Pain as Your Teacher

woman reflecting

“Pain is your best friend. It is infinitely more honest with you than pleasure. Despite what you might think, the painful experiences you have had benefit you far more than the pleasurable ones, even though most of us spend our lives trying to duck and hide from them.

But when you can center yourself and be open to look pain dead in the eye, then you have transcended the limits of your ego and this humanity. It is then that you enter into the possibility of becoming a great being.”

~ Swami Chetanananda

When I first read these words I wanted to reject them. How could pain be my best friend?

Yet, looking back on the painful, challenging and disappointing experiences in my life, I understand.

Through dark times we find courage and resourcefulness that we may not have thought we had within us.

We break open and feel into what matters.

We learn about ourselves and grow as human beings.

We are able to see the pain in others and feel more connected to them.

We enter the possibility of becoming great beings.

… and knowing this helps.

Namaste

 

 

 

Call of Loneliness

woman in black cloak with fishing pole standing in beach

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

These words made me pause and touched me deeply.

“Inside our loneliness is a longing to be released from the pain of separation and the confusion it entails. We’ve all been taught that there is something wrong or even dangerous about being lonely. But such an assumption is based on a misunderstanding of what loneliness is and how it relates to our life here.

Loneliness is a kind of wisdom, a recognition of something, an urge toward genuine transformation.

There is nothing to fear about loneliness. There’s no reason to run from it or to tighten down when it comes. If we allow ourselves the chance to attend to the loneliness, to be with it at a feeling level — physically — then the harsh overtones dissolve. What we called loneliness turns out to be something else entirely.

Each of us is longing for something. This longing runs deep. Sometimes it manifests as loneliness, sometimes as grief, anger, or something else. Whatever way it comes, we can be with it respectfully, openly, allowing it to exist. This so changes our relationship to it that we never need fear it or run from it again.

There are times when the body is calling for attentive care. There are times when the signal is there, but our response is self-hatred or dislike, and the body’s call gets ignored.
Loneliness is such a call. We need to turn to ourselves as a mother to a child and wait, without judgment.” *

Longing for something is not wrong.

Listen for its call.

We must tend to it with kindness and allow it show us the way.

Namaste

 

 

*The Prayer Of The Body

An Interview With Stephen R. Schwartz
by SY SAFRANSKY, editor and publisher of The Sun.

Nothing to prove

Enjoy this re-post and Middle Ground pause.

place of silence

Place of silence Photography by Ingo Dumreicher

“There’s nothing to prove, nothing to figure out, nothing to get, nothing to understand.
When we finally stop explaining to ourselves, we may discover that in silence, complete understanding is already there.”

Steve Hagen

Within nothing is everything

Beyond everything is nothing

When the unknown becomes known there is nothing to know

Let it be found in stillness

Pain as Your Teacher

woman reflecting

“Pain is your best friend. It is infinitely more honest with you than pleasure. Despite what you might think, the painful experiences you have had benefit you far more than the pleasurable ones, even though most of us spend our lives trying to duck and hide from them.

But when you can center yourself and be open to look pain dead in the eye, then you have transcended the limits of your ego and this humanity. It is then that you enter into the possibility of becoming a great being.”

~ Swami Chetanananda

When I first read these words I wanted to reject them. How could pain be my best friend?

Yet, looking back on the painful, challenging and disappointing experiences in my life, I understand.

Through dark times we find courage and resourcefulness that we may not have thought we had within us.

We break open and feel into what matters.

We learn about ourselves and grow as human beings.

We are able to see the pain in others and feel more connected to them.

We enter the possibility of becoming great beings.

 

… and knowing this helps.

Namaste

 

 

 

The Art of Peace

peace symbol art

The Art of Peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow.

You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your inner enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter.*

~ Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido

Peace is an art form.
It is created.
There has to be an intention behind it.
It comes from within.
It comes with some effort and skill.
It brings about transformation within you and to those around you.
Manifest your inner enlightenment and share it with the world.

Namaste

 

*Ueshiba, Morihei. The Art of Peace (Shambhala Classics) (p. 41). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.

* Inspiration – Within You

acorn to mighty oak

All that you need, you have within you, waiting to be recognized, nurtured and allowed to grow.

An acorn contains within it a mighty oak tree.

You contain the same within you.

Just as the acorn is planted and tended to enable it to grow, so you must activate the dormant seed within you.

Are you ready to burst your bonds and become free?

To do so, choose the right environment and supportive people around you. Nourish your body so that it is a fit container for this emerging true self.

and Find your Middle Ground.

It doesn’t have to be a world changing thing to start to bring about this growing spurt, no matter what age you are!

Find the time, (and perhaps courage) to recall an earlier part of your life and see it as a compassionate observer. Notice how far you have come… and the fork in the road that you may have been ignored.

Buy that bathing suit/swimsuit that you know will allow you to feel the freedom of swimming or simply floating again. Let go of what other people might think!

Be curious to know more! Climb that tree to see what’s on the other side.

Take a moment to notice your breath when you become anxious. Then take a class to find out more about breathing and meditation and how it impacts your health and well being.

Turn off your smartphone.

When we pause and find our middle ground, we open the door to a whole new way of living life in balance, with creativity and never ending possibility.

* Inspiration – Our True Nature

observing ourselves

“We can learn to transcend our ego, gradually, by placing ourselves more and more in the position of the transcendental Self, which knows no likes and dislikes but simply witnesses all experiences and states of existence. As our capacity for witnessing – mindfulness – increases, we automatically slip more and more into our true nature.”

Georg Feuerstein

When we have a mindfulness practice our ego begins to lose its power over us. We start to see ourselves as connected beings rather than separate.

What does this look like? We notice our self reflected in others. We have more compassion for our self as well as others. We become part of  humanity and beingness. We learn to let go of expectations of how things should be and trust in each moment as it unfolds.

The more we practice and connect to our higher Self, the more we let go of the past and our worries about the future.

There is no need to escape, because we are already home.

We learn to trust and live in place of love rather than fear.

This is our true nature.

Some sages say it takes years of practice with discipline and willpower, while other modern sages  say that we are able to open to it in the moment when we live from our true nature. Georg Feuerstein’s words capture both elements of the traditional long path and the modern short path on the spiritual journey.

* We can lead a horse to water …

lead a horse to water
I talk a lot about how we can all find time to pause, connect inwards and find peace; become aware of habits and conditioning; learn to let go; see things from different perspectives; be more compassionate to others and more loving towards ourselves; recognize ego and embrace the connections between us all and a universal consciousness;  follow our heart and spiritual path … and along the way, not take ourselves too seriously.

Inspirations and insights can only go so far. At the end of the day we have to be ready.

“Ready” means that we open up to an expanded way of being. We begin to embody these messages and live them, rather than simply believing in them as good ideas. “Ready” is when they are absorbed into our mind, body and soul.

We may hope that others will change.
We may wish that we can change.

When we get frustrated with others who don’t get it, or want to change. When we feel loss and sadness for them. When we get dismayed with ourselves for not being able to make these changes ….

We must remember that we can lead a horse to water, but we can’t make them drink until he or she is ready.

All we can do is our best, coming from a place of understanding and kindness.

And recognizing that sometimes this isn’t enough.

Patience and acceptance are perhaps the most important lessons of them all.

Namaste

*Mantra for Today – transform

Our days can easily get out of hand when our mind is in overdrive. Its like driving a car with our foot pressed on the accelerator. Unsure where we are heading but driving hard to get somewhere.

car in overdrive

Our ego is in command “Keep pushing you’ll get there!”
Its voice is much louder than the small questioning inner voice  “Where are we going? … Is this the way to happiness?…”

In the state of overdrive we reinforce our habitual behaviors and thinking. There is no awareness of self, just a mindless mind running the show. Pretty scary eh?!

We have to pause in order to hear the small inner voice that comes from our heart and intuitive being. When we pause and become still we can hear it. As we listen, it becomes our guide on how to live our lives and find true happiness. The more we pause the more insights we have into ourselves and the world around us. The more creativity and inspiration opens up. We experience inner transformation and happiness.

So the next time you notice yourself as a mindless driver in overdrive, remember this mantra:

When I pause I transform

pause and transform

* Awareness as Alchemy

“Awareness is the greatest alchemy there is.
Just go on becoming more and more aware and you will find your life changing for the better in every possible dimension.
It will bring great fulfillment”. ~ Osho

alchemy

When we are able to bring awareness to our actions, thoughts and emotions we begin a journey of inner transformation.

This can only happen when we pause, notice and withhold judgment about how things should be.

It may take some time, and a lot of practice … but the end result is one of inner knowing and freedom to be our true selves.

I paused and these words came:

Begin to transform

awareness as alchemy

in your Middle Ground.

Spirit Prevails

I love this series of haikus from Nancy. Beautiful poetic words of wisdom! Thank you Nancy. You always have so much to share. Val x

Spirit Lights The Way

Ego hangs on tight
Preferring known to unknown
How boring is that?

Resist hanging on
Attachments become anchors
Let billow your sails

Relinquish your fears
Live amid uncertainty
Discover what’s next

Embrace all with joy
Relinquish with joy also
Learn to flow through life

The still silent voice
Guides you without faltering
Get out of its way

* * * * *

Artwork by Maitte Van Arsdel ~ available at Island Gallery West.

Related posts:  The Inner Path to Peace * The Answers Lie Within * It’s Time To Wake Up * Backwards LivingA Not-So-Quick Quiz: Who Are You? * The Awakening by Sonny CarrollAccess Your Inner Wisdom * Meditation 101

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What Needs to Change for Change to Happen

I was talking with a coaching client the other day about change and how it can be difficult for most of us. Our conversation led me to write about it. I thought I’d share this with you as a practical resource for transforming your life.Transformation - egg

Why is Change Hard?

Three things come to my mind that are supported by scientific research:

    • We are hard wired to be in our comfort zone. It’s for human survival … and reinforced by how we deal with difficult emotions growing up. We react to the stressors with a fight, flight, or freeze response, then act out learned behaviors that we think will take away the discomfort and fear. Those behaviors often keep us stuck and in a cycle of disappointment and failure.
    • In some circumstances we may fail to see change happening already around us. Our own conditioning and filters prevent us from seeing what’s real.
    • Even when we really want it, its hard to break old habits and beliefs and step out of our comfort zone. In “Immunity to Change” by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Laley they state that desire and logic aren’t enough. 

For example: In a recent study. Doctors told heart patients that they will die unless they change their habits – taking meds consistently, changing eating habits and getting regular exercise. The result? only 1 in 7 people followed through. Even when it’s a matter of life and death, the ability to change can be madly elusive.

We have a built in immunity to change.

For real change to happen there has to be an inner transformation. 

plant emerging

In my experience from coaching people from all walks of life, this is what is needed:

      • A compelling gut level reason. The one big thing! A vision of how you see yourself being. Craft an inspirational story with you in the lead – Become your own hero.
      • Engage your head AND your heart.  Connecting to your hopes will give you energy to propel you forward. Use your logical brain to see the benefits of change outweigh the cost of not changing.
      • Change takes time. It isn’t about flicking a switch.  Don’t try to change until your mind and emotions are ready.  Give the universe time to align itself around your new way of being.
      • Open up your mindset and options before experimenting and taking action. Be curious and explore. Use your imagination without editing or judging. (That’s your ego trying to keep you safe!)
      • Be purposeful and gather information to overcome assumptions and beliefs that get in the way.
      • Tap into your past success with change. What worked for you that you can bring here? What do you choose not to do this time around?
      • No one is successful by themselves. Build a team to support you, include the people that inspire you.
      • Be patient …. with the outcome you want,  and with yourself. In your inner exploration you will encounter resistance and fear. It takes time to be okay with this and realize it is part of the process of transformation.
      • Trust that the outcome you really want will happen when it is meant to.

So let go of those unrealistic new years resolutions, going cold turkey and taking giant leaps of faith.

Take a more mindful approach to change.

Find your Middle Ground and take the time to get to know your own inspiring self. This is the part of you that will bring about real change and transformation.