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?

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“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

 

Can I be at Peace when the Storms come?

zen-stones-1395147656aNVJ. Krishnamurti, the great Indian philosopher and spiritual teacher, spoke and traveled the world for more than fifty years, finally after all those years, he shared his secret.

“I don’t mind what happens,” he said.

He did not elaborate, but the statement implies acceptance of what is, no matter how difficult and even if one will take action in relation to what happened. There is an acceptance, a calmness during every step, every second of the action or non-action.

This means to be content as things are now even in the face of things that are hard for yourself or others, and then when the now changes, to accept again. To be in a state of inner peace, nonresistance or nonjudgement with how things will turn out in the future, but being active and at peace in the moment while traveling the journey- striving toward right action.

Every situation is simply met with the thought or statement, “Is that so?”

Always responding to what the present moment requires while at the same time accepting what is.

The ego wants to go crazy with rage, sadness, and frustration when things never work, when items or money are lost, when sickness, accidents or tragedy strikes, when others or yourself are unkind, dishonest, judgmental, forgetful, abusive or controlling, when basic needs are not met, when the news disappoints, when stress overwhelms, etc. but this is a dysfunctional relationship with the Now and the cause of unnecessary suffering and human drama.

Heal your relationship with the present moment. Decide that it is always your friend. Some may object crying, “What about justice, or what about this or that?” But if all injustice was considered, the Now would never be your friend and one would be in a state of constant misery and pain.

So use your imagination to become friendly toward the Now, welcome it no matter in what disguise it comes, and soon you will see the results. Life becomes friendly towards you; people become helpful, circumstances cooperate.

Don’t focus on accepting the future when things are resolved, but love the circumstances you find yourself in. Never being a victim of circumstance, but rather the ruler over your own life happiness.  Focus on this happiness even as you seek to make the world a better place.

  • Ideas adapted from Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth

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” 

 

How Can I See The Good When All I See Are Flaws?

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There’s an old story about a group of monks living with their master in a Tibetan monastery. Their lives were disciplined and dedicated, and the atmosphere in which they lived harmonious and peaceful. People from villages far and wide flocked to the monastery to bask in the warmth of such a loving spiritual environment.
Then one day the master departed his earthly form. At first the monks continued on as they had in the past, but after a time, the discipline and devotion that had been hallmarks of their daily routine slackened. The number of villagers coming through the doors each day began to drop, and little by little, the monastery fell into a state of disrepair.

Soon the monks were bickering among themselves, some pointing fingers of blame, others filled with guilt. The energy within the monastery walls crackled with animosity.
Finally, the senior monk could take it no longer. Hearing that a spiritual master lived as a hermit two days walk away, the monk wasted no time in seeking him out. Finding the master in his forest hermitage, the monk told him of the sad state the monastery had fallen into and asked his advice.

The master smiled. “There is one living among you who is the incarnation of God. Because God is being disrespected by those around the Incarnated One, God will not show Godself, and the monastery will remain in disrepair.” With those words spoken, the master fell silent and would say no more.

All the way back to the monastery, the monk wondered which of his brothers might be the Incarnated One.

“Perhaps it is Brother Jaspar who does our cooking,” the monk said aloud. But then a second later thought, “No, it can’t be him. He is sloppy and ill tempered and the food he prepares is tasteless.”

“Perhaps our gardener, Brother Timor, is the one,” he then thought. This consideration, too, was quickly followed by denial. “Of course not” he said aloud. “God is not lazy and would never let weeds take over a lettuce patch the way Brother Timor has.”

Finally, after dismissing each and every one of his brothers for this fault or that, the senior monk realized there were none left. Knowing it had to be one of the monks because the master had said it was, he worried over it a bit before a new thought dawned. “Could it be that the Holy One has chosen to display a fault in order to disguise Godself?” he wondered. “Of course it could! That must be it!”

Reaching the monastery, he immediately told his brothers what the master had said and all were just as astonished as he had been to learn the Divine was living among them.
Since each knew it was not himself who was God Incarnate, each began to study his brothers carefully, all trying to determine who among them was the Holy One. But all any of them could see were the faults and failings of the others. If God was in their midst, the Holy One was doing a fine job of hiding Godself. Finding the Incarnated One among such rubble would be difficult, indeed.

 If God insisted on remaining hidden, then they had no recourse but to treat each monk as if he were the Holy One.

Each so concentrated on seeing God in the other that soon their hearts filled with such love for one another the chains of negativity that held them bound fell away. As time passed, they began seeing God not just in each other, but in everyone and everything. Days were spent in joyful reverence, rejoicing in the Presence of the Holy One. The monastery radiated this joy like a beacon and soon the villagers returned, streaming through the doors as they had before, seeking to be touched by the love and devotion present there.

It was some time later that the senior monk decided to pay the master another visit to thank him for the secret he had revealed.

“Did you discover the identity of the Incarnated One?” the master asked.

“We did,” the senior monk replied. “We found God residing in all of us.”

The master smiled.