spirituality

How To Practice Being Yourself

NatureIt is easy to believe a spiritual practice will help you feel better. But from my experience, spiritual practice necessarily cannot concern how you feel.

Today I remember that sometimes I will not feel like engaging in the sadhana which is set before me. Yet, each day I do it. Sometimes I am sleepy, sometimes I feel listless. I experience the practice with those feelings. Some days I am motivated, some days peaceful, and I experience the practice with those feelings too.

A spiritual practice gives clarity to the inner world of emotion through its consistency among the fluctuating and fleeting nature of feelings. It shows up emotions for what they truly are: not you. Anything changing cannot be you, rather you are here experiencing change. Doing the same spiritual practice each day gently lays the ephemeral at the feet of the unchanging consciousness that you are, lets you gaze upon it, and do with it what you will.

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Inspiration

“There is no situation to which miracles do not apply,” ACIM

NatureThe only time a miracle can occur is now. Past and future occur as thoughts, and miracles are not the result of thinking. Stay in this moment, it is the place where all new things are born. And when your mind begins to drag you along on a habitual train of thought, remind yourself why the now is worth it and watch for the miracle.

 

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Life

Uncertainty or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Now

HutRecently life has felt like one big question mark.  Instead of providing answers, life is providing me with more and more uncertainty.  While Eckhart Tolle would describe such a circumstance as space being created for something new, it feels more like I’m venturing into the woods at night without a flashlight.

The space being created is easily filled with thoughts of worry, doubt, and “what if” scenarios.  I keep asking myself what I can do to make each situation turn out favorably for me.  But whatever I do will only be half of the equation, the other half is made up of howI do whatever it is I choose to do.  Am I acting out of conscious awareness or out of fear?  Am I making choices based on my worries or from a place of trust?

Of course if I waited to act in life until I wasn’t afraid I probably wouldn’t make it past my front door in the morning, but there is another way for action to be in alignment with positive energy.  We can do this by first recognizing fear for what it is, a pattern of thought in the mind that translates to emotion in the body, and back to thoughts again.  There is nothing wrong with this being in your sphere of attention as long as it is noticed and not completely bought into.  The more you buy into it, the more suffering you experience.

Once the fear based thought and emotion pattern is seen from the light of your awareness you can choose not to buy into it, and instead choose to know that in reality each step you take is exactly what you need to experience at this moment. You can decide to live in each moment as if you had chosen it.

Know deep within, beyond thought, that each decision is leading you towards the highest aspirations of your being.  In this way the energy behind your actions is that of consciousness itself, and all that fear stuff is just hanging out to enjoy the scenery.  The time for fruitful action is always now, could there be any other?

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consciousness

The Story Of Your Life

The ProphetIn the center of fear, unhappiness, uncertainty, or grief there is a witness.  There is a silent space, so imperceptible that no molecule of pain can penetrate it.

In this space, the witness is you.  You’re in a soft comfortable chair, smiling, as you read a book entitled, “The Story of My Life.”  Even though you haven’t finished it yet, you aren’t worried.  You know that in the end, you turn out just fine.  After all, you are sitting there with the finished copy in your hands, knowing you end up completely whole.

In the thick of turmoil the mind may think it is unnatural to be at peace or to feel gratitude.  But there is nothing more natural, nothing more true, because that peace is you, and you are the truth: you, the silent smiling witness to the adventure of a life in the midst of being lived.

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Life

There And Back Again

The AlchemistI’m back and gone all in an instant!  I recently returned home from a soul-soothing trip to Florida, only to embark tomorrow on a ten-day adventure in Israel.

While on the outside this might not look like the “right” time to travel to the Middle East, the opportunity is before me and I’ve accepted.  Most of life’s big leaps never have a “right” time, and waiting can turn into the ultimate comfort zone.  So instead of looking around outside of you to discern the precise moment to take action, take a look within.

In the eternal present of your inner life everything has already unfolded in a manner befitting the perfect organization of the universe that enabled your life to manifest.  If your mind is like mine, decision-making can be an agonizing process.  But beyond the mind, when you inhabit the space of the witness of your being, there are no decisions to be made.  There is only the pure potential for perfect action.

The ultimate security, in a world of unstable forms, is inner security.  Get to know the silence within. Sit back and get really comfortable in the resting place of your being.  From that vantage point the roller coaster of life has a visible track, you are strapped in tight, and each drop and turn is met with enjoyment.

Enjoy your next ten days, please keep me updated on what lessons life is giving you in the comments, and I’ll talk to you soon with quite a tale to tell.

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spirituality

Note To Self

Tao of Pooh

When I find myself waiting for the present moment to be a certain way I think of all of the wisdom teachers throughout history in their infinite peace and joy.  I remember that the moment in which they experienced the profundity of existence in such magnitude is the exact same moment I am experiencing right now.  They are all pointing us toward the present, which regardless of form is the birthplace of all enlightenment, if only you let it be.

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Ego

How We Unconsciously Open The Door For The Ego

Divided Whether self-deprecating or self-inflating the mind loves to attach itself to thoughts of “who you are.”  Temporary satisfaction comes with any type of ego inflation, any instance of identification with thoughts about yourself.  The ego can manifest through identification with physical things, situations, and thought forms.

I first heard this explained by Eckhart Tolle and my own experience verifies it again and again.  Yesterday’s post was a great example of how my ego gained strength through identifying with the situation of not having internet access or TV.

Attaching your identity to a thought about yourself, whether it is good or bad, gives rise to the ego.  The good or bad thoughts are not the reality of your being, of your consciousness.

What happens when you compare yourself to another?  How does it feel?

By Peter Spero

By Peter Spero

My loving and talented older brother is a very disciplined and motivated jazz pianist.  I love him and I love his success, for any success is a victory for us all.  I myself have never had a clear path, the motivation to move in a specific direction, or the discipline that would allow me to do so.  All of these things are of course attainable but if I compare my journey to that of my brother’s, I will inevitably give rise to the ego.

All comparison is a doorway in which the ego will enter.  I could inflate my ego by creating an identity of being lost and without direction, or I could go the other way and inflate my ego by identifying with my association with, and the successes of, my brother.  It really doesn’t matter to the ego, which thoughts I choose to identify with, as long as I buy into the identification.

Is there a way out?  How do you disinvite the ego when it has already come in the front door and is seated firmly at the center of your attention?

The way out is to notice the thoughts, and recognize rising identification with thought.  Another brilliant lesson from Tolle is that the moment of seeing is the beginning of the end of the ego.  All that is required is your presence.

The moment you gaze upon an instance of identification with thought, you have stepped out of the ego and into your true self.  And from there you need not create new identification, because you are already in the midst of your greatest power, the present moment.  In the light of the present the highest potential of your being has space in which to arise, to guide your life, and to manifest unimaginable and beautiful dreams.  Instead of seeking to create yourself through identification, you can now sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

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consciousness

The Mind Magnet

By Peter SperoToday I noticed a constant pull within me to scroll through various things on my phone.  I would put on my makeup, and then check my email.  Get dressed, scroll through Facebook.  Sit down on the bus, surf the web.  The magnetic pull of my phone started feeling very obvious so I decided to put it away and not use it.

Then I was looking out of the bus window and I started thinking about what I had said in a conversation last night.  My mind then jumped to what I was about to do at work.  Back and forth, my thoughts fluctuated between past and future.  I noticed sitting there on the bus that just as the phone had a magnetic pull towards it, so did my mind.  I decided to let go of the past and future thoughts and let myself be in the moment I was living.

A few seconds passed and once again I was reliving an event, and making up scenarios about future events.  I noticed.  I let it go.  I was back on the bus, staring out of the window looking at the rain and a little taco stand in a parking lot.  Even when I had brought myself back into the moment I could feel the pull of my mind on my attention.  It was magnetic.

By Peter SperoDo you ever notice that your mind keeps pulling you in even when you make a conscious choice to be in the present moment?  Do you ever come back into the actual moment you are experiencing and realize you had been wrapped up in thoughts for a long period of time?  Have you ever had the experience of listening to someone, and at the end of the conversation realize you had no idea what they were talking about because you were thinking the whole time?

If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, congratulations!  You are aware of your thoughts!  For many, they never realize they are wrapped up in thinking, because they have been completely taken over by the mind.  The mind is living through them and they have no idea that they are not the voice in their head.  To notice that your mind has a magnetic quality that is constantly pulling you in is the flowering of your consciousness.  You have separated who you are, the one who notices the thoughts, from the thoughts themselves.

While it may seem that there should be a fix for this, a solid solution for the magnetic mind, the solution is already arising if you can notice when you are thinking.  That is your awareness gaining strength.  Each time you recognize you’ve been pulled into thoughts, and out of the present, you have given yourself an opportunity to operate from the only place of true power, the only space where anything actually happens, the present moment.

The more often you gently take away attention from the mind and place it on your surroundings, the easier it will become, and the more the infinite intelligence of consciousness will guide your actions.  In this way the highest potential contained within each present moment has the opportunity to manifest in your life.  Being present now creates a miraculous future.

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consciousness

Can you go a day without judgement?

FlowersThis morning I listened to Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success as I was getting ready for work.  Chopra talks about accessing the field of potentiality, the space in which your highest dreams have the opportunity to manifest, and how to access this space.  One of the prescriptions he gives is to go the day without judgement.  Along with other tools, such as meditation, going without judgement creates space for the highest potential of any moment to arise.

I made the decision as if it was easy, “Sure I can go the day without judgement!”  Which within ten minutes turned into me becoming aware of how often I was judging the world around me.  I first noticed it standing at the bus stop.  I saw a guy park his car “way too far” from the curb, and as I was thinking this thought, I realized I was already judging!  In conversations with friends and coworkers, I began to notice how often I voiced my opinion.

I wasn’t just noticing negative judgement, I also noticed that I judged things all the time in a positive manner.  I would see a tree and think, “What a beautiful tree!”  I would look up at the sky and think, “Such interesting clouds today.”  Negative or positive, I found that I was constantly in judgement.

This experiment was anything but a failure, it truly helped me see how often I was judging the world around me instead of perceiving it as it really was.  Tomorrow I’m going to try again and see what happens.  I invite you to join me in going one day without judgement, just to see what it’s like!  Let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear your story!

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consciousness

How do you know if you’re being yourself?

Me as a child with my older brother.

Me as a child with my older brother.

When I was a little kid I longed to know who I really was.  I remember wishing someone could just tell me.  I envied my friends from foreign countries who had a strong national identity.  I thought they really knew who they were.  I tried finding my identity in things, like being a writer, an actress, a musician.  But nothing ever stuck.

Now I am grateful for that.  I didn’t yet realize that the self attached to thoughts and things was the ego, the parasitic mind that can only survive through attachment to forms.  It wasn’t until the summer I turned 23 that I suddenly realized what a gift it was to experience the self without definitions and attachments.  It was then, when I realized what I was not, that I became open to finding out who my true self was, how it expressed itself, and how the true self was more expansive and inclusive than I could have ever thought up with my mind.

At first, not buying into your own thought created identity can feel like a black hole with no end in sight.  There is another side.  You will know it through inexplicable feelings of joy, love, and the state of peace.  For me, it still becomes obscured by the ego at various points throughout the day.  The good news is, that once you’ve experienced your true self it continues to grow in presence and power, no matter how the ego may try to reassert itself.  So who are you?  Try asking yourself without answering with words, and let your self show you.

I love this short video with Eckhart Tolle because it can give you an experience of your true nature as pure consciousness, as the watcher:

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