Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Rising Tide

The other day a good friend forwarded an email item to me that was exactly what I needed at the time. As you who have email know, there is no lack of articles, jokes, opinions, and etc., which seem to arrive every few minutes in our mail. Most them I either delete quickly or scan to see if there is something unique or timely that interests me. What I received was “Has Anyone Told You . .?” I watched the video several times, each time feeling more connected to special people in my life.

Later, as I lay down for a brief nap, the video again came to mind and I thought about thanking the person who sent it to me for brightening my day as it did. One thought led to another and suddenly I found myself thinking about how many folks seem afraid or embarrassed to let someone know they have been particularly helpful. Somehow they may think that if they confess that they needed the uplift that the other person may think of them as weak or needy. As I continued to explore the thought the old saying came to mind: “A rising tide lifts all boats.” One thought tumbled after another and I realized that whenever we find a way to be helpful to someone we are raising the tide of consciousness that begins to lift the consciousness of everyone. Each time we accept the blessing someone sends our way, we are letting our boat of consciousness rise with the tide.

Another way of saying this is from Jesus: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32) We are social beings and we are meant to share with one another in a multiplicity of ways. Sometimes the sharing is comfort and strength. Sometimes we offer understanding or patience as a friend seeks a better way of living his/her life. Other times we may be the one who brings what appears to be a harsh presentation of the “cold facts.” Jesus acted in all of these roles. Essentially, He was always whatever the moment required. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, raised the dead, and forgave sins. Jesus stood as a prime example how a rising tide (uplifted spiritual consciousness) raised all boats (individual consciousness of Truth) to a greater expression of their potential.

So, when my friend helped lift my consciousness into a greater sense of all-encompassing love, it gave me the opportunity to continue the process for others. Now love is making the rounds to those who can receive it. There are no conditions. You either accept being loved or you don’t. You love others or you don’t. It seems to me that as we pass on the spirit of love we are like the rising tide lifting others. When we are so apparently bereft of feeling loved we are like the low tide that often leaves those around us feeling somewhat like a boat resting on the mud flats. A new tide will come inevitably, but will you rise to the occasion? Will you accept that you are loved? Will you dare to express that love to others?

I encourage you to view this video: (

Saturday, October 20, 2007


(This article originally appeared in the WLLC blog on January 26, 2006)

Eckhart Tolle wrote a marvelous little book that would make a powerful personal life manual for each of us—Practicing The Power of Now. (New World Library; ) The book is based on his best selling book, The Power of Now. As you might assume the focus of his writing is upon really being in the present moment. Often we think we are in the moment because we are doing something. The truth is we are only in the moment when we are free of anything that draws our attention to the past (remembering) or to the future (wanting to be somewhere other than where we are).

Major religions all teach the power of being in the NOW. Yet being free of time appears to be most difficult to do. Eckert Tolle says, When every cell of your body is so present that it feels vibrant with life, and when you can feel that life every moment as the joy of Being, then it can be said that you are free of time. To be free of time is to be free of the psychological need of the past for your identity and the future for your fulfillment. It represents the most profound transformation of consciousness that you can imagine. Being in the Now is thoroughly experiencing right now, free of the past in every sense and not depending upon some hoped-for future. It is only in this Now moment that reality, real living is experienced.

As important as the past may be in bringing you to this Now moment, in truth it is a series of Now moments. Full attention to where you are right now makes the fullest use of Now and will automatically become the next powerful Now moment..

Monday, October 15, 2007

It Would Be Good For You To Hear This

Remember that time you heard or read something that really struck you as important and you said to yourself, “I need to tell (so and so) about this”? I have had many times like that. Many of my books are so underlined and color highlighted that it is like looking at a rainbow to thumb through them. I have recorded lectures and workshops I attended because I was sure that some good friend or relative “really needed to hear this.”

I still feel that way when something particularly meaningful comes along. However, long ago I realized that when I had those thoughts the first person that really needed to hear them was me! Of course, that does not mean the thoughts would not be helpful to others I might have in mind, but the primary person had to be me. I am the one at the workshop. I am the one reading the book. Besides, how can I really know what the other person needs?

Mistakes can easily be made in communication with others if we operate under the assumption that they are needy and that their lives would be so much better if they would just listen to us! Even when we think we know absolutely that a friend or family member is heading down a path that will lead to disappointment, frustration or unhappiness, it is not our responsibility to “save” them. If it is not our job to share with others the information we think they must hear, then how do we help those whose paths are, for the time, paralleling ours?

Well, this lesson is so old and so familiar that it has probably lost its savor and therefore is easily passed over in our eagerness to help. That lesson is simply this:

What you do speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Or “You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.” (Joel Goldsmith)

I know just how silly this may sound. However, as you examine what it means to set an example, you see immediately how much work is involved in that process! Think about the people who have impressed you throughout your life--your parents, teachers, mentors. More often than not it is not what they said, rather how they lived and who they were that sticks in your mind. There was an essence about the person that simply inspired you to want to be like him or her or apply yourself as they did.

I have had a number of people like that in my life. They are people who had a lot to say and I listened to be sure. But it is the totality of their lives that influenced me most. I don’t know that I ever left a workshop feeling like I wanted to emulate the facilitator, or read a book and decided I want to be like the author. There is so much more to be aware of if we are to teach and learn.

My mentors were not perfect specimens of humanity necessarily. Often they seemed like a flower surrounded by thorns! One particularly important person in my life was capable of expressing a terrible temper and a scathing verbal attack under certain circumstances. At the same time that person had a deeper sense of total love than I have known in most other persons. Now, in my later years, I am even more aware of that love than when I was younger and we had more interaction. He is no longer here physically and I miss him. The love he embodied and the powerful energy sometimes expressed in anger in order to get my attention will always be with me. Tears come to my eyes even now as I respect the tremendous gift he is to me by the life he lived.

Sure, maybe something we heard or experienced could be helpful to someone we care about. If we really care, we need to be certain that our life shows that caring and is not simply words. Seek to love freely and without conditions as much as possible. Remember to separate behavior from the person. It is the person you care about. Behaviors can and will change as better ways of living are recognized. A light in the darkness cannot beat a person into following it. Neither can it be put out by inattention. The light simply is what it is. Let your life be a light on the path for others, but remember, you cannot force them to walk in that light. Just being there provides an opportunity. It is up to you to love what is, to love the person and trust the Truth within that person. As you do this you have provided the best opportunity for change and success.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The “Conditions” of “Unconditional Love”

Let me state at the outset there really are no conditions, yet we consider time, place, person, merit and a variety of other things as important in deciding to love someone. Even to say “regardless” of such and such is a condition.

I have been examining the concept of unconditional love a great deal in the last several months. My immediate family is a complete dysfunctional disaster! Member by member it has broken apart. Under the supposed auspices of “tough love” or “unconditional love” (with conditions) children have been thrown out into the world, parents have been disparaged and maligned. A total lack of effort to understand another or consider a situation from the other person’s viewpoint, has led to fragmentation.

As I look at my “family” now I realize it really does not exist in any real form. It is not simply that geographically we are spread all over the country. It is more the gulfs of discontent and hurt feelings that separate us. I have pretty much determined that I no longer have any family. I do not expect a change from my daughter and it is highly unlikely that my son will feel any further connection with me. I realize that these negative attitudes can be self-fulfilling and am working on transforming them into something positive. I constantly try to “listen” to the suggestions by my therapist about only taking actions or saying things that best model appropriate parental behavior. In other words, what best exemplifies the way a parent can support his/her children without at the same time giving up any sense of drawing a line over which they cannot pass in their emotional abuse. To what degree can I exhibit positive behavior and still feel safe in relationship with them?

On numerous occasions—on a daily basis—I have attempted to find the words to tell my children how much I love them, but after only a few sentences I find myself relying on the “conditions” for loving them. I have not resolved this and that is part of why I cannot yet write the letter expressing my love for them. I am still acutely afraid of the rejection and the ridicule that most likely would be sent my way, whether actually or only in their own minds.

What are some of the conditions that I find myself expressing? I suspect I am not alone in recognizing some of these. The biggie for many of us is determining who is at fault. “I could forgive you if only you would admit what you did was wrong.” Or perhaps it goes like this, “If you would quit blaming your upbringing for your not feeling loved, you would see that you are loveable.” Maybe for you it is, “If you were just a little more patient you might understand me better. Or, “If you would just try to communicate without judging me.”

These are just a few of the conditions that may be limiting our ability to express love unconditionally. Loving someone is just THAT! Love IS. It is that feeling of connection that transcends reasons. The minute we love someone BECAUSE, we have placed a condition upon that love. If the cause for loving them changes, then what about the love based upon that cause? You can see immediately, I hope, how complex the issue of loving unconditionally can be. However, the complexity is not in the concept, but in the interpretations and conditions we place upon the expression of the concept.

In my heart I am clear about loving my children, for example, without any conditions. In my heart that is relatively easy. As I look at my experiences with my son and daughter I realize that much of the water that has gone under the bridge in our relationships has been murky, sometimes flowing freely and other times stuck in the endless eddies that just keep going around in circles. For one reason or another we seem to get stuck in some memory or frustration or unfulfilled hopes and dreams. Breaking free of these backwater eddies is not usually accomplished by pretending we are not stuck. Often it takes a flash flood of some kind to break us loose from those limiting conditions. Even then, if we do not take advantage of the new freedom by changing our outlook, seeking to improve our state of mind and being, we can easily fall back into the eddies of limitation before we know it.

I continue my effort to understand and fully express unconditional love in all of my relationships with others, but in particular with my children. I will continue my efforts to put into words the essence of my unconditional love so I can tangibly share it with them when the time is right. I will remind myself daily that there are no conditions for unconditional love.