Freedom

Let go of your old images of God, They no longer serve you. Let go of the old images of yourself, They only befuddle you. Walk through your fears into the Light The God of Love is waiting for you, Take hold of his hand.   -brian j plachta...

Find Your True Voice

When I was in fifth grade, the choir director asked me if I would mouth the words, instead of singing out loud. She said my voice was off-key and throwing the rest of the choir off. I didn’t sing out loud—not even in the shower—for probably twenty years, even though I love to sing. After years of mouthing the words, however, I’ve finally found my Voice. And now I sing out loud—gratefully, regardless of whether I’m on key or not. Somewhere along the way someone may have told you to mouth the words too. Maybe not exactly the same way as me; but maybe, someone or something stifled you, told you, you weren’t right, you weren’t loved, you were off key. In one way or another I think all of us are searching to find our Voice. All of us have been shamed by someone else’s expectations of us; someone’s false beliefs about us; or by our own misguided beliefs about ourselves or the Divine Being that created us. Life’s negative experiences have a way of creating layers of onionskins around our personalities that hide from us our deepest Truth, the One Reality. Life’s tough experiences inflict wounds in us. And it takes a long time sometimes to wake up, do the inner work to unpeel those onionskins one layer at a time so we discover the core of who we are. If we’re open to it, however, life’s negative experiences can become a pathway to wisdom. Because when we’re lost or hurt, we search for understanding, we yearn to connect to something bigger than ourselves. We search for...

How to Befriend Fear

They say there are two basic human emotions: love and fear. All other emotions are subsets of these two. Joy, peace, happiness, trust, and feeling safe—all flow from the emotion of love. On the other hand, anxiety, nervousness, worry, anger, and frustration—all flow from the fear of something or someone. Fear is perhaps the root of many of our problems. Yet it’s the emotion we most often try and evade, ignore, hoping it will go away like a pesky mosquito. Our culture even reinforces hiding from our fears. Be fearless, we’re told. Be brave. Suck it up. All these messages tell us to overcome our fear by ignoring it. But fear doesn’t go away when we ignore it. It festers like a boil and often comes out sideways as we try to numb it with alcohol or drugs or some other distraction. Fear’s gotten a bad wrap, because it actually has a positive quality. Fear is often inviting us, nudging us to grow. It’s one of our basic instincts. Fear can become our friend, if we let it. It usually has something underneath it. It’s trying to teach us something. But like a dandelion unless we dig to the root of our fear and pull it out, it just keeps coming back like a nasty weed. So, how do we befriend fear? How do we let it become our teacher? Name It. The first step is to become aware of when we’re feeling fearful. Name it, don’t avoid it. When we feel that knot in our stomach, when we can’t sleep at night, when we’re using alcohol or other...

Prayer of the False Self

Oh God, my God, why do I abandon you? Far from you I wander and drift dancing on a sea of my attachments. My desire for affirmation so I feel like I belong, even though I know I belong to you, and you are all I need. My compulsion to feel responsible for everything and everyone, to be the good little schoolboy who makes sure everyone and everything is in order, lest I feel abandoned again. My constant worry that feels like a tightrope stretched taut from my head to my heart, wrapping and gnarling itself around my gut like raw bleeding intestines. Why can’t I trust you and my true self more when I look over my shoulder and realize your loving presence has always guided my path and kept me safe, even when I felt hopeless and lost? You have always been and always will be there unfolding life’s treasures of love and joy in every breath you breathe in me. Help me let go of my false humility that robs me of the truth that I am stronger than I can ever imagine because I stand and bask in the power of You. Help me let go of my attempts to numb the pain of life through excessiveness and addictions and find balance and tranquility within my body as I allow you to restore my natural rhythm and wholeness. Oh God, my God, thank you for never abandoning me; for blessing and transforming my human attachments, my vain glory and pride, which I clutch like a grumpy old man unwilling to let go of his cane...

Are You Awake?

I woke up one day…for a moment. I heard my mother’s voice calling me from the bottom of the stairs: “Are you awake?” It was the same voice I’d heard as a teenager when I overslept, and mom was nervous I’d be late for school. But this time I wasn’t a teenager. I was 57. And it wasn’t my mother’s voice. It was my voice, my inner voice. And I wasn’t in bed. I was at work. Darting in and out of meetings. Answering the phone. Responding to emails. Earning my daily bread. And the “Are you awake?” voice was haunting me, nagging me. Inviting me. Again. This time it got my attention. I stopped. Closed my office door. Asked myself, “Am I awake?” No. I answered the voice. I’m not awake. I feel numb. Cold. Like I’m on automatic pilot. Going through the motions, spiting out endless work product. Moving from one task to the other like an automaton. And grumbling. As I sank into my office chair getting honest with myself, the words of a wise mentor reminded me of a simple truth. There are three levels of awareness, three types of being awake: Ordinary (the typical mind, thinking in endless circles and spirals); Spiritual (the inner nudge inviting us to see and experience life’s beauty, its harmony, and our belonging); and Divine (those moments when we connect with the Presence of God in ourselves, in others, and in all things). I was living my life at the ordinary level. Bland. Lifeless. On Autopilot. And the voice inside me was nudging me to escape those doldrums. I...

Discover: The Path to Inner Peace

These days everybody’s looking for it: through yoga, workshops, retreats, books, DVD’s, spiritual guides, classes. It goes by different names and invitations but there’s a common thread for what we’re seeking. So, what is it? What are we looking for? A path! A path to Inner Peace! And the path is really pretty simple: developing a meditation-based practice that actually changes the way you perceive reality and live your life.   What? Really? Is it that simple? “Can I really change the way I live my life and view the world through meditation?” the doubting Thomas in us might ask. And the answer is yes. Look at those who have consistently shown us by their lived example the path of meditation as a means to inner peace. What Me? Meditate? Jesus was constantly getting up early in the morning to be with his father. He went to the desert often to find solitude, silence, and reconnect with his soul. He even left a group of villagers who were seeking healing from him to retreat to the woods because he had run out of steam. He had lost his spiritual connection, his power. And in his instructions on daily prayer, Jesus told his followers to go to your room alone each day, close the door, and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then you will find God’s presence. Matt: 6:5ff. Modern business leaders are also jumping on-board the meditation bandwagon as a means of finding inner peace. CNN anchor and Starfish Media CEO Soledad O’Brien began practicing Meditation at the urging of her friend, Def Jam co-founder and meditation...
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