Staying Plugged In, Part III

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Confirmation

In hindsight the entire week was symbolic of what was to come.  By the end of the day on Sunday I received all of the answers that were necessary. The light at the end of the tunnel was still far from my reach but I could feel its light shining over me.

I was especially looking forward to this Sunday’s Dharma topic because the same guest speaker that discussed “No birth, no death” was leading the day’s discussion.  The topic for this Sunday was “Freedom from concepts”.  The intention of this topic was to teach us how to be free from the hindrances in our minds.  Our minds are filled with tons of preconceived notions which keep us from seeing the true nature in all things.  The Reverend used emotions and feelings as an example and stated that love, anger, pain, joy and compassion are all concepts.  How we perceive these feelings are based on the conditions we place on them.  Think about the concept of pain. Most of us may feel pain or soreness after exercising.  Although there is discomfort most people associate the pain as “good” pain. However, if you feel the exact same pain or soreness and haven’t been exercising or are unable to identify the reason for the pain, our minds tells us something is wrong and we perceive the pain as “bad”.  It’s all a matter of your perception.

Although love and compassion are concepts, Reverend Gil equated these concepts to the true nature of self.  He explained when the mind is without worry and when the mind is clear and free from hindrances, unattached to a particular thought, that peace or true nature is attained.  Love and compassion are concepts because our minds place conditions and limits on what love or compassion should look like or how it should show up in our lives.  It is our perceptions of them that make them concepts. True nature on the other hand is the state of mind where you are most conscious, most present.  A student in the class asked when a person feels anger, if in that moment their true nature is anger. She questioned the Reverend and asked “If anger is a concept just as love or compassion are concepts, doesn’t that make true nature as described unattainable?” When she finished asking her question, all sorts of AHA’s ran through my mind and I wanted to stand up, look at her and say absolutely not! In that moment I had figured out where the sudden anger towards my ex came from.  The dream led me to think of past experiences and instead of staying in the present moment I immediately went into victim mode (ego).  My preconceived notions of how I felt he should have behaved in the relationship was showing up as anger within me.  The more energy I gave to the feeling of anger, the more I became fixated on the past.  The anger had rendered me unconscious. This discussion was a reminder for me to stay in the present moment. A reminder that I was still holding on to the 5% and that I needed to let it go.

Later that afternoon I attended the Body, Mind & Spirit Expo.  For the past several years I’ve consulted with a Psychic/Astrologer and recently felt the need to try someone different who did not know me. I love my astrologer and much of what he has said to me over the years has manifested, yet still I felt the need for a different experience. My friend attended the expo with me and we decided to walk the room to scope out the various tarot readers, mediums, etc.  There was one woman who we noticed with an intensity in her eyes that we could not ignore, and we decided she was the one.

Although I come from a family of whom many have the gift of sight and while I have had numerous readings and psychic experiences throughout my life, what I experienced during that 20 minute reading was absolutely one of the most profound experiences I’ve had in my life. She started by acknowledging that I also had the gift of sight and could see that it ran in my family.  She immediately asked me about my grandmother and said she could see her spirit around me.  I explained briefly of my grandmother’s passing and while I was speaking, I noticed she was staring over my left shoulder.  It was such an intense glare that I stopped speaking to look over my shoulder and the psychic smiled at me and said “Yes, she is with you. I see her sitting on the edge of your bed and she wants to know why you can’t sleep at night.” Tears immediately streamed over my cheeks and even though I was weeping uncontrollably there was joy in my soul.  I had prayed every day for the past week and a half, asking for my grandmother.  In what felt like my darkest hours and most challenging times, I prayed for a sign that she was with me, guiding me and giving me courage to move through the unpleasant circumstances I faced.  In that moment I received confirmation that her spirit was with me and that she was doing all she could on a spiritual realm to help me.  I received confirmation that all would be well.  The psychic continued to acknowledge details about my grandmother that she could not possibly have known. She detailed things about my mother, my career and most recent struggles. Everything she said was amazingly accurate.  I do have some hard decisions to make over the next few months and while the outcome of various challenges were not given, knowing that my grandmother is with me will make this next part of the journey much easier.

The day’s experience put everything in perspective for me.  There will always be detours and pitfalls along this journey. I am learning and LIVING the difference between talking about my faith and governing my life by my faith.  This experience has opened my eyes to cautiously examine the people who I draw to me when I am feeling particularly vulnerable or weak.  I need to remember Key Lesson 50 from “A Course In Miracles”

Put not your faith in illusions. They will fail you. Put all your faith in the Love of God within you; eternal, changeless and forever unfailing. This is the answer to whatever confronts you today. Through the Love of God within you, you can resolve all seeming difficulties without effort and in sure confidence. Tell yourself this often today. It is a declaration of release from the belief in idols. It is your acknowledgment of the truth about yourself.

For ten minutes, twice today, morning and evening, let the idea for today sink deep into your consciousness. Repeat it, think about it, let related thoughts come to help you recognize its truth, and allow peace to flow over you like a blanket of protection and surety. Let no idle and foolish thoughts enter to disturb the holy mind of the Son of God. Such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Such is the resting place where your Father has placed you forever.

And this too shall pass.

It’s beauty in the struggle… ~J. Cole

Staying Plugged In, Part II

The Culmination…

I attempted to move through a busy work schedule in solitude and stillness whenever possible.  The week was busy enough to take my mind off of the chatter going on inside my head and busy enough to allow me to be fully present.  All of the travel, meetings and minor problem solving for my clients proved to be therapeutic in its own right.  There was too much I was responsible for so time did not allow me to wallow in self-pity.  With a small amount of time to literally “be” still, I used that time wisely.  I prayed often for recognition of my grandmother’s presence; when taking my dog for a walk, when in the shower, before going to sleep and upon waking up.  I’d often look at my “God’s Jar”.  It’s a mason jar filled with questions, situations, and thoughts that are beyond my control and that I need to surrender. From my greatest desires to my greatest fears.  Resentments, forgiveness, stress, worry, manifestations for my future, all of the things in which I am attached to an outcome and that keep my mind from being clear, go into this jar. When I feel worry settling in, I look at the jar, take a great big deep breath, exhale and remember that God is taking care of it and it brings a sense of comfort and relief.  It is an answer to the “who, what when, where and how”.

Just as I was beginning to at least like my most recent challenge and come to a place of acceptance, along comes another trigger. Another challenge that the Reverend would say I need to love!

It has almost been a year since I made the decision to be done with my ex.  No closure, no sappy last conversations, no let’s be friends, I simply vanished and chose to make no contact nor return any correspondence from him.  When I made that decision it was not out of bitterness or spite.  I will admit my ego was bruised and therefore some anger was present. The 95% of me that made this very conscious decision was at peace. We had run our course and at least for me, the relationship has served it’s purpose and it was time to let it go. I found peace in my decision because I was able to forgive myself and him. In fact, I will always be grateful for him.  I learned a lot about myself in this relationship and was able to own my contributions to its demise. The purpose of this relationship was for me to see my true value. To learn how to love myself better so that I could teach others how to love and respect me. It was in this relationship that I was able to heal that 5-year-old little girl searching for validation and who was still trying to prove to her father that she was worthy of him sticking around.

I dreamt of my ex that night and I recall wanting to lash out at him in the dream but I kept telling myself to be silent and to just listen to what he had to say.  When I woke up I tried to forget about the dream and shake it off but I found myself throughout the day and days following, replaying past experiences in my mind. Brief waves of anger would rush through me, and I could feel that unconscious part of me rising to the surface.  Once again, I felt blind sighted. I thought I had this under control and I could not pin point where this sudden agitation was coming from.  Maybe it was stress from the week? Maybe I still had work to do? Maybe I needed to practice forgiveness more? Maybe I needed to let my ego run rampant and curse him out one good time and pray about it later? Maybe this was me substituting one crisis with another? All of these maybes, maybe it was just a dream and meant nothing?

In an effort to temper my anger I randomly opened to a page in the book “A Course In Miracles“.  In that moment I felt that whatever page I randomly opened to would have a message just for me.  The page number was 878, Key Lesson 50. And there was my message:

I Am Sustained By The Love Of God.

Here is the answer to every problem that will confront you, today and tomorrow and throughout time. In this world, you believe you are sustained by everything but God. Your faith is placed in the most trivial and insane symbols; pills, money, “protective” clothing, influence, prestige, being liked, knowing the “right” people, and an endless list of forms of nothingness that you endow with magical powers.

Only the Love of God will protect you in all circumstances. It will lift you out of every trial, and raise you high above all the perceived dangers of this world into a climate of perfect peace and safety. It will transport you into a state of mind that nothing can threaten, nothing can disturb, and where nothing can intrude upon the eternal calm of the Son of God.

At this point the weekend was approaching and while the words above provided comfort, anxiety still remained.

To be continued…

What Shall I Do?

I attended what I now refer to as “Sunday Service” at the Won-Buddhism Meditation Temple yesterday and it was quite a memorable experience.  I have been attending the Temple off and on for about two years now and there is always more to appreciate with each visit.

My practice of meditation started fairly early along this journey.  The more I read about it the more I desired to achieve that moment when mind chatter disintegrates and complete silence takes over.  And like anything else in life, the more you practice the better you become.

At each service there is always a Dharma talk which one could compare to a sermon.  Yesterday’s Dharma talk touched upon several areas that really spoke to me in addition to the Reverend’s commentary on the recent events that took place in Paris. Prior to meditation the Reverend talked about “attachment” and how people become fixated or so consumed with their beliefs and ideals that truth eludes them.  Blame is placed on others recklessly, without acknowledgment of self victimization.  Her commentary offered me an opportunity to question myself and ask what ideals I was still holding on to and why.

The Dharma talk was given by a student who aspires to be a Buddhist priest.  His words were simple but honest, he spoke of being fully committed to his journey and his fear of straying off of his path.  He spoke of the despair of not knowing what he should do with his life and how his experiences have brought to him to this decision. He will have to let go of many material attachments and worldly pleasures, and will have to commit daily to his practices.  There will be no turning back to his former life, there is no trial period, at twenty something he is fully committed to his calling in life. I instantly thought of all the many things I struggle to commit to in my life that are missed opportunities.

In a few days the sun will enter Sagittarius and as my birthday approaches I am filled with curiosity and excitement knowing that this time is very powerful for me.  The choices I make during these next few weeks will propel me into my not so comfort zone or keep me complacent within my  comfort zone.  As the planets align in my favor how will I best make use of this energy? What will I let go of that I have held on to for too long?  What no longer serves me? What will I commit to and will I be able to stay accountable to it? The shift I felt in October continues to expand and great opportunity for transformation and abundance lie ahead of me.  This shift also brings discomfort and anxiety, triggering the part of me that wants to ask “why can’t this be easy”?  But still, I pray for guidance, taking action towards what I know to do, stay faithful to my practices while yielding the rest to God.

Lately, I have been asking the question “What Shall I Do”? It is this same question that the young Dharma student started and ended his story with.

 

 

 

 

The Beginning

The writings featured on this blog are a result of my quest for truth and a desire to live, walk and breathe in my faith.  This journey started four years ago in a hotel bar with some very great friends.  Prior to that evening I was living an unconscious lifestyle, believing the thoughts in my head to be my true self and carrying the weight of my ego with me every where I ventured.  One day I found myself in the midst of a major wake up call and I knew I needed to shift in another direction. Unsure of how to move forward I did the best I could with the resources available to me and that night at the hotel bar I decided that if I paid close attention to my life and the vision that I had for it, I could achieve a significant level of self transformation and also bear witness to it.

At the time my friends and I were all experiencing some sort of change in our lives that we either felt anxiety, fear or excitement about.  After much conversation and several glasses of wine, we had generated enough positive energy within ourselves to commit to witnessing our growth over the course of a year.

While this notion of paying attention to my life was my primary focus, it wasn’t until a month later that I learned what it meant to be present so that I could pay attention to my life.  I had literally stumbled upon A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle and something inside me stirred and I felt compelled to read it.  After reading the first chapter I knew this book would be a game changer for me.

This journey to awakening has been fruitful, emotionally exhaustive, exciting, self-sacrificing and hopeful.  I have come very far and have a very long way to go.  As I evolve and become more present in my life it is my hope that I encounter others on their journey and connect spirit to spirit with each soul I meet sharing and learning lessons that are divinely designed for me.