Posts Tagged dream

Recovering our True Self: The Journey Out of Our Negative States

Down through the centuries, spiritual teachers of all traditions have differentiated between our mundane, invented personality so filled with stress, and our true identity characterized by serenity, constancy, and wisdom.  They urge us to discover our inner depths and that vaster Self which enables right action in the world. Everyone of us is meant to live with joy and compassionate outreach to the people around us. We are designed to be masters of our selves, capable of overcoming all the difficulties of life. This is our birthright, but in order to experience it, we must recognize how far we are from living in this manner, why this is so, and what efforts we must make to live in such a way. This new awareness and these efforts are the process that leads us out of our negative emotional habits in order to enter into the depths of our spiritual nature.

positive negative patternTo recover from our ingrained habits and our subconscious imitations of parents and peers is truly spiritual warfare.  It is the narrow way that few want to travel as it requires going against the grain of our own behavior.  It is making the hard choices rather than taking the easy way as we always have.  This process takes place in the trenches of our most ordinary interactions with the world.  Authentic spiritual development takes place in that moment of irritation, that moment of unkindness, that moment of selfishness that we encounter the heat of the battle.  This inner battle determines who we are and how we live this life during our brief journey through time.

Here then are some specific methods for recovering from those toxic habits:

The first and most fundamental effort is the objective study of ourselves. Why? Because nothing real can take place until we know what we are dealing with. We cannot take for granted that we know how or why we function the way we do. If you want to operate a computer, you have to learn the software. Human beings are complex software indeed and are rarely user friendly. So tryobserving yourself from a completely neutral standpoint. Do not judge what you see. Just see it. Observe your reactions, your attitudes, your moods and the many aspects of yourself that take charge from moment to moment. If you do this with sincerity and courage, not justifying every action and passing thought, you will begin to see yourself more objectively and initiate the awareness of the Observing Self who will be the key to your recovery.

This simple effort begins the process of creating a space within you that is not completely hypnotized by external events. Though you still react to external circumstances through ingrained habit, there is now this sliver of your Self that is not pulled out of you. A new space of inner freedom is being created along with a new sense of a deeper identity than the surface personality.

Another critical aspect of this observation is the study of our negative states. You will be amazed at how much of our time is spent under the dominance of these dark moods and thoughts. You will catch yourself grumbling about other people, feeling dejected over this or that event, complaining about the weather, resenting something somebody said. Nothing healthy can grow under the constant downpour of this acid rain within you. Eventually, you will discover that you can free yourself from such unpleasant behavior and states of mind. Step one is to turn off the leaking faucet: stop expressing negative emotions.

This effort is the beginning of separating yourself from them. You don’t have to accept living in those dark states. You are not them. They are bad habits acquired over a lifetime. If you want healing and joy in your life, you must stop the momentum of negativity. One of the important things to observe about negative states is how much energy they take away from us. If you are aware of yourself before and after a moment of rage, you will see very clearly how much energy has been lost in that brief moment. We only have so much energy available to us each day, and we can use it to be healed and renewed, or we can squander it thoughtlessly.

So notice your thoughts before they plant themselves in your feelings and eventually manifest in your actions. Anger at a colleague or spouse can be caught before it has caused internal and external damage. In that more rational, detached place before the feeling has caught you by the throat, you can notice why you are angry. What is it in you that is reacting that way? What is it in your colleague that has caused his or her behavior which is so disturbing? Anger can then turn into compassion, or at least into a new insight about yourself or another.

After self-observation and separation from negative states comes the next all-important practice: becoming present to the moment. Experience the moment as it is, for what it is. Becoming present grounds you in reality here and now and takes you out of the tempests of imagination and inner talking that fill the mind with so much noise. Become present not only to your surroundings, but to your body. Relax the tensions that you haven’t even noticed before: In the shoulders, in the jaws, in the stomach. Begin to experience the revitalizing peace of being alive in this moment. Those of you familiar with meditation know how helpful it is to regulate one’s breathing in order to center oneself. Just breathing in and out slowly to ease the inner tensions is a powerful tool for nourishing your spirit in the moment. Learn to sit quietly for awhile. This is no luxury or idle behavior. We are so wracked with stress and worry that we cannot recover enough to get back in touch with ourselves until we are released from the grip of our anxieties. We rob ourselves of the very joy of living when we let ourselves fall into endless worry and nervous tension. Take time to let go of all that.

This daily effort teaches us to stop or at least to step back from the constant flow of thoughts that creates reality for us. This means that most of our worrying and anxious considerations fall by the wayside and we are able to rise above the clouds of our immediate concerns to the larger picture of our existence as a whole. Sometimes, however, the flood of thoughts refuses to slow no matter what we do. Our nerves are so frayed that we cannot achieve the simple peace of looking out the window and enjoying the view without anything coming to mind. That’s when you might employ the stop exercise. In the midst of a thought or daydream, tell yourself to stop and abruptly cut short what is going on in your mind. Then relax your body and look around you, just seeing what is there. Take a vacation from the inner turmoil.

So our daily practice for recovering from a life polluted with negative emotional habits includes: objective observation of our selves, separation from negative states, quieting the mind, and becoming present to the moment. You will notice how these practices begin to take us out of our usual nervous tension and keep us from mindlessly responding to everything around us by turning a portion of our attention inward and by expanding our perspective in the moment.  We then become more than our self-centered, habitual mass of reactions.

If you apply these techniques regularly, you will soon find yourself living more frequently in that space of peace, of centeredness, of recovery from being victims of automatic reactions. Then you will find that you become capable of a serenity and acceptance of what is, of a surrender of selfishness that empowers you to help others as well as yourself.

Such a journey of emotional and psychological recovery offers us a new spiritual empowerment which enables us to accept life as it comes, even with all its complications and the capacity to act rightly in any given situation. This developing inner power creates a free human being who is no longer entangled in his or her selfishness and constant stream of fears and desires. Such a person can journey through life in peace, with wisdom and compassion. Such a person makes the world a better place.

About the Author

Ted Nottingham is the author and translator of a dozen books, the producer of numerous televised programs, and the pastor of Northwood Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Changing your life by changing your mind

Most of us feel upset and resentful from time to time, and for some that feeling seems to almost always be with us.  The word “resent” means literally to refeel, so those who carry resentments are simply replaying unhappy times in their lives over and over again.  One lady I worked with at one time kept saying to me, “But how can I feel happy when my husband is gone.”  I would usually tell her that she could feel sad that he was no longer with her, but she could begin to let go of the constant feelings of grief.  She insisted that wasn’t possible.  She would tell me that no matter how engrosing whatever she was doing was, she would also be thinking of how much she missed her husband and about all the things she wished she had done differently in her life with him..

It is very difficult to shift our thinking from one channel to another, but it can be done with lots and lots of practice.  The process can begin with the realization that no matter how hard we work at it, we can not change reality.  My patient’s husband was not going to come back, and she would never be able to change the way her life with him had been.  By spending so much of her energy resenting the fact that he was gone, she was in effect poisoning the current monments in her life.  We talked about the fact that her husband would not have wanted her to think that way, and gradually she began to see that she could begin to shift her thinking to more positive thoughts.

Many people allow their thinking to get stuck in certain tracks, and they come to believe that it is not possible to change this.  Their take on life is that they feel what they feel, and there is no way to feel differently.  In recent years, science has come a long way toward proving that what we think determines what plays out in our lives.  It doesn’t do so directly, of course, or we would all be winning the lottery all the time.  But when we think we are helpless to change our thinking, we find that is true in our lives.  When we begin to think about all the ways we might be able to shift our thought processes, we find we can do that occasionally.  Since practice makes perfect, we find that our ability to change our thinking can grow.

To give you an example of how this words, I will tell you that my parents lived through the “great depression” just prior to my birth.  It colored their lives and I grew up thinking that no matter how much I had, it was never enough.  Eventually I realized that my thoughts were always of scarcity, so scarcity was what I attracted to my life.  I worked very hard at shifting my thoughts to abundant thinking.  I would get mail from many worthy causes asking for donations.  In the past, I always felt that I did not have enough to give funds away.  Slowly I sifted my thinking to the realization that I might not have much, but I had more than many others, so I opted to share the little I had.  Since I was sending out abundant thoughts into the universe, the abundance in my life grew and grew.

If you have decided you want to learn to control your own thoughts (which will indeed change the way you view life and the people in it) you can begin by taking baby steps and progress from there.  Whenever, you find your thinking is going around and around like a hampster on a wheel, tell youself that you would like to change the way you are thinking.  The way that works best for me is to ask for help from a power greater than myself.  I simply say, “Please help me not think this way.”  It helps if you have some more positive thoughts available.  Think about something for which you are grateful.  Think, perhaps, about the reward you will give yourself when you have achieved a change in thinking.  Above all else, do not be discouraged when your thoughts shift back into an old rut.  Simply allow yourself to be aware that this has happened, and try again.  It will work if you work at it.

 

– About the Author:

I’m a retired senior, married 53 years, and have three sons and two grand children.  I’ve written all my life but have only published two books and one workbook.  I worked over 20 years as an addictions’ counselor.  My most recent book is of scripture based daily meditations and is titled “Talks with our Creator.” Information about the book can be found at http://www.Sherryschultz377.com/MyBookBlog.

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The Essence of Spirituality

Spirituality, we can say, is the ability to cultivate one part of the man’s nature; his spirit, through meditation, through internalization, by meeting with himself. This experience somehow implies a certain detachment from the dimension of the material and body.

The human being in its depth has the ability to grasp what lies beyond appearances, beyond what is seen and listened, the thought, the feeling. He apprehends the other side of things. They are not just things. They could represent symbols and metaphors of another reality beyond that, a sign from what they were, what they remind, an underlying meaning.

Human beings can perceive values and meanings, not just facts and events. What really matters is not the things that happen to us, but what they mean for our lives and the experiences they provide us. Things then start to have another meaning: remind us of what we have experienced and feed our inner selves. It is not without reason that some people surround themselves with objects that bring to them good memories. Those objects are no longer objects. They are stories, they speak, remember, they are meaningful to the heart.

Perceiving things in this way, the depth of the world, of others and his own depth is spirituality. Spirituality is the moment of consciousness by which we grasp the meaning and value of things. Furthermore, it is that state of consciousness through which we see the whole and ourselves as part and parcel of that whole. The uniqueness of human beings is to experience their own depth. Listening to themselves, they realize that it is from their heart, that feelings like compassion, love, the identification with others as one, emerge. They realize a divine presence that is always with us, always inside us.

Accept this energy belongs to our experience of life, hear it, and integrate it into your lives. It is spirituality in its basic essence. This energy is present in every person and in all stages of life. The depth represents to us the human spirit, feeling it, is what we call spirituality.

This experience has an effect of irradiation of serenity, of deep peace and fearlessness. We can feel loved, accepted and we realize that we are never alone. Spirituality is a way of life, a basic attitude to be lived at all times and under all circumstances. Even within the daily dealings of home, work, even when driving a car, or talking to our friends, or living in intimacy with the loved ones. The person that accepts their own spiritual depth in his everyday life can have more peace, will radiates vitality and enthusiasm, because they know that they carry within themself something bigger. They belong to something wider, as spiritual awareness is within their presence.

This spirituality, in modern life is sometimes so forgotten, though is necessary condition for an integrated and simple life. It can be even a way to understand the cause of our fears and complexes, like those that are more difficult to be understood by many; the transition is one of them.

For a spiritual person transition is a natural process of life, it not a beginning nor end, but transformation of spiritual heart, the next step.

 – About the Author:

Tolga maintains a spiritual website at kumalak.com.au, online psychic shares his passion on psychic readings, psychic chat online, dream analysis and kumalak readings. Kumalak the Mirror of Destiny – One Good Turn Deserves Another.

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The Adventure That Is Life

I was the oldest of four boys, and after our father died, mother supported us by taking in sewing. We were quite poor. I got an afterschool job as the janitor in a factory; it was the only way I’d have any money.

what's-your-storyAfter a couple of years I got bored with that, so I beat the pavement to just about every business in our small Ontario town. I found a job hammering nails. The cut in pay from $.40 per hour to $.30 per hour was worth it for the new experience. Unfortunately, this was to be a short-lived adventure; my new boss found out I was only 13, and child labor laws kicked in. I went back to my afterschool sweeping and toilets and kept a low profile…

My mother had always wanted me to go to university, but she died in a car crash when I was 16. Nevertheless, the janitoring and summer jobs financed my big adventure of going off to university. I was the first from my mother’s side to do so.

I had come to realize by the time I was 12 that I could choose to look at my life as a series of crises: drowning and resuscitation, abduction and torture, abduction and sexual abuse, father dying, poverty, my teacher labeling me “slow.” Alternatively, I could choose to look at my life as a series of adventures: solo hiking and exploring, hitchhiking to Toronto to spend a week each year at the CNE, long bicycling adventures, building a boat and riding the spring floodwaters amidst the ice jams on the local river, learning to hunt with a 12-gauge shotgun. I chose adventure over crisis.

When you are confronted with a life event, you are given a choice as to how you interpret it. And let’s face it; life has its ups and downs.

A “down” could be a disaster like a marriage failure… or the opening for the adventure of remarriage. I’ve been blessed with that adventure twice.

Another not uncommon disaster is a job loss or business failure that leads to the loss of your hard-earned material possessions. However, losing our business, our house and our vehicles cut our material ties to the east and led to the adventure of starting over on the west coast. Without the business crash two decades ago, my adventures in writing might never have begun.

Family is one of life’s big adventures, and three of my adult children dying in the last five years have been tragic. However, the time before each one died was one of deep mutual reconnection and re-bonding as we said our goodbyes… and that has been another blessing.

The nature of adventure changes with the lifecycle. I gave up motorcycle adventure touring a couple of years ago (downgraded to four wheels) and am now much more focused on my healing work and internet outreach work.

I invite you to reflect on the positive adventures of your life that have arisen from the ashes of the not so positive.

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 – About the Author:

Psychologist Dr. Neill Neill maintains an active practice on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, with a focus on healthy relationships and life after addictions. He is the author of Living with a Functioning Alcoholic – A Woman’s Survival Guide.  Get a copy of his free report “Codependency and Alcohol Addiction” at www.neillneill.com,

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