Tag Archives: spiritual

A is for Alignment: NASA, Spirituality, and Our Evolving Universe

heic1316aAn Alignment is the synchronization of apparently separate events and elements into one singular harmonic convergence. In all spiritual traditions, the phenomenon of Alignment is both a prerequisite to and a signifier that things are unfolding with an underlying intelligence and order to them.

It’s both highly desirable and highly auspicious because it’s a marker that dissonance and chaos have been collapsed and that coherence has become the prevailing vibration.

When Alignments occur, there’s an opportunity for a quantum shift: to take not just the next step, but to move through dimensions and find yourself in a space where you’re ready to take the 10,008th step as if you had already made all of the ones in between.

It can happen in careers:

When after years of trying to get your scientific research funded and noticed by the relevant players in your field, you find out that all the players who you want to work with are coming to your department for a 3 day review and you have been selected to organize their welcome and farewell reception; this is an Alignment.

It can happen in families:

When you unite with your mother and two brothers for a Christmas holiday, putting you all in the same place at the same time for the first time in 9 years due to you all living in different countries now – and within 24hrs of your all being together, you receive a phone call telling you that your estranged father, who abandoned his family 20 years earlier, has died and you should all come together now to arrange his passing ceremonies; This is an Alignment.

It can happen in relationships:

When the first man you have said yes to in six years for a date, is driving you to a kirtan on your first date together, and you both find out that the closest female friend you’ve made in the SoCal town you have just moved to all the way from Europe, happens be his best friend of the last 10 years. This is an Alignment.

***

All Alignments have the effect of triggering irreversible healing and transformation.

When the Alignment is over,  you find yourself in a different position from where you were before – as if you stepped through a Stargate that transported you to a different place than the one you were in before it ever happened.

Mostly, when an Alignment is over, you may feel like you have evolved.

No Alignment is ever accidental, although why it is happening may not always be understood as it happens.

Just like it is hard to make observations about evolution when we watch it in real time, what is happening during an Alignment may not be understood in real time as it happens.

And just like evolution, or history, it is when we look retrospectively that we can begin to understand the lasting changes, the transformations that emerged and changed our reality in palpable ways from any given Alignment in a particular period of time.

***

Today, Nasa’s Hubble Telescope ran a story called ‘Bizarre Alignment of Planetary Nebulae’ in which it reported that over 100 nebulae are unexpectedly, to the deep surprise of scientists, showing an alignment with our galaxy.

All these nebulae formed in different places and have different characteristics. Neither the individual nebulae, nor the stars that formed them, interact with other planetary nebulae. However… Many of these…appear to have their long axes aligned along the plane of our galaxy…While any alignment at all is a surprise, to have it in the crowded central region of the galaxy is even more unexpected…

From a spiritual perspective, an Alignment is marker of evolution in progress. Change is happening.

Exactly what and how is being transformed, can be properly understood only after the Alignment is over.

Until then, we can put our faith in the only thing we can all trust: the knowledge that evolution can not be stopped.

 

Originally published on my website, The Modern Girl’s Guide to Spirituality.

Photo credit: NASA Hubble

This Is What Real Love Looks Like

Burning Love -- Spring Botanical Red Tulip Flower“Real love is something so deep, so energizing, that you will not know it unless you experience it. Love is an expression of energy, not something that is transacted. Tell me one thing: can you love people when you meet them for the first time?”

(From the audience: No Swamiji! We don’t even know them, then how can we love them?)

Exactly! This is what you think. Let me tell you, with a little bit of intellectual understanding and meditation, you will realize that you can love anyone without a reason! You can love the trees on the road, you can caress them and feel the energy flow from you. You can love people whom you pass by on the road without even knowing them. Love is actually your very being, not a distilled quality that you possess.

Nothing is as misconstrued as love is today. Today, love is more of a transaction. If someone says something nice to you, you love him; tomorrow if the same person falls short of it, you don’t love him that much or you probably hate him.

Even your lifelong friend, with whom you chat everyday on the computer, will seem suddenly not-so-close if he says something that goes against your approval. Where is your love at this time? It has suffered temporarily!

It is just games that you play; a game in which love and hate surface alternately and interchangeably. And this love-hate relationship is not love at all. Be very clear. It is simply your reaction to a person or a situation, that’s all. This is what we call love. This is not real love. It is subjective love, that’s all.

Real love knows no object. It is simply there whether there is an object or not. Real love is the subject itself. It does not know any object. You are the subject and you have become love, that’s all. Any object that comes in touch with it, feels it. Just like a river flows naturally and people enjoy it at the different places that they encounter it, real love exudes from a person and the people around him will be able to feel it.

There is absolutely no room for conditioning in real love. The energy in you should overflow and express itself as love. It is then that you can break through the highly knotted boundaries of relationships and express yourself beautifully, as a loving being!

In order to discover the quality of your being, that is love, two things can be done. The first thing: repeatedly listen to words like these so that they create a conviction in you about real love; so that a space is created in you for the process of transformation. Second thing: meditate so that the transformation can actually happen.

In practical life, when you go deeper and deeper into relationships, you will understand that all that you feel is not real love, but just some form of give and take. It is all just adjustment, some compromise, some duty-bound feelings, some fear, some guilt. It is all there in the name of love.

Meditation will take you beyond these mis-understandings of love. Meditation will work at the being level. That is why it is a shortcut! When you have to go through life and know it by yourself, it will take you a lifetime. But with meditation, a space opens inside you to experience these things clearly for yourself, whatever your age may be.

Just understand this one thing: when you are able to love without a reason, you will expand like anything. Your world will suddenly seem larger than life. It will be so ecstatic. You will become an energy source to yourself and to others. You will be so overflowing that the energy in you has to touch others. There is no other way. Others will be naturally drawn to you.”

 

Originally posted September 2011

Peace Like Never Before: Awakening to Joy with Mark Nepo

Mark Nepo Final Front Cover Reduced to JoyThe things we need arrive at the right time, and so it has been with Mark Nepo and his work. For those of us on a spiritual path, Mark’s writings possess the power to immediately move us into connection with a subtle and powerful awareness at the deepest, most soulful level. Though Mark Nepo‘s writing has been with us for a while, it wasn’t until Oprah received a copy of Mark’s Book of Awakening through one of her staff assistants that it came to the notice of millions. This all happened at a critical time.

I first interviewed Mark around the time he’d just lost his day job and faced some health problems. At what seemed like one of his darker hours, Oprah also discovered Mark’s work, and that darkness turned to light as his book, which he’d written some ten years earlier, became a New York Times bestselling book. Oprah recently did two more interviews with him for upcoming shows from her home in Hawaii. Regarding all the success, Mark remains grateful but unfazed by the recognition of his work, and he continues to teach and practice presence in much the same way as before. I asked him to share some his recent experiences, as well as tell us more about his latest book, Reduced to Joy. He’s also offered us one of the poems from his book at the end of this post.

Debra Moffitt: You have written about awakening, silence, and finally joy. Reduced to Joy, your latest book of poems, feels like a culmination of your many years of spiritual connection. Are joy and bliss the final experiences that arrive on the spiritual journey?

Mark Nepo: I’m not sure there is any final experience to this mysterious journey. I think we continue to be brought closer and closer to the aliveness we carry. For me, joy is different than happiness. While happiness is a fleeting mood, joy is larger and more lasting than any one feeling. If each feeling is a wave of emotion, then joy is the ocean that holds all feelings. As I get older, I’m coming to realize that joy is central to our knowing peace. It’s one deep way that we access Oneness. I’m also beginning to see that joy is the hum of Oneness. It’s the sensation of being connected to life itself. Another way to speak of joy is to say that it’s the reward for facing our experience. Often, what keeps us from joy is the menacing assumption that life is happening other than where we are. So we are always leaving, running from or running to. What keeps us from joy, then, is often not being where we are and not valuing what is before us.

 Debra Moffitt: How did Reduced to Joy come into being?

Mark Nepo: Poems come slowly. They break surface like dolphins after long stretches of going under. So writing a book of poems for me is different than writing my other books. I have to sit when I’m able and try to make heart-sense of what life has been doing to me and with me. Like wringing out a sponge, I squeeze what matters onto the page, let it dry, and see what’s there the next day. One by one, they gather into an instructive whole. All this is to say that by trying to make sense of my own experience, I’ve discovered a theme to the journey, that we are all reduced to joy, worn away of all excess. To survive this, we often need to hold each other up in order to discover and return to what matters. This book explores these essential relationships, which keep shaping me.

Debra Moffitt: I love the title of your book. As your poem, “Where is God?” expresses, it seems that once all is stripped away there’s nothing more to obscure joy. Can you speak more to what joy is and is not and how we might know the difference? 

Mark Nepo: After all these years, I’m beginning to see that tranquility is the depth of being that holds what we think and feel, not the still point after we’ve silenced what we think and feel. Serenity is the depth of being that holds difficulty, not the resting point after we’ve ended difficulty. And peace is the depth of being that holds suffering and doubt, not the raft we climb on to avoid suffering and doubt. This leads us to joy, which is much deeper and larger than any one feeling. Happiness, fear, anxiety, contentment, doubt, regret, unworthiness, anger, despair—all these and more are the waves that rise and fall in the sea of being.

 Debra Moffitt: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers? 

Mark Nepo: These poems have been retrieved and shaped over the last thirteen years. They have been my teachers about the nature of working with what we’re given till it wears us through to joy. My hope is that the poems in this book will serve as a threshold to an underlying connection to the greater life we are all a part of. I hope the book will be a resource for you when faced with the difficulties of living. I hope the poems will confirm that, no matter the struggle you find yourself in, you are not alone. May these poems be honest companions on the journey to joy.

A Poem from Reduced to Joy by Mark Nepo reprinted with his permission.

Where is God? 

 It’s as if what is unbreakable—
the very pulse of life—waits for
everything else to be torn away,
and then in the bareness that
only silence and suffering and
great love can expose, it dares
to speak through us and to us.
It seems to say, if you want to last,
hold on to nothing. If you want
to know love, let in everything.
If you want to feel the presence
of everything, stop counting the
things that break along the way.
* * *
Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery” (Llewellyn Worldwide, May 2013). A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at http://www.awakeintheworld.com.

Are Your Hidden Habits Hurting You?

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 3.13.24 PMYou can’t turn on the television or read a newspaper anymore without learning about some celebrity who has died from a “hard” addiction. The trial of Conrad Murray and the death of Michael Jackson are example of such a headline. Hard addictions usually include illegal drugs, prescription drug abuse, designer drugs and/or alcohol. Hard addictions can also include sex, gambling and food. What about those habits that aren’t considered “hard-core addictions”? These other hidden habits can have a negative impact on your life. While the consequences may not seem as severe, they do impact our every day lives. What do these hidden habits look like?

There is an ever-growing list of hidden habits that are viewed as “soft”. The key factor is that these habits, while harmful, do not usually result with the extremely harsh consequences of typical “hard addictions”. The follow are a few examples of activities or substances that can harm your day-to-day quality of life.

  • Talking on the phone excessively
  • Texting/ IM’ing
  • Procrastinating
  • Daydreaming rather than accomplishing your tasks
  • Complaining consistently
  • Gossiping with friends or co-workers
  • Acting negative during a large portion of your day
  • Belittling loved ones or co-workers
  • Caffeine in any form

All of these activities can appear harmless, if they are done in small doses. When we overindulge, we run the risk of having a hidden habit turn into a dangerous addiction. When we use any of these activities to overcome your emotional feeling, or to make you feel full, complete, whole or satisfied, there may be underlying issues. The underlying issue of fear is similar to those that experience “hard” addictions.

Regardless of whether a habit appears “soft” or is an addiction, it can be equally devastating to the person displaying the behavior. All negative activities steal your time and energy. You find yourself devoting more time to things that are not benefiting your life. The benefit of having a hidden habit, over having a hard addiction is that hidden habits are usually easier to break. But it will take vigilance, mindfulness, and time to overcome.

If you have taken a moment to reflect on your day-to-day activities, and find that you have negative habits that are taking away from your quality of life, it is time to take action. Being aware of your negative habit is the first step. Once you are aware of the hidden habit, think about the reason you have the habit. Are you truly engaging with your negative habit because you have become comfortable and complacent?

If your negative habit is not serving you, think of ways to replace your negative habit with a positive one. You can also ask those surrounding you, who you trust, to hold you accountable. If you set a goal of cutting caffeine out of your daily routine, let others know so they can hold you accountable when you walk towards the coffee pot. If you feel the urge to spread the latest gossip, take a second to think. Is the news that you just “have to share” going to benefit anyone, or are you simply spreading news that could potentially hurt someone? As you become more aware of your hidden habits, it will take some work on your part to break them.

We all have habits, good and bad. It is important to conduct a self-check on a regular basis to determine if your habits are hurting you or helping you. By being mindful, aware and pro-active, you will find your old negative habits replaced by healthy positive habits. These healthy habits will improve your emotional, spiritual, physical and mental well being. You will be pleasantly surprised by the results.

 

Originally published October 2011.

Deepak Chopra: Tweets from the Cosmos – Tune In

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 12.38.08 PMWhen Twitter first appeared, I responded to its idealistic side, which aimed to form a global community that could create change beyond national boundaries. Tweets are now used for a million reasons that don’t aim as high. But it occurred to me that tweeting might be an excellent way to test the shift in consciousness that has been long awaited and equally long pooh poohed.

Who is right, the skeptics who see no evidence that consciousness is rising on a mass scale or the futurists who foresee a completely altered humanity? It’s impossible to measure such a huge phenomenon, but I decided to start small. On a daily basis for the past two or three years I’ve tweeted about cosmic consciousness, mind outside the brain, the nature of reality, the failure of materialism to explain awareness, and other Big Ideas on the edge of acceptability by mainstream science.

To my surprise, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Each tweet starts a dialogue almost the instant the tweet starts circulating. Naysayers and skeptics also participate, but instead of dominating the conversation – or crushing it – which is what you’d find in official scientific circles, the main result is open, eager curiosity.

Here are the three most popular tweets from a day last week:

Photons have neither color nor brightness. The world is made manifest through the light of awareness.

Taking existence for granted & assuming that science or religion are the path to truth are the greatest impediments to awakening.

The perceived physical world is a representation of a perceiving physical brain. Both the world and brain are immaterial in their essence.

Although each one states my own viewpoint, the statements are broad enough to be good debating topics, and each touches on a mystery that needs exploration.

1. Light is transmitted as quanta known as photons, which strike the retina and travel through a complex processing in the visual cortex to produce the experience of brightness in the world. But photons are not bright themselves, or dark. So how does the world “out there” light up?

2.  Science and religion both claim to offer a form of enlightenment. The scientific version consists of a rational explanation of all natural phenomena, along with the attendant elimination of superstition and other irrational beliefs. Religion’s version is a clear connection to God and the higher reality represented by divinity. If you assume that these opposing choices are the right answer, or if you turn your back on the whole issue, no form of awakening is possible.  The mystery is to find a way forward that makes enlightenment real and personal.

3. There is a long tradition in philosophy and mystical religion that sees the physical world as either an illusion or something unprovable. Against this tradition stands materialism, which takes as its first premise the reality of the physical universe. But this common-sense stance solves nothing. Reality must be processed by the brain before it can be experienced or measured. There is no objective platform outside the brain where we can stand and see the real for what it is. This fact upsets conventional science but has become a fruitful seed for thinkers who want to solve the mind-brain problem.

As you can see, the topics aren’t easy, yet a wide range of responses soon crops up. Since a tweet can be no longer than 140 characters, it engages those who understand my position along with those who ask, “What’s he smoking?” and others who just offer abuse. A twitter following of 1.5 million has burgeoned around these discussions, which rolls forward by a thousand people every day, often several times a day. I’ve come to believe that moment-to-moment engagement is what forms a community that transcends not just boundaries but the constraints of conditioned thinking. Those constraints are the main obstacle, not religious or political opinions, to a new level of consciousness everywhere.

 

www.deepakchopra.com

Follow Deepak on Twitter

Find Out What You Want – Step #5

belief

 “Oh, but this doesn’t happen anymore” he said dismissively, for all the world as though he was speaking to a silly child, “yes, Zen becomes more like a psychotherapy because this is what people want. No one can get enlightened anymore.”

“No one can get enlightened anymore,” said a man who practiced Zen for decades. Who sits in meditation every day, in front of an altar set up in his living room.

“No one can get enlightened anymore,” said a man who, in every prayer, in every ceremony, repeats: I am the buddha. I am the dharma. I am the sangha.

“No one can get enlightened anymore.”

He said that and I cringed.

I cringed because…

Because I know that as he says – so it is. I know, if he doesn’t, that it is not the prayers, the chants, the formulas he mouths that create his reality, but that which he believes. That which he truly believes. And what he truly believes is that Zen doesn’t work and that no one can get enlightened anymore.

And so no one does.

Find Out What You Want – Step #1

Los Angeles: Be in a new OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) show w/ Rev. Ed Bacon, 6/6/13!

Looking for participants for the new show “Help Desk” that will air on The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)!

If you are working through a difficult issue in your life – such as sexual identity, questioning faith, loss of a loved one, or financial hardship – you may be a perfect fit.

Participants will sit down with Reverend Ed Bacon, esteemed pastor and self-help expert recently featured Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Super Soul Sunday,” to discuss these concerns and receive inspiring advice, right in the heart of Venice Beach, California! Refer to the flier below for application information.

-2

PLEASE APPLY TO: AdviceRevBacon@gmail.com

WHAT: Seeking participants for the new show “Help Desk” for The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)

WHEN:  Thursday June 6

WHO: Reverend Ed Bacon is a celebrated self-help expert recently featured on Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Super Soul Sunday”. He is the rector of All Saints Church in Pasadena, a congregation dedicated to urban ministry and interfaith dialogue.

WHERE: Recreation center in Venice Beach, CA

DESCRIPTION: Help Desk is a new television show on OWN that features renowned self-help experts making themselves available in public spaces to provide advice to anyone who needs it. Help Desk is a deeply substantive series that grounds some of the great wisdom provided by today’s top experts and helps people live better and more fulfilling lives. Although the event is public, we are looking to secure a select group of participants who will be given priority to gain a spot to sit down with Reverend Bacon.

WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR: We need people who are seeking advice to help them with a specific life issue or circumstance.

Below are several examples but we are open to hearing about any particular issues you would like to discuss:

  • Leaving or questioning faith
  • Dealing with criticism
  • The stress involved by “coming out” to family and friends
  • Conflicting sexual and spiritual identities
  • Loss of a family member or friend
  • Divorce or breakup
  • Coping with job loss
  • Struggling with alienation, loneliness, or existential doubt
  • Overcoming addiction
  • Veterans suffering from PTSD
  • Managing work life and spiritual life
  • Combating stereotypes
  • Overcoming specific anxieties or fears
  • Parenting issues
  • Financial hardship
  • Sex and relationship issues

Requirements:

  1. We need applicants to be available during the day on June 6 at the beach recreation center in Venice Beach, California
  2. Simple description of yourself (age, profession, relationships status) contact information (email and phone number)
  3. Photo of yourself
  4. Single paragraph description of the specific life circumstance that you need spiritual advice to overcome.
  5. Specific question(s) you would like to ask Reverend Bacon
  6. If selected, applicants will need to sign an Appearance Release

Send email with answers to the above questions to: AdviceRevBacon@gmail.com

Wordplay Wednesday: Most of the Time

dancesun
Most of the time
I’m grateful
That I’m on a creative path
That I’m following my heart
That I’m a sensitive person
With a million feelings
That I choose not to numb
With alcohol
That I’m asking questions
In every direction
That I have such a strong
Hunger to learn
But sometimes I get tired
Of being the beginner
Wish the signs
Were clearer
Telling me where to turn
I get overwhelmed
It’s hard to tune out
The opinions of others
When you’re living out loud
But most of the time
I roll out of bed
To the sound of the ocean
Like the waves of my breath
And I’m able to focus
My attention
On what lies just ahead
Sipping my coffee
To kick-start my head
And I’m getting
More comfortable
Being uncomfortable
Which kind of feels
Like progress
And I know the longer
That I stay open
And listen
Maintain eye contact
Even when my heart pounds
Everything will unfold
Just as it should
Most of the time
Anyhow

Note: Hi everyone! I wrote this one yesterday:)

So You Wanna Be a Blogger? Six Steps to Get You Started.

Phone Home
The blogosphere is blowing up these days. If you’re reading this, you are a part of the movement! Blogging is gaining serious momentum as a social media tool and is lighting a fire to the idea of connection to ignite business and relationships. Ever wondered if you too could be a blogger? You can. Here are six things I have learned from my own experience as a blogger to get you started:

  1. Seek inspiration. Don’t think you have anything to write about? You do! If you are breathing and alive, you do. There is inspiration under every stone, with every glance and with every heartbeat and interaction. Be alert and awake to your own life enough to see that there is a spiritual lesson around every corner. And remember a blog piece doesn’t have to be spiritual. You can blog a “how-to” on new ways to get into handstand…or innovative ways to use coconut oil…or interesting ideas for kid’s lunches to get out of the less than stellar PB&J rut. If you think it, you can write it.
  2. Let other writers inspire you. I received this advice a few years ago, and it has changed my writing. I thought I had to blaze a new writing trail and do it all on my own. It was a huge relief to know I could allow myself to be inspired! Relentlessly read posts and books by authors you admire. Let their style soak into you. Then, make it yours.
  3. Write as though nobody will read it. My most moving and influential posts are the ones I wrote as therapy, and then eventually sent to be published. When you write for an audience, without realizing it you fall into “what will they think?” and you start to hold back. Don’t hold back. What the world wants to see is real, raw passion. Not the cleaned up edited version of reality. Let words move through you to your fingers, edit for grammar and spelling, and set it free.
  4. The piece that makes you want to puke when you think about sharing it is the one that most needs to be posted. Every single time I have wanted to puke before hitting SEND but sent anyway, the results have been liberating to say the least. The things that move us, the things that we’re afraid of and the things that inspire us cause us to feel deep down in our bellies. The topics and subjects people deeply connect on are those that we most are afraid to speak on. Liberate not only yourself, but others, through this connection.
  5. Be prepared to be turned down. For every enthusiastic “YES we’d love to post your work,” there can be several “no thank yous.” That’s OK. It could mean a few things. One, try a different blog site. Maybe your piece isn’t quite what they are reporting on right now. Two, have a friend read your piece and ask for constructive criticism. Be open to their reply. Three, write something new. I have boatloads of essays I have written that I won’t ever submit to a blog. They stay on my personal blog indefinitely. Lastly, do not attach your self-worth to how your writing is received. We are infinitely more than our stories.
  6. Be prepared to be amazed. The universe doesn’t smile on hesitation. Life isn’t handed to you wrapped up in a perfectly square box tied with a stunning gold bow. It just isn’t. Put yourself out there. Research each blog to find out how to submit new writing. Don’t wait for someone to ask. Over and over, again and again, share a piece of yourself. The rest is up to the universe to decide how your blog is received. You may just be amazed at the results. I have been, time and time again. The posts you think will be judged harshly are actually setting you free, one word and one reader at a time.

Shine on, new blogger, shine on.

 

Photo credit: Flickr

Meeting God and the Mystery of Who We Are

Tehran SunsetI heard a story when my son was in a local Waldorf school, and I loved it.

The children were in art class seated in different tables, working hard at their projects. One little girl was particularly diligent, so the teacher stood behind her and watched for a while. Then she bent over to ask her what she was drawing.

Very matter-of-fact the little girl said, “I’m drawing God.”

The teacher chuckled and said, “But you know, hon, no one knows what God looks like.”

Without skipping a beat, without even looking up, the little girl responded, “They will in a moment!”

This made me wonder, what happened to our wildnessThe wildness of God, of Spirit, as John O’Donahue calls it. It’s as if we forget or disconnect from the spontaneity and joy that expresses our essential spirit.

Probably the deepest inquiry in any of the spiritual traditions is the question: who am I? If we look behind the roles and images that our culture gives us, behind the ideas that we internalize from our family, who’s really here? Who is reading right now? Who is looking through these eyes? Who is listening to sounds?

The Buddha said we suffer because we don’t know who we are; we’ve forgotten. We suffer because we are identified with a self that is narrower than the truth, less than the wholeness of what we are. We often live inside a role—parent, helper, boss, patient, victim, judge. We become hitched to our sense of appearance, to our body. We become hitched to our personality, our intelligence. We become hitched to our achievements. These facets constellate into the shape of our identity, of who we take ourselves to be. And that constellation is smaller than the truth. It is less than the awareness and love that is here, less than the sacred essence of what we are.

A friend of mine, a minister, told me about an interfaith gathering which began with the inquiry: What should we call Spirit or the Divine, what’s the name we should use? Right away there’s a question:“Should we call it, God?” “No way,” responds a female Wiccan. “What about Goddess?” she says.“Hah,” remarked a Baptist minister and suggested instead, “Spirit.”

“Nope,” declares an atheist.

The discussion goes on like this for a while. Finally, a Native American, suggested “the Great Mystery” and they all agreed. They all agreed because, regardless of the knowledge or the concepts of their faith, each of them could acknowledge it’s a mystery.

In the moments that we move through life realizing that we belong to this mystery, that this mystery is living through us, we are awake, alive and free.

Enjoy this video on: Entering the Mystery part 1
Adapted from my book Radical Acceptance (2003) For more information visit: www.tarabrach.com
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photo by: Hamed Saber