Is Your Spiritual Platform Heart Centered, Intellectual or Dogmatic?

Is Your Spiritual Platform Heart Centered, Intellectual or Dogmatic?

There are many different types of spirituality. When working with my clients, I mostly see people that are either heart centered, dogmatic, intellectual or a combination of these types of practices. Is one belief system better than another?

Have you ever wondered if your spiritual platform is heart centered, intellectual or dogmatic?

As I started to write this blog, I had an idea of how I would share the different types of spirituality, and then I received a phone call. A client contacted me to say she needed to reschedule our next appointment because she had been in an accident.

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4 New Ideas for Your Spiritual Practice

4 New Ideas for Your Spiritual Practice

Spiritual practice can take many forms.  Often, when people think about spiritual practices the first things that come to mind are mediation or prayer.  Indeed, these are very valuable practices.  However, if you’re looking for some ideas for adding variety to your own practice you might want to consider some of these options.

Shinrin-yoku
This is the Japanese practice of “forest bathing” and can be as simple to practice as going for a walk in the woods.  To get the full benefits of this practice, take your time and use all your senses.  As Dr. Qing Li points out in his book titled Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, “Shinrin-yoku is like a bridge.  By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world.”  


Forest bathing is an excellent way to bring more mindfulness into your daily life as you slow down and truly observe the natural surroundings.  In addition to improving mindfulness, forest bathing is also good for your health.


 Dr. Qing Li has found that forest bathing can “boost the immune system, increase energy, decrease anxiety, depression, and anger and recuse stress and bring about a state of relaxation.”

Labyrinth Walk
While forest bathing requires nothing more than getting out in nature, a labyrinth walk can only be done if you have access to a labyrinth.  Fortunately, labyrinths are becoming more common and are easy to find thanks to the work of Dr. Lauren Artress.  Her Labyrinth locator website (https://labyrinthlocator.com) can be used to find labyrinths in the United States.  A quick check of my state found 83 labyrinths so it is likely that there is a labyrinth near you. 


As Dr. Artress puts it in her book Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice, the labyrinth has “reemerged today as a metaphor for the spiritual journey and as a powerful tool for transformation.”  The path of the labyrinth provides a guide for the practitioner to follow.  The labyrinth is not a maze, rather it is a unicursal path with one way in and one way out.  Walking the path allows for deep spiritual contemplation and renewal.  

Smudging
The labyrinth walk is a good example of a ritual with structured steps, literally a specific singular path to follow.  As Sasha Sagan writes in her book For creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World, there is “something deeply reassuring about performing the specific steps” of a ritual.  It can also be deeply meaningful and reassuring to perform rituals at specific times of the year.  Smudging with sage offers a good way to add an element of spiritual ritual to specific points in time.  


Burning sage can be part of a ritual celebration of the seasons.  Many people practice smudging on the solstices and equinoxes.  Smudging could also be practiced to welcome each new month, the new year, or the new moon.


Like forest bathing, there may also be health benefits to burning sage which include reducing stress, improving the quality of your sleep, and boosting your cognition.  It may also help purify the air in your home and reduce allergens (https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-burning-sage#release-negativity).

Silence
The practice of silence is usually connected with monks or nuns who take a vow of silence for an extended period.  But, the practice can be beneficial when used intermittently and for shorter periods.  Anne LeClaire writes about her own experience of making each Monday a day of silence and the benefits of this practice in her book Listening Below the Noise: The Transformative Power of Silence.  

Silence is a perfect addition to any spiritual practice including the ones listed above.  Forest bathing in silence can heighten your mindfulness and allow you to experience nature with a whole new depth that can be missed when you are talking.  Many people walk a labyrinth in silence as well to fully connect with the spiritual journey.  While often accompanied by a chant or prayer, smudging can also be done in mindful silence.  

Each of these practices offers unique benefits and it is possible to combine them or use them in conjunction with other practices you already follow.  They can be rewarding additions to your practice as well as provide you with possible health benefits.  

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Remain Vigilant for Love and Life with Divine Guideposts

springbirds

Most of the people in our Humanity’s Team community would probably say that they’re very familiar with practices of gratitude and appreciation and that a commitment to these practices is foundational to their conscious journey. I would say it’s true for me.

And as I’m guessing it is the same for you, I wake up in gratitude every morning. I bring that deep sense of gladness into the day, intentionally tapping into the feelings of awe, wonder, and appreciation. 

I notice the glorious sunlight shining upon the spiderweb just below the gutter when I let Sadie out for a quick run around the house. I hear the melodic sounds of birds singing in the neighborhood trees and bushes as I sip on my coffee. 

I feel the connection with all of life. It is my communion with the Divine.

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The Miracle of Everyday Joy

everydayjoy The Miracle of Everyday Joy

Maybe you’ve been there. You’re determined to try and gain (or regain) a greater measure of insight and enlightenment in your life - the kind of enlightenment that can lead to real joy and significant satisfaction. So you make the decision to begin a spiritual practice - meditation, prayer, journaling, or even simple reflection.

The setting for the first day of your new practice can vary. You may be in a low-lit room or you could be outside in the sunshine. Maybe you’re alone or surrounded by others with a similar goal. No matter where you are, it can feel like you’re a warrior on the day of battle. You sit and you wait for this momentous beginning to occur, for enlightenment, insight, and truth to wash over you.


However, there’s a good chance that all of this is occurring at the beginning or the end of a long day. As you sit there, your mind, which didn’t get the memo regarding your new practice, starts to spit up all the things that are on your to-do list. Or...all the things that you failed to cross off that list.

Stop it! Concentrate!

You take a deep breath and begin again, trying to clear your monkey mind. But it swings wildly, throwing crazy disjointed thoughts through your awareness like the never-ending news ticker at the bottom of a CNN news report. Red wine. Yes, full-bodied delicious red wine. You think about how nice it would be to have glass of wine and slip into a warm bath. Isn’t the new episode of “The Crown” on tonight?

Stop this! Cut this crap out! Get serious!

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How do you use boredom as a vehicle for awakening?

How do you use boredom as a vehicle for awakening?

The beauty of a true spiritual journey is that it keeps unfolding from inside yourself, and if you just wait a little longer you’ll see how hungry you are for integrity inside yourself, for a certain quietness, for a certain clarity.

The tendency in our society is when there’s dis-ease, to grab another experience in order to reduce it.

I remember when I got into my cell in Burma. I spent the day in my cell, the first day of my two months, meditating righteously and getting my sleeping bag right and my food containers, and studying the spider at the window, and all the things you do. Then I realized I had months yet to go, and I was bored. I was really bored. Boredom became my object of meditation. I looked at boredom. Instead of the identification, “I’m bored,” I thought, “What is boredom? What does it feel like? What is it like? What does it mean to be bored?” Instead of, “Oh I’m bored.”

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Different Ways to Work With the Universe

Different Ways to Work With the Universe

When your body is out of whack, you figure out how to get it straight. You try to sit down and meditate, but you can’t get your knees quiet – they hurt too much. You sit down to meditate and your back hurts. You can’t leave your body for 40 minutes without freaking out, so you may decide, “I gotta work on my body.” Maybe you’ll go into Hatha Yoga Asanas.

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