“Cognito, Ergo Sum” (Reimagined)

The following piece is an excerpt from my book, “Word, From Your Mother,” a daily guidance journal written for my children, Liv and Pierce-Gabriel. 

Excerpt #43

Did you know that life is a play of consciousness? Descartes had described it as, “Cognito, ergo sum “–I think; therefore, I am. Many of my teachers think that he almost got it right, though, in terms of consciousness awareness, he should have expressed it as, “I am, therefore, I think.” I’m not sure if I can fathom an explanation of what I’m trying to say, but it’s something like this. Suppose we are aware that we are aware (conscious). In that case, we can undo all the mental constructs that the thinking mind has created. Why? Because the thinking mind is ego-based, attached to thoughts, beliefs, ideas, concepts, etc. All of which are limited and unimaginative.

Therefore, if we are aware of such thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and concepts…and how they “play” out in our life, we can deconstruct them with our “I am presence.” Again, I’m pointing to the internal “I am,” or the formless part of who we really are. How do we deconstruct all those thoughts? Though it may seem complex from a “how-to” point of view, it’s pretty simple.

When you feel a thought arising, especially a negative one, catch it, observe it and say to yourself, “it’s just a thought.” Then, try to transmute it or replace it with a more positive one. This may be easier to do if the thought is, “I don’t look good.” You can catch it and say, “well, I look a bit better than yesterday,” or “you’re too hard on yourself, you look fine, besides it’s better to feel good than looking good.” Just go for the better feeling, thought.

This may seem pretty surface level in terms of deconstructing thoughts, but it’s a start. Sometimes, I’m so frustrated, I can only get to the level of saying, “it’s just a thought.” In other words, I acknowledge that that particular thought doesn’t define who I am. It’s just a bad habit of thinking, or as I mentioned before, you hop on the train of wrong thoughts.

If you want to go deeper, you really need to still your body and be mindful of internal sensations. In other words, divorce your senses (seeing, touching, tasting, and hearing) and go deeper into the true self’s intuition. Eckart Tolle offers the simple exercise of closing your eyes and trying to feel sensations in your hands. It may feel like a tingling or swirling. That is the energetic part of you or what he refers to as true essence. Then, try to feel sensations or sense perceptions in other parts of your body; your arms, legs, abdomen, feet, etc. Giving this undivided attention to your energetic body is key to divorcing all that we attach to the external world.

If you make this a daily practice, you won’t even need to close your eyes to feel such movement within. This is the quickest way to break down the ego state. Turning your attention inward strengthens awareness and leads to awakening and complete liberation.

You Are A Miracle

The following piece is an excerpt from my book, “Word, From Your Mother,” a daily guidance journal written for my children, Liv and Pierce-Gabriel. 

Excerpt #42

Do you recognize the synchronicities occurring almost constantly, every day in your life? It takes some concentration and awareness to recognize the small miracles that appear on this plane. Some things that happen are so fleeting that we don’t even realize when they occur. Others are so blatantly obvious that there’s no denying that divine intervention has taken place. That’s when we say things like, “I must have been at the right place at the right time.” Instead, if we truly become aware…really tune in to the present moment, we would replace the fleeting thoughts (or lack thereof) with thanks.

I’ve been trying to make this a daily practice, even for the most seemingly mundane thing. Why? Because we tend to take note and notice when terrible things happen and make that our focus. We take for granted the small miracles that are occurring almost every minute of the day. For example, our heart is beating. Our chest rises and falls with every intake and exhale of breath. There is light all around us.

Everything appears still, yet it is moving at different rates and with different vibrations and frequencies. We have an abundance of food. We are well clothed and roofed. Each night, our heads lie on a soft pillow. When we wake up each day, you can see. There is an abundance of clean water everywhere we turn that we can drink, bathe, cook, float, and witness other life forms within.

Are you expressing appreciation for these beautiful things? What about all the synchronicities? (Those things that are happening at the precise moment). It’s more difficult to enumerate these, but I’ll give you some examples. As I’ve expressed, I feel connected to the universe through the appearance of specific number sequences. They have a lot of meaning to me and translate into particular messages that I’ve received for quite some time. Often, when I’m thinking about something spiritual, or joyful a number sequence will appear. To me, I feel as though Source Energy is communicating with me during these moments. This also holds true when I’m praying, when I’m worried, when I’m inspired, and when I feel unsupported. Almost instantaneously, a particular number sequence will present itself and make me feel more at ease. Coincidence? Never. I’ve always believed that there are light beings all around us who are constantly trying to communicate with us.

How To Realize

The following piece is an excerpt from my book, “Word, From Your Mother,” a daily guidance journal written for my children, Liv and Pierce-Gabriel. 

Excerpt #41

Lately, I’ve been trying to understand life from a much different perspective. Often, we use words to identify, interpret, translate and, in a sense, own our situations. In other words, what we observe and conceptualize on an external level adds to our “story” or identification. A question arose in my mind. How can one instead realize (in this case, realize means “know”) an end result without labeling?

As a practice, I might have mentioned trying to be the witness of any given situation in your life. In other words, refrain from labeling what you see, hear, touch or feel. Just observe. This is difficult to do as we are so conditioned from childhood to identify or name things. Inevitably, this is how we begin to conceptualize our world and our personal (personality) story. 

Last night, I was watching an interior design challenge show. I was fascinated by the three potential designers’ visions regarding how they would go about decorating similar bedrooms. One of them said, “It would be so great if the homeowners can realize how the room will look once it is done.” 

It occurred to me that the designer’s interpretation of “realize” was the end product or what she “imaged in” that room. Hence, tapping into her imagination, she already saw the end product and the associated feelings (happiness, satisfaction) before tackling the laborious job ahead. The clients couldn’t imagine that her designs would work coherently. They couldn’t realize the end product. 

This brought me to some further pondering about realizing something from a deeper level. Perhaps artists and great visionaries have an easier time imagining and knowing what the end product will look like because they see things with their “real eyes.” I’m not trying to be “punny,” seriously. I mean that artists and visionaries tend to have an easier go because they are “seeing” through their internal heart space, not through the external place of naming and labeling. 

For example, a great sculptor can look at a marble block and already see the potential of a form emerging. This must be tapped into from an extraordinary and creative place. The same would go for a plastic surgeon. They tap into that part within themselves to see or realize the beauty in the end result of their work. This is quite amazing when you think about it from this perspective. 

Before you consider judging a situation, allow yourself to tap into your heart space for guidance and realization. Be open and let your internal self or your essence-self guide and lead. Sometimes, it takes others in our life to lead us in that direction, to help us to utilize our “real eyes,” to realize, and this is a good thing. However, I believe that we all have access to this inherent space within and that it can be tapped into, tuned into through stillness and faith.

Stop Thinking About Stuff

The following piece is an excerpt from my book, “Word, From Your Mother,” a daily guidance journal written for my children, Liv and Pierce-Gabriel. 

Excerpt #40

Stop thinking about stuff. I say this to myself quite a bit. If you can observe that “thinking” puts a monkey wrench into every situation, you’d get what I mean. We tend to spiral out of control with our thoughts. As I mentioned before, thoughts create beliefs, and in turn, your beliefs create your reality. 

If we can stop and pause, try to slow down our minds, we become free of thoughts. Therefore, we live more freely as though a river flowing downstream. In this case, we allow things to happen naturally, as they should be, without much effort. I find that if you “free up space” in your mind, your heart (the space with the most loving brain) speaks. 

The heart’s wisdom is the impersonal part of you or the non-material aspect of you that speaks. Some people call it the God of our heart or our heart space. This is what always should lead. We are so bombarded by manmade concepts based on what we’ve been taught or what we learn through experiencing through the five senses. If we can break away from our outer experiences and quiet ourselves enough to hear the wisdom from within, things flow with greater ease. 

There would be no reason or need to resist, control, or manipulate what’s going on in our outer world. Have I achieved this state of being? Not yet. However, I feel that the first step into awakening to this way (the way) is to become aware. Being “aware that you are aware” is consciousness. As quoted by Neville Goddard, “Heed the words of St. Augustine, “Too late have I loved thee, for behold thou wert within, and it was without that I did seek thee.” 

It is your own consciousness that you must turn as to the only reality. There, and there alone, you awaken that which is asleep. This brings me back to imagining. I feel that using your imagination is very different from “thinking.” Thinking requires a lot of work—the need to analyze or problem-solve while using your imagination permits a sort of freedom or creative flow to occur. Use your imagination as a child would. Dream the unimaginable, set no boundaries, believe what you imagine to be true. 

I’m sure our imagination can dream up scary stuff, too, but that’s not the aim. The aim is to imagine what you desire and believe that you already have it—that it’s already yours and see what happens. Be mindful of how negative thoughts may try to impair your “image-ing” of it all. Treat those thoughts for what they are—just a thought, and don’t let it get in the way of desire. 

Again, this can be a challenging practice if you’re wrapped up in the world of form. The trick is to be child-like in your imaginings. See and sense the dream imagined. Don’t worry about how it’s going to arrive. Don’t have any sense of urgency in the “getting of it.” Just know that it is there and it is yours. You already own it. You already have it! 

There is such a flow and happiness when we use our imagination to think up wild things. Do you remember playing and pretending when you were a little kid? Didn’t it seem natural to be a fairy, a king, or a princess? Couldn’t you see yourself in the role and feel all the riches of the land and its offerings. Didn’t your play of imagination produce the most beautiful costumes and castles (blankets and hideaways between couches and furniture)? Returning to innocence, God provokes us to return and let go of the thinking, analytic self. “Truly, I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew: 18:3

How To Dissolve Your Preferences

The following piece is an excerpt from my book, “Word, From Your Mother,” a daily guidance journal written for my children, Liv and Pierce-Gabriel. 

Excerpt #39

Are you good with letting things unfold naturally? Or do you tend to want to be in control of what’s going on? I know where I fall on that pole, and I’m working on going towards letting things “be.” It doesn’t matter how much you try to insert your preferences into a situation because they will unfold naturally, regardless. It is a universal law. 

 I recommend reading Mickey Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul. You can get a free audio version on YouTube. He eloquently explains that we, as humans, are always trying to interject our preferences concerning how things should be. To have preferences as to how things should be is a ‘mind’ construct. No matter how much we try to change our situation to meet our personal preferences, we will remain dissatisfied (unless it’s going our way). 

I feel that if things are moving along swimmingly, I’m moving in the right direction. I also have become aware that if they don’t feel so great or seem not to be going “my way,” I need to step back and be the active observer of the situation. Instead of reacting and trying to interject my preferences, I quiet my mind, observe and let it be. Quieting the mind is a challenging practice indeed, especially if you have a robust egoic drive. It is worth it, however, to discern your reaction towards situations. I can honestly say, in my own opinion, 95% of the time, I’ve made mistakes by trying to control or change my situation. And, especially if in doing so, I miss out on being praised, recognized, or rewarded for my efforts. 

For example, say you work with a difficult person and find that your co-workers often chime in on how much they can’t stand that person. Do you feel tempted to “join the club” in the collective gossip? Can you move away from inserting your preferences towards the situation and stand as the active observer? Or do you wish to pump up your ego by gaining praise or recognition from your co-workers for your ill intentions towards that one person?

In other words, what do you gain by putting someone else down? Or better yet, what are you trying to achieve? Can you identify your faults in the situation? Is it worth the energy to get involved? What have you to gain in terms of consciousness? What is your preference? Do you prefer to gain validation and acceptance, approval, etc., from that source of energy? Or can you just let things be?

The above may be a poor example but as a practice, try this—whenever you feel “triggered” by a situation—any situation, still your mind in that instant. Hold back your reaction—observe. Don’t think; feel what’s going on. Try to recognize where your feelings are placing you at that moment (especially if they’re negative). Can you realize it, accept it for what it is, and let it be? Is it worth the effort to project your preferences into the situation? What does the path of least resistance feel like to you? I guarantee that it’s the better choice.

Who Is Your Master?

The following piece is an excerpt from my book, “Word, From Your Mother,” a daily guidance journal written for my children, Liv and Pierce-Gabriel. 

Excerpt #38

Do you serve a master? Sometimes, people seek one on the physical plane, for example, a teacher, mentor, or spiritual leader, for guidance. When I first heard a follower refer to Paramahasana Yogananda as to her Master, I was a bit confused. Master of what? He, her Master, and she the servant? He, the Master of Yoga or spirituality? I wasn’t quite sure.

I began to think about whether or not one should refer to anyone as their Master on the physical plane. In my opinion, God, Source Energy, the Creator, or however you choose to identify him or her, is Master. And our Divine-self, which is ultimately an attribute of God, is the Master expressing his/her idea through us.

Please don’t ask me what the idea is. I cannot articulate it in words. However, if I had to attempt to, I’d say that the desires we feel are God’s ideas that we express through action on the physical plane. I translate the “idea” as to love and serve one another. In other words, this would be the outcome of any case scenario or action—the final resulting in peace on Earth.

I suggest reading the book by Joseph Brenner titled, The Impersonal Life to grasp what I’m trying to say. I have read this book repeatedly as I feel that the message is essential and of God. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. Each time I read it, I gain understanding and realization.

The short and skinny of it is to KNOW that there is only one Source and one Master. And, WE, all of us, represent a single attribute of the Master, Creator, or God as it were. Suppose we are all one, an embodiment of God, each a singular cell or characteristic of the Creator. In that case, there is nothing that we do that the true Master does not direct. Our minds and intellect have no say in the matter except for free will choice to follow along swimmingly or not.

We’ve fabricated a bit of a mess through our free will choices if you look at humanity as a collective. As you know, I’ve chosen not to entertain those who contribute negativity to the collective consciousness. However, I remain optimistic because here’s the thing. We can change the motions and pathways of our free will choices. We don’t have to choose what doesn’t serve us. On the contrary, if we choose to wake up and KNOW that we all benefit from every positive thought and every right action, we could change the world.

The most aware among us are choosing to take steps in bringing to light human consciousness and awareness to help guide others towards the light. Here is where we will all flourish, as I believe it is part of the Master’s plan. The idea must be to turn away from our “selves” finally and turn to the Creator, the true Master; this would mean to put complete trust in him/her, which is ultimately US.

Interpreting Your Emotions

The following piece is an excerpt from my book, “Word, From Your Mother,” a daily guidance journal written for my children, Liv and Pierce-Gabriel. 

Excerpt #37

How do you interpret your emotions? If you get angry with someone, do you hear yourself say in your head, “I’m furious right now…I can’t believe he/she said that about me…what a jerk, etc.” As I’ve mentioned before, everything is energy. Words and thoughts manifest things. The comments above and associated emotions are quite negative. So, what are you “putting out there?”

It’s essential to be the observer of our emotions—to be consciously aware of how we feel. Are you able to catch yourself before feeling negative emotion and transmute it? This is the stuff of awareness. Instead of saying, “I am angry,” how about, “I’m experiencing the feeling of anger.” Or, “I’m anxious and nervous, I’m going to bomb this exam.” How about, “I’m experiencing the feelings of anxiety and nervousness.”

If you follow up this “catch” with some self-care phrases, all the better. My rule of thumb is to ask, “What is it I need?” Then, I reinforce and take care of myself with kind and compassionate phrases or words such as, “I’m safe.” “There’s no such thing as failure, only learning.” “Things are always working out for me.” “I am so loved and appreciated.” “I am not alone with these feelings.” “I am not the only person who has felt this way,” etc.

It may seem a bit cheesy to do this but believe me, it works. With practice, you become even better and better with self-care. We so often neglect ourselves in this manner. By acknowledging your feelings and emotions (especially if they’re negative) and transmuting them head on, you’ll find that your life will flow much better. You will resurrect gentleness in your soul, and most importantly, you’ll be able to share this healing with others. Let your emotions be your teachers.

I remember Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s quote in terms of recognizing our fears as our teachers. When an emotion arises, he said to receive and acknowledge it (as though a friend), “Fear, what have you to teach me?” or, “Anxiety, what are you trying to tell me?” Something to that effect. I like to cut to the chase and immediately transmute the emotion or thought. I feel that awareness exercise brings us closer to the authentic self. That self inside of us that is timeless and all-knowing. It’s the soul-self that we have forgotten about, but that brings forth the possibilities of universal peace. It starts with awareness and consciousness. It begins with changes at the fundamental level of self-care.

If you find it too challenging to transmute your words and thoughts, then go outside and take a walk in nature. Be receptive to all the sights and sounds. Calm your heart rate, breathe deeply. When you are calmer, face your emotions with gentle kindness and love. Allow this love to enter your heart.

How To Become More Aware

The following piece is an excerpt from my book, “Word, From Your Mother,” a daily guidance journal written for my children, Liv and Pierce-Gabriel. 

Excerpt #36

I was stuck on what to write about today, but if I stick with my number one topic, awareness, I can always focus and come up with something meaningful to share. What level of awareness do you behold? We use our senses of sight, sound, touch, and taste to understand the world around us. Usually, we can attend to the various thoughts that are spinning around that pertain to our “story,” However, we miss so much more.

I like to do this simple exercise, especially in the summer: close your eyes and sit on the front porch or outside, mainly, and count all the sounds you hear. Do this first with your eyes open. You’ll probably name a couple of things without much focus or complete attention. However, if you relax and close your eyes and steady your breathing, you’ll hear a lot more.

You’ll begin to sense a lot more, too. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the small surroundings of your daily life and story. It is a minimal view and perspective. However, if you become aware of being aware, focus, and concentrate on the present moment, you’ll see that there’s so much more that we take for granted and are missing.

Deepak Chopra recommends this exercise: Take yourself out of your human world or “channel.” Observe another creature and how they go about their daily life. As you know, I like to observe all sorts of wildlife but find birds most intriguing and admirable. Observe their patterns of communication, their ways of life in terms of hunting, surviving, being. Observe how they gather their information through their senses.

Bats have impeccable sense. They can see in the dark and sense their prey through echolocation. These echo signals enable the bat to form a mental map of its surroundings. How wonderful! Imagine being a bat. What would you see, hear, touch, taste, and smell? How different are those perceptions from yours? Quite different, indeed.

We tend to limit our perceptions about this incredible world and all the creatures in it, giving thought only to our human channel. Let’s move forward with the idea that we are all one, right down to the most inanimate object. As a result, we’ll gain a better understanding, appreciation, and gratitude for all that is.

Love Thyself

The following piece is an excerpt from my book, “Word, From Your Mother,” a daily guidance journal written for my children, Liv and Pierce-Gabriel. 

Excerpt #35

If you can’t love yourself, then you cannot love others. I’m sure you’ve heard this many times. What is self-love? How do we do love ourselves? I’m sure that most of us can articulate what it is not. For example, if you’re constantly beating up on yourself, putting yourself down, being hard on yourself, etc., that would be the opposite of respecting and loving yourself.

I believe we’re all guilty of doing this to some degree. How can you build up self-love? It starts with self-compassion. I never really thought about this concept until reading, The Power of Self-Compassion by Laurie Cameron. She references three ideas regarding self-compassion: Being mindful, recognizing common humanity, and being kind to oneself. She explains that being mindful is all about being present or being in the “now,” as I’ve commonly mentioned throughout this book. She goes further on to say that being mindful is about paying attention to yourself and your feelings, being non-judgmental, and living moment-to-moment. In other words, to avoid trying to “fix” things as they occur, especially if they’re not to your preferences. 

She brought to mind one of my favorite poets Thich Nhat Hanh, who set the stage on mindfulness-awareness. You can look at mindfulness in several different ways. My philosophy is that I don’t want my “mind” to be “full”—of stuff. Quite frankly, I’d rather be “mind-less.” However, I don’t want to get mixed up in the literal or semantic sense of the words. In this excerpt, I’d like to think of mindfulness as being aware of or paying attention to something with a fair amount of concentration. 

When things are not going your way, if you feel down, if you are anxious, the first thing to turn your attention to is what is. Recognize it. Be aware of your feelings at that moment. In other words, embrace it. Next, turn your attention to “common humanity.” This entails recognizing that you are not alone in what you are feeling or experiencing. Voice: “I’m not the only person to suffer in this way; I am not alone in this; we are all interconnected, this is not a separate experience.” 

Finally, practice self-kindness. For example, how would you treat a friend if they were experiencing the same thing as you? Would you yell at them and tell them you’re sorry that their life stinks? No, you would try to soothe or validate their feelings. I like to think of how I’d respond to a child. If it were a little child or a baby under duress, we certainly wouldn’t act harshly. We’d respond with compassion and empathy.  

Sometimes, when I’m super stressed and aim to be more compassionate to myself, I think of “little girl” me. I close my eyes and imagine that I’m holding her and hugging her. I usually picture this when something tragic has happened, like losing a pet or a relative. Often, traumatic experiences like these bring us back childhood memories of feeling abandoned or lonely due to loss. 

Suppose I encounter an upsetting situation at work. In that case, I try to direct the kindness inward by asking the question, “What do I need right now to take good care of myself?” In Cameron’s words: How do you protect, provide, motivate yourself as a form of compassion? How do you meet your own needs with kindness towards yourself? 

Isn’t it so much easier to express empathy towards others? I find that it is. It wasn’t until recently that I recognized how much I’d neglected myself. I think we all tend to be a bit hard on ourselves. That’s why it is essential to look upon ourselves with compassion. It’s not easy to face difficult situations. Still, it’s much easier to become aware of them, embrace them, forgive them, and love and support yourself in the process with gentleness. This is what self-love engenders.

How To React…Or Not

The following piece is an excerpt from my book, “Word, From Your Mother,” a daily guidance journal written for my children, Liv and Pierce-Gabriel. 

Excerpt #34

Do you need to defend yourself when you feel as though you were “attacked” verbally? Buyer beware; this is the stuff of the ego. I was listening to Eckart Tolle today. He quoted an excerpt from, A Course on Miracles (I highly recommend you read this, though it is an intensive study and as thick as the Bible). He stated that you’re identifying yourself with an illusion or the conceptualized/fictitious sense of self when you’re defensive. When you are defending yourself, typically, it is to provide safety of the self. 

In other words, when attacked verbally, there is nothing for you to defend. You are safe. You aren’t going to be eaten alive. It would be best if you never let words hurt you. I understand that it is a difficult practice not to defend oneself. The other day, Dad and I were taking a ride in the car. I was driving, and he was perusing through Facebook. He noticed something that my cousin Christopher had posted about women (particularly, wives) always moving their husbands’ things without asking, therefore causing a raucous. He was going to reply, “Yes, my wife not only moves my stuff, but re-gifts it back to me.” 

Okay, how could I not become defensive about that quirk? I immediately started defending myself that I had only done this once. Still, he has not let it rest (since 2007, mind you). And that by posting that terrible comment, it would make me look like an idiot. I further defended that if he had put his stuff where it belonged, this would not be an issue. Again, I also defended that everything has its place and its home. Black socks don’t belong on the countertop where I’m preparing food! So on, and so forth.

Well, he didn’t end up posting the comment because he recognized my sensitivity about the subject. He also told me to relax and that he was joshing. I still ended up chatting in my head; I said to myself, okay, here you go protecting your “little me, ego.” Who cares what other people think? Do you want to focus your time on something so trivial? Do you wish to contribute to this act of unconsciousness? 

That question ended up bringing me back to stillness. Again, a challenging practice but worth being aware of. We have conditioned our minds to react defensively. What do we gain from that, though? What sort of satisfaction is there in being defensive? Not much. It is essential to bring ourselves to awareness when situations like this arise. 

If you can catch yourself before you react and be thoughtful about whether your response will serve you, it is worth taking the time to realize this. I can say that when I’m able to catch myself in the heat of the moment (before reacting), I’m able to gain perspective, be receptive to my “now,” and return to the stillness within. The peace within is all-knowing. It reminds me that I’m safe and unconditionally loved. It reminds me to refuse to harbor negative thoughts or to react in a way that would only make things more dissatisfying in my life. As Dr. Wayne Dyer once said, “What other people say about you is their karma; how you react is yours.”