Jun 12, 2007

We are the cause of our own suffering

Henry sent this to me and it absolutely floored me. I have to share it....following these principles can be a life altering experience, and I'm determined to do it, and invite you to do the same!


We may deny that we value our aches, but on the other hand, we think about them all the time. We have yet to recognize the fact that our thinking about any painful event as something real, solid and unavoidable is one of the conditions that perpetuate it. Take one thing out of the mix of elements that make up any moment in life, and it is no longer the same event. When we stop giving our life energy to any moment which seems overpowering, it loses its illusion of power. In that moment is also lost our prior belief that we have to submit to its punishment.

This shows us that no negative state or event has any individual, independent existence. We can begin to free ourselves from the event when we understand the truth about its power over us. Until now, we thought from our suffering instead of toward our suffering. Now, however, because of our new understanding, we can see through our suffering instead of through its eyes. And what a world of difference this distinction makes!

What we see is that our perception produces what we experience, and our experience is made up of many different small elements that by themselves mean nothing. When our perception combines and organizes these events, and connects itself to them through an expectation or desire, the thing takes on a kind of life. It appears to us as a whole, dark, permanent entity that has the power to hurt us, but it isn't that at all. It's only a confluence of events that has conditional dependence, and the primary condition that gives it power is our perception. When all these conditions are stirred up and "baked in a cake," that cake has reality to us. But in fact, the cake is made up of individual facts that will simply pass if we let them.

Why have we not seen this for ourselves? Why have we not let those facts just pass by without grabbing onto them? It's because we have become so used to being in a storm, we aren't at all sure who we are without something to suffer over. As strange as it may seem, we welcome the painful experience because it makes us feel real. But who is it who feels real? It's the false self -- the intimate enemy.

Can you see what good news this is for those of us who wish to free ourselves from false suffering and find the higher life? It means that all those conditions that seemed so real and painful are just the creation of faulty perception. Our belief that the event had the power to hurt us is what made it so punishing and continued its existence, but now we understand that if the events are left to themselves, they must move on. The expression "This too shall pass" is now revealed in all its wisdom. Every temporary coming together of events must pass as long as we don't keep it going through our own thoughts.

The bitter cake can't exist if one of the ingredients is displaced. In our own lives, we have kept the achy cake baking; but now that we see the facts, we no longer need to be a victim of our own misunderstanding. We can inwardly say to that suffering state, "You are not a power. You only feel like one. The knots in my life that have me all tied up have no power over me outside of my own misperception. That misperception put the stone in my shoe, but now I will learn to see things as they really are."

Now that we know negative events are not powerful in themselves, we can turn away from what we perceive as permanent punishment toward what can be called permanent pleasure. This is the same thing as turning toward Truth.

-- Guy Finley

Jun 9, 2007

A tribute to one of God's finest

Today (June 8th, 2007) was the one year anniversary of the death of Michael Murphy, beloved husband, father, brother, son, uncle, elder & eternal companion.

I decided that I was strong enough to watch the slide show memoriam that I put together last year for the Murphy family reunion. Sure enough, I was driven to tears before the third slide.

My uncle was the patriarch of not only his nuclear family, but his extended family (my family) as well. He was every bit the father in my life that I and my siblings and cousins needed. He taught us respect, honesty, integrity, autonomy, community, and most of all, recognition of and gratitude for the Lord our God. He was the epitomy of empathy, compassion, and no-nonsense. He was also the family funnyman. We often referred to him as the "white" Bill Cosby. Just watch the Cosby show sometime; my uncle and Cosby not only shared the same birthday, but they shared the same humor, mannerisms (right down to the devlish smirk, the laugh, and the jokes), and concern for those around them.

Mike Murphy was a hero in every sense of the word. He always went out of his way to serve those around him; even perfect strangers. His ability to unconditionally love anyone and everyone enabled him to endure the toughest of situations (and of those he had plenty) with determination and a smile. It was exceedingly rare to ever hear a complaint escape from his lips. He was an advocate of moral agency and choice; and repeatedly taught me how everything I felt; every reaction; every action; every thought, every word spoken, every deed done was a choice. He choose to be happy; and happy he was. Life never brought him down; in fact, he just brought life back up with him.

I'd like to end by sharing the words of my sister, written in her blog a year ago, and the tribute that I mentioned earlier.

I want you to know Uncle Mike that you are and always will be my hero. I've looked up to you my entire life and deservedly so you've been on one of my highest pedastels. If I had never been blessed with you as my uncle I would not be the person I am today. You gave me something to strive for and to look for in a husband and father of my children. You've taught me how I want to be with my future nieces and nephews, what kind of person it is that deserves the respect you continue to command of the people who knew you even though you have left us. I hate those words. Were, left, without. They are terrible words. Even though I know better, that it's only physical, it still hurts so very much to know I will never be able to hug you again, that when I want to say, "I love you" to you that it will have to be "inside." I only wish we were given more time. How robbed I feel. I needed you still. I know I will get on with my life, but I needed you still when you went "home." I know you're up there smiling and laughing and happy to be with your mom, dad, and brother. I can't wait to see you again, it will be one of the happiest times it will. I love you so very much unkie. I will miss you terribly so and will think of you every day that passes. Thank you for being a wonderful uncle, father and grandpa to me, you have affected the world more than you'll ever know. I don't want to say goodbye and I won't, I have to just say see you later.

I love you too, Uncle Mike. And I'll be seeing you again one day. You are my hero and the best man I have ever had the pleasure to know. I literally thank God every day for the blessing of having you play such a giant part of my life. You are the reason I am a different person today; one who chooses to be happy.