Tag Archives: Meditation

AWAKENING TO LOVE THE SILENCE

“Keep silent, because the world of silence is a vast fullness.”  Rumi

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Do you enjoy the silence or does it make you uncomfortable?  Do you avoid silence or embrace it?  What have you learned from the silence in your life?

What Is Silence?

We often think of silence as the absence of something: the absence of noise or conversation or the space between actions, but Rumi suggests it is much more than that.  When I think of the silence in my childhood, I remember the many days when I lay in bed ill.  I did listen to the radio sometimes, but often I read or drew paper doll dresses, or watched the birds or our pregnant cat trying to balance on the thin branches of the chinaberry tree.  For me, silence was creative or thoughtful time.  I had a lot of time to think about life at a young age.

At that time in my life, I rarely felt lonely in the silence because my mother or grandmother was always in the next room.  It was only later as an adult after a divorce or losing a friend that the silence became a lonely place.  Of course, as an introvert, I always needed some silence for rejuvenation, but for years, I experienced had mixed feelings about silence.

Silence Can Stimulate Creativity

At times, when silence appeared, I welcomed it, especially when I was a high school teacher.  It was such a relief, for a little while, to be away from the noise of a classroom full of spirited teenagers, and have the space and time to do my own thinking.  Silence was creative time too, and out of that silence arose poems, essays, and dances.  When I needed to think or plan, I welcomed the silence and lack of distractions so I could focus on the task at hand.

Silence May Create Discomfort

However, when I had nothing to do, I often felt uncomfortable with the silence, like something was missing.  I was uncomfortable doing nothing.  Only when I was near Nature did the silence feel comfortable.  But living in a city for years surrounded by noise, rarely walking through the forest as I did as a child, I lost touch with what I had valued so much in childhood.

It wasn’t until I started to meditate that I began to love the silence again.  At first my monkey mind seemed impossible to still, but with time, the practice worked and led me to other spiritual practices that improved my life, like learning to release my fear and envisioning what I wanted to manifest.  They all had one thing in common – I had to sit in the silence and find the silence within in order for a change to occur.

Silence Is A Way To Go Deeper and Love Oneself

In the silence, I found a deep peace simply by being there.  I let go of my need to always be doing.  I began to experience just being, and let go of any judgments my ego tried to create to distract me.  In the silence, I became more connected to Spirit and the spiritual guidance we can all hear only when we are willing to be an open channel.

In the silence, where I did not need to prove anything or do anything, I learned to love myself, for I could feel Spirit’s love for me and knew I was lovable.  Feeling this peaceful love allowed me to let go of all the ways I felt I was inadequate and understand I needed to learn to love others more and release my  judgments of them.

In Silence We Become One With All

Now, I am able to experience all the richness of silence without any discomfort.  Sitting in the silence gives me the same pleasure as soaking in a warm bath. When my life becomes too busy, I long for the silence, especially the silence of not thinking.  In the silence, the interruption of bird songs, breezes, sweet thoughts, physical relaxation, and the release of whatever I do not need at that moment all heal the rough edges of my soul, and they remind me that what is out there in the world pressuring me is not what is important.

What is important is that I remember I am One with All, and from this place of peace, in the silence, what I need to know will come to me, and what I need to know to heal, will be revealed when it is time to heal.   As Ram Dass says, “The quieter you become, the more you hear.”

What is your experience with silence?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                    ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

RELATED ARTICLES:  Eckhart Tolle – Silence and Stillness (video), Dive Into the Silence Between Your Thoughts, Awakening to Our Wildness, Being Authentic, Part 1,  Quiet Spirituality

DANCING TO THE MUSIC OF YOUR HEART

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”    Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Do you ever feel that you don’t belong? Or that the people around you at work or home don’t understand who you are?  Are you searching for more meaningful experiences with others?

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Is Our Inner Music Positive or Negative?

If you can answer yes, to any of these questions, perhaps you are dancing to the music that others don’t hear. And that’s okay as long as you like the music within. Is it a song of joy and love of life or of depression and sadness?  If you don’t like the song vibrating within you, then it’s time to change it.  If you do like it, then it’s important to just accept you are in a different place than those around you and that’s okay.

It is not surprising that we sometimes feel we are dancing to different music than the people around us.  When we are rooted in Spirit, we often do not share the values of our society at large.  We may try to explain to others who we are, but often they are not ready to hear this, for our different point of view threatens them.  In this situation, we experience discomfort because we feel separate.

But we are the only ones who can release feelings of separation by choosing to raise our vibration.  For example, I have a tendency to sing when I’m drying my hair.  It distracts me from the discomfort I feel holding the much too large hair dryer over my head.  Lately, I’ve been singing “Summertime” from “Porgy and Bess.”  I suppose it’s wishful thinking.  When I finish drying my hair, instead of thinking the usual, “Thank goodness that’s over,” I feel cheerful and in touch with my passion for life.  Throughout my day, I dance to the energetic music I created from the heart.

Awakening to the Highest Response For All

We feel good when we feel One with All that Is.  When we meditate or walk by the seashore, we become One with the beautiful energy of Spirit.  In less peaceful situations, we need to allow that core energy to resonate within us.  We do not need to repress our feelings.  We need to feel them, then go within to take the time to choose a wise response.  We need to ask our inner selves, “What is the highest response for all concerned?”  That response will also be the best response for us as well.  We need to learn to be responsive rather than reactive.

The highest response does not always guarantee that the other person will agree or understand our perspective, but it is an opportunity to influence others.  Oneness says, “Those of you who have chosen to experience your awakening amongst the masses are planting the seeds of that heightened perspective in plain view, right where the world needs them most.  The lives of those you touch, even in passing, or teach by example, as you follow your own inner path in their presence, will be transformed by it.” (Pages192-193) Being different is often a blessing.

As with many things, we may not be present to see that transformation in our adversaries.  It will first be internal and invisible.  It may take place years from now.  We need not become attached to knowing what happens.  This was a lesson I had to learn as a teacher.  Over the years, so many students came through my classroom, and I never knew what influence I had on all of them.  I could only do my best and know that those who needed to learn the nonacademic lessons and were ready to learn, would learn.

Dancing With Others to the Music of Our Hearts

When others can hear the music to which we dance, we are energetically drawn to one another.  The more I concentrate on keeping my own vibration up through dancing and exercise, meditation, good food, mental stimulation, and positive thinking, the more I draw  like-minded people into my life.  After all, we are responsible for the song our heart sings.  Although it may be tempting, betraying the song within in order to connect to what is around us is never wise.

If you continue to dance to the beautiful music within you, others will begin to hear the music of your heart and soul.  Blessings for the New Year.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  Beyond the Beyond (how music and prayer transformed Tina Turner), Heart Chakra Meditation, Conflict Resolution or Heart-Centered Communication

A DANCE OF SPIRITUAL FORGIVENESS

When we have been deeply hurt by someone, especially someone we love, reaching a point where we can truly forgive can be a challenge.  It is easy enough to say we forgive the person, and we often say that because we know that is what good people do.  But to truly feel that forgiveness on an ongoing daily basis, to be unattached to the painful feelings we experienced as a result of another person’s words or actions, we must go much deeper.

Awakening to Detachment as Forgiveness

What often blocks our desire for true forgiveness is the feeling that in order to forgive we must accept the fact that the other person is not to blame for their unkindness.  By saying we forgive them, we feel we are saying that they weren’t responsible for their actions when we know what they chose to do was a free choice.

 Oneness describes those feelings this way: We give “lip service to releasing the blame for a past action.”  It could be ours or someone else’s.  “While in theory this effort appears to be well-directed…it rarely produces the desired result.  The key to completing these patterns is not to forgive the other party their transgression, which keeps the energy polarized, but rather, to release in total detachment, any care one may still be carrying, whatsoever, about the outcome of any drama revolving around that issue.  The gesture then becomes…one of total transcendence of one’s attachment to the outcome.” (Page 62)

Understanding Attachment

So how do we come to this place of harmony and detachment?  I have often found that if I can understand why a person has done what she or he has done and see the situation from his or her point of view, I find it easier to let go of my resentment.  Sometimes that is all I need to know, and I can feel enough compassion to release my anger or hurt.  This may apply when I need to forgive myself as well.  But when the negative energy around an issue is more powerful, releasing my attachment is not so easy.

One of the things we need to remember is that some people come into our lives in order to act as adversaries or “triggers.”  The most infuriating interactions may be the very dramas from which we learn the most significant lessons.  The more powerful these experiences are, the more likely they are to be karmic.  They may be part of the agreements we made prior to coming into this life.  (Oneness, p. 59-61)  These situations are the most challenging to detach.

Being in the Moment Beyond Past and Future Fears

Beyond finding empathy for our adversary’s motivation, we must learn to release the fear that attaches us to the past and the future.  We are often caught up in the fear that what has happened is a repetition of old patterns and we wonder how many more times must we go through this pain.  Or we fear that what has happened is a pattern we cannot break.  As Eckhart Tolle suggests, we are concentrating on the content of the situation.  What will liberate us from our past and future fears and pain is to be in the moment.

When we are truly in the moment, meditating or walking by the shore or through the forest, we are able to experience that beautiful, peaceful energy at our core.  In this place we are beyond the drama and content.  We do not need to label an experience “good” or “bad.”  At this moment, we do not need to understand.  We understand that what is, just is.  When we have practiced this enough, we are able to move back into the situations of our lives without resistance and attachment.  And maybe when the next challenge appears, we will be able to stop, observe what is happening and choose not to lose ourselves in the drama.  As I learned when I studied Science of Mind, forgiveness is not about the person who hurt you, it is about you learning to let go.

What are your greatest challenges with forgiveness?

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  *Eckhart Tolle-Not Reacting to Content (Video), How to Forgive Yourself, Bouncing Back

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PRACTICING THE SPIRITUAL DANCE – FLEXIBILITY

“We learn by practice.  Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same.  One becomes in some area an athlete of God.”  Martha Graham

Flexibility In The Dance Of Life

In life and dance, flexibility is an essential quality.  As we watch a modern or ballet dancer, we are amazed by the infinite variety of shapes through which she or he moves.  For dance, the body must be stretched beyond comfortable limits.  For life, our minds must be stretched as well.

Physical flexibility allows us to move with ease, letting the momentum of the movement carry us through space like a bird in flight riding the updrafts.  But spiritual and mental flexibility helps us to trust that what unfolds is good, even when it is challenging.

Flexibility Raises Conscious

An inflexible mind limits our lives as much as an inflexible body limits the dancer.  Oneness states, “There are no right and wrong choices.  There is simply action and reaction.  And both are intertwined in the eternal dance of life.” (p. 320)  Flexibility allows us to be more conscious, to be able to see what the possible consequences of certain actions may be and then to choose wisely the action we wish to take.

For example, I grew up with the notion that friends were forever.  At least that was the way it was supposed to be.  I still think this is a wonderful idea whenever it is possible to stay connected to the same friends for years.  But I came to realize that in our mobile society this is difficult.  If we are also growing and changing, it is inevitable that we will outgrow the value of some relationships and that they may become so diminished that we each need to move on.

Letting Go With Love

Is it wrong to walk away from people and circumstances that no longer support what is best for us?  If we are to be healthy, whatever and whoever is in our lives must be compatible with our spiritual path or else that energy will be depleting.  Learning to let go with love is just as valuable as being able to welcome what is new with love.  Sometimes letting go simply means thinking differently about a situation. We need the flexibility to make whatever choice is appropriate.

So in life, flexibility allows us to change our mind, see other points of view, and experiment in order to find healthy solutions to problems.  Life becomes an improvisation so that we are open to new possibilities.  It teaches the ego that it doesn’t always need to be right. This is why meditation is so helpful. In the silence, we are able to sense our oneness with all creation.  In this space we are in the flow and we surrender to life, just as the dancer surrenders to the dance, and we become “an athlete of God.”

When has changing your perspective helped you make a better choice? Please comment.

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Readings:  Practicing the Spiritual Dance – Strength

Practicing the Spiritual Dance – Balancing

How Simple Thinking Leads to a Brilliant Mind

MYSTICAL MUSIC FROM SPIRIT

Sunday morning I awoke with the words of a James Taylor song ringing in my head.  “Just shower the people you love with love/Show them the way that you feel/Things are gonna work out fine if you only will….”

Listening For Spiritual Answers

This happens fairly often.  It has probably been happening all my life, but it was only a few years ago that I realized I needed to pay attention to it.  At a spiritual retreat on how to create the life you want, the facilitator told us to notice what song was in our heads when we awakened the next morning.  I don’t remember what song I heard, but it was one that spoke to me.

Sometimes the song in my head is one that I recently sang at a gathering, but sometimes it’s one I haven’t heard for a long time.   Either way it always answers a question that has been gnawing at me.  Regardless of the question, the advice given in Sunday’s song was good advice.  In this case, some anxiety about a couple of people had surfaced, but so slightly that I had not turned inward to ask for guidance.  Despite that, the answer arrived before the question.

I also occasionally hear an answer before I finish asking the question.  Before I noticed this happening and started paying more attention to my inner life, I probably missed many answers. I was negligent about taking the time to listen to my inner guidance.  I was told many times by spiritual counselors or by my own guides that I wasn’t listening.  As I became more aware and consciously tried to slow down, I occasionally asked my inner guidance, “Guides, am I listening better?”  For much too long, the answer was usually “no!”

Staying Connected With Our Inner Life

Functioning in the world at a job or just dealing with daily chores like changing the oil in the car, cooking supper for the family, or taking care of health issues can easily consume our energy and fill our minds.  But what I’ve realized is that I get messages all day to slow down.  When I drop three things in a row, start tripping over furniture or spill a glass of water, perhaps I need to slow down.

When these things start happening, they usually continue until I do stop.  For example, I use two water filters that sit one on top of the other so that I get a result similar to remote osmosis.  One day just before I was expecting a house full of people, I hurriedly filled the top one and quickly placed it on top of the other.  As I rushed from the room to do the next task, a crash and the sound of water flooding the kitchen stopped me.  The top filter had slipped off and fallen to the floor.  Luckily my friend and her husband had arrived early and helped me stem the deluge and mop the floor before other guests arrived.

Being in the Moment

It all comes back to being in the moment.  Only then are we really conscious so that our energy flows in a way that allows us to easily direct it to the task at hand and to open that space where we can actually hear our inner voice advising us.  And sometimes that inner voice may reach us singing in that holy moment each morning just before we realize we’re conscious and our mind presents us with its list of things to do.

I love that moment and always try to sing along.  It’s always good to start the day with a little mystic music, even if you have to make it up.

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

How do you stay in the moment?

Related Readings: Expand Into the Place of Inspired Mind

How Meditation May Change the Mind

BEING THE RIGHT ONE, Part 3, Meditation

Using Meditation to Find Your Inner Self

In order to be “the right one”, rather than looking for completion outside ourselves, we must be in touch with our inner selves.  However, during most of the day, our focus is on the outer, the daily routine of our lives, and our minds are concerned with working, solving problems, shopping and running errands.  The chaos and noise of the outer world and our active minds distract us from being in touch with our inner selves. 

Over the years, I have learned to integrate my spiritual and material lives so that, for the most part, I am at least marginally in touch with my center most of the time.  As problems arise, I stop and turn inward for a moment, observe and evaluate my options.  It has taken many years to reach this point and the practice that has made this possible is meditation.  Years ago when most of my friends practiced Transcendental Meditation, I was drawn to Buddhism and began the sitting practice of zazen.  Now I’ve created my own version of a meditative practice.  It doesn’t matter what form of meditation we use.  Any form will put us more in touch with our spiritual selves.

Meditation Takes Us Beyond Ego

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of meditation is that it takes us beyond our egos.  When we are caught up in the turmoil or pressure of everyday life, our egos are often fully engaged.  We are concerned with how we do our jobs or who will get the promotion or be laid off.  Parents worry about their skills as parents.  Are they doing the right thing about their children’s problems?  Why is this friend or partner being distant?  Don’t they like us anymore?  Did we do something wrong?

As Eckhart Tolle points out in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, “…almost everyone carries in his or her energy field an accumulation of old emotional pain, which I call ‘the pain-body.” (p. 140) He goes on to explain how negative emotions feed the pain-body and make the ego more powerful.  The only way to combat this is to be present so our egos don’t control us.  With regular meditative practice, we can be present, an observer in our own lives, operating from our peaceful center and unobstructed by the needs of the ego.

 Meditation Supports Spiritual Awakening

Meditation takes us to a place deeper than ego where we are able to release our attachments to the concerns of the day and our emotional pain.  This place is sweetly quiet, a place empty of conflict where we learn to observe our thoughts and emotions and release them without judging or attaching to them.  In this holy place within, we become an empty vessel and create a space where Spirit can visit and provide us with deeper insights.  In this peaceful place, all is well and joy flourishes.

Once we are able to find this peaceful center and commit to experiencing it on a regular basis, the inner balance this creates spills over into our daily lives.  We learn to identify those moments when we are about to turn an incident into a major drama and are able to choose not to.  We notice that we are being caught up in the fear that something negative might happen, and we choose instead to envision the event turning out positively.  Instead of panicking because we don’t know how to solve a problem, we are able to sit quietly and wait for the mind to clear.   

Knowing we can choose to experience our challenges with a positive or neutral attitude gives us more power over our lives.  Knowing we have a center that is peaceful and connects us with the Infinite Mind gives us a beautiful security.  In this place of inner joy, we are healthy, whole, and complete.  Having access to our inner selves, we know we will always have the capacity to be “the right one” in our own lives.         © 2011 Georganne Spruce

TOSS AWAY THE OLD MAP

Last weekend, I spent a wonderful day at a spiritual retreat on reconciliation, facilitated by Laura Collins, www.livingrituals.com. We began with a meditation, and slowly, peace descended, caressing and embracing me. I began to let go of the tension and squirming in my chair to find just the right balance so I wouldn’t put pressure on the nerve that had been creating some pain. As I relaxed, I became excited about having a whole day to look inward – a kind of date with Spirit.

One room was designed with tables as stations for different areas of reconciliation: Self, Spirit, Community, Family and Earth. At the first table, I read a poem by Joyce Rupp, and one line resonated as a theme throughout the day: “Toss away the old map.” I slowly and repeatedly allowed that thought to move through my consciousness.

I realized that the present chaos in my life exists because I have stopped following the old map for my journey, and I have realized that part of the map no longer describes the existing terrain of my life. I am in the process of creating the life I’ve always desired, being a writer, but in the last few years, the world of publishing has changed. In order to succeed in it, I must dive into technology in a way I would prefer not to do. The old map of paper books, paper letters, paper queries is rapidly becoming extinct and I grieve the lost. But as I explore the new possibilities, I can see more opportunities for writers because of the expansive nature of the Internet and the networks created through social media. It is just that, for a non-technological person, the learning curve seems enormous.

So, as I moved through this day of meditation, reflection and quiet, I released more anxiety and let the layers of protection drop away. As each layer opened to the next, I began to ask “Am I being the person I want to be?” As I thought of my personal life, tears of sadness, assured me I was not. Where was the core of peace and love I valued? The emotional turmoil of the last few months flashed across my mind. Although I have been following a new map to develop my writing and to promote it, I have been plodding down a worn muddy path in my personal life, hanging onto anger and disappointment about a loss there, weighing down the joy that often tries to surface.

During the retreat, I wrote in my journal, felt the sun pour through the window and sank deeper into the silence, reminding myself that I did not have to do anything. I wandered to a table and began leafing through a tiny book written by Pema Chodron. Stopping on one page, I read, “What we call obstacles are really the way the world and our entire experience teach us we’re stuck.” Ah ha! The mountain of sadness and hurt I have been unable to conquer in the last few months is showing me the rocky terrain where I’m stuck. I cannot reach the summit with this old map. I have to let it go and design a new map for my journey, one that traces another path to the summit that is smooth and sweet with honeysuckle.

As the vision of this new map formed in my mind, I was filled with the loving warmth and peace of the Divine Mother and assured that the new map for my soul’s journey, as well as for my work, was unfolding before me. I sat in the silence, hands open to receive it.        © 2011 Georganne Spruce