Heaven On Earth

What if I asked you to tell me how you would create heaven on earth? Could you do it?

Let’s say you answered yes, where would you start?

Several years ago, I was contemplating this very question. Once I began to write my response, I realized it was far more challenging than I thought it would be and that it would demand a great deal more thinking on my part.

Also, my version of heaven on earth seemed to come in stages.

I’d like to share what eventually formed inside of me, in the hopes that it sparks something inside of you. What I would really love is if we could compare notes, and perhaps change our worlds together. I’ll leave that up to you.

Since mine turned out to be pretty long, I’m breaking it up into two parts, so please stay tuned for my next post as well.

Here then is my Heaven on Earth assignment (Part One):

My first thought/feeling is that you would be able to hug another person for as long as it took to feel balanced- that you could send love outward to them and receive love in from them- and all of this would be considered normal- that it would be so filling, rewarding, enlivening that everyone would want to do it- that it would not get confusing for anyone.

And

We could all say to each other, “I love you” and it would feel “right”- there wouldn’t be awkwardness or uncomfortable expectations attached- that saying it would be an extension of our hearts recognizing, appreciating, and connecting with each other.

And

We would feel free to give each other gifts- both large and small and it would happen spontaneously, from a center of love, not based only on acceptable events, but anytime- the gifts would not have to be equaled or paid back, they would feel good to receive and perhaps we could gain a sense of comfort with the concept that there will always be enough for everyone if we share from the heart.

And

We could cherish each other because we care and want to support and enrich each other’s lives, because we realize that it is just as important and necessary as when we were first born to be held and caressed and know we mean something to someone- that we would realize that touch fills our life with love, creates connection, expands our hearts, increases our immunity, focuses us outward, gives life and creates life.

And

We would know the beauty of giving from a calm, generous, loving heart- which raises up the giver as it supports the receiver, we’d know it is beautiful to be both giver and receiver, that it balances us, connects us- that we could give without thought of need of receiving, but just for the pure joy giving contains within itself- that we would grow in opening our hearts till it became our nature, our first action, our expanding from love.

And

We would see how forgiveness sets us free and invites others to do the same- we would open to know that everyone hurts, everyone lacks, everyone needs, everyone is in pain and that their unkind actions come from these lacks- from the lack of love, such that only love can fill their empty space- and forgiveness is born from love, the kind of love that recognizes the choice of sacrificing our own sense of pain to fill another with love- and surprisingly, in the process we are also healed.

There is so much more to say, so please join me for my next post.

Note: The entire Heaven On Earth assignment also appears in chapter three of my book, Little Buddha Book One, where one of the characters, Sam, is given this as an assignment to complete for his growth by Claire (Little Buddha).

This book is available in both print and
eBook versions on Amazon, along with the other books in the series.

The Nature of Forgiveness

Do you find that you are able to forgive others?

Are you able to ask for forgiveness from others?

I realize both of these offer their own challenges. Life is often messy and complicated and it’s easy to fall out of harmony with family, friends, and others. Even when doing our best, we may offend or hurt them or be hurt by them.

Balance is easy to disturb but not as easy to mend.

Much is said about forgiveness. There is a school of thought which says an apology must be offered first before forgiveness can be granted. Another school takes a far different approach and says that forgiveness easily given releases everyone.

After struggling for most of my life, I was finally able to come to a place of peace with the whole forgiveness process. It happened as I wrote about it. A story took shape inside me and needed to be brought into the light. This is how my book, Little Buddha (Book One) was born. In the first chapter, a man, Sam asks a wise six-year-old sage (Little Buddha, Claire) if she can help him understand the nature of forgiveness.

Here is the passage.

“Do you think you could answer a question for me?” I asked a little timidly. “Perhaps” she said. “Well, I was wondering if you could tell me about forgiveness. Do you know anything about that, even though you’re so young?” I admit, I thought I was being foolish asking, but in light of her wisdom and my lack of it, I didn’t see how I had anything to lose. She sat for a minute or so filling the bucket to the top with dry white sand.

“Can you imagine something?” she asked. “Sometimes I have a hard time with that, but I’ll try hard”, I responded.

“OK”, she said, “Imagine that my bucket is you. It’s everything you think and feel and experience during your life. Imagine that everything that is within you- YOU chose to put there. Nothing got in without your choosing. Nothing. Whether conscious or not, every thought, feeling, idea, reaction, and prejudice. Every cruel word, every kind gesture, every act of faith, every indifference, everything. Imagine that each of these things takes up space, just like the grains of sand in my bucket. Once it’s full it’s very hard to find more space for anything, no matter how valuable or important. There are ways you can empty part of your bucket if you choose. One way is forgiveness. But first you have to imagine one more thing.

“Can you imagine that everyone else here is just like you? They’ve lived their lives filling their buckets and sometimes they don’t have any space left either. They’re doing the best they can with what weighs them down. In their hearts, they too wish to be free and to have open space to experience more of the beautiful things in life. But they too don’t know how. 

“They probably sense it, dream about it and desperately want it just like you do. This is very important to know. To forgive anyone anything, requires YOU make a conscious choice. No one else can do it for you.”

She eyed me carefully saying, “Now bring to mind something which begs forgiveness. Feel the space it holds within you. The weight of it, the size, color, and dimension. Imagine knowing it needn’t exist and that you can fill its space with something beautiful. Now, close your eyes. Welcome it in. Let it rest in front of you. Believe that it has served its full purpose for you but does so no longer. Look inside your heart and allow love and compassion to open within. Breathe easily. Smile for a moment. Know that no matter what, this decision is up to you and no one else. Picture your love and compassion surrounding you and the focus of your forgiveness. Now, allow it to fade and fade and fade until it disappears. Breathe and feel the space inside you open. Feel the sunshine enter you and the air move around you. Listen for the sound of your own being. Sense the room created inside of you, now open for that which does serve you. For beauty. For wholeness.”

I believe that these words came ‘through’ me and are not my own. They have more strength, wisdom, and insight than I possess. I believe they were meant for me, to help me, to free me. And now, I offer them in the hope that they do the same for you.

PS

Should you want to know more, this book is available through Amazon in print and eBook versions.

How Do I Love Me

Who taught you about love? It might be hard to remember. It may go back so many years that you’re not even sure.

I believe all babies come to earth filled with love, ready to be held, so that they can share their overwhelming sense of wonder with anyone who picks them up.

I certainly felt this when I held my children and grandchildren. I looked into each of their eyes to see if they could remind me what heaven was like. I gazed at them and felt a beautiful sense of oneness and closeness. And I fell into their bright, shiny faces, absorbed in their afterglow.

I felt as much coming into me as I was sending into them. Each of them taught me about love.

Sometimes I wish I could remember what it felt like to arrive here on earth. To be the one held. I imagine what a difficult trip it must have been, having my first breath squeezed out of me and needing desperately to have my lungs filled with air. Then trying to adjust to all the open space around me and the chill and bright lights and commotion. It’s no wonder that many babies scream. I want to, just thinking about it.

As a baby’s days pass and their experiences deepen, I wonder, how are they to learn about life? Who will listen to them for the clues that they are ready to learn? Who will be their teachers?

Will it be an interaction, an exchange of the meanings of life or will the baby have to do all the receiving and not be allowed to do any of the teaching?

As the baby becomes a child, the lessons begin. All sorts of things must be learned. What ‘hot’ means. That food belongs in your mouth, not on your head or the floor. That scissors are pointed, and that most animals have soft fur, but very sharp teeth.

After a while the lessons shift from being primarily about safety and become about understanding the world. There is a process of discovery. What a color is and what letters are and how numbers work together.

All of this is important. Necessary even.

But what about love? Who teaches us about this? Is it someone who knows what it means and how it is shared? Or do we sometimes learn from someone, who themselves, was never taught and can therefore not teach?

Are we shown examples to follow? And if so, what do they tell us about love? Is there harmony between what we are told and what we see happen in the world?

Often there are wide discrepancies, and we are expected to behave according to other’s words and ignore their conflicting actions.

But we know the truth somehow. We can feel it.

And whether we like it or not, it becomes up to each of us to decide about love, especially, the love we feel for ourselves. We may be fortunate enough to have had wonderful role-models to follow, but if not, we owe it to ourselves to be our own source of love.

I believe that deep inside each of us there is an inexhaustible wellspring of love. It’s inside already, waiting to be tapped. We don’t have to look outside to find it. And we don’t have to wait for anyone else to give it to us. We can give it to ourselves.

I believe this is the truth because we all came here with it. Each of us was wrapped up in love.

We show our self love by giving ourselves permission to release all the lessons we’ve been taught by others that do not feel true to us, and recognize that they may have meant no harm while teaching us. They just didn’t know better.

We show our self love when we forgive those who failed to help us understand, that the most important love, is that which we show ourselves. Then we can move on.

We show our self love when we accept that we are all beautiful, radiant beings, able to embrace the truth that we are all lovable. And in this way, we take charge of answering the question, how do I love me.

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More Forgiveness

Perhaps you’ve witnessed the same thing I have.

At times I’ve seen a wonderful relationship between two people come apart at the seams. The glue suddenly melts away, because of something said or left unsaid. Hearts become hardened and everyone loses something important. And always, there is a loss of the connection to love.

In 1990, I wrote a series of stories which became my first book. The title of the book is, Witness of the Heart, and it’s very precious to me. It’s the first experience I had where I felt (god) was writing with me. And, writing it was my way of speaking what felt like the truth to me and of saying what my heart yearned to tell others. Doing this released something that was wrapped up inside me. It was incredibly liberating.

Once the story was down on paper, everyone else could make up their own mind about its value. But, at least it was there.

Here is the story that came to me about the experience of forgiveness.

many things have a beginning

but most do not,

they just continue.

they include

some of what has been

and reach for what will be.

some things

we seem a part of

others

leave us outside

it is that way.

but,

we strive to always

be within

even at the center

and this causes each of us pain.

once,

we saw

how two lost sight of this.

they hadn’t meant for the fight to happen

but neither could they stop it

once it had begun.

and it hardened each of them

and they would not speak

nor look at one another.

and time did not heal them.

a season passed

and another

until it became more and

more difficult to remember

what had split them.

but this did not change

their resolve

instead their bitterness grew.

and another season

came and went

and to their shame

nothing changed.

and as it happens

some are strong

others weak

and one of them

slowed

and became sick.

the other saw

but could do nothing

for their hardness

kept them away.

and sliding from this life

the one who was sick

called for the one who was well.

and the well one came

and their eyes met

and as it has the power to do

sickness allowed a bridging.

and they overcame

their distance

and held each other’s hand.

while they sat together

the sick one formed

“I’m sorry”

on his lips

and the well one saw

and wept.

and in that moment

each realized what burdens

you carry

when you can not forgive.

and how it lessens you

and closes you

and keeps you from the

fullness of life.

It strikes me that there is an anatomy to forgiveness.

At first, a seed is planted. We let what is said or done enter some part of us that keeps track of all things. Our reaction may happen through a thought or feeling, but some part of us has taken it personally. A remark or action has challenged us or forced us outside our comfort zone and we feel the need to defend ourselves or to attack others.

I wonder, what if we didn’t take anything personally? What if we allowed everything to flow through us, not bothering to hold anything inside, especially those things which seem to hurt?

The Toltec wisdom tradition teaches this as one of its four cornerstones. They recognize the incredible merit to understanding that what is said or done to you by another, is solely about them. None of it is about you, unless of course, you choose to believe that it is.

I grant you that this is a skill that requires practice.

The question, as always is, is the practice worth it?

That’s a decision we each must make for ourselves. I hope what you choose creates peace and harmony in your life.

Information about Witness of the Heart is available by clicking on BOOKS and scrolling down.

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