December 25, 2007

Courage. This bold word means in essence “take heart.” Like cowardly lions given new hearts by the Oz wizard, we only come to know fearlessness in our lives when we choose to love enough. When we “take heart” fear subsides. When focused in our hearts, we unite with the life force of others. We remember we are One.  We intuitively see reality, beyond fear, beyond anger, beyond suffering. Life is faced with confidence, a word meaning “with trust.” Centered in the divine Healing Presence, we trust that all things work in time for the good.

Without courage we are only left with fear. Fear is a product of separation that causes us to believe that “I am here, you are there, and you have the power to harm me.” Because of fear we cannot see the heart of others.  We cannot call forth their Higher Selves. The “other” is the enemy.  This causes our own hearts to close giving the “enemy” power over our capacity to see good and work for productive change.  

Fear takes very little effort and debilitates our capacity to cope with a situation effectively.  Our hearts close causing us to forget the workings of the Divine. Our minds splinter and fail us blocking our capacity to reason, to discriminate, to maintain dispassion. Next, our minds become weapons for dividing, defending, and conquering. Weakened intellectually, we are forced to simply react like automated machines. Emotionally, impulsive reactions escalate the fear around us. Out of fear, we brandish others with our rage. We diminish ourselves in confusion. We suffocate in grief.  Naturally, our physical actions follow suit and a series of poor choices often follow.

Fearlessness brings us back to courage reminding us to respond to any situation first with our hearts. With the heart we no longer pull away or react. Rather, we pause, remembering who we are as spiritual Beings. We take the time to trust in our innate spiritual center. We take the time to invoke wisdom, discretion, calm, and maturity to help us face the situation before us. We invoke spiritual guidance from those we trust, asking them to teach us to act with harmlessness and right action. Our minds open to insights that allow us to manage effectively what stands before us. Our emotions are poised, confident, and therefore serene. Our brains are alert and oriented towards responding appropriately. Acting “in-spirit” we are energized to confront difficult situations with a determination to succeed despite the odds. 

Take a moment and contrast times the times you acted from fear as well as from fearlessness.  Start by recalling a time you were afraid. Notice the underlying feelings which emerged including those of helplessness, unworthiness, hopelessness, moving free fall out of control. Be in touch with your own level of discomfort in this fearful situation. Notice how much you failed to remember your Divine heritage which would have allowed you to gain insight, calm, poise, and wisdom when handling a difficult matter. Now chose a time when you handled a difficult situation in your life fearlessly. Be aware of the magical moments that emerged such as: gaining a solution you needed just in the nick of time; drawing upon strength you never knew you had; being aided by others when you most needed it; making quick decisions based upon a heightened sensitivity which turned out to be exactly correct; tapping into mystical revelations concerning the nature of the Divine.

At every moment of our lives in every situation we are constantly confronted with this choice. Do I want to live a life of fear? Or, do I want to be fearless? Do I suffer from a lack of confidence causing me to to block the capacity of the Divine to bring me insight? Or, do I actively seek to understand the spiritual lessons which can emerge in the darkest of situations? (These lessons might include humility, a greater sense of compassion, deeper levels of maturity, wisdom, prudence, and so forth). Do I want to react with hatred, bitterness, and despair (which are really all based upon fear)? Or, do I want to act with perspective, detachment, optimism, faith, and spiritual daring in all that befalls me?

Finally, examine for yourself the difference between your choices rooted in fear, and those rooted in fearlessness. Notice how in fear there is a lack of trust in your Divine identity, and a spiritual Self-forgetfulness. Notice how in fearlessness faith, hope, love and a firm conviction in the Healing Presence of your spiritual self guides all your behavior. Conclude by making a silent invocation or prayer inviting the Healing Presence into all areas of your life which hold fear and doubt. At last, choose to remember who you are! You are a Divine spirit! You are love! You are light! You are spiritual daring! You ARE fearlessness! Remember, remember, remember!

Want to change your relationship with your emotions?  Join the 90 Day Challenge to a Better You and Life!


Beauty in Our Emotions

December 25, 2007

     Emotions are a great gift. Because of our sensory capacity to feel, the world is richer. It has texture. These sensory responses in turn let us know when and how we should act. Emotion is after all, related to motion, or movement. For many of us, emotions are a confusing thing. We sense too much, or not enough. We move in a wild and unskilled manner, leading to compulsive, impulsive, or awkward reactions. Or, we fail to move, making us rigid, frozen, and insensitive to life around us. In many spiritual paths, and in relation to psychological work, emotions become the major “battleground.” “Kill out desire and passion” some religious teachings proclaim. Learn to master the roller coaster ride of your feelings, psychologists often profess. We attempt to control our emotional nature in any way we can, via drugs (Prozac being the latest popular trend), or “mind control” to name a few methods. Or, we seek to rid ourselves of emotions so we can cultivate “good ones,” and eliminate “bad ones.” We seek to do this via catharsis, or positive thinking, or mood pills, or whatever we can think of. Eventually, over time we learn that emotions can neither be controlled, or gotten rid of. Just as the ocean tide is meant to ebb and flow, emotions also are meant to move from state to state, helping us to remain sensitive to the world around us, and teaching us how to act accordingly.

     The idea that somehow or another, we are to have such complete mastery over our emotions, that we are eternally blissful and calm, is a distortion as well. Time and again, people who seek to emulate spiritual leaders discover, that even here, great spiritual teachers have moments of anger, fear, confusion, despair, and so forth. Spiritual seekers are often shocked to discover this about the teachers they emulate. How could this be? Perhaps, it would benefit us, if we moved away from the notion of controlling or mastering our emotions, and tried another way. This way is one of beautifying our emotions. Something which is done primarily out of recognition, acceptance, and refinement over time.

     What is beauty? In a subjective sense, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Still, certain elements which make something beautiful can be localized and built upon. Beauty begins first of all with recognition. When we use the eyes, we see, or recognize something. There is something very powerful in the act of being seen. Everyone thrives under attention, and disintegrates when neglected. The clearer our perception, especially when looked upon with loving intent, the more powerful the response elicited from those who are seen. This ability to see “within” someone, explains why many people may say they find something beautiful which others do not. The second factor has to do with appreciation. To appreciate something means we value it. When we value something, or someone, we spend time with it. The more time spent, the more intimate we become. This leads to qualities of depth, and a sense of the preciousness of something, again enhancing beauty. Another characteristic of beauty is refinement. Refinement requires skill, or training over a long period of time. This enhances the characteristic of light, making it something subtle, delicate, yet rich and full. Hence beauty!

     When working with our emotions, we can beautify them by first recognizing them in a non-judgmental way. Ah! Here is anger again, and sadness, amusement, and so forth. Next, we can appreciate them. Oh, anger lets me know I must do something different in my life. Sadness tells me I am having trouble letting go of something I loved. Amusement reveals to me areas to cultivate for enjoyment and appreciation. Finally, we can refine them. I change my life and release my anger by talking vs. punching it out. I let go by allowing for my grief vs. holding it back and creating depression within me. I cultivate amusement by enjoying things which have more power to endure vs. simply moving from one surface interest to the next. In this method, all emotions are embraced. They are accepted, seen, understood, and worked with consciously. Emotions become wonderful teachers and are embraced, versus controlled, neglected, or resisted, for what they have to offer in enriching our lives.

Want to change your relationship with your emotions?  Join the 90 Day Challenge to a Better You and Life!

Respect for the Physical Body

December 25, 2007

Each of us is endowed with an amazing gift. This gift is our physical body. In and of itself, the physical body can consume a life time of study and experimentation, and still we will remain ignorant of many of its mysteries. The physical body is our first fascination when we are infants. We must learn to master and coordinate many of its functions and put them under conscious control. We discover that the body can be a source of pleasure and pain, leading us early on to seek how we can cultivate the one, and avoid the other. Unfortunately, our early experiences of the body may become surrounded with taboos, compulsions, avoidances, complexes. This can lead over time to a general habit pattern of ignoring the body, taking it for granted, and becoming oddly disconnected from it. The result is that we enter adult life with a great deal of ambivalence regarding our physical bodies. We need them, but often act as if we would rather live without them. This can go on until the body ultimately reacts, primarily through an explosion of disease of some sort, forcing us to pay attention to it.

It is never too late then, to re-discover the beauty and mystery of our physical bodies. In doing so, we can recognize that everything that happens to us in life, affects the physical body somehow. The physical body does its best to serve us, despite the daily impacts and traumas it may sustain. Likewise, we can learn to properly serve it, by developing a healthy attitude of respect and care towards it. This can first be done by learning to love and appreciate your physical body without judgment. No matter what your body looks like, it has attempted to serve you in life. It has done its best to meet your wishes and carry out your demands. The excess weight you may carry is there for the sake of protection. The wrinkles you may see are your victory marks for having made it successfully into maturity. The scars you observe are only there because your body allowed you to take risks in life. Even when the body succumbs to illness, it does so only after many weary efforts of attempting to teach you, perhaps in vain, that your body needs its share of care and consideration. It is time to embrace your physical body.

Standing naked in front of a full length mirror, you may see many things your mind would prefer changing. These changes can be made in a number of ways, many of them obvious to us, yet still resisted. We can change our diets. We can increase our level of exercise. We can resort if need be to cosmetic surgery. We can use creams, and vitamins, and other body enhancing aids. We can take the appropriate medications and rest necessary to heal a physical ailment. We can utilize medical people, chiropractors, massage therapists, nutritional consultants, physical fitness trainers, martial arts people, and numerous professionals specializing in a variety of approaches both mainstream and “New Age.” All of these people can benefit us, but none of them can really heal the body, if we continue to be at war with it in our hearts.

We are our physical bodies! Though we are ultimately spirit and much vaster than the physical body, the body represents in time and space our only gateway into the manifest world. To be at peace with the physical body, we must desire to know it, as we would a dear and cherished lover and/or friend. You can will the body to do your bidding, but it will eventually rebel, unless you do so lovingly and harmoniously. The most important gift you can give your body, is the gift of loving support and affection. Feet, legs, arms, hands, torso, face, skin, muscles, bones, nervous system, circulatory system, lymphatic system, organs of all kinds, glands. Begin to discover the wonder of your body! As we no longer resist the body, and start to befriend it, something wonderful happens. It responds. In turn, we begin to “carry ourselves” and our “bodies” differently. An aura of respect prevails. This body is our temple! And in acknowledging this, we and others begin to see our bodies differently. Perhaps the body is OK after all!

Want to change your relationship with your body?  Join the 90 Day Challenge to a Better You and Life!

90 Day Challenge to a Better You and Life Starts Again Jan 14th, 2008!

December 24, 2007

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