There is a significant difference between noticing a feeling that comes up in your now and defining yourself by that feeling and accepting it as the truth about you. In the moment you may feel grief. To describe yourself by saying that you are grieving expresses a thought from the past which will carry on indefinitely. This becomes your belief of who you are. The former simply means that you are aware that a feeling is present. You can then pay attention to the next thing that comes to you. Rather than holding on to the feeling, which then becomes an idea and identification, you simply allow yourself to notice and release each feeling or thought as it emerges into your awareness. You can tell when someone has defined themself by an emotion, because they hold on to that same feeling/thought for many years. Holding on to old feelings and judgments keeps you out of the present. You become a prisoner of those emotions, caught in a web of suffering. We would be the last to say to ignore the feelings. Acknowledge them! Then let them go and let the next feeling or thought enter. Be aware of where there might be roles you think you should play to accompany the feelings that come. Are you supposed to act sad, angry, or as a victim? Recognize when you are playing a role and then move on. It is also not for you to analyze, justify, or rationalize what appears. What stories have you been telling yourself? Are you certain they are true?
I want to suggest that whoever in your life, past or present, you feel you really know…you are fooling yourself about that. You have no idea who they are. You see your projection upon them, not them themselves. In a similar manner you are aware that nobody around you fully and completely sees you. Part of that comes from your hiding in the belief that invisibility provides you with safety; that if people really knew who you were it would be all over. They would reject you, wouldn’t love you, would see you for the idiot you are afraid you are, and would ostracize you – throw you into the wilderness to the wolves. If people knew you “warts and all” they would not want to be around you. Instead you want to present the image that you believe is loveable. This is not honest. It is not the truth of who you are in the now, and you become hostage to upholding that disguise. These false fronts might include that you are a good mother, considerate, spiritual, honest, intelligent, successful, and on and on. These are ideas, images. What is a spiritual person like? They never lose their temper, judge others, feel guilt, or suffer pain? If inappropriate feelings or thoughts arise, you then want to deny them. If they are too strong, you may succumb to them, go into despair and self-blame, and define yourself as an unspiritual failure. Meanwhile, you are free to be who you are in this moment, which might be angry, grieving, sad, happy, jealous, or guilty. Feel that fully without defense or thinking you should be different. Experience the full spectrum of emotions, and then let them go to feel the next item on your palette.
If it is not okay to feel those things, you either cover them up or succumb to them and they will run your life. None of these feelings or ideas about yourself has anything to do with the truth of who you are. They are experiences to be had and then released. If you try to understand or explain the truth, you will fail. These beliefs become a place to hide, but provide no real peace. As we said before, you can never truly know another or yourself or be known because there are no such separate identities. All those defining thoughts about self and others are just that, thoughts. They come from the past and have nothing to do with the now, the only place you will ever be. In the now you will have many experiences, but none of them have anything to say about who you are, only about what is happening. So buckle up and enjoy the ride. The only thing you can be sure of is that the now always changes. If you hold on to it you leave little room for the new that is constantly appearing. Pain can dissipate quite quickly, but suffering happens when you hold on to your pain. Notice your emotion; take a breath; let it go; see what comes next. Receive each moment fully, without resistance. Let the perfection of the now wash over you. Hold on to none of it, whether it feels good or bad.
Why are we saying these things to you? We are not telling what the truth is or what your spiritual practice should be like. Such things cannot be done. Whatever is suggested here can be considered as “pointers”, pointing toward the truth but never defining it. That work is yours. Reading these words is of little value if they are just taken as ideas, and is of no value if they are taken as the truth. If you are at peace with all that is present in your life, continue as you are. If you are not at peace but fear rocking the boat, look at that and let it go. The longtime habit is to be run by the past and fearful of the future. The only “truth” I would attempt to offer is that anything you think is true is not and that holding on to any belief will only bring you more pain and suffering. Truth is being brought to you each moment for that moment. Receive it and let it go. See where that leads you. It is one thing to experience a feeling of guilt. It is a whole different matter to hold on to the thought that you are guilty. I suspect that if all you focus on is the now you will eventually experience unconditional love. However, if you deny any present feeling that doesn’t look like it is unconditional loving, you will hold on to pain and suffering. The universe presents you with a feeling of guilt. Do you hold on to that guilt as the truth of you? Do you deny that you are guilty? Admit you have the feeling and let it go without analysis. If it sticks around you could ask yourself if you are absolutely certain of its truth. Do you have a thought or a belief that seems to justify the emotion? Do you feel guilty because you think you have done something wrong? There is an enormous gulf between emotion and thought. The thought likely triggers the emotion. Is that thought actually true? Do your words and actions determine what happens to everyone else on the planet? Are you that powerful? Are others helpless in the face of your will? Perhaps you believe that your thoughts, words, and actions affect only a few and not all. In that case, who is running the switchboard? Who determines which people are affected by you and how? Are these other people helpless in the face of your power? So, you are feeling guilty but can you say for sure that you actually are guilty? Do you see the difference between a feeling in the now and truth?
Question every thought that enters your mind. You don’t ignore the feelings, but you don’t give them a special value either. Notice them. Be aware of the thoughts. It is all just what is there right now in this moment. It is not right or wrong, justifiable or unjustifiable. What is the gift behind it? If your feeling of guilt actually stimulates you to investigate the truth behind your emotion, what a service it has provided for you. If you were to deny your feelings, those investigations would not take place. They also would not happen if you wallow in the guilt, holding on to it in your certainty that you are at fault. The negative emotion is a signal to you that you believe something that isn’t true but is running your life. With physical pain it is much easier to see what is to be done. If you touch a hot stove, you quickly pull your hand away. With psychological pain the lines aren’t as clear. You may actually believe that the thought that is triggering the pain is a good thought; one you should hold onto. Old thoughts are useless in dealing with psychological pain. When you listen to them, your mind is too busy to let true wisdom come in. If the past truly helped you to decide what to do now, we should have ended war long ago. Culturally, we would take nothing personally. We would not be in competition with others, fighting over the scraps that we believe are never enough. The old ways have never worked. Your spiritual practice and beliefs have also failed you. They don’t help you when you most feel the need of being saved. Thoughts can only come from the past, but you live in the now. When the point comes where you are only accepting what comes to you in the quiet space of the now, not listening to old thoughts from the past, then you will act with the same certainty and decisiveness that you employ instantly when confronted with physical danger or pain. Awareness of what appears to you in the now is similar to what happens when you do the five-step process. It might support you to check that process out.
We call it the perfection of the now and a gift because you have asked Spirit to support you in awakening. Therefore, everything that comes into your now is there to support waking up. If you are listening to your old thoughts, you cannot open the gift. There needs to be a quiet that comes from letting go of the old thoughts and the accompanying feelings. In that calm space you can hear the guidance for the moment. Nothing is your responsibility. You are carrying a weight you don’t need to bear. Let go of past thoughts. Give up worries about the future. Everything is happening in perfection. All you need to do is to let it happen. Your feelings are there to let you know when you aren’t doing that. Pay attention and then let go and notice the next thing that comes. It is recommended that you reread this message several times. Your ego mind wants to accept the validity of your feelings and to hold on to them. It wants to convert them into ideas of yourself that you can believe in and use to justify your pain and suffering.
Enjoy it all…or don’t. It doesn’t matter.