Archive for the ‘Happiness’ Category

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

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.

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.

A thousand declarations of love mean less than one caring act.

  • Do I speak of love but fail to demonstrate caring?
  • Do I rail against the plight of the less fortunate but never volunteer to help?
  • Do I proclaim that everyone has a right to their belief and opinions but close my ears and mind to what they say—or even denigrate that which does not agree with my ideas?
  • Do I say that I respect others but participate in gossip?
  • Do I bemoan poverty but fail to act with charity?

Words and intentions accomplish nothing without action.

I am too insignificant to change the world but have many opportunities to contribute to others, to perhaps improve one very small area of that one person’s life.  I can give a “thank you” card for no reason, pause and listen with my heart when someone needs to share, or just clean the toilet. I can serve a meal in a shelter, visit a lonely senior, give money or time to a worthy charity, or actually be patient and loving when I feel like rushing away or screaming. Our world overflows with words and intentions but has much fewer healthy, loving actions.  A tender act benefits the recipient and the giver.

Prayer: My inner guide, help me to realize that without action, my desires and intentions are as smoke in the wind; instill in me the initiative to act on my higher values and intentions; reveal the large and small acts of kindness that move me to be the best version of myself.  Give me the “willingness to act”; strengthen me with your spirit and power to actually “do” in addition to loving and caring. 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.

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.

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