Thinking Forward: Experiencing Change From the Inside Out - 40 Day Devotional
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God is a good God. Be encouraged because God causes things to always work out and all things are working for your good! Confession: God is a good and I am thankful that all things are working together for my good! I will decide to give thanks, and praise the Lord! I will not live in worry, regret, or fear.
I Thank You God that Your plan is in front of me and is unfolding right before my eyes.
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I am truly a blessed man and I thank You Lord all things work for me! He provides the knowledge of this name for a reason. His name is such because He wants us to above all, to always be aware that He is with us, and Jesus lives in us. Right now, right where you are, whatever you are going through, He is there where you are. He is in heaven on His throne, yet walks with you at the same time.
Wherever or whatever situation you find yourself in, He is right there. Just this truth alone brings us real joy and a real hope. He is present to help you when you call. He is there to counsel, protect you and encourage you not just sometimes, but at all times. He will meet your need. Prayer: Father, thank You for being Jehovah Shammah. You are there. You are here right now with me. Jesus lives in me. You will help me and You will provide.
I will yet praise You! I will believe and trust You Jehovah Shammah. I want you to know that I am in control. I see all that you see. I see all that you experience, and I am still in control. I want you to know that I am in control, so that you will be in control over your thoughts, over your mind, and over how you see your outcome. Be still and know that I am God. You are in My hands. I am in control says the Lord. The first step to changing anything in your life is allowing God to search you. Tell the Lord that you have nothing to hide.
Try me and prove me. Make your utmost desire to be right before You. Here I am Lord and I want you to know me. Search my heart. Here is why I do what I do, yet is it right in Your sight? No longer hide what has never been hid from Him in the first place. Your exposing says you invite Him in to change you.
Your exposing says you want to be pleasing in His sight. This is the open heart that God desires. Prayer: Father, thank You Lord for You truth. Search me Lord. Try me and know me. I want to be pleasing in Your sight. If there is anything wrong in me, any sin in me, show me. I open my heart for You to change me and continue to work on me.
Within every decision, the law of sowing and reaping is active. God desires for you to reap His fullness, His abundance and every good thing He has for you. Your harvest will always be greater than the seed you sow. Submit to the Lord and sow the right kind of seed today. Prayer: Father, thank You for helping me to understand this spiritual law.
From my decisions in my calling and my marriage, to what I pour into my children, help me sow what pleases You today. I thank You for reaping a great harvest in my life because I sow the right seed. I receive it now! Like an adamant solicitor, our cares call to us louder and louder to get our attention, including what we consider good things to care about. However, we end up becoming men burdened, depressed, wasting time worrying, and distracted while trying to figure out what to do.
God wants every care to be far from you. In the midst of it all, He wants you to cast your care upon Him and live a free life, full of joy and peace every moment of your life. He wants you to thrive in your relationship with Him. He will work out all of the knots you need untied in your life. He knows the sum of your needs and desires. God will not only take your cares upon Him, but He will surely do something about them all.
Because He cares for you. Humble yourself and put your faith in your Provider, your Way-Maker, and give it all over to Him. Develop a habit of going to God and casting every care to Him when they arise, and be determined to live free in Christ. I will trust in You the Almighty God. I praise You now! I will go on serving You and enjoying a free life in Christ! Help me to continually stand on the truth that You do care.
You will help me, and before it even works out, I thank You in advance. Be thankful for Jesus today. Jesus told the disciples rejoice because your name is written in heaven. Each day you can rejoice, celebrate and be thankful that you are redeemed and your debt of sin was eternally paid.
Every one of them have been blotted out, never to be known in connection to you again. Because of Jesus, when God sees you, He sees you as completely righteous in Christ. Jesus opened the door of salvation and you freely walked through it. Because he rose, you rose too and you realize the blessings have been countless since he has been in your life.
How many times has God failed you? When did He not provide? When have you not seen His goodness and mercy follow you? Let your thankfulness for Jesus cause you to give him praise. You now have a life that overflows with God, with His promises and victory. Thank you Jesus for my great salvation. I thrive because of you. You are the source of my joy and every blessing in my life.
Hallelujah to the Lamb of God! Faith is being fully persuaded in Who God is, what God says and in what God does. He wants you to believe Him right now. He wants you to read His word and discover how He always came through for His people. See how He always guided them.
Experience how He never allowed anything on His people more than they can bear, and He always made a way for them. As you get to know Him, you become fully persuaded by the power of His Word that the God you are reading about, the God that parted the Red Sea, the God that forgave David after committing adultery and murder, the God that blessed and prospered Joseph even in prison, the same God that rescued Paul and Silas what they prayed at midnight, is the same God that you serve and the same God you pray to. The same thing God wanted from Abraham then, is the same thing He wants from you now.
He wants you to have faith in Him. He desires for you to take Him at His word and become fully persuaded that He will do what He said He will do. Take what He was written and become fully persuaded that you can trust Him enough to obey Him in any area of your life.
From your full persuasion will come more and more of your very own experiences with God like never before of what He will do, how He will come through—not just for someone else—but for you. Prayer: Father, thank You for speaking to the core of my faith. Teach me more and more about Who You are, and strengthen my faith through the power of Your word. I desire to be like a rock any time I need to believe and be fully persuaded that You will do what You said You will do. Thank You Jesus! You have messed up too much, you are beyond what I am willing to do.
He is faithful that called you. God never sleeps nor slumbers. Night and day, the Lord your God is doing a good work in you. You can be confident and fully persuaded of that. Keep coming to God. Prayer: Father, thank You for Your love and faithfulness. Thank You that I can always be confident of the good work You have begun in me. You will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. I am before you and I gladly say keep working on me. I praise You now. Exceedingly abundantly in the Greek means that God will do what is superabundant in quantity and superior in quality beyond what we can ask for or imagine.
You ask Him to work something out, and He does that and much more. Your dreams will never be bigger than what God will do. Look at the very power at work in you. Who would have known the man He could make you into. You have a big God that you serve with a big plan for you, and it is nothing short of glorious in His eyes. Prayer: Thank You Father! Thank you Jesus for such a great salvation. Each day, every time I pray, help me to always know that You will do exceeding and abundantly beyond what I can ask or think of, according to the power at work in me. I serve a big God. Let me never view what I ask for the same.
We are to love His appearing. There is nothing preventing Jesus from coming back at any time, even today. This helps keep everything in your life in perspective, and all of your labor of love for God is not in vain. Yes sometimes it is tough being a man of God, yet it is good fight—a victorious one! Like Paul, continue to fight good fight of faith, and let your crown you will receive encourage you. Keep loving God and loving people. Listen for His voice as if you will not hear Him again. Obey God as if your life and calling depend on it because it does. Lay aside every weight and any sin that so easily ensnares you.
Set your affections on things above and finish your course. The eternal reward of the Lord will be great, and your crown awaits you. Confession: I give up what this world has to offer. I set my heart and my eyes totally on the Lord. I will obey God like never before, loving the appearance of Jesus Christ. When He comes, I will be ready. I have been given His grace, His empowerment, for my race. I am encouraged today! When I finish my course, when this life is over, I have a crown of righteousness and eternal rewards awaiting me.
You have done all you know to do. You have received the multitude of counsel you need. Like Abram, you have a direct word from God. Like Abram, it feels like a leap of faith. You have prepared, and now He says it is time. Jesus is your Rock and believe that as you jump, He is jumping with you! This will be the greatest time in your life and you are going to enjoy it. You are going to taste and see how good He is as you step out and obey Him. Glory to God. What are you waiting for? Are you waiting for the perfect conditions, the perfect situation. Rely upon Me.
Trust in Me. I have given you the instruction. I have given you the command. I have given you the signal and the green light is here. Do My work. Your time, your season is now. Right now it is time to receive. He called you more than a conqueror. He put a lot in you, and most of all, the Lion of Judah lives in you.
Therefore, be affirmed that you can exceedingly conquer. He has made it proper to declare that you not only have the victory, but you have a complete and overwhelming victory over the wicked one, over sin, anything unlike God, any spirit of fear, or any tribulation. You can get back up because you are a super-conqueror! Boldly charge your faith today. Receive in your heart today that you who God says you are and walk in it.
This man is more than a conqueror! Yes I am, and I can completely dominate over whatever I face. I know who I am and I receive boldness from You Father to walk in it. Although a father could give his son a brand new car for college, he deems it necessary to buy him a dependable, used car first to show himself faithful. After the real need has been achieved, that same father takes his son to get a brand new car with the money from selling his well-kept, used one. Your heavenly Father always has a greater purpose in mind when He starts us with something small.
He has deemed it necessary for us to be faithful with the little. Once you show yourself faithful trustworthy, constant with a little, He will overwhelm you with more. He is faithful and He wants His character established in you. There are no limits for a man with a faithful foundation, and he will abound with blessings. Prayer: Father, You know what I need and You always have my best interest in mind. Make me even more into a faithful man, and help me to be found trustworthy with the little You have given me.
Where I am in life, complete Your work in me. I will wait on You. As I am faithful, I will abound in blessings. Thank You for making me faithful! God appeared to Moses telling him that He had seen the affliction of the people of Israel and He was sending him to tell Pharaoh to let His people go. I Am denotes that He is present right now to be active in your life—His son. I Am means He is not dead, He is alive! He is accessible. To use so simple of a name at that moment expresses His power and authority. God is whatever you need. Yesterday He was your Waymaker, and right now He will be your Waymaker.
Yesterday He was your Provider and today He is your Provider. I Am peace. I Am your strength. I Am your deliverer. I Am your grace. I Am your wisdom. I Am your righteousness. I Am holy. I Am your prosperity. I Am your Father. The same God that moved for the children of Israel, will move for you. Turn to the great I Am. Prayer: Father, You are the great and I reverence Your power and sovereignty.
You are not in the past and You are not dead. You will be for me whatever I need You to be in every moment of my life. Help me to live according to Who you are. Just as You brought the children of Israel out, You will bring me out. And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
Then David said to the Philistine, You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. Goliath came to Israel and talked to them like they were scum. He stood 9 feet tall before David and referred to him as a stick. He told them he is going to kill him and give his flesh to the birds. He cursed David by his gods, talking to David and Israel as if they were literally nothing.
Is yours standing before you and talking to you the same way? Nothing will change for your life. Talk is cheap, so give it no place in your life. It is about what the end will be, and the devil is no match for your God. Goliath talked much, but ended up doing little.
Not saying much, David slew him with a sling shot and a stone, showing how mighty our God is. Prayer: Father, I thank You and praise You. You are my mighty God and I will have what You have promised me. Talk is cheap and my Goliath will fall. I put my seed of faith in You.
Lead me Holy Spirit. Jesus is greater in me, and with You, will accomplish everything God has told me to do. Take it and give it to the tax men. It is interesting that Jesus told Peter to go fishing to find the money they needed to pay their taxes. It was his profession and he was gifted to do it. Jesus instructed him to do what He was good at to find his increase. We have to be like Peter and do what the Lord says. Trust God with that gift, Who gave it to you to bless others and to bless you also.
So step out and do what He says, because there is where you will abundantly find your increase, and great joy also. Help me to trust and believe You. I will do it by faith and get what You have for me and my family, and so I can be a great blessing. You ever had to return to the place of rest that you constantly dwelled in? You may have moved far from it, yet you can return back to it. Leave that place of stress and worry, and return to your place of rest.
That place of rest in the Lord. Remember all the things that God is doing and say the Lord has got this too. Look at everything He has done. Help me to let go by faith and rest. You got it. My needs and my entire life is in Your hands. I say peace be still and I will rest in You.
In Jesus mighty name, Amen. While coming home from work one day, there was an ice cream truck parked in our community. I thought to myself, there must be a catch and that I probably would have to buy something first. Yet, I saw some residents and their kids go up to it and get a variety of ice cream treats. They were happy. The community paid for it. You may feel about Jesus how I felt about that ice cream truck. However, the truth is there is no catch.
What God is offering you is free.
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You can receive and have what He has promised in His word. The life that God has for you, the joy, peace, and love He has is yours. There is no catch. Prayer: Father, I give you praise. I gladly receive everything Jesus purchased for me. Set me free. Help me to live free today. Fill my heart with your love, peace and joy.
I freely receive the life you have for me. May I love others the way You love me. Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! Since God is always present, His goodness is always present. No matter what it looks like. No matter what is going on in your life or how challenging it may seem, you can count on His goodness always shining on you, following you like the sun. He is working out your situation, and you can trust that you are going to see a glorious and good outcome. Give voice to what you know to be true, not to your temporary circumstance.
Know that things will always work out. He will provide. It will get better, because He is good. Prayer: Father, I wake up and say that You are good! I choose to be a man of praise. Surely goodness and mercy follows me. Help me to constantly remember not only are You good, but You always be good to me.
As you wait on God in faith, you give God room to bring His great plans for you to pass, no matter how long it may be. Your faith is the substance. It may not feel good right now, but count it all joy. Call it joy because He is working on your behalf, and your situation is working for you also. You may not have what you desire yet, but you without question have the God that you will receive it from. It is a good thing when the mighty fruit of patience is produced in you, because with patience on your side, what promise can you not receive from the Lord? God is a good God, not only toward someone else, but to you.
So be encouraged right now while you are waiting on what He has spoken, that situation to work out, that financial backing, that increase, or blessing. Consider your entire experience joy. I will praise You and count it all joy! I ask for patience to continue to trust You. In the final minutes of a crucial game-time situation, you would have faith in him. He has all power in His hands. He is good and a Rewarder of them that seek Him. With an outstretched arm He rescued Israel from the hands of Egypt. He has carried Israel like He said He would, and this tiny nation still stands today.
He has never left the righteous. He is the Healer. Go and stand on the beach and see how far the mighty ocean can come to your feet—God set that boundary Prov. At the same time, He split the Red Sea. He loves us beyond our mistakes, obliterated sin by giving His only begotten son Jesus for us, and He raised him from the dead. Know Who is on your side and let it bring you joy. Prayer: Father, I praise You today. I know You to be my Rock. You are on my side. As I read and think on the God I know, my joy is rising! May it increase my faith and change my moment, and change my life.
Jesus gave of Himself for someone else and His sacrifice has caused a glorious impact on generations eternally. Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for sin and changed our destiny. Now God desires us to be a living one—a living sacrifice. Jesus loved God and loved people. His dedication and worship to God went beyond living holy to the giving of Himself for someone else. Every sacrifice, whatever you give, whatever you lay down, will result in someone being impacted because, in a tangible way, they experience Christ in you. Prayer: Father, thank You for making me a living sacrifice.
Make me more like Jesus. Help me to love You and my love for You shows in how I love people, even if it costs me something. Let me not be all about me, but all about You and Your kingdom. He had a relationship with God. He had a heart after the Lord and He heard His voice of instruction to do something. Up to that point, it had not rained on the earth, yet Noah heard God tell him to build an ark. He then walked by faith, obeyed God and built an ark for him and his family to be saved from the flood to come. Like Noah, as men being the head of our families, we ought to lead our family by our faith in God.
He set the example for his family spiritually through his obedience. He had his entire family on one accord helping to build something for God. By faith keep building. Build what is centered completely in Jesus Christ to the saving of you and your household. Prayer: Father, thank You for speaking to me to lead my family by faith. You are a good God and I am blessed to know You. No matter what other men are doing, may I be a pillar of obedience for my home. Make my home centered on Jesus Christ. Help me build what is eternal to the saving of me and my family.
Farmers plant in the Spring, so they can reap in the Fall. Learn to prepare in one season for another. Learn to prepare in one season for the next. Sow in your time of planting, so you can reap in your time of harvest. Whether naturally with your financial state, or spiritually regarding a work you are called to, the Holy Spirit is showing you something.
Trust what the Holy Spirit is showing you is to come and diligently prepare for it. Prayer: Father, I thank You for Your everlasting word. It will never fail, because You never fail. Teach me to be a wise and diligent man, preparing in one season for the next. Make it clear to me Holy Spirit what is to come.
The truth of God is what makes you free. If you want to live free, get the word. If sin has a grip on you, get the word. If you want be a man of courage, get the word. If you want to walk in joy and victory, get the word. If you want walk around smiling for no reason, get the word. Man cannot live, truly live as God intended, by bread only. He came to give us life and that life more abundantly, and it belongs to you. Every bit of it belongs to you. It all begins with getting His word. Help me to get Your word today. Help me to know the truth and make this man free through it.
I will walk in joy and victory today. I am Your disciple Jesus and I choose to abide in Your word. As I do, I will be made free and live. If you look around you, if you consider how far you have come, if you consider time after time how God continually causes you to triumph through any situation, it is clear you are empowered to go the distance. He has equipped and anointed you for it. You can handle more than you think. You are more courageous that you think. Your are a lot stronger than you realize, and there is more that God has put in you than you give yourself credit for.
Jesus Christ in you, the Hope of glory, who had the strength to go the distance, lives in you. Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world, and you are finding that out. He is right there. The King has made you more than a conqueror. You will make it through this test because the Lord has graced you, has blessed you to go the distance! Prayer: Thank You Father that I am blessed to go the distance! I am not weak, but strong through Christ. I will not give up in the fight. Because nothing can stop him, nothing can stop me from receiving victory. I say I am already victorious!
I am graced and strengthened by You, equipped with Your Spirit, and I will receive what You have promised me. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours? As a father, it fills my heart with thanksgiving to God. I know if I feel this way, how much more our heavenly Father. The Father is proud when you ask of Him with clean motives. He is pleased when you desire to walk upright and walk by faith in Him. Walk upright and ask of Him in an upright way.
Prayer: Father, I thank You for giving me Jesus. I know I am already righteous through him. You are already proud of me. Help me to walk uprightly and ask of You uprightly. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
In some moments, we have all felt like a failure. Your joy and peace feels like it hit a wall. Your confidence feels like it ran away. You look at your own heart, your mistakes and you ask can you change. Then, I stop. I stop and decide I will yet go on by my faith. You decide you are going to believe God anyway. You are going to do what He desires of you anyway.
You will continue to reach and press, standing on His word. The moment you stop and decide regardless of how feel to go on, you will feel alive again. Your joy and peace will begin to rise and God lifts your head. This is what your faith will do. Whatever place you find yourself in, the applying of your faith in Christ will always cause us to experience the victory already given to us.
You are born of God, predestined to overcome anything. This moves us beyond living by feelings, but by faith in the Son of God. Prayer: Thank You for encouraging me Father to go on. Thank You for lifting my head. Help me not just to have faith, but help me apply it. Help me to apply it right where I am. You still saved me and regardless of how I feel, I have already overcome through the Son of God.
I receive what I need from You right now. I have the victory and I am born to win! I was given a vision of a building collapsing all around me. I could see broken walls, enormous concrete pieces, wires, dirt particles and great amounts of smoke just continually falling. As I looked at myself, I noticed that I was on my knees and a circle of protection surrounded me. Nothing was harming me.
The Lord spoke to me and said that there will be much that happens in these times around you, but like a shield, I will surround you, as long as you stay on your knees. Things may be happening all around you, but nothing will harm you if you stay on your knees. As you stay on your knees, He will surround you and protect everything that concerns you.
He will speak to you in prayer and lead you. The Holy Spirit will show you things to come. He will bring favor to you and be a shield as you take the offense to advance the kingdom. More than anything or anyone else, He is Who you need. Help me to stay on my knees, praying and seeking You.
I submit to Your will. Keep my heart right as I walk before You. You will light my path and show me how to handle my life in these times and show me how to effectively advance Your kingdom. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Observe to walk in it and the result will be peace one Hebrew meaning for prosperity and good success. His word is life to you. It provides wisdom and shows you the way to get to where you desire in every area of life.
When you apply it, it will make your way prosperous. When you address issues the way He says is the best way to resolve them, your way will be made prosperous. God is a holy, loving God, all-wise, a Rewarder, and there is no spot in Him. If He has said anything to you in His word, it will not fail based on His character alone.
So turn and think on His word. Hide it in your heart. Let the Bible be your structure, your go-to manual, your problem-solver, your key to prosperity, your key to having a blessed life. It will without fail reward you and those around you with peace and good success. It is life and health for me. It is strength for me. It is the resolution for any issue or conflict I face. It is the key to every reward and blessing in my life. The will of God is the compass of your life and His Spirit leads you according to it. When His will turns, we are to turn with it.
When it is still, be still and know that He is God. When it moves forward, you move with it. His Spirit will always lead us into a blessed life. However, we can experience frustration, loss and unnecessary hardship when we attempt to make something His will—that is not. Develop a habit of asking the Lord to understand His will for you.
It is unwise to live without understanding this and where He is ultimately is guiding you. You are blessed and the greatest blessing where He wants you to be. Where the Lord plants you, you will surely grow. Who He says to marry, that is what will last. Refuse to lean on your own understanding right now, no matter how something appears or feels. Trust in the will of the Father. Prayer: Father, thank You for wisdom today. I humble myself and ask for a greater understanding of Your will. Help me redeem the time because the days are evil and understand your will for me. Quicken me Holy Spirit to the knowledge of Your will and You will never lead me wrong.
I believe You know what I need, and You will always bless me. I choose to be in Your will. Your heavenly Father is a good God, and just like an earthly father, when it is according to His Word, He will give it to you. So I would wait on them to decide. I would ask them questions to help them see what the desires of their own heart, and then when they seen it, I blessed them with it. Even for me, when I finally seen what I truly wanted in a wife, then God gave her to me—exactly what I desired.
It seems very simple, but with certain decisions, it can be challenging to do. No matter the area of your life, ask God to help you to see what you want. Delight yourself in the Lord, pursue the Lord, and He will show you your own heart, who you are, His will for you, and what you really want out of life.
Jesus the Good Shepherd desires for you to abide satisfied. Prayer: Father, I delight in You and in Your plan for me. In every area, help me discover what I really want and show me what is best for me. As I ask, I will not settle. I commit my way to You, trusting You will bring it to pass. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. He is not in the tomb. Death could not hold him. The grave could not stop him.
He came to do what He said He would do, and He did. He completed the work the Father sent Him here to do, which was to save you and I. You are now sitted with Christ in heavenly places. You are a joint heir with Christ. Jesus Himself said rejoice! Since He conquered then, you conquer now. He rose means sin and death and all that comes with it—guilt, condemnation, bondage, shame, and defeat—have been swallowed up in victory. He paid the ultimate price for your ultimate, complete redemption. He wants more for you than only knowing this and rejoice, but for you to actually experience what you are rejoicing over.
Nothing can truly hold you down. Nothing can truly stop you. You truly are victorious. No matter what you face—rejoice! Let it be a reminder that if Jesus rose from the dead, you can rise from anything! Prayer: Thank You Father. Thank you Jesus! Hallelujah Lord! You conquered the grave. You defeated sin and death. I will rejoice today. You rose and you are alive right now. I am alive and I reign just like you Lord. I am victorious just like you Lord! Nothing can keep me down and I will always rejoice. When Jesus walked the earth, He would heal someone when they asked. Sometimes, He would ask them to do something, a step, an instruction, and when they did it, or even as they did it, they would find themselves receiving what they asked for.
The Father will do the same with you. He will speak to your heart and tell you to do something. You may ask God to help your marriage, and in the heat of a moment, He will say forgive her. Taking action was a great relief, and I realized that acting immediately is taking much less energy than avoiding taking action. Disclaimer — this article is not recommending performing at-home surgery or any invasive action on your own.
When dealing with physical injury or disease please consult your health care provider. January Lately I have noticed is that I am completely out of harmony — with my yogic lifestyle, with my health, my work life, my personal life, my art. And all along I thought I was doing really well. I got myself trapped in illusion — I was telling myself that I am doing well and everything is great, and I let my ego blind me. If I practiced yoga for 2 hours one day, the next day the ego would say — you did so well, you do not need to do this again today.
I let my need for comfort fool me. It would say — you are tired, it is late, you need to take care of yourself, you will do yoga tomorrow, now you need to relax. It surprises me to find myself in this quandary, because this is not what I teach. I find myself saying one thing and then doing another. And since I am out of balance I lose the passion for things that matter to me, I convince myself that it is not important to be so focused — after all I have it together, right?
All I had was excuses, which were taking me nowhere. The voice of the ego and of comfort is so seductive. It makes so much sense. I tell myself I am doing so well, because I try to find a way out. I do not really want to sit and meditate, or do my yoga early in the morning, or even go to the studio and start a new painting. What I really want to do is watch a movie, eat sweets, laze around and do nothing. And so I lose my passion for my practice, I lose my passion for being in life and being excited about life. And the next thing I know I am announcing that I feel depressed, and there is no wonder I feel this way, because I am not nourishing my soul.
And it is so difficult for me to get this nourishment, because I have got out of practice. And I realize that what causes all this is a lack of discipline. So I sat on the meditation cushion to find my discipline and bring it back. After 10 minutes my ego told me this was long enough. After 20 minutes I was starting to feel uncomfortable, trying to decide that I should stop now. But as I continued to sit the voice of truth inside of me made me realize that I needed to sit longer. And the longer I sat the more I was able to experience the nectar, the state of harmony.
Discipline is not easy. Discipline is about showing up in the face of all these reasons. It is an unreasonable act. When I approach life in an unreasonable manner I gain a sense of freedom, because I do not listen to my ego, I do not live in illusion. I listen to the true voice inside, and with that come a true sense of balance and of harmony. A few weeks ago I startd doing the Subagh Kriya — the kriya for prosperity. I took it on for 40 days because I wanted to bring prosperity into my life and to create the funds for the HOBO recording project. I wanted to create abundance.
I wanted to be in the state of mind of feeling and being prosperous, to create awareness in the Universe and to get the energy of prosperity flowing and moving around me. In my mind pledges to the HOBO recording would start coming in, the number of pledges on the website would start going up, we will meet our goal way before the deadline. Then I will feel happy. I was sitting on my meditation cushion and doing my meditation diligently, every morning, and guess what — the number did not go up. There were no mysterious checks coming in the mail either. I did not even win the lottery. But something else did happen.
I began to feel more at peace. That inner kind of peace that causes me to feel completely self contained, completely satisfied. Each day I was looking forward to doing the meditation because I wanted to feel that sense of satisfaction and bliss. Even though I practiced this meditation for only 15 minutes, this sense of peace stayed with me the whole day.
This is when I realized the true meaning of Subagh, which is — Fortunate. And with that realization I began to feel happy. Not only was I feeling happy, I was being happy. Feeling happy is an emotion or mood, but being happy is a state of being, which has nothing to do with circumstances. My happiness has nothing to do with the number of pledges coming up, with what happens during my day, with events in my world going my way or not.
I started doing the meditation with a condition in mind. I was in a space of not having enough, and I thought that doing with meditation will change that, that was the condition. But when I started meditating unconditionally I found true happiness. It is a story about choices that people make and how they live with those choices. It got me thinking about my life, and the choices I make. Looking back at my life, I made many good choices, but also some that were not working so well for me.
I was not always good at admitting that they were not such good choices, and that caused me quite a bit of difficulty and pain. I call this voice my personal angel, because it speaks truth to me when I am fully engaged and totally in tune with it. It would say — you need to stick with this choice, because it is the right thing for you. Or it would say — hey, SiriOm, this is not working man, are you going to hold on to this choice or are you going to face it and give it up, back away from it and regroup? It is difficult to always identify with this inner self and there are times when I do not want to listen, and try to convince myself that a choice is good even when my inner voice said no.
But I find that the harder I try to pretend that a choice is good when it is not, the deeper I find myself in a hole that I dug and it is more difficult to get out of it. But once I am able to settle down and listen to my personal angel, I find myself in fewer experiences of making choices that do not work for me, and it becomes easier to admit that they are bad choices and to change them. I know I am not going to always make the right choice.
I am going to make mistakes, this is the human experience. But as I continue to learn and hone the skill of listening I experience fewer moments of sadness, angst, insecurity and low self esteem. It makes me a stronger, more mature person, fully engaged and enjoying life completely. October A couple of weeks ago I was at a low point in my life, I was sick and in pain, feeling stuck and old, angry and afraid of being a failure. I was pretending that nothing is wrong, but it caught up with me.
I was experiencing a great deal of unhappiness, and I was also causing unhappiness to others. And that unhappiness was directly linked to me being out of touch with who I am and what I am about. In other words, my attitude did not allow me to gain altitude. I was crashing and burning. I was running this show, this pretense, that everything is fine with me, and when Ayala pointed out to me that I am not, I became upset and blamed her for rocking my world and messing everything up.
This was causing a great deal of harm on our relationship, and I knew I needed to make a change. I needed to come to terms with how I was being, and take responsibility for it,. So I decided to look at myself and ask myself — how are you doing? And if the answer was — not so good, I needed to ask myself — why? I discovered that when I ask myself these direct questions and answer honestly, whatever is bothering me distances itself rapidly. And if I pretend that nothing is wrong, whatever bothers me becomes larger, seems closer, and I have a greater difficulty removing myself from it.
I also find myself wasting time, because I am so busy pretending that nothing is wrong that I get nothing done. But when I am honest with myself, everything runs smoothly. Pretending that nothing is wrong is the crux of my unhappiness, and it keeps me down. I learned from my teacher Yogi Bhajan, that when you have the right attitude you gain altitude, and I forgot about that. Now I reminded myself that the issue is that of truth, and awareness, and being centered.
By being honest with myself I was able to feel a sense of freedom. I was able to feel a sense of power, and of bravery. Because I was. So I took on a week long fast and meditation and yoga to clear myself, and I started wearing the kirpan — the ceremonial knife all Sikhs wear to center ourselves in purity, honor and kindness to others. Wearing the kirpan makes it part of me, it has my energy, and I feel like a whole new person wearing it, because it reminds me of who I am — striving to be truthful, aware and centered.
Remembering who I am makes it easy to ask myself — how are you doing, and to answer honestly. And when I am able to do that, everything else in life falls into place, and I can soar, and enjoy the nectar of living. September Before I sit down to write these thoughts I like to meditate, and see what thought will come up. And this is what I did today. I felt frustrated, I felt strained and pressured to come up with something to say, but my heart felt shut down. When I sat on the meditation cushion I felt urgency and I had difficulty calming down and shutting off my internal dialog.
I found myself coaching myself — come on, come on, you can do this, you can find something to say. But nothing came. I opened my eyes, looked around, listened to the birds singing, watched a butterfly, took a deep breath, and closed my eyes again. And sat. So I repositioned myself to see if that will settle me down, quiet my internal chatter, and help me find something to say.
Still nothing. I took some more deep breaths, and tried to focus on the Adi Mantra that was playing through the speaker, maybe it will help me go deeper. I sat. And I sat. Took more deep breaths, and thought — arrrrgggh! Ten more minutes of this! I felt like stomping my feet and saying — forget about it!
But I kept sitting. Just be yourself, love yourself, and be patient. Sat Nam. Sometimes we are so taken up with our importance, and the importance of our actions. We push ourselves and try to force a meaningful activity, or comment, or action, when the right action is to do nothing, and just be ourselves. August I find that household chores are great opportunities to meditate and listen to interesting and uplifting stories. The other day, as I was carrying out my house cleaning duties, I was listening to my favorite radio station.
The commentator was talking about Nelson Mandela and how he adopted forgiveness as a tool to move South Africa forward from a nation of apartheid to a nation of freedom for all. The commentator was speaking about all of us in the world, and about what would be possible if we took on forgiveness not only towards others but towards ourselves as well.
Listening to this story of forgiveness as a way to set a nation free, this struck a deep chord inside of me. It was also about the transformation that is possible for all of us, as individuals, as a nation, and as citizens of the world. These comments caused me to think about my own unwillingness to give up resentment, fear, hate and hurt.
I was thinking about my brother, who I had a confrontation with some years ago. At the time I felt like I received a barrage of accusations, anger and hatred from him, and I kind of sat there and let him steam roll over me. I was very angry with him, I felt that his aggression towards me was unjustified, and I felt disdain towards myself, because I felt that I did not do anything to protect myself from this verbal abuse.
I felt helpless, I had no way of articulating my feelings and expressing myself as an adult, and I was very resentful of that experience for a long time. But sitting on the meditation cushion I have the opportunity to breath, be quiet and listen to what is true. I can see how this experience was controlling me and not allowing me to move forward, and how it was holding both me and my brother hostage.
I realize that I need to release myself and I need to release him. I can experience freedom from my emotional limitations, when I acknowledge that I am creating these emotions, and that I can choose not to pull their trigger, and to give them up. I can see how healing to the spirit forgiving and receiving forgiveness can be. It feels like putting on a freshly washed and folded set of clothes and I ask myself — what took me so long to come to this epiphany. Meditation allows us to uplift ourselves and heal within. We cannot change the past and the events that have transpired, but we can transcend the emotional triggers that we developed by forgiving those who we feel.
July This morning, as I was practicing my morning Sadhana, I experienced a moment of pure joy and happiness. It was very powerful, and it felt like infinite freedom. I felt so light and happy that I wanted to express myself with a delightful cheer. I could pinpoint the origin of this happiness right at the heart center, and all I could see was the joy of being selfless and helping others.
Lately I have been working mainly in environments that are less then optimal, and have the potential to pull you down. I work with patients who are very sick, many of them at the end of their life, and this is the last stop for them. The physical environment is challenging — structures are in disrepair, equipment is lacking, and people are unhappy, afraid and in misery. When I started working there, my first instinct was to express my negative feelings, or to turn around and leave.
But I realized that I have a purpose in that place, and that is to serve these people. That is how I see myself — not so much as a therapist or as someone doing a job, I first and foremost see myself as someone who is there for those people. I became able to leave myself, my ego, at the door and only see people who I can focus on and give them all of my love. As I was meditating this morning, it was like I was experiencing my own personal big bang. I realized that through my service to others I am able to obliterate any personal anguish, and any emotional pain that I might otherwise experience.
All I wanted was to be selfless. Whatever anyone needs, if they need my listening, undivided attention, I have it to give to them. I thought about all the people I work with who are in pain and suffering and the happiness and joy I experience in just being with them and being of service to them. God knows how many times I have expressed my desire to retire from the work I do. How many times have I expressed that this is the end of the road for me as a health care professional and that there is nothing that I can do to make things better.
Those have been the times when the negative feelings I have expressed seemed so real and valid for me and I had no doubt they were true. But this morning was like one of these rare moments when I can see clearly and understand what it is to experience the joy and happiness of serving others. This is the opposite flip from feeling dark and condensed and heavy and depressed to feeling powerful, nor physically but in and emotional way, when I was feeling that there is no limit to my ability to serve others. It freed me from any fear that I might experience — fear of death, of physical harm, of financial loss, it was all obliterated.
All that was left was the joy of giving of myself, the ultimate reward. The violent events of the last few months, culminating in the Boston bombing, have put me into a tail spin of sadness and anger that welled up inside of me.
I felt myself spiraling down into a depressed state of mind, feeling helpless, vulnerable and powerless. All I wanted was to shut down and avoid all the pain that I have seen and heard. Yet I know that being that way is futile, unproductive and useless. So what can I do to make things better for me and the world I live in, which seems to want to go into self destruction mode?
When I sit in silence and meditate, what I am present to is love and compassion. Compassion for the victims of violence, and for the perpetrators of violence as well.
Fast From Wrong Thinking 40-Day Devotional
I see that letting myself get sucked into a vortex of hurt, fear and mistrust of others brings only hate and misery. It is not uplifting for me or for others. It is what is causing the violence to spread. It is hard to talk about love and compassion towards creators of violence. It is human to want revenge when we feel hurt, vulnerable, disenfranchised and betrayed. But justice is not obtained through more violence. We want to heal the wounds and protect ourselves and our loved ones from further harm.
We want to prevent others from harboring hate and venting their anger upon innocent people, with no consideration and no concern. Striking out with violence comes out of fear, helplessness and hopelessness. We all experience these emotions at some time, and we need to recognize them and see them in ourselves. We must look at the violence and ugliness in ourselves, and clean it up, in ourselves first. And then we must invite love and compassion into our hearts. Love and compassion are the only answers to pain and fear.
- Christmas Changes Everything Daily Devotionals
Complaining about the violence of others is not what will create a better world. Only love can create a foot print that is long lasting and long standing for others to experience and the world to see. As I think about my own aging process I am becoming increasingly insecure about aging, and I want to hold on to my physical youth as long as I can. The aches and pains, who wants them? Reading glasses, thinning hair, decreased vigor?
Like, how life and times are sometimes hard, how unhelpful people are to others, how recklessly they drive, and how badly they park their cars when there is enough room to do it right. All these complaints render me powerless. I become so attached to my own outcomes that I am afraid to take a chance on life. The past and future are ruling me. It does not matter if it is success or failure, I am attached to it. Both of which have caused me to become afraid of taking a risk.
When I first began on this yoga and meditation path, I read somewhere that the practice of detachment can create fearlessness, freeing up a person from attachment to the tangible and intangible. When I read this I did not know what to make of it. All I wanted to know then was — what is, where it is, and when is it going to come to me.
I sought out knowledge and material things with eagerness, hoping to improve my own image of myself, so I can feel competent and successful. I functioned on the material level, attaining things through hard work and effort. This was what I was taught — work hard and get ahead. I thought I had control of my life and that I could do it all, from outside of myself, rather than from within.
Sometimes I become lost in the fury of my doing and do not experience being in the moment. I become exasperated and frustrated when things do not go my way. At times, in that state of doing, I feel like I am spinning my wheels and going nowhere, having only frustration, insecurity, anger and fear to show for my efforts. The great sages called that taking the path of great resistance. Realizing this leads me to a better understanding of what taking on detachment means — to take the path of least resistance by becoming and, finally, being in the moment.
Now is the time for me to experience a powerful breakthrough, by taking on detachment as a possibility for being rather than doing. Taking on detachment frees me up and allows me to create with full intention. I sit on the meditation cushion, close my eyes and begin to breathe in and out. I am not worried about achievement, aging, loss, failure, or how people park their cars.
I merge with the vibration of the Universe. There is no doing to factor in. Everything becomes so simple, so easy, and peaceful. Just breathing in and out. My small world that seemed so urgent and important becomes inconsequential. There are no fears, insecurities, anger to be confronted with. There is simply no meaning, just being.
This is bliss. As I was meditating today a thought came to my mind about the sweetness of the nectar, and what joy I experience when I am able to taste it. The sweetness of the nectar is the taste of happiness, which is selfless and comes from an open heart. When I sit to meditate it is rare that I experience that mindset, but when I achieve it I feel light, happiness and joy throughout my whole being. I am not complaining or having negative thoughts about anyone or anything, even the pains and aches that I feel throughout the day become inconsequential when I taste the nectar.
I realize that happiness and joy, although it is my birthright is not something that comes with a guarantee. I have to be committed to cultivating it. This is the only way it will stay in my life. When I am in a state of mind where I am negative, all I do is complain. I become self centered and I actually rob the joy out of my life and the life of others around me.
I am completely oblivious of other people and their need to feel recognized, loved, secured and supported. When I am in this state of mind my insecurity becomes magnified and it is overwhelming to me and to the people around me. This is really the epitome of selfishness. It only lends me to becoming an emotionally blind person who is unable to see beyond myself.
When it becomes all about me, that way of being does not serve me or anyone else. When I open my heart I can taste the nectar. There is a softness that I experience as great love, compassion and passion for life. I become more acutely aware of those around me and their need to feel happy and alive. Tasting this nectar is like waking up and seeing what really is — being able to see joy in everything, and share it and cultivate it.
It really epitomizes what it is to be a gentle man, which is making sure that all those around you feel comfortable, secure, happy and safe. I feel it is my responsibility as a citizen of the world to add something to this thing we call life and living that serves other people. Being happy and cultivating happiness can become contagious. I know that being this way I benefit when I am experiencing tough times and struggles.
I feel very committed today to keep my mind set in a place where I am not focused on myself, and to refrain from complaining or speaking negatively of anything or anyone. That mindset is what prevents me from experiencing the sweetness of the nectar. That sweetness is real, it is not something that is unobtainable or a product of the imagination of a fleeting mind. It is a reality, because this sweetness is what we recognize as joy and happiness that is genuine and authentic.
To taste it and to experience it is truly uplifting, like having a great enthusiasm for life and for living. That is my quest, to continue sharing the nectar which I have tasted, the sweetness of living with happiness and joy. Today I saw a patient, a young man who was admitted to the hospital. I started interviewing him about his life. He told me he is homeless. He worked in all kinds of odd jobs that did not last long. He was an alcoholic, and was expelled from a shelter because of inappropriate behavior.
He said that everyone around him is incompetent and do not know what they are doing, and they do not let him do what he wants to do. This man is young. He has all his limbs, he does not look disabled in any way, he can walk, he can take care of his basic needs, but he lives in a world full of what he sees as barriers that stop him on every step. He does not accept his situation and blames others, his health is deteriorating, he has very poor insight and judgment for his own safety. He is spiraling down in his life. What struck me was — I saw myself in him.
I saw how easy it is to get caught up in a self contained trap. How many times have I said to myself — I am being stopped, by people, by circumstances, by events that keep me from doing what I want to do. Talking to this patient, I realized that nobody, and no thing, is stopping me.
It is my state of mind that is stopping me. I started thinking — what am I creating that causes me to be trapped in a box, where I am limiting myself and not taking full responsibility for my life. I have created a state of mind of being fearful and doubtful. I always fashion myself as someone who likes challenges and can face new things fearlessly but as I take a closer look at what really is, I see that I like to create a world of comfort.
I bargain with myself, I say — I will do this another day, or I will choose something less challenging. Instead of choosing to climb over a 10 foot wall I settle for a 5 foot one, and say- Hey, I did it! I pat myself on the back and congratulate myself, knowing well that I did not achieve anything significant. And I make excuses — I want to be a successful visual artist and musician, but I do not have the time, the money, musicians to play with me, an agent, a gallery. I know these are all excuses. Those are my barriers, the barriers that I put to myself.
Deep down I do desire to be brave and disciplined, but I have not been willing to put in the work that is needed and push beyond the limitations where I get stopped. I realize that the most important thing that is missing is being truthful in facing those shortcomings in myself, with honesty and compassion, but also with commitment and discipline. The limitations I see around me are a lie.
It is so easy for me to limit myself with this lie, because I tell it to myself and I tell it to everyone else. And as I do that my heart shrinks, and my spirit, that light inside me, becomes dim. I have come to a point in my life where I intend to keep a commitment to myself to be truthful about myself and my self imposed limitations.
To face the challenge, and to approach it with discipline, courage and fearlessness. I intend to take on being unstoppable, no matter what I perceive as a barrier. And I intend to take on the discipline to do what I need to do in spite of my fear, doubt, and love of comfort. I know that the light in my spirit and the love in my heart can help me to move through anything. All I need to do is get my fears and doubts out of the way and trust my spirit to guide me in the right direction. Coming back from Israel was very tough for me this time.
I had an unusually hard time with the jet lag, I was not sleeping well, and when I started working, all kinds of aches and pains that I was free of, came back. Then last week, Ayala and I were preparing for a fun- filled day off on Christmas, when I had an emotional crash. I was experiencing physical pain, exhaustion and depression at the prospect of another cold winter. My way of dealing with it was to shut myself down. I stopped communicating with Ayala, as I spiraled down into feeling sad, alone and fearful, with no ability to share or be comforted.
I checked out. Checking out is something I have done all my life and I guess it is some kind of a defense mechanism I developed as a child and hang on to. I go deep into myself and shut down all communication with others. It is like I am not there, a way to avoid feeling the sadness, fear and pain. But just like all things you develop as a child, it does not work so well when you are an adult. When I feel overwhelmed with any stressful moment I become anxious. I resort to the easiest thing for me — checking out.
It is an extreme form of avoidance. I completely contract, I am out of touch with my heart and have no compassion for myself or others. I lose control of my ability to deal with reality. I stop breathing, and I lose awareness of who I am. I am wallowing in my own despair and negative emotions, and I feel unable to transcend the stressful moment. When I am checked out I am in a state of denial. Admitting to feeling tired, in pain and out of sorts is an admission of being weak. I lie to myself, I lie to others, which put me in a place where I have no freedom. I am locking myself in a prison of pretence.
The only way to get myself out of this prison is to stop for a moment and be quiet and breathe. I breathe, and I allow my heart to soften, to feel gentleness, to be supportive of the moment and to engage in compassion. This allows me to unwind, and to surrender to that peaceful vibration. I am overtaken by the softness and the quiet and I become fully embraced by the comfort of silence. The deeper I let myself unwind the faster I can distance myself from that checking out state of mind. The deeper I breathe the easier it becomes. Breathing helps me to free myself from the grips of denial, and to face the truth of what is happening at that very moment.
I am able to acknowledge feeling weak and inadequate, and acknowledging it brings me to the present. I realize that everything that is painful and uncomfortable and fearful passes, and that facing it makes the transition quicker and easier. And I gain great strength from facing those painful moments. It becomes easier when I realize it is of my own making, and I have the power to dismantle it just as easily as I have created it.
There is profound healing that takes place for me when I can see this, and I am able to open myself to the world again, with love. Recently I received a message from my daughter who I am currently estranged from and have been for quite some time. She stated, as she often does, that I was not a good father, and this statement released in me old regrets, fears and doubts.
At times like this I find myself trapped in my own past of regrets and I often feel weighted down and sorrowful. My mind becomes cluttered and discombobulated, I become angry, miserable, depressed and cut off from the outside word. I want to bring myself out of this state of mind but the overwhelming darkness that I impose on myself keeps me inside of my own prison. But then I realize that the inner anger and obsessing about my regrets is preventing me from being a whole person. And I realize that in order for me to experience wholeness I have to learn to forgive myself.
It is difficult for me at the beginning to do this, because I can be my most harsh critic. I have to be kind and patient with myself and take baby steps with this forgiveness. As I hear myself say those words, compassion and forgiveness seem like almost an impossible task to achieve, because I have allowed my inner prison walls to become so thick it is difficult for me to hear anyone trying to comfort me and it is difficult for me to listen. I have isolated myself from people around me and from my present. But as I sit on the meditation mat to meditate, breath and let go of the past, the breathing begins to thin my inner prison walls and allow my heart to grow and I begin to soften inside and forgive myself and let go of all my regrets.
When I was younger I was taught that being ashamed is to have a badge of honor, and being an authentic person means that you confess your sins and show regret. But taking on and cultivating shame is like trying to walk evenly on one leg, it is a hindrance, it is truly the most handicapped way of being. It prevents you from becoming a grown, responsible adult. It ties you to the past and keeps you prisoner there. The madness about living in the past is that when I do that, I feel that I deserve this pain as punishment for all the wrong things that I may have done.
But this is an illusion — the past is gone, the time is for me to live in the present so I can be with the people I love and live with. This is impossible to do when I am living in the past. This does not mean that I should not correct things that happened in the past and clean up whatever I may have messed up, but this needs to be done from the present, not the past.
Living with regrets does not solve any unfinished business, and it hinders having breakthrough for self healing and living an authentic life. My aim is to clean up my act and then let go of it. Living authentic life means seeing things as they are, not as I fear them or would like them to be. Living in authenticity allows me to be truthful, honest and courageous which in itself becomes a powerful healing experience.
Our responsibility to ourselves and others who love and know us is to let go of our regrets and move forward to fully embrace life with happiness, excitement and celebration. When I was young growing up I was always taught to be thankful for the things that I have, like house, food, clothing — all tangible things. But as I grow older I realize that this is not that important. What is important are the intangible things in life, things that make life feel so short when we miss them and let them slip by us. I was standing on top of the mountain. It was covered with blue sky and green hills as far as the eye could see.
The air was fresh and red tail hawks soared about us. At that moment I felt that nature was flowing through me and giving me all of its love. I felt one with the mountain and the sky and the hawks, and at that moment all I wanted to do was sing with blissful joy. That moment is an intangible, but moments like this are the things that make the big picture. Life is all of small moments of bliss that make us rich with experience, but could slip away so easily without awareness. I am thankful for having been aware at that fleeting moment of bliss and having experienced it fully.
I came to understand that being aware of these moments of bliss is an act of love. When I focus on this experience in that moment it allows me to soften my entire demeanor and feel deeply from my heart. And this allows me to deepen the feeling of joy and of being connected. Last weekend I was winterizing the porch. I have been putting this task off — it is a lot of work. I have to unfold the rolls of plastic sheet, I have to measure and cut them, take the stapler out, make sure I have enough duct tape, all this even before I start stapling the plastic to the porch. I do this every fall, and it takes a good half of the day, when I could be doing fun things, like painting or making music.
But this time it was different. It felt like an act of nurturing and caring, an act of love. The porch has given me many moments of supported solitude, it is a sanctuary and a place where I focus my energy. I consider it a sacred space that needs love, care and attention. I felt so thankful to have this space. And as I went about carrying out the fall ritual of winterizing the porch I realized that it morphed into a meditative experience for me. I did not even realize it was happening until the task was done — the task I became one. It took me 4 hours to complete, but it was 4 hours of bliss.
Now I am more aware of the intangible things in my life. These are the moments that really count — walking through a park in the rich colorful leaves of fall, or the freshness of early spring bloom, feeling one with your surroundings. A quiet moment with someone you love when there is communication without words, feeling one with that person. A smell that triggers a blissful memory, feeling one with that remembered experience. Grab on to these moments of bliss and say -YES! Recently I have been experiencing great obstacles, and not feeling like I have the ability to break through them.
I envision touring and teaching, and it does not happen. We put the house on the market and nobody comes to see it. We plan to move to Israel, and it is not happening. I feel stopped in every direction. There are days when I just want to give up.
I feel myself becoming tense and rigid, and obsessing about what am I doing wrong. Then I am reminded of the words of my teacher, Yogi Bhajan. He said: we have two voices, the voice of the ego and the voice of the soul. When you are constantly tuned in to the voice of the ego, life becomes difficult, it is difficult to break through obstacles. But the voice of the soul is the true voice, it is the voice that uplifts us and we are able to easily choose the path of least effort. When I was immersed in my disappointments and feeling stuck the light bulb came on, and I realized that I am listening to the voice of the ego.
I may as well try to dig a tunnel with a gardening spade — lots of sweat and effort and no results. So I decided to follow the wisdom of my teacher and listen to the voice of my soul. The voice of the soul tells me to keep up the practice of meditation, become completely immersed and not worry about what is going on in the outside, like the schedule I set for myself and how I am progressing on it.
When I tune in to the Universe I realize that I am not in this alone. I stop doubting and worrying, and trust that all things will work out just the way they should. I then know that I am in the right direction. When I follow the voice of the soul I am actually following the plan of my own destiny, which, I have to realize, does not always match my expectations. My expectations are really me listening to the voice of my ego. When I shut the voice of the ego off I become dispassionate. I remind myself that being all worked up and attached to the future that I envision, only causes me to lose focus on what is really important — being happy in the moment.
Sometimes all I see around me in the world is anger, disharmony and violence. And when I think about making a difference in the world, the first thing that comes to my mind is action: what can I do, or how can I do it, or how much can I do. But I think the most important thing that I forget is how I can be. I realize that everything that I see that is full of pain, hate, anger, suffering and sadness, exists inside of me.
My first reaction to what I see in the world is to make judgment, criticize, to be angry, fearful and sad and I realize that by thinking in this way I am not making the world any better. Once I make the commitment of thinking about others I begin to find my own compassion. I can feel the softness taking over inside me. I know this kind of thinking goes against everything I was taught in my life — you have to be strong, you have to be hard, in order to make a difference and see results. But I have to continue to trust my deepest feelings — my heart, and that wisdom inside of me.
When I allow it to, it guides me in the right direction, and that is — compassion. There is only one way to get to compassion, and that is softening — to be forgiving, to see myself in the other person, and that way I can really see the world and understand it and all of its suffering without judging, without criticism, and without ego.
I realize that I can make a difference in the world by making a difference in myself from the inside out, by changing the way that I think on the inside through meditation, and by dealing with all those things or issues that I have difficulty with through quiet contemplation. This way I can transform doing into being — being myself, being a person that thinks with my heart and can bring compassion and love into the world.
The other day a colleague of mine brought her 6 months old baby to work. I love babies, so I was naturally drawn to this baby, but there was something different about him. That child was a true bundle of joy. He immediately changed the energy in the room just by his being. He was a magnet of light. Everyone was drawn to him. His smile was so beautiful, his laugh was so light-hearted and playful, and everyone wanted to hold him and touch him. He looked at everyone as if taking in every aspect of their being.
His innocence was captivating. There was no resistance to being with people, no barriers, no need to protect himself. His being just brought out the best in everyone in that room, all everyone wanted to do was just give him love, and he received it without any hesitation. As I held him in my arms I immediately felt happiness and joy and love going through me. When he left the room his presence was still there. All I could do was think of this child and his powerful being, his love and light was still in the room. Often I am preoccupied with all the negative things that happen in life, and sometimes I become controlled and held captive by that negativity, and I feel that there is no way of removing myself from that vibration.
Holding that baby I knew that he was just being an innocent child. He was just pureness of heart, and love, no judgment, no criticism, just pure love and curiosity. Everything that I want to be, he was it. At that moment I was reminded that we all have the capacity for this love — to light up the room we walk into. All it takes is experiencing this light that we are all born with and just being so naturally happy.
It is something that I often forget — that this light is in me as well, and that I have the capacity to turn on my own light with joy and happiness and compassion, and sharing this light with everyone. And I knew that when I am faced with doubt and negativity, I can now remember this beautiful child and his joy, his laugh, his beautiful heart, and tap into that feeling and become captivated by that vibration. That was a great lesson for me, to be fully conscious and in touch with my own love, my heart and my ability to share this experience.
In that moment this child became a teacher to me, and that spontaneous, precious energetic experience was just wonderful. The other day I was talking to an elderly patient. I walked into his room to begin the evaluation. As usual I walk in with my professional demeanor — white coat flapping around me, all ready to do my professional work. I knocked on his door and walked in the room and I was greeted by this sweet 92 years old gentleman who had the most agreeable disposition.
Most people I see in the hospital are fearful, angry, sad, in pain, complaining about their situation and discomfort. This man was none of those. As soon as I walked into the room he said — hello friend. He invited me to sit on his bed. He was very friendly, and did not appear to be uncomfortable in his new surroundings of the hospital. He did not seem to be threatened by me or by the situation. When I am in my professional demeanor I expect myself to be asking questions and listening and documenting, being in control and being the one who provides.
It is easy to lose my own humanity in being this way, because it is my ego that is front and center and not my heart at that time. It is easy for me to be dismissive of my patients, and judgmental towards them. All I hear is my own professional jargon and I see only my professional self — the white coat, the person who is there to help the weak patient, kind of an action- figure- therapist. My relationship with my patients is that I am the one teaching, they are incapacitated, and I can see how my disposition is not allowing them to have any power.
I was caught off guard by my patient, by his infectious love and his kindness, his own strength. His authentic love was so beautiful to experience. He was very warm, with a loving personality, and it was such a pleasure to be in his company that the evaluation was more of a friendly discussion with another person, not an action- figure- therapist and an incapacitated patient. When I got up to leave he said something to me — he said it does not cost anything to be kind to another person so why not give of yourself freely and feel happiness within yourself and with another person.
This brought me back to where I want to be and need to be in my heart and being full of love and kindness and giving. This was a real gift for me. The lesson I learned is that kindness burns and cuts through the ego and opens up the heart. When I give kindness freely, without hesitation or condition, I get the biggest gift — an open heart, a loving heart and a gracious heart.
I wanted it to be a special time, a perfect birthday celebration. We were going to the Brandywine Valley for the weekend, and had tickets for the Longwood Gardens wine and jazz festival, but it did not feel special to me. I had this strong desire to show my love in a special way, but I was not sure how. First I thought about going to the store and getting balloons and a card and figuring out a way to sneak them into the house and surprise her, but then I thought — there is so much planning here, this is really not coming from a place of spontaneity and love.
Usually when I plan things ahead, I get in my own way. I start to question myself — am I going to do it right? Am I going to choose the right event or the right time? Am I going to have fun doing it? Is she going to have fun? I judge the situation, I judge myself, I stop myself in my tracks and slow myself down, and I squeeze out all the fun and joy. And I was doing it this time again! I was getting caught up in my self doubt and so anxious to do the right thing I was not enjoying myself. Then I thought — when was the last time I bought Ayala flowers? I decided to send her roses and have them delivered to work for her.
I went to the florist and put an order right away. That felt very powerful and spontaneous, because it was a decision that was made in the moment. And I thought — that is a way to start the weekend off, powerfully and being spontaneous. No inhibitions, no questions and no second guessing. That was an AHAH moment for me — what a great way to live, being freed up from halting and stopping, judging, questioning, just being in the moment and moving forward. And that was how the whole weekend felt. It was a tremendous boost for my spirit and our love for each other, and we had a great time.