Reading and thinking and letting go

I wrote a post a long time ago about wandering away from reading books on metaphysics some years before.  As I’ve been slowly reading through Sharon Salzberg’s wonderful new book,  Real Love:  The Art of Mindful Connection, savoring every word, I’ve been thinking about that old post and the stepping away.

I guess the first thing that occurred to me is this is the fourth time in less than a year that I’m posting about a book on metaphysics–two being about two of Elizabeth Lesser’s books, one about a Louise Hay tome–and this is the first time in many years I’ve read more than one such book in the space of three or four years.

In my early days “on the path” I read voraciously and the majority of my discretionary income was spent at Isis Rising, the metaphysical bookstore across the street from my apartment at the time.  From the mid-1980’s to the end of the 90’s I kept it up.  And then, I wandered away from reading much on the topic at all.

It was never really a decision to stop, but I realized at some point I already owned books with everything I needed to know.  More important, I realized one day I’d need to start living these principles and ideas if I wanted them to be effective and turned more toward practice than reading about practice.

When I took up yoga nidra 10 or 12 years ago I purposefully did the practice without doing any research or reading.  I let daily practice show me the effects of yoga nidra without needing to know the academic breakdown of how it works and what it does.  For someone who lived her first 40+ years from a place of mind and intellect, this represented a big shift.

Recently I’ve had a couple of sporadic debates going on with friends over whether you can think or will your way to mindfulness and/or higher consciousness.  After years of moving away from study and toward practice I am pretty well convinced you can’t just approach either from only a mental space.

Mulling all of this I realized that when I let go of the need to study I unconsciously also let go of control.  Now, does my mind still try to control a lot of stuff about this process?  Yup.  Probably always will.  But in moving toward the experience of doing rather than reading about, I stepped out of a mind space and into a space of letting the energy of practices and my intuition about practices lead me to healthier places and expanding consciousness.

With hindsight I can say that all that reading and willing and plotting and planning how to be more mindful or more spiritual was my mind/ego’s way of keeping some kind of control.  And to some degree it was also useful.  But the process of connecting with divinity or picking up on the flow of divine consciousness is, for me, one of letting go of control and surrendering to a higher wisdom.

Reading now connects to intuition for me.  I have more to say about intuition in the next post (or soon 🙂 ), but it plays an increasing role for me.  When it comes to books these days, I generally never look for books on spiritual topics.  But because of my interests I often look at blogs or web sites with info about new books and, if I feel a draw toward one, I check to see if the library has it or if there’s an inexpensive Kindle version.

These four books drew me and each case I felt profound gratitude for being guided to them and for following my “hit” that I needed to read them.  Each has been the perfect gem for the moment.  Sometimes reading a new book — especially by someone I’ve not read before (or not much) — brings me a fresh insight into an idea that didn’t resonate as much for me the first time I encountered it.  Anybody’s guess whether it’s the different words or a different me creating the new take 🙂

Reading and thinking and using the mind can be pivotal at certain moments on the path, so I’m not saying to try to avoid ever “being mental”.  I’m just saying, practice too.  I know, me and practice…  always harping…

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We Are the World Blogfest, May edition

Once again I’m late putting up my post for the We Are the World Blogfest.  I always love to hear tales of people with big hearts and I especially enjoy hearing about wealthy people who choose to give away large portions of their fortunes, so this story of a Norwegian billionaire giving a large part of his fortune to clean up the oceans warmed my heart:  http://www.sunnyskyz.com/good-news/2217/Norwegian-Billionaire-Gives-Away-His-Fortune-To-Help-Save-The-Oceans

Hosts for the blogfest:  Belinda Witzenhausen, Carol Walsh,Chrissie Parker, Damyanti Biswas, Emerald Barnes, Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Kaur UppalKate Powell, Lynn Hallbrooks, Mary Giese, Michelle Wallace, Peter Nena, Rich Weatherly, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Simon Falk, Susan Scott, Sylvia Stein, Sylvia McGrath

We are the World, April version

Mahatma Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu during the S...

Mahatma Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu during the Salt Satyagraha of 1930 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I realized today I completely spaced out yesterday about posting for We are the World Blogfest, but I still wanted to add a piece.  Since I’m all about peaceful activism and finding new ways to accomplish change with love and compassion, I was pleased to read this piece in Positive News about a movement for Gentle Protest: https://www.positive.news/2017/society/26751/the-art-of-gentle-protest/

If you’d like to join in with your own post about something positive, add your link here

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Choosing happiness

Someone posted a clip of Mo Gawdat on Facebook (I have a habit of opening stuff like that in another tab and not viewing until later; then I don’t remember who pointed me there 🙂 ) and his message about happiness turned out to be so in line with things I’ve been thinking.

I particularly love the distinction he makes between fun and happiness — much like my thoughts about over-stimulation often being mistaken for joy.  Though there are longer videos in which he discusses this in greater depth, I purposely chose to use this short clip to make it easier for you to get the gist:

Another 21 day meditation from Deepak and Oprah

Hope meditation ad

A new meditation series from Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey begins April 10.  This time the topic is Hope in Uncertain Times.  Certainly seems a good exploration at the moment.

I’ve enjoyed many of these series.  The meditations are short, so not necessarily the deepest experience, but I’ve found the issues raised about each topic have led me to explore deeper places on my own and the chanting always feels good.

You can register here.

Subtle shifting

English: Beach, Grescleit. The sands are shift...

Shifting Sands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I spent several weeks recently reading my way through Life Loves You by Robert Holden and Louise Hay and sort of doing the practices.  Some I did exactly as provided, some I re-crafted to use similar practices I know..

It’s been a return to the sort of practices and info I devoured at the beginning of my spiritual journey.  On one hand I’ve very much enjoyed the return to the basics as well as seeing how much more these things flow after years of clearing away emotional debris and physically opening my body.  On the other hand, counter to their predictions for big change, this far down the road and after the huge amounts of change and release I’ve already undergone, to me the impacts of this work were subtle.

Getting my mind to quit running old tapes and stop reacting out of inter-generational habits has been one of my great challenges.  I’ve finally reached a place where the kind of positive thinking, gratitude and forgiveness practices in this book grab hold with greater ease and I’m so pleased to feel the years of work on affirmations and retraining my brain are resulting in finally seeing a bigger impact from such practices.

The piece about which I’ve been most excited was a little change that suddenly happened with my lovingkindness chanting several weeks in on the Life Loves You venture.  As you know, I’ve been a fan of the lovingkindness chant for years and since the election I’ve established a regular practice of chanting it for 10 minutes 4 or 5 times a week.  Suddenly one night I found myself saying it with a change of emphasis while simultaneously being flooded with a sense of the meaning of each separate affirmation:

  • I am filled with lovingkindness
  • I am well
  • I am peaceful and at ease
  • I am happy

It’s hard to describe the inner shift as I say it now.  Over the years I’ve mostly said it as one continuous piece.  It’s always been powerful for me, always opened a big flow of energy through my heart.  But now I’m saying it with a great consciousness of each phrase being an affirmation of something I truly assert to be true — and the powerful feeling has grown.

Another phase of major unwinding has been unfolding as well, opening some significant pieces where my left eye, cheek and jaw have all felt crunched together.  Still not done, but open enough to feel something significant is happening.

Then the other night I had a bunch of tabs open on my browser and as I moved from one to another I noticed I had 5 FB notifications, 5 new posts waiting on WP, 5 notifications from Pinterest, an ad with a big “5” in it….  Although I find it interesting, I’ve never had a conscious experience of one or more numbers repeating like that.  Linda over at litebeing chronicles does pay a lot of attention to numbers and knows a lot about it so when the first post I saw on FB the next day was from her and IT had “5” in it, I asked her about the meaning.  “Change,” she said.  I also found a site with spiritual meanings of numbers and “manifestation” came up.

Feels like the Universe is giving me a big thumbs up and confirming big change is afoot!

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