Archive for the ‘peace of mind’ Category

Having faith sometimes requires stepping into the unknown

When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly. —Edward Teller

Belief is an intellectual acceptance of an idea, concept, or ideology; faith is when we change the way we live because of that belief. To be effective, our beliefs must align with truth and reality. When we must choose to either stay in the misery that we know or step into the unknown, what can we expect of God with absolute certainty?  As we step into the darkness, we can be certain that our “leap of faith” will yield specific benefits if we maintain our spiritual connection:

  • Direction: solutions appear that we could not see before;
  • Strength: an invigorating flow of spiritual energy infuses our body and mind;
  • Courage: we have an enhanced ability to face and overcome fear and uncertainty;
  • Purpose: Our spiritual purpose, direction, and values strengthen;
  • Understanding: Our mental acumen shifts to a higher level; we have clarity of mind and an enhanced understanding of values, priorities, and means;
  • Peace: We will have that inner certainty that all is well and continue to be well, no matter what is happening around us.

The resulting transformation can have a beneficial ripple-effect; other areas of our life can improve and yield additional non-spiritual benefits.

Prayer:    Dear God, give ne the courage to act according to your will; help me to trust you and your ways; enfold me in your loving protection and guide my mind

Spiritual practices can “brain wash” us.

I was once warned to be careful, that religion or spiritual people could “brain wash” me.  This proved to be true but in a surprising way. My mind desperately needed cleaning. The filth of misery—resentment, anger, worry, fear, jealousy, envy, low-self-worth, and a myriad of others—stained and soiled most of my thoughts; this mental muck and mire prevented any chance for peace or happiness. My mind had to be cleansed before I had any hope of a better life.

An act of surrender starts this spiritual cleaning cycle: we must fully accept that we have problems that keep us from being the best version of our self and that we cannot solve these without help. Action follows this giving up: We start the day with prayer and meditation as we sit in silence and feel the presence of divinity; we seek guidance, strength, and wisdom and ask to be made aware of any opportunity to serve and help a fellow traveler. Then, we pause for a few minutes throughout the day to stay consciously aware of our divine birthright; we strive to be loving, tolerant, and gentle. We spend a few minutes in quiet review each night to see what we could have done better, to identify areas for improvement and acknowledge the growth and blessing of this day. Since new dirt and muck can stain our lives each day, we must make this a daily practice; we need a continuous cycle of “brain washing.”

Prayer:  My loving spirit, I have allowed my self-driven will to pollute this blessing I call my mind. Please cleanse it; wash away my pride, prejudice, anger, fear, and all misery; purify my thoughts and sanctify my motives.

We can only see what is in front of our eyes; we cannot see the history.

We see anger but not the earlier years of abuse or fear

  • We see selfishness but not the previous poverty of love
  • We see self-centeredness and self-righteousness but not the low self-esteem or the despair of self-loathing.
  • We see the inability to engage in healthy relationships but not the absence of spiritual core with lack of healthy self-love.

Yes, each person is accountable for their current actions; each person is responsible to recognize their mistakes and shortcomings that interfere with their lives; each will be offered multiple opportunities to choose change. However, the unfortunate may lack the necessary humility to admit their deficiencies, the desire or the courage to change, or not have a guide and viable process for change; they may reject a spiritual solution for living problems; or they may just be having a bad moment or terrible day.

Whenever we encounter such objectionable conduct, it is our choice how we allow it to affect us. Do we share the light to provide illumination or contribute to the darkness? Let us show:

  • tolerance, not anger
  • patience, not a quick response
  • love of the hard-to-love, not retaliation
  • the willingness to walk away, not to engage in pointless conflict
  • the power and beauty of a sprit-led life, not the desperate charade of self-driven will

If we are among the fortunate; we must be an expression of truth.

Prayer:  Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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.

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

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.

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