There is an old story: Two monks are walking along a road and come to a large stream. A beautiful young woman is standing by the stream trying to cross. She asks for assistance. The monks have given vows of chastity in which they have declared they will not touch a woman or lust after the pleasures of the flesh. But one monk agrees to carry the woman across as an act of charity and he takes her to the other stream bank. As they continue along the road, the second monk is outraged and continues to lecture the first monk about breaking his vows. The first monk replies, “I only carried her across the stream but you’re still carrying her.”
The second monk had a strong story in his mind about who a monk should be and what he should be doing. He was unwilling to let go of that limitation in order to look more deeply at what was the most open-hearted response in that situation. If we look within ourselves, we may see this same energy. We carry our stories, sometimes from far in the past, and what we believe is comforting and protective becomes a heavy burden to carry which prevents us from easily moving forward in our lives and being the Truth of who we are.
Sometimes, we use stories to justify our own actions and excuse ourselves from responsibility. We might fall into a pattern of explaining ourselves with something like, “I’ve always been this way ever since that certain experience happened to me.” Other times, we may use stories to justify our behavior toward others as in, “If I’d only known she was going through that, then I would have been more understanding.” Though it is often subconsciously done, we may allow those stories to direct our behavior rather than going within for guidance on how to respond with love. The good news is that we can choose to become conscious of those stories and choose to free ourselves by letting them go. We do not have to be the same person we were several years ago or even several minutes. We don’t have to let our stories define us.
A friend once shared with me that she attended a workshop on taking responsibility for your actions and the facilitator made the following point: If you find yourself in a situation such as arriving late for a meeting with someone and saying things like, “I’m late because I got stuck behind a slow driver,” or “Traffic was really bad,” then become aware of how this shifts responsibility away from you and justifies your choices using a story. The facilitator suggested saying something like, “I apologize for keeping you waiting, I didn’t allow enough travel time this morning.” This is ownership of responsibility and also puts the power back in your hands for your actions. You are not at the effect of anyone or anything, even your own self-justifications.
Many people confuse taking responsibility with self-blame. Often, when we try to take responsibility for our actions, we end up berating ourselves for not doing it differently, not knowing better, etc. This is not responsibility but self-recrimination, guilt and shame. Divine Responsibility is simply the ability to respond, to be fully present and aware in every situation and to listen within for the response that serves the highest good. You don’t need to hear anyone else’s back story or declare your own in order to hear your inner wisdom on how to be a loving and compassionate being in each moment.
This time of year, we observe the most sacred day the Christian calendar: Easter – the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. It is a celebration of the spiritual essence of Jesus, as well as his physical body. In the enthusiasm to celebrate the renewal of life that is a hallmark of Easter, we may forget the symbolism and underlying meaning that we can take away for our own lives – the divinity of our own physical body.
I have heard friends say that they couldn’t wait to no longer be in body because they feel like the body is a limiting format – a great vehicle for helping us to learn what we came into this existence to learn – but still limiting.
What if in our zeal to be renewed in spirit, we look not to Easter but to the Transfiguration of Jesus that is spoken of in the Gospels of Matthew (17:1-8), Mark (9:2-8) , and Luke (9:26-38), chronologically weeks prior to Easter. The Apostles, Peter, James and John, are with Jesus on a mountain when Jesus is filled with radiant light. This transfiguration is considered a miracle by Jesus and yet is unique among miracles because this miracle happens to Jesus himself.
What if we take a page out of Jesus’ play book and look to allowing miracles within our own physical bodies. Of course, transfiguration into full light sounds like the quickest way to handle any aliment! What if we start with smaller miracles, smaller transformations and transcendences and work up to full transfiguration?
Let’s first recognize that the physical body is divine and is a blessing not a curse. Sometimes the physical body gets a bad rap with sayings like “sins of the flesh” or being told to deny sensual pleasures because they are sinful or ungodly. In some philosophies, dancing is a sin and in others a divine gift and a vehicle to getting into a meditative state.
Instead of denying physical comforts and delights what if we start honoring our physical body with its unique abilities and its fabulous healing capabilities. Instead of blaming our physical body for the state of our “sorry existence” we allow ourselves to rise up through the emotional, mental and spiritual union that is represented in physical form with our human bodies.
Let’s resurrect our essence of awe and wonder at our own human body. Know our beauty and strength and allow it to shine through us to those around us with the ease and peace of transformation, transcendence and transfiguration. Know yourself as light, know yourself as divine, know yourself as transfigured. Know yourself as the physically divine being that you are. You are your own miracle creator. Create your own miracle.
How are your New Year’s resolutions holding up? If that question caused a little hesitation, then you’re not alone. Studies show that only a fraction of those who set resolutions actually carry them through the entire year. Even by March, commitment tends to flag and we slide back into our old habits and routines. The first glow of success fades and then we hit that period where we’re doing it through sheer willpower because whatever change we desire to make hasn’t yet become part of who we are.
I recently hit a bump in the road with some intentions that I set for myself. Like many, I felt really good about these new changes in the beginning but realized that my enthusiasm was waning as the outer results became less obvious and noticeable. My new daily routine felt less uplifting and more of a chore. I had already hit a plateau!
I realized that I still had some attachments to seeing certain results rather than taking the actions simply from pure love and joy. I was focusing on satisfaction in the future rather than enjoying the experience in the present. In her book, Start Where You Are, Pema Chodron discusses this Buddhist concept of expecting no fruition to your actions. At first it sounds defeatist to let go of any thoughts of reaching your goals, but it’s actually very freeing. It’s about letting go of expectations and surrendering to the experience in each moment without any judgment of the outcomes. Even on the spiritual path, what may seem like very evolved goals can become traps if they are so important to us that we lose sight of the value of the experience itself. Chodron explains it this way:
As long as you’re wanting to be thinner, smarter, more enlightened, less uptight, or whatever it might be, somehow you’re always going to be approaching your problem with the very same logic that created it to begin with: you’re not good enough. That’s why the habitual pattern never unwinds itself when you’re trying to improve, because you go about it in exactly the same habitual style that caused all the pain to start.
It’s all too easy for our mental selves to turn the idea of experiencing even spiritual states such as Enlightenment, Ascension and Oneness into something that we haven’t managed to achieve, which just brings us back to disappointment and self-doubt. If we start jogging just to look better for our high school reunion, we lose the experience of being in the body while running and that feeling of sending loving energy to the miracle of the body. If we start pitching new ideas at work only to gain a promotion, we may miss the pure joy of being more creatively expressive and the value of working collaboratively. Each of these life changes have rewards already built in, even if the outward goal is never realized. But if we focus solely on where we’re going or what we’re going to get out of it, we lose the bigger prize- the greater awareness of our true inner self.
So, go ahead and set your intentions to create your Soul’s vision, but let go of any attachments to the end results. When we expect no fruition to our actions, we are freed from anxiety and self-judgment and can relax into the enjoyment and insights of our actions right in this moment.
In a world that seems as divisive as ever, 2018 is a great year to focus on Unity. If not now, when, right?
As I have been focusing on Unity, I have had some frank discussions with myself. Ultimately, we want to be in Unity with our own internal wisdom and the Source that we know we truly are. That is a tall order. However, I sometimes feel like being in Unity with other humans, especially those who I might still be judging, no matter how I try NOT to judge them, is even harder. I know it is appropriate to be able to discern whether other people’s actions and beliefs are my truth and in the highest plan for me without judging that other person.
With this goal of not judging anyone in mind, I asked my inner guidance how I could stop judging someone like Steve Bannon.
Late last year when there was a lot of talk in the news about Steve Bannon, the chief strategist for the White House and close confidant to Donald Trump, I was trying to clear my judgment of Bannon. I asked my soul what I needed to see to clear the judgment.
I have mentioned in this blog before that I love attending the Soul Kitchen Dance free-style conscious dance group. One day at the Soul Kitchen Dance session, a man who could have been Steve Bannon’s twin came to dance. The Bannon doppelganger was moving to the music, dancing with his friends, getting into his groove just like the rest of us. He had a huge smile on his face. This put a huge smile on my face and I heard from my soul, “every time you see Steve Bannon on the news in future, remember this dance, remember this smile, and remember the Bannon doppelganger getting into his groove.” Sure enough the next time I saw Steve Bannon on the TV, I saw him in the divinity of the dance, the smile, the joy, the unity.
Tapping into and seeing the higher versions of each and all of us is how we move ourselves further into Unity with all. The energy of the universe is bigger, stronger, more plentiful than the energy of 7 Billion people on the planet. That universal energy is what we focus on, that we merge with. The energy of the universe, the energy of our brother and sisters of the light, the energy of Source. We focus on being in unity with that energy. We need to focus on being in Unity with the divinity of each other.
Steve Bannon is Divine, just as all of us are. For now, that is the aspect and energy that I focus being in unity with.
Then, when and as our brothers and sisters from the human race awaken to know themselves as we know ourselves, our unity will be felt by more and more of the 7 Billion inhabitants of this planet. The merging into the Unity will be felt by more and more until it is felt by all.
Thanks to Pixabay.com for the picture!
When we start down our spiritual path, many of us find ourselves focusing on learning to look past the physical reality of the five senses to something deeper and more connected. We have been bombarded for so long with such strong daily messages which reinforce the physical reality that we sometimes need to take a little time to step back from the physical world in order to gain new perspective. But it’s important not to let the pendulum swing too far. In the Standing in the Light® program, and in the teachings of many great masters, there are reminders that we are all One, that we are all divine and that nothing can be outside the One or be un-spiritual. This includes your own physical body!
When I first woke up spiritually, I was very attracted to silent meditation practices and was easily able to sit still for hours at a time. I loved connecting with other realms and other aspects of my being. It was an important phase in my spiritual evolution. But, as the Buddhists teach so well, there must be balance in all things, especially within ourselves. In the last couple of years, I have been getting gentle reminders from my Soul that I’m not meant to be charging off into the Light and leaving my body behind! My body is on this spiritual journey, too.
Our physical vehicles are magnificent spiritual tools which we have masterfully created as opportunities for our learning. They are truly reflections of our inner selves. A key step to coming into full spiritual mastery is developing a unified relationship with your body as part of you, rather than viewing it as something you’d rather leave behind at the end of the ride. In order to achieve full Oneness, we must be One with all aspects of ourselves and that includes the physical body.
One of my intentions this year is to more consciously include my physical body in my spiritual practices and my spiritual life. This can include many different things, depending on what’s appropriate for each person. A yoga practice can be an excellent time to connect with and feel the body; a time to simply listen and let the body speak. You can set the intention to be more fully present in your body whenever out for a walk. Really feel how the body moves, how the muscles and bones and organs work in perfect harmony! These can be gentle, simple practices that don’t require a major athletic effort, but can also be done while cycling, running or any other physical activity where you can quiet your mind and get into “the zone.” Allow yourself to be guided by your own Soul as to what level of activity is best for you.
In meditation, you may want to ask your Soul if it’s time to do a general body-check. You may be guided to check in on overall wellness and on how well your body is bringing in higher frequencies of Light. You might identify fears held in the physical body which are ready to be healed and whether there is anything you can do on the physical to support your body as your spiritual vehicle. You may want to ask if your body has any specific messages for you. It holds a great deal of wisdom! And you may be guided to meditate on certain resonances with themes like Divine Understanding the Body, Divine Relationship with the Physical Body and feeling at Home in the Body.
We are truly multi-dimensional beings and one of those dimensions is the physical realm! Your body is just as much part of your spiritual self as that part of you that drifts among the stars and beyond. Remember the body and honor its role in your spiritual journey.
The gifts of abundance, wonder and play are what I have learned by watching Ruby Sunshine, our two year-old Labrador retriever on our walks around the nearby lakes this week.
A few days ago, on a route we take most of the time, Ruby was playing with a tennis ball that she found along the way. When she wasn’t chasing the ball, she was scrambling around the edges of the frozen lake and digging at whatever caught her fancy. (And yes, we were working with the command of “leave it” like most days.)
Then the next day, the wind was up so we went a different direction and she found a tennis ball on that route, as well. Plus, Ruby found the stuffed plush dog in the picture accompanying this blog entry. Playing with this toy really brought out the energy of excitement and abandon, the sheer joy of whipping around the stuffed dog.
Finally, this morning, she started off playing with the stuffed dog but then flushed out a goose which allowed her to run at full speed while the bird flew away and we got to practice her recall skills. (She did really well on this command, too!) Not wanting to torment the goose when playing, not hunting, was the name of the game, we turned around and headed for the car. Ruby flushed out a duck there, too. The duck flew away, as well, but allowed for another burst of energy. Today was a good day to be a Labrador.
How does this inspire me? It has allowed me to step back to see the wonder and abundance in my everyday life. I need to trust that no matter which route I take in a day, I will find my joy, my tennis ball, my stuffed animal, my time for play and awe. And when that is done, I can be in the silence and the light, just like Ruby is in the picture below. Gratitude for Ruby for all the lessons I learn from her. Namaste.