Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Physical Pillar Revisited

There are those who believe that if one eats right, sleeps right, meditates regularly and follows the basic spiritual principles, they will have excellent health, reversing any imperfection that has been endured. This belief goes hand in hand with the idea that we will be showered with riches, friends, perfect partners, love on all sides. In short, we will have everything we could possibly want. If this does not happen they assume we are simply not being spiritual enough and suffer at our own hands.

This view is as illogical as it is to assume we can control the weather, or roll back time. The physical world has its laws which we can not set aside. If we have lost a limb, suffer from an incurable disease or have inherited genetic flaws, we can not reverse those things. We can, however, do much to ease the suffering of our bodies and improve our health within those laws. It is counter productive to either sit back and wait for the Creator to change us into our ideal of perfection, or to go to bed with a box of chocolates and wait for the inevitable ending of our lives here on earth. I firmly believe that living is a process and death is an event, merely a crossing back to where we came from.

We can learn to take care of our physical selves and achieve the best health we can. We can avail ourselves of the help that modern medicine can provide. We can adopt a more positive attitude toward our abilities and minimize the impact of our disabilities on our lives. We can insure that we get adequate rest, good nutrition, clean air to breathe, exercise to the best of our abilities, We can focus on what we can do, rather than what we can't. When life hands us a lemon we can make marmalade and sell it to raise money for those things we need to make our lives more productive.

A positive attitude will go farther to improve our physical state than almost anything else we can do. There is always something we can do to improve our quality of life. We can be open to experience the joy and wonder that surrounds us, often in the simplest things. It is not enough to merely look, we must See. Meditation will help us to bring our lives into harmony with the Creator and with the world around us. It also reduces stress and allows the body to renew and rejuvenate to a greater degree.

Even without obvious disabilities, we need to scrutinize our lives and correct those things which may lead to poor health or future medical problems. The body is the temple of the soul and as such deserves all the respect and help it can get to be it's very best. We should not go around judging the merits of this temple or that church or the other mosque or synagogue. We simply respect what is ours and show respect and tolerance toward others. This applies to the body as well. It is counter productive to measure ourselves against others and see ourselves as superior or inferior. We are all unique and we need to be the best unique individual we can be.

Time spent improving our health will bring many benefits into our lives, and meditation is a tool that can help us to achieve more.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cause and Effect

When we speak of control, we are referring to "self" control. Much of what happens to us is not under our conscious control. However, we can always be in control of our reaction to it. Many do not understand that we have this ability, and feel that they are cast adrift in a mighty storm, able only to try to hold on until the storm abates.

In one sense, what occurs in our lives is brought about by our own actions. "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". "As we sow, so shall we reap," even "the golden rule" all allude to this truth. We do bring into our lives that which we need to further our growth and understanding. Since we often don't notice this, we miss opportunities to change our ways, feeling instead that life has been unfair to us. This causes the same event to present repeatedly until we come to understand what we are doing that causes it.

I once expressed sympathy for a woman in a nursing home who was celebrating her 100th birthday alone. My friend responded that if she had been a kind and generous woman through her life, she would not be alone on such a momentous occasion. This did not relieve my pity for the woman, but it certainly gave me cause to think. Another friend had a different view, which I also found compelling. He suggested that at that age, she may not have many friends left and family may be scattered across the globe. With age comes reduced mobility and the ability to participate in daily life. Our society values youth and energy. This has often resulted in our ignoring our crones and elders, not realizing how much wisdom they have acquired over their long lives.

Many, if not all, of the basic truths we seek in life have already been distilled down into such familiar homilies. We just don't notice them while searching for an obscure, difficult path to enlightenment. Instead, we search for the ultimate guru, the most obscure path laid down by someone long dead, or at least totally unfamiliar to us.

Meditation helps us to go within ourselves and find these basic truths, bringing our lives into harmony inside and out.

Monday, October 22, 2007

What's In A Name

With the popularity of “New Age” thinking and the internet, there has been a great deal of confusion. The old words have taken on new meanings, for example Avatar referred to an enlightened being in human form (The Buddha) but is now refers to an icon or animation used to represent a participant used in Internet chat and games. A spiritual person was one who pursued a way of life in accordance with the highest principles and morals, in a search for greater understanding of the mysteries of life. Now, the word is used to denote those who talk to the spirits of dead people, conduct séances, and such.

In the minds of many, religion and spirituality are synonymous. When discussing the role of spirituality in political leaders, we invite argument if we do not first define the terms we are using in clear and concise terms. A recent group discussion made that abundantly clear. The discussion centered around the role of religion in government, when the topic was actually the role of spirituality in those who govern. After some clarification we discovered we were all in agreement that we believe our secular leaders should hold spiritual ideals (in accordance with the highest principles and morals) which transcends different religions and formalized codes of belief. Religions, by their very nature are human interpretations of the will of The Creator. The basic moral structure has been set down long ago and was meant to help us live in harmony with each other across barriers of language, race, religion and politics.
This all caused me to start thinking about the need to bring the spiritual and physical into harmony, to strive for a common spiritual code that inevitably links us all.
Having Journeyed for a long time, I have come to a number of realizations, one of which I quote regularly. There are many paths up the mountain, all lead to the same place...the top. As the various paths converge, the physical, human trappings fall away and we discover that we are all brothers under the skin. Anyone on a spiritual path of discovery will find that they share the same goals and aims as others who are searching for enlightenment. This dissolves the perceived barriers between "good people" regardless of the vehicle that has brought them to their present realizations.
Many years of examining the wider paths up the mountain has convinced me that when these paths are put under the microscope, they share the same goals, the same spiritual truths. The only caveat is that there are false trails out there that can trick a seeker into believing that they are following a true spiritual leader. We must all examine the truths we find to ensure that they are actually truths. When we find a truth, we must listen to our inner self. That self knows all and if we listen to it, we will not go wrong. Meditation can put us in touch with the inner self if we so desire.
We each have our own path to follow, and must take responsibility for following it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Leaping Into The Unknown

Each time we reach a new plateau of knowledge and understanding, we must get there by leaping into the unknown. This leap can be downright terrifying, but if we shy away from the precipice, the doorway we can not see beyond, the result is often stagnation and at times, even madness, as we deny the very growth we work so hard to achieve. Once committed to the path, we have only the choice to proceed or to dally, with the attendant consequences. We must face this challenge over and over again as we approach each new leap forward in understanding, acceptance, growth.

We approach a doorway into more light, but are afraid to walk through. We stand there, hesitating, afraid to go in, afraid to go back, afraid....Another way to picture it is standing on the precipice, working up the nerve to jump, trusting that all will be well and will be as it is meant to be. I believe that each crisis we reach and pass, makes us stronger, more willing to take that leap of faith.

Courage is not the absence of fear; it is acting in spite of it. Walking the path takes true courage. I have found that the only real enemy is fear itself. If we can act in the face of fear, we can walk our path with confidence.

Balance-The Spiritual Pillar-Meditation

One of the tools used to integrate and stabilize the platform of our lives is meditation. It helps us to integrate all four pillars into a cohesive whole, and gives us glimpses of what we are seeking.

As we research and meditate, questions will arise; this is the beginning of Awakening. As we find our questions we can begin to search for our answers. The answers are all within us, but we need to rediscover them, rather like seeing them reflected in a mirror. When we have a question, and find the answer, we will know it is the right answer as it will resonate within. We will be sure of it, there will be no doubt in our minds that it is a truth.

As we begin this process of developing the Spiritual Pillar, we can become so engrossed in the process that we often neglect the other pillars. When that happens, the imbalance will often be reflected in the Physical Pillar. We may become ill or suffer from lack of sleep, or even become emotionally unbalanced. This is the way our physical selves have of attracting our attention. It is necessary to always be aware that balance is not a static thing. It is achievable only in short periods, like a pendulum which swings through the balance point repeatedly. The better we get at paying attention to all facets of our lives, the more frequent and longer the periods of balance will be.

And so begins another circuit around the upward spiral of Becoming

Balance-The Spiritual Pillar Part 2

The three pillars of balance that are firmly rooted in this world are the physical, mental and emotional. The spiritual pillar is our connection to the eternal soul, the All That Is, the inner self that resides in the temple of the body. The Ego is the caretaker of the temple and has existence only through the mind and emotions of this life. Because we have forgotten what we really are, the Ego assumes that it is the owner, and not just the caretaker.

When we seek to remember our higher self, to reconnect consciously with the All, the Ego feels threatened and becomes fearful that it will be cast aside. Two small items that I previously posted deal with both the Caretaker and the Space Suit that is this physical self. They are reposted below.

The Caretaker

The body is the temple of the soul, the ego is the caretaker of the temple. The ego, poorly trained for the job, believes he is the owner of the property, and in the absence of the true owner, uses and abuses his trust. But he can not really be held accountable because of his immaturity and incomplete training for the job.

Like a child, he must be corrected gently, but firmly, and properly taught his duties. Sometimes, like a hyperactive and wayward child, he is unwilling to accept authority, and relinquish his faulty conception of his role.

Anger and self-pity are the tools he uses to block out his master’s voice and avoid hearing the truth. Like a child, his fear of the unknown can slow his progress.

I can’t help but feel that children who are born angry are at this particular stage of soul development. The ego’s false sense of importance is the cause of much human woe. Lose it and one becomes invulnerable.

The Space Suit

On the moon, man cannot function but within the controlled environment of his space suit. He cannot interact directly with the moon around him. On this earth, man cannot function but within the controlled environment of his body and brain. He must strive mightily in order to consciously realize his greater self, using the tools provided in the physical body.

Lifetimes lived within this space suit of the physical creates fear to venture forth into the unknown without the familiar. Even the daring are most often content to psychically duplicate the familiar and experience what is termed projection. Few are the brave souls who venture forth into the expanded awareness that is ours by virtue of the soul’s heritage.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Balance-The Spiritual Pillar

This body, this mind, this heart, this physical presence is the temple in which the spirit resides and deserves to be loved, respected and cherished. Until the temple receives the attention it needs, we can not begin to search for the questions we need to ask in order to find our proper path and begin the Journey meant for this lifetime.

Once the physical, mental and emotional pillars are brought into balance with each other, the fact that we are searching for something we can not yet name becomes much clearer. Who am I? What am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose in life? What lies before and after this life? So many questions. Where to start to search? At this point, learning to meditate may be the best tool for searching for meaning. It certainly was for me. Again there are good books available on meditation techniques as well as a great deal of information on the internet,. The challenge is to find the best meditation techniques for each individual. What works for one will not necessarily work for another.

Each of us has a unique path to follow, individual goals to achieve, a Journey similar to, but different from all others. We begin in different places. We have different questions to ask and answers to find. We may search in the company of others with similar goals or we may find ourselves in situations where we must walk a solitary path. At different times we may experience both companionship and solitude.

When we reach this point in our Journey, the beginning of consciously walking our unique path, finding our questions, then searching for our answers, we often get so involved in the excitement of finding purpose, we often forget to continue to be aware of the need for balance. The other pillars may well be neglected to the point that we experience great turbulence in our lives. When that happens, it is necessary to stop and re-examiner all of the pillars that support our lives.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Balance-The Importance of Play

Somewhere along the way we have forgotten the importance of play, laughter and joy. We forgot to see the humorous side of life, the silver linings, the stolen moments, Instead, we see the negative, the clouds, the lost time., the plans gone awry.

Without joy, life becomes a chore, something to be endured instead of something to be reveled in. When was the last time you took a mental health day, gave yourself permission to run away and keep going until the peanut butter sandwiches run out?

When my daughter was young, even though I worked full time, we would take run away days and go for a drive, or to a fast food joint or walk on the beach. Whenever possible, she would meet me for lunch and we would go to a grown-up restaurant. One of my fondest memories is taking a roll of caps for a cap gun and a hammer and sitting on the walkway, exploding them one at a time. You must realize that she was in her teens at the time.

Because she grew up with the idea that it was OK to play to fritter away time, she is still able to do so. It has caused her a couple of embarrassing moments, like playing in the sand pile with her dinky car collection when a car drove up her driveway looking for directions. She was married at the time. But even those memories are treasures.

We still pack a picnic, a cooler and go to the end of the driveway and pick a direction. It is surprising how many wonderful places you can find that way. Sometimes we stop at all the yard sales, sometimes the discount stores, sometimes the zoo and sometime a grocery store and a picnic park. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is the playing together.

Our approach to life and the use of time can often mean the difference between a harried, driven workaholic and a well-adjusted, productive individual. Playing exercises the body, mind and spirit. Don’t forget to play and when plans go awry through no fault of your own, remember that it can mean lost time or stolen moments, the choice is yours.