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You are the Motivation and the Choice
This text (which was written to be read at the beginning of a course) explores how to get the most out of these teachings — or any spiritual literature — through the realization that what I am presenting is not just a series of mental ideas for you to consider, but the repeated presentation of a state of consciousness — I often call freedom-consciousness — that you must not only come to conceive of, but also make a conscious choice to engage.
Any teaching can only point to freedom-consciousness — the rest is then up to you.
At the core of accepting this is the taking of responsibility for your own experience. This is essential because, at the heart of what I teach, is the understanding we are each — as creators — living within the experience of our own beliefs. To not take responsibility for your own experience is to not believe you are the creator of it and, for as long as you believe that, you are not free. When this is understood the realization is that there is no teaching in existence that can break through, or somehow erase your doubts, because reality must always reflect your doubts to you.
You must believe in the possibility of freedom to experience it.
Because freedom is a state of consciousness that exists outside definition (which can be thought of as pre-definition because it is the creator of definition), there is no teaching that can give you information which takes you from not believing in that possibility to believing in it. Spiritual teachings can only point to it as a space inside your own consciousness that you meet through an inner state of allowance for and acceptance of everything in existence. This is to discover the space where allowance and acceptance are found to be the taking of self-responsibility.
The taking of responsibility for your own experience is at the core of getting the most from your spiritual journey.
No spiritual teacher (or teaching) can do the work of facing the doubts and fears you carry — they can only point you to the possibility of existing without these states of resistance. Therefore, if you are perceiving from a state of resistance, then ALL spiritual teachings will evoke some level of doubt within you.
Despite this, people tend to convince themselves there is a spiritual teaching out there that is “so right” or “so much The truth” that it has this power to eradicate their blocks. This is to look for something external to “save you” from something inside of yourself.
There are many exciting “spiritual truths” within this world to explore… but NONE of them are “the answer”. EVERY spiritual teaching has the power to offer you a new and valuable perspective on life — yet none of them can give you something you believe you are missing. This is because freedom-consciousness is the realization that you aren’t — and have never been — missing anything.
This is like saying I cannot “give you happiness” because your natural state is happiness. That which keeps us from happiness are the fears we hold. Somehow finding a way to “give you happiness” won’t take those fears away. Or, put another way, if there are dense obstacles within a person that cast powerful shadows, then turning up the light source may make everything else brighter, but the dark areas will still be dark.
awakening is not about finding what you have been missing. It is about remembering you are already whole.
To realize you are whole is to realize that you are valuable just as you are (even when you do not see yourself as whole). This is embraced through the realization of the equality of being — the realization that ALL perspectives are valid and that freedom comes from seeing things from all sides (rather than from just one particular angle that is judged to be superior).
So, with this idea understood, I now want to turn to look at the idea of taking responsibility for the emotions you feel and the reactions that are evoked when you read my articles or engage in any kind of spiritual exploration. This isn’t about taking responsibility in terms of being accountable — it is about being aware of what levels of resistance are operating within you (through the understanding that you are the person they are most having a potentially negative effect on).
Only by bringing consciousness to what is going on within you when you read spiritual literature will you stop bringing the same resistances — and therefore areas of blindness — to all that you explore.
how you feel about me and my ability to write is a highly significant factor in how you receive my writing. The more doubt you have about how much I and these ideas can help you, the less effective anything I do or say will be. This powerful effect acts regardless of the quality of my teaching and the materials.
It isn’t just about the information — it is how you feel about it — and because our feelings are so particular and unique in how they arise from our emotional history, only you can meet and resolve them through your own feeling process.
With spiritual literature there are two main aspects to consider when it comes to how you feel about what you are reading: how much it resonates with you as “being true” (as opposed to being a deluded fabrication), and how you feel about the author as a person. In terms of myself as an author this includes your beliefs about my state of consciousness, my ability to teach, and my reasons for doing what I do (my motivation or agenda).
This can go in various directions, each of which have their pros and cons. Some people put most of their belief in a teacher and will seek to accept whatever they teach through the belief they are “right”. This is to effectively be worshiping the teaching — or even the teacher — instead of integrating it and owning it for yourself.
Alternatively, there are others who worship knowledge. Here the spiritual seeker collects their version of “The truth” — which they consider to be transcendent information — from many teachers (all of whom are generally seen to be fallible but from which, as a whole, “The truth” can be discerned). Most people tend to fall somewhere in between — with several favorite spiritual teachers from whom they gather the knowledge with which they most resonate.
There is no right or wrong to this, I am just asking you to become aware of the position from which you read spiritual literature. What are your beliefs about personal truth versus universal truth? Why do you think people such as me become spiritual teachers? What are your biggest doubts about the value of these kinds of ideas? What do you think my personal agenda is? Do you take only what resonates, or do you feel pressured to believe it all? Where do you feel resistance when engaging this kind of work?
Without your belief in the possibility that something can change you, there can be little change.
The power of the placebo effect is well understood within medicine (which tends to not be good at acknowledging mental and emotional effects on physical health), so it is surprising how little people consider how significant their beliefs and feelings are when it comes to the spiritual teacher from whom they are learning. The effect of these beliefs is at least as relevant (often more so) to the final outcome of a person’s experience as the quality of the teachings themselves.
To see this is to see how your beliefs shape your reality. We are each living within the reflection of our beliefs.
What you believe about the power of these words is what most gives them that power. Reality says to all that we believe, “And So It Is”.
There is simply no escaping how significant this effect is. No teaching can penetrate a consciousness that does not want to be penetrated. No teaching can be absolute. All consciousness has the right to say “yes” or “no” to any experience. This is YOUR freedom.
You are free to have obstacles within you that cast shade regardless of how bright the light that is shone on you is. This is freedom. The freedom to be as you choose. The freedom to be in the shade. The freedom to be polarized. The freedom to be a victim. The freedom to be righteous. The freedom to be afraid. This is why you cannot realize what freedom is by NOT becoming these things. A victim does not become free by ceasing to be a victim — they do so by realizing that victimhood is a choice (which is to realize they have always been free).
You are the determinant of your state of allowance.
You are free to be as open or closed to your spiritual unfolding as you wish. You are free to be closely engaged with these ideas before you, or you are free to passively observe them from a distance. You are free to be a doubter or a believer. There is no judgment in any of this — you are free.
Do you feel how it all connects? everything from how you feel about me as a person, to how you feel about spiritual teachers in general, to how you feel about the power of writing to change you, to how you feel about the power of any spiritual teaching to be effective — these ALL come into play every time you read a spiritual article. These emotions and beliefs all determine whether you are excited to dive in or if you are tired, frustrated, and full of doubts. And THAT state of consciousness largely determines the benefit you will or won’t receive.
The content of what I write can only ever be half of the picture AT MOST (and that is only when you are fully open to it). What I bring to the table does have the potential to have value, but that value is entirely determined by how you meet it.
In all of life — no matter what it is — we must meet each other half way. This is a part of the taking of self-responsibility.
The freedom of this choice — which births through self-awareness — will be the greatest factor in what you receive in life and this is determined by the power of the feeling in your heart and whether that can penetrate the fears within your mind.
The best that I can do as a spiritual teacher (beyond producing the best materials possible) is what I am doing in this moment, which is pointing you to your free-will choice to engage or resist. This is self-awareness of the flow of consciousness within you and the taking of responsibility for how it affects you — which is to say, where it takes you.
You cannot “make” someone free — it must come from within the awareness of the choice to be free. Spiritual teaching is therefore about creating awareness of the internal choice, but it cannot make that choice — it can only point at it.
feel the freedom and wonder — rather than anything negative — in the realization that you are responsible for what you meet on your spiritual journey. Feel the strength and power in what is being said here. To say that it is all down to you is not a bad thing — it is a good thing. It is a good thing because it means that if you will step up to the plate, then nothing can stop you reaping the rewards.
You — your own navigation of yourself — are the key to everything you want.
awakening is not a state of knowledge, it is a state of being — a state of consciousness I seek to point you towards. To see where you are being pointed is different from understanding what you are being told. The first arises from the second, but it is not a passive act — it can only come from within you. It is a step you make — a choice you see and then choose. Only you can choose to live in freedom.
I look forward to continuing to meet you at the point of choice. It is the point of celebration. I will meet you in the celebration of what you are.