Posts Tagged Religion and Spirituality
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.
To 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.
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.
Sherry – 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.
When we think of our wellbeing, the first thing that usually comes to mind is our physical health. We equate it with how fit we are, how healthy the food we eat is, and how much vitamins and mineral supplements we ingest. But how often do we primarily equate it with spiritual development? How many of us view having inner balance, a sense of oneness and peace with the world as something that truly completes us? If you feel that you need to work on this area of your life, here are some of the essential keys you need to know and practice:
Control your thoughts. Spiritual development starts with removing all negativity from your thoughts. For instance, if you’re the type who always thinks of the worst case scenario, train yourself to be rational. Did your spouse fail to return your calls or messages on time? Rather than quickly assuming that they may have gotten into an accident, think of alternative, less nerve-wracking reasons. They may be in an area where the signal is pretty bad; hence they are unable to respond. Or they may have gotten caught up in a last minute emergency meeting in the office. Choosing to think of the “lesser evil” of the possible reasons will help calm you down and sustain your inner balance.
Control your actions. Your actions in the heat of the moment reflect the state of your inner balance. Don’t let your knee-jerk reactions get in the way of your spiritual development. You need to be in control of yourself during trying times. Getting carried away will only open you up to a world of regret when you have calmed down and reflected on your unsavory behavior. So if you want to minimize regrets and lessen the chances of destroying relationships permanently, count one to ten before you slap the offending party in the face!
Control your emotions. Spiritual development is also dependent on your ability to control your emotions. If you get easily flustered, panicky or hysterical when you hear bad news, get insulted or receive poor reviews, you won’t be able to attain inner balance and peace. Not to mention you will surely end up with high blood pressure and extreme anxiety which could lead to serious health issues! So the way to solve this is to build emotional resilience. Learn to detach yourself from the smallest, most insignificant things and focus only on those that matter. Handle crisis, stress and pressure calmly and with a level head. It also helps to plan ahead for outcomes you can easily predict; that way you’re not caught unaware and you lessen your chances of going on panic mode.
Be open-minded and flexible. Some of us can be micromanaging control freaks! If you are one, then surely you know the feeling of having your inner balance thrown off when things don’t go your way. If you give your child maths lessons so that he gets an A+ in the test, then he comes home with an A-minus, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t plan your travel itinerary to the letter because you might get crushed when the museum you planned to visit happens to be closed that day. Learn to look past the disappointments and focus on the good things. Learning to adapt to situations keeps you calm and, as a result, helps you achieve spiritual development.
Practice tolerance. In order to be at peace with yourself and with the world, you need to accept that people are different. There are cultures, religions, norms, political views and social practices that may seem alien to you, but if you exercise tolerance and respect for others, you will easily achieve spiritual development. Remove all prejudice and hatred from your heart. You will become a much better person without being weighed down by “preconceived garbage” in your heart and mind. Live and let live; with this maxim, attaining inner balance should be a cinch.
Achieving internal harmony need not require a trip to a monastery in some far flung nation. The truth is, the process starts and ends within you. So, rather than literally crossing mountains to find your enlightenment, aim to move mountains within by removing all barriers to your spiritual growth and development.
Aim for spiritual development as part of your self growth. Attaining inner balance is essential to one’s life if you wish to live each day with inner peace and a feeling of abundance.
- Developing Will Power and Self Discipline (joannewellington.wordpress.com)
Many of us are on a spiritual path. We are relentlessly seeking, meditating,chanting, drumming and studying all sorts of modalities to help us heal or understand who we really are and what our true purpose is. Every day, I encounter such individuals serious about their journey, asking to further their spirituality and cosmic understanding. “I am eager to heal my deepest fears” they say, “and I want to release my blocks so that I may manifest my Earthly purpose and achieve enlightenment.” Fair enough.
As I begin to reprogram the deeply seated blocks and fears, I seem to always arrive to a bottom line, no matter who the person is, what spiritual background they may have or what the nature of their struggle may be. The bottom line is a conscious or unconscious resistance to our own physicality and the desire to escape this human form. We either feel we do not belong to the human species as we awaken to our superior “outer-worldly” lineage or in most cases, we simply abhor carrying a physical body that continuously reminds us of our human limitations and finite nature.
I also see the common struggle, the confusion and anger of having to engage in this physical journey. Often times, I observe serious resentment towards our own spirit family – even the Creator – and the strong desire to revoke and destroy this entire material existence. Even those most advanced in their awakening process, if given the opportunity to return to spirit at this very moment, will take it in a single breath. But why? And how could we awaken fully to our Earthly purpose or achieve enlightenment if we are not ourselves convinced of wanting to be a human in the first place? It is because we have not come to terms with our own physicality and truly understood what it entails.
Physicality is not only our physical body. It is holding the human form in a material reality that is an extension of a much larger universal consciousness. Also, this material existence and this human form are purposeful. Among many reasons, the purpose of your physical body is to provide a carrier for higher universal information to be implanted within the human frequency range and consciousness; Your physical body provides a unique access to the collective human consciousness that you could not otherwise access and more importantly transmute or elevate; Your physical body holds the key to your own awakening as you begin to balance your physical cells with the higher frequencies of your true universal DNA; And finally, your physical body allows you to implant a new DNA configuration that eventually becomes the future human species on Earth.
There are many views on the current and upcoming Earthly changes, in particular those related to the year 2012. Most seem to focus primarily on the geophysical changes occurring on the Earth. However, as I describe this topic in detail in my book “The Divine Plan: Beyond 2012”, these changes are multi-dimensional. In addition to the geophysical aspect, there are unprecedented solar and magnetic changes, galactic and universal re-alignments of the Earth Grid, the simultaneous arrival of new universal beings from various parts of the multiverse and more importantly, the changes involve the entire re-configuration of the human species into a new highly evolved creation.
Through your physical presence and body, you are partaking in the making, refining and manifesting the future consciousness of this new species. In other words, you are the carrier of the future DNA of this human race and if that alone is not reason enough to begin considering your physical body as purposeful, if not sacred, I am not sure what is.
So if you want to truly awaken to your Earthly purpose, realize your divinity and fully master the human condition, begin loving your physical instrument and honoring your physicality. You may also simply invoke “Source Energy” to reprogram your cells and implement this fundamental transformation of your being. Source Energy or Source Frequency speeds up your awakening process drastically and allows your existence in human form to become a coherent and seamless extension of who you really are in spirit form rather than a temporary burdensome form that is irrelevant to your true essence. Source frequency connects you instantly with the energy of Love, Truth, Beauty and Goodness, the very fabric of your own Divine Creator that is now being brought to humanity by you and through your physical body.
Meditation to raise your vibration by Connecting to Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4bo3yKO1IA
OMnium Universe – About the Author:
Caroline Cory is a Teacher of Consciousness Studies, Spirituality and Energy Medicine. She is an International Speaker, Author and the Founder of the OMnium Method of Learning and Healing. These revolutionary techniques are based on experiential information that allows the spontaneous alignment of the physical cells and the human brain with the Universal-Source Frequency. This method provides an instant and permanent cellular reprogramming to the original universal blueprint so that healing or learning may occur organically.