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When we first begin to grasp that the life we lead is all our own work, we might panic. Gulp, now I’m in charge. Heck, what comes next? Or we might turn into overnight dictators…follow me folks, this is the way to love and enlightenment.
And then there’s that other route…the one that leads to overwhelm and a dispirited soul. Probably more vice than virtue here.
We devour books and learn new practices, we attend every spiritual class within easy access and many that aren’t so easily accessed. Think retreats in Peru…lovely…but a long way to travel for most of us.
We want to experience it all, preferable in one gigantic mouthful. Swallowing life and spiritual food as quickly as possible, before gobbling down the next mouthful. Spiritual gluttons we. Not so virtuous maybe?
Just like Eve who ended up with different practices from different philosophies that left her with ten long prayers to read each morning, numerous affirmations to speak before breakfast, five or was it six guided meditations to get done each day and that doesn’t count the various vision boards and books she’d make and remake….I think you get the picture.
Eve somehow decided she needed to do every exercise, practice every ritual, every meditation that her latest book or class suggested and do them every day. No surprise she felt under enormous pressure. Her thoughts and feelings were running the show, and she’d chosen to think that if she didn’t follow through on all of them, she ‘wouldn’t be spiritual’.
She forgot, as many of us do, that she didn’t have to work at being spiritual, she already was of spirit and all that was required was her awakening and remembering.
If life is running away with you, if it feels more vice than virtue, be it your spiritual life or your material life, remember it feels this way because you think of it in those terms and changing the way you see it can make all the difference. We can all become victims of our thinking.
In order to relax and move beyond overwhelm, be it of a spiritual junkie nature or something we’ve managed to make up in our physical world, we need to direct the movement of our thoughts and feelings. And that requires a bit of training.
And training isn’t easy during times of stress or overwhelm, self inflicted or not.
So for those who intellectually get what to do, but for reasons known and unknown just can’t quite follow through yet, here’s a few practical tips.
What truly matters
Identify the core of what’s important to you. What do you value most in your life, is it your relationships, your career, making money, your kids, spiritual development, health, being philanthropic, writing, speaking, self-improvement, your connection to the Divine?
You choose…no-one is judging. These are things that matter to you and if they matter to you it’s because they’re essential to your current well being.
Let your core values be your compass to your day, guiding your actions and make sure you schedule something every day that fulfills one of your values.
Why? Because at a soul level we’re using our values as a measurement of how our life is working for us.
If one of your core values is health and you’re working all the hours that God sends, chances are you’ll feel stressed. You’re not in harmony with one of your deepest values and you won’t be feeling good.
Take a peak under the hood
When Socrates said the unexamined life wasn’t worth living, I doubt that he meant spending time endlessly going over things that happened in the past or wondering why our boss looked at us sideways. Did we do something wrong?
Have you noticed that one silly thought begins to invite all its friends and cousins to join in the party? Before too long we have a host of must do’s or what if’s ending in a looooong mental list of all of life’s disappointments and upsets.
Like always attracts like, and that includes our thoughts and our moods. And down the rabbit hole we go.
This isn’t the best time in the world to try to do some mind training, but being aware that currently we’re in a state of reflecting the turmoil, instead of affecting it, allows us move into a kinder place of sweet surrender. Letting go, for now, of the way we think things ought to be.
Call upon your spiritual virtues
We’re not talking about more must do’s or must have’s here. No obligations at all. Just an awareness of the wonder and joy that come to every one who follows the path of spiritual virtues.
Feeling obligated to do something, because it might make us a better person, isn’t the purpose of the exercise here. Think of your spiritual virtues as a path of energy which nourishes and feeds your soul.
So basically, we benefit. Minimum waste of energy for maximum joy.
Follow the way of imagination. The vibration of energy we become immersed in through looking for and living spiritual virtues allows us to live an authentic, joyful and fulfilled life and create an easier way to move beyond overwhelm.
Practice loving kindness to you and others. Not a physical act, unless your inner guidance leads you to do that…I’m talking about using your imagination, which is simply spiritual sensation.
Feel gratitude for your life. It’s a beautiful thing. Look for the diamonds in the dirt and give thanks.
Our self concept consists of what we think of ourself AND others. Mentally use praise to support others. Since our self concept determines the life we lead, how cool that as we bless others we are blessed.
Be generous of spirit, mentally hold out your hand and raise someone from an unhappy state, see them being happy and fulfilled in their life and be glad for them.
Can you relate? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Your experiences matter. You matter even more.
Thank you for reading and sharing and adding your brilliance to the conversation.
Encourage one another.