"If everything seems under control, you’re probably not moving fast enough." Mario Andretti Dear Friend, When I was much younger and more naïve, I used to buy into the New Age belief that we create our personal reality 100% of the time based on our thoughts. But, I’ve come to realize that this is only a partial truth. And, while our beliefs certainly do influence and affect our experience of reality, sometimes in a major way, there’s much more going on in this plane of relative truth (aka the Earth Game) than what we think we have control over. It’s the age-old debate between the belief in free will and the power of positive thinking or fate and predetermination. Which is true? They’re both true! Well, partially, at least.
To paraphrase Steven Levine and Ken Wilber on this: “The New Age belief that we create our own reality goes too far—it is an overreaction based on an over-simplification. And the extreme form of this belief negates what is helpful about it. Half-truth is dangerous in its incompleteness—we affect our reality is closer to the wholetruth—this leaves room for effective personal action and for embracing the wondrous mysteriousness of life.”
In fact, if we look at the nature of truth—we can break it down into: relative truth, defined as that which is subject to change, i.e. everything that happens within the human condition, and absolute truth, defined as that which is unchanging, i.e. pure Being, Consciousness, Bliss. In Sanskrit: Sat Chit Ananda. The great Advaita Vedantic seer Shankara defined reality as containing three levels: Truth, untruth, and illusion, aka maya, samsara, or a dream. These levels are all available to be experienced simultaneously—right here and right now. The key is being able to discern between: the relative truth, the whole Truth, and mental projection. Here’s a Zen story on this: A Zen master was weeping because he had just lost his only son. His disciple was shocked to see his master in this state, as he had been taught by him that everything is an illusion. When he asked his master why he was crying so uncontrollably if everything is an illusion, his master responded: "Yes, everything is an illusion . . . but losing my son is one of the biggest illusions of all.” With all the ongoing planetary turbulence, there couldn’t be a better time to get clear on what we do have power over and what we don’t—as clinging to the illusion of control is not just the root cause of suffering, it also keeps us from fully surrendering and embracing Life just as it—with grace and equanimity. This is especially important when we’re dealing with our karma or fate as it is playing out—so we can distinguish between what is preloaded for our karmic lessons in this incarnation and free will—which determines our future karma or destiny. For more on this philosophy: LEELA One of my spiritual teachers used to define free will as: “When the Universe asks you to stand on one leg—you get to choose which one.” I used to think this definition was a bit extreme—now, not so much. I define free will as: “You can do it now, or you can do it later. You can choose to get the lesson in this incarnation—or in some future one.” As a Taoist, I hold a very long range perspective on the subject of free will, which is especially helpful in working with clients, as there is no true soul growth without a free will choice to take the high road, which usually means stepping out of our comfort zones. (You know whom I’m talking to:)) Here’s a quote on this: “The character of you existence is determined by the energies to which you connect yourself. If you attach yourself to gross energies—rejecting one experience or habitually indulging in another—then you will lead a series of heavy, attached lives. This can go on for a very long and tedious time. The way of the integral being is to join with higher things and traverse refined and subtle realms. If she enters the world, she does so lightly, without attachment. In this way she can go anywhere without ever leaving the center of the Universe.” The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu Another of my all-time favorite quotes on this theme is: “The last of human freedoms—the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances,” by Victor Frankl, psychiatrist and Auschwitz survivor, who wrote the classic, Man’s Search for Meaning. After reading this book, it is impossible not to comprehend that if you can choose your attitude in Auschwitz, you can do it anywhere. For example, when someone spills milk on us at breakfast, do we allow that spilt milk to ruin our entire work day and then come home and kick the cat? When we’re not being conscious and vigilant enough to choose to make a course correction in response to whatever circumstances arise, we’re incurring karma (by harming ourselves and others). One way to break this pattern is to exercise mental behavioral modification in any situation by focusing on shifting our perspective as soon as possible to: “glass half-full,” going for the lesson, and gratitude, as whatever is going on could always be worse. Some of the most confusion between free will and fate arises when we are dealing with our body karma. When we subscribe to the New Age belief in the power of positive thinking and affirmations—but are unable to turn our physical conditions around—we tend to use this partial truth as a weapon to bludgeon ourselves with guilt and inadequacy. For more on this, please read: “Why is This Happening to ME? Body Karma Explained” It is so important for us to get that: While we are responsible toour conditions, we are not responsible for the karmic chain of events that caused these conditions to arise on the ego/personality level of this life. Working with the mental and emotional level of our conditions can help affect healing at these levels but, if there are physical symptoms that arise—then we also need to deal with them at the level of physical solutions. ***For example, if we break a leg, then we need to go and get it set, not try to mend it just with our minds. Although, of course, positive thinking and faith helps influence and affect the healing to the degree that the symptom arises at this level to begin with. That's why if our conditions are primarily karmic in origin, having a soul-level karmic reading or doing past life regression therapy helps us get to the root of why something is happening with us. Then we can more proactively work with any unconscious limiting karmic beliefs that might be hampering our creation of a more positive personal reality. So, just as the power of the placebo effect is real, so too is the root cause of some of our health challenges psychosomatic—but it is only apartial cause. For, if the conditions are karmic in origin, than they need to be treated by getting the karmic lessons inherent within the conditions as well as treating the physical symptoms on the physical level concurrently. ALL levels—of body, mind and spirit—need to be addressed in dealing with our conditions—and skipping any level may keep us from the most comprehensive healing with no karmic do-over required. After all, we are here to develop the fullest range of Being . . . sooner or later. In closing, to make the most of our karmic lessons in earth school this season, here are some reminders, from a higher level of truth and perspective: I. Everything is happening perfectly for our karmic healing and soul growth. So we can kick and scream . . . or smile. II. Our job is to work with whatever is arising in the most empowering way—focusing on what we do have power over in this relative plane. So we can piss and moan . . . or smile. III. If we do everything we can do through our words, thoughts and deeds--with passion and enthusiasm but without attachment to particular outcomes--we have done our part. Then we can enjoy maintaining equanimity and peace of mind in the Flow . . . and smile. Once we have made it our priority to go with the Flow, the Tao—with minimal attachment to goals—we are operating with the primary Taoist principle of wu wei, or non-dual action: “The Sage is occupied with the unspoken and acts without effort. Teaching without verbosity, producing without possessing, creating without regard to result, claiming nothing, the Sage has nothing to lose.” Lao Tzu Wishing us all an empowering clarity over what we truly have control over . . . and what we don’t. Otherwise, how can we fully enjoy the ride of this incarnation in such challenging times? J O A N “There is neither creation nor destruction, Neither Destiny nor free will; Neither path nor achievement; This is the final truth.” Sri Ramana Maharshi ***After writing the first draft of this newsletter last week, I actually DID fracture my ankle sliding down a slippery slope (hahahahaha) and had to deal with it on the physical level by getting it stabilized in a cast so it can heal properly. And while I’m still working on healing at the mental, emotional and karmic levels, there couldn’t be a better time to honor your ongoing healing then by giving yourself the gift of a psychic/karmic tune-up: MID-SPRING SPECIAL For ALL one-hour psychic phone consultations if booked by the end of MAY by newsletter subscribers: $50.00 discount off regular rates, which are: $200 for ongoing clients $250 for NEW clients This reading can include a special focus on all levels of healing—from the physical to the karmic—as well as astrological transits, if desired: For more info: PSYCHIC COUNSELING ASTROLOGICAL SERVICES Please don't hesitate to call me for a free consultation to discuss how to customize the perfect session for your specific needs at this time. I'm looking forward to connecting with you: SERVICES JoanPancoe@aol.com 212-982-6820 To help catalyze an opening to a higher perspective, I've written a number of articles on themes such as: Your last incarnation, aliens, spiritual teachers, addiction, astrological themes and much more: WRITINGS Feel the need for some help in dealing with "the quickening" of energies now? It's time for a daily mind/body/spirit practice that feeds your Soul! If you'd like to learn what keeps me sane, serene, internally stable and grounded, please check out: Taoist Practices MP3s for $20.12 If you enjoy receiving these newsletters, I'm now posting more frequent planetary updates on my website: NEWSFLASHES AND on my Facebook page: WEEKLY PLANETARY UPDATES. Hope you "Like" and "Share!" If you'd like to read more about my karmic pleasure rut: COSMIC SUGAR: The Amorous Adventures of a Modern Mystic Check out the great reviews! 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