Leading Guided Meditation Part 2

Hallelujah ūüôā

This morning, after leading a guided meditation, a few key points became clear.

  1.  A proper introduction to the practice is most valuable!  In addition to explaining the process for the practice this morning, also offer an explanation of how they can take this practice home with them and practice by themselves.
    1. Let the students know that you’ll be practicing various techniques, and hopefully one of the techniques resonates with them so that they can take it home with them and practice regularly. ¬†Let them know that an ‘Om’ will signify the beginning of a new technique.
      1. Also, let them know that all the techniques are tools that we eventually need to let go of. ¬†The tools are to calm the mind, but ultimately the process of meditation takes us beyond the mind completely, so we don’t want to be attached to the tools, but keep them in their proper place. ¬†The tools are there to serve us, not we to serve them. ¬†They help us train the mind so that we become its master rather than slave.
  2. After each practice, bring closure. ¬†For example, if the focus is on the sound of the breath and listening to the breath, consider a transitional statement and guidance going forward with the practice, rather than just ending the practice with an ‘Om.’
  3. Before beginning: remind them that everything worth while takes time.  No one has bypassed the mind the first time.  So the process of practicing concentration and meditation is like training an innocent puppy.  As we practice, we are not to set up thoughts/the ego as an enemy, but rather see it as totally innocent, and melt it with compassion and understanding.  We can see the ego/thinking process identifies with the animal body and is concerned with its survival Рwhich in many ways is a totally reasonable concern.  So, instead of condemning the ego and the thought process, we just witness it and melt it with compassion.
    1. Progress in concentration and meditations happens daily and naturally and benefits when the welfare of the calmness of mind is taken into consideration regarding all activities of daily life: from food choices to conversations to movies to music.  Everything adds up and either contributes to our peace of mind or its disturbance.
    2. When first beginning practice, don’t expect anything. ¬†Just commit to practice out of a sincere interest in the truth, freeing oneself from the illusion that happiness is something to be gained externally, and to confirm the spiritual teachings directly via one’s own experience (e.g. The Kingdom is Within).
    3. Inspire them! ¬†Give the students all the inspiration they need – but be weary of slipping into a preaching mode. ¬†Be sure to speak sincerely and enthusiastically but not preaching. ¬†Meditation is not so much about what is heard but what is unheard, so even as they listen to instruction they can listen to the silence out of which all sound arises. ¬†Allow the whole experience to be meditative rather than something intellectual (i.e. the instruction). ¬†Turn giving and listening to the instruction into a meditation itself! ¬†Don’t get intellectual. ¬†Prioritize ‘being’ rather than ‘doing.’
      1. On that note, clarify that the techniques are ‘doing,’ but the end of meditation is pure being. ¬†It is ultimately about being, not doing! ¬†The doing can just help calm and purify the mind, and when the mind is calm and pure it is easier to go beyond it.
    4. Be so clear in your preparation that you know exactly the steps you will guide them through so that you can communicate the plan ahead of time. ¬†Then again, don’t want to burden students with ideas to cling to about future expectations…sooo be weary. ¬†All for fun!
    5. Have fun ūüôā ¬†Enjoy it. ¬†During the whole process, hold an energy of gratitude for the opportunity to give and be of service. ¬†The giver is truly the receiver! ¬†Giving is a great opportunity to grow spiritually – and that is what we are here for!

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

How to Transcend Selfishness

Hallelujah ūüôā

What is selfishness?

What does selfishness look like?

Selfishness is essentially destructive and / or harmful.

It can look like laziness or excessive activity. ¬†Selfishness lacks balance. ¬†It is totally centered around the experience of the individual without consideration for the welfare of others, and really it even lacks considering the welfare of the individual. ¬†Even though selfishness is centered around the individual, it does not actually look out for the welfare of the individual. ¬†Rather, selfishness harms everyone and everything in the long-run. ¬†It doesn’t even benefit the perpetrator! ¬†So it is really a lose/lose. ¬†In the short-term, a selfish act like stealing can look like a win/lose, but when seen from a higher perspective, considering the long-term, we all know that stealing doesn’t even serve the one who supposedly gained from the theft. ¬†Even the thief is a loser! ¬†So selfishness is like that.

To go beyond selfishness – consider winning in the long-term. ¬†Short-term wins can look like sleeping an extra few minutes, eating three more slices of pizza, cheating on a test, stealing a candy bar, condemning homeless people, etc. but when any of the aforementioned actions are looked at from the long-term perspective, we see that they really don’t serve anyone. ¬†They don’t serve the evolution and liberation of the soul, which is what we are primarily concerned about. ¬†The earth is a school for learning, and when we act in ignorance, we don’t learn much. ¬†We might learn a little, but the learning from such actions would only be from finally admitting how they are truly painful, and that they don’t even serve us in the short-run. ¬†The minute we steal something, part of us feels bad. The minute we go past our limit and overdo, we know it, and some part of us regrets it.

Transcending selfishness requires sincerity and awareness. ¬†In Reality, the truly selfish thing to do is to prioritize your own peace and happiness above all else – because that is what we all actually want. ¬†So by all means, be selfish for that! ¬†The best part about this kind of enlightened self-interest is that it also benefits others. ¬†Because it benefits both ourselves and others, it can hardly be said to be selfish at all, or at least it is equally selfless. ¬†When you’re engaged in actions and a way of being that seems totally selfish nd also totally selfless and serviceful, that’s how you know you probably struck gold and are aligned with Truth.

Service-orientiation is the great liberating perspective to free us from selfishness. ¬†It can even be a simple focus on serving ourselves, but not just with sensory pleasures and short-term satisfactions – rather though serving ourselves with long-term fulfillment and peace. ¬†That kind of service to self serves all. ¬†Or, just forget the small self and focus on serving others – that will equally serve yourself because you’ll experience the joy of giving and transcend the illusion of separateness. ¬†When we live to serve, we realize higher consciousness and awareness that liberates us from so much darkness, ignorance, and illusion. ¬†It is only the ego that dreads service; ¬†the Highest part of all of us knows how enjoyable and pure and wonderful service is.

By all means, serve! ¬†Serve yourself by prioritizing your own peace and joy and happiness and all else, and serve others by doing the same ūüôā ¬†Or, forget yourself and just serve others however seems most natural in the present moment. ¬†Giving brings harmony. ¬†Love and give. ¬†Live only to serve! ¬†It liberates every time. ¬†Even in a moment, even if you find yourself engaged in an entirely selfish act – just stop – dedicate it to the benefit of humanity – and continue. ¬†Notice the energy shift. ¬†Notice the freedom. It is all within.

 

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Key Habits to Human Flourishing

Hallelujah ūüôā

By no means do I claim to strictly follow any of these recommendations – but from personal experience I can truly say that when they are adhered to, the quality of life generally increases. ¬†Of course, everything in our lives is interconnected – not one of us is an island – so generally to improve the quality of our lives, we’ve got to improve the quality of life every moment, which is an internal job – a matter of attitude and awareness – rather than just external quick fixes like cleaning our room ūüôā ¬†With that in mind, perhaps we will start by looking at some external “quick fixes” and then more of the “inner work.”

Externally:

  • Clean your room ūüôā ¬†Cleanliness is next to godliness. ¬†One of Benjamin Franklin’s nightly habits was “to put everything in its place.” ¬†Keeping our environment in order shows that we respect what we’ve been given (or what we’ve earned) and that we are doing our best to treat it well. ¬†The way we treat any one thing reflects how we would also like to be treated. ¬†By keeping our space neat and orderly, we demonstrate that we are worthy of that same level of clarity. ¬†A clean room also paves the way for a clean mind. ¬†When everything is in its proper place, the mind can relax and go within to the Kingdom rather than dwell on ways to externally ‘save the world.’ ¬†A great step along the way to surrendering saving the world is to first just take care of your little part of the world, keep your own room clean, and then know you’re doing your best by setting an example. ¬†You don’t have to go cleaning everyone’s room – just keep yours clean – that is enough. ¬†By example we lead. ¬†(Writing this in the midst of a mildly disorganized desk, go figure. – and I can tell you part of the mind is thinking “when is this going to get organized?” So…maybe now is the time to do it.)
  • Sit down, relax, express gratitude, and pray before eating. ¬†We must think we are mighty important to not have the time to sit down and pray before eating. ¬†“I don’t have time to pray before eating…I can be making $50 right now!” ¬†Or perhaps it is the grip the taste buds have on us that tell us the taste must be experienced right now, this instant!, not later. ¬†Poor little pet ego. ¬†Poor ego dominated by animal instincts not based on any sort of higher truth. ¬†The ego enjoys wolfing down food and eating in a hurry and not honoring God before it eats. ¬†Why? Because it inflates the ego’s ego – its sense of importance. ¬†The ego loves to think that taking care of itself is more important than truly enjoying the moment or honoring the presence of God. ¬†In Reality, a vastly enhanced quality of life awaits all those who are willing to bring moments of pause, reflection, and gratitude into their daily lives. ¬†Before meals a great time to relax, to pray, and give thanks for the gift of food, the gift of life, the gift of all!
    • As far as ‘my’ personal experience goes, cultivating a proper relationship with food has been a rollercoaster ride. ¬†Supposedly, according to some of the great teachers like the Buddha, the two greatest impulsive desires the human animal has are for sex and for food. ¬†They practically go hand-in-hand. ¬†Hence, I’ve also heard that often when people have challenges eating properly, it might very well stem from lack of healthy relationships with people. ¬†Instead of cultivating healthy relationships with people, we turn to food to fill that void. ¬†Anyway, that is just a theory and probably not confirmed by scripture anywhere, so take for what it is worth. ¬†Scripture is a much greater authority than any so-called ‘philosophical musings.’ ūüôā
    • Point is – sit and pray before eating food – give thanks – and watch as the quality of life improves. ¬†Gradually, one can bring these moments of gratitude into all areas of life – from waking up, brushing teeth, drinking water, reading a book, writing, doing work, hanging out with friends – before every act there can be a moment of gratitude which automatically enhances the quality of the entire experience. ¬†So simple! ¬†Yet, not that easy to practice. ¬†Patience, Patience. ¬†Baby steps. ¬†Maybe start with a 2 second prayer of saying, “Thank you,” before eating, and build from there.
  • Stretch or Walk or Exercise, move the body in some sort of way. ¬†I used to be big into lifting weights. ¬†And to be open about it, it was totally vain and primarily done to attract members of the opposite sex. ¬†At the same time, health feels good. ¬†What feels even better is setting a universal example, one free from selfishness and lower qualities like vanity. ¬†So discover a way of physically caring for the body that keeps you away from obsessively looking in the mirror and flexing. ¬†Hatha Yoga is a balanced way to take care of the body and feel good. ¬†It is also generally free from vanity because of its balanced approach to caring for every part of the body, and really with a focus on developing a calm and peaceful mind.
  • Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. ¬†Foods close to nature – enjoy them! ¬†Why depend on great big machines to create your food? ¬†Then again, if you do eat food made by great big machines, that is also a great opportunity to practice gratitude – and to connect with the entire story of the food – to see the story of the food from its origins to appearing in front of you – which is of course the entire story of Creation itself! ¬†All for fun. ¬†Don’t take food too seriously, and don’t disillusion yourself by thinking that food can bring you happiness. ¬†Use food to nourish the body and mind and receive it as a divine gift. ¬†Cherish it. ¬†Respect it. ¬†Just like money. ¬†Use it for good. ¬†Processed sugar tastes good for a moment and feels pretty bad for a lifetime. ¬†Is it really worth it?
  • Read or write or speak or all of the above. ¬†Have some intellectual input and output. ¬†Once again, just don’t get caught in it and start feel prideful about how much you know or how smart you are. ¬†Exercise the mind without exercising the ego. ¬†Just take care of it like a pet!
  • Sing or chant. ¬†Use the voice, shamelessly, if nothing else – when no one is around. ¬†Sing your best. ¬†Sing your favorite songs. ¬†Chant your favorite songs. ¬†We have all been given voices to use. ¬†Use it. ¬†Enjoy the sound. ¬†Get over caring about how good it sounds or not. ¬†Just play with it have fun.
  • Dance. ¬†Same as above. ¬†Just move and jump around to music. ¬†It doesn’t really matter how it looks. ¬†Just have fun moving the body.
  • Laugh.
  • Appreciate the Present.
  • Breathe Deeply. ¬†Present Moment, Wonderful Moment.
  • Serve. ¬†Give. ¬†Act Charitably.
  • Lie down and relax.
  • Go upside! ¬†Hang over the bed, or learn how to do a shoulder stand or headstand.
  • Twist it out.
  • Reach up to the heavens and down to the earth.
  • The above three basically means stretch, stretch, stretch.
  • And meditate, meditate, meditate. ¬†Focus the mind on one uplifting idea. ¬†Build that mental discipline to concentrate the mind and feel the entire consciousness being uplifted.

 

Basically, one of the problems we might find ourselves facing in life is, “What to do with all this time?” Especially when we give up the money game – i.e. working for money – we might find ourselves with an abundance of luxury time to do with as we please. ¬†If we give up the illusion of seeking happiness in the world via external gain and acquisition, we’ll find ourselves pleasantly liberated to simply do what we love and to be in love with whatever we do. ¬†Nonetheless, sooner or later, we might reach a point where we run out of things to do! ¬†And then, it might seem very natural to take up what we might call, ‘work,’ but when we do it in this spirit, it won’t be ‘worldly work,’ but rather it will be ‘work’ for ‘work’s sake,’ what some call Karma Yoga – selfless service. ¬†Spiritual work is action without concern over whatever benefits we receive from the action. ¬†Spiritual work is not for external gain, but is a natural consequence of internal peace. ¬†So, by all means – do whatever kind of work you’d like to do – so long as you’re connected with that internal peace. ¬†As Gandhi demands, “Do it with joy or not at all.”

It is easy to make a list of things not to do.  Yet, ultimately, everything and everyone can serve as our teacher.  Everything is our teacher!  Nature is here to serve our spiritual evolution, not the other way around.  Nature and the entire Creation is our great teacher.  It serves us.  And by allowing us to serve it, we are actually being served.  When we serve, truly we are being served Рfor otherwise we just might die of boredom!  Being able to serve and contribute to the wellbeing of all is a gift.  It makes perfect sense to be grateful for opportunities to serve and learn and evolve spiritually.

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So, instead of focusing on the million things to supposedly not to do, we can just focus on the positive things to do.

Do smile. Do laugh. Do play and have fun.  Do love yourself.  Do love your neighbor (the one you are with).  Do express gratitude.  Do care for the physical body with proper nutrition and movement.  Do pray.  Do meditate.  Do reflect on your day.  Do read.  Do write.  Do study.  Do Sing. Do dance.

So then, what it boils down to is Being ūüôā ¬†All the proper doing arises from True Being. ¬†When one is Being Truly, the Doing appears beautiful no matter what – even if that just means sitting in meditation.

Bring the Being into the moments we take for granted Рbrushing teeth, using the bathroom, drinking water, eating food, saying good morning and goodnight.  Those are the best moments to practice, and by practicing in those moments, our entire lives become filled with the sense of Being, filled with total Love.

 

Truly, the work is internal.  Building positive external habits has to do with internal processing and awareness and attitudes.  Cultivate positive attitudes, and the entire life gradually becomes positive and uplifting. There is nothing to force or rush.  Attitude is foundational, and with a strong foundation we can build anything.

Of course, forcing some external habits – like smiling and laughing – can help to liberate one from the drama of the ego and lead one to discovering one’s own freedom, thereby choosing a positive attitude rather than feeling like a victim of circumstance. ¬†So by all means, fake the smile and fake the laughter. ¬†Fake having fun and fake enjoying life. ¬†Pretend you’re just acting it out. ¬†Pretend like you’re enjoying every moment. ¬†Pretend it is all for fun. ¬†Pretend you’re loving every moment. ¬†Pretend you’re so happy and grateful for this gift of life. ¬†Pretend you know it is all a game and God is taking care every moment. ¬†Pretend you have a completely perfect and full relationship with that Power which is everywhere and always present, all-knowing, and all-powerful, and that that Power unconditionally supports you and loves you. ¬†Just entertain the notion ūüôā

 

To Live It, Don’t Speak It

Hallelujah ūüôā

There is a saying, “Preach the gospel; if necessary, use words.”

The primary way we serve and lead and teach and inspire and everything, everything!, is by our lives as a whole.  It is not about what we have or what we do that really matters Рbut what we have become matter supremely, and it is what we have become that serves and uplifts all humanity.

So, I could spend all day talking and writing about the benefits of regularly meditating and keeping good company and studying the scriptures, but meanwhile Рduring that whole time РI was not meditating or keeping good company or studying scriptures.  Hypocrisy is so easy!  And we must be vigilant.

It almost seems to be a guarantee at this point Рas soon as I write something on this blog, I go ahead and do just the opposite. Hence, the value of simplicity.  These words are not necessary at all, yet they seem to come naturally and it feels effortless so I trust they are aligned with serving the Highest Good.

So, instead of preaching a whole lot, perhaps it is best we either preach one simple thing, or rather to not preach at all, and simple practice one simple thing, and allow our own practice to be our non-verbal preaching.

Thank goodness that our internal awareness is a far greater contribution and service to humanity than anything we can do externally. ¬†Love, Love, Love, and with that foundation – come what may ūüôā

 

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Universally Living with Cosmic Responsibility & Accountability

Hallelujah ūüôā

Understanding that the primary way we teach is by the example we set moment-to-moment, both with our external actions and internal awareness, then to live universally means to set the highest example we are aware of every moment, in all conditions and circumstances, no matter what.

It is like the saying, “Live as if the whole world is watching you.”

Or, as I first read about in a book called Zen Golf, live as if your 5 year-old, highly impressionable child is watching you, every moment!

The greatest service we can render, as far as relating with ‘others,’ is to inspire and uplift to higher planes of living and loving. ¬†Primarily, the service is always within, freeing ourselves from attachments and aversions and aligning more and more with Love and Truth, and externally, if we are engaging with others, that can look like us inspiring positive, loving behaviors and attitudes.

So then, universally living refers to living as if the entire universe is aware of your every moment of being – which it is! – and so live with that sense of profound responsibility to set a worthy example and accountability to influencing the entire humanity all creation, for better or for worse.

What might such a universal life look and feel like?

Externally, I like to think of it as non-dependence on anyone or anything. ¬†Accepting full responsibility for one’s health and well-being on al levels. ¬†Primarily, for me, I like to think of this is being one’s own doctor, dentist, psychotherapist, mentor, etc. ¬†I probably like to think of it this way because I feel confident in my mastery of these areas of my life, yet I do notice stumbling from time to time which is probably why I felt inspired to write about these topics.

Let’s look at how one might go about being one’s own best friend, doctor, dentist, psychotherapist, mentor, etc.

Being one’s own Doctor:

  • Study Health, Healing, Fasting, Cleansing and Detoxification, Nutrition, Yoga, Exercise, Laughing, Meditation. ¬†Know what foods are best for human flourishing. ¬†Let food be thy medicine! ¬†If illness, arises, be willing to fast and/or take a cleansing supplement or enema. ¬†Know that the disease came from outside, so you’ve got to get out whatever you put in you! ¬†Fasting is powerful. ¬†Take care of your body on all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. ¬†Perhaps the greatest key to good health is a positive mental attitude, regular laughing and general happiness, playfulness, and gratitude for life.

Being one’s own Dentist:

  • Know what foods are bad for dental health and courageously, confidently avoid them as a gift to all humanity. ¬†Mastering over the temptations of the taste buds is a quite a practice and gift of an example to set for us all. ¬†Primarily, avoid processed sugars, like any candies, baked goods, etc. ¬†Also avoid dried fruits and anything sticky or gummy. ¬†Really, my guess is avoiding processed sugar alone would let to near perfect dental health for a lifetime. ¬†Additional advice includes: consider brushing teeth after every meal, or at the very least – rinse mouth 5-6 times every time after eating. ¬†Certainly brush teeth in morning and night and floss once a day. ¬†Oil pulling might also be a pretty stellar habit for taking optimal care of one’s dental health without needing a dentist.

Being one’s own Psychotherapist / Psychologist / Psychiatrist:

  • Reflect on each day. ¬†Regularly express gratitude for all the gifts of life; take nothing for granted. ¬†Ask questions, “What am I? How can I best serve the Highest Good? ¬†What is Real and Permanent? ¬†Is True and Lasting Happiness found externally or internally? ¬†What matters most?” ¬†Set goals. ¬†Have a clear direction and destination for one’s life. ¬†Know what you want and set about a plan for achieving it. ¬†With whatever the goal, learn from those who have come before you and consider surrendering totally to the path prescribed by them, especially if the goal is spiritual. Surrender to the teacher. ¬†No need to re-invent the wheel. ¬†Continue to learn and grow each day. ¬†Study spiritual texts and the words of great teachers throughout the ages like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Dr. David R. Hawkins, Swami Satchidananda, Swami Muktananda, Swami Vivekananda, Meister Eckhart, St. John of the Cross, Huang Po, etc. Let books be your great teachers. ¬†And, if you can, let your entire environment be uplifting and a reminder of your highest goal and greatest aspirations. ¬†Live in community with loving people. ¬†Give thanks every moment and for all the teachers and friends along the way. ¬†See the good in everyone and everything. ¬†Embrace all creation as your perfect teacher, each moment. ¬†Adversities are blessings in disguise. ¬†Develop a service-orientation and be inclined toward giving and serving, yet don’t get caught up in saving the world. ¬†Do small acts with great love. ¬†Prioritize your own sense of Peace above all else. ¬†Prioritize your relationship with the Eternal – with that which is everywhere and always Present.

 

Okay…hope that is helpful and inspiring!

Primarily, for me, and by me I mean this silly human pet, the primary practices to embrace more abundantly include:

  • More gratitude! For the simple things like waking up, spiritual teachers, water, food, friendship, shelter, clothing, air, beauty, life itself, technology, etc. ¬†Really, when we are sincerely in touch with how great a gift it is to have even heard of Jesus and the Buddha and teachings of Unconditional Love and Perfect Peace, just to be able to intellectually grasp the teachings at all, and to have even a tad bit of courage to practice the teachings for a moment, or to even think of the Presence of ¬†Jesus or the Buddha with us now if even for a moment…what a gift! ¬†In Truth, with that level of awareness tears of gratitude and joy are not far away, if not present already. ¬†The Gift is truly awesome.
  • Less external sugar and sweets, more internal sweetness ūüôā
  • Less seriousness, more playfulness and laughter.
  • less pretending to save and benefit the world, more surrendering to God and loving every moment no matter what, letting go of judgments about it or projecting imperfection; just accepting all as perfect now and affirming the Divinity in all.

It is all for fun!

 

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

 

Surrendering to God

Hallelujah ūüôā

Fundamentally, simply put Рaccording to the great spiritual teachers throughout history Рthere is really only one thing to be surrendered to God, and it may manifest in an variety of ways.  That one thing for us ultimately to surrender is ignorance.

Ignorance can look like selfishness, fear, anger, greed, impatience, lust, gluttony, jealousy, ¬†playing victim, projecting blame, violence, suffering, harm, ingratitude, pride, attachments and aversions, clinging, craving, falsehood, dishonesty, sneakiness, hurriedness / rushing, frustration, vengeance, intellectual arrogance, judging, criticizing, complaining, guilt, shame, misunderstanding, hate, etc. ¬†Reading over that list might not make anyone to good, but it at least can serve to wake us up to what we might call shortcomings, errors, or mistakes, and see that anything we consider “less than our best” simply arises out of ignorance.

Ignorance of what?

Ignorance of our True Nature!  Ignorance of the Truth!

As Jesus says, “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you Free.”

When we know the Truth, we are set free from all the ignorance and internal suffering that accompanies it. ¬†Truth is Supreme Knowledge which frees us all ignorance and all illusion. ¬†when we truly know the Truth, we no longer fear and we no longer desire. ¬†In Truth, we abide in awareness of God and absolute knowing that that which is Omnipresent, Omniscient, and Omnipotent is taking care of everything every moment. ¬†In Truth, we realize that truly, “The Lord is my shepherd – I lack nothing.” ¬†Lacking nothing, there is nothing to want, and wanting nothing – there is nothing to seek – so we remain blissfully content and peaceful in all circumstances. ¬†If there is any “want,” it would be that ‘others’ might also receive the grace to abide in such Divine Truth, yet even with that, the Truth sets us free – for we know in Reality there are no ‘others,’ – that the world is perfect as it is – and there is nothing that needs changing – for God’s Will reigns Supreme always and forever.

When in Truth, all burdens are lifted, and we realize that God is and always has been carrying everything and doing anything. ¬†Only in our ignorance did we think that we were doing things and that the world needed saving. ¬†In Truth, we realize that all the Power is God’s and there is no world that needs saving. ¬†We are free from all that illusion!

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So then, let’s get to the process of surrendering to God!

On the path to totally surrendering all ignorance, which you could think of surrendering both everything you think you know and everything you don’t think you know, there are prior surrenders to make.

One key surrender is to surrender the idea that you are the body and the mind.  Rather, you have a body and a mind, but you are not those things.

Another key surrender is to surrender the entire process of thinking/mentalization, and to surrender the payoff the ego/mind gets from thinking. ¬†The ego/mind is programmed for survival of the animal – it operates with the understanding that through its thinking it can gain things for the animal that help it survive and enjoy its life. ¬†Ordinarily, it is easy for us to identity with being that ego/mind, rather than being the witness to it, or the consciousness that comes before it. ¬†If you watch the mind, you can quickly become aware that you are not your thoughts, nor are you that which is thinking. ¬†Thinking happens on its own, spontaneously, and as you watch the mind you’ll notice how many of your thoughts are non-volitional and simply arise out of seeming nothingness as a result of patterns, circumstances, etc. ¬†You can tell your mind to stop and it won’t – it just keeps on thinking. ¬†So to surrender the idea that you are the mind or that you are that which thinks with the mind is a big one. ¬†To surrender thinking about things and energizing thoughts leads us to a higher state of consciousness where we become the witness to the mind and creation – watching the grand Divine Play without identifying with anything that is seen in it. ¬†Instead, we realize that we are more like the invisible audience to the Divine Play. In Reality, no thinking has to occur in order to ensure survival, for survival is entirely dependent on God, and also life – like energy – cannot be created or destroyed. ¬†We are Life, and we shall always be that which is Life. ūüôā

Instead of identifying with the human animal body and mind, just witness and watch it. Observe it going throughout the day, like a little karmic wind-up toy, just doing its doing, sometimes acting selflessly, at other times it is perhaps a bit selfish.  Either way, just witness the animal.  As you watch it, the selfish ego games it can play become less and less interesting, and a joy reveals itself that comes with the awareness of the watcher/witness.

Note on direct experience: After writing the above paragraph, just preceded to walk around and explore the place where I am. ¬†And true confession! – I totally lost awareness of the witness, and instead was curiously engaging with environment, exploring every nook and cranny and finding it all so interesting. When identified as the human, we project value upon the world outside of us, valuing what we consider to assist in our selfish gain and experience of pleasure. ¬†What doesn’t lead to us experiencing pleasure or gaining materially / emotionally / mentally / spiritually, etc., we don’t value and generally are not aware of. ¬†On my exploration, I focused on very specific things without holding in mind the general awareness of the witness. ¬†The show and story of the world can be so fascinating and entrancing to our ego that is always considered about pleasure and gain. ¬†Holding onto the witness in day-to-day life can be challenging, but it is also more enjoyable than engaging in and identifying with the daily story of the ego/mind. ¬†Why is it more enjoyable? ¬†Because it closer to the Truth! ¬†And the Truth sets us free from all the burdens of ignorance and suffering and selfishness which – the greatest relief indeed.

When abiding as the witness, there is no projection of value onto the world. ¬†Instead, we realize the world is just a Divine Play, we are the audience, and so we appreciate and enjoy all of Creation equally. ¬†Every moment, the Divine Play may reveal itself in a new way, yet the Divine Play as the context for all experience remains. ¬†The content changes, but the context remains the same – and in the awareness of the context we progress toward Supreme Truth, Realization, and Liberation. ūüôā

The ego loves feeling ‘involved’ in the Divine Play and as an active participant in it. ¬†It likes feeling important and special and like a game-changer. ¬†The ego loves the idea of saving the world, helping others, and also just gaining for itself and experience sensory pleasure. ¬†What it doesn’t particular enjoy is the idea of allowing the world to run by itself without its involvement. ¬†It wants to feel needed. ¬†In fact, the ego may very well insist that without it the world wouldn’t be able to run at all. ¬†Hence, it is a helpful to remind the ego that, “The human race has survived for thousands of years without you.” ¬†Of course, the ego is worthy of respect – and not to be set up as one’s enemy. ¬†Instead, as Dr. Hawkins recommends, “Treat the ego as a pet and melt it with compassion. Like a puppy, it simply doesn’t know any better.”

When witnessing, we can see the ego occasionally stir. ¬†For example, if sitting in meditation and watching the ego/mind, one might begin to notice a desire arise to go back to work or eat breakfast or watch a movie or whatever it might be. ¬†To melt it with compassion, you inner-dialogue can be something like, “It’s okay ego, you’re just doing the best you can and are operating from ignorance. ¬†It is really okay for us to just sit here and be and enjoy the moment. ¬†God is taking care of everything.” ¬†Interestingly, the ego can even get kicks out of ‘being spiritual’ or ‘engaging in spiritual practice’ which may initially helping with building positive habits and discipline, but ultimately that all needs to be surrendered. ¬†To meditate to prove one’s superiority to others is definitely not the point. ¬†Meditation, in its highest sense, arises out of a desire to know the Truth and out of compassion for the human condition and all life – or whatever you consider a totally pure purpose and intention – to serve the Highest Good!

Spiritual practice is not about inflating the ego, but it is about purifying the ego and ultimately transcending it. ¬†We melt the ego with compassionate understanding, not by setting it up as our enemy to conquer. ¬†Everyone and everything, even the ego, is totally innocent, and, like a baby, is simply operating from ignorance and doing the best it can, given what it has experienced and claims to know. ¬†Poor little ego pet! ¬†It really is just doing the best it can…even when it lies and cheats and steals and inflicts pain and suffering upon itself or others. ¬†It is simply caught in the ignorance. ¬†With awareness, we can lift the ego out of the darkness of ignorance, shine the Light of Love and Truth upon it, and melt it with compassion. ¬†Witnessing the ego/mind nonjudgmentally is a great way to become aware of its workings and ultimately to quiet it and put it in the backseat rather than the driver’s seat of life.

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As long as there are desires remaining to have and do things in the world, then cultivating the awareness of the witness probably will not sound all that appealing. ¬†The primary illusion is that happiness is something to be found and gained externally. ¬†In Reality, the source of happiness is always present within. ¬†We are not separate from the happiness which we seek. ¬†Yet, in ignorance, the ego/mind thinks that happiness is ‘out there’ and it needs to run about seeking it via experiences, book learning, material gain, etc. ¬†Until we give up the short-term pleasure of seeking gain externally, we won’t experience the long-term fulfillment that comes with abiding as one with our True Nature which is Happy and Peaceful Always.

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Reflecting more on the personal experience of the day…

Curiosity is what you might call another key surrender. ¬†Curiosity is an excuse the ego will use to do just about anything – even drugs! ¬†In the name of curiosity and seeking new experience, the ego/mind will poison the human body physically, mentally, and emotionally. ¬†It will eat toxic foods, read toxic books, watch toxic movies and TV, and participate in toxic conversations. ¬†To advance spiritually, the curiosities of the ego have to be surrendered to God. ¬†Instead of curiously sniffing every corner of the world like a dog, the Higher aspect of ourself has to reign in the curious ego/mind and direct its attention toward that which is assuredly spiritually uplifting. ¬†One doesn’t have to read every so-called spiritual text in the world to make spiritual progress – but the ego/mind would like you to think that it does. ¬†Rather, one can simply take one word – like kindness – and apply at all times, in all cases, in all circumstances, no matter what – and that alone is enough to make tremendous spiritual advancement. ¬†Practicing to live in alignment with a single word rather than a whole encyclopedia of spiritual direction is also a humbling practice that requires surrendering much intellectual vanity of the ego. ¬†The ego loves to claim to know about everything and be righteous in everything it does – so to surrender that intellectual arrogance and curiosity is a great surrender.

Trying to do 1000 different spiritual practices is really just a trick of the ego, setting itself up for failure, so that then it can play victim on itself and have a pity party. ¬†Better to put down all the books, turn off all the TVs and screens, and just practice unconditional forgiveness and kindness, no matter what. ¬†Pretend you don’t know anything. ¬†Just practice kindness and forgiveness in all circumstances. ¬†Even if it looks like there is nothing to forgive, just forgive what is anyway. ¬†Just be kind to everything you’re experiencing, even if it looks like there is no conscious presence accompanying you. ¬†Be kind to trash cans, doors, cell phones, and scraps of food on your plate. ¬†Forgive the toilet, forgive the floor, forgive the trees. ¬†Embrace the Reality that there is that which is everywhere present, and that Presence registers every moment, and we are accountable for every moment. ¬†We are held accountable! ¬†So to embrace a consciousness steeped in kindness and forgiveness is a powerful practice that sows wonderful seeds for the future and the present.

Forget all your knowing. ¬†Forget the supposed knowing of healthy foods, proper exercise, what to do with money, how to communicate effectively with people – forget all the worldly details. ¬†Just put total faith in the practice of kindness and forgiveness and allow that powerful energy field to do all the work for you. ¬†Let to go of labeling everything. ¬†Thinking that a chair is a chair does not change the chair, nor does it really benefit except it gives the ego a bit of juice and pride in that it then thinks that it knows about something. ¬†Better to project one consistent label onto everything – something like ‘Divine’ – and let it be at that. ¬†Or, just project that all objects are worthy of kindness and forgiveness, so project that on them.

There are worldly goals and spiritual goals. ¬†Worldly goals lead to short-term, fleeting pleasure. ¬†Spiritual goals lead to long-term fulfillment and maximum service to humanity. ¬†Spiritual goals are also based on Permanent Truth and that which is Real. ¬†Thereby, realizing the fulfillment of spiritual goals is not something that happens on the physical plane, but it is rather doing work on an unseen level. ¬†Forgiveness is not a tangible act like holding the door for someone, yet it is far more powerful. ¬†Spiritual goals and spiritual work deal with the unseen level of intention and attitude. ¬†Spiritual goals are about evolving our awareness so it becomes more and more aligned with Love and Truth. ¬†They involve surrendering the ego/mind obsession with the world and instead to prioritize one’s relationship with Truth, Love, God above all else. ¬†Spiritual goals deal with the eternal, so the realizing the Goal also serves one eternally.

What’s holding you back? ¬†What’s holding me back?

Sensory pleasure. ¬†Illusions of saving the world. ¬†Ignorance that leads to judging some things as right and other things as wrong. ¬†Seeking to gain materially and financially in the world. ¬†Wanting to please everyone. ¬†Wanting to learn about spiritual information and read spiritual texts (rather than simply surrender to embracing one spiritual practice unconditionally). ¬†Wanting to process understanding in written words and share it with people (this ;-)). ¬†Wanting to serve humanity (which in itself certainly isn’t ‘bad,’ but it is based on illusion and ignorance. ¬†The world is perfect as is, and to serve humanity, one need not directly feed hungry people; doing spiritual work and aspiring toward the ultimate Spiritual Realization benefits all Creation maximally). Projecting ‘wrongness’ onto ‘problems’ in the world like wasted food, hungry people, poorly educated people, dirtiness, etc.

So then, we’ve got to surrender all that! ¬†Really though, if we just surrender the thinking process itself and the illusion that we are the thinker or that we are the ego/mind but instead fully embrace and surrender to being the witness of the Divine Play, the above ‘obstacles’ will melt. ¬†Everything melts with Truth, for Truth sets us free! ¬†All the obstacles of the ego/mind melt with compassion. ūüôā

Compassion means realizing that suffering is the underlying condition of all conscious beings. ¬†Except for perhaps fully realized, enlightened beings, we all suffer – because we are all in ignorance and to some degree still identify with the fleeting, small, human animal body/mind – so we ‘think’ we are impermanent and going to die so we have fear which leads to suffering. ¬†On some level, until we reach the Supreme State, the ego/mind leads us around in the world operating from a sense of lack and scarcity which means suffering and incompleteness and imperfection, so it constantly seeks to gain, bring completion, and move closer to perfection. ¬†Reality is already complete and perfect and absolutely abundant – God provides perfectly every moment- and when we wake up to this realization on a full-time basis, we are free from the suffering. ¬†Until then, compassion is a powerful baseline perspective to operate with. ¬†Remember the suffering and illusion that all are operating with – they think happiness is outside themselves and they have to gain things externally to be happy and they think they are doing things to perpetuate survival and they think they don’t have all they need and fear dying, etc., so have compassion for that ignorance. ¬†It is only by Divine Grace that someone comes into that higher state of Spiritual Realization anyway – certainly one who achieves that state would never take personal credit for it. ¬†So, compassion for all. ¬†And compassion that all are doing the best they can according to what they’ve experienced and what they know. ¬†If they had experienced differently and been educated differently, they’d be doing differently.

We live with acceptance of What Is, trusting in God completely, aware of the underlying perfection of Reality As Is, letting go of our need to project labels and judgments and opinions on everything, and simply relaxing as the witness, enjoying the Divine Play ūüôā

Surrender the pleasure of thinking with the mind.  There is much greater lasting, eternal pleasure to be reaped.  Also, it is far more entertaining to watch the mind and see it as part of the Divine Play Рa show being put on for you, Oh Divine Audience.  For that, we can give infinite thanks!

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

3 Keys to Waking Up Early

Hallelujah ūüôā

From personal experience, to date, the following is a list of techniques that worked well to wake up early.  May this sharing serve the Highest Good!  Also, note that we are really just talking about habit development, so the guidance here relates to developing any habit.

  • Educate yourself intensely about all the benefits to developing the habit. ¬†There are tons of people on YouTube and across the internet who talk for days about all the good reasons to wake up early and how awesome your life will become when you start waking up at 5 AM or whenever it is. ¬†The more you give the mind positive reasons for making the behavioral change, the easier it becomes to act upon. ¬†What this education does is amp up the motivation which can increase your desire for developing the habit. ¬†You can even research the lives of various inspirational people throughout history: such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jack LaLanne, Swami Satchidananda, Benjamin Franklin, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., The Dalai Lama, etc., and perhaps in their biographies you find that they woke up around 3 AM every day to pray and meditate – maybe that will inspire you! ¬†If you’re sincerely interested in being of maximum service to humanity, being awake very early in the morning is a great start. ¬†Early in the morning is a optimal time to go deep within yourself and commune with Reality and Truth directly, without worldly distractions. ¬†Anyway – education ūüôā
  • Education helps build the desire. ¬†Once you have the strong desire, then commit to it for 21 or 30 days, no matter what. ¬†Give yourself the gift of simplicity by committing to developing the habit, and then after the trial period you can assess if you find the habit to increase the quality of your life and benefit others as well. ¬†To ensure the success of the trial period, consider asking a friend or family member to help hold you accountable. ¬†You can even leverage finances to help hold you accountable. ¬†For example, tell your friend that you’re committing to wake up at 5 AM for the next 30 days. ¬†Write your friend a check for $100 or some sum of money that you wouldn’t want to lose but it isn’t such a large number that it would hurt you financially – and tell your friend to cash the check if you report to them that you failed to succeed one morning in waking up at that time. ¬†You can make it easy by telling them that you’ll send them a text every day to report on the morning success, so if they don’t hear from you they can assume you failed and they’ll cash the check. ¬†Then, you could restart the habit again for another 30 days, and perhaps give your friend a check for a larger sum of money, because clearly the first sum wasn’t a great enough motivator ūüėČ ¬†Then again, when one is oriented to serving the highest good of all that is, money really isn’t a great motivator. ¬†But, honoring the truth of your word is good motivator because that is setting an example worthy for all to follow. So, perhaps honoring your word with a friend is enough and finances need not be involved. ¬†Alas, the ego is motivated by things like money, so to get your ego on board with your new habit, perhaps let the ego know that money is at stake ūüôā ¬†Accountability!
  • Have a clear, inspiring routine to embark on each morning as soon as the alarm goes off. ¬†Make sure what you’re waking up to is inspiring for you. ¬†For example, if you’ve educated yourself to the point where you’re intensely motivated to wake up at 4 AM and pray, meditate, and study for the first 2 hours of the day during the sacred hours of Brahmamuhurta, then you’ve got the all the inspiration you need. ¬†Or perhaps you’re incredibly motivated to write and know that the quietness of the morning hours is most conducive to your creative output so you’re greatly inspired to cease those moments. ¬†Or, perhaps you’ve designed an epic 3 hours morning routine that includes meditation, study, exercise, and a healthy breakfast before heading off to work each day. ¬†Whatever works for you, develop a routine and a plan that you feel aligned with and that inspires you. ¬†If you plan to wake up at 4 AM with no plan of what you’ll do once you’re awake, what will motivate you to stay awake? ¬†You’ve got to be clear on what you want to do with these extra quiet hours in your life. ¬†Be inspired by what you’re waking up to do.

Abundance!

So, educate yourself (to build the desire and give the mind all the good reasons to develop the habit), create some accountability (to inspire you through the challenging times and provide some extra motivation for the ego), and have an inspiring plan of action!

 

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!