Archive for the ‘Guilt’ Category

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.

Must”, “should”, “need to”, “ought to” and “have to” create stress and anxiety

Our mental self-talk contributes to our emotional state. Thoughts of “must”, “should”, “need to”, “ought to” and “have to” cause tension and stress.  Often, we make self-imposed deadlines; then, we get stressed-out when we cannot live up these expectations. Or we allow other people to make unrealistic and unnecessary deadlines; or we respond to them when they try to force us to behave according to their rules. Yes, we have things that must get done in a certain time; we have things we “should” do. However, we need to learn not to blindly accept unimportant schedules or imposed value systems.

Today, let us: 1) Pause, recognize the importance and priority of each task we face and not allow the trifles to overwhelm us and  2) Be aware and careful with the stress-triggering words of “must”, “should”, “need to”, “ought to”  and “have to.” We check for these words when we start to feel tense, irritable, or stressed. Are they truly appropriate in this situation? Will there be a catastrophe if we fail to meet the deadline or decide to live by our standards and values instead of someone else’s?

Prayer: My loving inner spirit, help me to pause throughout this day and establish this peaceful connection with you; help me focus my time and energy on the important things today and to forsake the unimportant. Help me resist the urge to hurry, to quietly and peacefully take one step at a time and do what is in front of me to do.

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

You never see a U-Haul in a funeral procession

You can’t take anything with you. The house, the car, the toys, recognition, money, club memberships, and all the things you worked to acquire or achieve—none of it goes to the grave or beyond. So how important is it really?  Is this really what life is all about? What do you barter to acquire these material possessions and self-gratifying objects? Are the days and nights of anxiety and tension, taking chemicals to sleep or relax, never taking time for family, for God, or for yourself a good trade for these temporary, unimportant things?

We cannot change a single thing we did yesterday but we can change today. Let us pause, evaluate, and decide which actions help us fulfill the purpose of our life. Are our daily values, goals, and practices selfish and self-driven? Or do we try to align with higher, divine attitudes? Will our actions today reflect more importance on things or on people; will we focus on self-gratification or on loving service? Striving to live a spiritual, loving existence does not mean that we cannot enjoy the possessions and toys but that we recognize their appropriate priority.

Prayer: Dear God, open my path to that wonderful divine presence that dwells within me; let me feel the power of love, the beauty of enlightenment, and the peace of assurance. Guide my actions this day to build those relationships that stand strong and clear in the test of time; let me accept your love, embrace its sustaining nourishment, and use every opportunity to share it with the world. 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.

There is no companionship with the immature.

If you find no one to support you on a spiritual path, walk alone. There is no companionship with the immature. The Dhammapada (5:61)

We may find times on this spiritual journey in which other people test our path. They may try to lessen or demean our value, ridicule our choices, tempt us to believe that the material life is all that matters, or offer conditional acceptance only if we align with their ideas, beliefs, or perceptions.  We might feel the loneliness of standing for our beliefs, but we cannot allow the immature to distract us or shake our commitment. We need not participate in the immaturity.

We are never really alone. We are children of the Divine Source and share this journey with many of our brothers and sisters. We may just need time and circumstances to find them. At these challenging times, we increase our quiet mediation, prayer, and reflection; we access our inner source of divine love, strength, and direction; we strive to live with love, wisdom, and power, a living demonstration to the less fortunate.

Prayer: My loving inner spirit, my guide, and my source of strength, help me to feel your presence, to stay aware of your love and compassion. Help me to see each person as a child of the divine and realize that as children, each of us may be immature at times. Grant me the grace to not participate in the immaturity and give me strength courage to persevere in face of loneliness.

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

The good is often the enemy of the best; we can settle for mediocrity or strive for excellence

Settling for the good, or even the mediocre, has a definite ingrained appeal; indolence and procrastination are a part of the animalistic side of our human nature.  Choosing to do as little as possible gives us an easier life. But settling leads us to accepting mediocrity in relationships, careers, and all areas of our life. Fredrick Douglas said “As a general rule, where circumstances do most for men, there man ill do least for himself; and where man does least, he is least. His doing or not doing makes or unmakes him.”

Choosing to excel gives us a chance to enjoy the best life on the planet but also introduces potential pitfalls. We must exert a continuous effort, but not become a slave to struggle; we strive for the best, but try not to waste effort solving unimportant problems; we have to act, but avoid becoming a control fanatic—trying to make things happen our way, in our time and with the results we want. We grow to accept the inevitable mistakes, overcome adversity, and see disappointment as opportunity. We do not settle for mediocrity or complacency

Prayer: My supreme creator, parent and friend, guide me to realize that I only have this one life and have been given the power to choose how I will spend each day. Help me accept strenuous effort, challenges, and even adversity as opportunities to excel, as chances to become stronger, and as the opening to a better life. 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.

Make a “to be” list in addition to a “to do” list.

We get so caught up in living the rat race that we forget to actually live. We develop patterns—the mental-emotional response habits—that continually produce stress, anxiety, worry, and fear. We rush about, cramming as much activity as possible into each day; then, we crash, take a mood-altering chemical to help us relax and feel better or to sleep; and then get up the next day and do the same thing. Day after day after day. Yes we must earn a living and take care of certain necessities. But the art of living—the method of achieving the highest quality life—includes being the best version of our self and not just simply filling the day with actions.

A “to be” list might help.  Perhaps today, make a commitment to be more tolerant, compassionate, loving, patient, cheerful, kind or gentle; perhaps just pick one or two values that are important to you. The “to be” list can also include specific actions that move us to fulfill the desired value. For example if we want to be more loving, we commit to a definite act that will demonstrate love this day—we can show one person how much we value him or her, that we are grateful they share our life; we can extend an act of kindness without expecting anything in return; we can offer a hug, a massage, or prepare a special meal.

Prayer:  My dear loving spiritual guide, companion, and inner power, melt the hurry in my mind and soul this day. Help me be aware of values in addition to things; help me look for opportunities to practice the principles that are important to me; strengthen my resolve to take an action that reflects my true values. 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.

There is no law that I must allow people to “push my buttons”

After all, they are MY buttons.

Do I give other people the power to make me angry? To make me feel guilty? To make me ashamed?  Do I react to what others say, how they look at me, or what I think they think about me? Do I silently accept what “they” say I should do; how I should live my life; what my goals, dreams, and aspirations should be? And then withdraw to complain or inwardly simmer because of whatthey” say, do, or think?

Every feeling, every beautiful or painful emotion I have is inside of me and no one else. No person has ever held my head and forced me to swallow a spoonful of anger or guilt or any misery. They simply offer each of them. I am responsible to accept or reject the offering; I am responsible for all my feelings and reactions. I can allow anyone to “push my buttons” or I can accept the truth that these are my buttons and no law or ethical code that requires I allow other people to control them.

Prayer: Dear God—the source of that infinite inner power that can transform my habits, patterns, actions, and thoughts—grant me control of my inner being; help me to not automatically accept the feelings offered to me by other people; guide me to be compassionate and loving but not allow anyone to dictate the way I feel or respond this day.

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

THE “Yeabuts” cause continuing misery —especially if they justify resentments, anger, or other symptoms of self-driven will.

“Yeabut—I have a right to be angry”.

“Yeabut—you should see what she did”.

“Yeabut—they aren’t doing what they should do”.

“Yeabut—it isn’t right.”

“Yeabut—it isn’t fair.”

“Yeabut—I need that.”

“Yeabut—I don’t have the time.”

“Yeabuts” are masters of camouflage. They often hide selfish, self-centered, or self-righteous motives under a smokescreen of rationalization and justification or they mask immaturity with seemingly acceptable excuses. “Yeabuts” start with a tacit agreement. “Yes you’re right, but….” ; “Yes, I understand, but….”; “I was wrong, but….” Then, we sneak in the add-on, the second part that validates, rationalizes, or excuses our action or lack of action. These sometimes obvious (but often subtle) offerings prevent an honest acceptance and evaluation of our mistakes and shortcomings. The “yeabuts” are the crutch that supports the immature and weak; they stifle or outright prevent growth.

Prayer: My inner guide, I ask that you make me aware of “Yeabuts” today; help me to identify any words or thoughts that mask my mistakes or keep me from recognizing my self-driven attitudes.  Grant me strength to fearlessly face my shortcomings and the strength and guidance to overcome any that stand in my way of being of service to my fellow people.

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

I participate in gossip by talking—or listening. Without the listener, gossip dies

Do I have an inner void, a feeling of emptiness that makes me feel ‘less than’ other people? Is gossip one of my ways to compensate for this? Do I talk about other people? Do I share a confidence just to flout that I know something another person does not know? Must I try to harm another’s image with my words or implications just so I will feel better about myself? Or have I matured enough to realize that the act of demeaning another person, breaking a confidence, or diminishing someone’s value with my words reflect my own lack of integrity? Do I accept that many such acts are just efforts to build my value in my own eyes?

Finally, have I acknowledged the truth that listening to any such damaging talk indicates my immaturity? I only listen because either: 1) I agree with what is said, 2) I take vicarious pleasure in demeaning a another person, 3) I need this unhealthy communication to fill my inner void to make me feel better; or 4) I am afraid to stand for my values that do not agree with such acts. Not a single one of these motives contribute to my growth; all will lead to continued mediocrity or misery. I must learn to walk away, to cease any participation in gossip.

Prayer: Dear God, my loving and powerful inner guide, deliver me from participation in any act which leads me to lessen the value of any other person or decreases my integrity. Make me immediately aware if I participate in any form of gossip; give me the strength and guidance to handle all such situations with the tact and truth that shields my soul from harm while presenting a growth opportunity for all participants.

 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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