Monthly Archives: July 2012

A Simple Summertime Spiritual Practice


Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.  School is out. Beaches beckon.  The barbecue gets fired up.  Vacations are planned. And we might laze around in a hammock under a tree, reading a favorite book.  A little idealized, but sounds good, doesn’t it?  It’s a time to lighten up and simplify.  It’s a perfect time for a simple spiritual practice.

For significant spiritual growth, only one simple tool is required.  It is merely necessary to select any simple spiritual principle that is appealing and then proceed with its application, without exception, to every area of life, both within and without.  For example, one could choose kindness, compassion, forgiveness, understanding or uncritical acceptance.  One could choose to be unconditionally loving or committed to seeing the innocence of life.

These are the words of David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. excerpted from his book The Eye of the I. Dr. Hawkins is an astute writer of high intellect and one who speaks of enlightenment from personal experience.  His book, Power vs. Force, is nothing short of brilliant and highly recommended.  What he tells us about kinesiology (muscle testing — a practice I use in my own work) is ground breaking.

When we choose a simple practice to follow, the intention is to stay true to it in all actions and in thought, word, and deed.  Most of us do quite well until we get to the thought part. Yes, even what we think must adhere.  You can see how powerful this kind of activity can be.  And, by the way, you engage the practice toward yourself as well.  Think how comforting and healing it is on that level alone.

In yoga and much spiritual work, we are taught to strive to be the Self, with a capital S.  Not the small self, the one attached to this world and body.  This is the higher Self, the one we know is connected to eternal love and truth.  This is the Self that continues AFTER we leave the body, the one sometimes called the Spirit or Soul.  We learn to be vigilant of the influence of the ego that throws us into judging and destructive behavior and can cause us to remember the Self.  After I heard for years all the warnings about the ego and its negative aspects , how to avoid them and even destroy them (a little too violent for me), I thought it more constructive to focus on the positive attributes of the Self and the great qualities we ALL hold in common.  Here is the list I use, (though many more words may apply):

                   Eternal                Blissful              Loving                Nonjudging             Content

                   Divine                 Light                   Calm                   Peaceful                     Trusting


Now you may think these words describe someone rarely seen on earth, someone who has gained sainthood, and rubs elbows only with the most enlightened beings.  You would be right about some of that. What is truly shocking for most of us is that we ALL carry those traits within us, right now.  They may not be seen or obvious, but they are there, waiting for us to notice. Waiting for us to believe in them and in ourselves.

So choosing any simple word to “practice” a spiritual principle leads us to recognize our own goodness, our own Self.  Wouldn’t it be something if, this summer, you put down your glass of lemonade, gazed off into the distance and thought to yourself, “Mmmm, I like the “me” sitting here. Maybe I actually am the highly vaunted Self and all those traits ARE mine.”  How revolutionary could that be?

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Where is the Door to God?


Where is the door to God?

In the sound of a dog barking,

In the ring of the hammer,

In a drop of rain,

In the face of


I see.


God is a word pulsing with energy and, for many, a source of tremendous controversy.  Maybe you were raised in an environment where God was portrayed as apart from us, on a throne in the sky (or somewhere), smiting us if we misbehaved, banishing us to hell if we were unrepentant sinners, full of judgment, anger, war, and punishment, and, yes, loving us if we were worthy enough.  This God was not warm and fuzzy and not much fun to be around.  Or perhaps you learned that there is no God, that the idea of God was a contrivance of fearful, lemming like beings who could not face life without some fictional character.  You may have chosen other terms to express the idea of God.  Words such as the Source, Nature, the Creator, the All that Is, the Almighty, The Highest Self,and the like. God is one of the subjects we are warned against discussing as it, along with sex and finances, are thought to be much too dangerous to raise in polite company. But then, as Hafiz tells us, God is everywhere.

As a beginning yoga teacher, I sought to separate any idea that yoga was a religion (which it is not) by consciously deleting the word “god” from any of the spiritual lessons I taught.  As my continuing studies indicated that God was very much a part of the ancient  texts of yoga belief, I can well remember the night that I referred to God in a yoga class.  In the silence of the room, I heard one student mutter, “She said the “G” word,” as if I had spoken an expletive.  Shortly thereafter, she ceased attending class. 

The renowned Jewish scholar, Abraham Joshua Heschel, tells us: Faith in the living God is not easily attained. Had it been possible to prove His existence beyond dispute, atheism would have been refuted as an error long ago. Had it been possible to awaken in every man the power to answer His ultimate question, the great prophets would have achieved it long ago.

Note that Heschel refers to a living God.  Living now, at this very minute.  But where?  Where is this living God?  What if God is alive in everything you see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.  God is with you in every moment of your life and travels with you.  Because God is you, in the immense love that courses through your body and mind, in the tender and peaceful moments of your life.  There is no place that is not God. 

One of my favorite lessons taught in my spiritual classes is this:  In the purpose of our being, we have only two questions to ask in life — Who am I?  and Why am I here?  Only two, think of it!  Once you can answer those two questions and hold steadfast to those answers in the face of anything life can mete out, you are free.  Truly and completely free.

As one of the most popular teachers on this subject, who has illuminated these teachings on a global scale, Dr. Wayne W.Dyer states in his book, Wishes Fulfilled:  It is totally unnecessary to be subtle or obsequious with your higher self.  You are God — not the ego oriented model of a deity superior to everyone and everything, but the God Who is spoken of in the New Testament: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8)…This is not the concept of God that you were probably raised with, even though this couldn’t be more clearly delineated in the scriptures of virtually all faiths.

So you don’t have to go anywhere to look for God.  God is all around you and within you.  Believe it! Trust it!  See how it feels to have complete unconditional love at the core of your being. It is surely not an act of arrogance to believe this.  After all, we share this same God within us.  Try seeing that same God in everyone you meet. 

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What the World Needs Now is Love


What the world needs now is love, sweet love

That’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…

When Hal David and Burt Bacharach collaborated on this often recorded song, the words resonated throughout the world.  Of course, the world needs love.  We all need love.  Don’t we long for it, search for it, go out on a limb for it?  Isn’t it what we hope for and dream about, in so many ways?  But what kind of love do we hope to find?  Is it some trivialized version of a Hollywood movie?  Is it saccharin and filled with over wrought feelings that are transitory?  Is it some kind of sexual bliss?  What kind of love do we want? What sort of love endures?

There is a love like a small lamp that goes out when the oil is consumed,

or like a stream that dries up when it doesn’t rain.

But there is a love that is like a mighty spring, gushing up out of the earth;

it keeps flowing forever and is inexhaustible.

Isaac of Nineveh

Forever flowing?  Inexhaustible?  Add to that, unconditional — a love that does not change based on conditions, actions, behaviour — one that is just there, forever, like a warm embrace you can experience at any time.  You can count on it.  It IS NOT going away, for any reason.  It just rests there, like a gentle flame in your heart, waiting and hoping that you remember it is there, ever-present inside you.  This love does not alter based on outer acceptance or the whims of the world.  It does not rise and fall. It does not disappear.  It does not need another person to endorse it or prove it.  This love just is.  It has always been there and is eternal.  You can “take it to the bank.”

God is but love and therefore, so am I.

Lesson 173

A Course in Miracles

It is said that the essence of yoga, as a belief system,  is love.  In fact, all true spiritual paths converge on this point.  The goal is LOVE.  The path is LOVE. The truth is LOVE.  You don’t have to seek it out.  You already have it.  You already are it.  When in doubt — and you will have doubt from time to time, such is our conditioning — repeat the phrase:  I LOVE MYSELF COMPLETELY NOW.  See what happens. Watch how your mind, thoughts, body, and your world changes.  LOVE is what the world needs now.  How lucky for you that you already have it!

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