Archive for the ‘love’ 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.

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.

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

 

Sufficient to the moment are the troubles thereof

A Zen story:

A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. One day, they came to a deep river. At the edge of the river, a young woman sat weeping, because she was afraid to cross the river without help. She begged the two monks to help her. The younger monk turned his back. The members of their order were forbidden to touch a woman. Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and continued his journey.

The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened. After rejoining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between them. Two more hours passed, then three, finally the younger monk could contain himself any longer, and blurted out “As monks, we are not permitted to touch a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?” The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?  

We can carry the weight of our past mistakes, regrets, and erroneous beliefs—or we can leave them. Sometimes our desire and determination are not powerful enough to sever the emotional shackles to the past; then, we call upon the mighty expulsive energy of our indwelling spiritual force to break the mental and emotional bonds.  Leave the past in the past; carry no burden beyond the moment

 Prayer: My indwelling spirit, your love, mercy and power are infinite. Please direct my mind; let it release all past burdens; let the flow of your spiritual power purge all regret, remorse, disappointments, guilt, and resentment from me. Help me live in and for this moment; to live for you and for the advancement of your children and this planet. 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.

Why—and how–do I react to people? Am I kind and loving, patient and tolerant? Or something else?

If I get upset, is my reaction because someone attacked me physically or degraded one of my core values? Or is it because of pride or a need to be right? Do I respond with little thought, without being peacefully centered? Or do I pause, pray and try to respond with maturity and love? People will do or say things that I see as hurtful or offensive; these can be real or imagined wrongs. I should strive for emotional balance that helps me to:

1) suspend the instantaneous response, the reaction that often is wrong

2) pause and find inner peace and guidance before I respond

3) take a moment to check if my emotional reaction is triggered by self-righteousness

4) act with patience, tolerance , love, courage and conviction.

I need not volunteer for abuse; I need to stand for my values but I must not be overly sensitive or react too quickly. I can recognize a significant growth step when I am able to pause between the feeling and the responsive action and then put forth a courageous, wise and loving action instead of a reaction.

Prayer: My loving spirit, my source of strength, wisdom and direction, help me accept my humanness; grant me guidance and power to grow more toward your ideal, to be what you would have me be, to love and exhibit your presence in all my responses to other people. 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.

Character growth or character building? One follows the natural path; the other is doing it my way.

Building indicates that I have the blueprint, that I am the planner and the “doer”; growth infers that I am willing to plant the seed, nurture and water it with the right thoughts and actions, and let God and nature decide the direction and timing of my natural growth.

We’ve reached that point where we recognize certain actions, attitudes, and words that cause discontent or misery; we become willing to shed these traits and replace them with higher values and actions. Then, comes the hard part: we must release the control over how and when this happens; we cannot force spiritual growth or emotional maturity to follow our plan. We ask our inner spirit source for help, guidance and strength to become the best version of our self; we acknowledge that this source of infinite power and love can do for us what we cannot do for our self; we know that this mighty expulsive energy can cleanse us, removing all obstacles to growth; we allow ourselves to develop according to the divine plan, the plan which opens the door to infinite possibilities and benefits instead of following our self-directed scheme.  The act is ours; the consequence, God’s.

Prayer: My divine and infinite loving companion, I give you myself this day. Remove from me any thought, word or deed that impedes my effectiveness for you or for helping anyone; fill me with your divine wisdom and strength; nurture the things, meanings, and values that I need; let the water of your love refresh my soul and generate growth guided by you.

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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