The only way to be happy is to take responsibility, authority, control over your life. You need to own your thoughts and you need to complete your actions. You build self-esteem by completing your actions. – John-Roger
This article was first published in the Movement Newspaper, January 1988.
One of the most difficult parts of living can be feelings of self-betrayal, self-denial and self-let-down. The most difficult part of that may be to have lived, believed, and thought out a philosophy only to find out, when you come down to the moment of testing, that it fails you. People often think that a philosophy is supposed to “hold” you in moments of crisis; I don’t teach that. I teach that you hold a philosophy. My conviction is that we, as humans and Souls, are far greater than any book ever written, for we are, indeed, the very likeness and image of perfection. That part which is eternal is the part I work with, speak to, and toward which I direct my teachings. And that is the Soul. Anything that can be seen in this world can be burned, destroyed, ripped apart, or can decay. The things of this world must be given their place in terms of this world, and there is a spiritual knowledge that transcends these physical-material levels.
You can spend lifetimes reading books, seeking knowledge, and studying various disciplines and then come to the present moment when all you have gained becomes integrated in your consciousness and you see people through your knowledge. If the knowledge you have received has been corrupted, you see people through your corruption. If the knowledge you have received is pure and has been refined by your experience and loving compassion, you see people through that purity. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So is godliness, loveliness, and happiness.
I tell people to forsake the knowledge they have gained solely from the outer world, from books and intellectual pursuits, and I suggest they go within to the wisdom and intelligence that is of Spirit. Outer knowledge by itself can be used to twist, distort, and corrupt, and much of the time, it can be used against you and others rather than for the upliftment of all. Knowledge that is used to hurt or harm is a corruption of the inner wisdom of Spirit.
One of the main tenets I teach is “Use everything for your advancement.” Take the abilities you have and develop them. Show the talents sleeping inside you how to come awake. Develop the abilities you have. When people point up to you areas that are your shortcomings, instead of taking it as a “putdown,” take it as valuable information to be used to strengthen you and make that area more effective for you. You’ve heard of the expression, “Every knock is a boost.” It refers to this attitude of using everything for your advancement. You can use every piece of information that comes to you to lift you and make you stronger, better, and more effective.
To seek perfection on this level is folly, but to seek excellence is to improve the last state you were in and to work on the one you’re moving into. To improve the last state you were in is also moving you to the next state. You, as a human being made in the likeness of God, are gifted with the ability to make intelligent choices in your life’s expression. You have the opportunity to let life contract upon you, squeeze you, and give you the “justification” to curse, gnash your teeth, wring your clothing, and complain about the injustice and inequities of life. You are given that chance all the time. And right along with that, you have the chance to expand into a loving quality in the very moment of your contraction.
When you feel yourself tighten up in response to a negative situation, you can turn that around and, in that moment, expand your energy within yourself. You can counteract the contraction, which is an ego possessive state where you have possessed yourself, turned in upon yourself, and separated yourself from the “other” who you perceived as having hurt you in that moment.
Sometimes people expand out of a sense of retaliation. Someone may say to you, “You’re just no good; you’re terrible!” And you may say, “Yeah, well, who are you to say something like that? You’re not so hot yourself.” So there may not be contraction, but there may not be a loving feeling present, either. The greater way of expansion goes like this, “I’m going to love myself from the position I’m in, and if you don’t reach out to me, my heart will still reach out to you. Even if I am not allowed to touch you because of your dislike for me, you cannot stop me from touching you inside of me, where I love you. There’s nothing you can do about my love for you.” The rewards you will find inside yourself will far outweigh the “price” you pay to expand rather than contract. The price you pay for sacrificing the state of contraction and resentment is opening up to the love that is present and letting your whole self be sacrificed on the altar of God’s love.
In the midst of hate and despair, love. In the midst of hurt, love. If they won’t let you reach out and touch them, love them from inside yourself. You don’t have to have any great abilities to be able to reach out and touch somebody. Sometimes just rubbing your finger against somebody else’s finger can lift them so tremendously. Just reaching out and touching someone’s shoulder as you walk by can turn them from a place of inner contraction to one of expansion. The expansion that you experience floods through you to others and assists them in moving into greater expansion.
You have the ability to love yourself into health, wealth and happiness, and you have the ability to love others into their health, wealth and happiness, too. But if you live in a conceptualization of knowledge, rather than living from your own experience of life, you may not reach out and touch another because tradition says you don’t do that. But when you live from your experience, you will be able to perceive what is going on around you, react with empathy and loving, and reach out to assist others in their movement through life. You will forget about whether it might be “embarrassing” or “inappropriate” or some other judgmental label and just respond from the loving heart you are.
Do you know that it’s okay not to always have an intellectual analysis for every move you make? You don’t have to always be able to justify and explain yourself in intellectual terms that will please another. You have the right to live your life as you intuitively know is right for you. If you make mistakes, you’ll learn. Those things you need to know will become clear to you. You don’t need to clutter up your mind with a lot of things you have no use for. If you cannot do something with the information given to you, you don’t need it. If someone gives you information that has no place in your life, you don’t have to be concerned with it. You don’t have to decide if it’s right or wrong, accurate or nonsense. If it doesn’t apply to you, you can just disregard it. When people criticize or condemn you, if you can take their information and use it to improve on an area of your life, then it’s valuable to you. If they condemn you and you don’t relate to what they say and cannot use it for your advancement then disregard it. I get all sorts of responses from people, and a lot of times I just laugh and go on about my business because I know they did not perceive accurately, even though I may understand how they were able to perceive as they did. So I can have empathy and understanding, and I don’t have to do anything with their information.
Keep in mind that your personality is not going to please everyone. It’s just not possible. What we all need to do is see beyond the personalities to the Soul that lies beyond all the bodies, minds, and emotions that are so much more obvious on this level.
Anyone can sit and criticize your personality. You can sit and criticize my personality. Those abilities come very cheap. You can sit and criticize just about everything in this world. But you also have the ability to step forward in your strength and build, rather than tear down, and produce the loving and happiness you really want to create in this world. You need to let go of your fears. You need to quit arguing for your limited abilities. You need to sacrifice everything that is negative and everything that does not serve you. You need to have the courage to always choose the positive, even when other people are choosing the negative. When enough of us do that, we can make a difference. You can choose to see love in everything around you. You can choose the Light over darkness. You can choose to reach out to people, touch them, support them with your loving, be with them, and assist them, even when they don’t necessarily choose back. As you continue to make the positive choice, other people around you will also start choosing positively. Ultimately it is so much more fun than making the negative choices that it becomes contagious. Everyone wants to be happy; the trick is finding out how to do that.
The only way to be happy is to take responsibility, authority, control over your life. You need to own your thoughts and you need to complete your actions. You build self-esteem by completing your actions. If you want to feel worthwhile, do worthwhile things. Do them with integrity. Do them with excellence. Do them with loving. In time, you’ll be able to look back and see the beautiful things you have done and the wonderful ways you have been of service to others, and you’ll feel good about yourself. It’s a natural reaction. If you don’t complete something or you do something from negativity and anger, rather than loving, you may look back at that action and something inside of you lurches and you think, “Oh, God, I don’t want to look at that.” That is your destroyer and betrayer. Go and correct the action. Change it so it will not beat at you anymore. And love the you that created the opportunity to learn and to do better. Everything can be used to lift you. Let everything lift you. Give yourself a break. Treat yourself like the best friend you ever, ever had — because you are.