Since mid-August, I’ve been experimenting with using a timer on a watch that perpetually goes off every however-long-I-set-it-for throughout the day. I began with it going off every 15 minutes, then every 9, and in December it went off every 7 minutes. Let me tell you, December was phenomenal time! Every 7 minutes, while awake (after meditation and hatha yoga in the morning), I’d stop to take several deep breaths into the heart, thinking about God, expressing gratitude for some of this wonderful abundance ;-), and laughing and dancing. So every 7 minutes I was basically having a personal party and anyone around me was certainly invited to join in on the fun.
So why did I stop using the watch to keep me feeling wonderful? Inspired by a great book called The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson, I made a list of God-glorifying goals, the idea being that these goals can only be achieved with divine intervention – so you can imagine these were some pretty hefty goals! One such goal on the list was to spend a month in silence, largely because I think God speaks to us in the silence and practicing silence is a great way to open up to receiving guidance and light for the path. Shortly after identifying this as a goal, my mother shared with me the idea of going on a retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, a place where a brotherhood of monks practice silence throughout the day, aside for the 7 times a day that they gather to pray and glorify God. Essentially, they’re in silence except when they’re singing or reading scripture…pretty darn holy way of life if you ask me 😉
I decided that a good initial step to potentially jumping into a month of silence would be to spend a week in silence, so I embarked on a journey to the abbey in early January. Five days spent there were incredibly peaceful and filled with light and love and understanding. Sure enough, these monks, by practicing silence and gathering seven times a day in prayer found a path to achieve higher consciousness, perhaps even perpetual consciousness of God, which was largely the same thing I’ve been working with using the watch. So, thanks to this wonderful Creation, I was showed one way of pursuing God-Consciousness without having a watch beep at you every 7 minutes.
The monk way of living to me is appealing to me in many ways. It’s hard to beat a way of life that is so blatantly holy and centered around God as theirs. One thing though, that I find humorous as much as anything else, is that they work these monks perform, when not praying or studying scripture, is producing cheese, fudge, and fruitcake! So if we want to know the source of America’s obesity epidemic, we may not need to look any further…
Jokes aside, those monks totally rocked. I remember hearing the bells ring at the Abbey, 5 minutes before it was time for prayer, and part of me thought I wanted to stay in the room and continue to reflect and/or study. Then it hit me – whatever I could possibly doing, even if I’m onto the most brilliant though of the century, God will certainly allow me to reconnect with that flow if I take a break to pray with people. You can never go wrong with choosing prayer! And when I realized that, – boom! – a hefty dose of liberation filled me up. Fascinating how the ego can try to reason it’s way out of praying with 40 people in a church, thinking the working of the mind is more valuable. Thankfully the Higher Self triumphs.
Many great experiences at the abbey, of which I will not recount here, but I will share that first thing that happened when I left the abbey. Got in the car, started dully humming some tune, and then began to cry. Not sure what exactly prompted the tears, but I’m thinking it might have been a deep subconscious joy in reclaiming the freedom to use the voice outside of the church at the abbey. The voice is really a beautiful thing, and the more we use it consciously, the more we create the type of world we all want to live in. A Jewish friend of mine shared with me the Hebrew word for ‘Word,’ pronounced something like ‘davar,’ and sure enough, in Hebrew, ‘davar’ not only means ‘word,’ but it also means ‘thing.’ Hence, in the beginning was the Word! Our Word is incredibly creative and powerful, and I think the more we honor the creative power of the Word, the more we’ll create a world in which we are honored to be a part of. Words and Things are really not so different after all.
Without the watch beeping, and without being in the Abbey anymore, I was on a serious quest for finding a way to keep my consciousness high – awake and aware of that wonderful Presence that is always with us. In the past, I’d been good about remaining highly conscious by being aware that “Peace is Every Step,” courtesy of Thich Nhat Hanh, but going slowly for some reason wasn’t resonating with me so much. Perhaps all the laughing and the dancing shifted the vibe a bit. Anyway, I decided to take to an old method I’d come across several years ago but never applied thoroughly. The idea is to carry an index card with you at all times that has your major definite purpose / deepest desire on it, and on the back of it you have some of the words from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. So to share, the card I’ve been carrying say,
” Know the Truth and do the will of the Most High.
Serve in the Light of Truth. Live in Wisdom.
Holiness. Sainthood. Boddhisattva. Oneness.
Perceive the Perfection. Glorify the Most High.
Live enlightened and teach Higher Consciousness
to open and willing students; primarily
by example, and if necessary, using words. 🙂
Breathe. Smile. Go Slowly. Renounce + Enjoy!
Lead with Love. Grow. Explore. Expand. Evolve.”
and on the back it says…
“ Ask and you shall receive.
Seek and you shall find.
Knock and the door shall be opened.
For anyone who asketh, receiveth;
and to him that seeketh, findeth;
to him that knocketh, the door shall open.
Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Amen.”
In past attempts to carry a card similar to this on me, I generally find the card severely wrinkled after a few days, and so – as a preventative measure – and because I had great respect for what I decided to put on this card – I laminated the card with tape. Sure enough, the card remains intact and in good condition to this day! I look at it several times throughout the day, including when I wake and before I go to sleep. I’m also carrying several other note cards that have a bit of knowledge / wisdom that I find valuable and good to be reminded of, so all these cards working together have done a good job of helping me remember what matters most.
Also, this month I’ve connected strongly with the work of David Hawkins as well as Eckhart Tolle, two spiritual teachers who help people come into the Sacred Presence that is Here & Now. Synchronistically, both teachers talk about Satcidananda – this enlightened state of being, known as the unity of Truth / Knowledge / Bliss, or as Eckhart translates it, Being / Consciousness / Bliss. Nonetheless, the one great thing about both teachers mentioning Satcidananda is that Satcidananda was also the name of the guru at the ashram where I studied Integral Yoga…sooo Wahe Guru!!! 🙂
Ah yes, a couple more great events / ideas that came back to my consciousness during this month. The wonderful cousin Tara and I talked about Kundalini Yoga, in which she reminded me not only of the importance of breathe but also of the mantra ‘Wahe Guru’ which is a chant I learned at yoga training and used to chant it regularly with abundant joy, but for some reason stopped. Anyway, I started chanting that again, which succeeds every time in bringing a good feeling. Essentially, I understand it as “I’m so grateful for thank you Lord!” Who can really ever say enough of that? And chanting anything makes it so much easier.
I suppose the best personal teacher for me this month has been Baja, an enlightened being, sometimes referred to as a dog. In the process of giving my car to a friend (Hallelujah freeing self from material possessions!), I was gifted the fortune of spending a week at his place, sharing the space with the enlightened Baja. Baja showed me once again how to embrace all things as though new, to be excited by life in all it’s forms, and to embrace the world with a sense of curiosity and fascination. Tuning into the senses and acknowledging the energy that flows through all life as alive – like you! – is a great practice for remaining practice.
Lastly, as far as meditation goes…it’s been a challenge. Sitting hasn’t been so easy, and practicing self-inquiry by asking “Who Am I?” hasn’t been producing super good vibes, not that there’s anything wrong with that…alas! Huge gift came my way today when I asked a friend if there was anything specific I should meditate on, and then followed up by asking what was on her heart. She asked for a miracle for her daughter.
Did you catch it? Miracles! Meditating on miracles – it’s one awesome place to be. Instead of practicing a mantra, I emphasized smiling throughout the entire meditation, embracing “Fake it until you make it,” knowing that if the external is aligned harmoniously, the internal must follow soon enough. So there I was, smiling and thinking about miracles happening, and also thinking about the joy and even greater faith that would follow as a result. It was awesome!!!
Another huge idea that’s been resonating strongly the past few days…live each day like it’s your last one! Or even like it’s your first and your last. And this essentially looks like appreciating what is in front of you, admiring the life that flows around you, either in the form of people or plants or birds. Life is awesome, but when we live as if we’ve got 80 more years left on the clock, we forget about the miracles that are before us. Like beauty, miracles are in the eyes of the beholder. If we want, we can live a world of miracles, seeing awesomeness unfolding around us. It’s all perspective, as a new friend Katherine reminded me. It’s all perspective! We choose how we perceive the world. And, if we desire, we can perceive beauty and miracles and wonderful life all around us, filling ourselves with infinite reasons to experience joy and peace and deep love and appreciation for what is before us Here & Now.
Recently started to read The Imitation of Christ, powerful book…and the author is sort of selling me on the idea of suffering for God. At the same time, I think God wants us to enjoy and flourish and love and dance and all that abundance 🙂 So, I suppose the balance is investing in the short run, which may cause a bit of pain, for a long term, abundant reaping. Thinking about how this could shape my next 30 day experiment…it looks like it will take the form of committing to writing for at least 1 hour every day, with the thoughts centered around reflecting on life stories and lessons discerned. Almost 24 years old (embodied ;-)), I think it’s a perfect time to commence an extensive process of reflecting and discerning whatever wisdom there is from various experiences of my life. The idea of ‘story’ has been strongly syncing up recently too, so instead of some of the more abstract writing I enjoy, the writing I’m committing to will be exclusively based on real life events. I’m also more inclined to hand write than type on these good ole devices, and given that handwriting is a bit slower, I’ll probably be way more frugal and concise with the words – might even turn into more of a poetic structure – so it’s a win/win for all parties!
Key principles that sync’d up during this month, as far as staying connected with God and doing Good Work goes:
–> Silence. Dogs: learn from them, emulate them. You must be Present to Win! We learn best from stories, and as it says in Sirach,
“Remember the end of your days and you shall never sin.”
Here’s to living in the Presence of Wonderful Life and Inevitably, likely equally Wonderful, Death. Remember – it’s all a matter of perspective 🙂 Embrace the subjectivity!
Meanwhile, time to honor the Sabbath. Very excited to not use a pen for a whole day. Ah, these fingers could use a break. However, these hips are totally not getting a break, because I’m totally going to be sitting in full lotus during this abundant Sabbath 🙂
Infinite Love, Light, Compassion, and Gratitude to All! Hallel Yah! You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you Free!