A Complete Guide to the Practice o Meditation

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What is the true meaning of a soul mate?

Question: The problem seems to be that when you are in a relationship, in the beginning everything is happening, but when you marry that person it changes.

I’ve been in several relationships, major relationships, and been married and divorced twice and I’m searching for something special. Something I’ve been told has been called a soul mate. Do you believe in such a relationship or person and what would that mean? How would I know that?

Ram Dass: Got it! Keep looking! I’ll give you the farthest out answer first and then we’ll come back to something that everybody can handle. In the farthest out answer, we have all been around so many times that every one of us has been everything with everybody else. So when I look at you, you and I have been in so many relationships together. It’s just that we don’t remember.

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Own Your Part

Claiming your part helps you step out of tangles with others and yourself.

What's your own role?

The Practice:
See your part.

Why?


In situations or relationships with any kind of difficulty—tension, feeling hurt, conflicts, mismatches of wants . . . the usual crud—it's natural to focus on what others have done that's problematic.

This could be useful for a while: it can energize you, bring insight into what the real priorities are for you, and help you see more clearly what you'd like others to change.

But there is also a cost: Fixating on the harms (actual or imagined) done by others revs up your case about them (see JOT "Drop the Case")  with all the stresses and other problems that brings, plus it makes it harder to see the good qualities in those you have issues with, the influence of additional factors, and your own part in the matter.

For example, let's say you work with someone who is unfairly critical of you. Sure, there are the ways this person is out of line, self-righteous, whatever. Additionally, there are the ways that this person is also doing good things, plus the ways that other factors—such as a distracted boss who hasn't stepped in or coworkers who like to gossip—are helping or hurting. And there is your own role as well: what you're doing—in thought, word, and deed—that's beneficial or harmful.

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Who’s The Man In Your Relationship?

I am a very “bottom-line” person. I speak my mind. I call it as I see it, without all that flowery talk. While this communication style may be very useful in the workplace, I discovered it’s not a quality most men find endearing or attractive.

One evening, when I was in my early thirties, I had been on a date with a man I found rather obnoxious, superficial and patronizing. Admittedly, it was a really bad date. Completely unintentionally, Dirk said something that changed my life:

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Let Go and Know the Peace of Now

Have you ever watched a mother hold her new child, or seen a doe gently nuzzle her fawn as it stood there balancing on uncertain legs? Did you ever stand outside in the still air washed clean by the passage of a spring storm, or feel yourself moved by the sight of tall trees swaying in a summer’s breeze? Maybe your imagination has been caught and held still as you stood looking out over a rugged seacoast, or you’ve found your attention willingly arrested by some late-afternoon light whose colors made heaven seem not so far away.

All moments like these share a quality of quietness that is timeless, even as they whisper these traits to us in the perfectly present Now. The silence of such stillness is golden because it is uncorrupted; its quiet presence within us enlarges us because through our communion with it we are entered into a relationship with the peace of a vital Now beyond the reach of time.

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Two Revelations of Love

All of our relationships, in particular with the one we love, exist for a dual purpose, along with their great promise. First, most of us understand that our partner in life is there to help us grow, and to awaken and stir in us, accordingly, an awareness of love's highest possibilities. But the other - and equally important half of this same purpose and promise - without which the first part can't succeed - is as follows: our partner in life is also there to help us see everything in us that now stands in the way of our coming to realize this same higher love.

Here are two transformational revelations of love.

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Two Kinds of “Problem Partners” – And How to Deal With Them

Whoever would blame another for feeling misunderstood, or who becomes bitter towards those thought to have let them down, has failed to realize the following self-liberating truth: the first root of sorrow in this life is not for what others have or have not done to us. Our suffering over the “shortcomings” of others is nothing less than the stuff of what we have not yet understood about ourselves.

Let’s apply this truth to two common types of “problem partners” and how to deal with them.

The Real Reason Resentment Grows Toward Our Partner

Perhaps you and your partner have always had a pretty strong relationship. But, of late, it takes less and less things that he or she does (or doesn't do) to bother you more and more! You may even be mature enough to know that you must have some hand in this growing sense of disappointment, but you just don't know where it is that you’re complicit.

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Three Ways to Fulfill the Beautiful Purpose of All Your Relationships

All of our relationships, particularly with those we love, exist for a single beautiful purpose that expresses itself in two different ways. First, our partner – whether spouse, that “special” someone, or even a would-be companion – is in our life to help us grow; to provide just the conditions we need to become that better, truer person that they see in us, just waiting to be brought forth. But the other and equally important half of this same purpose and promise – without which the first part can’t be realized – is as follows: our partner is also there in our life to help us see everything in us that now stands in the way of our realizing this same higher possibility.

Here are three ways to use difficult situations with your partner to help you fulfill the true purpose of your relationships.

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How To Stop Being Over Responsible For Others

Everyone has their own unique soul’s journey.

You may not understand it, and you may not agree with it.

It’s O.K.

It’s their soul’s journey.

Perhaps, you love and care for your child, grandchild, spouse, friend so much that you don’t want them to suffer in any way. And so you end up doing way too much to help them.

Or feeling over responsible for them, where you have a tendency to take on and do for them what they should be doing for themselves. In doing so, you think that you are helping them, but you really are not.

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Think in a New Way About Your Relationship

Being renewed by love, and beginning your life all over again, are one and the same interior action. It starts with becoming aware of, and then bringing a conscious end to all lingering relationships you may have with old thoughts and feelings that want you to keep seeing your life through their eyes. Ending these connections with wrong parts of yourself is key to starting over in your relationships with those you love.

A student once wrote to me that she felt as if she was stuck in a kind of purgatory. She explained, “I’ve just entered into a relationship with a wonderful new man, and I want to embrace this opportunity – love him – as fully as I know I'm capable of doing. But, I'd have never met this man if it weren’t for a real jerk crushing my heart less than a few months ago. I can see I’m afraid to let go and trust my new partner, but I know that if I don't, then our love will have no way to grow.”

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Take Resentment, Regret, and Blame Out of Your Relationship Equation

We are not meant to keep accounts with others, to fill ourselves with blame about where they failed to meet our demands. Nor are we created to carry around with us the cruel and careless remarks of others, and this includes our regrets for where we may have done the same. We can learn to exchange this nature of resentment, that lives to revisit disappointments, with a new and higher understanding that can no more feel punished by the sleeping actions of others than does a mountain feel pain in the midst of a thunder storm.

Here are three examples of how to make the exchange from resentment to higher understanding:

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Improve Your Relationships! 3 Steps for Better Communication

Does the idea of communicating with your loved one involve idle chit chat while gazing at the T.V. or glossing over your mobile device? Are you struggling with conflict and disagreements internally that show up as passive-aggressive behavior in yourself or others? What about with colleagues at work or even with whom you interact with on social media?

You’d think they are all different- that close relationship should count more, but why is that? Truly, anyone you communicate with deserves respect, kindness, and authentic dialog. No one needs to accept anything less.

Good communication is essential to having a loving, harmonious relationship. But, most of us were never really taught the art of relationship dialogue. Sure, we read magazine articles about finding the right moment to express our needs and how we need to learn how to compromise, etc. We try to keep trying to get them to hear our point of view and then get frustrated when our partner, colleague or friend doesn’t seem interested.

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How To Let Go Of a Relationship

“It’s not just how long you stay together that determines the success of a relationship, but the depth at which you love.”


Letting go of a relationship can by scary and painful. Particularly if you still love the other person. It is easy to stay out of fear or familiarity, even when things are no longer working out. However, it often takes more love to let go than to stay in a stagnant relationship.

Listen to this insightful episode to learn why ending a relationship is not a failure, but a sign of growth.

Some things you will learn:

  • Why we stay in relationships way longer than is healthy.
  • The reason you should not get attached to the person you are in a relationship with.
  • How you can still love your ex.
  • How a relationship is a blessing, regardless of how it ends.
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What Are You Consciously Walking Toward?

I hope you are feeling energized by the possibilities of 2019!  As you may or may not know, I am getting married in 2019! It seems hard to wrap my head around, but after 15 years of being single, I will be “walking down the aisle.”  Planning a wedding as a 58-year-old bride has been interesting, especially when I compare it to the experience I had as a 28-year-old one:

  • Salespeople and vendors tend to do a double-take when they realize that it is me and not one of my 20-something year old daughters who is the bride. 

  • Instead of feeling compelled to follow protocol or formalities, you quickly realize that you are in a situation where “no rules apply.”


And the biggest and most profound difference is that this time the most important aspect of the whole event is the walk down the aisle and the person and life I am walking toward. And here’s what I truly find so fascinating. Even though I thought I was I pretty aware person, this imagery of walking down the aisle has provided a huge breakthrough in terms of all aspects of my life and being truly cognizant and conscious about what and whom I am walking toward.

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Turn Heated Exchanges Into Healing Turning Points

Regardless of our certainty as to whether we or our partner starts or rekindles a quarrel, the real cause of the continuing conflict between us lies elsewhere. Which is why, as strange as the following insight may seem at first, the importance of working to see the truth of it simply can’t be overstated:

Despite any appearance to the contrary, it’s not our partner, nor is it we who strikes the first blow in any dispute: it’s pain that picks the fight.

No doubt this last idea challenges most of our familiar notions, especially when we’re sure we’ve been wronged and feel that it’s our right to seek whatever “justice” we might. But, putting all this aside for a moment, as we quietly study the secret cause of our struggles rather than being caught up in them, we should also be able to see, and agree to the following:

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The Greatest Love of All

I can remember it as if it was yesterday, although more time than I can account for has passed since that telling moment. My voice had been persistently hoarse, a feature I’d made peace with due to my rigorous teaching schedule. However, given that it seemed a little worse than usual, I made an appointment to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

The doctor’s office had the same smell as every doctor’s office I’d ever visited, and walking in to it made me want to walk out of it at first whiff. But, at this point, I knew that wasn’t an option. So, after waiting the usual thirty to forty minutes, I was led to another, smaller room, where I waited again for the doctor who, as it turned out, was very kind.

After he used some special equipment to capture detailed images of my vocal cords, my wife and I waited for him to review the results. It was one of those moments when you know – just by looking at him – that he would rather not have to tell you what comes next. Sure enough: I was diagnosed with an early stage of cancer. Shock gave way to devastation.

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The Awakening of Selfless Love

A middle-aged man had recently moved into a new city and, soon after, decided that he wanted to explore his immediate area, maybe meet some of his neighbors, as well as visit some of the interesting shops that lined the streets all around his apartment.

Less than half-an-hour later, not knowing the lay of the land, he accidentally walked into an adjacent neighborhood whose streets had been long since “claimed” by an infamous gang. As he realized his situation, and tried to find the fastest way back to relative safety, he made another mistake: looking for the quickest way home, he cut through an alley where a heartless band of thugs beat and robbed him. Summoning all his strength, he dragged himself out from behind a dumpster where they had left him, and crawled just to the entrance of the alleyway where his faint cries for help were all but drowned out by the roar of passing traffic.

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Three Core Capacities in Loving Fully

This talk looks at three ways of awakening our hearts—seeing goodness, feeling appreciation as a bodily experience, and expressing our care. We are then guided in developing each of these capacities by focusing our attention on someone we care about, with whom we’d like to experience our full potential for loving.  

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Start Making Space for Your Partner to Grow

It was a little before 7 AM on Saturday morning when Alex sat down in his living room with his first cup of coffee. He was up a little bit earlier than usual because a strange noise had awakened him from his sleep. So, when he looked out of his bedroom, he wasn't too surprised to discover the source of the disturbance was his neighbor Sam, who lived just across the street. Sam was dragging several folding tables out of his garage, and arranging them on the front lawn. From the look of things, including a couple of stacks of cardboard boxes, it appeared that Sam was setting the stage for a household rummage sale.

Partly out of curiosity, and partly out of irritation – wanting to see why on earth Sam felt the need to get such an early start – Alex threw his robe over his PJs and walked over to where Sam was arranging the things he intended to sell. As he made his way across the street, he could see his breath forming mini-clouds in the air. It was late spring, but there was a chill still rolling off the snow-capped mountains that surrounded their valley homes.

“Good morning, Sam,” said Alex. “My, but aren’t you out here bright and early!”

Apparently Sam didn’t hear the hint of sarcasm in Alex's voice; either that, or he just didn't care…which irritated Alex a little bit more.

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Guided By Love

Encourage love in all its forms to flow through you.

What's carrying you?

The Practice:
Guided by love.

Why?

Feeling both the world and myself these days, one phrase keeps calling: lived by love.

Explicitly, this means coming from love in a broad sense, from compassion, good intentions, self-control, warmth, finding what’s to like, caring, connecting, and kindness.

Implicitly, and more fundamentally, this practice means a relaxed opening into the love – in a very very broad sense – that is the actual nature of everything. Moment by moment, the world and the mind reliably carry you along. This isn’t airy-fairy, it’s real. Our physical selves are woven in the tapestry of materiality, whose particles and energies never fail. The supplies – the light and air, the furniture and flowers – that are present this instant are here, available, whatever the future may hold. So too is the caring and goodwill that others have for you, and the momentum of your own accomplishments, and the healthy workings of your body. Meanwhile, your mind goes on being, while dependably weaving this thought, this sound, this moment of consciousness.

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What Is It Like to Be You Right Now?

“The spiritual path is not a solo endeavor. In fact, the very notion of a self who is trying to free her/himself is a delusion. We are in it together and the company of spiritual friends helps us realize our interconnectedness.” — Tara Brach


Last week, as I was sitting in the back of the room at the World Dementia Council Summit in London, a woman about my age stood up to speak. She had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and wanted the world leaders to hear what it’s like to live with the condition first-hand.

“We don’t want your pity,” she told them firmly. “We also don’t want your fear. All we want is for you to ask us, ‘What it’s like to be you right now?’”

The room fell silent.

This woman’s words really struck me. I’ve been thinking a lot about them ever since.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

Join Soulspring for conscious insights...

...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality...

 PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to a Peaceful Mind