America is celebrating its independence this week. The celebration not only represents America’s separation from England; it also marks the founding of a nation based on spiritual ideals. In order to make that contribution to our society, America had to release itself from the bondage of its past. Without having achieved this, it would have merely reacted to the yoke of its history rather than freely choosing from the myriad of possibilities for its future.
As spiritual beings, no matter what we may be going through or growing through in life, we have the freedom to choose how we respond to our circumstances and what our inner attitude will be. Often while many believe they are making a choice, they are merely reacting to the situations they face. In order to have access to genuine choice and actively determine our responses, we must first have awareness.
The Dalai Lama demonstrated how powerful choice can be when asked by a group of Western reporters, “I notice that you have this countenance of joy even though your people in Tibet have gone through and continue to go through horrendous atrocities at the hands of the Chinese government. How is it that you are able to maintain such joy, and more importantly, why is it that we in the West, who have so much, are often unable to have the joy that you have?”
The Dalai Lama responded by saying, “Wrong Mantra.” He went on to suggest to the reporter that what you focus on and allow to pass through your awareness on a regular basis is the negativity that you are experiencing in the world. As a result, you say to yourself: “Life is hard. There is not enough to go around. There is not enough love or not enough jobs. It’s impossible. It’s incurable. It can’t be done.” He was letting the reporter know that what he was giving his attention to, thinking and choosing to speak about was a “wrong mantra.” Rather than focusing on these negative aspects of the world, we want to lift our attention and awareness so that whatever we consistently say to ourselves may be aligned with the truth of our being.
Divine solutions, as well as the power and the presence of God are everywhere. Therefore, it must be where we are. It serves us to practice the Dalai Lama’s way of being with such conviction that a seed is planted in our subjective or subconscious mind. As this seed of awareness grows, we will find we have fewer adverse reactions to the circumstances around us and we will naturally begin to respond from a deep eternal place within us. We will look back to experiences that were not to our liking and realize we acted differently. Instead of being totally upset or blaming or accusatory, we will discover that something else has taken over. Now we will move into prayer or meditation or receive an insight that helps us respond in a higher way. Such is the power we gain from taking control of where our attention goes.
This is a choice we always have. When we master this choice, we will have the one freedom that can never be taken away.
Peace, Blessings and Happy Independence Day,