How Can I Feel More Spiritual?

Spirituality-and-Healing

  1. Keep the lines of communication open between you and the Divine through prayer and/or meditation- in the mornings, evenings, before meals, and throughout the day. If in this communication you feel inspired to do something in your life, do it. The more you are in silence the more valuable information you will receive about your life.
  2. Have a morning or evening ritual, such as relaxing music and herbal tea- watch the sunrise or set and contemplate about how your life is going and where you could improve, take action or slow down. Journal if you like. 
  3. Buy less stuff and declutter your surroundings.
  4. Spend some time in nature every day. See the Divine in all things. 
  5. Go to bed early. Read something inspirational before you turn out the light. Pray or Meditate. Rise early.
  6. Don’t forget to breathe deeply. Breathe into any part of your body that needs healing. Don’t forget to take a deep breath to clarify feelings before responding. Be mindful of your actions. 
  7. Be present with others. Take an interest.
  8. Follow your intuition and promptings when it comes to service and giving. 
  9. Take care of yourself with healthy food and exercise. Yoga, hiking or outdoor running can be a spiritual form of exercise. Drink adequate water. Clean, healthy living can help us be more in tune with Spirit.
  10. Practice gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, and love. 

 

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Is Nature Spiritual?

nature-sun_00390178Our connection with Nature is innately our connection with ourselves because we are inherently Nature.

Mountains, rivers, oceans, forests, dirt…

It gives us the space to remember who we are.

God and Nature are intertwined. Nature gives us the instructions for  how to be happy.

Breathe in clean air, look out from a mountaintop over a vista, or on cliffs that jut out of the ocean, or stand beneath a waterfall, watch lightening rip through the sky, ride the waves and paddle with dolphins, or lie on your back and discover other worldly cloud formations, sunsets or magnificent constellations.

Walk barefoot, connecting soles with the pure earth or sand, feel the energy.

Watch the sunrise. Go out at dawn and watch the world go from dark to light, feel the energy being infused  into body, mind and spirit.

Mimic the plants and reach for the sun. Get outside during daylight hours.

Take a conscious walk or hike among the trees in serenity and solitude. Listen, smell, breathe.

Swim in the ocean, lake pond, or outdoor pool.

Take a leisure bike ride or go out in a row boat, canoe or kayak.

Tend to a garden.

Snuggle or walk your pet.

Connect with nature anyway you can and remember you are part of it and it is part of you.

  • Running with Nature by Mariel Hemingway and Bobby Williams

How Can I Communicate With God?

alone-in-a-crowd (1)

“One evening, out to dinner with friends, I felt profoundly depressed. At 38 years old I had stopped eating. As usual, I watched everyone eating with a hearty appetite while I sat before my plate of grated carrots pretending to savor every mouthful. In reality I was starving. I remember how utterly desperate I felt when I went to bed. I simply couldn’t go on any longer and wished I could die.

In the middle of the night, I woke up with a strange sensation, rather like a force or energy rippling like waves throughout my body. It grew ever stronger until my body was vibrating. I wasn’t frightened because the effects were warm and comforting and I no longer felt alone in my despair. It seemed someone was with me to share it. This sensation stayed with me all night, and I began to talk, expressing my innermost thoughts as if someone were listening to me. I whispered, “I don’t know who you are, but I know that you’re here and I can tell you everything.”

Shortly after, I began to breathe in a totally different way. I wasn’t frightened but, rather, curious to know what would happen next. I continued talking to the “Presence”, which had become a part of me, a faithful friend and companion ready to listen.

I talked to the Presence as a child might. When I woke up terrified by a nightmare, my friend would comfort me and I would feel the warm and gentle ripples within as if he were caressing me. The experience began my journey to discover truth.

Was it possible the presence with whom I spoke  was God? I asked it.

“Are you God, our Heavenly Father?

I felt the answer was affirmative.

“Are you sure?”

Again the reply was affirmative. I was exuberant, for God was extremely loving, simple, accessible, willing to listen, full of joy. He was nothing like the strict, severe God who judged and punished about whom I had been taught.

I heaved a sigh of relief. I had finally found Him. Yes, this was the Father I had been seeking my entire life. I gave myself up to his warm embrace, no longer doubting the identity of the mysterious Presence I had felt.

After so many years, I realize, God, You have always been with me, You have never abandoned me. I am infinitely grateful for Your Love. ”

prayer

-Interview with Patricia Williams Scalisi, edited by David Paul Doyle in When God Spoke To Me

 

Simplicity and What is the Tao?

tao te ching
The Tao that can be understood is not the etermal, cosmic Tao,
Just as an idea that can be expressed in words is not the infinite idea.
And yet this ineffable Tao is the source of all spirit and matter;
expressing itself,
it is the mother of all created things.
Not to desire material things
is to know the freedom of spirituality;
and to desire them is to suffer the limitations of matter.
Yet these two things, matter and spirit,
so different in nature, have the same origin.
This unity is the mystery of mysteries,
and the gateway to spirituality.
Here are four fundamentals of true spirituality:
return to simplicity,
cherish purity
reduce your possessions,
diminish your wants

To know there are some things you cannot know is healthy.
Seek to attain an open mind (the summit of vacuity).

Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu
Support Authors: Sam Torode and Dwight Goddard

How Can I Find Joy?

stillness

A true spiritual teacher helps you connect with what you already know in the depth of your being. Your light within.

It is almost impossible to connect with this peace when your mind is racing or when stimuli is overpowering.

Step away into the stillness within.

Quiet your mind. Breathe. Connect with your inner life force. Feel it in your whole body, your aliveness.

Live mindfully. Notice your words, your actions. Your breath. Be a walking prayer of optimism and goodwill.

Take right actions. Serve, give, clean, work, share, write, read, run, play and love.

Spend quiet time with nature, music, art, stories, and poetry. Schedule it in. 

When your thoughts come, transport them into a brighter world. Construct them with your imagination and visualize the brightness. Make it your reality. Use whatever hopeful images or stories or perspectives elevate yourself.

Can A Sermon Be Meant Just For Me?

girl patientHe said he would die if I left him alone,” I worriedly explained to the nurse. “I have to stay!”  My stepfather, Claude, a minister at a local church, had been run down by a car in the Houston Astrodome parking lot, and it seemed every part of his body had been shattered…

I sat there alone overnight in the near dark of the hospital room looking at Claude’s mangled body. It reminded me of my own mangled life. I had grown up in a home with an abusive parent, leaving me a timid and fearful child. To escape, I married really young. Nine bitter lonely years and two children later my husband revealed a dark secret so repulsive to me I could barely stomach looking at myself in the mirror. How could I have been so blind? We divorced, but the emotional trauma had been firmly embedded in me and my children. One of my children suffered with bipolar disorder so severely that three times she tried to commit suicide. I lost track of how many times she had run away. She turned to drugs.

Sometime around 3a.m. I sat there in the hospital staring at a “man of God” writhing in pain and wondered if he too questioned a loving God and if he also felt abandoned. Then I heard Claude stirring in his bed.  He mumbled and moaned with pain. I reached over to pull the sheet up to his chest. As I slumped back into my chair, he suddenly sat straight up in bed. I was shocked. It usually took two of us to turn him over, and he had not been able to even raise his head alone!

Without a pause, Claude thanked his “audience” and began one of the most amazing sermons I had ever heard. His voice was clear and strong. I frantically glanced around, hoping someone else would come into the room to witness this. No one did. I, alone, was meant to hear.

My stepfather spoke of the importance of using visualization to create a positive state of mind. He urged his invisible audience to use their imaginations to see their circumstances in a better light. He said that seeing things in a positive vein, as if that was the truth, would mirror that perception in reality. Visualization, he went on to say, was a way to bring healing and hope into expression, because seeing things the way one wished they were would cause them to become one’s experience.

For 15 minutes, he eloquently described how thoughts and actions become reality. It was Claude’s voice- his body- that delivered that sermon, but the source of those words was not of this world. I had never heard him utter the word “visualization” before.  He came from a background of traditional practices and these ideas were foreign to a conservative church like his. Even though he acted as if this were one of his usual Sunday sermons, he would never have said these things in his own church.

I chuckled as I imagined the response he would receive if he repeated this sermon to his own congregation, but I was also entranced by it. This sermon, clearly was meant for me. I perched on the edge of my chair eagerly listening, barely breathing for fear of missing even one word. Every sentence was relevant for me. Every word was directed at my attitude toward life. My heartbeat thundered in my ears and my breathing grew shallow.

A warm fullness filled my chest, expanding in the room. The deepest love I’d ever known exploded all around me. I tearfully whispered through measured gasps, “Oh my God!”

Just as suddenly as it all began, it ended. He fell back on his pillow and was sleeping once again. I stat motionless-stunned. The voice still echoed in my head, interrupted only by the steady beeping of the hospital monitors in the background.

Now I understood why I had needed to stay that night. I left that experience with a desire to return to the roots of my spiritual understanding. I began to visualize God in everything. And my whole world transformed.

  • Interview with Jodi McDonald and edited by David Paul Doyle in “When God Spoke To Me” 

 

Can You Know Things That Will Happen?

The frigid Michigan wind chilled me to the bone as I hugged my inadequate dress coat tighter and hurried through the darkness to my company’s annual Christmas party at a posh hotel.

I hadn’t looked forward to attending this occasion. It was just another obligation- a component of the treadmill life I led. Parties held for the sole purpose of prescribed merriment are particularly fearful occasions for me, and this one simply mirrored my loneliness as I entered the dimly lit ballroom full of chattering couples and shimmering lights.

The entryway table displayed an array of door prizes. I’d never won a door prize before. I’d never won anything in my life and didn’t expect to, but my eyes gravitated to a handmade teddy bear propped in one corner. Instead of the cute cuddly child’s toy one would expect, this bear was particularly ugly, and my attraction to it was unexplainable.

I didn’t want a teddy bear, and there was no room for such an unnecessary item in my cramped apartment, yet I reached out to pick it up. The moment I touched the bear , a stillness welled with me that seemed to dance apart from all the music and the chatter of the party.

As the party goers faded into the background, I was overcome with a feeling of absolute certainty that this teddy bear belonged to me.  It can only be explained as an unshakeable knowingness that supported not a shred of doubt, not a molecule of uncertainty, as if the ugly little bear was already mine.  Never before have I felt such certainty, such a powerful sense of knowing the outcome of an event before it had unfolded.

Throughout the evening I felt preoccupied by the awe of this experience. I was wondering when the drawing for the door prizes was going to occur so I could receive my teddy bear and leave.

At last the moment arrived as the music stopped and the lights brightened. The emcee began drawing names for the door prizes. As each recipient stepped up to claim his prize, everyone clapped and cheered. Still, the ugly teddy bear remained on the table.

Then I thought I heard my name called and I stood, but it was only after I stood that my name was actually called. And I walked forward to receive the bear that was indeed awarded to me at that moment.

Why had this happened? To have such a powerful knowingness about such an insignificant thing? My sense of awe about winning the bear and hearing my name held an aura of divinity about it.

But why such a waste of divine intervention? The magical encounter faded over time like a dream….I resumed my customary struggle with life that seemed drab, empty, and purposeless, but that experience led me to feel that I needed to pursue a new path to find meaning.

I was alone, lonely, unskilled, unfulfilled and broke. I had prayed to God for guidance before, but now I prayed in earnest, “Please God, I feel trapped here. I want to move to Arizona to be near my son, but I am scared. Should I take the chance without having any clear direction on how to support myself there?” Something inside me shifted, and my inner being began to flood with the identical sense of certainty I’d experienced when I first laid eyes on the teddy bear. I felt a lightness growing from within, and my consciousness became permeated with the secure knowledge that I was moving to Arizona. I knew it as surely as if the move had already been accomplished. It went beyond faith to a knowing.

Without the magic I’d experienced with the teddy bear I would have dismissed this divine guidance. I quit my job the next day, and two weeks later moved to Arizona. There my life bloomed in emotional and spiritual ways.

Today the teddy bear sits high on a shelf overlooking the life my new husband and I share. We have learned to join with God to communicate in  a way that heals any challenges or difficulties that arise and to share that love and learning with others.

  • When God Spoke to Me – a true story by Georgianne Giese, edited by David Paul Doyle.