TAKING OWNERSHIP OF YOUR LIFE
Welcome to 10 Secrets to Success and Inner Peace inspired by Dr. Wayne Dyer's book of the same name - Ten tangible ideas for living in harmony with Universal Principles and Divine Law. Ten attitudes and approaches to life for aligning our consciousness (that is our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, attitudes and ACTIONS) with Spiritual Truth . . . . .
So far in this series:
We've talked about having a mind that is open at the top (Secret 1).
We've looked at the wisdom of not dying with our music still in us (Secret 2).
We've explained why we can't give away what we don't have (3).
We've embraced the idea of embracing who we really are through the silence (4).
We've accepted that we can give up our personal history (5); and
We've understood that we can't . . . can't WHAT? Can't remember? It was just last week! We can't solve a problem with the mind that created it (6).a
This stuff is simple and yet it's tough - all the sacred cows are dropping by the wayside. You may even feel like Dyer and I are meddling in your life IN PLACES WE DON'T BELONG! Such as the young man who visited his priest for confession after being absent from it for a long time . . .
The priest had finished hearing the young man's confession and was considering the man's penitence. "Are you sure you're going to try to set aside all sin?" "Yes, Father, I certainly am going to try," replied the man. "In fact, I hereby resolve to double my efforts."
"And you're going to attend mass regularly, my son?" the priest went on. "Yes, Father, I realize I have strayed. I shall both worship and confess every week."
"And how about your debts and all those people you have cheated?" inquired the priest. "Now just a minute, Father," said the man. "Now you're talking business, not religion."
And if you think we've meddled so far, wait until today!
But first, let me give you a gift from the Universe to prepare you for the hit you are going to take.
Just close your eyes and imagine God telling you to
Think of someone very, very special to you.
Now feel yourself bursting with love for them.
Now imagine God telling you to mentally shower, drench, and soak them in that love.
Now imagine God telling you to mentally shower, drench, and soak yourself, in God's love.
In this moment, drenched in God's love, you have the ears to hear. So open your eyes, and we will continue.
1. THERE ARE NO JUSTIFIED RESENTMENTS
1. There are No Justified Resentments
So, how are we going to meddle today? With the next two "secrets" according to Dyer. The first one for the morning is Secret 7 -- entitled "There are No Justified Resentments!"
"But wait a minute," you might be thinking. "I have the right to be upset because of the way I've been treated. I have a right to be angry, hurt, depressed, sad and resentful! If you only knew what I have been through, if you only knew how I have been treated, you would understand!"
Well you may have a right, but avoiding such thinking found its way on Dyer's list of top ten secrets for living a life of inner peace, success and happiness, so let's explore it!
He uses as an analogy for this secret the TV program Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Here's how it works: If a contestant answers 15 multiple choice questions correctly - he or she wins $1 million. Starting with a $100 question, the person in the "hot seat" answers five questions. Each time a question is answered correctly, the money doubles, so in 5 questions they reach the $1, 000 level. If the contestant doesn't answer all 5 questions correctly, he or she leaves with nothing. But, if the contestant does answer all 5 correctly, the $1,000 is guaranteed no matter what else happens.
Then, the next 5 questions are more difficult. If the contestant answers the next five questions correctly, and by doubling the amount every time, he/she reaches the $32,000 level. If this level is reached, then the $32,000 is the guaranteed prize no matter what else happens.
And finally, there are five more increasingly difficult questions which, if answered correctly, will result in $1 million.
So, there are three crucial levels to attain: The $1,000 level achieved by answering 5 relatively simply questions; the $32,000 level, which involves five increasingly difficult questions, and then the grand finale -- $1 million if the next five, much more difficult, questions are answered.
We might say that these levels are analogous to the levels we must achieve in order to reach what we'll call a "million dollar" level of awareness -- the level of spiritual awareness where resentments cannot live, but where success and inner peace abide. Let's look at the three levels.
$1,000 Level of Awareness
The $1,000 level is one in which we learn to leave blame behind - if we don't learn this - we go home with nothing.
What does relinquishing blame mean? It means never assigning responsibility to another for what we are experiencing - it means that we are willing to say "I may not understand why I have this illness OR why I had this accident OR why this happened to me OR why you're being such a jerk! OR why whatever - but I'm willing to take full responsibility for my life and its outcomes."
Why do this? It seems obvious, but worth discussing for a moment. When we take responsibility for the events in our lives - we then can take responsibility for changing them - or learning from them - and moving on.
If we place blame one another for what is happening, then we have to wait for them to change before we can recover - or move ahead.
For example, if your behavior makes me feel threatened in some way - or if your behavior gives me a migraine headache - then you have to change before I can feel safe - or you have to change before my headache goes away - and as much as I would like to think that you will change -- that's unlikely to happen.
So at the $1,000 level - blame has to go. If it doesn't, two things will happen:
(1) We go home with nothing; and (2) we are unable to go to the next level.
The $1,000 Level of Awareness leading to success and inner peace is to let go of blame! If you can do EVEN this, you will take away a prize. But if you want to go for the bigger prize, shoot for the next level.
$32,000 Level of Awareness
The $32,000 level is the level at which we live with the idea that I will not be resentful about anything and I will forgive everything.
Let me say that again -- it's important: The $32,000 level is the level at which we live with the idea that I will not be resentful about anything and I will forgive everything.
The foundation of virtually all spiritual practice is the concept of forgiveness, and this concept appears here at the $32,000 level. The Master Teacher, Jesus, not only taught us about forgiveness - but lived what he taught during his own agony and death.
Does all of this mean we can't have preferences and opinions? No - if we have an opinion - then we express ourselves clearly and sincerely - then we release it - let it go.
Doing the slow burn of resentment is not releasing it -
The $32,000 level requires us to forgive every single person in our lives who has ever harmed us - cheated us - or defamed us - abandoned us - etc.
Spiritually, why must we practice forgiveness? Unforgiveness and resentments are like a dam inside of us blocking the flow of the infinite energy of life.
There is an old Chinese proverb "If you're going to pursue revenge - you'd better dig two graves"b - because your resentment will destroy you.
Or, you might think of it like this. When we receive a snakebite - it's not the bite that harms - it's the poison in the venom - and unforgiveness/resentment are like the venom that pours through our systems and poisons us long after the "snake bite."
We can remove that venom by deciding to forgive and let go of the resentment -And then, we have the opportunity to move to the $1 million level.
Million Dollar Level of Awareness
We send love in some form to those who have "bitten" us.
In order to move into the highest levels of thought and being - in order to move into a realm of self-actualization and higher consciousness -
we must first relinquish all blame;
next release all resentment and forgive and
then be willing to radiate love - joy - peace - kindness - as our response to whatever comes our way.
Whew! And we thought the first two levels were a challenge!
At this level - coming from a place of love is more important than being right - so if something offends us - we choose to depersonalize it - separate ourselves from it - and send peace and love instead of "justified indignation."
There is a story told of the Buddha when one day, he was addressing his followers and a man approached him and proceeded to unleash a stream of obscenities at him. The Buddha remained silent, softly smiling at the man - which caused the verbal abuse to become even more vicious. Finally, the attacker stopped and asked the Buddha why he was unmoved by what was being said to him.
The Buddha replied with a question "If you are offered a gift and refuse to accept it - to whom does the gift belong?" "I suppose, it still belongs to the giver," the man replied.
"Well" responded the Buddha "I have declined your gift."
The Buddha refused to receive the negativity that the man was trying to give him. He refused to make it his own. He did only one thing: he sent the man love and peace! The Buddha had a million dollar consciousness.
Now for us mere mortals, this takes some doing, I'll admit -- but it is the only way that life will really work -- work at the highest level - the million dollar level.
Why, because we are the clearest channel for the expression of God when we are expressing Love. Because, what is God? God is Love and Love is God, according to Paul.
ACT AS IF
Act as If
I want to introduce the eighth secret for Success and Inner Peace with some words of wisdom expressed throughout the ages that support this secret. See if you notice a theme!
First, the ancient words of Lao-Tsu, Chinese philosopher and father of Taoism: "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."c
We are told in the Bible: "Faith without works is dead."d
The famous artist Pablo Picasso once said: "What one does is what counts and not what one has the intention of doing."e
Irish author Brendan Francis wrote: "Inspiration never goes in for a long engagement; it demands immediate marriage to action."f
There is a German proverb that says: "God gives us the nuts, but does not crack them for us."g
And finally, very wise words from a young boy when he and his friend were hurrying along in fear of being late for school. His friend said, "Oh, let's pray that we get to school on time." And our wise little boy replied,
"Good idea, but while we pray, let's run!"
All these wise words support our Eighth Secret in our series of Ten! What was the common theme running through all of these statements? Of course -- taking action.
The 8th Secret for Success and Inner Peace, I've entitled "Act as If" (using a phrase coined by psychologist William James: Act as if and it shall beh) or in Dyer's words: "Treat yourself as if you already are that which you wish to be."i
Why in the world would you do this? On the surface, it seems rather ridiculous -- perhaps even crazy! You might think, here I go meddling again!
If I'm clearly not that which I wish to be -- whether that be "wealthy" or "healthy" or "wise" - what good does it do to "pretend" that I am?
This "Secret," the Eight Secret for a Spirit-centered life and thereby a life of success and inner peace invites us to align with a fundamental tenet in New Thought: That which we have in our consciousness, we attract into our lives.
And what is consciousness? Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, attitudes AND actions! Our actions are a vital component in our consciousness.
Dyer writes that: "Our actions are how we set in motion the creative forces that lie dormant in our lives."j
Ernest Holmes once wrote: "I live today as though the words of my affirmative prayer were already accomplished facts in my experience."k
Act as if and it shall be!
Let me give you an example of a story a minister friend shared with me recently. A sad - rather frumpy and dowdy - widow came to her asking for prayer for the perfect new companion.
The widow had done what many of us in New Thought have learned to do -- she made her list of exactly what she desired in this new mate. And she presented it to her minister for the prayer to be done.
She was, however, totally unprepared for the question her minister asked her after hearing the list -- "And, what have you got to offer such a fine man?" After pondering for a while - she said she would have to give that some thought, so she left.
She returned a month later - with a different attitude - walking tall - with a spring to her step - well groomed - and with a softer look on her face - She handed the minister a gift of a loaf of freshly baked bread.
She told the minister "I'd like to make a comfortable home for my husband-to-be - and be the kind of wife he's dreaming of - so I've begun to practice!"
As you might expect it was only a very short time before she met Mr. Right - the Universe could do nothing but create that for which she had prepared. Treat yourself as if you already are that which you wish to be.
By having the courage to declare yourself as already being where you want to be and by following it with action -- you, in essence, put the Universe on notice!
This concept can be applied in any areas of life. At any moment, you can make a silent agreement between you and God - your inner power - your All-Good - to work in harmony with the forces of the Universe.
Ask yourself - how do I cooperate with the Universe in bringing about my desire - or my need?
If you desire improved health - do you present a face full of woe and pain at the start of the day - or do you give thanks for being alive and for the physical resources you do have?
If you look in the refrigerator and see less food than you'd like - Do you give thanks for what is there - and eat it with gusto - Start acting as one who will always have enough.
When you look in the mirror and see a physical appearance that doesn't meet with your approval - visualize the possibilities - and then start eating and moving as one who is vibrantly alive and health conscious.
When you look at your career or lifestyle - and what you are doing isn't as fulfilling or exciting as you'd like it to be - start taking on the actions and persona of one who is doing their Divine work.
When you look in your wallet and see less money than you think you need - Do you bless it just as the Master Teacher blessed the loaves and fishes - then fed 5,000! - Bless it and affirm that God is your source. And then follow Edwene Gaines' suggestion -- go out and do something that makes you feel abundant. Remember her almond-stuffed olive story?! Caveat - Don't spend money you don't have!
Ernest Holmes speaks a great Truth in the Science of Mind Textbook: "All the power of the universe is with you. Feel it, know it, and then act as though it were true."l
There is a great statement that we often use: "What God can do for me, God must do through me."
Think about this idea: The activity of God is expressed by providing us with unlimited good. . . . Our action, however, is the operation that completes the manifestation of God's good.
This concept is a simple one, and one that doesn't need to be discussed too much. It needs to be activated! What action could you take TODAY to get the universe operating!?
A level of success and inner peace beyond anything we have dared to imagine - can be ours when we add Secrets No. 7 and 8 to our list -- when we begin acting as if and we choose at which level we want to play the Millionaire game of life. So where do you want to play?
- Is it at the $1,000 level where you let go of blame?
- Is it at the $32,000, where you forgive and release resentment?
- Or is it at the $1 million level, where you come from a place of peace and love?
The choice is totally yours. So the BIG question of the morning is . . . . "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"
aWayne Dyer Ten Secrets for Success and Inner Peace
iWayne Dyer Ten Secrets for Success and Inner Peace
jWayne Dyer Ten Secrets for Success and Inner Peace
lErnest Holmes Science of Mind Textbook, p. 302