From The Ecstatic Moment by Paul Ferrini
Excerpt from the Ecstatic Moment
In the ecstatic moment you recognize your spiritual perfection and that of all other beings. Perfection is never about the past or the future. It is always and only about now. You are perfect right now, regardless of what you are thinking or feeling, regardless of all your perceived problems or unfinished business.
You are acceptable as you are, no matter how many mistakes you think you have made. There is nothing you have thought, felt, or done that prevents you from realizing your perfection right here and right now.
All suffering results from your refusal to accept and bless your life just the way it is now, from your insecure need to try to fix yourself, your relationships and the world you live in. When you stop finding fault with your life and trying to fix it, you can be in it more fully. When you are in your life fully, it has energy, purpose and integrity. There is nothing lacking, nothing insufficient, nothing broken. It is perfect just as it is.
In the ecstatic moment you also recognize that others are perfect just the way they are. They are perfect regardless of how they have behaved toward you in the past or how you think they might behave toward you in the future. They are perfect regardless of how many problems they appear to have. They do not need to be redeemed, improved or fixed. They are entitled to their experience, whether or not they like it, you like it, or anyone else likes it or agrees with it.
Each person is whole and complete even though he may not believe it himself, even though others may see him as deficient. If you would see a person through the eyes of Spirit you will look past his apparent weaknesses and see his inner perfection. Even if he attacks you, you will see that he just wants your love and doesn't know how to ask for it.
When you have judgments about others, it is helpful to be aware of those judgments. Don't seek to justify them. Don't beat yourself for having them. Just realize that you cannot see whom anyone is when you are judging that person.
What you judge in another shows you some aspect of yourself you haven't yet come to accept. When you learn to love and accept this part of yourself, you won't need to make judgments about others.
In the ecstatic moment you also recognize that the outside world is acceptable just the way it is. It doesn't need to be changed or fixed or improved. It doesn't have to meet your expectations.
Suffering arises when you want things to be different than they are. Things can never be different than they are. What can be different is the meaning you give to what happens. You can't change what happens, but you can change what you think it means.
What you don't like in the world reflects what you haven't come to embrace in yourself. As you learn to love yourself more completely, fewer outside situations will disturb you.
Suffering also arises when you become attached to certain circumstances of your life or roles that you play. All roles and circumstances eventually become limiting; if you are to grow, these must change. Although you are not always ready for it, change is liberating. It calls you to a deeper level of Self. By constantly shedding your external identifications, you give birth to that which cannot be defined from without, that which is everpresent and eternal within you.
Perception is the key
When you realize the perfection of everything as it is, you see that every outcome is a good one. The world will never be good unless you are willing to see its goodness. What you experience depends on how you look at things. When you look with judgment, life is twisted and empty. When you look with an open heart and mind, life is poignant and full of meaning.
Whatever you see without love and acceptance, you separate from. You do this because you are afraid. Separation may seem to deaden your fear for a while, but in the end it only adds to it, deepening your sense of disconnection and victimhood.
Like all defense mechanisms born of fear, separation is an illusion. As soon as you look again with love, you see a different world.
What you are responsible for
You are responsible for your thoughts, feelings and experience. You are not responsible for the thoughts, feelings and experiences of others. It is not your responsibility that someone else is happy or sad.
However, you are responsible for being happy or sad, fulfilled or unfulfilled. Your joy and your anger are your responsibility. You cannot make anyone else responsible for how you think or feel. The attempt to do so just slows down your awakening process.
You are here to love and accept yourself, to embrace and learn from your experience. You are not here to take care of anyone else or to be taken care of by anyone else.
You are here to be who you are authentically. You are not here to please others or to win their approval. Even though you risk losing someone's approval, you are responsible for telling that person the truth of your experience.
You are here to make your own decisions and to learn from your own mistakes. You are not here to make decisions for other people, nor to let others make decisions for you.
You are here to learn to love and take care of yourself, to nurture yourself, to be in touch with your feelings, to express yourself in a creative way. You are here to honor yourself in all ways, to know what feels good for you and to do it, and to know what does not feel good to you and to refrain from doing it or allowing it to be done to you.
You are responsible for whatever is happening right now. You are responsible for everything you ask for and for everything you agree to do. You are not a victim of anyone else's actions.
Victims need to please others to gain approval. They say yes when they mean no. Then they resent the other person for "coercing" them. In truth, they betray themselves by not saying no to things they don't want to do.
Your responsibility is to say yes when you mean yes and to say no when you mean no. Do not say yes when you mean no. If you do, whatever happens will be your responsibility.
If you change your mind about an agreement, tell the other person right away. As soon as you know what you want, communicate it to the others involved. Making a mistake is not a problem if you take responsibility for it and act swiftly to correct it.
Don't try to make others responsible for the choices you make. That is emotional cowardice. Take responsibility for your choices and for the mistakes you will inevitably make. Acknowledge your transgressions and learn from them so that you do not repeat them.
If you treat another in an unfair way, tell him that you realize that you acted unfairly and that you are learning to act with greater integrity and compassion. Ask for his understanding and forgiveness. Few beings will withhold forgiveness when they see that you feel remorse for your transgressions and are taking steps to correct them. In the same manner, do not withhold from others the understanding and forgiveness they request from you.
What happens is perfect, but that includes all the mistakes that you make. To be perfect does not mean to be mistake free. It's okay to fail. It's okay to learn from your mistakes.
Whatever happens is okay. Everything is important. Everything is forgivable.
What you are not responsible for
You are not responsible for the thoughts, feelings or experience of other people, even if you are involved in their lives. Others are responsible for every thought or feeling they have. When they try to blame you or make you responsible for what has happened to them, they are not acting in good faith. Do not take false responsibility for the thoughts, feelings and experience of others. It does not help them or you.
Your responsibility is to accept and honor what others are experiencing, but not to take responsibility for it. Their experience belongs to them alone.
In order to accept and honor the experience of others, you must refrain from judging it, interpreting it, analyzing it, comparing it to your experience. You may ask open-ended questions to help people communicate their experience fully, but these questions must not have their own agenda. Their entire purpose must be to enable others to communicate what they are attempting to convey to you.
Your responsibility is to listen deeply and fully to the communication of others. It is not to agree or disagree with what they have to say. Your agreement or disagreement is irrelevant at best, and intrusive at worst.
You are here to create a safe, open, loving space for yourself and other people. You do this by staying in your own life and out of the lives of other people. You do this by taking responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and experiences, and inviting others to do the same. You do it by honoring what works for you, by being clear about it and committed to it, and by honoring what works for others by encouraging them to be clear about it and committed to it.
These boundary lines are self-explanatory. However, they are profoundly difficult to adhere to on an ongoing basis. Most people have learned patterns of codependence, mutual trespass and betrayal. Reversing this conditioning is a challenging proposition. It requires ongoing practice with a partner and/or with a group of people. Dedicated practice adhering to these boundaries in human relationships will result in a life that is more centered and peaceful, as well as more compassionate and connected to others.
To summarize then: accept and be responsible for your own experience. Accept the experience of others, but do not take responsibility for it. Do not make decisions for others or let others make decisions for you. Do not be an authority for anyone else or let anyone else be an authority for you. Understand that you know what is best for you and others know what is best for them. This is true even though you and others make mistakes. Those mistakes are part of the spiritual perfection of life. Give yourself the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. Give others the same freedom.
Don't make others responsible for your thoughts, feelings or experience. What you think, feel and experience belongs only to you. When you project this responsibility onto others, become aware of it and with humility take it back.
Don't allow others to make you responsible for their thoughts, feelings or experience. What they think, feel and experience belongs only to them. When others project this responsibility onto you, tell them in a non-blaming, compassionate way that you cannot accept this responsibility and would like to support them in taking responsibility for their own experience.
To put it simply: be who you are. Encourage others to be who they are. Be authentic, responsible, and empowered. Empower others to be authentic and responsible.
Don't lead. Don't follow. Go alone when you have to. Go hand in hand when others want to join you. Either way, be an equal. See your inherent equality with all beings. That way your gifts will be offered in a way that helps others and you will receive the gifts of others in a way that helps you.
The Economy of Love
Selections on creativity, right livelihood and abundance from The Ecstatic Moment and other books
Click here to buy the CD for $16.95
Listen to audio excerpts from this book read by Paul Ferrini:
The Horn of Plenty
The Economy of Love
What You are Not Responsible For
Self and Other
Separation from Our Source