A friend who is dealing with an extremely limiting and difficult illness recently used some of her very limited energy to contact me:
Q: I just started reading your newest book, Everything Is Included. I would like to share something with you and ask a question already! You have always been so generous over the years with your support and energy. You know my situation. I don't think I've shared much about the nature of my illness, and I won't say much now other than that it's neurological, and just directing my awareness can be a strain. Reading itself has become problematic.
Your first essay got me crying because I had the felt experience of oneness so spontaneously and often as a child, and then again as an adult ... but very seldom since ill. Your second essay is the one I feel most drawn to so far and it has already hinted at how I can relate to my present scenario differently, and I have felt some expansion.
However, I got really tripped up on the essay "You might as well Enjoy Enjoying yourself!" Very distressing thoughts came up with this sentence: "Whatever is happening is what you are creating right now, and that is what your being is enjoying immensely." First I have the thought that there're billions of us co-creating, and it all seems more mysterious to me than that. I didn't personally or solely create what's going on in Syria, or Trump as a presidential candidate, nor can I see how victims of genocide created those realities. Nor can I see how my friend's son who was born with a congenital heart defect created that for himself, nor the victims of Chernobyl, nor the Native American decimation from chicken pox, nor how the four teenagers killed by a drunk driver down the road from my house created that. You can see where this is heading. I could really get "into" self-flagellation if I go with the thought that "my" being created this illness. Did my caregiving parents also create their daughter's illness? Gangaji used to say some bodies are just stronger than others. And it also brings to mind Eckhart Tolle's (or was it Adya?) saying our first biggest mistake is to think of this as "my" life. To me, it's always felt more like a collective Beingness is creating the whole show.
Not that it's so black and white either. Obviously, there are aspects of my experience that I am creating. Ok, I think you can see the hole I tumbled down. And I'm undoubtedly writing to you before giving myself enough time with it! Thank you, as always, Nirmala, for your presence and compassion.
A: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am always touched when someone has a strong response to my books, as that means they are really considering the words I have written. And it is even more moving to me that you took some of your precious and limited ability to focus to check in with me.
As for the sentence that triggered you, I can completely understand why...especially if the sentence is considered all by itself. I agree with everything you said in response to that sentence, especially the idea that it is incorrect and lacking in compassion to take a statement about creating our reality and use it in any way to blame someone who is experiencing illness or tragedy. I did not mean it in that way and would not want to suggest anything like that.
Give any of our audiobooks that you already own on Audible.com to your friends and family for FREE! If you have purchased and enjoyed Nirmala's or Gina Lake's (Nirmala's wife) audiobooks on Audible.com, you can now gift our audiobooks to your friends or family at no cost to you (program is available in the US only). Just go to the audiobook's page on Audible (like this one: http://adbl.co/1Yq59Op ) and then click on the "Send This Book" link under the book's description. The recipient of your gift can download the audiobook at no charge and they do not even need to signup for an audible membership, although there is a limit of one audiobook per recipient under this program. However, you can give away more than one book or give one book to several friends. This is a great way to share audiobooks you have enjoyed and introduce others to the joys of audiobooks. Here are some of Nirmala's and Gina's audiobooks that you can share in this way (click on the covers to go to the book's page on Audible.com):
Thanks for sharing these audiobooks!
(Note: I am reposting some blog posts that are included in my newest book, Everything Is Included. More info and links to purchase the book are here in case you prefer to read a book.)
Truth Comes in All Different Sizes
Q: How do you know that our minds don't create all of our reality? Maybe there is nothing out there. Maybe when we die, we also become nothing.
A: The truth is what opens your heart and quiets your mind. Does holding the thought that there is nothing out there open your heart? Does holding the thought that when we die, we become nothing open your heart? Does it allow you to relax and just be? Or does it cause a contraction in your heart, in your Being? That is how you can determine for yourself how true that thought is for you in this moment. Checking in with your heart can reduce the need to figure things out with your head, especially when it comes to deep fundamental questions about our existence that cannot be known just by thinking about them. You can trust the knowing in your heart to sort out all of the ideas you encounter.
Everything we can think or say has some truth in it. But many thoughts are very small truths. They don’t tell the whole story, and as a result, they could be considered a lie. It’s helpful to be able to clearly discriminate when a thought is not very true, especially if it is such a small truth that it is harmful or deceptive. It is also helpful to be able to discriminate when something has a more profound depth of truth to it, such as a sense of the oneness of everything. While truth comes in all different sizes, it is possible to discriminate how true things are. A thought can be very true for you today and not so true tomorrow, as it is always relative to where you are in this moment. (Part two of my free ebook, Living From the Heart further explores how the heart can discriminate the relative truth of our ideas and experiences.)
Q: Spiritual teachers say, "Let everything be as it is." Then they talk about the world being in need of transformation. Is this a clue that they are all crazy, self-deluded, or fraudulent?
A: Another possibility is that spiritual teachers have a flexibility of consciousness that allows them to see things from many different perspectives and also to see different levels of truth that are true simultaneously. It is possible for two opposite things to both be true, either as complementary truths or as truths that operate on different levels of reality.
So it is possible to allow things to be just as they are and, at times, to also work to change or transform the world. These two perspectives complement each other. Most of our problems arise when we hold on too tightly to one perspective or the other. The real gift of any spiritual teaching is when it points us to the part of the truth that we are overlooking or ignoring. Most often, this is the truth that you can allow everything to be just as it is. But sometimes someone gets stuck in the view that everything is perfect, and they need to be pointed back to the possibility of changing the world for the better. As a Zen master once put it, "Everything is perfect, and there is always room for improvement!"