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I was in New York being filmed for a documentary this last week and was away from my email when I heard the news about Robin Williams’ suicide. An event like this really makes you think, doesn’t it? Robin Williams was one of those rare people who felt like family to almost everyone. He entertained us and made us

The Great Matter of Life and Death

Wednesday, 05 January 2011 by

I’ve written a lot about impermanence and cause and effect over the last year. I’ve said that there is no escape from these two aspects of the human condition–an idea many of you have resisted (and, I might add, I’m not surprised–resisting these two conditions seems to be what human beings do).

Over the New Year’s holiday someone posted the following comment about how he had personally responded to my remarks about this topic. Rather than just post my answer under his post, as I often do, I’ve decided that this is important enough to warrant a separate post.

Though this is quite short, I think it will really give you something to think about.

THE COMMENT: I think I may have taken some of your advice too closely, or used it in the wrong way. I took what you said about impermanence and said, ‘If I’m happy I can’t enjoy being happy because it’s impermanent and will go away’… which keeps me from being happy when I notice it. It’s quite strange, and like I’m waiting for something to let me go ‘full happy’. Except if I ever noticed that I was on ‘full happy’ I might say, ‘hey stop that’. –James

MY ANSWER:

I thought this question in response to my last post was significant enough that it deserved its own post. I think you’ll find it very thought-provoking.

Are the events of life random? Do we live in a stupid universe or is someone watching over us? Or, do we create our own reality? How responsible are we? What, then, is karma? Are we just paying for our sins in this life?

Good grief. Why do people ask me these things?!

Bill,

You said we live in a giant matrix of cause and effect.  In a previous blog post you made a passing reference to “random” events.

My question is this, do you believe the popular, overused saying, “There are no accidents?” Or do you believe, as you have seemed to indicate a couple of times, that things can happen randomly?

I straddle both the eastern and western world views at times so I grapple with this question often.  I’ve personally witnessed that outward circumstances can change when you’ve healed elements in your own consciousness, so it would seem to point to the idea that it’s all just done with mirrors.

Do you agree w/what all the New Age gurus say–that you create your own reality?  Most of these teachings evolved from New Thought, and I’ve been involved in a New Thought practice for several decades.  Because of my training, I’ve endlessly taken responsibility for my lot and worked hard to change myself to overcome it.  I’ve struggled long and hard with this as I have a “reality” I’ve not wanted for a long time and I’ve worked endlessly on myself to effect a shift in my experience.  I’m still working and still stuck.

So the question of karma comes in.  Am I just doing penance for past mistakes in other lives?  Will no amount of work or awareness or witnessing my internal processes eradicate a debt that predates this life?

How do you reconcile the spiritual seeker’s yearning for “no self” with the equally sought-after desire for a psychologically healthy ego? Are these seeming opposites compatible? If so, how? Is one better than the other?

Since someone taking the second course of my Life Principles Integration Process online courses (which is about such spiritual matters) asked me…here’s my answer:

Bill:
Lesson 1 brought up for me 2 topics I’ve struggled with for awhile.  The first is how do you reconcile a spiritual “no self” with a “psychologically healthy “strong I.”  In other words if you truly see all as one, and practice no resistance (or as you call letting whatever happens be ok) how do you at the same time set boundaries and no longer allow “unhealthy people, things in your space” because by definition in doing that you are playing the duality game.

The 2nd is how do you reconcile – trying to control the game and therefore get the outcomes you want with the co-creative process with spirit.  Isn’t there a bigger picture or a higher self that might have a different agenda than what our ego thinks it wants at the moment?  So how do you play with the energies and when do you try for outcomes and when do you “let go and let god”.

Thanks,
Maureen

 

Maureen,

You’ve asked a key and fundamental question.

The Human Condition

Tuesday, 28 September 2010 by

Two letters about some key aspects of the human condition, and my answers:

In this first letter, is it just my silly positive thinking, or do I have something else in mind when I ask this man to make a list of the benefits of losing his job? You decide.

Hi Bill,

You suggested that I make a list of the benefits of having lost my job. I think that is a crazy thing to do and I very much resent the idea of positive thinking. In fact, to me positive thinkers are just deluded fools who don’t have the guts to face the inevitability of death. Sooner or later, the sun is going to blow up and all living things, whether they have perfect abs or not, will be reduced to ashes. What I don’t get is why, while this is all coming my way like a truck barreling down the highway, I have to live and eat and have a family and buy a new air conditioner. I think you are asking me to play Scrabble while I am on a train that goes somewhere I don’t want to be, as though it could possibly help me enjoy the ride and divert my attention from what is really going on.

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