"Let's go back to our discussion about religion. People claim to be members of certain 'isms'—Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Protestant—what have you. They may know all the laws or rules or commandments; but very often, they end up practicin' the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. Kinda like ideals. Ideals should guide your life, not rule 'em. Someone might be really good at bein' whatever their 'ism' is—let's use Christian for example—but they don't go the distance."
"They don't aim to be Christ-like. It's easy to quote chapter and verse, but how deeply is it understood? Is it integrated into the life?"
"I know what integrated means, but please explain what you mean so I know we're talking about the same thing."
"You ever been to a class or somethin', or read a book—somethin' that gave you suggestions about makin' life easier or better?"
"You probably felt all charged up-energized-ready to put your new insights to work. You probably walked around feelin really upbeat, big smile on your face like you had the keys to the kingdom in your pocket. You maybe even started to tell folks about it—like you'd become the expert of somethin'. Any of this familiar?"
"Oh, yeah," I said, shaking my head.
"Several things. Instead of actually bringing the 'light of reality' to others as I thought I would, I just irritated them. And as soon as the opportunities to test my new insights arrived, I wasn't as successful as I thought I'd be."
"Do you understand what happened?"
"No integration. See, when we get an insight, it shifts our energy up a bit. We like the feelin'. We want to share it so others can feel as good—and as less fearful—as we do at that moment. When higher energy bumps into lower energy, there's resistance in both directions. The lower resists goin' higher, the higher resists goin' lower. Instant conflict.
"Also, when we get a new way to do somethin' and that first opportunity comes to try it out, old behaviors pop up as well. Integration comes after a time, A.J. It's like tryin' to put new furniture into a room before the old furniture is moved out. Everythin' is in there, but it's too crowded to move around in or work the way it should."
"I see what you mean. Every old way—or most old ways—of dealing with situations in life need to be removed first so that the insights work."
"And you pretty much have to move one old item out at a time. When most or all of the old bits are gone, you can find the right place for the new ones. Once your room is in order and you've moved around in it for a while, you've integrated."
"And the part about irritating others?"
"We'll use the same example. You have your old and new items in one room. You invite several people over to see your new bits and bobs. But it's chaotic in there. What they see is old and new competing for space."
"In other words, people can still see evidence of old behavior patterns."
"See or feel, as it may be. It's important to work this energy quietly, A.J. But especially while you're integratin' it. You want to clean out the old, one piece at a time, then carefully position each new piece before you invite people into that space."
"You're saying keep it to yourself until you have it down, then tell people about it."
"Almost. You see, when you're dealin' with your inner energy, it's best to wait for someone to ask you why things are goin' so well or why you seem more in balance than you used to. See, you want to be more like a sage than a salesman with this information. Like in nature. You never hear of a tomato plant goin door-to-door askin' folks if they need or want tomatoes. Nope. That tomato plant does what it does quietly and waits for people hungry for tomatoes to come to it. Once you integrate a new energy and way of dealin' with things, you begin to be an example. Folks just sort of show up and start askin' questions.
"Somethin else that's important, A.J., is not to get into judgin' yourself durin' this time—or anytime, actually. It's okay to re-assess yourself, but judgin' creates all kinds of harsh energy. You see, the integration time is an opportunity for you to observe yourself, your beliefs, and your conditionin' as much as a time to test out the new insights."
"You get to consciously realize how negative or unproductive some of those old behaviors are, and decide not to repeat them in the future. It's like learnin' to walk."
"The most important thing is to get up if you fall down."
"Yup. But before that even, as we talked about earlier, is not to judge yourself for fallin' down. That's one of the reasons for keepin' it to yourself. There are folks who will feel compelled to comment about how you're doin', how your new insights ain't workin' for you. Or worse, maybe they tell you there's somethin' wrong with you. Best to avoid that energy if possible.
"But probably the most important reason to keep it quiet is so you don't diffuse the energy. This applies to any goal that's still a seed. Say, you get an idea to change or create somethin'. If you keep it to yourself until the right time, you build the energy around it. If you're talkin' about it to everyone, that's where your energy is goin'—into talkin', not doin'. Also, when you really get into usin' the energy consciously, you want to not let your ego get into thinkin' you're special because of what happens in your life or what you know. When you're really flowin', life can seem magical. The ego will want to take credit. Feel above others. That can really gum up the works. Just remember that every other person has the ability to have the same conscious awareness. They just haven't opened up to it yet. You're not better because you did. Probably the best way to feel about it is grateful—grateful you expanded your awareness, grateful others can tap into it anytime they're ready. And, you have to let go of judgin' when they should be ready."
"But if someone asks me why things are working for me, shouldn't I share that?"
"Yup. But find a way to do it without ego. As I just said, tap into your feelin' of gratitude, feel humble and in awe of how it works. Then tell them the answer to their question. Let them know this is available to everyone, not just some. I do want to make one other point about the ego. Don't go thinkin' it's somethin' negative. It's what keeps us alive and goin, but it's not always the wisest advisor. Recognize when it's a good thing and when it's not."
Bill leaned back and paused. I waited.
"Another thing, A.J., folks tend to resist change—even if it's productive. Some resist it more than others. And some folks really react when an individual they're close to changes. They feel if you change, they may have to. Folks get used to their behaviors. They're familiar, like old friends who really aren't good for you, but you resist lettin' 'em go for somethin' or someone better for you."
"It's like that popular definition of insanity," I interrupted, "Repeating the same actions over and over, expecting different results. I suppose we all do that from time to time."
"That's why life can feel so crazy at times. But if folks understand that even a slight shift of how they look at somethin' can shift what they are lookin' at..."
"That's actually a powerful—or, rather—empowering concept, Bill. That goes back to how we started this conversation: Do I view my life as a series of trips from one point to the next or do I view it as a journey?"
"Yup. If you view your life as a journey, you'll pay attention to the connection between all the points—even how the link between point B to point C affects or influences what happens when you move from point N to point O. You'll see it as a whole path."
"All of the moments in our life are connected."
"They are, indeed. All it takes to see that is a willingness to consider every moment, every event in your life, as a piece of the bigger picture."
"Like threads of a tapestry."
"I like that image, A.J. Threads of different color and size interwoven to create a complete picture of a life."