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Tag Archives: spiritual journey

Even Buddha Had Bad Days

even buddha had bad days

Bad days happen to everyone, even the spiritually enlightened person. Yes, even Buddha had bad days.

Neither a spiritual practice, meditation nor prayer can exempt us from a full-range of emotions.  What they can provide is the awareness and the ability to help us develop our thoughts in such a way that they can manage the emotional scale.

You have not failed if you have a bad day.  Buddha had bad days.  Jesus had bad days.  Muhammad had bad days.  You will not meet a single physically manifested being (whether they are an ascended master or not) that is exempt from contrast and so you will not meet a single physically manifested being who is in alignment twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  To expect this from anyone is cruelty.

Author and spiritual catalyst, Teal Scott narrates the following video, highlighting how our journey to enlightenment is like becoming a master surfer. Just as surfers learn to respect the ocean’s large waves and strong current, we also learn to release resistance to attaining the “perfect” path to enlightenment and learn to utilize life’s waves to our advantage.

Surfers will spend years perfecting their skill. Likewise, spiritual practice is just that… It is a practice.  It is still a practice for those who are spiritual masters.  Alignment is something that we have to maintain.  It is not a prize that we reach and then we are granted alignment forever no matter what we think or do.  Alignment and enlightenment are not something that is bestowed to us once we prove ourselves worthy.  It is something we constantly maintain.  We choose to come into alignment or not in each moment, just as a surfer has a choice with each approaching wave.

Share this with someone who could use the reminder that it’s ok to have a bad day.  

If you got inspired from this article, you will also enjoy these tips on creative ways to deal with depression. 

 

ARTWORK ABOVE:  By Nathan Winsor – buy these beautiful prints of surfing Buddha here.

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Celebrating the Path of Spiritual Freedom

be free

Today as we celebrate our political freedom, let us also pay homage to our spiritual liberties.

We have the freedom to empower ourselves and let go of energies that do not serve us. How about the freedom to feel well and to be happy?  And there is the freedom to be healthy in body, mind and spirit.  We are gifted spiritual independence to create all of these things.

 The most important question in spiritual life is not: ‘Are you happy?’ but ‘Are you free?’ – Thomas Merton

Spiritual freedom is seeking God on your own terms and releasing any bonds that cause you to live in way that is not true to yourself, that is fear-based, restrictive or narrow minded.  It’s the ability to think for yourself without guilt, to question everything, to see one’s greatness and not allow small minds to change our perspective.  Being free is seeing the endless sea of possibilities as we journey towards seeking our life purpose.

Our sense of freedom and our commitment to liberation are connected to, and enhanced by, following our own path, and our ability to develop and maintain our own inner resilience. We follow our own spiritual journey, in part, to develop this: the ability to free ourselves and to strengthen ourselves. We put this practice into action every day.

We were are here to seek meaning and find answers as individuals.  In that respect, spiritual freedom also means that you allow others the freedom to make their own choices, even if those choices seem foreign to you.

As Americans, we embody multiple layers of freedom.  May you tap into all of those layers with gratitude today. here’s one of our favorite quotes on freedom, from author and activist Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Happy 4th of July to all!  Let all of our freedoms ring!

If you liked this article, you will enjoy: “Cut the Cords: Freedom is Waiting”. 

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Smile At Your Fear: How to be Fearless

Fear can go in the direction of chaos, violence, aggression, or in the direction of sanity.

The only way to experience fearlessness is to know the nature of fear. It’s not something we get rid of or cast out, but something we become so intimate with that the journey of knowing fear is actually the journey towards bravery.

Examples of how we unknowingly connect with fear is blaming others, gossiping and slandering. Sometimes it gets to the point where people go looking for security through stealing, lying and acts of violence. Generally speaking, no one does any of these things because they want to feel worse.  They do it because their situation, at the pit of their stomach, is such an uncomfortable experience that they just want to find something to represent security.  Others turn to entertainment, drugs, alcohol or divide the world up into our views and opinions.

So, how do we face towards fear, leap into our fear – and smile at our fear?

The main practice is to stay with your fear rather than letting it set off a chain reaction.  Fear itself is the entrance to wisdom and courage. Being present is not being open to just the comfortable, secure and pleasurable parts of life; but being open, receptive and available to the uncomfortable parts as well.

Working with fear in the way of appreciating fear is the basis of sanity and the way to connect with the fundamental goodness of ourselves and others. One way to put this practice into play is through a disciplined meditation practice. This is the main key because in meditating, you remain present to whatever might arouse.  Briefly touch the feelings then let them go. You don’t repress them that way.  This way you turn towards the fear.

Once face to face with it, place your fearful mind in the cradle of loving kindness. In the shade of fear, fan it with the fan of joy and happiness. This atmosphere of warmth allows yourself to be as you are. This makes you very decent, very sane and very open to the world and other people.

These applicable teachings come to us from Pema Chödrön, a notable American figure in Tibetan Buddhism.  She is an ordained nun, author and teacher, and is widely known for her charming and down-to-earth interpretation of Tibetan Buddhism for Western audiences. Her mantra: The nature of fear is the basis of fearlessness.

Watch this video and connect with your courage. Ask yourself, “Does my fear go in the direction of confidence, gentleness, courage and tender-hearted bravery?” If not, your fear could use your smile.

Who are some great teachers in your life?  Send us their link or videos.
If you enjoyed this article, you will also like: “Can You Trust Your Intuition?”
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Three Ways to Tell if Your Path is…Yours

We love quick bits of inspiration just as much as you, and this three minute clip of Oprah and author, Caroline Myss, just could be the most important three minutes of your day.

Caroline reminds us:

1) When your life path starts to harm you, it’s time to sit back and realize you’ve taken a detour.  Your intuition has been speaking to you because it wants to get you back on track.

2) If you constantly feel drained and depleted on you path, you have most likely betrayed what you knew was right for yourself somewhere along the way. To betray yourself is the worst betrayal. It’s like consciously taking portions of poison.

3) You’re NEVER on the WRONG path…You’re just not managing your path well.

But of course it’s better in her own words – enjoy:

How do you select your path?  What signals do you look for/follow? 

If you enjoyed this video, you will like “What Your Intuition Wants to Tell You”

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The Key to Surviving a Spiritual Wasteland

stages of spiritual development

 

By Ben Riggs

I have been in a dry spell for well over six months now. It is painful. I cannot write, meditation seems misplaced or emaciated, prayer is mechanical. I feel disconnected.

There is no solution. The solution—meditation, writing, and prayer—seems as trite as drinking a soda or watching a funny movie. There is no where to turn. It seems hopeless and hopelessness is terrifying. At times I tremble because there are no words, and words are the great anesthetic. They have the capacity to distance me from the piercing immediacy Reality.

Interestingly enough it is this terror that lets me know I am exactly where I am suppose to be.

It is almost as if the soul is de-toxing— a Dark Night, of sorts. On a dark night there is only one light, honesty, which means that the shroud of darkness has been cast by deception.

As my life unfolds my egos adapt. They evolve, incorporating the body’s wisdom into their conscious framework. The articulation of insight—what the ego thinks about Being—becomes just another credential or means of identification. Before long, I have migrated from the life of the body into the arid and desolate wasteland of a false image.

There is no creativity and inspiration; only stagnant slogans and feeble spiritual technologies used to embalm and preserve the false image. The ego is forever trying to maintain comfort and destroy discomfort. But at a certain point in the human journey we must learn to relate to our discomfort or explore the world beyond the basic limitations imposed by the ego.

I imprison myself when I refuse to acknowledge the world extending itself beyond my conscious system of identification. The ego seeks to maximize pleasure and reduce discomfort. A “spiritual ego” tries to do this using “spiritual technologies” like meditation, prayer, yoga, etc. I trap myself when I refuse to acknowledge the impotence of this strategy—the simple fact that all the spiritual practices in the world cannot organize life into one great big thrill ride, devoid of uncomfortable experiences.

Suffering is what fuels the spiritual journey, because it is what invites us to open up or get honest. Suffering makes it impossible to pretend that we have our shit together. It breaks down our pretenses and forces us to see our how futile all of our planning and strategizing have been. That there is safety or security to be won. Suffering opens our eyes and forces us to see that we are fundamentally vulnerable. Suffering, the dark night, invites us to be honest. This willingness to be honest reconnects us with reality, with the present moment. It enables us to rejoin our journey.

The human journey is not about escaping the darkness, but learning how to shine light on those dark corners of our life. Basic honesty is our lamp. Basic honesty is incredibly practical. You cannot see. You cannot figure it out. It is like being in a strange house during a power outage; all you can do is slowly feel your way through the living room. This feeling through is the meaning of faith or basic honesty. It is trust.

Every journey begins in darkness or confusion. It is about working with the confusion, not obliterating it.

We’ll be sharing this one with friends on the (sometimes rough) journey to enlightenment, will you? 


Guest Columnist Ben Riggs

You can catch Ben putting his perspective on the spiritual path at Web of Enlightenment - one of our favorite blogs. It’s high on honesty, low on bullish*t.  Find out more about Ben here and be sure to visit him on Facebook and Twitter.

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