Tag Archives: spiritual

The52: Lesson Forty Two — Do You Include Yourself in Compassionate Thinking?

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If your compassion doesn’t include yourself,

it is incomplete.

                                   Jack Kornfield

What about you?  Can you be sensitive, caring, and extend kindnesses to others while ignoring yourself completely?  Are you able to look with understanding on the “failings” and sad situations of others in their struggles, yet hold back the same level of compassion for yourself?  It seems that some of us “buy into” the notion that expressing compassion for our selves is egotistical and inappropriate.  How dare we make the same allowances for ourselves as we might convey to others in pain!

Compassion must begin at home, in ourselves.  If we do not consider ourselves worthy and deserving of this self-care, then how can we legitimately pass it on to others?  Compassion must grow from a sense of self-love and from our own open hearts.

LESSON FORTY TWO

COMPASSION

Compassion!  I have written on many subjects that relate to this issue of compassion — kindness, forgiveness, gratitude, and love — but not directly focusing on compassion.  Yet compassion, for others and for ourselves, offers us spiritual insights that the other topics do not.  It engages a sense of empathy that allows us to enter into a special place with another.  We “walk in their shoes.”

Can you, on a constant level, use the practice of compassion to alter how you see yourself and others in the world?  Can you bring compassion into your awareness even at times when your anger has been activated and your impatience has risen too high?  I have often found this to be a challenge.  I can easily site chapter and verse when I lacked compassion for myself and for others.  Until I learned to practice forgiveness in all ways, (which may not happen instantaneously but is a process), I allowed myself to be tortured in this unhealthy state.

Maybe some of these suggestions will be helpful to you:

  • Engage the silent witness practice, which I have written about previously.  Stand aside from yourself and look with compassion and great kindness on yourself no matter what you have done in the present or past.  See yourself through the eyes of one who is all forgiving and loving.  It could be represented by a deity, an angel, a loving parent, a spirit guide, God, but, ultimately, it is YOU.  It is always the heart connection within yourself.
  • Look all around you – in the present and into the past.  Are there other fellow human beings you have cut out of your circle of acceptance due to disagreements, political persuasion, class lines, or anything else.  You can take a try at engaging acceptance and compassion by seeing them through impartial eyes or as they may see the world.  Aren’t you doing more damage to yourself than to them by seeing yourself as superior or self-righteous in your attitude?  Maybe those assessments are covers for your own damaged self that could use some healing.
  • Now take a moment to think about other co-habitants in the world – the animals, plants, the whole of ecology.  We humans have so often wantonly destroyed our own home, decimating animal populations and forests, for example.  Everything is part of the same energy system.  Just maybe that tree you just chopped down and that deer you just shot is related to your own soul – especially if these acts were for personal gain and not necessity.
  • Remember, as is the philosophy in The 52, that you use none of these lessons in such a way that you feel less loving to yourself.  Everything unfolds with Divine Consciousness in this play of the world.  Every practice you use is meant to increase the Love you feel for yourself.

As the Dalai Lama has observed:

It is lack of love for ourselves that inhibits our compassion towards others.  

If we make friends with ourselves, then there is no obstacle to opening our hearts and minds to others.

Whenever there is a choice, choose Love, for yourself and others.  It is an easy choice and always the right one.

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to http://www.deannemincer.com

The 52: Lesson Thirty Three — How Do You Use Your Energy?

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butterflyblueskyWe are vibrating bundles of energy!  Our bodies.  Our breath.  Our thoughts.  All that is around us.  All that ever was.  No wonder we are inter-connected, at the primary level of being!

Energy is a precious thing.  It is not just what propels us in our activities, providing the stamina needed to function in everyday life.  Energy is everything!  Literally!  It is everything!  What does this mean to you and your life?

Do we seek to soar, like the blue butterfly, toward the light? Do we want to experience the bliss of knowing Divine Light and Love? Do we want to just plain be happier in our lives?  If so, then we must become acutely aware of the energy in ourselves and in everything around us.  We will learn that we feel different — better– when that energy feels pure and clear.  Do you ever think about  your own thoughts and actions and how they are affecting your energy (positive or negative) at that moment?

One way to understand this better is to look at the yama , called, in Sanskrit, brahmacharya,.  As you may recall, we have been exploring some of the guidelines laid out as the yamas in one of the most important books on yoga called The Yoga Sutras.  Endeavoring to follow these guidelines can lead us to living a happier, lighter and healthier life.  Conserving our energy through non-excess and through viewing all of life as sacred keeps our energy pure and powerful.  Brahmacharya means “walking with God.”

LESSON THIRTY THREE

BRAHMACHARYA — PURE IN ENERGY

While this yama has often been described as indicating self-imposed celibacy and monastic living, it is far more complex than this.  It was thought that retaining sexual energy would allow for greater energy in spiritual seeking, and this is likely true.  But we live in an era different from that when it was quite usual for those on the spiritual path, (mostly males at the time and residing in India) to join monasteries for all of or portions of their adulthood.  It is not my purpose in writing to delve deeply into the subject of energy on only this level.  Suffice it to say that non-excess is of value in whatever we pursue.  Yet there are profound lessons to be learned beyond this.

Every thought and act is a movement of energy. What choices do you make, every day, to keep your own energy pure and loving and to avoid excess?

Just recently, someone suggested a new television series, praising the acting and writing.  I watched part of one episode.  The characters were cruel, insensitive, and distasteful.  The story line was dark and rife with violence, abuse, and double-dealing.  It was, in short, repugnant to me.  Why would I want to spend any time watching a program with this kind of energy?

Here are some ways to observe how you use your energy:

  • Do you deplete your energy in pursuits that are negative — like gossiping or listening to music that is caustic or viewing films that glorify ego and destructive behavior or reading stories (even the news) that are unceasingly unsettling?
  • When observing mistreatment of others, do you join in?  Do you bully just to be accepted?
  • Do you sometimes find that you over-do — in eating, exercising, drinking, fulfilling your “bucket list?”
  • If you can choose activities in your free time that feel good — like taking a walk in the woods or sitting and meditating or cooking a lovingly prepared nutritious meal or calling a sick friend — do you think about how fulfilling and boosting it will be to your own well-being?
  • Trust your own truth.  You will know, on some level, if what you are doing or thinking is depleting or diminishing your energy.   Go with what enhances love and light.

These are simple ideas, but we often are paying no attention.  We just operate by rote.  “Oh, I always watch that news show or TV series.”  Stop!  Pay attention!  What you are doing is having an affect — on you and on everything around you.

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more:  http://www.deannemincer.com

The 52: Love the YOU Who is Present Right Now!

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butterflyblueskyThink about this: How would you feel if you absolutely and honestly loved the YOU who is present at all times?  Even when you know that you are not in the best form.  At those times when you realize that anxiety or fear has caused you to be other than the you at the core of your being? Did you know that you are loved unconditionally, regardless of how you are “performing” at the moment?

It should be easy to know this and believe it.  But, for most of us, it isn’t.

While we may strive to stay authentic and true to ourselves, we all falter at times.  I remember certain times in my life when even the most trivial action could throw me for a loop.  Things like calling someone by the wrong name.  Or missing an appointment.  Or getting angry at some little thing, like a slow driver in front of my car.  Or not finishing everything on my overloaded to-do list. (Didn’t I actually fill it so full that I could never get everything done in one day and then would feel guilt about it?)  In the scheme of life and the world, these are small glitches.  They are tiny dots on the tapestry of life.  What was not operating for me was the loving witness (me). I didn’t realize that, with just a little shift, I could engage the love that is always flowing from my heart.

So be aware and know who you are as you are functioning in the play of the world. But never forget that YOU are the Light of Love, and no one can ever, in any way, deprive you of this Truth.

I am your fellow traveler on this journey.  Love connects all of us.  I am happy that you are with me!

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to http://www.deannemincer.com

The 52: Lesson Twenty Two — Through Kindness You Are Lighter and Happier

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butterflyblueskySilent film star Charlie Chaplin was, in his era, a huge presence.  Funny, controversial, outspoken, and a film genius, he made waves wherever he went.  And he said this:

We think too much and feel too little.  More than machinery, we need humanity.

More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.

He had seen nothing in terms of machinery and technology as we do today.  Imagine what he would say today.

LESSON TWENTY TWO

LOVING KINDNESS

Now, perhaps more than at any time in the past, we MUST behave with kindness and gentleness. And this again brings us to using everything we have, all our senses, our minds, our bodies, our thoughts, and especially our loving hearts to acting with kindness under ALL circumstances, most importantly with ourselves.  Kindness grows from within.  It reaches out to others and reflects back on us.  It soothes us to know that we can extend love, forgiveness and kindness inwardly, not relying on others to do it for us.  Kindness can become a habit; a natural way to respond in any event or situation.  It surrounds us with a presence that merges us with the Divine Presence, that knows only Love and Grace.

Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.  Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.

This is a quote from Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip. I think it is very appropriate to consider.  As many have written words about the simplicity of creating “small” acts of kindness, few speak of the ripples.  Of course, even the tiniest act brings benefit to the receiver and the giver, yet it goes beyond.  It moves into the consciousness of all of us, even as we may not have full awareness of this.  Each act, in a profound way, changes the world and the hearts and minds of all of us.

If you think about it, extending loving kindness is so easy. Think about these questions:

  • How hard is it to give a smile to someone you encounter during your day? It might be someone you pass on the street or even your own spouse or children.
  • Is it really so hard to open a door for another person or to motion a car driver waiting to enter a lane to go before you?
  • Is there someone you might call or email, just to say a few kind words?
  • How about greeting those you see on a routine basis, like the checkout person at the store or the doorman in your apartment building or the neighbor walking the dog?
  • If there is someone you know whose life has reached a place where they have few friends — perhaps because they are old, without family, and most of their friends have passed on or someone who has made decisions that led to addiction or have, without any act on their own, been “downsized” in their job — maybe you could reach out to them, with kindness and non-judgment.
  • Or, if all of this seems like too much, do you have a spare moment to send some thoughts of loving kindness to others?  Thoughts!  Just think love and send it forth.  Many of us believe that there is great power in such a small act.
  • Now do the same for yourself — in forgiveness, kindness, love.  Let the healing commence!

I am very enthusiastic about this kind of simple practice.  In fact, I so believe in it, that I promise you that you will feel lighter and happier as soon as you begin.  Give it a try.

I hope it becomes a habit!  Watch yourself soar like the blue butterfly, right into the Light of Love!

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more writings, go to http://www.deannemincer.com.

The 52: Lesson Twenty — Love is Like a River

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butterflyblueskyLove is like a river.  Continuously flowing and leading into the welcoming ocean of love.  This metaphor is often used, in lyrics, in poetry and in spiritual writings to describe the never-ending, always flowing, and continuous love that is there to embrace each and everyone of us.

Many rivers flow into the same ocean, just as many souls (seemingly separate) reach the ocean, only to see that they are all the same, glistening brightly together.  They are the embodiment of love — from start to finish and then into eternity.

YOU flow on that river of life.  YOU reach the ocean. YOU do not need to wait to reach the ocean to know this Truth.  You can be conscious, awake and in full realization that you are now just as you always have been.  YOU are LOVE.

LESSON TWENTY

LOVE IS LIKE A RIVER

There is a gospel group we have come to enjoy over the years. My husband and I have listened to so many of their songs, we can repeat the lyrics from memory.   The music of the Gaither Vocal Band is exuberant, uplifting, and healing.  When the music starts, in seconds our toes are tapping, our hands are clapping , and our spirit is soaring, even at times when we are confronting issues like grief, loss or sadness.

Love is like a river, running and a rolling

Rolling from the lazy stream, drumming through the mountains,

Moving through the valley. over everything in between,

Rushing and a flooding, til all of a sudden it’s washing all over me.

Love is like a river, running and a rolling,

Rolling to the deep blue sea.

With due respect to the GaitherVocal Band, I hope I have gotten these lyrics right.  But, nonetheless, they express the mighty force of love, ever flowing.  If it hasn’t already, it will be washing all over you sooner or later.  Be ready to joyfully bathe in the experience.  You will be carried on the current, buoyed by the ecstatic nature of endless and unconditional love.  The best part of all is this:  When it finally hits you that you have always been both the recipient as well as the source of this love, your heart will sing!

Unfortunately, many of us spend more time listing the reasons we are not loveable, not worthy, not good enough.  Instead, do this:

  • Right now, make a little list, in your mind or on paper, of some of the loving qualities you have.  They can be big or small.  Maybe you showed kindness and love to someone lately, or opened the door for someone to pass through, or volunteered your time for a cause, or simply smiled at someone who looked like they needed it.
  • Think of specific times in your life when you have felt love in your heart – for another person, an animal, a plant in your garden, a small child you pass on the street.
  • Think of how you felt when love was extended to you
  • See yourself as a fountain of love that can flow from you, then send it forth.  In your mind, see that love entering into another human heart.

You see, YOU yourself are the river of love, if you put your attention on it.  BE that river and let it flow.  Imagine how many hearts will be opening when they see that love coming.  Don’t hold back.  It is an endless stream.  Let it wash over everything in its path.

My heart is sending love to you right now.  Are you getting it?

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to http://www.deannemincer.com

The 52: How About Embracing Non-Violence?

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butterflyblueskyMahatma Gandhi is one of the persons most associated with practicing  nonviolence.  Against enormous odds, he led his Indian nation towards self determination.  He wrote:

We may never be strong enough to be entirely nonviolent in thought, word, and deed.

                                     But we must keep nonviolence as our goal and make strong progress towards it.

Yes, the Yoga Sutras ask us to follow the course of nonviolence in thought, word, and deed.  It is a tall order and one we must observe vigilantly.  Before my morning meditations, I made a habit of “running through” all of the ethical practices recommended in yoga.  Ahimsa was my first stop.  It was a big stop for me; too often I found myself noticing my lack of success.  It has taken years to be softer and kinder in my behavior, towards others and myself, to feel that I have made some progress.  But, in a flash of hurt or anger or seeing injustice, I can dive back into this most clever trick of the ego.  Luckily being nonviolent means showing forgiveness as well.

Several readers of my last post on this subject have wondered at the idea that the world could be changed by nonviolence and if this is just a vacuous thought — one impossible to imagine.  I am surely not original in this hope, but I am also objective.  There is a certain innocence — maybe even a childlike dream — in wishing for this.  Many spiritual beliefs speak of that child’s hopeful mind and what it conjures.  Of course, the child is still innocent, then something changes .  The duality of Self and ego emerges, “maturity” begins, and we “give up childish things.”  More is the pity in this.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

It is, after all, our projection of the world that we experience.  It is the dream of maya, illusion.  We can dream nonviolence and see what happens.

It’s up to you!

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to http://www.deannemincer.com

The 52: Are You Lighter and Happier Because of Eternal Love?

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Eternal life and love!  Who are you kidding?  Do you really think this is true?

Well, yes.  My answer is, ” I do.”  Because I have direct, personal evidence.

Did you take some time to contemplate what eternal love and life actually means?  Or is the thought of such a thing just over the top for you?  Fora long time, it was for me! 

There were times in my life when I would have thought it such so much “poppy cock” and fantasy.  Come on, we die, life ends, that’s it.  Deal with it!  (Oh, I can even hear my old myself saying things like that.) 

Or, try this, when we die, we go into the void.  There is nothing there.  Just darkness.  But we do continue, in a way, because our bodies deteriorate and nourish the plants and soil.  Here;s another one:  Our lives don’t really end. We continue to exist in the minds and memories of our families and friends and to those whose lives we touched.  We aren’t actually there, but they remember us and maybe we changed their lives in some way in the remembering.

Those sound pretty good to a lot of us.  But what if the truth goes way beyond this.  What if our spirits continue to exist right along with everyone else?  There is a lot of evidence to suggest this is true.  Take a look at near death experiences.  Here’s one: Proof of Heaven, by Dr Eben Alexander, a book by a neurosurgeon who experienced a near death experience himself.  A number one best seller on The New York Times list. Or here’s another, a book that compiled reports of after death communications called Hello From Heaven by Bill Guggenheim and Judy Guggenheim.  Or look at the websites that keep track of these reports.

Okay, you are free to discount all of this.  But wait just a minute.  Did you actually contemplate what your life now would be like if you knew you would not die , but, instead, just transition into another state.  What happens then to all the fear and anxiety we attach to death? And what if that other state was full of love and bliss and you would be totally happy and healed.  Then what?  Just asking…

And in the asking, I really would like to know what you think.

So, for now, remember this — It ain’t over even you think it will be over.  Wow!

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more thughts, go to www.deannemincer.com