Closing the Gap ~ Daniel Tipton


Dare to Be Happy

By Daniel Tipton*

CLOSING THE GAP

[as it appeared in the April 2012 Newsletter]

CLOSING THE GAP

There is a gap we all experience but may not always be aware of. It is the gap of time between a grievance and a miracle. It is the time spent in hell. It is the time spent on the cross before the resurrection. It is this period of time that the Course is trying to get us to pare down to the holy instant.

“I seem to have problems only because I am misusing time. I believe that the problem comes first, and time must elapse before it can be worked out. I do not see the problem and the answer as simultaneous in their occurrence. That is because I do not yet realize that God has placed the answer together with the problem, so that they cannot be separated by time. The Holy Spirit will teach me this if I will let Him.” (OrEd.W.90.5)

By practicing A Course in Miracles, we are attempting to close the gap between grievance and miracle (or forgiveness). We start with a grievance at the beginning of a period of time and have to struggle to reach the miracle at the other end. As we all know, this period of time can be minutes, hours, days, or even years. All the while, we allow ourselves to suffer in that period of time.

[78] Let miracles replace all grievances.
5 “By this idea do I unite my will with the Holy Spirit’s and perceive them as one. By this idea do I accept my release from hell. By this idea do I express my willingness to have all my illusions be replaced with truth according to God’s plan for my salvation. I would make no exceptions and no substitutes. I want all of Heaven and only Heaven, as God wills me to have.” (OrEd.W.89.5)

The time spent in unforgiveness is the time we are attempting to do away with. It is the only reason we have time in the first place. No matter how big or small grievances seem to be, God would not have us misuse time in this way. We attempt to close this gap by being mindful (Mind the gap! 😉  ) and practicing the Course. The gap will eventually shrink down into nothingness, which I believe is the holy instant. We can track our progress by how long we stay with a grievance. It may be particularly helpful to compare the times spent with similar grievances.

“Do not be concerned with time and fear not the instant of holiness which will remove all fear. For the instant of peace is eternal because it is wholly without fear. It will come, being the lesson God gives you through the Teacher He has appointed to translate time into eternity.” (OrEd.T.15.17)

“This course is not beyond immediate learning unless you prefer to believe that what God wills takes time. And this means only that you would rather delay the recognition that His Will is so. The holy instant is this one and every one. The one you want it to be it is. The one you would not have it be is lost to you. You must decide on when it is. Delay it not. For beyond the past and future, in which you will not find it, it stands in shimmering readiness for your acceptance. Yet you cannot bring it into glad awareness while you do not want it, for it holds the whole release from littleness.”  (OrEd.T.15.35)

“The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts which are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep. Innocence is not of your making. It is given you the instant you would have it. Yet it would not be Atonement if there were no need for Atonement. You will not be able to accept perfect communication as long as you would hide it from yourself. For what you would hide is hidden from you.” (OrEd.T.15.43)

My favorite thing about the Course is that is has all responsibility fall on us. How long do we want to stay in hell? It is our choice. This is not saying that forgiveness becoming immediate is easy, but it is saying that it IS possible if we want it. Yet our wanting it is the little bit of willingness that Jesus asks for. All he wants is for us to lay down our swords and our shields, and ask him: “Jesus, there must be a different way. Please, show me”. That IS all.

“The Holy Spirit asks only this little help of you. Whenever your thoughts wander to a special relationship which still attracts you, enter with Him into a holy instant and there let Him release you. He needs only your willingness to share His perspective to give it to you completely. And your willingness need not be complete because His is perfect. It is His task to atone for your unwillingness by His perfect faith, and it is His faith you share with Him there. Out of your recognition of your unwillingness for your release, His perfect willingness is given you. Call upon Him, for Heaven is at His call. And let Him call on Heaven for you.” (OrEd.T.16.69)

                                               CONTINUED FROM THE NEWSLETTER
I think we can track our progress by being aware of the time we spend with a grievance. It can be anything but it might help to choose something we are faced with over and over. (The re-occurrences are probably a sign that it’s time to move on anyway). For instance, I used to get pretty upset when my roommates were sloppy. It was more or less a grievance I carried around with me all the time, and one I used to deploy passive mental attacks. As I prayed and progressed, I noticed the time spent being bothered became less and less. It started only coming and going. Then, it would only last about an hour. Then, a few minutes, until I got to the point when I was able to shake it off almost immediately. It  comes. I see it. I shake it off. This lasts maybe 3 seconds now. I say “shake it off” because I usually shake my head to take me out of that thought and onto whatever else. This is not a form of denial because I address the issue if I feel I need to. It is ridding myself of unnecessary attack thoughts.I hope to apply this to all areas of my life. There are many I’m still working on, but I have noticed as I focus on them, and pray, I do progress. There is always something I can work on. It’s not hard to find new projects once one has been brought to a comfortable level. May we all shorten the time distance to miracles. May we all close the gap.

Blessings to all.

Daniel


*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of the Course in Miracles Society study group. He is in his second year of the 2 year ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the Community Miracles Center; Daniel attended the 2011 Annual ACIM Conference in San Francisco and is currently working on a masters degree in Counseling at UNO. He will be assisting at the 2013 ACIM Conference which will be held in Chicago. Daniel TiptonMore Conference Information here
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Finding Fulfilling Employment ~ Daniel Tipton


Dare to Be Happy

By Daniel Tipton*

FINDING FULFILLING EMPLOYMENT

[as it appeared in the March 2012 Newsletter]

FINDING FULFILLING EMPLOYMENT

DANIEL TIPTON:

I asked: “How important is matching your career up with your spiritual life (Course principals)? Does anyone have experience with working your spirituality into your career? Or how about changing your career to be more in line with your spirituality? I’m making a career change in the hope that I will enjoy work more. However, there is fear that I will run into the same problem if I don’t make more of a fundamental change. I know so far that I am thoroughly enjoying my counseling classes. (I’m enrolled in a Masters program in Community Counseling so that I can be a licensed counselor.)”

NOTE: I graduated from the culinary institute and work in food research but was bored. It wasn’t supporting me in what I really want to do. I’m now at UNO in the Master’s program for Community Counseling and am hoping this is the right choice.
When I was working as a legal secretary and feeling very unfulfilled, I prayed sincerely to God to give me meaningful work and the first thing that happened was He told me I was an undercover minister and was a source of Light for everyone at the law firm where I was working–from the biggest executives down to the mail-room guys. I was astounded as I thought everyone there had more than me (I was single, no children, very lonely, not living up to my potential, etc) … but then there was the shift in perception and I “got” that it was true that I could be their undercover minister. I accepted that quiet role and let myself glow around the office [:D] The next thing that happened was I was guided to go back to school and become a Gestalt psychotherapist (I was in therapy at the time and healing a lot from it) so I did! I excelled in school in a way I never had before–everything came easily, I did really well. It was four years of demanding schoolwork and financial obligation but I managed it and began my private practice in my 2nd year of school (most people waited until after they graduated). My career has been very rewarding emotionally. … Hope this helps!

CORINNE ZUPKO:

I’m happy to share my experiences as well! I was led into the counseling field when I was in college. Through my own healing in therapy, I knew it was my calling to help others (though I later realized this was all about healing MY mind.. i.e. “The sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept atonement for himself.”). I ended up working as a licensed counselor for 10 years in a busy counseling center. Although there was really no way to openly talk about Course principles, I found that I practiced these principles whenever I could, to find my own sense of inner peace (the job became increasingly stressful over the years with an escalating amount of crisis situations occurring). There were definitely some clients who were into exploring their spirituality, and it was really fun to work with these folks. But by far, most of the Course work I did in that job was not verbal but was IN ME (willingness to see my clients differently, willingness to hand over the judgments, what I thought was best for them, willingness to recognize them as my “brothers”, etc.).
                                               CONTINUED FROM THE NEWSLETTER

It’s funny as I ponder your question… because as I think about it, I  don’t really see the job I had as a counselor as lining up with my spiritual principles at all! It was totally stressful and “of the world” like any other job! Instead, I see it as exactly where I was supposed to be at that time in my life for my best learning, my “training ground.”  Whether that training ground was counseling, or working in some other profession, it isn’t about the form as much as the choice that I am making in every moment to follow my ego or to follow the Holy Spirit.

Having said that, I grew increasingly unhappy in this position as a therapist. I had a job that had all the appearances of being glorious (the setting I worked in was a very competitive setting AND I had the summers off!) The “picture” seemed perfect, but my discontent slowly grew. The job just didn’t “fit” me anymore. It was almost 2 years ago now, that I “knew” I needed to do something different (guidance was coming in so strongly to quit that I was thrown into anxiety and panic trying to not  listen to it out of fear of losing my steady salary). But I HAD to do something more in line with my spirituality. It almost felt like it was killing me not to.

I was guided out of that position and stepped into a role that IS more in line with my sense of spirituality. I’ve been writing about and teaching ACIM – and this is just something I didn’t feel that I could safely do when I was in my former job. I’m now teaching as an adjunct faculty member in a Community Counseling MA program which pays the bills (and which I love!), and writing about and teaching the Course which FILLS me up!! I’m simply where I’m supposed to be right now, and in that is  peace.

This is the beauty of the counseling profession – you can do SO MANY things with your degree!    So after all that, I guess I would say that practicing the Course doesn’t mean you need to have a job that appears to be in line with it. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be right now. But if you feel a pull to enter the counseling profession, honor it! Your lessons will come no matter where you are or what you’re doing.  I’m psyched to hear that you are enjoying your classes!

DANIEL:

Since receiving these comments, I’ve had time to consider my work situation some more.

I’ve realized that moving on can sometimes be running away from a chance to heal. This is my second time working at my current job because I left for “something better”. I found out there were the same problems, but worse. Luckily, they hired me back for a part-time position while I go to school. It wasn’t long after returning here that the feeling of discontent and resentment crept back in. This has made me think that there is probably a different way of dealing with this discontent. I started to pray for clarity on how I can be content with my job since I will need to work for at least three more years in a non-counseling field.

What I am beginning to see is that much of my discontent was due to some harsh criticism of almost everyone I worked with. I saw something wrong with almost everyone. This led me to believe that my work relationships might need healing. So I began to pray for guidance on how to improve and forgive my work relationships. After a while, I noticed that I started feeling compassion for people that I had never felt before. I also started feeling more accepting of everyone. This has led to a much happier work day

I don’t think these changes in feelings toward people would have shifted by changing jobs. My harsh criticism had made my work environment full of guilt and fear. I am getting along a lot better at work now and am finding more purpose. Letting go of my judgments of other people has been key. It has taken me much time and suffering to see this but I think I am finally getting it.

On the other hand, I still have a passion for counseling. I will stay in school and finish my degree because I am finding the coursework interesting. However, I feel that this inner work is crucial no matter what I decide to do. Without it, I might go into a counseling career with thought patterns that not only cause me misery but prevent me from excelling in the very career I think is best for me.

are giving you all of their attention and seem to understand exactly how you are feeling. Imagine how honored you feel, how loved you feel, how much you love them for giving you their attention, which is totally at their own discretion. It is not always easy to be a good listener, but it might do wonders for our relationships. Simply taking our attention off of our own thoughts for a minute to really hear somebody might be one of the most rewarding acts we can perform with the least amount of effort.


*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of the Course in Miracles Society study group. He is in his second year of the 2 year ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the CommDaniel Tiptonunity Miracles Center; Daniel attended the 2011 Annual ACIM Conference in San Francisco and is currently working on a masters degree in Counseling at UNO. He will be attending the 2013 ACIM Conference which will be held in Chicago. More Conference Information here

The Art of Listening ~ Daniel Tipton


Dare to Be Happy

By Daniel Tipton*

THE ART OF LISTENING

[as it appeared in the February 2012 Newsletter]

THE ART OF LISTENING

     It has never been a talent of mine to be a good listener. My normal tendency has been to listen to somebody until a thought is triggered, and then impatiently wait until I get the opportunity to express my “important” idea. I’ve always been told that it is a virtue to be a good listener, but I’ve never really thought about what it feels like when somebody is listening to me attentively.

I am currently studying counseling and have been realizing that being a good listener is not only a nice characteristic, but also a healing one. Also, that there are some Course principals in counseling: non-judgment, quietness, not actually healing but letting healing be, and giving. Most notably, being a good listener is an act of giving. When we give somebody our attention, and try to make what they are talking about as important to us as it is to them, miracles are bound to happen.

Imagine that you are talking to somebody and they are giving you all of their attention and seem to understand exactly how you are feeling. Imagine how honored you feel, how loved you feel, how much you love them for giving you their attention, which is totally at their own discretion. It is not always easy to be a good listener, but it might do wonders for our relationships. Simply taking our attention off of our own thoughts for a minute to really hear somebody might be one of the most rewarding acts we can perform with the least amount of effort.

When we listen to somebody, we might not only help them to find their own answers within, but we might learn something about ourselves. Attentive listening is partaking in a holy relationship. In a holy relationship both parties are elevated to a place where they could not have gotten to on their own. The Course says:

11 Be still and listen to the truth today. For each five minutes spent in listening, a thousand minds are opened to the truth. And they will hear the holy Word you hear. And when the hour is past, you will again release a thousand more who pause to ask that truth be given them along with you.
12 Today the holy Word of God is kept through your receiving it to give away, so you can teach the world what giving means by listening and learning it of Him. Do not forget today to reinforce your choice to hear and to receive the Word by this reminder, given to yourself as often as is possible today:
13 Let me be still and listen to the truth.
I am the messenger of God today.
My voice is His, to give what I receive. (OrEd.W.106)

This tells us to listen to the truth. I think that if we listen to the truth in our brothers, we help to release them. By releasing them through listening, imagine how many other lives they will touch until, realistically, a thousand more people have received the gift.
In counseling (or listening) we are advised not to give advice to clients. There are several reasons for this but the main one is that the answer is within the client. We each must find our own answers, but a good listener is an expediter to this process, and therein lies the value. The Course also says:

8 The therapist does not heal; he lets healing be. He can point to darkness, but he cannot bring light of himself, for light is not of him. Yet, being for him, it must also be for his patient. The Holy Spirit is the only therapist. He makes healing perfectly clear in any situation in which he is the Guide. The human therapist can only let Him fulfill His function. He needs no help for this. He will tell you exactly what to do to help anyone He sends to you for help and will speak to him through you if you do not interfere. Remember that you are choosing a guide for helping, and the wrong choice will not help. But remember also that the right one will. Trust Him, for help is His function, and He is of God. (OrEd.T.9.8)

I have this printed and hanging above my desk as a reminder of the kind of listener I want to be.


*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of the Course in Miracles Society study group. He is in his second year of the 2 year ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the CommDaniel Tiptonunity Miracles Center; Daniel attended the 2011 Annual ACIM Conference in San Francisco and is currently working on a masters degree in Counseling at UNO. He will be attending the 2013 ACIM Conference which will be held in Chicago.
More Conference Information here

The State of ACIM Dialogue ~ Daniel Tipton


Dare to Be Happy

By Daniel Tipton*

THE STATE OF ACIM DIALOGUE

[as it appeared in the January 2012 Newsletter]


The State of ACIM Dialogue

This is a part of a conversation that I had on the CMC online discussion board. I had been talking to one of the members, Bart Bacon (student of the Course since 1977), about the state of my participation on the discussion board and it led to a discussion about the state of ACIM dialogue. I think that this discussion would be useful to many students.

Daniel:
What I want to work on is my ability to substantiate and clarify [thoughts on A Course in Miracles]. It is much more work to substantiate a thought with quotations, but it is something that I must become accustomed to. I’ve just started work on a Master’s degree. I am finding that my professors have been asking me to clarify and substantiate my thoughts. I’ve been receiving lower grades because my comments lack explanation. It is all the same.
I used to look at a scholarly approach to metaphysical discussions as a contradiction. I used to think “it’s all based on feelings, right?” However, I am learning that we use a language that is composed of “symbols of symbols”. So when we want to communicate, it is important to use these symbols to the best of our ability so that we can come as close to mutual understanding as possible. The problem is that it is WORK! I need to accept that the work will be well worth the time; maybe more than I can imagine right now. I am always tempted to make “shoot from the hip” posts, but I am learning that they can lead to some confusion and hinder progress because there are so many holes to fill.
I’ve only been through the text and lessons once now. I will start up both again on the 1st. I am thinking that to post the way I want, I will have to start off short and slow. My posts on heavy topics like this may be short and spread out in the beginning. However, I do sometimes find that a deep thought can be explained in a few words. I think it would be better to share a few great words, rather than a bunch of wordy words, if you know what I mean. Quality over quantity.
Also, if I am to be a proclaimed student of Socrates, I must practice his methods of dialogue as much as possible.
I understand there is always a place for light discussion, but if I want to keep up with the “big dogs” ;), I need to nip laziness in the bud.

Thank you, my teachers and friends.

Daniel

~*~

Bart Bacon:

Daniel,

I have some thoughts on yours of December 23, 2011 at 05:15 PM.

You wrote “What I want to work on is my ability to substantiate and clarify. It is much more work to substantiate a thought with quotations, but it is something that I must become accustomed to.” Amen, brother!! My experience is that much (probably most) of the discussion in the ACIM community outside of CMC forums consists of people making up ideas in their heads and then convincing each other that they represent the ideas of ACIM, when in fact they are generally opposite to the ideas of ACIM. So I applaud and encourage your decision to substantiate and clarify. With regards to developing the ability, if you practice doing it, the ability will develop. Just like riding a bike, or playing a piano, or playing tennis.

You wrote “I used to look at a scholarly approach to metaphysical discussions as a contradiction. I used to think “it’s all based on feelings, right?” However, I am learning that we use a language that is composed of “symbols of symbols”. So when we want to communicate, it is important to use these symbols to the best of our ability so that we can come as close to mutual understanding as possible.” Amen brother again!! The idea that our spiritual paths are based on feelings is utterly false and…

~*~

…… runs counter to every page in ACIM. I posted at length on this in the first half of 2010. Do a search for “unity” or “pulpit” or “heart” at the “Personal Shares” and “Healing the Physical Body” threads if you care to read what I wrote. Feelings play a very important role, but “it’s all based on feelings” isn’t one of the reasons why Jesus wrote a thousand pages of intellectual ideas and mental practices.

You wrote “The problem is that it is WORK! I need to accept that the work will be well worth the time; maybe more than I can imagine right now.” Yup, it’s work. Does work have an unpleasant connotation? Look up the passage that says something to the effect that “all true pleasure comes from sharing the Holy Spirit”. If it’s not enjoyable at any particular point in time, if it’s not pulling you in, then ask the Holy Spirit whether he would rather have you doing something else at that point in time. Your emotions will tell you whether you are following the Holy Spirit.

You wrote “I am always tempted to make “shoot from the hip” posts, but I am learning that they can lead to some confusion and hinder progress because there are so many holes to fill.” The shoot from the hip approach has created vast problems in the ACIM community. I’m not saying don’t ever shoot from the hip. I shoot from the hip sometimes. But I would recommend that when you do so you preface your remarks with something to the effect of “my opinion” or “an idea that I’ve had” rather than making it look like a statement of definite truth. Take a look at my preface to my recent comments on “Universe of universes” for an example of what I’m talking about.

You wrote “I’ve only been through the text and lessons once now. I will start up both again on the 1st. I am thinking that to post the way I want, I will have to start off short and slow. My posts on heavy topics like this may be short and spread out in the beginning. However, I do sometimes find that a deep thought can be explained in a few words. I think it would be better to share a few great words, rather than a bunch of wordy words, if you know what I mean. Quality over quantity.” Second time through is marvelous. My first time through I recognized that I didn’t understand much of it but I wanted to know that I had read all of it once. I picked up a lot of new understanding my second time through. You can read it looking out for specific topics, such as “what is Jesus’ definition of miracle” and “does Jesus want our bodies to be healthy”.

You wrote “I understand there is always a place for light discussion, but if I want to keep up with the “big dogs”, I need to nip laziness in the bud.” Well, first I would say “U B U.” Some of us have been doing this for a long time. I personally am driven by the desire to address topics that I believe the ACIM community has ignored for a long time and the desire to address what I believe are errors that are holding ACIM students back. I think Maz might say something similar to that. But if I had been in a group like this when I was about to start my second time through, I would have written very differently. You are the only Daniel Tipton in this group and in this world. If you try to be Bart or Maz or Tony, then we won’t have the benefit of engaging with the authentic Daniel Tipton. When I was first starting ACIM what was HUGE to me was the way that it was transforming my personal relationships every day, not the theory. Now my relationships have been transformed so much and for so long that I don’t even want to discuss it. Sometimes I feel bad because I know Tony wants us to use this forum to discuss our day-to-day experience with ACIM, and I’m somewhat abusing it by posting about theory. So as I said, U B U. Post whatever you feel like posting. Someone may disagree, but I expect we’ll all be polite and I’m pretty sure everyone is juiced about your being among us.

With regards to laziness, I have a document that I’ve been building for years with regards to spiritual training, and one of the main things in it is “Learn to recognize distraction and ignorance as one of the main forms of attack in modern society. (DAIAA)” By all means make the effort to learn. If I were you I would try to make daily reading of ACIM a dedicated spiritual practice for about the next 100 years of your life. Reading is more important than posting.


~*~

*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of  the Course in Miracles Society study group. He is enrolled in the ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the Community Miracles Center, attended the 2011 Annual ACIM Conference in San Francisco and is currently working on a masters degree in Counseling at UNO. Daniel will be assisting at the 2013 ACIM Conference which will be held in Chicago. More Conference Information here

Daniel Tipton

The Shadow Side of Positive Change ~ Daniel Tipton


Dare to Be Happy

By Daniel Tipton*

THE SHADOW SIDE OF POSITIVE CHANGE

[as it appeared in the December 2011 Newsletter]

I like the title Dare to Be Happy because, most of the time, it takes courage to initiate changes that will make me happy. Sometimes I know what I want to do, but I get afraid. Before I broke up with my last girlfriend, I had never learned how difficult it can be to do the right thing. What do I mean by “the right thing.”? The right thing is whatever I know in my heart to be in line with my greatest self and greatest desires. I was in that relationship to experience all the lessons that it taught me. Then, there came a time when I felt strongly compelled to move on. At one point, I knew it was time to break up. I knew it needed to happen, so I told her. I felt liberated at first, but then fear worked its way in. The mind-altering drug of fear threw me for a loop I had never experienced before. I doubted everything and felt like the world had been turned upside down.

My thought going into the break-up was that if I am doing the right thing, the change will be easy. This is most definitely not always true. I had put much work into making that relationship what it was (which was not very healthy), and there was much work that needed to be done to withdraw. This experience taught me a valuable personal lesson though. “Scary” does not imply “take no action”. There is a difference between being scared and intuition telling me not to do something. Fear throws made-up scenarios at me to scare me off. Intuition is a gentle knowing that something should be avoided. Fear seems to make my heart hurt, while intuition seems to operate in my solar plexus. Fear is unreasonable, intuition uses reason. I had all the intuition I needed to get out of that relationship, yet I let fear delude me into keeping it going. I finally listened to my intuition to get out, but fear was sure to have its say.

~*~

      

I look back on things now and I say: “Did that really happen?” “Did I really make it through all of that?” I feel as though my fear slowly left me, but did so kicking and screaming. The Course says that we are creators, and that our creations are our children. I had created a nasty little child that suckled on my fear. When I started to dry up those reserves, this child went into attack mode. After time, it ran out of energy, and went to sleep to become a memory that is mostly quiet, yet still likes to push my buttons to test me every once in a while. All of these symbols are, of course, creations of my own thinking.

The only reason it is sometimes daring to make changes to be happy, is because the ego can be a strong foe. It should not be taken lightly. I need God’s help to overcome the ego’s many obstacles. That is why I have the Course, and why I have the Holy Spirit. God knows I am up against a mighty foe, because I have made it that way. Yet, He sees this foe as nothing, and wants to help me remember that it is nothing. When making a major change, I must be prepare to march forward against the onslaught of arrows the ego fires at me. God helps me remember though, that I hold the bow. I must set it down, and let the miracle take place.

 

~DANIEL

*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of  the Course in Miracles Society study group. He is enrolled in the ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the Community Miracles Center, attended the 2011 Annual ACIM Conference in San Francisco and is currently working on a masters degree in Counseling at UNO. Daniel will be assisting at the 2013 ACIM Conference which will be held in Chicago. More Conference Information here

Daniel Tipton

Daniel Tipton ~ My Philosophy of Life


Dare to Be Happy

By Daniel Tipton*

MY PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE

[as it appeared in the October 2011 Newsletter]

    My philosophy on life is to continue to develop my philosophy on life. By this I mean that I am constantly assessing the meaning behind my actions and the life that they manifest. If I were to describe my current philosophy, it would be an image of how I feel about how I have progressed and where I am going. However, when I get to the self most centrally mine, there are a couple underlying themes which drive me and which I doubt will ever change. One is to be my most authentic self and the other is to make the best use of this lifetime. These philosophies are based on, firstly, a desire to find the path that brings me the most peace and joy. If I feel steady peace and joy, I know that I am being true to myself. Right now, I am training myself to be an attentive internal listener so that I may be guided by higher wisdom from within to fully reveal myself. Secondly, I have a desire to not waste a lifetime. I believe that any progress not made in this life will need to be made up in successive lives. Essentially, I want to make the most of my life.

In striving to be my most authentic self, I find that it is also a calling to live a life that brings me the most love. It is important for me to know that my actions are serving my higher purpose. When I am giving or receiving love in all of its forms, whether it be an act of charity or fully enjoying whatever I am doing, I am being true to my nature. I also believe that my most authentic self is one who is kind and giving to everyone. I closely watch my behavior toward people and ask myself if I am behaving toward that person how I would enjoy being treated. This is cliché but I find that if one can truly empathize with another person’s position, they will act in a loving way toward them. This keeps me, most of the time, from attacking people because I can feel what it would be like to be attacked the way I am thinking about doing so.

In following this pursuit of authenticity and efficiency, I have found little use for religious dogma.      Catholic dogma used to be a part of my philosophy on life but I no longer find it useful. I was without a religion, per se, for over a decade until I discovered a work call “A Course in Miracles”. It is not so much a religion as it is a guide to looking at ourselves and removing fear-based obstacles to love and serenity. I have been studying this course for over two years and it is the centerpiece of my “religious” study. It says that there is a God and I believe that there is a divine creator. It also speaks of the afterlife as a return to our true essence, which is some sort of oneness with the creator. The afterlife is not spoken of as a reward to the righteous but a state every person will return to where the suffering and  materialism we experience here mean nothing. I find that modern religions can be helpful in some ways but I trust my inner voice to guide me to a fulfilling life.

As I have mentioned before, I trust myself to be able to find the truth in any situation based on intuition. When something feels right and it increases love or a feeling of connectedness with each other or ourselves, I consider it truth. When there is untruth, I experience discomfort to some degree.  The tricky part about following intuition is …

~*~

     …that we have a louder ego that guides us away from truth. I am ever learning how to decipher between the destructive callings of ego and the blessed callings of intuition. One example of a truth that I know and have experienced is that when I am doing what I love, I have an overall happier outlook on my entire life. I quit a well-paying job recently to go back to school to be a counselor. After doing that, my outlook and attitude toward everything in my life instantly improved. I now look at my life and am invigorated instead of feeling restless and unsure like I had before.

In order to live out my philosophies, I must be able to act on free will. When we make a loving choice, we benefit in some way from it. When an unloving choice is made, we experience unhappiness to some degree, thus we always have the choice between increasing or decreasing love (peace, happiness, joy, connectedness).The power to do either, is the power to dictate the quality of our lives. Furthermore, my conception of free will means that all humans have the right to make whichever choice they feel is best for them that doesn’t take away from another person’s freedom. I believe we were created to practice free will, and anyone that imposes on the free will of another is creating suffering and going against the laws of nature. Therefor, I find it just to reprimand violators. In a society where all are not evolved enough to see that crimes toward humanity are unnecessary, law is needed.

I find that beauty and love go hand in hand and that like love, beauty can give us a mystical experience. In keeping love in my life and making the most of it, I think it is important to enjoy beautiful things. Whether something gives us a mystical experience or not, depends on the person, but I also believe that there are some things that are considered beautiful to the mass consciousness. I have read that there are many ways to have a mystical experience and some are through art. I believe that a mystical experience is a feeling of wonder or awe. So if I look at a painting with wonder and/or awe, that makes it beautiful to me. Similarly, when I hear a quotation that rings with truth, I will say that it is beautiful because it gives me a mystical experience that I can feel inside.

One thing I have found helpful on my path is to take complete responsibility for everything I experience. I feel  it is important that we awaken to the fact that we are completely responsible for everything that occurs in our lives. Whether we feel we are a victim or not is beside the point; we are still responsible. I think that if we would stop thinking that our lives are happening to us and see that we are creating it with every thought and action, we would have a healthier and happier society. I think that it would be extraordinarily helpful to have more people among us who empower others and help them see that they are the only ones standing in the way of their own happiness. That is why I am becoming a counselor. I want to help awaken the dormant creative power in our society and at the same time, be my greatest self.

*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of  the Course in Miracles Society study group. He is enrolled in the ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the Community Miracles Center, attended the 2011 Annual ACIM Conference in San Francisco and is currently working on a masters degree in Counseling. Daniel will be attending the 2013 ACIM Conference which will be held in Chicago. More Conference Information here

Daniel Tipton

Surviving a Significant Breakup ~Daniel Tipton


Dare to Be Happy

By Daniel Tipton*

SURVIVING A SIGNIFICANT BREAK-UP

[as it appeared in the  September 2011 Newsletter]

          I broke up with my girlfriend of five years about a year ago. I’ve trudged through the muck of detachment and I can feel myself becoming a new person. I’ve been in a cocoon of reflection for a while now, yet I feel myself emerging as something better. I’m sure many can relate to this yet this is my first go-around with the experience. Here are some things I experienced along the way

*         Action rarely fixes feelings: After the break, there were many times that I thought some course of action would take my negative feelings away. Negative feelings come and go and they are delusional creations of the ego and will lead to delusional, self-serving actions. When a feeling comes up, it is something in you asking for healing; it is a chance to release something. Sometimes “riding-it-out” is the only way to let it go but it has to be let go.

*          Don’t obsess; nip it in the bud: Some days I would start thinking about something from the past that I regret or think I miss. It was easy to let it get carried away and before I knew it, I was obsessing and getting depressed. I have found lately that if I catch the thought, let it go, and switch focus to something positive, it helps to keep it from snowballing.

*         Talk to somebody who has been through it: Sometimes, just talking to somebody who has been through what you are experiencing is helpful. Knowing that they have been through it and that they turned out ok gives hope and helps the light at the end shine brighter.

*         Friends help fill the holes: While going through the break-up, there is a feeling of loneliness and lack of communion. Friends offer a sense of closeness and joining that the relationship once offered. It is also a good time to reevaluate our relationships with other people. It is easy to let a romantic relationship take all or most of our relationship investments. With my freedom, I had much more to invest into other relationships. The result was growing closer with old friends and discovering closeness with ones I had not before.

*         Rebounding: I personally found that it was best to wait until I knew my heart was open again before I pursued any kind of romantic interests. I dabbled with a couple people but quickly told them I was not interested when I realized that I was not ready. Until now, I have been in no mental state to offer myself fully to anyone. Rebounding seems to be more of a distraction that can prolong the healing process.

*         Discover what has wanted to be expressed by you, that you might have been too distracted to see. After my break-up, my life shifted into a higher gear. Things that I really wanted started happening at an accelerated rate. Now this new speed is the norm. My relationship sufficed as a distraction to keep me from looking at what I want out of life. I am now taking advantage of my time in order to shape my life into what I feel is my calling.

*         When the pain becomes too much, go to a sanctuary: There were times when my thoughts became so loud that it completely took me out of the moment, making me unable to focus. I found it useful to stop whatever I was doing to go to a quiet, peaceful place to sit alone and refocus. I found many times, that if I simply sat it out, the feeling would subside and transform into some kind of revelation or inspiration. Sometimes it took 1-2 hours.

*         There is nothing to “do” but let it go. I started many letters, and recited many conversations that I thought would bring answers and clarity to things. I always ended up throwing them away. In the end, there is only one thing we can “do” and that is to do what it takes to let it go. It is the ultimate goal in whole detachment process. It is also central theme of A Course in Miracles: forgiveness a.k.a. letting it go.

~Daniel

Daniel Tipton

*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of  the Course in Miracles Society study group. He is enrolled in the ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the Community Miracles Center and attended the 2011 Annual ACIM Conference in San Francisco.

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