Spirituality for DU MM IES: A Reference for the Rest of Us

 By  Sharon Janis  

ISBN 0-7645-5298-8

 

5 star must reading.   [The following is what I highlighted during my read of this excellent book (First Edition) -- I recommend it on my Top-ten List of Peace resources.  My purpose in providing them is to interest you, the reader, and hope that you will obtain and read the complete work.  To properly understand the highlights, you need to read the book to put them in the proper context.]

 

 

  Introduction

 

·    I assume that you’re a human soul, made in the divine image and likeness, and of the substance of pure spirit. 

 

 

Part  I

Getting Acquainted with Spirituality

 

Chapter  1

Spirituality Defined

 

·         The study of spirituality goes deeply into the heart of every matter and extends far

       Beyond the physical world of matter.  Spirituality connects you with the 

       Profoundly powerful and divine force that’s present in this universe.

 

ü      No financial or societal stature helps you get ahead in life as much as spiritual wisdom.

ü      No amount of outer effort bears as much fruit as understanding and flowing with the spiritual laws of this universe.

ü      None of the powerful people you know can “connect” you like the power of knowing your own self.

ü      No friend can love and guide you as much as that truly best friend who exists behind all friends, behind all enemies, and in your very own soul.

 

 

ü      Allowing yourself to be filled with inspiration, which also translates into love, joy, wisdom, peacefulness, and service?

ü      Remembering that an inevitable expiration waits to take you away from the very circumstances you may think are so very important right now.

      

 

    Opening up to a spiritual view of life

 

 

ü      What if this world is a school for the soul, a place of learning and growth?

ü      What if the experience most people label as “bad” end up being some the most precious transformational tools you ever encounter?

ü      What if true wealth is measured very differently than how the IRS would have you believe?

ü      What if the most important action you can perform in this life is to expand your own awareness into the highest realms?

 

 

ü      Purify your heart.

ü      Follow your heart.

 

 

ü      Looking beyond outer appearances to the deeper significance and soul of everything.

ü      Love and respect for God

ü      Love and respect for yourself

ü      Love and respect for everybody

 

 

ü      …exhilaration of being alive.

ü      ..A subtle sense of oneness with all things.

ü      You take greater responsibility.

ü      …you know you’re never really alone.

ü      When you’re aggravated …some deep lesson your soul is struggling to learn.

ü      …acceptance and detachment...

 

 

ü      A greater sense of power in co-creating your life with the Holy Spirit.

ü      An enhanced appreciation for every moment of life, whether pleasurable or challenging.

ü      A steadiness that carries you into the precious awareness and confidence that everything is all right, all the time.

ü      Faith in a living God who is present in even the smallest detail of your life.

ü      A life filled with joyful service and inspirational inner growth.

ü      A natural state of peacefulness and contentment

ü      Honesty and self-acceptance, without needing to hide who you really are.

ü      The transformation of your limited self-identification into a greatness and magnificence you may never have imagined could be in you.

 

 

 

ü      Can’t be captured by thought

ü      Can’t be fully labeled or structured

ü      Goes far beyond language and writing

 

 

 

     Chapter 2

     Uncovering Your Own Spirit

 

Watch your thoughts; they become your words.

Watch your words; they become your actions.

Watch your actions; they become your habits.

Watch your habits; they become your character.

Watch your character for it will become your destiny.

                                                                          -Hillel

 

ü      Shrinking your ego: .You becomes vigilant…

ü      Expanding your ego: see only supreme oneness everywhere...

 

 

1.       Imagine what it may be like to have no worries, no fear, no confusion, or stress; nothing that you’re wishing for or waiting for; nobody to be angry at; and no pressing matters at hand.

2.       In your mind’s eye, invoke an image of yourself as a young child.

3.       Take all of that carefree feeling and bring it into the circumstances of your life as it is now.

 

 

Chapter 3

Your Soul’s Journey in this World

 

 

ü      What is life?

ü      Why are you here?

ü      Is there something particular you’re supposed to be doing here?

ü      Where you will go next?

ü       

 

 

Interpreting this dream

 

 

ü      Learn certain lessons

ü      Experience the flavors of human experience

ü      Discover how to respond to the challenges and events of life

ü      Remember who you really are

 

 

ü      Tap into your deeper essence though whatever means suits your nature.

ü      Bring yourself into the flow beyond judgment – the space of surrender.

ü      Allow yourself to be guided by your inner soul and the intelligent energy of the universe.  For you, this guidance may come through the form of God, angels, the divine Mother, spiritual guides, or your own inner self.  However and whatever you identify as your source of inspiration, divine guidance can help you act in the most fruitful ways so you can learn your lessons and pass your tests.

 

 

ü      Try to imagine yourself in God’s place.  Why would you be creating this scenario for yourself?  What might you be trying to teach this person (a.k.a. you)?

ü      Remember other similar challenges you’ve had in the past.  What benefits came from those times?  It’s not so easy to see the benefits of a difficult situation while you are in it, but hindsight is one of the great gifts of human life.

ü      Imagine this circumstance as a piece within a grand puzzle.  Consider how this challenging circumstance fits in with the rest of the puzzle in terms of your personal history and personality.  Contemplate the situation with the belief that everything that comes to you is a gift, a test, and a lesson intended to make you even greater than you are now.

ü      Ask for grace in whatever context this is comfortable for you – from your own self, from God, Allah, Krishna , Jesus – you get the idea! Asking for grace is one of the most powerful tools you have.

ü      Most spiritual theories maintain that after the physical death of your body, your soul continues on in a purer form of some kind.

 

 

 

     Chapter 4

     Spirituality in Your Daily Life

 

 

ü      Living in tune with spiritual laws.

ü      Understanding how much power moves through your thoughts and feelings

ü      Learning and discovering more wisdom to guide your steps

ü      Appreciating the archetypal and symbolic nature of life

ü      Knowing that the universe is divine and an illusion at the same time

ü      Applying what you learn to specific moments and events

ü      Taking responsibility for your spiritual growth

ü      Realizing your own greatness

ü      Going with the flow

ü      Increasing your sense of peace, love, and surrender

ü      Honoring everything and everyone as divine spirit in form

 

ü      Be a focus miser:  Pay as much attention to where you’re spending your attention as to where you’re spending your money.

ü      Have discriminating tastes:  Feed your mind and heart with good quality thoughts by keeping the right company, inside and outside.

ü      Don’t think junk thoughts: Limit thoughts that have no “nutritional” value and that can create physical, emotional, and mental disease in your being.

 

 

1.      Hope for the best.

2.      Shoot for the best

3.      Expect the best

4.      Be perfectly content with whatever comes

 

 

Part II

Spiritual Practices for Fun and Prophet

 

 

 

ü      Increase your capacity to contain spiritual energy and knowledge

ü      Give outer guidance and inner inspiration

ü      Purify old motives and mental afflictions that may otherwise convince you to direct your new energy into the wrong directions

ü      Make your thoughts more powerful, enabling you to use your empowerment, clarity, inspiration, and guidance for the good of all.

 

 

      Chapter 5

      If I’m Already Spiritual, Why Do I Need Practices?

 

 

ü      By intentionally doing spiritual practices, you’re actively supporting your personal growth and therefore, working in harmony with the universe.

ü      Growth is inherently challenging no matter how you do it, but if you work with the universe, your progress will be smoother and more fruitful.  The universe won’t have to throw unending disasters and challenges into your life to force you to grow.  Life becomes more peaceful and more exciting at the same time.

ü      Saying “I want to become spiritual” is like saying, “I want to become healthy.”  Your focus and determination can definitely help to achieve this goal, but it is also important to practice habits that are conductive to becoming healthy or spiritual.

 

 

ü      Knowing what you want

ü      Empowering what you want

 

 

ü      Practices for your mind: Clarity of mind is important when you want to discern your true goals.  Chapter 7 gives an in-depth exploration of three basic steps that can strengthen and empower your mind:

§         You examine what’s already in your mind and put that into order.  This is called contemplation.

§         You clear your mind so that whatever you encounter can be seen and understood more clearly.  This is meditation.

§         You become inspired and guided from your own deep, inner connection to divine’s spirit.  This is communion.

 

 

ü      Practices for your body:  In order to know what you want, it is also helpful for your body to be in good shape.

ü      Practices for your spirit:  Spiritual and devotional rituals also help you to find guidance in clarifying your highest goals.  Practices such as rituals, prayers, and chanting help open your heart to divine guidance.  Divine guidance is the best way to discover what you really want.

 

 

ü      Be patient and gentle with yourself

ü      Don’t try to be perfect. You still get benefits even if you can’t do the practice fully.

ü      Your attitude is paramount in any practice.

 

 

ü      First you purify yourself: body, mind heart, and spirit.

ü      Then you increase the energy flowing to and through your clean, shining vessel.

 

 

ü      Practices for your body:  These practices include yoga postures, breathing exercises, and energy balancing – all for the purpose of making your “ temple of God ” (that is, your body) a worthy vessel to contain and carry the great energy of Holy Spirit.  See Chapter 6 for an array of practices for your body.

ü      Practices for your mind:  These practices include meditation, contemplation, repetition of mantras, study of spiritual teachings, and affirmations – all of which polish the mirror of your mind so it can reflect divine light more clearly and brightly.  Check out Chapter 7 for a selection of practices for your mind.

ü      Practices for your spirit: These practices include reverential rituals, prayer, chanting and singing of hymns, and other devotional efforts that invigorate your love, willpower, surrender, and faith.  Flip to Chapter 8 for practices that nourish your spirit.

 

 

 

     Chapter 6

     Practices to Energize Your Body

 

 

 

 

     Chapter 7

     Practices to Empower Your Mind

 

 

ü      Pay attention to your thoughts.

ü      Direct the flow and content of your thoughts.

ü      Put your thoughts in order, deleting unwanted thoughts and unnecessary files, just like you do on your computer.

ü      Strengthen the power of your mind by focusing on powerful thoughts.

 

·         One thing you can contemplate right now is how you may be able to uncluttered your outer life to bring more inner peace.

·         Less clutter outside means less clutter inside!

·         Here are some types of cluttered thoughts that you can clean up through contemplation:

 

ü      Getting rid of anger.

ü      Unraveling feelings of sadness.

ü      Doubting your doubts.

ü      Being negative toward your negativity:  These are the darkest, heaviest thoughts to carry.

ü      Unmasking false contentment.

ü      Giving up greed.

ü      Greed is the enemy of contentment and satisfaction.

ü      Healing your hatred:  Here is the thing about hatred:  No matter who or what you hate, that hatred turns into self-hatred, because it lives inside of you.  Even if you hate a very bad person, you will be the victim of your hatred, not the bad person.  Here are four qualities that can help you to move beyond hatred:

 

-          Deeper understanding

-          Compassion

-          Trust in God

-          Love

 

ü      Eliminating your impatience:  Impatience creates dissatisfaction.  Growth takes time, patience, and steady effort.  Each tendency or quality that you have has a positive and negative side.  Through contemplation, you can not only notice the tendency and explore its roots, but also discover how to make that tendency an asset.

ü      Jostling with jealousy…keep your attention focused on what you wish for yourself and not on what others have!

ü      Ending your infatuation.

 

·         …contemplation isn’t meant to create a judgment against yourself or the other person, but to use an outer event to stimulate greater self-awareness and self control….remember that whatever you wish for others comes back to you in some way and form!

·         “Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering.”  -Yoda

·         Each person has a wise, enlightened soul deep inside.  However, some levels of your mind don’t yet know the great truth that pulsates within yourself - and everywhere else, too!

·         Uplifting writings hold your hand as they lead you, step by step, into a higher view of life.

·         Although any piece of writing is inherently confined to the level of words, these very words can spark an awakening into that which cannot be spoken.

·         Book knowledge isn’t enough.  The important part about learning higher truths is to transform objective understanding into subjective experience.  In fact, uninterested knowledge is nearly as useless as ignorance!

·         Scriptures and other spiritual writings can let you know how you’re doing by describing some of the signs to look for along the way.  Society doesn’t teach such things, even during the decade or so that most people spend in public education. In fact, society sometimes interprets the best spiritual signs and attainments ….as problems that need to be corrected.

·         One thing to keep in mind while reading spiritual writings is that you can only read and selection according to your own worldview.

·         In fact, it’s possible to read the same teachings year after year and have the meaning change every time, because you have changed.

 

 

The Path of Knowledge

 

·         There are four steps to expanding your knowledge of great spiritual truths through the process of study, reflection, application, and integration:

 

1.      Study: Hear or read spiritual teachings about the truth.  At first, the concept being taught may or may not be clear to your mind.

2.      Reflection:  Repeatedly reflect on and contemplate the deeper meaning behind the words.  Bathe your mind in the teaching.

3.      Application:  Apply the teachings to circumstances in your life.  As you go through the events of life, look for opportunities to apply these spiritual teachings in practical ways.

4.      Integration:  Become one with that knowledge and awaken to your own personal understanding of the truth.  Eventually, through your concentration and focus on the essence of a particular teaching, it is no longer a teaching you have heard or learned.  Your personal understanding of the concept becomes fully integrated into your own belief system, in your own way.

 

·         Read what resonates with you.  Begin to trust yourself more.  If something doesn’t really make sense to you, find another teaching that does.

·         Surely, Knowledge is the food of the soul.  – Socrates.

·         Studying spiritual teachings can bring many personal benefits, including the following:

 

ü      Spiritual teachings act as guideposts along the way.

ü      Spiritual teachings help you recognize certain signs of progress so you can gain greater understanding of the twists and turns in your own.

ü      Spiritual teachings give you new words and concepts to consider as you expand your understanding of yourself, of God, and of life.

ü      Spiritual teachings help reveal your own ever-fresh spring of spiritual wisdom.

ü      Spiritual teachings help you realize that you aren’t all the things society thinks you are – rather, you’re spiritual soul, seeking to find your way back to wholeness, self-recognition, and remembrance of your true nature.

 

·         true education begins only when a man turns from all external aids to the Infinity within and becomes as it were a natural source of original knowledge.  –Swami Ramtirha.

·         The most basic tenet of nearly every great philosophical system is to “know thyself.”

·         ….most are too busy living their immediate, outer lives to take time to unfold all the petals of wisdom and artistry that live in each event, event moment, each feeling, and each experience.

·         Consciousness equals life; therefore, more consciousness equals more life!

·         Your job is to dig for the gems in everything that comes –and that has previously come - your way.

·         Don’t judge the depths of your life by superficial, shallow measurements such as materialistic accomplishments!

·         The purpose of contemplative writing is not only to share your thoughts with others, but also to teach you to look at things with a more conscious eye and to contemplate, clarify, and empower your beliefs with the tool of words.

·         Your beliefs create your reality.  Uplift your beliefs and you uplift the world!

·         The patterns of  stress energy  that are stored in your brain along with stressful memories can be released if your memories of those difficult experiences are:

 

ü      Elicited

ü      Contemplated with spiritual insight

ü      Rewritten from a viewpoint of greater wisdom

ü      Reintroduced to your mind

 

·         What will fuel your healing through contemplative writing are your attention, intention, and action.

·         Here is a writing exercise you can use to practice releasing and uplifting a toxic memory:

  1. Take between 20 minutes and an hour to write the basic storyline and dialogue involved.
  2. Invoke divine grace to help you clear up the unnecessary negative feelings, through whatever means you relate to.
  3. Rewrite your piece word by word, adding the other person’s point of view as much as possible.
  4. Look at the situation again, but from a state of witness consciousness.
  5. Do one last rewrite, seeing your life as a story, as though it weren’t quite so personal but rather, a fascinating novel.

·         …some of the more difficult experiences in your life may have ultimately created the greatest transformations in your awareness and goals.  Of course, you wouldn’t know about the future benefits while going through these challenging times, but only through hindsight.  What you’ve experienced as pain may have been the universe telling you that you had taken or were about to take a wrong turn on the path.

·         After you’ve churned up and cleaned up all that clutter, how can you break through to the healing light of spiritual freedom?  Through peaceful meditation.

·         Only when the mind is settled can it become quiet.  Only when the mind is quiet can it become still.  Only when the mind is still can it see.  And only when the mind can see, ca it reaches the mystery of mysteries.  This is the process that anyone who practices has to go through.  How long it takes is up to the individual.  –Yen –ch’eng

·         The practice of meditation brings you a long list of benefits, from the mundane to the divine.  From the skill of focusing and empowering your mind, many other abilities and talents flow.  Meditation makes you a better teacher, dancer, artist, singer, engineer, lawyer, mother, father, husband, wife, student, lover and worker.  Meditation helps you to relax, alleviate stress, still your mind, get along better with the people around you, be more creative, make clearer decisions, experience God’s presence, and attain supreme enlightenment, liberation, salvation, and nirvana (more on this in Chapter 17)!

·         Here is the basic gist behind meditation:  If you can take all the floodlights of energy from your daily life and turn them around, back into yourself, you reap the benefit from having all this extra energy in your body, mind, and spirit.

·         Your mind becomes calm and cleared of the clouds of errant thought, desire, and anger that cover your peaceful sky of awareness.  Then, the great universal sun begins to shine through everything you think, say and do.

·         By turning your energies within, you create a fertile field for the blossoming of inner knowledge.  You minimize the outward flow of energy through your senses, actions and mind.  Then, all that saved energy can move in new directions, carrying you deeper into your inner realms.

·         Here are a few more tips  for meditation:

 

ü      Consider meditating in the early morning

ü      Keep a special set of clothes in which to meditate, as well as a special meditation cushion or cloth (called an asana) to sit on.   Your meditation clothes and asana can help your meditation practice because when you meditate, the energy in your body becomes very concentrated and powerful.  For this same reason, it is best to bathe or shower before your meditate rather than afterwards.  Your meditation energy will stay strong and not be washed away with the water.

ü      If you have the means, set aside a special room or corner of a room to meditate in.

ü      Consider meditating with a group of other mediators.   Jesus taught that when two or more are gathered, there is great power. Expert mediators have even more of this powerful energy and it’s contagious.

 

·         The point is to keep your spine as straight as possible while staying relaxed and comfortable.

·         Sitting in any of the cross-legged positions helps to circulate the energy within your subtle system, making it like a closed circuit.  A lot of the subtle energy leaves your body through your feet moving back up into your body.

·         ….if you’re lucky, there is that one moment when you experience what sages call the divine shift, where your mind is reset and filled with new, vibrant energy.

·         Repeating a mantra can help keep your mind busy while also creating spiritual vibrations in your subtle body.

·         Your sit for meditation and begin to repeat the mantra – one time on your in-breath and one time on your out-breath.

 

1.            Close your eyes and contemplate this affirmation of universal truth:  “It’s all connected.”

2.            Repeat it silently to yourself, with each in-breath, and with each out-breath:  “It’s all connected.  It’s all connected.”

 

·         When you repeat a mantra, try to have an awareness of the meaning of the words.

·         In a way, any word that you speak is a mantra, in that it carries sound vibrations and invokes the presence of whatever the world represents.  The question then is what are you invoking with each word you speak?

·         Here is a great discipline you can add to your life: Pay close attention to every word you speak.  Respect the power of your own words.  And guess what?  Your words will become increasingly powerful.

·         Here,  Papa Ramdas describes his experience of repeating the Name of God:

·         When the Name is repeated, it removes from the mind all its impurities and makes the still.  In that still state, God reveals Himself, and you become conscious of His existence within us. 

·         In the process, you will find that your attachment for the perishable things of the world slackens, until your mind becomes detached from the external world and gets tuned to the Divine within you to such an extent that the mind as such disappears, and you become aware that you are the immortal, all pervading, infinite Reality yourself.

·         “I honor and offer salutations and reverence…to the highest divine consciousness that exists inside myself and everything in this universe.”

·         Om is considered as the sound thread of this universe.

·         What guru means, in the context of this mantra, is the universal guiding force that gives the grace of clarity to your perception, words, and actions?

·         …surrendering yourself to the loving hand of divine grace and asking it to guide and protect you.

·         Om is spoken externally or internally as the syllables ahh, uuu, and mmm, gently blended into one another.

·         …realize that all of it is a play of the divine!

·         After you’ve taken command over your mind with contemplation and refined it through meditation, you enter the next step – communion.

·         The Indian term for this state of communion is samadhi.  The Yoga scriptures describe samadhi in this way:  “When in the process of meditating, consciousness of self (such as ‘I’ am meditating’) seems to disappear, and only the object meditated upon appears to exist; when self is forgotten and the difference between the self an the object is effaced, such concentration of the mind on the object is called samadhi.”

·         Here is the formula for combining divine awareness with your daily life:

 

ü      Keep one eye focused on the world.

ü      Keep one eye focused on God.

 

·         The two together create the vision of a mystic and make your sight complete.  Then your ordinary life becomes a divine play!

 

Chapter 8

Practices to Nourish Your Spirit

 

·         Some examples of practices that nourish your spirit are the many symbolic devotional touches you can add to your life – lighting a candle, setting up an altar, playing uplifting music, or burning fragrant incense.  Others include devotional singing, absorption in prayer and meditation, and uplifting affirmations.

·         Three main elements affect the potency of your affirmations:

 

ü      Your affirmations should be carefully composed

ü      Your affirmations should be spoken with one-pointed intention and faith.

ü      Your affirmations should be in harmony with universal laws.

 

·         You may not realize these kinds of conflicts of intention consciously, however, inside yourself is a great wise soul who knows much more than you may realize.

·         Your super-powerful subconscious mind (see Chapter 2) hears your affirmations and programs your experience and behavior to reflect and give life to the words.

·         “There are no mistakes in the divine plan, and there are no mistakes in the divine plan for my life.  My right creative expression, my right work is revealed to me in language I can understand, and I declare my readiness for all to unfold with grace and ease.”

·         Affirmations are more than just phrases; they’re contemplations, visualizations, and vehicles that can open and access the magical power of your own imagination.  Even beyond the outer words you use, what you think, feel, and desire in your heart is what most determines your life.

·         This truly is a magical world, and the more you can open to the possibility of this magic, the more you’re able to experience it.

·         “The world is as you see it – change your vision and you change your world.”

·         Positive affirmations align your consciousness with spiritual principles and the laws of the universe, allowing you to consciously activate these principles of love, selfless service, creative expression, truth, generosity, prosperity, faith, surrender, and divine guidance in your life.

·         If you don’t like what you see around you, that means one of  the following:

 

ü      You’re asking for the wrong things.

ü      You’re asking for too many conflicting things.

ü      You’re asking in the wrong way.

ü      You’re asking without enough spiritual power to back up your words.

 

·         Your best bet is to focus on the essence of your goal.  What are you really looking for in that new relationship or new job?  Affection, respect, new challenge, spiritual growth, service, divine love?  Boil your goals down to find what you’re really looking for and then affirm and ask for that. 

·         Let the intelligent universe find the best way to fill your needs.  And most importantly – trust! 

·         Trust is the nourishment with which your affirmations will blossom.

·         The best way, therefore, to improve someone’s lot in life (including your own) is to send blessings while trusting the divine perfection to use your blessings in the best way.  This is the pure form of prayer.

·         The most important factor in prayer is that your intentions and words have to be real, sincere, and emphatic. 

·         Use your own language and way of speaking to talk to God.  God likes hearing it just the way you say it.

·         It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.  –Ralph Waldo Emerson

·         Science has recently had to admit through statistical studies that prayer truly does have a measurable healing effect upon those who are ill. 

·         This means that you have a lot more power to give blessings than you may realize.

·         Now, if you were to realize your own power and give prayers and blessings to the world, and every other person did the same, just imagine what a paradise this world would be!

·         …the practice of devotional singing opens your heart and mind to divine and joyful experiences.

·         Music sparks the soul like mouthing else in this world; a heartfelt song can express devotion like no lecture can.

 

Part III

Spiritual Is As Spiritual Does

In this part…

 

·         In this part, you get a chance to contemplate and cultivate your spiritual virtues.  You also get to understand why virtuous actions are so important in the face of universal, spiritual laws such as karma (cause and effect).  This part shows you the importance of choosing which seeds you plant in your field of life, so that you can enjoy a bountiful spiritual harvest!

 

 

Chapter 9

Cultivating Spiritual Virtues

 

·         …the good news is that spiritual awareness itself inspires you to be naturally virtuous.  The more you understand the spiritual nature of this world, the more sense it will make for you to act with honesty, compassion, surrender, and humility.

·         Your effort plus universal grace are the magic combination for finding spiritual growth in everything.

·         …contemplate these qualities and keep them as aspirations and signposts in your own unfolding spiritual journey:

 

ü      Although externally engaged in worldly actions, he has no attachment in his mind to any objects whatsoever.  His conduct doesn’t annoy anybody; he behaves like an ideal citizen and friend of all.  Outwardly he’s busy, but at heart, he’s calm and quiet.  He’s free from the restrictions of caste, creed, and stage of life, custom and scriptures.  He doesn’t work to get anything for himself.  His face is never without the luster of cheerfulness on it.

ü      In the company of the humble, he is humble.  To the knave, he appears as a knave.  He plays as a child in the company of children; he is a youth among the young; he acts as an old man in the company of the aged ones.  He is full of courage in the party of the courageous people and shares the misery of the miserable ones.

ü      There is nothing he has to achieve.  He therefore performs and gives up actions without much concern, like children do.  In spite of his being occupied with actions appropriate to the time, place, and circumstances, he is not touched by the pleasure or pain arising from them.

ü      No purpose of the sage is served by any activity or by abstaining from activity. He therefore, does as the occasion suits him.  He’s a great worker.  He works without any anxiety, egoistic feeling, pride or impurity of heart.  He’s a great enjoyer.  He doesn’t discard the pleasure he has or desire the pleasure he doesn’t have.  He finds equal pleasure in old age, death, misery, poverty, and in ruling over an empire.

ü      His body is a kingdom to him, over which he rules wisely and well.  He keeps it healthy and doesn’t starve it of its appropriate requirements.  The life of a liberated sage is really the noblest and happiest life.  From him, goodness is scattered all around.  Having seen him, having heard about him, having met him, and having remembered him, all creatures feel delighted.

 

·         If you want to alter a circumstances or situation in your outer life, the best way to begin is by changing your inner state of mind and heart so that the shadow of your world can also become transformed.

·         One problem is that you may not know which inner bottom to push to make the desired change in your outside world.  This is another good reason to cultivate all of the virtues.  As your thoughts and actions become more pure and virtuous, the circumstances in your life automatically become clearer.  Then you don’t have to even worry so much about how to change each specific situation.  You will be transformed and so will your life!

·         ..Seek truth…of honesty.

·         ..Look into you heart…appreciate the perfection.

·         …become more content…higher aspirations.

·         …become free from limited desire….faith and surrender.

·         …allow yourself to be moved and guided by divine grace.

·         …your ego is kept at bay…forgive expands into gratitude.

·         …you glimpse this universal perfection.

·         …each virtue leads and nourishes the next.

·         Chapter 16 of the Bhagavad-Gita Gita offers a powerful list of spiritual qualities to contemplate and cultivate:

 

ü      Fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in higher knowledge, charity, control of senses, sacrifice, study of scriptures, austerity, straightforwardness, harmlessness, truth, absence of anger, renunciation, peacefulness, absence of crookedness, compassion towards beings, freedom from covetousness, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness, vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of hatred, absence of pride.

ü      You can use this list to create an empowering affirmation. Go through this list of virtues, and say “I have fearlessness; I have purity of heart; I have steadfast in higher knowledge” and so on.

 

·         …honesty is paramount on the spiritual journey.  After all, the goal of that journey is to attain the highest truth!

·         Being honest is a statement to the universe that you trust the world around you, and, more importantly, that you trust and respect yourself.

·         …being truthful with yourself and others empowers your self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and self-respect.

·         …when you become completely established in absolute, total honesty, you also attain a kind of supernatural power:  Your words will come true.

·         Along with honesty, your words must be in harmony with the universal good.

·         Being helpful to others is one of the primary tenets of spirituality and humanity.

·         Compassion comes from an amazing ability that human beings have to feel empathy.  You see something and are able to feel it in your heart and soul.

·         Here are two ways that spirituality increases your power of empathy:

 

ü      Your empathy will automatically expand when you realize that we are all one.

ü      Your empathy will increase when you clear away the inner cobwebs of anger, greed, and jealously.  Think about the following:

  1. Have there been times in your life when you were happy to see something bad happen to someone who you thought deserved it?
  2. Have you ever seen somebody achieve great fortune and instead of feeling happy for them, found yourself overcome by that not-so-fortunate feeling of jealousy?

·         These kinds of inner clutter keep you from feeling true empathy for others.

·         Talk about good returns on your investment!

 

1.      You do something nice for someone.

2.      They do something nice for someone else.

3.      Soon you have created a whole avalanche of niceness.

 

·         This is the secret for transforming the whole world.

·         The secret of achieving every desire, goal, possibility and happiness of life is surrender.

·         …where surrender comes in. You let go of your small self and fall into the hands of God.

·         The secret of powerful surrender is to be strong to the world and vulnerable to God.

·         You surrender the rat-race, accomplishment, proving-yourself, commercialism-based mentality into a more spiritually mature goal – such as serving God and humanity or attaining a great spiritual state of mind, heart and soul.

·         …faith in God, divine perfection, and universal beneficence.  Faith is a magical elixir than allows for magical events or ‘miracles’ to take place within your reality system, without your having to understand how they occurred.

·         The essence of humility lies not so much in your outer actions and words but in your inner understanding - with what you’re identifying yourself and your actions.

·         Humility allows you to bear the opinions of others without balking at their judgments or feeling obliged to conform to them.  With humility, you consider every idea that comes your way but you receive guidance from within - from your blessed state of surrender, faith, and self-acceptance.

·         This is the great blessing of humility.  You accept who and what you are, and this acceptance brings you into a greater sense of who and what you really are.

 

 

Chapter 10

As You Sow, So shall you Reap

 

·         Many of the societal structures constructed by human beings reflect universal laws – although they’re inevitably distorted by the limited brain structures that come with the species.

·         For example, education systems can be considered as microcosms of the idea that our purpose for being in this world is to learn and grow.

·         The theories behind most justice systems also may be reflections, however imperfect, of the great universal laws of cause and effect.

·         Discover what the universal laws are.

·         Apply the laws to your life.

·         “As you sow, shall you reap” and “what goes around comes around” give some sense of karmic law.

·         Here is a simple definition of karma:  Karma is the currency of your life.  With karma, you purchase and create all of your life experiences – good, bad, pleasant, or unpleasant.

·         The best way to grasp karmic law is to watch the world as it manifests inside and around you:

 

ü      Observe how life so often creates exactly what you most desire of fear.

ü      Watch as the most vehement persecutors in any situation seem to inevitably become the persecuted.

ü      Notice how your own good actions can lighten your heart and create an opening for more goodness to enter your life.

 

·         The winds of new karmas become still when your enter into a state of inner peace.  You can find inner peace by allowing your thoughts and actions to begin to flow through you unsullied by selfish desires or ego-based motives.

·         If you want to see what your karma looks like, just open your eyes right now and look around.

·         According to the theory of karma, every action you perform creates a karmic effect in your life, whether in your current life or your future lives.

·         Your karmas are reflected in experience, lesson after lesson, and test after test, individually and perfectly designed to refine you and make you lighter and clearer.

·         …apply the same sort of vigilance to your actions and thoughts – always being aware of the effects that what you say and do will have on the world around you.

·         …another valuable lesson and universal law:  You can only experience what you believe is possible.

·         One of the greatest things spiritual studies can do for you are to expand your realm of possibility!

·         Some helpful karmic tips:

 

ü      Want the best for everybody

ü      Praise someone sincerely in your mind and heart and you take on his or her good karmas!

ü      Improve your karmic lot by reframing how you respond when difficult outer events come up

1.      See challenging situations as your karma

2.      Not fight too hard against challenging times

3.      Let a challenging situation go as it’s clearing up

ü      Being to look not only at your outer actions, but also at the repercussions of your actions.

ü      See more of the big picture through spiritual study and contemplation in order to gain greater knowledge and power in how you may be creating karmas.

ü      Let finished karmas go.

 

·         Here are three ways you can help to clear your karmic waters:

 

ü      Pay closer attention to your actions and to signs from the universe that you may be making an error of judgment, at times.  Make an effort to move with the universal will.

ü      Accept and even relish your karmic lessons.  When challenging situations sprout in your life, go through them with strength and gusto.

ü      Stop judging challenging circumstances as being good or bad.  Instead, look at everything as an opportunity to grow and evolve.

 

·         Instead of giving up actions, a seeker is instructed to act from a combination of what the yoga scriptures call ‘skill in action,” and what the Bhagavad-Gita Gita calls “acting with detachment.”  You care, but you don’t care.  You do your best, but don’t get too elated or depressed by what your efforts bring or don’t bring.  This state of equanimity can also be called selfless service.

·         When you act without personal motive, your actions tend to create more beneficial outcomes. You will be acting while moving in a with the flow!

·         When you start clearing up old karmas, your life change.  Actually, your life may tend to change rather quickly and often because you’re cleaning up old lessons and moving into new ones.

·         You can clean your karmic dishes with contemplation, higher knowledge, meditation, a focus on God, devotion, chanting, selfless service, and by letting go of limited desires.

 

 

Part IV

Spiritualize  Everything!

 

In this part…

 

·         Nothing is outside the realm of spirituality:  Your work can become divine service, your greed can be uplifted into divine abundance, your trials can be transformed into spiritual transcendence, and your relationships can blossom into divine love.

 

Chapter 11

From Greed to Divine Abundance

 

·         Just imagine what the world would look like if everyone were working for the good of all with altruistic motivations instead of commercial, materialistic desires.

·         One of the most important aspects of spirituality is to see things from a broader, more long-term perspective. 

·         Spirituality connects you with a part of yourself that lives beyond the material world.

·         …the real treasure of spiritual awakening.

·         In the space of higher spiritual awareness, this physical world is no longer the main priority.  It is just one of many things going on at the same time – everyone exists on many planes and dimensions at one time.

·         Here is the thing about materialistic pleasures:  If you play worldly accomplishments as a game – staying centered in the detachment that comes with remembering who you really are and how long you’re really going to be in this world – that’s fine.  By doing that, you’re able to enjoy what the sages of India call bhukti-mukti – worldly enjoyments together with spiritual liberation. A win, win, win!

·         ….you really can have it all.  However, the key is that you have to elevate your vision and understanding to the level at which you’re free from the world while still enjoying the world.

·         You may possess things, but you must not possessed by them.

 

 

The Problem with Greed

 

·         Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it.  There is nothing in its mature to produce happiness.  The more a man has, the more he wants.  Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.  – Benjamin Franklin.

·         This world would look very different if we were able to simply remove the entire element and effects of greed from its fabric.  Just imagine the following effects of a greedless society:

 

ü      Everyone would have enough.

ü      We would all be healthier, because food manufactures would make their products with more nutritious and quality ingredients.

ü      Nobody would spend millions of dollars to try and get you addicted to harmful substances.

ü      Children would be encouraged to share what they have.

ü      Politicians and world leaders would make decisions only with the purest intentions to make life better for all.

ü      Guns would disappear from this world, because without greed nobody would have to fear for the safety of their loved ones, their possessions, or themselves.

ü      The entire planet would be filled with love and abundance.

 

·         I know, this sounds totally like wishful thinking and guess what?  - That’s exactly what it is.  But here is the key:  After you attain the spiritual understanding that, as the scriptures of India say, “Ya dristhi, sa sristhi:  The world is as you see it,” along with the Holy Bible’s declaration that “As you think, so shall you become,” wishful thinking begins to take on a new significance.  Then it can be called visioning. 

·         When you’re dealing with a powerful spiritual vision, the more people join in, the more likely that vision is to become a reality.

·         Here are a few efforts that will transform your life and also play a big part in transforming the whole world:

 

ü      Let go of greed.

ü      Stop buying into the idea that you have to have more things in order to be a valuable human being.

ü      Stay centered in your great soul, amidst the endless stream of commercialism.

ü      Think generous thoughts.

ü      Give whenever, however, and to whomever you can.

ü      Learn to appreciate the gift of simplicity.

ü      Remember that everything in the outer world is made of maya – the substance of illusion.

ü      Open the door to experiencing independent contentment.

 

·         The idea of living a spiritual life is to be in this world but not of it; to live without being brought down by the lower vibrations of the world.

·         As a spiritual being, your task is to raise your energy vibration to a higher level.  And you’ll see that the world around you – and everyone in it – will begin to transform as well.  So, if you don’t become more spiritual for yourself, do it for everyone else!

·         There are two basic ways to approach world problems:  the materialistic way and the spiritual way:

 

ü      A materialistic person works to change problems by attacking or refining the outer, surface symptoms, much as a doctor may work to heal a patient by stopping the pain or drying out the sniffles.

ü      A spiritually-aware person sees more layers of the picture, looking for the underlying causes, archetypes, and laws of life in whatever problems arise.  Spirituality reveals the deeper root behind the surface problem.  And the root of most problems in this world is greed.

ü      … Consider that some of the things you feel guilty for doing may have higher purposes that you can’t even imagine.  This isn’t an excuse to perform bad actions, just another possibility to consider.  This kind of contemplation can also help you to glimpse the ultimate perfection of everything.

 

·         This is how giving is. If you close your fist to giving, your fist will also be closed to receiving.

·         Before you can take a breath, first you must give a breath.  This isn’t only about giving to others, but also in giving to yourself.  If you withhold all pleasures and necessities from yourself from fear of lack, you’re also showing the universe how you wish to be treated.

·         If you’re currently suffering from a condition of financial obstruction, the best step you can take is to open your valve of generosity by open-heartedly giving something to someone.  It doesn’t have to be something impressive.

·         Give your time, give your resources, give your skills, or give your good wishes.  Even a well-timed smile can be the most precious gift in a moment of need.  Give to someone in need. Give to a friend.  Give to the place where you workship and receive blessings and support.

·         The open-heart part of openhearted giving is most important.  In fact, the feeling of pure giving can open the door to your own abundance. Of course, part of the trick is that you can’t only give with the Intention to receive.  Rather, you can make giving an integral part of your nature.  Find joy in looking for ways you can help other people – whether through money, supportive words, or helping them to create a more powerful vision for their lives.  When you give with a pure heart and without any thought of your own reward, everything you give goes directly into your own spiritual bank account!

·         This law applies to every quality in life, not just money.  For example, some people find it easy to give money, but not no easy to give of their heart, time, energy, smiles, and love.

·         This is not a call for you to go around giving everything you have to everyone you encounter!  That is where receiving divine guidance comes into the picture.  While opening your heart to giving, you also become open to receiving inner guidance about what and to whom to give.  Then you also begin to understand that matter what you give, is ultimately God giving to God through you.

·         Actions will be judged according to intentions.

 

 

Chapter 12

From Worldly Attachments to Spiritual Freedom

 

·         Worldly pleasures eventually cause pain somewhere down the line.

·         Attachment to worldly desires not only causes future pain, but also fear in the present moment, even when your desires have been fulfilled.

·         Non-attachment also means that when you’re dome with something, you can more easily let it go.

·         When you’re dealing with desires, nothing is ever enough.

·         Desires and attachments keep your mind and heart occupied with things that won’t last.

·         One of the most important spiritual qualities is the state of equality consciousness, which means that you view the world without intense attachment or aversion to one thing or the other.  Equality consciousness helps you to let go of limited desires and enter a new sense of inner freedom.  You still see all the different forms around you and you can distinguish all their different features.  Yet, you also see that just as all objects are made up of the same protons, neutrons, and electrons, so everything is also made of that one supreme consciousness of spirit.

·         It is because of our attachment to things that we suffer.  -  Sogyal Rinpoche.

·         When you lose something, consider that God may be giving you a great opportunity to learn detachment.  (How’s that for an optimistic viewpoint?  Optimism is the juice of a good life!)

·         Keep in mind that there may be a time and place in every journey for some sort of attachment.

·         Remember that nothing in this world or on the spiritual path is in black and white!

·         You’ll know you’re becoming more free from attachments when you no longer have as many expectations.  Hopes, dreams, and aspirations – yes.  But not really so much attachments and expectations.  You can also tell you’re being detached when unfulfilled hopes and dreams don’t leave you upset or disappointed.  Remember that everything ultimately happens for the best!

·         Focusing your attention and intention toward wanting to be of service will help bring good contemplation and greater spiritual awareness to even your most mundane actions.

 

Serving without Personal Motives

 

·         Here is a penetrating question to contemplate:  Would you devote your life to serving God and humanity, knowing the credit would never be yours and would ultimately go to someone else?

·         All good world leaders do this, in a sense, preparing the way for future abundance the may never receive credit for, at least during their lifetimes, building new benefits for future generations.  This is part of the sacrifice everyone performs on earth.

·         No matter how much you accomplish, you will be gone one day – at least from this world.  Therefore, whatever you do here is ultimately without motive, even if you‘re acting from motive!

·         Therefore, any efforts you put into helping others or improving the world already are selfing and remembering this.

·         “With one hand you perform your service, while in the other hand you receive the fruits of service.”

·         Here some tips on how to turn your work into divine service:

 

ü      Understand that whatever work you’re doing is perfectly related to whatever lessons you need to learn in this moment.

ü      Make a conscious effort to be detached and accepting of whatever comes or doesn’t come from your work, whether in the form of money, power, prestige, or praise.

ü      Trust God and spirit.

ü      …the need to win drains him of power…..

ü      …detaching from expectations of personal rewards allows your actions to come from a deeper, freer, more divinely inspired place.  It is one of those strange spiritual laws.  You get more when you’re less attached.

ü      True forgiveness is actually a shift of your consciousness into a more expanded view of life.

ü      Gratitude is the magic formula, not only for forgiveness, but also for happiness and peacefulness, along with worldly and spiritual success.

 

·         There are three main paths through which you can open to this great bless:

 

ü      Spiritual, selfless, unconditional love.

ü      Dedicated, loving, selfless service.

ü      Intelligent, piercing, discerning knowledge.

 

·         Love, service and knowledge all help you to open to a higher contentment ….Selflessness is a key to this experience, because the limits sense of self-identification (also known as “ego” …is what blocks the bliss.

·         Ego-based pleasures inherently turn, one day, into pain.  You have to let ego-based pleasures subside before you can feel the subtle eternal bliss!

 

Chapter 13

From Trials to Transcendence:  Growing from Adversity

 

·         Here is one spiritual way to look at the trials of your life:  Until your heart has been broken to the things of this materialistic world, you can’t open your heart into the higher world.

·         Pain and suffering are relative. How they affect you depends on your understanding, state of mind, and previous experience – and also on the arms of divine beneficence that come to carry you above the hottest sands.

·         You can think of trials as tools that pry you loose from a smaller world view, and push you …into more precious realms that you may not have even known were there.

·         …with spiritual awareness, you can change uncomfortable outer circumstances – not only on materialistic level but also by combining the power of your mind with spiritual practices, good actions, and higher intentions…

·         The key to transforming trials into transcendence. Realize that everything that comes to you is:

 

ü      Your destiny

ü      An opportunity to tap into a greater awareness.

ü      Looking for something positive, even in the worst events, will automatically help to heal any situation at hand.  Remember that you’re not just a passive observer of life but an active participant. 

ü      Your belief system actually molds and affects reality.  Therefore, planting the seeds of a positive outlook creates a more positive experience down the line, regardless of how bad things may look in the midst of your suffering and challenges. 

ü      Your thoughts are so powerful that adding a positive viewpoint into the mix can rock the vote of this universe as it manifests through and around you!

ü      In time if crisis, a sense of temporal existence and awareness of the shared flame of humanity becomes more tangible to those involved.  Tragedies and disasters have a way of sloughing off many layers of illusion-based thinking and materialistic absorption.  Vulnerability also comes during times of crisis – bringing its friends humility, gratitude, and compassion.

 

The Gift of Pain

 

·         …pain shows that something is amiss.

·         …it is a great gift, a beneficial messenger:

 

ü      It gives you an opportunity to learn and grow

ü      It makes you more vigilant in the future

ü      It gives you a chance to make amends

 

·         …accept the message with gratitude and humility.

·         “The soul that is without suffering does not feel the need of knowing the ultimate cause of the universe.”  -Anandamayi Ma

·         Even better, you can understand why you must stop walking there!

·         …with spiritual awareness and teaching backing you up, this shift instead becomes a beneficial state called witness consciousness, in which you’re watching your life from the seat of your soul.

·         Sometimes your biggest mistakes are the ones that bring the greatest spiritual growth and transformation.  Don’t therefore; waste your time on the pain of guilt and shame.  Regret for what has passed is one of the biggest thieves of the future.

·         The goal of spiritual efforts is to push aside the veils and clouds that cover the light of your soul, so that its light can shine more brightly.  As these coverings of anger, frustration, revenge, guilt, shame, and hatred are removed, you become freer and lighter.

·         Bad experiences can equal good growth!

 

Recognizing that there are no mistakes!

 

·         What is important in any situation is your own growth.  How can you learn humility, detachment, love, and faith?  How can you use this breakdown to open up into another great breakthrough?

·         The ultimate best use of challenging times is to use such experiences to find God in everything.

·         …you should make the most of every moment – challenging or easy, difficult or pleasant.  Every single instant of your life is precious and filled with opportunities for spiritual growth. Part of the test of being in this world is to see the greatness in everything.

·         Here are a few reasons why difficult times can be extra conductive for spiritual breakthroughs:

 

ü      Human nature is such that good times can lead to complacency

ü      Suffering and challenge are automatically conductive for spiritual breakthroughs.

 

·         Difficult times are inevitable.  They’re filled with potential for making not-so-good choices, such as responding with sadness, upset, or anger.  Substituting powerful spiritual efforts for destructive choices during intense times of trial is a good idea!

·         Trust is the key…trusting God and the eternal perfection behind the visible universe makes your life-ride less scary and more fun.

·         It’s important to develop an inner steadiness because there are always ups and a down in this world….the universe is made up of vibrations.  Vibrations are nothing but oscillations – cycles of up and down.

·         One of the greatest gifts of life is contentment; being content with who and where you are right now.  When you’re in touch with that deep sense of contentment, your efforts and striving lose their edge of nervousness, jealousy, and greedy desire.

·         You can think of this world and all your concerns here as being like a big board game. Every event in your life and every aspect of your personality are your pieces for this game of life.  Your most powerful stance is to be content with what you have and what you don’t have.  Make your moves from that peaceful space.  Play well and don’t worry too much about winning or losing.  If you enjoy the game with laughter, tears, love, loss, blessings, gratitude, and spiritual growth, you’re an automatic winner.

 

Chapter 14

From Relationships to Divine Love

 

·         Spirituality calls for you to follow your highest inner guidance and dance to the beat of the divine drum that beats in your own heart and soul.  This quest may not always be compatible with some of society’s commonly accepted, mundane types of commitment.

·         Making a long-term commitment to a mediocre relationship can possibly hold you back on your journey:

 

ü      Some relationships may keep you from growing past the level where you and your companion meet intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.

ü      Your companion may not support your spiritual efforts.  Some may even feel jealous if you start paying more attention to God or your inner spirit than to them.

ü      Relationships consume a lot of precious time and energy.  A good relationship can give greater value to your time and efforts, but a mediocre one may leave you, in the end, feeling the burden of unfulfilled dreams and wasted years.

ü      You can’t really be too spontaneous and carefree when someone else is depending on you to be who and how you have always been.  While steadiness is a great quality to develop, at some point you may be guided from within to make some changes in how you relate to life.

 

·         The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.  – Henry David Thoreau

·         Having a close relationship with someone is no small decision, especially when you’re on a spiritual path.  In spirituality, your goals move toward finding divine love – loving God and loving people’s souls above and beyond their outer appearance, personal qualities, and inevitable flaws.

·         If you’re going to have a relationship, does it right!  Doing love right in a spiritual sense means to find the pure note of divine love in the symphony – or at times cacophony – of worldly relationships.

·         If you want to have a relationship, do it with spiritual awareness.  See God om your companion, and love and worship each other in your hearts and souls.

·         Some people get upset when a relationship ends, leaving them alone and lonely.  However, what is more important than finding someone else to fill your loneliness is to develop a genuine, loving relationship with yourself.

·         Therefore, whether you’re in or out of a relationship, you may want to consider spending some time alone:

 

ü      Get know yourself

ü      Get rid of misconceptions about yourself

ü      Be your own best friend

 

·         The ultimate goal is to become so strong in your solitude that you’re able to pierce through and find your communion with the divine in each moment, no matter where you are.

·         The primary means of attaining divine love is the grace of great souls who have attained divine love.  Contact with great beings is scarce and difficult to obtain but unfailing in its effect.  –Narada.

·         The company you keep is more important than you may realize.

·         …resonate with other energies.

·         Your great soul resonates with their great soul.

·         When you’re awake to the spiritual nature of life, you may want to be around other spiritually awakened people for several reasons, including the following:

 

ü      When you break through into more spiritual and universal levels of awareness, new worlds of possibility open up.

ü      When two or more are gathered in the name of spiritual devotion, wisdom, and growth, a great transformation takes place.  Groups of spiritual people can generate some great levels of energy and awareness.

ü      When you’re going through a challenge, spiritually awakened friends can help you discover the spiritual side of the problem and uncover the blessing hidden beneath the thorns.

 

·         Keep the two following points in mind if you choose to be involved with or become a member of a spiritual community:

 

ü      Group think exists even in spiritual groups.

ü      People are still people, even in spiritual groups.

 

·         Your best bet is to find a spiritual group that has some knowledge or vibration above and beyond your own.  Being in that company and group power can help you to grow into that higher energy.

·         The word guru has several different levels of meaning:

 

ü      Guru as teacher

ü      Guru as mentor

ü      Guru as spiritual guide: A spiritual guru is one who gives guidance, teachings, and discipline to spiritual seekers and disciples.  The guru has traveled the road and is able to help you avoid pitfalls and attain greater spiritual wisdom and freedom.  This relationship requires a great deal of trust and respect.  It’s not a relationship to be taken lightly.

ü      Guru as divine channel of God

 

·         Here are some other ways to look at the guru:

 

ü      A guru is someone who has traveled the path, entered the destination, and can see where you are from that greater vantage point.

ü      A guru can see the next ten steps a disciple must take, but only reveals them one at a time.

ü      A guru sees the disciple’s inner self, and can also see what is covering that self.

 

·         This is not a one-sided relationship.  The disciple also makes the guru great by opening up to seeing and feeling that greatness.

·         Your schoolteacher or guru sees your potential, and his or her vision opens the door to your own realization and unfolding of your great potential.

·         A guru is one to whom you trust the keys to your soul; therefore, be vigilant and careful before taking the leap.

·         …the degree to which you’re able to command depends on how well you obey the will of God.

·         “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

·         A good spiritual guide can be an indispensable tool in this process.  Suppose you’ve decided to obey the will of God totally.  “Okay God, tell me what to do and I’ll do it.”  But if you haven’t yet developed the ability hear the small, still voice inner guidance, you won’t know what God’s will is. A spiritual guide can help.

·         Finding your true guru is similar to finding your true soul mate. 

·         You can’t force it to happen but you know when it does.  Also, you may not be destined to find a specific outer guru during your life. 

·         Perhaps you will learn a little from many different teachers or gurus.

·         As with everything in life, you will attract the guides, groups, books, and people that resonate with who you are.

·         So the best way to find a good spiritual guide is to be a sincere seeker.

·         Ultimately, this entire universe is your spiritual guide.  Even if you don’t have an outer mentor, the universe itself will guide you if you become open and receptive. 

·         If you become a true disciple, the entire universe becomes you guru.

·         The greatest love is divine love, love of God.

 

Part V

Seeking Spirituality in Every Moment

 

Chapter 15

Let Go and Let God

 

·         After you cultivate spiritual virtues, sow good seeds in your field, uplift your mundane desires into sublime aspirations, and turn your work into service, your trials into transcendence, and your relationships into divine love, what’s left?  Life is left – life as it comes, in the flow of universal expression, and some say, complete, incorruptible perfection.

·         Now imagine that you can be in that flow much often, perhaps on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.  What if you could intentionality tap into that flow?  You can – by cultivating a whirlpool of present – moment awareness.

·         This is the secret behind great skills – being completely focused and united with what you’re doing.

·         Being focused on the present moment is a kind of meditative state.

·         Here’s a formula for bringing more grace to all your endeavors:

 

ü      Before you do something, stop and feel the energies of the moment.

ü      Become so completely present while doing the action that you almost disappear.

ü      When you have completed the action, stop again and feel the energies of that moment.

 

·         One way to stay centered in the present moment is to offer every action to the divine, to God.

·         If you can empty your own boat crossing the river of the world, no one will oppose you; no one will seek to harm you.  – Chuang Tzu.

·         If you can stay centered in the center of your being, allowing yourself to flow with the winds of change, you may find that in every moment, everything is fine. You’ll remain centered in the eye of the storms of life.

·         There is a refuge of stillness in every moment, if you can stop the spinning world long enough to taste it.  Even those who have difficult challenges to go through are given the resources to bear what they must, if they can just stay centered in that hub of the wheel.

·         Remember that the main sources of resistance that keep you from being in the flow are ego and limited self-identification…along with all their not-so-friendly friends!

 

 

Chapter 16

Be a Co-Creator

 

·         One reason some people shy away from accepting their own power is because this knowledge may require them to accept a new level of personal responsibility for whatever is happening in their lives.  They may begin to feel guilty or inadequate for creating circumstances that aren’t what they really want.

·         Nevertheless, if you can begin to appreciate and accept your own power –without putting judgments or guilt on yourself – you open a door to wondrous possibilities.  This means you can stop creating what you don’t want and start creating what you do want.

·         …from a spiritual view, any shift inside of you also reflects in the outer world.

·         Wishes aren’t only for good things.  Fears are also wishes.  A wish happens when you focus your attention somewhere.  According to spiritual concepts, your attention is a focal point for the universal power of creation.

·         After you realize that get whatever you’re wishing for, it becomes interesting to look around and discover what you have been whishing for!

·         Putting your visions into word form can help focus your attention on what you want and also draws the creative power of manifestation that comes with and through the intensity of your attention:

 

ü      Create a vision and live with it in your heart and soul.

ü      Feed your vision by empowering your mind and heart through spiritual efforts and practices.

·         One goal of spiritual efforts is to make your mind, thoughts, speech, will, intellect, and intuition all move in harmony with one another, like a powerful laser light.

·         Another goal is to become a good vehicle for divine grace, guidance, and higher understanding to guide the laser of your vision toward the most empowering direction.

 

·         Always be sure to leave the door open for divine benevolence to adjust your vision according to it’s much higher view.

·         Many of your desires and goals may be based on societal and family-based ideas that may or may not be in harmony with the highest will of God.

·         …think good thoughts and give blessings through everything you do!

 

 

Chapter 17

Living in a Conscious World

 

·         Spiritual living begins with looking at day-to-day events differently...

·         …you have to shift the focus of your consciousness, bringing the more materialistic, limited view out of focus and a higher awareness into focus.

·         Being more conscious of the underlying layers of life brings several benefits:

 

ü      Being more conscious makes life more interesting

ü      Being more conscious helps keep you focused in the moment

ü      Being more conscious opens the door to receiving divine guidance

ü      …enlightenment is a complete shift of perception, in which you flow with absolute inner freedom in an awareness that reaches deeply into the unseen realms.

 

·         How will you know if you’re enlightened? I’ll tell you:  You already are, but your mind doesn’t know it.

·         That’s what all of the spiritual practices and principles in this book are for – to move you beyond the limited view of yourself so you can remember and realize your true nature!

·         This state of enlightenment is also called self-realization for God-realization.  It’s called “realization” because the great, enlightened beings have “realized” one fact – a fact that has implications on every element of life as you know it.

·         This fact is that everything is one, that knowledge and the knowing of that knowledge are inseparable.

·         After you realize the essence of spiritual teachings and make them an integral part of your reality, they filter through and transform your entire world.

·         With enlightenment, you may continue playing your role, but with the awareness that you’re the one who’s playing your role!

·         If you think that the Truth can be known from words….

·         …start laughing!

 

 

Part VI

The Part of Tens

 

Chapter 18

Ten Small Things You Can Do to Uplift Your Life

 

·         Take moments for short meditations, affirmations, and inner offerings of all you have and everything you do to the supreme spirit that creates and maintains it all.  Whether your light a candle, burn fragrant incense, watch nature…..find your own personal way to acknowledge and elicit the grace of spirituality in your life.

·         Don’t forget to love the spirit that exists inside, through, and as you!

 

 

Chapter 19

Spiritual-Sounding Lines and What They May Really Mean

 

·         “It Must Be Your Karma!”  This may really mean:  “Don’t ask me for help!”

 

Chapter 20

Ten More Commandments

 

·         …love is the essence and backbone of all spiritual efforts.

·         As you think, so shall you become?

·         The more you trust your inner guidance, the better is gets.

·         Everything in nature takes place out of a sense of right action and service, which the Indian scriptures call dharma.

 

Chapter 21

Ten Examples of Seeing Your Life with Spiritual Eyes

 

·         Here are some tips to help you achieve your dreams:

 

ü      Create a clear vision of what you’re really looking for.

ü      Clarify your mind through spiritual practices.

ü      Contemplate to see if there are any parts of you that don’t really want or don’t really believe in your dream.

ü      Be clear that this is something you really, truly want to do.

ü      Discover what you can about others who have achieved what you want to do.

ü      Remember times in your life when you’ve come through for yourself.

ü      Ask God to help you.

ü      Trust God and just go for it.

ü      Have a faith in yourself!

 

·         Don’t forget that this is your life. Live it! Take chances! It’s going to be over one day.  How will you feel if you never went for your dreams?

·         The secret of enjoying good times without fear is to live in a higher vision that inspires a sense of detachment.  With this higher vision, you’re focused in the present moment, and not spending today worrying about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  With a higher vision, you know that all beings and things are made of one supreme spirit that can never die and that doesn’t really come and go, except in external appearance.  With this higher vision, you free your mind from its concerns and are able to experience life through the heart, which beats with contentment and peace just beneath the waves of your mind.

·         When your heartfelt love for someone resonates with the higher spiritual love, your love becomes God’s love – unconditional love, divine love.

·         The spiritual scriptures of Kashmir give a method to help uplift mundane love into all- pervasive, universal love:

 

ü      When you’re feeling deep love for someone, pay attention to the feeling that’s arising within you.

ü      Focus on that feeling of love, independent of whoever is evoking this love in you.

ü      Expand that feeling of love so that it begins to pervade everything.

 

·         Can you imagine how cool it would be to be totally in love with everything and everyone in life?  That’s the power of true unconditional love.

·         The essence of love is what makes life worth living.

·         Don’t make God send you to boot camp!  Be good on your own!

·         If God has given you some intense challenges to deal with, you can help the process by allowing them to transform, humble, and uplift you.  The key to turning troubles into blessings is to surrender deeply to them, while still making efforts to surmount the challenges.  Inside your heart, don’t fight the waves that are crashing down on you.  Just let go, and they will carry you into the shore.

·         When things are difficult on the outside, the inner realms start to look much more enticing!

·         You may want to look inside to see if you have some hidden conflicts about your job:

 

ü      Do you feel that this job means you’ve given up on a greater dream?

ü      Are you doing it just for money?

ü      Does the job entail doing anything that goes against your values, such as taking advantage of others?

ü      Is your job part of the solution or part the problem in this world?

 

·         One day, I picked up a magazine with an article about childhood violence.  The article mentioned both shows I was working on as being detrimental to children.  I knew that our producers always tried to fit good morals and positive teachings onto each episode, but the basic storylines still boiled down to some sort of violent confrontation and fight scene.  That’s what made these the top two children’s shows!  Reading those words in the magazine brought together many thoughts and feelings I had carried but hadn’t really dealt with.  I knew deep down that I couldn’t continue doing that work.  This realization was part of a life transition that led to a change in career, in which I would be able to share something more helpful through works like this book.

·         With spiritual eyes, everything is a gift from God – even those terrible moments of deep inner suffering when you wish you didn’t exist.

·         ..One of the most powerful ways people can connect with God is to be angry with Him.

·         An old world view must crumble before a new one can blossom forth.

·         This is why terrible disasters can be true blessings on your soul’s journey.  To your deepest soul, all of the ups and downs of this world are relatively inconsequential.  What is important is the unfolding of your small sense of self into the greater divine self.  If it takes a big kick in the butt to get you there, so be it!

·         …give thanks to God for all the grace in your life!