More on the “Sub-Conscious” Mind

IMG_3510Looking around me, the garage was a mess. My office is in the garage, and besides being my office, there is also lawn equipment, bicycles, beach things, and whatever else my lovely wife doesn’t have room for in the house.

“My office” means lots of guitars and other instruments, paints and brushes, amplifier’s, all kinds of various pieces of wood and other things for me to paint on, lots of books, papers, and various chapters from the book I’m working on, each individually clipped together.

One day several years ago I was thinking about this idea that “the outer world is a reflection of your inner world” and had a bright idea. “Then I can clean up the garage, and then that will fix me on the inside!”

It seemed to me that if my inner world was being reflected all around me, then I could manipulate it or shape it from the outside in.

But alas, thank goodness, before I started cleaning, the complication of the idea came to me and I saw that it wasn’t a great idea.

It would be like looking in a mirror and drawing a mustache on yourself in the mirror. It would be okay as long as you stood still, but the moment you moved, of course everyone would see that you don’t really have a mustache. In this case, you would only be dealing with the reflection.

And that is what we do best. We reach for things and for people who are outside of us, and insist that they “make us okay”.

We do it with material things like cars, clothes, jewelry, and houses. We do it with habits like smoking, drinking, gambling, and over eating. Then we have the audacity to try and use other people to make ourselves feel better.

I have a doctorates degree from the “School of Hard Knocks”. I have experimented with it all. My findings are that material things, habits, and other people can no doubt ease things for a time, but… when you give me a little, I need more. I don’t want more, I need more.

If you are seeking outside of yourself for things to “make you okay” on the inside, it is simply going to go downhill. You can draw anything you want to on the mirror, but as soon as you step away from the mirror, you will see that it isn’t real. You always know deep down inside that it isn’t real. This is why we pull harder, do it more, and eventually become like the guy in the movie, wondering around the cave crying, “My precious.”

You gotta do the work on the inside. This has to do with how you feel about yourself. You can plainly see your inner self all around you, and it it isn’t pleasant or what you want, then you have to find out why.

Why don’t you like yourself? What do you have against yourself? What did you do wrong?

These are the primary questions that we have to ask ourselves. Nobody likes to ask themselves these questions, but this is how it is done. Chances are that if you feel badly about yourself, your reasoning is a little off-kilter. Maybe you need somebody to tell you that you are right. You are perfect. You are exactly the way God (or the Universe) made you to be. Maybe you need someone to tell you that there is a gigantic difference between saying, “I made a mistake” and “I am a mistake”.

In the end, it is us who is responsible for us. We can blame other people, we can blame anything we want to, but the way we think, feel, and act, is up to us to do our inner work.

When we change how we feel about ourselves, the outer world will adjust accordingly and with seemingly no effort on our part. A mirror can only reflect what you put in front of it. 

Oh yes, the garage….. it may not be organized and orderly today, but it is filled with all the things I love. I am a very blessed man.

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There Is No “Sub-Conscious” Mind

 It is said that our human consciousness is like an iceberg. Only a small part of it is above the surface, but the majority of it is underneath the water.

So we have our “conscious” and our “unconscious”, or “sub-conscious” which is much bigger. In other words, there’s a lot of stuff inside of us that we are not necessarily aware of or in tune with. As a matter of fact, there are things inside of us that we wouldn’t even know if we were to come across them. How much of an iceberg can you see above the water? 10% ? That leaves an awful lot that we cannot see, or in the case of consciousness, that we do not know about or even relate to.

Most people equate “consciousness” with being awake, as opposed to being asleep. But consciousness has many different levels. When we are awake but the mind is not where the body is, that is a low level of consciousness. When we are awake and the mind is where the body is, this is a higher level of consciousness. So the more often we are “present” the higher the level of consciousness we can have.

Now, this is where it gets tricky. This is something that is a personal observation that I have written about in a blog once, but plan on writing and speaking more about it.

 In the spiritual circles we are told repeatedly that “Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world.” If this statement is true, then can you not see your sub-conscious mind all around you?

This is why things happen in our lives and we cannot understand how we created them. It is because we do not know these things on an inner level. So when we see them on the “big screen” of our lives, we have no association with them. 

Using this idea, the sub-conscious mind is no longer a mystery. No longer can we say we cannot see it. Our lives are reflections of it, so all we have to do is open our eyes.

Opening our eyes requires being in Presence. Being Present in the moment. Awareness.

You are AWARENESS. So time spent in meditation and correcting yourself during the day is all about becoming more aware, and more often. Our awareness grows bigger and stronger and we see and hear more and more both from inside ourselves, and also from outside of ourselves.

The iceberg emerges from the water :)



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My Dark Time

IMG_2569On the outside, things are all pretty much the same as they were five years ago. My wife and I will have been married for thirteen years this July, and we have lived in this house for ten years. Our daughter is six. My main income is from music since 1998, which is sixteen years ago now. Wow.

But boy did I go through a dark time. I’m talking about a darkness with not a spec of light anywhere. All I had to go on was to tell myself that, “One day you’ll see that little spec again.”

But honestly, I wasn’t sure.

You see, it just wasn’t enough. I had wanted to make a living playing music and to spend my life doing what I loved, and that had certainly happened. But I found myself without health insurance, not able to go on vacations, sometimes having to borrow money to pay my electric bill, and basically just barely scrapping by in life all the time.

To make matters worse, the ultimate trouble was that I had played so many gigs for so long, that I had lost my “spark”. There was no more enthusiasm, no more dreams of having someone famous record one of my songs, or getting famous myself. I knocked on the door long enough and loudly enough to figure out that nobody was going to open it.

I lost my purpose in life. Everything that I thought was going to happen, didn’t. I wanted more, and I didn’t feel bad about wanting more, and I still don’t. I want to enjoy life, go on vacations, be able to go to the doctor, and things like that.

But I stayed true to my truth. “I am music!” I gritted my teeth and just kept going, but at some point a thought came to me out of the blue, “I’m playing music in the wrong place.” But where else could I play? I’ve been a street musician, I’ve played in children’s hospitals, old folks homes, if you can name it, I’ve played it. So what was I to do?

I had been meditating and reading lots of spiritual books, and my wife had started taking our daughter to Life Bridge church. I refused, and still refuse to go to a church that tells you about the “great Heaven in the sky” after you die, if you are good. But she and several other people approached me about what they called “Blue Jean” church’s. I would go to their web sites, and quickly be turned off. You can wear jeans, but their idea of God does not gel with mine.

One day I was talking with a friend of mine about the situation, and he said, “You should try Unity!” So I went home and looked it up on the internet. Much to my amazement, this was what I’d been looking for! I told my wife Heather, “Looking at their web site, I cannot find any reason not to go.”

It was a huge ordeal for me. My spiritual advisor said that I could sit near the back and that I could leave at any time, and so I sat in the back. But I didn’t leave. This was a group of spiritual people just as I’d been looking for. My wife was disappointed that the church and the children’s program was much smaller than Life Bridge church, but not disappointed enough to go back there. She was intrigued by Unity and has come to really like it.

A few weeks went by and one night I was playing a gig at some dive bar on River Street, when in walks the associate minister and music director from our new found church.

Do I have to tell you what happened next?

I sat in with the band one Sunday, and we played a song called “Faith and Grace” by the Blind Boys of Alabama, and we got a standing ovation. Suddenly I saw the tiniest spec of light. It was coming from the last place on earth that I would have ever expected it to come from.

It has been four years since Heather and I went to Unity for the first time. I have played music, given meditation workshops, and even given the message at Unity church’s all over the southeast. I am involved with the church, and play music there at least once a month. Lately I’ve been slowly getting my get wet as music director. In May I will begin taking classes, and the process of becoming a Licensed Unity Teacher. This may take a while, depending on how fast the Universe wants to go. Then my plan will be to apply to become a minister by working in the field.

And no it isn’t happening fast enough. But man is it ever happening. I know what I want, what my intentions are, and which way to go. Still my income is mostly from playing music, but now I do my church work too. I also make artwork and have my art work in a couple of galleries. I also see clients for energy work and spiritual counseling. I am also working diligently on my first book.

Just sitting and reflecting on things tonight, it just came to me that I survived that dark time. I can’t tell you how much it has changed me on the inside for the better. I am no longer so judgmental as I used to be, I have found answers to all of my questions about life, and I am a very different person now than I was before all this.

I survived the dark time and am much better for it. Have you survived dark times and were you better for it?

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Get More Done With Less Stress

SPIRIT painting 4-14The more time I spend in meditation, the more I get done in life. At the same time I get more done and accomplish more, everything is a lot less stressful than my life used to be.

This just does not make any sense to me, even while experiencing it!

It used to be that I basically did one thing. I was very stressed and dramatic all the time. I was very angry too. This was very important, and typically people didn’t understand just how important it was. That got me to a certain point, but then things stalled and I pushed harder. Then after a time, I crumbled beneath the weight.

Today things are so different in my life that sometimes I don’t feel like I know myself. There is so much less stress and anxiety now. It sometimes feels as if I just don’t care anymore, but this isn’t the case at all.

“I care, but there is a clear understanding of what I am in charge of and what I am not in charge of.”

For instance, if I want to give a meditation class, there are certain things that I’m in charge of. I find a location and make arrangements about place, time, and financial arrangements. Then I post it on Facebook, meet up, and sometimes make a few flyers. In other words, “my part” is clearly defined, and can easily be done.

What used to stress me out so bad was my confusion about responsibility. “What if nobody shows up?” I’d ask myself. I somehow would place upon my shoulders the responsibility of having a full room show up for my class. There was no room for the Universe to work at all, because I had assumed all responsibility.

I care, and I care a lot. But meditation has helped me to clearly define where my part starts, and where it ends. The Universe is allowed to do what it wants to do. So if nobody shows up to my event, it really is okay. If one person shows up to my event, this is really okay too.

I am relieved of all that pressure, and now realize how much pressure I used to place upon myself. It was all very unrealistic. Now that I am much more realistic I find that I can spend my time much more effectively and get so much more done, so much faster, and with no stressing over things I cannot do anything about.

My music gigs are still for the time, my main source of income. I write this blog, am working on a book, I’m an artist and have my art in several galleries, I am working with several different clients all the time with spiritual counseling and energy healing, and I have a beautiful home and family too. Did I mention that I also go to school online and am about to finish one degree and then embark upon another journey?

But in meditation, I AM RIGHT HERE :)


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Blessings On Easter Sunday

kyle_ssi_003I stayed away from church of any kind for thirty years, and now after just a few years back, it is quite odd still for me to deal with the idea of Easter.

If Jesus died on the cross so to absolve me or cleanse me of my sins, then why does the idea of hell even exist? One minute I was told that Jesus had “saved me” and the next minute I was told, “You better shape up or you’ll find yourself in hell!”

These people were really adamant in their belief’s, and I was flabbergasted that they could possibly believe these things. Often I have said and will say again, that they had God made out to be a lot like Santa Clause.

I always knew and I know now that God is much more than that. When I was a kid I resented and hated these people and the word “Christians” was pretty much the same as a curse word to me. The word or the idea evoked in my mind someone who was holier than I was, someone who was very judgmental and condemning.

Unless you were on his team. Unless you cut your hair like he did. Unless you wore the same brands of clothes. Unless you were pretty much a clone of him.

Now that I am older, it is all okay. I really am okay with everyone, no matter what they “believe”.

I have come to understand that people who have “belief’s” are people who don’t know. Belief is fear. It is something you hang on to. Your team decides to wear the blue hat and the blue hat is the only way. I get it. People with belief’s are always trying to get you to agree with them or make you “see” how right they actually are.

A person who needs so badly to be right, must not be.

I don’t believe anything. I know what I know. What I know about God is that God is not a noun. God is a verb, an action in motion. God is in everything and everyone. There is nothing that is not “of God”.

What I know about people is that we are all people. We have all been born under different circumstances in to this world, and we all will live here and then die. We are all in the same predicament, but each on his or her own journey.

What I know about Jesus is that with all the miracles he performed, he didn’t have to get on the cross. He could have easily overpowered those that were there, or frightened them to the hills. But he didn’t. He let them put him up there, and he took all their punishment. While hanging there, he looked out at the people and he said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”
Jesus taught me that by crucifying him, those people were actually crucifying themselves. They were damaging themselves. They were acting out of fear. The scene of the crucifixion was a picture of their insides. Instead of being angry with them, or instead of being afraid, Jesus wept for them. Because He saw.

What I know about me is that if you are a human, we are on the same team.We may not all know it, but I do.

On this Easter Sunday I invite not just you, but myself as well, to take this opportunity to let down our walls a little bit more. These belief’s that we hold like shields are unnecessary. Let us examine ourselves, take a look at our lives, and honestly see where we make decisions and are living from fear.
Of the thousands of ministers in the world who will tell you that you should be “God-fearing”, I am not one of them. I will tell you that “God is Love”. I will tell you that to make decisions and live our lives from Love is to live in Heaven. To live in fear is hell.

God lives within each and every one of us, not just in ministers or monk’s or the pope. God lives in YOU.

I probably would not be so graceful while being crucified, but I know that this is the goal. This is what to strive for. So let us strive to live our lives from Love instead of fear, no matter what difficulties we may face in our lives.

Blessings to you and Happy Easter!

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About Prayer(part 3)

Prayer flags at Kanuga 2013

Prayer flags at Kanuga 2013

“Our thoughts are prayers
and we are always praying.
Our thoughts are prayers
listen to what you’re saying. 
Seek a higher consciousness,
a state of peacefulness
and know that God is always there,
and every thought becomes a prayer” 

You are a prayer. Your life is a prayer. It is impossible to escape the fact that every single moment counts.

Every thought that goes through your mind.

Every word that you say.

Everything that you do.

This is how I’ve come to understand prayer. Prayer is the kind of person I am and the way I live my life. I have come to understand that all things in the Universe are in Divine Order, even when tragedy strikes, or even when I don’t necessarily agree with, like, or understand circumstances. I look up at the moon and the sun, and I look at my hands, and I listen to the voices of my wife and daughter, and I know that God doesn’t mess up.

And suddenly when I stop fighting everything, when everything is okay just like it is,… then everything is okay just like it is.

This feeling is a wonderful prayer.

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Religious Abuse

Kyle Shiver INHA

Kyle Shiver INHA

A few weeks ago I was interviewed on a radio show called “Different Strokes For Different Folks”, hosted by David Clarke.

He asked me some very good questions and one of them really took me by surprise. We were talking about the church that I was raised in, the Church of Christ, and he asked me something like, “Do you think you were religiously abused as a child?

My brain started spinning pretty fast because this was being recorded live. This was the first time I’d ever heard the term “religious abuse”, but something in the way the question was framed led me to believe that this might be a normal topic of conversation on this particular show.

I stammered some with my answer, but said “No, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “religious abuse”.

I’ve been thinking about this ever since.

Growing up in the above mentioned church, I was in fact told a lot of things that didn’t necessarily make sense to me. Just to make a long story short, and also to keep you from reading all about my experience which you probably already know about anyway, let’s just say that they portrayed God to be exactly like Santa Clause. If you are a good boy or girl, you get rewarded, but if you are a bad boy or girl, you get punished.

By the time I was ten, I had already figured out that these people were doing the best that they could, but that they had no answers any more than I did. And it is for this reason that I said “No” in answer to David’s question.

As a child, when I’d ask a legitimate question about something, they would get strange looks on their faces and say something like, “Well you better believe that it is just this way or you will go to hell!”

I just wanted to know what life was about, why I am here, and what happens when we die. The idea that if I “Lived a good life and was “God-Fearing”, I would be rewarded with a place in Heaven after I died never resonated with me in the least.

There was a lot of fear. There were a lot of threats. There were no reasonable answers to anything. There was talk about Gods love and the greatness of His love, but there were too many conditions on this love for a boy to count on his fingers and toes.

Certainly I thought at the time, and I still think that fear and shame based religions are really sad. I knew then and I know today that the Love of God has no conditions on it. I know that God IS Love and to me the idea that God would love one person more than another person is as silly as you could possible get.

You could say that what these people are doing is “abusive”, but again, they really don’t know any better. They have been taught fear and shame and that is all they know. So what do you expect them to teach?

In any case, thank you for having me on your show David, and for asking such thought-provoking questions!

You can listen to the show HERE

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About Prayer (part 2)

IMG_1837I’ve been reading “Conversations With God” lately and Neale Donald Walsch explains how our relationship with God becomes like our relationship with our parents. We ask, beg, plead, and try to bargain to get what we want.

The trouble here is that God is not your parents and He/She/It does not work in this fashion.

All of our spiritual teachers tell us that if we want certain things, then we must do certain things. It’s pretty simple really. If you want to be forgiven you must forgive. If you want to get, then you must give. We are told to treat others the way that we want to be treated.

In other words, I had to do all the things that I really didn’t want to do. I didn’t even know how to be forgiving or how to be giving. I didn’t understand why anyone would want to forgive people who had wronged them in some way. I sure didn’t understand why I should give, especially since I always seemed to have so little.

But it works.

Try looking at it this way; Praying is not talking to God. Prayer is taking an action towards God. Prayer to me is action. Prayer is my part or my side of my relationship with God.

Prayer is working through a resentment or a grudge that I am holding on to and letting it go. If you don’t know how to let it go, then you have to find someone to help you. That is what I had to do and still have to do at times. “How can I see this differently?” “How can I possibly forgive?”

It is me who has to change, and when I do, I instantly feel better. See how that works? I do my part by forgiving and I am automatically forgiven.

Prayer is giving when you feel like you can’t give. Look around you and find something that you don’t use anymore, or something that you bought and never used. Give it away to someone who could and would use it! Give a little bit of money instead of waiting until you can make a big donation.  This is prayer.

These rules, or “Universal Laws” that are set down before us appear not only in the Bible, but can easily be found in any spiritual text. The rules do not say, “You forgive so and so, and then I will consider forgiving you” or “Give away a percentage, and then you might receive something back”. No. The Law of Cause and Effect” is exactly like the Law of Gravity. These laws are cut and dried, black and white. You step off the Empire State Building and we’ll see you later. You don’t give and you aren’t going to get.

In short, when it starts to feel like life has turned against me, I know better than to think that it is God turning against me. God is always there. The problem is that I am not in accordance with the Universal Laws.


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You Can Always Help Somebody!

IMG_2356You may be surprised to learn that many of the blogs I write, are directed at my self.

After all, I’m just a person like you are! I have plenty of room for growth and the Universe makes sure that I get my share of challenges. How else can we grow?

You know how on an obstacle course, one person will climb over a wall, and then turn to help the next person over? That is just how I see my self in life. There is just a certain point that you reach, and suddenly people start asking you questions, or coming to you for counsel, or just simply saying, “Please help me!” but in this instance, I am at the same time, attempting to climb my next walls too.

Thank goodness there are people there to lean down and extend a hand!

Here is one thing I know: It doesn’t matter how tough things are for you right now, you can always help somebody! Seriously. Help move a couch, give someone a few bucks, or even just a simple look in the eye with a smile.

Let us remember that it is in giving that we receive, it is in forgiving that we are forgiven, and it is in healing that we are healed.

Amen and so it is.

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About Prayer (part 1)

kyle_ssi_002 3Praying is not about asking, begging, pleading, bargaining, and surely not about insisting.

Prayer is also not just for ministers, swami’s, guru’s, Joel Osteen, or the Pope.

The truth is that God communicate’s with us all the time in many ways, and we communicate with God too. But too many of us feel that there is a “communication error”.

Maybe the angels are working on one of the tower’s? Or maybe they are just re-working the network?

Many times we feel as if we are trying to place a call, but it just won’t go through. There just isn’t anyone on the other end. Many of us have already just cancelled our service with God.

I have cancelled my service more than once, and I haven’t always been so polite about it.

It is no fun to be broke and not really know how you are going to financially get by. It is no fun to invest your heart and soul and everything else you have in to something, only to watch other people achieve success. It is also not much fun to struggle with things like alcohol and drugs, food, sex, money, and relationships. Heck, at that point, what isn’t a struggle? There have been times in my life when it was just absolutely no fun being me.

Until I learned how to pray.

It was the tough times in life that taught me prayer. You see, like many people do, I only prayed when times were tough. I only spoke to God when money seemed tight, or when I couldn’t get my way no matter how hard I tried, or when I continued to drink even when evidence showed that I’m not the kind of person that should drink.

If things were okay, I never thought about God for a second.

It wasn’t until I realized and was willing to admit that my so-called “relationship with God” was one-sided, that things could begin to change. Things really began to change when I saw and pondered the question, “What does God want from me?”

We each have our own ideas about what God wants from us. I personally lean towards thinking that God wants us to use our “God-given talents”, and of course we know simple suggestions such as “the Golden Rule”. No matter our belief’s or our religion or lack of religion, this world simply cannot function for me if I am in a constant state of take take take. Things just don’t work that way.

So initially for me, prayer became simply looking for ways that I could give.

- Do you pray only when you are in trouble?
- What do you think God would want from you?
- Can you find ways to be more giving in life? 

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