Summer 2019 Split-Decision: Do You Believe in Magic or Is There Trouble in Shangri-La?
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“I think that probably nobody should ever get everything they want. I know a lot of people with a lot of money who are very unhappy.” Stevie Nicks
As we move into the Summer season and our annual five-month retrograde cycle of mystical Neptune in transcendent Pisces, it’s always a good time to go deeply within and release any limiting beliefs which keep us from being in paradise all the time.
For, regardless of whether we call it paradise, shangri-la or nirvana, it’s important to remember that there’re infinite levels of heaven or hell that we can choose to reside in here and now. These planes of consciousness are available through spiritual practices and learning how to raise our vibration to operate at a higher frequency through the power of our Mind and are not contingent on any external conditions. Magic indeed!
In fact, we’re powerless to change people, places or things, as much as we’d like to and with the best of intentions (and you know what they say about those:)). However, we do have absolute power over setting an internal tone that affects our personal reality and, in a ripple effect, the mass consciousness globally. Magic indeed!
The only way out of a life of stagnant subsistence and into a life of experiencing heaven on earth is to completely blow up all our preconceptions of what we think we need to be happy—i.e., our “IF ONLY” list.
See if you can identify with any of the following:
IF ONLY I didn’t have to worry about money ever again THEN I’d be happy.
IF ONLY I had the perfect loving mate, partner and companion to share my life with, THEN I’d be happy.
IF ONLY I was at the optimal weight and had optimal health, THEN I’d be happy.
IF ONLY I found my work completely fulfilling, THEN I’d be happy.
IF ONLY I loved my home, family and friends just as they are, THEN I’d be happy.
IF ONLY the Earth was safe from global warming, radiation and pollution, THEN I’d be happy.
IF ONLY there was peace on earth and no more suffering, THEN I’d be happy.
Are any of the above true for you? Not even a little bit? Are you absolutely sure? Maybe you’re reasonably happy now, but in terms of your potential for more joy in Being, I would bet that some of the above pre-conditions would have to be met at least part-way in your present belief system before you’d stop sabotaging feeling too good for too long with your monkey mind.
This is because most of us have a karmic set point of how much pleasure and positive emotions we can allow in and tolerate before our karmic belief rut of what we think we deserve and why kicks in and shuts us down to the good stuff.
For more: On Pleasure, Joy and Bliss
Well, you get the idea. Our “IF ONLYS” can be an almost infinitely variable and individualized list, but it’s all based on a limiting belief that we can’t be in paradise with peace and equanimity unless our demands, desires or wishes for specific external conditions are fulfilled.
In my personal experience, some of the most miserably unhappy and mentally ill clients I’ve worked with over the last forty-five years are multi-millionaires and billionaires, especially those trust-fund babies who have inherited their enormous wealth. In addition, many of those who have inherited exceptional beauty and become super models are on the most miserable list.
So, if you’ve been fantasizing about how grand life would be with boatloads of money or being a “10” in the looks department—think again! For those on the most miserable list, the fear of losing what they have and anxiety of wondering if those who’re attracted to them are drawn to who they really are or merely what they possess, have made them mistrustful and paranoid, with deep feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. Many are also addicted to drugs, drink, power, shopping, sex and/or love to help anesthetize their emotions and fill their inner void. For more on this:
We live in an ephemeral plane where everything—people, places and things—is always in continuous flux as an innate expression of the nature of the Tao, i.e., the Flow of Life. Consequently, we’re definitely stuck in a losing proposition to the degree that we choose to cling to ANY external conditions as the basis for our happiness. That old cliché that it’s an inside job, in this case, couldn’t be any closer to the mark.
And while, for example, it’s perfectly alright to PREFER to have some “icing” (that’s what I call romantic love) on the cake of our primary relationship with all of Life, as long as we accept that icing tends to change over time and come and go. So, it helps to keep in mind what the Buddha said: “The Great Way (i.e., Nirvana) is easy for one who has no preferences.”
Think about this from Ram Dass:
“Ancient Tantra approaches the Divine through awareness, sensuality, and pleasure. Tantra teaches us that all pleasures that we experience are a reflection of a higher Divine pleasure—and through these pleasures, the Divine can be experienced here and now, in the body, while we are alive in the daily reality. By becoming fully present to our self and to our lover with our mind, heart, body, and all our senses, we experience our self, our lover, and the world as living Divine creations
In other words, according to the most ancient Tantric teachings from India, all we need to awaken to our true nature of being in heaven all the time is to utilize our senses, emotions and awareness as vehicles on our spiritual path.
For more: Spiritual Practices Reading List (Scroll down for a list of 112 Tantric practices for different personality types.)
Because the physical plane is the only plane of existence with physical senses, as simplistic as that sounds, if we don’t fully make the most of our senses for the pleasure, joy and bliss they bring us, you can be sure that when we drop our bodies we’ll experience great regret and nostalgia for all we missed out on, which keeps us ever more firmly on the karmic wheel of rebirth.
For those of us who have been karmically lucky enough to be able to manifest any of the following: a loving relationship with a mate, a beautiful home, good health and/or work we find fulfilling—and STILL focus on the glass as being half-empty, we can be sure that we’re incurring karmic poo-poo for our ingratitude.
But now, especially through the Fall, we have some major transits applying pressure to get with the program, spiritually speaking. This includes the ongoing retrogrades of Pluto and Saturn with the karmic South Node, a mega-intense eclipse season coming up in July, and Uranus in Taurus going RX in August.
So, you can bet that if we don’t do some work now on letting go of our self-limiting and self-defeating “IF ONLYS” as well as cultivating an attitude of gratitude for ALL we have been given—like our senses—to enjoy being in heaven, the Universe (via the conduit or delivery system of the major planetary energies) will assist and encourage us to get whatever lessons are required to help us release our death-grip on our “IF ONLYS” in ways that nothing lesser could get our full attention.
One of the most useful teachings I’ve found when I catch myself nitpicking about my personal reality and sabotaging my capacity for joy in Being is from “THE WORK” by Byron Katie. Here’s a synopsis from her website:
“All the suffering that goes on inside our minds is not reality, says Byron Katie. It’s just a story we torture ourselves with. She has a simple, completely replicable system for freeing ourselves of the thoughts that make us suffer. (i.e., our IF ONLYS)
All war begins on paper,’ she explains. You write down your stressful thoughts, and then ask yourself the following four questions:
Question 1: Is it true?
This question can change your life. Be still and ask yourself if the thought you wrote down is true.
Question 2: Can you absolutely know it’s true?
This is another opportunity to open your mind and to go deeper into the unknown, to find the answers that live beneath what we think we know.
Question 3: How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought?
With this question, you begin to notice internal cause and effect. You can see that when you believe the thought, there is a disturbance that can range from mild discomfort to fear or panic. What do you feel? How do you treat the person (or the situation) you’ve written about, how do you treat yourself, when you believe that thought? Make a list, and be specific.
Question 4: Who would you be without the thought?
Imagine yourself in the presence of that person (or in that situation), without believing the thought. How would your life be different if you didn’t have the ability to even think the stressful thought? How would you feel? Which do you prefer—life with or without the thought? Which feels kinder, more peaceful?
Turn the thought around:
The “turnaround” gives you an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you believe. Once you have found one or more turnarounds to your original statement, you are invited to find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true in your life.”
In closing, wishing us all a magical Summer of enjoying Life whole-heartedly with no pre-conditions and with just enough tsuris, agitata and trouble in Shangri-La to keep us on our toes. Or, as my favorite Dzogchen teacher says:
“Without this ‘wearying world’ we cannot find enlightenment. Without the responses we would be bereft of the fabulous friction which illuminates our Buddha nature.”
For more: The Wisdom of Dzogchen
In Love with Leela,
J O A N
“I have a large seashell collection which I keep scattered on beaches all over the world.” Steven Wright
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