Commencement Address: Do Something Hard to Do

We live in a time where living is difficult.  We live in a time where living is easy.  We live in a time where the Light is coming forth.  We live in a time where darkness is coming forth.  We live in a time where learning is cherished.  We live in a time where ignorance is cherished.

The times of change are upon us. The times to change how we live are upon us. Instead of seeking to have an easy life, we can argue that it’s time to do the hard things in life.

Many of the greatest things of life in our human history have been things that have been hard to do. Meanwhile, many of the worst things of our human history are from people seeking to have easy lives at the expense of others.

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In looking at our history, the greatest accomplishments and the greatest changes of human life have come as difficult choices – not easy choices.

Instead of looking for something “easy” to do, look for something hard to do.  Not to punish oneself, but to challenge oneself.  Not to keep the old, seemingly easy ways of life, but to create new, challenging ways of living.

Set your sights on a goal, even one that is hard to do, and if it takes your whole life, go for it.

Do something hard and not something just for oneself, because helping only oneself is easy.  Look for something very worthwhile and not just to make one’s own life easy, but to help others, as well.

Do something hard.

Look at today, and feel the challenge to look not for only an easy way out, or an easy this or an easy that, and instead look for that something that you know is hard to do, but better or greater.

Look for that something hard that is right and good and worthwhile, and helps oneself AND can help others, and makes life – not easy – but better because of that hard thing to do.

Do that something that is hard to do.

Look for ways to be more respectful. Look for ways to be kind when we haven’t been before.  Look for these ways.  Look for ways to forgive yourself, and then others for the very same thing. or for different things.

Do that something hard.

Be willing to seek ways to be compassionate to those one doesn’t want to be compassionate towards.

Do something difficult.

The only thing stopping its accomplishment is the not doing of it.  The only thing stopping kindness is not doing of it.  The only thing stopping being patient with another is not doing it.  The only thing stopping forgiving is not doing it.  The only thing stopping showing mercy is not doing it.  The only thing stopping learning and growing is not doing it.  The only thing stopping “loving one another as I love you” is not doing it.

Doing that hard and difficult task has brought all of us to here, today. Doing that difficult task has already brought us to what we’ve accomplished up to now.  We can look back at our lives, and see many things that we’ve accomplished that were hard to accomplish.  Was doing that which was hard to do worthwhile in doing it?

Do something that is hard to do.

Like loving. We think loving is easy. We think all we have to do is find the right person and we’ll love.  We think all we have to do to love someone is to be open to loving and it will fall in place.

But, loving those we don’t love is a hard thing to do. Loving those who we don’t like is a hard thing to do. Loving others as human beings when we’d rather take the easy road to disregard them, dislike them, hate them, disrespect them, insult them, not care about them, or even wish them dead or kill them.

Do something  hard.  Stop disrespecting another.  Stop hating.  Stop insulting.  Stop wishing others dead.

Do that something that is hard.  Stop.

Stopping these things is hard.  Then turn around 180 degrees from hating, disrespecting, and wishing others dead.

Turning around from these things is very hard.

Do that something that is hard to do.  Turn around.

Instead, let love exist as potential within us in the same way that Christ is within us with all His potential and all possibilities when He said, “With God, all things are possible.”   Let God’s eternity of Infinite Love exist for us to hope for that we can one day share.  Let it be the place to start to let tolerance grow inside of us, to let patience with another or others grow inside of us, to practice acceptance of others and the diversity of who we are, to check our own reflex fear, and our instant preconceptions to stop looking at ourselves and others only on the surface of life, and dig deeper into who we are individually and as people.

Do something hard.

Strive for that something that we know in our hearts is absolutely valuable and absolutely worthwhile for ourselves and everyone else.

Do something that’s hard to do.  On purpose.

Live life from the heart instead of from resentment.  Live life with a willingness to forgive someone at a moment’s notice, just for the purpose of forgiving, rather than to gain something.  Live life from a place of showing mercy only for the sake of mercy existing more in the world – rather than to gain something in return.

How many of us feel that what we’ve achieved in life so far has been hard or difficult? How many know others who have gone and done something that is hard to do?

It’s the hard and difficult things in life that we value and that are worthwhile to us. It is the hard things to do that we’re happy about looking back on our lives – raising and loving our family, education, vocations, contributing to our community, helping others, working on changing ourselves for better ways of living. It is the love that we’re glad about as we live life. It is the compassion and healing which we offer to those who’s lives we touch.

How many people do you know who have said on their death beds, “As I lay here dying, I’m so glad that I’ve been able to be bitter and resentful throughout my life, .” or “I’m so glad that I never apologized for any of the suffering and pain I contributed to in other’s lives”?  It doesn’t get said, but it does happen inside many of us and  it’s the easy thing to do.

Do something that’s hard to do. Forgiveness is hard to do.  Sometimes, it is.  Apologizing is hard to do.  Sometimes, it is.  Live from a deeper place in the heart. Think hard on how to help not just ourselves, but all of us, everyone.

Do something that’s hard to do.  It is a decision that one makes.

Not an Easy Thing to Create

It’s a call to give of our time, our resources, our prayers, our thoughts and our heart – to ourselves AND to others – everyone. It’s a call to work at balancing ourselves in all aspects of life – giving even to ourselves when we are the one in need, but not stopping with ourselves but rather going further to give to others equally.

Do something that’s hard, because too often, these hard things don’t get done on the road to wanting only an easy life. But, doing something hard to do, is so often the very thing that is worthwhile to do, and brings the greatest of all riches into our lives.

Finally, another challenge of a prayer to pray – presented to us through the movies –

“God bless us – everyone.”

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Spiritual Activities, Human Activities

I’m reminded of a story of a holyman who was meditating in a semi-secluded park. There were people around, but he decided to meditate. He believed it to be pastoral enough to give him a good meditation.

After a while, a woman with 4 children came into the park. They began playing and running around, and the mother trying to keep up with her kids, was so focused on her children, following them to keep them safe and together that she didn’t see the holyman and stumbled over him.

During this time, he was hearing all the noise the children were making and beginning to feel he made a bad choice. When the woman then stumbled on him, he stopped and expressed his being upset, “Can’t you see I’m trying to meditate here.”

The woman apologized profusely and told him, “I”m sorry, I was so focused on my children, that I did not see you at all.”

Upon first knowing this story, one might think the woman was wrong to interrupt the holyman, after all, he was doing what was spiritually recognized as being a consciousness raising thing. After all, meditating is so important to all mankind.

But, look at the story in a deeper way, it was the woman who was raising consciousness and the holyman was not – not because she was taking care of children, but because she was focused on her calling within her heart and serving others.

The holyman was getting his consciousness raising from outside himself – the socially accepted idea of how to be spiritual – and hoping for a good meditation for himself.

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In another story, … someone once told me, “You’re not here to grow vegetables, you’re here to grow consciousness.”

There may be a number of meanings in the statement, but on the surface, this statement and it’s premise has several things that are incorrect.

It presupposes that one activity is more important than the other. From the comment, you may be inferring a judgement of one over the other – looking up to one and looking down on the other.  It presupposes that there is “Growing Consciousness” and there is “Growing vegetables” and the two are initially in opposition or at least, taking the path in different directions.  The comment presupposes that the spiritual and the physical are separate realms and one needs to take precedent over the other.  In discussing it here, it also presupposes that one is to be pursued and another is to be let go.

While there may be other meanings, these are inherent in the statement.

Each of these, conveys that spirituality and consciousness raising requires one to be less and less interwoven in the physical realm and its requirements, and more and more interwoven with spiritual practices and their requirements.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

In this case, growing vegetables is the same as growing consciousness. We recognize many times, that before we start on a spiritual path, we are chopping wood and carrying water. After we start a spiritual path, we chop wood and carry water (the water is for growing vegetables, isn’t it.)

What I offer is that being alive is the spiritual path. At no time are we not on a spiritual path. Even when we are asleep and unconscious to the spiritual nature within us, and the voice and presence of God, we are nonetheless, on a spiritual path. This is true, because we have the presence of God guiding us within our own self. We may make wrong choices and create harm and destruction for others, but with every moment, the voice of God within our hearts, within our consciousnesses, whispers into our unconscious better ways by which to live life. Sometimes, we call this whisper a conscience.

All activities in life are activities in which a spirit is acting. Therefore, there is nothing in any realm or existence – no action, no belief, no behavior, no habit, no anything, no nothing, that is not part of spiritual reality.

In other words, there is no level of physical activity and no level of spiritual activity, no participation of physical existence and no participation of spiritual existence that are not the exact same thing in consciousness.

If we’re consciously seeking on a spiritual path, growing vegetables and growing consciousness are exactly the same thing… when we’re willing to let them be so in our hearts. There is no difference between the physical realm and the spiritual realm,… when we’re willing to let them be so hearts. There is no difference between the physical tasks and the spiritual tasks … when we’re willing to let them be so. All physical tasks are spiritual tasks. All the physical realm and everything in it is the spiritual realm and everything in it. These two worlds exist together and are one world – even as and when we deny this.

In saying growing vegetables is not growing consciousness, we would also be saying one is only spiritual work, the other is only physical work. In essence, that is like separating our self from our soul. How would you do that?

When all of God is Infinite, there is nothing that exists that is not God. When all that exists is God Consciousness, there is nothing that is not God Consciousness. Even building nuclear missiles and flying planes into buildings happens and exists inside the same Infinite Consciousness of God that Christ heals all the sick, raises the dead, and transforms the Earth.

So, physical realm activities (gardening) are spiritual activities. To become aware of this, all we need to is to ask ourselves, “How much love, kindness, patience, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, or long-suffering do I bring to this activity? More often, we don’t ask ourselves this, because we’re paying bills or typing away at the computer.

All activities in the physical realm are also spiritual activities in the spiritual realm. All activities are consciousness activities. It depends on us as to whether we become aware of this.

There is a story in the New Testament of Lazarus’s sisters, Mary and Martha, with Jesus at their home.  He gathers followers in one room to teach them, as Martha is in the other room preparing food.  She chastises Mary for not helping her prepare the meal.

But, look at what is going on inside Mary’s heart. No doubt, there is elation within Mary’s heart – listening to Christ teach in that moment. Learning wisdom and truth in those moments, from the Master, Himself. And look at what is going on in Martha’s mind – “women’s duties” of preparing the meal, work to do, criticism of Mary for not doing what Martha considers the women’s work. In Martha’s heart is not joy, not elation.

Christ’s message to Martha was that Mary had chosen the better choice. Notice the story doesn’t say, “the right choice”, but rather “the better choice”.

In the very first story, the woman was raising consciousness, the holyman was not, because the woman was carrying out a focused inner purpose and that focus was directed for the well-being of others.

In the story of Mary, Martha, and Christ, it is easy to first believe that Mary’s external activities were the spiritual path and not Martha’s – that Jesus was talking about.  It is more of a challenge to look deeper at that which was within both their hearts to see a deeper lesson.

A final, third story – There is a saint written about, and one of the stories about him was of a time praying in his room. During this praying, Jesus appeared to him. He could see Jesus at this moment, but it was also time to go serve the poor, giving them food and the help they needed. Reluctantly, he left his room where he was still able to see Jesus.

He came back afterwards and Jesus was still in his room. Then Jesus spoke to him. He said, “If you had stayed, I would have had to leave. It is because you went and served that I was able to stay with you.”

The lesson is about that which we hold in our hearts with regards to the activities we do. And in our hearts, do we hold it for our own benefit or the benefit of all?

It begs the question, what does it benefit us to carry out external acts called spiritual acts, if we have not included our heart – love, kindness, compassion, unity or oneness, unselfishness, etc, in the activity, and for all? What does it benefit us to act spiritual but lose our soul in an activity that is for the self rather than for the Oneness of All?

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We can continue to believe that we will eventually move beyond this earth to greater realms so we can gain greater levels of consciousness raising. But, this evolution won’t occur until we wake up to the spiritual presence in walking the path of the human being. How can we graduate to greater schools if we haven’t yet learned what this school of human life teaches?

It is also true, that we exist in full consciousness raising capability right where we are. All that this universe offers, all that God offers in consciousness is available right here, right now. We need travel nowhere – not to other galaxies or other dimensions, or other realms or other books or other retreats to gain Infinite Consciousness at Infinite Levels. It is all within us, already and we need only open to that which is within our hearts – the dwelling place of Love – the dwelling place of the God that is Love.

So, it is another lesson that there is no difference between raising consciousness and raising vegetables, … if we’re willing to let that be so in our hearts.