Don't Take it Personally

There is no shortage of anxiety and depression running through the country right now. Everyone is doing their best to cope with the seemingly incessant assault on our basic decency and humanity. Unless you have decided to go off-the-grid and live in the woods somewhere (and who could blame you?) you are bearing witness to, and sometimes directly affected by, the persistent violence and cruelty going on all around us. Since we can’t individually go out and stop all the drama ourselves, or create lasting peace and equality overnight, we need to find ways to cultivate some inner peace on this journey, to help keep us centered and disengaged from the drama as much as possible, so that we don’t all lose our minds in the process. People are waking up in great numbers, and many social movements are well under way, so there is definitely hope for the future, but how do we best deal with the onslaught of human drama, conflict, and division right now?

There are of course many ways to approach this issue, but for now we are just going to talk about one. It’s neat and tidy and it goes like this: “Don’t take it personally.”  My shamanic teachers have been issuing the reminder for years, a helpful tip for when we are going through tough times, being mistreated, having difficulty in relationships, or enduring any drama, really.  But what does that mean?  I must have heard this for the first time about 7 or 8 years ago, and I have to say, it has probably taken me about that long to fully understand it myself. In fact, I only recently had a bit of a “light bulb” moment where I finally felt real clarity about it. Let me try to explain.

You are spirit. Hopefully you already know that. If you don’t, that’s okay.  The point of this is not to try to convince you.  Perhaps you simply don’t like the word "spirit".  That’s fine, too.  You can substitute consciousness, awareness, a soul, a being - whatever works for you. It doesn’t matter to me what we call it- I like spirit precisely because it is broad and non-specific to any one tradition-  but it doesn’t matter in the end because what we call this aspect of ourselves because it is undefinable anyway. Suffice it to say there is an animating force that is in your body, but not of your body.  It is your “I AM presence”, the part of you that is aware that you are aware.  This aspect of the self is sacred, divine, holy - a gift from Spirit.  Our culture does not reflect this truth, that everyone is spirit (at least not yet), but deep down inside, everyone knows that they are. Whether or not they consciously know it, believe it, or ever act like it is a separate issue. But we all come from spirit, and we all go back to spirit. In truth, there is nothing but spirit. 

As spirit, you are perfect, whole, and complete.  You are love itself, and you are loved unconditionally. As my friend Mikki Baloy recently wrote, “There is nothing wrong with you.” 

And yet, as spirit, you are also having a very real (seeming) human experience. That is why you are here.  You came here to learn, to experience what it is like to be a person, in a body, traveling through time and space, with your very own set of limitations and challenges, likes and dislikes, quirks and foibles. Being human is not easy for us- the lessons and challenges are often very difficult- as we get sucked into so much drama time and time again. Therefore, this process ends up taking us many, many lifetimes to master and complete. 

One of the biggest lessons we all learn, if not the biggest lesson, is how to deal with suffering. This is one of the biggest questions we ever ask, something we all wrestle with and come to terms with in our own way.  Why is there suffering? As Ram Dass says, “Within the spiritual journey you understand that suffering becomes something that has been given to you to show you where your mind is still stuck. It’s a vehicle to help you go to work. That’s why it’s called grace.”  So ultimately, even the suffering is part of the process designed to awaken us, to help bring us back home, to show us who we truly are.

Now let’s look a little closer at what it means to be a person, to have a personality. The word “person” comes from the Latin word persona which means “mask”, referring originally to an actor in a play. Today, this word has been integrated into our modern language as “person” meaning “human being”. The meaning has changed, but the origin of the word gives us a helpful clue as to our true nature. The “person” you are is not who you really are, it’s the mask you are wearing, or the role you are playing in this lifetime. You come on stage when you are born, you grow into your role (and often get trapped by it) over the course of your lifetime, and then at death you leave the stage. When the mask comes off, you remember who you are in truth once again. You know you are spirit. Each lifetime, we try on a different mask, or perhaps more accurately, a full costume, woven together with many layers (body, mind, emotions, etc.) It’s quite an elaborate disguise! We of course set it up this way to try to make the game as interesting as possible.

Alan Watts explains it as a game, too:

“It’s like the game of hide-and-seek, because it’s always fun to find new ways of hiding, and to seek for someone who doesn’t always hide in the same place. God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside of God, he has no one but himself to play with. But he gets over this difficulty by pretending that he is not himself. This is his way of hiding from himself. He pretends that he is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way he has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when he wakes up they will disappear.

“Now when God plays hide and pretends that he is you and I, he does it so well that it takes him a long time to remember where and how he hid himself. But that’s the whole fun of it -- just what he wanted to do. He doesn’t want to find himself too quickly, for that would spoil the game. That is why it is so difficult for you and me to find out that we are God in disguise, pretending not to be himself. But when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self -- the God who is all that there is and who lives for ever and ever.”

Now that we have established that we are all spirit with a mask on, the reasons why we shouldn’t take anything personally begin to reveal themselves. Once we've had the deep, personal, and profound revelation that our mask is not our true self, the truth comes into focus. When someone attacks you, is unkind, or mistreats you in any way, they are not attacking the real you, the spirit-you, but rather they are attacking your mask. This is why we ought not to take it personally.

This is further complicated because they see your mask through their mask. Human relationships are very challenging and complicated for this reason. We are not only dealing with other people’s masks and false projections, but contending with our own. Even if we have realized that we are not our masks, there are still plenty of times in life where we forget that, and get sucked back in to thinking we are. In those moments, we are operating as distorted views of ourselves attacking our distorted projections of others. No wonder we create so much drama!

As spirit-made-flesh, you are the embodiment of unconditional love and acceptance, so at that higher level, you are incapable of attacking another spirit, for the simple reason that love does not attack love.  Spirit sees only spirit- or other aspects of Self - all connected, all one. Spirit is outside of the illusion, operating in truth.  Only the ego, which is the person who operates within the illusion of separation and division, who thinks they’re on stage, engaged in a drama, can attack another person.

It can also be helpful to remind yourself that when a person attacks you, they are letting you know that they have forgotten, even if only temporarily, who they are in truth. They are under the spell of their own persona, and they are attacking you from that place. In these moments, one helpful practice is to take a breath to remember who they are, to focus on the truth behind their mask, and silently say, “I know you who are in truth, I know what you are in truth, I know how you serve in truth. You are here, you are here, you are here.” This is a way to work with them at a higher level, to bless them by seeing them as spirit, and to give them a way out. 

When we do take any kind of attack personally, we are signaling to ourselves that we have also temporarily forgotten our own true nature. When we become defensive and/or fight back, we end up reinforcing the illusion of separation, and making it worse, so to speak, by perpetuating the drama. We can use the same practice on our self, “I know who I am in truth, I know what I am in truth, I know how I serve in truth. I am here, I am here, I am here.” I use this all the time, and it really works to bring me back to center.

Ultimately, “Don’t take it personally” is just another way of saying, “Don’t confuse your true self with your mask.” That’s not quite as catchy or concise, but that’s the underlying message.  I hope you found this exploration helpful. The more you take time to remember and remind yourself that you are spirit, and that everyone else is spirit as well, the less inclined you will be to take things personally.

Bringing Sacred Back

“When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.” -A Course in Miracles

This is Life, where do you think you are going?”  I heard these words spoken to me as I desperately tried to hide.  I squirmed and fidgeted, struggling to get comfortable, but I couldn’t.  I wanted to crawl out of my skin.  I had just drank some ayahuasca, the infamously powerful, hallucinogenic brew native to the Amazon, and as it’s effects took hold, I thought,  “Why am I doing this?  This is crazy, I never should have come here.”  I was in complete resistance, panicking, questioning my decision to come to Peru to try this ancient, visionary plant-medicine.  I was impossibly trying to hide from the experience, back out, withdraw, somehow, from something that was already inside me.  I closed my eyes and curled up into a tight ball, making myself as small as I could, my head tucked between my knees, thinking maybe I could disappear into myself, compress myself into nothingness by sheer force of will.  When I opened my eyes, I saw that the floor was gone, and I was floating in space, completely exposed, surrounded by a vast emptiness, going on forever.  It was in that moment that I heard a stern but loving voice say, “This is Life, where do you think you are going?” and I realized, in a flash, “What am I doing?  I can’t hide from Spirit!  Spirit is everywhere!  Where could I go that Spirit couldn’t find meI'm alive.  I am here.”  The absurdity of my predicament became apparent, and I laughed out loud.  I was curled up in a ball, hiding in plain sight from something that is everywhere, in every cell of my being, in every molecule of the air surrounding me.  I felt ridiculous at the image of myself trying to hide in the middle of a vast empty space, like how my 2-year old daughter thinks that when she covers her eyes, we have no idea where she went.  In that moment, I realized, “I cannot hide from this”  and in just that acknowledgment, something in me relaxed.  I calmed down.  I surrendered to the experience.  I let myself be seen, and all of my anxiety and discomfort began to fade away.  I opened up and fully accepted what was happening, and it changed my entire experience from that point on.  I realized in a very deep way that Spirit is always aware of me, always loving me, always with me - even in those moments when I’m not aware of Spirit, when I have forgotten, or when I am trying to hide. I had a beautiful, heart-opening night after that, with tears of sorrow and joy running down my face as I experienced many more insights and revelations, challenges and breakthroughs, as the sacred medicine worked it’s way through me. 

I have been most fortunate to be a part of a number of sacred plant-medicine ceremonies, and truly, I like nothing better than being in these ceremonies, despite the anxiety I feel prior to it nearly every time.  Nothing excites me like being with a group of like-minded people for purposes of healing, learning, and growing, as we use these time-tested, ancient shamanic practices to connect with the sacredness of life by working directly with Spirit through the use of these revered plant-teachers, like ayahuasca.  There’s really nothing quite like it.

But it’s not easy.  The anxiety that I experience beforehand can be very challenging.  I have learned that it is my false personality, my ego, who does not wish to lose the control (or more accurately, the illusion of control) to which it so desperately clings.  After repeatedly confronting this in myself, I now understand why.  It can be, and often is, very hard to “hand over the wheel”, so to speak, especially at first.  It takes courage to give up control, to let go of one’s ego. After all, that is what we are used to, and we generally feel quite comfortable and safe in this known identity, even if it isn’t our happiest or most authentic self, and so to surrender to one’s higher self, the spirit within, and to the incredibly powerful consciousness of these plant-medicines, is not an easy thing to do.  The ego can’t imagine what is going to happen as the medicine takes you across the threshold into the visionary shamanic realms of “non-ordinary reality”, and in my case, likes to play out worse-case scenarios (“You could go crazy! You could die!”).  It uses it’s best and only weapon of fear, disguised in a million different ways (many of them “reasonable concerns”), to try to keep me from doing this work, from awakening to the truth that I am spirit, something it is actually quite adept at doing, which is why it is also known as the worthy adversary.  It has been keeping me off the path of awakening for many lifetimes, and will continue to do so as long as it can, because, as Chögyam Trungpa says, “Enlightenment is the ego's ultimate disappointment.”  When I wake up to the truth of who I am, the game is over.  Until then, the ego is in doing it’s very best to keep me in a state of ignorance, uncertainty, confusion, or distraction (it’s favorite tool) to keep me from realizing who I truly am. 

After doing a number of these ceremonies over the last decade, and by repeatedly confronting and moving through my fear (can’t go around, only through) I have made some good progress as far as loosening my ego's controlling grip.  Through these sacred ceremonies, I have made essence contact, connecting to that deeper part of myself which exists outside of space and time - my eternal and infinite self - my unconditionally loved and loving self - the I Am presence which I now know to be my True Self, the part of my that existed before my birth, and will go on after my death.  But even though I have had this profound and life-altering experience on numerous occasions, I have yet to become enlightened.  I am awakening, but I am not fully awake.  I am still fighting my worthy adversary.  For this reason, I need a practice, something to do outside of ceremony to not only remind me that I am spirit, but to experientially help me to identify as spirit, as the True Self that I know I am when I am in ceremony.  In pondering this, I had a realization- one of those moments where it feels like a light goes on-  "My whole life is a sacred ceremony!"  It’s only my ego that is trying to convince me otherwise.  So if I am able treat my whole life as a sacred ceremony, and I can subsequently stay in this ceremony, then I can stay in my heart, connected to my essence, identified as spirit, and I will continue to awaken.

So what is a ceremony? And how can my whole life be a ceremony?  For our purposes here, I am talking about ceremony in a broad sense, as “a sacred event or ritual that transpires in a designated space or container.”  With this definition, it is easy to see that my whole life is a ceremony.  "Sacred" refers to my spirit, and the event is the movement of that spirit, my life-force energy, through space and time in the continuum of my ever-changing body. I am eternal, but I am here and now, temporarily in form, having an experience in this body, from birth to death.  That is the ceremony.  I am the ceremony.  

From there, we can break it down further, and look at each phase of our lives as a ceremony - infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age.  We can look at each individual year as it’s own ceremony (like how we celebrate New Year’s).  We can think of each season as a ceremony, every month, week, and day as it’s own ceremony. Even a day can be seen as being composed of several smaller ceremonies.  Breakfast can be a ceremony.  Showering can be a ceremony.  Commuting to work can be a ceremony.  Every meeting can be a ceremony.  Brushing your teeth can even be a mini-ceremony.  Ending the day and going to sleep another ceremony.  It’s sort of like Russian nesting dolls - ceremonies within ceremonies within ceremonies.  

Everything can be a ceremony, which is to say, every action, activity, or event can be imbued with a sense of sacredness, awareness, reverence, and respect, depending on our intention in carrying out that event, and the way in which we actually engage in it while we're doing it.

I recently came across the following passage from the book, “Shifting Frequencies” by Jonathan Goldman, a healer and teacher who works with “sacred sound”.  In it he says:

“There is no such thing as sacred sound because there is no such thing as sacred.  All is sacred because all is part of the Divine.  All sound as such is sacred.  There is not a tone, groan, belch or whatnot that was or ever will be created that is not sacred.  I urge you to open your consciousness to this thought so that you do not create self-limiting boundaries around yourself in regard to sound: ‘This sound is sacred and good, that sound is not.’  Who are you to judge the creations of the Divine?”

Indeed, who are we to judge?  Who are we to declare things to not be sacred, to condemn anything?  And yet, that is what we have done and continue to do all the time.  Mr. Goldman is talking specifically about sound here, but the same is true of all of life.  It's all sacred, and the only reason we have to go out of our way to remind ourselves of that is because we have forgotten.  We have severed our connection to Spirit, and taken ourselves out of the flow of nature, out of the Oneness, out of the ceremony, and as a result we have created all the things we say we don't want - sickness, imbalance, greed, war, environmental destruction - you name it - the list could go on and on.  It doesn’t matter why we did this (it’s a big topic for another day), but it is imperative that we reawaken to the inherent sacredness of our lives.  Bringing sacredness back into our lives is bringing wholeness back into our lives.  I see it as a very basic and very crucial ingredient in our evolution as a species.  The lack of sacredness is the reason behind why we are able to treat each other, and the earth, so poorly.  So how do we reintroduce the sacred into our lives, and into the world?

There are potentially many ways to bring sacredness back, but here I will offer 3 basic ingredients that are vital to awakening.  

1.) Gratitude.  Gratitude is key.  It is one of the most heart-opening frequencies we have available to us.  When we are in a state of gratitude, it becomes clear that whatever we are grateful for, indeed everything we are grateful, everything that we have is a gift from Spirit. It keeps us open to receive more, and fills us with a desire to give back. When I pray, the first thing I almost always say is, “Great Spirit, thank you for my life.”  This is my way of opening myself up and reminding myself that I am in ceremony right now, that my life is a gift.  It brings me into my heart, and reminds me of the sacred nature of all of life.   As Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

2.) Love.  This one may seem obvious, but it’s worth saying.  There are many kinds of love, but in this case, we are talking about unconditional love.  This is a total, non-judgmental acceptance of all that is.  When you are in love, you are in alignment to Spirit, you are in the sacred, you are in the ceremony.  Stay in ceremony could also be “stay in love.”  Love is the frequency of forgiveness, acceptance, surrender, compassion, beauty, peace, freedom, joy, and more.  It encompasses a lot.  Cultivating unconditional love is a practice all it’s own, but necessary to our awakening.

3.) Awe.  When something is seen as sacred, we are in awe of it.  Awe doesn’t mean putting something up on a pedestal and worshipping it, it simply means to be amazed, to be in wonder, to have a deep respect, and to marvel at the mystery contained within.  A sense of awe or wonder isn’t looking for answers, merely contemplating and sitting in the power, beauty, mystery, uniqueness, and complexity of a given subject or object.  You can be in awe of just about anything - a sunset, a flower, a car, a person, a meal, an idea - it doesn’t matter.  It is an indispensable ingredient in living life fully, in expanding, in staying connected to your heart, and staying in ceremony.  It’s a good idea to take some time everyday to find the things in the world around us, and the spirit within us, that inspire and awaken a sense of awe and wonder in our hearts and minds.

I hope you find some of these insights useful, and can use some of these tools to develop your own practice to become aware of your life as a ceremony, and bring sacredness back to this world.  It's time, don't you think?

You Think You're Better Than Me?

There is a great big lie that exists on the planet today.  (Well, okay, there are many, but we’re just going to talk about this one for now - and it is a big one.)   This particular lie is a binary lie that we can call the lie of better-than/worse-than.  It could also be regarded as the illusion of superiority, or a belief in hierarchy.  No matter what we call it, this is a lie that is regarded by many, if not most people, to be true, and in this article I will do my best to expose it for what it is - a complete fabrication.  I will also give some specific tips at the end of this article to help you start to dismantle this false construct in your mind, which is the only place it truly exists.    

At it’s core, this lie would have you believe that you are better than or worse than another person or group of people (fill in your own specific person or group), based on the criteria of opinions, beliefs, morals, ethics, actions, wealth, status, authority, etc.  There are many, many ways in which we can measure this, and rank ourselves and others as better than or worse than each other, and yet not one of them is true.  You are no better or worse than anyone else on this planet, living or dead, saint or sinner, regardless of what you think.  Fortunately for us, our beliefs and opinions do not alter the truth.

To understand why we are not better or worse than anyone else, however we wish to measure that, we must first define who “we” are.  To do that, we will start with who we are not.  We are not anything that is not permanent.  This means that you are not your name, your body, your relationships, or your status.  You are not your job, your health, your beliefs or your feelings.  You are not your thoughts, your race, your gender, or your nationality.  You are nothing you can lose, nothing that can be taken away from you.  So what is left?  What is permanent about us?

In a word: our essence.  That is the only thing about us that lasts forever, the only thing we could say, in truth, is who and what we are, once everything else is stripped away.  That is our permanence.  We are pure consciousness.  We are spirit.  We are loving awareness, the great I AM observer, an eternal soul, a child of God - there are many terms used to describe this aspect of ourselves, and it doesn’t matter which one you prefer.  The point it, this is who we really are.  The reason most of us don’t experience ourselves in this way is because we are too busy identifying with our temporary-selves, known also as the ego-personality, the separate-self, or my favorite term, the small-self (and there are many other names for this, as well). This is the part of us that exists in a body, with a specific personality, located in time and space.  Yes, we are having this localized experience, but if we think this is the sum-total of who we are, we are missing out on a much bigger picture - one that, were we to identify with it, would ultimately set us free from all of the lies, illusions, and limitations of this world (aka: the truth shall set you free).  But until such time, we will inevitably cling to illusions in its place, in an attempt to find order, meaning, and purpose in a world devoid of any of these things.

One such illusion that has arisen out of the ignorance and confusion of who we are is this illusion of better than/worse than.  This illusion gives us the compulsion to rank, rate, exalt, condemn, judge, and evaluate everyone and everything we see.  In doing so, the small-self gets to make itself feel big, powerful, and in control - God-like, really - something it endlessly craves - as it decides the worth and value of everything and everyone it sees.  After all, as it’s reasoning goes, we can only be great or terrible, weak or powerful, compared to someone else - so we are constantly lifting ourselves up and destroying others - or vice versa -  lifting others up and putting ourselves down.  This is what is meant by the saying “We suffer our own comparisons.” As long as we continue to identify with the small-self, we will see everyone else as a small-self, and will continue to live in a world of praise-and-blame, sometimes feeling good about ourselves, sometimes feeling bad, depending on this ever-changing hierarchy of worth that exists only in our minds.  This keeps us trapped, trying to determine our own worth by constantly determining the worth of everyone else, based on whatever information may be available to us, whatever mood we happen to be in, what external authorities tell us, or a host of other factors, none of which are rooted in truth.  How could this possibly be a reliable system?

“Souls love. That’s what souls do. Egos don’t, but souls do. Become a soul, look around, and you’ll be amazed - all the beings around you are souls. Be one, see one.”
-Ram Dass

And yet, this system is all-pervasive in our world.  It plays out in so many ways, your head will spin once you start to think about it, observe it, and become aware of it.  Here are some obvious examples, as well as some more subtle ones I have noticed lately:

  • the culture of celebrity-worship, gossip magazines, tabloids, etc.
  • awards shows which create artificial competitions between subjective works of art and artists, deciding which are the best
  • the elite, the top 1%, or the “billionaire class” holding most of the wealth, power, decision-making ability, looking down on the poor, or the “masses”
  • many religions believe they are the right religion, all others are wrong (i.e. the belief that the Jews are “God’s chosen people” - implying some kind of superiority)
  • many non-religious, spiritual or “New Age” people, thinking they are better than non-spiritual, traditionally religious, or “unenlightened” people
  • intellectuals looking down on the uneducated
  • the existence of caste systems in certain societies
  • nationalists who believe that their country is the best (USA! USA!)
  • racists who believe their race is superior (i.e. white supremacy)
  • the culture around some reality TV shows (i.e. Jersey Shore, Intervention, Teen Mom) where people derive a false-sense of superiority that their lives are better than the people on TV
  • the way many people lash out at politicians, especially Trump, thinking they are the scum of the earth
  • the ancient idea of royalty, kings and queens, chosen due to their superior bloodline
  • looking down on someone because you consider their job to be of a lower station (garbage men, janitors, gas station attendant, etc.)
  • the way we avoid, dismiss, and ignore homeless people
  • beauty pageants, rating women based on looks

I could go on and on.  As you can see, the binary lie of better-than/worse-than is deeply embedded in our collective psyche.  Sometimes it is big and obvious, other times more subtle.  But it is always there, and impossible to get away from as long as we identify with the small-self.  As long as we believe we are our bodies, our minds, our personalities, our ever-changing thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, we will be acting out of this very unreliable, and often quite dangerous, belief system, in an attempt to know who we are.  But this method will never get us where we want to go.

“God is as incapable of making the perishable as the ego is of making the eternal.”
-A Course in Miracles

Here’s the Good News

We can free ourselves from this lie.  In order to do that, first, we need to simply become aware of it (which is what I’m trying to do here).  We need to examine where it exists in us, how we tell ourselves we are better than or worse than others based on whatever criteria we are accustomed to using, and why we do it.  We need to be vigilant in finding these beliefs, views, and habitual thoughts within ourselves.  We need to look at the core issues and our deep insecurities.  The simple act of observing this will go a long way in starting to break it up, dismantling our reliance on it, and belief in it.  I have noticed this to be true in my own life.  

Next, we need to re-identify who we think we are.  To do that, we need to cultivate a method, or a practice, to engage in certain experiences that will help us to transcend our small-selves, to connect to our hearts and our greater I AM awareness, to see the bigger picture.  As we do this, we shift our perspective, gaining clarity, wisdom and insights that can help us to create new ways in which to see ourselves, each other, and the world.  There is no one way to get there, no prescribed path that is right for everyone, but some time-tested ways are: meditation, prayer, sacred singing, mantras, rebirthing, psychedelics, sensory-deprivation, ecstatic dance, sacred ceremony, tantric practices, and vows of silence - just to name a few.  These methods, and others like them, are of vital importance, because there simply is no substitute for direct experience. These practices, and others like them, can open the door to let us slip out of ourselves, for a time being, and give us a view of the greater Self that we cannot see from inside the small-self.  So it is imperative, if one wishes to break free of this illusion, to have some method of regularly stepping out of it to gain a broader perspective.

Here, I feel the need to clarify something that may confuse some people: the small-self is not bad, evil, or to be “overcome.”  It is our vehicle for experiencing life on the plane, for expressing ourselves, and it is a beautiful thing.  It has an appropriate role and function.  It is, in many ways, to be celebrated and enjoyed to the fullest.  All we are talking about here is what happens when we over-identify as it, and think that the small-self is the truth of who we are.

Many people are (finally!) waking up to the awareness that they, and everyone else, and everything around them, is Spirit.  Many people are remembering that all of life is sacred.  Put another way, nothing is sacred because everything is sacred.  All is holy, all is of Spirit, but somewhere along the way we forgot this (described as the Fall of Man in the Bible, Adam and Eve kicked out of “paradise”) and started believing in the illusion of a hierarchy, literally judging and evaluating everything in our awareness (as we assumed God was also doing).  Only then did we need to conceptualize of “sacred”, but only because we clearly believed that some things (or perhaps most things) were not sacred.  This could translate to the old idea that God is in church, but not in a casino, or a strip-club.  But the truth is that God (or Spirit) is everywhere, in everything, in everyone, and so all is holy, sacred, and equal.  This even applies to all of nature - to the birds, the trees, the clouds, the rocks - we are better than none of it.  Spirit cannot regard one part of itself as better than another because it is all connected, all one.  There is no better than or worse than except in our small-self minds.  And that’s the good news - if it only exists in our minds, then to change the world, all we have to do is change is our mind.