Saturday, September 7, 2013
I got home from work today in mid-afternoon, feeling tired and not feeling motivated to do much of anything. Maria, my wife, suggested that we take a drive into the woods, an option that sounded more appealing than the other possibilities. When we arrived at a random spot in the woods, I went around our area connecting and communicating with the trees, deciding where it would be best to sit. I sat next to and immediately felt embraced by a juniper tree. Feeling the tree’s embrace and smelling the nearby plants was very refreshing and cleansing. I forgot about being tired and appreciated the moment with Maria, the tree and the plants.
Friday, September 6, 2013
Twenty years ago, when I was in school pursuing my M.S.W., I was told implicitly or explicitly, to not talk openly about spiritual matters like reincarnation, God or various disciplines and belief systems. I knew those things to be very fundamentally important for mental health, but I also knew that the subjects were generally not touched upon. More recently I talk with clients openly and frequently about spiritual matters like reincarnation, God or various disciplines and belief systems, in a very open and non-denominational way and I am encouraged to do so. Those conversations are a vital part of what I do. The change is very pleasing to me.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Today was like a very clear affirmation of what I wrote yesterday, meaning I kept drifting off into the fear and anxiousness of my thoughts and had to remind myself, repeatedly, of the peace of the Self and the deeper reality of the absolute. The contrast in the way each of them felt was quite remarkable. Last night I woke up ruminating and anxious over my thoughts, then I would begin focusing on “I am” and peacefully go back to sleep. It felt totally pointless to ask myself why I was doing that, it was, quite simply, what was. Today was another good reminder of my humanity, and that I am not as far along my spiritual path as I would like.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Today, I have been contemplating some of the differences between my mind and smaller, impermanent self versus my larger, permanent Self and sense of “I am”. The differences are quite profound. As various mystics and spiritual leaders have pointed out the mind and brain use things like knowledge, experience and memory in a very anxious, fear based way in order to survive and function within the world, as we know it. Behind that is the sense of Self which uses knowing and a sense of connectedness and love to function within eternity. The mind uses duality, while the Self exists as part of the absolute. I prefer to know the Self while functioning in the world.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
During my morning meditation I systematically reject the many, fear-based distractions that my brain places in front of me and, then, arrive at the “God place” of love, peace, well-being and connectedness. The fact is that the reality of the God place is always there, I just need to clear away the distractions of day to day living in order to find it. In meditation I simply take note of concepts and ideas of my brain rather than try to push them away or draw them to me. I then realize that the ideas are transient, have no real meaning and let them go, sometimes repeatedly. When I do that, just like letting the stirred up mud in a stream clear, the presence of what is really there becomes clear, meaning the God place. I can, often, carry this attitude with me during the day, realizing when I get drawn into the distractions and letting them go.
Monday, September 2, 2013
Many of the recovering alcoholics and addicts I work with have expressed a fear that they do not have the ability to stay clean and sober, long term. Similarly, many of the non-addictive people I work with worry that they will not have the necessary discipline to follow a spiritual path. Part of me thinks “It’s really very simple, just never do anything that leads you down a non-spiritual/addictive path”. The other part of me realizes that is like saying “stop being human”. What seems to work for me, though I’m not certain why, is to ask for help and guidance every day and then to listen to that “small quiet voice” all day and act accordingly. In my case, if I do that, the necessary actions follow spontaneously. Understanding is not required.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Being human, the human condition, is hard to deal with and stay relatively balanced emotionally, physically, spiritually and cognitively. For me, staying balanced requires a great deal of discipline coupled with what I call “sorting time”, periods of unstructured contemplation. I cannot let up or totally relax for more than a day, usually a few hours, without some negative consequences. In my case I have the special challenges of physical problems and addictive tendencies. Others that I work with have different sets of problems or special challenges to deal with. The fact is that most (all?) of us have something. Sorting through the difficulties and staying balanced while growing toward love and connectedness is part of the beauty and difficulty of being human, a wonderful process.