Archive for the ‘Feelings’ Category

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

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.

At any moment, life can throw a mud ball at me.

Life happens. We can be enjoying life or just getting by; then, something unexpected hits us. We get bad news; someone rejects us or something totally unfair or unreasonable happens. Do we give situations, events, or other people the power to determine the quality of our day? Of our week? Of our life?

If we trip and fall when hiking in the woods, do we pick our self up, nurse our wound a little, and travel on? Or do we stay there pounding the ground, cursing the limb that tripped us? Or do we go forward—and then return to that same spot to curse and stomp the limb, trying to understand how we could have let it happen, how that limb could do that to us?

We have a choice about how we act and react when something goes wrong; about how much we allow this situation to upset us. We can pause, relax, and ask our self “Did I have any part in this. Did I make a previous error that contributed to it?  Am I being overly sensitive? How can I release this inner turmoil to minimize its affect on my day? How important is it really?” Honest answers reveal whether we face a real or imagined crisis. Either way, we then can go to our inner spirit reservoir for the guidance and strength to quiet our contention, make the best decisions, and move forward.

Prayer: My spiritual guide and strength please help me to accept the reality of this situation; let me see this with honest and long-distant vision; transform my thoughts and emotions so that they are loving, kind, gentle and peaceful. I need and ask for your power and guidance in this moment. Grant me the power to move forward.

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

Build a memory of love today; use these to rise out of future darkness

I have experienced the great advantage of almost dying, of being pretty certain that I would not live to see another day. Near death, I had no thoughts of my work, of my money or the possessions I was leaving behind. My reflections centered on the relationships and experiences in my life.

I have loved and been loved; I had sunk to the darkest depths, traversed that dark night of the soul, and emerged with the majestic transformation that comes from finding God in this short life. I remembered holding my newborn daughter and son, the pain of losing a beloved wife to cancer and the blessing of being able to take care of her in her final days—to have the maturity, courage, and wisdom to actually demonstrate love. I thought of the serendipity that led to meeting a wonderful woman at a spiritual retreat, our instantaneous connection, and the wonderful blessed life we share; I remembered friends with whom I had shared deep feelings and beliefs and the thrill and beauty I enjoyed riding my horses in the high mountain country. Relationships, God, and experiences were the true summary of a lifetime. Take the opportunity to build to a memory today.

Prayer: My loving inner spirit, please increase my awareness of opportunities to build, expand, and reinforce the love I feel for someone and to actually do something instead of just thinking about it; help me be aware of any chance to spread the wealth of happiness, peace, and security that I enjoy; awaken in me the unexpected smile, cheerfulness, patience and tolerance; guide me to acknowledge all the bountiful blessings in my life.

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

I sometimes take the people closest to me for granted

and fail to extend the respect, courtesy, and love I feel for them. I need to treat the people I love and value as well as I treat co-workers, friends, and casual acquaintances. Without attention and awareness, close relationships can suffer from familiarity—that attitude of quiet indifference. We expect people to know that they are important to us because of a few words we say or past actions should have proven it.

We must continually demonstrate the value we have for the people close to us. Love is not a passive, taken-for-granted, it’s all about me attitude. We remember and acknowledge the birthday, listen with our heart when they need to talk, and give those unexpected flowers, a card, or small gift. We can prepare a special meal (perhaps with an unexpected romantic setting); we communicate—actually tell them how much they add to our life and how grateful we are that they share our time, our hopes, and the adversities we face. We can give a quiet loving touch, a hug that demonstrates caring. Appreciation and value can be demonstrated on physical, mental, spiritual and emotional levels.

Prayer: My powerful and intimate inner spirit, help me be aware of the value of those people closest to me; help me do those little acts of kindness and love that adds a sparkle to their day, acts that demonstrate the importance I place on each of them being a part of my life
Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; reflect on the content, pausing for a few minutes in silence.

 

A loving God does not cause pain, but alleviates our misery;

  • Does not test his children, but provides solutions when we are tested by life.
  • Does not make us wander in the wilderness of confusion, but offers clear purpose and direction.
  • Does not willingly afflict his children, but soothes and strengthens us when we are afflicted.
  • Does not take people, he receives them.

 Perceptions and expectations dominate our thoughts, actions, and reactions to family, friends, society, government, and God.  These two outlooks can be healthy or unhealthy; they can be based on facts or on our pre-conceived ideas, misconceptions, wrong information, and fantasy.  Misconceptions about other people cause us problems, but wrong information about God can separate us from the vital source of power needed to enjoy the highest quality life.

Each of us has the awesome power of free-will choice that allows us to access the most rewarding life imaginable or follow a path of misery and adversity. Yes, bad things do happen; nature (disease, natural catastrophes) may afflict us; accidents may hurt us or those we love; war or terrible events may paint the darkest picture of the world. But God does not do any of these.  Our loving spiritual parent does not afflict his children—but has given each of us an inner guidance that will direct our path, a spiritual energy that is capable of dramatic and life-changing transformations, and a healing love to soothe the hurts inflicted in our journey.

Prayer:  Dear God, please let me feel you presence. 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; reflect on the content, pausing for a few minutes in silence.

My forgiveness for myself is in direct proportion to the forgiveness that I have granted others

If we are not enjoying happiness, peace and serenity, consider the possibility that we may suffer from “un-forgiveness.”  Do we experience any internal conflict, guilt, remorse, or regurgitated anger when we remember a past situation? We may be aware of these remnants of the past; they may linger like a shadow just below the surface, unconsciously blocking the healing flow of the sunlight of the spirit.

The teaching that we ask God to “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” directly indicates the fact of the reciprocity of forgiveness—we must extend to others the very quality we wish to receive (we give it out; we get it back.) The truth of forgiveness is that if we have sincerely asked for forgiveness, it has been automatically granted; we are forgiven but can only experience the feeling of being forgiven in direct proportion to degree we have forgiven other people.

Prayer: My indwelling spirit, help me to forgive everyone including myself. Help to accept that we are all truly children, trying to live this life as best we can; we will make mistakes that hurt us and others. Impress upon my heart that this day marks a new beginning for the rest of my life; I do not have to carry to burdens of yesterday nor fears of tomorrow

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

A campfire is easier to extinguish than a blazing forest fire; handling small problems prevents big ones

Common sense dictates that extinguishing a small fire is much easier than trying to control a roaring inferno. The same logic applies to our problems and discontent. Yes, there are problems that come out of nowhere; we have no warning until faced with the raging blaze that demands immediate resolution. But more often, we encounter a situation that provokes discontent or anxiety and ignore it; however, it keeps returning and gains strength until it bursts into a must-be-solved problem. We can either handle small problems or allow them to grow into giants.

We do not immediately attack every minor annoyance in our life but we evaluate each situation to determine 1) what are the possible consequences if left unattended? 2) Will it keep repeating and be a recurring drain our well-being? 3) Is it just easier to handle right now and put behind us? 4) How important is it really? This conscious, systematic evaluation and subsequent action will prevent many internal forest fires.

Prayer: My wonderful and always present divine spirit, I may face situations that challenge my peace today. I strive to live a spiritual life but my initial reaction often comes from my human characteristics; I over-react or just want to ignore the disturbance. Help me to be patient, tolerant, and loving in my response; guide me to pause and ask for strength and guidance when challenged. Help me discern if this annoyance is best ignored or is something I must handle now to prevent future problems.

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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