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PULLING THE ROOT OF VIOLENCE

PULLING THE ROOT OF VIOLENCE

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The deaths of the children and adults who tried to protect them in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut renewed the debate about how to prevent this kind of violence. How to prevent yet more unpredictable killings in more schools, theaters, and malls by more unpredictable suicidal murders. Some say more gun control. Some say more school security. Some say more care for the mentally ill. Others say our culture of violence – violent movies, violent games, violent language – is the cause. Almost no one says, “Look inside ourselves.”

The origin of the violence that erupted in Newtown is in us. When I look for it in me, I always find it. If you look for it, you will find it in you, too. Kindness and cruelty, patience and impatience, forgiveness and revenge live in each of us. Which will we choose? We answer this question each moment whether or not we are aware of it. Acting with cruelty (for example, in anger), with impatience (for example, in superiority), or revenge (for example, in inferiority) creates only emotional or physical violence and destruction. What is in you is in the world. When you change yourself, you change the world. The choices you make about yourself are important. They create wars, genocides, slavery, and poverty or harmony, cooperation, sharing, and reverence for Life. If you want to change the world, you must change yourself. Every experience offers an opportunity, including your experiences of the violence in Newtown.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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WHY PAINFUL THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE

WHY PAINFUL THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE

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responsible choice is a choice that creates consequences that you are willing to assume responsibility for. For example, you may usually shout when you become angry. Shouting in anger pushes people away, they are intimidated by you, they are cautious about sharing with you, and you become isolated. The more isolated you become, the angrier you become, and the more isolated and lonely you become, even if you are surrounded by people. This is because the people who surround you will have energy like yours. They will also be angry, and judgmental, too. They will find faults with others, the system (any system), and live their lives as righteous victims. They will try to convince others of the wrongs and injustices they see and of their own superiority. When they succeed, they bond with those people. Their group of “Us” becomes larger and always in conflict with a group of “Them.” If you are an angry person, is this what you want to create? If so, continue to act in anger, and you will.

Here is another example. Some people feel good about helping others, and they do so often. They do not realize that their good deeds have a second agenda. They want to be appreciated. When a care-taker gives and gives and does not receive appreciation, thanks, or even acknowledgement, she becomes resentful. Her resentment grows over time and eventually turns to anger, and then explodes at the person who is not thankful or appreciative. People at first enjoy her care-taking, but after a while, they avoid it, unless they desperately need it, because it feels “sticky.” It comes with strings attached, unspoken obligations, and people do not like it. The more they resist it, the more unappreciated the care-taker feels, the more resentful she feels, and the angrier she becomes. If you are a care-taker, is this what you want to create? If so, continue to caretake, and you will.

Caretaking is different from care-giving. Care-giving has no second agendas or hidden motives. The care is given from love for the joy of giving without expectation, no strings attached. It cannot be manipulated or discouraged because love cannot be manipulated or discouraged. Care-givers attract care-givers and live in a community of love. They are energized by their caring, fulfilled, and they love life. Care-takers attract care-takers and live in the company of resentful victims who see themselves as misused and are fatigued from constant giving with no return.

Care-giving requires the intention of love, care-taking requires the intention of fear. Not acting in anger when you are angry requires the intention of love. Shouting when you are angry requires the intention of fear – the intention to manipulate and control others – to pursue external power. When you know your intention, you are in a position to choose the consequences that you will create for yourself. When you choose an intention that creates consequences for which you are willing to be responsible, that is a responsible choice. When the intention you choose is love, you create authentic power.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT COMPASSION

THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT COMPASSION

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An alcoholic demanded to return home from a treatment center. His wife felt that being home where she could take care of him was a good thing even though the staff at the center strongly advised otherwise. Once she had assisted with his return, she did her best, as she had over their years together, to love him with tenderness, encourage him to stop drinking, create distractions, and generally try to make him feel good about himself, or at least better. She appealed to his reason (this didn’t work when he was drunk), and addressed the needs of the most frightened parts of his personality when they were active. For example, he would say, “No one cares for me,” and she would say, “Of course people love you.” He would say “I am washed up,” and she would say, “You have so much to give.” He would say, “I can’t start again,” and she would say, “When the going gets tough the tough get going.”

He feared experiencing the emotional pain that years of drinking no longer masked (which is what the center would have required him to do). His wife feared his rage, mood swings, irrationality, and drinking. Three months after his return home, he drowned in his vomit in bed, too incoherent or weak to prevent his death. There was no compassion in this picture. Neighbors may have thought the wife was compassionate, but what would they think if they realized that her choices assisted his death? Her fears and his fears prevented them from listening to professionals who know about alcoholism

Compassion is loving others enough to say or do what is appropriate from an empowered heart without attachment to the outcome. His wife did not say, “You can’t come back – not to my home – until you start to change yourself.” Nor did she say, “You are a tornado in this house, destructive to me, our children, and everyone around you. Leave this morning and don’t return until you stop drinking.” She probably could not have forced him into treatment, but she might have been able legally to force him from the house he used for shelter while he drank with no responsibilities. Although these actions may seem hard or cruel, they would have been compassionate choices, and they would have required her to challenge every part of her personality that felt unjust, inhuman, or guilty. And her husband might still be alive. Might be. The choice to drink or not – to experience his pain and change or not – was always his. It was his last choice.

We each make choices moment to moment. Sometime we make them from fear, and sometimes we make them in love. Only choices made in love are compassionate. There are no exceptions. Do you have the courage to act with an empowered heart without attachment to the outcome? If not, you have no ability to give or experience compassion. That is the shocking truth.

Love.
Linda & Gary

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HUMBLENESS

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The characteristics of an authentically empowered personality are humbleness, clarity, forgiveness, and Love. Love is the big one. Each time you have the courage to feel the sensations beneath the impulse to shout in anger, withdraw in jealousy, judge or disdain, or need to please, for example, and instead of acting on it, act from the healthiest part of yourself that you can access – even if that means simply remaining motionless and silent with a good intention for the person or people you are with, you create authentic power. The more you create authentic power, the more the characteristics of authentic power become your characteristics, and the more meaning, purpose, and joy enter your life.

This Spring through the beginning of Summer, I am going to explore each of the characteristics of an authentically empowered personality in a different article. This month I am beginning with characteristic of authentic power that few people have thought about – humbleness. What do you think it is, really? What do you think it is not, really? And last, why do you think it would be good to develop humbleness?

A humble person walks in a familiar world. He or she sees friends everywhere he or she looks, wherever he or she goes, with whomever he or she meets. His or her perception goes beyond the shell of appearance and into essence. He or she sees the attributes of people around him or her – big body, small body, strong body, weak body, quick intellect, slow intellect, yellow skin, brown skin, male or female, young or old – and on and on – as costumes. He or she does not believe that anyone will change this costume at the end of the day, but he or she also knows that everyone will leave it behind at the end of a lifetime. Ashes will return to ashes, and dust will return to dust. That is the way it is with costumes. They do not last forever. They do not even last very long – a century at best and much less for most people. The soul is a different story. The soul is immortal.

The next time you feel less than someone else, inadequate, or inferior, remember that “humbleness” doesn’t have anything to do with those experiences any more than it means lowering yourself to make a connection. There are no lower levels to a humble person. There are no higher levels, either. There are only souls. There is only love. Humbleness is one of the great gifts of authentic power – and you give it to yourself.

Next month, I will look at “Clarity.” It might surprise you, too.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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CLARITY AND SHARING

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What you share is not as important as why you share it. For example, sharing with the intention to impress people with your generosity, intelligence, or good nature is not the same as sharing with the intention to support another with no strings attached, or sharing because sharing with love is healing and natural to us, or consciously sharing with love your presence with others. Your intention for sharing determines the consequences of your sharing and your experiences of sharing.

Clarity allows you to identify your intentions, distinguish among them, and to understand their effects. When you share to change someone so that you will feel better about yourself or safe, you strive to manipulate and control. You pursue external power. This creates painful and destructive consequences. When you share to contribute to Life without thought of self-benefit, or share from your heart without second agendas that benefit you first and others second, or share the compassion, wisdom, and love that you were born to share, your frequency increases, you shine brighter, and your choices contribute constructively to the collective consciousness.

You are a micro of a macro. Your soul is a micro of the soul of humankind. This is sometimes called the collective unconscious of humanity, but it is not that. It is the soul of humanity. You cannot change the macro without first changing the micro. You cannot diminish exploitation in the macro while that same energy exists in you. As you change the micro, you simultaneously change the macro of which you are part and to which you are intimately bound. You create the world that you want to see, choice by choice, with the force of your own will applied in the only way that can produce permanent and constructive results – to the conscious and constructive transformation of yourself.

This is the creation of authentic power. The transformation that you create in yourself simultaneously contributes to the transformation of humanity. Clarity enables you to make and understand these transformations in yourself and to contribute them to the world. Ultimately, these are the contributions you were born to make.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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FORGIVENESS AND FREEDOM

FORGIVENESS AND FREEDOM

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The idea that forgiveness is something you do for someone else results from the perception of power as the ability to manipulate and control. The unconscious intention behind not forgiving is to cause pain in someone you feel caused pain in you, and thereby alter his or her behavior. This never works because the origins of your emotional pain are inside you. When you choose not to forgive, you inflict pain upon yourself. Not forgiving is like trying to cause someone else pain by breaking your fingers. You are the one who is hurting when you do not forgive. There is nothing healing, nurturing, or even slightly positive about not forgiving.

Not forgiving is holding someone else responsible for your experiences. The emotional pains that you feel can be created only by parts of your own personality, not parts of someone else’s personality. Other people can activate these parts of your personality, such as the part that will not forgive. They can treat you cruelly, abuse you, even torture you, but only parts of your own personality can create your emotional experiences, including your painful emotional experiences. The longer you blame others or circumstances for these experiences, the longer you experience them.

Forgiving is something that you do for yourself. When you forgive, you stop holding others responsible for your emotional experiences. You step into a position of power because you cannot control others, but you can choose within yourself between the parts of your personality that create emotional pain and the parts that create experiences of gratitude, appreciation, contentment, and joy. Sometimes the pain is so great that an individual cannot find the strength to forgive. In these times, it is enough that she or he pray for the elevated perception, the Light, the Grace, to forgive. It will come.

In all cases, the healing dynamic of forgiveness requires you to look inside yourself instead of outside yourself for the causes of your emotional pain, and challenge them by not acting on their justified anger and righteous rigidity and acting instead from the most healthy and wholesome parts of your personality that you can access in that moment. Forgiving requires you to change yourself for the better instead of blaming. It requires you to heal. Forgiving is consciously choosing to leave behind the prisons and torments of your fears. It is also the creation of authentic power.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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LOVE – THE HOLY PERCEPTION

LOVE – THE HOLY PERCEPTION

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Love is so big, so inclusive, so encompassing that no definition can contain it. Love is not only the love with a little “L”, such as the love of a parent for a child or a child for a parent. It is not the only the love of illusory fantasy, such as romantic love or love for a great heroine or hero. It is not only the Universal love, sometimes called Agape. It is larger even than that. When the great Sequoia, aging for centuries, finally falls, thundering downward until it comes to rest in the embrace of the Earth, that is love, also. The incoming and outgoing tides caress sand and rocks ceaselessly, relentlessly. That is love, too. When the cannons roar, bodies explode, and limbs scatter across grassy fields or littered streets made morbid with blood, can that be love? Can the cruelty of the bully, the deceitfulness of the coward, the majesty of the courageous, and the humbleness of the wise be love as well? How can we dare speak of them in the same sentence, especially when “love” is part of the sentence?

Love is a perception, but it is a holy perception, a sacred perception, a perception that excludes nothing and includes everything. It is the love of the bee for the flower, the mountain for the valley and the valley for the mountain. It is the love of the bird for the air and the air for the bird. It is the boiling, roiling, tumultuous collision of emotions within us, between us, and among us. It is the song of the wind and the whistle of an incoming artillery round. It is the stars and the soil, the light and the dark, it is the antelope eating the grass and the lion devouring the antelope. It is the dance of life and death, inseparably united within the illusion of time and space, matter and duality.

The fire destroys the forest and new life rises. The corpse goes into the ground, the waves, or the fire, but the soul remains. All this, also, is love. Victory and defeat, success and failure, insight and confusion are love. Nothing we see or cannot see, long for or push away, celebrate or regret is not love. Everything and its opposite is love. When you see this, you step into love.

Your life – all of your experiences – becomes an uninterrupted flow of opportunities to expand into love instead of contract into fear. You see the power of your choices and the extent of your responsibility for what they create. You see that when you create with brutality, the experience of brutality comes to you or another of your soul’s personalities. You see that when you create with love, the experience of love comes to you or another of your soul’s personalities. Eventually, you learn to create with love no matter what circumstances you are in. You see your circumstances differently, too. You see that all of them beckon you to Love, to fall into Love, to allow Love.

When you cannot feel the call, when you fight the fall, when you refuse to allow, you are experiencing fear. The experience of fear, also, is an experience of Love. Eventually you will come to realize that Love is all there is. Why not open to Love now? Why not begin the process now? Why not step into your life consciously and responsibly? There is no other way to Love.

Love.
Linda & Gary

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THE BIG CHOICE

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Have you ever wondered why things happen the way they do in your life? Have you ever considered that the creation of your experiences, like the creation of everything else, is governed by the law of cause and effect? In this case, the nonphysical law of cause and effect. The physical law of cause and effect governs physical causes and physical effects, such as launching a rocket and landing it on the moon. The physical law of cause and effect is a limited version of the nonphysical law of cause and effect. The nonphysical law allows you to use nonphysical causes to create nonphysical effects and also physical effects. This does not mean that you are not in control of what you create. On the contrary! It means that you are entirely free to create what you want, provided you are aware of how the nonphysical law of cause and effect works. If you are not aware of this law and how it works, you will create, as you continually do, but you will not want what you create.

The nonphysical causes that you use continually to create effects in your life are your intentions! This is (literally) nonsense to five-sensory (empirical) science, because your five senses cannot detect intentions, but intentions are as real as any physical cause and the effects that it creates are as real.

Your intentions are your nonphysical causes that set energy into motion. They create a multitude of effects and, therefore, determine the experiences of your life. This is one of the most important things that you can know. It is also something that you can see for yourself is true. Experimenting with your life frees you to create differently, but you need to choose new causes (intentions) consciously. If you don’t choose different intentions consciously, unconscious parts of your personality (the frightened parts) will choose them for you, along with the consequences they will create for you.

To change the experiences of your life (for example, from angry to appreciative, or from fearful to joyful) requires becoming aware of the intentions you are choosing moment to moment, and the experiences you encounter, and then making the connections between your intentions and your experiences. The more aware of your intentions and your experiences you become, the more you will be able to connect the two, and the more you will be able to create the experiences of your life consciously. This is the development of mastery. It is the creation of authentic power.

Love.
Linda & Gary

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STRETCHING YOURSELF

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Commitment is a stretch when you commit to something new, something constructive and healthy, and stick to it, such as commitment to your integrity. How do you stay in integrity without being insensitive? How can you be sensitive to others and stay in it?

There are degrees of commitment, and each new degree is a stretch. It is as though we are individuals who are practicing yoga. As we stretch we become more limber, but we are always at the edge of what we can do. Individuals who come into the Authentic Power Learning Community may think that they are committed to creating authentic power and feel that they are committed, and yet as they begin to experience the depth of the transformation that occurs within themselves as they develop emotional awareness and apply responsible choice, they discover that they are indeed required to commit yet again.

Having a child is a commitment, and as the child grows, parents begin to understand in more fullness the demands of parenthood, and as they do, their commitment deepens or they fall into despair. As the child grows into adulthood, the commitment of the parents must deepen yet again to provide the love and wisdom they want to share in ways they are at the same time learning and learning how to share.

 

Having a child is a commitment, and as the child grows, parents begin to understand in more fullness the demands of parenthood, and as they do, their commitment deepens or they fall into despair. As the child grows into adulthood, the commitment of the parents must deepen yet again to provide the love and wisdom they want to share in ways they are at the same time learning and learning how to share.

It is the same with creating authentic power. The more you enter your life consciously, the more challenges and opportunities appear in equal measure. The more difficulties and tumultuous emotions you experience consciously and challenge, the more potential for freedom from fear and the spaciousness of joy appear. The more you stretch yourself, the more you gain. And you gain nothing when you do not stretch yourself. Creating authentic power is stretching yourself in every way that counts.

Love.
Linda & Gary