My mind is my shelter


You cannot control what happens. You can only be open to it or resist it.

The victory - Rene Magritte

The open door

Life has its on rhythm.  If you are surrendered you will find it. But surrendering is not so easy.

Surrendering means meeting each moment as new. And to do that, you cannot be attached to what just happened. You can appreciate it. You can savor it. But you must let it go where it will.

You can’t control what happens. You can only be open to it or resist it. If you have expectations, you will be resisting. Don’t resist. Don’t have attachments to the past or expectations of the future.

Just be where you are. Bring everything into the now. Bring the attachment, the expectation into the present.Be aware of your resistance. See the drama of your disappointment. See that you did not get what you wanted. See how it makes you feel. Watch it. Experience it. But don’t lose yourself in the drama.

When you can see the drama without reacting to it, you can stay anchored in the here and now. You can remain present. You can see which doors are closed and which ones are open.

If you try to walk through closed doors you will hurt yourself unnecessarily. So, even if you don’t know why a door is closed, at least respect the fact that it is. And don’t struggle with the doorknob. If the door was open, you would know it. Wanting it to be open does not make it open.

Much of the pain in life is as a result of people attempting to walk through closed doors or trying to put square pegs into round holes. You try to hold on to someone who is ready to go, or try to get somebody to do something before s/he is ready. Instead of accepting what is and working with it, you interfere with it or try to manipulate it to meet your perceived needs.

Obviously, this doesn’t work. When you interfere with what is, you create strife for yourself and others. You trespass. You get in the way.

That is why awareness is necessary. When you know that things are not flowing, you need to step back and realize that your actions are not helpful. You need to stop, pause and consider. You need to cease what you are doing, because it is not working and you don’t want to make the situation worse than it is.

Stopping the offensive action is the first step in the process of atonement for your trespasses. Unless you stop, violation continues. The door stays shut. After stopping, acknowledge your mistake, to yourself and to other. Vow not to repeat your mistake again.

When you interfere in the natural order of things there is suffering. As soon as you stop interfering, suffering stops. It is a simple movement from disease to ease, from disharmony to harmony.  You don’t need to make the forgiveness process difficult or esoteric. It is a natural, organic process.

When the door is closed, you cannot enter. You must wait patiently or move along and see if another door will open. As long as you are forgiving yourself and others for your mistakes, there is a good chance that the right door will open. Only when you refuse to learn from your mistakes or hold on to your grievances does it seem that the doors are repeatedly closed to you.

Fortunately, God does not hold grievances. God keeps saying to you: “That didn’t work too well, did it? Next time, perhaps you can make a different choice”.

It isn’t helpful to obsess about your mistakes and feel bad about them. Guilt doesn’t help you act more responsibly toward others.
Guilt does not contribute to atonement. When something does not work, a correction must be made. Adjustments are a natural part of living in a harmonious way.

Grace comes when correction is constant. Fulfillment happens when you don’t just talk about forgiveness, but live it moment to moment. Then, it does not matter how many times you stray from the path or put your fut in your mouth. You can laugh at your errors and put them behind you.

You cannot fit through the door if you are carrying the past around. Don’t feel guilty. Instead, take responsibility for correcting your mistakes. That way you don’t carry around a lot of excess baggage. The more responsibility you take for you thoughts, feelings and experiences, the lighter you travel and the easier it is to correct your mistakes.

Guilt is not constructive. If there is nothing you can do to make the situation better, then just accept it as it is. Sometimes, there is not hing to be done. It is no one’s fault. Life is just as it is. And that’s ok. In knowing that life is ok, no matter how ragged and unfinished it seems,there is room for movement. A shift can happen. A door can open.

The most important door is the one to your heart. If it is open, then the whole universe abides in you. If it is closed, you stand alone, holding the world off. Trust and rivers flow though your heart. Distrust and a dam holds the river back.
A heart in resistance gets tired quickly. Life wears heavily upon it. But a hear that is open is filled with energy. It dances and sings.

When the door in your heart is open, all the important doors open in the world. You go where you need to go. Nothing interferes with your purpose or your destiny. Everything that you are unfolds naturally in its own time, without resistance or struggle. The unexpected happens without difficulty. Miracles are everyday occurrences.”


Walking the tightrope

Even if you know a little bit, you rarely see the whole picture. Indeed, the more attached you are to any part of the whole, the less likely you are to see the big picture.

Some things belong to the past, not to the present. What happened in the past can prejudice you to what is happening now. It can constrict you so that you don’t open fully to the present.
Some things belong to the future, not to the present. The more invested you are in a particular outcome, the harder it is for you to accept “what is” and work with it.

The truth is you don’t know specifically what happened in the past or what will happen in the future. To live in the present, you need to stay centered in what you know now and put the past and the future aside.
If you keep bringing the past in and trying to plan for the future, you will move out of what you know. You will get behind or ahead of yourself. You will sow the seeds of conflict within and without.

So this is a balancing act. You need to walk the tightrope between the past and the future. And you cannot expect to walk without tipping to one side or the other. But when you do, you must lean the other way, so that you can come back to center.

Be honest with yourself. You don’t know that the past is going to repeat itself. You don’t know that your present experience is going to be the same in the future. Things may change or they may stay the same. Old patterns may dissolve or they may reappear. You don’t know these things. All you know is how you feel about what’s happening right now.
If you can stay with this then you can be present and honest about your experience. You can say what you are able to commit to and what you cannot commit to.
Things may change in the future, but you can’t live now hoping they are going to change. You must be where you are, not where you want to be.

This is difficult work. Most mental activity is fear-based. It is about resisting “what is” or trying to change it. If you don’t move through this resistance to a deeper level of self-attunement, you won’t be able to claim the present moment. You will get lost in a reactive buzz saw of conflicting thoughts and emotions.
The past will be telling you “Don’t open. It’s too scary. Don’t you remember what happened last month or last year?”, and the future will be saying “This is taking too long. Why don’t we just jump in and do it?” You need to listen to both voices and then rebalance and come back to center.

That is what the tightrope walker must do. She can’t worry about losing her balance in the past. She can’t dream about a perfect performance in the future. She needs to focus on what’s happening right now. She needs to put one foot in front of the other. Every step is an act of balance. Every step is a spiritual act.”


Attachment to past or future.

“The time has come to anchor in the heart.

Many people want to know what is going to happen to them in the future. They go to psychics, astrologers, tarot and card readers and so forth, hoping to hear something that will make them feel better.

The absurdity of this can only be appreciated when you know that the future cannot be predicted. True, there are lines of force emanating from a person’s consciousness. There are patterns that are set in motion. But every moment offers you a new choice and that choice may alter your destiny.

Unfortunately, the more preoccupied you are in finding out what will happen to you in the future, the less attention you can give to the choices you need to make now. That is why a fascination with fortunetelling is discouraged in many spiritual traditions.

The obsession some people have with the past can be just as dysfunctional as this preoccupation with the future. Many people go to therapists or psychics looking for knowledge of the past that could explain problems of the present. They engage in a variety of forms of psychoanalysis, dream therapy, inner child work, hypnotherapy, past life regression and so forth. While this work may help some people move on in their lives, it becomes a quagmire for others. A tool meant to help becomes a dogma. A technique meant to assist people in discovering the source of their pain becomes an invitation to wallow in it and become its perpetual victim.

When you emerge from such therapies, stories about childhood trauma or abuse, or memories of previous lifetimes – you will do well to ask if these stories help you to stay focused and empowered in the present moment. If they help you heal issues that are present in your life now, then hey are therapeutic. But if they simply encourage you to become a victim, establishing an identity in your wound, then they are counterproductive. Generally speaking, the projected dramas of past or future are distractions that take you away from the real challenge of being present here and now.

It is important to watch how your mind continues to grasp for external answers to your problems and how fascinated you get in the imagery of change. What does not change is far less interesting to you. You don’t like being told “there is nothing out there to get”. When the teacher tells you to go home and follow your breath, you are disappointed. You had hoped that s/he would send you on another retreat, another mission of mercy, another crusade to save the world.

There are enough windy, circuitous roads out there to keep you traveling for a long time. The are enough detours on the spiritual path to keep you spinning your wheels ad infinitum. After taking enough of them, you realize that none of them are going anywhere in particular. All paths eventually bring you back to the place where you started.

You have taken enough of these journeys. The time has come to anchor in the heart. You don’t have to be concerned about what happened in the past or what will happen in the future. You don’t need any more stories to put you to sleep.”

Clear ideas - Rene Magritte

Dropping your stories

Your stories of the past reinforce your fears and justify your rituals of self-protection. Whenever you connect with what you want, you also connect with all the reasons why you can’t have it. “I want to leave my job, but I can’t; I want to commit to this relationship but I can’t”. On and on it goes…

You want to bring new energy into your life, but you hold on to the same habits at the same time. You want change, but you are afraid of it. In some ways, you prefer your pain just the way it is, because it is known quantity. You think that if you make a change in your life things could get worse. You prefer a known pain to an unknown pain, a familiar suffering to an unfamiliar one.

Your ego is deeply committed to the status quo of your life. That’s why the spiritual adult’s heroic plans for the transformation of your life are inevitably undermined by the fears of the wounded child, who doesn’t think s/he is lovable, and therefore cannot have a vision of a life without pain. To the wounded kid within any promise of release from pain is a trick that entices you to let your defenses down and become vulnerable to attack.

So your fears keep you closed to the possibility of meaningful change in your life. What you say you want is not what you really want.  The spiritual adult and the wounded child are at odds, and when that happens the wounded child usually wins. Unfortunately, that does not lead to happiness for either adult or child. It leads only to the prolongation of your familiar, internalized suffering.

Into this duplicitous environment of the psyche at war with itself then come a variety of professional fixers: psychiatrists, counselors, preachers, self-help gurus. Each claims to have the answer, but each solutions offered just compounds the problem. When you think there is something wrong with you, your shame and unworthiness are reinforced. When you try to fix yourself, you reinforce your belief that something in you is broken. Professional fixers believe your stories of brokenness and try to heal you. f your story isn’t juicy enough, they help you make it more juicy. It’s all about high drama, about sin and salvation. It never occurs to them or to you that maybe nothing is broken, that maybe there is nothing in you that needs to be fixed. It never occurs to either of you that the only dysfunctional aspect of your situation is your belief that something is broken, your belief that you will never get what you want.

The external problems that you perceive are projections of the internal conflict: “I want but I cannot have”. If you would allow yourself to allow what you want, or if you would stop wanting it because you know you cannot have it, this conflict would cease. Having what you want or accepting that you can’t have it ends your conflict. It also ends your story.

If you have what you want or if you have made your peace with not having it, you have no story. There is no drama of seeking. To keep your drama of seeking going, you cannot find what you are seeking. Finding love, happiness, joy and so forth ends the story. “And they lived happily ever after”. Story over. Drama complete.

The truth is you are not ready to give up your drama. Your story has become part of your identity. Your pain is part of your personality. You do not know who you are without it. Letting your drama go means letting your past dissolve right here, right now.
If you can do that, it doesn’t matter what happened in the past. It has no power. It doesn’t exist anymore. You are writing on a clean slate. That means that you are totally responsible for what you choose.There are no more excuses.

When you no longer interpret your life based on what happened yesterday or last year, what happens is neutral. It is what it is. There is no charge on it.

The freedom to be fully present and responsible right now is awesome. Very few people want it. Most people wear their past like noose around their necks.
You stay in the drama because you love it. You keep dragging your past with you because you are attached to it. And so you have to heal all the wounds you think that you have. It doesn’t matter that those wounds re not ultimately real. They are real enough to you.
And so the drama continues. You can’t tell a peon who is in prison, getting three meal a day, that freedom is its own security. S/he wants those three meals a day no matter what. then s/he will talk about freedom.

When you are attached to what you already have how can you bring anything new in? To bring in something new, something fresh, something unpredictable, you must surrender something old, stale and habitual.

If you want the creative to manifest within you, you must surrender all that is not creative. Then, in the space made by that surrender, creativity rushes in. If the cup is full of old, cold tea, you cannot pour new, hot tea into it. First you have to empty the cup. Then you can fill it.

If you want to give up your drama, first find out what your investment in it is. What is your pay-off for not finding, for not healing?
And then be honest. If you don’t want to move through your pain tell the truth. Say “I’m not ready to move through my pain yet”. Don’t say “I wish I could be done with my pain, but I can’t be”. That is a lie. You could be done with it, but you don’t choose to be.

Most people who claim to be on the spiritual path are just spinning their wheels. They are always making excuses.

When you have learned to accept responsibility, there are no excuses. You don’t procrastinate or make empty promises. You wait until you are ready and you act clearly and decisively. When you are ready, there is no need to hesitate, for actions flow from readiness, and actions speak louder than words.”

The Battle of the Argonne - by Rene Magritte

Freedom and commitment

People are ineffective for two reasons: either they don’t know what they want or they don’t believe they deserve to have it.

All of you have the freedom to do what you want. If you are not doing it then you must not want it enough. Maybe you are trying to live someone else’s dream instead of your own.
You can be sure that your dream doesn’t look like anyone else’s. It is unique to you. When you compare yourself to others, you can’t act in an authentic way.

When you are not committed to your dream you are not going to manifest it. Desire and commitment go hand in hand. Usually when there is lack of commitment, there is lack of desire, too. If you don’t really want it, you aren’t going to put out the energy to create it.

People are ineffective for two reasons: either they don’t know what they want or they don’t believe they deserve to have it. When you know what you want and believe that you deserve it, nothing can stop you from creating that in your life. Of course, when you manifest it, it might look a little different than you expected it to. Your ego might object to it. But that’s a different problem.

Your job is not to know how manifestation is going to happen or what it is going to look like. Your job is to get clear on what you want and be totally committed to it. Then, however it happens and whatever it looks like, you better accept it. Because if you don’t accept and celebrate the fruit of your labors, you will not reinforce your success.

Everybody wants a formula for manifestation, but few want to practice the formula. The formula’s easy. The practice is what challenges.”

Rafal Olbinski 5

A formula for creation

Your job is to be clear about the goal, committed to it, and grateful for its accomplishment in your life.

1.First, get clear on what you want. Unless you want something heart and soul, you will have difficulty creating it. Take as long as you need to get clear. It might take a day, a month, a year, a lifetime. If you trying to create without knowing what you want, you will waste time and energy. You will also be training yourself to be  failure. Do not ask for something you are not sure that you want.

2. Believe in what you want and know that you deserve it. Move toward your goal steadily, no matter how implausible it seems or how many obstacles seem to be in your way. Without your total commitment, your goal cannot be realized. Do not waver in your commitment until what you want has manifested in your life.

3.When you create what you want, celebrate it. Be grateful for it. Give up your pictures of the way you thought it would be. Drop your expectations. Embrace it just the way it is. Work with it. Use it. Love it and keep on loving it.

Your job is to be clear about the goal, committed to it, and grateful for its accomplishment in your life. You don’t have to know “how” the goal is going to be realized in your life. Just do the best you can. Follow any strategy that feels right to you.

Remember, it is not the strategy that brings you toward your goal, but your desire to reach it and your commitment to accomplish it. When these factors are in place, the strategy you need will make itself known to you. When you know “what” you want and “why” you want it, “when, where and how” will be revealed to you.

All creation is really co-creation. You determine what you want, commit to it, and move toward it, and the opportunities you need to realize your goal come your way. To be sure, you must keep your eyes open and keep surrendering your expectations. But you do not have to make the opportunities happen. They happen all by themselves.

This is what effortlessness and non-striving teach you. You don’t have to struggle. You don’t have to sacrifice, beg, borrow or steal. You just have to be clear and committed.

Of course, there is one more important thing. You must believe that you are worthy of having what you want. If you don’t believe that you are worthy, it does not matter how good your process is. You will find a way to undermine it.

As log as you feel unworthy, you will struggle.  You will continually get in your own way. Only when you know that you deserve what you want can you realize your dreams and meet your goals.”

Return to the garden_Paul FerriniPaul Ferrini
– Return to the Garden

Further reading – The Law of Attraction




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