When discussing the use of the Michael teachings as a tool for spiritual awakening, you cannot forget the famous quote in Messages From Michael where they emphatically declare, "We are not the path to enlightenment."
For many students that's the end of discussion. But the Michael teachings is such an obvious tool for self-awareness -- even spiritual enlightenment -- that one can only assume Michael's meaning in the comment was more about those gurus who close themselves off from the rest of the world. They forget that the world is where the majority of their spiritual lessons come from. And Michael has never advocated isolation. They believe a knowledge of human understanding can only come from getting as immersed in the ways of the world as possible. Their teachings is unquestionably hands-on and experiential.
To explore this topic further, I asked the Michael Entity to provide their insights into how the teachings may be used to awaken consciousness. The rest of what's written is their channeled reply. I hope you find it useful -- and dare I say, enlightening?
Applying the Michael teachings can be as simple as making a concerted
effort each day to observe the myriad of sensations that occupy your attention. One does not need to be a Tibetan
monk to discern if the weight of your thoughts and emotions are tilting
toward the negative side.
Students may justify their stormy dispositions or deny their existence
altogether, but applying the teachings
involves honestly evaluating every thought or emotion that rallies for
attention. While false personality often hides behind
the shaky constructs of justification and denial, nothing is ever
hidden from conscious observation. All the unwelcome trappings of the
false personality can be clearly observed and acknowledged if one makes the deliberate choice to notice them.
Learning to recognize false personality is always easiest when you
observe rather than react. Since this form of observance is best
accomplished when you are not in a reactive state, the proper frame of mind might be described as a demonstration of civility toward those
destructive ogres that occasionally inhabit the self. By observing
the turmoil of your interior world with the dispassionate gaze of, lets
say a tax accountant crunching numbers without emotional investment,
you are simply "being" and not in danger of falling prey to the
extremes of overly negative (or positive) feelings. In short, to borrow a useful attribute from the scholar, you become neutral and detached.
Now the student that utters "Easier said than done" after reading this
brief commentary would not be without merit. One of the hardest tasks the
incarnate soul must face is not to react
harshly to negatively charged thoughts and emotions that course
through the body. The challenge is real but solutions are available and we
will address them in the upcoming sections, along with an outline of suggestions on how to integrate the teachings. It all falls under the category of waking up or being more spiritually awake. Beyond the theoretical trimmings of roles and overleaves, the Michael teachings are an excellent tool for spiritual development.
Why do some students fail to integrate the teachings?
Like all things involving the teachings, successful integration of the material hinges on the variables of personal choice. In circumstances where this choice requires looking within and coming face-to-face with those aspects of self that may seem unsettling to the personality, the choice is often to remain theoretical.
Avoidance is a natural by-product when unwanted manifestations of self may be revealed. Hence, integration is a matter of rolling up one's sleeves to do the inner work necessary, even when to do so is unpleasant or messy. The central issue here is a fearful and understandable reluctance to face the sometimes shadowy side of the personality and the human condition.
Would it be possible for Michael to give a specific example of how personality resists engaging the teachings?
Obvious examples may be seen in the day-to-day interaction between students Online. Rather than use the teachings as a basis to extend a bridge to each other, there has been a tendency to judge, and this is largely the result of viewing the teachings through the lens of false personality.
The personality doesn't resist the teachings so much as it relies on unconscious reactions to the stimuli that occurs around it. This is a common affliction. The cure, as we see it, is to observe the dualities in the choices you make. Negative reactions are merely emotional triggers connected to an underlying fear. When you realize your harsh judgment of someone is but ONE choice you could make, almost like a flip of a coin between a negative response over a positive one, you open yourself to a new set of pathways in your ability to choose. Kindness is not a mysterious agent that's transmitted from the heavens to only a select few, but a choice -- and a simple one at that.
Fear vs Love: Knowing the Difference
The duality of love and fear is a source of continuous strife in your world, pitting authentic expressions of love with an inordinately unauthentic counterpart, namely that of fear.
Fear is the great leveler in your society, the biblical equivalent of Beelzebub, or said more plainly, the Christian embodiment of evil. Fear is not the devil incarnate, of course, but as a symbol it was dramatized in many of the world's religions.
The Christian depiction of God and Satan are ancient representations of these opposing forces made concrete in religious doctrine. The irony should not go unnoticed that your Christian portrayals of a tantrum-throwing God are often painted into scripture with the same level of destruction attributed to Satan, and we think this a testament to the insidious nature of fear and how its influence has infiltrated what most religious leaders would consider the holiest aspects of their worship.
To know the difference between these contrasting energies before-mentioned, give careful consideration to the emotional state generated by the opposites. It is not so much a matter of knowing that you feel good or bad, but of learning to foresee the likely trajectory of the actions that follow the initial feeling. It should be obvious that emotional states are mostly inert until some form of physical expression breathes life into the energy, leading to an action.
An emotional state of fear, for instance, will frequently lead to actions that lash out or desperately attempt to fortify a previously held position or belief that impinges on either the growth of self or the choices of others, always with long-term complications. An emotional state derived from love, on the other hand, one that is in alignment with the true personality, leads to actions that uplift the self to a vantage point where all choices, those of the self and others, are clearly visible and not obscured by the limiting myopia of false personality, which tries to cloak any vision of the truth.
Knowing the difference then between love and fear means knowing the likely outcomes of your emotional state, and noticing how the blossoms of those actions influence the well-being of the self and others.
Seven Steps To Applying The Teachings
From our standpoint, applying the teachings to everyday life occurs when students stop thinking about their roles and overleaves in conceptual terms and actively use the teachings as a tool for spiritual development, which includes having more positive interactions with others.
Of course, the idea to both apply the teachings and integrate them is bound to come up in the discussion, and without belaboring the semantics involved, integration means to assimilate the concepts to the point that reference is not required to discuss them in a conversation. The student thoroughly understands the meaning and implication of the theories, and conceptualization extends beyond mere definitions.
With application, the rubber hits the road, so to speak, and the student actively tests the ideas in the real world and gets a necessary reality check of the concepts. No longer distracted by the theoretical, the ultimate goal of the teachings is then to spiritually awaken, and this is the entire point of the material.
1) Living The Role
When we say living the role we mean to use your role as guide for everything you endeavor toward in life. Your role is your primary directive, your means to steer your life in directions that prove the most satisfying for your soul. To live your role is to live an authentic life. An artisan who is blocked from being creative, a Priest who cannot inspire others -- these are people whose role gifts are under-utilized, leading to frustration and depression.
The role represents those vital aspects of spirit that makes a life whole and meaningful. A role gone unrecognized can result in frequent changes of employment, a restless spirit that rarely seems satisfied, and a life that wanders without purpose.
Most people discover their role pursuits naturally and without much searching. The demands of the role are often satisfied through work, hobbies, causes, or in their day-to-day approach to life.
Living the role is not about boosting the ego or exaggerating the virtues of a particular role energy, but simply recognizing the inherent beauty and potential of each role and knowing how to run that energy in more fulfilling ways.
People led astray are those that comply with the expectations of family and friends by choosing occupations or life pursuits unsuited for them. The artisan that sits in a corporate cubicle with little stimulation or creative outlets; the king that folds towels all day at a dry cleaners with no opportunity for advancement or the means to lead others or exhibit competence and mastery.
Occupations do not always match perfectly with the role -- life is rarely that convenient -- but if the role energy ceases to find an acceptable outlet, extreme dissatisfaction will cast a cloud over that lifetime.
If you are a Server, look for an outlet that allows some control over the people in your environment. We don't mean this in a manipulative sense -- although a frustrated server may resort to manipulation -- but there should be the means to make a difference in the lives of the people around you, whether it's through service or support. This could be in preparing the coffee station at work, helping take collections at church, or working in a social services or health field where the well-being of others can be administered.
As a server you are a helper and a healer, and your personal energies will soar when placed in a position to assist others.
Above all, the artisan seeks creative expression. An artisan without a creative outlet is one of the saddest beings you will likely encounter. It's not that they have lost their will to live, they are already not living -- at least in a spiritual sense. The good news is that the artisan can meet their need for creative expression in a variety of ways, from fine art to handiwork, from film acting to poetry, from athleticism to astrophysics.
What artisans must avoid -- if they hope to retain their sanity -- are work environments that stunt expression with repetitive and monotonous tasks. Novelty is the coin of the realm for the artisan, and without the freedom to tinker with projects and explore their originality, the artisan soul will feel caged and abandoned.
If you are a warrior you need to feel challenged. Life often seems meaningless without maidens to save or dragons to slay. Knowing this about yourself should come as a welcome validation. You wield a powerful sword and are always ready to stand behind a worthy cause. With your natural strength, however, comes a responsibility to protect others, particularly those unable to defend themselves.
To live your role with the vigor and stamina that you bring. use your force of nature to stand up for what is right -- and you know this on an instinctive level. You have other talents to draw on, of course, but never forget that your strength holds things together and gets things done.
If you are a scholar you already realized there is little in life that you can't master -- or at the very least, do well. For that reason you tend to dabble a bit at everything, sometimes acquiring knowledge about the minutia in life that others tend to ignore -- but you enthusiastically record it anyway. Knowledge to you is the currency of your species and you recognize the value of its untold riches.
To live your role is to acknowledge that the acquisition of knowledge and know-how is paramount to who you are and why you exist. This acquisition may not be at the level of a college professor, but in any occupation or position. When you feel your curiosity aroused, off you go on a hunt for more information, be it a collection of recipes once prepared by a favorite aunt, or to learn how to assemble and reassemble the engine of a Model T Ford.
If you are a sage you not only have the gift of gab but your sensitivity to the nuances of language (as it pertains to clear communication) are carefully honed. You pride yourself on expressing your thoughts and feelings in a way that not only communicates strong ideas, but leaves an impact on others that resonates long afterward. Like the scholar you are innately curious about the world but you not satisfied to merely record your findings. You become a mouthpiece for those ideas and teach them with an eloquence and authoritative power that exudes wisdom.
To live your role as a sage, remember that you were born to express the great ideas of the world. Sometimes you accomplish this through humor or on stage as an actor, but you are the voice that brings the dreams and ideas of others to life. Never forget that.
If you are a priest you instinctively feel compassion for others. You possess an unlimited fountain of empathy, and when you attempt to turn it off -- sometimes out of sheer exhaustion -- the energy can back up like a clogged pipe and manifest as a loss of purpose and sometimes illness. To remain healthy your gifts of compassion and empathy should remain unobstructed. If you're living your role this is simply who you are.
As a priest you best live your role by helping others see the world through your own compassionate eyes. You were born to inspire others, no matter what your chosen profession, and whether or not you lead a congregation of followers, your effusive energy works like a benevolent virus that inspires others to spread what you started.
If you are a king you are probably a commanding personality that seeks mastery in everything you do, often to the point of reaching for levels of perfection not humanly possible. Your demands for excellence are certainly in alignment with the energy you bring, but expectations of others can be too high (they are not as driven as you are) and this can lead to disappointment and fractured relationships.
To live your role as a king, let go of the need to control every detail in a project. Micro-management is not your strongest card. Rely on your talent for finding the right person for the job and use your charismatic skills as a natural leader to guide everyone to success -- be it a mega-corporation or a domestic household. As a king your greatest joy comes from helping others be their best in conjunction with a group working toward the same goal.
If you are a solitary king that is unaffiliated with a group or organization, you may overcompensate by being needlessly hard on yourself, damaging your influence in life with unrealistic expectations that leave you feeling off-kilter and lacking focus. Remember that magnanimity goes both ways. Learning to accept yourself despite your alleged flaws will be the greatest gift you ever receive.
2) Understanding How Overleaves Work
Understanding how the overleaves work is crucial in grasping why and how the teachings are an instrumental tool in spiritual growth. Knowing the the energetic traits that individualize each overleaf lends a vital understanding to the motivations and peculiarities of the self -- as well as the motivations of others. Understanding the duality that exists between the positive and negative poles in the overleaves, however, is the key that confers the greatest benefits to those that study the teachings. The world you live in is dualistic by nature. This dualism is woven into the fabric of physical existence where everything is paired with an opposite: birth and death, night and day, and so on.
The positive and negative poles should be seen as opportunities for growth. Quite often students of a spiritual philosophy are eager to apply what they've learned, but become overwhelmed by not knowing where to start. With the overleaves the groundwork has been done for you. The positive and negative tendencies of each of your overleaves are available to study and experience. In other words, the Michael teachings offer a tool that cuts to the chase, so to speak. The work involved, however, is lifelong and means gaining knowledge about yourself that could raise agitated states of fear and denial.
Indeed, an initial study of the overleaves may seem fascinating at first, even exhilarating -- you are embarking on a journey to discover the true self. The real work, however, comes when you get your hands dirty. Having the protective layers of skin around your psyche stripped away can feel as raw and exposed as denuded bone. A far more pleasant experience would be to enjoy a dinner and a movie with a loved one. The rewards are great, though, for the student that ventures onward and tears down the facades surrounding their fears, shining rays of truth into the darkened corners of their personality.
Knowing Your Tendencies
Along with discovering the intriguing revelations about your personality, the true value of a Michael chart becomes apparent when you learn about your negative poles, those areas where false personality comes through. Knowing these tendencies gives you a leg up when it comes to dealing with the shadowy manifestations of your darker side.
It is impossible to avoid false personality altogether, and resistance only entrenches the negative energy even further, but using the chart to learn how false personality infiltrates the personality is a good first line of defense.
If you think of the body as the home where your personality resides, the negative poles are like small open windows in your basement that false personality enters through, a burglar in the night that steals the joy from your life. Attempts to close the windows -- even nail them shut -- ultimately does not work. False personality just breaks through the glass, figuratively speaking, and enters more forcibly. It is better to simply be aware of the likely avenues for entry that exist in your home.
Knowing your negative tendencies also helps to avoid getting blindsided by your unruly intruder. As negativity arises within, you'll begin to recognize the negative pole (or window) used for access. When you know what to expect -- you have slid to ingratiation, the negative pole of acceptance; you have slid to denigration, the negative pole of cynic -- you will be less reactive and use a more appropriate tactic, such as to observe what's happening inside of you with less of a negative charge. From this neutral position it becomes easier to either release the energy or use a counter-measure, such as energetically sliding to the positive pole of your polar counterpart. In other words, if you exhibit the traits of denigration, you would slide to the positive pole of the realist and focus on seeing the situation from an objective standpoint.
As you study your Michael chart, memorize the positive and negative poles (learn your tendencies), and at the very least, learn the positive poles of those overleaves paired with yours, such as cynic/realist or stoic/spiritualist, and so on. Knowing your tendencies makes you less reactive and more self-aware of how your energies run.
The Negative Poles: Entering a State of Non-Duality
The state of duality in the physical world has played its epic saga from one incarnational stage to another. This dance of opposites has made an appearance in nearly every culture that ever existed. From the fundamental laws of science that says "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" to religious symbolism, such as heaven and hell, good and evil, and light and darkness.
In the overleaves, the positive and negative poles also reflect this law of opposites. A necessary component in the evolutionary process of personality involves this seesaw, back and forth exchange between the two polarities, this ageless dance between the positive and negative poles.
Experiencing the shadows as well as the light of a particular overleaf is vital to understanding the overleaves and an essential learning experience during the reincarnational cycle. There can, however, be a point of too much of a good thing.
A personality that spends inordinate amounts of time in the negative poles experiences little essence contact and is at the mercy of the counter-productive whims of false personality. Surprisingly, a personality that somehow manages to stay in the positive poles indefinitely would also be at risk of little growth. It seems that less is learned in the extremes. Even the personality that enjoys a more balanced perspective of freely moving to both sides of the poles, is at risk of having a life teeming with incredible highs and terrible lows, like getting strapped inside a roller coaster, with the ups and downs not unbearable but not entirely satisfying either.
The tension and release of a rubber band, for instance, illustrates a world governed by dualities. Stretching the loop of the rubber band in one direction is only sustained for so long before the tautness gives way and it snaps back, generating a force that shifts to the opposite side, where tension is once again created and it becomes an endless cycle of opposites that repel and attract. Over time the repetitiveness of going back and forth limits the opportunities for growth and the life stagnates.
To break the cycle, a more productive approach is to enter a state of non-duality.
The state of non-duality functions as the fulcrum between the poles, a neutral position that hovers at a point of triangulation in the middle, creating a state of equilibrium. In this neutral position the full spectrum of the poles is still experienced, but from a more comfortably detached state that is unaffected by the energetic extremes of either side.
One technique for entering a state of non-duality is to be aware of sudden shifts between the positive and negative poles. Instead of reacting to them, merely OBSERVE that it happened: this is joy, this is anger, this is grief. Don't analyze the process too much, just be aware of the occurrence. This act of self-observation creates distance and neutrality around the poles, and helps maintain a state of non-duality that frees the personality from the seesawing dance of opposites.
To raise levels of consciousness further, it becomes necessary to broaden the range of awareness. Observing a greater playing field leaves less room for the opposites to thrive (and also hide). This is the chief reason why restricting oneself to only the positive poles creates an imbalance that cannot be sustained. It would be like descending a staircase on one leg. The outcome is rarely good. Another illustration is flipping a coin in the air-- is it heads or tails? Most students fail to see that their positive and negative experiences are all from the same coin. Only a neutral observer, someone not invested in the coin toss, is impartial to how the coin may land.
Another technique is to offer no resistance to the pull of the opposite polarity. Fighting the pull just makes the struggle intensify. In an argument of "I am right/you are wrong" the opposing energies will butt heads till one force overwhelms the other (a negative win-lose scenario), or till both forces drive themselves into states of exhaustion. A more constructive approach, and one that involves recognizing how false personality dominates either side, is for one of the adversaries to realize that creating so much conflict over a need to be right is the height of arrogance. To admit that both parties are wrong (admittedly for different reasons) effectively cancels out the energies since they are no longer in opposition.
3) Accepting Your Complicity
When we say complicity we mean the contract you create with someone when an opportunity arises for a better exchange. These levels of engagement can be positive, negative, or in between. It doesn't matter for this illustration. What does matter, however, is that you share some responsibility in the way the exchange turns out. Individual choice, whether it be a positive or negative reaction to an encounter, is within your control. To say that something said or done to you somehow triggered your reactions is not accepting your complicity in the situation.
Your reactions, of course, are your choice, but if the intention is to stay above false personality and lead a more joyful life, then examine your choices with greater scrutiny. Much of the challenge involves those spur-of-the-moment decisions made under duress or in the heat of battle. Understanding that it takes "two to tangle," to borrow an overused phrase, can raise your awareness before things escalate out of control. The words used in conflicts are often just ways to test the fortification of your battlements, if you will, with no real harm done till you match your opponent with equal displays of verbal sword play. Unless your suspected adversary chooses to attack you physically, the ultimate choice on how to proceed is still YOURS to make
A good rule of thumb is to monitor the level of tension in your body, emotional tension specifically. Tension can be a clear indicator that a contest with another has the potential to turn negative, leading to choices made from false personality. You will discover, however, that just being aware of the tension is often enough to defuse a potential skirmish. Any technique that brings more awareness to what happens inside of you is a powerful tool in neutralizing negativity when it occurs. We will cover this further later in the transmission.
A choice made with awareness is not charged with feelings of anger or defensiveness. A choice made with awareness comes from a place that's calm, centered, and self-assured. Although choices are neither good or bad and all lead to growth, choices made with awareness soften the long-term ramifications of choice, which leads to more opportunities for positive impact on others, particularly those whom you have disagreed with the most.
We suggest the following exercise:
Think back over negative encounters you have had with others. Without judging their reactions, carefully examine the point where your own negativity jumped into the match. In other words, when did you lose control?
As you play back the exchange in your mind, almost like running a video or movie, hit pause at each point where you made a choice during the conversation that matched the hostility of the other person, and where choosing differently may have altered the outcome of the exchange. Remember those choices.
Now take each choice you made and reverse it into something more positive. By positive we mean that you offered less resistance, you lowered our tone of voice, or you felt compassion for the person so intent on sparring with you. Anything that breaks a cycle that aspires toward a fever pitch.
The last part of the exercise is to replay the movie in your mind again. When you come to a part in the film you had previously marked, note the choice you had made originally then make a less reactive choice that seeks greater understanding and respect. The benefit of the exercise lies in the opportunities for spiritual practice, and although it may surprise you, your life is the greatest tool you have for working through personal issues that have the most meaning to you.
4) Recognizing False Personality: How To Neutralize Negativity
Learning to recognize the manifestations of false personality is the most essential part of the Michael teachings. False personality is the fabricated part of self, a distorted sculpture you chip away at over a lifetime that bears little resemblance to your true self; yet, you have coerced yourself into believing it is your true likeness. False personality is the lie you tell yourself each day of your life, a lie that feeds off your justifications, distortions of self, and erroneous assumptions. Fortunately, false personality is not difficult to recognize if one does not deny its existence. False personality, however, lives in the darkest corners of all that incarnate and is the chief reason why so many incarnating souls are spiritually asleep and disconnected from essence.
False personality is best dealt with when it attempts to exert control in your life. The weapon of choice is observation. When truly seen, false personality withers under the rays of scrutiny. All negativity (and negativity is indeed the vehicle of false personality), resists being seen or observed. The act of observance weakens the hold of false personality and prevents it from gaining more traction in your life.
The key to this technique is to observe passively, without agitation or surprise. Just seeing that false personality is present (perhaps manifesting as anger, craving or ignorance) is often enough to detach from getting further invested or succumbing to the emotional charge. False personality wants you to BECOME that negative state, to identify with it and BE it, whereas if you merely NOTICE it, you are removing yourself from the foray, and effectively distance yourself from getting trapped by the thorny entanglements of that energy.
If, for example, you feel anger rise inside you, instead of becoming those feelings and allowing them to possess your body like an enraged demonic creature -- and incendiary outbursts of rage can seem like possession -- simply NOTICE the anger and acknowledge it as if seen from afar. You are not becoming angry, you are just aware that the anger is present. This helps neutralize the energy.
Anytime you see or notice negativity clamoring for attention inside of you, you have defused its ability to take full possession of your body. In that powerful moment you have the wherewithal to let the unruly energy fizzle rather than fester. To see something is to neutralize it.
It's not dissimilar to the clinical scrutiny of a lab technician. The elements of false personality are placed in a test tube, and while the juxtaposition of those ingredients may cause a reaction, they are confined within the test tube are removed from doing harm to the technician that observes from a safe distance.
Perhaps the greatest threat from the false personality is the way it influences the personality to justify its presence. You become blind to its hold over your thoughts and feelings, continuing to justify its reason for being there. The rationalization that allows the take-over is insidious and complete. When you lash out at a family member or friend for causing irritation, you justify that "they had it coming." When you feel envious over the job promotion of a friend, a promotion you had desired for yourself, you justify your meddling in their longterm success because you felt more deserving or entitled.
Since most justifications are fiercely denied if brought to light in these scenarios, false personality only becomes further entrenched. Once again, noticing any manifestations as they become apparent is the best defense against this unruly guest in your life that negatively influences every thought and feeling you experience.
Knowing the likely paths that false personality may travel through your overleaves -- the negative poles, your chief features -- is a good place to start. But seeing negativity at its core is the most obvious indicator that your shadowy self has begun to stir.
Three Common Ways That False Personality Takes Over
1) Over Identifying - To become over identified with a problem or issue, to lose oneself so completely in the problem that you no longer have a problem, you BECOME it, is a common affliction that blocks essence and allows false personality free rein. Quite often the actual problem may be less severe than the psychological symptoms it creates for the personality.
Lets say, for example, that you experience chronic back pain. You either choose to deal with the pain by following the advise of your doctor or listening to signals from your own body regarding proper range of movement, or you can allow the pain to become front and center in your life, an unruly emotional creature that surges through your body to the extent that you become ONE with it. At this point personal boundaries are lost and you lose touch of what is you and what is your pain. This opens the door to false personality. You moan, you lash out at others, and you may even defend your right to have this pain against the counsel of those that wish to help, as if your very existence depended on the continuation of this other part of self. That is identification.
We do not wish to imply that the suffering of others is not real and that their pain should be ignored, but greater problems may develop when pain becomes more than just pain. And this is just one example. The personality can over identify with psychological struggles, various delusions about the self, and any of the chief features.
2) An Egocentric Point of View - When a person adopts an egocentric point of view they react to the behavior of others without considering the reason or motivation behind the offending behavior, and wrongly assume the individual had purposely meant to disrespect or offend them. In addition, the emotional state of the offender is usually not taken into consideration, with a failure to observe that the offender may have been under emotional duress over an unrelated problem and were simply triggered by an innocuous remark that set them off. An egocentric POV, of course, will rarely consider such factors, and the offending remark or action is countered with a reciprocal response of equal or greater negativity, escalating the exchange further.
An egocentric POV often leads to pointless speculation, inappropriate bursts of anger, and complete and utter self-delusion. Using the ageless wisdom of walking in the shoes of another is still the best remedy to avoid jumping to conclusions or saying things later regretted.
Making the choice to see things from the point of view of another -- and this is indeed a choice -- not only extends the borders of compassion but helps keep negative states to a minimum. From this new point of view, misunderstandings with people decrease -- sometimes dramatically -- and without a reputation for having a short-fuse, people engage more openly and freely with you, creating emotional connections that are deeper and longer lasting.
3) Frustrations That Divert Attention - Perhaps the most common pitfall that incarnating personalities face is a minor frustration that diverts their attention from positive to negative feelings. A typical example might be an individual that is otherwise focused and in the moment. She is well-rested from the night before, she had a good breakfast, it's a beautiful day outside, and life is good. As she's driving to work, traffic suddenly stalls and eventually comes to a halt. An accident has occurred a mile up the road and she is now stuck in traffic. At this point the clock starts ticking. The seemingly peaceful start of the day, where everything flowed from one event to the other has been unceremoniously disrupted by a jarring break in continuity. Frustration is not only felt but there is the real danger of being late to work. Our once serenely focused personality is now pounding her fists against the steering wheel and shouting at the cars ahead of her. Although this is a common problem experienced by all, it allows easy access for false personality.
The most debilitating aspect is that in one moment, negativity can cloud judgment and set the tone for the rest of the day. Where before the incident the personality was connected to essence, in that single moment of getting stuck in traffic, all attention was diverted to the source of frustration, and the personality became embroiled in heated emotion, both losing contact with essence and the continuity of that day. It could almost be described as a shift in parallels, where the traffic jam was not only a point of contention, but a fork in the road that took our now suffering woman from an otherwise productive day to one that meant seeing the rest of her day through the eyes of false personality.
As mentioned earlier, the obvious solution is to avoid identifying with the source of frustration. It would behoove incarnating souls to not take life so seriously and learn to laugh at the forks in the road. A good sense of humor can be the best line of defense. It does little good to rage at life's obstacles. That never stops them from appearing. It is far better to see them for what they are, just another event in a continuous series of other events that transpire during a day. The intention is to freely flow from one to the other.
Common Manifestations of False Personality
Anger (minor irritations or knee-jerk reactions, negativity, hatred, rage, violence )
Cravings (excessive wants and needs, clinging or attachments, addictions of all kinds)
Ignorance (justification and denial, blocks that prevent seeing the truth)
All of the Chief Features (Self-Deprecation, Arrogance, Self-Destruction, Greed, Martyrdom, Impatience, Stubbornness)
Not So Obvious Manifestations
Blaming others for your misfortunes
Belittling others to elevate your status
Being preoccupied with appearances or position in life
Using gossip to damage reputations
Seeking the pain of others to create one's own happiness
Speaking truth that cuts or wounds
Any degree of speech that hurts another intentionally
Seeking applause or approval
Feelings of jealousy, envy or resentment
Feelings of superiority over others
Self-importance in all guises
Reacting predictably (or on autopilot) to experiences of pleasure or pain
All forms of compulsive behavior
All forms of competition and materialistic ambition
All forms of manipulation
All forms of revenge
5) Finding An Acceptable Balance
Finding a balance in life can mean many things. Some people take vacations, for example, others seek hobbies or engage in favorite past times. Finding an acceptable balance, however, one that keeps the flow of life from getting stuck in repetitive behaviors and emotional traps, requires digging deeper.
This brings us into a discussion on balancing the centers. When we speak of centering, we primarily mean the intellectual, emotional, moving, and physical centers. The instinctive center is also of fundamental importance, but it mostly runs continuously in the background and is not subject to the state of imbalance seen in the other centering.
While everyone has a primary center that largely governs their reactions in life, access to the other centers should also be available and is highly useful in experiencing the world from a well-balanced perspective. When another center acts as an obstacle to this flow, that's considered a trap (or block). Balancing the centers means removing the block (or trap) and regaining a more equal access to all the centers (or parts). Although you always react from your primary center, ideally you should experience the other centers almost simultaneously.
The obvious reason for wanting this equanimous flow is to match your reactions with the most appropriate center. While the problem-solving focus of the intellectual center is well-suited for endeavors where intellectual analysis is desired, it can be inappropriate when the split-second coordination of the physical body is needed -- for instance, when dodging a blow from a mugger on a dark street. In terms of conveying an empathetic response, reacting to the news that a loved one's parent had died would be more appropriately handled by the emotional center. Freely flowing to the most appropriate center is a prerequisite in becoming a more balanced personality.
One technique frequently discussed is to distract the part of center that obstructs the flow to the other centers. If, for example, your primary centering is intellectual and you are trapped by the moving part, you could side-step that block by distracting the part that traps you. In this case, doing something physical that requires moving around. Taking a walk, for instance, distracts the moving trap and helps to unblock the flow to other centers, such as the emotional. Vice-versa, a person in the emotional part of the moving center could seek an activity that relies on thinking, such as writing in a journal or working out a mathematical equation. If done on a consistent basis, these moments of distraction can help remove the traps (or blocks) long-term.
Another method, and one rarely discussed, is to use a guided meditation that emphasizes accessing each center in a systematic way, that moves from one center to the other to clear pathways and establish an unobstructed flow.
This exercise emphasizes the use of mental imagery, a more powerful tool than many often realize. The approach should be personalized to your individual pursuits and interests. Start by inventing scenarios to imagine, some based on real-life events, but specifically suited for each of the centers: intellectual, emotional, moving, and physical.
To start, think of something in your life that requires intellectual centering. If nothing comes to mind, just make it up.
Now practice reacting to the situation envisioned in your mind. You should be actively thinking -- solving a problem, making a chess move-- anything that requires intellectual analysis. The key is to do this while imagining a real-time situation in the same way you might actually encounter it. Then let it go and imagine a new scenario -- this time with the intent to react from the emotional center, and so on, till you practice with all the centers.
Examples of Center-related Distractions To Try
Intellectual center: Thinking. Mathematical equations, reading books about philosophy, reciting the alphabet backwards, creating grocery lists, to-do list, etc., solving brain teasers, and so on.
Emotional center: Watching a sad or romantic movie, listening to music that stirs the soul, reliving joyful memories,
Moving Center: Walking, jogging, swimming, mowing the lawn (any form of repetitive exercise), being aware of the body and its individual movements, going to the grocery, mailing letters, running errands.
Physical Center: Feeling hungry, meditating on the internal mechanisms and sensations of the body, using moving centered activities to focus inward, having sex.
We don't advise re-imagining particularly traumatic events from your life. Reprocessing such emotions would certainly be cathartic but this goes beyond the intention of this exercise. For now, choose a situation that requires an appropriate response, but not one that would leave you devastated if you were to revisit it. Obvious examples for emotional centering include receiving good news, supporting someone during a time of need, or anything thing else you can draw from your life (or invent).
The first couple times you try this exercise it could take an hour to complete. With a little practice, however, it can be done in ten minutes. The idea is to work on each center and experience an unfettered flow from one to the other. Over time the exercise could be touched on twice a week, a sort of maintenance program, and easily tagged onto the end of more traditional meditations.
A measure of success is noticing that reactions to others (and life in general) are less awkward and more appropriate for the situation. Redeploy this exercise whenever your block (or trap) has regained a foothold.
Going beyond visualization, it can also be helpful to do center-specific activities during the day. Call this a form of playtime for your centers. Your primary center remains as your default centering, but an intellectually centered person can engage in activities that draw on the other centers and help keep them healthy in the process. Engage the emotional center, for example, by listening to music without analysis. Feel the emotions conveyed through the sound, allow yourself to be transported to another place. Engage the moving center with daily exercise or deliberate movement, such as dance or yoga. Be creative with these activities and your access to the centers will become a natural and fulfilling endeavor.
6) Learning Tolerance & Compassion
An immediate benefit of neutralizing negativity in your life is the sudden change in how you perceive others. Whenever you work through your own personal demons and conquer the challenges that cross your path, you feel more tolerance and compassion for those who struggle through similar obstacles. It is an inevitable part of doing inner work. You feel greater empathy for the pain and suffering of those around you because you understand from personal experience how their pain feels. How they individually perceive their experience may differ, of course, but the emotions feel the same. You understand their suffering, you know the beasts that arise within them as they struggle.
Thus, the first step toward learning tolerance and compassion for others is to develop more tolerance and compassion for yourself.
The steps you take toward your own spiritual development and awakening has a compounding effect that not only raises consciousness within but works like a row of toppling dominoes, setting off a chain reaction in all whom you meet in life.
Learning tolerance and compassion is then about honoring the choices and struggles of those you encounter: their pain is your pain, their struggles are your struggles. You share these commonalities with the whole of reality -- the pain, the joy, the disappointments, the triumphs -- and it creates a lasting bond between you and all sentient beings.
Your choice to peer into your soul and see your fears mirrored by others, opens your eyes to the reality that you and the rest of the world are the same. You see it in their eyes, you see it in their faces. Their roles, their overleaves are of less concern here. In the end it is about honoring their humanity.
To illustrate further, momentarily tap into the energy of the Priest and try the following exercise:
Stand before a mirror and look into your eyes with a relaxed gaze. See the light of your soul beaming back at you. This is how you are seen by others. Acknowledge the beauty of your soul and feel the love of essence shining through you.
Now look for recent memories of more agitated states, particularly a personal struggle that generated a strong emotion. Allow the emotion to rise within and manifest as a facial expression.
For means of illustration, assume you were angry. Gaze into the mirror and observe your expression of anger. Hold the expression for several moments. This is how other people see you. Now imagine your expression superimposed onto the face of a loved one, a family member or friend. See your emotion and your pain on the face of someone else. Feel the commonality that you share. Then let it go and return to your peaceful gaze again.
You are ready for another emotional state.
Lets say you recall a recent incident when you felt an intense craving for something that was unavailable to you. Remember those feelings and match your facial expression with the emotion. Hold the expression for several moments. This is how other people see you. Once again, imagine your expression superimposed onto the face of a loved one, a family member or friend. See your emotion and your pain on the face of someone else. Feel the commonality that you share. Then let it go and return to your peaceful gaze again.
Continue the exercise till you run out of memories of emotional states.
The exercise helps you connect to others in ways that share a commonality of existence. When you see your emotional states in the mirror, and more importantly when those states are reflected back to you by other people, you cannot help but develop more tolerance and compassion because you see your own emotional states on their faces. The exercise is powerful and profound, and if practiced with an open heart can create a greater sense of oneness with the world.
7) Modeling Agape
To model agape (or unconditional love) is to make a declaration to the world that you are a vessel of spirit and the higher good. With agape comes a mastery of the self and a gift that acknowledges the light of your being in others.
As you serve as a model for loving acceptance, you draw more lost souls into your sphere of influence, souls that lack what you have to give, souls that benefit from the demonstrations of your gifts. At this stage of development you have become a teacher and a leader, a guide and a fountain of inspiration.
Attaining a state of agape is not something that can be learned, it is simply what you become after removing the blinders of false personality over a course of several lifetimes. This may seem like an insurmountable challenge but it eventually becomes your state of awareness whenever you consistently see the world through the eyes of essence. The dualities in the world no longer affect you, and you no longer feel the unsettling pull that snaps you from one polarity to another. You have been afforded the clarity of vision from the higher centers.
Modeling agape is then the closest manifestation of essence that can be expressed as an incarnating personality. The state is not easily sustained by all souls over longer periods of time, but it is a prerequisite that all incarnating fragments model agape to others at least once before cycling off. Some souls are more proficient and serve as inspiration for others, setting the bar, so to speak, for what is possible for an incarnating soul.
Ultimately, to model agape is to become -- perhaps for only a brief moment -- the living embodiment of the TAO.
Seeing the World Through the Eyes of Essence
When you view the world through the eyes of essence, either from the vantage of the higher centers or from eradicating the grip of false personality, life takes on a clarity that seems unmatched by anything ever seen before. It's not that the world is new, you are just seeing it in a new way -- without the murky lens of irrational fear, garden-variety irritations, and petty resentments. A world seen through the eyes of essence is without the usual distortions. The focus never wavers -- neither scanning ahead into uncertain futures or resurrecting regrets from the past. The present moment is the true focus, and without exaggerating the sensation, there is an unparalleled ecstasy of feeling perfectly aligned with existence. It is an experience that one does not forget.
How do I model agape when I can't even pay my bills each month? How do I grow spiritually without access to spiritual books, courses, and retreats?
Although modeling agape is a lifelong pursuit and something that may transpire over lifetimes, understand that the only requirement needed to grow spiritually is in the simple desire to do so. Seeking guidance from other sources of wisdom may supplement your learning, but everything you need to expand your awareness is available to you right now.
In fact, each obstacle and challenge you face in life can be used as fodder to raise consciousness and grow spiritually. Life offers such a rich source of experiences, both good and bad, that the opportunities to practice bringing essence (and more compassion) into a situation are limitless.
In our closing comments we just want to remind our students that the teachings should not be seen as scripture or as a gospel of truth to be followed to the letter. The teachings, while we feel they are worthy of study, are in a constant state of flux, with some insights tried and tested and others that still surprise us.
We see the teachings as a living and evolving document that is bolstered by both its consistency and its tenacity for change. We ask that you receive these insights with that in mind.
Peace to you,