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Practice: In loving memory to who I used to be.

Recently I’ve had a number of conversations with people about transitions and the inner challenges that we face as we journey through various life changes. One common feature appears to be that as we go through transition, we leave part of ourselves or at least a concept of ourselves behind. Although we feel like we just need to “get over it” or “get on with it” in many cases it may be wise to pause and allow ourselves to address our loss. Here’s a practice you may want to try.
Practice: 
In loving memory to who I used to be is a practice to be utilized for someone in or through a transition. Any new stage of life can bring up great hopes and excitement but it can also bring up thoughts, emotions, memories, etc. from the past that may need some time and attention as we let go of what “used to be.” or “who we used to be.”  In some cases moving into a new chapter can bring inner grief for the loss of our previous self.  This practice can be done in one sitting or multiple sittings. Adjust the practice to your own needs.
  • Find a quiet place and time where you can be undisturbed for at least 15 minutes.
  • Have a pen/pencil and paper for writing (or utilize any technology that feels comfortable, phone, tablet, etc.)
  • Make yourself comfortable and close or lower your eyes taking 5-10 deep breaths to calm and center yourself. If you’ve been really active prior to this practice, you may wish to take 10-15 deep breaths.
  • Now think about who you were prior to the recent transition you’ve been through.
  • Imagine your current self as the observer of who you used to be.
  • Now take some time to outline or write out a memorial service (or memoriam) for your former self.
  • Think about certain memories that were important, songs, poems, scripture, quotes, you might want to share.
  • Think about what you (today) would want to share about your past self. You might include, joys, regrets, successes, milestones, sadnesses, things left undone, guidance/advice your past self would give others, guidance/advice your past self has for you today, etc. 
  • Be open to whatever surfaces within you. It will likely be quite a diverse picture of a whole life!
  • You may wish to write with your non-dominant hand as a way to tap into deeper feelings or thoughts.
  • You may wish to think about who you might share this with, even if you just keep it to yourself.
  • Once you feel like you’ve written all you’re able to for now, ask yourself if there’s more you’d like to write.
  • If yes, come back to this practice as often as you wish until you feel satisfied that you’ve written all you want to.
  • Once you feel you’re done writing, ask yourself what you might do (if anything) with this? 
  • Wait at least 48 hours to act on whatever you decide to do with it.
  • To close your time, take a few minutes to review what you wrote and pay attention to anything that especially stands out to you, a word, phrase, memory, emotion or image. 
  • Take that word, phrase, memory, emotion or image into a brief silent time – utilize a breath practice along with it if you want to.

Peace is within you.

Each of us carries within us a deep Peace that surpasses all understanding. In our busy lives, we often forget to stop, drop inside, breathe and invite Peace to transform our beautiful beings into more Love-filled Beings.

Practice

Breath in and out as you observe your breath for two minutes… approximately 10-15 breaths.

For two minutes invite Peace to fully occupy your being.

As difficult thoughts, emotions and sensations arise, note them and hold them in the Love you have invited within.

Repeat as often as needed until you know the Peace that surpasses all understanding.

… if you want to discuss this practice; try other practices; or develop specific practices for your own unique life and circumstances, I’d love to hear from you.

Do You Have Some Wisdom to Share?

You’re reading a book, article or blog and you think to yourself… “wow this is so great!, My friend (spouse, child, sibling, etc.), __________, would really like this, needs this, would benefit from this,” etc. 
It’s a common reaction and one it is good to pay close attention to. 
When you find something you’re reading particularly motivating, inspiring, wise, troubling, etc., make the inside move to learn more about yourself and discover Love within.
Utilize one or more of these questions to do some deeper work. You might also consider additional questions that aid you in your inner exploration.
1. If possible, identify a particular section, phrase or even a single word that helped you sense Sacred Presence as you read. Any moments that seemed so present you could feel or sense Love?
2. Were there any particular stories, poems, scriptures, songs, images, etc. that came to as you read it? What feelings come up within you as you allow this to soak in?
3. Did you find any statements troubling? Or difficult to understand? Where in your body did you notice? 
3b. Perhaps you found this reading express Divine Presence in a unique way? Perhaps a way you’ve thought about before or never thought about it but it opened a new possibility for you? 
4. If you had only 6 words to describe what you read in those pages, what words or short phrase would you use?
5. If you could retitle the book / chapter to better reflect your deep intersection with the reading, what would the title be? 
6. Take a look around you right now and find something in your immediate environment that reconnects you to the reading… spend a few minutes connecting with what you’ve noticed and perhaps ask “what is here for me in this moment?”  
Hope these questions help you dive deeper within. If you want to talk more about what you notice or experience, I would be pleased to hear from you. 

Heaven (aka Love’s Presence) can wait, but doesn’t have to.

Love, right here, right now.

A modern interpretation of many scriptural claims puts heaven out there somewhere, someday, maybe.

Let me get to the point. We can have Love (aka heaven) here today, if we chose to. To do so we must recognize, but not get imprisoned by, the voices within and around us telling us we don’t deserve it or must earn it. Love is here all the time for all of us.

The other day I came across a blog from a well known pastor pointing to a heavenly reward someday if we “follow our calling today.” The multiple and clear pointers throughout various holy scriptures, including the Bible, point to heaven on earth, Love here and now.

… on earth as it is in heaven.

The story of the prodigal son from the Bible shows both sons misunderstanding of how deep and broad Love is. In a similar story from the Buddhist tradition, a lost son is so startled by the intense Love shown by his father, he actually becomes fearful, leading the father to prepare a path helping the son rediscover Love slowly over time.

So, we have a son’s return met with celebration; another son’s bitterness met with the statement “everything I have is yours my child”; and in a third case a son who becomes fearful over Love’s welcome, and thus is wooed over time back to Love. The message is clear: every one of us is Beloved.

Every one is Beloved.

Practice

So what’s the inside move you can make to recognize Love, here and now for you and for everyone?

Voices will continue to arise within and circumstances around you saying “I’m not worthy”, “they’re not worthy” or “it can’t be true because of this reason or that”.

Be still and invite Love’s Presence in. You may be tentative at first, allow yourself to go slow.

You might want to involve your breath.

Take a deep breath breathing in Love, which surrounds you. Breathe out breathing the Love within you back into the world.

As you continue with this practice various thoughts and emotions will come up within you. As they do and as you’re able, simply observe. As each new thing comes up, invite Love to be there too.

Be patient as you watch Love grow within you.

Optional: Going deeper…

When you feel calm, and sense Love’s Presence, begin to go within yourself once again and locate a judgement or difficult feeling you carry toward someone else then hold it together with Love’s Presence as a prayer. Consider creating a cup with your hands as a way to hold this open to Love’s healing.

Allow Love to surround you and be patient as you observe Love in action within you.

Love is patient and kind, Love keeps no record of wrongs.

In our busy lives, full of inner and outer activity, we can easily miss the quiet persistence of Love.

Even a few moments right now can help you recognize the flow of Love within. It may seem a difficult or odd moment but know that Love is right where you are with a standing invitation.

As you practice the presence of Love, I’d appreciate hearing from you about your experiences and any other ways you’re finding Love within and around.

Perfect Love as taught by Prof. Splinter

Throughout the Bible, we are told not to be afraid. Often we look outward, thinking our fear is out there somewhere. Much of, perhaps all of, our fear is inner fear. We project it out in different ways, at different times. In the gospel of John it says “true love casts out fear”.

As each of us is a container for the Divine, we all have that “true Love” within us. Thus the fear you and I sense, is being “cast out” continually. So what is there to do with it? Sadly, most of us place it on someone or something outside of us. We develop elaborate internal intellectual schemes to justify, explain, utilize, etc. the energy of the fear that is in the process of being cast out. Thus the admonition to take the log out of your own eye first to be able to help your neighbor remove the splinter in their own eye.

Practice: Embracing What You Don’t Want To

Today, notice your fear as it comes up within you. It may come in the form of blaming others, judging others, etc. When you encounter, in person, in the news, in something your read or hear about, one of those “people that push your buttons”, “bad actors”, “societal menaces”, or “irritating people”, etc., take a moment to go inside and search for the fear behind the noticing. Chances are this inside move is quite different than what you might normally do.

As the log is in your own eye when you notice the splinter in someone else’s, your noticing of “the irritation or problem outside yourself” is your own teacher arising within, if you’re a ready student.

As an aside… if you miss the lesson this time, don’t worry, perfect Love is very persistent, you’ll have another chance soon.

So as you notice the internal gymnastics show beginning in your mind (don’t worry, it happens to everyone) note what you are feeling… anger, sadness, fear, jealousy, envy, below the surface. Your thoughts and whatever is below is being shown to you by perfect Love within.

Once you’ve identified it, now comes the inner move you may not be expecting… embrace whatever has emerged. You might think of it as “embracing the pain”. Our usual “go to” is to push through it… to get through it ASAP. What I’m suggesting is simply notice what is going on below the surface; realizing whatever thoughts you’re having are ‘the surface’; and then accept and embrace whatever is there for a few seconds or minutes, as you’re able.

We subvert a lot of feelings we think we shouldn’t have and eventually it keeps us from experiencing pure love, joy, freedom, truth. Once you can embrace that the log in your own eye is the actual issue, you will be free to embrace your own humanity fully and love’s emergence will be your gift and a gift to others.

Through the pain and darkness is freedom, light and pure love.