Exercising Caution In A World of Duality
Exercising Caution In A World of Duality
My dear friends…
I think we have to differentiate between fear and caution. When I have said in earlier entries here that I no longer have much fear of anything I did not mean to indicate that I never exercise caution. Indeed, just the opposite is true. In my life I often exercise caution.
Looking both ways at the intersection before I enter the walkway has nothing to do with fear. It is the simple exercise of common caution. Reading the label on prescription medications or diet formulas or even canned soup has nothing to do with fear. It is a simple exercise of common caution. Fastening my seat belt after sitting down on the airplane or before starting my car has nothing to do with fear. It is a simple exercise of common caution.
Living a fearless life does not mean living a life in which caution is never exercised. I want to make that clear, because I have heard some people in the so-called New Age Movement in decrying the use of what I would call common caution.
When they see one of their friends or associates exercising common caution, they have been known to be critical, sometimes saying to that person: “What are you so afraid of? Why are you throwing around all of that fear energy?” And so there is a low tolerance in some New Age circles for the exercise of simple caution.
I think we also need to differentiate between fear and observation. Simple observation. For instance, an announcement that the train is coming does not mean that we are living in fear. It means that we are willing to observe what is so and to respond to the conditions that we observe in a way which most closely represents to the world and to ourselves Who We Really Are and Who We Choose to Be.
This, too, I want to explore much more deeply on the other side of this weekend. For now, I invite you to think about caution and observation as well, and see where they fit in to the scheme of things even though fear does not.
A basic, underpinning philosophy of the so-called New Age is the idea that we create our own reality. We do so, we are told, with our thoughts, our words, and our actions. Indeed, it is made very clear to us that every thought, word, and action is creative. And so, we must guard against thinking wrongly, speaking wrongly, and acting wrongly.
Buddhists have a reverse take on all this. They speak frequently of Right Thinking, Right Speaking, and Right Action — meaning thought, word, and action that is in alignment with the highest integrity and the grandest notion we have ever had about ourselves and life.
This is well and good, but it can create complications in the normal living of everyday life if one becomes obsessive about it. Healthy spirituality is not about obsession. Obsession is a demonstration of lack of control, and healthy spirituality is exactly the opposite. It is about being in control, and thus intentionally creating our own personal reality.
It has been my observation that many members of the New Thought Movement do not thoroughly understand this. And so they sometimes get caught up in their efforts to monitor themselves and to stop themselves from thinking the “wrong” thoughts, saying the “wrong” things (or saying things in the “wrong way”), and undertaking the “wrong” actions. Many of them become fearful around this. This fear does not even allow them to express a thought of simple caution.
Statements such as, “be sure to lock the front door when you leave the house, honey,” or “better check that company’s portfolio before you make a big investment,” or “please don’t walk to the bus stop if the meeting ends after 11 p.m.. Just call a taxi, or call me and I’ll come and get you” are met with gentle admonitions or even mild derision. “Don’t say that or you’ll create it!” is a common statement that I have heard often through the years.
This, of course, is another form of fear. It is a fearful obsession that the universe will take us literally in everything that we think and say, and that a simple statement of common caution will somehow create the exact experience that we are being cautious about avoiding.
This is what happens when we confuse “fear” and “caution” in our minds. This is what I call Overthink. It is when we are so aware of the role of the mind in the creation of our exterior reality that we “over think” everything.
We think about what we are thinking about at such a level and to such a degree that we are almost unable to move forward in any thought process at all. We become, quite literally, paralyzed in our thinking, afraid that anything and everything we say will be turned into our reality. And so we “monitor” our thoughts to make sure that we are exercising Right Thinking.
Here’s the good news about that. The Universe understands every underlying feeling that supports all the thoughts that run through our minds. It is the deepest emotions that are powerful, not the random ones. It is the deepest feelings that create waves of energy which ultimately can manifest in our physical reality.
Fear comes in various quantities. Deep fear — the kind that we can feel in the pit of our stomach, the kind that leaves our chest cold, the kind that stops our heart — generates huge amounts of energy. On the other hand, what I call “shallow” fear — the little fears of day-to-day life that really don’t run very deep (“Oh, I’ll never find a parking space”) rarely have any important or lasting effect and, indeed, often prove unfounded.
The emotion of simple caution is understood at the deepest reaches of our being as having nothing to do with our Innermost Intention. There is a built-in editing system in the Creation Process which eliminates the possibility of misconstruing what it is we really want, seek, and desire to express and experience.
To put it simply, the Lord God of Our Being understands what it is we intend. Clearly, hoping to avoid something is not an effort to create it. Our Divine Self does not have to be told this.
So stop worrying about every thought you think and every word you say and everything you do. Look to see what is on the real agenda. Check your motivations for everything. What is it that you intend? What is it that you are seeking to experience? Be clear about that at the level of your Quiet Awareness and you will have nothing to worry about. Move forward in your life with confidence that the Big Self understands the less-than-perfect articulations of the Little Self.
Caution is not fear. It is simply the announcement of a clear choice to avoid outcomes which do not please us, and which do not represent who we are and who we choose to be.
Similarly, simple observations are not announcements of our innermost intentions. “The train is coming,” is not a statement that we wish to be hit by the train. “Uh-oh, it looks like it’s going to rain” is not a statement that we want it to rain. And the Universe understands this. Again, we don’t have to explain things to Divine Awareness.
I was at a picnic some years ago when someone in the group I was with said, “Uh-oh, it looks like it’s going to rain.” Someone else in the group immediately chastised the first person. “Don’t say that! You’ll create it!” (Here we go again with that one.) The first person was suitably chagrined. She should’ve known better. She’d committed the Crime Of The Century in the some New Age circles.
I don’t believe in any of this stuff. Yes, your words can be creative. Yes, your thoughts often produce your reality. Yes, the things that you do and the actions that you undertake can create very real outcomes in the world of your experience. Yes, all of these things are true. But for heaven’s sake, you don’t have to worry about every stray thought, every chance or commonplace utterance, every absent-minded action. It is about where you are “coming from,” not how well you articulate that.
We have enough to be afraid of without running scared about everything we are thinking, saying, and doing.
Actually, we have nothing to be afraid of, but we imagine that we do, which is sufficient to produce the experience. Communion with God tells us that we need nothing at all. God says that need is an illusion. If this is true (and it is), then there is never any reason for us to be afraid of anything at all.
We do not even need our own physical life. We do not need to “survive.” In fact, our survival is guaranteed. We will live forever. We cannot die because dying is impossible. Given who and what we are, death is not and can never be part of our experience. The question is not, Will, we continue living? Question is, What form will we take?
Now, if we are deeply attached to the form in which we currently appear, then we will be afraid of changing forms. This will seem like a loss to us. And the potential for such loss can create in us the peculiar emotional experience that we call “fear.”
All suffering is the result of attachment. All attachment is the result of a mistaken notion of who and what we are and of why we are here upon the earth.
It is not easy to stay away from attachments. It is not easy to elevate our thinking to the level at which we understand all of this all of the time. It is not easy — unless it is. This is what mastery is all about.
love and hugs,
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