This new year began just a little over four weeks ago. We might want to take time to notice if it still feels new, or if it seems to have aged prematurely! Are we still excited and curious about new possibilities for experiencing Life this year, or have the same old thoughts and the same old ways of doing things taken the shine off of its symbolic newness?
Our LEC theme for this amazing time in our Earth life is “It’s 2023 I’m free free free,” and even though that remains true every year no matter what the date, unless we intentionally remind our self that we are free to be our self Now, without worldly restrictions that don’t apply to us spiritually, we might let all the supposed to’s and not supposed to’s, and all those should do’s and shouldn’t do’s invented by the world keep our self-expression small and limited through our agreement to go with the world instead of going with the Flow.
The most simple way for us to live a spiritual life, to live each moment with spiritual awareness that brings joy, health and peace of mind every day, is simply to know this one thing: God is all there is to you and me, and all that exists, and God is Love. When Jesus was asked about the Greatest Spiritual Law, he said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your power and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest Commandment. And, the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” There aren’t a lot of complex rules for living a spiritual life. We’re simply directed to Love. We are free to think this and that, say this and that, and do this and that, and all that’s required of us is to Love as we think, say or do it.
We can spend this lifetime, or many lifetimes, reading about the meaning of life. We can get good at quoting those who seem to have discovered it. Or we can simply give meaning to own life by being the Love that we are, wherever we are, no matter who shows up for us to Love, including our self. Love sets us free to be more of the One we’re created to be, more of the One we are NOW—Love. It sets us free to accept each other as an expression of the One Love that is all there is, the One Love we share, no matter what appears to be.
In our focus this year on our feeling our spiritual freedom, we have been talking a lot about the Present Moment. We’ve been talking about It as if there were nothing else to talk about, as if the Present Moment is all there is, because It is. It’s the only place Life is happening. It is the timeless time and spaceless space in which we can love Love with all our heart, soul, power, and mind, and share the Love that we are together.
The mystical poet, Rumi, wrote: “Pure Love offers us clemency from every previous thought we entertained that we want to change now because It holds no record of wrongs.” The Present Moment is Pure Love, untouched by anything that has occurred in the world at anytime, and when we’re in the Present Moment so are we. We experience forgiveness of our self and others because the Present Moment, Pure Love, doesn’t contain the past. Only our human mind can hold such a record. The Holy Emptiness of the Present Moment is Full of Love and Infinite possibilities for Love’s expression that haven’t been expressed before.
And, even though we can all get there from here because we’re already there right here, we can only become aware that we are aligned with It, and open to all the good that arises within It, when we observe the Present Moment without an opinion or conclusion. We can’t have a judgment, or reach a conclusion about anything without something from the past to base it on. Judging is thinking the Present Moment is something we’ve seen before or fearing what might happen next based on past experience. Judging requires a past thought that we are deciding to hold onto that the Flow of Life has already moved on from.
In his book, Wherever You Go, There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn defined mindfulness as “awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgmentally. He called it a “Radical Act of Sanity.” His research proved that mindfulness can “help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.” There’s a whole lot of Power in the Now, and that’s just what It can do for our physical body! The Present Moment offers us health, peace of mind and a sense of well-being because It doesn’t carry a record of the past to painfully regret or a fated future to stress out about or lose sleep over.
Like a new year, like a new day, the Present Moment is new. It’s never happened before. It holds nothing we no longer need, yet It holds all we want right now. It’s full of new possibilities between what was and what might appear next. No matter where we’ve been, and no matter where we’re going, here we are right now. Whatever has happened, has already happened. Whatever we’re thinking right now, that is what’s on our mind. And, whatever we wind up doing next, that will be what we have wound up doing.
It is one of the conundrum’s of this human experience that no matter how much we want things to be different, and no matter how hard we try to forget about the self that’s been shaped and molded by our past, there’s just no getting away from who we believe we are, wherever we are. We can go vacation and there we are. We can win the lottery, and there we are. We can move across town or across the ocean, and there we are. And, wherever we are we’re looking out of the same pair of eyes that reflect what we believe is true based on the past, unless we choose right now to see things differently.
Often we’re so tired of experiencing the same old life, and feeling like the same old us in it, we try to distract our self rather than change our point of view. Our mind is like a “drunken monkey,” as Buddha called it, doing its best to distract us by jumping from a thought of fear to another of drama to another of regret and to another of worry. In the Book of 2 Corinthians we read, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Now is the only time we have to choose to change the direction of our life, to choose thoughts that cause us to feel joyful and free in the Present Moment, and will attract more joy to us as our life unfolds.
The only thing that keeps our moments from feeling new, the only thing that keeps us feeling like we’ve been around the block more than a few times, is thoughts from the past that muck up our view of the new, in us and around us. If we want to be someone we want to go on vacation with, spend our winnings with, move somewhere with, or stay right where we are with, we need to see our self with new eyes so that we enjoy our own company.
That newness can only come from the Holy View within us. We read in A Course in Miracles, “Listen and learn, and do not judge. It is to God you turn to hear what you should do.” When we listen without judging, without an opinion of what we should hear, or if we’re worthy to hear anything at all, we’re able to hear, soft and clear, the Voice of our True Self speaking to us of the Love that Is, of the Love we are, of the the Love that is right where we are. And, since wherever we go, there we are, there must be Love there too.
If we find it difficult to love our self or someone else in any moment, it’s likely because we’re not keeping it simple and simply loving Love, and loving to Be Love with all our heart, soul, power, and mind. If we find it difficult to forgive self or someone else, we’re trying to forgive with the ego and it’s not capable of forgetting the past because it is the one that holds records of wrongs! Because the ego believes itself to be separate from all others, it can’t love another as if that one is one with it. But when we’re in the Present Moment on purpose, non-judgmentally, ego thoughts can’t enter. Then we’re able to hear our Inner Being as It speaks to us of our Oneness with all that is and that All-That-Is Is Love.
The world becomes magical and new when we’re intentionally in the Present Moment because when we see it mindfully, we see it and hear it and taste it and smell it and touch it as if for the first time. We’re without preconceived ideas of what should or should not be there—no rules or restrictions, simply Life being Life, and Love being Love, in us, through us, and all around us—And, we are free free free to let It be.
Choosing to focus on the Present Moment, intentionally, on purpose, and without judgment, means accepting that we will never be someone other than who we are, and that who we are is absolutely wonderful, just as we are right NOW. We are as free in this mystery of Life as our Creator, as free as we’re created to be, boundlessly free. When we keep our mind clear of confusion and fear, we simply know that God is all there is to you and me, and all that exists, and God is Love. And, all that we want to do is KISS the world with that knowing!
Whatever the year, month or day, it is always NOW. Our entire life is always happening right where we are Now because there’s no other place for it to occur, no matter what the date or time of day. Eckhart Tolle wrote, “Nothing has happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.” If we remember what we were thinking about or what we were doing yesterday, we’re remembering it Now. If we remember how we felt when something painful or embarrassing happened yesterday, or last year, or the year before that, we’re remembering it Now.
As saying goes “The past is rolled up behind us.” It’s no longer there, but we are. We’re where we always are, right here Now. We remain a living expression of Life right now with nothing behind us except the Power of the whole Universe that has our back, Now and forever, and is ready to create for us. We create our Life experience by thinking. We call our experiences “the past” when they’ve already occurred in our physical world, and “the future” when they haven’t yet occurred. But our life unfolds with our every step in the present moment.
When we’re experiencing something good, we want the moment to last forever, and when we’re experiencing something unpleasant we want the moment to pass as quickly as possible. Yet the Now moment doesn’t go anywhere no matter how we’re experiencing It. There’s no place for It to go. It is always Now because Now is Life and Life is Now, even when we’re not paying attention to our life. Or as John Lennon put it, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Now is the timeless gap of Pure Unconditional Life between our thoughts. It’s there no matter how fast our thoughts seem to cross our mind. It’s there between what was and what will appear next, even if there doesn’t seem to be a pause in between.
The idea of time and space that is the basis of this human environment allows us to measure and evaluate our progress along our eternal spiritual journey of Love—where we are now and where we want to be in the future. But when we get “there,” the future will be Now. Time and space give us the chance to make changes in our direction, if choose to, but we can only make those changes Now. Time and space offer us opportunities to assess our mental-emotional-physical movement from there to there, and to decide if we want to move in a different way by taking advantage of the present moment to change our thinking and change our life direction.
Now doesn’t change, we do, or rather our experience of Life changes because our mind is the master of the thoughts that create our experiences. We are free to choose, and choose again, how we’ll experience each moment. We are free to try on a new way of seeing our self and Life right Now. We are also free to hold onto thoughts of what was and focus on them right Now. But, either way that will be our experience of Life for now. The good news is that when we think about the past Now, we’re free to think about it differently. That’s how the past loses its hold on us. Nothing is written in stone. Life is fluid, changeable, and always in motion. We are immersed in a Sea of Love that is always moving us in the direction of Love’s expression. We only get seasick when we resist going with The Flow!
The only reason we don’t believe we are free to see the past differently is because we think we’re a done deal, solidified by our past—filled with habits we can’t seem to break, and ways of responding to life that keep us glued to past performances, ours and those of others. Nothing keeps us from feeling free more than judging our self and others by past performances. Rumi wrote, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” That field is Pure Love, the Holy Vacuity or Emptiness that is forever “full” with infinite possibilities for Love’s expression. It holds no record of wrongs because Now holds no record of the past. In the Now we are unconditionally free. There’s not one thing we can’t change Now. Not one thing we can’t think, say or do differently Now, and everyone else is free to do the same.
I don’t read the details of most news headlines, but one day my curiosity got the best of me. As I was halfway through reading some news report, it became obvious to me it was impossible to know who was telling the truth, and who wasn’t (as if it was any of my business anyway). I felt so exhausted I stopped reading because both sides sounded right to me and both sounded wrong. Then the words “Who Did, Who Didn’t, Houdini” came to mind and as I said them out loud with a sigh, I felt better. Then I laughed (for a long time). The more I laughed, the better I felt, and the better I felt, the lighter I felt, and the lighter I felt, the less I cared about who did or didn’t do something! Houdini was a great escape artist who could escape from almost any pair of handcuffs. Nothing keeps us handcuffed to negative energy, nothing holds us down more than holding onto ideas about who did or who didn’t do whatever. It’s not possible for us to feel light within us, and at the same time worry about who’s right and who’s wrong around us. When we feel light, we know everything is alright, and we can let it be.
Nothing makes us feel lighter than laughter. We love to hear babies laugh. We love to be around people that we can laugh with. Joy is the Key to living a Life we love to live because It is the elixir of our soul, and the best medicine on Earth to remedy sadness, sickness, boredom. Norman Cousins, an American journalist, professor, and world peace advocate, wrote the book Anatomy of an Illness after he laughed himself well. He’d been diagnosed with a degenerative disease that left him in almost constant pain, and motivated his doctor to tell him that he would die within a few months. But Norman Cousins learned that negative emotions, such as frustration and suppressed rage, were linked to his illness. So, he was sure the opposite would be true too, that positive emotions like love, hope, faith, laughter, and confidence would heal him. To combat his pain, he watched Marx Brothers films, Candid Camera, and anything else that made him laugh. He discovered that ten minutes of belly rippling laughter would give him two hours of pain-free sleep when nothing else, not even morphine, could help him.
Alan Watts wrote, “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun. The only thing that could be bad is taking it too seriously.” We were in on the joke before we came! Are we having fun yet, or are we spending our life bemoaning the past—thinking about, wondering about, worrying about, and talking about who’s right and who’s wrong, and who did or didn’t do something. Now is the perfect time for us to lighten up and live as we are created to live, in joyous boundless freedom. Now is the time for us to stop taking our self and Life so seriously and just let our happiness shine into the world. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, “Measure your success by the number of hours you smile.” Every smile breaks a link in the chains that keep us down in negativity and allows us to be happier and more free.
Our theme this year, “It’s 2023 I’m Free Free Free!” feels good when we say it aloud or silently to our self because it resonates with the Truth that lives in our heart and soul, the Truth that has already set us free. We were born of the Spirit in Love and Freedom before we were birthed on Earth. The Christ energy of God’s Son, the Pure Positive Energy of Creation, lives in us as our true Self. It is the Holy Energy through which Love creates. It is the Holy Way through which the Universe is extended now and forever. In the Aramaic Bible, in the Book of John we read, “If the Son therefore will set you free, you will truly be the children of liberty.” We are already the spiritual children of liberty. Whenever we choose Love over fear, happiness over being right, and peace over conflict and confusion, we are expressing the freedom of the Holy Life in us.
We remain free even while we’re here in human form. But in this human environment freedom is a choice. The happiness, joy, peace, and love that belong to us are moment to moment choices because we are so free, we can choose not to be. We can choose suffering and sacrifice, confinement and self-restriction. That’s how free we are! Abraham-Hicks tells us, “You are so free you can choose bondage. You are so free you can allow wellness or disallow wellness and end up with illness. In other words, the choice is so much yours as an individual, that only freedom could be the way of expressing it.”
As an essential part of creation, each of us has been set free on a journey to expand creation through our choices. And, even when it seems we’ve chosen poorly, even when we’ve chosen bondage over freedom and obligation over desire, Abraham-Hicks tells us that “we can’t get it wrong and we can’t get it done.” We can’t get it done because we are on a journey of spiritual design that has no end. It extends through eternity with our every step. We can’t get it wrong because choices that lead to struggle, suffering and difficulty only take us on a temporary detour from happiness.
Detours don’t lead to dead ends. We get back track, eventually, and more often than not, a little wiser for having taken one. We read in The Science of Mind, “God’s plan for man is a perfect one, and when we harmonize with it we will become free from all bondage.” Every detour, no matter how bumpy or long, will lead us, one way or another, to God’s perfect plan for us. It’s inevitable because it is our destiny. Since bondage and fear are contractions that cause us to withdraw from Life, and we are part of God’s perfect plan for the eternal expansion of Creation, nothing we do can make fear, and all that fear gives birth to, last forever.
We read in The Way of Transformation, “You remain perfectly free to choose to perceive differently. You remain free at all times to see that you are not the victim of circumstance, and not the victim of a relationship, a career, or being born into a certain nation.” We are not the victim of our parents, childhood, or education because we remain perfectly free see our Self differently now. Though we are absolutely free to focus on the physical forms of this world (including our own) as if it is all there is to them (and to us), as if there is nothing beyond what we see, we are also perfectly free to choose to perceive differently. We are free to maintain a positive view that allows us to enjoy God’s plan for Creation while we’re here in the world.
This human experience offers us opportunities that we can’t get anywhere else to use our power of mind to focus on thoughts that feel good, and to ignore thoughts that don’t. Our experience of life is up to us. No one can force us to believe what we don’t choose to believe about our self or the world around us—not our parents, teachers or churches, not our family, friends or the news media. We decide the thoughts we accept as true and which we will focus on, and it is our focus that determines how we react and respond to Life.
No matter what anyone says or does, no matter what the event or situation may be, there is nothing outside of us that can cause us to act against our own freewill. We are free to let go of yesterday’s thoughts, words and actions no matter how right they seemed at the time, or how righteous we felt at the time. We can choose to greet each day as brand new, as if it has no past to compare it to, which is true if we let it be. How free would we feel if we met each moment throughout the day with a mind open to ideas we’ve never had before, and to a deeper knowing we’ve not known before? We read in The Way of Transformation, “This is the time in which you can turn away from the past and look back upon it no longer. This is the time in which you can step into the light of the future of your own personal destiny, held in the hands of a perfectly loving Creator that already has a plan for you, or you would not have been birthed. For you are certainly not an accident!”
The definition of “destiny” is a lot or fortune (our treasure in Heaven). Destiny also means the inevitable or irresistible course of events (God’s plan for us). It’s not a paint-by-number plan in which we have no choice. It’s a blank canvas upon which we are free to choose how we will paint our unique creative expression of Creation. Our personal destiny is to expand and extend God’s Love by being that Love in the world. Our contribution matters because we are part of All-That-Is. We’re not an “accident!” We are God’s on purpose! Our perfectly loving Creator’s plan for us is that we be happy, joyous, peaceful, loving, and free as we express our self.
Why would we choose to be miserable forever, or even for one moment, when we are free to choose to perceive life in a happy way now? If we don’t notice what inspires our thoughts, i.e., which thoughts cause us to feel good and which ones don’t, we’ll postpone our experience of the moments of love, joy and peace that are part of the journey of eternally extending Creation one moment at a time.
Eternity might seem exhausting to think about if we think of It as a long, long time. We may even wonder if at some point we might get tired of creating! But eternity isn’t about time at all. It is the timelessness beyond time. It’s the space between a moment ago and the next moment; between what’s happened and what can occur. It’s a space of unlimited potential and possibilities that have yet be thought of or experienced. It is the Unchanging Space in which all change occurs Eckhart Tolle wrote, “Your entire life only happens in this moment.”
We can think about the past and wonder about the future, but when we do, we’re doing it here and now. We can regret the past and fear the future, but when we do, we’re doing it here and now. There is certainly no changing the past, it’s over and done. But there is no possibility of changing the future unless we make changes now. We are always right where we are, and we are always creating what’s next even if our thoughts are elsewhere. Eckhart Tolle continued, “The present moment is life itself. Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have and make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” We are Home only in the Present Moment. Eternity is that one moment standing still forever. It’s always there and so are we.
My new iPhone offers a home screen with a picture of an illuminated Earth in a night sky. The picture is at an angle that shows the northern hemisphere and North America. And, because my iPhone knows where I am at all times, there is a green beam pulsating from Grand Blanc, MI. At the top of the picture is a clarification of the destination I’ve reached: “Home You’re already there.” That picture serves as a reminder to me that I’m always Home. It helps me to remember that I’m already there, immersed in the Love of God, still part of the Holy Plan. I don’t need to struggle to get there or anywhere. I don’t need wait for anything happen before that’s true. All that is required of me is to remember where I am and make the Now moment my focus. As I do, I’m free to create something new with no regrets about the past and no worries about the future. All I want, or would ever want, is where I am because my destiny lives in me as God’s will for me to be happy, peaceful, joyous, and free. All I’ve yet to know, even that which I don’t know I don’t know, is where I am because there is only here and now eternally.
There is a beautiful song by Prashanti Paz that I listen to often. It begins: “In this changing life, so much pain we find, trying to control the river’s flow, caught up in between fears and dreams, holding onto what’s already gone.” There is nothing permanent in this world. When we look out at the world of appearances and try to control what we see, the very thing we wish to change continues to appear to us only because we’re choosing to focus on it—whether it’s a lack of health, money, joy, peace of mind, or freedom. And, all the while we’re still on the Holy Path of God’s Plan for more and more holy experiences that will extend the good, beautiful and true.
Prashanti Paz goes on to sing of a way to see life differently: “In this Holy Life, so much love we find, You have given me the eyes to look inside,You have opened up my heart to shine Your Light, You have set me free, I can let this be. And, I’m coming home to you and I’m coming home to me.” As we realize we’re already Home in God, we realize that we are living a Holy Life, and that our only purpose is to extend the Love of God in the present moment no matter who is standing before us.
The master teacher, Mooji, wrote: “You are already the One Self. You will purchase the map, Only to find you are already Here.” We are already Here because there is no other place to be. There is nowhere else but here and now. No other Life available to us. All Life is happening now. Every moment we make NOW our primary focus, we come Home to our perfectly loving Creator and to our true Self. Ram Das said that we are just walking each other home. But we can be there in a twinkling of an eye if we choose to be because it is a timeless journey without distance.