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Freedom as False Autonomy versus True Freedom

by Robert Meagher on 07/05/21


Photo Credit: pexels.com - Mikhail Nilov

It is cycling season again in my city, and I relish every opportunity I can to get out for my day-long bike rides. I have written about this joy before. I get up about 4:30am, have my breakfast, pack my panier bags with food and water for the day, and head out for an adventure.

My trips will often take me to and through villages and towns. I will almost always visit forests, hills, lakes and rivers along the way. Many times, I will have the joy of cycling beside vast farmer’s fields. There is never any shortage of splendid scenery to captivate and caress the senses.

I am also blessed to encounter much wildlife. Birds and water fowl of all kinds, deer, bears, fox, reptiles, squirrels, chipmunks, racoons,…just to name a few. I am never alone. There is always someone or something that accompanies me on the ride.

There is always a great sense of freedom I experience on these day trips. To get out in nature, peddling to my heart’s content, is often blissful for me. I forget about the world, my life as I experience it, leave my self-imposed worries behind and immerse myself in a hypnotic-like, almost poetic expression of my physical being. The hotter and more humid it is, the better! I have never met a hot and humid day I have not adored!

This freedom I mention above is an interesting experience. This freedom is peaceful and even blissful. It is full of joy. It is rapturous at times. This freedom will often give me a sense of being carried away to another time and space. I can easily lose track of time, especially if it’s a gloriously-sunny-and-hot day. But is this freedom?

The freedom I speak of above is a freedom born out of a sense of self that is tethered to this world. It is a freedom born out of a sense of separateness. It is a freedom that thinks it is autonomous and self-sufficient. But this autonomy is a false autonomy.

The freedom I experience on my bicycle day trips is rooted in my sense of me doing something and experiencing something. The experience always brings awareness of another thing or body, in relation or comparison to me.

There is another freedom I aspire to. This other freedom is a true freedom. It is a freedom from the very bindings that gives me the freedom-as-false-autonomy experience described above. This true freedom is freedom from my mind.

True freedom for me is an absence of a sense of self. With no sense of something or someone separate and distinct from anything or anyone else, I experience ‘being’ instead of ‘doing’. My bicycle trips are ‘doing’ in the very real sense, with the occasional glimpse of being. When I lose track of time on my bicycle trips, I am only just beginning to enter a state of being.

Freedom from my mind allows me to look on everything and everyone with equanimity. There are no judgements. There is not even any perception. There is total acceptance of everything and everyone—of all that is. That is freedom!

Robert Meagher has been ordained as an Interfaith Minister and certified as a Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) Therapist. Robert is the Founder and Spiritual Director for Spiritual Guidance and Co-Founder of the Center for Human Awakening.

Stories, Drop the Stories

by Robert Meagher on 06/02/21


Photo Credit: pexels.com - Victor

Recently, I’ve become aware of something that is significant for my healing. This awareness brings with it the opportunity for me to heal myself and bring me peace. It’s not a revelation necessarily, just a very simple, plain truth.

I have noticed that whenever I react to anything or anyone with anything other the love, there is a ‘story’ playing itself out in my head. My reaction to a thing or person in a given situation, may range from annoyance, aggravation, or anger, to mild irritation, curiosity, or disbelief. Written all over my reaction is judgement. It is a perception, or observation, that whatever or whoever it is I am seeing is not conforming with the way I think it, or she/he, should be.

Why is this awareness significant? When I recognize there is a judgement or perception being projected, I become aware that there is a story playing itself out in my head. The story may be about the way I think something or someone should be or behave. The story may be about how I think something or someone should be, instead of how it is, or she/he is. Whenever I wish for something or someone to be other than what it is, or the person is, dis-ease results. I am pulled out of my peace.

If I choose to look at what is unfolding, I can recognize that the story playing out in my head is something from the past repeating itself. This story is typically associated with some sense of loss, grievance, or hurt. The story is never about the event unfolding. The story is always about some unresolved matter from my past.

The gift of this awareness, and the opportunity for healing, rests in my choice to not react to the unfolding event or situation. But to bring my awareness into my daily meditation and stillness and unpack the story. I examine the story and allow it to reveal to me the illusion of my loss, grievance, or hurt. I allow the story to show me what it is I’m holding on to that is causing me pain. When I get to the core issue(s) of my story, I then lay the foundation for forgiveness. As I allow forgiveness to enter my mind, I am healed.

To recap, I carry around unconscious stories from my early-life conditioning. These stories play themselves out whenever I react to anything or anyone with anything other than love. If I look at these stories, I can uncover my blockages to love. When I uncover my blockages to love, I can forgive myself. Forgiveness heals me and brings me peace.

Robert Meagher has been ordained as an Interfaith Minister and certified as a Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) Therapist. Robert is the Founder and Spiritual Director for Spiritual Guidance and Co-Founder of the Center for Human Awakening.

What Part Of Me Is Thinking Or Feeling?

by Robert Meagher on 05/05/21


Photo Credit: pexels.com - Brett Sayles

I went for a walk to the grocery store yesterday. It was a beautiful Spring day and it was lovely to walk along the streets with the warm air blowing on my skin and in my hair. I arrived at the grocery store, selected what I needed, and then headed home, with groceries in hand.

As I walked home, I became aware of my thoughts, feelings, and judgements. I remember looking at a tree that had buds just starting to come out. I remember thinking, “Oh!, how lovely!” I remember seeing people sitting outdoors on a tavern patio, enjoying a drink with friends. I remember thinking, “It must be cool, just sitting there, and drinking a cold drink.” I remember seeing some Christmas lights high up in a tree. I remember thinking, “How did those lights get so high up?!...Why are they still up there, it’s the end of March!” There was a never-ending conveyor belt of thoughts, and feelings associated with the thoughts.

Shortly before I arrived home, it dawned on me to ask the question, for any of the things I saw, who was doing the seeing? For any of the things I thought, who was doing the thinking? For any of the feelings I felt, who was doing the feeling?

The part of Rob that looked at the budding tree was that part of Rob that loves nature…the nature-lover Rob. The part of Rob that looked at the people sitting on the outdoor patio, enjoying a drink with friends, was the introvert Rob, the part of Rob that wouldn’t engage in that sort of behavior. The part of Rob that looked at the Christmas lights high up in the tree and asked “How did those lights get so high up?!...Why are they still up there, it’s the end of March!”…was the part of Rob that seeks for efficiency and consistency in all things. Afterall, wouldn’t one take down Christmas lights before the end of January?!!!

So, what’s the point of this inquiry and realization? Very simply, any ‘part’ of me that thinks, feels or judges is not in direct communion with the Divine. Any part of me that thinks, feels or judges is the part of me that I have carved off from the Divine and made my own.

Thought or feeling is born from judgement. I see something and I make a judgement—it’s good, it’s bad, it’s right, it’s wrong. I feel something because of something I experience—I feel happy, I feel sad, I feel joy, I feel anger. This too is born from judgement.

Judgement is not of the Divine. The Divine does not judge. The Divine simply observes and acknowledges what is. There is no thought of “I like this.” or “I don’t like this.” Whatever ‘this’ is…simply is.

Our practice, our work, is in bringing back together, unifying, all the different parts of ourselves we have made to walk through this world. In that bringing back together, we unify all aspects of ourselves and allow the Divine to ‘be’ present within us.

Robert Meagher has been ordained as an Interfaith Minister and certified as a Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) Therapist. Robert is the Founder and Spiritual Director for Spiritual Guidance and Co-Founder of the Center for Human Awakening.


Don’t Be Fooled…It’s Not Others Who Are Misbehaving

by Robert Meagher on 04/04/21


Photo Credit: pexels.com - Bfree

Earlier today I went for a drive to the grocery store. Amidst the characteristically and gratefully uneventful journey to the grocery store, there were a few drivers I witnessed that were being less than courteous. Some I felt were being downright rude.

When I arrived at the grocery store, the outing was characteristically and gratefully uneventful. Like with the drive, however, there was the odd patron who would seemingly be completely unaware of what was happening around them, resulting in causing some other patrons upset, including me.

As the day unfolded, I occasionally noticed people doing what felt and looked like unkind things. Granted, there were far more examples of good deeds that unfolded.

The day described above was not an unusual day. It was not the only day that I went out for a drive to witness driving infractions. It was not the only day that I witnessed people being unaware of what was going on around them. It was not the only day I witnessed people being unkind or doing unkind things.

I have become accustomed to witnessing and experience people misbehaving. But what I’ve also become accustomed to is stopping and asking myself when and where I remember doing the exact same thing! I am no longer fooled by my thinking that other people are misbehaving. I only have to stop and think and I soon realize that the very thing I am accusing another of doing, I have done myself.

It never fails, however egregious the infraction or misbehavior appears to be, I don’t have to think long before I can remember having behaved the same way myself. Even in the most extreme example, where I will see in the media that someone has murdered another person, if I’m honest with myself, I can remember having thoughts of wanting to harm another.

And so it is, one of the immutable laws of the universe, whatever we think, resulting in whatever we do, comes back to us. My seeing infractions, my witnessing unaware people, watching people being unkind, is simply reflecting back to me my own thoughts and actions. It’s not the other person who is misbehaving. The other person is merely mirroring back to me my own behavior.

Fortunately, the same is true for our positive thoughts and actions. We see those around us too. But it’s the negative thoughts and actions we see that we are far less likely to take responsibility for. Perhaps it’s what the masters meant in the ancient teaching… “Beware of your thoughts.”

Robert Meagher has been ordained as an Interfaith Minister and certified as a Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) Therapist. Robert is the Founder and Spiritual Director for Spiritual Guidance and Co-Founder of the Center for Human Awakening.


Trust In Life And Life Provides

by Robert Meagher on 03/03/21


Photo Credit: pexels.com - Alex Green

Seventeen years ago, I met my current partner. Sixteen years ago, my partner was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Six months later, he was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly thereafter, my role as life partner expanded to include health and personal caregiver.

As the diagnoses unfolded and a new reality emerged all those years ago, I quickly developed a sense of trust in life.1 I trusted that I would be provided with what I needed to manage and cope with this situation. I trusted that when I needed to know something, I would be told. I simply trusted.

Fast forward to present day and we are now having to consider palliative and hospice care for my partner. We have many of the legalities of the current situation in place. But the one part of the puzzle that remained elusive was how the transition from in-home care to hospice care would unfold. What would that transition look like? Was there something we could/should be doing now to prepare? And what about the financial aspect of the transition? Enter trust!

It just so happened (no coincidences here!) that a healthcare professional who works in the local palliative care industry was attending my spiritual gatherings. Knowing this person worked in the palliative care industry, I approached them recently to see what I could learn about palliative and hospice care. What unfolded was the most informative and helpful discussion I have had with any healthcare professional over the previous 17 years!

I left the discussion with gladness and gratefulness written all over my heart. Not only did I get answers to questions I have had for years!...but I was given specific instructions and steps to take to initiate a process of assessment for palliative and hospice care. This angel was surely sent from heaven!

While my trust in life has been tested from time to time over the past 17 years, my trust/faith has remained strong. It is stronger still because of the angelic light and love that was bestowed on me during that fateful conversation. I trusted, and life provided.

1. I use the word ‘life’ as most people would use the word ‘God’.

Robert Meagher has been ordained as an Interfaith Minister and certified as a Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) Therapist. Robert is the Founder and Spiritual Director for Spiritual Guidance and Co-Founder of the Center for Human Awakening.


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Thank you for visiting and for honoring us with your presence.  I am blessed to share the BLOG posts below.  New BLOG posts are uploaded every few weeks, so check back periodically to enjoy my latest personal stories with spiritual lessons.  If you enjoy the BLOG posts below, you may also enjoy my Video BLOG and monthly e-newsletter.  Thank you, again, for visiting.

Shanti, Namaste, Agapé,

Rev. Robert Meagher
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