It was the evening of Friday the 13th. The coronavirus was not going away. They closed the schools in the state of Oregon earlier that day. It was dusk and starting to snow. The weather app on my phone forecasted snow and cold temperatures for the next three days. My phone calendar showed no plans for the weekend.
Everything about that moment felt like life was closing in on me. I had felt that feeling before.
It was the feeling at the beginning of a silent meditation retreat.
Ten days later, it still feels like I am on retreat. Since I have been on my share of retreats, I am inspired to share some of the things that seem to come up when I am on retreat. Things that nobody told me.
The first rule of thumb: things come up. There you are minding your own business and something hits you. It might be a realization about something that you were not wanting to face. Or it might be a sad feeling with no known origin.
Two days into my first retreat, an uneasy feeling about my job came...
This video is an exercise that I created in a storytelling workshop by Bernadette Jiwa. It speaks about my relationship with my spiritual teacher, Bart Anderson, and how I am fulfilling the charge that my teacher gave to him. It is also distinguished from other videos on this channel in that it is not edited at all. It, therefore, includes more pauses, "um's" and "like's" and hopefully feels like a story being authentically told.
We live in a vigilant culture. We are inclined to believe that if we do not prop things up, everything will fall apart. We come by this honestly. Our vigilance may be necessary on the make-ends-meet level.
However, it turns out we are not wired that way at the emotional and spiritual levels. On the contrary, in these realms, it is more beneficial to stop propping things up and let things return to their natural state.
Emotionally this may translate to simply allow ourselves to feel what is going on. At the spiritual level, it may mean to “let go” or “just be.”
This is one of the values of going on a retreat or vacation. The premise of a retreat is to set things up so all of the day-to-day demands of life are taken care of for a period of time. Then you can let go of being vigilant and propping things up.
I bumped up against this while on meditation retreat a few weeks ago. Everything had been attended too, and I had seven days to sit with myself. Yet even...
One of my favorite definitions of spirituality is: what is important to you. I like it because it demystifies spirituality. Spiritual is often depicted as cosmic, otherworldly, and separate from our daily life.
This "what is important" definition simply suggests that the things we value and live our lives for are an important part of our spirituality.
So if raising your children is the most important thing to you right now then that is your spiritual practice. The best spiritual teachers that I have come across have all suggested that it is not what you do, but how you do it that counts.
So why not reflect upon what is important to you at this stage of your life and then embrace it and make it your spiritual practice.
This takes away the separation we tend to create between what is spiritual and the other parts of our lives. Your spirituality should be integrated with and applied to all the aspects of your life. If you meditate, pray, or smudge with sage, why wouldn’t it be...
Have you ever been trying to understand something, but your mind is having difficulty grasping it? Your mind just kind of goes blank and you can't quite pull it in. Everything seems hazy and in a fog. If so, you have been to the fringe.
It often happens when you are trying to become aware of something on a higher level of consciousness or vibration. You are actually at the edge or fringe of your known reality.
It isn't always comfortable at the edge. You keep forgetting what you were thinking about and sometimes your mind just wants to go to sleep.
But navigating the fringe and working to pull in and understand what you are trying to grasp is essential for spiritual growth. You are actually expanding the parameters of your existence. Your world is literally getting bigger.
It takes a lot of energy and determination. So don't give up. You have be tenacious and stick with it until you can remember and understand.
You can push through the fringe by contemplating the thing you are...
In our busy lives, one experience tends to blend into another. Often we do not complete the previous experience before starting the next one.
This keeps us from being present. The unfinished experiences start to build up and keep us anxious and overwhelmed.
A way to complete experiences and not drag one into another is called "Closure." Following are the 6 steps of Closure:
1. Acceptance of the reality of the situation.
2. Reconciliation: Learning something.
3. Asking: What can I do about it?
4. Determination to have things differently.
5. Look at your possibilities.
6. Put your focus in front of you!
Closure can be done immediately following the experience, at the end of the workday, or before bed to complete the day. At the end of the day, it is useful to identify and do closure with all of the experiences that affected you significantly that day.
Within the second step of closure lies the key to resolving any past experience- true reconciliation. You cannot undo an experience...
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