Every day we humans are faced with choices. And sometimes it's hard to know which choice is the best one. I've found a method that works for me, and I thought it might work for some of you. When trying to decide, we tend to weigh all the options, make lists of pros and cons that might result from each. We suffer, sometimes, because we all want to do what's right. No matter how deeply we disagree, in our hearts, we want to do what's right, what's best, what's good. But we are individuals, and our definitions of “good” and “right” and “best” are diverse. Maybe we can get more clarity by looking at things from a slightly different angle.
Maybe it's not about WHAT we choose.
Maybe it's about WHY we choose it.
I read a piece from a spiritual leader who wrote that there are only two motivations driving every single decision we make. And those are love and fear.
At first I thought this was an over-simplified statement, but I decided to put it to the test. From the day I read this, I've been paying attention to every decision I make and asking myself whether it's based on love or fear. The theory falls apart a little bit when deciding between, say, outfits. But that's the only place I've seen it not be powerful and useful.
For example, choosing what to eat. Am I choosing based on love of some delicious dish, love of myself, love of the pleasure the meal will bring me? Or am I choosing based on fear? Fear it's bad for me, it'll make me fat, it'll give me a heart attack? Now some meals leave me feeling like crap afterward. Love of my body would suggest I choose things that leave me feeling good instead. But always, love guides my choices. Really though, this method isn't about deciding what to wear or what to eat.
It's the big questions that count
Some would say, what about hate? Some people, violent types, act based on hate. But if you examine it closely, hate itself is fear-based. It's fear of “other.” It's fear, pure and simple. Fear that if “they” are “our” equals they will soon take over. Fear that if the races all intermingle, there will be no more “purebred” folk. (In fact, there's no such thing as a pure race. Never was. We're a mishmash of cross-breeding ancient humans, with bits of Neanderthal and other Homo-whatevers, whose DNA can still be found inside us.)
The blending of the races, just like the blending of those ancient ancestors on our family tree, is how we evolve and adapt our physical bodies into better and stronger and more durable models. And that's ALL it is.
Hatred is based on fear of that which we perceive as “other.” And since we've just demonstrated that there's no such thing as “other,” it's also pointless.
Let's take another big question. Something topical like, say, immigration. Most of those opposed to immigration are opposing it based on fear. That fear is voiced as “We can't take everyone! There's not enough to go around.” Or “They're all criminals out to rape, rob and murder us,” or “soon ‘they' will outnumber ‘us'.”
That's all fear. Mainly, it's fear that there's not enough, fear that “we” will have less if “they” come in.
A love-based opinion would be, the more the merrier. We have no fear of lack, we have plenty to share, and those who join us will create even more. More wealth, more resources, more experience to add to our wisdom. More love, all around. No downside.
Furthermore, the fear of not enough is in direct opposition to the laws of the Universe. There is no big pie that is being sliced into smaller and smaller pieces to go around. Everyone has their own pie. Everyone makes their own pie. And the pie expands in direct response to the needs and desires of the pie-maker. Every desire I launch makes my individual pie grow bigger while having zero impact on anyone else's pie. And nothing anyone else does has any impact on my pie, unless I believe it does. In which case, my pie will shrink, but it will shrink because my belief caused it to shrink, not because of anything anyone else did.
Understanding outshines fear
To prove this to yourself, just pretend for a moment that abundance is unlimited, that you have an endless stream of well being and wealth and health and resources at your fingertips, and so does everyone else. What would your stance on any given topic be then? Would it change? If you were absolutely sure that nothing outside of you could do you any harm, how would you feel about other humans?
The truth is, that is the way things are.There is an endless source of well-being and abundance at your fingertips. Accessing it requires only paying attention to it, rather than to your old way of thinking. If you stop believing in lack, you will stop experiencing it. If you believe in well being, well being is what you will have.
If you take off the blinders, and allow yourself to see this deep truth, you will see it. You only have to look for it. It's waiting underneath all the flawed premises so many of us think are facts.
Our country is being torn apart by fear
Some fear that if Trump is re-elected we'll lose our Democracy, fall into nuclear war, become a dictatorship, destroy the planet, and go extinct. Those are BIG fears.
Others fear that if Trump is impeached, we'll be overrun by immigrants, besieged by terrorists, plunged into poverty and held responsible for the well being of the entire world. Those are also BIG fears.
The candidates are all running based on fear (except for one.)
Trump's fanning the flames of fear of everyone not white, straight, and Christian.
Everyone else is fanning the flames of fear of Trump.
Neither of these will work to anyone's benefit. Not even the candidates'.
What can we do?
We must start looking at what we do want instead of fearing what we don't want. Imagine the kind of country you want. I want it to be clean and beautiful. I want a nation at peace, and overflowing with prosperity and opportunity for all, with a healthy and enlightened population. I want a citizenship who love and support each other. I want freedom to pursue whatever makes me happy in my life. I want our allies to love and respect us, and I would really prefer not to have enemies at all.
How can we begin to achieve this? Small scale, that's how. We have to begin in our own lives. We can start to re-examine the areas in which we might still be living a fear-based existence and not even knowing it. It's only when we can admit that not every idea we have is necessarily an accurate or helpful one, that we can begin to open our minds to a deeper kind of knowing.
The universe is kind and loving and completely cooperative. It's not competitive or fearful, or vengeful, or punitive. The sooner we can accept and adopt that wisdom truly and deeply into our hearts and minds, the more enlightened our thoughts and actions will become.
The key to everything
Some of you aren't going to like this. But the key is accepting full, 100% responsibility for the lives we have. No one has created them for us. We have created everything in our experience, maybe unconsciously, maybe unknowingly-but all of it comes to us by our beliefs and choices. Nobody can impose anything on us. We are doing it all.
That's a terribly painful and difficult truth for those who aren't having a good time right now. It really is easier if we can blame all our hardships on neighbors or immigrants or terrorists or criminals or politicians. But it's all self-imposed, every bit of it. Until we know this, we feel battered like little boats on a stormy sea, with no control over anything that happens to us, and as a result, some really nasty stuff can happen to us.
But once we know how much control we actually do have, this becomes an incredibly empowering piece of knowledge. It puts US in the driver's seat of our lives. Now that we know that, we can change everything just by changing the old beliefs that have been holding us back.
Open up to the possibility that you are actually in control of your own experience. Stop believing yourself a victim of external forces. Claim your true power. Shift your focus.
Develop the habit of looking for what's right instead of what's wrong, of looking for what you want instead of dwelling on what you don't, of being positive and optimistic rather than negative and pessimistic, and just watch the changes begin to roll in.
And don't disbelieve or disrespect this universal law until you have tried it for yourself. It's as true as the law of gravity. What you focus on grows. What you believe in exists. What you expect happens.
The love-based life
There's no fear in a life based on love. Problems become opportunities. Illness becomes a chance to rest and learn. Disagreements become times to hear and consider a different perspective. Death is no longer something to fear and fight at all costs, but rather the natural conclusion of a live well lived, and a moving on to a new cycle of life. Even accidents and injuries bring deeper meaning, if we can only look for it. Nothing happens TO us. Everything happens FOR us.
Everything is exactly the way it is, and it's all okay. It has to be okay, because that's the only way it can be at this point in time.
And you can change it all anyway, with just a little bit of practice. This is what Jesus meant when he said that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. It's true. It can.
As we end the year…
I truly hope we can all learn to love each other a little bit more, and I think it's a lot easier to do that once we truly, deeply accept that there's nothing anyone else does has any real impact on our lives. Only we have that power. The relationship that really matters is the one between me and my higher power, and that is true of every last one of us.
My top resolution for the new year is this…