Hiding in Our Midst

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It often seems that weeks, months, and even years blend into one another at breakneck speed until we run smack into a barriers that demand our attention: divorce, illness, death of a loved one, financial woes, career issues–these, and now the ongoing issue regarding a virus, are only a few of the circumstances that can cause us to pause and ponder the direction of our lives. At such times, the big questions often loom with great importance: “What do I really want in life? How do I wish to spend my remaining years? What holds meaning and importance?” However, an even bigger question often goes unasked; perhaps because most individuals believe it too simple to even consider. It is this: “Who Am I?” The answer–the real one, not the simple answer for which most persons settle–holds the key that can unlock great joy and peace.

Until we hit that barrier, the majority of individuals will likely be satisfied believing they know who they are. Case closed. We have been conditioned to believe that we are the sum total of name and form. In short, me: Art Russell, the name; and the body that is typing these words. We were programmed to believe this as children; and as the years rolled on, we added more descriptive terms related to nationality, career, age, bodily qualities, personality traits, and tied them together with words such as husband, wife, father, mother, brother and sister. Still, however, we were dealing with a conceptual self, not the true nature of our reality. The word “I,” which is repeated hundreds of times each day, either as a thought or spoken word, lends credibility to the identity that only exists in the mind.

Aren’t we just little John or Jane Does and our accompanying bodies? To arrive at the true answer, we must earnestly investigate. We must be willing to disentangle ourselves from our pat answers and learn to discern between the story of ourselves, and the truth of our reality. Even a little effort will reveal that we cannot be the body because it is always changing. It is an object. We, however, feel that we are the subject. We are the witness of the body; not the body itself. How can we literally be something that has no independent existence. The body is a fabrication of the mind, even though we feel a sense of residency within it. If we pay close attention, we can see–perhaps through meditation–that we can watch our thoughts, in much the way that we watch other objects that seem more tangible. Who, though, is the witness of our thoughts?

Answer: The real Self, which is Universal Consciousness. And this consciousness–the One and Only Consciousness–is not personal; it is impersonal. As it was never born into form, it is not subject to death. How could it be? Yes, the body will ultimately die, but that does not–in any way–mean that we die. We have always been the light that shines through the form; not the form itself. When understood deeply, this knowing can relieve us of so many of the worries that often consume the person, aka body-mind.

Person’s are often consumed with sensory input, to the extent that we rarely question that nature of the witness who knows our experience. To experience this directly, we need only turn our attention inward; toward the stillness in which we recognize that we are the Awareness that witnesses our sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts. Here, right now, is the freedom–from the belief that we are the body and any suffering it may encounter; when we shrug off the belief that we could ever be limited to name and form. We are Spirit. The drama that we witness is played upon the stage of the waking state. We are beyond any of the drama, any of the sickness, and any of the death. Isn’t this reason enough to investigate the nature of our being?

What is the relevance of this right now, especially with what’s going on in the world? The answer is of major import because it can actually free us of the conceptual “self” that is suffering any of the consequences that are occurring. Truth. When we know that we are the Awareness in which the body and world actually appear, we realize that we are just as free now–even with the restrictions to our bodies–as we have ever been. Nothing has truly changed. Through our innocent ignorance, we have erroneously believed that our identity was of name and form. The truth is, is that the personal “i” that we believed ourselves to be is a representation made in mind.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

“Essential People”

the tribunal of the king
Photo by James Finch on Pexels.com

In the small town in which I live, I recently saw a colourful poster staked on the front of lawn of an apartment building. It read as follows: Thank you all essential people!” The contributing artists had obviously spent time and effort to produce a poster that was as beautiful as possible. The message–no doubt–came from a sense of deep sincerity and gratitude.

As I drove past, I was struck with the another, deeper level, of the message on the poster. We should not assume, but in this case it’s impossible to write this article without doing so. Given the world’s current situation, it’s probably safe to state that the message was intended for first-line responders, paramedics, nurses, doctors, lab technicians and anyone else employed in work related to healthcare. If that’s the case, it’s wonderful that people are expressing their gratitude for work well done, especially during challenging circumstances. But what is the other message that is lying just under the surface of the words?

To me, the other message is akin to a situation that might occur in a large family; one in which there were ten children and two parents. Imagine how nine children might feel if one–and only one child–was repeatedly singled out for praise. Would not the nine other children feel, or possibly believe, that they were not special? And believing such, is it not likely that they might assume they had to work very hard to rise to be favoured–to be noticed, to be loved, and to be praised for the good that they do? Until they received that praise, however, those nine children might feel somewhat less than the child who had been praised. They might believe they were unworthy. To live with such emptiness is a desolate way to live; for it places many individuals on a treadmill from which they cannot escape.

The point of this article has absolutely nothing to do with whether health care professionals are the ones (deservedly) receiving praise; and everything to do with a point that is much broader in scope. To habitually praise the good we experience is a wonderful way to live; for it elevates all of us. As Meister Eckhart once stated: “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. The point that I’d like people of the world to know is this: All of you are Essential! A whole is not whole–for such is impossible–without every one of its parts. That literally means that You–whether labelled John or Mary, Miguel or Ruta, Ajay or Urvina–absolutely matter! Your name is not your essence; nor is the label connected with whatever work you perform. Your essential Self is made of the one thread of Gold that weaves through all of us.

So: Thank you to All. You’re all essential. You were born for a reason–a good one. Your gift is unique to you. Be blessed. Be safe. Be happy. Be good to one another. You are loved. And just for the record: A sincere thanks to everyone who is experiencing the current situation in the world, including each and every health care worker! We’re in this experience called life…together.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

 

The Vegetable Garden

The Vegetable Garden

The deliberate application of the Law of Attraction is about making our dreams come true. The Law of Attraction is about discovering What–not who–we actually are. The Law of Attraction is about thinking, believing, and acting in accordance with divine laws that can–and do!–make what we habitually desire manifest in our lives. The Law of Attraction is about deepening our knowledge, aligning with power, and expressing our potential. Our success can inspire others to reach for their divine potential and, in doing so, reveal the best that is within us to give. With all of the above in mind, I’d like to offer a poem that I wrote when I was a teenager. Is it the deepest or most well-written poem you’ll ever read? No. But does contain a message that I hope will help you continue to reach for your heart’s desires? Yes.

The Vegetable Garden

Into the rich soil of the garden

Three seeds were sown

And two weeks later

Two sprouts had shown.

The first seed, a pea, was growing fast,

To soak up the sun, the rain, and be eaten at last.

The second, a carrot, had sprouted a top

And kept on growing until frost made it stop.

But the third, a potato, was

Afraid to get burned

Afraid to get wet

Afraid to grow up

Afraid to pass on;

And as nature took her course,

The potato, whether willing or not,

Lay safe in the earth but starting to rot.

Everyone of us has vast untapped potential. It is our birthright, for it’s what we are. That potential is not there by accident–there are no accidents. That we exist proves that we have purpose. A clue to discovering that greatness within us is to examine what we love to do. To what dream–not “idle wish” (borrowed from “As A Man Thinketh,” by James Allen) would you devote uncounted hours lost in glorious amazement of Divine creation? What makes your heart thrill, your body electrify, your Being sing with delight? Find that answer, and when you do embrace it tightly. Hold it for dear life. Be not afraid to shout, “This is my dream!” Trust. Give of yourself. Believe that the achievement of your dream is not only possible, but already accomplished, and watch it manifest through continued faith and action.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

The Corona List of Ten

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The situation regarding the corona virus is evolving daily, with media coverage of new cases, accounts of shortages in grocery stores, and ample footage of people wearing masks and gloves. Social distancing is the norm. There is talk of potential vaccines, talk of how to manage our career from home, and talk of conspiracy theories with various motives. The subject has talked many of us to a point of mental numbness, as evidenced by our blank stares. Amidst all of the news there has been one major upshot: Our forced hibernation has provided an opportunity for our hearts to open. We’ve been given time to contemplate how we’ve been living, and to ask ourselves what holds real importance. The following list may reflect some–or all–of our conclusions:

  1. Love.
  2. Refer to number 1.
  3. Refer to number 1.
  4. Refer to number 1.
  5. Refer to number 1.
  6. Refer to number 1.
  7. Refer to number 1.
  8. Refer to number 1.
  9. Refer to number 1.
  10. Refer to number 1.

The love within our heart exists for good reason. Now may be the best time to become more aware and question whether we are expressing it with family, friends, colleagues, and, yes–even the man or woman standing six-feet away–in the best possible way.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

When…

When

Humans are an intriguing bunch, with mindsets that often range from delighted to deranged, and variations, thereof. Depending on our mood, the day, or the news, the majority of us express behaviour that reflects how we feel on a moment-to-moment basis. Now we’re fine–smile, relax, and breathe easy; now we’re not–frown, swear, and kick a garbage can. The stock market is up! The stock market is down! We got the job, the house, and the spouse, or–$#!%–we lost the job, the house, and the spouse! To surrender to such an existence is to fate ourselves to misery. To state that such behaviour is unstable is a gross understatement.

We’ve become so accustomed to these swings that we accept them as being perfectly normal. We reason that such is just the way life is. One day up; the next day down. The world is currently in the throes of a virus that is accentuating our tendency to swing between pleasure and pain; and until we evolve into greater awareness, our habitual behavioural swings will become even more dramatic. Is this truly desirable?

If permitted, our mind would deprive us of every last drop of genuine joy. How it loves to convince us that we are dependent on persons, things, or circumstances and watch us trot–like wayward donkeys chasing carrots–between desire and fear. The mind often employs the following trickery disguised as logic: “I’ll be happy when…”  We need not be geniuses to realize the “whens” that might apply to the situation regarding the virus: “I’ll be happy when the virus is under control. I’ll be happy when I get back to work, or find another job. I’ll be happy when life gets back to normal. I’ll be happy when the grocery shelves are fully stocked again. I’ll be happy when masks, gloves, and social distancing are of the past.” The list could go on and on.

Such thinking, although understandable, only chains us to a vulnerable position. Why? Because it encourages us to hibernate in our fear and put our dreams on hold until life becomes perfect and perfectly safe–which, of course, is impossible. It also encourages us to become wait-and-see specialists who place our faith in masks, gloves, one-way arrows, and the efforts of those who would presume the ability to save us. Will eleven or twelve feet be enough social distance during the next virulent times? That’s not to be negative or to criticize our present precautionary efforts; rather, to state a truth. When the Corona story has played itself out will not yet another circumstance vie for our attention? When a virus is no longer newsworthy, will we not merely shift our focus to a different life-robbing headline?

So what’s the positive amidst the current situation? That we can consciously choose to take back our power–now! Free of the minds dominion, we can rise in awareness and dare to proclaim: “I am happy in this moment, right here and now!” We can stop searching for guarantees that don’t exist! We can shift our awareness away from the flesh-and-bones costume with which we have mistakenly identified, and step into the glory of our True Nature. We can deliberately practice gratitude, and in doing so train our mind to seek that which is noble, worthwhile, and good. We need not surf the mind’s tumultuous wave between good or bad, triumph or defeat. We can detach and yet still do our part to make our collective life experiences as good and as safe as they can be. When this current situation is finished, we will remain–as always–the silent witness that is above the mind and, most importantly, beyond the reach of fear.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

Feel Our Roar!

Feel Our Roar

A worldwide situation related to a virus is currently–understandably–garnering the largest portion of our attention. The subject seems to leave the majority of individuals with little vision for any other focus. We begin our day with thoughts about it; marinate our minds in it throughout the day; and often permit it to be the last thought before we drift off to sleep, exhausted. The weight of the situation is made heavier by the fact that many people are experiencing personal and professional consequences from every direction.

What the virus doesn’t know, however, is that we didn’t arrive at this stage of our evolution by being a pushover. The negative and often frightening stories that are currently circulating might temporarily cause us to forget our true position in life; but we are wise to remember that we possess reserves of incredible strength. If we fall down for the hundredth time, we will rise–fist punched skyward–for the 101st and shout, “we will prevail!” Again and again we rise, for however many times it takes to triumph. There’s a roar waiting within each and every one of our brave hearts. It’s there. We can feel it!

Along with our innate strength, we possess an ever greater power: Our power to think. We can originate thoughts and also attract them. We realize that we have the ability to direct our attention to whatever we desire. Most importantly, we know that whatever we focus upon–be it courage or cowardice, strength or weakness–is ultimately reflected in the circumstances of our lives. By imbuing our thoughts with feelings of strength–in spite of our situations–we exhibit more strength. The same principle holds true with regard to our vision of vibrant health.

Please look at the image of the lion atop this page. It would have been easy to select a stereotypical image of a lion posed on a cliff, roaring at the top of its lungs. Not this time, and for good reason. I wanted to convey power at rest and help you–incredible brave hearts–to remember the tremendous power that is within you. The lion exudes power without having to demonstrate it. It is confident in its strength. It is powerful because it realizes that of which it is made. Human beings are vastly more powerful than the lion. We have ROAR inside of us, waiting to be unleashed. Now would be a good time to feel that power.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

The Fifty-One-Percent Principle

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From Creative Mind by Ernest Holmes, I offer the following quote: “An hour a day spent in silent meditation will not save us from the confusion of life. The fifty-one percent of a man’s thinking is what counts.” Most of us have written our fair share of exams, and few would believe that fifty-one percent could represent a passing mark. In this highly competitive world. we have most likely been taught that we require marks consistently in the high nineties, or even perfect, to rise to positions of distinction. With regard to the current situation related to a virus, however, such is not the case. We might be relieved to know that fifty-one percent will, indeed, help all of us.

Marc Allen, one of the founders of New World Library, once expressed the fifty-one percent principle regarding our goals through the analogy of a plane in flight. What he shared is paraphrased as follows: A plane that sets out for a destination often deviates (contrary to public opinion) from its flight path. Strong winds, storms, and various other conditions are constantly at play and must be taken into consideration. But if the pilots continuously steer the plane back onto course, the plane (and its passengers) will finally arrive at their destination.

All of us are seeking safe passage though the current world situation. There are no guarantees, simply because life never came with any. The good news, however, is that we can all play a role in helping us land safely at our common destination. It’s important to realize this: All of usnot just someare pilots. What each and every one of us think, speak, and do literally matters. Are we steering toward optimism, or veering toward pessimism? Despite appearances to the contrary, we are One. The following is a short list that can help us arrive safely:

  • Gratitude: If possible (and it’s always possible), place your attention on an aspect of  life for which you are thankful. Is your heart beating right now? “Thank you, heart.”
  • Self Care: Devote at least a few minutes each day to an activity or non activity (such as meditation) that nurtures your soul. Habits that contribute to a positive mindset are invaluable, for they provide a sense of stability.
  • Sleep: Although this may be challenging, all of us realize the importance of getting enough rest. A mechanism that never stops is subject to a great degree of wear and tear. Sleep can–and often does–shift our entire outlook.
  • Contribute: Finding a way to contribute is a powerful way of shifting our focus from the little egoic “i” that may be so fearful or stressed right now. By helping someone else, we help silence worries related to self.
  • Deliberate Optimism: The world has weathered countless past storms, and we have done so through deliberate focus. We always have choice, and now is the time to apply it. Wayne Dyer was attributed with the following quote: “The law of floatation was not discovered by contemplating the sinking of things.” Through awareness, we can learn to watch our thoughts and, thereby, better govern our attitude. If a thought serves us, we are wise to keep it. If it doesn’t, we can deliberately choose to replace it with a positive one.

The fifty-one percent principle can help us power through this current situation. The will to survive–and thrive–is within us. Let’s all buckle up and do what’s in the best interests of everyone.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell