Sunday, May 3, 2015
THE RAINBOW OF PEACE – CHANGING OUR PERSEPCTIVES
As you know our family is in the midst of a major health issue that has affected our entire family and caused some major changes to our lives. I want to report that the family in Denver is doing well. We had a good but short visit. Their new house is great and is on the outskirts of the city so it is quiet and the neighbors are good. Shawni and Leah are settling in and Patrick is going weekly to the liver and now the kidney clinic as his kidneys are also being affected. Logan will be moving in by the middle of May and spends a lot of time at the new house helping out already.
What I wanted to talk about this morning is about the importance of changing our perspectives on life to help us stay in our Center of Peace. I have certainly had a lot of experience in the last six months. It has been a ongoing challenge and I wanted to share what I have learned.
Last Sunday we explored the Buddhist teachings about suffering and the causes of suffering. When we are attached to a person, thing or experience, our ego habit begins to turn us toward suffering through worry and anxiety. We can then become depressed or even sick.
Lao-Tzu, the founder of Taoism said, "If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present." Our goal is to be at peace in each and every moment, with no suffering, so we can live fully in the present. Changing our perspective means to release all attachments to people, things, experiences, and especially outcomes and to see the Truth.
People often ask these questions, "How can I let go of my children? My family members? My friends? How can I release worrying about the future or reliving the past? My thoughts won't let me do any of this so how can I change my perspective? How can I get beyond the worrying?
First of all, in times of trouble we tend to forget who we really are and what the Truth is. We are more than our bodies, more than our emotions and more than our thoughts. Our bodies, emotions and thoughts seem so real to us that changing our perspective on the physical level is challenging. But the Truth is that we are spiritual beings imbedded in the physical world for a short time to explore and to learn how to create our lives. We create by using our thoughts and emotions which make the pattern of our lives in the physical world. And this is not the first time we have been here, nor probably won't be the last. Life is an eternal continuum and we humans are barely getting ready for pre-school. We have a long way to go to realize eternity, to realize infinity, to realize God, but God has already planted the seeds of our existence in us when God created us. It is up to us to make sure we grow into God. We grow into God when we keep our spiritual perspective and that takes self-discipline.
So number one is that we are Spiritual Beings. There is more to us than we can imagine and we have more resources within than we can think of at any given moment. So to change our perspective we first remember who we are. This is our grounding, our foundation, our non-refundable existence. Say with me, "I am a Spiritual Being."
Secondly, we remember that it is our thinking that causes our suffering. Some may think it is our emotions that make us suffer. Well, technically when we are feeling something we are usually suffering, but emotions follow thought. Buddha, Christ, and all the great teachers have told us that it is our thinking that is the basis of our suffering. The New Thought movement came about when people began once again realizing the importance of regulating thoughts. Keeping our thoughts on spiritual matters is the lesson.
Our thoughts are not in charge of our lives – we are in charge of our thoughts. For many years I did not even know about this Truth principle. And I suffered greatly over many minor things. Now I know that I am in charge, but sometimes it is difficult to get back in control especially when dramatic things happen in our lives. Say with me, "I am in control of my thoughts."
Getting in control of our thoughts is one of the spiritual disciplines we are to learn. We can become mindful of when our thoughts are running amok. And then we can simply say, "Stop. I am not going down that road. I am not going to think about that any longer." Then, we replace the negative thought with a positive one. This sounds easy to do on the surface, but it is a continuing challenge. One must be mindful all the time and catch the thoughts before the emotions kick in. When our emotions run amok, it is often difficult to get them back in control.
Choosing a mantra to use when we become aware that our thoughts and emotions are running amok will help us get back to peace. I use different phrases at different times. Right now I am saying to my thoughts and emotions, "Stop. In my world…." and then I fill in the positive words and I say them with great conviction remembering who I am. For example, when I start worrying about my son I say, "Stop. In my world, my son is whole, complete and perfect." And then I repeat this phrase over and over like a mantra until I feel at peace again. You can also say affirmations, prayers, anything that brings you back to peace.
This does not change the experiences that my son has chosen to have in this life, nor does it change the experiences all of his family have chosen to help him. What it does change is my inner perspective and I remember that in my world everything is whole, complete and perfect. I am a spiritual being and all of my family and friends are spiritual beings. There is only perfection and wholeness. All else is illusion in the World of Truth. Our true essence lives on and grows and evolves into something so great we could never imagine the glory.
The third thing to remember is that the facts of life are simply facts. It is our perspective that changes the facts into negative or positive experiences. We give them meaning. How we think about something affects it. Even science has come to the conclusion that our perception changes what we are looking at. The Observer has a great influence over the outcome. That makes us pretty powerful.
If I am looking at the facts of liver disease for example, I can either see it as a challenge that can have a positive outcome or I can see it as a dreadful end. It is my positive or negative perspective that influences the outcome. I, and the members of our family, choose to see it with a positive outcome. It is hard to do, but we are all choosing it. In my world, my son is whole, complete and perfect. And I say to myself the ho'oponopono phrases for clearing, "I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you." I'm sorry that I am seeing my son as anything less than perfect. Please forgive me and help me get back to the Truth. I love you, my beloved inner child. Thank you for everything you do to help me stay on track with the Truth. Say with me, "The facts are simply the facts."
And then prayer comes into the perspective equation. I believe that prayer has a positive influence in any situation. Prayer is powerful. It is a powerful perspective tool. Scientists have done experiments where a vial of blood from an afflicted person has been moved 500 miles away. A group of people back in the lab pray for the afflicted person. The blood in the vial is analyzed shortly after the prayer time and surprisingly, the blood has changed. Wouldn't that have been fun to see the look on the scientists' faces when they realized that prayer actually works and it could be proven? Say with me, "Prayer is powerful."
So, changing our perspective is a spiritual discipline that we all must learn. Knowing that emotions always follow thoughts, we can become mindful of our thoughts and change them. Then we can clear them with ho'oponopono and use prayer as a powerful tool for change. These are all parts of our spiritual discipline.
One of my favorite movies is "Pollyanna" with Haley Mills. Pollyanna is an orphan who comes to live with her cold, rigid aunt in a somewhat fractured community. Pollyanna always looks on the bright side of life, she has a rosy attitude about everything. It isn't long before she meets and changes the entire community and when Pollyanna falls out of a tree and needs an operation in the big city, the entire community turns out to see her off and let her know how much they appreciate what she has taught them. Her aunt sees how a change in perspective and a positive attitude has changed the entire town and she is then able to change her own perspective. One of my favorite scenes is where Pollyanna and her friend visit an old grumpy man and change his living room into a room of rainbows when they discover the sun shining through the crystals on his lamps in the darkened room. They hang the crystals in front of all the windows and the room comes alive with rainbow colors.
We can change our perspectives by hanging up the crystals of Truth. If the sun can change from a single ray of light to a dancing rainbow, so can we. I invite you to absolutely look at the world through rose-colored glasses, become Pollyanna's and see the positive, change your perspective and live in peace. May you be blessed with Rainbow Crystals of Truth.