By Diane Donovan-Vaughn
(Sermon 04292017)

Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements said recently at a gathering, “I have the awareness that I am everything, the force that moves the body, a butterfly, the wind. We are all life. If we are able to change our point of view, we find out we are all the same, one being and we are the life, which is the point of view of the Nagual. When you become that life, miracles happen.”

Think about yourself for a minute and how it feels and sounds inside your head when you are alone in front of the mirror or driving in the car. What are you hearing in your mind when you are alone with it? We all have these voices in the head, sometimes portrayed as a devil and angel on the shoulder. One side says, “Eat sugar, eat sugar, eat sugar,” or “work and make more money, work and make more money, work and make more money” or whatever you brain says for you to do, do, do. Then, let’s say that you eat that sugar or work sixty or more hours a week or drink a bottle of wine, or you can name yours. Then a judging voice will chime in and say, “Why the hell did you do that?” Who are these voices and who is listening to them? Who are you? Are you the voice telling you to do something? Are you the judge? Are you the observer? Are you all these parts and more? Ruiz says that we do not who or what we are. We very simply believe what we have been told that we are.

If you look into the mirror and say, “I am the love of my life, “ you might notice that these conflicting voices appear. I asked a client if she looked in the mirror last week and said, “I am the love of my life,” and she said, “Um, yeah, I couldn’t do it.” We were having a phone session and I said, “Aren’t you sitting in the car right now?” She said, “Yes I am waiting for my friend to get finished shopping while I do my session.” “And,” I said, “Isn’t there a flap in front of you right now with a mirror?” She laughed, pulled it down and said the words. It was hard. Then she asked me how often she should say it. I told her to say it every time she sees her reflection until she believes it, loves to say it and then to keep saying it forever. Her friend had returned, heard the assignment on the speakerphone, and chimed in that she would remind her. I said to the friend, “Isn’t there a flap right in front of you right now with a mirror?” The negative voices will diminish with loving practice.

Isn’t it interesting that we just sort of go through life with these unbelievably loud voices in our head and think that it is normal to hear them? Or we might fear we are crazy because of them but who they are is not even questioned by most people. It is really quite weird that inside your very brain are voices that contradict themselves, give advice that is unhealthy and then beat you up for taking the unhealthy advice! All the while, we observe the war almost like a conscientious objector, abstaining from the war or at the very least not able to garner enough strength to turn it down. These voices are like a dog we allow to bark when we eat as we continue to feed it. When did we adopt these voices anyway?

The Toltec says that these voices are a foreign installation or parasite and do not really belong to us. They use our issues to promote fear and create war in order to feed on us. That quiet observer inside almost feels non-existent in the face of these loud, obnoxious voices that create chaos and drama effortlessly. We are accustomed to this war, barely even noticing that it feels foreign. We create suffering as we abandon our self in this war and contribute to the war and violence in the world with our own participation with a never-ending inner war. Peace has no chance as long as we participate with these voices. Love is the cure.

When you stand in front of the mirror and you say, “I am the love of my life,” open your heart. Move beyond judgment and become the one who has been observing the war. When you hear the voices in your head giving you advice, urging you to escape, judging you or judging others, just stop when you hear it and move back to the observer because this is most likely the spot where you truly exist. Return to “I am the love of my life.” The voices are not you. Just stop feeding them as soon as you hear them and place your attention on the observer. Listen to the still small voice of the observer who is connected to all that is and has not forgotten who you really are. This is the place of magic, a place of miracles that will be easy to hear as soon as the other voices lose their power. Believe me that with practice the other voices will become a whisper and the loving observer will be your guiding light.

Truly, one of the best ways to clean up your life is to quit feeding the negative voices in your head. Every time you hear a statement, you are hearing what? That voice is not you. Acknowledge the voice, but do not believe it. Go back to the magic inside. Ruiz said, “I don’t know who and what I am but I enjoy every moment of my life.” Enjoy your life. Be the love of your life.

The selection for today from The Buddha is Still Teaching (Selected and Edited by Jack Kornfield) is titled “Universal Responsibility” from the book Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama by The Dalai Lama.

He said, “The problems we face today – violent conflicts, destruction of nature, poverty, hunger, and so on – are mainly problems created by humans. They can be resolved – but only through human effort, understanding, and the development of a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. To do this, we need to cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and for the planet we share, based on a good heart and awareness.

“Now, although I have found my own Buddhist religion helpful in generating love and compassion, I am convinced that these qualities can be developed by anyone, with or without religion. I further believe that all religions pursue the same goals: those of cultivating goodness and bringing happiness to all human beings. Though the means might appear different, the ends are the same.”

Let’s meditate now. Close your eyes and take deep connected breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Relax. Observe your Self. Imagine that you can take a seat inside your true self, deep inside the center of your being. Breathe and relax. Across from you are two empty chairs. Imagine that the voice that tells you what to do is sitting in one chair and the one that judges everyone including you is in the other chair. They are arguing as usual. You are observing. Say to them, “Thank you for sharing but please stop talking now.” A mirror appears before you. Look into the mirror and say, “I am the love of my life.” As you say these words, the other two chairs disappear and you are now in love, free to enjoy your life. Take a deep breath and relax. Namaste.