We were born to live in joy. We were not born to suffer. We sometimes choose this ourselves on a soul level, but it is not the intention of the Creator that we should suffer. This earth is the schoolroom of life, but we can live and learn in joy.

Our lives follow cyclic changes and mood frames, brought on by our birth times and the influence of the positioning of the stars and planets at certain periods in our lives. Astrology is a very real science, unlike the garb that the newspapers and magazines generalise in giving out. The actual position of the planets at the time of our birth, do have an influence on our lives. They help to shape our character. There are many millions of people, for example, born under the sign of Gemini or Pieces, but each one is different because there are a multitude of other influences affecting them. A genuine astrologer can help you discover certain influences that affect you, but they need not be taken as gospel. We can utilise these influences to our advantage, and be guided by them, but we need not let them override our free will choice in our lives. There is an abundance of joy in the Universe. We have to look for the joy. We have to look for the happiness and potential that exists around us in our everyday lives.

There are times in our lives when we may feel lonely and bereft. We feel no-one loves us and life is not worth living. We feel 'out of sorts' and cannot come to grips with anything. How do we lift ourselves out of this mood? The best way is by trusting in the Universe. Know that it is good and that we choose these situations for our potential to grow. We grow more in the 'bad, sad times', than we do in the happier times. If we lived on a cloud all the time, there would be no challenge - no growth. It is through finding the best in these 'bad times that we face the challenge, and can thus transmute all our past Karma. By bringing the more negative aspects of ourselves into the light, accepting them, and finding some degree of joy in the situation, we actually cause a chemical change within ourselves. By accepting our mood as part of ourselves and saying "Well, I love this part of myself. I chose this in order to grow. I bring it to the light."

Imagine every part of your being filled with light. We have the free will to take the negative aspect of ourself and simply allow it, without letting it affect others. Treat it as part of yourself, which it is. Don't try to fight it but allow it to be. By loving it and accepting it, you are acknowledging it and can transform your negative shadow side thereby becoming a lighter, more loving being. The lesson you chose will then be being learnt, and you will have a deeper feeling of satisfaction than you have ever felt, because you have transmuted the negative by accepting it, into a positive, joy-filled experience!

There is no limit to what you can do. Only our ego tells us there are things we cannot do; things we have to be afraid of; things that we have to categorize and separate. All things are from the Divine, and by acknowledging all things, and allowing them to just be, we overcome the forces of the negative/positive poles which surround us in a world of duality. This is how we bring about the changes to our planet. By not judging, but instead, accepting all things as they are, being joyful about every situation, particularly the 'bad' times, we actually can overcome our Karma and save ourselves from continuous re-births. This is the way back to the God-head or Source.

We are all actors in the stage of life. Our God-Self is the director and producer. We are merely the actors on the stage of life, learning through the experience, and eventually taking that experience back to our Source. All things are experienced through us, as we are part of the Great Spirit. We have free will and ego, but if we submit to our little self, or ego, it will eventually become our master, and we become slaves to the ego. To find true freedom, we have to find the higher source of our being, our God-Self or Higher Self, and let this Divine part of ourselves guide us through life.

In the chapter on Releasing Judgement, I talked about the ego being the cause of much of our need to judge, because it separates us from others. I call the ego the Great Separator. It is not, in itself, a bad thing. It is very useful for us in maintaining our individual identity. But it must serve the Greater Self instead of being the Master. We have free will. This free will is our freedom to choose between giving reign to our ego, or little self, or allowing our Greater Self to guide our lives in alignment with the Source or Universe.

If we look at life from a truly spiritual perspective, we tend to see everything has a purpose, and become less attached to the 'things' which feed our ego. Attachment to these 'things' cause us to have desires which pull us closer to the physical, instead of the spiritual bodies we really are. Our ego is afraid of losing itself to the oneness. It continually dissects and slices everything into sections to be labelled and separated into categories. It fills us with temporary pleasure and reminds us of the pleasure or pain we experienced last time. Both pleasure and pain are illusions of the mind. Socrates debated this point to some of the greatest minds in Greek history. Deepak Chopra, in his book The Way of the Wizard, states:

"Self image separates; labelling things. It uses an image of a past experience to judge something. It will say I like this because it gave me pleasure before, therefore it will give me pleasure again. Pleasure is temporary..."

By allowing ourselves free will, we allow the "little ego" to have its way. Our Greater Self knows that this is not the way. Within us are both the "little ego" and the Greater Self. We have to allow both these parts of ourselves to exist side by side in peace. The only way we can do this, is to let the Greater Self lead the smaller self, or ego. In other words, let our ego become the servant instead of the master.

When our free will is in alignment with the Universe, our ego rejoices. It does not mind being put in its place. It is like a child who needs restraining. It is happy to know it is loved, and yet is still allowed to be. It is happy to serve.

We can know what our Greater Self is telling us, by going quietly within and listening to the inner voice. We can then follow the guidance we receive. Some call this guidance a conscience. This inner voice really does talk to us and help guide us through our lives if we are still and listen!

If we can find our balance between our free will, and the Divine voice within, we are well on the way to doing the will of our Creator. Ultimately, we will all find our way back to wanting to do the Divine will. Until that time, we still follow our own free will and it will repeatedly lead us astray, until we learn to recognise what we all are really seeking, and that is to do the will of God.

Just as our little ego is willing to be put in its place if it is loved and accepted for what it is, so too, can we serve our fellowman with respect and acceptance. One of the best ways to reach enlightenment, is through love and service to our fellowman. No matter how humble our job, it is doing whatever we are given in life to do, with love, that will lead us faster towards the path of enlightenment.

Often a near death experience (NDE) can result in our seeing things in a new light. It seems to result in the ego standing aside, once we see a glimpse into the 'real' world that is awaiting us. These experiences seem to have one thing in common: they all have life changing results. One such story is of a five year old child, who was admitted to hospital for a minor surgical procedure. The boy was given too much ether which caused a brief respiratory failure and possible cardiac arrest. With that, he experienced something which changed his life: he felt strong love emitting from a being of light followed by a review of his short life. He wrote many years later:

"I re-experienced everything that had happened in my life and watched it as a spectator with the being. Most of what I saw was about me and my brother, of whom I was very jealous. My attention was focused on our exchange of emotions, my jealousy, my feelings of triumph when I hit him, his surprise when I hit him for no reason, his anger and resentment, and later his triumph when he got back at me."

He also experienced the few loving moments he had with his brother:

"When I did something loving to him, I experienced my love, my brother's surprise, as well as his love and happiness. I experienced his feelings as clearly as my own, making this a fantastic lesson on the consequences of my own actions. It was the love from the being of light that gave me the strength to see my life exactly as it was, without making it better or worse."

It appears that when we look at our lives objectively, we experience, not only our own feelings, but the feelings we cause others at the same time. This, it appears, is what it is like when we pass from this life to the next. So if we are jealous towards another, we are deemed to experience their feelings towards us at the same time when we re- live this experience. Our perceived view of 'separation' brought about by the ego's individuality, is no longer there once we re-join others in the spiritual realms.


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