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I command my space

I command my personal space.

I choose to invite in only those things which are for my highest path,

my highest development,

and my highest input and output of divine love,

so that I may learn my lessons,

clear my shadow,

and create in the world from my highest destiny.

I bless all energies,

but I command that my energy field

be filled with the vibration that is right for my spiritual unfoldment.

 

Adapted from Shannon Port (www.artofthefeminine.com)

 

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Prayer for Illumination

Photo by Geoff Llerena from Flickr

Photo by Geoff Llerena from Flickr

Blessed being of light

fill the searching souls of the world

with your abundance.

Shine in our hearts,

so our bodies and minds may be reflections

of your perfect grace.

Your single being

is but a point of perfect, clear light,

yet is so potent to fill all distant corners of the universe–

insisting even on entering

the darkest back booths and veiled rooms.

May your work move through us easily,

without obstruction,

until all beings know themselves

as your one holy and blessed luminance.

Living Truthfully

What does it mean to live truthfully?

Photo via successbeginstoday.org

Photo via successbeginstoday.org

It means that one does not turn their back on the inner truth that constantly shines from within. It means that one has practiced embodying their inner truth so well that one becomes the living example of Truth in the world–they have forsaken all else. It is as if this light that shines from within were not inside of us, but outside–like the physical sun. We have a decision to make each moment to turn away from the sun and look out into the world–this is easier because we are not blinded by the light, we can see forms in their distinct and different characters, we can engage in all manner of complexity and chaos. Also, we see in front of us our own shadow–the dark reflection that the light throws down over our bodies, our outer form, the dense part of our being. Our shadow is an illusion created by the interplay of light and dark. We see it when our back is to the sun, when we are busying our minds in things of the physical world. It is cold in a shadow–things cannot be seen as clearly. Living truthfully is the decision to turn and face the sun– to face the sun in every moment, abandoning the need to see anything but the light which gives life to the world. When we face the sun, we cannot see our shadow. In the physical world, we can see more clearly with the light of the sun shining upon all forms. With our inner sun, the light which forms our being, we can see all things with clarity as well. Yes, there are moments when we look directly at the sun and we are temporarily blinded by the light. The outer sun stuns the physical eye so that all it can see is light–everywhere! It consumes the whole vision so that the outer world does not even exist for a few minutes. The inner sun does the same in moments when we look directly at it, maybe in meditation, prayer, music,  maybe in moments of grace. The inner sun is so brilliant that it can consume all remembrance of the world–our thoughts, perceptions, our idea about what reality is. When we turn to face the inner sun, we are facing the light of Truth–we are choosing to ignore the shadows that lay on the other side of us–we live so devotedly to the light that these shadows do not exist. Faceing away from the inner sun we find our various perceptions about our selves and the world–the details and differences which divide us up from other rays of light, the judgements and justifications for all illusions, and the problems that fill our minds so much of the time. Instead of living in our small, shadowy perceptions and limited thoughts, we might decide one day to simply turn around–or put differently–to turn our vision inward instead of outward. Outward we see the shadow of our life; we see the bodily form that our spirit has gathered together and we mis-take it for our self. We see other forms and we mis-take them for not our self. We see circumstances and events in the world and we mis-take them for reality. Turning inward, toward our inner sun, we dispel these illusions and see so much more clearly. We see ourselves as we truly are. We see others as the very same thing. We see Reality has nothing to do with the physical world or any of its dramas–it is but a playground for children as they grow toward maturity.

So, seeing the truth is a choice to turn toward the light within one’s being–to choose the Reality of the inner light over the reality of the world. Moment to moment we make this choice, and it take practice everyday to remember that we have this choice. It takes dedication and committment and self-discipline to remind oneself that there exists this choice at all, and then to purposefully orient one’s self in the direction of the light. This is why spiritual practice is taken daily. Ideally, spiritual practice is done in every moment, or any moment that one thinks of it. It can be as simple as a shift in perception during a conversation, or a momentary awareness of love in the midst of an argument. The willingness to practice is all that is required. Become willing and little bursts of light will find their way to your eyes, helping you turn yourself around to face the glorious light of your being as sure as the sun rises each day.

The light of Truth is found within one’s being–it may be readily available in the ‘heart’ for some–the place where feeling and knowing intermingle. Once one is sufficiently practiced in turning toward the light, when one can spend a significant amount of time and energy seeing clearly through the shadows and illusions of the world all the while living among them, it is time to move forward. One moves in this way from seeing clearly and truthfully to thinking clearly and truthfully, from thinking clearly and truthfully to speaking clearly and truthfully, from speaking clearly and truthfully to acting clearly and truthfully, and finally from doing clear and truthful things in the world to becoming clarity and truth–to embodying Truth and Light itself. This is the place from which Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” and “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus embodied the Truth in a masterful way, and in his mastery, he invited all his brothers and sisters to follow in his footsteps, not by idolizing him or placing him of a pedestal above them, but by idealizing him–walking this path with him, by learning to embody the Truth in oneself. For when one practices deeply and sincerely, for however long it takes, one comes to know oneself as the One True Self which Is. One sees very clearly, speaks very clearly, acts very clearly, and is, very clearly, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Leaving all earthly impressions behind for the children of another day, one bravely sets their sights inward, toward the radiant Sun of their beings, the light which lights all life and which gives form to the world from which we think we’ve come. The light of the world is within us–the love of the word is about us–the meaning of the world is discovered only in the eyes of one who is set on knowing the Truth. It begins with a single thought, a single awareness, a single decision to turn and face the Light of Truth.

To live truthfully means to allow yourself to become blind to all fears, all divisions within your body, mind, heart, and all that separates you from others, and to see instead the harmony, the love, the unity of all life–the beauty of existence which destroys all fear with the power of eternal joy.

Our Great Learning: Wisdom from Confucius and the tragedy in Connecticut

Today, I had been working on writing about the works of Confucius I have been studying, when I heard of the shooting of children in Connecticut. It just so happened that Confucius has much wisdom to share with us that pertains directly to the questions I see everyone asking again–Including myself. The following paper includes some of my reflections on what his teachings have to offer us in understanding this tragedy:mirror-mirror-wall-large-msg-129886989789

In his work The Great Learning, the Chinese philosopher, Confucius, gives us a model for living a virtuous life, and he also shows us why our world is full of confusion, chaos, and violence. He teaches us how to see clearly the way things are, and that who we are determines the world we live in. He also shows us how the world we live in influences who we are.

Confucius’ message in The Great Learning reveals to us that to obtain the highest personal excellence (to be good, happy people) and ultimately the highest collective ethic (to live in a good, happy world), we must begin within ourselves. We must begin with adopting a calm, tranquil disposition and become willing to carefully observe life, deliberate on it, and gain knowledge about it. Have done this, we can form thoughts based on our careful observation, and when these thoughts are agreed upon by our hearts, we can assimilate these thoughts into our personal action and behavior—they become part of our personality, part of our being. Having become embodied in our being, this knowledge can then move outside of us into the relational world. With who we are, we lead our families and those closest to us. We influence their thinking and actions, and we contribute to the collective atmosphere and environment within our culture. We impact the collective consciousness of the groups that we are apart—our local communities, institutions, government, and ultimately we contribute to the global collective consciousness. With our inner peace and calm observation of self and life, we can contribute to world peace and the uplifting of humanity through humanitarian ethics. This co-created culture, community, or world then circles back on itself to be reflected upon the hearts of the individuals within it. The collective also supports the individual

Of course we must recognize that the same process of creation holds true when creating a lack of ethic in the world. We can come to understand the origins of today’s terrible tragedy in Connecticut through this teaching. So many of us ask ‘why did this happen? What is wrong with the world?’ This is a natural question—Confucious encourages us to deeply contemplate the answer. Through his teachings, we come to see that all things have their roots and their branches, and that to be observant enough to determine the roots of a certain branch, or a branch of a certain root is the key to knowledge (and eventually the key to changing individual and collective behavior). He said, “It cannot be, when a root is neglected, that what should spring from it will be well ordered” (The Great Learning, p. 357). We can see how this plays out in our lives in many ways: When we have not cultivated our inner selves well, we are of little positive use to our community. This is the philosophy behind Ghandi’s words “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. We cannot wish our communities or our planet to be in a state that we personally have not come to embody. We are a microcosm of the universe, and the world lives inside of us—If we want it to be more peaceful, then we must cultivate peace within our selves. If we want the world to be more loving, we must express love through our own personal relationships, in our families, and in our communities. Individually, we deplore violent acts, we get angry about them, and we ask ourselves ‘what is wrong with the world?’ We demonize others as ‘terrorists’ and we wonder about what must be inherently wrong with them to have committed such acts. In American culture, we see that violence is a long-standing epidemic in our society. It has not left us, despite our general disdain for violent acts. At some point, it is time to look more deeply. It is time to observe the facts displaying themselves around us—violence like what occurred today (looking for a moment past the particular details of this specific incident) occurred because each of us has contributed to a cultural atmosphere of violence. We have created our communities in a way that often reduces others to mere concepts. We commit violent acts in our divisive thoughts, our careles words, and our inharmonious actions in small ways everyday. This cultural environment impacts everyone—it makes us feel that violence is natural. It desensitizes some of us. And sometimes, large doses of it erupt from some weak spot in our collective body and 20 little innocent children give their lives for it.

To deny our responsibility in creating the world we live in is caustic. To refuse to take action to correct what is wholly correctable with cooperation and the willingness to look honestly at oneself is unacceptable. It is, quite literally, the same as turning a blind eye to these tragedies and waiting for the next one to happen.

These kinds of responses to violence and destruction reflect an incomplete understanding of the nature of life, which Confucius is trying to point out to us. It is seeing the ‘branch’ but not the ‘root’. If we understand that these acts of violence in our communities have their roots in our very being, we can begin to understand and take the first steps toward correcting them. This requires us to have a sense of shared responsibility in our world, and an acknowledgement of our relational and interconnected reality with all other beings, a worldview that balances the communal with the individual. From this perspective, we begin to see in ourselves the places where we have not cultivated our persons to be non-violent and in harmony with others. By observing this, we are able to realign our thought systems and eventually embody more harmonious virtues. Being a harmonious being, we bring harmony into our families, our communities, our institutions, and our world as a whole. We can understand how a culture that does not teach the careful observation of life and cultivation of a loving, harmonious self comes to express so much confusion, chaos, and destructive impulses in the world. Those we once demonized as bad are seen as exemplars of a culture of incomplete knowledge about the way things are—a culture that has not yet seen the Truth about life—that we are all in this together, that if one of us suffers we all suffer, and that what we do to our brothers and sisters we do to ourselves. Stepping up to our individual responsibility is the first step in changing our current cultural landscape. We must be brave enough to venture to know ourselves more completely. We must seek the Truth. If we cannot do this, we cannot hope for the future to be any different than the past.

Our individual obligation to our community is to carefully observe the truth that is inherent in all aspects life, to gain knowledge about how to live well from these observations, and to cultivate a self that is reflective of this truth. We must cultivate a virtuous self first, then we can begin the work of cultivating a virtuous and ethical community, culture, and world with that self. The quality of the self that we bring to the world is the most important factor. When this is approached as a spiritual practice, done with devotion at a very deep level, discovering and embodying the Truth in life allows the Only Self That Is to be cultivated within one’s being and ultimately to make manifest the perfection of love, peace, joy, harmony, and beauty throughout the world.

Today, let us remember to look inside at our selves—at what we are bringing through our own being into the world. Let us identify the qualities within ourselves that we must nurture better, and let us stop feeding the negative, violent thoughts and beliefs that feed the atmosphere of our brothers and sisters. Let us come to the world in peace, so that peace will return to us in the world.

On the Soul…

“I frist believed without any hesitation in the existance of the soul, and then I wondered about the secret of its nature.

I perservered and strove in search of the soul, and found at last that I myself was the cover over my soul.

I realized that that which believed in me, that which wondered in me, that which perservered in me, that which found in me,

and that which was found at last, was no other than my soul.

I thanked the darkness that brought me to the light, and I valued the veil which prepared for me the vision in which I saw myself reflected,

the vision produced in the mirror of my soul.

Since then I have seen all souls as my soul and realized my soul as the soul of all,

And what bewilderment it was when I realized that I alone was, if there were anyone,

and I am whatever and whoever exists,

and I shall be whoever there will be in the future,

and there was no end to my happiness and joy.

Verily, I am the seed, and I am the root, and I am the fruit of this tree of life.”

~Sherifa Lucy Goodenough

Be on Humanity’s Team

This is such a wonderful organization! I encourage all to check it out. This is a great way to become involved in saving the planet 🙂

http://humanitysteam.org/

Humanity’s Team is a Global grassroots movement embodying oneness with a profound respect for cultural diversity and responsibility for all of life. We are dedicated to raising consciousness through living our life with purpose, being a loving presence, and serving through authentic leadership. As Spiritual Activists, we are united in our passion to awaken society to oneness as a community of joyful, loving, peaceful and harmonious beings. By our conscious use of the 5 Steps to Peace and our involvement in local and global good works, we pledge to change the face of humanity in one generation.

5 Steps to Peace

Peace will be attained when we, as human beings…

P ermit ourselves to acknowledge that some of our old beliefs about God and about Life are no longer working.

E xplore the possibility that there is something we do not understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which could change everything.

A nnounce that we are willing for new understandings of God and Life to now be brought forth, understandings that could produce a new way of life on this planet.

C ourageously examine these new understandings and, if they align with our personal inner truth and knowing, enlarge our belief system to include them.

E xpress our lives as a demonstration of our highest beliefs, rather than as a denial of them.

Excerpt from The New Revelations: A Conversation with God by Neale Donald Walsch

Living from the Heart

I loved this post so much, by the Institute of HeartMath, that I had to repost here to share:

All of this information is from and can be found at http://www.care2.com/greenliving/living-from-the-heart.html and also check out http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=16909837#!/InstituteofHeartMath

 

 

Five Tips for Living from the Heart

Tip 1: Choose to practice love, compassion and gratitude as a way of life.

Tip 2: Learn to live in the now, bringing more of your real self into each moment.

Tip 3: Practice listening to your heart’s discernment for intuitive guidance through life’s interactions: personal, family or social.

Tip 4: Give back. This can inspire the one who receives what you give to someday give back to another, which can energize a great many people to do the same until a chain of giving back weaves its way around the globe.

Tip 5: Practice going back to your heart to gain more intuitive understanding of how to find balance and rhythm while facing stress and resistance.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/living-from-the-heart.html#ixzz1XNQK9Sid

The Poverty of Self

 

There was a time when I knew very little of myself

I threw my breath in many directions, thrashing about,

Flinging little pieces of me in every direction

My eyes searched desperately for safety.

 

I found none.

 

There was a time when I simply froze.

My breath stopped, my heart slowed

I closed my eyes and my existence melted

I sought comfort in death.

 

It would not have me.

 

There was a time when I smiled

With my strength, I held up my head

I walked from here to there

I asked “how are you?”

 

“I am fine.”

 

There was a time when I was quite content

I was proud of myself, I had accomplished great things

I was rich—I possessed myself

Many admired me, many hated me.

 

Something was missing.

 

There was a time when I awakened

Under a tree one quiet day, I was born twice

My eyes saw nothing new, yet nothing had I known before

My heart trembled with each beat–Love.

 

There was nothing else.

 

There was a time when I left me.

I abandoned all things, all ideas, all measure of myself

I was no more, and more I could not have been

Being was expressed.

 

Being was fulfilled.

 

 

If I were the world, would the world make it?

I believe that changing our beliefs about life can change our experience of it. What this means on a global level is shocking and hopeful. As I watched tv this morning as President Obama announced that a compromise had been reached regarding the national debt, it occurred to me that a sort of cultural and global tug of war is going on. What has manifested in our governmental scene is the same struggle, compromise, and movement toward change that so many of us are noticing in ourselves. Who are we? What are the ideas/values/beliefs that we will embody? Today will I embody greed? self-interest? separation? struggle to survive? Or, will I make the decision to embody unity? the interests of my larger, more inclusive self? the abundance of giving? the certainty of my success and the success of all beings?

The transitioning of belief systems that I see slowly emerging on our national and world stage is exciting. The day-to-day setbacks aside, all signs point toward hope in a shared future of abundance. The fuel of fear will eventually run short, and more and more people will begin to open their eyes to the reality of our shared investment in a successful future. If we are concerned about what we see going on in our government, the best course of action is to start today with ourselves–Examine our own beliefs, from which our actions emerge, and assess their function in the world. If you were the whole world, what would the world be like?  This is very important, because it is the way is truely is.

As this has been on my mind, I’ve started thinking about some of the beliefs that might be changing in our collective mind for the betterment of all beings. Here are just a few I can think of. Please, comment below and share more…

  • If it is not good for all beings (the whole of the Earth), It is not good for me.
  • I have only what I give away. I can possess nothing that does not belong to all.
  • My individual outlook, decisions, emotions, and beliefs influence others around me and the reality we share.
  • I am a creator of all that I perceive. I am responsible for all of my creations. This responsibility is scary, but I am empowered when I accept it.
  • I see the constant, cyclical swinging of poles in all life experience. I always strive for the most holistic perspective. This means being willing to lay down old ideas and beliefs in every moment, take a step back, and expand.
  • There is no us and no them. Ever. There is only we. Any thought that divides us from any other being is the beginning of all violence, suffering, and destruction of life.

 

Amimal-free and happy as can be :)

It has been about 3.5 weeks since I began eating more responsibly. I feel absolutely wonderful. My body feels healthy and has a much lighter feel to it. I have been sleeping great, and any cravings for sugar and cheese have subsided. Actually, I made a vegan cake this week, but I wasn’t able to eat it because I became sick to my stomach after a couple of bites from all the sugar. I feel like I have cleaned my body, and it feels great! I have become more sensitive to the foods that I put in my body. I can feel the subtle energies of my food much more clearly now, without my sugar and flour addiction anestitizing me.

The health benefits are obvious. My blood pressure has gone down significantly as well as my resting heart rate. Not to mention that I am losing some weight. But I am especially happy and proud of myself because I have been practicing a responsible manner of eating. What I take in from the world is wholly beneficial to me, to other animals of the earth, to the plants world (by choosing all organic foods), and the sustainability of our Earth. I feel really good about ending my contribution to the destruction of our sacred living system, and beginning my contribution to helping sustain and nurture it as it nurtures me.

I no longer believe that the Earth is here to serve me and to give endlessly to me. This is not the way anything is sustained in life. I can see clearly that I exist only as part of an interdependent web of life on this planet. I cannot take without giving back–It will lead only to my own demise. When the Earth is healthy, I am healthy. When the Earth is sick, I become sick. I am not separate from any other living thing on this planet. And the Earth is alive. If I take gently, the Earth takes gently from me. If I treat her and her beings poorly, I must know that I must live with those same consequences–the ones I have been living with my whole life–poor nutrition, mediocre health, emotional turmoil, psychological denial, and spiritual sadness. These have been what our Earth has been living with as we abuse her, and these are what so many of us suffer with each day. Make this connection, take responsibility, and you can change your life. I know because in a few short weeks, I have seen the possibilities in my own life.

So, for me, being animal-free is about more than just compassion for my furry friends (although that is important to me). It is about participating consciously in life, in my own highest potential, and in contributing to the good of all, not just the good of myself (which I wasn’t ever doing anyway). It is about living at a higher frequency, recognizing the true nature of my interdependent self, and being compassionate to the dynamic system of life I want to continue to exist in.