Posts Tagged 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.
As a clairvoyant and healer, I understand the importance of grounding myself on a regular basis. When you possess the ability read energy from a higher conscious place, it’s so easy for your soul to automatically transition into Spirit. In other words, you want to be in the place where you are channeling Energy. Yet, we live on Earth so we must remain present here in our daily lives.
So what are the symptoms of not being grounded? Here are just a few that you might identify with:
- Feeling like your head is in the clouds
- Difficulty concentrating
- Forgetting things often
- Losing track of time
- Not living in the Present.
- Feeling constantly in worry mode
- Being accident prone
- Frequent mood swings.
- Avoiding life by excessively sleeping, reading, video games, drinking, TV etc..
- Feeling drained by other people
Here are a few tips that will keep you grounded, and make you feel like you’re on planet Earth once again:
Complete a Grounding Exercise
When you wake up every morning, place your feet on the ground, and imagine the roots of a tree, wrapping around the tops of your feet and going to the center of the core of the earth. You may also repeat this several times a day or simply say the words “Grounded” out loud or in your mind. My feet always tingle when I do this.
Eat earthy foods.
Avoid processed foods whenever possible eat whole grains, vegetable proteins such as legumes, root vegetables, minerals like calcium and iron., and red coloured foods that activate your root chakra.
This may be obvious but so many people hold their breath when they are stressed out. Take several time a day to take several deep breaths, and allow the oxygen to flow into every cell of your body. You will feel revived and refreshed.
Take a Hot Bath or Shower.
After an emotionally draining day, take a hot bath and sprinkle some epsom salts. Water itself is purifying and the sea salts work to detoxify all of the accumulated negative energies that you have gathered throughout your day. Always rinse the salt off of your body before you get out. If you are showering, sprinkle some epsom salts onto your lufa, and imagine all of the negative energy going down the drain.
Be with Nature
Nature is one of the most powerful healing agents in the world. Spend time with the forest, ocean, rivers and mountain peaks. Nature’s energy is incredibly healing. Have you ever leaned up against a tree and felt the energy of the tree healing you? Mother Nature has the ability to repair the cells in your body. It’s such a gift and it’s right outside your door!
Extra Tip: For an even stronger grounding and healing connection to the Earth, take your shoes and socks off.
Remember that we all need to stay grounded in order to live a happy and productive life.
Maxine Friend – About the Author:
Voted as most popular clairvoyant in Vancouver, Maxine dedicated much of her time and energy to noteworthy causes. Maxine is a member of the Canadian Association of Psychics, and is also an active member of the Scleroderma Association of British Columbia. Maxine has created her own fund in honour of her late mother. “In honour of Lise Friend” in order to raise money for Scleroderma research. Maxine is a level II Certified Reiki practitioner; specializing in Usui Reiki Ryoho. In her spare time, Maxine mentors other developing clairvoyants. Maxine also is a special investigative consultant with Find Me; a non for profit organization that assists people from all over the world in finding their missing loved ones.
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.
Tolga Savas – 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.
“In the dark night of the soul, bright flows the river of God.”
– St John of the Cross
It was a Carmelite Monk in the 16th Century, St John of the Cross, who wrote a poem and thesis entitled “Dark Night of the Soul.” The text tells of the saint’s mystical development and the stages he is subjected to on his challenging journey towards union with God. The phrase has since come to be used for such a cathartic journey of self-discovery.
The dark night of the soul is a deeply disturbing experience in which intense suffering arises at a level not felt before. Such despair can continue for days, weeks or even years. During this time, we may have feelings of being abandoned by God or the Universe, and feel a great internal anguish and void. Life may seem to offer no reassurance whatsoever, no matter how many ‘good’ things there are outwardly. There could even be thoughts that one is going crazy, and of there being just no way out, no way forward. There could be much fear about whether the future will continue to be dark in this way. The dark night is not just another low period in one’s life, it is the lowest of the lows, it is as if there is no way to hide or duck from this. The intensity of misery that is experienced is a rock-bottom place, where the individual may view themselves as insignificant, alone, empty and defeated.
The most important thing to understand at this time is that there is a deeper, spiritual meaning to this situation. There is a hidden purpose to it. In these moments of darkness the Divine is touching and purifying us. This certainly may be hard to see and this is why help must be sought. It is very difficult for a human being to see the light in the dark night by him or herself.
The nature of human beings is such that it is often at the last hour, when things have reached an extreme point, that we summon the strength and endurance to do what is required for our own well-being and happiness. Hence it is no surprise that for some people the dark night of the soul occurs. Would we listen otherwise? Have we listened fully thus far when things have gone awry? Thus with the depths of pain that the dark night brings, it becomes much more difficult to escape the pain.
During this night we are urged to learn raw honesty. We are being called upon to awaken to the truth of our shadow self, or imperfections and are being shown that vulnerability is an expression of our fuller humanity. We may begin to see how we continually inflict pain on ourselves and on others. To realize this, is uncomfortable for sure, but if we examine our thoughts and actions openly, this will be found to be so. Embracing the darkness in ourselves makes it much easier to embrace it in others also. Therefore, love, given and received, is also made much more possible through greater acceptance of that which is not love. Perhaps for the first time in this life we start to learn what Love, with a big L, is really is all about.
The dark night is all about self-acceptance. This is very hard to do, but not impossible. As Carl Jung said, “The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” But as we progress into the night, our pain can be gradually understood and released, and the truth of one’s Divine eternal Self can be given the space to finally surface.
The real despair in the heart of human beings is a feeling of being separate from everyone and everything, including, and especially God, or the Universe. The dark night represents an opportunity to find out that there is a completeness, a oneness within one’s Self, that even includes – and gradually dissolves – those feelings of separation.
As we see the truths about our own shadow or pain, ego begins to be relegated from its primary position. This relegation involves great anguish for a human being for we have known no other way to be up to this point. Up to this point we have been ego. Ego has run our life for us. Grief and great sorrow may be felt for an identity that we begin to understand we must now let go of. As this darkness is allowed to just be without resistance, the torch of truth may put the ego in the spotlight, and we may see the impact of a ‘me’-centred life on ourselves and others. Ego makes an empty shell out of us, with no real substance, a second-hand life lived from second-hand beliefs, these forming a wall around us keeping us feeling separated from others and keeping enduring love out of our life also.
In this space of honesty we may experience an unnerving nothingness, as well as fear which arises because there is now no known or familiar way forward. We are essentially facing an unknown future, without ego (which doesn’t serve us well but which we are understandably attached to), and with simply our Self, alone and aware. It is the experience of our own death in life.
The loss of ego or personality is rebirth in an individual. The state of being ‘reborn’ can only come through dying to our conditioned thinking, whether religious, cultural, social and so on. The dark night can be the starting point for this transformational journey. And it occurs when we are ready.
The acknowledgment of our false persona (ego) is what is made poignantly possible during the painful dark night. This might otherwise take much longer. Human beings are prone to wanting an easy ride, and whilst a life lived from an ego-based mind is in fact a life of suffering, it is nonetheless easy because it is what we know. It calls to mind the phrase ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.’ But in this case the ‘devil’ you don’t know is the one that will eradicate the need for all the other devils. We are entering the place of don’t know as opposed to all that we do know, and alien as it may feel, this is where the real Self will be discovered. If you could know your way to real, enduring happiness, then most of us would be ecstatic now. This is why one of Jiddu Krishnamurti’s most well-known books is entitled Freedom From The Known, because the known (ego, beliefs, relative knowledge) does not provide the freedom and joy we seek. In fact what we think and know are the blockages.
If we can summon our deepest resources of courage and endurance at this time, and allow the human ego to be finally relinquished, then grief and fear will quickly be replaced by That which is blocked by ego. This is the peace and joy of our Divine nature. It is only by acknowledging the detrimental and insidious impacts of ego in our own life that a human being will take the challenging steps to let this go. Until we can take responsibility for our own actions and where they originate in, we can’t move into a momentum of coming from a place of no-ego. But only the loss of ego can make room for reality, God or the real Self in a direct way.
The dark night brings us face to face with our own suffering. Its message is: we cannot know light unless we know dark. It’s the space in which we realize for the first time, that life has in reality been experienced as suffering yet we have played a constant game of denying this. In becoming more aware of the hidden and unsatisfactory experiences in our daily life, we gradually shed the attachment to such experiences, drama, desperations and neediness (for in the end it is attachment). This inauthentic way of living suffices no more. The relief is huge. It is the mind that gives rise to all our activities and it is contemplation and release of the imperfections of the mind (ego) that allow actions to become pure, clear and effective.
When the extent of the ego’s controlling ways are seen for what they are, beliefs, concepts and judgments become greyed out. What takes their place is an empty vessel from which to listen and speak, in innocence, focus, honesty and spontaneity. It may sometimes seem that freedom in reality is not the freedom we had previously imagined; it’s an alien feeling due to there being nothing to speak of articulately. Truth has a way of surprising us.
As one sees things in this new way, the world may appear to be more crazy than previously thought. But the mental hospital that the world now seems, is also now known to be perfect. Perfect in the sense that this is how it is. Universal laws are at play and things transpire just as they do. How could it be any other way? Arguing with reality is a lost cause. There is nothing wrong. There is nothing to change in this moment in which one finds oneself alive. Saying that, does not mean that things are necessarily beneficial or must stay the same, but that reality just is, neither good nor bad. “Good” and “bad” now become values which are null and void, paling in comparison with the brilliance of seeing reality – the Now moment – as it is. We don’t stop taking action to improve the world, but we do so from a place of accepting the outcomes whatever these may be. Action becomes joyful in and of itself without ego providing motive, such as desperate ambition or seeking renown.
As the truth of our own Self is glimpsed, it becomes evident that traversing darkness does indeed lead us to light. The dark night is the wake-up call we sent to ourselves to remind us of our true purpose on earth. The dark night of the soul offers a dynamic that can purify a person’s spiritual vision and resulting actions. It is ultimately a gift that reveals the real Self and brings one back to one’s unadulterated, untarnished state of happiness that is intrinsic, though hidden, in all of us.
Reena Gagneja runs the Spiritual Truth Blog, where you will find the ‘truth behind the scenes’ – vital information for these changing times. She is a Spiritual Counsellor, Soul Plan Reader and Amega Global Business Associate.
The Truth shall set you free!