Karma & Character

By Keith Sherwood

Most people are either unaware that character plays an important part in the process of Self-realization – or they’re afraid to approach the issue when they begin their journey because they sense that they have character flaws that they might not be able to overcome. This is unfortunate because, while it’s true that many people don’t have the character they need to achieve their spiritual goals when they begin the process of Self-realization, it’s also true that character develops quickly once a person commits themselves to the process.

When it comes to character, however, there’s one other issue that must be addressed. Although the virtues we associate with good character appear to be separate, the fact is that they are all related because they all emerge from the same source, the authentic mind of a human being and the subtle field of consciousness and energy that supports it. That means you already have good character. All you have to do is enhance the conditions necessary for it to emerge into your conscious awareness.

Enhancing Good Character

By centering yourself in your authentic mind, enhancing the flow of life-affirming consciousness and energy through your subtle field and making the commitment to transcendence, you will quickly enhance your character in the areas where it has been traditionally weak.

Unfortunately, many people have been taught that ‘suffering builds character.’ Fortunately, the truth is quite different. You only suffer when your commitment to self-limiting attachments and restrictive beliefs supersede your commitment to your Self and the process of Self-realization.

When you insist on being selfish, narcissistic or manipulative; when you hold on to restrictive beliefs and put inauthentic desires, that emerge from your individual mind and ego, above you’re your dharma and the appropriate activities that support it, you will suffer because your access to life-affirming energy and consciousness will be blocked. That in turn will prevent the qualities of good character from emerging into your conscious awareness.

The Essentials of Good Character

The essential elements of good character are discipline, courage, perseverance, patience, loyalty, long-suffering, integrity and non-harming.

Discipline is the ability to stay centered in your subtle field – and to be your ‘Self,’ no matter how stressful your internal and-or external environment has become. Discipline will emerge spontaneously if you enjoy the pleasure that emerges, through your subtle field, whenever you engage in activities that are appropriate and support your dharma.

Courage is the willingness to defend your subtle field, even when you experience internal opposition from your karmic baggage and-or external opposition from your family, friends and the institutions of society.

You will persevere and have patience once you’re committed to the process of Self-realization and you give yourself permission to share pleasure, love, intimacy and joy with the people you love no matter how stressful your internal and-or external environment has become.

Loyalty will emerge once you’ve developed enough discernment to recognize which of your activities and relationships are appropriate. It will become permanent once you’ve committed yourself to defending them – even when confronted by the judgement of other people, external projections and-or the doubts that emerge from your individual mind and ego.

Long-suffering is the ability to persevere in a course of action that is appropriate – even when you must pay a price in personal well-being and-or success. But to develop long-suffering, you must be able to remain detached from the source of suffering long enough to overcome whatever obstacles you face. That degree of detachment can only emerge once you’ve learned to discern the difference between fields of energy and consciousness that have universal qualities and those that do not.

Having integrity is simply being your Self, trusting your Self and defending your Self – and your intimate relationships at all times and in all situations, no matter how difficult. It demands that you share life-affirming energy in the form of pleasure, love, intimacy and joy with your loved ones through transcendent relationship in both good times and bad.

Non-harming means letting go of blame and the will, desire and-or intent to harm to another person in thought, word or deed, on any dimension of the physical and non-physical universe.

You can harm another person by attacking their reputation, through physical violence or through projections of consciousness and energy with individual qualities.

It’s important to note that non-harming means more than ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!’ It means saying No to the restrictive beliefs that compel you to seek vengeance or to ‘get even’ with people who’ve harmed you or the people you love.

The issue of character should not frighten you. The truth is that you will develop all the character you need if you remain centered in your authentic mind and committed to your individual process of Self-realization.

A Postscript to Good Character

There are two additional issues closely related to good character that are often overlooked; the first is expecting continuity in your life and relationships; the second is flexibility.

Expect the Unexpected. In one of Talking Heads iconic songs, ‘Once in a Lifetime,’ David Lynch crooned, ‘You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife; you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?’ Like David Lynch, many of you may have wondered why your life has taken an unexpected twist or turn. An answer to this question can be elusive; that is why expecting the unexpected is always a good idea.

Expecting the unexpected and preparing for it by enhancing your flexibility were essential elements of the teaching of a 19th century spiritual master, philosopher and mystic named Georges Ivanovič Gurdjieff.

His discipline, known as the “Fourth Way,” was a blend of Sufism, monasticism and yoga. The influence of the Fourth Way continues to be felt throughout the Middle East, Europe and North America.

Be Flexible or Suffer the Consequences

Ongoing research indicates that a lack of flexibility is associated with three things: assumptions, judgements and a deeply embedded sense of right and wrong, all of which are based on information that is either flawed or incomplete. As many of people have learned through the school of hard knocks – think Adolf Hitler, Donald Trump and Pharaoh Rameses II – assumptions are the mother of all f**k-ups. To avoid the dangers of misplaced assumptions, bad judgement and an inflexible sense of right and wrong, it’s best to substitute knowledge for belief. You can do that by observing an event or phenomena through the lens of your intuition and discernment until insight provides you with knowledge; after that it’s a simple process of adapting to the situation. By adopting this formula, you will become flexible and won’t have to wonder, ‘How did I get here?

The End

Enhance Your Self-Love

By Keith Sherwood

Your physical-material body is the outer manifestation of a non-physical field of energy and consciousness that has been designed specifically to transmit and transmute Shakti’s energy and Shiva’s consciousness. Known as the subtle field of energy and consciousness, it provides you with everything you need to love yourself – and to share your love with other people.

Unfortunately, even though you should be the beneficiary of everything the field is capable of doing, the programming you received as a child, along with the shocks and traumas you experienced, can make it difficult for you to love yourself or share your love with someone else.

Prajnana & the Dao

Fortunately, Shakti’s energy and Shiva’s consciousness permeate the multiverse, which means their universal qualities are on display everywhere; you can observe them when you look into the eyes of a healthy child and when you observe a young mother caring for her baby. You can also observe them wherever nature has been left in its natural state; think old growth forests and pristine coral reefs.

In Yoga, pure consciousness is called prajnana or vijnana. In Taoism, consciousness is known as the Dao. Non-physical energy is divided into two related parts. Prana represents the essential energy – or life force – on the level of soul. Chi represents the essential energy – or life force – on the level of spirit.

Shakti’s energy and Shiva’s consciousness are the foundation of the world we live in, and without them there would be no sentient beings to be aware of it and no pleasure, love, intimacy and joy for living beings to share with one another. It’s their energy and consciousness that connects everything that exists and provides the medium through which everything in the universe interacts.

Trapped Like a Rat – Maybe Not

According to the Śruti, the ancient texts of Yoga and Tantra, the divine couple serves as a model for loving relationships because they continuously share their universal qualities with one another. It’s important to note that their universal qualities serve as the foundation of intimacy (the union of loving partners) as well as good character, which includes courage, discipline, patience, perseverance, loyalty, long suffering (the ability to endure during times of duress) and non-harming.

Although it may appear that your access to their energy and consciousness can be restricted, especially when you’re trapped by karmic attachments and-or external projections, the truth is that you have vast resources of Shakti’s energy and Shiva’s consciousness within you, an infinite supply. This means that you can always share the divine couple’s universal qualities with other people, but only if you can love yourself first.

Self-love is a complex subject – but enhancing it is not because it hangs on the condition of your subtle field. By using the technique I’ve provided in the following text, you can enhance your self-love by loving your unloved body parts.

Loving Your Unloved Body Parts

You may not realize it, but you continually love the body parts that give you pleasure by allowing life-affirming consciousness and energy to radiate through them. The consciousness and energy that radiates through those body parts provides them with the nourishment they need to function healthfully and integrate their functions with the rest of your body.

When consciousness and energy radiate freely through a body part, you will enjoy how it feels, how it looks, and you will be able to share the consciousness and energy emerging from it with other people.

William Shakespeare wrote that “Self-love is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting.” By neglecting a body part, disapproving of it or withholding love from it – either consciously or unconsciously – you will force the body part to contract. This in turn will disrupt your ability to love it and share your love with other people.

There are a number of reasons why you might disapprove, neglect or deny love to a body part. You could find a body part unattractive or feel you might be rejected because of it. You could have been taught that it must be kept hidden or that you must control the energy radiating from it. If it’s too beautiful (particularly your primary or secondary sexual organs), it might attract unwanted attention – or people might have become jealous of it.

Regardless of the reasons why you disapprove, neglect or deny love to a body part, by doing so you will restrict the flow of consciousness and energy radiating through it, and that will force the body part to contract. Once it has contracted, it will respond either by becoming overly sensitive or by losing sensation and becoming numb and rigid.

In any case, the lack of consciousness and energy radiating from the body part will inhibit you from loving yourself fully and sharing your love fully with another person.

By mastering the following exercise, you will be able to fill any unloved body part with life-affirming consciousness and energy. That will enhance your self-love and your ability to share it.

Exercise: Loving Your Neglected Body Parts

In the exercise that follows, you will combine your intent and mental attention (the awareness of your authentic mind). Then you will use them to fill a neglected body part with Shakti’s energy and Shiva’s consciousness. Once you’ve filled a body part with life-affirming energy and consciousness, it will radiate freely on its own. And it will automatically integrate itself with your other body parts, so that you can celebrate your self-love throughout your entire body.

Before you proceed, you need to know that you won’t focus your mental attention on an unloved body part while you close yourself off to everything else (which is the technique you use in concentration). Instead, you will center yourself in your authentic mind and enjoy the body part you are focused on with your mental attention. Only by enjoying it while you let everything else move through your field of awareness, without becoming distracted and-or attached to it, will you be able to love an unloved body part.

Putting It All Together

The first step in loving an unloved body part is to choose one to work on. You could choose your thighs, feet, lips or any other part of your body that has been denied the nourishment it needs to radiate freely.

Once you’ve chosen a body part (or parts), find a comfortable position with your back straight and close your eyes. Then count backwards from five to one and from ten to one. Continue by breathing deeply though your nose until you’re relaxed. Then assert: “It’s my intent to become Present in my authentic mind.” Take two or three minutes to enjoy the shift. If your intent is to fill your thighs with life-affirming energy and consciousness, your intent will be: “It’s my intent to focus my mental attention on my thighs and fill them with energy and consciousness with universal qualities.” Once you’ve asserted your intent, relax. Energy and consciousness with universal qualities will fill the body part you have in mind without any further effort on your part.

Allow the process to continue for ten minutes while your mental attention remains focused on the unloved body part. After ten minutes, assert: “It’s my intent to release my mental attention.” Then count from one to five. When you reach the number five, open your eyes. You will feel wide awake, perfectly relaxed and better than you did before.

You may have to repeat the exercise several times for the body part to radiate consciousness and energy normally. However, if you practice the exercise regularly, you will enhance your self-love and you will be able to share the consciousness and energy radiating through your previously unloved body part with other people.

The End

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