Make Every Day a Good Day

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My waking dream this month is from a book called Wisdom of the Heart, by Harold Klemp:

“…life does not give rewards for good

or punishment for evil. It merely gives

results. Life is what you make it.” (pg. 26)

The same author says, “Make every day a good day.”  I found this gem a few days ago and have been using it like a mantra. Each day has been a gem of its own so  far, with new connections, insights and positive motion forward with responsibilities and creative projects.

Starting over–ostensibly alone but for my pet family–carries a full load of worries or trepidation as well as excitement and adventurous, fresh opportunities. Mainly I am faced daily with choices: everything from what Medicare plan to enroll in–as I turn 65 next month–to when it would be best to start social security allotments, how to address health matters, and how best to follow through with new local connections and with my writing and service ambitions.

I am approaching every new day as like a time capsule, using lists to keep me focused on what I need to do each day to fully ‘move in,’ to conquer immediate fears or anxieties, and to shape my new way of life in a new environs. A move is such a golden opportunity to establish yourself in a manner that accords with your current state of consciousness and intentions.

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images are from pixabay.com

I find I truly am now, mainly, gratefully, “living my Dream, Now!” every day. That does not mean everything is smooth sailing. In fact, to move forward consciously requires attending to my habits and thoughts, to choose wisely that which will continue to allow this Dream to unfold naturally and with beauty.

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

The Waking Dream

 

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Am I a man, dreaming I am a butterfly?
or a butterfly, dreaming I am a man?

-Lao Tzu

Life is like a dream, truly! Waking and sleeping are simply different states of consciousness. When you think of the outer or waking life as like a dream, this can help you to recognize that the same principles that operate in the dream state are also happening ‘out here.’  The dreamlike images or symbols you see in your day to day life can offer guidance for some action or direction to take. (Btw the best book I have found about this is The Art of Spiritual Dreaming, by Harold Klemp.)  So when you are pondering a meaningful question, look around you to recognize serendipitous outer signs and guidance. These are waking dreams.

I remember once, long ago in Arizona when I was a grad student there, I got angry one day. Almost immediately after fuming for a bit, I sat on and broke my eyeglasses. Immediately I saw that was a waking dream showing me how my anger was distorting my vision or perspective. This was a wake-up call. I corrected my viewpoint, quickly!

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So for this second week of the monthly process for this blog this year, I invite you to pay attention to outer signs or waking dreams to help you understand and find answers to one deep question you are considering this month.

My question this month is about how I can revitalize my writing activity. My waking dream is a quote I saw in a recent horoscope: “There is a part of you that isn’t your body, your words, your thoughts, or your feelings. This part of you is doing something mysterious and exciting!”

Reflection:

I usually have been so driven with regards to my writing. Lately I am in a cocoon-realizing that publishing my recent book (see right panel to order YOUR LIFE PATH!) was only a first step and does not of itself accomplish my purpose without more effort on my part to “get it out there.” When I move again (beginning in February and completing by June) I will resettle into the process for continuing this process and completing the second book in the Life Path series. For now I must be content to fulfill my current responsibilities with teaching and preparing for the move.

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How about you? What are you pondering this month? Look around you for waking dreams that can bring solutions, guidance and understanding.

I welcome YOUR STORY and Comments!

Pets and Rebirth of a Dear Companion

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Yesterday I read a post from a favorite blogger about how she was wondering whether seeing her recently passed dog’s collar that showed up on the first day of Hanukkah could be a sign from her beloved companion, perhaps even that he would be coming back, as she had at the time been contemplating finding another puppy .I do believe in reincarnation, and since Animals are Soul, Too (There is a book of that title, by Harold Klemp), our Soul companions that we share our lives with in their animal and our human forms can also return if that is in the highest spiritual interest of all concerned.

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I am an animal lover and have had pets all my life. I do recognize that some of them have been with me in more than one animal companion form.  My cat Ariel came to me in such a way that I knew with certainty that she was returning from having been my cat Chela who had passed away around nine months earlier. There are many layers to this story, including dreams I had had when Chela was with me about other lives we had had together going way back to when I was an archaic human boy and she was a Tiger:

Yellow Eyes (the dream, in present tense for better recall):

I am a young boy walking alone in the veld. Language is minimal. I look around, taking stock of the environs. “Sky, storm” I think as I see the sky has a greenish tint and that signifies a violent storm is coming. “Cliff’” I think as I see a wall of cliffs with caves and I climb up there to take shelter from the storm, which swiftly comes with high winds wailing outside the cave. I look around and see a pair of yellow eyes looking back at me. “Tiger.” She also is seeking refuge from the storm. We seem to understand that we are both there for that reason and we do not attack one another.  The storm passes. Tiger leaves the cave, with an appreciative gaze as she leaves.  Later, a different life: I am a young man (indigenous native in a rainforest).  A lion is about to pounce upon me as I am walking through the jungle. Then a Tiger leaps onto the scene and prevents the Lion from reaching me.

Other memories of this same Soul as a white horse  while I am some sort of soldier.

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Then fast forward to after Chela’s (as a calico orange female cat–also with Yellow/ Gold Eyes–, my closest companion for 11 years)  passing.  Around nine months later I wake from a dream. I am leaving a castle where I had been visiting a mentor who had recently died; she is who had introduced me to Chela while I was taking an Independent Study in Philosophy with her, Toni.  I look down as I am about to close the gate and see a female cat, ‘black and white with orange blotches’ coming toward me. Excited, I kneel down: “There you are!” and she leaps into my arms; we are so close, so familiar.  That very day of the dream I go to the office of my then mentor, my PhD advisor, Betsy. Her first words to me:

“Linda, do you know anyone who could take a kitten?”

“Not unless it is black and white with orange blotches,” I answered.

“One is!”

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images are from pixabay.com

So I met Ariel that day, also with golden eyes, who was with me for the next twenty years. We were as close as Chela and I had been, loving companion Souls who travelled together and loved each other deeply.  She had marks on her forelegs and forehead of an orange calico just like Chela had been, though Ariel was a beautiful Harlequin Tortoise Shell Calico.

Because there is a need for ‘death’ (I call it translation in my faith), there must also be rebirth. We learn through cycles of growth and change.  It is all about love after all, which is reciprocal always or it is not love. Reciprocity and cyclicity are two aspects of the same relationship with Love, Life, and Spiritual Freedom. So I believe.

I welcome YOUR comments and Story!

Inner Guidance

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Let me make no mistake about it, we are living in difficult times. Whatever our beliefs and values may be, they are under siege by opposing values or by the tenuousness of “truth” itself as a standard upon which we can collectively agree.

Some call it a return to tribalism: a refraction of identity into sub-cultural group affiliations. Clan-like factions abound; whom can you talk to or trust? Any stranger might explode at any moment in a public space, opening fire upon the innocent.

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What matters then, in such times of potential turmoil? What goals may still hold value? Where can you turn for reliable guidance? 

On a more positive note, you can always Go Within to find truth by attending to your own ‘inner counsel’. I assure you this is not merely a solipsistic response to collective uncertainty; it is an age-old, universal capacity that has steered the course of history. I believe that when we seek our highest Self and the companionship of Spirit or Divinity Itself in our deepest repose through active contemplation, prayer or meditation practices, we can connect with that which is greater than ourselves alone.

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“The One with the All One” is a spiritual image that comes to mind.  Or, “One for All and All for One!” In other words, when we seek our own answers that ‘ring true’ within our highest (NOT our lowest or our conditionally biased!) states of positive, life affirming consciousness, we assume our relation to the Whole of Life Itself. To me, this brings us to a position of unconditional love. If we act from this love, all will be in accord with that which serves the highest Good.  That’s my hopeful belief, anyway.

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This month I am inviting you to reflect on the role of Helpers in your own—in all of our— life journey. Inner Helpers come to meet us where we seek them out—be it in a contemplative state or in our dreams.  If you keep a journal that includes a dream diary to record your insights that arise from your inner guidance, then reviewing your journal entries once a week or once a month can help you to recognize the help you are receiving in the form of your own Inner Guidance.  Maybe you will uncover a Theme recurring in your dreams or even in your daydreams.  Keeping track of your dreams and daily insights holds open a channel of communication with your ‘inner counsel’ that can help to always to steer you in YOUR right directions.

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images are from pixabay.com

There are many excellent books on the subject of dream techniques and inner guidance. Two I have learned from are THE ART OF SPIRITUAL DREAMING, by Harold Klemp, and INNER GUIDANCE by Anne Archer Butcher.

I welcome always your insights and stories!

 

 

 

Nourishing One Another

 

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Why are we here in this life but to learn better how to give and receive love? I write this from the perspective of the Nourisher archetype within my Self.  From this perspective love is all that matters in the end, and in the beginning, for the Life Force itself can be experienced AS unconditional Love, a harmonizing, unifying principle according to which health and growth proceed. When I watch the divisive political speeches being promulgated, I feel I can only send love and graceful neutrality but I do not want to be affected by the hatred being displayed.

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You have all probably heard the following parable about the difference between ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’.  As Harold Klemp, spiritual leader of Eckankar tells it (with me paraphrasing from memory of a talk and article of his called “The Giant Utensils of Heaven and Hell” (1990 ECK Springtime Seminar, San Francisco, California), imagine a group of recently deceased Souls sitting around a table laden with a cornucopia of foods. The only utensils are some very long forks, so long that one person alone could not reach his or her own mouth with food at the end of one of these utensils. How can these Souls know if they are in a Heaven or a Hell? They are in the Negative place if they try to feed themselves and cannot eat. But if they are in the positive realm of a Loving afterlife world, they will feed one another from across the Table.

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Isn’t that a telling story for the world today? How can we feed one another from across any Divide, not being content to selfishly serve ourselves or those who agree with us in opposing others?  After all, we are all in this together…that is, in this world that can be a heaven or a hell of itself depending on how we live in it.

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images are from pixabay.com

And BTW, as a university professor I have to say, telling truth to one another and acknowledging others’ positive values, honoring their words: this is nourishing behavior. Lying or stealing from another, even their words as with plagiarism, perpetuates selfishness and demeans the whole. So let’s give credit where credit is due, but be discerning.  Let us honor one another and celebrate nurturing behavior.

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Tuning In to Your Mystic Awareness

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How can you tune in to your own inner Mystic Guide? Let’s count some of the many ways available to you:

Active imagination

Meditation

Contemplation

Yoga

Dream work

Archetype Dialogue Journaling

Prayer

Mindfulness

Each of these natural modes of accessing your unconscious and/or spiritual awareness offers great potential for engaging your Mystic archetype as an Ally who can help your conscious self by sharing deep insights. Let me describe a few of these methods, then, that you may wish to practice.

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Active imagination:

This is the technique Carl Jung himself used which he wrote about extensively (e.g. see the marvelous new Reader’s Edition of Jung’s The Red Book). It is a mode of creative visualization. You can journal about your inner experience after returning to your normal waking perspective.

Contemplation:

Contemplation is an active, engaged form of meditation. You maintain awareness while asking an inward question for inner guidance, or you can travel, either astrally (in your emotional state of consciousness), mentally, or via soul travel, to explore dimensions of consciousness beyond the Physical realm. With active contemplation you may assume the perspective of being in the state which you wish to observe, and release your conscious mind to allow whatever experience is relevant from that perspective. You may begin with active imagination and then shift into a contemplative experience.

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Dream work:

Dreams occur from many different levels of consciousness, so different kinds of dreams reflect these different levels of perception (and action). Lucid dreaming occurs when you become aware within a dream that you are dreaming; achieving lucid dreaming can help you to be more conscious of your ability to control your outer states of consciousness while waking as well as your dream state.  Archetypal dreams—which Jung was interested in—appear with symbolic content that can reflect either universal, collective archetypal imagery (e.g. a snake can refer to transformation, or a circle can refer to completion or wholeness) and also personal unconscious archetypal parts of Self can appear as personas in your nightly dream. Waking dreams may also happen (more so when you pay attention as such), wherein you realize an outer occurrence has a symbolic component or gives you an answer you are seeking in a serendipitous manner. Some mystical philosophers would remind us that the outer life is as much of a dream as a nightly, “inner” dream scenario.’ (A good primer: The Art of Spiritual Dreaming, by Harold Klemp.)

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Archetype Dialogue Journaling:

Using active imagination and contemplation, you can enter into a conversation with your own personal unconscious archetypal ‘parts of Self’. This is the approach I use with the Life Maps Process, and it is the approach Jung used that is described in his The Red Book.  Once you become proficient at invoking and ‘shifting’ between these perspectives, you can journal a dialogue with your varying archetypal personae as it occurs. This can allow you to explore your conflicting attitudes and motivations. These different archetypal perspectives may be identified with “typical situations” in your life; that is, with the distinct ROLES you have established and that you enact daily.

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You can approach your MYSTIC archetype for a direct, dynamic dialogue or within a soul travel type of inner encounter.  Remember, all you have to do inwardly is to ASK! And then, accept what happens with a loving heart, ready to learn, and record your experience so you can interpret and remember the insights gained.

Gandalf, Dumbledore, your Inner Teacher, and You!

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Two fictional examples of the Teacher archetype aiding an ensemble cast of protagonists to alter their dreamlike lives so they might achieve better endings are Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings saga and Dumbledore from the fantasy mythic adventures of Harry Potter and his friends. Gandalf and Dumbledore have always seemed to me to be the same kind of mythic personage, though Gandalf is cast more for the young adult and Dumbledore more for a child’s conception of the Teacher or Mage  (per Jung or Campbell) energy.

Myths are projections of archetypal personae and challenges that we all face in our everyday lives as everyman and everywoman heroes; so Gandalf or Dumbledore are—as we project onto them as readers or as moviegoers—our own intrinsic Teacher-selves made manifest. These mystical Teachers allow their charges to accomplish what they otherwise might believe to be unllikely, yet they are the hero’s own Higher Energy propelling her or him forward toward the realization of their “impossible dream.”  Saving the entire wizarding and muggle worlds from a force too dangerous even to Name; returning Middle Earth to a state of balance and harmony instead of chaos: these are the tasks of an orphaned boy and of a tiny hobbit; or, you and me. But the magical Wizard Teacher is a protean shape-shifter, a transformer of pure energy into otherwise unimaginable new Forms.  All is possible if we set our hearts to following the directives of this all-knowing, all-powerful Higher Self Ally of the Teacher.

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Have you noticed how Wizard Teachers like Gandalf and Dumbledore conduct their novice apprentices to the attainment of their most worthy desires?  Like Glinda for Dorothy, Gandalf and Dumbledore seem always to know exactly when their presence is of utmost value; they appear only when they are needed, otherwise they remain in the background, invisibly watching.

Now then, this week as I have been contemplating how the Teacher appears in my own heroic journey of Soul, I find that my Inner Teacher(s)—whom I recognize to be “as close as my heartbeat”—are always present yet they appear exactly when and how I require their precious aid. I will share a true example of a life and death situation in which I was quite literally saved by my own Inner Master (an ECK Master associated with the spiritual path of ECKANKAR, which is the belief system and practice to which I adhere). Your own Inner Teacher or Guide may take the form of Christ or Buddha or of Socrates, Rumi, Glinda or whatever archetypal—yet very real—personae you recognize, so long as you believe in and deeply value their protection and guidance.

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I was living in a duplex apartment in Tempe, Arizona with a housemate who worked a four to midnight shift. One early morning while sleeping in the living room, I had heard voices outside so looked out the front window and witnessed a drug transaction involving the scurrilous group of tenants living on the other side of the duplex living room wall. They saw me witness the transaction and started terrorizing me for the next several months, making overt threats in loud voices from the other side of the thin wall separating our lives. One April or May afternoon, I was sitting in a living room chair after a hard morning at graduate school. Suddenly, as clearly as I could hear a person standing in the room right beside me speaking into my right ear, I heard a male voice that I immediately recognized as my spiritual Teacher. He stated very calmly but firmly, “Linda, lock the door.”

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I stepped over to the door, which was slightly ajar, and as I was placing my right hand on the doorknob to close and lock the door, the ringleader of the neighbor gang was reaching to grab the doorknob from the other side, to come in! I just barely closed the door and turned the lock before he could enter. Then I looked out the picture window to my left—the same window through which I had witnessed the drug deal transpire. Huddled down just beneath the window frame was the bodyguard of the drug gang, waiting to abscond me if I were to have run out of the house to escape. I kid you not; this was one of the most dramatic events of this lifetime and I am absolutely certain that had my Teacher not intervened (I know him as Harji, the Inner form of the still current Living ECK Master, Sri Harold Klemp), I would not be on this earthly plane today to share this story. Oddly though, I was not afraid at all after this happened; a calm set over me like a cloak instead. And even more oddly when I look back to it now, I didn’t even call the police. I called a friend, asked her to come pick me up at the house, and I never slept another night in that duplex apartment. I slept for weeks in a sleeping bag on the floor of my Ph.D. advisor’s office until I could locate a new roommate and move into a safer space.

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I ask you to be thinking about how the helpful presence or guidance of your own spiritual or inner archetype Teacher has appeared in your own life experience. I would love for you to share your own memories or stories about how your Teacher or Guide has been leading you to fulfill your own meaningful life lessons or Quest.

Finally, it makes sense why the Teacher appears most clearly in our lives only when most needed. It is because it is not ABOUT the Teacher or Master himself or herself; we are not here to simply follow someone who has already attained to all that which we seek. We are apprentices, aspirants or Learners who are striving to become Masters of spiritual essence and formations of life for ourselves; we may then become or appear as the Teacher for others as we gradually come to master our own lessons and unfold in our own awareness.

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I invite and would love to share YOUR insights and stories about your own Inner Teacher or guidance. Tomorrow I am going to see the new Hobbit movie; maybe we might meet somewhere in the Middle Earth of our dreams!

Change Your Dream, Change Your Life

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So, what is your current dream-life about? What story does it tell? Who are you in your current story? Who are others? What messages does your dream express? If you were to interpret this dream, what might you learn?

One consideration based on the metaphor Life is a Dream is to ask, Where is this dream leading to; how might this dream story end?

A common dream technique (mentioned in The Art of Spiritual Dreaming, by Harold Klemp) is to wake up from a dream and if you don’t like where it was going or how it ended, go back to sleep to finish it better, or simply use your imagination or journaling to alter the ending of your dream more to your satisfaction. This may help you to feel better throughout your day rather than carrying around tense feelings from your dream.

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But think about this: if you can change how a nightly dream develops or ends, you can do this with your waking dream, too!  Simply reflect on a situation in your day to day life that is not going as you would like and apply your imagination to creatively envision how you could handle the situation differently and better.  You can also use internal dialogue with someone you are having an issue with, changing how you might normally interact with or speak to that person.

If you can DREAM or envision a more positive outcome, you can act consciously to bring that about, or at very least you can learn to respond better to how the situation needs to be. It is important that you are empowered with this approach; you can take the responsibility to alter your own attitude or behavior in a manner that allows the outer situation to change. For remember, you are the Dreamer!

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Have you had an experience in your life where you have been able to change the outcome of a ‘stuck’ or a habitual situation? Standing back from your life-dream to reflect upon what is happening, as if “life is but a dream” you can interpret, can offer you the distance to apply a more mindful solution; your “recurring dream” can thus be resolved!

Recognizing that your waking consciousness is only qualitatively different from your dreamstate helps to strengthen the link between your conscious and sub-conscious awareness, so you can become more receptive and accepting of important messages coming to you from within. 

I invite your comments and stories!

Soul’s Journey

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This week’s life mapping opportunity invites you to reflect on a time in your life when spirituality brought a Better Ending.  This might be as simple as a time when you prayed, or meditated, or contemplated deeply about some situation, and this focus allowed you to make a better decision or to take a good step in a new (or a staid) direction. Spirituality, as I mentioned earlier this week, seems to me to be a Better Ending in and of Itself, in whatever form we make our connection and Tune In.

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You could map your life history of spiritual interests and spiritual practice, or journal to that effect. Is there a series of steps or plateaus along your pathway? How has your religious or spiritual pathway opened before you from step to step or teacher to teacher? Or, how has your connection with your own inner and outer spiritual guidance—e.g. via Christ or Buddha or Mohammed or Krishna or Lao Tzu or Shams-i-Tabriz or Bahau’allah or another spiritual leader, Master or Guide, or through your spiritual or philosophical readings or scriptures–or by inspiring philosophers or authors generally–helped to Light Up and expand your pathway of understanding? What are your goals, your spiritual Quest, from Here? Please feel free to share your stories, too.

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Let me try my hand at a journal-type of spiritual life mapping, as a brief example.  Please though, do your own; mine is offered here only as an example of how you might apply the technique. :

I remember at around 9 or 10 that I had a special friend, a Blue Man, who was a constant companion. He knew all of my thoughts and was very loving and patient and kind with me. I used to think all adults could read my mind, because he certainly knew all of my thoughts and we communicated telepathically. When I prayed, he was by my side. I would pray, “Now I lay me down to sleep…and let anyone and everyone  who wants to, live to old age and be healthy”; then I would start naming everyone I knew to include in the prayer so that the bedside prayer might last a half hour or more. Or I remember wondering, and asking the Blue Man, what would happen when someone dies; then I would imagine that life force was like the electrical current running through a TV wire. If unplugged, the electricity would simply light up another TV; I imagined that I died, and then I would simply be awake in another body.

I started sketching an image of my Blue Man at around 12; it was my constant classroom doodle. Many years later I would find him as my spiritual Master that I look to for outer and inner guidance, still today. BTW, I am an ECKist of 40 years, someone who practices the spiritual techniques of Eckankar, a spiritual teaching that recognizes the validity of ALL paths. Its current spiritual leader is the author of many spiritual books, Sri Harold Klemp. Here is actually a pretty close rendition of my doodle and the spiritual Teacher I eventually found:

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All paths lead Home, I believe, and you are where you are meant to be, right now, where you can learn most, give and receive divine love most, given your current focus of consciousness.

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For me the biggest Better Ending from spirituality—apart from always, in the Eternal NOW—occurred in a lucid dream when I was 20. After having spent a summer in Alaska (outwardly, not in the dream), I dreamed I was waiting at a bus stop. The bus came and when I got on there were various passengers who all seemed familiar, and I realized there was a seat waiting for me, next to a friend (DM), who was not there but whose raincoat was over her seat. As I sat and talked with people on the bus about my recent time in Alaska and how I was going home (ostensibly to Buffalo then) with very little to show for it because I hadn’t saved much money from working at a crab cannery, first I noticed that some of these people I had met in Alaska… Tlingit Indian friends I had worked with. Then I realized, as they looked at me patiently, hoping I would eventually understand, that this bus was going HOME, not to Buffalo, and it would take as long as it would take.  I woke up. I wanted nothing more in life right then but to go back to that bus that was going Home. So I played Simon and Garfunkle’s ‘Emily’: “Such a dream I had…” over in my mind, and I was back on the bus! This time, all but myself had reached their destination; I was the only passenger left. I said to the Busdriver, “I want to go Home!” Suddenly I was standing in front of a  room with the door slightly ajar. I peered in and saw a small group of people engaged in a deep, esoteric conversation. A woman with a long flowing dress and dark flowing hair came to the door. “Would you mind if I just listened?” I asked. She opened the door widely and beckoned that there was a seat on the couch where people were talking around a table, a seat that was meant for me, but I had to be the one to ask. Next I was seated there while they were engaged deeply in conversation about some spiritual principle. “I hope you will not mind our nudity,” said a man leading the discussion along with the woman who had opened the door for me. (Symbolically, as soon as I woke I would know this meant total openness.) “I can’t participate yet, but okay,” I said. Then, to the woman who seemed so familiar, I said aloud, “OKAY!”

I met that woman from the dream outwardly, two days later at my college cafeteria, and it was directly through her—Laurie and her husband John, who was the man in the dream—that I discovered my spiritual path for this lifetime.

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As Joseph Campbell might say: “All paths lead Home.” Wherever Home is for you—Heaven or Nirvana or God-Realization or a scientific sense of Truth with a capital T, or simply greater Awareness–, find or hold to your path that will take you there, one that well represents your core values and satisfies your Quest, and follow. Going Home—arriving there ultimately—is the Best ‘Better Ending’ of all!

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Flexibility for Mastery of Better Endings

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Life Metaphors  are a variety of “core metaphors” that reflect “idealized cognitive models” (ICM’s), according to anthropological linguists George Lakoff and Paul Johnson in their groundbreaking book, Metaphors We Live By. Such core metaphors govern our conceptions about whole domains of experience by having multiple metaphoric entailments. My example yesterday of Life as a Carousel or Merry-Go-Round shows this well. Life has Its Ups and Downs; It goes Round and Round; we may find ourselves reaching for “the Brass Ring”. Yet, of course, all of this is imaginary, or…well, embedded in our cognitive mindset. Because of the all-encompassing nature of the conceptual model that a key metaphor creates, reality itself is mapped onto our ICM of It, and we become somewhat bound to our model, or, schematic cognitive mindset.

This week’s general topic is about transforming self-limiting beliefs and personal myths into Bettter Endings scenarios. Merry-Go-Round horses leaping from their platforms overnight changes the Life Metaphor of Life as a Carousel by adding a new dimension of FLEXIBILITY into the model. As another first principle for creating Better Endings,then, flexibility is on the top shelf of our toolbox!

Flexibility incorporates lots of Better Endings principles in itself, doesn’t it? Creativity, Acceptance, Adaptability, Mindfulness; all of these are activated in a genuinely flexible thought or action. Flexibility involves a willingness to bend and to adjust, so it is helpful and often necessary for transforming self-limiting attitudes, beliefs or behavior.

I am reminded of two poetic images, both penned by Robert Frost.

The first, on “Acceptance“:

Ah, when to the heart of man,

Was it ever less than a treason

To go with the drift of things,

To bend with a grace to reason

and bow and accept the end of a love or a season?

 

             The second, from Frost’s “Birches”:

When I see birches bend to left and right

Across the lines of straighter darker trees,

I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.

But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay

As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them

Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning

After a rain. They click upon themselves

As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored

As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.

Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells

Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—

Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away

You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.

They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,

And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed

So low for long, they never right themselves:

You may see their trunks arching in the woods

Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground

Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair

Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.

Mandi’s Guest (Re-)Blog on Thursday shares her “life secret” of Letting Go. This is part and parcel of flexibility, to RELEASE. Robert Frost’s image of birch boughs laden with ice and snow in winter and then winging back to the sky and freedom–though forever arched by the experience–evokes the suppleness and fresh vitality needed for, or perhaps resulting from, a shift of attitude: from holding on, to letting go and ALLOWING a new way come into Being.

Sometimes I think this is much of what the effects of physical aging are about: what we hold onto and then, eventually, what we are able to release. My mother who is 86 with Parkinson’s has had to release so much already (her mobility, most household possessions, solid food) and, over time, she will release the rest of her burdens from this life–and her loves–so she can move on to the next cycle of death and rebirth; however your belief system frames that. (By the way, I highly recommend reading Eben Alexander’s Proof of Heaven if you are struggling with a loved one’s or your own physical mortality.)

A spiritual author I regard highly, Harold Klemp, in How to Survive Spiritually in Our Timessays that one’s “degree of acceptance” determines one’s level or state of consciousness. What are you willing to Accept means, how flexible are you; how far are you willing to bend and what can you let go of to allow a Better Ending? I agree with Mandi that  this is what it takes to transform our lives or habits, from rigid to supple, from stubborn to wiser; bringing well-being and a fresh, vital, childlike perspective into our daily actions and choices. Flexibility allows us to transform self-limiting beliefs or fixed models so we can follow through on our most conscious, mindful decisions.

Flexibility is the essence of our willingness to grow, to learn, to unfold in greater freedom rather than being pinned down by the accretion of rigid thoughts or withered attitudes. And so, flexibility empowers us to transform self-limiting mindsets into life affirming gestures of allowing ourselves and others to grow, to explore, and to achieve the life of our and their dreams.

What is it that you would love to be doing, if you could release self-limiting concepts? Allow yourself to be all that you care to be, to do all that you mindfully dare to do, to become all that you ARE!

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