Choosing Supportive Thoughts

I was recently asked this question by a dear friend: “Carl can you share your thoughts on choosing thoughts that support ‘us’ and who is that chooser?”

I must admit that my response is somewhat disjointed but I think it does get to the point I am trying to make.  Here is my response and by all means let me know your thoughts.  This is a most important question to any seeker who moves through life “chopping wood and carrying water.”

An obvious response to such a question is to choose thoughts that are upbeat and positive and in a lot of new age thought, with emphasis on the Law of attraction, we are taught to choose only good thoughts and to even make judgments about how things are going by the way we think and feel about them.  The fundamental problem with this idea of “choosing,” this or that, is that we give ourselves over to forces that somehow have control of our life experiences whether they be good or bad as we judge them.  I have often said that “experiencing life from the standpoint of “how you feel” about something is not a realistic nor a good formula for life” simply because life is a “full on” mystery and we have no control over the events that are occurring, the people who cross our paths or circumstances we find ourselves in at any given time.

What we must unlearn is that we can somehow “think” our way to a so called “abundant” life.  Any thought is likely to be against this because we are all taught that thinking is the only way to climb out of any “bad” situation we find ourselves in or the converse of this which is to think our way into maintaining the “good” situation we find ourselves in.  Most New Age teachers go so far as to tell us that they can take us out of any adverse situation by simply following the formula they themselves have experienced even though their unique experience can never be yours or my experience no matter how hard we put our mind (thoughts) to it.

I have struggled with this question for many, many years and always come back to the saying that “we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”  In other words, “WE” are not these bodies (which includes the mind and all its thoughts) so we need not take anything in our experience too seriously because we already are spiritual.  I say we are more than the gods we create in our minds to subject ourselves too. So what thoughts support this?  That really lies at the heart of the question and what we might think supports this likely does not.

At first blush we might look at the words of Paul the apostle who encouraged us to seek after things such as, “…whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.  These are all things we would identify as “good” things to seek after and think about but there is a subtlety that is very misleading.  All these things require a judgment which is the tool of ego to disassemble anything going on in life, e.g., this is good and this is bad.  The ego always picks a side and puts all the arguments in front of it to divide from those who see “good or bad” in a completely different way.

Right and wrong is the ultimate tool of distraction and ego plays this well.  Can you see this?  It would have been just as effective for Paul to have said “whatever things are not pure, not virtuous, not lovely, etc., and you could not have wound up with a greater mess than we currently have amongst humans in the world.  We are nuts with rightness and wrongness.   So what should we think if “thinking” is the nature of the human and especially what do we think that supports us?

The only answer I have found satisfactory to me is to be contrary to what the mind thinks.  That is when the mind wants to judge, don’t judge.  When the mind wants to declare something good, erase the thought. When the mind wants to uphold a particular view accept the “other” view instead.  Mind wants you to hold to an idea of good or bad; don’t do either.  Another way to say it might be “seek not to be happy but seek to find happiness in those things that, otherwise, make you unhappy.”  If you can get to this type of non-judgment and acceptance of what was once judged good or bad everything begins to “be” okay.  That is, happiness, joy and all the other things we endlessly seek resonate within as a natural condition of our non-judgments.  The mind leads away from happiness; it takes us “too” things that are supposed to make us happy but either don’t, or are very short lived.

Here is an example of a contrary thought that goes against a primary tenet of many of our judgments that says simply; “you deserve to be happy.”  Well, “no you don’t!   No one deserves to be happy. In fact no one deserves a life different from the one they are living.  Do you see that this puts unnecessary requirements on something that is simply our nature when we determine that nothing we can do, say, think or believe can make us happy.  Be happy…period.

Ultimately, you are probably gathering that I take the position that no thought is a good thought.  Ego never has a thought that does not contain the motive that I am right and you are wrong and if we were all honest with ourselves we would recognize our own complicity with this greatest of all egoic tools.  This is why I am such an advocate of limiting our thoughts.  I know this doesn’t answer the question but outside of accepting “what is” without any judgment whatsoever, can I come up with thoughts that support us.  In fact, you could say, the less we think about thoughts that support us the more likely we are to get to know “us,” meaning YOU that lies beneath the you that is merely the “thought” of you.

This leads to the second part of the question which is who is the chooser of the thoughts?  This question for me is a bit easier to answer.  My response is:  “The chooser isn’t choosing the thoughts; the chooser is experiencing the thoughts the human is experiencing and is completely unattached to any thought, thought.”  In other words, only humans react to “human thought.”

Ultimately, all I’ve got is “the thoughts that support us are the thoughts not thought.”  Silence is always the ultimate support for in “stillness, god is known” and being face to face with that which YOU are requires no description or definition of any mind based thought.  In fact, no mind could possibly conjure a description that came close to such knowing, even if the mind was working at one hundred percent.  The most thoughtful thought is the thought that contains no judgment and that pretty much negates any thought.  Don’t judge; now there’s a thought!

No Failures in Life

Another great question on my website: www.spiritual-intuition.com by an anonymous individual inquiring about the metaphor of the “mustard seed and the mustard tree.”   Like many things I comment on, my response is likely going to be “off” from what most of us have been told the story represents. Still, I share the question and my answer here and appreciate any thoughts or comments you wish to share:

Here is the question:  After reading your books, the parable of the mustard seed and the tree has come into my awareness in a profound, unexplainable way. I’ve come to “know” that the seed and the tree are the exact same thing. The love that we may have thought of as only a small, insignificant seed is indeed, exactly the same as the magnificent towering tree. I somehow understood this about my mother, my father and others recently. It seems unreasonable, yet that small seed that seemed so small and nearly insignificant, was really a huge unending love to and from them. Somehow, in a mysterious and inexplicable way that love was the same. So beautiful, so expanding, full and gigantic!!! My question or thought as it may be per your suggestions: “The mystery cannot be explained, just enjoy it.” Yes. It is completely unexplainable. Question: Can anyone understand this? Do you?

My response:  Thank you for sharing and thank you for reading the books. I am so honored and grateful.

It is difficult to understand this in an intellectual way and even more difficult to say it without adding to the confusion. It is interesting that most “spiritually seeking” people seem to get the statement that “we are spiritual beings having a human experience” but live as though the very opposite is true.

We, as humans, have been conditioned so thoroughly that we are somehow “less than” and must work our entire lives to be able to “qualify” for some godly dimension that, even still, doesn’t quite get to the highest level and never can. We call ourselves sinners and unworthy when in fact we are greater than any imaginary “being,” somewhere in yonder heavens, that our puny little minds completely make up.

This was, and is, the message of the seed and the tree. We can’t possibly imagine that all that the tree is could possibly reside in a tiny seed and so we surround the simple beauty of the message with the words and formula’s that allow the seed to eventually become the tree. We say such things as nourish and feed the tree, water it, prune it and care for it and it will grow into something it could not be otherwise. The metaphors themselves are indicative of the way we have all been conditioned and this conditioning carries into every aspect of our lives. Right and wrong breed in this environment as well as judgment, dissension and suffering.

And yet in a simple example of “all that is,” e.g., the seed, we get the truth of “all that is.” That is, “the seed itself.” I have often said that “We cannot fail at life” and we really cannot. Whether the seed becomes a tree or lies dormant in the ground it will always contain the vastness of the tree. Our Earth experience is not a school; it is not a training ground for something that lies beyond it. All that “is” already is.

Now, to the question. Do I understand this? All I can say is yes, but only to the limits of what my mind can conceive making the answer no in strictly human or “mind based” terms and that would be the case with anyone claiming to understand. I used to think that I “knew” a lot but now the only thing I know with absolute certainty is that “I am not this body.” I will add that the mind, which, is nothing more than the operating system for this body gets this but is always at work doing what human minds do and that is pull on us relentlessly and convince us that we cannot be greater than something it has created to be the greatest of all. Mind drives us to judge and compare and if it can be successful (it really is successful by the way) it keeps us buried in the noise of argument and rightness and wrongness.

The pull of the world is relentless, even to those who seem to have climbed above it. “Do I understand?” Not in terms that I could ever express, but in terms that are inexpressible; absolutely!

Thanks again for the question and while my response may seem a bit cryptic, human language is remiss to adequately express such things and do them any justice. At best I can point to things the human mind understands and equate it to something that is otherwise impossible to describe. I can’t describe to you what it is to have something leave the body and retain a full awareness that the body it left, is not what you think the body is or what we really are. I know this is confusing but I don’t know such words nor do I know anyone who does. I can say that that awareness never leaves me regardless of the workings of the mind to convince me otherwise. It is wondrous beyond description. That’s all I’ve got.

I wish everyone could experience such a thing. All my love and best,

Carl

Your Hands

Several days ago I was approached by a woman on my website: http://www.spiritual-intuition.com with a question that I have tossed around in my ponderings for a long, long time and which I feel is important for anyone who is seeking to become more aware of the otherness we all seem to know exists beyond our three dimensional reality.  I share the question and my answer here:

Question:

“The greatest difference between the power of intention and caring is that while caring attaches us to illusory outcomes we have accepted as important, intention is detached from any conception of caring.”

Your quote. Actually, I am EXTREMELY inspired by this . . . because “caring” doesn’t mean very much in the world of “doing.” I have thought about this tremendously because of what I do for a living and YES! “intention” is really what is the driving force behind “being.” It is interesting in that I work with people every day and caring is . . . nice . . . it is intention that creates all the little miracles. It isn’t belief, it isn’t faith it is intent. My question is: I find that my heart has love for them. I can’t DECIDE what is happening but INTENTION works with the healing. When they leave I send them off with “Courage Mon Brav.”. Does caring have a place where there is intention? Is “caring” unlike “loving” because love has no attachments where by definition “caring” does?

My response:

Cheryl,

Thank you for your question and sharing an example of intention. I love how you say that “it is intention that creates all the little miracles.” How poignant your expression and how interesting your detection of this in your practice.

Your question is one that I ponder quite often because “caring” is such a big part of the landscape of modern living and weaves itself into virtually every aspect of our dealings with other humans. In extreme cases of “caring”, aggressive action is often sanctioned because of it and virtually all forms of right or wrong can be justified under the umbrella of caring or, for that matter, love.

Intention, as you mention, has no focus and yet it does, as well, yet we cannot know what that focus is. We simply know that it is and without the discussion that it is this or that, we sense the power of it when it is working. Many times you might hear people say things like “I’m not sure what that was but I could feel some force or power”, or “I just knew what to do and did it without question or concern.” You experience this in your work. Intention is there and when we give ourselves to this power it becomes apparent that we, too, are the power. It is our essence and we are its.

For me love and caring are completely human, and mind based. We hear a lot these days the admonition to “love unconditionally,” however, if people were completely honest they could see that the propensity to love unconditionally is not possible if for no other reason than they have to say it is. Love and caring show up most powerfully in our own dependence which most of us will never admit. That is, our own need to look to others for any kind of approval. “You don’t care” or “you don’t love me” are examples of the outward expressions of this dependence. Perhaps another way to put this is to say that unconditional love or caring requires no dependence on “me” to notice it. Very hard to do.

The roots of caring and love are formed in the past, whereas, intention is always something that plays out in the present. Broken down, caring is a product of something that does not exist while intention is always at play in “what is” right now and only right now. Intention has no power in the past or in the future. Your example of “miracles happening,” in your own practice, occur while you and you alone are focused on anything but your caring. Miracles, as you are experiencing, don’t wait to happen. They just happen!

On the other hand it is difficult to sustain any action based on something that does not exist in present time and yet we see over and over those who try to do so and they’re “burning out” long before reaching the original objective of their caring. We use words like hope and faith to motivate our caring and watch the collapse of those whose actions seeded great good under the pretense that “caring” in any form could possibly sustain any action long term. Caring has to have the attachment to an idea or outcome that originated sometime long before this moment. It is completely unsustainable and it is always, always, always attached to “conditions.” Intention knows no conditions.

Caring is the strongest cord of ego and virtually unbreakable. It is the justifier of our causes and the power behind judgments of ourselves and others. It is full of conditions and rules. Intention is devoid of description and so just is; it is a force without reckoning of any kind. Intention supersedes loving and caring and I have often used the term “compassion” synonymously with intention. Both are unexplainable. It might be said that intention and compassion are the non-human forms of love and caring but having said that, it is a weak comparison. Neither intention nor compassion carries any meaning in human terms and yet those who know them, “know them.”

In conclusion, and I suppose the real answer to your question, is to say to you, send them away with both your love and your caring. The compassionate work has been done; intention has played out and while they may never know what it was, they will have felt it through your hands. Your hands, Cheryl; hands that have the amazing ability to touch reality and heal the world.

Again thank you so much for this.  All my love,

Carl

My Father Al; A Living Tribute

It may seem a bit odd to pay tribute to another human in the form of an obituary but what good are expressions about someone if they, for whom they are written, are unable to hear and know the depth of feeling a Son can have for his Father.

My Father Al came into my life after I had ruled out all adult humans as trustworthy and protective of those they were charged with caring for. My real father had left without having any contact and my life as I knew it then was forever over. I never even gave my Father Al a chance to be a friend let alone a father to whom I would look up to. He was just another Man, human if you will, who like so many others would find ways to hurt, abandon and abuse me and make my life a hell that would haunt me endlessly. I kept him at a distance but I never stopped observing his quiet, steady ways. Beyond that I never gave him much thought. He was not much more than an inconvenient intruder in my own already defective life.

As I grew older, I began to take upon myself, with great pride, the idea that having lost my biological father, I could pick and choose the men who passed through my life and take from them characteristics I admired and wanted to emulate. I prided myself on the great variety of virtues I was able to draw upon as well as the men from whom I would draw them. I threw my admiration at certain men from many walks of life and eagerly observed and adopted characteristics I felt were necessary to my own character building. Things like integrity, honesty, hard work, devotion to family, self-sacrifice, humor and love of life. As I sought these things, always, Al was in the background.

One rarely knows the “hows” of our experiences. Most of us come to a place in our lives where our own retrospection looks back on “what changed” or on “what just happened” and in silence we marvel at what we missed for so long. For me, like John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim” I travelled a long and desperate road only to circle around back to where I had started. In a moment of stark recognition I had made my way back to my original home and to that place where in my youth I had judged so harshly. The journey took me in countless directions and all that I ever sought was always right there where I had begun. The greatest of all men was there in my own backyard. He had not changed but I had. I now had eyes that could see that where I began, and where I had ended was at his feet. And in a silent moment of recognition, at one so great, I am humbled in his presence.

The light has never shined so bright as when I have been with him. My Father Al was everything I ever sought and even with the passage of time being so long before my own recognition I feel as though I have never “not” known. This is because of Him, as well. In all my travels he has never judged. He has loved as only a father could and I have felt that love and it is inexpressible. What was once the “least” to me, is the greatest!

My Father Al has gone home to a place we all know and from whence we have all come. He is with his “greatest of all possessions,” as he referred to my Mother, whom he adored every moment of his life. Another great quality of the man! We are forever drawn to the place he now enjoys but more importantly we are drawn to him. Like a fortress or a stand of trees or the inexorable pull of the moon upon the waters he will always be the force that draws us ever closer to eternity. The light in a dark place, never looking back but always looking forward. He is our guide, a sentinel, not guarding the way but protecting us along the way.

My Father holds many places in our hearts. To some he is “Al,” while to others he is “Dad,” while to some he is “Brother Yates” or “Grandpa” or just “Yates.” Some even know him as “Handsome.” Whatever the name we knew him as or the description of him we hold we are all united in our love for him and he always reciprocated by loving us. Not in grand and showy ways but quietly, completely and most of all purely.

Rest well my Father and know that in this place we celebrate the life of one so good we are all humbled to have been a part of the vast universe you created. Go in peace and know that we all love you.

I love you. God bless you my sweet Dad.

Your Son,

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Awesome Man!

Carl