To all you spiritual wannabes

Not knowing whether something’s coming from fear or truth might be a prompt…
to ask yourself what you are really about and what you stand for.

Obstacles may not be a sign that something wasn’t meant to be…
Instead, it could be a test of your resolve.

Inhaling in the emotions in an effort to transcend what’s bugging you may not really be going with the flow
It may be an opportunity to see if you are willing to stop, listen, and make yourself vulnerable.

Saying you need to “meditate on it”…
…may not serve as an accurate representation of what meditation really is. Meditation cultivates presence, clarity, the conquering of time, and spontaneous access to truth. It may better serve everyone to just say “I need to think about it.”

To say that “{this person} can really use this practice” to mean anything else but “I can really use this practice…”
…is a distraction.

With spiritual practice comes ownership (aka responsibility). Don’t give it up to “it wasn’t meant to be,” “going with the flow,” and concepts like “Mercury in Retrograde.”

By surrendering to your own self authority and discipline, you own every part of you. The light and shadow side. The Universe isn’t limited by concepts, and it works its power through you. It doesn’t give it away. Only the ego does, paradoxically, in its fierce efforts to feel in control. In order to continue to feel that way, it will convince you that you are flowing when you may be disempowering yourself, and it will tell you that the momentarily easier path is self-care.

Fear exposes the duality of the mind and it is up to you to conquer it. Truth and spirituality has a backbone. It has discernment. It makes decisions. And it stands for something.

#pokeprovokeconfrontelevate

None of it is ours.

I was reading a blog by Seth Godin who was talking about tribes, and it reminded me of the lens I chose to look through as I was raising my kids: that they are not mine. I don’t own them. I was simply lucky enough to have been given stewardship over them. 

Stewardship is a powerful word that can offer a greater sense of responsibility, giftedness, and impermanence, and in that, something you cannot take for granted. 

We are stewards in our relationships with all things in our lives, and where we are truly thriving, most likely, we were careful stewards in those areas of our lives.

Sat Nam

“I’m not into spirituality.”

What do you think people mean when they say that? If they had to replace the word spirituality to complete the sentence, “I’m not into______,” how would they finish it? 

“I am not into religion”: While religion is steeped in spirituality, spirituality isn’t religion. Additionally, if the practice is devoid of questions, critical thinking and discernment, and if it is filled with judgment, then spirituality is not being practiced. Nor is religion being practiced. Dogma is (and both are vulnerable to it). But spirituality is not religion. 

“I focus on the more practical and relevant things in life, like what’s going on in my work, my household and in my government.”

Spirituality is to know yourself. Therefore, being into spirituality means being into understanding yourself better. 

I can’t think of anything more practical and relevant that informs how you go about your day, how you take things in (especially when your buttons are pushed), and how you make decisions, than knowing yourself. Those moments of quiet space and conscious awareness, which is spiritual practice, is what connects and aligns us with who were are. They are the magic threads that make the difference between experiencing conflict in our lives and experiencing liberation.

“But the conflict is out there, and I need to fight against it. I don’t have time for philosophy.” (Yes, I’ve heard this before. I won’t go into this except to say philosophy is different from spirituality.) That very language energetically contributes towards more conflict. Say that sentence out loud and watch what your body does in response to it. It’s not open to effective communication and understanding. In history, factions that meant well who use the same level of consciousness that they are fighting against end up becoming just as tyrannical in the end. The effective leaders that history ultimately treats well didn’t “fight against others.” They understood themselves first. They understood the human condition first. When you bring yourself to believe that you and they are different, then they have won because, like them, your reactions were based from the same differences. 

Spirituality gives way to this understanding and offers a more effective and sustainable way of being. When you feel heard and understood, then you are more open to the other person. You won’t get defensive and ugly. You have an open conversation. Others respond in the same way. This gives rise to commonalities, the deeper fears get uncovered, and we have something real to work with: each other.  

It takes a lot of courage to soften the defensive posture, to understand that the other is you, and to speak from compassion, because this means that you will first need to look at yourself honestly in order to act authentically (effectively) with anyone else. It’s easier to try to fix others thinking that what’s going on inside of you has nothing to do with it. 

Being into spirituality means committing to get in the know about yourself, both the light and shadow side of you. And when you know yourself, you will realize how much better you understand others. The better you know yourself and others, the better you can affect your world. 

Sat Nam. 

What happens first

The idiom, “I’ll believe it when I see it” might better serve said: “I’ll see it when I believe it.”

It’s when you believe something that seeing happens. This is why everything around us tend to support our beliefs. This is why we are always right. We see what we want to see. Or, we see what we want to believe.

Likewise, trying to understand someone after thinking “I don’t understand them,” might better serve by beginning with, “I understand.”

I understand that I’m looking at this through my own lens, through my own experiences, capacities and limitations.

I understand that I don’t know their inner world, experiences, capacities and limitations, even if I’ve known them for an entire lifetime, because I don’t live in their skin, and I won’t pretend to.

I understand that sitting where I am doesn’t mean that I know better.

I understand that their experience is real for them, and I am not here to tell them they are wrong.

Might I point out, the key word in trying to understand is TRYING? How often has trying to understand taken you out of frustration? It’s not until you decide to understand, or that you are open to understanding, that understanding happens. This is when those around you feel understood, soften their armor, and offer the possibilities of being understood as a two-way street. Because you have done it first.

Engaging with Community

Depression and feelings of isolation is common these days. It doesn’t seem enough just to do yoga. Regular engagement with a community that elevates and nourishes makes a big difference. It gives you a chance to serve and be served, which is incredibly fulfilling, and what the Spirit needs. To experience regularly the feeling that others sincerely care about you, want to hear what’s going on with you, and ask about you when you go MIA. It reminds you that you are not alone in the crazy things that your thoughts cause you to believe about you. And when you see that others experience similar thoughts, and you see that they are amazing people, then your capacity to elevate your own sense of self becomes easier. Together, you forklift each other into wholeness, and with wholeness comes a greater sense of peace and wellness.