Aug 24 2011

If You Aren’t Running Fast Enough – Stop!

I am like many of you: very busy. We can forget the things that are important to us. Or if we get busy enough, even forget to pursue our spiritual path. This website has suffered from that problem, because I was running.  I have been running so fast that I didn’t notice that as fast as I was going I wasn’t on my spiritual road any more.

So I stopped. I stopped to find my way again. I wasn’t lost. Disoriented is a better term.

This isn’t a new realization, it happens from time to time.

There is a simple solution – stop! I know it is contra intuitive. We feel like we have to run every where, to get as much done in a day as possible. Not just at work but spirituality. I mean isn’t it better to do a full hour and a half ashtanga yoga session than ten minutes of a simple meditation? If you answered like me, the immediate answer was yes.

What had happened to me was I had lost perspective: if I couldn’t do the full yoga session, I didn’t do anything. The little things weren’t good enough. When I realized that was where I was at, I stopped.

I  can’t devote my life to finding spirituality but I still want to explore who I am. I am a spiritual without religion. Because I can’t do all I want  doesn’t mean I shouldn’t stop trying. Nor should you. Moving too fast was my reason. You may have another excuse. Just stopped believing in God, or dumped your religion.  Stop.

Maybe it isn’t that you have too much activity but that your mind is racing, mulling over so many things that you can’t seem to settle on anything. Stop!

This is what I did: something very simple. I started meditating again. Not for two hours, not even for ten minutes. But I started again because it works for me. I don’t even do it every day, but I do it. Because I stopped I could see I had drifted.  I don’t meditate very long but a few minutes down my spiritual path is  progress. I am on my road again. I will continue share my journey with you.

Please join me. If you are going too fast in your life, stop and comment, and say why you haven’t been pursuing your spiritual life, and what you can do to slow down.

There may be good reasons that you found yourself running, share them.

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Apr 29 2009

The Smiling Meditation

In this article I haven’t yet jumped into the pool of effective spiritual practices. There are many. But I will dip my toe in the water with a simple meditation that I learned in the Excellent book Essential Spirituality.  I am going to suggest this meditation before I explain why I think meditation in its different forms is powerful and important spiritual  practice. I am doing this because not everything that works or is good, begins with the mind or our rational thought process. Maybe it can be explained by it later, but often we adopt things in life because it works. This is a meditation you can do anywhere. It is simple and satisfying.  This introduction takes longer than the meditation itself. It is like meditation lite.  For the skeptics (good for you), its success has its basis in our own human physiology. If you are inclined to dismiss the spiritual side of it, that is up to you. It will still feel good and be good for you!

How to do the Smiling Meditation

Ready? Wherever you are simple take a deep inhalation saying to yourself “This breathe I take is relaxing.  And as you begin to exhale smile and say to yourself, “This breathe makes me happy.” It should take a few seconds. Now, do it again.

It is important that you smile.

It is not important if you feel like smiling or not. What is important is that you smile and breathe. We have power in simple things. By smiling it tells our body we are happy, even if we are currently less than ecstatic. This is a simple act.

But involves taking action. This is not passive Spirituality, waiting for someone or something to do something to us. I will not tell you how you will feel, after doing this only a few times.

There are physiological reasons why this simple exercise done repeatedly will transform your mindset. But the fact that it can be explained scientifically does not negate either its power or spiritual impact. Finding spirituality without religion does not need to defy logic.

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Apr 1 2009

What would it be like to be Free?

I think this is the first question we ask ourselves when realize we are trapped. But we are often not bound by physical constraints but mental ones. Often these binds are self imposed. What?

I will use the example in my life that began my real spiritual journey some years ago.

At the time I was a conflicted born again Christian. I was conflicted because my mind was at war with dogma, my heart battled belief.  Despite exploring deeply the depths of the Old and New Testament, I could not reconcile an omnipresent, all powerful loving God with the same figure depicted in church sermons as one who would condemn all unbelievers to an eternity of hell. It was not really the heaven and hell issue I had trouble with at the time (although, these concepts too have passed away), but the concept that God would condemn truly devout persons of other faiths to this fate.

Specifically, I did not believe God would condemn my mother to hell. My mom was a practicing Moslem and a member of a spiritual organization called Subud. And she was, until her passing, the most spiritual person I have ever met. My dilemma was that the Evangelical Christianity I had embraced teaches the idea that an individual must choose to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour to get a taste of Grace. God’s Grace was the thing that let you past the pearly gates. I will not get into the specifics of my internal dialog now, but it was a difficult time. As I think all spiritual crisis’s are. Ultimately, I realized I could not believe in a God that did not want someone like my Mom in heaven.

I left the church, with a heavy heart. But left it I did. And that was the catalyst for finding my own spiritual path. Catalysts are helpful because they offer us real options. These options are simply not available to us, because we have shut them out or ignored them. And as I stood looking forward to an far more uncertain future, without the comfort of a religion to boltster me, I felt free.

This website is part of my current journey to discover what works and what doesn’t.  This website is a work in progress. I am not a guru or spiritual leader. If you learn from me it probably be as much from my mistakes and success.We all have our own path, but we do have to take the steps ourselves to get to the end.

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