Posted 07 May 2009 - 03:03 PM
Steps To Freedom
Change What Isn’t Working
We have all had the experience of realizing that something in our lives is not working. This knowledge can come as a sudden realization or a nagging feeling of doubt that grows stronger, waking us up to the fact that something needs to change. Some people have a tendency to act rashly and make sweeping changes before even understanding what the problem is. Other people fear change, so they live with the uncomfortable awareness that something needs to shift but won’t do anything about it. Between these two extreme responses lies a middle way that can help us powerfully and gracefully change what isn’t working in our lives.
The first step is remembering that your life is made up of parts that belong to an interconnected whole. Changing one thing can change everything. Because of this, small changes often have a big effect. Sometimes much bigger changes are necessary, but the only way to know for sure is to take the time to really understand the problem. Examine your life as an entirety—your work, your relationships, where you live—and determine what specifically is not functioning the way you would like. Once you have figured out the problem, write it down on a piece of paper. For example, "I am not happy with my relationship" or "I don’t like my apartment." The next step is to figure out the adjustment you would like to make and how you can go about making this change. If you are unhappy with your relationship because you spend too much or not enough time with your partner, you may want to discuss this problem with them and come up with a compromise. On the other hand, if you realize your rela! tionship is not working to such a degree that it needs to end, begin working through that process. Writing down the truth can be a powerful catalyst for change.
The key to making changes that work is to accept the necessity of change as part of life. As we change, we may find it necessary to fine-tune our relationships, work, and living situations. Our lives are living, breathing entities that reflect our dynamic selves.
Posted 12 May 2009 - 12:21 PM
Masculine and Feminine Sides of the Body
If you look in the mirror and view your profile from each side, you may notice that the two sides of your face are slightly different from one another. Additionally, your left hand is similar to but different from your right hand. In fact, these subtle differences pervade both sides of your entire body. Considering these differences in the context of the idea that the right side of your body is masculine and the left side feminine may shed some light on how balanced you are in relation to your masculine and feminine qualities.
Intuition, feelings, openness, and unselfishness govern the feminine side of our natures. The masculine side is characterized by logic, facts, systems, and self-interest. If you are giving too much to others to the detriment of yourself, your feminine side may be overactive and your right side may need strengthening, to speak up on your behalf, protecting and conserving your energy. If your life is too rigidly structured, your masculine aspect may be overactive; developing your feminine aspect will bring a more open-ended and creative approach.
Maintaining harmony between the left side and the right side, the feminine and masculine, is a key to wholeness. We can foster awareness of our own relative state of balance by tuning in to our bodies. When you close your eyes and scan your body, what do you see? You may find that most of your ailments, from acne to muscle tension, occur on the left side of your body. This might indicate that your feminine aspect is out of balance in some way. Similarly, if you notice a lot of tension in your right shoulder, perhaps your masculine side is overtaxed or weakened. Just noticing an imbalance is the beginning of healing it. Some imbalances may be long-standing, and it may take time to bring your system into equilibrium. Remember to be gentle with yourself and listen to your body. Over time, doing this can guide you to a dynamic state of inner and outer balance.
Posted 13 May 2009 - 03:03 PM
Allowing Others To Be
We all know what it’s like to want to be in control. In some ways, exerting control is an important survival skill. For example, we have every right to be in control of our own bodies and our own lives. Taking control in these cases is empowering and necessary. Controlling behavior in the negative sense comes from a tendency to reach beyond our own boundaries and into the lives of others. Many people do this with the rationalization that they are helping. This can happen with parents who are still trying to force their grown children into behaving in ways that they find acceptable. It can also happen when people try to control their partners’ behavior. If you have control issues, you will see that in one or more areas of your life, you feel the need to interfere with what is happening rather than just allowing events to unfold.
Almost everyone has at least one situation or relationship in which they try to exert control. This often happens because someone’s behavior makes us uncomfortable. We may feel it makes us look bad, or it embarrasses us. For example, if your best friend tends to drink too much, you might spend an entire party just trying to prevent her from doing so. This is different from directly confronting her about the problem and allowing her to decide what she should do. Controlling behavior generally goes hand in hand with an unwillingness to be direct about what you want, as well as an inability to let go and let people live their own lives. If you are the one that is controlling, it’s probably because you literally feel as if you are out of control and it scares you. Try to pick one thing you could just let unfold without any control on your part. Examine how it made you feel both before and after, and examine why you wanted to control the situation.
It is hard sometimes to allow others to be who they are, especially if we feel we know what’s best for them and we see them making choices we wouldn’t make. However, if we are to be respectful and truly loving, we have to let people go, trusting that they will find their own way in their own time and understanding that it is their life to live. Just reminding yourself that the only life you have to live is your own is the first step to letting go.
Posted 14 May 2009 - 12:45 PM
Greeting the Divine Spirit
Bowing is a universal gesture of respect and reverence. In many cultures, it is the predominant form of social greeting, and most religions incorporate it into their rituals of worship. In many cases, bowing signifies not only respect but also an acknowledgment of the shared divinity between the bower and the recipient. Bowing can also be a turning in toward our own divinity when we bow our heads in prayer, contemplation, or meditation. Bows range in form from a slight forward nod of the head to a full body prostration on the ground, and range in meaning from a simple greeting to a complete giving over of the self to the divine.
If you have ever bowed or been on the receiving end of a bow, you know that it is different from a handshake or a hug. Bowing has the quality of consciously evoking spirit and conveys a sense of reverence for the people involved. The word "Namaste," which accompanies bowing in yoga, actually translates as "The divine spirit in me acknowledges the divine spirit in you." When we greet one another with this kind of awareness, we can’t help but be more conscious that we are deeply connected to one another and to everyone, because this divine spirit resides in all of us.
There are simple bows and complicated bows, and subtle variations carry different meanings depending upon where you are, who you are, and a number of other factors. But we can all practice bowing by simply bringing our two hands together in prayer and pressing the thumb side of our hands lightly into our chests. Keeping a long spine, simply bend your head gently down so that you are looking at the tops of your fingers. Close your eyes and breathe consciously, paying homage to your spirit, the same spirit that resides within all of humanity.
The light in me acknowledges and bows to the light in you
Posted 15 May 2009 - 04:25 PM
Journeys of lifelong evolution often begin simply. No matter how complex the goal or desire we have nurtured in our souls, the first steps we take are nearly always basic and uncomplicated. Navel meditation, a creation of the Taoist tradition and the oldest form of meditation recognized in China and India, is a simple practice suitable for those experienced in the art of mediation, yet it is also a wonderful introductory meditation for novices. It utilizes the natural rhythms of the breath and the regular movement of the abdomen as a means to focus awareness and rid oneself of extraneous thoughts. As you concentrate on the breath, the chaos within reveals itself, allowing you to gently train your mind to accept stillness as its natural state.
To begin, assume a comfortable and natural seated position—either cross-legged on a cushion on the floor or on a chair with your legs facing forward. Maintaining an upright, balanced posture will ensure that you are physically centered and prevent fatigue. Close your eyes and relax your body gradually, starting at the toes and ending at the crown of the head. Take a moment to note any physical sensations you are feeling, such as the hardness of the floor under your legs or the weight of a piece of jewelry. When you are relaxed, breathe through the nose at your natural pace. With each inhalation, draw air deep into the abdomen, allowing the area surrounding your navel to rise and fall. Gradually focus your attention on the sensations caused by the inhalation and exhalation of breath. Feel the air flowing in and out of the nostrils as well as the expansion and contraction of the abdomen. If you find it difficult to concentrate on both sensations, concentrate only the movement of the navel area.
As you endeavor to commune with the breath, you may notice that your mind strays. When this occurs, do not attach any significance to your thoughts. Simply bring your attention back to the flow of air into and out of your body and the rise and fall of your navel. Eventually, the torrent of mental noise flooding your mind will slow to a trickle, and you will learn to control the current of your thoughts until you are no longer at the mercy of your reactions. The more you practice this meditation, daily if possible, the more you will be able to get back to this relaxed state easily throughout your day.
Posted 19 May 2009 - 01:05 PM
Reconnecting with Friends
Every person that passes through our lives makes a contribution to our life stories. There are those who play large roles and make deep impressions, but sometimes a brief special appearance before life takes them in another direction creates a meaningful connection. It is a rare gift when they suddenly reappear in our lives after a long absence.
Though the world may seem full of more people than we could ever know, we are often drawn to people with similar energy, which brings us together time and time again. On first meeting, the characters in our life stories may seem familiar. We may know each other from past lives or perhaps we merely recognize the energy of a kindred spirit. But when fate brings old friends back into our lives, there is always a reason. They may act as messengers, reminding us of a part of ourselves we have forgotten to nurture. They might appear to give us a chance to react in a new way to an old situation. They may even bring up unresolved issues so that we may complete them, giving us the chance to move forward on our life path. Whether old friends, previous romances, or once and future partners, their reappearance is more than mere chance. They may never know what they bring into our lives, but the renewed contact is a gift.
If this hasn’t happened to you, maybe you are meant to initiate contact by seeking out old friends. If old friends come to mind or into your dreams, use their appearance as an excuse to get in touch. If an old song or movie reminds you of them, reach out to share the gift of renewed contact. Wherever you fall in the circle of connection and reconnection, be sure to look beyond the surprise of the moment to enjoy the deeper gift that this revelation brings.
Posted 20 May 2009 - 01:25 PM
Boldly Growing into Your Own
Fear of the Future
Though much human fear is based on uncertainty, foreknowledge does not always ease the mind. It is often when our futures look brightest that our resolve crumbles and we veer off course. We can recognize that success is on the horizon, but we cannot discern how it will impact our lives. Because success can affect us in complex and unpredictable ways, taking us out of the status quo and pushing us into new circumstances that test our limits, the mere idea of attaining the life of our dreams can shake us to the core. Fear of the future is often closely intermingled with the fear that growing into your own potential will both change you irrevocably and force you to face situations that you aren’t ready for. It is normal to unconsciously project ahead into the future and see success as a great weight bearing down on you. It is important to remember, however, that all the life changes the future will bring will be implemented into your life slowly and gradually.
When we visualize the future, we tend to focus on outcomes rather than the steps we will take to reach those conclusions. Thus, we may forget that growth is progressive. Your soul longs to fulfill its purpose—a purpose you agreed to in the timelessness in which you existed before your birth. Because of this, neither you nor the universe will set any circumstance before you that you are not capable of handling. Fear of the future can paralyze you, preventing you from living in the moment and from working toward your goals in a mindful manner. The key to conquering this fear lies in awareness. When you can identify the irrational thoughts that frighten you, you can replace them with logical, self-affirming ideas. If you are afraid that you won’t be satisfied when you accomplish a certain goal, remember that no one achievement represents an end in and of itself. And if you fear recognition or feel unworthy, consider that even now you are deserving of praise.
Should fear of the future strike you as you strive to create, to excel, to grow, and to evolve, assert your courage. Assume that your fear is based on a false assumption and quell it with facts. Try to disregard past patterns and focus on the present by stilling the inner voice that comments critically on all you do. Tell yourself that the inevitability of your success is based not on luck or a universal mistake but on your already established talents, drive, imagination, and inner strength. Each time you overcome your fear of the future, you chip away at its very foundations. Eventually, you will clear a gap through which you can gaze upon the future with unhindered optimism.
Posted 21 May 2009 - 12:22 PM
A Life of Learning
Life is the province of learning, and the wisdom we acquire throughout our lives is the reward of existence. As we traverse the winding roads that lead from birth to death, experience is our patient teacher. We exist, bound to human bodies as we are, to evolve, enrolled by the universe in earth school, an informal and individualized academy of living, being, and changing. Life’s lessons can take many forms and present us with many challenges. There are scores of mundane lessons that help us learn to navigate with grace, poise, and tolerance in this world. And there are those once-in-a-lifetime lessons that touch us so deeply that they change the course of our lives. The latter can be heartrending, and we may wander through life as unwilling students for a time. But the quality of our lives is based almost entirely on what we derive from our experiences.
Earth school provides us with an education of the heart and the soul, as well as the intellect. The scope of our instruction is dependent on our ability and readiness to accept the lesson laid out before us in the circumstances we face. When we find ourselves blindsided by life, we are free to choose to close our minds or to view the inbuilt lesson in a narrow-minded way. The notion that existence is a never-ending lesson can be dismaying at times. The courses we undertake in earth school can be painful as well as pleasurable, and as taxing as they are eventually rewarding. However, in every situation, relationship, or encounter, a range of lessons can be unearthed. When we choose to consciously take advantage of each of the lessons we are confronted with, we gradually discover that our previous ideas about love, compassion, resilience, grief, fear, trust, and generosity could have been half-formed.
Ultimately, when we acknowledge that growth is an integral part of life and that attending earth school is the responsibility of every individual, the concept of "life as lesson" no longer chafes. We can openly and joyfully look for the blessing buried in the difficulties we face without feeling that we are trapped in a roller-coaster ride of forced learning. Though we cannot always know when we are experiencing a life lesson, the wisdom we accrue will bless us with the keenest hindsight.
Posted 26 May 2009 - 12:38 PM
Effort and Understanding
Having It Easy
Our lives are an exercise in facing challenges. We dream the grandest of dreams as youngsters only to discover that we must cultivate copious inner strength and determination in order to meet our goals. Our hard work does not always yield the results we expect. And it is when we find ourselves frustrated by the trials we face or unable to meet our own expectations that we are most apt to take notice of those individuals who appear to accomplish great feats effortlessly. Some people’s lives seem to magically fall into place. We can see the blessings they have received, the ease with which they have attained their desires, their unwavering confidence, and their wealth. But, because we can never see the story of their lives as a whole, it is important that we refrain from passing judgment or becoming envious.
Throughout our lives, we glimpse only the outer hull of others’ life experiences, so it’s tempting to presuppose that the abundance they enjoy is the result of luck rather than diligent effort. In a small number of cases, our assumptions may mirror reality. But very few people “have it easy.” Everyone must overcome difficulties and everyone has been granted a distinctive set of talents with which to do so. An individual who is highly gifted may nonetheless have to practice industriously and correct themselves repeatedly in order to cultivate their talents. Their myriad accomplishments are more likely than not the result of ongoing hard work and sacrifice. You, no doubt, have natural abilities that you have nurtured and your gifts may be the very reason you strive as tirelessly as you do. Yet others see only the outcome of your efforts and not the efforts themselves
Our intellects, our hearts, and our souls are constantly being tested by the universe. Life will create new challenges for you to face each time you prove yourself capable of overcoming the challenges of the past. What you deem difficult will always differ from that which others deem difficult. The tests you will be given will be as unique as you are. If you focus on doing the best you can and making use of the blessings you have been granted, the outcome of your efforts will be a joyous reflection of your dedication.
Posted 27 May 2009 - 01:16 PM
Thoughtful Conclusions About Commitment
Deciding Whether To Marry
Though we may make many commitments throughout our time on earth, few have a lifelong impact on the path our lives will take. The decision to marry someone you love—to bond yourself to them completely—is unlike any other and can reshape your existence. When two people have similar goals, values, and needs, marriage can result in a lifetime partnership of love and respect, shared laughter and tears, friendship, and intimacy that is ultimately fulfilling. Love is often cited as the sole prerequisite of a strong and stable married life. However, the decision to get married should be made with the mind and the soul as well as with the heart. Carefully considering whether you truly want to get married, both individually and as a couple, can ensure that if you do choose to marry, your relationship can grow to unimaginable depths.
The decision-making process you employ to determine whether you should marry should be a thoughtful and honest one in which you appraise not only your partner but also yourself. Consider that love and attraction do not guarantee long-term compatibility. If your relationship is not secure, marriage will not make it so. Likewise, if your partner is not as attentive, loving, or kind as you would like, your becoming spouses will not change that. Marriage has no power to permanently fill any emotional or spiritual gaps in your life. Before you choose to marry, ask yourself whether you and your partner are adept at resolving conflict, can speak openly to one another, and fully respect one another. Your attitudes regarding the nature of marital commitment, children and child rearing, and marital roles may be the same or they may differ. It is your shared responsibility to discuss your similarities and come to agreements regarding your differences that will predict how successful yo! ur future marriage will be. Often times, younger couples rush into marriage just for the wedding dress, the ring, the party, and honeymoon. Would you still be willing to be married if you couldn’t have these things?
Remember that planning a wedding is simple when compared to the intricacies of nurturing a marriage. The honeymoon and nesting period will eventually wear off, and what you are left with is a partner for life. When you work together with your partner, reassure and support one another, and are honest about your feelings regarding marriage, you’ll come to the right decision.
Posted 29 May 2009 - 12:33 PM
Keeping Our Minds Supple
A lot of people feel threatened if they feel they are being asked to question their cherished beliefs or their perception of reality. Yet questioning is what keeps our minds supple and strong. Simply settling on one way of seeing things and refusing to be open to other possibilities makes the mind rigid and generally creates a restrictive and uncomfortable atmosphere. We all know someone who refuses to budge on one or more issues, and we may have our own sacred cows that could use a little prodding. Being open-minded means that we are willing to question everything, including those things we take for granted.
A willingness to question everything, even things we are sure we are right about, can shake us out of complacency and reinvigorate our minds, opening us up to understanding people and perspectives that were alien to us before. This alone is good reason to remain inquisitive, no matter how much experience we have or how old we get. In the Zen tradition, this willingness to question is known as beginner’s mind, and it has a way of generating possibilities we couldn’t have seen from the point of view of knowing something with certainty. The willingness to question everything doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t believe in anything at all, and it doesn’t mean we have to question every single thing in the world every minute of the day. It just means that we are humble enough to acknowledge how little we actually know about the mysterious universe we call home.
Nearly every revolutionary change in the history of human progress came about because someone questioned some time-honored belief or tradition and in doing so revealed a new truth, a new way of doing things, or a new standard for ethical and moral behavior. Just so, a commitment to staying open and inquisitive in our own individual lives can lead us to new personal revolutions and truths, truths that we will hopefully, for the sake of our growth, remain open to questioning.
Posted 04 June 2009 - 01:39 AM
Choosing a New Response
Everyone has fears—it is a natural part of being human. Fear can protect us from harm by sending a rush of adrenaline to help us physically deal with potential danger. But there are times when fear may keep us from participating fully in life. Once we realize that fear is a state of mind, we can choose to face our fears, change our minds, and create the life we want to live.
Our minds are powerful tools to be used by our higher selves; like computers, storing and using data to make certain connections between thought and response. We have the ability to observe these and choose differently. No matter where the fear came from, we can create new connections by choosing new thoughts. When our souls and minds are in alignment, we create a new experience of reality. This journey requires many small steps, as well as patience and courage through the process. Here’s an example: You decide to overcome your fear of driving on the freeway. Your plan of action starts with examining your thoughts and finding a new way of seeing the situation. When you’re ready, you enlist a calm companion to support you as you take the first step of merging into the slow lane and using the first exit. Your heart may be racing, but your confidence will be boosted by the accomplishment. Repeat this until you are comfortable, with or without help, and then drive one exit further. When you are ready, you can try driving in the middle lane, for longer periods each time, until you find yourself going where you want to go. This gradual process is similar for conquering any fear, but if you find it overwhelming, you can always seek the help of a professional.
You may think that you are the only one with a particular fear, that nobody else could possibly be scared of ordinary things such as water, heights, public speaking, or flying. These types of fears are very common, and you can have great success overcoming them. Remember, it is not the absence of the fear but the courage to take action anyway that determines success. When we learn to face our fears, we learn to observe our thoughts and feelings but not be ruled by them. Instead we choose how to shape the lives we want.
Posted 04 June 2009 - 12:55 PM
Those Who Came Before
Turning to Ancestors for Guidance
Many entities assume the role of spirit guide. Throughout our lives, we may call upon angels, animal and nature spirits, ascended masters, and celestial guardians for aid, protection, and support. Our ancestors represent another wellspring from which we may draw wisdom in times of need for they, too, can act as our spirit guides. Since our forbears spent at least one lifetime experiencing the tribulations that are a part of human existence, the perspective they can offer is a uniquely grounded one. Ancestral spirit guides can empathize with our fears and our frailties, worry, temptation, and feelings of insecurity. Once you have requested their guidance, they will see to it that you emerge unscathed on the far side of conflicts and are well-equipped to fulfill your potential.
If your relationship with your relatives was strained when they were earthbound or you feel disconnected from your heritage, the thought of asking your ancestors for aid can be disconcerting. But when the soul takes on its spirit form, it becomes pure light. Your ancestors, regardless of who or what they were in life, are monitoring your life’s journey because you are their progeny and they want to see you do your best. You can communicate with them directly, as well as through meditation, your dreams, or the written word. Creating an altar or shrine that displays images of your forbears or objects owned by them can help you connect with individual ancestors. The guidance they provide may take many forms as each ancestral spirit guide retains its individual identity and will thus have its own style of communication. If your ancestors do not speak to you directly or visit you in your dreams, examine your life to determine whether they are replying to your queries subconsciously.
When you make contact with your forbears, thank them for being a part of the web of intent that gave you life. Honoring their wisdom and experience can make your life seem larger and richer. Like other spirit guides, your ancestors won’t interfere with your choices or attempt to deprive you of free will. They will only do their best to answer your questions and provide you with all the love, aid, and guidance you ask for in order to help you evolve as an individual.
Posted 05 June 2009 - 12:58 PM
Waves of Healing
Like us, the sea is ever-changing. And, like us, the earth’s vast oceans appear at a distance to be stable and homogenous. But beneath the mask of solidity that both we and the sea wear, there lies unpredictability, sensitivity, and power. There is much we can learn from the ocean, representative as it is of our inner landscapes. The rough sounds of the sea’s waves are spiritually soothing, and its salt can purify our physical selves. Yet not everyone has the luxury of living by the shore or even visiting the coastlines where water and land meet. The ocean, however, exists in our conscious minds, put there by images we have seen and descriptions we have read. Wherever we are, we can access that mental image and use it as the starting point from which we can help to heal our emotions by meditating on the sea.
To begin, gather together any ocean artifacts you may have on hand. Seashells, a vial of sand, beach glass, stones rubbed smooth by the pounding surf, or a recording of ocean sounds can help you slip more deeply into this meditation, but they are not necessary. Sit quietly and visualize the ocean in your mind’s eye. Allow all of your senses to participate in your mental journey. Feel the tiny grains of sand beneath your feet and the cool spray of mist; hear the sea’s rhythmic roar as the waves meet the beach and retreat; smell the tang of salt in the air. Watch the sun’s rays play over the ocean’s surface, creating shifting spots of teal, cerulean, cobalt, and green. Don’t be surprised if you see dolphins or whales frolicking in the waves—they are there to assist you. Spend a few minutes drinking in the ocean’s beauty and appreciating its vast splendor.
Once you are fully engaged with the setting before you, visualize yourself sitting on the beach, facing the ocean, and watching the waves advance and retreat. As each new wave of seawater approaches, imagine it carrying healing energy toward you. The magnificent ocean in your thoughts is sending you light and love while the sun supports your healing efforts and Mother Earth grounds you in the moment so healing can occur. When you feel you are finished, grant the ocean your earnest gratitude for the aid it has given you. Thank the sun, the sand, and any other elements of your visualization that offered you guidance. Perform this meditation daily or monthly in order to rid yourself of negativity and reestablish emotional equilibrium. Just as the ocean’s tides sweep the shores free of detritus, restoring balance, so can the waves in our mind’s eye cleanse our souls of what no longer serves us.
Posted 09 June 2009 - 02:06 PM
Spiritualizing The Planet
We are one with the cosmos whether we realize it or not. Realizing it, though, quickens our spiritual energy and allows us access to higher realms. In those higher realms lies the awareness that we are more than just finite physical beings living one life in one place at one point in time. Connecting with this awareness is to awaken to the truth and take a step forward, and upward, on our soul’s journey. This upward movement is known as ascension because the more we remember who we are and embody that truth, the higher our energy vibrates; we ascend up the scale from the gross physical plane to the subtle spiritual plane. As we ascend, we gain consciousness of the more subtle aspects of our being, with the ultimate outcome being a complete identification with the light body, an experience of unification with the cosmos.
As you look around you, you will see that many people are not even interested in these ideas. Others are open and paying attention. Still others have devoted their lives to deepening their understanding of the truth. All these people are on the path of ascension, but they will ascend at different rates. Each soul chooses its own path. The more devoted a person is to remembering and being guided by spirit, the more quickly the soul will ascend. These people are at the forefront of an important process of raising the energetic vibration of the whole planet. The earth, made of the same energy we are, is undergoing this shift along with us. This evolutionary process, while seemingly chaotic at times, is as natural as the process that unfolds a flower from a seed and we are all part of it.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that the earth too is on her own ascension path as she is sentient. The best way to support this process in yourself and in the world is simply to relax and be open to its unfolding. Listen to your inner guidance, and let it guide you to the path that brings your heart the most joy.
Posted 10 June 2009 - 02:06 PM
Generosity of Spirit
Being Happy for Others
We all want to be the kind of people who are happy for others when they experience success or a cause for celebration in their lives, but it isn’t always easy. Sometimes powerful, dark feelings come up at times when decorum dictates that we should be feeling the opposite. Instead of reaching out and celebrating for our loved one, we may feel the rising up of our own pain. This pain may arise because we feel jealous of our friend for having something we don’t have. It may arise because our friend’s success will lead to us losing them in some way. And it may arise for reasons we don’t yet understand. The important thing is not to brush it under the rug, but to take it seriously and look at it; suppressing it will only make it worse. At the same time, we need to be sure to find a way to congratulate our friends and celebrate their successes as if they were our own.
The struggle with being happy for others presents itself early in life. If a child wants a toy and another child has it, the child will try to get it or will break down in tears. Those primal feelings are still present in most of us, and we have to acknowledge them when they arise. At the same time, it is when we care enough for someone to let go of what we want for ourselves that we grow as people. It can be a difficult dance to find ourselves suspended between wanting the toy and throwing a party for our friend who got the toy. Yet, it is in throwing the party that we share in the joy—and, to some extent, the toy—rather than cutting ourselves out of it.
Extending ourselves to celebrate the happiness of others requires a generosity of spirit that we sometimes find only in the process of doing it. So when your best friend moves to Spain with the person you had a crush on, tend to your broken heart but throw them a going away party too.
Posted 11 June 2009 - 12:48 PM
Tied in Knots
The Journey of Release
When we become overwhelmed and things are not going as planned, it is natural to hold tighter to our goals and try to force things to go our way. In the process, we tie ourselves in knots, tensing our shoulders, jaws, and muscles throughout our bodies. Our mind tells us that this is how to get a firmer grip on a situation that feels out of control, but as we create knots in our bodies we are blocking the flow of our energy, exhausting ourselves by exerting more effort yet accomplishing less. At these times, though it may seem counterintuitive, our higher selves know it’s better to let go.
This may not be quite as easy as it sounds. After the relief of our first decision to release, if we allow questions about how to get everything done to start again, the knots will be back before we know it. So we need to be aware that this is a process to breathe through. First, we need to let go of our idea of what the perfect outcome should be, and allow that the intelligence that drives the universe knows better than we do how everything fits together for the highest good. Then we might have to release our imagined consequences and realize that, in most cases, the worst that could happen really isn’t that bad. We may need to remember how to relax, first by taking deep breaths, then by meditating, and then perhaps seeking help from a loved one, massage therapist, or energy healer to clear the underlying knots.
We can ease our mental stress by prioritizing what we truly want to accomplish, and then delegating the rest to someone who has more enthusiasm for those things. When we relax and let life’s energy flow through our minds, bodies, spirits, and lives, we will find that we can accomplish more with less effort and feel good doing it. We don’t have to tie ourselves in knots. Instead, we can let the ribbons of our energy unfurl to gracefully direct us through life’s abundant flow.
Posted 12 June 2009 - 01:06 PM
Fanning the Creative Flames
The human mind thrives on novelty. What was once a source of pleasure can become tedious after a time. Though our lives are full, boredom lurks around every corner because we innately long for new experiences. Yet boredom by its very nature is passive. In this idle state of mind, we may feel frustrated at our inability to channel our mental energy into productive or engaging tasks. We may even attempt to lose ourselves in purposeless or self-destructive pursuits. While this can be a sign of depression, it can also be an invitation issued from your mind, asking you to challenge yourself. Boredom can become the motivation that drives you to learn, explore the exotic, experiment, and harness the boundless creative energy within.
In Hindu and Buddhist traditions, boredom is perceived as a pathway to self-awareness. Boredom itself is not detrimental to the soul—it is the manner in which we respond to it that determines whether it becomes a positive or a negative influence in our lives. When you respond by actively filling the emptiness you feel lurking in yourself, you cultivate creativity and innovation. If, when in the grip of boredom, you have difficulty acknowledging the merits of any activities you might otherwise enjoy, generate your own inspiration. Before you find yourself beset by boredom, create a list of tasks you can consult when it feels like there is simply nothing to do. Referring to a list of topics you want to learn more about, projects you’ve yet to begin, or even pending chores can spark your creative energy and reawaken your zest for life.
When we are troubled by boredom, it is not that there is nothing to do but rather that we are not stimulated by the options before us. A bored mind can be the canvas upon which innovation is painted and the womb in which novelty is nourished. When you identify boredom as a signal that you need to test your boundaries, it can be the force that presses you to strive for opportunities you thought were beyond your reach and to indulge your desire for adventure.
Posted 15 June 2009 - 02:12 PM
Reclaiming Your Power
There is an innate awkwardness to being human. With each decision we make, there is the potential for self-doubt and it is this-self doubt that forms the root of insecurity—a complex emotion that is a mix of equal parts inadequacy, isolation, fear, and hopelessness. Yet these feelings of insecurity that prevent us from fulfilling our potential by inducing us to abide by arbitrary self-limitations are nothing more than erroneous perceptions. We feel unconfident and unsure of ourselves because we judge ourselves to be so. Banishing insecurity is often simply a matter of challenging ourselves in order to prove that we are indeed intelligent and able.
When we feel insecure, we not only perceive ourselves as incapable of meeting life’s challenges but also fraudulent and unworthy of true happiness. We move through life plagued by a sense that others have judged us and found that we are lacking. As a result, we are robbed of our personal power and rendered unable to feel positive about the choices we make. Everyone feels insecure from time to time because each of us is born into the world with unique strengths. If you should find yourself with feelings of insecurity, however, endeavor to understand its source. Perhaps you were repeatedly berated as a child or seldom receive positive reinforcement in the present. A tendency to withdraw from risk or uncomfortable situations can amplify feelings of insecurity. When you have pinpointed the origin of your insecurity, focus on your abilities. The more you utilize your personal power—by taking risks, boldly facing challenges, and acting decisively—the stronger it will grow.
Remember that insecurity is not objective. Rather, it is an emotional interpretation of your value unconsciously based on doubt, shame, and fear. As you overcome those underlying emotions through courageous action and copious self-love, you’ll discover that you are capable of achieving more than you ever thought possible.
Posted 16 June 2009 - 02:02 PM
Start with the Heart
Checking in with Your Heart Daily
Every day we experience a magical twilight between our dreams and waking state. During this brief period of time, our minds still remember that all things are possible. We can smoothly transition into our physical world without losing a sense of hope when we check in with our heart center first, before we even get out of bed. Our heart center is the link between body and spirit, instinct and inspiration. It doesn’t take long to hold a thought of loving gratitude for the heart that beats within us. In a mere moment we can review all that we want to accomplish in the light of love. When we get into the habit of beginning our day from the heart, all of our activities glow with the infusion of conscious intent and all interactions are done with compassion.
We can restart our day right now by imagining how love and inspiration feel. As light glows from our heart center, radiating out through our bodies into the space around us, any feelings of stress or frustration seem to melt away. Now, we see each person we encounter as fellow travelers in the journey of life, and every activity becomes part of a spiritual partnership. As conscious participants in the cycle of giving and receiving, we share our light with others as we become enlivened ourselves, with our heart leading the way.
In the intersection where our body and soul meet, our physical heart beats in time with the rhythm of the universe. It does the physical work of supplying our body with life force without our attention, but for its spiritual work, we need to be conscious. When we concentrate on its rhythm and glowing light, we remember that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Then we know that we can choose any time to check in with our heart center, and in doing so, experience the joy of being in love with life.
Posted 17 June 2009 - 03:12 PM
The Power of Perspective
Hawks have the power to soar high above the earth, giving them a perspective previously only available to the inhabitants of the heavens above. Because of this, people from various cultures throughout history have seen them as messengers of spirit, bringing wisdom from the heavens and the value of their higher vision down to earth. From their vantage point, riding on the wind and sunlight, they remind us today that there is a bigger picture to be seen. When we get bogged down with the details of what is right in front of us, hawks help us remember that we are part of a larger plan and that everything fits together beautifully and perfectly. Once in this expanded frame of mind, we can harness their reputation as visionaries, using their keen eyesight to focus on the exact spot that truly needs our attention. With inspiration and focus on our goal, hawks teach us how to interpret and then follow our personal vision.
Hawks were thought to be able to look directly into the sun and see what is not visible to the rest of us. Using our spiritual vision, we too can look deeply into the inner light that guides us, seeing clearly what is not visible unless sought: our personal truth glowing within us. With that knowledge, we, like the hawk, can confidently ride the winds of chance, moving as one with the flow of whirling energy. This ability is what inspired the Egyptians to make hawks the hieroglyphic symbol for the wind.
The hawk’s ability to live on land but visit the sky is a good reminder for us all. They remind us that their strength and survival comes from communing regularly with the spirit and bringing the guidance received into earthly affairs. Soaring in the province of the heavenly bodies of the sun, the stars, and the wind that moves the clouds reminds us to consider a larger perspective, one that inspires us to move through the world we inhabit with strength, certainty, and grace.
Posted 22 June 2009 - 01:34 PM
The Wisdom of Sharing
There are many variations on the story of stone soup, but they all involve a traveler coming into a town beset by famine. The inhabitants try to discourage the traveler from staying, fearing he wants them to give him food. They tell him in no uncertain terms that there’s no food anywhere to be found. The traveler explains that he doesn’t need any food and that, in fact, he was planning to make a soup to share with all of them. The villagers watch suspiciously as he builds a fire and fills a cauldron with water. With great ceremony, he pulls a stone from a bag, dropping the stone into the *** of water. He sniffs the brew extravagantly and exclaims how delicious stone soup is. As the villagers begin to show interest, he mentions how good the soup would be with just a little cabbage in it. A villager brings out a cabbage to share. This episode repeats itself until the soup has cabbage, carrots, onions, and beets—indeed, a substantial soup that feeds everyone in the village.
This story addresses the human tendency to hoard in times of deprivation. When resources are scarce, we pull back and put all of our energy into self-preservation. We isolate ourselves and shut out others. As the story of stone soup reveals, in doing so, we often deprive ourselves and everyone else of a feast. This metaphor plays out beyond the realm of food. We hoard ideas, love, and energy, thinking we will be richer if we keep to them to ourselves, when in truth we make the world, and ourselves, poorer whenever we greedily stockpile our reserves. The traveler was able to see that the villagers were holding back, and he had the genius to draw them out and inspire them to give, thus creating a spread that none of them could have created alone.
Are you like one of the villagers, holding back? If you come forward and share your gifts, you will inspire others to do the same. The reward is a banquet that can nourish many.
Posted 24 June 2009 - 12:21 PM
Allowing Our Loved Ones To Be Human
Putting People on a Pedestal
When we fall in love with someone or make a new friend, we sometimes see that person in a glowing light. Their good qualities dominate the foreground of our perception and their negative qualities. They just don’t seem to have any. This temporary state of grace is commonly known as putting someone on a pedestal. Often times we put spiritual leaders and our gurus on pedestals. We have all done this to someone at one time or another, and as long as we remember that no one is actually “perfect,” the pedestal phase of a relationship can be enjoyed for what it is—a phase. It’s when we actually believe our own projection that troubles arise.
Everyone has problems, flaws, and blind spots, just as we do. When we entertain the illusion that someone is perfect, we don’t allow them room to be human, so when they make an error in judgment or act in contradiction to our idea of perfection, we become disillusioned. We may get angry or distance ourselves in response. In the end, they are not to blame for the fact that we idealized them. Granted, they may have enjoyed seeing themselves as perfect through our eyes, but we are the ones who chose to believe an illusion. If you go through this process enough times, you learn that no one is perfect. We are all a combination of divine and human qualities and we all struggle. When we treat the people we love with this awareness, we actually allow for a much greater intimacy than when we held them aloft on an airy throne. The moment you see through your idealized projection is the moment you begin to see your loved one as he or she truly is.
We cannot truly connect with a person when we idealize them. In life, there are no pedestals—we are all walking on the same ground together. When we realize this, we can own our own divinity and our humanity. This is the key to balance and wholeness within ourselves and our relationships
Posted 25 June 2009 - 01:59 PM
How To Come Out of Hiding
There are times in our lives when withdrawing from our social obligations and taking some time to be alone is necessary to rejuvenate our energy and renew our connection to ourselves. However, there are also times when withdrawal is a red flag, indicating an underlying sense of depression or some other problem. We may not even have consciously decided to isolate ourselves but wake up one day to find that we have been spending most of our time alone. Perhaps it’s been a long time since friends who used to call have given up. Without anyone inviting us out, we sink deeper into alienation.
The longer our isolation lasts, the harder it becomes to reach out to people. It is as if we have failed to exercise a particular muscle, and now it is so weak we don’t know how to use it. Yet, in order to return to a healthy, balanced state of being, that’s exactly what we need to do. If you find yourself in this situation, call an understanding friend who will listen to you with compassion, not a defensive friend who may have taken your withdrawal personally. The last thing you need is to be chided; a negative response could intensity your isolation. If you don’t have a kind friend you can rely on, call a spiritual counselor or therapist. They may be able to help you determine the underlying cause of your isolation and help you find your way out of it.
When you’ve been in a pattern of secluding yourself, it can begin to seem impossible that you could reenter the world of friendships, conversations, and group activities, but with time, you will. Most people will understand if you take the time to explain that you’ve fallen out of touch and would like to reconnect. Take your time and be gentle with yourself, starting with one person and building from there. Try to reach out to one new person every week. Before you know it, you will find yourself back in the company of friends.
Posted 29 June 2009 - 01:48 PM
Affirming an Abundant Future
Native Americans considered all living beings as brothers and sisters that had much to teach including squirrels. These small creatures taught them to work in harmony with the cycles of nature by conserving for the winter months during times when food was plentiful. In our modern world, squirrels remind us to set aside a portion of our most precious resources as an investment in the future. Though food and money certainly fall into this category, they are only some of the ways our energy is manifested. We can conserve this most valuable asset by being aware of the choices we make and choosing only those that nurture and sustain us. This extends to the natural resources of our planet as well, using what we need wisely with the future in mind.
Saving and conservation are not acts of fear but rather affirmations of abundance yet to come. Squirrels accept life’s cycles, allowing them to face winters with the faith that spring will come again. Knowing that change is part of life, we can create a safe space, both spiritually and physically, that will support us in the present and sustain us in the future. This means not filling our space with things, or thoughts, that don’t serve us. Without hoarding more than we need, we keep ourselves in the cyclical flow of life when we donate our unwanted items to someone who can use them best. This allows for more abundance to enter our lives, because even squirrels know a life of abundance involves more than just survival.
Squirrels use their quick, nervous energy to enjoy life’s adventure. They are great communicators, and by helping each other watch for danger, they do not allow worry to drain them. Instead, they allow their curious nature to lead the way, staying alert to opportunities and learning as they play. Following the example set by our squirrel friends, we are reminded to enjoy the journey of life’s cycles as we plan and prepare for a wonderful future, taking time to learn and play along the way.
Posted 30 June 2009 - 12:22 PM
Fuel That Nurtures
Eating Right to Feel Better
At its simplest, food is fuel. Though our preferences regarding taste and texture can vary widely, we all rely on the foods we eat for energy. Most people are aware that it is vital we consume a diverse assortment of foods if we aspire to maintain a state of physical well-being. However, the intimate connection between diet and our mental well-being is less understood. Just as the nutritional components in food power the body, so too do they power the mind. Some foods can impair cognitive functioning and sap our energy while others heighten our intellectual prowess and make us feel vigorous. What we eat and drink can have a powerful effect on our ability to focus, mental clarity, mood, and stress levels.
Food allergies, which don’t always manifest themselves in forms we recognize, can also play a significant role in the maintenance of mental health. Thus, for most of us, even a simple change in diet can have a profoundly positive impact on our lives. Taking the time to explore whether anxiety, muddled thoughts, or inexplicable tension can be linked to a food allergy or food sensitivity can empower you to treat your symptoms naturally. The benefits of a healthier, more personalized diet are often felt immediately. Sugar, saturated fats, wheat, and dairy products are frequently allergens and can stress the body. For people that are allergic, consuming them can cause imbalances in the physical self that have a negative effect on the body’s ability to nourish the brain. Water, fiber, nuts, unprocessed seeds, raw fruits and vegetables, and vegetable proteins, on the other hand, support physical and mental functioning by providing those nutrients we do need without additional substances we don’t.
A balanced, natural diet can ease mood swings, panic attacks, anxiety, and mild depression. Intellectual clarity and agility is improved when the mind receives proper nourishment. Even those individuals who are blessed with the ability to consume almost any food can benefit from a healthier and simpler diet. Since the mental and physical selves are closely bound to one another, we must feed each the foods upon which they thrive.
Posted 01 July 2009 - 04:57 PM
Defining Your Direction
Your Life’s Work
Many people are committed to professions and personal endeavors they never consciously planned to pursue. They attribute the shape of their lives to circumstance, taking on roles they feel are tolerable. Each of us, however, has been blessed with a purpose. Your life’s work is the assemblage of activities that allows you to express your intelligence and creativity, live in accordance with your values, and experience the profound joy of simply being yourself. Unlike traditional work, which may demand more of you than you are willing to give, life’s work demands nothing but your intent and passion for that work. Yet no one is born with an understanding of the scope of their purpose. If you have drifted through life, you may feel directionless. Striving to discover your life’s work can help you realize your true potential and live a more authentic, driven life.
To make this discovery, you must consider your interests in the present and the passions that moved you in the past. You may have felt attracted to a certain discipline or profession throughout your young life only to have steered away from your aspirations upon reaching adulthood. Or you may be harboring an interest as of yet unexplored. Consider what calls to you and then narrow it down. If you want to work with your hands, ask yourself what work will allow you to do so. You may be able to refine your life’s work within the context of your current occupations. If you want to change the world, consider whether your skills and talents lend themselves to philanthropic work. Taking stock of your strengths, passions, beliefs, and values can help you refine your search for purpose if you don’t know where to begin. Additionally, in your daily meditation, ask the universe to clarify your life’s work by providing signs and be sure to pay attention.
Since life’s journey is one of evolution, you may need to redefine your direction on multiple occasions throughout your lifetime. For instance, being an amazing parent can be your life’s work strongly for 18 years, then perhaps you have different work to do. Your life’s work may not be something you are recognized or financially compensated for, such as parenting, a beloved hobby, or a variety of other activities typically deemed inconsequential. Your love for a pursuit, however, gives it meaning. You’ll know you have discovered your life’s work when you wake eager to face each day and you feel good about not only what you do but also who you are.
Posted 07 July 2009 - 01:01 PM
Opportunity for Reflection
We all have days that seem endlessly difficult and hard. On these days, it is as if the odds are stacked against us and we just can’t get a break as one challenging situation follows another. We may feel like we’re standing in the ocean getting hit by wave after wave, never able to get a full breath. Sometimes it’s necessary or worth it to stay in the fray and work our way through. Other times, the best idea is to go home and take the breath we need in order to carry on.
If the only choice is to get through it, a hard day can be a great teacher. It will eventually end and we can look back on it, taking pride in the stamina, courage, and ingenuity it took to hold our ground. We may also look back and see how we could have done things differently. This knowledge will be valuable when we face hard days in the future. Trust your gut as you’re deciding whether to work through it, and know that sometimes a timely retreat is the best way to ensure a positive outcome. Getting space can remind us that external circumstances are not the whole picture. Once we catch our breath and re-center ourselves, we will be able to determine our next move. With a little perspective, we may even find the inner resources to change our attitude about what’s happening. We may begin to see that what we saw as hardships are actually opportunities. As our attitude changes for the better, our actions and the circumstances will follow suit.
Sometimes all that’s needed is a good night’s sleep. No one is immune to having a hard day and these are usually the times we can learn the most. If we can find it in our hearts to examine the day, and maybe make one small change in perception, we can ease our pain and greet the next day that much wiser.
Posted 09 July 2009 - 01:54 PM
When Doors Open
When a door opens, walk through it. Trust that the door has opened for a reason and you have been guided to it. Sometimes we have a tendency to overanalyze or agonize over the decision, but it is quicker to simply go through the door and discover what’s there as that’s the only way to know. Even if it doesn’t seem right at first, opening this door may lead to another door that will take us where we need to go.
Doors open when the time is right for us to enter a new space, metaphorically speaking, and we can have faith that walking through is the right thing to do. Sometimes we linger in the threshold because we are afraid of leaving our old life for a life we know nothing about. We may have voices inside of our heads that try to hold us back or people in our lives saying discouraging things. These voices, internal and external, are known as threshold spirits, and they express all the fears and doubts that arise at the beginning of a new life. Nevertheless, none of these voices can hold us back, and they will fall silent as soon as we cross the threshold.
There are many doors that open in the course of our lives, leading us into new relationships, jobs, friendships, and creative inspirations. Our lives up to this point are the result of all the doors we have walked through, and our continued growth depends on our willingness to keep moving into new spaces. Every time we walk through an open door, we create a sense memory that encourages us to move into the new fearlessly. When we enter the new space, we almost always feel a thrill and a new feeling of confidence, in ourselves and in the universe. We have stepped across the threshold into a new life.
Posted 21 July 2009 - 01:09 PM
Stoking the Fire Within
Awakening the Inner Warrior
There are certain personality archetypes that we all carry within us, such as the inner child, the lover, and the mother. Some of these archetypes present themselves strongly, while others lay fallow. For example, there is an inner warrior in each one of us, but in some of us this warrior is underdeveloped to the point that we are unable to stand up for ourselves, even when necessary. There can be many reasons for this. We may have grown up with a parent whose warrior aspect was overdeveloped, and we responded by repressing ours completely. On the other hand, we may have grown up with parents in whom this aspect was dormant, so we never learned to awaken it in ourselves.
A warrior is someone with the strength to stand up for what he or she believes; someone who perseveres in the face of challenges and obstacles; someone who speaks and acts in the service of an ideal; someone who protects those who are too weak to fight for themselves. Regardless of the reasons for an underdeveloped inner warrior, you may begin to notice the lack of its fiery, protective presence and wish to awaken it. You may need to stand up for yourself in a certain relationship or situation, or you may have a vision you want to realize, and you know you will need the courage, energy, and strength of a warrior to succeed. Similarly, if you find that you often feel scared, anxious, or powerless, rousing this sleeping ally may be just the antidote you need.
One excellent way to cultivate the presence of your inner warrior is to choose a role model who embodies the qualities of bravery, strength, and vitality. This person could be a character in a myth, movie, or book, or a historical or living person you admire. Simply close your eyes each day and contemplate the quality of energy that attracts you to this person, knowing that the same potential lives within you. Confirm for yourself that you are capable of handling this energy responsibly, and stoke the fire of your own inner courage.
Posted 28 July 2009 - 03:41 PM
Cleansing Your Power Center
Trusting Your Gut
Gut feelings earn their name from the place in the body where they make themselves known. A pang in your gut when you may be doing the wrong thing, or a vibrant zing when your body approves, can guide you reliably at times when logic fails. Sometimes, when logic prevails, we ignore our gut and live to regret it, understanding later that a rational approach is only one way of determining what is going on in a situation and how we should react.
Our gut resides in the neighborhood of our solar plexus and the third chakra just above your belly button. When it is functioning well, we can trust its guidance and adjust our actions accordingly. Many of us have a tendency to hold in this area of our bodies. We may take shallow breaths that never reach this vital nexus that is the source of our empowerment. It is in this place that we find the courage to act, to reach out into the world and create change. When our power center is out of balance, we are timid and out of sync, wishing we had said something we were only able to phrase later when we were alone; wishing we had acted on an opportunity we didn’t see until it was past.
In order to utilize your power center, you may want to focus your attention on it more regularly and make time to care for it. You can begin right now by taking a deep breath into your belly. On the exhale, pull your navel in toward your spine so as to empty out completely before taking another deep breath into your belly. When you empty completely, you release stagnant energy and create more space to be filled with fresh, nourishing breath. The more you practice this simple, cleansing exercise, the more clear and communicative your gut feelings will be and the more comfortable you will feel acting on them.
Posted 19 August 2009 - 01:49 PM
The postings are from a website called the Daily Om. www.dailyom.com
Nice to meet you, rajaikav.
Posted 19 August 2009 - 01:49 PM
Consulting Heart and Mind
Making Choices from a Place of Balance
Each of the myriad decisions we make every day has the potential to have a deep impact on our lives. Some choices touch us to our very cores, awakening poignant feelings within us. Others seem at first to be simple but prove to be confusingly complex. We make the best decisions when we approach the decision-making process from a balanced emotional and intellectual foundation. When we have achieved equilibrium in our hearts and in our minds, we can clearly see both sides of an issue or alternative. Likewise, we can accept compromise as a natural fact of life. Instead of relying solely on our feelings or our rationality, we utilize both in equal measure, empowering ourselves to come to a life-affirming and balanced conclusion.
Balance within and balance without go hand in hand. When you are called upon to choose between two or more options, whether they are attractive or distasteful, you should understand all you can about the choice ahead of you before moving forward. If you do not come to the decision from a place of balance, you risk making choices that are irrational and overly emotional or are wholly logical and don’t take your feelings into account. In bringing your thoughts and emotions together during the decision-making process, you ensure that you are taking everything possible into account before moving forward. Nothing is left up to chance, and you have ample opportunity to determine which options are in accordance with your values.
Though some major decisions may oblige you to act and react quickly, most will allow you an abundance of time in which to mull over your choices. If you doubt your ability to approach your options in a balanced fashion, take an extended time-out before responding to the decision. This will give you the interlude you need to make certain that your thoughts and feelings are in equilibrium. As you practice achieving balance, you will ultimately reach a state of mind in which you can easily make decisions that honor every aspect of the self.
Posted 20 August 2009 - 02:33 PM
Shifting with Nature’s Energy
Change of Season
In today’s world, office jobs and supermarkets have made it possible to work and provide for ourselves and our families regardless of nature’s cycles. While most of us no longer depend directly on nature’s seasons for our livelihood, our bodies’ clocks still know deep down that a change of season means a change in us too. If we don’t acknowledge this, we may feel out of sync, as though we have lost our natural rhythm. These days, autumn is more likely to bring thoughts of going back to school than harvesting, but in both cases, the chill in the air tells us it’s time to move inside and prepare for the future.
We can consciously celebrate the change of season and shift our own energy by setting some time aside to make the same changes we see in nature. We can change colors like the falling leaves and wilting blooms by putting away our bright summer colors and filling our wardrobes and living areas with warm golds, reds, and browns.
While plants concentrate their energy deep in their roots and seeds, we can retreat to quieter, indoor pursuits, nurturing the seeds of new endeavors, which need quiet concentration to grow. We can stoke our inner fires with our favorite coffee, tea, cider, or cocoa while savoring the rich, hot comfort foods that the season brings in an array of fall colors: potatoes, apple pies, pumpkin, squash, and corn. As animals begin growing their winter coats and preparing their dens for hibernation, we can dust off our favorite sweaters and jackets and bring blankets out of storage, creating coziness with throw rugs and heavier drapes. We can also light candles or fireplaces to bring a remnant of summer’s fiery glow indoors.
By making a conscious celebration of the change, we usher in the new season in a way that allows us to go with the flow, not fight against it. We sync ourselves up with the rhythm of nature and the universe and let it carry us forward, nurturing us as we prepare for our future.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 02:32 PM
Fear of Losing What We Have
Seeing Beyond Fearful Delusions
One of humanity’s biggest fears is losing what we have. It is healthy when fear of loss helps us take steps to protect what we have worked hard to attain, but it is unhealthy to continue to fear something we can do nothing about. We need to remember that focusing our energy on fear can actually create what scares us, and holding tightly to what we have keeps us from participating in the universal flow of abundance and instead creates stagnation. Since we can only really control our thoughts and our responses, gaining proper perspective may be key to conquering such fears.
The letters of the word "fear" can be used to stand for "False Evidence Appearing Real." Fears of being separated from something or someone we feel we need for our security or happiness comes from a delusion—a distorted way of understanding ourselves and the world around us. When we understand that possessions are only representations of the energy at work in our lives, we can shift our attention to the right and proper place. We can stop fearing loss of money or success because when we understand how it is created, we can always create more. We can stop fearing loss of possessions when we realize that they are not the source of our joy or well-being but only icing on our cakes. And when we understand the energy of love, we need not hold anyone too close for fear of losing them for we know that love does not diminish when it is given or shared but expands beyond boundaries of time or space.
By focusing our light on our fears, they are revealed as mere shadows that disappear in the presence of mind and spirit. We can choose instead to direct our thoughts and creative power toward things of true value—love, abundance, peace, passion, and joy. These are energies that are always available to us when we place ourselves confidently in the universal flow of abundance.
Posted 26 August 2009 - 03:30 PM
Putting Yourself First
We have all heard the instructions of an airline attendant reminding us to put on our own oxygen mask before we help anyone else with theirs. This advice is often cited as a metaphor for self-care because it so accurately expresses why it is important. It seems to say, ironically, that if you can’t take care of yourself for yourself, do it for others. Few situations in our daily lives mimic the wake-up call of an airplane emergency, so it’s easy to keep putting self-care off—easy, that is, until we get sick, overwhelmed, or exhausted, and suddenly don’t have the energy to care for the people who count on us. That’s when we realize we haven’t been getting the oxygen we need to sustain ourselves. We begin to understand that taking care of ourselves is neither selfish nor indulgent; it’s just plain practical.
Putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say no to someone else in order to say yes to yourself. For many of us, there is always something we feel we could be doing for someone else, and it helps to remember the oxygen metaphor. You can even encourage yourself by saying "I am caring for myself so that I am better able to care for others" or some other mantra that will encourage you. It also helps to remember that self-care doesn’t have to be composed of massively time-consuming acts. In fact, the best prescription for taking care of yourself is probably small, daily rituals; for example, taking one half-hour for yourself at the beginning and end of the day to meditate, journal, or just be. You might also transform the occasional daily shower or bath into a half-hour self-pampering session.
Whatever you decide, making some small gesture where you put yourself first every day will pay off in spades for you and the ones you love. The oxygen you need is all around you; sometimes you just need to be reminded to breathe.
Posted 01 May 2010 - 09:37 PM
A Relationship with Self
Being Alone The most important relationship we have in our lives is with our selves, mind, body and spirit.
The most important relationship we have in our lives is with our selves. And even though we are the only ones who are present at every moment of our lives from birth onward this relationship can be the most difficult one to cultivate. This may be because society places such emphasis on the importance of being in a romantic partnership, even teaching us to set aside our own needs for the needs of another. Until we know ourselves, however, we cannot possibly choose the right relationship to support our mutual growth toward our highest potential. By allowing ourselves to be comfortable with being alone, we can become the people with whom we want to have a relationship.
Perhaps at no other time in history has it been possible for people to survive, and even thrive, while living alone. We can now support ourselves financially, socially, and emotionally without needing a spouse for survival in any of these realms. With this freedom, we can pursue our own interests and create fulfilling partnerships with friends, business partners, creative cohorts, and neighbors. Once we've satisfied our needs and created our support system, a mate then becomes someone with whom we can share the bounty of all we've created and the beauty we've discovered within ourselves.
As we move away from tradition and fall into more natural cycles of being in the world today, we may find that there are times where being alone nourishes us and other periods in which a partnership is best for our growth. We may need to learn to create spaces to be alone within relationships. When we can shift our expectations of our relationships with ourselves and others to opportunities for discovery, we open ourselves to forge new paths and encounter uncharted territory. Being willing to know and love ourselves, and to find what truly makes us feel deeply and strongly, gives us the advantage of being able to attract and choose the right people with whom to share ourselves, whether those relationships fall into recognizable roles or not. Choosing to enjoy being alone allows us to fully explore our most important relationship the one with our true selves.
Posted 01 May 2010 - 09:37 PM
not all westerners are McDonalds eating, materialistic gluttons. There seems to be a big movement for change. (hopefully) the wave is begining to build.
The postings are from a website called the Daily Om. www.dailyom.com
Nice to meet you, rajaikav.
Does anyone know where these are published from daily? I miss reading them everyday.
Posted 04 May 2010 - 12:57 PM
Aware And Awake
Everything we do benefits from intention, which has the power to transform mundane tasks into profound experiences.
We tend to associate the energy of intent with complicated or profoundly meaningful actions that require our full attention and effort in order to succeed. For example, walking a tightrope, taking a test, and taking a vow are all tasks that call us to be fully present and single-minded. However, intent can also be applied to everyday events, like eating breakfast or going to work. In fact, everything we do benefits from the presence of intent, which has the power to transform seemingly mundane tasks into profound experiences. You only have to try it to find out.
Intent is one of the cornerstones of the Zen tradition of Buddhism in which monks work for years to develop the stillness and sharpness of mind to do only one thing at a time. Most of the time we are doing one thing and thinking of something else, or even doing three things at the same time, such as talking on the phone, doing dishes, and boiling water for tea. There is nothing inherently wrong with multitasking, which seems necessary at times, especially in the midst of family life. However, balancing this with a healthy dose of intentional activity can provide valuable insight into the benefits of doing one thing at a time, being fully present with whatever the task at hand happens to be.
From the moment we wake up, we can apply intent to our situation by simply saying to ourselves, “I am aware that I am now awake.” We can use this simple tool throughout our day, saying, “I am aware that I am driving to work.” “I am aware that I am making dinner.” Or even, “I am aware that I am breathing.” As we acknowledge what we are doing in these moments, we come alive to our bodies and to the world, owning our actions instead of habitually performing them. We may realize how often we act without intention and how this disengages us from reality. Applying the energy of intent to even one task a day has the power to transform our lives. Just imagine what would happen if we were able to apply that power to our entire day.
Posted 06 May 2010 - 12:19 PM
Before the World Wakes
Morning Meditation It is in the first hours of the day before our mind is fully active and awakened, that meditation can serve us well.
Just before the coming of the pale rays of dawn, Mother Nature exists in a state of flux. Earth's energy is stable, free of the disordered vibrations that are a by-product of humanity's comings and goings. In these first moments of day, when the sun's golden light is only just peeking over the horizon, our animal mind remains in the land of slumber though we ourselves are awake. Deep sleep has washed away the impurities of existence that accumulated within us, so our mental, physical, and emotional potential is heightened. To meditate in this peaceful yet energetically charged in-between time is to connect with the divine in an extremely intimate fashion. We discover a new kinship with the universal life force during morning meditations because our awareness becomes a mirror for earthly consciousness—we wake as the world wakes, quietly embracing the joy of being and setting the tone for a serene, fulfilling day.
In the first glorious glow of morning, the light, air, and energy flowing around us speak in hushed tones of the activity to come. While we recognize that another day of being means becoming once again immersed in the challenges of action and reaction, we also understand that we can draw upon the unique energetic qualities of daybreak for comfort, creativity, and vigor. There is bliss in the simple knowledge that we have been given the gift of another day of existence. We are inspired by sights and sounds of the sun's gentle ascension. Birds serenade the luminosity, which grows richer by the minute. And though we may feel a residual lethargy, our vitality returns as our meditation helps us to become one with the stirring of other beings rubbing the sleep from their eyes. At the start of each day, our destiny has not yet been written, and so there is nothing we cannot do.
How we choose to meditate is less important than our choice to attune ourselves to the spirit of wakefulness that travels round the world each and every day. Even the briefest moment of quiet contemplation in the muted light of the sun can put all that is yet to come into perspective. As a consequence of our daybreak reflections, our lives are imbued with the same stability, tranquility, and increased awareness that humanity has long associated with the stillness of early morning.
Posted 06 May 2010 - 12:19 PM
The Best We Can Be
Honoring Our Children Everything we do and say in the presence of our children makes an impression on them. All is taken in and processed.
Everything we do and say in the presence of our children makes an impression on them. We may think we can get away with swearing or gossiping in front of them when they can’t talk, but we have forgotten that just because they can’t talk doesn’t mean they don’t hear. They are sensitive sponges absorbing their environment in ways we will never know. Even if the words don’t make sense to them, they make an impression, as does the energy behind the words. We honor our children when we acknowledge that they are fully present from the very beginning and when we offer ourselves to them in ways that model the best of what humans can be.
When we bring a child into the world, a great welling up of love and hope fills our hearts. We unequivocally want the very best for our children, and we want to be the best parents a child could ever want. We begin to see ourselves and our lives in a different light, and things that seemed okay before we had a child suddenly reveal themselves as problematical. This can lead to a somewhat mincing review of our habits of speech, thought and feeling, our relationships, and our physical habits. We may feel that we have put ourselves under a microscope, which can be stressful. However, it can also lead to a great healing of our own unresolved issues and, in turn, it enables us to be good parents to our children. Talking to other conscious parents about this life transformation can be very helpful.
Our desire to become the best we can be is often strongest at the very beginning of a child’s life and sometimes loses its intensity as we grow accustomed to their presence. However, it is never too late to look at ourselves and notice whether we are offering our best to our children. That original welling up of love and hope can inspire us throughout our lives to be the best we can be.
Posted 11 May 2010 - 12:05 PM
May 10, 2010
The Paradox of Spirit
Language of the Soul The self is not small or big but is both at the same time. Our spirit is like a drop in the ocean of spiritual energy.
Each of us has a spiritual self that animates our bodies and infuses our thoughts and feelings. Our language is limited to the world we know for descriptions of something that perhaps cannot be fully comprehended by the human mind. Therefore, only metaphors approach the expressions that give us a true sense of our spiritual nature. The paradox lies in opposing concepts, all of which are true at the same time. And in harmonizing the opposites, we begin to know the wonders of the spirit.
The self is not small or big but is both at the same time. Our spirit is like a drop in the ocean of spiritual energy. Although our spirit seems like a small, disconnected part of a larger whole, it is still made of the same things and can become part of the vast ocean once again. Our individual spirit seems to inhabit our bodies like a passenger in a vehicle but at the same time is not bound by our bodies. Spirits can reach across the miles to touch the heart of a loved one or expand to become one with the universe. We may feel small and perhaps insignificantly young when we look up at the stars, but we are made of the same basic elements. Perhaps looking at the stars is merely a reflection of what is going on within each atom and cell of our being. We are a universe within a universe. Our spirits are ever renewing, yet ageless and eternal. So the self is not new or old but both at once.
So our spiritual self is not small or big, new or old. We may experience life as good and bad, right and wrong, happy and sad, but this is the experience of the material world of dualities, not the truth of our spritual nature. By going within to touch the eternal and changeless energy at our center, we can go beyond the contrasting metaphors to the experience of oneness. And in that connection we can know big and small, new and old, movement and stillness. By accepting the paradox of spirit, we open ourselves to the fullness of our own being.
Posted 12 May 2010 - 04:06 AM
May 11, 2010
Honesty is Best
The Energy of Honesty Dishonesty redirects a portion of our energy against the flow, which requires extra effort and drains us.
As children most of us learn that honesty is better than dishonesty, and we may not question this beyond whether or not to do what we’re told. As adults, however, we can go deeper to examine our choices as investments of energy with predictable risks and returns. When we speak the truth, we affirm what already is. This is like using a paddle when the stream is already moving the same direction. We are already supported by the universe and its energy flow, so we don’t need to exert much energy, leaving more for other pursuits. But dishonesty redirects a portion of our energy against the flow, which requires extra effort. In addition, it creates an alternate reality that requires further energetic input to be maintained. So we can easily see that we are best served when we work with the flow of the universe.
Life is not always clearly defined, so we may find it useful to follow our choices to their logical conclusions. We may feel that little untruths are harmless, but they can be like small cracks that weaken an overall structure over time. Even giving someone a compliment or trying to protect them can create problems later when the alternate reality we’ve created becomes the basis for further actions. Even if the actions that follow are honestly done, the underlying unstable foundation of dishonesty will threaten to topple things eventually. This can lead to further energy being spent on keeping things hidden, working to remember the tales we’ve spun and fearing the consequences of being found out. Life doesn’t need to be this draining, but we can make the choice to free ourselves from the bonds of dishonesty at any time.
Speaking and living our truth may involve risking, among other things, the possibility of rejection. But when we allow ourselves to follow the flow of life, we are supported. We can then use our energy to cultivate physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being and to create our dreams, rather than leaving ourselves too drained to even maintain our existence. Today we can make honesty our choice in every interaction, bringing the nurturing power of the universe’s energy into our lives to bring positive, lasting results.