Secret to Life is in Response
by Roland Trujillo
Natural life is a process of stimulus and response. Growth of the baby takes place when the cells respond to stimuli. As the organism grows and matures, all along the way, there are various stimuli that spur growth of certain tissues.
Often, growth occurs under the influence of hormones, which stimulate growth and development.
There are also external stimuli that spur growth. For example, the growth of a heavier coat of fur when winter is approaching may be instinctual for the bear; but it is some sort of environmental cue that stimulates the mechanism or hormone that regulates growth and either incites rapid growth or else disinhibits the growth.
Just what is the mysterious stimulus or cue that tells the seed to begin sprouting in the spring? What is the cue that awakens the tulip bulb from its winter nap?
The point is that various external stimuli stimulate hormones to make changes. And the cells of the body which are sensitive to that hormone respond and begin to produce substances or divide.
Amazingly, it is even hormonal neurotransmitters between the cells that pass along the signal to fire.
The whole process of life is a highly complex orchestration of regulations, stimulations, inhibitions, and disinhibitions, which occur at precise times.
When Christ was here in the flesh, His Presence and His Truth stimulated some to awaken from their sleep of sin.
Some received His Truth with joy. And the reception of His purifying Light freed them from their afflictions and healed them.
Those who did not respond remained asleep in their sins. Just as plants love the sun but certain bugs hate exposure to the sun, so some people love the Light and others hate it.
But there are other people who might respond to the Truth and the Light, but something blocks them.
We are all familiar with the fact that certain molecules cause harm by taking the place of the right molecule. The right molecule is there but cannot do its job because another has taken its place.
Perhaps this is what happens when someone accepts a lie. The lie is accepted by the person as if it were the truth. And the lie takes the place of the Truth, denying the person the life and healing that the Truth would bring.
Perhaps something like this also happens when a person accepts a fact or doctrine just because someone else said so. Though the fact may be true, it takes the place of Truth realized and realized Truth. The living substance does not enter, because it is blocked by the dead letter of the law. Remember what Christ said about this sort of thing. He said: The letter killeth but the Spirit giveth life.Ē
Perhaps the dead letter of the law is also like the dead material that we ingest in the form of highly processed and highly heated food. Raw fruit and vegetables contain enzymes, for example, which are destroyed in the heating process. Could it be that dead words, without the Spirit of Truth, are bad for us just as dead food is bad for us?
Can you see now why prepared speeches are dead and why our words often ring hollow? Itís because the motive is not pure. The motive is self serving (trying to make an impression or convince people) and the timing is wrong (spoken on some agenda or timetable instead of just when needed in the moment). Instead of Godís timing and just when needed, it is our timing, the committees timing or the speakerís timing. The words donít come from the heart and donít have the Truth in them. Even if they are heart felt and truthful, the preplanning has some ego serving purpose that takes the life out of the words.
Yes, people do respond to nice words or platitudes. But that is because they are so close to the real thing that they are eager to lap them up. But they respond emotionally and get caught up with the speaker or singer. And when we are caught up with anything, even nice words, it takes us away from God. That is also why a person who is hungry for love will misinterpret the smallest kindness as love, because they are so eager and hungry.
Hereís another analogy. Many people today are obese but undernourished. They eat and eat because their body craves nutrition. But the food, grown in poor soil and stripped of its goodness, cannot satisfy. Similarly, many people lap up the empty words of clever speakers, and are disappointed.
Can you now see why Christ said ďblessed are they that seek, for they shall find. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.Ē Those whose search is sincere will only be temporarily side tracked by empty words. They keep searching until they find the real thing.
We must stop filling ourselves up on worldly words and animal emotions.
We must realize our need, our emptiness, our hunger, and our helplessness, without resentment.
When we are empty and waiting for the real thing, the Spirit enters. God responds to our need. But when we are filled with the false fulfillments of the world, our need has already been met.
Remember that the external environment rarely affects interior organs directly. There are mediators that pass along messages. For example, the external image becomes a pattern in the rods and cones at the back of the retina. These rods and cones send messages along the optic nerve, both neurohormonal and electrical, to the brain where we somehow see the image.
Close your eyes and you become aware that your brain is in a dark cave of the skull. The sense organs and nerves are the intermediaries that bring the outside information in.
Now that I have laid some groundwork about stimulus and response, letís see how resentment adversely affects the body.
Resentment is the stimulus that stimulates the body to grow in an animal way.
Resentment stimulates anger or fear, and we all know the harmful long term effect of these emotions. Anger leads to frustration and depression. Fear leads to suppression. Remember that a master stimulus can elicit a cascade of responses that eventually reach each individual cell. Because resentment is denial and hate, it is a master stimulus that brings about activities in the body that reflect denial and hate.
It inhibits love, solidarity with others, light heartedness, and hope. It inhibits warmth. It stimulates compensatory reactions and growth. The animal grows as the human wanes. The resentful person becomes more intellectual, more cunning, and tense: on edge for flight or fight.
Amazingly and terribly, it also stimulates susceptibility and sensitivity both to that which is resented and to the environment in general.
And this susceptibility then, in turn, stimulates changes in the body.
The resentful person becomes a total victim, who can only survive by victimizing others to keep from wasting away.
The body has a structure, and each part of the body and each molecule have a molecular structure, carefully sequenced and carefully arranged.
The basic functions of these structures is to serve the soul or governing entity, providing the ability to locomote, observe the environment, and to adapt to temperature changes and so on.
For the young person, in addition to serving as a way of discovering and learning about the world, there is also a growth factor.
For the adult, the structures serve the person to observe, build and perform useful services for the good of all.
For the regenerating, spiritual person, the body provides a mechanism for observing and realizing, learning about the Creator, His love, His requirements, and His creative genius.
God gives the soul a body for getting around in the world and discovering increasingly sublime things. And God gives us time, so that we might have the space to discover what we need to know to make the next step in our personal evolution. From child to young adult, to mature adult, to increasing wisdom and spirituality.
Along the way, we need protection. We make mistakes and get ourselves into some tight situations. But for the person who has salvation in his future, God provides an out. He even permits us to make mistakes, so that we might learn a lesson. And he sometimes leaves us seemingly alone, so that we might discover our need for Him.
The body performs its work of seeing, hearing, locomotion, and sensing almost effortlessly. Freeing up our awareness to discover and ponder.
Another thing the body must do is a constant process of purification and repair. It is amazing just how much of the bodyís activity is devoted, for example, to purification. Lungs and skin give off the bad. Kidneys strain the blood and remove harmful substances for excretion. The liver works overtime to destroy and neutralize toxin. And the immune system is constantly finding, surrounding, and destroying harmful biological substances.
The immune system is constantly scanning for not-me entities that need to be dealt with.
I recently read an article about cancer that said that cancer avoids the immune systems surveillance activity. It sounds like an analogy would be the virus and spyware programs that protect our computers by doing a real time immunization and scanning of every inbound event to find and destroy harmful programs. And for what gets in, regularly scheduled scans find and quarantine harmful programs, if they are recognized.
It is interesting to note that at another level, evil and error do not like to be exposed to the Light of Truth. Bad people and evil intent always prefer to function under the radar, behind closed doors, or cloaked in respectability.
That is why evil dictatorships always restrict the press and deal in propaganda. They do not want the truth to expose them for what they are and what they are doing.
Truth is always suppressed. Cruel or wicked parents cannot stand the innocent eyes of children seeing them for what they are. Wicked parents will seek to confuse the child, drug it, or harm it to stop it from seeing them as they are. A self righteous dictatorial teacher will see the child who has spunk and asks questions as a trouble maker. They will see the child who doesnít pay attention (because the material is boring) as a threat.
That is why whistle blowers are always persecuted.
Even within a person, evil and error can and do live and carry out bad programming until exposed to the Light.
Based on the analogies that I have given you, can you see why proper meditation is important?
Everything within must be eventually exposed to the Light of Truth. When the error is exposed, it cannot function. And when the bad programming is removed, the person can begin to function from intuitive understanding.
Obviously, there is great value in being calm and reasonable. Reason can also be a cogent force when it is based on truth. Sometimes an emotional person, who is reacting emotionally to some imaginary or exaggerated fear, will calm down when reason is brought to bear.
At a higher level, when understanding is present, it has a salutary and calming influence. A little child might be scared by a sound in the night, but the presence of a calm parent who knows it is just a branch scraping wall in the wind, can make the child feel secure. An understanding parent who knows that ďthis too shall passĒ can help just by being there when lifeís little disappointments arrive. The understanding parentís presence is calm and does not contribute to the problem. The parent observes, and somehow the observation sheds a calming light.
The presence of understanding in the calm parent is akin to the Presence of Understanding that the Creator brings to the soul who meditates and yearns to know and do what is right. Evil and error simply cannot exist in the rarefied Light from God.
Letís continue our analogy about the body and health and see if the analogy also applies further to the process of meditation.
Health and nutrition programs that deal with recovery from serious illness always talk about detox. When the body starts to get better, it begins to eliminate the toxic materials that have accumulated. The toxic substances actually prevent or greatly curtail healing. When the body--because it has been given the space or the missing ingredient to recover, or because harmful practice(s) have been abandoned--begins to heal, the elimination of the toxic substances begins to take place. As they are eliminated, healing is improved also.
Just what is it that makes us emotionally and spiritually sick? Isnít it toxic emotions and toxic memories that we canít seem to shake? Could it be that these toxic emotions and memories have hindered healing?
Just what practice is it that is given up that helps the person begin to detox from these toxic emotions and memories? Most likely it is resent and judgment. As long as resentment remains, the toxic emotions and memories associated with each resentment cannot be eliminated.
And what is it that facilitates that maintenance of resentment and toxic emotions? It is a wrong attitude: one of pride, judgment, and ambition. Ambition, for example, leads to selfishnessóalways being on the lookout for some advantage. And selfishness leads to inevitable frustration. Pride is defensive, and leads to resentment when our wrong is exposed. Resentment is the stimulus to hurt feelings, bitterness and so on. And with each hurt feeling or bitterness, there is a memory associated with it.
Can you see how the wrong attitude with its accompanying wrong emotion (resentment) prevents the release of toxic memories and emotions? It turns out that these block healing.
Ultimately there is only one first step toward true healing, and that is a change of attitude.
When we become willing to see and admit our wrongs, even willing to see something wrong with our attitude, it begins the process of repentance. It is a process of seeing our wrong, being sorry, mourning, realizing forgiveness, letting go of baggage, and being grateful for being forgiven.
When a person is willing to forgive, often because they have been willing to see their own wrong, then their attitude changes. And with a humble polarity, the soul is no longer compatible with or in need of angry bitter memories to hang onto. These memories that came about in moments of resentment and judgment now no longer serve any purpose.
By our willingness to forgive others, our Heavenly Father is also willing to forgive us. And when he does, we find it easier to turn around and forgive others. Most of us have never known forgiveness. All weíre experienced is blame. Most of us have never experienced love. All weíve known is consoling comfort and distraction or the sympathy of other lost sheep.
But once we respond to Godís (at first chastising) love with repentance and joy, we then become aware of His forgiveness. Once we know that love exists and we experience it first hand, it is easier for us to stop hating and judging others.
In Godís Light of Truth, we see the wrong of hating others, judging them and holding a grudge against them. From that point on, whenever we see a memory where we resented someone or judged them, we realize the error and let go of the sustaining resentment. Soon the memory is also gone.
It is in this way that after the seed change of attitude, we see our errors one by one and they melt away.
I doubt if anyone can truly see their wrong attitude unless the Light of Truth shines in their soul and they are open to its admonishments. Otherwise, the prideful person goes from cradle to the grave, ever looking for self justification.
Death is inevitable result of pride and sin. And so are the preconditions to death that are set up by our pridefulness.
It is better to eat healthy food than unhealthy food. It is better to live a moral lifestyle than an immoral one. It is better to be calmer than to be upset. It is better to be amicable than hostile. It is better to live within the bounds of propriety, modesty and moderation than to engage in risky practices. But ultimately, something more is needed.
Good food cannot save you. Healthy common sense living may help you to live longer, but living longer is only of value if it gives you time to repent, find the purpose of your existence and search for the secret of life. Nothing can save you other than a return to the faith of the innocentóa reliance and trust in God that begins with a willingness to be chastised and humbled.
Iíve saved the best for last. The title of this chapter was The Secret to Life is Response. What we respond to and how we respond is very important. And nowhere is it more important than when it comes to how we handle overt or subtle challenges to our ego.
Most of us have spent our lives responding to the ego challenges and teases of the world with excitement and resentment. We resisted and resented anything that made us feel wrong, and we compensated to prove our rightness and goodness.
Now you must respond to the wordless Truth which makes you to know that pride is wrong and that responding emotionally to challenges is error.
Before you took your growth stimuli and pattern of development from those tempting challenges. Now you must learn how to stand back and observe the teases without responding to them.
Your meditation exercise and newfound rapport with truth will teach you how to stand back and observe without reacting. This is called the discipline of patient nonresponse. (If you havenít already done so, may we suggest you look at our meditation materials and introductory version available for free on our website)
Do you see it? Your response of joy and belief to the inner wordless Word renders you impervious and not responsive the tempting morsels of aggravation and the challenges to your ego.
Henceforth you wonít grow in the old ego animal compensatory way. Now your inner character will grow and flower in the light of the Spiritual Sun. Just as a plant takes in the sunbeams and incorporates something of the light into itself, so the soul, now living in Godís Light, will incorporate the pattern and purpose of that Light into realizations, character and growth. The essence of the Light will give purpose and direction, and the warmth will bring peace, assurance, and life itself to the humble receptive soul.
Each time you are patient, you clip another attachment to the world and develop a little bit more heavenly character
Mostly you will go about your business, but with an observing attitude. During the course of the day, you will make many discoveries and have realizations. You will see and understand. As a result of your beginning the day with meditation, signaling your desire to have the Creator enter your life, you will continue to grow in His grace. At times and places you will be inwardly prompted to move or say something. This time instead of coming in response to temptation on temptationís time schedule, your word or deed will be in your own time and space. You wonít even know what you are going to say or do ahead of time, but after having acted in response to intuitive impulse, you will see the rightness of what you did.
There will be a lot of sorting out to do, sometimes with pain. But God will give you the time and the grace to work through things. With time, life will become simpler and you will come to know the peace of God.