Monday, May 27, 2013

The Mind as a Tool

I have a mind which has been ruling me for much of my life.  Happily, at long last, I am beginning to detach from it.  Why would I want to do that, you ask?

The mind is a tool, but much of the time it runs rampant outside the borders of its work domain.  It drags us through the past, over and over and over again.  It yanks us into the future, creating one scenario after another which may or may not happen.  It keeps us from even noticing the present instant that we are in.

If we watch the mind, we are standing back from it and, in that instant, it is not directing us.  In that instant, the deeper beings that we are can flow to the surface and we can choose to act on that higher Self’s counsel.

I have been watching the mind more and more of late and have taken to identifying what kind of thought it is presenting me:  “past” (guilt, regret) and “future” (fear) are the two words I am using most.  Each time I can catch and identify a thought, I have detached a little more from the mind-misdirection and can come into the present instant I am in.

About two weeks ago, I was thinking about the proper use of the mind as a tool.  I decided that while I was disengaging this tool from inappropriate tasks, it might be possible to strengthen it as a tool by assigning it tasks that are appropriate to its function.  So, here are some of the tasks I have assigned my mind to focus on (these are interesting and involving tasks; other tasks, like paying the bills, are appropriate and necessary but not as much fun):

·         Study Italian
·         Learn new chords on the mountain dulcimer
·         Learn to use well the new browser based catalog we are switching to in the library where I work
·         Memorize songs that I am playing with other people

I have been putting the mind to these tasks for the last couple of weeks.  I can’t tell you how much energy flows to me through this use of the mind as a tool.  I feel that the tool has become stronger and I’m getting better at using it properly.  Meanwhile, I can turn more of my attention towards the counsel of my real self, to the dictates of my soul.

Two present day teachers who have given me much clarity around the issue of the mind and its proper use (and its misuse) are ByronKatie and Eckhart Tolle.  I very highly recommend them to you if you are interested in pursuing the role of the mind in your life.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Darkness and Light

I've been going through a dark time this winter, literally.  We've had even less sunshine in the last two or three years here in the Pacific Northwest than usual.  This winter, the cumulative effect of the last three years has really hit me.  I've been irritable, depressed and anxious, symptoms which all miraculously disappear as soon as the sun comes out.  It’s been a real struggle to keep a balance within myself and with others throughout this time.  

Despite this challenge, I've been working in my studio on an inspiration that came to me earlier this winter:  to remix an older recording.  It is something I hope to do over time with all of my earlier recordings.  The process of remixing this song has been absorbing, taking me out of the winter doldrums, immersing me in technical and artistic discovery. 

In the midst of this work, as the song revolved around and around in my head, I realized that God was actually singing it to me.  This realization was a moment of real joy and laughter, a lovely and loving moment of light.

Today it is gloriously sunny.  I am heading out into the garden, with joy in my heart, to reaffirm the balance of nature (of which I am a part).  I leave you with my newly remixed song:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Doing it Now

My husband and I have been contemplating an exciting new direction for our future.  I sat down to do some writing about this the other day and asked myself the question:  “What is the best strategy for my activities now, given the new direction we are considering”?

The answer that arose in me was this: 

“Whatever you most want to do in the future, do it now.”

For me, that is simply to write.  Writing is a way for me to follow my own inner threads of soul exploration.  Writing helps me to stand back a little, to see what I have learned in a larger context.   Writing stretches my inward seeking, both by calling upon me to find what is quintessential in an experience, and to reach deeper into it.  Sharing my writing with others demands clarity and openness.  For me, writing is richly rewarding, essential to my growth and learning.  This is true whether I write journal entries, songs or chants. 

Writing comes out of life experience and the effort to live life with love for others, with integrity, acting out of the inner guidance of the Divine.  As I listen within my own being, I search for the meaning in my experiences and seek to understand how to best apply what I learn.  When I write during this process, the effort to understand is supported by the effort to communicate outward.  As I search for words, I am searching for deeper meaning, in both words and experience.  Being as clear as I can be with words helps to settle understanding within me and gives me a support on which to build the next little bit of learning.

I’ve become more and more committed to sharing what I learn to the best of my ability, not because I am unique in expressing deeper understanding, but, in fact, because I am not.  I have been helped so very many times, countless times, by others who write their own understandings.  I have recognized, in their writing, epiphanies that have been my own, am reminded of them and shown another’s perspective on them.  I have been given glimmerings of future epiphanies, recognizing a truth that I have not yet fully claimed in a momentary shiver of “ah ha!” 

I return to writers that “speak” to me over and over again, supported by kinship with their own humanity, the inner experiences that I share with them, and the hopeful promise of finding my way to a little more illumination. 

I am so aware of how much we all need each other that I simply want to share my small part of the big picture.  "Whatever you most want to do in the future, do it now" … and, so, I write. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Our Unique Paths to God

Since 1983, I have been a student of the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda.  His wisdom and guidance have been with me all the years since, showing me how, more and more, to live in communion with God.  I count myself lucky to be so blessed.

My sense of connection with the Divine started when I was very young.  It wasn’t until I began learning from Paramahansa Yogananda that I realized that this sense of connection was a yearning for the Divine.  My two most recent chants, Hollow Reed and Chant to Divine Mother, come from my soul’s deepest expression of that yearning.

I think we each have our own unique pathway to the realization of the Divine within us.  Even those who belong to the exact same religion or philosophy will practice those disciplines in unique ways.  I believe that each path to God bestows the tools and the framework for finding the way home to the Divine and that we must each choose the discipline that best fits us.  However we find our way, we know we are there every time we feel peace towards ourselves and towards each other, each time we feel a moment of warmth and generosity to those around us.  We are lucky to be so blessed.