Article from VENTURE INWARD magazine November/December 2007

Hey - It's not the end of the world
It's the beginning of a grand future!

heyRecently a friend of mine saw the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” about the threat of global warming. She was obviously shaken by the implications of this film. “It’s very scary,” she said. “I don’t think the people in power have the will or the time to fix it.”

She is not alone in feeling hopeless. The news media doesn’t project a pretty picture. Whether it is the warming of the earth, terrorism, air and water pollution, bankrupt governments, religious and ethnic violence, overpopulation, draughts, or floods and famine, dark clouds are gathering on the horizon. Some see this as the fulfillment of biblical prophecies. Others call it the “Great Shift of Global Consciousness” or look to more popular signs like the Mayan calendar, which seems to predict that our civilization will come to an end in the very near future. With this focusing on the negative it is not easy to stay optimistic – particularly when some are also challenged with personal difficulties like health, financial, and relationship problems.

One way of not getting caught up in a wave of negativity is to step back and see the Big Picture. We often act like someone who is looking at a beautiful tapestry with his nose too close to the weaving. All we see are colored dots that make no sense at all. Many of them scare us, particularly the dark ones. But only when we back away from the tapestry will we see its beautiful pattern and that all the dots – even the dark ones – create a perfect design, a beautiful picture.

But how can we see “the beautiful Big Picture” in light of the threatening events – globally as well as individually? When I step back from the tapestry I don’t see these possible catastrophic changes as the end of everything. I see them as a beginning. John Van Auken recently called it the “Birth Pains to a Golden Age.” When Jesus predicted wars, plagues, famines, and more He clearly defined them in this way by saying: “All these things are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matt. 24.8, New American Bible)

Seeing our political, economical, social, and environmental challenges as painful but necessary birth pains empowers us, allowing us to co-create the future as it unfolds. We are not victims of circumstance but messengers and builders of a new world that will counterbalance the upheavals of the present. For some this may sound too idealistic, but remember that on a small scale we Americans underwent a similar transition from a time of fear to a time of many freedoms – the 1950s were very rigid years where the fear of atomic destruction from Russia was matched with brutal McCarthyism that abused the freedom of countless citizens. When the pendulum goes so far to one side it has to swing the same distance to the other side. Consequently the ‘50s gave birth to the “liberating” ‘60s where so many outdated customs, dogmas, and laws were challenged, uprooted, and replaced with social reforms that totally altered the fabric of this nation.

Focus on the Positive!
I see no reason why this should not repeat itself to counterbalance the gloomy state of many in the world. But this Golden Age will be no comparison to the tiny changes of the ‘60s. It will be totally opposite to how we live today. We’ll have a different set of values, a higher consciousness, and a deep connection with All That Is. The best way for us to usher in this new era is to consciously focus on its potential instead of lamenting our present conditions. I think Richard Bach said it best in his book, Illusions: “The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.”

In the interim, before the New World dawns, how do we stay focused on the good? How do we individually prepare ourselves for the new beginning? For over 40 years I have been studying, writing, and teaching universal laws on the mastery of life and I have particularly been interested in finding solutions for how to deal with these birthing pains. In The Book of Courage (Barron’s), I have collected the most potent insights, quotes, and techniques to guide us when our world seems to turn upside down. Here are a few basic suggestions to keep us focused on the positive in these times of change.

See the Big Picture! 
Step away from the tapestry of your busy life and see the beautiful pattern, hidden when you are too close to the weaving. Instead of acting like a frightened little mouse in a meadow, we can be like the majestic eagle that soars high in the air and sees the entire landscape. If we spread our inner wings, and see the Big Picture of our life, we are sure to find comfort in the Grand Design that may reveal itself.

Trust the Process!
The carpet weaver in my children’s book All for the Best (see story in Venture Inward, Sept/Oct 2003) shares a very important truth with his grandson: “Life is like the wrong side of a carpet. We see many different colored threads running every which way. They seem to make no sense at all. But one day in this life or thereafter we will see the right side of the carpet and then we will realize that everything has made a perfect pattern.” Nothing occurs by accident and there are no coincidences. Our lives are divinely designed for and by each of us to experience exactly what we need to support our unique evolutionary process. Walter Starcke reminds us that, “no matter what happens to us, there is a divine plan uniquely expressing itself as our individual lives.”

Let Go!
Have no fear of loss. Loss in an illusion, for nothing ever gets lost in this universe. It only changes form. Therefore, we cannot lose anything. It is always with us – just in another form. We may “lose” the warmth of summer, but we gain the harvest and beauty of autumn. We may “lose” the strength of youth, but we gain the wisdom of age. Instead of bemoaning our imagined loss, we can concentrate on the freedom from what we no longer need. Freedom is another word for Love and it is also the natural state of our souls

Every Lesson Is a Lesson in Love! 
I believe that the Golden Age will be ruled predominantly by the energy of Love. But instead of the idealistic and physical type of love that blossomed in the 1960s, it will be divine Love – unconditional, unlimited, and all-inclusive. Because this universe operates under the law of attraction, we need to become that Love to become fully part of the new era. Every challenge therefore is a test of Love. The outcome of an event is much less significant than what we become through the experience. It may sound like a tall order, but in the end we simply have to learn to love everything and everyone. Whatever we don’t love keeps us imprisoned and becomes our silent ruler. Our personal entry key to the Golden Age is Love. It is the same key that unlocks the gates to paradise.

Affirm: I Am Not My Ego! 
Your essence, your Higher Self, does not know fear, worry, loss, or suffering. Only the ego gives us these emotions. But I am not my ego. The ego only identifies with the body and its comforts. Neither are we our sickness, our lack, or misfortune – these are merely things we experience. They are not the essence of us. There is a distinction between the experience and the observer of the experience. We are the observer – never the experience. We can consciously observe our ego experiencing the experience so that we are not consumed by fear, worry, self-pity, or other negative emotions that our ego uses to distract us.

See Every Person You Meet As Innocent and Forgiven! 
For many this is hard to understand and accept, but seeing the Big Picture can prove the truth of this statement. We are never victims of villains or circumstances, but victims of our own perception. Shakespeare wrote that “All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and entrances; each man in his time plays many parts.” Therefore, look for and concentrate on the complete innocence behind the mask of the actor. That is how God sees us.

Strictly speaking, the only forgiving we ever need to do is to forgive of ourselves for not seeing the other person as perfect, divine, and innocent. The “problem” is never out there with the other person, but exists only within us as misperception. Whatever we condemn in others we have first condemned in ourselves, repressed, denied, and then projected onto others.

Embrace the Uncertainties!
Contrary to our ego’s desire to control and feel secure, our soul wants to evolve, grow, and experience life. Our soul has consciously chosen to come to this world at this particular time because of all the glorious changes that are upon us. We did not come to hide from change and hold on to the old. We are here to experience, explore, and enjoy all the exhilarating uncertainties that are coming our way. Uncertainty is the basis of life, because life is change. They who are not afraid of uncertainty will walk free in the face of adversity. John A. Shedd said: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” As an exercise, go within as often as possible and feel the power of the eternal YES that penetrates everything. Live it and be it with every word, thought, and action. YES is the Creative Force of the universe. Saying NO to God is the source of all suffering.

Remember, Death Is Just a Transition!
Death is the continuation of our journey. It is the door to a new adventure. We all have to die. But in reality, there is no death, because we are spiritual beings and thus eternal. We merely make a transition into the non-physical. Only the ego is terrified about physical death or loss of the body. All the energies that we use up fearing and avoiding death will charge us with life once we accept death, which is the transition into another adventure. Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross put it so well: “When you are not afraid to die, you are not afraid to live.” The master knows that physical death is possible every moment. It is this knowledge that makes life magical and deeply meaningful.We Are Not Alone!
We are never forgotten or alone. God is always with us, because we are part of God. When everything around seems to be falling apart, we can go within in silence, and be guided by the One who dwells within and let the fullness of God flood our soul. Prayer is another way to touch the highest in us, and to touch God. A simple prayer like the following could calm our mind: “Dear God, I know that only the highest and best for all concerned will happen. And I leave it to you to know and to decide what that is. Amen.” Have no fear of tomorrow, for God is already there and waiting for us with open arms.

Remember the Difference Between Pain and Suffering!
Suffering is always a choice, because suffering is our judgment of the pain. As Marcus Aurelius said: “If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. It is in your power to erase this judgment now. If anything in your own nature gives you pain, you are the one who hinders you from correcting your opinion.” In other words, pain may not be avoidable but suffering is optional. And suffering is usually our resistance to accepting what is.

Keep Your Eye on Your Ideal! 
We need not be distracted by negative news. It is my conviction that many of us are here on Earth at precisely this moment because our talents and services are needed in these tumultuous times. We each have a different purpose to fulfill, and if we listen to our inner guidance, we will be shown where and how we can be of optimal use. The number of people who may benefit from our help and engagement is unimportant because our work is not judged by quantity. We are only asked to show up and strive to live up to our highest ideals and see Love in everything and everyone.These are just a few practices that could help us face the storms blowing through our lives before the new era begins. Our trials and challenges are not designed to break us. On the contrary, we welcome them as we gain wisdom and grow and purify our soul. They are treasures in disguise. We are not in Tribulation but in Transformation. If we think of ourselves as a raw diamond we may curse the process of cutting, grinding, and polishing, and may even call them “evil.” But without that friction, our radiant beauty would never be revealed. In other words, times of “trouble” are not only birthing pains for our society, but also each soul’s birth pains to bring forth that bright sparkling diamond, unique and blazing in a newly created world.