One of my teachers for decades has been author Alan Cohen, and today I’m sharing a special excerpt from his wonderful book A Deep Breath of Life. May you enjoy, and may all of us learn to live from a place of thankfulness and thereby enrich the quality of our lives, and the world. Namaste. Gina
During prayer, when I go beyond life’s chatter and listen for the voice within that says ‘Be still and know that I Am God’ I fall into love and release attachment… to anything and everything. Through the process of connecting with the vastness of God’s power and love throughout the universe as well as in every fiber of my being, I fully let go and relax.
If I forget to pray, I lose my equanimity and can become grasping and desirous of outcomes. These lower energies are felt in my shoulders and stomach as tight muscles and tension, concern or worry, or even excitement and anticipation. Left undirected and untrained, my mind wanders and generates passionate reactions over this and that, with emotions as unstable as sand beneath my feet.
But when I carve out time to sit and be still, to quiet my thoughts and go deeply within, everything in my life benefits. The time I spend in prayer and meditation grants me a sense of stability that speaks to me of ‘building my house on a rock’.
“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” ~unknown
Deepak Chopra shared in an interview that there has not been a quarrel in his family for decades. He has worked on and mastered his inner calm and remains unflustered by outer events. I admire that and work towards it. Whether I am driving in traffic (often a button for me) or preparing a meal for many people, I endeavor to bring the results of my daily prayers to the task. A sense of non-attachment is what I am learning, and from which I have discovered tremendous calm.
As one who used to live amidst perfectionist tendencies, learning to release outcomes has improved my life. I still make lists to help me stay on track. I still plan ahead because it helps set me up for success. And I still visualize the best and highest outcome, yet I now include the phrase ‘this or something better’ and turn it over to God.
Putting it all in God’s hands makes me feel safer than when I used to strive to be in control. Having been on my own from a young age, taking care of all I could was an essential skill. However now it no longer serves but rather limits my true freedom. I’ve learned that when I forget to pray and attempt to control things, events, and people around me, deep within I feel unsafe.
For example, driving alone to attend an evening workshop across the city can generate feelings of fear if I’m only operating from my logical human awareness. I attempt to be in control and know everything: where to park and will it be well-lit; how early should I get there to get a close spot; can I walk out with a crowd to remain safe on the way back to my car; is my car fully gassed up; battery charged on the cell phone; and someone knows where I’m going and when I will return home?
Certainly all these steps help ensure security but they do not help me FEEL any safer. Only prayer helps me feel safe and secure. It is in acknowledging I control nothing that I notice the solid rock beneath me. It is in letting go of my human attachment to control that I truly feel safe. I embrace my trust and celebrate my faith in the One who controls everything.
Matthew 7:24-27 NIV ~ Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
This is what prayer and meditation does for me. It is the rock beneath my feet and the awareness that I am truly safe.
Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE
“We need to have the courage to claim our spiritual identity in the midst of a world afraid of light. We don’t need to flaunt our spirituality, argue about it, or attack anyone who does not see or agree with it; we just need to live it. The path of mastery does not require us to convince anyone else of anything; it simply asks us to remember who we are and be it.” ~Alan Cohen, Dare To Be Yourself
“There is only one journey. Going inside yourself.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting,
The soul that rises with us, our life’s star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.
“One of the most spiritual things you can do is embrace your humanity. Connect with those around you today. Say, ‘I love you’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘I appreciate you’, ‘I’m proud of you’… whatever you’re feeling. Send random texts, write a cute note, embrace your truth and share it… cause a smile for someone else… and give plenty of hugs.”
Kind people bring out the kind in people.
O God, we are one with You. You have made us one with You. You have taught us that if we are open to one another, You dwell in us. Help us to preserve this openness and to fight for it with all our hearts. Help us to realize that there can be no understanding where there is mutual rejection. O God, in accepting one another wholeheartedly, fully, completely, we accept You, and we thank You, and we adore You, and we love You with our whole being, because our being is Your being, our spirit is rooted in Your spirit. Fill us then with love, and let us be bound together with love as we go our diverse ways, united in this one spirit which makes You present in the world, and which makes You witness to the ultimate reality that is love. Love has overcome. Love is victorious. Amen.
~Thomas Merton, his prayer from an informal address delivered in Calcutta, India, October 1968 [source]
“From the inception of our country, it has been a mainstay of American consciousness that the fabric of our nation would be woven from the threads of myriad national and ethnic identities. We would be the melting pot of all nations. The vast majority of Americans are descendants of immigrants, yet we often act as though today’s immigrants don’t deserve what we do, that we have something to protect from their encroachment. It seems paradoxical to me that we would brag about our ancestors coming over on the Mayflower, yet condemn someone trying to do the very same thing today. Of course there are immigrants who abuse our system, just as there are people born here who abuse our system. The truth is that the majority of today’s immigrants bring with them an infusion of the same values that our ancestors personified, the values America is so sorely lacking. They are people willing to work hard for themselves and their families. Our children do not stand to be corrupted by their values so much as their children stand to be corrupted by ours.”
~ Marianne Williamson, Illuminata [chapter 'Prayers for the World']
“The highest result of education is tolerance” ~ Helen Keller
“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”
~ George Washington Carver
[Admitting mistakes and making amends is part of growth. I had not double-checked the quote in orange before posting. I apologize and have updated it after checking Wikiquote as being said by the great Mr. Carver. I welcome your comments if you see I've made an error in who said what. Thank you]
On our human level we may at times get tangled up in our erroneous attempts to be ‘perfect’. Striving for perfection usually generates needless stress and ends up weighing us down and dimming our light. I feel this song affirms our Truth, beyond the inevitable scrapes, bruises and dents from life. Beyond perfection, we are, and always will be, magnificent to our Higher Spirit.
While the first words of this song are “At twenty years of age” (and it’s been a long time since I could say that) it speaks to the very core of my heart. I joyously sing along and my ‘inner twenty-year-old’ celebrates this song frequently by enjoying it with a refreshing Dance Break! I hope you will enjoy Francesca’s poetry set to her upbeat music and please feel free to print the lyrics I’ve included.
We are truly uplifted as we acknowledge how loved we are, right here and right now. Our life is safe in God’s hands, and perched on His shoulders how gloriously we can see!
Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE
Thanks to video creator Skylar Petersen! Well done.
In mathematics, two angles that are said to coincide fit together perfectly.
The word ‘coincidence’ does not describe luck or mistakes.
It describes that which fits together perfectly. ~Dr. Wayne Dyer
When I observe a loving older couple caring for each other I know it’s not luck that they have each other for support. When I witness the glowing face of my genuinely happy friend who has just had her own book published I know she’s not lucky. When I celebrate at another’s home filled with incredible art and furniture with floor to ceiling windows that have a spectacular view, I would never entertain the thought ‘Oh, they’re so lucky!’
There is a quote that has often been attributed to Thomas Jefferson, who was an incredible human being, yet this phrase was coined by Coleman Cox in his 1922 book Listen to This:
“I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.” (quote info)
Kudos to that! I definitely agree. As well as with this rather firmly worded statement by Emerson:
“Shallow people believe in luck, believe in circumstances:
It was somebody’s name, or he happened to be there at the time,
or, it was so then, and another day it would have been otherwise.
Strong people believe in cause and effect.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life (1860)
A long and loving relationship requires consistent care and tending to, as much as any garden. The writing of a book and the publication process requires a tremendous amount of effort and persistence, and my friend worked very hard for her ‘good luck’. Prosperity and abundance doesn’t ‘just happen’ to people. They have to work at it. We all do. And often the most difficult form of the work is in between our ears.
We have to work at changing our belief patterns and developing good habits. Living with gratitude, prayer and meditation, regular physical exercise, reading nourishing material and avoiding entertainment that lowers our energy… all these things are ways we can work at ‘strengthening the muscle’ of the Happiness Habit. Things take practice and we have to work at anything to get better at it. As the adage in sports goes (likely adapted from that quote) “I am lucky, and the harder I practice the luckier I get.” Let’s practice, work at it, and make our own good luck.
May God grant you always a sunbeam to warm you;
a moonbeam to charm you; a sheltering angel
so nothing can harm you. ~ Irish Prayer
Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE
We must be humble enough to admit that we do not see very far down the road, and confident enough to acknowledge that there is One with us who does see the right direction for us. If we are willing to trust the Divine Lighting Technician to show us our way, one step at a time, we are apt to appreciate our journey more and enjoy the adventure of following the path set before us – one light at a time. ~ Alan Cohen, Dare To Be Yourself
Luke 1:37 ESV ~ For nothing will be impossible with God.
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