Dear Friends and Family,
They say fall is here, yet it is still warm in Texas so that it does not feel like it. I have been longing to see the brilliant colors of autumn leaves and find myself thinking of New England and Eastern Europe as both places have colorful falls and crisper air.
I was in Fredericksburg, Texas over last weekend and contented myself with the landscape and green, graceful Live Oak trees. I remember as a girl jumping in piles of brightly colored leaves. I would always gather as many different colors as I could find and press them in a book. It is still something that I do when I find myself in fall color. There is beauty everywhere when we choose to see it…looking in Fredericksburg last weekend I was graced with a silver rose bush in full bloom, a lovely fluffy cat asleep on the front porch step and the smell of newly mowed bailed hay. I enjoyed them all immensely. I will let you know when I have gathered my leaves!
Love and Blessings,
"People are a lot like stained glass windows -- the full and true beauty can only be seen when there is abundant light shining from within, and when the viewer is standing back enough to take in the whole view, the big picture, what the 'artist' actually had in mind. Up too close, with a critical eye, you see only the imperfections in the glass. Standing back, taking everything in, you see the stunning artistry of the Maker's intended message. Also, and not coincidentally, the darker the night on the outside (in the form of the world's chaos, conflicts, death, fear, and struggles), the brighter and more beautifully the windows show up."
Our Inner Image
We can be so hard on ourselves regarding our self-image and surface appearance - are we beautiful enough, sexy enough, slender enough, smart enough, strong enough, successful enough? It can be exhausting, how harshly we measure ourselves, when underneath it all God made us equally precious (and yet unique) masterpieces.
This becomes most visible to others when we remember the truth of it, allowing our inner light to shine, and when the darkness of the world surrounds us, challenging us to "effulge." In the ordinary light of an ordinary day, where we often tend to go unconscious, we rarely truly see each other and often miss the point of life entirely. So, what does this naturally suggest?
Maybe it means that the key to life is "to shine forth most brightly, to radiate, or to beam" (the actual dictionary meaning of the word, "effulge"), consciously and proactively, from your depths, and to find the world's most bitter darkness that waits just for you in which to brighten and cheer things up with your own unique light and the very personal message that God gave you to share. He came here to teach us that - to let our light shine into the darkness of the world - but first we must find it, find Him, within ourselves, amidst our self-doubt and self-hate, and turn it on.
Blessed With a Purpose
Your Life's Work
Many people are committed to professions and personal endeavors they never consciously planned to pursue. They attribute the shape of their lives to circumstance, taking on roles they feel are tolerable. Each of us, however, has been blessed with a purpose. Your life's work is the assemblage of activities that allows you to express your intelligence and creativity, lives in accordance with your values, and experience the profound joy of simply being yourself. Unlike traditional work, which may demand more of you than you are willing to give, life's work demands nothing but your intent and passion for that work.
Yet no one is born with an understanding of the scope of their purpose. If you have drifted through life, you may feel directionless. Striving to discover your life's work can help you realize your true potential and live a more authentic, driven life. To make this discovery, you must consider your interests in the present and the passions that moved you in the past. You may have felt attracted to a certain discipline or profession throughout your young life only to have steered away from your aspirations upon reaching adulthood.
Or you may be harboring an interest as of yet unexplored. Consider what calls to you and then narrow it down. If you want to work with your hands, ask yourself what work will allow you to do so. You may be able to refine your life's work within the context of your current occupations. If you want to change the world, consider whether your skills and talents lend themselves to philanthropic work. Taking stock of your strengths, passions, beliefs, and values can help you refine your search for purpose if you don't know where to begin.
Additionally, in your daily meditation, ask the universe to clarify your life's work by providing signs and be sure to pay attention. Since life's journey is one of evolution, you may need to redefine your direction on multiple occasions throughout your lifetime. For instance, being an amazing parent can be your life's work strongly for 18 years, and then perhaps you have different work to do.
Your life's work may not be something you are recognized or financially compensated for, such as parenting, a beloved hobby, or a variety of other activities typically deemed inconsequential. Your love for a pursuit, however, gives it meaning. You'll know you have discovered your life's work when you wake eager to face each day and you feel good about not only what you do but also who you are.
Learn and Let Flow
We Don't Need To Suffer
The idea that we have to suffer or live in poverty in order to be spiritual is an old one and can be found in the belief systems of many philosophies. Most of us carry this idea around subconsciously, and we may be holding ourselves back from financial or emotional well-being, believing that this is what we must do in order to be virtuous, spiritually awake, or feel less guilty for the suffering of others. While it's true that there can be a spiritual purpose to experiencing a lack of material well-being, it is rarely intended to be a permanent or lifelong experience.
What we are meant to find when material or emotional resources are in short supply is that there is more to our lives than the physical realm. Intense relationships and material abundance can distract us from the subtler realm of the spirit, so a time of deficiency can be spiritually awakening. However, once we recognize the realm of spirit, and remember to hold it at the center of our lives, there is no reason to dwell in poverty or emotional isolation. In fact, once our connection to spirit is fully intact, we feel so compelled to share our abundance that lack becomes a thing of the past.
If you find that you are experiencing suffering in some area of your physical life, perhaps your spirit is asking you to look deeper in your search for what you want. For example, if you want money so that you can experience the feeling of security but money keeps eluding you, your spirit may be asking you to understand that security is not to be found through money. Security comes from an unshakable connection to your soul. Once you make that connection, money will probably flow more easily into your life.
If relationships elude you, your spirit may be calling you to recognize that the love you seek is not to be found in another person. And yet, ironically, once you find the love, your true love may very well appear. If you feel stuck in suffering to live a spiritual life, try to spend some time writing about it. The root of the problem will appear and it may not be what you expected. Remember, the Universe wants you to be happy.
Following the Current
Going with the Flow
The expression going with the flow is a metaphor that applies to navigating a river. When we go with the flow, we follow the current of the river rather than push against it. People who go with the flow may be interpreted as lazy or passive, but to truly go with the flow requires awareness, presence, and the ability to blend one's own energy with the prevailing energy.
Going with the flow doesn't mean we toss our oars into the water and kick back in the boat, hoping for the best. Going with the flow means we let go of our individual agenda and notice the play of energy all around us. We tap into that energy and flow with it, which gets us going where we need to go a whole lot faster than resistance will. Going with the flow doesn't mean that we don't know where we're going; it means that we are open to multiple ways of getting there. We are also open to changing our destination, clinging more to the essence of our goal than to the particulars. We acknowledge that letting go and modifying our plans is part of the process. Going with the flow means that we are aware of an energy that is larger than our small selves and we are open to working with it, not against it.
Many of us are afraid of going with the flow because we don't trust that we will get where we want to go if we do. This causes us to cling to plans that aren't working, stick to routes that are obstructed, and obsess over relationships that aren't fulfilling. When you find yourself stuck in these kinds of patterns, do yourself a favor and open to the flow of what is rather than resisting it. Trust that the big river of your life has a plan for you and let it carry you onward. Throw overboard those things that are weighing you down. Be open to revising your maps. Take a deep breath and move into the current.
Managing the Power of Choice
Carolyn Myss, Ph. D., in Anatomy of the Spirit
"Managing the power of choice, with all its creative and spiritual implications, is the essence of the human experience. All spiritual teachings are directed toward inspiring us to recognize that the power to make choices is the dynamic that converts our spiritual intent into matter, our words into flesh.
Choice, and the intention and words that naturally follow, is the process of creation itself. The fact that our choices weave our spirits into events is the reason the major spiritual traditions are formed around one essential lesson: Make your choices wisely, because each choice you make is the genesis of a creative act of spiritual power for which you will be held responsible. Further, any choice made from faith has the full power of heaven behind it - that is why 'faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain.' And any choice made from fear is a violation of the energy of faith and will result in the experience of chaos, no matter what circumstances ensue.
We are both physical beings in a spiritual body and spiritual beings in a physical body, but since the physical world cannot be controlled, the task before us is to master our inner spiritual responses to the external world - those being our thoughts and emotions. Nevertheless, we all struggle in a seemingly never-ending cycle of disappointment in which we attempt to control our lives and the lives of others. We search endlessly for the one grand choice that will put everything in our lives into permanent order, halting the natural motion of change long enough to establish final control over everyone and everything. Is that the right career move? Is this the right marriage partner? Are we in the right location? In seeking this one right choice constantly, we give form to our fear of the changing rhythm that is life itself.
In looking for this single external circumstance, community, person or thing that that will forever bring us stability, peace, love, or health, we dismiss the more authentic power that lies 'behind our eyes and not in front of them.' The truth contained within the paradoxical nature of dualism is this: It is not what or who we choose that matters; our power to influence an outcome lies in our motivation or reasons for making the choices we make.
In learning about our motivations, we learn about the content of our spirits. Are you filled with fear, or are you filled with faith? Every choice we make contains the energy of either faith or fear, and the outcome of every decision reflects to some extent that faith or fear. This dynamic of choice guarantees that we cannot run away from ourselves or our decisions. And in order to learn about our motivations - to discover our own personal 'false gods' - we need relationships.
To form a relationship, we use some of our energy or personal power. Once the relationship is formed, we may ask, often unconsciously: Is this relationship drawing power from me, or am I drawing power from it? Where do I end, and where does the other person begin? What is my power, and what is the other person's power? Am I compromising myself, in exchange for status, safety, peace, or money? While these questions are essentially healthy, in most relationships we begin thinking in terms of psychologically divisive and conflict-inducing opposites: me or you, mine or yours, good or bad, winner or loser, right or wrong, legitimate or not, rich or poor.
Symbolically, these conflicts represent most people's relationship to God: my power or yours - are you really with me here on this earth, or must I try to control and manage things myself? And even if I do believe God is maneuvering behind the scenes, how do I know what choices to make? This primary conflict in and crisis of faith is present in every one of our relationships.
Paradoxically, our challenge in managing these conflicting energies is to maintain them in the consciousness of the inherent oneness of all that is. We begin this journey by exploring the conflict within our relationships: Relationships naturally generate conflict, conflict generates choice, choice generates movement, and movement generates more conflict. We break free of this vicious cycle only by making choices that transcend dualism and the perceived divisions between ourselves and others, and between ourselves and God.
So long as we focus on trying to control another person and forget that that person is a mirror reflecting back to us our own qualities, we keep conflict alive within ourselves. Seeing ourselves and others in symbolic union, however, help us to better first accommodate and then celebrate our perceived differences."
Exploring Divinity- the Reiki Way
As a child I would sit through the ritual of Yagya (Hom) with my father for more than an hour as a passive participant The Vedic mantras chanted in the yagya, though, appeared musical to my innocent ears, yet were of little interest to me ,then, as I would understand neither their meaning nor their significance. What kept me waiting patiently as a silent witness was the Halwa (sweets) Prasad distributed after the observance. I failed to understand as to how could one conceive and meditate on something which was formless and not perceptible.
My visits to local temples further added to my dilemma rather than connect me to the Divine. Confusing images of God would conjure up in my adolescent mind, after noticing different deities installed on the altar. The Ram Leela enacted in my small town as an annual feature erected images and lasting imprints of Ram as God , the Mahabharata of Lord Krishna , Shiva’s lingam in a local temple that of Lord Shiva and so on. I was left completely mystified.
As I grew up, my quest became stronger and stronger. I sincerely looked for answers to end my confusion, whether to worship the deities or offer my prayers to a formless God. Just in that moment of my bewilderment, I invoked Reiki to guide my path, awaken in me the Divinity and ferry me to the realm of truth. With my self awareness thus provoked and stimulated by Reiki, I was on my way to experience the unfolding of the mystery.
In my usual prayers every morning, I would sit in my backyard doing my Gassho Meditation but this one proved fateful. While I sat there meditating on Mikao Usui’s Reiki precepts – the secret Mantra for achieving happiness, my eyes fell on a mango tree and its branches shooting out from its stem in all directions like the hands of a damsel dancing with joy. As I was appreciating the beauty of the form, my mind took me beyond the form through the vacant spaces between the branches. The sight of the passing clouds on the blue sky sent a thrill into me when I found surreal shapes rising out of the clouds and dismantling into formless again. And yet, the bizarre forms seemed to gather light in the dark dim centre of my mind to appear as real, full of life and blood, I could feel His presence emerging from formless to form and melting into formless again.
Shapes after shapes in all things that He has sculpted flashed upon my inward eye. Did God conceive and pre design them or they just emerged as gifts of His ingenuity to the mankind? The appearance of forms and then their melting into formless motivated me so much that I picked up my chisel and a flat piece of wood lying in my garden to carve out some unknown shape. Soon, I found myself sculpting the wood not knowing or conceiving in advance what would come out of my exercise. And lo, a meaningful form started emerging as I would dig deeper and deeper. Every stroke of the chisel seemed to bare the hidden beauty of the sculpture. A form was evolving from the formless converging into Nirakar [formless] again like the melting sculptures in the drifting clouds.
The two episodes obviously motivated by Reiki, made me realize that God is formless but assumes a form that a human mind conceives of. In fact God is beyond form and could be reached either through forms or without form. It is immaterial how one approaches Him, whether through form as a crutch or without form. What is important is to get started and sincerely explore Him with devotion, without reservation of any kind. Seek the blessings of Reiki to open the doors of your soul to the realm of bliss and to experience your true Divinity.
Check it out!
A web site dedicated for children in Reiki. It is so great to see little hands at work.
And finally take a few minutes click on this link and see this beautiful message.
I wish you Faith Hope Love and Peace today and everyday.