Choose Love

love's landscape (8) ed

Love’s Landscape, by Sajit Greene

“You can only see in one of two ways—with love or fear.” -A Course in Miracles

“Love is at the heart of all things. How you feel but reflects your decision to accept love or to reject it and choose fear. Both cannot be chosen. All feelings you label joyous or compassionate are of love. All feelings you label painful or angry are of fear…Lack of love is fear.” -A Course of Love

When I was first introduced to this idea that there are only two emotions, love or fear, I found it hard to believe. As a psychotherapist, I was immersed in a world of emotions, and there seemed to be quite a lot of them: love, fear, grief, loneliness, anger, happiness, longing, worry, guilt, shame, and on and on.

So how can there be just two emotions?

Look at it this way: As human beings, there are two basic operating systems to choose from. You can operate from the belief that you are separate (meaning you are separate from God/Higher Power and also essentially separate from everyone and everything), or you can operate from the knowledge that you exist in Union with God and all of creation. It is indeed frightening if you believe you are separate and ultimately alone in an uncertain world, housed within a vulnerable and temporary body. That’s why “separation consciousness” is also called “fear-based consciousness“. As you awaken to Unity Consciousness, you see with the eyes of love.

fear copyMost of us have been operating from separation and fear because that’s how we’ve been conditioned. Fear is the ego’s operating system. It is so deeply ingrained that we don’t even realize that the various forms of discomfort we feel are all rooted in a basic, unconscious fear. That’s why fear goes by so many other names.

Frustration, anxiety, irritation, anger, depression, hatred, judgment, attack, jealousy, guilt, blame, and shame are but different shades of fear. If you scratch the surface of any of these feelings, you will find fear at its foundation: Fear of being hurt, fear of loss, fear of not having enough, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, fear of failure, fear of death.

love or fear 3 edLove is the emotion that naturally flows from the awareness that we are eternally and seamlessly joined with All That Is. To awaken from the dream of separation is to know that you are safe in the arms of a loving Creator. You are loved, and you are LOVE itself! In Unity Consciousness, love is unconditional and it shows up as joy, peace, freedom, and spaciousness. Love is compassionate, forgiving, and creative. While fear rejects and resists, love accepts and embraces, without exception.

“Your beauty is the gathering of the atoms, the order in chaos, the silence in solitude, the grace of the cosmos. Our heart is the light of the world. We are one heart. We are one mind. One creative force gathering the atoms, establishing the order, blessing the silence, gracing the cosmos, manifesting the light of the heart. Here we live as one body, experiencing communion, the soul’s delight, rather than otherness. It is a seamless world, a tapestry where each thread is vibrant and strong. A canticle where each tone is pure and indivisible.” –A Course of Love

Now that you know that separation leads to fear and that to be in Union is to BE love and express love, which will you choose?

 

choose love crop


How I Lost God and Found My Way (Part 4)

Listen to the story of how I met Jesus (Yeshua) in a vision, in 1987, which eventually led me back to God…with a whole new understanding of God.

 


Big Compassion: The World’s Biggest Hug  

My heart feels tender as I turn a loving gaze upon some uncomfortable feelings. Anxiety. Guilt. Failure. Frustration. Oh, and did I mention anxiety? I’ve come a long way from the days when I suffered from serious depression and intense self-hatred. I’m on a pretty even keel, most days. But lately, I’m acutely aware that bits and pieces of some old patterns still remain, lingering in the shadows.

I’ve learned how to process my emotions with much more awareness, and I know the importance of being gentle with myself. I can manage my Inner Critic so she doesn’t torture me, and I’ve got a reliable set of stress-busters to call upon as needed. My spiritual practices uplift me, while time in nature keeps me grounded. These are some of the things help me stay balanced. Yet, the most powerful medicine has been the recognition of my True Nature. I’m no longer completely hooked by the idea that my body, my stories, and the feelings and thoughts that pass through me, define who I am.

Does this mean I never feel fearful, upset, or uncomfortable? No. The other day my car skidded out of control on a patch of ice. Was I scared? Yes. Even after I arrived home safely, I felt afraid. What about the next time I need to drive down my steep, windy, icy road? Should I hole up at home for the rest of the winter and avoid driving altogether?  Next in the parade of worries came the financial concerns: My insurance company balked at accepting my claim for damages to my vehicle.

Letting go of the train of thoughts skidding out of control in my head, I brought my attention down into my body. Here’s what I found: A contraction around my heart. An uncomfortable vibration in my nervous system. Then, I noticed a sense of a bigger space, in which the vibration was moving. A sense of a bigger space in which all that I typically think of as “me” was being held with compassion…Big Compassion.

IMG_1137

Seeing the distress of my personality-self through the eyes of this Big Compassion, all is accepted and allowed to be as it is. All is embraced within a larger energy field…a field of spacious awareness. All is permeated by a loving consciousness. Everything is ok. All is forgiven. It’s like a giant hug that has no arms…no boundaries or limits. That one who gives the hug with no arms, that’s my True Nature…my True Self.

I’ve discovered, in my own awakening process, that there is a natural flow of expansion and contraction. When I contract in fear or resistance, there is a temporary forgetting of who I really am. There is a condensing down that Icy Rio Hondo-1-4seems to solidify the small identity…the identity I think of  as “Sajit”…the identity tied to this body, this personality, and these fleeting emotions and thought streams. When contraction is happening, I know there is something that yet needs to be seen, and then seen-through. Contraction doesn’t mean something’s gone wrong. Contraction doesn’t call for self-flagellation. Contraction calls for the pause button.

Big Compassion is always there. When I’m able to remember to shift my attention and look through Compassion’s eyes, the contraction begins to unwind. I can relax into the safety of the arm-less hug. As I identify once more with my True Nature, expansion occurs, naturally.

It’s like breathing. It’s like the flow of the tides. BIG COMPASSION…TRUE SELF…contraction…small identity…suffering…BIG COMPASSION…TRUE SELF.

Don’t sweep your uncomfortable feelings under the proverbial rug. Don’t try to hide them from yourself and pretend they aren’t there. What they need is to be embraced with Big Compassion. Give yourself the world’s biggest hug!


Four Dimensions of Forgiveness

This article is Part 3 in a series prompted by my second Saturn return and reflections on a painful turning point in my life. You may also want to read Part 1: Defining Moments, or “How I Lost God and Found My Way” and Part 2: Soul Contracts and Forgiveness.

Part 3: Four Dimensions of Forgiveness

I used to think that forgiveness should come in a flash, in which the whole thing is instantaneously healed. But that hasn’t been my experience. For me, it’s been a process that has unfolded over time and on multiple levels of my being. Here are the four dimensions of forgiveness that I’ve experienced:

  1. The Wounded Inner Child
  2. The Rational Self
  3. The Soul
  4. Unity Consciousness

These four dimensions span a continuum from the less-conscious (Level 1) aspects of ourselves to the more-conscious (Level 4). However the forgiveness process doesn’t necessarily proceed in a linear fashion, from Level 1 to Level 4. My process has involved diving in here and there, at different levels, at different times. I find it most helpful to move between the layers, interweaving them into a seamless tapestry. All of it is held within the compassionate awareness of Unity Consciousness. Self-love and self-forgiveness are important ingredients, every step of the way.

In my own process, forgiveness in the four dimensions looks something like this:

The wounded 12 year old inside me needed to have a safe place to express her feelings of pain and rage, without holding back.  It wasn’t safe to do that with my parents, but eventually I was able to vent those feelings in therapy and through Voice Dialogue Process. My Wounded Inner Child needed to be heard and seen by a non-judgmental witness. I needed to take her out of a dark hiding place within my psyche, embrace her, and let her know that she’s safe. She still holds tightly to some last shreds of fear and resentment. I forgive her for believing she still needs to defend herself in this way. I also realize there are other facets of the Wounded Inner Child that are still crying out for love, and so I continue my healing process.

The rational part of me chooses to forgive because it’s in my own best interest. Forgiveness isn’t meant to excuse someone’s hurtful behavior nor deny that it felt really shitty, at the time. Forgiveness is meant to free me.Prayer of release I want to forgive because holding onto a grievance hurts me. It makes me feel contracted and stuck and closed off from people. It keeps me feeling like a victim…small and powerless. It’s a heavy burden to carry anger and resentment around all the time. I want to let it go.

The rational part of me is able to step back and see my mother from a more neutral, and even compassionate, point of view. I can see and understand the fears and insecurities that drove her angry reaction. I can see that I triggered some of her wounding, and she lashed out at me, unconsciously. A Course in Miracles says that every experience is either an expression of love or a call for love. My mother was having a “call for love”. So was I.

From the level of my soul, I see there is no one to blame, because everything that happened in the story of my “Defining Moment” was part of a soul contract…an agreement between my soul and my mother’s soul. I am grateful that my mother played her part so beautifully. The reason my mother’s proclamation, “You don’t know what you think”, triggered me so deeply, is because it struck a nerve. “I don’t know what I think” was a false belief that my soul came here to unravel. I needed that false belief brought to the surface of my awareness so I could investigate it and come to realize that it’s not true. I do know what I think. I can trust my own perceptions. I can share my point of view with authority…my inner authority. Even at 12 years old, I was guided by a trustworthy inner knowing.

Words are inadequate to describe the experience of Unity Consciousness. Therefore, it is challenging to describe my experience of forgiveness, at this level, without it sounding abstract or merely philosophical. Yet, Oneness is truly an experience, not a concept. As I continue to awaken and experience life, more and more, as the experience of Oneness, there is no longer a completely solid and separate “me” and a completely solid and separate “other”. Oneness means that, despite all appearances to the contrary, there can never be two separate beings in conflict with each other. There is just one thing going on.

As it says in The Way of Mastery, “Each relationship or each moment is a ‘holy encounter’ because there is only wholeness showing up as that One thing. Existence is not really two beings coming together and having an forgivenessexperience. There is only the One Thing, which is the experience of itself.” All appearances of separation and conflict dissolve. The whole drama is seen to arise within, and dissolves back into, unconditional love. Who is there to be blamed?

Within the vast, open, spacious awareness of Unity Consciousness, all things are allowed to be as they are. The Wounded Child is embraced with compassion and presence. She is seen and felt. No need to resist or fear her. No need to fix or change her. Simply being present with her.

My whole drama is a wave of energy, arising and falling away, in the ocean of Oneness. All is forgiven. There’s nothing to forgive.

As I share my process with you and describe it in terms of these four dimensions, please keep in mind that it’s a fluid, organic process, and I’m still in process. It’s not a 1, 2, 3, 4, step-by-step process, and it’s not an intellectual process. It is experiential, and the experience moves through my emotions and thoughts, as well as through more subtle and intuitive aspects of my being. Last but not least, remember that the forgiveness process calls for a generous dose of self-love and self-forgiveness. Be gentle with yourself.

Please leave a comment and let me know what has been sparked within you, by my description of the forgiveness process and these four dimensions.


Soul Contracts and Forgiveness

This article is Part 2 in a series prompted by my second Saturn return and reflections on a painful turning point in my life. In Part 1: Defining Moments, or “How I Lost God and Found My Way” I tell the story of leaving behind the religion of my family lineage to set forth on a solo quest for Truth.

To recap: I was 12 years old when I broke the news to my mother that I didn’t believe in Judaism. At that age, I didn’t have the inner resources to deal with the conflict that followed. I was too afraid to stand up to my mother’s authority when she told me, “You’re too young to know what you think”. This statement hurt me deeply, and in an unconscious attempt to protect myself, I shut down. I held on to my hurt and anger for a very long time, and I saw myself as a victim in this scenario. Now I’m taking a new look at my old story.

Part 2: Soul Contracts and Forgivenesssaturn_1509887c

The first glimmering of forgiveness toward my mother came when I began studying astrology. One day, I read about Saturn in Sagittarius (which is where Saturn is in my birth chart). The astrology book said, “People with Saturn in Sagittarius are often born into a family with a dogmatic religious orientation. They need to learn to find their own spiritual path.” I suddenly saw my rejection of Judaism and my conflict with my mother from a cosmic perspective. I saw that it had all been perfectly designed by a higher intelligence for the benefit of my spiritual evolution.

From this perspective, my painful experience was not my mother’s fault. It wasn’t Judaism’s fault. It wasn’t my fault. In fact, it wasn’t a “fault” or a mistake or even a problem. As Byron Katie says, “Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon, nor too late. You don’t have to like it…it’s just easier if you do.”

Astrology taught me that my deeply personal story (being born into a conservative religious family, longing to be close to God, becoming disillusioned, and setting off to find my way, alone) was also the archetypal story of Saturn in Sagittarius’ quest for Truth. I knew intuitively that having Saturn in Sag. was no coincidence. I saw that my soul chose to come into this religious family for a reason. My religious upbringing gave me something to push against, Saturn wall quotewhich gave me the impetus to start searching for another way…a way that would truly feed my spiritual hunger…a way better designed to wake me up…a way that I would need to forge, myself, without an outer authority telling me what to believe or how to express my spirituality.

When I realized that my painful experience had a higher purpose and that on some level I had chosen this experience, it became clear to me that my parents were simply playing the roles assigned to them. They were not against me, they were actually FOR my spiritual evolution (although they weren’t aware of this, consciously). We were all in cahoots in creating and enacting this drama. It was a soul contract between us, and we’d played our parts perfectly. How could there be any blame?

opening door w sunNow there was a huge crack in the solidified and entrenched belief that I was a victim. Through that crack, the light of forgiveness began to filter into my mind. I wish I could tell you that this first light of forgiveness completely dissolved my long-held anger and resentment. Over the years, I’ve worked with forgiveness lessons from A Course in Miracles and The Way of Mastery, I’ve taught others about forgiveness (we teach what we’re learning), and I’ve worked on this with The Work of Byron Katie. I’ve been in psychotherapy and even did a mother-daughter workshop with my Mom, many years ago. All of these things have been helpful, and I still have some forgiving yet to do. For me, forgiveness is many-layered, and I’m still in process.

Understanding that things don’t just happen to us, randomly, and that we have soul contracts with the major players in our lives, helps me accept and value my challenging relationships. I’m curious how this notion of “soul contracts” sits with you. Does it ring true for you, at an intuitive level? Does it affect your ability to forgive? Please leave a comment, below.

Writing this series of articles has prompted me to go deeply within and continue working with my forgiveness process. Click here for Part 3: Four Dimensions of Forgiveness

Click here for Part 4: How I Came Back to God


Defining Moments, or “How I Lost God and Found My Way”

As I sit here at my second Saturn return, I’m doing some life-review. This article is Part 1 in a series prompted by my reflections on a painful turning p0int in my life and my deepening understanding of the nature of Saturn, how it shows up in the sign of Sagittarius, and the gifts of the second Saturn return.

I’m looking at some of the defining moments in my life. Defining moments are not always joyful and triumphant. The greatest realizations are often hard-won, and their full meaning is often seen only in hindsight. Can I share one of my defining moments with you? It’s a story I’ve told time and time again, but now I see it from a broader perspective. This is the story of an excruciating moment that turned out to be the moment I was set free. I set myself free to follow my own path, claim my inner knowing, and find the Truth for myself. Here’s the story of How I Lost God and Found My Way.Torah

My hunger for spiritual experience started to surface when I was 11 years old. That summer, I went to sleep-away camp. It wasn’t your average camp with swimming lessons, Capture-the-Flag, and bunk beds. We did have all those things, but we also learned Hebrew, celebrated Shabbat, and fortified our Jewish identity. By the end of the summer, I had an intense desire to be more religious. If I did it all just right, I’d earn God’s approval. Or so I hoped.

During my second summer at camp, I had a profound experience. As I sat quietly by the lake, immersed in nature,lake I felt a sense of connection to something greater, something deeply peaceful  and vastly beautiful…something that can’t be confined within the walls of a synagogue, nor bound to ancient symbols on parchment, nor limited to a particular religion. It was a glorious feeling…connecting with the Divine through nature. By contrast, following all the rules and performing all the religious rituals had left me feeling rigid and empty. I fell tumbling into a well of disillusionment about Judaism and the notion of God as the angry father.

At the end of that summer, I gathered up my courage and broke the news to my mother:  “I don’t believe in Judaism, and I don’t believe in God.” My mother reacted with an anger that shocked me. “How can you not believe in God?” she yelled. “lock 3You’re too young to know what you think!” I felt deeply hurt and angered by her dismissive, authoritarian reaction. Knowing that my father would be even less receptive to this news, I decided never to expose my precious awakenings to them, again. Door slammed. Locked shut.

In that defining moment, I abandoned my religious heritage and set path in desertmyself on a solo journey guided only by my inner compass. It was a huge, lonely step for a 12 year old. This turning point separated me from my family. Yet it aligned me with my soul’s desire for direct spiritual experience and led me on a quest to find The Truth.

My circuitous path took me from Judaism to atheism to studies of Buddhist philosophy. At another twist in the road, I met Jesus (a life-changing experience, which is a story in itself). That opened the door to A Course in Miracles and other non-dual teachings, which led to a major awakening in 2013. Through years of seeking, I came to find my True Nature.

As I look back from today’s vantage point, I see that I had to find my own way. I had to leave the confines of traditional religion and the limiting perspectives of outer authorities in order to find the Divine, in my own direct experience. What about you? What painful, messy, tragic moments in your life have made you who you are? What dark nights of the soul have propelled you to grow and evolve?  What financial disasters, failed relationships, or bad career moves might you choose to look at from a new perspective? Take some time, look deeply, and consider the strength and wisdom formed in the crucible of your mistakes, your losses, and your disappointments.

(Click here for Part 2: Soul Contracts and Forgiveness)

(Click her for Part 3: Four Dimensions of Forgiveness)

(Click here for Part 4: How I Came Back to God)