Saturday, May 30, 2020

A Quote for Today

We are the children of the Age of Enlightenment, and we have brought the world to the brink of ruin by acting under the delusion that humans are separate from the earth, better somehow, in control of it.  We believe that humans are the only creatures of spirit in a universe otherwise made up of stones and insensate matter; that the nonhuman world was created for us alone and derives all its value from its usefulness to humanity; that we are the masters of the universe.  Because of our technological prowess, we see ourselves as exceptions to the rules that govern the “lower” forms of life.  We believe we can destroy our habitat without also destroying ourselves.  How could we be so tragically wrong?  (Kathleen Dean Moore)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

An Empath's Survival Guide to COVID-19

     Fellow empaths, have you been noticing things are more turbulent these days, emotionally?  On a global scale, we humans, during this challenging time, have been sending out some pretty heavy emotions, mainly fear, anger, and sadness.  I know that for me, the emotions that are bombarding me have affected my health and close relationships.  After talking to a wise friend, she reminded me that my physical ailments and personal stress are directly related to the emotions that are running amok these days.  We talked through the steps of how to deal with them, and I have boiled it down to this five-step guide.  Ready?  Here it is:

  • Come to your sense of self.  It doesn't matter how you do it -- wiggle your toes, stomp your feet, count your breaths, chant, meditate, do a yoga pose -- it doesn't matter, as long as you can come back to your inner self, with its unique emotional landscape.
  • Observe your emotions.  You may find that there are layers of emotions there; some are weaker and some are stronger; some may feel familiar and some may feel like an ill-fitting, itchy sweater.
  • Visualize these emotions as having separate layers.  The more familiar ones may be in your core self.  Others may feel like they hover on the outer part of your emotional sphere.  Do they have colors?  Wave shapes?  Weight?  Notice as much detail about them as you can.
  • Inhale, reaffirming the emotions that truly belong to you.  The ones nearest your core may feel more stable, familiar, and part of your world outlook.  Keep those.  Then, exhale, releasing the ones that do not belong to you.  Repeat.  Repeat again until you feel calmer and more at ease in yourself.
  • Do this process as many times per day as you need -- even 19 times, if that's what it takes.
     We are all in this together.  So let's keep even-keeled, focused, and at peace.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

A Must-Read Book, Part 4

     May I share some delicious quotes from Anthony de Mello's book, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality?  It may give you a taste for how clearly he wrote and how much sense his ideas make.
"A nice definition of an awakened person:  A person who no longer marches to the drums of society, a person who dances to the tune of the music that springs up from within."
"What does it mean to love?  It means to see a person, a situation, a thing as it really is, not as you imagine it to be."
"It's not reality that matters, but what you're saying to yourself about it."
"The beauty of an action comes not from its having become a habit but from its sensitivity, consciousness, clarity of perception, and accuracy of response."
     I am so glad I found this book, and am honored to share it with you.  It can be world-changing.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

A Must-Read Book, Part 3

     Last week I was introducing you to Anthony de Mello's book, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality.  If you get nothing out of this book (and it really is jam-packed with clear and helpful hints on how to live more wisely), let me outline briefly one of the major lessons he returns to, which is his Four Steps to Wisdom.

     In step one, he asks that you first get in touch with your negative feelings (ones that you may not even be aware of).

     In step two, he says that you need to understand that the feeling is in you, not in external reality.  He says that no person, event, or circumstance has the power to disturb or hurt you.  Think on that a while.

     In step three, he says that we must never identify with that feeling, but realize that feelings come and feelings go.  Let it pass.  There is an eternal "I" which is completely undisturbed by external reality.

     In step four, he says that good feelings -- happiness, joy, bliss -- come from inside and have nothing to do with externals.  As we change, everything changes.

     As I read the book, I couldn't help but see that some of his philosophy has some influences of Buddhism and mindfulness practices.  Still, the way he presents his ideas make perfect sense and seem fresh and applicable as he describes them.  A fabulous book.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

A Must-Read Book, Part 2

     I'm such a tease.  The book I was referring to last week, the one that took my soul and pointed to a way deeper and purer than ever before, the one that rattled my viewpoint and spoke to the essence of wise living, is Anthony de Mello's Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality.

     First, a word about Anthony de Mello.  He was born in Bombay, India, in 1931 and became a Jesuit priest and a psychotherapist.  His writing shows both a strong mystical leaning as well as a rare insight into the human psychological dilemma.  One of the things that I also appreciated about his viewpoint is that he was able to meld Eastern and Christian spirituality with a clear description of human psychology.  He spoke and wrote with a rare clarity that took my breath away.

     Sadly, he died too soon, at the age of fifty-five, of a heart attack.

     Awareness is a compilation of talks de Mello gave at a spirituality conference, put together and edited by an associate, J. Francis Stroud, after de Mello's death.  Happily, it reads like you are sitting in the conference room with him, watching as he goes off on tangents, or re-engages his audience with a fitting joke.  He speaks to where people are, and not in some nebulous theoretical discourse.  It's a pleasure to read.

     If you are remotely interested in deepening your spiritual life, read this book.  Like, right now.  Like, go to your favorite bookstore and order it.  Now.  It will change your life.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

A Must-Read Book

     After reading a book on various Christian mystics, I picked up a book written by one of the mystics described.  It was one of those books that took me by surprise -- I kept asking myself, "Where has this book been all my life?"  Once I read it, savoring each short chapter, I immediately re-read it, taking detailed notes all the way through.

     Like it was a college text or something.

     And then I typed those notes up to keep as reference and reminder.  That's pretty serious for me.

     Even though I don't completely identify as Christian anymore, I found this book spoke to my mystical-leaning heart.  In fact, it helped deepen those leanings and lit the way for further journeying along that path.  It was a joy to find.

     And what is that book? you ask.  Well, tune in next week and I'll tell you more.

(photo courtesy of