Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Awakening’ Category

A Contemplative Practice is a Stairway of ReunificationMost spiritual traditions aim for the same ultimate goal: reaching a place of Oneness where we become one with nature, with each other, and with the Divine. But we also recognize ourselves as fallible human beings who live in a world of dualities. One way to transcend this and reach that place of Oneness, our Divine Essence, is by working with our dualities, our inner light, and our shadows. Spiritual development inevitably flows in the direction of love and spiritual maturity. When people turn away from their true nature they thwart their own spiritual development; they no longer move forward.

It can be difficult living a spiritual life in this world that typically rejects all absolutes. Absolutes like the understanding that all things, including humans, are sacred. Many people live life without realizing that deep within the core of our being is a place where our personality and human nature touches the absolute love of Oneness. This place is sometimes called our Divine Essence. Our Divine Essence draws its energy and power from the universal Oneness, and when our essence feels cut off from the Oneness, it withers. When it reconnects, our essence comes alive and we grow spiritually.

It is critical that we acknowledge the importance of inner development in the process of our spiritual growth. Inner development is finding out who we truly are as we connect to our True Nature and requires engaging in contemplation and meditation.

Let’s define the meaning of “reflection and contemplation” before we move on. Reflections are thoughts, ideas, or remarks that occur as a result of meditation, which then become your center of focus in subsequent meditations or a subject for serious thought or consideration for a period of time in your daily life. These contemplations provide a path into your divine nature.  Unlike other meditation techniques designed to empty the mind, reflections intensely focus on an idea while in a state of stillness or mindfulness.

Many times after posting my reflections online, I find that the contemplations and my life crisscrossed in unexpected ways.  For example, after working with a reflection, I then find it is the perfect message for someone who crosses my path in some spontaneous way. Many who follow my daily reflections online report similar experiences. Working with reflections helps you make empowered choices that imbue your life and relationships with substance and depth.

Reflections are meant to stimulate your intellect and intuition and thus open a connection to your authentic self. They may confound, or they may provide “Aha!” moments. You may find you want to work with a reflection for a day, a week, or a month, letting all its nuances and facets bring moments of light into your life. I suggest looking for synchronistic events that complement the energy of the contemplation you are working on. How you engage with your contemplation is personal, and everyone’s experience is unique. Savor each reflection, as if a piece of hard candy were slowly dissolving in your mouth, with many sweet and bittersweet shades. Sometimes wisdom hits square in the face. As when we walk from darkness into brilliant sunshine and it takes time to adjust. Other times it slowly works its way into our hearts and minds by repeated exposure or over long periods of incubation. In the long run, spiritual growth helps unite oneness into all parts of our lives. This is what spiritual transformation is all about.

Since birth, humanity has had one shared purpose, which is reuniting with the spiritual Source from which we came. We all tread this path in our own way to reach the common goal of reconnection with the Light that shines within us. It is this Light that silently summons us and connects our being to the Source of all things. Through daily spiritual practice we experience growth and climb the stairway of reunification. No matter where you are on your ascent, you will find reflections supportive in locating the next step toward nourishing your being. Reflection practice can be considered a wake-up call that challenges you to look at yourself and the many possibilities before you, so you can change the way you live for the better.

I look forward to sharing some reflections in the coming months. They are created through love and come to you in love.

This is my article reprinted from Om Times Magazine, © [2015], and is available at http://OMTimes.com.

David Bennett enjoys the retired life of a public speaker, author, teacher, energetic healer, and transformational life coach. He’s appeared on radio and television, including on Dr Oz,  Angels Among Us, NBC national news, and PBS. A Findhorn Press author, of Voyage of Purpose and A Voice as Old as Time scheduled August 2015.
http://DharmaTalks.com
http://SpiritualSimplicityBooks.com

Read Full Post »

When we transform our consciousness, we participate in the transformation of the world we know. Let us look through the fog to see what a transformation in consciousness is and promote its development, also let’s examine catalysts and doorways we know of that produce a life long lasting transformation.

hammerBecause you have a hammer in your hand, doesn’t mean you know how to build a house. What is it that makes an extraordinary experience transform into lasting change? In a garden you must prepare the soil and plant seeds to have something to harvest later. Not all the seeds will grow unless you give them what they need to thrive.

Transformation can be a gradual life long process, or it can be precipitated by a sudden shift sometimes painful, or possibly an exceptional experience. When we experience a shift in our worldview, we often feel nothing will ever be the same. Like water wearing away stone, integrating transformative experiences into our core way of being often requires time, patience and inner work. Reconditioning and reshuffling priorities may be required to catch up with our new expanded worldview.

Consciousness itself doesn’t change, instead it is our perception of consciousness that changes. Who we are authentically doesn’t change, rather our false selves are shed and elements of our higher consciousness are recalled, integrated and aligned with who we really are. Being able to step back and look at our beliefs gives an opportunity to see the outdated ones and make room for the new ones calling out for transformation. Intellect can only get us so far, letting go, we can open to new states of awareness.

Become a soul in wonder - childlike

Become a soul in wonder – childlike

Transformation is aided by a strong sense of curiosity and inquisitiveness rather than being suspicious of new information. Become a soul in wonder – childlike, reaching a point where we look for what’s next. What is going to happen today? Yes we have things to accomplish, yet leave an opening for the new to present itself into the present.

Making time in life for creativity allows us to inspire new ideas. We are wired for seeking (since our hunter gatherer ancestors) and creativity allows us to open to our authentic selves. No matter what our outlet is: dance, music, art, writing and journaling, they are all full of surprise and wonder.

A necessity in the transformative process is to find time for silence, introspection and inner authority. Entering the realm of stillness requires that you pay attention to your daily rhythms and natural cycles. I enjoy taking a moment of silence before meetings and events, allowing my inner knowing to open. In silence we open to the inner realm of knowing and broaden previous understandings and experience. Intentionally stopping and being in silence is a simple practice that may feel uncomfortable, but over time can become a refuge.

When allowing these seeds of curiosity, creativity and stillness to mature, many times they will grow into direct knowing of authentic knowledge within our awareness. New realizations can be fragile just like the new sprouts in our garden. To have them blossom we need to reinforce them with practices like contemplative prayer or mindfulness meditation.

Because we’ve had an exceptional experience doesn’t mean we have a pass for a free ride. Instead we have tasted our potential and understand the imperative to evolve. It is a call from our authentic self to participate in the transformative process. Holding the intention of being open to transformation always helps us recognize the opportunities for transformation that present themselves in our daily life. This way we become “coconspirators” in the evolution.

There is a need to bring attention and awareness to our “Witness” or “Observer Self,” in everything we do. That way we become aware of any behaviors like addictions and jealousies that drive our wants and needs. Like pulling weeds, only by seeing them clearly can we overcome these self limiting habits. Cultivating mindful attention and awareness is an act of liberation. A range of techniques are available for learning to discipline the mind. Use the tools of mindful attention to substantially increase the transformative potential of our practice.

Guidance can come from external or internal wisdom. A teacher or mentor is a solid path to take with many known benefits. A good teacher should be balanced by our own internal wisdom. We are the best in discerning if a practice is working in our transformation. Practice on its own isn’t enough, always balance practice with life experiences. If practice becomes an end to, rather than a means, it can become an obstacle to the transformative process. Practice is a sort of flashlight we shine on our inner world to illuminate insight. Once you’ve gained the sight, there is no need for the flashlight.

The ego, the sense of a self as separate from the world, can become overactive and keep us out of our hearts and in our minds. Ego pulls us out of the present and into the past or future, out of our deeper wisdom and living shallowly. Yet, it is a mistake to try to destroy the ego, instead one of our primary functions in the transformative process is to reestablish an internal balance between ego and soul, or self and other, doing and being. Remove ego from the driver seat and let your creative, intuitive self have a turn at the wheel.

yay-611217Keep the transformative process moving toward increased insight by shaking things up. Try something different. Use a purification ritual to shed the old baggage or beliefs both spiritually and emotionally. Try living in the moment, developing a deep sense of gratitude, joy and love for your present environment. It takes courage and commitment but try surrendering to the mystery and allow life to unfold and worry less about the past or future. Stop resisting and get out of the way, so you can find your sense of aliveness and engage in life with the fullest loving intention. The transformative process opens us to the fundamental human core of love and divine truth. Once we learn how to open that door it’s like a well oiled hinge, it opens easily.

Understand that transformation is a form of spirituality integrated into all aspects of life, not a hat you put on and take off. It affects all arenas of the daily experience, goings and comings, work, play, in the car or at home; not just when we are in a sacred place, meditating or on a ten day retreat. Many times we spend our time attending workshop after workshop, group after group and we feel exhilarated at the time, only to return home and have difficulty integrating what we learned or experienced. We are attempting to be part-time yogis. The purpose of a transformative path is to change our way of being full time.

Finding a like-minded community with whom we can share our transformative process is essential. Our dominant culture does not always support a consciousness transformation that emphasizes meaning over materialism. Having people in our life who support our metamorphosis helps fortify our young blossoming plant. Transformative development happens in the context of shared experience and with connections, guides and peers. Being part of a community also helps us with learning how to behave with other people. New on the horizon are Internet and teleconferencing based meetings that have the potential of reaching even the most isolated individuals.

Use simple reminders on a daily basis to remember the transformation in our lifes. These can act as a trigger to keep us working in the present. Also develop ways to take action bringing our new perspective into the world. It can be creative expression or a form of service to others. When we take our ideals and put them into practice through action, we create powerful experiences. We can use conscious intention to propel ourselves forward with positive meaning and choose the life we want.

What’s interesting is the reversal that takes place. At first our transformative activities fed our life, now our life feeds our transformation, by living the art of transformation. It takes courage to live life with an authentic awakening and realized truth. It means facing everything and no longer pushing things we do not want to deal with in the corner. It requires bravery, commitment and love to be who you really are or risk the awakened state diminishing.

Take what you have learned, the insights and direct experiences and give them form. Become the embodiment of your transformative process. Becoming the Spirit of each life interaction, we become the practice of our truths and love, making it a seamless and graceful partnership with our higher consciousness. Be a convergence of life and practice where you bring the fruits of your life journey back home.

Large group of multi-ethnic people cheering with arms raisedThe most common element of consciousness transformation is when self awareness extends beyond the boundaries of the individual personality and we find the interconnectedness of all beings. There is a gradual realization that there isn’t any separation, with a knowing of unity and yet our soul is intact. Tentatively at first we step from center stage into the flow of shared identity. Transcendence from “I” onto “We”, is a natural progression people are finding globally; the shift is aways here and available to everyone. There is a growing intensity worldwide of shifting our consciousness and awakening.

As the transformative process progresses we experience an expanded view of reality and our place in it. Often we are led to a greater intimacy and interrelatedness with the people in our lives. A different kind of love plants a seed of openness and authenticity with everyone we interact with throughout the day. Many express how this process has opened their hearts, making them believe the transformative process is not a series of steps, but the path to love.

Compassion and a need to relieve suffering grows from this universal love. A love that calls us to act in ways to remedy suffering. The more we walk our paths with an open heart the more we realize that everything is sacred and divine.

Aha! Transformation isn’t really a change at all, but an unveiling and reorganizing of who we are and finding the divine that’s already within. Then we see the spiritual light shines brightly through every living being. With that comes a responsibility to be in balance with all life by staying awake and aware. With this noetic understanding our concern for a sustainable life is intertwined with all lives.

So tmay 2005 027end the garden with a practice that is comfortable for you. Fertilize the soil, pull the weeds, stake the seedlings and provide the environment for the natural, never ending transformation process and rest ever more into your authentic self. The potential for awakening to enlightenment is within us because we are all interconnected beings of light and part of the greater all.

Not all transformative paths start with an exceptional experience, but most begin with some kind of deeply felt, unshakable realization. This shift can be triggered by something as subtle as reading a blog.

Read Full Post »

183732859767680507_IkwDPUam_cDon’t be distracted by the feelings of isolation. We are all in this ocean of consciousness, plunged into isolation by our own mental trappings. Once we change our perception to knowing our true nature, we begin to see we are the vast oceans, we are the void, we are the light of consciousness. Just like the bubbling spring is connected to inlets and tributaries on the surface and to the ever-flowing streams underground.

Don’t allow yourself to drift aside oar-less and separate on the surface of life. Wholeness requires we flow from beneath the surface and add our essence to the oneness on the surface.

Our heartbeat, our life cycle, and our day to day sometimes distract us by keeping our focus on time and push us toward separateness. Love, Unity, and our True Nature exists outside of time. When we accept this realization, it becomes the key in the lock that releases us. Life can take on new meaning of everyone and everything in this universe interconnected into a beautiful tapestry.  We need to nourish our “Being” with a retreat from the illusion of separateness by returning to stillness. In stillness we can touch the love in us that touches the love in others. Do this until you weave together in unity, becoming unconditional Love. Just as the water droplet joins another and leaves behind its sense of being a single drop to becoming flowing fluid.

Reach Out with your energy and see the reality of the world.Bring this new sense of being out of the stillness and back into daily life by looking at all the life around and using this non-discriminative ability to understand the true nature of what you see. When we do this, we free ourselves from separateness and see the inter-being of nature. We should be more observant of Mother Earth; Gaia replenishes and renews herself through the cycle of life. So why do we shut ourselves off from this amazing source of birth, death, and rebirth. It’s necessary for us to reach out with our energetic roots and branches and connect with our source.

You and I know there is no such thing as death, so is there such a thing as life? Quantum mechanics proves that there is a non-local part of our existence just as real as thoughts, feelings, and ideas that cannot be measured on an instrument. That leads us to understand that our consciousness resides outside the physical body in our higher consciousness. Our feeling of separateness is a result of our mind grasping and wanting. Our ancestors knew the importance of living in oneness with all living beings and finding unity. So are we truly living this life or just the dreamer with nowhere in particular to go?

Separation from our true nature only occurs in the mind. It is an illusion that becomes our reality if we allow it. We can get lost in our imagined wanderings. Separation can lead us into being more self-deprecating than we ever need to be.  We need to focus within on our innermost self until the unseen becomes known and our mind can be without those distracting thoughts. We have been introduced to this life as separate and a spectator of ourselves. Also, we have intrinsic skills as interpreters of our deeds and our nature with understanding and contemplation. As we awaken to our true nature we may use these skills to live in a manner that is in harmony with our higher self. Life is precious to experience and separateness is invaluable as a challenge to overcome.

There are two types of Separation.There are two types of separation within us, the first is the illusion of being separate from everyone and everything else in the universe, then there is the feeling of duality between our Self and Spirit. Eliminating the separation is a key element in our awakening. When we learn to work from within in order to effect change we have taken a small healthy step. Focus on Self Love and watch the duality meld away, as we become comfortable we extend that pure Love outward to encompass the world and radiate into the universe. It is perfectly fine to celebrate your self, honor the self, and delight in delivering your gifts. But always be true to your Self so you may be true to others.

We seek our purpose one and all. Yet purpose is not a legacy, unless it is building upon loving intent for all.

We have been on a path of separation and now we are in a state of initiation. We are beginning to experience new ways of living in a changing world. Let us recreate our lives; the choices we make now will reverberate for a millennium. The best choices will lead us toward shifting our consciousness into an awakened society. The choice is ours.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »