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Tuesday, October 29, 2013


What do you do when your emotional state overwhelms your spiritual intention?  What do you do when everything you know and have practiced drowns in a flood of uncontrollable emotion?  What do you do when the fears and concerns that you have patiently soothed with meditation and mindfulness erupt with a ferocity that threatens to destroy all your effort?

You breathe.  Slowly and deeply.  And you let the feeling wash over you, and do everything you can to just keep breathing, to let the energy of that experience move and keep moving.  You feel whatever there is to feel, and don't try to grab hold of it, manipulate or control it.  Because that fear is energy. It is energy that got stuck somewhere, somehow, and is trying to move, to get unstuck, and in whatever way you seek to control it, it will get stuck again.

The spiritual journey doesn't protect you from yourself.  It doesn't protect you from the reality of what you have lived through or what lives inside of you.  But regular spiritual practice gives you internal strength, and a sense of self bigger and more real than emotional upheaval and the havoc it might wreak.

The spiritual journey reminds you that the challenges along the way are very real, that the journey isn't an escape from yourself or your circumstances.  It reminds you that spirituality isn't a tool for manipulating the things we want to change, but a tool that gives us the courage to face what must be faced.  It doesn't change what's around you; it changes what's in you.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Maybe the most devastating consequence of the traumas we endure is this: "Sense of a limited future."  So many of us are damaged, traumatized by the things that happened or the things that didn't, all the ways we were hurt or wounded, our sense of self altered by circumstances and experiences beyond our control.

With trauma, there's a moment of shock when the world and the people in it are suddenly different than what you expected or knew was possible, a moment that leaves you overwhelmed, overcome, overtaken by fear and anxiety.  In that moment it's impossible to focus or connect or even breathe. In that moment it becomes almost impossible to remember who you are and who you want to be, and everything is erased but the panic.

And if that fear doesn't subside, if that panic doesn't diminish, if that overwhelm continues, then the full sense of yourself doesn't return either.  The potential you have within is crowded out by all the thoughts and feelings you can't control, and the inner light that used to shine dims in the shadows.

We're not all suffering from the same trauma, from the same wounds or neglect or whatever has stopped us in important ways, but it's worth asking if there's something that's stopping you from imagining yourself, your future, your life as fully as it could be. And more than just stopping your imagination, maybe stopping you from living your way into the potential that resides within.

You might be there, but you don't have to stay there.  And if there's any path worth taking on the spiritual journey, the one back to yourself is the most worthwhile.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Sometimes the hardest part of the spiritual journey is turning toward the very thing you've spent all your time avoiding, all your time turning away from.  The very thing you're hiding from is the very thing you most need to face, to acknowledge and to accept.

This isn't about confrontation or fighting your demons.  It's about recognizing that those demons are in all the places that fear and anger and injury dwell, thriving in the darkness of secrets and untold stories.  But if you stand before them, with the light of courage and the peace of acceptance, you can begin to dispel the darkness inside of you, the places that gives them refuge.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Resilient and Fragile

The spiritual journey requires an absolute commitment to honesty.  It requires that you strive to be as honest with yourself as you possibly can be, and to see yourself and your circumstances as clearly as you possibly can see.  Which is easier than it sounds, and it doesn't really sound so easy to begin with.

Because the thing about our own experience is that we see it first, and sometimes only, through the lens of our own understanding.  But that doesn't mean that we're seeing it in its entirety, and even very well.  How do you know you're not seeing things clearly?  When you suffer and struggle with the same thing over and over and over, beset again and again with the same feelings and frustration.  That's how you know.

It doesn't mean something is wrong with you.  It means you're missing a piece of insight or understanding or information, and the thing that's missing may be missing because seeing it, acknowledging it, accepting it, might be more painful than the suffering you're already in the middle of.

We are simultaneously resilient and fragile, and the wounds we suffer can fester deep below the surface for a long time, causing pain and weakness.  But there is a cost to living with pain, to struggling, even if we don't know that's what's happening. Like an undiagnosed illness, the impact is felt even if the cause isn't understood.

Being honest with yourself about whatever is there - the symptoms, the underlying cause, the suffering - is not just about being honest.  It's about becoming free. Because the spiritual journey is, more than anything, about harnessing your energy - spiritual, emotional, mental, physical - all of it, and using it to become the person you were born to be.  And wherever that energy is stuck or perverted or thwarted is where pain and shame and sorrow thrive.

Use honesty not as a weapon, but an instrument of healing.  Because if you've embarked on the spiritual journey, if you've undertaken this adventure, you already know you want to cultivate your potential, you want something more, for yourself, for the planet, for humanity...

Let yourself see.  Really see.  All of what's inside of you and how it has shaped you and what you have to let go of to keep moving forward.  And even if it's the hardest thing you've ever done, which it very well might be, it's the key to the next step on the journey.  The honesty - no matter how hard - lights the way on what might otherwise be a dark path.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Every Day

Start every day with a fresh idea, inspiration, or thought. We cannot satisfy hunger without food, and we cannot nourish the soul without the sustenance of truth, wisdom and insight.