The Fool’s Journey

OK, so now you know your personality type along with some of the peculiar traits, quirks and proclivities that make you the wonderful, magnificent, spectacular creation that you are. The firsts step in your journey of self love and healing is coming to acceptance of your unique composition and history. Your Ego has evolved according to your personality type by utilizing its strengths and compensating for weaknesses, and interpreting information through the filter of your unique perspective. It is not our goal to eliminate, or even to “set aside” the Ego. Our goal is to connect with Spirit and Surrender to the principles of the Universe in order to bring about Love, Healing, Serenity, Freedom and Success, thereby fulfilling our place in the Universe and healing our Soul.

So, for example, you are an ISFJ and early on you discovered that you felt a sense of accomplishment and self worth when you helped others. Or perhaps you were in a family situation that required your help with care giving and chores. As you grew, you began looking for someone who needed you, even though this was on a subconscious level. Perhaps you were attracted to someone who was immature or even addicted. Maybe you found someone who had emotional or physical handicaps. Your life became one of service and your own identity, with its needs, desires and dreams slowly began to vanish. The spark of Life began to die inside and your existence became robotic, routine and dark. This is not who you were meant to be. You were given a warm, caring heart and the ability to work, create and serve. But all of your service is supposed to be done from a Joyful, contented heart which is fed and nurtured daily just like the ones for whom you care. You must accept the Truth that although you were born to serve and to help others, your caring nature was exploited and you took a short cut to personal fulfillment by accepting the crumbs of smiles and “thank you’s” which your service attracted. You must then Surrender to Spirit and the principles of the Universe in order to become the magnificent powerhouse you were intended to be. You then go on to open up your own chain of hotels, or start your catering business or become an interior designer and you thrive because you learn that you are worthy just as you are and your self worth doesn’t depend on how much you do or how well you perform, but simply who you are.

Or maybe you are an ENTP and you were diagnosed with ADHD early on in school. Your life has been a series of failures, tests and restrictions. What the people who try to “help” you do not understand is that the last thing you need is to be “restricted”. Your mind constantly creates new fantasies, adventures and solutions to problems. You cannot stand to sit at a desk, or be confined to a room staring at lines on paper or filling in blanks on a computer screen. No one understands you and you are unable to explain your thoughts and feelings to anyone. You were made to be different, to go against the status quo. You were given vision, imagination and a sense of adventure. Instead, your Ego believes that something is wrong with you and that you cannot be trusted with responsibility. You accept labels such as “lazy”, “dreamer”, “hyper” and “unreliable”. Your journey begins with accepting the marvelous visionary and explorer that you are. You must accept the judgments and misconceptions of others as well as the hurt and betrayal in which they engaged. Surrender may require that you “reel it in” and focus, either through medication or supplementation but not to deny the unique energy and vision that only you possess. You must forgive others and yourself for harsh judgments and misguided attempts to “conform” and move forward into your life of architecture, engineering, inventing or creation with the full knowledge that no one can touch you!

Whatever your type, Acceptance and Surrender are the keys to moving from Negative Energy to Positive and beginning your journey of Self Love and personal fulfillment. Let the journey begin and don’t forget to have fun!

My Type: Judging

The “judging” of this particular personality type comes from the standard of “getting things done” and “efficiency”.  “J” types need structure and prefer to plan, schedule and organize their lives rather than shoot from the hip. J’s can be relied upon to maintain tradition, to take care of details, to keep things neat and orderly and follow the book. Cliches such as, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and “a place for everything and everything in its place” were invented by J type personalities. J types believe that there is a “right and wrong” way to do things and stick to the right way as much as possible.

J’s do not feel the need to “personalize” their work, unlike their P counterparts. They are perfectly fine with doing things the conventional way and not “reinventing the wheel”. In fact, in their extremes, J’s can be quite rigid in their routines and become stressed when those routines are disturbed. J’s do not mind being predictable and in many cases may hold this in high regard. Many J types suffer from the need to be in control and struggle when it comes to the need for flexibility. They like their world to be organized and predictable and Life seldom cooperates with their efforts.

J’s are not happy until everything is organized and completed. They prefer the dishes to be done, leftovers put away and everything cleaned before they sit down to relax. While this is an admirable trait, J’s can become caught up in “doing” and forget to be present in the moment and enjoy the company of family and friends. They can also become quite judgmental of others who do not “pull their weight” or live up to their standards, although many are caregivers, guardians and protectors and often sacrifice gladly. Like Feelers, J’s can be easily exploited since they are willing to do the work and may often simply do what needs to be done without asking or even thinking.

J’s often hold themselves and others by a high set of “performance” standards. They may be quite harsh on themselves regarding their behavior and level of success. Even though they may be able to work everyone else under the table, they may feel they have not done enough or performed adequately.  While they need to accept their love for efficiency, cleanliness and service, they will need to practice Surrender and letting go of the need to control and serve others. Many will need to learn to put themselves first and get their own needs met as well as taking care of others. J’s may find it difficult to say no and often end up with far too many responsibilities on their plate. They are the classic enablers and rescuers, preferring to simply jump in and do the work without considering the personal cost. J’s need to learn that their personal worth does not come from performance or behavior, but simply who they are and their place in the Universe.

My Type: The Perceiver

In Jungian Typology and Myers Briggs Temperament identification the “P” category can very well stand for “Procrastination”, although the correct title is “Perceiving”. P-type individuals value freedom and independence and avoid restrictions whenever possible. Perceivers procrastinate because they like to keep their options open right up until the last minute. They may also avoid relationships with friends and relatives because these often include obligations and expectations. These types do not like to commit themselves to activities or plans days in advance for fear of boxing themselves in. Perceivers do not work well in the regular 9 to 5 business week and do better with irregular hours or by being self employed.

One identifying characteristic of Perceivers is their need for uniqueness. They like to approach tasks, jobs or art from a different perspective and often like to put their personal stamp or signature on their work. They get bored easily and having done so will look for ways to break the monotony or stir things up. Perceivers often need to have motivation and inspiration in order to begin an endeavor, which is another reason for their procrastination. The pressure of the deadline often provides the necessary inspiration to get started. However, Perceivers do not like being told how and when to do things. They like to have the personal freedom of making their own decisions and performing a task in their own manner.

Perceivers are often surrounded by clutter. They cannot be bothered by the mundane task of putting everything back in its place or spending too much time organizing and straightening. For this type, the issue is energy and where to spend it. Planning and organizing is viewed as a waste of time and energy to the Perceiver. Since they do not like boxes or restrictions, clutter is not a problem. Perceivers can have piles of various items lying around but know exactly which pile contains the item they may need. This is actually a component of their creativity. Perceivers think “outside the box” and enjoy the freedom to create, invent and improvise. They do not read the owner’s manual and if something lying around can fix the problem, there is no need to buy a new part.

Perceivers need to accept and celebrate their uniqueness. Since they do not fit into the business/corporate world, they often feel like misfits and will avoid jobs that require tight schedules and deadlines. However, understanding one’s preferences allows him to better explain how he operates to a potential employer or even a spouse. Perceivers may often allow themselves to become stuck with inappropriate labels such as “lazy”, “messy” or “incompetent”. No one would dare use such labels on someone as famous as Da Vinci, yet he was clearly a Perceiver. Surrender may require that this type develop some organizational skills, or at least have someone supportive who can keep them organized. However, too much pressure to “conform” may cause the Perceiver to become depressed and frustrated by the restriction. Personal growth will require some level of adaptation but in the end, freedom and independence will rule the day when it comes to Perceivers.

My Type: Thinking vs. Feeling

Thinking and Feeling types are usually about as easy to distinguish as Extrovert/Introvert. The type of Thinking in this category is more of hard, analytical calculation rather than the conceptualizing, imagining of the Intuitive. The major difference between these two types is that Feelers are people oriented whereas Thinkers are more data, task oriented. In a managerial position, a Thinker will be primarily concerned that the job at hand is being executed. A Feeler, on the other hand, will be more concerned about the needs of the workers, the customers and the people involved. Feelers can wear their emotions on their sleeves and be sensitive to the thoughts and opinions of others. In extreme cases, and in conjunction with other personality traits, Feelers can be highly sensitive and empathic. This may cause problems with mental health, especially if one has not learned to balance emotions with reason and circumstances.

Not only are Feeling types sensitive to their own emotions, but they pick up on the feelings of others as well. They are constantly thinking of the well being of those around them and often sacrifice their own needs for those in their care. Depending on their other personality characteristics, they may engage in community action, volunteer work or even take up humanitarian, political causes. The difficulty for these types is in maintaining a strong sense of self and setting firm boundaries for self love and maintenance. Intuitive Feelers may struggle more deeply than other types since their imaginations may lead to self doubt, paranoia and fantasy. Feelers are often exploited since they are easily manipulated by guilt and shame and often seek to avoid conflict.

Thinkers are much more straight forward. These are the Vulcans of the human world. To Feeling types, Thinkers can come across as cold and heartless at times. Thinkers are more concerned with the task at hand and getting the job done. They cannot be bothered by messy emotions or useless sentiment. Thinkers can, and do, become involved in humanitarian projects and endeavors which are geared toward making the world a better place. They often seek out Feeling or more caring types in relationships in order to get their psychological needs met. It may often be difficult for Thinking types to express their feelings and to be vulnerable. This may cause stress and anxiety, especially if they are raised in a dysfunctional environment.

Feeling types will need to accept their caring, compassionate nature and allow themselves to experience their broad range of emotions. They should spend time in meditation and work on keeping their emotions, doubts and fears in check. Feelers are particularly vulnerable to Negative Energy, especially if they are raised in a dysfunctional environment. Feeling types will also need to Surrender in the area of speaking Truth and not avoiding conflict. They need to express their own needs and set firm boundaries in order to preserve their sense of Self and follow through with their intention.

Thinking types need to accept their penchant for getting the job done and being efficient in their work. Intuitive thinkers are innovators, inventors and visionaries. Thinkers should spend time in meditation and cultivate a sensitivity to those around them, seeking ways to express feelings for their loved ones and acquaintances. Keeping a journal is an excellent activity for Thinking types to be able to identify feelings and occasions when they should have demonstrated more care or concern.

My Type: The Sensing Type

In contrast to their Intuitive counterparts, Sensing types are often hard workers and far more industrious. They enjoy hands-on, practical work and play. As Thinking types they can be artists, mechanics, architects and supervisors and as Feelers they can be composers, performers, guardians and protectors. As a general rule, Sensors make decisions much more quickly than Intuitives since all the Sensor needs to do is add up the facts and arrive at a conclusion. While Intuitives may be the dreamers and visionaries, Sensors are the builders and architects.

Sensing types are not without difficulties despite being more practical and grounded. The classic, co-dependent spouse is a Sensing type. Sensing-Feelers are built to serve. Unfortunately, with this type, service becomes the central focus and standard of self esteem and worth. Throw in Judging and things start to become a little OCD. STJ’s may also have difficulty in serving the “higher good” or simply become enslaved to following rules, traditions, or societal expectations. The danger comes in losing one’s own identity and intention to another person, entity or cause. The Sensor may not see this as problematic for many years since they find validation in the service of others. However, when the time comes to identify their own hopes or dreams, they may come up empty handed. Sensors also view their service as an act of love, which it is. However, dutifulness and servitude are no substitutes for vulnerability and expression of emotion and affection. Sensors, especially Thinking types, may find it difficult to show their love in words or affection and may not value the words and affection given to them by others. This adds further to the isolation and identity loss suffered by co-dependent types. They often feel that their service and dedication goes unnoticed, which is frequently true because they have created an atmosphere of dependency on themselves.

Sensing types have a tendency to evaluate themselves by their behavior. They feel that their acts of service demonstrate their love and care and judge others by the same standard as well. However, individual worth is not determined by behavior. Sensors need to establish their self worth apart from their work, performance and service. They need to allow their service to flow from their own sense of value and worthiness and set healthy, self maintaining boundaries. They need to constantly remind themselves to slow down and enjoy the present moment rather than take care of everyone else around them.

My Type: The Intuitive Type

The distinction between Sensing and Intuition can be one of the most difficult to make in temperament typology. However, some basic characteristics make that determination a little easier. The main distinction between Sensors and Intuitives is grounded-ness or practicality. Sensing types are very much hands-on and think in practical, rational and logical terms, whereas Intuitive types are more imaginative, visionary and conceptual. Intuitive types tend to “live inside their head” more often and can often present a dreamy, distant quality. They may often appear to be lazy, especially to more industrious Sensing personalities. However, this is simply due to a different set of priorities and preferences.

Intuitive types suffer more often from mental anguish, angst, and “overthinking” due to their conceptual nature. The overthinking of the Intuitive has less to do with “Thinking” than it does with “conceptualizing” and imagining. Intuitive types play “what if” scenarios repeatedly in their minds and try to think of every possible contingency, even when making the smallest decision. Intuitives are the dreamers, romantics, visionaries, inventors and absent-minded professors of the world. Intuitive Feelers are hyper-sensitive types and may have great difficulty maintaining positive mental health. They have the ability to pick up on the feelings of others and “read” emotions, and sometimes thoughts, of those around them. However, Intuitive types often “read” too much into things and have a tendency to become paranoid and anxious regarding situations which will never happen. They have powerful imaginations and the ability to create fantasy worlds in which they can spend days, months or years.

Intuitive types often appear distracted and may come across as “air headed”. They may not bother with “trivial” details such as appointments, the location of keys, or other practical details since there are plenty of Sensor types around to keep up with such things. They have a tendency to become ADD since their attention can flit from one concept to another and they crave stimulation. If they are also a Perceptive type then ADD is more likely to occur. Throw in Extroversion and you have ADHD. Intuitive types are in the minority and often feel they are different from others. They are not suited for the corporate world as much as their Sensor counterparts since they are neither as grounded nor as industrious. They make better executive types provided they have Thinking and/or Judging characteristics since they are powerful visionaries and conceptualizors. However, the Intuitive Feelers and Perceivers struggle more often with emotions and grounded-ness than most other personality types.

Intuitives are idealists and utilize their imaginations to see the big picture and bring the fairy tale into reality. They cannot be satisfied with a mundane, nine to five existence and have the need to feel that their life has “meaning” and purpose. They plan for contingencies as they build their ideal world and can be hyper-vigilant as they ruminate over every detail. They are gifted with communication since they understand the subtle nuances of words, symbols and syntax. They often speak in meta-language, using ambiguous words with subtle nuances, having several conversations at once, often unbeknownst to the other party. Intuitive types can be riddled with self doubt since they have open minds and anything is possible. They deal with uncertainties but seldom settle on one fixed course of action.

Intuitives can be Masterminds, Dreamers and Healers. Those with Feeling temperaments seek to help and heal others while those with Thinking tendencies seek to make the world a better place through technology and science. This type can easily become lost and lose touch with reality. They can become overwhelmed by anxiety, paranoia, doubt and fear. This type needs to become grounded through spirituality and relaxation without completely sacrificing vision and imagination. Intuitives have a greater ability to surrender to their spirit and communicate with the Universe than other types, although it may be difficult for them to distinguish fantasy from reality. Self acceptance and confidence must be developed and nurtured for this type to achieve success and fulfillment.

My Type: Introvert vs. Extrovert

This is the first of a series of articles exploring the Myers-Briggs, Jungian personality types. These articles will compare characteristics of the various sub-categories but will target common difficulties and misconceptions. It is a good idea to take the test online, and read the profiles which are presented. A vast amount of information is available regarding the various types, including videos and posters. My goal in these articles is to shed some light on some of the difficulties experienced by a few of the types in order to address some of the blockages encountered in self discovery.

Most people associate Extroversion/Introversion with a person’s ability to be outgoing in social situations. However, this is not completely accurate. For example, someone who is Introverted but also a Feeler may be very warm and engaging in their social interaction. They may even have a knack for public speaking and performance. However, because they are introverts they are very private and need time alone in order to process thoughts or simply to regenerate. The “Feeler” trait causes them to need human interaction and gives them an empathic, engaging quality. Introverts who are Feelers may often feel like they should be more outgoing and may dislike their personality because they lack the energy and gregariousness of their Extrovert counterparts. However, they enjoy the company of a few friends and would not sacrifice their privacy or intimacy for the sake of the “crowd”.

Extroverts, on the other hand, cannot resist the crowd, the excitement, and often, being in the center of things. They may feel like they have few close friends and that they live a “shallow” existence since their lives are full of traffic. They may also have difficulty setting boundaries and spending quality time with the ones they love due to their attraction to activity. As a general rule, Extroverts tend to display more energy than Introverts. Extroverts may also have difficulty keeping confidential information and maintaining social boundaries. Although they are outgoing, they may feel clumsy or inept in their personal relationships.

Generally speaking, Introverts “recharge” by spending time alone and processing thoughts and feelings internally, while Extroverts are energized by social interaction and activity. Those types who are the hardest on themselves are usually the ones who also have the “Feeling” trait and Introverts tend to isolate and overthink more often. The danger for Extroverts, especially with the “Feeling” trait, is doing too much, not setting proper boundaries and getting “lost” in activity and service.

The key to personal growth for these types is the same as with all types: Acceptance. Introverts need to accept the fact that they prefer time alone, privacy, intimacy and plenty of relaxation. There is nothing wrong with not feeling like going out on a Friday night, or not jumping into the latest project, or spending time relaxing and enjoying oneself. It is ok to have a close circle of friends, or perhaps even one close friend and not be “popular”. It is NOT ok to take mind or mood altering substances in order to “loosen up” or become uninhibited at a party simply because you don’t like your personality. If you wish to “let your hair down” and have a few drinks, fine. However, to establish a pattern of “altering” your personality through chemical substances is a lack of self love and acceptance.

Similarly, Extroverts need to accept the fact that they enjoy stimulation. If they are in relationships with Introverts they will have to find ways to meet their needs for activity and interaction. They will need to realize that their Introverted friends are not as much of an “open book” as themselves and need their privacy. A good practice for Extroverts would be to have a close, Introverted friend or companion with whom to consult regarding social expectations and boundaries.

Of course, one contributor to the lack of self love is comparison.  Often we look at others and admire their traits or their ability to handle certain difficulties and wish that we could operate in the same manner. What we fail to see is our own gifts and abilities which are just as unique and valuable. We try to change ourselves and become like someone else which hinders the development of our personal and spiritual growth. Not only does it stunt our growth, but it introduces Negative Energy such as pressure, anxiety, self doubt and depression. The path back to Positive Energy is Acceptance of our true nature and developing a love for our unique personality.

Self Discovery

To Surrender means that we have engaged our Spirit and have begun communicating with the Universe through meditation, prayer and simply paying attention. It also means that we have stopped allowing our Ego to dominate our actions through our thoughts, feelings and imagination. The goal is not to destroy or replace the Ego, rather to heal it through the Spirit. The Ego is an integral part of Self and makes up a large aspect of our identity. In order for the Ego to be healed, we must take a spiritual journey deep within to understand our nature and discover the deep wounds that have shaped our thinking and belief system. One of the best exercises to begin this journey of self-discovery is taking the Myers Briggs personality inventory, which can be taken on the internet. Each of us has a specific temperament which causes us to react and respond to our environment in predictable ways. The four categories of Extrovert/Introvert; Sensing/Intuitive; Thinking/Feeling and Judging/Perceptive provide an explanation of how one interacts with others and processes information. The score helps to validate one’s identity and provide clarity on why one thinks and behaves in specific ways. Test scores can also reveal problematic patterns such as procrastination, co-dependency, emotional distance and others. Most test results also provide links to career choices and relationship compatibility. This exercise provides information on how the Ego has developed, why certain beliefs have been adopted and specific defense mechanisms that have been put into place. This shines light on the strongholds of the Ego and allows the individual to begin the process of Acceptance and Surrender, giving the Spirit the ability to process Positive Energy.

Once you have determined your personality type, you will need to look for the strengths and weaknesses of your temperament. You are put together by creation for a specific purpose and you are magnificent just the way you are. The first step in this journey is Acceptance of this fact. However, we must remember that the Ego is vulnerable to Negative Energy which is exploitative in nature. For example, if you do not get your minimum daily requirements of love, approval and validation as a child and you happen to have a personality that is pre-disposed to co-dependency, then you will view helping and serving others as a way to receive validation and base your self -worth on your servitude. While you have a giving, industrious nature, it is exploited by irrational beliefs and negative energy. Societal expectations and beliefs will reinforce negative assumptions and contribute to your “self-talk”.

While some personality types, especially the industrious, charismatic ones, receive accolades and praise for their work and apparent “selflessness”, it never seems to be enough. In their hearts they continue to feel a certain emptiness and are plagued with self-doubt. This is not true for all types but it is particularly true for Feeling types and for those who grow up in a dysfunctional environment. In order to cope with this feeling of inadequacy and self-doubt, the individual may engage in some type of self-indulgence or substitute an object or activity for the lack of validation. The Ego becomes convinced that its worth and value are derived from hard work, dedication, self-sacrifice, submission and obedience. Religious, societal and familial mores, values and expectations will reinforce this notion and the individual will struggle with a mixture of false pride, judgement and guilt for not living up to one’s own unrealistic expectations.

Of course, this is an example of only one personality type and does not take into account the myriad of possibilities in which thoughts, emotions and beliefs can become skewed and distorted. One’s view of self becomes akin to looking into a fun-house mirror, fully believing that the image being reflected is completely accurate. Trauma, loss, hurt and any number of negative experiences can contribute to erroneous beliefs, damaged emotions or substitutions for the authentic. Our True Self becomes lost in a world of distortion, deception and needless suffering.

In order to discover the authentic self, one must take inventory of distorted thinking, resentments, judgements, attempts at self-validation and comfort and substitutions made for unfulfilled emotional needs in the past. This must be done in order to diffuse the power of Negative Energy and eliminate patterns of addiction, self-defeat and destruction. This is Surrender, and it is work; often difficult and challenging but completely necessary if we are to escape the desperate, fearful grip of our control-obsessed Ego.

 

 

 

 

True Surrender

After a serious case of writer’s block, I’ve finally found some inspiration during a morning meditation and an email discussion. As I have previously stated in earlier articles, Surrender is completely misunderstood and it is largely because the concept has been run through the Ego brain and crafted to “make sense” or reduced to fit within the confines of the Ego’s “understanding”.

First of all, Surrender is a stand-alone concept. Most want to throw it into the same basket as Choice, but it is something altogether separate. “Do I choose to eat the candy bar, which would bring me happiness for the moment or do I choose the carrot which would contribute to my Health. Do I surrender to Joy or do I surrender to Health? I really want the candy bar but I don’t want Diabetes. I want good Health, but I hate carrots. Why do I have this dilemma in the first place?” This conversation is an example of the Ego trying to act like Wisdom. Wisdom is a principle of Life, of Positive Energy. It cannot be accessed directly by the Ego (i.e. mind), which is tied to the physical, material realm. The Ego must have Wisdom translated by the Spirit, our access to the Universe. Wisdom surpasses the understanding of the Ego.

The “Surrender” to which we are referring is that which leads to Positive Energy, Fulfillment and Recovery. The goal is to enjoy Life with all of its benefits and to tap into our place in the Universe. The common understanding of Surrender is “Let Go, Let God”. However, Surrender requires more than just “letting go”. Surrender is not simply a passive act. Spiritual growth requires confronting irrational beliefs from the past and overcoming negative, debilitating emotions, coping strategies and substitutes. More is required than letting go of negative beliefs. One must take steps of faith into new territory and walk out the Truth, exercising Freedom and leaving behind Fear and Deception. This requires Faith and Action, which are also components of Surrender.

Life offers personal fulfillment, heart’s desires, wholeness, maturity and completion. These are the goals of Positive Energy. It is Negative Energy such as Ignorance, Deception, Hurt, Resentment and a host of others that cause our Ego to react, build defenses, and come up with irrational coping strategies. However, as the above conversation demonstrates, the Ego wants to be in control and will mimic the Spirit in order to remain so. We deceive ourselves and go along with the Ego because we lack trust in Life and the Universe and are afraid to confront our fears and disbelief.

The Universe wants us to have our heart’s desires, which are part of the package called “You”. Your gifts and callings are as natural to you as your physical features. So do you have the cigar or do you eat the broccoli? The answer of course is both… or neither. If you Surrender to Life and Health you will desire and respect their boundaries and do whatever it takes to have and keep them. But then Joy will come along and say “Hey, let’s go for a ride”. Then you will look over at Wisdom, who will give you a wink and a nod as if to say “it’s OK”. Remember, it isn’t about “getting it right”, neither is it about “being good enough”. You were never in control and were not meant to be. It’s about being in the right spiritual place, being aligned with Life’s Principles, being on the same page with the Universe. It is about connecting with your Source, the Source of Freedom, Peace and Joy. When you are connected to Source it is in your nature to do the “right” thing for You.

The issue then becomes “what is separating me from Life and Spirit”? The answer always lies with the Ego. We have the freedom of Intention, or Will, but Ignorance, Fear, Deception and other Negative Energies blind us and keep us from Surrendering to Spirit. In order to move from Negative to Positive Energy, we must first appreciate the value of Positive Energy. This may seem like a no-brainer, but remember, the Ego lives in Ignorance. When we are diagnosed with a disease, all of a sudden Health becomes precious. If we become trapped in circumstances, such as incarceration, Freedom becomes dear. That is not to say that we need the Negative in order to appreciate the Positive, but it certainly raises our awareness and sense of Gratitude.

This is why Surrender is not a “choice”. Nothing compares to Love, Truth, Wisdom, Health, Peace, Prosperity or Life. To say that these are choices is an insult to the Universe and a demonstration of Ignorance. In order to choose wisely, one must have Clarity, Freedom and Wisdom. These exist in only one realm. In order to remain within the parameters of Positive Energy and adhere to its Principles, choices are required. However, choices are a reflection of the energy in which we are operating. If we are operating out of Ignorance, our choices will be ignorant. To say that one can remove oneself from Addiction by making better choices is to say that you can defeat Addiction with the Ego. Surrender to Positive Energy provides one with the Freedom, Clarity and Wisdom to make better choices.

So how do you move from Negative to Positive? Well, one generally moves in the direction he is looking. Look toward Life, desire it, and you will eventually arrive. Whenever an obstacle arises, identify it, trace its origin, Accept it, then Surrender and keep moving. Not as easy as it sounds, but that is the basic idea. “Wanting it” is not enough! Do you want Love? Do you want Peace? Do you want Fulfillment? Do you want a happy marriage? Do you want a million dollars? Then you have to Surrender to what it takes. But it is what you desire, so the Surrender is an investment in yourself, not a chore nor an act of “obedience” but an investment. The Universe wants you to have it too. Get the Ego out of the way and line up. What are you waiting for?

Fasting, Deprivation and other “Self Disciplines”

Many believe that fasting is a wonderful discipline for ridding the “flesh” of natural desires, lusts and cravings, and is a way to put the Spirit in control as well as a method of drawing nearer to God. Underneath this self-flagellation is the idea that God is an austere being and that the cravings and desires of the natural man are intrinsically evil. Even more common, yet equally harmful is the notion of “reward and punishment” when it comes to our spiritual journey. As I have mentioned in earlier articles, when we view God as a person like ourselves, we transfer our baggage onto Him in the form of expectations, prejudices and resentment.

Our Ego loves to engage in harsh, challenging disciplines in the name of spirituality. No matter how you may choose to punish yourself in order to gain self redemption, you will never rise to the level of austerity of the many practices that have been employed throughout history. However, the Ego may use more subtle tactics such as, believing that we must put off our pleasures until our work is done, or that we don’t deserve a particular desire because we have not “done enough” to earn it. We often think that because we haven’t arrived at a particular level of prosperity, or that because we keep repeating negative, self-defeating patterns, we are being punished by God or getting the Karma that we deserve.

In reality, we are actually defeating ourselves by believing a deception and acting it out rather than living in the Truth. The greater the negative energy that existed during our upbringing, the less we have the ability to trust in ourselves and in The Universe. The Ego becomes self-reliant and in desperate need of control. This causes the Ego to focus on self-preservation through behavior, judgment and choice. Accomplishments, performance, acquisition of material things and notoriety all become elevated as a result of the Ego’s valuation of self-reliance. Thus, the Ego can engage in monumental spiritual quests and severe disciplines in order to “achieve” its noble crusade. However, the one thing the Ego finds most difficult is Surrender.

Our Spirit is that part of us which is in tune with The Universe or Universal Principles. Principles such as Love, Wisdom and Serenity are beyond the scope of the Ego and the natural mind. Our Spirit is capable of hearing and understanding these Principles; however, they defy the understanding of the Ego which is unwilling to relinquish control. Rather than Surrender to the Spirit in order to gain Wisdom, the Ego prefers to engage in religious dogma, or exercise in order to fool us into thinking we are making spiritual progress so that it will not have to surrender control. This is why recovery programs which focus primarily on behavioral change are largely ineffective. The Ego is not required to step out of the driver’s seat of the recovering addict’s life.

Of course there is a place for fasting, meditation and a return to Simplicity. However, these disciplines are “investments” in our own physical and spiritual growth and should be done with the view that they will result in a positive return. Fasting is a cleansing process by which we remove toxins or allow the body to “reset” itself in a healthy manner. In other words, it is an investment in Health. It should not be an attempt to get a gold star from heaven or to punish ourselves for yesterday’s binge. Eating an apple instead of a candy bar is a choice made in Surrender to Health and a positive investment in our body temple. Spending time in nature and “listening” to the voice of Wisdom is an act of Surrender and Trust in the Universe which silences the chatter of the Ego and mind. However, if we expect a “reward” of improved circumstances to come quickly because of our behavior, then we miss the point. We reward ourselves by investing in Peace and Simplicity and silencing our monkey mind, rather than having to be rewarded by an outside source.

Discipline is the act of remaining within the parameters of Positive Energy and removing the Ego from our driver’s seat while allowing the Spirit to hear the voices of Wisdom, Truth and Love. It is not behavior focused, but it acts in response to the Laws and Principles of Positive Energy. Rather than being harsh and unpleasant, it should be viewed as an investment, made with Joy and the anticipation of a positive return.