Chapter 5:

A Painting on Creation's Canvas

 

By listening to the wisdom revealed through our feelings and experiences, we will come to an ever deeper knowledge of our own hearts. In learning to embody genuine love and acceptance for all the events of life, we allow the essential meaning in every experience to become revealed. Through knowing what is most essentially true in every experience, we comes to know what is most essentially true in ourselves.

In finding one’s essence, a person learns of his or her truest identity. The more consciously a person knows the deepest aspects of oneself, the more consciously one may create his or her life according to that truest identity. In knowing one’s heart, a person simultaneously realizes how one’s essence may best be expressed through his or her existence; how one may live most joyfully and most deeply free.

With a perspective of abundance, every moment of existence—each experience—is known to be precious. No part of life is considered accidental, insignificant, or unrelated to the whole. The existence of abundance is very different from the survival-oriented life of scarcity consciousness; it is a life which is motivated by what brings a person the greatest joy. With abundance, the primary motivational factors of scarcity consciousness (namely, the avoidance of pain and fulfilling the expectations of others) cease to have any significant importance. What matters most with abundance is expressing what is known in the depths of your heart, and making your entire life a pure manifestation of your own essence.

An individual’s life is like a work of art painted stroke by stroke, moment by moment, upon the canvas of Creation. A perspective of abundance allows a person to recognize how the artful expression of one’s life is a precise rendering of everything contained within oneself. Abundance allows a person to more consciously choose the shapes, colors, and images that compose the masterpiece of one’s existence. Abundance consciousness brings with it a keen awareness of one’s own greatest talents, and a sense of how best to apply them in the expression of his or her life.

With the awareness of an abundant perspective, one can feel the heart’s intelligence. Its knowledge will tell a person about the truth for one’s identity, one’s life—and about the path which will allow the greatest unfoldment of both. Abundance allows a person to know what stirs in the deepest dimensions of his or her being—what holds the greatest meaning, the deepest joy—what is one’s bliss.

“Follow Your Bliss”

“Follow your bliss” is the instruction left for us by the great scholar and teacher, Joseph Campbell. Campbell was an expert in the field of comparative religion and mythology. In his brief proposition, to ‘follow your bliss’, he shared with us is nothing less than the essential wisdom of the ages. His words mean pursue those things which make you most deeply happy. In other words, fill your life with what matters most to you; know your essence and live according to your heart.

Joseph Campbell knew that the intelligence of the heart, when heeded, would lead a person toward the greatest fulfillment and expression for his or her existence. The optimal path for life becomes clearly known to the individual who has learned to recognize all the subtle intuitive directions from his or her heart. Campbell explained that among all the experiences of living one will occasionally come across events which evoke the most profound levels of happiness. He suggested that when we experience feelings of the deepest excitement, joy, and interest that we should pay close attention to the events at hand, because the circumstances will give clues regarding the concrete details of what our own hearts value most highly.

Bliss is the feeling of supreme joy and peace that permeate one’s entire being when a person is engaged in activities that support the highest priorities of his or her heart. The experience of bliss is the strongest kind of signal; it exists to indicate the thoughts, actions, relationships, and circumstances which are most in tune with the greatest potentials of the individual. When followed, bliss will always lead a person along a path that will unfold one’s life into a perfect expression of his or her essence; a life of the greatest fulfillment, one that embodies the deepest experience of freedom.

Bliss will tell a person how one’s energy and talents may best be expressed and utilized in the world. What is truly of the highest good for the individual, will also give the greatest benefit to everything touched by that person. Bliss indicates the path of least resistance between oneself and the world. When a person is following one’s bliss, that person will experience greater ease with the events of life. Being in tune with one’s heart allows one’s life to move with its own natural flow. This ‘flow’ in the circumstances of life is the outward indication that an individual is actively following his or her bliss.

The blissful indications of a heart-centered life actually occur all the time, and they can be found in the most common everyday experiences. In the same way that your bodily sensations indicate messages from the Larger Self, special ‘coincidental’ events in life can tell you about your bliss. For example, a simple conversation may turn to a topic that you discuss with intense delight. A new book may coincidentally appear that provokes marvelous insights. A new acquaintance may help you discover fascinating new perspectives of life that strongly attract your attention. When the events of life evoke profound interest and joy in all the dimensions of one’s being, a person is experiencing a concrete indication of the things that define his or her bliss.

A word appropriately used for such events is ‘synchronicity’. Synchronicity refers to the situations where just the right thing happens at just the right time, where the seemingly unrelated events of the external world become synchronous with the needs and concerns of one’s heart. From an ordinary perspective, synchronistic events can seem unlikely, or even impossible. However, from a perspective of abundance they are merely the natural result of the cooperation between the consciousness of the Larger Self and the consciousness of an abundant world. Synchronistic events are the concrete indications of how all conscious entities work together to bring about the realization of the greatest potentials in all things.

To illustrate the concept of synchronicity a little further, let’s consider the possible explanations for the ways that the events of life occur. First, consider the idea that the circumstances of life happen by accident. This ‘accidental’ view of cause and effect suggests that there is always an element of chance operating in the affairs of life. This view suggests that despite our best efforts, events frequently happen that are completely beyond our control, and many things happen that perhaps should never occur. The ‘accidental’ perspective allows individuals to believe that the universe is chaotic, and that occasionally people become victimized by the random misfortunes of life. This perspective would suggest that synchronistic events are nothing more than coincidences, or fortunate accidents.

However, an alternative view of cause and effect will suggest that all the events of life happen miraculously. With the ‘miraculous’ view of things, events are always occurring according to the will of all the involved parties. This means that we are always consciously causing our own experiences, even though we may be very unaware of how this happens. The ‘miraculous’ perspective says that there are no such things as accidents. Things which appear to be coincidental, or fortunate accidents, are actually caused by our own larger intention. When the cause of any event is not immediately visible, people sometimes like to label their experience as a ‘miracle’. With abundance, ‘miracles’ happen all the time. Synchronistic events are simply the ‘miraculous’ results of abundance at work in the concrete experiences of living.

Here’s a personal example. On a trip to Hawaii in April of 1994, I had made plans to stay on the Big Island for a total of two weeks. My arrangements for the first week were very simple. I stayed with a group of friends who travelled with me from home. At the end of the first week, they all left. I had decided to keep my plans flexible for the second week, and so, on the morning when I dropped my friends at the airport I had no idea where I was going, or lodging, for the next eight days. I was trusting my intuition and knew that, somehow, something interesting was going to develop.

Driving down the road, within only a few miles from the airport, I saw a hitch-hiker. Though I generally don’t pick up hitch-hikers, I was in no big hurry and this particular person seemed harmless to me. He asked for a ride back to a location near where I had been staying. I was happy to oblige.

As we drove, he told me he was a recovering alcoholic. When I showed I was willing to listen, he went on for a while telling me about his recovery and all of his recent adventures. He just needed someone’s ear, and to see his own reflection in the eyes of another person who could listen without judging. After he had talked a while he asked me about what I was doing on the island. I told him a little about where I had been, and how my adventures had gone. After listening to me, he remarked that there was a special place near his destination that I might enjoy to visit.

I was intrigued with the way his suggestion had come to me, and the thought crossed my mind that this was more than just some fortunate accident. After I dropped him at his destination, I went and visited the place he had told me about. It was called Paleaku Gardens, a simple and lovely retreat center with a view of Kealakekua Bay. The atmosphere of the place was extremely pleasant—a wonderful sacred space.

I was greeted by the owner of the property, Barbara DeFranco, who invited me to take myself on a tour of the entire place. After my walk, I spent more than an hour talking to Barbara. We discovered that we had some interests, experiences, and a couple of friends, in common. I was honored and delighted when she offered to me the opportunity of staying there, and asked me to make a presentation to her guests regarding the important events of April 23-25. My visit to Paleaku Gardens was most enjoyable, and it lasted almost the entire week. During the whole experience, it was clear to me that my discovery of the place was very much a miracle, and not at all accidental!

Over and over, every individual will experience the concrete indications of what makes him or her most profoundly happy. Opportunities present themselves in every moment through which a person may know what defines his or her bliss. The individual must chose how he or she will receive every experience and opportunity. According to one’s perspective, such events will be seen either as unimportant coincidences, or as revelations and miracles.

 

Exercise 5a Identifying Synchronicity

A very fine way of becoming more conscious of synchronistic events in your present experience, is being gratefully aware of places where they have already occurred in your past experience. Important events (and even miracles) often occur for people at critical moments in their lives. In such circumstances, the smallest event can have life-long effects and importance. Synchronistic events can include meeting new people, moving to a new area, discovering a new idea, finding important things in common between unrelated people or situations.

Synchronicity can show up through ideas or words that get repeated in your experience. Synchronistic events can even include tragic experiences, as well as near-tragedies that are averted through ‘miraculous’ occurrences.
The objective of this exercise is to locate in your life’s experience the places where such events seem to have happened. Starting with your earliest memories, this exercise will assist you to look back at your life for the places that contain special events—important experiences, where just the right thing happened at just the right time. By acknowledging those events in your past, you increase your conscious awareness of similar events which are occurring every day in your present experience.

Before you begin, get yourself a couple of clean sheets of paper and a pen. Be seated in a comfortable spot where you can easily write and record what comes to you. Take a couple of slow, deep breaths. Allow your body to relax.

When you are ready to begin, allow your awareness to drift back to your earliest memories of times when you experienced giving or receiving exactly what was needed, at just the right time. What comes to you from early childhood? From elementary school days? From experiences with your family?

When you are ready, move ahead to your memories from adolescence. What comes to you from junior high, or high school days? From interactions with friends? From experiences with sports events, or social organizations? Allow your awareness to take you to any experiences that seem relevant.

Next, move on to early adult life. What seems synchronistic from experiences with the your post-high school training? From your earliest intimate relationships? From your first working experiences? From your military experiences, if any? From your later relationships? From your experiences with close friends? What about how you met your spouse(s), if any? From experiences with your children, if any?

Now, bring your attention to the recent past. What events seem notable within the last year? The last month? The last week? Every moment is capable of containing some synchronistic event. What seems notable from this day? From this moment? Is there anything occurring right now which seems to be just a little bit miraculous? What caused you to be reading this book just now? What caused you to be doing this exercise?

Give yourself ample time to reflect upon all the places your awareness takes you. Make notes about any events that seem particularly important, because you may want to reflect upon them again at a later time. Being mindful of the magical and miraculous moments in life can be a great source of inspiration and strength during the times that are more trying.

When finished, take several deep breaths. Be sure to acknowledge and to thank yourself. Thank your memories. Give thanks to your Larger Self, and to all those aspects of the abundant world that have played a role in helping you to find and follow your bliss.


A Life is a Work of Art

A life is an artful expression of everything which is contained within the consciousness of that particular being. The artist’s tools include a palet full with the colors of every awareness, thought, and energy. The colors are applied through the brush strokes of every intention, choice, and action. The canvas is Creation itself, for every place and every being touched by the individual becomes a part of what that ‘artist’ is expressing.

Precisely what makes up the total present consciousness of any individual is what also composes the total picture of that person’s present life. A person’s heart and essence are always part of one’s consciousness, and they will always be included somewhere in the expression of one’s life. The picture will also include images of limitations that the individual believes yet apply in his or her life. It is the combined whole of a being, or a person’s total perspective, that makes up the complete ‘picture of life’—the form of all of one’s experiences.

For example, since I was a child I have had the aspiration to fly free in the sky, like the birds. I have imagined myself floating effortlessly among the clouds, seeing all the world from high above. I have longed to silently glide over the tree tops, like the wind. In my heart I wished to sail above the valleys and canyons, and gently touch upon the peaks of all the mountains. There has always been a very strong, unexplainable, fascination in me for the experience of flight. At the same time, I have had in my consciousness beliefs about the difficulties, challenges, and improbabilities of fulfilling my dreams of flight.

For a long time, my perspective included both my dreams about flying, and all my reasons for believing that I could not make them real. Within my consciousness, the beliefs that ran counter to my dream became a barrier to the realization of my heart’s desire. Although my dream never became unimportant to me, I never made any progress toward manifesting it in my life during the years that I held onto my doubting beliefs.

Out of the blue one day several years ago my brother, Tim, offered to loan me his copy of Richard Bach’s book, A Gift of Wings. I thought the title looked interesting, so I accepted my brother’s thoughtfulness with gratitude.
I thoroughly enjoyed that book. There was one particular short story it included that held a lot of meaning for me. Richard entitled it, ‘Prayers’. In just a few pages he shares his observations that everybody always seems to get exactly that for which they are ‘praying’. He explained that would-be-pilots continue to be would-be-pilots because they give more importance to their reasons for staying on the ground than to their desires to fly.

Richard Bach’s words hit me like a lightening bolt. I realized I had been making my restrictions more important than my dreams. When I saw the true shape of my perspective, I knew that it was only my beliefs that prevented me from learning to fly. Suddenly, I knew that if I changed my point of view, I would also change my life. By acknowledging the fact that I was holding onto limiting ideas, my beliefs soon became transformed, and so did my life.

Before a year had passed, I was taking flight instruction. Within ten months of the start of my training, I got my private pilot’s license. I was able to manifest my dream, but only after I came to acknowledge what was happening within the dynamics of my own consciousness. Prior to reading Richard Bach’s book I had not realized that I was giving greater priority to my doubts than to my dreams.

The change in my perspective happened when I became genuinely ready to let go of my limiting beliefs, and follow my bliss. That readiness did not occur just because I strongly wanted to see my dream manifest (that had always been true). The change happened when I recognized the synchronistic signals and allowed them to reveal the shape of my perspective. It was then I realized how a part of my perspective was not in tune with my heart. By letting go of those beliefs I became more unified, and more whole, in my total consciousness. The picture of my life then came to reflect the greater wholeness of my being through the manifestation of my dream. My life became a greater expression of my essence, and I learned at deeper levels what it means to follow my bliss.

A person is ever creating the painting of one’s life. Every realization, and every bit of growth, cause the masterpiece of life to become more beautiful and more brilliant. The Larger Self is conscious, not only of all the dimensions of the heart, but also every other thing which composes one’s total being. Our Larger Selves are knowledgeable of all of our own self-imposed restrictions. The Larger Self is always creating opportunities for greater self-realization. Through every experience of life we are capable of becoming more whole, and thereby learning better how to live according to the priorities of our hearts.

When any aspect of one’s life seems to be less than harmonious with the priorities of one’s heart, the situation will be most appropriately transformed by finding the relevant message borne by the discordant circumstance. Every possible expression of life has something important to reveal about the composition of one’s consciousness. When any circumstance can be acknowledged, rather than condemned, then its wisdom may become revealed. When the individual makes use of that information to appropriately shift his or her consciousness the outward circumstances of life become transformed.

For anyone who is wanting to manifest a life that more clearly reflects the desires of his or her heart, it is most important to recognize, first, that every part of life in its existing form is already ideal according to that individual’s current perspective. In other words, everyone is always creating and living the life that is ideally suited to the present details of their own view of life. Though every human aspires to make the outward manifestation of life more to their own liking, in fact, the details of each person’s present life are a direct result of the sum of all the parts that make up that individual.

A most important factor in creating a life that more truly reflects one’s essence, is to acknowledge the elements of life as they presently exist. Only by listening to the wisdom available within the current circumstances of life, will we learn of what is necessary for growth toward our own larger potentials.

It is very easy for us to make the mistake of attributing too much power to the outward conditions of life. Ordinarily, we may not realize that the ultimate control of our own lives rest within our own consciousness. Lasting changes in the outward manifestation of a person’s life are not made by superficially desiring to experience things differently, rather, real changes happen when one makes appropriate adjustments in his or her own consciousness. The events of life are much more effected by the dynamics at work within the individual than by any factors at work outside of the individual. The power of the environment to shape the events of life, comes only when we decide to accept external conditions as the limit for our potentials.

We have heard it said that ‘where there is a will, there is a way’. We have witnessed it through the lives of individual humans who have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles when they had the true will to do so. The examples are many, including Moses, Jesus, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, and Helen Keller, to name just a few. All such people have one important thing in common: their view of life was not limited by the ordinary restrictions of their external circumstances. In other words, they believed they could accomplish what was in their hearts even though the world around them suggested it could never happen. The natural result of an abundant perspective is to live a life that transcends the barriers which ordinarily restrict one’s potential.

Because it is a person’s total perspective that determines the outward shape of life, every part of one’s consciousness necessarily comes into play. The more a person knows of one’s wholeness, the more one’s outward life will bloom into the greater beauty and unique potential that truly represents the essence of his or her individual being.

Exercise 5b The Masterpiece that is Your Life

Every being is free to shape his or her life in any way that suits that individual. Indeed, that is a truth that has existed always and everywhere. The fact is that every being is already creating a life which is ideally suited to his or her total personal composition. Every life is a genuine masterpiece of artistic expression, based upon the perspective and consciousness of each individual being.

At times, a person may become aware that aspects of one’s present life do not seem to be in tune with the priorities of his or her heart. The situation will most often precipitate a desire in the individual to change the circumstances to something which seems more ideal. However, any change in the outward details of life that is not connected to a shift in consciousness is only a change of the most superficial kind.

Concrete details of life which seem out of synch with one’s essence reflect parts of one’s perspective which are not in harmony with the heart. This indicates that there is something discordant within the sphere of one’s consciousness. However, this is not an indication of a problem, rather, it tells a person of an opportunity to gain a significant lesson—significant because it will result in a greater wholeness within oneself.

The Larger Self is aware of the entire composition of one’s consciousness. The Larger Self works continuously to provide opportunities, insights, and experiences which will result in a greater wholeness of the individual with the priorities of his or her heart. The greater the wholeness of the individual, the deeper a person’s experience of freedom and the more natural it becomes to manifest a life that is an expression of one’s essence.

Taking hold of the insights offered by the Larger Self is accomplished by mindfully attending to the details of what is occurring in your present circumstances (rather than by focusing upon the desired shape for your future experience). In other words, you can’t begin to create a different future until you have fully appreciated the significance of your current situation.

To begin this exercise make yourself comfortable in a quiet place. You may be sitting, or you may lay down, whichever allows you better focused relaxation. Allow your body to relax. Become aware of your breathing. Take three deep and slow breaths, then mindfully allow your breath to return to a normal rhythm.

Allow your awareness to focus upon a circumstance in your life that is related to your present growth. Continue to be mindful of your breathing, and allow yourself to be aware of all the dimensions of the circumstance. Acknowledge everything of which you are becoming aware.

Being mindful of all the dimensions of this circumstance, be aware that this situation is an opportunity presented by your Larger Self to assist you with the process of becoming more whole, and creating a life that is more in tune with your own essence. Acknowledge your Larger Self. Acknowledge the natural process of unfoldment in your life.

Pay close attention for indications of how is this circumstance is presently serving you in your life. What lessons are you learning as a result? How is this challenging you to grow? What feelings does it bring up? How do you experience the energy of the feelings? What messages are carried with these feelings? Allow yourself to receive the insights that will tell you how this circumstance is related to your wholeness and growth.

Offer gratitude whenever you feel it is appropriate. Be aware that every circumstance comes into being for a very important and valid purpose. No circumstance can properly pass from existence until its purpose has been acknowledged and fulfilled. That purpose is related, in a unique way, to the unity and wholeness of your consciousness. Be aware that your Larger Self, through every circumstance and experience, is working to make your life a more beautiful and brilliant expression of your essence.

Allow all the feelings to move through your awareness until everything is expressed and you come to a place of quiet. Take a few minutes and just rest. Breath mindfully and listen to the quiet. When you are ready to conclude your experience, take several deep breaths. Allow yourself to make a gentle return to your normal awareness.

An important endnote to this exercise, is that a person will do well to keep an open mind about what defines the most ideal shape for one’s life. It is good to remember that every life and every form of expression has its own beauty and unique purpose. The more open one is, the more one will be able to appreciate the creativity of one’s Larger Self. No part of life, even the most difficult aspect, is an accident. Be alert for all types of synchronistic events which can signal opportunities and insights for your growth and the manifestation of your heart’s desire. Remember always that you are the artist who is creating a masterpiece—the brilliant expression that is your own life.

 

Perspective and Synergy

Throughout this chapter we have explored the concept of how the shape of one’s perspective effects the concrete details of one’s life. In fact, the relationship may be extended further to explain how our collective outlook shapes the details of our world, and of the common reality in which we all co-exist.

The dynamics of this relationship are best explained as a process of synergy. Synergy can be defined as the combined action of two or more elements, where the interaction of all the elements increases the individual and collective effect of all the different parts. In other words, synergy is the phenomenon of acceleration and amplification which can occur when two or more things are working together. Synergy effects everything: materials, ideas, energies, and especially people.

Synergy is always at work, and present in every experience. In any situation that involves people who are operating mainly from a perspective of limitation, the combined effect of their interaction will be to magnify their ideas of restriction. The natural result of a common perspective of scarcity is a world that appears to run according to the priorities of survival.

Synergy operates in the same way for abundance, however, with very different results. Social dynamics become very positive for people who hold a perspective of abundance, because abundance encourages all participants to know and express their own unique insights and talents. Synergy naturally amplifies the abundant expectations and energies of people who have learned to appreciate what is most essential in life. Abundance recognizes the great potentials in every person, in every moment, and in every situation. The interactions of humans who hold such perspectives in common will naturally encourage the full effective participation of every person they involve. Further, such dynamics will encourage the manifestation of the greatest potentials of each person, as well as reveal the larger possibilities held in every experience.

With abundance, humans know that the source of all happiness exists within the heart of every being, therefore no person with an abundant perspective will perceive a benefit in struggling with another for their own advantage. Competition for limited resources will become obsolete, because each being will know its own connection with the Source of all things. With abundance, no more will there be any synergy of the expectations of lack. The world and the experience of every inhabitant will shine brilliantly with the light of mutual understanding. The joy of life will be known by all. Synergy will help to make abundance our common reality through the interactions of beings who have learned to genuinely appreciate of the essence of all things.


The Continuing Journey

This chapter of our journey has involved important elements of the fifth chakra. The fifth chakra is the throat chakra, which relates to expression. The expression of voice, word, and song are important aspects of the fifth chakra. However, the focus of chakra five also includes the outward manifestation of every experience in one’s existence. This includes not only what can be uttered, or artistically created, but every conceivable type of personal circumstance. At the fifth chakra, one discovers that the outward manifestation of life is completely and directly related to what composes the total consciousness of the individual.

With the last two chapters of this book, we will explore important aspects of the sixth and seventh chakras. The sixth chapter will focus upon the greater-than-ordinary potentials for perception and awareness that naturally evolve as we learn to appreciate the relationship that exists between perspective and experience. As a person’s perspective becomes more attuned to one’s heart, profound new levels of sensitivity become manifest as the experience of living becomes more and more abundant. Then in chapter seven, we will arrive at the apex of our journey, the point where both abundance and freedom reveal their most profound meanings.

Go to Chapter 6: The Vision of an Eagle

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Original text of Journey to Deep Freedom

 

Copyright 1993-2008 AJ McGettigan