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Excerpt from A Heroic Life

The World Is a Stage

Every person is living out a destiny, a life that is designed especially for him or her. And everyone has the opportunity to become the hero of his life. What determines this is not intelligence, good looks, luck, or circumstances but a capacity to view life and oneself within one’s life a certain way.

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How you choose to see yourself and life determines your experience of life and whether or not you become that hero. Your perspective is that important. This book is about a perspective that makes it possible to be the hero of your life. It is also about perspectives that produce the opposite so that you can clearly see which ones do not work and reap only suffering, discontentment, and unhappiness.

The hero has a perspective that works and one that can be cultivated by anyone, and which, in fact, is cultivated by life itself. Life has a way of pointing people to a perspective that brings contentment and peace. That pointing is often accomplished through suffering: When your perspective is incorrect and doesn’t match reality, you aren’t happy; when it is, you are happy. Life shows you how to live by teaching you through suffering. So, ultimately, this book is about how to have a happy and fulfilled life.

Every character in a play has a perspective and a script to follow. If you were in a play, you would immerse yourself in your character’s perspective, follow your script, and experience what that character is destined to experience. In real life, you are given a perspective and a script of sorts, but you don’t have to stick with it. If you are scripted to play a victim or a perpetrator, for instance, you can choose to play a hero instead. In real life, you can improvise and alter the script as you go. Although you have a certain destiny and a general script, your lives are not actually scripted.

What I mean by destiny is this: You are here for a reason, a purpose. You are here to grow, learn, create, explore life, develop your talents, share your gifts, and learn to love. This is the general curriculum of life, and each person has his or her specific version of it—a more specific destiny. Each of you learns and develops in a way that is unique to you, and that is your specific destiny. Everyone accomplishes this general curriculum at his or her own pace.

You are naturally motivated to develop yourselves, learn, grow, love, create, and join with others. To not do these things would not be human. So, you cannot not do what you came here to do. You cannot not fulfill your general destiny. The only question is whether you will enjoy your life and flourish or go kicking and screaming through it. And why would anyone do the latter? Indeed, it sounds absurd that anyone would resist growing, learning, loving, creating, and developing oneself.

The explanation for this resistance to life is that something else has been built into the human machinery besides these positive drives for learning and expansion: an ego. You could say that the ego is the villain in the human drama, since the ego provides the greatest challenge to human happiness. The ego, which is driven by fear, greed, selfishness, and a sense of never having enough, rails against reality, misperceives life, and thus makes poor choices, which cause the suffering that is the grist for human evolution.

To overcome the trials of the human journey, you, the hero, must clear away the ego’s misperceptions, see through its lies, and cultivate your innate resources. Overcoming the challenges presented by the ego develops and strengthens the hero. Eventually, over many lifetimes, the hero gains mastery over the emotions and negative states generated by the ego, and he develops wisdom, discernment, fearlessness, compassion, and kindness, among other positive qualities. The physical challenges of life also accomplish this, but the ego creates necessary internal challenges that equally hone the hero’s character and make him all that he can be.

In dealing with difficulties, the hero is made strong and is reconnected with his divine nature. Challenges draw forth and develop qualities of character the hero didn’t know he had, which are the gifts hidden in the challenge. Life’s trials test your (the ego’s) false identities, desires, and beliefs and force you to face the ego’s fears, which is why the false self cannot survive life’s challenges. The ego is the dragon within each of you, which is eventually conquered through life’s trials.

The hero’s journey—this human life—is a search for and discovery of the greatest treasure of all: the gifts of your true nature. These gifts are your birthright, but they have been hidden from you, kept from you by the ego. These gifts are the wisdom, love, peace, courage, strength, and joy that reside at your core.

The ego, as I am using the word, is the programmed aspect of the human being that causes you to feel separate, fearful, lacking, and at odds and in competition with life and others. The ego is a sense of self that feels small, limited, afraid, and combative. The ego is who you are programmed to believe you are, and it is represented by the stream of thoughts that flows through your mind on a nearly continual basis. This thought-stream is primarily about yourself or about others in relation to you.

You need a sense of self to function in the world as an individual, and for that, you can be grateful to the ego. However, you don’t need the stream of thoughts about yourself, nor the ego’s negative and limiting definitions of yourself, nor its opposition to the way things are.

Contrary to the ego’s perceptions, life is not supposed to be different than the way it is. You are not lacking anything you need to be happy. You do not need to be afraid of life. Life does not have to be a struggle. Life is not a competition. Life is not about getting more things and more power. You are not actually separate from others or from life, although it does seem that way. The ego’s perspective does not reflect reality, which is why it causes suffering.

Believing things that aren’t true gets you into trouble, doesn’t it? It is easy enough to see this: If you believe a map that is incorrect, you’ll get lost. Or if you believe your brother is out to get you when he isn’t, that will cause problems between you. Any actions you take in relation to him will be ill-informed and inappropriate. To function well, to survive, and especially to thrive, you need accurate information about reality. But you won’t get that from the ego. It has its own perspective and agenda, which is often self-defeating and counter to your happiness.

The ego belongs to the conditioned self, which includes, as the name implies, various kinds of programming and conditioning. Some of this is helpful and true and some is not. Your programming and conditioning is intended to help you function and survive, and some of it does, but some of it does the opposite! What a dilemma. Did you know that your software is significantly flawed? That is part of the problem.

Most people don’t know that the software running them is flawed. They don’t realize that their ego’s map of reality is incorrect and therefore the cause of foolish and hurtful actions and poor solutions. If people questioned this stream of thoughts, this would become apparent, but people don’t usually question their thoughts.

People also often don’t question the information they have acquired along the way from seemingly reliable sources, such as parents, teachers, and other authorities, much of which is also untrue, unhelpful, outdated, or irrelevant. These mistaken ideas and untrue and negative beliefs, which have become part of your programming, now seem absolutely and unquestionably true. People are programmed to believe things about themselves, others, and life that simply aren’t true. So, in addition to a maladaptive ego, misinformation, which is another very poor map of reality, is also part of the conditioned self and, consequently, the thought-stream.

Misinformation and mistaken and limiting beliefs make up the greater part of the conditioning that shows up in the thought-stream. This conditioning, along with many unconscious beliefs, was shaped by people you have encountered and your family, culture, religion, environment, gender, and genetic inheritance, including your appearance, intelligence, health, and personality. This conditioning is the script you have been given, and it largely determines how you will behave—unless the script is examined and questioned.

Such an examination wouldn’t even be necessary if people’s egos and conditioning provided an excellent and accurate map of reality and of how to be happy. However, most people aren’t happy. Most people suffer a great deal and find life very difficult to accept and navigate because of their egos and conditioning.

As a result, the script—the thought-stream—needs to be questioned, or one’s story might not have a happy ending. The character might not fulfill his or her specific destiny or even the general destiny of growth, love, learning, creativity, discovery, and expansion to its fullest.

If you have an ego (which you do), then you have been given a script that doesn’t lead to happiness. So, even if you had the most ideal parents and upbringing, you will still need to learn how to be happy, simply because you have an ego that is resistant to and fearful of life and has an incorrect map to happiness. It’s a good thing that you are not the ego (you just have one) but something much greater and more mysterious.

The conditioned self, which includes the ego, is the character you are playing. This character will either follow the script or become the hero of his life despite the script. Everyone has a latent hero, just waiting to be brought to the surface and developed. In most people’s lives, most of the time, the ego is in the forefront and running the conditioned self’s life. But the hero can step into those shoes and become the main actor.

The hero is the reflection of your true self as it manifests through the character you are playing, while the ego is an imposter, a poor stand-in. The ego pretends to be who you are, but it can never live up to your potential greatness because it has a negative and untrue perspective of life.

The inner hero is brought to life by becoming aware of it and by nourishing its positive qualities with your attention.

You become the hero by:

    • Seeing the truth about reality,
    • Seeing life as an adventure,
    • Loving life just as it is,
    • Maintaining a positive outlook,
    • Being courageous, not fearful,
    • Welcoming challenges for the opportunities for growth they provide,
    • Being willing to make mistakes and learn from them,
    • Being willing to investigate and heal any limiting beliefs, negativity, or untruth within you,
    • Mastering your negative emotions and lower drives, and
    • Being willing to follow your Heart.

This is how the true self lives as the character you are playing. It is how you can become the hero of your life rather than the victim of your conditioning.

Purchase A Heroic Life

153 Reviews on Amazon averaging 4.8 out of 5 stars!
Here's what reviewers are saying ...

"I believe this book can change lives. No kidding. Like her other books, Gina Lake channels messages from Jesus about living life to the fullest as the Hero rather than being led by the anti-hero, namely the ego. And once again, it's brilliant. Think Eckhart Tolle meets Neale Donald Walsch." –R. Z.

“This book is truly a how to be the hero in the sacred hero's journey of vanquishing the false self and living as the divine in human form. I love how practical this book is. Every chapter has a list of qualities, beliefs, or suggestions to help overcome our internal blocks. This books is remarkably accessible, wise, and beautifully written.” –L. K.

“This book is getting me through a difficult passage. I have complete confidence in the origin of this teaching and the bearer of this message because it feels completely authentic. I am not a Christian, and I'm glad I didn't let this get in the way of reading all of Gina Lake's channelings from JC.” –Walford

“This book is a beacon of light guiding the soul home from the dark stormy seas of egoic identification. I cannot express in words the gratitude I have for the help Gina's books have had. The writings transmit caring wisdom like a loving family member would.” –I. T.

“I am continually amazed at Gina's ability to translate Holy Ideas into very simple and plain English. There are so many people I know who are in need of healing who might be open to reading and relating to this book. I have already recommended it far and wide.” –D. K.

“This book takes you to the classroom where the Beautiful Soul who was also the man called Jesus teaches those who are hungry and ready for their next stage of awakening. There is no doubt that Gina Lake is a pure channel, fine-tuned to receive from the highest levels.” –Gary H.

“This book was excellent with very wise teachings from Jesus. Even if you don't believe it came from Him, the wisdom in it is great. If you read this book you'll want to get all of her books. The wisdom in all of them is unbelievable. They will put you wisely on your spiritual path.” –Robert

"All Gina's books are truly God sent. When you read her books you will know in your heart the words were given to her by Jesus. Helping us to understand who we are and how to live in peace, love and happiness is truly a gift! If you want to live everyday of your life in joy, read all Gina Lake's books." –M.

"I'm so glad I came across these books by Gina Lake. They read like a manual to one's life—unraveling deeper and more profound layers of spiritual insight and inspiration. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is seriously looking for an answer to 'Who am I'?" –R. M.

“This book was the life raft I needed, and I feel like I’ve been pulled on board a wonderful ship of Grace. I'd like to nominate you for the Nobel Peace prize for this book. It is, for me, more helpful than any other book I have read.” J. M.

“The ideas presented in Gina's book went straight to my heart, comforted me greatly, and gave me an entirely different way of looking at things. There is nothing in this book that contradicts anything in the Bible. The thoughts expressed light up the scripture from behind the pages, softly, like the brush of an angel's wing.” –Lynda

“If you are open-minded, this book will help you open your mind up further. It’s an amazing book of insights that really helped me have a better understanding of why things seem so messed up these days and how to remain balanced throughout the seeming chaos facing our world. Gina Lake is a rather gifted writer who has been given the honor of channeling Jesus. Such amazing insights for helping anybody make sense of the seemingly insensible.” –Pete S.

“This book is gently poetic and crystal clear, written with humor and awareness of the human side of things. I don't think anyone interested would consider this too complex, as is sometimes the case with ACIM. It is not, repeat not, even remotely Christian in the contemporary American sense, but states the case many different ways for leaving the current ‘small’ self behind for the larger original one.” Richard S.

“Where have these words of wisdom been all my life? Everyone should read Gina Lake, peace, light and a blessing.” –A. Stewart

“I've read many of Gina's books. She is undoubtedly the real deal. She writes in a very clear, pragmatic and direct way. I am a huge fan of her work. Having read a variety of spiritual /self development books, this is definitely up there as one of my all time favourites.” Thomas V. B.

“If you love Jesus, this is your book. Jesus is always with us and ready to help whoever is calling upon him. This book provides a map to successfully and happily navigate life's challenges and live heroically. Highly recommended.” –Stefano

“This helped me at least temporarily derail negative thinking, emotional pain, and fear in just the first 80 pages. It was a godsend while I'm dealing with some personal difficulties. I would highly recommend it. Don't let the title that it's channeled from Jesus dissuade you, I'm not at all religious, but this book is hugely helpful when dealing difficult emotions. It almost felt like an inner peace guided meditation, but better!” –Jimbo

Highly Recommend!! I don't read many spiritual books anymore, but this book was calling me to read it. So glad I read it because it really helped me understand my journey.” –Ted G.