The only fights I truly win are the ones I walk away from.

How important is it to prove we are right? We must not react while controlled by anger, guilt, self-pity, fear or other symptoms of misery. If we cannot respond with dignity, poise and love, we must walk away.

This doesn’t mean that we allow other people to trample our dignity or diminish our self-respect, but we must find an elevated response. We pause, take three relaxation breaths, and access our spiritual center. We ask this divine source and power to quiet our immediate emotional reaction, to remove any thought or feeling that prevents us from feeling peace and to help us see the situation with a spiritual insight.

Acting lovingly when someone is attacking us is a practical way of returning good for evil. It’s hard to do but really works. We may not win the argument but we feel better (sometimes they are so surprised that the argument just dies). Besides, we don’t always benefit by winning; today’s unimportant triumph may generate animosity that causes future problems. Spiritual growth is always more beneficial than winning trivial disagreements.

The serenity prayer: Dear God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; pause for a few minutes in silence.

The mind is the gateway to the soul; It can ignite spiritual growth or breed self-driven will that causes incessant misery.

Do you ever consider the true power of your mind? This is where we make the choices that determine the quality of each moment and each day. These decisions influence our education, relationships, career and future. Everything centers on how we use our mind. Do we use this marvelous thinking machine to access a gateway to the soul—to open the door that leads us to the excellent life or do we choose to let it be self-directed to propagate misery and discontent?

This day, train your mind to act for your best benefit; elevate the processing of your mind. Upon awakening, nurture thoughts of gratitude before getting out of bed; then, read something uplifting and positive to start the day and reflect on the reading. Become aware of your thoughts throughout the day. Try to remove yourself from being the center of all your thoughts, to not be constantly judging how things and people impact you.  Ask your inner spirit to direct your thinking; seek to see with spiritual vision instead of the eyes of self-centeredness; act with love and compassion instead of reacting with anger, self-pity, or selfishness. Contribute to the peace of another person; search for that small act of kindness and love that may bring a smile; greet the “god within” each person you meet instead of reacting to the exterior appearances. Raise your thoughts to a higher level.

Prayer: My loving inner spirit, I ask for your help and give you permission to guide my thoughts this day.  Balance my judgment with compassion; replace anger with a desire for peace, loneliness with the ability for friendship, and sadness with the desire to help. Let me walk with righteousness and be a living demonstration of your love, grace, and wisdom.

Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; pause for a few minutes in silence.

It matters not what name I give God. He (She) is more concerned with my spiritual progress than my salutation.

Can limited, finite beings adequately name the infinite? THIS is the first Cause, the One before all things, who separated time from eternity, space from infinity to give home to the universes. He/She is the origin and upholder of the stars, planets, and all contained in the cosmos, the over-soul of creation and the designer of evolution. This majestic, powerful, creator initiated all forms of life and then, with love, bestowed a fragment of his very divinity, the “kingdom of heaven within,” to each of his children. This indwelling spirit patiently waits to act as a loving guide, unselfish friend, and source of transformative power but can only respond after the individual makes a choice to accept the divine assistance.

The name we speak pales in significance compared to how we respond, how we use our power of choice. Each choice enhances or erodes the quality of our life. Do we believe or not? Do we ignore even the possibility that we may have an innate spiritual component? Do we communicate thankfulness and receive direction and power every day?  If we believe, do we seek guidance for every part of our life; or do we do as little as possible—spend a little time each week saying a few words, sharing a few minutes, and then struggle with life?

Prayer: Dear ________, the first source of all things, the giver of life, my infinite and loving spiritual parent, thank you for creating and loving me; thank you for sending the divine spark the “kingdom of heaven within” to indwell me and all your children; help me seek this inner reservoir to guide my thoughts, elevate my ideals, and improve my acts with transforming power.  

Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; pause for a few minutes in silence.

God supports spiritual progress; he does not gratify ease-seeking egos.

Mis-understanding what God does and doesn’t do and about what we are responsible to do leads to frustration and doubt about the value of the spiritual life. God participates in our spiritual growth and development but does not satisfy our immature material or emotional desires. If we’re broke, God will not help us hit the lottery. Nor will he violate someone’s power of free-will choice and make them love us, forgive us, or appreciate us.

The divine response is 100% consistent, reliable, and dependable when we align our desires and requests with God’s will or universe law; it is not as responsive when we try to bend or change the divine to fit our immature wishes. When we sincerely ask for help to improve ourselves, we get results. Sometimes, we may see a drastic, immediate change in our life circumstances; at other times, the results take some time to unfold. We can also receive spiritual direction and spiritual power. Quiet prayer reveals guidance to make the most beneficial decision; then, choosing the spiritual alternative opens that “unsuspected” inner reservoir of strength that helps us over come almost insurmountable obstacles.

Prayer: God, help me realize and accept what is your job in my life, what you will and won’t do. Let me shed any false expectations about you. Elevate my priorities and thoughts so that I may enjoy that peace that passes all human understanding. It is my will that your will be done.

Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; pause for a few minutes in silence

Measure progress by how far you’ve come—not how far you’ve got to go

We are human; our daily performance sometimes falls short of our expectations. We may revert back to our old ways, making choices and taking actions based self-driven will. When this occurs, we may compare our performance to where we believe we should be and become disappointed, thinking that we know better and should do better. Instead, let us measure progress by how far we’ve come from where we started and not how far we’ve got to go

 Consistently living up to our ideals is impossible in this life. Striving to live a spiritual life inherently means that our ideals will always advance faster than our performance. As we manage to improve in one area, we see a different perspective; our understanding expands; higher and more refined ideals appear. For example, wanting to be honest does not make us honest immediately but highlights episodes of dishonesty; as we continue to practice, our concept of honesty deepens; we see more areas of needed improvement. Living up to our higher standards always takes time, practice, and maintenance. This gap between ideals and performance is natural and absolutely essential; it is the space required for growth.

Prayer: Dear God, my loving spirit, you have helped me come so far from my past errors and provided the strength to overcome adversity. I make mistakes and sometimes fall short of the life I try to lead, but I know that your love, patience and grace are given because I am trying, not because I am already perfect. Ease my troubled mind and my soul; give me the power and guidance to move forward.  

Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; pause for a few minutes in silence

The “Big I” causes most of our misery.

Infection from the “Big I” disease occurs when my thoughts, words, and actions focus on my desires and needs. My only concern for other people is how they affect what I want. It’s all about I, I, I, me, me, me. Media, marketing, and entertainment spearhead this self-deification, continually shouting “Do this” or “Buy this” to feel good or to influence what other people think of us. How well has it worked? Marriages are failing and families disintegrating; we turn to chemicals to feel good and still suffer extremely high rates of anxiety, stress, loneliness, and misery.

We cannot enjoy great relationships, happiness, and peace of mind when we’re infected with the Big “I”. We must move beyond this self-importance to something that actually works—an awareness of the importance of other people and of God. When you feel tense, irritated or angry, pause a moment and see if this is related to the “Big I.” Ask yourself, “Are my thoughts focused on how something or someone affects ME? Is this causing my discontent?”  Upon retiring tonight, review your day for the frequency and impact of these self-directed words, thoughts, and actions. In prayer, ask God to relieve you of the “Big I.”

Prayer: My inner spirit guide and strength, help me move beyond selfishness, self-centeredness and self-righteousness; make me aware when I succumb to these harmful traits and of their influence on my life; give me the vision to see the needs, desires, and lives of others. Grant me the divine wisdom to feel, act, and be a part of this great family of humanity; to be one of your many spiritual children.

Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; pause for a few minutes in silence

Our mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy.

Our mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy.

The power and influence of our mind has been long recognized. Over 2500 years ago, The Dhammapada noted: Hard it is to train the mind which goes where it likes and does as it wants; but a trained mind brings health and happiness.

Our mind generates thoughts that yield happiness, mediocrity or misery. The choice depends on how we use our mind—the way we think. Something happens; we react with an instantaneous thought or feeling. The thought-feeling generates more thoughts that focus on the problem; the feelings gain strength and become entrenched. We are in the cycle of misery. Our mind seems to have a mind of its own.  The self-directed mind cannot solve problems started and exacerbated by that very same mind.

Breaking this addictive mental cycle requires that we control our mind.  If all else fails, we can pause, access our inner spiritual power and ask for help to direct our mind; this practice start training this mental machine. This transforming influence, an actual additional energy, provides the power to break the shackles binding us to certain thoughts and to re-direct our thinking. The spirit-directed mind sees a different view, a more balanced and truer perspective and becomes our best friend.

Prayer: My loving divine source and indwelling spirit please quiet my mind and ease my emotions; elevate my thoughts to be conscious of and to reflect your will in my life; grant me a new perspective that I may see the truth; guide my mind to awareness of my blessings; make me aware of simple actions I may take that will shift my thoughts. Help my mind be a benefit instead of a liability, to bring me happiness instead of misery.

Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; pause for a few minutes in silence

Even a great spiritual truth may not pierce the armor of self-righteousness.

Self-righteousness—discounting ideas and concepts because I believe that I know all the answers—condemns me to a limited life and everlasting ignorance. The “Don’t try to change my mind with facts, opinions, or your experience” attitude can be blatant or subtle; but the automatic rejection yields the same results. Personal growth requires hearing and trying things that disagree with pre-conceived ideas or long-cherished views.

Some may reject personal, practical spirituality due to a total rejection of religion; others may not believe in spiritual power or are committed to science and the material life; still others, independent and self-reliant to the core, may rebel at any belief in God. Nevertheless, it is an undeniable fact that many have experienced a higher quality life as a direct result of spiritual practices. They have discovered an un-suspected inner reservoir of power, guidance, understanding, and purpose that transcends human resources; then, they have engaged in practices that cement and expand their discovery. But open-mindedness, the willingness to try, to experiment, and to experience is the key to opening the door to this new life.

Prayer: Dear God or whatever is out there and within me, remove any barrier of self-righteousness; make me receptive to that which can improve my life; open my mind, heart and soul to receive the truth that you have for me; guide my motives and thoughts this day. It is my will that your will be done.

Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; reflect on the content, pausing for a few minutes in silence

If our day is dark, we can we can curse the darkness or we can seek illumination. One focuses on the problem; the other, the solution.

Adversity, grief, and challenges will darken every life. They may range from a shadow to the obliteration of all light, the terrible dark night of the soul from which relief seems impossible. But we always have a choice—do we stay in the darkness or do we move toward the light? Do we depend solely on our human resources or do we seek spiritual help? Do we stay mired in misery or do we access our inner spiritual power to transcend to the heights of human/divine potential?

Focusing on the problem, the darkness, keeps us in continuing misery. Our thoughts obsess on the immediate quandary and we are pulled deeper into the problem; we cannot see the solution because our attention is on the problem.  We find that sometimes we cannot break free from the dilemma using only our mind and will power. As children of a loving divine parent, we are gifted with an inner reservoir of clarity, a spiritual energy that can quiet our mental upheaval. We pause, take a deep breath, and exhale slowly; then, we repeat this three times. Be still and ask your inner source for peace and guidance.

Prayer: My precious and loving inner spirit, please quiet my mind; remove contention and indecision; bring peace to my emotions; help me to sit in stillness. Illuminate my choice with wisdom; give me strength to overcome these adversities and guide me to the best solution to my challenges. 

Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; reflect on the content, pausing for a few minutes in silence.

An extraordinary relationship exhibits shared core values, the willingness to grow individually and together, and individual loving, selfless freedom.

Shared core values are an important part of the best relationships.  A mutual commitment to God, integrity, honesty, truth, coupled with loving, tolerant attitudes toward others offers a firm basis for building extraordinary relationships. As with most things, unity of direction should outweigh uniformity of belief. A loving relationship is a living entity and will grow or die; as such, it provides three potential areas for growth: growth of each individual and growth of the union, the partnership.

Each individual must nurture his or her own personal spiritual growth and this requires some quiet and alone time for investigation, meditation, reflection, and processing. The resulting energy, direction, security and peace provide additional tools to overcome the challenges inherent in combining two lives. Then, a unique and special bond forms and cements the joint venture when the individuals add a shared spiritual growth to the practical, daily living choices and actions. Discussing and sharing divine values, goals, purpose, and ideals produces a depth of understanding and commitment that that does not occur in secular partnerships.

Prayer: Dear God, help me realize the value of relationships; let your love open my heart and mind; guide me to live to my fullest potential; strengthen my commitment to learn and grow; expand this desire so that I may support those I love and demonstrate caring for all people.

 Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; reflect on the content, pausing for a few minutes in silence.

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