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- Instant Gratification
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- Roy Eugene Davis 1931-2019
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- Superiority. It’s An Epidemic
- Being Okay When It Is Not Okay
- What Do You See?
- Change What You Can
- Your, “Spiritual Practice”
- “Come Sunday” (An Expansion of Consciousness)
- The Need to Attack
- Kathleen Annie Mitchell Shiver 1940-2017
- When It All Goes Out the Window
- Underneath the Skin
- The Broken
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- One Last Look
- Prayer and Perception
- The Misperception of Perception
- A Log Truck Driver Meditates
- Getting Answers
- So What?
- There Is A Plan
- A Humbling Vision
- Life Is Like A Relay Race
- What If You Already Are?
- The Expanding Consciousness
- Getting Sucked In To the News
- On Easter
- The “Work” of Meditation
- Not A Cloud In the Sky (An Omen?)
- The Crisis at Mid-Life
- On Being Content
- We Are A Lot Alike
- You Only Get To Do This Once
- God is All and All is God
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Tag Archives: Spirit Ministries
I have been working a seasonal job in a call center to make extra money this holiday season.
Today a lady called, and when she had finished ordering her products she suddenly exclaimed, “I don’t know what to do my husband died and all these grandkids are coming and I miss my husband so badly.”
I said, “You are going to keep it moving forward Margaret, because that is what we do.”
“Yes.” She said. “That is what we do. Thank you.
And we hung up.
And the terrible grief pains of missing my mother, who passed away on Christmas Day of 2017 appeared. And it just became so clear that there are SO MANY people who have loved and lost, and who have gone through so many trials and tribulations.
It was the summer of 1996 and I was living in Central Square, in Cambridge MA.
I’d moved up there the year before to become a street/subway musician, and that was easy enough to do, once I overcame the fear.(which is another entirely different story)
In the mornings, I’d work at the coffee shop down the street from my apartment. And then in the afternoon/evenings I’d go play music in Harvard Square, a subway train station, or a gig.
The goal was simply to be playing somewhere every day.
When people ask me how to begin meditation, I suggest that they do the same exact thing that I did in the beginning.
- Sit in a quiet place in a comfortable position. You can sit on the floor, you can use a wall for back support, or you can sit in a chair. Sit up straight, but try to be comfortable.
- Now you want to keep your eyes and mouth closed and breathe through the nostrils. Inhale/exhale equals one complete breath.
- You can imagine that the air coming in is a color.
- You don’t need to take really deep breaths, but you want to, “breathe the body,” rather than it just breathing on its own. (Which it does a vast majority of the time.”
- Now you want to focus your attention on the breath for twenty-five complete breaths.
- When your attention wonders, (not IF but when) as soon as you realize that you have drifted away from the focus, you go back.
- When you have wondered away and you, “come to,” you go back to the focus of the breath. If you can remember what number you were on when you drifted off, then just start there. If you cannot remember, then you start over again at one.
- After you focus on the twenty-five breaths, then stop, “breathing the body” and just observe as the body breathes.
Now, the most interesting thing that came to me in the beginning was, “Holy cow! I cannot even focus on one thing long enough to count to twenty-five!” Often I would get to three, or maybe seven, and then the mind would re-mind me of a bill that I hadn’t paid, or of something at work…
When I got to the teens I was ecstatic!
Then came the day I sat down and with all of my might, held my focus in place for twenty-five breaths.
The idea of being, “centered,” or, “grounded,” is pretty much the aim for those of us on a spiritual path.
It it very easy to get trapped into, “emotionalism,” and find ourselves perhaps a little too happy all the time. Or it can swing the other way and we can find ourselves a little too sad or depressed all the time.
Or of course there are those of us who have pretty regular mood swings and you never can tell what you will get when you encounter us.
I work with many people who’s brain chemistry may be a little, “off,” and so they take psychotropic meds. Sometimes these work wonders, while other times they seem to only make things worse.
Are you familiar with the, “Serenity Prayer?”
People who go to twelve-step meetings are, because they always begin their meetings with this prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Today I’d like to focus on the second part, courage to change the things I can, because that is a primary focus in my own personal life. If we continually want to grow and to better ourselves, then change is inevitable.
What is a, “Spiritual Practice?” What is your personal, “Spiritual Practice?”
In your mind, it could involve prayer and/or meditation, yoga and/or exercise, food/diet, the clothes you wear, the work that you do, or simply going to church. It could even include where you choose to live and the furnishings in your house.
But most often when I think of, “Spiritual Practice,” or when talking with someone about their practice, what comes up is what we don’t do, or what we feel like we need to start doing.
Someone reminded me recently of the quote from, “A Course In Miracle’s” which says, “A miracle is a change in perception.
And boy was it good to be reminded of that.
After all, isn’t that what we are looking for? A change in our perception? We want to get rid of negativity in our lives, we want to forgive people, but how?
How exactly am I supposed to see that this is okay? How am I supposed to let this go? How am I supposed to deal with this person or this situation?
First off, understanding that when we have negative energy inside of us, it is ours, is a big step.
How can this be? How come you don’t see what I see? I mean, it is pretty obvious what the situation needs, or what the painting represents, or what the song is saying.
It turns out that we perceive things based on our own experiences and belief systems.
As we go through life, we form associations, likes, and dislikes. Everything that you see and every word that you hear, triggers these associations in your brain.
Often people will relate prayer with talking to God, and meditation with listening to God.
After our prayer time when we may voice a situation that we need help with, or we have asked direction, it is time to listen.
In order to listen, the mind needs to be quiet. Even if only for a few minutes. We need to practice meditation until we can get into a receptive state. Just sitting and listening. Just being there.
But then, let’s say that your mind does get quiet for a while. How can you tell if your answer is coming from God?
Do you ever ask yourself that?
My therapist asks me that. And so does my friend Tony.
I let it all spill out about how everything is wrong, about how terrible I feel, and about how hopeless it all seems at times. And they pose the question to me, “So what?”
The little question can be deflating.
After all, things are really bad! Can they not see how important this is? Can they not see all the implications?
Not that it is fun to admit, but I can be a little overly dramatic.