The Gift of Friendship


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Spiritual friends allow us to experience a deeper part of ourselves through the quality of their love.  Despite our shortcomings they reach out to us lovingly in an unconditional and non-judgmental way.  They provide a comforting environment where we feel the freedom to share our deepest thoughts and dreams.  Their presence brings strength, inspiration and renewal. Let us give thanks for the gift of spiritual friendship.                 Sri Vasudeva

Support Comes from an Integrated State of Being


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“As I think of a new day, I think of staying in this integrated state of being …  aware of every field and holding it in the beautiful light and powerful love and wisdom of my soul. I am aware of the revitalizing energy that comes from my soul to the body, the recharging energy of the navel and its powerful vitality, the love from my heart and its healing power; its power to create harmony in any space, to communicate effectively and to care for my world. And the peace of my soul that comes from a mental state of quiet that expresses unity with the Divine.”

“Today I seek only to be a humble instrument of my Infinite Self in service to my world. I’m in gratitude for all the support … an entire Universe is supporting me. I’m in gratitude.” Sri Vasudeva

Divine Beings Are Models To Show Us The Way


Love is a wonderful path! If you want to become unconditionally loving, and you want to experience this field of limitless love, be inspired by those human beings who show that kind of love, then you know it is attainable! If you associate with those who selflessly love and are unconditionally loving, you begin to feel it within you in a natural way, then you begin to feel its possibility and its power.

We say that God is love because love is such a beautiful energy. Love brings unity, it brings harmony and inspiration. When love comes into your field, it is a marvellous energy that enters in. It makes you want to give, to share. It challenges your boundaries and it opens you up to new possibilities.

In the way of the heart we begin by creating an image of love that drives us – the love of God, the love of a Divine being. We begin to hold images of love in our mind to motivate and inspire us. It may seem to be a conditional loving because we are only loving a divine image or divine expression, but that’s only so in the beginning. Sri Vasudeva

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A Priceless Gift For Me


Last time we talked, I was telling you about the practice of the loving look as a priceless gift. This week I’d like to share some of what I experienced with the practice.

When I was already in a loving mood, and I was with someone and all was flowing well , it was very easy to do the practice. So much so that I could easily do it  every time.

I wanted to find a way to go deeper. I found that if I consciously asked myself to delve deeper, to be more loving, to go beyond what I felt before, I became more silent inside. But this silence was … buoyant … like if I was floating on an invisible  wave.

What was very interesting is that even if I was to get into conversation with the person, that sweet underlying feeling was still there. This happened even if I was not physically with the person. In fact I could just be texting them and that beautiful connection would be there.

There were times when I found myself short-tempered and definitely unloving. Instead of beating myself up and fretting about it, whenever I realized what was happening, I just tried to become loving. I was not able to be as loving as when all was flowing smoothly, but I found the practice of coming back over and over again to a loving space to be very refreshing. No matter how many times I slipped away from that feeling, I resolved to keep the focus and attention on coming back to the space. I would say a prayer and that would start to bring me back.

I prayed for help to be in a better mood. I prayed for blessings to the space and to all in it. I prayed for those who may have slipped too, and may be in a bad mood, that together we may be uplifted.

In order to keep the practice going, I had to accept that all the time the feeling wouldn’t be the same. I told myself it’s just like a recipe, every time you make that meal, it won’t taste the same.

I noticed recently that I could do the practice with myself. Whenever I look at my reflection I tried to send a loving look. This one needs more practice. So I’ll stick with it for the time being. What would it be like to pray for myself every time I looked in the mirror? Hmm a priceless gift to myself. Want to try it with me?

Priceless Gift Giving


Are you busy shopping for Christmas gifts? Perhaps you are thinking about what gifts you want to receive. Or may be you are pre-occupied with the gifts you want to give. In the spirit of the season I thought you might like some suggestions for Christmas giving. What’s your budget like? How about some priceless gifts?

Have you ever thought about how you look? No, I don’t mean your physical appearance. I mean what you transmit through your eyes. When you look at a person, when you look at an object, when you look at a place; what kind of energy do you send out through your look? In the rush to tick off what is on your to do list what’s the ‘vibe’ around you?

As you know, I’ve been reading through my journals and I came across this little nugget. In my journal I recorded a special conversation. A friend came to me and said, “Please bless me with your look.” What a very strange request!  First of all I never thought of myself as capable of blessing another. I didn’t know where to start!

And another thing if it is possible to bless with a look, what kind of looks have I been giving all along? Well you can imagine this gave me pause on many levels.

Every gift giving starts with a loving intention, not so? Upon reflection I concluded a blessing could be a loving intention. May be my friend was asking me to radiate a loving intention through my eyes. I couldn’t be sure what was coming through my eyes so I added a brief pray. I prayed for good health for my friend, for greater spiritual awakening, for the awareness of ever-present support. It’s different looking at someone while having a pray in the mind. It’s hard to explain, try it you will see what I mean.

This was an amazing gift I got from my friend, the awareness that I could consciously use a look to uplift. It’s a gift that revealed more layers, the more I practiced it.  Naturally the prayers have changed over time with my growth and experience and awareness of the other.

I am so happy to find this little practice, to brush it off and to find myself motivated to explore it once more. As I go about my duties today, I am going to be more conscious of sending out vibrations of love through my eyes, to the people I meet, to the plants and animals in my environment, to the places I find myself in, and to the objects around me.

Will you join me in the quest to learn more about what it means to bless with a look? I’d love to hear about your discoveries. A lovely gift to our world don’t you think?

Grace Expressing Itself As Critical Feedback


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I love working together in teams. I look to nature for inspiration on how it could be done harmoniously, how each part can play it’s role, adjusting when needed, always staying in peace.

Often an important part of my role involves receiving critical comments on my  work. When I look at this from an expanded point of view I can see this situation as life itself providing me with tips on how to grow. This view evokes an excited, engaged, optimistic response in me. However if I narrow my focus I might be mistaken in thinking that my team mates don’t like me and I might get upset creating a very stressful situation for all concerned.

I have a plan that I implement whenever I am in this type of situation. I’ve learned to use this wonderful feedback situation to draw attention to weak areas in myself and my way of working, and to invite critical comments. In this way I can consciously enter into the process and make the most of it.

With some of the feedback I can shift my inner stance in the moment, often because I had wrestled with the same point long before this session. So the feedback feels like a little nudge, small fine tuning in my approach. I can adopt it very readily.

Some feedback is harder to grasp in the moment, and these are usually when light is shed on a blind spot. I can recognize these cases readily as they cause stress in me. I sometimes start defending my actions, fooling myself into thinking that if I could explain myself properly the others would come to my side. This attitude brings contraction in me and sometimes could cause polarizing of the group as other members join in the attitude of defending.

A much more productive approach is to focus my attention to listen carefully to what is being said, to observe my reactions, even my resistance, to gather as much information as possible in the situation, seeing all information like vital clues to help me to improve.. Then to take some time to gear myself up before examining the situation. I find that when blind spots come to light, I feel some shock and sometimes aversion to accepting that this has been going on inside me. If I’m not careful I can go into  self-reproach which can lead to feelings of depression.

I give myself time to become ready to take a close look at this challenging new information. My readying process involves engaging in nourishing activities that bring me into the strongest possible place inside.  This might be exercising, spending time with nature, listening to music or meditating. At some point I can feel the prompt inside to look  at the feedback I got. I don’t expect myself to fully understand the feedback or to be able to make all the changes needed in a very short time. I see it as a long-term project with many layers that will reveal themselves with time and as I grow in wisdom.

I start slowly by looking for a very small simple step that I could take in the short-term. The successful completion of this step creates some energy for me to take a bigger step and so the road starts to open up for me to really make progress on my path. I start to feel optimistic about dealing with this feedback. There is a growing momentum that helps me to tackle tougher areas.

It is in the very nature of learning that I will have some missteps. I’m expecting them. They will tell me how to refine my process. It doesn’t mean I’m falling behind. I take a wider view and I give myself a lot of encouragement so that I can recognize the lessons that I’m getting. I see myself as a co-creator  in my evolution.

Then there will come a time when I will take a rest from the issue. Life itself seems to conspire with me to allow this break. The issue doesn’t appear in my relationships. I don’t misinterpret this signal to mean that the issue is totally cleared up. I have made some progress and it is a good thing to shift my attention to other areas. It is like taking a vacation in between semesters when we were at school. Because we’re on vacation it doesn’t mean we’ve completed our study, we’re just on a break.

After a time the issue will rise again so that I can continue to the next stage where I can take bigger steps. It’s like starting a new semester, moving on to new levels of learning, new curriculum. There are several stages in the process just like kindergarten, primary school, high school and university. You see I take a wider view of my learning process.

For my plan to work well I move constantly to and fro from a narrow focus to a more expanded view. This plan is very versatile. I use it not only when I receive critical feedback from people, but also when I am challenged, because I view that as my world giving me feedback. It helps me grapple with new ideas, concepts, new ways of thinking. It helps me to manage my emotional reactions. Ultimately it takes me to a more interesting place inside myself,  a place where I can better enjoy life. I see critical feedback as grace from the universe, as a helping hand in my evolution.

I hope you too find the narrowing and the expanding of the focus brings you new approaches in your growth process.

 

Life lessons from two warriors


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I found many lessons in the story of the Two Warriors. Lets talk about the warrior who walked away because of the anger that arose in him when he was spat on. In a sense he won because he was able to observe the level of anger in him, he was able to make a conscious decision about what action to take based on the awareness of what was happening to him and his ability to change that anger. He had to make a choice between winning the battle or honoring the code of the warrior since he wasn’t able to do both in the moment. He decided that keeping his honor was more important, he chose to let the enemy go.

What is the impact of letting the enemy go? Well the second warrior was an enemy for some reason, his actions were detrimental in some way otherwise they would not have been engaged in mortal battle in the first place. In walking away the warrior was aware that not only himself but also his clan will continue to be attacked by the enemy, and so they will need to keep their defenses strong until another opportunity presents itself when they could fight again.

So too when I am caught up in anger. When I told my yoga teacher about my difficulties with my mother I saw that the story of the two warriors was a window to look through so I could get another perspective. If I was caught up in anger and couldn’t change it in the moment I have the choice to walk away knowing that we would need to have that conversation another time and I would have to wait for the right moment. Just like those two warriors will have to find another time to complete their battle. In the mean time there would be unpleasant feelings between my mother and I, added to that the issue remains unresolved between us and we would suffer the consequences of that. When I don’t understand another I am missing a vital point of view, my perceptions would be skewed and would affect not only my mother but also other relationships.

Now this warrior in walking away kept his code of honor, his principles remained intact and this he valued highly.  He acted in an honorable way, he kept his self-respect and he upheld the code of conduct of all warriors. Can you imagine what would have happened if he didn’t honor this code? In breaking the code he would have weakened his community. So walking away was a very simple yet extremely powerful action. I had to ask myself what were my principles and would I be prepared to live up to them the way this warrior did.

This way of processing could be source of great stress for some but for me it provides tremendous motivation to deal with my anger. Stress can bring about muddled thinking or that same adrenaline can be channeled into more strategic thinking. In the same way that warrior will have to make detailed plans of how he could conquer his enemy so too I have to make detailed plans for how to conquer my negative patterns. As my mind became engaged in contemplation of the story I noticed that my emotional side became more stable.

There were also interesting lessons to learn from the warrior who did the spitting. In the moment he must have been centered in the core of his being. He was lying on the ground apparently defenseless without his sword but he was able to use the power of his mind, his training, his instinct. Despite the danger of losing his life he was able to think strategically. He was able to come up with a viable solution to his problem. He saved his life in such a simple way.

I learned that being more centered in that consciousness space was the answer. I too could find simple solutions to conundrums in my life. I have the same ability to tap into that same wisdom field. I also learned that when I am sincerely searching the hand of grace is open to me. I had a choice in how I acted when I recognized my anger. I could have continued fuming, blaming my mother inside myself and in fact I had done that but that road was so unpleasant that it drove me to find another way of being. Also I had a choice in the help that was offered to me by my yoga teacher. It took a lot of contemplation to see the other possibilities, the treasure under the surface of the story.

Every time I contemplate this story I find new lessons so it has remained ever fresh in my mind and continues to inspire me. You may find different lessons and I would be very interested to hear them. I hope you too recognize and take the hand of grace that will be held out to you today. That grace may come in unexpected ways you never know what treasures lie in wait for you. Exciting isn’t it?

 

Two warriors and anger


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Transforming anger has been a life long pursuit for me. Today I’d like to share a story that I heard from my yoga teacher about twenty-five years ago. I still find it inspiring. Now it’s quite likely that I’m not remembering it accurately. The story originated from spiritual scripture but I haven’t been able to find it. If you know this story I’d love to hear from you.

I went to my teacher because I really wanted to change my anger response to my mother. Now looking back on it I realize that youth often responds with impatience and irritation to parents, as the fluctuating hormones in the body have such a powerful influence. At that time I was so upset with myself to observe those unpleasant emotions arising in me and even though I was trying so hard in the moment I couldn’t shift to a more loving space inside myself. Of course in other times I could feel great love and admiration for my mother and I just couldn’t stand these horrible emotions contaminating our relationship.

Now I was not expecting a story from him. I thought he would give me some yoga postures to practice. Well come to think of it, he gave me an inner posture :).

This story is about two ancient warriors who adhered to an extraordinary code of conduct. They were both born in, and trained under this tradition, so they both followed the same guidelines of honor. One day they were engaged in fierce battle against each other. The fighting had been going on for hours as each tried to get the better of the other. Suddenly with one powerful thrust one warrior was able to fling away the sword of the other. Now one combatant was on the ground, defenseless and the other one held him captive with his sword at the ready to take his head off. The tension was high. Would this be the moment a life would be lost?

After a long moment, the warrior on the ground spat into the face of his opponent who was standing over him. The one with the sword then walked away. What happened here? What explains this behavior of the swordsman who was almost victorious? Why did he walk away when he seemed to have everything on his side and he was on the brink of success?

The explanation lies in their code of conduct. Even though their life was spent on the battle field, they were not allowed to kill in anger. When that swordsman felt the spittle hit his face anger arose in him. In that moment he was not able to master that anger and so to keep his honor intact he walked away.

An amazing story don’t you think? You can see why it has stayed fresh in my memory all these years. I see the choice open to me to walk away from a situation if I cannot control my anger, but also to see the price that I pay in walking away. So there is tremendous motivation in me to try to deal with this very powerful emotion.

I hope you too found the story thought provoking.

 

Being open when challenged with anger


In the past two days we’ve discussed the practice of being open. Today I want to consider how to engage in this practice when  challenged. You see in the heat of the moment I believe and my experience bears it out, that if we have a plan then we’re more able to recall some  aspect of that plan and we are better able to deal with the situation.

Last week I was with someone who came to me with the powerful energy of anger. I observed different options rising up in my consciousness. The one that is most ingrained is the defensive response. If I follow that option then I begin to feel attacked and overwhelmed. How does it play out? Well I start to give all kinds of reasons to the person about why I am not responsible or about why they shouldn’t be angry with me. I find this way of dealing with the situation hardly ever works, yet I act in this illogical way over and over again. The anger sweeps logic away in that person. In the past after such an experience I feel a flood of emotions first great anger which degenerates to depression.

But last week was different. I’ve been very much taken with the practice of observing so it’s no surprise that I could see more in the situation. As I listened to this very angry person I could see the effect of the emotion on her body. I could see the tension in the face and in the way whole body was held. I could see the contracted pattern of thinking, little openness, holding on to fixed ideas. I could see the power of the emotion, the driving force of it.

In the moment I thought I am just like this person. If I allow anger to rise up in me I will be in the same place as this person. As I looked at her I thought, “do I want to subject my body and mind to this condition? Do I want to catch this emotion of anger?” In the same way that I can catch emotion from her, she can catch emotion from me. I thought to myself, if I was in her shoes, and I have experienced such anger so I know from personal experience that she is not enjoying her space and she wants to come out of it but she is caught up in it. I know how awful it is to be caught up. We are sisters in spirit, with so much shared experiences. This train of thinking brought me into such a wonderful space of love and compassion for the other. Mean while her anger was spent. We began to dialogue and to explore solutions.

What I will take away from the situation was that observing myself puts the power of response in my hands. I also want to remember the wonderful feeling in moving from individual defensive thinking to a more expansive, embracing mode where I related to the other person as myself.

Please share your victory stories in dealing with anger or any other strong emotion.

Being open to evolve


In yesterday’s post I was exploring the practice of keeping an attitude of “maybe”. While it is possible to follow a more open road with that attitude I saw a little trap there. I could project negative thoughts onto others. I could begin to think I could read someone’s mind and intentions and react without checking with them to see what they are actually thinking. I may even believe I know or I can predict how someone or how a situation might unfold. I could begin to believe in “maybes” that are unpleasant, intimidating, contracting. Do you ever see yourself doing that? So I will catch myself when I start playing the role of fortune-teller 🙂

What I mean is, to keep open I notice I have to lightly hold  the possibilities that arise in my mind leaving a lot of room for other possibilities to show themselves.  I’m wondering how I could test if I am actually doing that.

Here is one possible way. I observe that when I have an idea and I share it with someone, I am open when I value the response the other makes. I’m open if my idea evolves. But if at the end of the day I’m telling myself the same story, in the same words then I need to have a second look at how much attention I paid to the signals, to the guidance from the wisdom field that was coming my way via my conversations with my world. When I say conversations I also include reading, observing nature and all the others ways I pick up information from the world around me.

Even if I am reflecting on my own or discussing with someone an experience from the past, the story of that experience changes if I am really in the now, if I am really open. If I pay attention I will see the experience with new eyes, after all I am different now in this moment and if I am talking to a friend then theirs is a fresh perspective.

When I am open I feel anticipation, joy, expansive. When I am not open I feel uninspired.

Today I will pay attention to how my ideas evolve during the day and I’ll also pay attention to my feelings. I want to see what new avenues may become apparent and I hope to learn more about staying open. How do new ideas come to you about being open?