In the Presence of Unconditional Love
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Life's a Bitch, then you Die
I used to wonder why I was me. Why wasn't I that rich guy? Why wasn't I smart? Why wasn't I attractive? Why? Why? Why? It took me 50 years to find out those things were only my choice of thoughts. I hope it doesn't take you that long. It really matters very little what your friends, teachers, parents, etc., think or believe about you. Because you are you, it is your opinion that counts. You don't need the validation of others. But you do need the acceptance, love and validation of yourself.
Life's one choice after another,Life is a series of linear events. A chain of choices about those events, leading to other events. Never ending cycles of pain and pleasure for learning and growth. When the sun shines, it shines on everyone. When it rains, it rains on all. Every single person will experience at some point during their lifetime: tragedy, failure, depression and hopelessness. They will also experience: joy, happiness, success and love. We live in a world of duality. There is a reason for it.
then you live them, choose wisely.
Some people master the rollercoaster ride life offers them, and some don't. Why? It is an easy question to answer. The successful ones believe in themselves and their ability to win. While the others feel overwhelmed by life's ambivalences. They do so because their fearful thoughts keep them frozen in indecision, unable to make progress, due to fear of failure. If they only knew that "they were not their thoughts" improvement would be certain.
The reasons for feeling negative about yourself are numerous. Growing up in a dysfunctional family. The criticism of inexperienced teachers. Comparing yourself to, and competing with, others. Holding unrealistic expectations of performance and many more. The reasons don't matter, they're history. What matters is now. This present moment. What do you do now to change your life?
First. Realize that "you are not your thoughts." Your thoughts are under your control at all times. There are no exceptions to this. People do not make you angry; you allow yourself to become angry. People do not depress you; you depress yourself by thinking depressing thoughts. Your emotions are controlled by you and you alone. Quit reacting to others in a knee-jerk fashion and start thinking positive thoughts.
Second. Get away from all the negative stuff you possibly can. Don't watch or read the daily news. If something important happens, a friend will let you know. Don't go to negative movies, read negative books, etc. Stop eating or drinking things that have a negative effect on you like booze, cigarettes, snuff, or drugs. Not easy, huh! Well, quit as many as you can now, the others will come later.
Third. Start working with positive things. Read self-help books, inspirational books, and biographies of famous people. Join a support group, make friends with positive people. Do affirmations and exercises with positive statements. Look over the material at the back of this book for help. Devote some time every day to work with understanding your thoughts. If you don't help yourself, who will.
Whether you believe it or not, you are eternal. Within you is a light of love so powerful, so beautiful, that it cannot be described in human language. You can't fail. You will succeed. You are always safe and secure. Your Creator is proud of you and never loses faith in you. Don't lose faith in yourself.
Let go of your Banana
In India there are a lot of monkeys. When the locals want to catch one, they anchor a bottle to the ground. The neck of the bottle is just large enough for a monkey's hand to fit into. Then, they put a small banana in the bottle, sit back and wait.
The Monkey Trap
Before long a monkey comes by, sees the banana, reaches his hand into the bottle, and grabs it. But then, the monkey discovers that he can't get his hand out of the bottle while holding onto the banana. There is loud chattering and squealing as the person who set the trap walks up to the monkey and places a burlap sack over him. In the darkness the monkey releases the banana and is captured.
The monkey could, of course, let go of the banana, and ran before getting caught. Some do. But most of the monkeys hang on to the banana until the sack goes over their head. Why? Because the banana has value to the monkey and the monkey is unwilling to let go of that value. So unwilling that he gives up his freedom for it. People do the same thing.
The People Trap
People get trapped by their thoughts in the same way monkeys get trapped by the banana.
The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: "I get through many a bad night with the thought of suicide." Suicidal thoughts had value for him; comforting him when he felt down and depressed, easing the pain of his sadness. Unfortunately, these thoughts that seemed to help, also trapped him in the depression, like the monkey was trapped by the banana. He, and the monkey, could have let go and gained their personal freedom.
The religious person has thoughts of "heaven" to get through troubled times. The business man has thoughts of "making more money" to keep him going. The gambler has thoughts of "hitting the jackpot" to comfort him; the drug addict thinks about the "next fix;" the alcoholic, the "next bottle," etc. We are all, to some extent, trapped by our own limiting thoughts.
Thoughts color all our decisions. A suicidal person seldom makes good life choices because they dislike themselves and feel they have no future. The religious person may endure much abuse and discrimination because they feel resolved in the future, and the business man may actually cheat, lie and hurt others in his pursuit of money because he is trapped by intense thoughts of wealth.
You are not your Thoughts!
Thoughts arise from beliefs. If we believe life to be bad, we will expect bad things to happen. Beliefs are like filters, allowing what we expect to experience, and diminishing, or eliminating, things we don't expect to experience. That is why understanding our thought processes is so important. We are not our thoughts. We are in control of our thoughts and our destiny at all times whether we know it or not. We create our own reality with our thoughts and beliefs.
Diogenes refused to bow before Alexander. As solders moved to kill Diogenes, Alexander stopped them and asked: "I am Alexander the Great, I have conquered the world, why do you not bow to me?" Diogenes replied: "because I am Diogenes the Cynic, and I have conquered myself." After a moment's thought Alexander stated: "were I not Alexander, be I Diogenes, go in peace." Being in control of your thoughts is very powerful, it means freedom and peace of mind. If you can't be Alexander, be Diogenes.
Changing your World
To change your world, change yourself, the world will follow you. It has no meaning until you give it meaning. What you believe about the world is reflected back to you as reality. You can change it any time you wish. Is the world bad because you see no good in it? Yes! Is the world good because you see no bad in it? Yes, again! What you see is what you get!
Now, it is possible to see beyond good and bad; happy and sad; real and fad. There you will find peace of mind. There you will find the self-knowledge you seek. There you will find freedom. But you have to let go of your banana to get there.
Letting go of your Banana
Khalil Gibran wrote: "Forgetfulness is a form of freedom." How many times have you heard the old adage "Forgive and Forget." The path to freedom flows through forgiveness to a nonjudgmental attitude to unconditional love. All will walk that path eventually.
Forgiveness releases the hate, depression, and angst from your life forever. If you would say right now: "I forgive you world for all the hurt I feel, and I forgive myself for feeling them," three times with meaning, you would notice you felt better for doing it. Forgiveness is the key to personal freedom. It unlocks the hurt and releases the pain.
If you can forgive, then you can be free. There is more information on forgiveness throughout this book. Forgiveness clears the past and the mind. You will then be able to make better choices by letting go of your limiting thoughts.