The Greatest Among You

I want to share an incredible experience with you. It may stretch your beliefs a bit, but I think it will be worth your time.

I realize it’s up to each person to find their own way in this world. I do not ask you to believe me. I ask only that you read the following words I am writing and let them reveal to you the truth they have to share.

Beginning on Good Friday in 2018, I started receiving an intimate understanding of the events surrounding Yeshiwa’s life (Jesus’ name in his native language of Aramaic). I sensed a strength, peace and clarity and felt a ‘knowing’ arrive within me, as if I were present during the events which occurred during Yeshiwa’s last week on earth. I felt the entire story channel through me. So much so, that I wrote it all down.

It took a great deal of courage for me to share this dramatic portrait with others, especially because there are some elements which differ widely from the traditional Easter story. But I did, and with the help of many others, the play Nine, A Holy Week Story of Love, was performed live on Good Friday at Unity Church in Albany (NY) in 2019. The congregation sat in rapt attention while each part was spoken. It was the quietest congregation I’ve ever experienced.

Recently I was rereading the play and one section jumped out at me. I could tell instantly why it did because it was an answer to a series of questions that have been troubling me.

I understand that you, as a reader, may have different religious and spiritual beliefs and I honor that. I wanted to share this with you, because I believe that no matter what faith you embrace, there is profound wisdom in these words.

As a part of the story, Yeshiwa is speaking to his disciples at the Last Supper and is explaining the meaning of his washing their feet.

Here is the passage:

“And I responded, because I love you and care for you and to show you the way to live. Others have told you that the greatest always receives rich treasure and reward. But I tell you that the greatest among you will open their hearts wide and will serve others. They will draw love from the deep well inside them and let it overflow into the world. This will be their service and reward.”

For me, there is enormous relevance in this passage and a great deal of clarity.

I’d failed to fully understand that ‘others’ refers to all those who surround me, but specifically to all of the cultural training I’ve received from others since day one. And I recognized in a new way that the reference to the ‘greatest’, were those I’d considered as the most popular, prettiest, most famous, those that have the most followers or influence or who have received the most complements and praise. They were the ones with great wealth, premium cars, big mansions, and those who received major awards and recognition. And even though I intellectually understand none of this necessarily bring joy or happiness, I felt attracted to it.

After rereading the passage, I felt a huge shift. A very welcome huge shift.

I sensed the usage of the word “I” to mean the divine (in this case, Yeshiwa) and that the ‘greatest’ refers to those who are the most joy-filled, happiest, most open. And that when a person chooses to ‘open their hearts wide’, they naturally offer others love, compassion, aid, hugs, encouragement, companionship, and they give freely from their strength. When one chooses to ‘serve others’, they offer themselves freely and fully, they provide support and care. They donate their time, talents, and treasures.

Those who decide to live this way in the world will find they can always draw from the deep well inside. And this well never runs dry because when one lives this way they are connected to the divine source.

This is what I want most in my life and I needed this reminder to help me shift away from what ‘others’ may feel is important and center in on what I know in my heart is important to me.

SPECIAL OFFER There will be a live performance of Nine, A Holy Week Story of Love at Unity Church in Albany on April 7, 2023, at 7:00pm. This performance will also be livestreamed on YouTube. I’ll provide more details a few weeks prior to the event

When Kindness Comes From Joy

Have you ever wondered where kindness comes from? Is it innately inside each one of us or does something need to happen before it appears?

It feels to me that we operate with different definitions and ideas about kindness.

I say this because I recently heard someone suggest that ‘we should be kinder than necessary’. While I appreciate the idea that kindness is important, two things about this statement challenge me.

The first is the use of the word ‘should’. Personally, I’ve gone to great lengths to eliminate this word from my vocabulary, because it is a ‘shaming’ word, meant to enforce one person’s opinion on another.

I wonder if you react the same way that I do when ‘should’ is used. I am immediately suspicious of the motivation of the one using it. Why do they think I ‘should’?

The second concern I have about this statement is the word ‘necessary’. I have a difficult time reconciling the use of the words kindness and necessary in the same sentence. The implication being that there is some sort of requirement or obligation involved with kindness. That isn’t how I conceive of kindness.

I went looking for references to kindness and found one that seemed to mesh with my understanding. It suggested that it is any selfless act of caring or compassion and can easily be recognized in both our own or others large and small actions.

I wondered how often kindness flows to me and through me. I paused for a few minutes to see what would come.

If you sat back right now for a moment or two, what do you think would come to you?

Two events jumped to the head of the line for me. In each instance they were infused with joy, not only for the receiver, but also for the giver. And it seemed to me that joy was the real source for the acts of kindness. I recognized a deliberateness to the actions, a meaningful opening to spirit and a flowing from abundance, as if kindness was an endless source.

I’d like to share mine with you in the hopes that you see some of your own and let them wrap you up in a feeling of joy.

The first one happened a few weeks ago while I was at a workshop at Kripalu Retreat Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. After classes were over for the day our group decided to get together in the evening for a kind of impromptu ‘talent show’. One of my friends, whom I’d met six years earlier at the same workshop, stood up and mesmerized the group with her divine performance poetry reading. We sat spellbound. I could not believe the incredible growth in my friend and went over to her; hugged her and told her I was so proud of her. Some might view this as an act of kindness, but she and I knew it was more than that because it came from a deep well of joy we share.

A few days later I received an email from her with an attached video of her reading a poem she wrote just for me. I was touched to my very core and a kindness born of joy was returned to me.

The second event happened a few days ago, while my wife and I were on a day trip together. We stopped at a restaurant my parents loved to visit and sat down at an empty table. Our waitress came over and engaged us in a conversation and asked if she could get us something to drink. When she returned, she inquired if we were ready to order. She took my wife’s order and turned to me. I said I’d like to start with a piece of their coconut cream pie (knowing that they sometimes run out of it). She told me she liked the way I ordered the best first and from there we had an extremely pleasant exchange throughout the meal.

After our meal was over and she came to our table with our bill, I told her that I was awarding her my ‘best waitstaff of the year award’. She absolutely beamed with pleasure and told me I’d made her whole day…maybe her whole week, as she went to help the next customer.

I took the paper ring that encircled my napkin and silverware and made it into a small award certificate for her and gave her a tip that matched our bill total. I handed everything to her, and my wife and I started walking out. She ran after us and called out to me, that she was going to keep the certificate forever and that I’d made her whole year!

There was such joy in her voice, and I knew that my simple act of kindness came from joy and reached out to create more joy.

Each of these things are important to me because they represent a connection to our divine source, where joy and love exist in abundance.

Challenging Yourself

Do you remember the last time you challenged yourself to do something you’d never done before?

If you answered, “yes”, was it scary, daunting, exciting, or maybe all three?

Often, I find that I like to stay within my comfort zone, that quiet place where I feel safe and warm. But every once in a while, I sense a need to step out of the box I’ve built and try something completely new.

One such opportunity came along while I was reviewing my email. I got an offer through Word Press, which is where my website is hosted, about an intriguing writing contest.

I’ve never entered one and wondered how it would work.

So, I investigated and discovered that it was organized by a woman named Lydia Lukidis and was titled the Fall Writing Frenzy Contest. Those entering would be requested to write a story of 200 words or less based on a photograph. Many choices were offered, and you would have a couple of weeks to complete your entry and then submit.

I scrolled through the photos and was immediately drawn to one provided by Danielle Colucci (for Unsplash). The photo showed a stone alleyway bordered by buildings along both sides, with a hillside in the background. One of the buildings has a porch light on which casts a reddish glow on several stones of the alleyway. It was taken at dusk with a fading blue sky and gray clouds. Although a story started to form immediately, it would not come into focus.

I tried and tried, but nothing would take shape and I found it quite frustrating until I realized I was trying to write it from my head and what drew me to the picture was from my heart.

So, I let go and sat back and waited for my heart to fill in the words. I found I had to walk away, think about other things, and then come back. Once I did, I could lean into writing what my heart wanted to say.

What came to me felt like a true story. It touched me deeply and I wanted to share it with you.

Will The Light Be On (my title)

She knew I had to leave. My family would starve without food. Without me.

I remember the last thing I said to her. I told her that I loved her and would be back soon. And then I kissed her, gently brushing my lips against hers and walked out of the door and her life.

She must have believed that I lied to her, because it’s been three years since I’ve seen her face, heard her voice, held her in my arms.

How could she have known that I was taken, forced into the back of a truck, and made to be another’s servant, working in their fields from before the sun rose until after it fell out of the sky.

They gave me only enough food for one day’s strength. What they did not know was, she was my food. She was my hope. Hope that I would one day see her again, be with her, marry her.

So, one day I ran. I ran so fast and so far, they would never catch me.

And now I am here, turning the corner to her street. If the light is on, I’ll know she still loves me. (end)

One of the things I learned during this creative process is that I cannot discover anything new if I remain standing in one place, locked into doing the same things over and over again.

I know that it takes courage to step into the unknown, but there is so much freedom and joy waiting there for us.

While checking to see if my contest entry was received, I found I have no record of it being sent. At first that really disturbed me, but after I thought about it for a few minutes, I relaxed and noticed that the real value to me was in accepting my own challenge, enjoying the creative process, and loving the resulting story that still warms my heart each time I reread it.

I hope you enjoy the story too.

Celebration

I wanted to wish you all a happy anniversary because this post marks the beginning of my third year of offering posts to you to contemplate. So, happy anniversary!

I never believed I would be able to stick with my original commitment of writing two posts per week for this long. It feels like an amazing thing to me and if you’ve been with me for the whole trip or just joined me recently, I want to thank you for journeying with me.

At first, I thought I was writing these posts for YOU, but I’ve come to discover that the truth is I’m writing them for ME. They are a way of speaking what feels like the ‘truth’ to me. Most of them help me see the world and my place in it more clearly. I want that for me, but I also want that for you. I am always aware that, once I’ve placed words on the page, they become your words too, if you want them.

I feel we are connected, and I treasure that you are here with me. I wanted you to know that, to hold that inside for a moment, and know that I care about you and celebrate you.

This day feels different to me from other days.

Do certain days feel different to you, perhaps because something special occurred, something unique in your world? When this happens, do you celebrate, or give gratitude for your blessed fortune?

I don’t always. I let some beautiful events and days slip past me. I am poorer for this and encourage myself to pay better attention, to broaden my awareness and let joy overwhelm me.

When is the last time you let joy overwhelm you, when you actually sat back and allowed love to move freely from the inside of you to the outside of you?

If it’s been a long time, perhaps you’re ready to jump start the process. Maybe today is a great day to celebrate, to make into an anniversary of joy. Do you want to give it a try?

Yes, I mean right now in this moment.

I’m going to ‘assume’ you said, ‘yes’! I’m hoping you said, ‘yes’.

Okay, if you’re ready, let’s begin with this…

Tell me, who do you love? You don’t have to shout it out loud but bring the person or animal to mind and let your love overflow. Really, let it pour out of you and feel the pleasure it creates.

And maybe it’s not a who. Maybe it’s a what or a where. A wonderful gift you love or a place that feels sacred to you. Allow the intensity to build and burst forth. It’s okay to let go of our normal day to day ways and give ourselves this treat.

Perhaps it is a feeling or a thought that creates a special sensation inside of you. If it is, go with that, let it move and grow and explode into wonder.

I have a friend, John, who taught me a lot about the gift of celebration. About seeing the value and worth in all things. After listening carefully to my story, he would find something in it to cherish and celebrate, even and sometimes, especially what I considered the ‘bad stuff’. Many of his observations passed right by me. I didn’t hear what he was really saying, until one day, it dawned on me. He saw the truth that everything in life ‘serves you’ if you put it into the ‘right’ perspective.

He showed me that I could learn to celebrate anything and everything, because it’s all important and valuable.

So, today, I encourage you to give yourself the chance to celebrate anything and everything in your life and see where it takes you.

I hope along the way, joy comes for a visit.

Hazardous Waste Day

Do you live in a place that has a hazardous waste day, a time when you can gather up all of the things you can’t put in the trash because they are too dangerous and drop them off where they can be properly recycled or disposed of?

My town does and I’ve been waiting a long time for it to come.

Incredibly, I have over 40 empty or partially used cans of paint, a host of cleaning products we no longer feel comfortable using and lots of small miscellaneous containers filled with I don’t know what exactly. They all need to go and I’m hoping it isn’t too much.

When I looked at the ‘acceptable items’ list it was overwhelming, from aerosol sprays, to fertilizers, fluorescent bulbs, mothballs, paints, resigns, weed killers. There were over 70 items and the first thing I wondered was where they were all going to end up?

It made me realize how much we contaminate this planet, and I pondered the magnitude of the situation. The factories that produce the items, the transportation to get them to market, the consumers who use them, and those who hopefully find safe ways to recycle or destroy them.

A nagging thought popped into my head, can they all actually be handled safely and destroyed, or do they live on and on?

This post was not meant to be a social commentary about our society and how we tend to turn a blind eye to cooperating with our environment. But it is sobering to consider.

I think it would be a meaningful question to ask myself…what is my contribution? Am I being a good steward of the earth’s resources? Most days, I wonder if I am.

And then another thought ran through my mind, offering me a new question.

What hazardous waste do I carry inside of me? What thoughts and patterns do I engage in that create toxic results for me?

I wondered what kind of a list would be generated if I sat with this for a little while. So, I did just that and here’s what came easily to me.

My Hazardous Waste List

Resentments (most of them pretty petty), prejudices (despite my best efforts not to), expectations (of the ways I think things ‘should’ be), anger (typically about things that don’t even matter), assumptions (which often lead to trouble), misperceptions (because I don’t wait long enough to see the whole picture), and blame (for things I don’t feel are my ‘fault’).

Do you recognize any of these? Are you home to any of them?

And given that I don’t like to get stuck in the middle of any process, I began contemplating what I could do with them. Was there a place I could put all these hazardous waste materials (thoughts)? Was there somewhere I could take them to drop them off and be rid of them?

I believe this is a question worth asking. I realize that one person’s method may differ from another’s; however, I think it’s often helpful when you hear what others choose to do because it might also help you and it might be something you would never think about on your own.

So, here’s my choice of what to do. I bring to mind an item from my list and ask myself one simple question.

Do they come from love or fear?

If they come from love, then I choose to keep them, but if they come from fear, I choose to release them. It’s a conscious decision. If, for example, a resentment surfaces, I have to look at it, accept it, and recognize that at least in part, I own it. It is a part of me, but one I no longer wish to keep, so I give it away. For me, I hand it off to Lia, a feminine presence of god that loves me and helps to guide me. She takes it and it vanishes. And if it returns, I give it to her again.

For you, there may be other places to drop off your hazardous waste. You might write them down and burn them. You might send them love and if they come back, send them more love.

Whatever method you find that works for you, I encourage you to let go so that you can live your best life. May it be so.

Wedding Vows

This post is a little different from what I ordinarily offer because it’s an invitation to lean into an unusual wedding ceremony and to taste a bit of the sweetness between two very special people in my life.

Along with the offer to read this, I invite you to share it with anyone you think might like to adopt it for their own wedding ceremony.

It comes from Little Buddha Book Four, which is part of a series of spiritual fiction books I’ve written. This particular chapter revolves around two of the main characters, Janine and Sam and their families celebrating their marriage. It happens that Janine’s father, Bright Sky and her nephew, Michael, both Native Americans from the western part of the United States, are officiating the ceremony. The narrative is from Sam’s point of view.

Here is the passage I’d like to share.

“We are here to celebrate and give thanks to the Great Spirit, and to witness the merging of two hearts into one as Janine and Sam choose each other for their earthly lifetime.”

Bright Sky nodded, took our hands in his and shook them upwards toward Father Sky, then downward toward Mother Earth, then released them.

Janine and I turned slightly and faced each other.

“Sam, I freely offer you all that I am, knowing we share one spirit and one source. We came from love and will return to love. While we walk this earth, I stand with you. I breathe your breath and will sing with delight, even when sorrows visit us. No thing that happens on our journey together will change my love for you. I rest inside of myself, knowing our connection is forever. I welcome you into my heart and my spirit and choose to walk our path, always as one.”

I looked deeply into her eyes and knew all that she said was true. I’d always known it.

“Janine, I freely offer you all that I am, knowing we share one spirit and one source. We came from love and will return to love. While we walk this earth, I will stand with you. Forever, I am yours. As it was before, so shall it always be. I offer you my heart, which you claimed the moment I first saw you. I offer you compassion, trust, faith and hope, and the best of me, at all times. I know humans falter, but I rest in the assurance of our love, that no thing that happens on our journey together will change my love for you. I welcome you into my heart and spirit and choose to walk our path, always as one.”

Michael came to stand next to Bright Sky. Each bowed to us, then walked around us, stopping at each compass point, while quietly repeating words I did not understand.

Their revolution complete, they took hold of the blanket and gently pulled it from our shoulders. They held it up for us to see our names and the two red hearts, then turned the blanket around to reveal one single white heart.

I don’t know if Janine already knew about this, but it was a complete surprise to me.

I loved the image and the idea and smiled broadly, nodded my head, and mouthed, ‘so beautiful’, to Michael and Bright Sky.

After showing the blanket to our guests, they wrapped Janine and me in it and placed their hands on our shoulders.

Claire, Michael, and Bright Sky gathered in front of us and spoke in unison.

“We witness the spirit of love which joins your lives as one.”

Claire held out two matching rings and Janine and I took them and placed them on each other’s fingers.

“With these rings always choose love for each other.”

Bright Sky said, nodding his head, “This completes the ceremony, for you are now one.”

NOTE:

If you’d like to know more about their story, please feel free to obtain your own copy of the series. Little Buddha Books One-Four are available in print and eBook versions from Amazon.

Making Someone’s Day

Do you remember the last time someone ‘made your day’ and how you felt inside?

Can you remember a time you made someone else’s day? Was it something you said, perhaps some kind words. Or maybe it was something you did, like an unexpected, good deed.

Did it happen naturally, without any forethought or was it a conscious choice you made and planned?

Did any part of you wonder what you might get in return or was it an altruistic act, kindness for the sake of kindness?

One of the interesting things about either, making someone else’s day or someone making your day, is how deep the love feels. I’ve often experienced feeling intensely touched by the actions of others. Their actions don’t even need to be directed toward me. Just witnessing love in action is wonderful, no matter where it’s found.

This past Sunday, while driving on our way home from the local food co-op, my wife and I were approaching a traffic light and it turned red, giving me a chance to make a roadside donation. That’s my phrase for offering some money to someone by the side of the road. In this case, it was a couple. I handed the folded twenty I keep in my car door for this purpose, to the young woman standing closest to our car. She reached for the money and offered me a grateful smile and their thanks in return. The traffic light remained red for a long time, which gave her the opportunity to explain that she and her husband were on their way back home to Louisiana and this would be very helpful.

I know some folks think giving money to ‘pan-handlers’ (the term most often applied to someone asking for money by the side of the road), isn’t a very good idea. I respect their point of view, and yet have come to a different conclusion and from my experience it’s a sure way to ‘make someone’s day’, no matter what they use the money for. I have offered myself a lot of practice in fully releasing any strings I might have wanted to attach to the money and so, both the giver and receiver in this exchange can share in making each other’s day.

Awhile back, a friend of mine told me she reads a book I’ve wrote (Little Buddha Book One) every night before she goes to bed. She told me it makes her happy, calms her from her day and allows her to drift off to sleep smiling. These kind words not only made my day, but they brought tears to my eyes. As a writer, unless someone tells you, you never know if your writings mean anything to anyone, so it was a very precious gift to me.

Knowing how good making someone’s day feels, I wonder why I don’t do it more often. I need an answer to this question.

What could it be? Is life so filled with ‘necessary things’ that I don’t have any time left over?

I immediately poked a hole in this theory. The two exchanges I’ve mentioned in this post account for perhaps four minutes in total, which easily tells me I DO have the time.

So, what’s the real reason?

I think it’s pretty simple actually. It’s a lack of focus on my part, an absence of attention to things that could matter greatly to me in my life and to others I come into contact with. I don’t say this to criticize myself (or you by proxy, as a reader). I say this to myself to heighten my awareness of what is, or can be, important and deeply meaningful to me in my life.

Sometimes all it takes is a moment of recognition that making someone’s day is a pathway for love to enter the world. A simple, direct, heart touching way and it’s free for anyone who wants it.

What a blessing.

Choosing Your Ingredients

A funny question came to mind recently.

But first, a little background information.

In 1973, in an effort to standardize the food industry, the United States began requiring that packaged foods provide nutritional labels spelling out the number of calories, grams of protein, carbohydrate and fat and the percent of the US Recommended Daily Allowance of specific ingredients.

Then in 1990, the USDA mandated that all food companies were required to make consistent claims and include a detailed, standardized nutrition facts panel on all products intended to be sold.

This resulted in the nutritional labels you now find on almost every food item sold and additional changes are planned for the future.

My question is, what do you think it would be like if every human had a label attached to them listing their ingredients, like the food products we eat?

I’m not talking about the percentages of the most common chemicals found in humans; like oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, calcium, and phosphorus.

What I mean is, what if we came with a label identifying the contents of our hearts and minds? A label that provided insight into our feelings, thoughts, and beliefs.

In one way it might make it easier to understand each other.

And perhaps there would be warnings on our labels, letting others know which topics were most likely to trigger negative reactions before conversations began.

The idea also made me wonder, if we could see our own label clearly, would we still want each ingredient to be inside us? Or perhaps we’d recognize that one or more of them do not make us happy, fulfilled, or joyful. That some of our contents create misery and suffering.

If we knew in advance that some of our ingredients were harmful to us, we might make better decisions.

Well, what if we started over? Is that possible?

If you answered ‘yes’, what would you consciously choose to place inside yourself, if you could begin again?

I found the question intriguing and needed to sit back for a moment before answering.

I tried to clear my mind, which is quite a task some days. I think there are lots of ingredients that would be good to start with, but I ended up choosing ‘love’. Love for me and love for those around me. Is there any way that could ever go wrong?

But an important part of me asked what that actually means. How does love work? After all, there are so many difficult and challenging situations we all face. Is love really the answer to them all?

I sat back again, awaiting my own answer.

I came to an immediate conclusion…yes, love is the answer to everything. It is the main ingredient. With it firmly in my heart I see everything else fitting together. Love allows me freedom. It makes it possible to see through fear, sadness, anger, and all of the other warnings I might encounter.

And if I want to add other ingredients, love works with them all in unison, courage, compassion, bravery, generosity, empathy, faith, trust and so many more.

If you decide to start over, I hope you choose ingredients that serve you well.

Returning to Heaven

If you are a believer in the concept of heaven, do you wonder how you will get there and what it will be like upon your arrival?

In my last post I shared with you the ‘crossing ceremony’ that happened as I left heaven to come to earth. I asked you to imagine something that is far beyond words and tried to use imagery as a language to convey what the ceremony looked and felt like.

I know you may have your own ideas and I want you to know I honor them. It is not my purpose to ever try to convince you to accept anything I say as your own truth.

I do however feel a strong desire to share my experiences with you, in the hopes that they may provide some value to you. Perhaps you may catch a glimpse of something that has been just out of reach. Perhaps you’ll discover a connection that brings insight, peace, and a sense of love you’ve been longing for.

I realize my words may exceed what you’ve been told during your life and stretch the limits of your acceptance.

I ask only one thing, that you read it and then decide. See if any part of it ‘feels’ true to you. Does it find a way to your heart?

This rendering of words came during a deep meditation. I had no expectations or at least none I was aware of. I sat and melted into a state of openness and drifted without aim.

This is what came to me and surrounded me. I was offered a chance to visit heaven. As best I can, here are the ‘words’ that entered me.

Admitted to Heaven

During my meditation, I gave permission to all of my spiritual guides to come and stand behind me,

Immediately, guides were there, then there were hordes of them, pushing and shoving to stand around me,

A great crowd arrived, and one of the beings said to another, “they’re emptying heaven to stand behind him”, and still more came,

I was crying so hard now, and they lifted me up, and held me over their heads effortlessly on hands of light, and passed me around, as if I weighed no more than a feather,

It was the most beautiful thing,

And I heard many shouting, “He’s back, come see, he’s back”, and heaven lit up,

And I could feel it, they all loved me, truly loved me, an overwhelming love, so beautiful, I never wanted to leave,

I asked, “Can I come home any time I want to?”, “Yes,” they all said.

I lingered there with these beautiful essences, reveling in the bountiful feelings of their love, never wanting to leave.

Their answer to my last question, about whether I could return home any time I wanted, was essential to me. I had to know if I would be able to leave earth and cross over into heaven. I had to know.

Their assurance made (and makes) all the difference to me. I know I am welcome there anytime. I belong there. It is my home and when this earth experience is complete, no matter when that is, I will return to their loving, waiting ‘arms’.

I believe this will happen for all who choose it.

Imagine knowing this deep inside you, that you return home to the heart of love. For me, that changes everything about how I view this world.

Not Guilty

I suspect there might be numerous claims as to the culture or entity that has the most ‘guilt’ associated with it. Do you have an opinion about this? Perhaps your very own cultural upbringing would be your answer.

When I think about it, guilt is one of the most potent and destructive forces in the world. I have yet to come across anyone who does not know its powerful and invasive affects.

As a curious person I wonder about guilts origin. Where exactly did it come from? Does it serve a purpose in our lives? Do we get to decide, to actually choose whether to participate in feeling guilty or not?

No doubt we each have our own version of our guilt stories.

Lately I’ve been wondering how to give my ‘guilt story’ up, so I decided to go on my own self-guided ‘guilt trip’. Rather than taking the normal journey at someone else’s prompting, I chose to allow whatever feelings of guilt to come show themselves to me.

I asked for only one thing during this process…clarity.

Okay, so off I go.

But wait, where are my answers going to come from? Of course, for me, it will be Lia, that part of god that speaks to me in an ethereal feminine voice of love.

Question 1.

Where did all my guilt come from?

A rather simple answer came my way as Lia spoke, “All guilt comes from the world around you and is absorbed within you the moment you accept it as true for you.”

Well, maybe not so simple after all, because it is really easy to accept what others tell you as your own truth.

Question 2.

What purpose does guilt serve?

And after a moment, Lia’s sweet voice responds saying, “Others desire to have their wishes followed, so they choose to employ guilt to make you decide to accept them and their ways. They work diligently to control your actions and decisions and provide penalties and punishments for any noncompliance on your part.”

Wow, that’s some clarity alright! I needed a follow-up question, so asked, “Lia, I see how utterly correct you are and am wondering how what you’ve told me in the past can be true in this case. You’ve said that ‘all’ things serve me. It feels so awful to suffer the pangs of guilt, so I’m wondering how guilt can serve me?”

I am instantly rewarded with an answer that makes sense to me, because Lia told me this, “You assume that all things must be seen or felt to be ‘positive’ in order to serve you. This is not the case, with guilt or with any other thing. Both ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ experiences serve you because they both point the way forward.”

Well, I surely want to move forward, but still wondered about her words.

Of course, she knew this. She always knows and since her love for me is whole and complete, she answered the question that was in my mind before it reached my lips.

She went on by telling me what I needed to know, “Beloved, guilt is your choice. No one can make you feel what you do not choose. No one. So, use what is offered to you to define your direction. The words ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ are concepts, but more than that, they are guideposts. They offer you choices and what you end up choosing creates your life experiences. If you desire to live a joy-filled life, release any guilt offered you and know that it is and always will be your choices that defines your life.”

I needed to sit back and reflect for a minute and let her words sink into me. When they did, I understood that by releasing any guilt and embracing that which offers me love and connection, I can choose to live the joy-filled life I desire.