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Our Beliefs: Green Lights and Red Lights

Our Beliefs: Green Lights and Red Lights

by Dan Millman

A few days ago, as I was bicycling home from the local Farmer’s Market, I noticed that every light turned green as I approached. I started to feel lucky, powerful, blessed, virtuous — life was going my way. I noticed thoughts arising about how “it must be my positive energy” or “goodness” or “rightness” of my decision to ride my bike that day.

And when I seem to encounter only red lights, I doubts may arise. Either way, traffic lights become messages from a higher order of reality.

Many people cling to this kind of thinking—the beliefs that when we’re on the right track, everything magically or mysteriously falls into place. Lights change, doors open, people appear, and God or the universe clears the way. Synchronicity. Infinite quantum possibility.

But if a hurricane hits, or acts of human violence, we make up stories about God punishing us. We seek messages and create stories to explain what it all means… and we have the capacity to make meanings (positive or negative) out of any event.

We may also believe that if only we could only get our thoughts and intentions aligned, then our lives will unfold in line with our desires and make manifest all our dreams. Effortlessly.

Such magical beliefs have tremendous appeal. They represent the inner solution—that positive thoughts lead to abundance and love and all good things. (If only we could follow all the directions in the positive-thinking books.)

Within every adult is a child who makes magic out of the mundane, and meaning out of mystery.

Quantum physics, we are told, proves (in a way we don’t quite understand) that our thoughts and intentions can somehow create our reality and that synchronicity will guide us to make the “right” decision if we only pay attention. All good things come from positive thoughts and feelings. (If we could only control our mind and emotions!)

I love magic as much as the next person. My childhood was filled with fantasy books.I was inspired by Peter Pan, and Superman, and wanted so much to be able to fly that it hurt.
But here is what life has taught me:

Life on Earth can be difficult. It takes effort over time to progress toward our chosen goals.
We can control our efforts, but not the outcomes (but by making an effort, we increase the odds of achieving those outcomes).
Thoughts and feelings create tendencies to behave a certain way — yet we are here to overcome tendencies as we submit to a higher will.
Action counts more than words or thoughts (the smallest good deed surpasses the grandest good intention).
We should not act without thinking, or think without acting.
Thoughts and intentions form a map; we must still make the journey.

Here’s an excerpt from Soc’s journal in my new book The Journeys of Socrates :

When I was young, I believed that life
might unfold in an orderly way, according to my hopes and expectations.
But now I understand that the Way winds like a river,
always changing, ever onward, following God’s gravity
toward the Great Sea of Being.
My journeys revealed that
the Way itself creates the warrior;
that every path leads to peace,
every choice to wisdom.
And that life has always been,
and will always be,
arising in Mystery.

Celebrate the mystery! As we clear the doors of perception, we find magic in the ordinary, right here, right now, with every breath we take.

Good journeys, Dan Millman

Please visit my website.Reprinted with permission from The Peaceful Warrior Quarterly Newsletter by Dan Millman and link to:

© 2005 All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission

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