Are you stressed over the upcoming 2016 US Presidential Election? It is only 2 weeks until Election Day and early voting has started in many States. Many people are stressed about the election, tired of the divisiveness and exhausted by the nonstop media coverage.
In an article first published in The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz writes:
“By now we’ve established that election-induced stress is a real and common phenomenon inflicting more than half of American adults, and negatively impacting their work, their relationships and their health. People have been tweeting about their stress eating because of it and giving in to other vices like drinking and smoking weed.
So last week the meditation app 10% Happier enlisted several leading instructors to put together “election emergency” meditations to offer tips and breathing exercises to help our stressed-out populace manage their emotions.
The app is an offshoot of the book of the same name by ABC News anchor Dan Harris, who wrote about a panic attack he had on air and how he subsequently turned to meditation for his stress.”
This is the full article site. http://www.denverpost.com/2016/10/21/stressed-over-the-election-try-the-app-with-emergency-election-stress-meditations/
The app has suggestions for helping us to become centered when we have become wrapped up in the illusion of the election. Meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg reminds us to focus on the breath. “The breath will be with us if we’re stuck in traffic or watching a debate. We can always use that as a resource to re-center or re-ground. It’s very portable.”
In the Standing in the Light® classes, we teach not only about meditating but also clearing the reasons and causes for the agitation and stress. If you are stressing about the election, first start to breathe in peace, calm, tolerance, love, and light. Then, ask to clear or heal any of the reasons you might be feeling stressed, angry, and fearful, or any other discordant emotion. Ask to clear any divisiveness within yourself and to help clear that for the nation or humanity as a whole. Balancing the male and female energies within and balancing the energies of the right and the left sides of the body and/or political spectrum will be helpful, too. Finding a favorite meditation, a favorite song, or energy healing technique will help speed up the process of becoming centered again to who you truly are.
Frequently over the last month, I have found myself humming as well as singing out loud an old favorite of mine to pull me back to a centered position, Let There Be Peace on Earth. This song speaks to me because of the recognition that peace on earth begins with me. If you haven’t read them recently, here are the original lyrics.
Let There Be Peace on Earth, Written by Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller in 1955
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me;
Let there be peace on earth,
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our Father
Brothers all are we,
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me,
Let this be the moment now;
With every step I take,
Let this be my solemn vow
To take each moment and live each moment
In peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Although, I am guided to include the original lyrics here, Wikipedia offers updated gender-neutral lyrics at this link.
Please use the version that most speaks to you and allows peace within you. And if any mirrors are raised by any of the versions, please look at them and clear them! With much love and peace, I AM Lori
It is almost impossible to look at the world around us and not see general disarray.
In the United States, the political left and right are fervently trying to appeal to the middle that their candidate is the better of the two most disliked candidates in our country’s history if the opinion polls are to be believed!
Whether in religious, social, or international dealings, the standard for tolerance and compassion appears to be not taking violent action or refraining from verbally insulting those with different opinions or beliefs.
And one wonders whether Lady Justice is wearing her blindfold to hold the energy of non-judgment or because she can’t seem to see a solution for all the strife and divisiveness.
These are examples of how things might look in our outer world currently.
However, I know we are capable of turning the divisiveness and separation we feel into Unity for all. We must abandon the idea that the order and way things were done in the past – whether economic, political, social, or religious – is the only model for us to follow now. There is a reason we see so many systems breaking down. It is because we need to break through with new ideas, new techniques, and new processes that fit the circumstances we find ourselves in now.
The answers that worked in the past may still be valid, but only if the facts and circumstances are the same. Most of us realize that this millennium, this century, even this decade has new challenges that need to be met with ideas that we were unable or unwilling to see in the past.
We need to be willing to work toward unity.
We can start our journey toward unity with working with the energies of harmony and cooperation with our fellow humans and with our environment. Harmony and cooperation are good goals for the majority of us.
Many people are willing to strive for harmony and cooperation even if simply because these energies are the polite ways of getting along in a civil society. At a four-way stop, it makes sense for us to take our turns moving through the intersection. In a ski lift line, more people will get on the ski lift without empty chairs passing by if we line up orderly and move through the line more efficiently. Harmony and cooperation are logical in these situations.
The energy of unity is definitely a lofty goal. Unity must be experienced to be fully understood. Most of the time in our society, individualism is what appears to serve us better than unity. However, just like in the example of the ski chairlifts going by empty, individualism can lead to waste in one arena where more unity would have allowed for that resource to be utilized more beneficially for the whole. When we are coming from the energy of individualism, we may hold onto something longer than we need to because of a fear of scarcity. When we work with and strive for unity, we are trusting that our needs will be met in accordance with the highest plan. The highest plan for unity leaves no one behind, assuming each is willing to commit to the unity of the whole. You will want to check with your guidance to see if the energy of unity is a goal for you right now.
In our society, those of us who strive for harmony, cooperation, and eventually unity may be viewed by others as being in disarray and being out of sync with “reality”. You might even hear others say, “why aren’t you taking sides,” or “if you are registered as an independent, you aren’t doing anyone any good.” When you hear statements like this, you know that the person saying it is allowed her or his opinion, but it doesn’t stop you from having the long-term goal of tolerance, harmony, cooperation, and unity.
Following your guidance, you will be able to stand in your power and stand in the disarray of unity.
Have you noticed how much things have been changing in our outer world, shifting quickly and often unexpectedly? We can see it in our elections; one candidate is ahead in this poll and the next week something is said or revealed and the other candidate is ahead in another poll. There are unexpected twists and turns all around us in financial markets, global politics, etc. How do we, as spiritual beings, navigate all of this transition?
Many spiritual teachers have used the example of the ocean to describe our consciousness. At the surface, there can potentially be a lot of turmoil with waves crashing and water spray flinging out in every direction. But the deeper you go, the calmer the water until resting at the ocean floor it is quiet and still. We are learning, each in our own way, to hold that consciousness of the calm ocean floor even as the waves do their powerful dance in the outer, visible world.
As events around the world seem to heat up and become more contentious, keep your eye on the prize of what you know to be true within. Make a commitment to yourself to continue to see the ocean calm even as you are looking out at a stormy sea. Some days, you may need to remind yourself of this truth every few moments. Some days, it will be easy and smooth sailing. But it will take your focus and determination until the experience is as natural as breathing.
Many New Age books talk about spiritual warriors. The word “warrior” has many third dimensional connotations, but a warrior in the spiritual sense is simply someone who is fully in touch with his inner power. The warrior has the perseverance to hold the vision of Divine Truth regardless of the chaos playing out in the physical world. She will follow through and act on that Divine Truth no matter what.
The spiritual warrior is an inner warrior. There are no flashy action sequences of battle. The training regimen of the spiritual warrior is the quiet, consistent practice of holding the consciousness of our divine reality even as the illusion that we see appears to tell us differently. It is time to answer the call, to come together in our hearts and be the spiritual warriors we came to be.
“I’m sure that’s what I saw!” “I remember exactly what happened.” “I’m 100% positive that’s what it looked like.”
Have those words, or something like them, ever passed your lips? The brain is an amazing organ capable of storing awe-inspiring amounts of raw data. But the mind, the part of ourselves which shapes and puts together that data into our understanding of the world, is just as amazing and is influenced by many factors including our past experiences, our emotions, our beliefs and our expectations. Memories that we are sure are crystal clear facts in our minds are often shaped and molded by our changing perceptions. So, how do we know what is true?
On a recent visit with family, we were all working on an image puzzle made of two very complex photos which were almost identical, but not quite. The object was to identify the tiny differences between the two. After we each wrote down our findings, we compared notes and I discovered I had missed one of the more obvious changes that were made. Looking at it, I was unbelieving that I had missed it. I clearly remembered thinking that it was an easy place to make a change so I had carefully scanned all the objects in that area. But there was indeed one item missing in that section of one photo. How could I have missed it when I had already suspected something and was on the lookout?
There is a basic human truth that we don’t see what we’re not ready to see. It’s not a matter of intelligence or eyesight, but simply of perception. It’s said that you can interview 10 eyewitnesses to an event and receive 10 different versions. It’s not that everyone literally saw different actions played out, but that each interpreted those actions differently. And even when we are looking directly at something, we sometimes don’t see it or see it differently because the mind is expecting or desiring something else and subtly fills in the blanks. The mind helps us reinforce our own version of reality.
So, how do we know what is true? From our own God-selves, our Souls. Divine Truth is a much higher frequency than anything we can perceive through our physical senses. Divine Truth is not about third-dimensional facts, but about the inner wisdom in our hearts. Divine Truth is always about the highest good of all, rather than just what we personally want to be true.
As our world changes more rapidly every day, it can feel over-whelming and challenging to pick out the truth from all of the information streamed to us. When we go to our own Souls for Divine Truth, we can trust that it is not based on our limited human perceptions but from the greater perspective of the God/Goddess. Divine Truth is universal truth.
A few years ago, I went on my first “silent retreat” over a three day weekend. The goal was to not speak, read, listen to radio or music nor watch TV. We were in retreat at Benet Hill Monastery near Colorado Springs, Colorado. Everything we needed was within walking distance and we were on a meal plan provided by the Sisters. This helped to keep the outside stimuli and the need to “think” to a minimum. The goal was to just BE.
Before I went, I was telling one of my long-time friends about it on a phone call. Before he could say anything, I said, “Are you laughing?” He said, “from deep in my belly!” Then, a person who I just met said, “but you are so outgoing and gregarious.” This just made me laugh. I know that I have neither the inclination nor is it my path to take a vow of silence at this particular time in this particular life. But, I would like to share with you what I experienced in my 60 hours of silence.
We used a guided meditation to set the tone for the 60 hours. This meditation, channeled and narrated by Marsha Hankins, helped us connect to the larger parts of ourselves, to mother earth and the cosmos. By leaving this meditation in silence and not breaking it with any other outside stimuli was quite powerful. I could focus on experiencing the feeling of being connected and being one with everything around me in the physical world. I could also experience being connected and being one with everything in the metaphysical world. Experiencing the metaphysical world through the sensations and the sense of knowingness that is lost in the overload of the 5 human senses. This was staggeringly profound, and I was only 1 hour into the silence.
I am not sure I ever mastered the “monkey mind” which is part of the goal of being in silence. The idea is to be in the silence long enough that you don’t feel the need to entertain yourself even in your own thoughts. Instead, you simply allow yourself to experience the “now”. I found myself still discussing scenarios with myself. Discussing conversations that I had in the past and why they were appropriate or how I could have handled them better. Or discussing different ways I could say things that I knew I was going to need to say when I was “back in the real world”. These discussions are all “judgment based.” I realized I was judging myself for things I did in the past or judging “what if I don’t get it correct” in the future. A whole lot of judging going on!
Finally, what I found the most surprising was the simple yet acute joy that I found when I was walking around the monastery grounds. It was a rainy weekend and it was cool at the altitude of 6000 feet. Never being cold but enjoying the coolness was a slice of heaven. Walking the Labyrinth at least twice a day and reminding myself of the innocence and breathtaking aspects of our shared reality that can include peace and relaxation if we allow it. I found myself trying to determine how I would be able to add in some of the aspects of the silence into my everyday life even as the 24-hour news cycle and access to the internet tempt me to fill every moment of every day with someone else’s thoughts and someone else’s experiences. I am setting my intention to claim a little bit of every day for the silence in nature, the silence in the cosmos and the silence within me. This will surely be how and when I find the God/Goddess Within.
In the building where I work, there are many individual small businesses renting office space along with a social club. Recently, for various reasons, the building tenants were offered free membership to the club. My first reaction was that I couldn’t possibly take full advantage of the membership because I wouldn’t be a “real” member. The moment I had that thought, my Soul came in loud and clear to remind me that it didn’t matter how I had become a member but that I had the opportunity to enjoy the perks of this gift or not and it would be entirely my own choice if I rejected it. In other words, “It doesn’t matter how you got here, you’re invited!”
I know how this works: when your Soul has something to say, it is wise to listen. I sat down for some further meditation on this lesson, and I saw that this membership was a metaphor. What had seemed like an elite club actually had open doors. This club that I was cutting myself off from is the Divine club; my connection with the Christ, the Spiritual Hierarchy and with my Soul. I had been allowing myself to peak through the windows, but not to be welcomed in full membership. In this divine club, everyone is already a member because we are all Divine, but we must know it for ourselves. No one else is barring the door except us. So, come on in and pick up your goody bag. We have Love, Joy, Abundance, Companionship, Peace, Creativity, Community and so much more opportunity for spiritual riches than your wildest dreams. This is your birthright.
In the end, our journey in this grand illusion is just a story we told ourselves for a very long time. It doesn’t matter how we get to the end of our story. We’re all very creative, and we each chose different twists and turns in our plotlines. But eventually we all get to that same point in the story that says “The End.” And eventually we are all coming Home to the God/Goddess once we’re done telling our story. Everyone is welcomed here. There is no secret password, no special handshake and no membership card. We have always been members at Club Divine, and it’s time to enjoy the privileges.