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Posts tagged ‘spirituality’

Finding Your Spirituality

The Awakened Heart Project.With An Open HeartThis post is part of The Awakened Heart Project

Week 39: Finding Your Spirituality  

“Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is Spirituality Anyway?

What does spirituality mean to you? Do you even know? Is it synonymous with religion? Is it something that you practice? Something you believe in? Or is it deeper than that?

Spirituality is vaguely defined, and is unique to each individual person. Conscious Bridge: Evolving to Oneness writes, “[Spirituality] is one of those terms that we use thinking that we all have a common understanding as to what we are talking about, what the truth is; we don’t. It’s like the word “God” – it means different things to different people depending upon their worldview.”

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Social scientists define spirituality as “the search for the sacred”, where the “sacred” refers to God, higher powers, and also other aspects of life that are perceived to manifest from the divine or exhibit divine like qualities which are transcendent and boundless. This can be experienced through beliefs, practices, experiences, relationships, motivations, art, nature, war – virtually any part of life, positive or negative, can be endowed with sacred status (Pargament, Mahoney, Exline, Jones, & Shafranske).

The term “search” refers to Read more

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A Short Post on Feelings

I wanted to share these humble and thoughtful words with all of you today. They are soo true, and yet so simplistic. It’s simply a matter of how we view the work around us and everything that life puts in front of us each day.

Maybe you’ll find it as inspiring and thought provoking as I did. Maybe not. Either way, I would to hear your thoughts on these words. 

“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”

-Pema Chodron

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The Joy of a Warm Summer Day

The Awakened Heart Project.With An Open HeartThis post is part of The Awakened Heart Project

Week 21: The Joy of a Warm Summer Day  

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.
― Thich Nhat Hanh

 

All I Want To Do Is Sit In The Sun 

I don’t know about you, but here in Minnesota, we’re really getting the start of spring and summer these days. Sure it’s been raining quite a bit this week, but when it’s not, and the sun is shining, there is nothing I want to do more than to be outside. I don’t always find the time to write these posts prior to Monday’s, so sometimes I find myself feeling very conflicted without my time. Today, I spent some time this morning putting together the patio table and chairs for the deck just so I could type outside. Right now it’s sunny and beautiful but come this afternoon, storms will be back in the sky.

What’s the point of me telling you this you ask? Every chance you get to do something that brings you peace, happiness, and joy, you should take it. A moment outside might seem insignificant, especially if you live somewhere where the seasons don’t change, but for me it’s incredibly important. I NEED the sun. My body, mind, and spirit instantly feel reconnected and exuberated when I’m outside and the sun is shinning. The warmth on my skin brings me soo much comfort. It’s almost hard for me to explain the affinity I have for hot summer days; there is just something about it that overwhelms me with happiness. I’m especially grateful today as I know rain will soon be upon me.

Life's beautiful notice it

Every one of us will have Read more

How Buddhists’ Use Rain to Help Increase Mindfulness

mindfulness

Some years ago, a group of Buddhist teachers developed the mindfulness tool ‘RAIN’ (an acronym for the four steps of the process) to help heal difficult emotions. In todays world, feeling our feelings has become somewhat of a “no-no”. People are constantly looking for quick fixes, the next pharmaceutical, -a way out. But in truth, the only way to heal, is to feel. If you never learn this truth, you will continue to experience the same pain, feelings, and frustrations over and over again. You must heal, process, learn, and let go. You cannot store away your past. You must accept it, and learn from it.

True,  sometimes it’s hard to sit in our emotions. Being aware of our feelings and accepting them, is critical to our physical health as well as mental. Physiologically, mind, body, and spirit, are all intertwined.  

Tara Brach of Yoga Journal puts it like this:
Yes, there are times when being present feels out of reach or too much to bear. There are times when false refuges can relieve stress, give us a breather, help lift our mood. But when we’re not connected to the clarity and kindness of presence, we’re all too likely to fall into more misunderstanding, more conflict, and more distance from others and our own heart.

As a means to help others heal from emotional difficulty, RAIN was developed. The beauty of RAIN is that it can be accessed at any moment, no matter where you are. It simply asks you to direct your attention to clearing your mind, and the process is simple, and stress free.

I love how Brach describes the beauty in this method: The steps give us somewhere to turn in a painful moment, and as we call on them more regularly, they strengthen our capacity to come home to our deepest truth. Like the clear sky and clean air after a cooling rain, this mindfulness practice brings a new openness and calm to our daily lives.

Here are the four steps of RAIN:

R – recognize what is happening.
A – allow life to be just as it is.
I – investigate inner experience with kindness.
N – non-identification.

RAIN directly deconditions the habitual ways in which you resist your moment-to-moment experience. RAIN begins to undo these unconscious patterns that cause you to cut off your feelings, and in turn your mind and heart to the world around you, as soon as we take the first step.

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Recognize What is Happening

Recognition, quite simply is seeing what is true in your inner life. This means recognizing and focusing on your present thoughts, emotions, feelings, and sensations in the present moment. And when you begin to be mindful of these, your heart and mind will gradually open allowing you to connect with your experiences more fully; you will discover that some parts of your experience are easier to connect with than others. According to Brach, one way to think of it is like this: You might recognize anxiety right away, but if you focus on your worried thoughts, you might not notice the actual sensations of squeezing, pressure, or tightness arising in the body. If your body is gripped by jittery nervousness, you might not recognize that this physical response is being triggered by your underlying belief that you are about to fail.

Work on this by asking yourself this simple question: “What is happening inside me right now?” Focus inward. Listen to your heart, mind, body and spirit with compassion and patiences.

Allow Life to Be Just as It Is

This means, letting what is be just that, and accepting it that way. That is, accepting your thoughts, emotions, feelings, or sensations. Sometimes sitting in our feelings is difficult and uncomfortable so we look for a way out, -and quickly! But don’t. Be present with “what is”, and when you do, your awareness of your inward motion will increase which will in turn give you a different quality of attention for “what is”.  Allowing and accepting is important because it aids in the healing process.

Investigate with Kindness

Investigation means  to follow your natural instinct to know and understand the hows and whys of where you are currently. It’s important to recognize what is going on inside yourself, but it’s also important to ask, “What does this feeling want from me?” It is not until the “why’s” are understood that truly dealing and healing with emotions can happen. Avoiding investigating these reasons will only allow them to control you passively each day. They will present themselves in a disguised manner, but will nevertheless, run-a-muc in your head, heart, and life. .

An important aspect of  investigation is that it needs to be done with kindness. It is the kindness that provides healing and freeing. Whatever surfaces in this process, welcome it with kindness.

Nonidentification: Rest in Natural Awareness

Nonidentification means that your sense of self or identity is not defined or limited by your emotions, feelings, and life experiences. It is thought that when identification with the “ego self” is loosened, -that which does identify with emotions, feelings and life experiences, we begin to live and love more openly and embrace natural awareness.

Although the first three steps of RAIN require some intentional activity, the N does not. You are asked to simply rest in natural awareness and liberate yourself through mindfulness.

This post was adapted from the article “Let it Rain” via Yoga Journal. 

We Must Learn to Let Go of Judgment

This post is part of The Awakened Heart Project

Week 15: We Must Learn to Let Go of Judgement. 

“We should be lenient in our judgment, because often the mistakes of others would have been ours had we had the opportunity to make them.”

―Unknown

Part 1: Do Not Judge Others

Judgment: it’s a word that has a lot of weight behind it. The words that come with judgment are most often heavy, cold and unkind. There is nothing to gain when we judge. Nothing. If you know of something, please comment and let me know, because I can’t think of one thing.

When you judge others and others judge you, you put negative energy out into the world and in your heart. You’re also spreading a message that is likely not 100% truthful. Judgment is based on personal beliefs and schemas. Therefore, when you judge, you’re really showing many of your true colors. Sometimes, these colors are uuggglllyyyyy! These colors can easily out weight the beautiful colors underneath. We all know the saying, “Let your true colors shine!” But if your true colors are dark and sullen, then your “shine” will look much more like a dark cloud. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a sunny day, over a raining day, ANY DAY! But hey, we can’t be a masterpiece all the time. We’re human. Not a single one of us is perfect.

Which brings me to my next point… Read more

How Happy Are You Right Now?

This post is part of  The Awakened Heart Project

Week 14: How Happy Are You Right Now?

“Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys.  If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.”

~Fyodor Dostoevsky

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How Happy Are You Right Now?

With the crazy, busy lives we live day in and day out, it’s easy to lose sight of what really makes us happy. Answer this question: How happy are you RIGHT NOW? Do you even know? Is it difficult for you to answer? We often confuse our own happiness with what makes others happy. You probably know what makes your children happy, or your parents, or your friends, but what about you? Are you aware of what brings you happiness and joy? Awareness of these little things that bring a smile to our faces, and contentment in our hearts can be difficult to harness. Focusing on internal Read more

Out of Your Vulnerabilities Will Come Your Strength: Where there’s pain, there’s growth

This post is part of The Awakened Heart Project

Week 2: Out of Your Vulnerabilities Will Come Your Strength: Where there’s pain, there’s growth

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”

Andy Rooney

Pain Exists. Life can hurt. And sometimes, life can hurt A LOT. But this pain is for your benefit.

How many times have your heard it, “Life is not fair”. It’s true. Life is often unfair. We often get the shaft. Good people sometimes find themselves in bad situations, and painful experiences. While others, who you may believe live horrible lives always seem to get the “best possible scenario” in life. Don’t worry, karma has a way of working things out, sometimes you just have to be patient. Now don’t take that the wrong way, I’m not saying go ahead and resent people or wish bad things upon them. That’s wasted energy (and bad karma). Rather, don’t waste your energy, because the universe will take care of them.  You have more important things to do with your life.

Let face it, sometimes, life is PAINFUL! Sometimes, it hurts so much, you feel as though you can’t go on.  Perhaps you’ve even had a few nights where you’ve cried your eyes shut (I know I have). You may think, “Why? Why? WHHHYYYY???!!” Read more

The Story of the Lotus Flower

This post is part of The Awakened Heart Project

Week 1: The Story of the Lotus Flower

Given that The Awakened Heart Project is about helping you release your fears, to grow, to discover, to learn and to awaken, the story of the lotus flower and its symbolism seems like the perfect place to start this journey.

The lotus flower is a beautiful flower that can be found all over the world. But the start of this flowers life is not as beautiful is one might image. It’s unlike many other flowers. When the lotus first begins to sprout, it is under water, making its home in lakes and ponds in areas where the water remains fairly still on the surface. But underneath the surface, the lotus is surrounded by mud and muck and by fish, by insects, and simply dirty, rough conditions

With an open heart. Lotus

Despite these conditions, Read more

Where There is Heart, There is Plenty…

Consider your actions of today or this week? Do you do the kinds of things that come from the heart? Many of us, do things for others, but only feel resentful afterwards. But what if we only did things from the heart? Or better yet, did the things for others we don’t want to but never feel resentful. Think about it for a moment. What if you stopped choosing resentment and simply did things because you felt it was right, and you wanted to? I’m not saying, stop doing things for others if you don’t want to (although that is your choice and I do believe in freewill), I’m saying, do these things, but instead of negative thoughts and feelings, feel joy, pleasure, and happiness. You likely made a Read more

Compassion Changes Everything…

 This is a beautiful post that I thought no reader of mine should miss. 

Thank you J. Ricci Energy for sharing such beautiful words. 

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This is a  reblog from J. Ricci Energy .


alone tree grow over blue sky on stone

Compassion changes everything. Compassion heals. Compassion mends the broken and restores what has been lost. Compassion draws together those who have been estranged or never even dreamed they were connected. Compassion pulls us out of ourselves and into the hear of another, placing us on holy ground where we instinctively take off our shoes and walk in reverence. Compassion springs out of vulnerability and triumphs in unity.

– Judy Cannato (Field of Compassion)

If You Stop Searching for Happiness, Maybe It’ll Find You…

JustBeHappy.WithanOpenHeart.org

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Yoga Is Not Just a Workout, -It’s About Working on Yourself

“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.”

Yoga for me is very much a love-hate relationship. I love how I feel afterwards, and I love how my body changes and the strength I feel when I practice regularly. However, I hate when I take a few months off and I suddenly cannot do the poses the way I want to. Or, when I feel exhausted just halfway through a class. And I hate how much I struggle to remain “present” and calm, and compassionate with myself throughout each class.  Doing a physical activity that is calm, and requires mindfulness can be difficult. I’m a runner; I want to put my headphones, listen to upbeat music, and run a few miles. Yoga is just the opposite of that.  So for me, yoga is a challenge. Read more

The Answer to The Chaos Became a Quiet Holy Mantra

Be still. 
 
Be still. 
 
Be still…
 
 
 

“…Learn to silence the chattering of your ego, whether through prayer, meditation, or a long walk in the park. Find that place where you can detach from the pressures of the world. Find that place where your body and spirit work together in harmony…You don’t need the right car, the right shoes, the right girl­friend to be complete. All you really need is to be yourself. Your spirit is the real you. Let it guide you…Be still. Listen to your spirit say, I am, and I am enough. In the silence, you’ll hear God…” Read more

My Authentic Experience in New York – The Beginning of the Rest of My Life [A Shared Story]

Authenticity is something I strive for everyday. I’ve become incredibly conscious of my thoughts, behaviors and my feelings in recent months, and I believe much of this is due my growing self-acceptance (perhaps not 100%. -I’m still working on it!), and allowing myself to “just be” rather than trying to be what others would find appealing. Making the transition to authenticity required me to be self-aware to a degree I had never practiced before. It has been hard work, but completely and totally worth it in the end. The lack of consciousness I carried with me previously, caused me to be driven more-often-than-not by my ego, which is completely based on external factors. The ego is a reflection of what others think; it is fallacious. Read more

What Are The Consequences of NOT Moving Toward The Unknown?

Even if we can’t physically see it, everything in this world is constantly changing one way or another. Everything.  Some of us embrace change, and choose to move toward unfamiliar grounds, while others try desperately to hold onto  familiarity, -to comfort. What is it that makes one person fearful of the unknown, and the other excited? Is it nurture? Is it biology? Although I have not sought out research on this topic, I’m willing to bet it’s a combination of both.

I recently reread a silly book I was given years ago by my cousin and came across an old fable on the topic: Read more

Can You Ask For Anything More Than Sunshine??

It’s SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY in Minnesota!! It’s March and it’s 61 degrees outside. In Minnesota! Crazy, but I’m going to take it. There is nothing I like more than sunshine; how it heats up my body, how it glimmers through the sky and onto everything around me. My whole world seems better when the sun is out. I see things more clearly, and feel much more balanced. This makes Minnesota winters difficult, and I honestly despise them, but I will not complain this year. This year was wonderful!

Read more