I used to have a codependent relationship with my spiritual practice. I’ll explain.
Meditation, prayer, and spiritual community are tools that help me feel happy. When I started my current spiritual adventure I absolutely benefited from the discipline and structure that my meditation and prayer practice provided. I also noticed that if I didn’t meditate or pray for X amount of hours I’d feel off my game and prone to irritation and upset.
As I deepened my practice I noticed elements of codependency or what A Course In Miracles calls a “special relationship” with my spiritual practice. I was giving my practice the power to determine the kind of day I was going to have … I think I was slightly missing the point.
Last week Chris and I flew to New York to be with our family during a challenging time. My role on this trip was to be a loving husband and available to my family. There was a lot to do when we were there, so much so that I didn’t have many opportunities to meditate, read The Course, or connect with my spiritual community. But something was different this trip. Even though I didn’t do my normal practice I didn’t feel depleted, irritated, or on edge; I actually felt great. Being of service to my family fed my soul and gave me the privilege of supporting my loved ones. I allowed my life to be my practice.
The tools that make up our spiritual practice are important and help us feel good, which is the name of the game, right? But if we hold so tightly to our rituals that we can’t be happy unless we do them then we’re turning the practice into a false idol. A false idol is anything outside ourself that we make responsible for our peace of mind. Allow your life to be your practice. Utilize the tools that resonate with you to support you on your path but I invite you to contemplate where you might mistake dependency for discipline.
If our life is our practice then guess what … we’re always in practice! My practice is one of Love and kindness. So, throughout my day I do my very best to be Loving and kind and work through fearful (ego) thoughts when they arise. I support myself by using spiritual tools that resonate with me and perhaps most importantly of all, I do my best. I do my best to hand each day over to my Spiritual Consciousness and devote as much time as I can to practice meditation, prayer, and service. But I’m not interested in having a co-dependent relationship with anything, namely my own Spiritual practice.
My life is my practice. With that in mind, I’m gonna stop typing and go be the Light of The World in my boot camp class which starts in twenty minutes.
“But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things will be provided for you as well.”
This famous bible verse can easily be translated into: “Get a spiritual program and you will be rewarded with stuff you want.”
Is it possible to seek the kingdom within with no alternative motive? What if the big payoff was simply peace and contentment? Would that be enough?
The promise of getting a reward is very alluring but I don’t think the original verse has much to do with cash and prizes. In more than one translation the verse ends by saying, “and he will give you everything you need.” I have enough experience and perspective to know that what I need is often (if not usually) different from what I think I want.
The beloved spiritual teacher Ernest Holmes has said that true prosperity is well-being in all areas of your life. There isn’t any mention of mansions, millions, or fame.
I think this verse is a promise of peace, a feeling of connectivity and union with Love. These are the most valuable benefits of strengthening our spiritual life.
It’s important for me to test my temperature so my motives feel clear. Even writing this blog I ask, “Why are you writing this? What’s your motivation?” Am I writing this so I can gain more clarity and sharing from a place of service or am I enchanted by the possibility of recognition and praise?
I’m no dummy and I’m not interested in judging anyone either, that game has yet to produce any joy in my life. I continue to deepen my spiritual practice because I believe that I already have everything I need and I want to remain smart enough to be grateful for it. The joy-filled feeling that all the good of the Universe is active within me right now is its own reward.
On the path to achieving goals we often have to learn a new way of moving through the world; a way that’s aligned with the goals we create for ourselves. It’s common to experience discomfort during the growing process. One valuable (and fun) tool I use to help me move through the discomfort is positive affirmations. But it wasn’t until I made an important adjustment to my affirmations that they began to really work and supported me in creating new experiences. This adjustment helped me expand my comfort zone and release a lot of my old self-defeating habits.
In this video you learn how to re-invent your affirmations and begin experiencing lasting results that leave you feeling on track and inspired.
How are those New Year’s Intentions coming along?
Last week we discussed 3 steps to creating palpable intentions that will get you started on a clear path towards achieving your goals for 2015.
1. Get clear on how you’d like to FEEL
2. Get clear on who you’d like to BE
3. Get clear on what you’d like to DO
heart center yoga page
The process doesn’t stop here – there’s more to the game.
Are you prepared to achieve your goals? I was a MASTER at doing the inner-work when it came to this stuff. I’d meditate and see myself as having all my dreams fulfilled. My apartment walls were covered with vision boards and sticky notes that had motivational quotes scribbled on them. I was feeling SO excited … but WHY WASN’T ANYTHING HAPPENING?!
In this week’s video we explore the next step towards ACTUALIZING our goals. I learned this process after years of getting an arms-length away from my goals without actually achieving them. By applying this step I went from the kid on the street looking through the window of the toy store to the kid playing with Tonka Trucks (or Barbie Dolls if I’m keeping it real).
Watch this short video & learn the next valuable step…
Resolutions are SO 2014 – this year let’s focus on creating New Year’s INTENTIONS that help us expand our vision of 2015. In this video I share 3 easy steps I use to help me get clear as I move forward towards something I find really inspiring …
Like this video? Then you’ll dig this one too!
Give your vision board a makeover – learn how to do it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4ijykShkIM&list=UUe8fu3n7-KbrSo6wF6LRgEA
When I was growing up in the Pacific North West I couldn’t wait for the Summer months. Seattle can feel like one long rainy day so the modest warmth of July and August always offered a little escape from the wet jeans and windshield wipers. I’ve been loving in Los Angeles for fifteen years now and have totally morphed into a fall-man. Now I welcome the opportunity to wear a jacket and scarf (even if the scarf is more for fashion than function).
I also totally love the flavors of fall. The chef in me enjoys experimenting with pumpkin and butternut squash dishes. I revisit my famous stuffed-apple recipe, prematurely map out our Thanksgiving meal, and have fun sitting in Starbucks to watch peoples’ enthusiastic reaction to pumpkin-spiced lattes.
In addition to fashion and food, fall gives us the opportunity to consider what we’re interested in releasing from our lives. It’s a time of harvest; we get to harvest the wisdom that LOVE brings. In order to do this simply, I have found it’s helpful to release thoughts, beliefs, and habits no longer serve my growth. Are you willing to let the limited and painful beliefs about yourself fall away like the leaves on the tree? We create space for the harvest by clearing out the clutter of ego-thinking.So, how do we do this? We become WILLING to be HAPPY NOW. But why leave it at “Yeah, I’m willing to be happy…”? Why not allow your actions to align with your intention? I invite to you carve out some time to sit in meditation and prayer. Practice lowering the volume of the busy-thinking so you can hear more clearly the guidance of your spiritual consciousness. Thankfully there’s a part of us that knows exactly what to do and where to go.
So, as we move deeper into fall I invite you to get clear on how you’re interested in feeling. What thoughts and habits are you willing to release, and what loving lessons are your going to harvest and share with others? This is the AWESOME opportunity that fall provides us.
If what I’m saying seems too far-fetched or challenging for you, it’s all good. This is a learning process which requires you to simply take one step at a time. All the wisdom of the Universe dwells within you – it’s just a matter of removing the blocks (judgmental thoughts/beliefs) that are preventing you from hearing your inner-guide.
I suggest finding a spiritual center,organization, or group that you like. I find it SO helpful and WAY more fun to walk this path with others. Get involved and discover for yourself the amazing potential that lies in participating in spiritual community. You can always join me at my spiritual home every Sunday by visiting Project: Service LA’s Youtube page and watching the service LIVE. How cool that there’s so many ways to stay connected!