02/26/2011 08:37 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Bumper Sticker Wisdom

Ever notice how so many of the bumper sticker messages out there are simple yet profound? I saw a great one recently that said "Life Is the Classroom. Love Is the Lesson." That pretty much says it all. How is it that all the great spiritual sayings can fit on a bumper sticker? The reason is that Universal truth is simple and straightforward. To mention a few: "Be Here Now," "You Are What You Love, and You Love Whatever You Give Your Attention To," and "You Do Not Have Love, You Are Love." My all-time favorite is "The Truth Shall Set You Free." Any time I'm looking at a spiritual point of view that is pedantically overcomplicated, I know the essence of the truth has gotten lost in the shuffle.

Please: Do Not Feed the Ego.

The purpose of all created life is to learn and grow. That is every sentient being's job description. Whatever lesson you sign up for depends on what you give your attention to. The great 18th-century scientist and mystic, Emanuel Swedenborg (1682-1772), voted by Stanford University to be one of the wisest people to have ever lived on the planet, wrote a great deal about this very subject matter. If I were to simplify his volumes of wisdom into a bumper sticker, it would be: "You Are Consciousness; It Is Not a Possession." You do not have it; you are it. Consciousness is love. You do not have to spend your life trying to earn love. Life has never been about working to be deserving and worthy enough. How do you prove that you are worthy enough of something that you already are? Life is all about learning that you are love and embracing this truth. It is about recognizing that you are love, and that no one and nothing has the power to change that.

Who Put a Stop Payment on My Reality Check?

Swedenborg describes the human experience as coming with a built-in, self-corrective guidance system. It is better known as the nervous system, what I like to call the "keep it real arena." When you give your attention to seeing yourself as something more limited than love, you feel it immediately. There is no confusion here in the planet Earth classroom. When you see yourself as the person who does not have enough money, time or opportunity, you feel that limitation right away. When you give your attention to seeing yourself as connected to the source of all abundance and well-being, you feel that expansiveness as well. Your body, via the nervous system, lets you know in no uncertain terms if you are choosing to learn from a limited classroom or an unlimited classroom, depending, of course, on what you give your attention to.

Life Is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride or Die Trying.

Change is Inevitable -- except from a vending machine. Anytime I pick up a book and the author is telling me I have to ask myself 10 or more different questions in response to every life situation or relationship, I immediately become apprehensive. It wouldn't fit on a bumper sticker. Or if I sign up for a self-improvement class and the curriculum involves taking a string of other classes in order to achieve clarity, my gut feeling is to walk away immediately. Learning about yourself is easier and more direct than successfully performing a never-ending series of stupid human tricks. You come direct from the manufacturer equipped with everything you need to know about what you are, why you are here and what you are choosing to learn from.

The More You Complain, the Longer God Makes You Live.

Pay attention to how what you give your attention to makes you feel. As one sticker states, "Pain Is inevitable, Misery Is Optional." Is the inner narrative you are loyally focusing on making your life feel hellishly limited? Stop. You have free will. You can choose something else. The tricky part is figuring out the answer to these questions: How much of your life is run on autopilot? How much of what you give your attention to is grossly repetitive and not consciously examined and updated? Are you repeatedly self-inflicting some critical or harsh words someone else put into motion? Do you still see yourself through the filter of a parent's or teacher's opinion that defines you as incapable of doing anything right? Do you constantly tell yourself that you are ugly and unlovable, because this idea was solidified when you were a teenager or going through an awkward stage of development? The purpose of life is to grow beyond anything that separates you from the truth about your identity as love. And let's face it: life offers us many creative and "up close and personal" opportunities to do just that.

So here are the most important points I learned from reading bumper stickers.

  • You are love. I can't add anything to that.

  • Love: it's your spiritual identity. And it is experienced as consciousness, as awareness.
  • What we think, we become. When you give something your attention, you are giving it your love, because you are not separate from love.
  • You are what you love, and you love whatever you give your attention to.
  • Who feels it knows it. When you give attention to limited things, you feel limited, unlike when you focus on the unlimited. How does it make you feel?
  • A day without sunshine is like night. If what you are giving your attention to is not setting you free, then you have not seen the truth yet; keep looking.
  • All this easy-to-master-and-understand wisdom can fit on a subcompact. How good is that?! Maybe this is why bumper sticker philosophy compels us to speed up and get close enough to read it -- because the truth is oftentimes simply stated and right in front of us. So the next time you are stuck in traffic, use it as a learning experience and start checking out the wisdom on the cars around you. Happy motoring!