September 2022 Musings

Redemption Song by Bob Marley ran through my mind all summer; and more specifically the lyrics: Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery None but ourselves can free our minds. That may be easier said then done. I pondered these lyrics, as the events of the summer unfolded.As fate would have it, I would be led to a healer in Ellsworth, Maine where things would begin to crystalize.

I arrived at the healer’s address, an old victorian house, where upon entering a sign read please take off your shoes. I neatly parked my Birkenstocks by the staircase. I wandered in calling out “hello, anyone here?” I entered the living room and ran into another client who said, “Make yourself comfortable, someone will come to get you for your appointment.” I did just that, plopping down on to an overstuffed sofa. My appointment was for 11 and by 11:15 no one had come to get me. Going with the flow, I continued to peruse my phone. Eventually someone came in and he said, “You’re not on the schedule.” After some back and forth we determined there had been some sort of mix up; but as luck would have it he did have time for me. We headed up to a light filled room in the turret of the victorian. The healer asked, “Why are you here?” I said, “I don’t know.” He was bemused as he repeated my answer. I said, “A friend thought I should come see you and I followed her prompting.” I awkwardly mumbled something about my right shoulder and back being sore, maybe we could work on that. Then the most amazing thing happened as we started on these areas; mostly through talking, we came upon the reason I was there! It turns out I was looking for clarity! Honestly, who isn’t these days? It could have been a lucky guess but in my case it was absolutely true.

There was a nagging question on my mind all summer that I would think about on my long walks with the dogs or when sitting in my favorite cool stream in the Maine woods and that was, what is the difference between judgement and discernment? I live in a very judgmental world; I guess we all do. I don’t like that feeling. I don’t like judging people, it make me feel physically sick as in pit-in-stomach sick after I do it or when I hear others do it. So what’s that all about? I casually asked that question in my session and that turned into a half hour discussion which resonated deeply, as well as relieved the pent up pain in both my shoulder and back.

I learned there is a big difference between judgement and discernment. One is toxic (judgement) the other helpful (discernment). He also said that when we judge someone it stops any other alternative scenario. For instance, if I judge that someone is unkind and decree it so then there really is no way for that person to grow or change in my mind. I have made a judgement and that’s it. Now, if I can discern that the same person is being unkind in that moment and I can then discern even further through talking that that person has just lost a family member; than I can see that although the behavior is unacceptable to me, I can understand and then forgive and also give that person the chance to grow and change in the next moment. That’s a big difference than declaring an irrevocable judgment!

Further in my session because of my interest in judgment vs discernment the book Steps to Freedom which we have as our September read was recommended. There’s a lot of good information in that book with the intent of unpacking the road to true freedom which is what we crave at our very core. I have touched on one aspect of the book regarding how the mind can be enslaved in the context of judgement. There are obviously more obstacles to true freedom.

However, as we chip away at the conditionings of the mind, we can begin to set free who we really are! We uncover that we are in fact a direct channel for God to experience the world. We soon see that all the ego stuff of confusion, envy, fear, greed are just petty things in the way of our true self and that ultimately we are free to experience an exciting world that is at our finger tips. Add to that, if we can let God flow through us through service to others we could live lives way more fulfilling than we can ever create in our small, fixed worlds of who we think we are or should be.

I saw the movie Elvis this summer and there is a scene where Elvis is being manipulated by his manager to do a cheesy Christmas show and he just can’t do it, so instead Elvis writes a song presumably inspired by God called If I Can Dream. The words are so powerful and true:

But as long as a man
Has the strength to dream
He can redeem his soul and fly

I think that dreaming is God’s call to us. He’s saying come along and dream a great dream with me. Let go of the shackles of your mind that sound like: I should do this, I am that, this is what’s expected of me, because all of that is made up. It’s all made up by us and whatever conditioning was pumped into us starting at a birth. It’s equally important not to judge ourselves but rather use discernment. We can do that by trying to figure out what we want, what we’re hearing. Listen for the whisper that brings excitement and joy. It may not be what the world wants for or from us but it’s most likely what God wants. I guarantee it sounds and feels like freedom!

So the natural questions are, what is freedom and how do I attain it? The short answer is freedom will be personal to each and every one of us. In Steps to Freedom Reshad Field writes “freedom is the flow of all that is. freedom is expressed by the interchange of energies passing through all the Kingdoms of God.” He goes on to say, “We have not tasted our true freedom because we are overcome by the tyranny of the mind.” If you believe that to be true then the next question is what shall I do? The answer is very simple yet takes immense training, SURRENDER! That means giving up the identity I’ve created, negative habits of the mind and judgement. That sounds like a tall order! However, without putting pressure on ourselves, as we take small step to surrendering, changes can occur. “If you take one step towards God, He takes ten towards you” – Hadith of the Prophet

A whole new life can blossom as a result of surrendering and letting the Divine flow through us. You may be thinking this is a lot of hippie stuff; after all she did mention Birkenstocks! Yet, I can attest from my own experience this to be true.

I’ve always thought that God wanted to experience life through humans and then I read this quote “I was a hidden treasure and I longed to be known, so I created a world that I might be known.” – Hadith of the Prophet

It hit me so powerfully! What a beautiful way to think about God and don’t we think that way about ourselves as well? We create our worlds so that we are known, we join teams and clubs and form deep relationships all in order to be known. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing, and in being known, truly known, discernment is necessary and judgement has no place.

Sending true love always,

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