When you stay present with your children, that's where abundance is. And when you stay out of their business, that's where everything you deserve in life is. When you're in presence, there's no story, and you are abundance. And you come to trust that space so often that you just eventually hang out as that, because there is nothing that can move you out of it, not even a perceived child or a perceived anything.
When you're operating on uninvestigated theories of what's going on and you aren't even aware of it, you're in what I call "the dream." Often the dream becomes troubling; sometimes it even turns into a nightmare. At times like these, you may want to test the truth of your theories by doing The Work on them. The Work always leaves you with less of your uncomfortable story. Who would you be without it? How much of your world is made up of unexamined stories? You'll never know until you inquire.
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So, how do you get back to heaven? To begin with, just notice the thoughts that take you away from it. You don't have to believe everything your thoughts tell you. Just become familiar with the particular thoughts you use to deprive yourself of happiness. It may seem strange at first to get to know yourself in this way, but becoming familiar with your stressful thoughts will show you the way home to everything you need.
It's important to realize that inquiry is about noticing, not about dropping the thought... Inquiry is not about getting rid of thoughts; it's about realizing what's true for you, through awareness and unconditional self-love. Once you see the truth, the thought lets go of you, not the other way around.
If you put your hand into a fire, does anyone have to tell you to move it? Do you have to decide? No: When your hand starts to burn, it moves. You don't have to direct it; the hand moves itself. In the same way, once you understand, through inquiry, that an untrue thought causes suffering, you move away from it.
Since the beginning of time, people have been trying to change the world so that they can be happy. This hasn't ever worked, because it approaches the problem backward. What The Work gives us is a way to change the projector-mind-rather than the projected. It's like when there's a piece of lint on a projector's lens. We think there's a flaw on the screen, and we try to change this person and that person, whomever the flaw appears on next. But it's futile to try to change the projected images. Once we realize where the lint is, we can clear the lens itself. This is the end of suffering, and the beginning of a little joy in paradise.
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The reason I love rules and plans and religions is that people feel safe in them for a while. And, personally, I don't have any rules. I don't need them. There's a sense of order that goes on all the time as things move and change, and I am that harmony, and so are you. Not knowing is the only way to understand... Meanings, rules, the whole world of right and wrong, are secondary at best. I understand how some people think they need to live by rules... It's very frightening for them to watch the world unfolding in apparent chaos and not realize that the chaos itself is God in his infinite intelligence.
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I've heard people say that they cling to their painful thoughts because they're afraid that without them they wouldn't be activists for peace. "If I feel peaceful," they say, "why would I bother taking action at all?" My answer is "Because that's what love does." To think that we need sadness or outrage to motivate us to do what's right is insane. As if the clearer and happier you get, the less kind you become. As if when someone finds freedom, she just sits around all day with drool running down her chin. My experience is the opposite. Love is action.
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Inquiry appears to be a process of thinking, but actually it's a way to undo thinking. Thoughts lose their power over us when we realize that they simply appear in the mind. They're not personal. Through The Work, instead of escaping or suppressing our thoughts, we learn to meet them with unconditional love and understanding.
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