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SPIRITUAL LESSONS FROM CHARLESTON

SPIRITUAL LESSONS FROM CHARLESTON

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The root of the horror of a young person killing his neighbors in a bible class cannot be found in the young person. It can be found in ourselves, if we look.

What do you feel about these killings? Is it anger, sorrow, helplessness? If so, you will discover uncomfortable or painful physical sensations in your body – especially in your chest, solar plexus, or throat areas. These are experiences of fear. Is it compassion or appreciation (for example, for the compassionate response of the grieving families)? If so, you will discover pleasing or good-feeling physical sensations in your body in the same areas. These are experiences of love.

Only perceptions of love are true. Perceptions of fear are distorted. The young person perceived through fear. His neighbors appeared to him as less than himself and without value. Do parts of your personality perceive this way, too? For example, do any of them become angry, jealous, impatient, or judgmental of others? The actions of the young man are showing you these parts of yourself. Are parts of your personality grateful without reason for people in your life? Do they see beauty in each soul, including those that act in fear? The choices of the loving families of those who were killed are showing you these parts of yourself.

Which parts of your personality do you intend to cultivate? Which parts do you intend to challenge? Only you can decide. When you choose to act in love, no matter what his happening inside you and what is happening outside, you create authentic power.

That is how to grow spiritually.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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DEPTH, BEAUTY, AND POWER

DEPTH, BEAUTY, AND POWER

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I am always amazed by the depth, beauty, and power of people. I see these things often at our events, and they thrill me. Last month at our first urban Journey to the Soul retreat, a large, beautiful, black woman stood to speak. She was big in size, voice, and presence, but she was trembling and struggling to find her voice. A previous sharing about loss had activated a frightened part of her personality, a part deep in terror, pain, rage, and humiliation. She spoke haltingly. “I am fed up with it. I am sick of being afraid. I am so tired of fearing the police. How many more of my black friends will be arrested, beaten, or killed?” She was sobbing with despair and rage and powerlessness. “Everyone I know who is black fears being stopped by the police. The police always have a reason. Its driving while black. Or breathing while black.” Now her whole body was shaking, and her face was wet with tears. She held to the back of a chair to remain standing. “I am fed up!” she struggled to say again. “FED UP!” Then she seemed to physically grasp herself and said in a different voice. “A frightened part of my personality is fed up. It has had enough. Enough!”

The transformation was palpable. Before she was speaking from a frightened part of her personality. Now she was talking about it. She was present again. Her shaking stopped, but her face was still wet. This strong woman was an executive in a multinational corporation. And she was black, terrified of the police, and had had enough. I could see her centering herself, scanning interior places for painful physical sensations, and deciding not to act on them more. This was a moment of creating authentic power. It was intimate and heroic. As she moved beyond the fear of beatings and bullets, beyond the control of this part of her personality, she entered a courageous, compassionate, and caring part of her personality, and we all moved with her.

Another woman on the other side of the room stood up. She was small and blonde. “I am the wife of a cop,” she said. “My husband is not like that. I feel what you are saying, but he is not like that.” There we were, all of us, courageously experiencing the ragged tear in our country and in our world without the anesthetics of righteousness and rage. It took courage, because creating authentic power always does. It requires challenging painful frightened parts of your personality that are so strong they shake your body or so beguiling they envelop you in blaming. These two souls did neither. They cultivated loving parts of their personalities, the big black woman and the white wife of the white cop.

Our dear friend, Maya Angelou, often said, “We are more alike than we are different.” She was so right. We are all immortal souls learning how to love in the Earth school, in the domain of the five senses, in the realm of right and wrong, gain and loss, good and bad. This requires creating authentic power, and we all witnessed a moment of that creation, one of myriad moments in the life of each individual who is growing powerful – aligning personality with soul.

Can you challenge the frightened parts of your personality and cultivate the loving parts of your personality like these two women did and do? Can you create authentic power?
Love.
Linda & Gary
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WHAT ILLUSIONS ARE YOU CAUGHT IN?

WHAT ILLUSIONS ARE YOU CAUGHT IN?

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When your painful emotions seem to be caused by something outside of you, you are in an illusion. For example, your child falls from a tree, and you feel fear, anxiety, and panic. The fall seems to have caused these emotions, but if you look inside yourself, you will see that they are not new. You have experienced these emotions before, even before you had a child! The fall activated dynamics inside you and they cause the painful emotions that you experience. Other events will continue to activate them until you become familiar with these internal dynamics and move beyond their control.

The fall brings your attention to what you must change inside yourself. Chopping down the tree, scolding your child, and becoming angry at the neighbor who planted it will not change the dynamic in you that caused your painful emotions. Only you can change that dynamic in you. The illusion pulls your attention outward and demands that you change the world. In order to grow spiritually you must direct your attention inward and change yourself. The illusion is that someone or something outside you is responsible for your emotional pain. The reality is that you are responsible for continuing to experience it again and again rather than challenge the source of it in yourself and cultivate the source of loving experiences in yourself. This creates authentic power.

As you create authentic power, you begin to recognize the difference between the illusion in which painful emotional reactions occur and are blamed upon the external world and the reality of the dynamics inside you that create loving experiences and cultivate them.
Love.
Linda & Gary