Friday, September 28, 2012

Becoming a Person of Power - Spiritual Connection

You may be reeling from your reflections around the first principle of power, Awareness of Wound.  It may feel impossible to acknowledge that difficulties in life come from how we react to outer circumstances, rather than from the outer circumstances themselves. You might even not believe this is so. Maybe you attribute your difficulties to a run of "bad luck" or to the "ill-wishing" of others. Someone once told me that our entire reality is created by the way we think.  The Huna Kapua put it this way -- "The world is what you think it is."  I had a hard time believing this at first, and sometimes I still do, especially when my outer circumstances are so challenging that I can't come up with a way to think positively around them.  And even when we are self-aware around wound, we have bad days. This is just part of life. Even the great spiritual master Ram Dass contends with this. He once said that after all his years on a spiritual path his demons haven't budged a bit.  I don't think he was saying the inner wound is impossible to live with or will defeat us -- I think he was speaking to the need for tenacity around our own ability and willingness to work with it and to come to peace with it.  The core wound is never healed, even though we are always healing.  Healing and empowering are on-going processes and they work in layers -- like peeling back an onion. 

If you are feeling resistance, sit with it awhile and try to discern where this is coming from. Notice what emerges. Sometimes it comes from wanting to have something or someone to blame for where we are in life.  We may have tried everything we can think of to change our circumstances, to feel differently about our lives, or to figure out what is not working and we feel stymied. Other times it comes from feeling pressure around having to succeed or to prove ourselves, and we pile so much pressure on that it is hard to think straight (which, of course, leads to feelings that might not be helpful to us).  Sometimes we need to give ourselves a break and time to regroup.  And we need another kind of human technology to do this -- nurturing our spirituality.

The second principle of personal power is Spiritual Connection.

This technology of the Soul revolves around nurturing our spirituality, which enables us to be grounded and centered. Being grounded means that we have a foundation. Being centered means that we are well-balanced. We are less likely to fall into unhealthy thought patterns and toxic emotions when we are grounded and centered.  These are spiritual qualities. They promote the feeling of being calm, even when everything around us feels like it is going haywire.

We need to be grounded and centered in our spirit for the other three parts of the Self to be healthy.  Being grounded and centered enables us to be calm and to think clearly.

Medical research has demonstrated a number of things that point to the importance of spiritual health and to the mind-body connection. Two minutes of meditation a day can improve heart health by 55% -- just two minutes.  Medical research has demonstrated that our thought patterns become wired into our brains through the establishment of neural pathways.  These pathways remain static unless we actively work to change them.  And medical research has demonstrated also that we can rewire our neural pathways and can think, feel, and act differently.  This requires intentional work on our part to change how we think.

We have brain tissue throughout our bodies.  This means that how we think (which affects how we feel and the actions and decisions that derive from this) has a profound effect on our bodies' operations and overall health.  There is even research that demonstrates that the spirit, the animating energetic force within us, has a small measure of mass.  It's real. There have been studies that show that vast parts of the brain the average person rarely uses are activated when we are actively engaging in a spiritual practice.  People can be healed from serious illness when others pray for them -- the energy of prayer is force that enables movement and change.  The work of indigenous healers and energy workers can have profound effect on health conditions, such as chronic pain and depression.  People who are active in spiritual communities live longer than those who are not. Faith is a factor in quality of life. 

Everything is connected.  Our thoughts, our feelings, our spirits, our bodies -- all of these parts of the Self are interconnected and, when working well together in healthy ways, enable us to make decisions from a place of personal power, rather than simply reacting to the things outside of ourselves that might trigger our inner wounds and unconscious reactions.  When our inner wounds and unconscious reactions are triggered and we act out of them, we are not in our power, but are controlled by something other than our personal power attained through self-mastery.  This can leave us feeling, literally, tossed about like a small boat on an ocean in a storm.

This brings to mind a story in the gospels where Jesus and his disciples are in a small boat on the Sea of Galilee.  A great storm comes out of nowhere while Jesus is asleep in the back of the boat.  His disciples panic.  Even though they are with Jesus in the moment -- can see, hear, and touch him, and even though they have seen him perform great signs and wonders, in their panic they lose their foundation and their balance for a moment.  They go to him, wake him up and ask if he plans to let them perish in the storm.  He is stunned at their reaction and asks them, "Have you no faith?"  As each of them contends with the inner struggle around this question, Jesus stills the storm and everything is calm once again.  They move forward toward their destination -- solid ground.

Like all the great stories of the different traditions, this story has a valuable teaching for us if we are willing to listen and to grapple with it. When we lose our foundation and are out of balance, we are able to reconnect within our spirits with what is solid for us.  We can literally awaken spiritual connection. This brings balance and we are able to move forward toward whatever it is we are trying to reach.  Faith in something beyond ourselves -- in power greater than ourselves, one that empowers our own personal power --  enables us to connect once again with the foundation that brings balance to our lives.  And this enables us to think and to feel differently about our lives and about our ability to reach our goals, whatever they may be. 

There is an interactive relationship between thoughts, feelings, and spiritual health.  It is difficult to find our spiritual center when our thoughts and feelings are raging out of control AND it is difficult to quiet our minds and calm our feelings when we are not grounded and spiritually centered.  We have to work all three of these parts of the Self in order to find balance.  And this inner dance has a profound effect on our physical health and our levels of physical well-being and physical pain.


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