What does it mean to go within?

Throughout my life I’ve been told that the answers are within. Even in mainstream media people are saying to go within to find answers, to to solve problems, and to achieve enlightenment.

 

So what does it mean to go within?

 

When I first started on this journey I tried to go within by meditating, writing in journals, praying, and even answering questions from workbooks; but it didn’t matter what I tried, I always ended up in the same place – confused and without any more answers than I had in the first place. Sure, many logical answers came to me, but they were difficult to implement on an emotional basis. They were intellectual and difficult to embody. What I found inside was a ceaseless stream of me – thoughts about what was occurring in my life, ideas about how I wished things would change, and random daydreams that seemed determined to distract me.

 

Going inside seemed pointless. Once there, what was I supposed to do? How was it supposed to help me achieve my goals?

 

After years of seeking, I believe I have finally found my answer.

 

For me, to go within means to be courageous enough to see myself for who I truly am. This requires a great deal of bravery, vulnerability, acceptance, and willingness to believe.

 

It is my current belief that we are all loving, magnificent beings who subconsciously desire to live in harmony with each other. However, our misconceptions about ourselves, others, and our world keep us imprisoned in illusions of competition, separation, illness, lack, and suffering.

 

How do we overcome these illusions?

 

By going within and questioning our belief systems and our motivations. We must overcome our illusions and accept full responsibility for our lives. There are no victims, and until we can accept this statement as true, we cannot claim the power to change our lives.

Likewise, until we are willing to let go of who we think we are, we will be imprisoned by our own limitations.

 

So, what does it look like to go inside and bring forth real change? What does it look like to conquer an illusion?

 

I will give you an example:

There was once someone in my life who I perceived as plotting against me. (For ease of understanding, I will refer to this person as a girl.)

If I made a list of all the nasty things I perceived she did to me, I dare to say that most people would gasp and be offended on my behalf. But that was before I knew there were no victims; I too believed she was to blame for my suffering.

Thankfully, I learned otherwise. I learned that my own false belief systems were the reasons for my suffering. I learned that it was my decision, and only my decision, to participate in the negativity. It was my choice to accept the perceptions that kept me imprisoned in being a victim.

Once I grasped this understanding, no matter how new and uncomfortable it was to me, I now had a tool I could use. I could quiet my mind and ask myself a very important question: What are the false belief systems I have accepted that have made me feel like a victim?

At first, all I could think about was all the horrible things she did to me. I couldn’t understand how I could be responsible for how she treated me. Then I began to build a list of the things I believed about her.  Below are a few of the beliefs I blindly accepted about her:

1) This girl hates me. She is a horrible person.

2) I don’t deserve how she treats me.

3) There’s nothing I can do about how she treats me. It’s not my fault.

 

As you can see, every single one of these statements comes from a victim mentality.

Accepting these beliefs as my truth made it impossible for me to ever achieve balance or happiness. I was putting my power in someone else’s hands.

So as much is I disliked, or even despised the girl, I had to admit that unless I was willing to change myself and to see my participation in the relationship, then things would never be resolved.

 

Therefore, I asked myself, “Why do I need this girl in my life?”

The reason I asked this was because, if I truly believed that I was responsible for everything that happened in my life, then how this girl was treating me was merely a reflection of what was inside of me. If she weren’t in my life, then I would have attracted someone else to act as my mirror. Thinking of it this way made it less personal. Once I could observe the situation from a somewhat detached point of view, I could see much more clearly.

It was right then and there I made an important decision–instead of choosing to be a victim, I chose to take full responsibility for myself and my life. I decided to take full responsibility for my relationship with this girl.

 

I asked myself, “How did I create this?”

To answer my question, I went back and analyzed my victimizing beliefs.

Here is how I did it:

1) She hates me. She is horrible.

I asked myself, “Is this absolutely true?”

I tried to think of several circumstances that could negate this belief and I found some.

  • I found that in certain circumstances, the girl was quite loving, even if it wasnt towards me.
  • I also realized that she didn’t always act hateful towards me. There were a handful of times she actually said hello to me when I entered the room.
  • Then another idea entered my mind. Maybe, just maybe, she did not hate me at all, but had been unable to handle and process her own illusions and suffering in a loving way.
  • Maybe something about me acted as a mirrot to her, and reminded her of her own suffering, just as she was doing for me.

If I could think of even one thing that negated the statement then it must mean that I could no longer hold that statement is absolutely true.

Once I realized this, another way for me to look at that statement presented itself. I tried to imagine that she loved me so much that she was willing to be my teacher. Was it possible that, on a subconscious level, she was willing to add to her own suffering by participating in my lessons?  Did she also have lessons to learn from this? I suddenly became grateful to have this girl in my life to show me the mistakes I had made in my perceptions and judgments. I became excited to have opportunities to change and to let go of misperceptions, resentment, and blame.

 

Now let’s take a look at the second statement…

 

2) I don’t deserve how she treats me.

If I accept that I am responsible for everything that happens in my life, then this statement must be false. Accepting responsiblity for my reality no longer allows me to blame anyone or anything outside of myself.

 

Let’s move forward to the last statement…

 

3) There’s nothing I can do about how she treats me

Was that statement absolutely true?

If our reality consists of our perceptions, then it would stand to reason that if I changed my perceptions about her, then she would have the opportunity to change her perceptions of herself and me as well. If I extended understanding and love toward her and allowed myself to be vulnerable instead of reactive in my dealings with her, then might the way she treated me change? Likewise, if I changed myself, might I stop attracting those kinds of lessons and teachers? Would she feel compelled to leave my life? Or . . . might our relationship heal?

 

In becoming more vulnerable, I became more powerful. 

I stopped being reactive. I stopped basing my present understandings on past emotions. Each time she verbally “attacked” me, I reminded myself that I am love. I firmly and respectfully stated that I was no longer willing to participate in situations or relationships that perpetuated suffering and I meant it.  I stopped engaging in the negativity. I stopped reacting.  Instead, I asked myself, “What is the most loving thing I can do in this moment?”

Many times, the answer was to become even more loving to myself, which sometimes meant that I needed to leave the situation, or to kindly and genlty ask her to leave. Other times, it was to tell her that I knew she was suffering and to acknowledge her pain. And yet other times, when she was not with me, I would imagine her as happy, loving, and carefree. I imagined what it might feel like to be good friends with her.

As the relationship progressed, it became easier and easier for me to clearly see that her reactions had nothing at all to do with me. I stopped taking her comments personally, until I was finally able to see and feel the loving being she truly was—which, in turn, was really a reflection me and of how much I had changed.

At the same time, I grew in my ability to set boundaries and to stop participating in negative situations. I claimed, with authority, how my life would be.

Thankfully, our relationship was fully healed, and we are now good friends. Because of this situation, I am more understanding and compassionate, not only for others, but also for myself, which makes all the difference.


Be courageous. Go within and let go of all that is not absolutely true. Be willing to be “wrong.” Be willing to accept your mistakes and move past them. Be loving, kind, and gentle with yourself so that you may learn true compassion and forgiveness.

 

You are the artist of your life, make it a masterpiece!

 

I’ll Be Okay When…

I’ve recently been observing myself and others and I find that many of us have several things in common. One particular thing that stands out to me is how many of us seem to be future oriented. Throughout my life I’ve envisioned my journey taking me to incredible places, which has kept me from focusing on the present. I continually told myself, “When I get this (fill in the blank), then I will be okay.” 
Sometimes I would get what I was hoping for and sometimes I wouldn’t. But most of the time, even if I received what I had wanted, I would have a spurt of seeming happiness and then I would quickly go back to feeling the same as I had when I originally placed my order with the universe. I still wanted more. 

Lately, I’ve found myself doing exactly the same thing that I’ve done for years – thinking of what the future will bring instead of living in the present. Luckily, I had the inclination to stop and ask myself, “If I’m not totally and completely satisfied right now, will I ever be?”

Things suddenly became very clear. 

My life is happening right now. It’s not happening in the past and there are no guarantees for the future. Besides, the future rarely works out the way I think it will. So if I am ever going to experience happiness, it needs to happen now!

I stopped everything that I was doing – working tirelessly on business related materials – and I took inventory on how I spent my time. I realized that I was spending most of my time alone, in front of a computer, disconnected from any social interactions in hopes that my work would someday bring me in closer connection with others. I had buried myself in meaningless tasks that are ever perpetual and I was not taking time to come up to let the sun shine on my face, smell the flowers, or to enjoy the moment.

I decided right then and there to choose to live my life now. I would seize every opportunity to share loving moments with my friends and family, to connect with with my pets, to be grateful for my experiences, and to rediscover what joy truly is.

I had an awareness that even if I were to achieve every single one of my dreams, I would be in the exact same emotional state I am in now. I would feel the same, I would have the same desires, I would love the same people, I would still have the same bad habits.

Therefore, I must live for today and make the effort to rediscover myself, my passions, my drives, my desires, and learn how to be be vulnerable to each and every situation. I must observe myself so that I may discover and release the false belief systems that keep me from being my most loving and authentic version of myself. 

Now I understand that by living for today, my future will be bright indeed because I will be bringing the future to me instead of projecting myself into the future.

It really is as Neville Goddard said, “Live in the wish fullfilled.” 

Feel as if you already have that which you desire and nothing in the universe will be able to keep it from you.

Seize the day, your future depends on it!

The Revelation of Asphorela -Part 1

Asphorela strolled through the enchanted woodland surrounding the temple of Cirruleaus. Her long dark hair swooshed softly against her back with each step. She kicked at the vines that crossed the dirt path so that others who might pass would not trip. Clearing the path did not distract Asphorela as she practiced her spells, preparing for her coming of age ceremony. Once a novice sorceress or sorcerer reached the age of eighteen, a panel of elders held an exclusive ceremony in which they tested each pupil. The novices were expected to showcase advanced spells to prove they were ready to practice magic unsupervised. The test also served as an initiation into becoming an active adult member of their mystical community. Asphorela was ecstatic about the idea of becoming a fully-fledged sorceress. Just thinking about it made waves of joy crash through her core. She paused to savor the welcomed tides before continuing her journey through the magical forest. Even though she found it difficult to wait for her initiation ceremony, Asphorela was not nervous. She had, after all, surpassed the expectations of not only her classmates and the elders, but also Amaryllis, the Temple’s High Priestess. Asphorela had made such an impression, in fact, that on Asphorela’s fifteenth birthday, Amaryllis awarded her with the title “Apprentice to the High Priestess.” This was the first time anyone had ever received such accolades at such an early age. Despite her achievements, the elders still insisted that she undergo the rite-of-passage.

Asphorela kicked at a particularly stubborn vine and paused. She suddenly felt as though she needed to be somewhere . . . but where? A tugging sensation took hold of her solar plexus and squeezed. The sensation reminded her of similar feelings she would briefly experience when she woke up from her many escapades of sleepwalking. It was as if an unseen force grabbed hold of her core and led her where it wanted her to go. Suddenly and quite unexpectedly, she found herself wandering off the path and toward the forbidden forest of Gatheron. The closer she traveled toward the intimidating and dangerous forest, the more she somehow understood; Asphorela was being led to the initiation ceremonial grounds.

She clutched her stomach and halted her progression. Her breath came out hurried despite her slow pace. Why might she be guided toward that particular location? The rules clearly stated that a novice could not have seen or set foot in the initiation site before the ceremony. Although she could recite the decree by heart, Asphorela couldn’t fight the tug of the invisible hand clenched around that part of her that she never understood. As if by their own accord, her shaky legs carried her toward the entrance leading into the frightening forest.

Tangled branches, looming trees, dark shadows, and an eerie silence made Asphorela long to turn back. She pleaded with her body to cooperate with her intentions, but it continued forward until she heard a man’s silky voice snake, like probing tendrils, through the dead branches. She gasped as her body relinquished itself to her curiosity. Like a moth drawn to a flame, she continued her journey into the creepy forest. This time, her progression was voluntary. Asphorela was careful not to step on any twigs, dead leaves, or brush up against anything that would alert the man to her presence. Upon reaching a clearing, she could clearly see one of the elders, Father Neldoroth, holding the Eyes of Azul over a blue flame. The Eyes of Azul were small wooden bowls filled with water that came from a magical spring named Azul. Sorcerers and sorceresses could chant as they held the bowls to strengthen whichever spell they recited. As Father Neldoroth swished the waters in a circular motion, he spoke a spell in an ancient tongue and then repeated the spell in the common language.

“At the appointed hour after her coming of age ceremony, the young novice, Asphorela will assassinate her fellow novices with the Knife of Dragoonslayer and then turn the dagger upon herself, thereby destroying the young order,” he spoke in a powerful, yet monotone voice that sent chills up Asphorela’s spine.

Asphorela shook her head and blinked as her knees threatened to give way. What was he saying? Confusion set in. It seemed as though her mind would not allow her to believe what she was hearing. Father Neldoroth was one of the strictest and most respected teachers she had ever known. How could he, of all people, plan such a betrayal? Her hand slipped from the tree that supported her, and she crashed to her knees. Father Neldoroth paused and looked over his shoulder in her direction. Screams erupted inside her chest, yet her mouth made no sounds. She forced herself not to move. Even her breathing halted. At least she had enough wits about her to know that it was imperative to remain hidden.

As soon as Father Neldoroth turned back toward his work, Asphorela silently pushed herself to her feet and crept out of the forbidden forest. She didn’t dare perform a silencing spell for fear that Father Neldoroth might detect her magic. Conflicting thoughts and emotions raced through her mind. Why would he betray her? Were other elders involved? Who could she tell? What should she do now?

Tune in next week for the continuation of this story.

Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle, #3) by Christopher Paolini

My book review of Book Review: Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle, #3)  by Christopher Paolini …

…And he did it again! So often, when reading a series, a certain book will stand out as better than the rest. For Christopher Paolini’s “Inheritance” series, however, I find it difficult to choose. Each book, including this one, has its own charm. I find it fascinating how the characters have developed and changed so completely that if I had only met them during this third book, I may not have recognized them when going back to read first book. Of course, this is a must read if you’ve enjoyed the first 2 books.