Grace v. Karma

devil_angel440x3001No, Grace v. Karma is not the name of a new spiritually oriented courtroom dram-edy on TV about two angels incarnated as attorneys navigating the touchy issue of Grace and forgiveness vs. Karma and punishment (though it would make a great new show and I think I’ll start writing a pilot right away).

I saw this very interesting video recently about the fall of the Angel Lucifer because he didn’t agree with God about the new plan of Grace through the Christ Consciousness.  I was planning on showing the clip here but interestingly, I can no longer find the video anywhere – which is good, because it was really only the main concept that interests me, so I will simply recap.

In the video they talk about these things very matter-of-factly, as if they are simply giving a history lesson of what happened in the Angelic realms in times primordial.  I don’t really know if all these things can be considered historically accurate.  I think when we are talking about multi-dimensional Divine history it is entirely possible that more than one thing was happening at once and to say something might be true doesn’t mean another account is untrue.  Add to that the fact that our own perceptions and understandings of these things can be somewhat limited and our verbal expressions are even more limited.  All this to say that I’m not 100% convinced that the account they gave went down exactly as it was spoken, like characters with lines in a most epic movie, but I do believe there were some very interesting concepts worth contemplating.

arts-graphics-2008_1183116aBasically, what they explained was that when the worlds and the universe was formed and Lucifer was still one of the “good guys,” he was given dominion over the earth and humanity.  The plan for humanity’s evolution on earth was more along the lines of karma – learning your lessons by cause and effect, so if you kill 8 people in one lifetime you have to come back and get killed 8 times to balance that out before you can progress.  But pretty soon (whatever that means in Eternal time?), God figured out that this was going to take forever (again, quite funny given that God exists outside of time!), and so he decided to change the plan from karma to GRACE.  So, God sent the Christ Consciousness (in the form of Christ, Krishna, Buddha etc) to earth to remind all us silly souls running around taking an eye for an eye that karma was not such a great idea.  Apparently, Lucifer didn’t like this so he rebelled and well, the rest is what they call “history” if you can call mythic biblical angelic/demonic events history.

So – God overrode the law of karma with the law of Grace!  The Christ Consciousness was sent here to free us from karma, from sin, from error and ignorance.

Yet I know that much of religion still has a lot to do with the tension between Karma and Grace.  On the one hand is Sin, struggle, guilt, redemption, repentance and doing the right religious rituals to somehow earn our salvation.  On the other hand is GRACE – the complete and absolute love from God that says, there are NO rules, there is NO sin, you don’t need to do anything except receive the Grace of God!

I sometimes think, ok, if you really believe that Christ died for our sins, then BE forgiven!  Stop feeling bad or guilty and receive the Grace (of course, in all humility, this is easier said than done).  To quote from my Valentine, Richard Rohr, “People get trapped in chains of guilt and low self-esteem, what they judge to be poor performance and less than perfect attendance. As if the goal of religion is “attendance” at an occasional ritual instead of constant participation in an Eternal Mystery!”

So – one could say that Grace is part of the Eternal Mystery.  It is hard to understand that God’s Grace is available to anyone at all times for no reason whatsoever.  But that is the definition of Grace, isn’t it?

247987_349278608498234_1130549657_nAt one point, I was told repeatedly that my Grace had “run out.”  That somehow my bad karma had caused my grace to dry up, I couldn’t have any more because I had, in her opinion, been a bad girl.  At the time I kind of accepted that and tried to improve myself and “earn” more grace again – but now I realize that statement was not only not true in my case, it is NEVER true in any case – it is FUNDAMENTALLY false.  It is completely contrary to the very definition of Grace!

If I feel bad about myself, if I believe someone else telling me I am not worthy, if I deprive myself of the experience of Grace that is available to me at all times, then that is my own doing.  Likewise, if a person is angry and hateful and destructive, they probably won’t experience a lot of Grace, but that has nothing to do with their deservability – it has to do with their focus.

Grace has nothing to do with karma or sin.  That’s the whole point!  Grace transcends karma.  Grace overrides and overrules karma.  Grace trumps karma.  Grace extinguishes karma.  Grace kicks karma’s butt.  To quote Richard Rohr again:  “Divine Love is stronger than hell, death, or sin. In the end, grace wins!”

Grace is so beyond karma that there isn’t really any “versus” – Grace doesn’t even struggle with karma at all – it just shines its glorious light of infinite love and radiance endlessly through the whole universe as if karma doesn’t even exist.

bluepearlocean2One night, many years ago, as I was walking up from the temple after an evening gathering of chanting and meditation, I stopped to look up at the stars.  What I “saw” with my inner eye was God’s Grace showering down upon the whole earth – like a warm golden light of luminous love, peace and absolute good that was just part of the fabric of the universe, constantly showering down upon us, radiating through our very lives even if we don’t notice.  And now I somehow know that this wasn’t just a moment of Grace I happened to witness – it is ALWAYS happening.  Grace is inside us all and inside all of life, the entire universe!  All we have to do is realize it.

And I guess that is the tricky part – realizing it.  That is where the illusion of karma comes in, the illusion of our stories, our guilt or lack of self-worth, what falsehoods we believe about ourselves or about God.  I guess that is where the repentance, the prayer, the ritual and the spiritual practice comes in.  That is where it’s important to be able to discern – wait, my Grace has not run out – that is impossible!

It also has to do with our judgment of others, our use of karma to blame and justify the suffering of others and to withhold the compassion that would flow naturally from our hearts if we were filled with Grace. We can’t really take the goodies of the Grace for ourselves without sharing them with everyone.  Grace doesn’t work that way.  So, I guess in order to live in Grace we must 1) realize that we deserve to receive God’s Grace for no reason at all and 2) realize that is true for all of us.  Except that there are no “musts” when it comes to Grace.  Grace is a Mystery.  So, forget about everything I just said and just experience the Grace.

God’s Grace is here, it’s free, it’s radiant and embedded in the very fabric of the universe for us to simply BE.

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Don’t Think Green OR the Secret to Immortality

RadiallyDon’t think green.

Did it work?  Or did your mind immediately flash on the color green even though you specifically told it not to?

The thing is, it flashed on green specifically because you told it not to.  It’s not being rebellious.  Your mind is not being a teenager or a terrible two.  It would have also flashed on green if you had asked it very nicely, “Please think green.”

The subconscious mind does not understand negatives.  It only hears whatever it is the words ARE – i.e. green.  That is why, if you’re trying to calm yourself down saying “Don’t be afraid, don’t freak out,” your subconscious hears “be afraid, freak out.”  That is why in those situations it’s better to use positive language, such as “Just relax, breathe.”  Can you feel how much more effective that is?  Even reading the words feels more relaxing.

It’s kind of like the ads I put on my blog a few weeks ago.  There is a computer program that is designed to automatically detect reoccurring words and place ads that are similar to the content of the blog, so that the ads might be of interest to the people reading the blog.  Makes sense.  However, it’s kind of like the subconscious mind.  Somewhere there is a computer brain that is processing the words but not understanding negatives, satire or even unity.  I noticed once I posted about how engagement rings are a scam, ads for brilliant-earth-antiquediamond rings started popping up.  That is ok, they are for some earth friendly jewelry company, not the evil De Beers, and at least they have pretty pictures.  But even worse, when I first put the ads on, the program started picking up on all the references to Jesus, Christianity and Islam and there were all these ads about converting to one religion or another and about how this prophet or that savior is the only way.  This is the exact opposite of what I stand for and what I write about!  So, I had to go in and block those ads, in a sense reprogramming the subconscious computer brain to not associate religious words with religious division.

This is what we need to do with our own minds.  It is, however, a little more tricky.  It’s not as easy as just clicking on the “block” button.  But this is where we train ourselves to focus on what we DO want, instead of what we DON’T want.  I.e. – if wanting to manifest a new job, make a list of characteristics you want in the job, like ‘flexible hours, good benefits, at least X/hour’ etc.  If you make a list of what you don’t want, like ‘no jerk for a boss, no crappy pay, no awful hours’ then you’re more likely to get a job with at least some of those crappy characteristics.

This is the basis of such personal development systems as Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), Est and the Forum.  Big name self-help guru Tony Robbins uses elements of NLP in his success seminars and the practice of affirmations and positive thinking have seeped into our popular culture.  And there is something to be said for being conscious of how we use our words and what it points to in our subconscious mind.  However, there is more to it than just words.

NLP-BubblesIn general, I believe that everything should be done in moderation, even moderation.  And NLP can get a little extreme at times.  I’ve had friends get so into it that they tried to eradicate ALL “negative” words from their speech.  They would twist and turn and speak in all kinds of round about ways simply to avoid saying the word “not.”  Back in my Asheville days I worked at a massage school and one day when I answered the phone, it was one of the assistant instructors essentially calling in sick – but instead of saying he wasn’t feeling well and he would not be coming in to work he said “I am in the process of healing and I am choosing other than to come to work today.”  That’s just silly.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with positive language, NLP or affirmations is that the only reason we are using words at all is to relate to the FEELING we have inside.  It is the FEELING of our hearts that creates our reality – that creates us being happy or sad or confident or insecure or scared or relaxed.  The words themselves don’t mean anything without the feeling behind them.  You can use all the positive words you want but if you still feel negative and grumpy inside, you won’t create a positive outcome. Anyone who has written affirmations on the mirror to no avail knows that.

I saw this Gregg Braden video (which I have on my Meditation and World Peace page) where he talked about a friend that had all these post-it notes all over his house saying “I am attracting a wonderful loving woman into my life” and the like.  He asked his friend if he was really attracting a wonderful woman and his friend immediately responded “Of course not, no wonderful woman would want to be with me.”  So, even though he had all the words plastered all over his house and even in his car, his underlying feeling about himself had not changed.

In fact, this is how affirmations can misfire.  People think that simply by putting up post-it’s they can change, but what they don’t realize is sometimes those post-it’s just get the subconscious mind to sass-mouth the post-it and it aggravates the negative feeling even more.  Every time that guy looks at his post-it’s about a wonderful woman, instead of it ee85e279ff1a413cf53822c0804ac0c9having the intended effect, his subconscious mind says “are you kidding? she would never be with someone like you,” magnifying his negative subconscious feelings and working against him.  Instead of using post-it’s with words on them, it is much more useful have post-it’s reminding you to sit for a few minutes and focus on the FEELING you want to create.  Instead of calling in and saying you are choosing other than to come into work today, just call in sick like a normal person and then spend some time resting in bed focusing on the feeling of being healthy.

Before we get too nit-picky about what words we use and run around yelling “cancel clear!” every time we say a negative word, as if it’s a cosmic delete button to ward off accidental manifestations of “not,” just breath and remember it’s more about the state of our feeling self.  Our manifestation consciousness is not so much centered in our verbal mind, it is centered in our feeling heart.

Now, here is where we get to the Secret of Immortality.  I know you’ve been waiting for that.

The Tom Robbins book ‘Jitterbug Perfume’ is about all manner of people searching for the Secret to Immortality.  Some people believe it is in some extraordinary combination of scents to be found in a blue perfume bottle embossed with the image of a goat-horned god.  There are others in the book, however, that believe the Secret to Immortality lies in completely eradicating any and all words or idioms involving death or dying in our language.  These people believe that every time we say “I was scared to death” or “that is so funny it just kills me” that we are creating our own eventual demise.  They are part of a society that is aiming to neuro-linguistically re-program our biology from death itself.

Back to Godhead - Volume 12, Number 10 - 1977

Journey of the Soul through life, death and reincarnation.

However, I posit that the Secret to Immortality is not in NLP or ‘never say die,’ it is in FEELING that you are an eternal soul.  Immortality is not only saying the words “I am a soul” or even believing that you are a soul who will live forever.  Those are important steps.  Immortality is in feeling that you are an eternal soul.  It is about internally identifying as a soul and experiencing your every day life with that knowingness as the ground of your being.  Immortality is in even your subconscious mind knowing and accepting that your consciousness is timeless.

As an example, if someone were to ask me, ‘have you ever been to Peru?,’  I would think – not with this body in this lifetime, but I’m sure I’ve been there at some point.  The “I” is my soul.  Of course, I’m not obnoxious and I simply reply like a normal person, answering the question in the way it was intended – ‘No, I have not been to Peru.’  The person wasn’t asking for a treatise on immortality and past life remembrances.  They just want to tell me about a cool hotel they discovered in case I ever go there.

So, whether you are wanting to get over a cold, manifest a wonderful woman or discover the Secret to Immortality – remember that you can use positive language, verbal reminders and post-it notes, but the essential part is in how you feel.  Do you feel that your immune system is strong and capable of healing your body quickly?  Do you feel that you are a good loving person who deserves to have a wonderful loving woman in your life?  Do you feel that you are an eternal soul and that the consciousness of all time is available to you here and now?

eternal soul portraitAnd as in all things, it’s important to remember that Divine Grace supersedes it all.  If you don’t want to worry too much about what words you use or what your subconscious mind is doing – just pray for Grace.  No matter what you are wanting to manifest, not enough can be said for praying with full feeling in humility and adoration. Loving God will take care of most things.