Archive for the ‘Relationships’ 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

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.

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.

Each of us have a indwelling divine presence that offers guidance, power, and security

We have been told:

  • Everyone has the Buddha within. Siddhārtha Gautama  550BC
  • Nor will they say “Look here” or Look there” for the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21
  • We found the Great Reality deep down within. In the final analysis, it was only there that He may be found.  (AA Big Book 3rd Ed.)
  • Every human being has a “fragment of God” within—and a birthright to claim this spiritual force. (Urantia Book)

Each of us has been given a direct link to the creator of the universe; however, activating and using this connection is wholly dependent on the individual’s choice and actions. Our power of choice is the supreme and sovereign power in the universe. We can choose to reject this wonderful guide and energy; we can superficially accept it as an idea that has some merit, allowing it to “sometimes” contribute to our life; or, we may fully embrace this great reality. It’s our choice and the rewards reaped in this life, the quality of this life, directly depend on this decision and the subsequent action to open the channel that allows this life-changing power to flow into our life.

Prayer: my loving, compassionate inner spirit, my friend who wants only the best for me, help me aware of your existence in my heart, mind and soul this day ; awaken me to the reality of your presence, power, and love. Help me to choose and act so that I may flourish, prosper and grow according to your plan and be a living testimony of the power and love of God abroad in this universe.

 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.

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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