I was aware of my own process and don Miguel’s guidance. On the other hand, I was naïve of how much faith my students would put in what I said. As I became more aware of people’s willingness to put their faith in me (something that I didn’t really consider the impact of early on) I became more careful of my instructions and guidance.

Through my experience with don Miguel I became aware of how a dedicated Spiritual pursuit will bring change to your life. In the way you view the world, feel emotionally, what career changes might be incurred, relationships, and everything else.

The integration of these changes in ones life can be challenging. They often take time. If rushed, they become sources of drama that interfere with our creation of happiness. When the integration of change becomes more a source of suffering than a source of happiness, we are moving too fast. I often find myself instructing them to have patience in accepting things the way they are,,, and never to hurry up. The price of too much change too fast, is too high.

Don Miguel’s has often said, “We are not in a hurry, and there is no time to waste.”

As a teacher, these words have a profoundly deeper meaning when I consider my responsibility to my students.

One of the greatest lessons I learned from don Miguel had to do with Power. Through an experience I had with him, I discovered what an extraordinary connection he had with Intent ( Spirit, Power). I was quite impressed. I didn’t understand it very well, but I knew it was big. What I immediately began to wonder was why he didn’t do more with it. Why not do big acts of power all the time? It could have an incredible impact on people to shift the whole dream of their life.

As I journeyed into this question about don Miguel, I saw the amount of refrain he had in the use of Power. What I then saw was behind this motivation of refrain. I saw that don Miguel had no desire to change anyone, or their life. He only loved and accepted people just the way that they are. His love was/is, so unconditional, that he loves people just the way that they are. In that unconditional love, there is no desire or need to change anybody. This is when I saw the real nature of don Miguel. I understood what unconditional love was. It means not needing to change anyone, and that includes yourself. This realization became much more powerful to me than any act of power could have performed. His unconditional love was more powerful than any Ceremony, or act of Power or change could ever be. He loved me just the way that I was. I didn’t have to try to be anything any more. I was lovable. I was good enough just the way that I was. He loved me no matter what I was. And in his reflection, I began to love myself just the way that I was. No conditions.

For me, to love unconditionally became the most powerful act of transformation. It transformed me and my entire personal dream.

And the irony is, that it came to me through someone who didn’t have a need to change me. He was teaching by example. It was simple. He was just living it, and wasn’t even doing anything to bring attention to how he loved me.

To me, Unconditional Love is at the heart of what a teacher has a responsibility to impart to those he or she is responsible to. It may be the only thing they have a responsibility to.

In my quest to find a better term than teacher, I have not come up with one. So, by default I will use the term teacher. However, I don’t know anyone who isn’t a teacher of their own dream. What I teach is about my personal dream. It is quite a bit different than it used to be, thanks to don Miguel. I will continue to share my dream. The words that I use to describe my dream will change, but the essence of my practice and mastery will continue to be Unconditional Love.

__________updated note. Someone proposed that I use the word “un-teacher” since I am essentially guiding people to unlearn all their reasons and excuses not to love. I liked it, but in using it I’ll keep having to explain all this again.

Be Still in the Moment

Be still and you can perceive the infinite in a moment

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Albert Einstein.

Take a moment for a Thought Experiment: Imagine no Time
Take some time reading through this, and then use your imagination for an exercise.

Imagine that this moment is the only one that exists.  After all the future is just an assumption isn’t?  The past is nothing more now than assumptions in your mind about what happened.   Someone else will have a different set of assumptions about the past according to their point of view.  Let all those assumptions go.

Imagining that this is the only moment that exists requires us to remove from our imagination any concept that life is going anywhere. Or, that this moment actually was produced anywhere. To imagine this moment without time requires us to let go of any story of how we got to this point. It is willing ourselves to erase our own personal history, as well as, any that we have placed on the world.

You can imagine yourself being in an experience with no beginning and no end. Let go of any notion of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years or lifetimes past or future.

When you touch this moment without the overlay of future or past projected on it, you find a feeling of being in all eternity. You are in eternity because you are in all time. This is so because you have not spliced yourself into today, and alienated yourself from tomorrow, or your past. We allow them to merge when we remove the artificial dividers that we placed between them with our imagination. In actuality, they have always been merged, but we have not noticed as our attention has been focused on its division through our projection of the concepts of time.

The idea of eternity is a concept also. It doesn’t exist either except in our imagination. If we remove this artificial construct, then we move closer again to what is Real. Each time we remove these concepts of knowledge that trap our attention, we move closer to what is Real. What is real is what exists when we remove the projections of our imagination. What we might call our assumptions.

Time and the words of time, days, lifetimes, minutes are used to describe that which has no name. In a crude way, they are words that describe the flow of the planets through the solar system. The idea of being late, being ahead of our time, behind the times, on time, in a hurry: these are concepts we sometimes live by or have our lives ruled by, but they only exist in imagination. The judge and victim in our mind use these concepts to tell stories about what we should be and when we should be it. In this way “time” becomes a tyrant that rules our mind. But it is not “time” that rules our mind, it is our knowledge and agreements about time that our judge and victim use against our happiness. In this way, we become slaves to knowledge, knowledge of time.

The present moment has no knowledge. Nor does it need any to be experienced. Practice sitting in the stillness of the moment, letting all descriptions go, letting all knowledge go. Even letting go of the trapping idea that it is a silly way to spend your “limited amount of time”. Practice being in stillness, and perhaps, you will find there all the time in the world. If you don’t practice you won’t ever find it.

Finding the stillness in the mind, may take some practice. But practicing once in a while, will make it easier. If you find it difficult, it may be because you have certain limiting beliefs about time. Living in this timeless way, is actually a natural way of living. Watch any young child. You see that they behave quite differently before being domesticated with the beliefs and agreements about time.

Now Imagine being in this moment, focus your attention on what you are experiencing in this moment. Let go of any knowledge you have of the past, or thinking of the future. Be still, and in the stillness, experience that you are.

Simple Happiness

Being Happy is easy, once you eliminate what makes you unhappy.

Happiness it is such a simple thing. Yet in the realm of emotions, simple does not mean easily attainable. Particularly as we have been taught to be rewarded for a more complex intellect. All our effort to get good grades in school and be successful, has largely been an effort to think more complexly. This includes having a lot of serious opinions. Thus pushing away being simply happy. In our complex opinions , we get lost in emotions of frustration, anger, sadness, jealousy, and…. well,,,, you have the idea. We are no longer just happy.

If you are to change our emotional state then it seems that a shift in attitude would be in order. After all, if we are in a different emotional state, a different attitude is present. But if we are to change our attitude, then perhaps it would be easy to start with changing an opinion. Now switching sides on an opinion, that can sometimes be tough. I don’t know too many people who just up and switch political parties. So lets start with shifting our opinions on things that have less emotional investment. And then we can build from there. Once you are able to shift your opinions you will find it easier to shift your emotions.

What can you find in your inventory of opinions that you could let go of, or change? For instance, an opinion about the weather. How tough would that be? Try it. When you notice an emotional reaction to the weather, see what the opinion is and just as an experiment, decide to not believe your own opinion.

Then maybe try it about what someone else is wearing. Continue practicing on these little ones. Then, maybe work up to what your opinion is about someone else. Then, maybe don’t believe the opinions you have about yourself. Try it just as an experiment.

You might try these shifts with other people. Where you might instinctively disagree with someone, catch it, and just for practice, agree with them. You don’t need to do this in cases that are critical to your life just things about the weather, politics, fashion, or a sporting event.

You might find that after a while that your attitude about the weather has changed. And your attitude towards other people has changed. You might also find that how you treat yourself has changed. What will sneak up on you though, is more of a simple feeling of happiness.

When I entered into the process of transforming my personal dream, I did so to be happy, no matter what. I soon stumbled upon a man who was happy, don Miguel. What I found out about him was that he rarely had an opinion in his head. I found that he is a very simple man. He has the capacity to be complexly brilliant, no doubt about that. He use to be a medical doctor. But he prefers to be simply happy instead. I think this is a brilliant decision, but that is just my opinion.

Here is another trick to help you let go of opinions.

Whenever possible and appropriate try the following. When someone asks you for your opinion, let your response be, “I don’t know.” You might also do this even when you have a ready opinion to share. Doing this then will be even more helpful in letting go of your opinions.

One of the ways we are often asked for our opinion is by people first giving us theirs, and then they ask us to agree with them (or sometimes disagree with them). This is a perfect time for “I don’t know.” You may find that tossing the conversation back in their court will take off some of their surprise and possible discomfort. A simple way to do this is to ask them a question in return such as: “I don’t know, I hadn’t thought about it. What do you think about it?” or “I don’t know. But can tell me how you came up with your point of view on the issue.”

If we practice letting go of our opinions we will find we have changed quite a bit. With out our opinions, we let go of the attitude of being right. We also let go of the attitude of others being wrong. We also don’t need to carry around all those justifications to prove those points of view. In this way life is becoming simpler. If we let go of our well justified and defended complex opinions, certainly we will change. But perhaps this is what will make us simply happy.

Personal Power of Responsibility

Nobody can determine what you believe but you.

The Greater Our Sense of Responsibility, the Greater our Personal Power
Throughout history humans have tried to place responsibility for their unhappiness outside of themselves. Most societies have long held the assumption that the ruling body needs to change in order for the human condition to change. This method has been tried unsuccessfully by hundreds of generations, each in turn trying to impose their particular form of “illumination.” Despite these efforts the human condition remains largely unchanged – societies filled with conflict and fear, and individuals suffering in pain. These conditions have become so familiar that it’s hard to recognize the pervasive levels of fear and the consequential suffering that we accept as a fact of life.

To put the responsibility of your happiness outside of yourself, places all the power over your own happiness in someone else’s hands. We commonly give this power to friends, lovers, family members, political institutions, and other organizations. Along with this power we set up certain expectations of those we have empowered. This is a perfect set up for disappointment, frustration, and all the emotions of suffering. It is the recipe for a broken heart.

When we take responsibility for our own happiness we relieve others of the burden of our expectations. They are then free to be what they want to be, without the fear that they will be punished emotionally or made to feel guilty for letting us down. We can accept people as they are, not as we “need” them to be in order to hold our shell of happiness. We can love them as they are, and don’t need them to be anything else. Taking responsibility for your own happiness leads you to unconditional love.

The journey to take complete responsibility for your own happiness requires that you take responsibility for all your emotions. This is an act of power that the victim mind makes to become a Warrior of the Spirit. After this, the Warrior never blames anyone for their own emotions. The Warrior knows that he or she is completely responsible for every emotion in their life. With that responsibility comes the personal power to win over the emotions of fear that cause suffering and choose love. When a Warrior recovers enough personal power, he or she, has the keys to unconditional love.

The truth is that you are completely responsible for your life. So often we forfeit the power of this responsibility through acts without awareness. A simple off hand comment such as, “He makes me so mad,” is such a simple way to give up this power. It is like casting a magical spell with the power of your word to give someone else control over your own emotions. This is black magic we use against ourselves when we are not aware of our actions.

Recovering your personal power is not an intellectual exercise. It requires action in changing your words, your habits, and your point of view. With enough personal power you can change your whole dream. You can change your dream to one of Heaven of earth. You are responsible for everything in your dream, and that gives you the power to change it.

Service as a Spiritual Practice

Spiritual service is most beneficial when it lessens self importance.

One does not enter the gates of heaven by works alone, but by grace. In the apprenticeships of students to monasteries, ashrams, and mystery schools of all sorts, the students would be required to work for their stay. They would scrub the floors, wash the clothes, make the meals, and clean up afterwards. All of this work gives the appearance of servitude to the teachers and masters.

The reverse actually holds more truth. The masters are serving the apprentices with something much greater.

The apprentices work is not to do the job of form, or task at hand. Their real work is the inner work of becoming humble, of releasing their self-importance. It is through performing these tasks that the apprentices have the opportunity to face their own selfishness.

It is not the service to the master that is bringing them closer to heaven. It is the destruction of their self-importance that is taking them there. In letting go of their own personal point of view, they have the opportunity to grasp something greater. Initially the apprentice’s view may be one of resentment. He may think he is above doing the laundry. He may resent his teacher for having to make his meals. These acts of service allow the apprentice to see all the places that he is selfish. When the apprentice has healed himself of selfishness, he can begin to serve selflessly.

The master serves the apprentice by tasking him with chores so that the apprentice can deal with his own selfishness. Helping to free the apprentice from his selfishness is a far greater service than scrubbing floors.

It is through practicing service with the intent that our self-importance be diminished that we progress to selfless service. Selfless service is action without any expectation or want of recognition or reward. It is through practicing selfless service that we come to grace. It is through grace, that we will enter Heaven on earth.

You do not need to travel far to find a place to practice. You can be in service to your spouse. You can be in service to your boss. You can be in service to other drivers as you commute to work. A true master is in service all the time. The people you are in service to do not need to know. If you find that you want to be recognized for what you have done, you are dealing with your own selfishness.

If you have a need to tell them, it is only because your self-importance wants to be recognized. When the urge for this appears, acknowledge it, but do your best not to act on it.

The truth is that your service is not really for anyone else. Your works are to diminish you own personal importance. The world will benefit a small amount from your works. You will benefit a thousand fold if your works bring you to grace and into a life of heaven on earth.

Are Emotions Important

The Quality of our Life is Measured in Emotions, Love, Happiness, vs. Fear, Shame, Anger.

Emotions: The Key to Changing the Quality of your Life
Why is it difficult to change our habits? Often we notice our own disruptive habits, want to change them, and yet don’t. Habits may be as extreme as abusive behaviors with alcohol or relationships, or as simple as repeated negative thoughts and judgments.

All the logical intellectual understanding of why we should break our disruptive habits are known. If we know so much, and we know exactly what we want to change, and we decide we really want to change, why is it still so hard? Why do we so often not make a permanent change?

A pop new age answer is that to change your habit, you just need to change what you believe. That is a concise and tidy answer, but how does it help a person who wants to get out of an abusive relationship. Why not just drop the intellectual concept of not being worthy and pick up the concept that one is worthy and deserves better? While it’s a nice idea, I just haven’t seen it happen yet.

What keeps people trapped under these concepts is the emotional attachment they have to these beliefs. The anchor that holds these beliefs in place is emotion. It is the emotion of unworthiness that holds the belief of unworthiness in place. We can cast the concept of unworthiness away from our mind with an affirmation, but it doesn’t change how we feel about ourselves. But when a person feels that they are truly worthy, then they really believe it. It becomes more than a concept, it becomes your nature. When you feel worthy, you really believe you are. Often when people go back to an old behavior, even after breaking a habit, it is because they are reverting to an old emotional state.

It is my experience that changing emotions is not a simple task. It is more than putting on a happy face. That’s making the outside prettier but doesn’t last, and doesn’t change how we feel deepd down. To make deep down changes requres changing core beliefs and point of view.

Real change is not an intellectual process. If you want to change how you think and act, then start with changing how you feel. The key to unlocking and creating real change in your life is through awareness of your emotions. What we think, is not as important to us, or nearly as powerful, as how we feel about ourselves and our life. Our intellectual thoughts take us to where we are “supposed to” and “should” go. Using awareness to follow our emotins take us to love and happiness.

The Game of Life

Being a Toy in the Game of Life

When you become wise you become free again like a child.

Some time ago I had a dream. In that dream I was visiting a planet. It was a very strange planet. It was a planet inhabited by toys and I was one of those toys. These toys played all the time. But this isn’t what made this planet so strange. The strangest thing about this planet of toys is that most of them didn’t know they were toys. It was so strange because it was so obvious that they really were toys.

I looked around and began to just observe the toys. It was amazing what they pretended to be. They almost always pretended to be very serious. When they were serious they weren’t very happy. It didn’t make sense to me why a toy, that could be anything would pretend a role that wasn’t much fun. I was very confused. I studied some more.

I began to see one of the biggest games of the toys. I don’t know what they called it, but I called it, “I’m right and you’re wrong.” They played it very seriously. Some even played it to their death. Some toys would pretend to play the game as lawyers or teachers. Some toys played the game as parents. I think this is where the younger toys learned the game. It’s hard to tell because the toys played it almost all the time. Funny thing about the game is that it wasn’t fun and yet they played it so often.

Now there were some toys that played like real toys. Most of them were about 2 to 6 years old. They knew how to be what they were. They would play as a toy cop or robber and have fun. Then in a moment they would play as a cowboy or a fireman. In a moment they would switch roles and be something else. These were really master toys of playing all the time. They didn’t care what anyone thought of them. I noticed though, that as the toys got older they would start to play only one role.

I studied them some more. It seemed the toys would practice that one role as they got older until they were a master at just that one role. It was like they forgot how to be anything else. And they would take their role very seriously. These toys were very believable characters. If it wasn’t so obvious to me that they were toys, I probably would have started believing them. It was funny watching these toys play these very serious games.

But after a while I was tired of the “right wrong game”, the judgment game, the jealousy game, all those high drama games. Most the game I saw them play were no fun.

What is stranger is that I am still dreaming that dream. I see the world filled with people that could be having such fun playing at life. Instead they fill their life with serious drama and games that nobody wins. I can’t wait for all those wonderful toys to wake up from their characters and dream a better game of life.

Temptation and Illusions in the Mind

A subtle shift in point of view and we create suffering

Be watchful of the mind’s changing perspectives

It was a crystal clear night when I crawled into the sweat lodge. The sun had just set and the stars hadn’t yet made themselves known to the darkness. I had sweated before and I was once again among friends. The first few sweats had been the most difficult. Over time they had become easier, even enjoyable at times. I had thought I was just becoming use to them. In fact I was learning to win over the temptation of my own mind.

In the beginning the heat would almost overwhelm me. The steam from the water poured on the hot rocks made breathing difficult. At times the steam filled air had became so hot I could feel my mouth burn, and then my throat, as the air traveled towards my lungs. I immediately stopped inhaling only to realize that my lungs were empty. I learned to inhale ever so slowly so the steam could cool as it traveled. My mind would race with criticisms of the heat, the duration of the round, even why people were taking so long. “Didn’t they realize I was suffering over here!” “Couldn’t they hurry it up!” My thoughts were loud and unhappy.

Often my thoughts would run wild with the voice of a victim. “Why are they putting more water on the rocks?” “What are they trying to do to me.” “I need air, I can’t breath.” Other times I would be filled with happiness. The body would be pouring sweat, the lungs would be breathing softly, and I would be happy. I never knew what my experience would be.

This night in the lodge was different than any had been before. I sat in serenity for a while enjoying the flushing of sweat through all my pores. In a certain moment, the voice of the victim came in and wanted out of the heat. It demanded that people shorten what they said, so we could finish the round. The victim voice demanded that I forget what other people think of me and just exit in the middle of the round to get some cool air. I sat and listened to a voice in my own mind noticing the feeling of peace slipping away as I began to think it was mine.

I stopped listening and shifted my attention back to my lungs. The serenity strengthened. A few moments later the victim began complaining again. This time it was about the discomfort in my feet from the way I was sitting. I listened to it and the feeling began to slip away. As the feeling slipped the voice got stronger. As I listened more closely it took the opportunity to complain about other parts of my body. The feeling faded, and I watched it do so. I thanked the voice for its opinion and focused on my breathing. I was now the one choosing my own thoughts.

This was my bout with the temptation to suffer, to be a victim. The battle was over my own attention. As I shifted my attention, my whole experience shifted.

I crawled outside the sweat lodge and laid in the dirt staring at the night sky. So beautiful was the world, and so filled with possibility with the awareness to choose my point of view.

Hope Against Hope

When you have Faith in Life you no longer need Hope

“I hope the world will change.” “I hope (fill in a person’s name here) understands when I tell them….” “I hope the boss recognizes my hard work.” “I hope my wife, (pick one) girlfriend, husband, boyfriend, doesn’t get mad at me when I…”

Any of this sound familiar? What is this song of hope that our hearts and minds play?

Hope isn’t what I thought it was. And upon some inquiry with others, I found that hope isn’t what they believed it was either. In our culture we are taught to revere hope. “Don’t give up hope.” “There is nothing to do now but hope and pray.” Pray makes some sense to me, but what is hope? Hope sounds like something we conjure up when we feel hopeless.

Let’s discover the truth about hope. Read this paragraph and take the few second to do what is described before reading on. I want you to think of something that you are hopeful for. I want you to close your eyes and put yourself in a state of hope. Fully hope for what you want. Allow that feeling of hope to fill your body. Allow yourself time to get there completely. Be completely hopeful. Once there I want you to put your attention on what you feel. What are all the emotions that you feel in this state of hope? Now do the exercise and see what you notice.

When people do this exercise, they often find that there is fear and anxiety laced within their wishful feelings. This fear is the apprehension around not having the outcome one is wishing for. This is actually to “hope against hope” or to wish without any real expectation of fulfillment. This can’t really be that great attribute of hope. This is a kind of hope corrupted with fear and doubt.

The definition and some truth about hope. Hope as a verb: to envision something not yet true, or to cherish with an expectation of obtainment. As a noun: trust, reliance, a belief in fulfillment. There is no mention of fear, doubt, or anxiety here, which is the way we typically experience hope.

The spiritual warriors know about hope. They know it is a big demon that can trap them in a place of inaction. The convoluted hope can become so strong in people that they sit and hope and don’t take action to change their lives. People can get trapped in “hoping” something in their life will change. For years they hope and for years they take no actions and get no results.

To master hope is an art. The Christians call it Faith, with it one can move mountains. To the Toltecs it is the Mastery of Intent. Master Toltecs can hold their attention on a vision with such belief that it will manifest. With the power of their attention they create a whole reality, any reality. They choose to create a life of unconditional love for themselves and the world. The action they take is to express love unconditionally. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they will change the outside world or anybody else. It just means that they use their faith and expression of love to change their own world. This is the power of prayer and faith in action. When we hope against hope we are splitting our intent between what we desire, and what we fear in effect canceling our our intent.

Spiritual warriors don’t get paralyzed in the fear and doubt of hoping against hope. They utilize the real hope, which is an action born out of faith. What do they put their faith in? Spiritual warriors put their faith in the unfathomable force of life and unconditional love. This is the path of heart that a Spiritual Warrior takes.