Recently, I posted a summary of a great book called 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by news anchor Dan Harris. In it, he says that just maintaining the meditation discipline is enough; it’s not necessary to actually feel better afterwards. Sitting down, coming back, trying again is “the whole game.”
Sometimes, meditation is just hard work.
I like this idea, and yet … I kinda hate it. Esther Hicks always harps on the importance of finding a good-feeling place. Feeling good, grateful, etc. helps us manifest what we desire, after all. If there’s a day in which meditation isn’t doing this for me, shouldn’t I spend my free time on something that does? Like going for a walk in the woods, or playing volleyball, and doing it in a meditative frame of mind?
Recently, I wrote about a book called Autobigraphy of a Yogi by Paramhausa Yogananda. The book is, more or less, a litany of miracles and gurus the author witnessed firsthand—and it is quite lengthy. My first reaction: how did one fairly normal young man growing up in India meet so many enlightened masters in one lifetime? I mean, granted, he was training to be one, too. But seriously.
My conclusion, which may or may not be true, was that at least at the time the book was written, India was a culture of belief. Even people who were without the author’s fanatical, wholehearted search for God (like his brother Ananda) believed strongly in omens, predictions, etc., as evidenced by the stories in the book. Therefore, more miracles actually occurred.
This reminds me of the beloved Indonesian guru in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. His parents told him his whole life that he was spiritually gifted, so he just never questioned it. As a result, he became a very intuitive miracle worker.
There is, and was, and always will be, a whole lot to be said for simple faith.
What do you think? Does more faith mean more miracles? Or are there the same number of miracles happening either way, but when less faith is present more of them just go unnoticed?
You know how you sometimes meet those old people that look so serene and Mother Teresa-like and all? And you think, I want to be like that when I’m old, instead of one of the crochety complainers.
Well, ever since starting my spiritual practice of acceptance, I’ve begun to suspect something. I suspect that the difference between the saints and the complainers is that the complainers are still always trying to fix things, whereas the saints have somehow learned to merely observe and love.
I think there is a single word behind their stunningly beautiful eyes.
Seth, Abraham, Kryon, Archangel Michael … these are just a few of the many spirit entities to be channeled for the benefit of the individual and the masses. And yet, reading them kinda makes you wonder: do these guys and gals really know everything?
Here’s the thing: they never say they do. They just say they know a lot more than us. In one oft-repeated spiritual analogy, each spirit, whether human or otherwise, is a drop of water in the large ocean that is God, the All-That-Is. Their knowledge, while vaster than ours by a long shot (temporarily) is still limited by their unique perspective (as well as certain limitations of the channeler).
So let’s love our spirit guides. Let’s honor our channeled entities.
Continuing with my spiritual practice of acceptance. It has seriously rocked my world. With all of my complaints, desires, wants, hungers, etc. etc., it was hard to really feel-know what I already knew-knew about how awesome my life really is.
By accepting what is, even if I don’t love it so much–as Eckhart Tolle says, knowing that what is happening right now is perfect for my growth and evolution because it is what is happening right now (paraphrased)–I am able to enjoy what is when I do love it.
The day after starting this practice I got a massage and a facial. I spent the following beautiful, sunny morning at a park with my kids, the afternoon taking a nap, and the evening writing. And I was actually able to enjoy it all rather than obsess about every detail of those moments that wasn’t absolutely “perfect” (those face chemicals hurt, right?).
I feel like all of this time I thought I was an adult, I was really still just a kid. Now, I’m accepting what is.
I have to admit that one of the parts of the book 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by news anchor Dan Harris that really sold me was his oh-so-taboo comparison of Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra. Now, before I get into this, let me just say one thing: I don’t personally agree with his assessment of either (in their entirety). I think both Tolle and Chopra are probably super awesome human beings. That said, as someone who doesn’t consider himself a mystic or even particularly spiritual, Harris has a fascinating perspective to share.
First, Harris tells of an interview in which Chopra became super defensive and competitive. He contrasts this with Chopra’s own declaration that, as an enlightened person, he is pretty much always calm and happy (forgive me if the wording here isn’t perfect). Meanwhile, Tolle makes the opposite impression. Tolle’s calm, detached mannerisms change not a whit after the cameras are off and the interview is done. He doesn’t even show nervousness during the interview or beforehand.
The conclusion Harris comes to: Chopra isn’t quite as even-tempered as he says he is. And Tolle just might be a little crazy. After all, if he’s as sincere as he seems, that means he actually believes all that kooky stuff he says about being enlightened.
I dropped my second debit card into an unreachable place in my car, then misplaced a third.
My one-year-old spilled a plate of marinara-soaked asparagus onto my lap and the floor. Then I ate it off the floor.
I walked past three soggy diapers on my kitchen floor numerous times without picking them up.
For over an hour, my three-year-old repeated the word “booby” and tugged at my shirt as I lay in the fetal position on the floor.
Both my kids pooped in a park where there was no bathroom. My three-year-old then refused to be changed in the grass or to go with me to the car to get the baby’s diaper. When he finally followed me to the car, I put them both in with poopy diapers. On the way home the baby fell asleep. In poop.
I fell asleep during sex.
But I still took my jog, so I’d call the day a success.
This week, I began a new spiritual practice: acceptance. It’s weird to me that I’ve never made this a deliberate thing before (in fact, I’ve been pretty terrible about it altogether). This, in spite of:
Eckhart Tolle’s admonitions to see that everything that is, is perfect;
Buddhist admonitions to prefer nothing over anything else;
Esther Hicks’ admonitions to offer no resistance;
“What we resist, persists,”
Jesus, A Course in Miracles, and countless others bringing the same message; and, of course,
Recently, I posted a summary of a book written by the late medium Jane Roberts and the spirit entity who spoke through her named Seth. One thing that stood out to me as I read the book: Seth’s personality is so different from Abraham’s (the entity channeled by Esther Hicks), Kryon’s (what a nut!) and others’. Seth is super, super cerebral. He tries to make jokes but they aren’t that funny. (Sorry, Seth!)
I guess this makes me wonder: How much of who I am is who I really am, and always will be, in all my incarnations? Will I always be a writer or communicator? Will I always have a Type A personality? Which parts of me are permanent, and which parts are changeable?
What do you think? How much of you is really you, forever?
Angels, guides, God and all there is:
Help me find within myself the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the things I can change that aren’t changed yet,
the things I can change that I think I can’t change,
the things I knew I could change but didn’t,
and the things that I can and will change later . . .
and the wisdom to see that there is no difference.
This is what the view in Puerto Rico is really like . . . when you’re stuck in a hotel with two overtired children.
You don’t need to bring two pairs of long underwear on a ten-day trip to Puerto Rico.
You also don’t need to bring 200 diapers.
There is a difference between traveling and vacationing. Don’t confuse them; it’ll ruin everything. Going to a resort is not traveling; it is vacationing. Renting a local’s house that you have to clean up before you leave is not vacationing; it is traveling.
The next time I plan a trip on which two or more children will be in tow, I will very carefully consider which of the two to choose, and what to expect of the trip as a result.
What does being in a continuous state of meditation, the kind I talk about in You’re Getting Closer, actually feel like? Well, it’s different for everyone, I’m sure. For me, lately, it feels like there’s a large basin in front of me, right at waist-level, filled with ice-cold, beautiful, pure water. Whenever I need to feel refreshed–or just whenever I think about it–I dip my hands into the water and drink from it or splash it on my face.
I say my mantra. I feel the body within, as Tolle says to do.
Lately, my primary spiritual practice–my way of staying “in the vortex”, in continuous communication with the Divine, or whatever you want to call it, has been to repeat a mantra all day long. The common technique gets a twist, though–several, actually:
The mantra is “custom-made”–something I came up with that very day or week that feels *just right* for what I’m going through, and feels exceptionally good.
After saying my mantra, I count. Example: “I have power. One. I have power. Two.” Don’t know why I like doing this, but I really, really do.
When I was growing up my favorite movie was Anne of Green Gables. The way I felt when I was watching it–or at least the way I remember feeling–was just so thoroughly good, so entirely removed from all things uncomfortable. For a while, I too lived on a beautiful farm and no matter how misunderstood I was, I always had a best friend, beauty, and a book.
Now I’m all grown up, and though I much prefer most of my life the way it is now, I do have one complaint: In order to feel that good again, I have to meditate.