10 Ways to Feel Spirit in Your Life — #2
1. Practice including people who your mind labels as "different," distasteful, or even dangerous, inside the bubble of your personal reality. How is each person an aspect of your Big Self? They are symbols of something you have tried to throw out of your universe. But nothing can be thrown out, because the universe has no end. If you don't resist them, what kind of gift might they have for you?
2. Practice being fully present with What Is, each moment, without trying to change anything. Remind yourself that: "It is what it is".
3. Make a personal commitment to be comfortable at a deep level. This doesn't mean taking the easy way out. It means telling the truth about what causes inner stress. To tell a "white lie" might take the pressure off of you temporarily, but the tension created by withholding the whole truth can neutralize any benefit. The same goes with suppressing your creativity and monitoring your natural self-expression. Only when energy flows without snags do you feel deeply comfortable.
4. Trust the wisdom of your body. Find out what your Truth Signal and your Anxiety Signal are. How does your body let you know when something is right for you? Inappropriate for you? Learn to pay more attention to these physical cues. See if you can learn to pick up the signals before they reach emergency proportions! Your body will always give you good advice. Note: Learn to discriminate between a simple, neutral body cue and emotionally-loaded desires. This is the key to hearing your Inner Voice.
5. Throughout the day, at regular intervals, stop and take inventory. Take a breath and come back to the here-and-now. Get centered in your physical body. Be real! Put your attention on your body and scan through, noticing any tensions, feelings of incompletion, frustrations, feelings of overwhelm. Name them. Do what's necessary to complete things so your body won't have to create pain to get your attention.
6. Learn to meditate.
7. Be silent for one day.
8. Try to fall asleep with a smile on your face.
9. Make a list of what you're grateful for.
10. Complete all the old cycles, involvements, and projects in your life — the ones that have been lingering and draining your energy. This means fearlessly letting go, with love, of what isn't appropriate for you anymore.
Note: See March 19 for the first 10 Ways. . .
I have lately been thinking about the motivation to create and innovate, serve others, and add goodness to the world — what I call "horizontal growth." On the other hand, if this world is a dream we are collectively dreaming, and we can oscillate out of it every other moment into a direct experience of the divine, is there a purpose to improving it or is it already perfect in its original state? Should we then just focus on our own capacity to live in the divine — or "vertical growth"? I don't have answers quite yet, but I remember Don Juan in the Castaneda books, talking about how the spiritual warrior must practice "controlled folly": the idea that everything is already done and perfect, yet we must convince ourselves that it is worthy to do things anyway, and act with full commitment even though we know it's a dream.
I just found a fantastic old book: The Book of Angelus Silesius, The 17th Century European Zen Poet, by Frederick Franck. It is full of observations from mystics, western and eastern, along with the simple, deep writings of Silesius, who experienced a 4-day unbroken period of enlightenment. Among the quotes are these:
. . .great truths do not interest the multitudes,
and now that the world
is in such confusion,
even though I know the Path,
how can I guide?
I know I cannot succeed
and that trying to force results
I shall merely add to the confusion.
Isn't it better to give up
and stop striving?
But then, if I do not strive,
"Everything is," is one extreme.The wise have one wish left:
"Nothing is," is the other.
Between these two I teach the truth of
— The Buddha
to know the Whole, the Absolute.
The foolish lose themselves in fragments
and ignore the root.
You are just dreaming
if you see the Kingdom
delivered without obligation,
He who hopes to make true art
must remember from the start
that nothing true can be created
unless by Spirit permeated.
— Angelus Silesius
The Blame Game
After I wrote last week's post about Don Imus, my boyfriend called to say he thought I was being overly harsh and critical, even unfair. We had a minor upset over my right to free speech, and yet I went back and reread the post and realized he was right. I'd gotten caught up in a feeling of overwhelm and blasted Imus. So I rewrote the blog entry to say more of what I really meant. Then I realized that my boyfriend had been doing to me what I'd done to Imus, and what he'd done to the Rutgers athletes. What an insidious chain we get caught in: the blame "game," they call it. The Course in Miracles says we use blame, whether of self or others, when our ego, which is driven by fear, tries to distract us from deep anxiety or pain. Easy to throw away the hot potato, to project anger onto someone else and use up some of the emotional juice that way, rather than feel truly creepy, shaky, and alone.
The Course also says: "You cannot enter into real relationships with any of God's Sons unless you love them all and equally. Love is not special. If you single out part of the Sonship for your love, you are imposing guilt on all your relationships and making them unreal. . . No one who condemns a brother can see himself as guiltless and in the peace of God. . . You do not realize how much you have misused your brothers by seeing them as sources of ego support." It is this deeper understanding of how interrelated we all are, how we affect ourselves negatively when we affect others negatively, that I hope people of influence in our country will take to heart and act upon. But we can each set an example and become the new people of influence, can't we?
Intuition, Morality, and Don Imus
I am interested in the recent Don Imus ruckus, where a radio host with a huge impact on the public blithely says that black women athletes are "nappy-headed hoe's" and covers up for it by saying he was just being funny and that's what he's paid for. He is not unique among commentators whose "humor" today runs toward scathing sarcasm and tasteless put-downs. Who among us thinks calling young women — ANY women — "whores" is funny? To me, it's not so much that I'm offended, but more that I am assaulted by the ugliness and closed-heartedness that seems everywhere around us today. I am just exhausted from what is trendy. Yet, intellectually, I am interested in the logic that arose from him and various commentators afterward.
Yes, he apologized. Then he, and others, said that the African-American people themselves put their own women down with the same term. So this justifies HIM doing it? They say, "But Imus runs a camp for kids with cancer so he's a good guy. Don't his good works offset his comment?" My question is: Would a person with an open heart and good morality, who understands the Golden Rule, practice that respect in just one part of his life? Many people are saying that the rappers are equally as negative and crude, as are other shock-jocks. So why make a Imus a scapegoat? I don't know why he captured the fancy of the media in that one moment he spoke. I do know that when we are focused into the material world at the expense of the inner, intuitive one, there is a tendency to be caught in ego and separation. And then it's easy to hurt others and not realize it's yourself you're hurting.
Advice from My Inner Voice
I write directly from my intuition and often I ask questions: What do we need to pay attention to now? What's most important? This is part of what I received:
- Stay in the moment, don't project into the future. Keep your intuition open.
- Engage with what comes; everything you need will be provided by the unified field.
- What comes will either look like a thought in your head or an event coming from the world; do what produces the greatest happiness and be happy about what you do.
- Monitor your moods, your internal state; prefer a level of awareness that is closest to your soul frequency and thus allows guidance from your soul to flow to you. Enthusiasm, even mild enthusiasm, cheerfulness, sincerity, innocence, and curiosity work best.
- Appreciate and use what you have right now; digest it and get all the food value; this is what you told Us you wanted and needed. Nothing new can come until you use what you have."
- "Learn to be extremely quiet and deeply attentive on a regular basis and often during the day, to listen for the soul’s urges. How do they differ from the mind's shoulds? Hint: Listen for a difference in tone; notice if there's tightness — if there is, the idea probably originates with the mind."