I’ve got a new Gratitude–Journey of Gratitude 2017, day 38

Loving in Unity means Loving everyone, everything the same. All are equal in Love. This is the essence of “Love your neighbor as yourself”. If you have not achieved a state where you can Love All equally, that’s ok. For us, for now, it’s a process. Love yourself more each day. Start there. You’ll see how it begins to grow all on its own to loving others.

##

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

I seek only to Love in Unity. Love is Pure in Oneness. Let me Love All including myself in Oneness, that I may Know gratitude as the result of Being Whole in Love.
Reflection

On other days of this Journey, gratitude has been viewed, or described, as a bridge–as a way of opening to more love, as a way of appreciating others, as a way to fertilize Love so that it grows.

But the role of gratitude this day is different from those previous days. Today, gratitude has become a state of being, congruent with the state of Love. It’s no longer a bridge in today’s Guiding Thought. It’s a natural extension of Love Itself.

Here’s one way to look at it. You can think, “I am grateful for my spouse, my family, my job, my car, for good food, for sun in my face, for cleansing rain (or snow!); I am grateful for my lungs that breathe, and for the air, and for all good things in my life”. In this exercise, gratitude is invoked and intentional– you think about what you are grateful for, and why. And when thinking that way, you can feel the love begin to flow; you can feel yourself open. This is how gratitude is a bridge to Love.

But now, think about someone who you love with all your heart, and just feel that love. Take a moment and simply Love that person. You don’t have to think about this Love, it just fills you. Without thinking anything specifically, can you also feel how grateful you are for that person? It’s like gratitude is right there along with the Love, without thinking about it.

This is how gratitude becomes a state of being. As Love expands, from that one person to All, so does gratitude, so does the understanding and experience of Unity and Wholeness. If you practice this, and practice expanding Love (through loving yourself, through gratitude, through acceptance, through forgiveness…there are so many ways to learn to expand Love!), soon it won’t be a stretch to seeing the unity of life, and being grateful for All of Life.

 

Getting to Oneness through gratitude–Journey of Gratitude 2017, day 37

Oneness is the new paradigm. I’m getting there, slowly. I still have habitual thoughts that are dualistic, but those are changing, as I confirm daily my Oneness with All. What follows is an exercise in expansion, out of dualism and into Oneness.

##

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Life is beautiful. There is nothing other than Life. Life is within me; Life pours out from me. Everything everywhere is Life. Life is Being. I am Life. All that I am, I offer in praise and thanks to all of Life.

Reflection

I am One with All.

If there is nothing other than Life…

If Life is within me…

If everything everywhere is Life…

If I am Life…

Then I am One will All of Life, with ALL.

Then All that I am is ALL, is All that IS.

If All that I am is ALL, then when I give All that I am to all of Life, I am giving All to ALL.

If I am All, and give to ALL, then the gratitude that results is simply a natural expression of thanks to myself, for my Self, for ALL of Life.

If I am All and give to ALL, then my gratitude for All includes every person, every situation, every encounter, All of earth, all of ALL.

When I Know this, there is nothing other than trust for the flow of life. There is nothing other than perfect peace in every situation. There is nothing other than treating others with the Love and Understanding of Knowing myself as ALL.

Love’s Possibilities–Journey of Gratitude 2017, day 36

Have you been mystified by the world, our leaders, the cultural/political climate? This article is about options. What can I do, when I don’t know what to do. Spoiler alert: the answer is always Love.

##

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

When I look within and see the radiance of Love, I remember my wholeness. I am wholly loving and wholly lovable. In the purity of Love lays peace, which I share with all in gratitude.

Reflection

We live at a time when duality, opposites, separation, and polarization have been the dominant thought-form for centuries, even millennia. How we think about nearly everything is conditioned by this history. History has “proven” the reality of duality, opposites, separation, and polarization, has it not? We believe in the “reality”, because it is what we have learned, what we have experienced.

Do thoughts not create our reality? Do I not have the opportunity right here, right now, to have a reality of my own choosing, based on thoughts that I choose? Yes, but…

When we are born, all we learn or experience is based on a previous generation of thought-forms telling us what is “real”. We are born into a world that was constructed by someone else, and then told, “have your own thoughts, create your own reality”. But what model can we use? The only one we know is what we are taught, which currently is predominantly dualistic.

What does that mean, in practical terms?

This morning, there was a news story about immigrant raids in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles. There were over 10,000 comments on the story condemning the action. I thought, “What can we do? What choice do people have? Either they can raise a ruckus, take up arms, and “fight” in whatever way they know, or they can passively let the government raid their communities, and allow their friends and loved ones to be deported. Neither is acceptable”.

Either/Or. Fight or be passive. This was my own dualistic response to this news story. But then I realized that there is another way; we may just not see it right now.

Here is how I know: I’ve been “doing the work of Love” for a while now, and apparently the work has paid off. Recently, I’ve had several situations which began with a familiar conflict, sort of like severe personality conflict, or conflict with authority (to give you a frame of reference). As these conflicts “began” I felt the old, either/or–the only solutions I could see to the conflict were fight or passivity and neither was acceptable. So I made a point to pray, and ask for infinite, unconditional Love to enter. Wouldn’t you know it? Each of the situations smoothed out, effortlessly. I have no idea “how”, except for the invocation of Love.

The solutions were, in my experience small miracles, but all I did was change my thoughts from only seeing two options, to thoughts which could include all possibilities. This is what Love does. It includes, and takes into consideration the good of the whole. Love sees all options, and when we think in terms of love, those options become available to us as reality.

When I thought about the news story this morning, and heard my dualistic reaction, there was immediately a part of me that recalled these recent miracles, and I knew there is another way for the immigration-raids to be resolved. We don’t see it yet, but Love does. We simply need to invoke Love’s solution, through thinking Love.

There is hope in this world for all the current conflicts, for us to create a new reality, one that we have not inherited, a reality based in the inclusion of all possibilities, for the good of All.

Logical inconsistencies exposed–Journey of Gratitude 2017, day 35

Don’t let the title throw you. This is more about the exposure, than about logic. In this case, the exposure is both a vulnerable place, as well as an encouragement: Vulnerable because there is fragility in feeling out of control; encouragement, because within that there’s a higher purpose.

##

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

When I am aware of my Self of Love, I see the world through new eyes. Love is the Source of all I see, all I experience; it is the very activity of Life itself. I place my faith in the principle of Love and receive with gratitude all my experiences.

Reflection

What do I say I believe? … vs … What do I think about what I experience?

or

What do I want to believe …vs … How I behave

For example, if I say I believe, or want to believe Love is the Source of all I see, all I experience

and

If I if I say I believe, or want to believe that Love is All Good, Only good

then

I must think and behave as though all I see, all I experience is All Good, Only good

In this, I have been both challenged and assured lately.

I’ve had several experiences that have felt like my world is falling apart: tumultuous, out of control, chaotic. I thought very hard about how I was perceiving and what I want to believe, knowing that I want to believe in (have faith in) the principle of Love.

There was inconsistency. I was experiencing chaos, turmoil, which is not compatible with fully believing in (trusting) Love.

So, I prayed. “You who knew me before I was born, in thy infinite grace, mercy, love, and kindness…assure me, help me to understand, help me to have faith in You as Love, as the Source of All Good”. Well…. if emotions had words, that’s a near-proximity of what the words would have been.

What I “heard” in response was, “Trust that everything I send you…everything…is for your highest good, your highest spiritual development.” It was more than “hearing”, it was feeling the truth behind the words.

Relief! In that moment, I experienced I place my faith in the principle of Love and receive with gratitude all my experiences. I saw how every encounter is perfect, and how gratitude for everything is the absolutely perfect response.

In my experience, I felt and experienced a shift. Love does work miracles.

As with so many things (in my experience) on the spiritual path, those moments of relief come, wash over me, give me that relief, then pass…and leave me with a memory of the feeling: just enough to hold on to, enough to motivate me, to inspire me, to make me keep going toward that feeling, so that I might merge with it again, intentionally, consciously.

Now, I am between these two states: still fragile in the face of what I perceive as chaos, turmoil, and strife with remnants of the inspired moment, I am neither fully free of my own perceptions, nor fully enveloped in the faith of love.

Onward!

 

An Instant of Absence–Journey of Gratitude 2017, day 34

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. In that fondness, find gratitude for the things/qualities that are absent.

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Through gratitude, my consciousness of Love expands, connecting me with All. Gratitude increases my awareness of unity; gratitude shows me our Wholeness. Gratitude is the bridge to knowing others as my Self. What a gift you are!

Reflection

Sometimes it’s so simple.

Too often I think I need to concentrate and push and work to go deeper, as though if I am not doing those things, I am not accomplishing anything.

But then there are times like today, when the entirety of the Guiding Thought floods my mind/emotions in an instant, and I experience in that second every nook and cranny that the Guiding Thought is exposing.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Think of something or someone who is absent, which makes your heart grow fonder. This can be someone who has passed (even an animal!), or a long-distance friend or relationship, or even (as in my case), a certain aspect of a relationship which is currently not present. It could be (for example) a mother who has given birth, and now feels the absence of the fetus inside; it could be the ending of a huge project; it could be a collaborative relationship that is ended, in transition, or temporarily halted.

There are so many things that contribute to who we are, to the quality of life. When those things are absent, there is an emptiness. Yet, within that emptiness there is an acknowledgement of all of the great, amazing things that were those contributing factors. If those things were not present, we would not feel an absence, would we?

And in that recognition of all those amazing qualities and contributing factors, I found such gratitude for their contribution. And in that gratitude, the entire Guiding Thought was revealed.

Assessment–Journey of Gratitude 2017, day 33

I had to remind myself today that this is for me. My spiritual advancement is my own, no one else’s. No one can do it for me. And (really) no one cares whether I do it or not. This, I’ve found, is the best attitude for me to have regarding my spiritual progress. I am not here to please anyone, to get applause, or to sell the latest fad. I’m here to serve God, to be Truly helpful, to do the best I can to be the best person I can be.

##

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

I fill my mind with the Light of the Truth of Love. What more is there? In the Light of the Truth, I am Free. What more is there? My consciousness expands in the Truth of Love, forever One, forever Joyful, forever in Peace.

Reflection

I read recently about a so-called consciousness tipping point: that point where you’ve accumulated so much positive spiritual energy, that life explodes (in a good way) before you. Everything changes. Rocky roads become smooth, overwhelm becomes harmony, turmoil becomes peace.

My world has never quite exploded as such. My experience of an expanding consciousness is more like a slow-burn: Consistently good. Not great…no WAY high points, but no way low ones either. In general I’m just happy and contented. My life is filled with beautiful people. I feel relaxed and alive….about 98% of the time.

So sometimes I wonder if I’m missing something? It’s not that I am not happy. But aren’t the heavens supposed to open, and the angels sing…at least some time?

No, I know. I am laughing at myself. I look around at others’ stress, at others’ listlessness, and I am thankful, so thankful for my slow-steady life of advance and learning, of growing and feeling better and better every day. Sometimes though, I forget to notice. The progress is so slow that today looks like yesterday. It’s only when I think about where I was a year ago, or two or five years ago, that I can see how far I’ve come.

Look around. See how good you have it. Remember where you were a year or two ago? Look how far you’ve come!

 

That which is before you–Journey of Gratitude 2017, day 32

Sometimes I think, “I don’t have to do this, right? I’ve been doing this so long, been at regularly, who is going to notice if I skip a day or don’t give my ‘all'”? Then I get into a conversation with myself about giving all, not giving enough, taking the steps that I am able to and forgiving myself if I don’t “do more” (otherwise I feel guilty). Thankfully, this conversation has not been constant recently, as it has been in the past.

The answer to my question is: I notice. I notice when I don’t give my all, and–yes–I do often feel guilty if I don’t do more. All this stuff is on the surface today, and I want to back down. I want to recede. I want to just not do it. So today, I dig deeper to break through, and am thankful for being able to choose.

##

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

I lift my mind and heart to the Truth of Being, to all that Is, to All I Am. I accept my Self in Truth and offer my Self to All in gratitude for Its Being.

Reflection

All I have to do is do what the Guiding Thought says to do. I don’t have to think. I don’t have to wonder. I don’t have to figure it out. Just…

 lift my mind and heart to the Truth of Being

>visualizing<

I don’t have to know what the Truth of Being is. All I have to do is follow directions. 

I lift my mind and heart to all that Is

>visualizing<

Lifting my mind and heart to all that Is brought up pictures of rabbits, trees, grass…and then the entire cosmos. ALL that IS!

I lift my mind and heart to All I Am.

>visualizing<

Lifting here, feels like a descent. There’s an inner feeling about “All I Am” that touches me unlike the All that IS, and yet, I can’t help but think: they are the same.

I accept my Self in Truth

>visualizing<

Accepting myself is difficult at times. But in Truth? Yes. I can do that. 

I offer my Self to All in gratitude for Its Being.

>visualizing<

In this moment, “ALL” was too much. For now, just for now, I offer my Self to this moment: to my breath, my sight, my emotions, my energy, my body. “All” is just now. Only right here. This. And that’s enough.

The feeling of Infinity–Journey of Gratitude 2017, day 31

How good I feel today! My body is happy. My mind is calm. I’ve had a nice balance between being active and relaxing. I’ve learned several things today! (YAY!) All is well. Welcome to Round 4! We are almost done. Most of Round 3, I felt like the progress was very slow, each step like walking through molasses. At some points, I wondered if I was even getting anywhere. But, as always, everything started coming back together. I think sometimes I feel vacant and vapid because there is real intense work going on beneath the surface–and if I were paying more attention it would overwhelm me. Today I am thankful for the times I feel vacant and vapid! See this page for information about this last round, if you are new here.

##

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

I remember my Self and recognize the Love within me, the Love I Am. I see this Love as all I am and all there is, the reality of me, the reality of you, and the reality that is the Life of All. I honor this Love and this Life, and offer my gratitude for Its Being. What Joy there is in Being!

Reflection

I keep thinking back to the words I quoted yesterday, “Love is the feeling of infinity”. I can tell, I am going to be thinking about this for a long, long time, so profound it is.

Today’s Guiding Thought is all about Love and Life. Which means, it’s also all about feeling infinity. Seriously, I just feel blown away with this infinity thing.

The Love within me, the Love I Am: Infinity. To infinity and beyond! (ok, now I’m being a bit goofy). But feel that. And when you feel it, you are touching infinity. Touching infinity! And “all” you have to do is recognize the Love within you, the Love you are. I can feel it. It’s tiny, but I feel it, a pinprick of infinity, in the tapestry of my self-conception. That pinhole is the portal. The fact that I even have a pinprick is encouraging. I have access. I can access the infinity of myself through Love.

I see this Love as all I am and all there is, the reality of me…If I look through the pinhole, yes. I can see this Love as All. But I have to look through the pinhole. It’s like there’s “me”, or rather, my self-conception of “me” which is enveloped in that tapestry, confining “me”, containing “me”. I look out into infinity, and know that that “out there”, that infinity, is really my reality. It is not “out there”, I just have wrapped myself in this tapestry, so that it seems like that is “out there”, when in fact, there is no tapestry, and I am part of it. Part of infinity. Not even “part of”…I am Infinity, here. Now. This.

And, if I am, then you are too. All of Life is this infinity. The dance of life, the dance of Being, the dance of knowing the self as All and All as self. Throw off the tapestry. Join the dance. The dance of Joy. The dance of Life, of Love, of Being, of Knowing.

Love is the feeling of infinity. 

Comfort in discouragement–Journey of Gratitude 2017, day 30

“Love is the feeling of the infinite”.  —Mary Reilly Nichols

##

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Love is always with us. We focus our whole Self on being entirely with Love. We tune out distractions and place our entire focus on simply being with the Love that is always with us. This is the return. This is eternal Comfort and Peace: Being with Love, as Love is with us.

Reflection

I feel alternately encouraged and discouraged today.

Reading A Course in Miracles this morning, I found clarity and answers. Several separate situations this week became interconnected, each one a different aspect of the same lesson. Through the text, I found a near-exact explanation.  “Anger cannot occur unless you believe that you have been attacked, that your attack is justified, and that you are in no way responsible”. In the first situation this week, I felt that I had been attacked; I felt that it was justified; and I felt that I was in no way responsible. In the second situation of this sequence, I observed as someone else went through the exact same feelings, and I recognized what I was observing as similar to my own experience.

Before I tell you the third situation in this sequence, let me interject the next line from ACIM: Given these three wholly irrational premises, the equally irrational conclusion that a brother is worthy of attack rather than love follows. What can be expected from insane premises except an insane conclusion?

If I felt attacked, then I agreed that I was worthy of attack rather than love (the attack was “justified”).

It was the third situation that shattered my belief in the “irrational premises” and which showed me the “insanity” of how I had been feeling: in describing the second situation to a friend, she showed me that I was completely responsible. Everything that happened had been a series of events that I chose, and I could have chosen differently. When I accepted responsibility, everything shifted–the “irrationality and insanity” just evaporated.

It was thanks to reading the ACIM text that all these pieces came together. I felt encouraged.

Later today, I read an article by Mary Reilly Nichols (link above). It was thorough and intelligent, and it described several of her own experiences with the Divine. In the article she says, “Actively contemplating one’s identity with Shiva is perhaps the main sadhana of Shaivism”. I felt encouraged, because–though I did not know this as a tenant of Shaivism–I have been actively visualizing “Shiva ‘as’ me” when I have been doing the Shiva mantra (Om Namah Shivaya). I imagine Shiva surrounding me, coming through “as” me. This visualization began at first spontaneously, but since then, I have been consciously working with it. I felt encouraged, because it felt validating that something that I was doing, that came to me spontaneously, is an actual sadhana (practice) of Shaivism.

But at the same time, reading this article, I felt discouraged. The old fear came through that I’m not doing enoughIf I were doing enough I would be more advanced…If I were doing enough I would experience the divine…If I were doing enough, I would be doing something different.

Do you hear the irrationality there? Even as I was thinking/feeling this, I could feel how irrational it was– I am fine. I am doing fine. I am taking my steps. I am committed, dedicated, devoted. What is this voice bringing me down? 

Then I started the Journey today. You know what I realized? Love is always with us. Love is the feeling of the infinite. Infinite includes all things. Even this. Even that. The infinite lives within me, as me, as all things. And that is comforting, when I feel discouraged.

 

All in…or not–Journey of Gratitude 2017, day 29

“Whatever you accept into your mind has reality for you. It is, however, only your acceptance of it that makes it real.” (ACIM)

##

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Gratitude makes all things new! When we are aware of our Source in Love, we see its activity everywhere. It is the Substance of Life itself! We are in the flow and create and expand with Love, in Life!

Reflection

There is a theme throughout A Course in Miracles that goes something like this: When you accept the Atonement (At-One-Ment), when you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, and only the voice of the Holy Spirit, when you See with True perception (which is not really a perception at all, but simply “Truth”), you will have attained the Peace of God.

These three things–accepting the Atonement, hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, Seeing–they are all just kind of ways that you can gauge “how close you are” to attaining the Peace of God. (“how close you are” is only necessary in time, in a relative world). But once you attain one of these three completely, you will have attained all of them. There is no in-between. It’s all, or…you’re still “getting” there.

The language in the Course goes back and forth between talking to us in a way that represents how we experience time and relative reality, but then telling us that once we accept the Atonement, relative reality becomes obsolete, we no longer need it, so we no longer experience it (we experience Freedom, the Peace of God).

While we experience time and relative reality, we make choices within those frameworks. But the point is to step out of those frameworks completely and into the Atonement.

  • Learning is only necessary in time, in relative reality; we no longer need to learn, when we Know God.
  • Forgiveness is only necessary in time, in relative reality; we no longer need to forgive, when we Know God’s infinite all-encompassing Love.
  • Healing is only necessary in time, in relative reality; We are already Whole.

The only real choice is between relative reality and the Atonement. All of the choices we are making within relative reality only serve to keep us here, in relative reality. When we begin, more often, to choose the Atonement, that is when we experience things like healing–we are choosing the Peace of God more often. What we choose to accept into our minds has reality for us.

Gratitude behaves the same way as forgiveness or healing: in relative reality it acts as a bridge to Love, to the Peace of God. This is why Gratitude makes all things new. With gratitude, our minds and hearts open to Love, to our Source; when our minds accept Love, Love becomes our reality.

Similarly, once we achieve the Peace of God, we no longer “need” to be grateful: It is a constant state of Being, as we are in the flow and create and expand with Love, in Life!