Tag Archives: Awareness

Be-Do-Have Part 2 (be do, be do)

Okay, so we chatted about how you have to BE something before you can HAVE it.  We received a response requesting some ideas as to how to handle the challenges.  I’m going to go there in a future post but for now, let’s really dissect the trouble, okay?

Sometimes, I think, we make spiritual stuff harder than it needs to be and we get frustrated with it because there’s not an end point we can shoot for.  (Okay, full enlightenment is great, but I would be happy with making it through the day without thinking bad thoughts about someone else.)  It’s really easy to think “my goal is to be nice to everybody, all the time” than it is to live it.  And when it gets too hard or too frustrating to try and think in an enlightened way, we use the guilt and shame as whips against our souls.  Then we affirm that OBVIOUSLY we’re not worthy of the good in our lives, so why try.  Okay, I shortened the process here for the sake of space, but I think you get the gist.

I’m going to liken spiritual learning with something that most of us know a lot about — changing our diet and/or eating habits.pea on fork

When you first decided that you were going to “change your ways” as far as the food you put in your body, do you remember how you felt?  Excited, ready to learn, eager to seek support and more information, and maybe a little apprehensive.  There was so much to read and learn and think about that thinking about food/snacks/can have’s/can’t have’s became all consuming.  It’s all you thought about and all you talked about.  If you’re not eating, you’re thinking about the what and the when of your next snack.

I remember when John and I went off of sugar.  The first days were terrible!  My head hurt, my body hurt and I was just generally cranky.  Going out of the house was a true test.  I remember clearly standing in line at the grocery store shocked by all the walls and shelves lined with brightly colored ads for sugary items.  So, did the grocery chain find out that John and I were off of sugar and put all of those items in front of us to tempt us or to trip us up? (John says, yes, they did.)  No!  Those things were already there.  I just had not ever noticed them to that degree before.

So, let’s go through my analogy a bit more:

My head hurting — Total entrainment with my previous thought pattern.  My human mind was trying to help me to see the error of my ways and convince me that I would feel better if I’d just give up these highfalutin ideas.  Eating had come easy all of the previous years of my life, why give that ease up now?  This new path is hard and I’m tired.

My body hurting — If the mind can’t get you back, the pressure of the many will!  I’m going to equate my body to the tribal teachings (societal agreements) that we’ve all bought into as truth.  My body didn’t agree with the mind’s choices and was willing to take some low blows to make me come back into the pack.  That’s how tribal teachings work — you go against the flow and you pay the price.

And the crankiness, oh, let’s not forget the crankiness —  It’s HARD changing your ways.  It’s hard going against everything you understand.  It’s hard and everyone should understand how hard it is!!!  It’s time consuming and frustrating and …. oh you get the picture.

Now, here’s the part that gives you hope.  While the first few days were horrible, the horribleness didn’t last.  Eventually, the steps became easier to follow and we weren’t fighting against this new way of being.

Here’s where you ask yourself if we’re still off of sugar……….  I’d like to say yes, but I’d be lying.  However, we did learn a lot about ourselves and what to eat and what not to eat during that stint.  Some of the habits we have today stem directly from that particular diet.  So, did we “fail” in our attempt to enlighten ourselves?

I say, no.  Enlightenment can come to some in an instant (or so I’ve read) but I believe it’s more of a journey.  Are we eating better because we went through this diet process?  Yes.  Did we learn a few things that we’ll always remember?  You betcha!  For us, the learning is cumulative.  Each time we change our eating habits, more ideas make sense and are easier to follow.  Spiritual learning is the same way.

The more you study, the more willing you are to look at, practice and TRY to learn a better way, then more sticks with you and makes more sense to you.  One point from a book connects with a talk from a spiritual leader connects with something you hear from an unlikely source.  It starts settling into your understanding and you find that you’re not fighting against this new thought process as much.

So, understand that the challenges don’t come up because there’s a “test” or a lesson from the Universe.  The things we label as challenges were already there — we were either blind to them or we stepped into them without notice.  By deciding that you are going to think in another way and act in a higher way only sheds light on the things in your life that no longer fit in your new mindset.  They must be dealt with and released before the “new” way of thinking becomes easier.

In the meantime, enjoy learning something new, stay in the excitement of possibilities and let go of the apprehension.

Make sense?  Okay, next time — how not to get stuck in your stuff……..

Be-Do-Have vs. Have-Do-Be

Music BasicsBe-Do-Have.  Many have heard this phrase but too often I hear myself, as well as those around me, working on the Have-Do-Be principle.

When I finally HAVE __________ (enough money, enough time, enough energy, a better relationship, a lover, the perfect house, the perfect body) then I will DO ___________ (work out more, work on whatever needs to be corrected, read more, sleep more, clean more, worry less, eat better, love more often, judge less) and I will BE __________(happy, secure, free, peace-filled, loving, healthy, the person I know I should be).

Sound familiar?

This is a trap.  A very familiar, well worn, trap.  You’re never going to HAVE it all.  There’s always going to be something better, greener, thinner, prettier, calmer, and bigger that you’re going to want.  This is the way of the human mind.  And I want to tell you that it has served you and all of humanity well, thus far.  After all, we don’t still live in caves and depend on our hunting and gathering skills to survive, do we?

This longing is why we as a human race have survived and thrived (for the most part) on this planet.

But we are not just substance on this land of substance trying to rise above the next substance.  We are spiritual beings exploring this human experience.  While HAVING has served our human side well, it doesn’t always serve our spiritual side as well.

You must BE what you want to be.  You must BE loving in order to DO loving things in order for you to HAVE love in your world.  You must BE peaceful in order to DO peace-filled actions so that you can HAVE peace in your life.  You don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are!  You can’t fake out the Universe.

Yes, we’ve all seen those people who have money and success and they are just horrible people.  Seems unfair, doesn’t it?  But they obviously are not happy.  They need more and more and more to try to fill the void of who they are not.  They are driven by the HAVE-DO-BE and there’s not enough in this world to have before they can be.  So, they collect and conquer and collect some more.  It’s a trap.

You’ve heard the phrase:  Happiness is not getting what you want but wanting what you have.  (I wish I could find who said that but a lot of people are claiming it and I’m not going to try to figure out who coined it.)  You must choose happiness right now in order to be happy.  You must choose to love no matter what.  (Of course, healthy boundaries should not be forsaken for loving unconditionally.  Different topic.)

When you choose what you are going to be, you will be challenged in that decision.  If you choose to be patience, you will have lots of opportunities to practice patience.  If you choose to be love, you will have lots of opportunities to demonstrate your choice to those who you may not want to love.

I believe part of this challenge is that we have awakened our awareness in this area.  These same challenges have presented themselves many times before but now we’re trying to react in a different manner.  Just like any other new habit you are trying to form, it feels hard to accomplish.  It feels like everything is difficult and that people are coming out of the woodwork just to trip you up!  Do your best.  And realize that when you don’t act the way you wanted to, that at least you were aware that there is a better way available to you.

What qualities of other people do you appreciate?  Those same qualities reside in you.  Claim those.  Breathe those.  Realize that you have a choice to make.  Today, choose to awaken to who you want to be and then put feet to that awareness and BE that.  You will be amazed at what comes your way when first you choose to be your spiritual self!

A Path to Peace – Moving Past the Attachments.

So far in our Path to Peace series we have had a look into what an unhealthy attachment is and how we can spot them. Seems the next logical step is moving past any attachments that lead to suffering and towards a life of peace.

We have all heard the “Go with the flow” attitude and “Let go and let God”, but often we miss the actual letting go part. We toss the issue into the fire only to reach in, grab the hot embers and get burned in the process. We want to let go but just won’t step deeply enough into faith to let that happen fully.  It’s our attachments to the outcome that cripple us from releasing fully into the flow of the Divine. The Loving Spirit of God wants to provide for us all that we need and desire.  God wants us to be at peace and filled with joy!

Great spiritual masters as well as today’s modern mental doctors have professed the benefits quiet contemplation can have on the mind and body.  Master Teacher Jesus tells us in scriptures to enter the inner chamber and from there, pray in quiet.   Something almost magical happens when we enter a space of internal silence. With gentle practice we begin to quiet the mind, calm the body and awaken the  Perfect Consciousness that resides with in us and is patiently waiting for us to allow it to reveal. This is a place of consciousness where we commune with God, the Divine, Spirit, Allah, Jehovah…

From this place we learn  it is safe to ask the tough questions and get the answers that can move us into the next level of our being. It is from this space of silence that we can look deep within, and with an intention of being honest with ourselves, find our attachments and seek the answers to letting go.

Many of our attachments are deeply programmed because we have hauled them around with us for decades and they have become automatic responses and they originate from all areas of life

  • From our parents who yelled and threw anger in our direction when we did not meet their expectations and so we have learned to do the same.
  • Lack of approval from those who we viewed as authoritarian such as teachers or care-givers so we do improper things to get approval.
  • Mainstream media such as commercials that insist we must look a certain way to be beautiful and movies that show us how tough a man should be.
  • Songs we might hear teach us that we must feel suffering when we lose a valued relationship and that it is okay to take revenge when it happens.
  • Some musical expressions try to teach us to hate authority and the law.
  • The examples of friends  and family who showed us that they hated their ex-spouse so we assume we should do the same.
  • Some are so deeply permeated in tribal thought that we may be challenged daily or hourly to avoid regressing into our old ways.   “My religion is the only right religion” or the condition of Political Hypochondria that has infected our world are both good examples.

 

Day 1. Taking the first step – discovery: Here is an exercise I use. When a situation brings up stress in my life (in whatever form that might be)  I go inside and look for where in my being the stress was triggered, what kind of stress is it – fear, anger, resentment, disappointment, disgust? With clarity on the emotion, I am better prepared to drill into the root attachments.

Day 2 – 3 Investigation: The goal here is to take your awareness of the emotion and allow it to guide you to find what you are attaching to.  Being complex individuals, we each respond to our attachments in our own way, so you will have to use your own life experiences to help you in the process.

Some tips that may help:

  • Recall similar situations where the same emotional response surfaced.  What is common between them? 
  • Fear is sometimes masked as anger.  For instance the fear of losing something might result in anger surfacing. It looks like anger, might even feel like anger but something in the pit of your stomach tells you it’s fear.   Fear of judgement can manifest as anger when a person lashes out from a comment or remark they find demeaning.
  • If your anger is a fight or flight response, there is a good chance it’s based in ego.  Something in the ego feels the need to defend or protect itself so it does so with a show of superiority through aggression.
  • Sadness can be a sign of grief and grief can be an indication of loss. Look for what you “lost” in the situation and this will lead to finding the attachment.
  • Fear of loss may bring jealousy – an example of multi-layered attachments.  Fear and loss are two separate yet connected issues.  Each can exist without the other, but one can trigger the other.  Loss issues arise from attachment to some “thing” in your world and fear is based in a perceived lack of safety or security.  A jealous lover may be attached to control (security) in the relationship (the “thing”)

When I first began healing attachments it took some time to get my head fully into the action of investigation. After practice, when the emotion is discovered, the attachment often reveals itself right away but sometimes it ,might be a little stubborn and I’ll have to “sit” with it for a while. My method is to hold the “intention” to discover and heal the attachment, but I won’t actively pursue it. In its own perfect time it reveals itself.  So if the attachment does not come to you, that’s perfectly fine. Don’t let yourself get attached to finding the attachment!  Let go of any feeling of need to find it. In time it will reveal itself.  Plant the right seed, nurture it and it will come to bear fruit.

 

Day 4 and on. Once the attachment is uncovered, the release work begins.

Giving yourself permission to heal is critical.  The suffering may be so deeply integrated into your life that you have resistance to to letting it go. You may feel like you don’t know any other way to live than the way you are living now.  In other words, you are attached to the suffering that comes from attachment!

  • Can you allow yourself to be okay with not being okay? This is to say that you give yourself permission to accept that you have room for healing. Without this, you will experience persistent resistance to change.

For some it may have to begin with forgiveness work.

  • Forgiveness is for the benefit of self first. Carrying resentments and pain towards others does nothing to the other person, but instead toxifies our own life. Refusing to forgive is denying yourself the power to make a positive change – it is much like drinking a poison and expecting the other person to suffer. Give yourself permission to put down the burdens and move on.
  • A lost friendship from misunderstandings may require forgiving yourself for your part in the exchange. This is not to say you should dwell on your being “right”, but coming to a realization of how you may have handled it better and forgiving yourself for your past actions.  Once you clearly see your part in the matter, you are far more prepared to forgive your friend.  Look for the log in your eye before trying to remove the splinter from theirs.
  • Childhood related issues such as abuse, bullying and neglect may have serious effects on adulthood.  One of the joys of attachment work is the freedom to live in the moment rather than dragging around the past.  Our past prepares us, it does not define us. As our own best guides on our paths, we are free to change our minds and make the choice to live in the now, free from the illusionary bondage of our past.

You may work through the grief process when releasing long held attachments that were falsely associated with their personal view of their identity.

  • Brea the Beekeeper:  “I am a beekeeper and was fired”  –  Brea, is not realizing that the truth of who she truly is as a loving expression of the divine – a spiritual being having a human experience. Beekeeper is a job, not her true identity. Releasing the attachment to the job as her identity might be difficult for Brea as she deeply feels she has lost a part of herself.  By freeing from the attachments of the job title as identity, she is now freed to discover greater truths and higher possibilities in her next career.  The divine never closes a door without leaving another one open. Attachments can blind us from seeing the open doors that are right there in front of us.
  • My mother was an addict and I was withheld affection and stability as a child. When sober, she was engrossed in her distractions and as the day progressed so did her state of intoxication. I and a few of my siblings were born with physical defects as a result of the daily toxins she ingested during her pregnancies.  My upbringing was filled with family anger and resentment. While my father and my siblings did their best to be a stable presence in my life it didn’t overcome the repercussions of the anger.  I used to identify myself with being the child of an alcoholic. In school it served me in an unhealthy way.  Counselors first,  then teachers would give me a break when homework was late because “you know… poor little John’s mom is a drinker.”  I learned very early on that this would get me out of certain things at school. In my mind, it was the perfect excuse! Unfortunately, I fully bought into the story and gradually identified with it.  With my attachment to it, I fell further into self-pity, self-doubt and low self-esteem.  Eventually, I grew to understand that this past did not have to define me. I remember, as I began the release work, I would go through typical stages of grief – the sadness, the bargaining with God, emotional swings, and more. While I have come a great distance, over two decades later, from time to time I still get opportunities to work with this.

Like any skill, practice makes better. The great joy in this practice is that you reap amazing rewards in the quality of your life. You blossom, your relationships sweeten and peace emerges where once there was suffering.  Embrace your past for it has brought you to where you are today and prepared you for your new, fresh and exciting life that is unfolding before your very eyes right here, right now.

Blessings

 

 

 

 

 

A Path to Peace – Spotting Attachments

It is fairly easy to spot attachments once their symptoms are in your awareness.

Some spiritual teachings offer that the ego is the enemy. I see the ego as potential master or potential servant. The ego can serve us if we are willing to keep vigilant awareness to its attachments. The ego is not just the base survival instinct that can pit us against each other, but it also can be the driving force that will move us out of suffering and into a better space.  When anger arises out of ego as a result of an unmet expectation or from a word or two that offended you, or from someone cutting you off in traffic, you have an opportunity to seek what it is that you feel the need to protect.

Attachments lead to lack of compassion and understanding in other’s situations. When things become all about “me,” this is a solid sign that an unhealthy attachment is at work. We are all one with the Divine and with each other. There is no me and you, only us. We are here to work together in each other’s best interests.  My way or the highway mentalities create limitations in our lives that would not exist if we were fully co-creative with those we share life with.

Closed-mindedness from selfish attachments manifest actions that damages us, and puts others at risk for harm.  Closed-minded attachment to religious beliefs, dogmas and philosophies have been at the root of violent psychotic behaviors for millennium. These “I am right and you are wrong” attachments have caused immeasurable death, destruction and suffering.   From the basic back-yard childhood brawl, to all-out genocide, unhealthy attachments are at the root of the behavior.

Part one of this series briefly mentions the sneaky and hard to spot nature of some attachments, so here I offer a few places that I have discovered sneaky attachments in myself and others.

Argumentative or aggressive listening: Are you actively listening with the intention of hearing and valuing what the other person has to say with the same level of respect you deserve, or are you formulating your rebuttal, your argument or your disagreement?  If you are not listening properly then an unhealthy attachment to your point of view may be at work. It’s perfectly okay to have an opinion of your own, but when you are closing down to the thoughts and opinions of others, you may be limiting yourself and them from discovering together a better way to a higher end result.

Being too agreeable: In almost stark contradiction to what you just read, constant agreement could be a sign of attachment to being accepted by others, or it may manifest from an attachment to avoid conflict.  If you have something valuable to contribute that may go against the opinions of the status-quo, refusing to add it to the mix could easily be a disservice to the highest and best outcome for all involved. The key is to present it from a point of view that is helpful and constructive to the conversation, and avoid dismissing other views as being incorrect, invalid or simply wrong.  Focus on communicating in a way that lifts up conversations and those involved rather than tearing things down.

Loyalty to a brand or style of music:  Seems crazy doesn’t it? After all, when you like something, you just simply like it. What could possibly be unhealthy about that?  Liking something is just fine, but when it comes to a point that you like it so much you dismiss other options simply because they don’t fit the mold, then you have crossed the line into attachment.  We like things such as a type of music or a specific brand of ice cream because it brings us some form of pleasure or maybe we trust a brand of car for it’s dependability.  It’s perfectly fine to like something, just don’t close your mind to other alternatives. When we refuse to see or experience other options, and sometimes  we do so with great disdain, we limit our possibilities for something greater to unfold.

And the extra sneaky: Attachments may have layers. One or more attachments may be the symptom of a deeper attachment at work.

Some example standout symptoms of attachment to watch for are:

  • Anger
  • Jealousy
  • Envy
  • Fear
  • Frustration
  • Sadness
  • Grief

Any of those may be an outward expression of an unhealthy attachment to something tangible, such as a relationship or material possession, or something less tangible such as an unmet expectation  – like a son or daughter not cleaning their room.  While having a clean room is a good thing, your response to the child not following your direction will help guide you to discovery of any attachments. Is your ego under attack because they failed to honor your parental authority, or can you respond to the situation without fear, anger or resentment?  There is little we can actually do to “control” another human being. Even at a very young age we have our own capacity for thought and decision making.  Having attachment to being “right” and “in-charge” as a parent can reach an unhealthy level.  Control is an illusion anyway.  Teach right thinking and right choices get made. Try to control someone, even a child, and they will seek to express their own control over the situation and resistance ensues.  We can always try to use fear, but is that what we want to teach our future leaders; that ruling with fear is better than careful listening, proper thinking and proper action?  Pick your attachments carefully and thoughtfully.

Feel free to chime-in with any attachment symptoms you have uncovered in the comments below.

Next up: Moving past the attachments.

 

A Path to Peace – Are You Bound by Your Attachments>

Imagine an individual who was self-absorbed to the point of being narcissistic, prone to outbursts and fits at modest provocations sometimes leading to self-destructive or outwardly abusive behavior. This person will swing wildly from rational to irrational with accompanied mood swings and personality shifts at the mere mention of certain words or names.
Does this person strike you as someone who could benefit from some clinical help?  Would you label them a little crazy?

Certainly sounds like someone who could use some help, but these are the outward manifestations we experience from attachments.  They are like a greedy little bully inside of us who absolutely must get it’s way or it lashes out in some harmful manner then burdens us with the consequences.  It may manifest internally as disappointment, depression, anger, resentment, disdain, disgust, or other ugly darkness. Outwardly, attachment might show up as tears, tantrums, aggression, verbal abuse, physical abuse and more.  Like a two year old screaming “mine mine mine!” unhealthy attachments open the door to acts of complete irrational behavior. Our responses to unmet attachments lead to physical and emotional stress that we could avoid if we could lose the attachment.  Detaching from unhealthy fixations in our lives is our path to peace.

Attachments show up in many ways, some obvious and some so are so sneaky it takes practice to spot them. Not all attachments are unhealthy as some serve us rightly. But even those can become harmful if not properly tempered with wise discernment. As the old saying goes: “There are two sides to every coin” and our attachments are no different. As with all things in life, there exists a balance between the dark and the light, the Yin and the Yang, the additive and reductive, the progressive and regressive… you get the point. Too much of a good thing can be harmful.

Basic human needs drive some of our attachments. The need for nutrition and sustenance can drive our attachment to food, which we might label as a healthy attachment but using food as a substitute for actually addressing some sense of lack in our lives can be harmful. For example, if we connect food with happiness and joy, we may tend to reach out for food anytime we feel less than happy and perhaps overindulge or consume items that are not in our highest and best interest.  Buying material goods can certainly serve us properly in life to meet basic needs. Shelter, safety, personal growth, etc, but spending with the expectation that an object will fill an internal void or fix an internal issue. This “Shopping Therapy” may lead to a temporary distraction from the pains in life, but this neither solves root issues within us that could be addressed, nor bring us actual peace.

Understanding when an attachment is healthy and when it is unhealthy is in my opinion the most important factor towards inner and outer peace. My benchmark for determining the healthiness of an attachment is this question: Does the attachment do myself or another individual any harm? If the answer is yes, then I take that opportunity to look within and drill down for the actual motivation for the attachment and when it is discovered, it is noted and work can begin to heal it.

Next up: Spotting Attachments so you can release towards peace.

 

Zen This!?!!

A few days ago, when we had  the umpteenth April snowstorm, to say that that I was cranky about yet one more long commute on less than safe roads with the thousands and thousands of other commuters, is an understatement.  My darling husband tried to pull me from my funk.  He made me my breakfast juice and tried his hardest to make me smile about the snow.  It didn’t work.  And so, as I pulled on my coat and my gloves, his last hurrah was to tell me to “try to find the zen in the drive.  Look for the beauty in the surroundings.  And enjoy your drive!”

Ahem.  I would like it noted that I did not throw anything at him.

He clearly had not heard how tired of the snow I was.  He clearly did not know the darkness in my heart and the sheer wrath and frustration with the weather.  He CLEARLY did not know the whole story!!!!  And if I’d had the time, I surely would have cleared all of this up for him.  But I didn’t, so I chewed on his advice, and I was chewing with my mouth open.  An angry “zen this!” was all that repeated in my head……

About an hour into my commute (which is usually 25 to 35 minutes), I found the zen.  It was pretty, all that white snow covering all the tired winter’s muck. The DJ’s on the radio were trying extra hard to be entertaining.  And traffic was moving so slowly that I did not see one accident.

At the two hour mark, I’d lost the zen.

I could have kept my less than stellar mindset from you and let you believe that I’m pretty good at listening and following higher calls, but that’s not always the case.  I’m pretty good at listening and recognizing a higher call, but sometimes my response stays in the lower arena.

There were two things that came to mind as I processed my experience:  1.) Most of the time, we do recognize when we’re stuck in our story.  We know we’re not behaving in the manner we’d be proud of, but we’re so stuck that we just can’t get out of our own way.  And, 2.)  those who call us to step up higher are annoying.

Is there anything more annoying then when you’re having a tough day or dealing with a tough situation and someone says to “Smile! It’s not that bad.”  Really, because the last time I checked, you were not in my head.  Sometimes you do need time to process stuff on your own time.  Sometimes you do need to stomp, pout and get angry — just to get it out of your system.  And sometimes you need someone to invite you to step up to a higher perspective.

I recognize that John wasn’t telling me to find the zen just to annoy me.  But it did.  We were able to laugh about it later that day when I told him about my “zen this” thoughts.  We have that relationship where we feel safe enough to encourage and challenge each other.  But it doesn’t make hearing those call outs any easier.

I will tell you that the rest of the week, I’ve been very aware of any “suffering” I’ve been doing.  I’ve been looking for those zen moments.  And when I seek, I find.

I’m sitting here in my house with the doors open and sun streaming in.  The cat is in the window soaking up the sunbeam and the dog wants to be outside investigating.  It’s peaceful in my heart.

It may have taken a few days …. but the zen is here.

Einstein’s Flow

Copyright John  G HarrisAlbert Einstein once said “Nothing happens in the Universe until something moves.”  The Laws governing abundant flow in our lives are very much aligned with that principle. For flow to occur in our lives, we must allow flow and an easy first step is to initiate the flow with an outgoing gift.

Anonymous Giving

Spiritual teachings of many cultures emphasis the importance of giving in an anonymous way. Anonymous giving, or what is sometimes called “Righteous Giving” in Christian teachings or “Perfection of Giving” in Buddhism is a form of flow with no strings attached – no expectations of reciprocation and free of wrong motivation. If we expect reciprocation, is it truly a gift? If we expect to be honored for the giving we are feeding ego and thus not giving in the highest intention. If you are looking for status or prestige, check your motivations.

Matthew 6:1-4, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Sufi sheikh Kabir Helminski states: “The Prophet Muhammad said, ‘the best of my people will enter paradise not because of their achievements, but because of the Mercy of God and their being satisfied with little for themselves and their extreme generosity toward others.’ “

Detachment

We give it with the highest intentions and completely let it go.  If we hold expectations on the gift, in a way we are still attaching ourselves to it, have we really given it away?  By releasing attachments and expectations we are allowing Divine Spirit to lift the end results to higher levels than we could ever anticipate.  Attaching expectation is a “My way or the highway” mentality, and who are we to judge what the recipients best interests really are? They know their life needs better than we do and certainly so does the Divine.
You may find it helpful to say a little prayer of intention and release as you give.

“Diving Loving Spirit, I am eternally grateful for the abundant flow of good in my life and the opportunity to share the good with others.  I release this gift into your Loving Guidance knowing that the highest and best possible outcome is unfolding right here, right now.  For this I say thank you God. Amen!”

To be in the flow it is vital to be open to the many ways you can receive.   Being in the receiving position of flow shows up many ways you may not have previously viewed as Divine Flow. When that co-worker offers to buy you lunch, accept it!  Someone offers to pay you for gas in exchange for a ride, accept it.  When we refuse these gifts we are creating two powerful blocks to flow:

  1. We prevent the other person from experiencing their highest potential for flow.
  2. We are telling consciousness that we don’t want flow in our lives.

By limiting others giving to us, we stand directly in the way of their choice to be fully in the flow.  They want to give and we are taking that away from them. Accepting their gift is not placing a burden on them, but rather providing them with joy.  If you are triggered by receiving, change your mind. If not for yourself, at least do it for them.

Once we open to receive, greater things will come to our attention.  Not because new things are there – the abundant flow has been there all along, but because we have begun the process of aligning our consciousness with flow. We awaken to see now what we did not see before.  By refusing to receive we tell our consciousness that we choose to step out of the flow – that we no longer wish to see the abundance of good that is always present, just waiting for us to open our hands and arms to receive.

Here is a wonderful metaphor that exemplifies the power of shifting awareness:

Driving home from the auto dealer you become amazed at just how many of the same model of car there are on the roads. They seem to be everywhere and you wonder why you had not noticed them before.  As you ponder this you pull onto your street and discover that the family two doors down has one in their driveway and it’s been there all along.

If you drive, the chances are very good you have experienced something very close to the example. This is shifted awareness. Now that you are consciously alert to the model of the car, you see them where you had not seen them before.  This is just the way our minds work. Seeing opportunities in life such as flow is no different.  Change your mind, change your life.

If you are ready to see greater good in your life, actively start the ball rolling. Move something in the universe and be open to receive.

Some simple anonymous gifts:

An envelope with some cash or a gift card mailed to a family experiencing lack with a nice unsigned note.
Donation / Tithe to a spiritual center that spiritually feeds you or someone you know.
The Starbucks Effect: Pay for the coffee or meal of the person in the drive-through behind you.
Visit department stores and offer to pay towards the lay-away of needy families. The clerks will often have an idea of who might be the most ready to receive.

Share your ideas for conscious and anonymous giving in your comments below!

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional

wpid-wp-1365963486013I believe Buddha is usually attributed to this quote.  It doesn’t really matter but we’ll give the Buddhists the applause for having such clarity around suffering.

When you were a child and you touched the stove that you’d been warned not to touch, the resulting pain marked a moment that you may have forgotten about but created a lesson you will not forget. In that split second, you learned something to keep you safe — that stoves are hot and to pay attention when you are around them. (And, maybe, to listen to those voices around you when they call out warnings?  Ah, but that’s another post.)

And yet, while we all know that things cooked on a stove or in an oven are scorching hot, who among us has not reached for the piping hot pan at least once?  Even though you learned the lesson at an early age?  Hmm…….

What’s the difference then in the experience?  Is the pain any different now than from the first time you burned your finger?

Probably not. But I imagine, if you were like me, you suffered that first burn.  You cried. You sought help.  You cried some more. You got some cream and a band aid (and maybe a kiss). You showed the blister to your friends. You told them your horrible tale.  You popped the blister, picked the scab and retold the story. You may have found some sympathetic listeners or others who had similar experiences but in the quiet of the night, when that burn ached, you remembered how you did something you were not supposed to do and now you’re paying for it.

Now move forward in time to the last time you burned yourself……  other than an “Ouch!” did you suffer it? Our son trained to be a chef. He once burned his hand so badly that I was really concerned about him. He however, was unconcerned. It was just another burn he treated and his life moved on.

Interesting, isn’t it?  Perspective, life experience and coping tools change the very same pain from one that we suffer to one that is a minor blip in our life.

So, is there a pain in your life that you are suffering? Is it the first time you’ve felt this pain or is this one you’ve been dragging around for a while? Have you sought help and tools to aid its healing? Or are you telling your tale and taking the punishment over and over and over again?

You have it within you to release the suffering. Stop telling your story. Take steps to heal the pain and move away from those who encourage you to pick the scab. Seek supportive but not co-dependent people to call you out when you are standing in your suffering. Seek the higher call in the situation. Is there something you are supposed to be understanding or is it just an experience from which to draw future wisdom?  You don’t have to understand it right now.  You just need to not get stuck in it.

Living hurts sometimes. It sucks and sometimes it’s all you can do to take the next step.  But take it. And take another and another.  Choose to acknowledge that it hurts but the hurt is not going to take over your world forever.  Because burns heal.  They leave a mark, but it doesn’t hurt like it did when it first happened.  You don’t have to carry the story anymore.