Needing God In Early Stages of Motherhood

Reading Nancy Ortberg’s book “Looking for God” I would like to share some of her stories. She shares how she had a problem with morning quiet time. The first 30 minutes of each morning that she was to be silent in meditation with God and later share any insights gained during this time. And if she missed this daily quiet time, she was filled with guilt for having done so. There came a point in her life where it was truly impossible for her to find that 30 minutes each morning of quiet time with God. In fact, never was there a more oxymoronic phrase to her than quiet time. In those days she had to fight to go to the bathroom by herself, and when she did make it there alone, one or both kids were always on the other side of the door, pounding and calling to her.

“Mommy, can we come in?”
“No.”
“Mommy, when are you coming out?”
“In a minute.”
“Mommy, is a minute up yet?”
She had never known what it was like to wake up tired, treating ear infections and teething. Her nights became staccato notes of sleep. When she did wake up, the kids were either crying to be fed or unrolling toilet paper from the bathroom down the hall and wrapping the cat.

Days and weeks would go by before she had any quiet time to “talk to God.” When she did open the Bible to read, she either lost her train of thought or fell asleep! She began to panic. In this early stage of motherhood she desperately needed God but was unable to connect how she thought she should. She began to figure she would plan to either meet God again in about six years when all the kids would be in school or find other ways to connect with God but she did not know any other ways. But God did.

She was feeling about 12 months pregnant and her other two children were growing fussier as the day went on. She was exhausted. So she gathered the children in the car and headed towards the park, a perfect place for them to run off steam before dinner. As they played, she sat down on a park bench and watched them. God’s plan was to show her a window.

Her children dug in the sand, skipped around trying to catch the ducks and the warmth of the sun soothed them all as it silhouetted their redheaded profiles. She sat watching, relaxed and suddenly it dawned on her with great impact how very deeply she loved her children, in an unexpected visceral response. She felt her heart bursting with love for them, so much so that she fought back tears and her throat tightened with such overwhelming deep emotions and love for her children.

Simultaneously, God chose this moment to send a tsunami that absolutely blindsided her. She heard God whisper to her “And that’s just the tip of the iceberg as to how much I love you.” God had used this moment when she was open to overwhelm and break through that coating with what her heart needed and that it was just a peek, no where near the fullness of God’s love.

Ephesians 3:18 Paul said he prayed that they might have the power to understand just how wide, how long, how high, and how deep God’s love is.

The encounter she had on that park bench went beyond any experience she had ever had during a quiet time. God began to show her there were so many ways to deepen her relationship with God, to know and experience God and the park bench counted as much as the quest time did.

She climbed out of her boxed view and widened her perspective of experiencing God whom she began to realize was present all throughout her day; she only needed to pay attention. So, she began to have quiet times all over the place!

She makes the analogy of referring the Les Miserable’s when Jean Valjean, near death, sings to his adopted daughter, Cosette, “to love another person is to see the face of God.” This struck such a deep chord within her, that she wondered why that phrase had never been in the Bible. Only to have her husband come to her one day, opening the Bible to Genesis 33:10 and read to her the words of Jacob, reunited with Esau after such a long time: “For to see your face is like seeing the face of God.” From that time, whenever I looked into the face of a dear friend, that became my quiet time, as looking into the face of God.

She also began to appreciate things more in her life; for example, a good meal that she did not have to cook. Steve Evans, a noted Christian philosopher, says that perhaps the best proof for the existence of God is banana cream pie and she thought he was onto something. She deeply reflected on the good nature of God and what it means to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34.8.

What a joy it was for her to realize that from the first moment she awoke in the morning to when she closed her eyes at night, we have been given a variety of ways to connect with God. For instance, in traveling on vacation, they came upon a magnificent scenic view at Yosemite. People intuitively were whispering as if it were sacred ground. Everyone was in awe as they witnessed what can happen with a wave of God’s hand, like a stroke of a paint brush. The magnificence of creation and the breathtaking beauty of God, whose spirit is within each of us. All this to her was a quiet time and it counts.

So I would like to ask you, when have you looked into the eyes and face of God? I remember looking at a newborn baby and exclaimed, I’m looking at the face of God. Another time, I was a volunteer with severely disabled adults and children. They had no control of their throat muscles so I was holding them in my lap as I poured the liquid food down their throat bit by bit. Our eyes connected and mine filled with tears as my heart burst open. I knew I was looking into the eyes of God. I encourage you to look into the mirror at your reflection and view yourself looking into the eyes of God, within each of us.

Nancy continues in her book that her friend had given birth to a little girl. As she gazed at her, she was overwhelmed by this gift. With tears in her eyes and a heart overflowing, her response was simple gratitude. It was a prayer whispered to God from a full heart that had just been filled even more. She couldn’t believe there was room for more and she was filled with appreciation.

Nancy contends the power of gratitude is both breathtaking and centering. She compares it to the lines of nuclear power, making our lives richer and freer … a direct link to the goodness of God, an unending source of hope and power and faith. God is in the everyday ordinary as well as extraordinary magnificence of every day life. As she watched a magnificent sunset at Malibu beach with a group of people, she says they all stood there quietly, as if they had purchased a ticket to a show and were watching this grand display. She wanted to shout, “You are watching God! You are attendees of one of God’s many shows that give clues to God’s goodness. This sacred world.”

She shares a similar sensation when she and her family joined a group of others to view the Mavericks, the biggest waves in the world that hit 30 to 50 feet and the dream of many experienced surfers. They watched with a sort of reverence. They mostly whispered, although no one told them to. It was as if, for that moment, they were on holy ground. Because they were.

Gratitude is a powerful force. She relates it to a power that occurs when someone who is facing deep difficulties expresses an authentic and profound gratitude. She had been a nurse and was attending a 14 year old girl who had her leg amputated just below the knee. The girl lifted her amputated leg up above the bubbling water for her to see and said, “Look at how much I have left!” She explained that since the doctors were able to amputate below the knee it was much easier to fit a prosthesis and she wondered how long it would take to heal so she could get started with that.

This made her realize our gratitude and appreciation are ways in which we worship God. Hebrews 12:28 says “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God.”

Jesus acknowledged that gratitude was a way to praise God. In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus cured 10 lepers and 9 went on their way and only 1 of the ten came and threw himself at the feet of Jesus to give thanks before going on his way. Jesus commended his reaction and Luke made sure this was written down so we don’t forget to be grateful.

She shares another time when she was in an airplane at night. The sky was dark and the captain’s voice announced to look out the window to see the Northern Lights. She describes it as thick bands of neon green lights dancing and rippling through the dark sky, like gossamer ribbons strung from the top of the universe, swaying back and forth for their entertainment. Absolutely magnificent. Everyone looked on in amazement with hushed tones. She recognized a laughing, whimsical God, a creative and interactive God who, in creating this wonderful world, decided that when solar particles interact with the earth’s magnetic field, they might as well give us a show. So wherever we are throughout the days of our lives, we will see things that cause our hearts to well with gratitude if we allow it. We can see God everywhere. All we have to do, she says, is to connect the dots.

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The Way of Happiness

Happiness is so important that the King of Bhutan, the last Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas, decided the best way to foster economic development would be to boost the nation’s gross domestic happiness or GDH rather than on the GDP. Bhutan’s emphasis on the happiness of the people above all else appears to have produced society wide benefits. Most people are subsistence farmers, they have what they need… food on the table and universal health care. They have refused to make money from commercial ventures that might compromise the health and beauty of their environment and their egalitarian existence.

In becoming happier we boost our immune systems, energy levels, improve our engagement with work and other people, and improve our physical and mental health. In becoming happier we bolster our self esteem and self confidence and come to believe we are worthy human beings, deserving of respect. As we become happier we benefit not only ourselves but society at large. I recommend “The How of Happiness” by Sonja Lyubomisrky.

“The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” Benjamin Franklin

More and more I have searched for the keys to happiness. I have come to realize that happiness is directly related to self love and enlightenment and reflected by your ability to achieve success in whatever you seek.

Some people, like Deepak Chopra may say that happiness is the purpose of our life. (The Ultimate Happiness Prescription book). To be clear, success in life is a byproduct of happiness. We are talking about inner happiness and what others may refer to as bliss.

Meditation can stimulate certain brain chemicals that elicit happiness and help increase self esteem.

Many people carry wounds from the past and learn to focus our lives on escaping yesterday’s pain and avoiding more pain. In being present we release past and future, can focus on our breath in the present and go within.

Eastern wisdom traditions like Buddhism teach there are 5 basic causes of unhappiness.
1. Who Am I? i.e. not knowing your true identity.
2. Illusion of permanence in the world.
3. Fear of change.
4. Identifying with false ego.
5. Fear of death.

By learning your true identity, who you really are, all these areas of suffering will cease. People have found this to be true for 3000 years, by going deep within and looking inside for self realization and discovery. It is found in your consciousness that is beyond ego, mind and intellect.

This is the era of increased consciousness. At New Year many wished other Happy New Consciousness,… may all have peace, love and harmony in their lives and equality for all. Such fulfillment is found in self realization.

We are all connected to the Divine Source of all creation, God consciousness by whatever name you know, and the eternal flame in the heart symbolizes this. When you have found that flame, you have found Enlightenment. Christians may call it the sacred heart of Jesus. Others may know it as the blue flame of wisdom, compassion and enlightenment. This flame dispels all darkness.

We are 99.99999% energy and thus transcend space and time as well as cause and effect. Knowing your true identity as energy is where you will achieve fulfillment. Our existence is rooted in this deeper state of being. It is our Divine Essence, our God Self. Enlightenment is simply finding the way to reach this state and being able to realize this is the true me. Then happiness ensues and permeates all. It’s up to each of us to find out how to achieve this state, so ultimately, enlightenment is within our grasp and the secret to happiness is in our hands. Within our deeper state of being, our true consciousness, lies a field of potential so vast and we are co-creators with God We create our life by what we reach out and choose in this vast field of potential, by observing it and thus drawing it into our material life in time and space.

Happiness is our birthright. The closer we come to achieving our core consciousness at our deepest level, we release darkness and unhappiness and draw forth Light and Joy into our lives and all around us.

We are not in the universe, rather, the universe is within us. The more we become aware of our bodies we become aware of our connection to the universe because we are One.. the same energy and consciousness and thus we can tap into the All Knowing state as we evolve our conscious awareness. As we listen to and become aware of our body we tap into this infinite field of possibility and achieve peace, harmony and happiness.

“There is but one temple in the universe and that is the human body.” Thomas Carlyle

The more we become aware we realize that mind, body and spirit are one. Our body is our sacred altar or temple of God to dwell within us in one Divine consciousness. And we need to honor it as such by being mindful of the nourishment we take in for our highest and best. So as we grow in awareness of our body, likewise we grow in wisdom of our universal and Divine self and the field of unlimited potential.

Remember, when body, mind and spirit are in harmony, as one, happiness occurs. On the other hand, disharmony is reflected in pain, anxiety, anger, worry, depression and so forth. If we realize such unhappiness has entered into our being either physically, mentally or spiritually, we can take steps to change. Just as we have allowed it in or drawn it to us for whatever reason, we can also give it eviction papers.

There is a saying, “the issues are in the tissues.” This tells us these felling enter the brain, our CNS and every cell and tissue of our body. So the answer is to become aware of our body and our true being, to plug into our connection to Source, our Divine Energy and reclaim our inner Joy of our beings. Awareness is intuitive so as we become aware of what is happening in our bodies we can recognize the disharmony and recreate what we desire, health and happiness.

The only constant is change, but change is never neutral. We are either changing for the better or worse, growth or decline. The choice is ours. As we recognize we are in cause always, that there is nothing out there except what we create with our thoughts and feelings and actions, we take responsibility and that is the first step to change. We can then reach out into that vast field of potential and choose more wisely.

Remember that the body and mind and one with the universe. Deepak Chopra says that when we listen to the body we listen to or eavesdrop on the mind of the universe. This divine universal intelligence helps us to make wise decisions in our life to help us reach the fulfillment we seek. Fulfillment is achieved by right thoughts, right feeling and right action and we align our biological rhythms with the universe, or one verse and one song.

Creativity breaks inertia and keeps us in the flow of universal consciousness. In such creativity we feel truly alive and in sync with Divine will and our personal power expressed in mind, body and spirit. The mind expresses power as attention and intention. The body expresses power in physical strength and endurance. Spirit expresses power as we create through field of potential our reality. This is manifestation and through intelligence, creativity and power we can manifest happiness. We tap into intelligence, creativity and power as we finely tune our awareness of our body. Once we withdraw our awareness by being depressed, distracted, withdrawn or apathetic, the connection is broken with our flow of intelligence, creativity and power. Most disease of the body is by this decreased awareness and disconnect with the flow to our Source.

So how do we stay attuned to our body and stay connected? As we feel ourselves stray, through emotions or distractions, focus on our breath and that will bring us back to our body. Harmony and happiness is our body’s natural homeostasis. Stress pulls us out of it and into reactive mind, distractions and escape. What do mind altering drugs or alcohol do? They numb our awareness and our connection is broken and so it just creates more pain. Awareness heals and leads to wholeness and this type of healing and wholeness should be as constant to us as breathing.

If we lose our way, we can choose to reconnect. One way is to focus on the space or energy between objects, the space between thoughts, the space between our breaths and we will find ourselves reconnecting our awareness once again to our true energy and Divine source and happiness. This space is the field of pure potential. Space is still and as we focus on it we still the mind and we allow our body to release stress and tension.

As we may sit in this stillness, if our body is stressed it may react by tension, fatigue, pain, memories, thoughts, past hurts, tears and the body is signalling it needs this space to heal, which it is so doing. As it empties out, true healing begins to enter. If our body is in a natural state of being as we sit in the stillness, we may let go and go deeper into our consciousness, finding peace, lightness and joy.

When our body is in our natural state, happiness ensues. Our consciousness is filled with the All Knowing and joy and connection to the One That Is In All Things. In loving ourselves we attune our body to the divine connection of the universe and tap into the limitless flow of that energy, follow our heart of emotional intelligence as I recognize myself in others and strive for lightness of our being with right nourishment and rest.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddha

“Do not wish to be anything but what you are and try to be that perfectly.” St. Francis de Sales.

When we are connected to our true being, we are connected to all that exists, without limitation, with infinite creativity, fearless and willing to reach into the unknown and draws to it outside circumstances to bring about the fulfillment of our intention. At this deeper level of consciousness we can manifest our desires and intention and find fulfillment and happiness in life.

If we have not manifested our desires and happiness in life then somewhere along the way we have forgotten who we really are. An ancient saying compares this to a millionaire walking the streets as a beggar because they lost touch of who they are, forgetting he has wealth in the bank.

When we don’t remember who we are, we have to fall back on our misplaced ego. If our ego does not get the approval and security it needs then it feels lost and afraid. An addictive behavior develops always seeking that approval or recognition or power. And then we find ourselves on the wheel of unhappiness as we have lost touch of who we are, our true identity.

These are the traits of unhappiness. The ego feels isolated and alone, always seeking validation by others to have worth. The ego feels limited because without power or control it is afraid all its weaknesses will be revealed. The ego prefers habit over creativity, preferring the same old, same old to feel secure. Above all the ego fears the unknown as a place of darkness and uncertainty. The ego struggles to get what it wants and feels a sense of lack. Feeling separate, helpless or alone indicates we have lost our connection to our true identity, as part of the flow.

If you feel wounded in some way, be with that pain and eventually it will dissipate. Ego wants to keep you locked into the past believing you need to constantly defend yourself. You can instead ask yourself, do I recognize this feeling of being wounded? As you recognize if from the past you realize it does not good to remember old hurts. If you ego was on the right path you wouldn’t have a toxic storehouse of old pain. Awareness diffuses old hurts. It is not intelligent to continue doing the same thing over and over and expecting new results. Instead of trying to live up to a self image, simply surrender to the innocence of Being.

If we can escape the ups and downs of the emotional rollercoaster based on the fears and insecurities of ego, as we reconnect to our Source and true identity we achieve a mean or stillness, without desire. Once we know who we are, Being is enough. Your true self is of the universe, God consciousness. When we are self actualized we do not need approval, are free from flattery or judgment, do not feel superior or inferior but act freely and fearlessly, with a calm inner stillness. We realize we are worthy no matter what anyone else thinks and then we can radiate our beauty and truth.

We can daily review ourselves at the end of the day by reflection on how much of our day was based on love or on ego which is usually affiliated with a sensation in the body such as tightness or pain. Did we stay connected to our true identity?

When we are out of sync with our true self we can experience any of the following: anger, anxiety, guilt, shame, poor self esteem, dysfunctional relationships and job functions. So we need to learn to release our attachment to the past and these feeling and situations that are toxic to our happiness. Any past traumas, inner resistance and rigidity block the flow of consciousness and we lose our power. As we clear away these obstacles we can attune to achieving a deeper sense of self awareness and our true identity.

“If you never assume importance, you never lose it.” Tao Te Ching

Our goal of life is to increase joy and happiness, If we judge others instead of seeing the world in love, that is the world we will inhabit. To be a victim is actually a form of self judgment. We wound ourselves each time we assume the role of victim. If we harbor past grievances, we tie ourselves to the one who delivered them and make them more powerful over us. We then are disconnected from our spirit, our Divinity. We must remember as Creator we created the circumstances of being a victim. So ask why we are in a state of consciousness that we are creating this. Then we can choose to create what brings us back to our true identity.

As we are aware and surrender, whatever we need at the deepest level is automatically there for us as we live in harmony with the Mystery. Be present is a statement that is often heard today. By focusing on the present, we will be renewed because then we are timeless and only in timelessness can we find our true self. In timelessness there is no thought. In timelessness we don’t need a reason to be happy, we just are. This is an important realization. If we need a reason to be happy, that reason can be taken away from us and then there is misery. Such happiness in based on something external. Happiness without reasons is real happiness that can never be taken away. It is often referred to as a state of bliss, in a silent state, not captured by time. Ancient wisdoms say time is the movement of consciousness or thought. So if we step outside of time, outside of thought, in present bliss, our bodies will be transformed as we are then in timelessness. The real you which lies outside of time, can only be found in the now. Being here is enough. As soon as a thought arises, an object appears along with an observer.

When our focus is on ego, we are focused on everything other than our being. By breaking through the barrier of ego, we transcend time. There have been instances where people that were in chronic pain succeeded in separating their situation from the present moment of time and their pain left them. They transcended a pain born in time.

To be present is to enter a state of mindfulness or paying attention. By simply being an observer and let everything else pass through you, then you are in a state of mindfulness. Being present is the same as experiencing presence and are effortless. You just are. It is a natural, relaxed state filled with joy. The real you is the bliss that exists beyond time…true happiness. A primary aim in life is to be present with your true self and mindfulness is the way.

Happiness can be found in seeing the world in yourself. As we focus on love, love will present in our inner and outer worlds. The same with any emotion. As we establish a flow of love and happiness, our lives will be filled with abundance and happiness as we attune to the deepest levels of yourself.

“In oneself lies the whole world, and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand.” J. Krishnamurti

The outer world reflects our inner reality. What we think, we create. So to create what we want in life we need to keep in mind consciousness is everywhere, infinite and flexible. Our consciousness creates our reality. Our true identity creates both our inner and outer worlds. In order to change the outer world, you first have to change your inner self. Our Divine self creates beyond space and time. Ideally change should be created in our inner and outer worlds simultaneously in feeling, thinking, doing and being.

Pure being is the highest level of consciousness. It is like childlike innocence and will be reflected in our inner and outer lives. Consciousness transcends personality and consists of loving kindness, caring and compassion, peace and equality for all and joy at other’s successes. To live in pure being, you have mastered creation. The laws of nature come to your aid when you call upon them using the power of intention. As pure being, loving kindness, our inner and outer realities reflect who we are.

When we achieve a constant flow of creativity from Source, joy and compassion follow. Any action taken from this state of pure being comes from more than personality and so will benefit more than just personal needs. It benefits everyone around you and the entire world. When wisdom keepers say, all you have to do is meditate, I believe this is what they are referring to.

Unhappiness in your inner and outer world signals we have moved away from our true state of being. It’s time to reconnect to our Source, beyond time and space, to recharge. Take our attention away from the situation and to the true self. Be mindful. This is stepping into your highest Observer self, removed from any reactive charge of the immediate situation. Then observe your breath and your body. You will begin to feel calm and centered as you raise your vibration in unconditional love.

Our mission in life is to seek enlightenment, or our true selves. It is a Divine God consciousness, filled with love, peace and joy, our natural state of being. As we awaken, we are free and raise the consciousness of all.

“I look into your eyes and see the whole universe, born and not yet born” Rumi

“A human being is a creature who has received the order to become God.” St. Basil

As enlightened beings, as co-creator with God, we create reality. As we succeed along this path we will find our lives flow with spontaneity, love is the primary motivation in our life, creativity and imagination flow limitlessly, we accept higher guidance in our lives and results of our creation benefit all around us. Simply put, we are expanding happiness wherever we go. As we grow in self awareness of our true self we will grow into cosmic consciousness and God consciousness in which all is Light. We are One. The state of bliss is our birthright. Service, compassion and devotion all lead to higher consciousness. As we enlighten ourselves so we will enlighten others.

Our happiness heals not only ourselves but others as well, including the earth. Happiness is one of our greatest contributions we can have to give back by spreading healing and joy to the world. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Who you are is shouting so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

The healing effects of happiness travel at the speed of light. We are One, in God consciousness and there is a great healing brought to all by being profoundly happy. An ancient philosopher Protinus said, “Our concern is not merely to be sinless, but to be God.” As we live in the mind of God we can transform the world with happiness.

In a study on “peace of mind” performed by Duke University, several factors were found to contribute greatly to emotional and mental stability. Among common-sense indicators like avoiding self-pity and accepting challenges as a part of life, researchers identified other factors of peace of mind, including the ability to forgive and avoid living in the past, and a belief in something larger than oneself. Not surprisingly, these findings support God’s recipe for personal peace: accept His will; believe in His love for you and His plan for you; forgive and receive forgiveness; look forward to the future.

No matter what circumstances or habits are waging war on your inner peace right now, God can give you the grace to live in peace in His presence.

The average worrier is 92% inefficient—only 8% of what we worry about ever comes true.”

Charles Spurgeon said it best. “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.”

Most of us want to be positive. It’s advantageous to possess a sunny outlook. Doors open to optimists. They make friends, earn respect, close sales, produce loyal clients, and others enjoy and want to be like them.

Deepak Chopra attests to the fact that the best cure for sadness is happiness and that we can build our own happiness by avoided or eliminating anything that might diminish it. Do it now. Postponing happiness till a future day will not work. Neither will fixing your sights on merely external rewards.

Don’t expect someone else to make you happy. Don’t allow your emotions to become habitual and stuck or close yourself off from new experiences. Don’t ignore the signals of inner tension and conflict, dwell on the past or live in fear of the future. Most of all: don’t equate happiness with momentary pleasure.

In a consumer-driven society, it’s all too easy to fall into all the don’ts , because they share the same element: linking happiness with temporary pleasure and external rewards. Of course, we all live for the pleasure that life brings. No one is saying that you must deny yourself. But the most satisfying project you will ever undertake—and a mark of a complete human being—is to discover how to build a sense of happiness that no one can take away from you, because you have taken total responsibility for it. The journey to such happiness can take a long time, yet every step is one of fulfillment.

We can build our well being by building our happiness. Joy and sadness are not passing moods, they are a choice of perspective on life we have made. Inner peace is a long lasting state of happiness and well being. It is when body, mind and spirit are one. Peace of mind and feeling emotionally free are lifelong goals and worthy pursuits to live a life of contentment. What can we do then to cultivate such peace, joy and freedom? A strong sense of spirituality is an integral part of our lives, whatever that means to each of us individually. Then expanding into a universal consciousness of realizing we are One. To live each day in appreciation and a sense of awe brings humility and a sense of viewing the world with the eyes of a child, recognizing life’s miracles and magnificence.

Work at something we love, take care of others, be open minded and forgive past grievances, including self. Release being a victim. Live in the present. Associate with like minded people. Celebrate your achievements and success. Appreciate. Personal well being is a day to day journey in the school of life involving personal growth. Listen to our inner guidance and commit to daily practice of being all you can be. Walking in balance. Keep your vision in mind and be devoted to achieving it one day at a time, step by step. A positive attitude and taking personal responsibility we be your stepping stones. Joy, happiness and inner peace are the rewards. Believe in yourself and create a life of happiness. As we start with ourselves, we lift up all others.

Attitude is a choice whereby we control and create our life. Two people can look at the same situation in different ways eg. Is the cup half full or half empty? Freedom and peace of mind stem from the ability to choose happiness despite life’s circumstances, whether rich or poor, working or unemployed, in sickness and in health, whether alone or in a relationship. Happiness comes from within.

Sometimes we can be sailing along throughout our day, everything seems fine when all of a sudden something unexpected happens to send us a curve ball. Our reaction to such an event can be a gut response or if we are in a place of balance we will be able to handle any situations more easily.

What does it mean to be in balance? It is a matter of our individual perception of any event. In other words, it is not the event that is upsetting but how it is perceived. There is no one out there doing anything to us. So if we choose a victim role, that is a matter of perception. A change of attitude will bring freedom and balance. If we blame another for something, we give our power away. When we take responsibility for ourselves and our perception, we stand in our personal power.

Think about that. There is nothing out there that can ruin my day or my life unless I allow it. Our mind is that powerful. In “Smile For No Good Reason” he tells the story of how a man went into a cafe and the waitress accidentally poured hot coffee onto his lap, without any apology. A natural reaction would be initially shock and then anger at her incompetency. That is one perception. Yet after further investigation he learned that she her husband had just died in a motor vehicle accident and she needed a job to earn money to pay for her son’s chemotherapy for leukemia. See, suddenly another perspective becomes clear, compassion overriding the first initial response of anger. When we judge another, there is no place for love. Our attitude determines our life, moment to moment. An attitude of gratitude goes a long way and will ultimately bring happiness.

He states that healing ourselves to be happy is letting go of fear. Compassion is an example of how to let go of fear. By thinking of others rather than ourselves, we open our hearts and step out of our fear paralysis. Caring and kindness, reaching out and helping others are ways of being proactive and taking responsibility for our happiness in choosing a more positive attitude in life. This is true freedom. Finding ways to express love each day instead of finding ways to blame others or be upset. Remember, the cause of being upset is always our own attitude. We can choose kindness and compassion over grievances. Each day we can say, “May my eyes see 1000 beautiful things and may I touch 100 sacred objects and may love be reflected in my eyes and all around.” This is the miracle of Love.

Whenever we experience a loss of someone in our lives whom we dearly love, we may find it hard to come out of despair and once again achieve a state of balance and happiness in our lives. One way to do so is to recognize that there are other people in the world who are somehow worse off than we are at that moment. As we take our focus from ourselves and reach out to help others in need, we have successfully made that attitude shift.

There was a mother whose son had just died at age 19. He was bipolar and after many attempts finally succeeded in committing suicide. His mother went to God in prayer and asked for help. She came away with the inspiration to help the homeless. This was something her son used to do. If he saw a homeless person he would go into a nearby restaurant and buy them a meal. So she chose this as her mission and she would go out on the streets with some friends at night to where the homeless were. She handed out warm blankets, sleeping bags, woolen socks and gloves, toiletries and packed food. They expressed surprise and distrust at first, until they realized there was no catch, that she was giving these to them for free. Most of all, she looked into their eyes and saw them. In every case, they said thank you.

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What is Prayer?

I like to think that prayer puts us in a consciousness of an awakened, enlightened being. Our consciousness is uplifted when we pray. We prepare ourselves to listen.

You might ask, Why Should I Pray?
Prayer develops our relationship with God. If we never speak to our spouse or never listen to anything our spouse might have to say to us, our marriage relationship will quickly deteriorate. It is the same way with God. Prayer—communicating with God—helps us grow closer and more intimately connected with God.

What If I Don’t Know How to Pray?
The Holy Spirit will help you in prayer when you don’t know how to pray. Prayer can be rich when it’s simple and spontaneous. In fact, we can pray anywhere, at any time. It doesn’t require fancy language in a sacred space. All we need to do is see our ordinary moments as the perfect occasions for communicating with God, then speak from our heart.

Matthew 18:19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask , if shall be done for them by my Father in heaven.”

Here are some simple ways to pray your way through an ordinary day.
While driving to work, to school, or chauffeuring your kids, use familiar landmarks to remind you to thank God, ask God, seek God, and listen to God.

When Blessing Food
“The joys and pains of all beings are present in the gift of this food. Let us receive it in love.” -Anonymous

Animals are God’s creatures He cares for. Our relationship with them in many ways mirrors our relationship with God. As we care for animals and pets, so God cares for us. Thank God for your pet, and that you can trust God as they trust you.

Give appreciation to God for the people in your life who mean a lot to you. Ask for God’s blessing on them, to be all they can be, to heal relationships if needed, or grief or loss, to bring balance.

Our words create things and tear things down. Pray that your words today would honor God, and that you may be an instrument of peace and Light to the world.

Sing your prayers as a celebration, an appeal, a yearning or hope expressed to God. Open your heart to God, in praise and love. Singing connects the pineal/pituitary to the central nervous system and the heart.

The scriptures are our precedent for living. When you echo ancient words, you connect with the wider human experience and with God. Pick a passage like Psalm 23 and read it slowly as a prayer.

Rev. 3:20 “Here I am. I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in.”

Creation is a window into God’s heart. In the woods, by the sea, beside a stream, or in a garden we find aspects of God’s nature reflected to us in tangible ways. As you walk, talk with God about what you see; then listen. God will respond!

We are small and seemingly insignificant in this vast universe. Yet praying as we look out across the galaxies gives God a chance to show us love and caring. On a dark night, share with God your “biggest challenges.” In that context, God will grant you peace.

“Get down on your knees and thank God you are still on your feet!”
Irish Proverb

Our days are filled with rushed activity. Find a few moments to sit still and be silent, allowing your thoughts to move toward God. The Bible says, “In quietness and trust is your strength.” In quietness you express a stillness, releasing activity to God’s guidance in your life.

Put prayer into written words. Write a love letter to God! Write your prayers, then over time go back and review what you’ve written and consider how God has responded.

The stories of great souls always include their emotional connection with God. We are passionate creatures and God welcomes our anger, sorrow, frustration, fear, and celebration. Love God with all our heart. God can handle our emotions. Laugh or cry in prayer. Connect with God at a level that is natural for you and find wholeness and balance in your life.

James 5:16 “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Sometimes our minds may wander or it may seem like our prayers are not focused. We might feel as if our prayer time isn’t making a difference, or we might feel bored. Daily stress, fatigue and worries can cause our prayer lives to suffer.

Here are some creative, caring suggestions on ways to bring life to your prayers with increased energy and renewed spirit.

Change your daily pattern. Add variety. Do something different. If you normally pray in the light of morning, pray in the dark of night. If you pray in your living room, pray in a different room instead. If you usually pray indoors, instead, pray in the magnificence of the outdoors. Changing the environment in which you pray can give you a new perspective on your life and spirit.

Walk, run, stretch, or cycle while you pray, feeling the rhythm of your spirit with the movement of your body. Do a walking meditation. Combining physical activity with prayer is a way to reflect upon the gift of your life and self, inside and out

Sometimes we are too busy praying to hear what God has to say. Set aside time each day to clear your mind of all distractions, sit in God’s presence, and listen.

“My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Mark 11:17.

Remember when you were a child? What questions did you ask of God, then? They were probably very different from the ones you ask now. If your prayer life feels stuck now, approach it as a child – with wonderment, openess, trust and simplicity, laughter and love.

“It is not sufficient for religious people to be involved with prayer. Rather, they are morally obliged to contribute all they can to solving the world’s problems.”
Dalai Lamia

“With every breath I take today, I vow to be awake…So let us be awakened.”
-Anonymous

“The one whose mind knows the clarity of perfect wisdom is never afraid or even anxious. Why? Because when being at one with the living power of wisdom, the mother of all the buddhas, that person has the strength to remain in a state of undivided contemplation even while ceaselessly and skillfully engaging in compassionate action. The wise one is enabled to act because of concentration on a single prayer: May all beings never leave the path of enlightenment, which is their own true nature and is empty of separate self-existence.”
Prajnaparamita

“Here is a test to determine whether your mission on earth is finished. If you are alive, it isn’t.” Richard Bach.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
George Eliot.

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God Speaking, A Message From Beyond

Sometimes we get a chance to really experience the presence of God in our lives first hand. I’m reading a book called “God Stories, Inspiring Encounters with the Divine” by Jennifer Skiff. She worked as a journalist and also a correspondent and producer for CNN. She decided to start a web page godstories.com and invited people to share real life stories of encounters with the Divine. Some believed God was talking to them, others believed a guardian angel protected them and many saw a person in human form come to help them in an emergency and then that person simply vanished into thin area.

Think about your life. Have you had spiritual encounters that were of a Divine presence that came to the world to help you or a loved one in a crisis? Imagine God’s pure and total love for us, to know each of us so intimately as well as our thoughts and actions at any moment, and be there to help us when needed most. Such wisdom and unconditional love.

Here are some examples of types of spiritual encounters that were mentioned in the book “God Stories.”

Looking beyond -a man had a parachuting accident, where he received intense spinal injuries. He was ready to have surgery the next day. A man came to him and told him not to go ahead with the surgery, that it would heal naturally, that he had handled many similar cases successfully without surgery. The man disappeared. So he did not have surgery, and true enough after many weeks in the hospital, healed naturally. The man he saw had been a doctor there many years ago specializing in spinal injuries.

Listening to the voice – a woman was driving her child to school. Road was clear. Heard a voice say ‘Move Over!’ She thought, why should I? Voice shouted “Move over now” so she did and barely avoided 2 cars racing around the curve approaching her in both lanes.

Having a Prayer Answered – a man was in a motor vehicle accident , on so many pain meds, prayed if God would help him, he would come off all meds. Immediately filled with a warmth and light and all pain was gone. He has not needed pain meds since.

Welcoming the Guardian – a man appears in hospital to help dying mother pass over in peace. Man then disappears.

Receiving the Healing – a woman had cardiac problems, in hospital, on way to surgery, she started praying for healing. Immediately felt peace and presence of God and knew she would be okay. Found out at that precise moment a friend had emailed her a Bible passage of having faith and you would be healed and that she was praying for her. She accepted the healing.

Accepting the Warning – a warning not to get on that flight, heeded the warning, avoided a crash.

Feeling the Light – a 6 year old boy and father were together and their car slid off road and down embankment so they started walking for help. Dad sent the boy went back to car to get something, who froze at sound of cougar upon him. Suddenly filled with Light and no fear. Knew he would be okay, felt safe and secure.

Seeing is Believing – a woman died in a plane crash. Friends and family came for funeral. It was 3 am and woods outside were pitch black. Total darkness. They exclaimed, if only there was a way of knowing she was okay. Instantly woods lighted up as if it was dawn, in answer to them and then turned back to darkness of the night.

Confirming the afterlife -Heard dying grandfather at her call her name as she came in late to care for him. Went into the room to find he had already passed away as he was cold to touch. She called 911 and police said he had died 3 hours ago. Thought how can that be, because he just called my name.

Getting that feeling – a student left the university and then had a strong feeling to return to the dorm, as if he had forgotten something, he just felt he had to go back. He walked past a wall with 15 pay telephones and one was ringing and for no reason he picked it up. It was his father calling to tell him his grandmother had just died.

Coming back from the other side – A woman went into full cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead right after giving birth. She hovered above the operating table and felt a loving presence reassure her she would be fine and to go to the light. She went to the light, through a tunnel, saw different roads and lots of colored lights. Eventually she was told she had to go back. She told them she wanted to stay. She was in a semicoma for 3 days and when awoke was able to tell doctor everything they said in the operating room. He said there was no way you could know that as you were flat lined. She knows she came back to show others the beauty and light instead of darkness.

I have a few personal stories to share.
1. When my car broke down and I prayed for someone to stop to help and the very next car pulled over and helped me.
2. Another time, deep sorrow for days and suddenly saw bright white light come down and surround me and enter into me and I breathed life back into myself. When I got up after 3 or 4 days, I know I was touched by God’s Light and Love. I had renewed purpose and will to live.
3. My father was in a coma at hospital, I was with him along with my family. We finally decided to go to cafeteria for a break. Had no sooner sat down there to drink our coffee when I looked at them and said, Dad has just passed, we have to go back up now. He had come to me to let me know. When we arrived back at the nurse’s station, I told the nurses that Dad had just passed as I walked by towards his room. A nurse replied no he’s doing okay, she was just in there to check on him. I turned around and said no, he just died. She ran in with me and God had taken my father and he was no longer in pain. The nurse was in shock and ran out to call code blue but it was too late. I knew my father was now at peace because he came to me to tell me so.

When has God spoken to you? Are you listening?

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Spirituality Creates Well Being, Health and Happiness.

Buddhist scriptures tell us that we are already pure and good inside – that it is our basic nature. We all are ‘made of’ this inner goodness which is simply covered up by the negative beliefs that we hold about ourselves. So, all we need to do is to remove our inner negativity which will reveal our natural goodness that was there all along.

How can we get rid of our negative beliefs about ourselves?
Positive self-esteem can be achieved much more easily than that. We simply have to stop saying horrible things to ourselves. I call this the ‘thought diet’. Just like we should stop eating junk-food, we should equally stop saying horrible things to ourselves like, ‘I was never good at anything!’ or ‘I am so ugly!’ This is our inner critic. Instead, every time a negative thought ‘knocks at the door of our mind’ we refuse to finish thinking those hurtful thoughts to the end. Instead, we remember how a loving mother would love and comfort her unhappy child and we envelop ourselves in that same caring feeling and focus on it until the self-destructive thought has disappeared.

The Buddha said, ‘you yourself deserve as much love as every other being in the universe!’

We have to send love to ourselves every single time we feel our negative thoughts and feelings arise

Imagine that everything around you is infused with the presence of God – including yourself. God all around, up and down, inside and out. God is listening to you, every word you utter and every need you have. More than any other, God loves you. Unconditionally. Visualize that love and renew your energy with it.

Identify What You Value In Life:
Pursuing your goals and values in life will lead to great happiness.
1. Write down 10 things that make your life worth living for you.
2. Rank them in order of importance.
3. Keep a diary of your daily activities for a week.
4. Notice how much time you actually spend doing activities or in a state of mind when you are in touch with your highest priorities.
5. Now be mindful of how you spend time and focus on doing things of more value to yourself. We only have one chance at this life… how do you choose to spend it? Gradually move into the direction you want to go in your life and thus achieve personal happiness.

What is happiness?
Happiness affects how long and how well we live.
1. Happy people have a natural tendency towards positive feelings, like peace, contentment, joy, enthusiasm and love. This leads to the presence of joy.
2. Happy people have a relative absence of negative feelings such as sadness, depression, anger, or jealousy. This leads to the absence of negativity.
3. Happy people are predominantly satisfied with their lives.

Subjective Well Being Quiz by Ed Diener
Rate from 1 to 7 with 7 being strongly agree.
1. In most ways, my life is close to my ideal.
2. The conditions of my life are excellent.
3. I am satisfied with my life.
4. So far I have got the important things I want in life.
5. If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.

Scoring
5 to 9: Extremely dissatisfied.
10 to 14 Dissatisfied.
15 to 19 Slightly dissatisfied.
20 Neutral.
21 to 25 Slightly satisfied.
26 to 30 Satisfied.
31 to 35 Extremely satisfied

How do we achieve satisfaction in life?
1. Identify your own values and follow them
2. Make decisions mindfully with logic, emotion and intuition.
3. Distance yourself from craving, competition or judging.
4. Have empathy for others in the world.
5. Attitude is everything. Every time we smile we make it a little more likely we’ll smile more; the same goes for frowning. Practice loving compassion.

Buddhist wisdom states:
“We think, I know it’s endless. I know it’s painful. I know what you’re saying. I believe you. But I’ve got one more thing, just one little thing.” That is samsara… (the fruitless quest for permanence and relief from suffering). “Just one more” or desire is the cycle of suffering.

Jesus and the early Christians talked about giving up this world much like Buddhism. So learn to distance yourself from cravings and fears.

Buddhism teaches that suffering comes from the illusion that things are permanent and can be relied on for happiness. Suffering comes from trying to hold on to things as they are or as we want them to be, rather than accepting a continual state of change. So Buddhism focuses on being mindful, living in the present free from desire and negativity.
One of life’s biggest fallacies is that we’ll be happy if we get what we want. In reality, the more you get, the more you want. So continuously seeking more is not the path to happiness.

When we live a life of mindfulness, focusing and observing with compassion, we experience more joy, connection, spirituality and life satisfaction because we improve our decision making skills, are more objective and able to release negativity. Mindful meditation, staying present and focusing on your breath and just allowing whatever thoughts to pass through is a way of practicing this. It is detaching from emotion and impulse. Mindfulness infers we simplify our lives, think clearly and practice patience with self and others.

Happiness also is affiliated with having a meaning or purpose in our life, making a contribution to society, leaving behind a legacy of sort, knowing that our life has not been in vain. This, along with self acceptance, relating to others in a positive way, in a world that is conduce to advancement and personal growth and the freedom to do so.

Tips for A Happy and Fulfilling Life:
Exercise, mindful meditation, wake up! To life’s magnificence, appreciate your many blessings, think positive thoughts, spend time doing what you value in life and makes you happy, organize your schedule accordingly and live in balance.

“All our gifts, talents and skills must be united so that we are centered and poised in our own consciousness.” Big Bear. Cherokee Feast of Days.

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10 Million People to Meditate for Peace December 21, 2012

Meditate December 21 2012
10 Million People to Meditate for Peace
Awakening of the Critical Mass is Here

For the 7 billion population of the world, we need several conscious people to change the frequency of the Mother Earth. It is not possible to go to each individual of the world and spread the vibration of peace and harmony. We only need 10 million people to mediate for 1 hour from 5pm to 6pm IST (India Standard Time) on Dec 21 12 to create a long lasting peace in the world. So, wherever you are, please join the group meditation on 21 Dec 2012 to build the collective energy and consciousness.

Go here for more information: http://global-meditation-2012.com/

21 Dec 2012 is the end of the Mayan Calendar and a new beginning for all those magnificent beings who are on the path of spiritual mastery.

Here is a request for each one of you who are practicing the science and art of going within…please meditate on every day…but together with 10 million people on 21 Dec 2012 between 5pm to 6pm IST, wherever you are in the world.

Global Peace starts with you and me.
If not you and me…who else will do it?
If not Now, When?

Let us breathe together as One Being on this day to herald a new awakening, not conceptually or intellectually, but as one spiritual entity!

Blessings,

The Global Meditation 2012 Team

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Friendship Village Retreat and Conference Center

Looking for a special place to have your next family reunion, retreat or training?

Friendship Village International Retreat and Conference Center in Southeastern Ohio features clean, comfortable accommodations and training facilities in a charming, rustic setting for families, organizations, groups and corporations.

At Friendship Village you enter into a peaceful oasis where you live well and leave renewed. We host your corporate retreats, planning, and training sessions, seminars, workshops, spiritual retreats, youth camps, family reunions, festivals, weddings and family reunions. Plan with us for the success of your event that will be remembered forever.

Contact: 740-838-4033
http://www.friendshipvilageinternational.com
49862 Batesville Rd
Summerfield Ohio 43788

Central to Columbus, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Parkersburg

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