I had a student that was really struggling with the idea that suffering is optional. She felt that many spiritual philosophies made suffering wrong. The gift of the Toltec tradition and Hawaiian spirituality is they both allow you to move beyond judgment and into a place of true freedom filled with love, joy and acceptance.

Imagine learning a new language. You thoroughly learn the vocabulary but totally ignore the structure, grammar and syntax of the language. You try to talk to natives of that language using your old grammar with the new vocabulary. Communicating complex concepts would be next to impossible.

The world created by the language of our mind is based on domination and the experience that we are all separate entities. The world inhabited by our spirit is based on dominion and the experience that we are one, part of a greater whole that is expansive and limitless. They are totally different languages, totally different ways of being in the world.

When living life from dominion the concept of right and wrong no longer applies. An event just is, until we tell ourselves a story about it, then our story creates our experience.

When I look back at my childhood some of the most ‘abusive’ events produced some of my most profound insights later in life. Once I used those events to deepen my connection to my spirit they became incredible gifts. Had I continued to tell myself the story that I was victimized and emotionally wounded I would have missed the gifts. If I chose to focus on suffering instead of expanding my awareness I would be a very different person today.

So it comes down to a simple choice: What do I want to create? Do I want to hold onto my story and be right? Do I want to deepen my connection to my spirit? Do I want to continue to experience what I am not, fear or experience myself as I really am, a limitless being of love and light?

Here is an excerpt from my book, The Toltec Way about dominion and domination that might help:

The Concept of Domination

I think you’ll agree that our society is based on the concept of domination, in which we seem always to be in opposition to something. Domination requires that someone is better than you or inferior to you, that events or actions are right or wrong, and people are richer or poorer. It is almost impossible to feel safe or to relax when the world is your opponent. This paradigm pervades society and contaminates most of our thinking, leading us to a limited concept of reality.

Whenever you judge yourself or someone else, or you find yourself comparing yourself with others, or in some way measuring anything in your life against an external source, your thinking is based on domination. In domination we don’t feel safe so we try to control the events in our lives, other people, or ourselves. Domination causes us to make our decisions based in fear. The best result we get when our decisions are based in fear is to generate more fear.

A society based on domination creates some very limiting beliefs about conformity and about shame. There is no room to embrace pain or limitations; you must overcome them; you must win. The very nature of domination requires us to struggle.

Living in a world founded on conflict, we feed ourselves a daily diet of insecurity. If you are honest with yourself, you’ll admit that you sometimes compare yourself to others, or even the media version of who and what you should be. You are better than or less than, you do not have enough or are not successful enough, you are too fat or too thin. You feel pressured to conform. This type of thinking is very narrow and polarized. Domination can be symbolically represented as a line.

The Concept of Dominion

If, instead, we shift to a paradigm of dominion, our vision of life becomes expansive. In dominion, everyone is part of a greater whole, everyone is an equal and integral part of the circle of life. We are no longer residing in an either/or situation; the whole and the person become one. A person truly living in dominion cannot make a choice that will harm another. Rather than being fear-based, dominion is based in love, unconditional love for the self and all other beings great and small.

Within the context of dominion, the people in our lives become our assistants instead of opponents. The idea of competition no longer makes sense nor does it have any value. It is a totally different way of viewing the world, one in which peace of mind becomes a way of life. Viewed from this perspective, life becomes limitless. We can afford the “luxury” of treating everyone and everything with compassion, love, and equality. We are able to embrace everything in our lives because we no longer need to struggle against anything–we are accepting of who we are as we are. A person is honored for merely being alive; no one is ever judged. This kind of thinking is expansive. Dominion can be symbolically represented as a sphere.

We aren’t trained to think in terms of dominion, so the concept seems frightening to many people. How do you live in a world based on domination and yet get your needs met if you remain in dominion? Won’t people just walk all over you? Well, sure, perhaps some will. However, I believe that for the most part, we receive what we give. When we are loving and non-judgmental, we are treated in a loving, non-judgmental way.

Finally, when we perceive our lives as lived in dominion, the process of our personal transformation takes on a sense of gentleness and safety. As you work through the Toltec Masteries you will learn who you really are and to love that person unconditionally. This will be extremely difficult if you remain in a judgmental state of domination.

So is abuse okay? I choose to look at it as an event that is neither right or wrong. It is an event in which two spirits come together and do a cosmic dance. They both take part in a cosmic play and they both get to write their own ending.

So what endings do you want to write to all of your cosmic plays?

With love and aloha,