Living As a Mystic in The Mainstream of Life

Living As a Mystic in The Mainstream of Life

At times, it can feel as if the demands of physical life keep us so busy struggling to survive that there is no time for the mystic pursuits of spirituality. And yet, there is a way to live as a mystic in the mainstream of life, dancing gracefully between these seemingly opposite worlds.

We are not just physical bodies rushing through life; we are timeless spiritual beings experiencing life in the physical realm. And to thrive, we need to learn how to operate in both worlds: the world of the unseen Presence and the world of manifest physicality. We need to learn how to coexist in the realm of the timeless Now as well as the realm of linear time. Together, these realms offer us boundless gifts and opportunities for personal growth.

Shamans refer to this interface between realms as walking between the worlds: learning to live in both the realms of the timeless invisible and the manifest world. Walking between the world implies action, for it is not an abstract intellectual process. We come to understand life by experimenting and experiencing, not just by passive intellectual pursuit.

How do we become better at this process of living as mystics in the mainstream of life? Here are three guidelines to consider:

  1. Review and integrate the learning from your experiences so far.

Making peace with the past is important because it can empower and orient us in the present. A periodic review of our path offers the chance to release what is no longer appropriate in order to make space for the values and actions that can empower our future.

This process requires us to be ruthlessly honest and vigilant with ourselves. Where have we excelled? Where can we improve?

One of the subtle pitfalls on the spiritual journey that requires vigilance to purge from our lives is entitlement. You know, that sense of false righteousness that demands that Spirit bestows on us the things we desire, because we think we deserve them. We don’t even need to be followers of the prosperity gospel to fall for this trap, because it appeals to the ego in all of us.

Entitlement is an egoic illusion! Life gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want.

Spirit knows exactly what we need for our learning and growth. Entitlement, on the other hand, operates from the false premise that we know better than Spirit what we need and that we cannot trust in the loving care of a benevolent Creator. It is driven by fear and arrogance instead of trust and faith.

Because entitlement is driven by ego, it insatiable and cannot lead to long-term happiness. The key to happiness is not entitlement, but gratitude.

We are not our neighbors; therefore, the things they need for their growth are not the same as what we need. To fully trust, we need to let go of what we want, and to instead learn to embrace what we are given with gratitude.

2. Clarify and prioritize what is most important to your life right now.

Your unique life, in this very moment, is all you have. What is it you desire to accomplish with this precious gift? What is the legacy you wish to leave behind after you have passed from here?

So often, I hear people saying that they want to have more joy and happiness in their lives. They think that once they have more joy, they will be more grateful.

In reality, it works the other way around. The root of joy is gratitude: It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful!

We have thousands of opportunities every day to be grateful: enjoying good weather, having a good night’s rest, being able to walk and talk and express ourselves, having a functional body, having enough food to eat… night and day, life rains down gifts on us without us even asking. Had we been more fully aware of this, we’d be overwhelmed by gratitude!

Instead, we often shuffle through life in a daze until we are jerked back to reality by the loss of things we’d taken for granted. A power failure can make us aware of what a gift electricity is; a sprained ankle lets us appreciate the freedom of walking; an illness renews our appreciation for health; a sleepless night brings appreciation for the gift of sleep.

Instead of noticing the gifts of life only when suddenly deprived of them, we can bring awareness to these things and cultivate an attitude of gratitude instead.

3. Identify what is yearning to emerge in your life and take appropriate action.

When we fully live from the present moment, where we are aware of our place in both the seen and unseen realms, miracles can start to happen.

The soul’s yearning for more can be heard whenever we turn inward to listen.

We can let this yearning find expression in our lives by looking for what is meaningful, what we need to actualize our potential.

We can support the unfoldment of our potential by leaning into life and becoming an active participant in the process.

Along the way, we can cultivate an attitude of gratitude to keep our hearts open and to avoid the pernicious trap of entitlement.

We can remember that we are on this journey to experiment, experience and become – not to win or lose!

And we can muster the courage to follow our passion, knowing that through the failures, setbacks and challenges of the journey, we are evolving into our full potential.

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit http://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How To Apply The Four Noble Truths For A Better Life

How To Apply The Four Noble Truths For A Better Life

What are the Four Noble Truths? In short, they represent the Buddha’s fundamental teaching that liberates humans from suffering. These four truths can be summarized as follows:

  1. Life Inherently Contains Suffering And Struggle

Life involves struggle, frustration and suffering in both obvious and subtle forms. Even when things appear peaceful externally, we do not experience permanent satisfaction in anything but may feel an undercurrent of internal anxiety and uncertainty. This is the inherent problem of existence.

  1. Craving Is The Cause Of Suffering

The cause of suffering is craving that stems from ignorance. We suffer because we tend to blame our difficulties on things outside ourselves. We resist the truth that life is impermanent and change is constant – instead, we grow frustrated when the world doesn’t behave the way we think it should and life doesn’t conform to our expectations. We try to push away some things while grasping for others. This process of attachment and resistance stems from our desire for life to be different than it is and causes suffering.

  1. Suffering Stops When Craving Ends

Since we are ultimately the ones that cause our own suffering by perpetuating the cycle of craving and resistance, we also have the power to end our suffering. Even when life is unpredictable and impermanent, we can change the way we respond to it. By awakening to the true nature of our timeless souls, we can end the chase after external satisfaction and permanence, and so end the suffering. In the awakened mind, it is not the suffering that ceases, but the craving.

  1. There’s A Path Out Of Suffering

By embracing the path of right living, we can awaken to our Higher nature. This path involves ethical living, developing wisdom and discernment, and adhering to a personal practice that supports our emerging consciousness. This personal journey of awakening frees us from suffering and ultimately leads to enlightenment.

Most of us struggle with the practical application of these Four Noble Truths. Our human tendency is to avoid all pain and suffering, which only perpetuates our struggle.

Instead, I suggest that we look at the Four Noble Truths as recommendations for right living; guidelines to help us navigate life’s challenges more effectively. By presenting the Four Noble Truths as practical guidelines for living, they become powerful tools to guide our responses to life.

I propose using the acronym AREA to remember the structure of the Four Noble Truths in practical ways: Accept Life As Is, Release Reactivity, End Grasping, and Act Appropriately.

When we respond to these Four Noble Truths in appropriate ways, they will indeed expand our inner area of spaciousness and peace, and ultimately expand the area or scope of our True nature.

  1. Accept Life As Is

When we allow conscious awareness to infuse everything we do, we become more tolerant. We no longer interpret everything that does not go our way as a personalized attack on our ego selves; instead, we recognize it for simply being a part of life. When we experience a setback, we can see it as an opportunity for learning and growth; not as something unfair to be judged or avoided.

The Course in Miracles teaches that it is the meaning or interpretation we give to things, that makes them appear as good or bad; in truth, it simply is a part of life. Embracing the very impermanence of life can foster in us a deeper appreciation for the fleeting and precious nature of each moment.

  1. Release Reactivity

Human neurobiology makes it virtually impossible for us to constantly maintain a state of inner equilibrium without spiritual awareness. Our senses are continuously providing feedback through physical symptoms, emotions, thoughts and feelings. Equilibrium requires us to be with reactivity in a different way: learning how to respond instead of to react. We stop the cycle of reactivity by understanding that sensory feedback loops are valuable messages to respond to; not interference to react to, judge, resist or avoid.

When we experience physical symptoms or pain, our innate reactivity may prompt us to either resist the symptoms with medication or to grasp for some miracle cure outside of ourselves. Instead, perhaps it would be more meaningful to first dialogue with the symptoms for a deepened understanding of what they’re trying to tell us; and once we understand the deeper message, we’ll be able to respond appropriately so the messenger can be released. This process of responding instead of reacting allows us to create more inner space for growth in consciousness.

  1. End Grasping

It is essential to learn how to respond to life’s difficulties with an open mind, free from the conditioned behaviors of judgment, fear or craving. This inner attitude of non-attachment frees us from the endless cycles of attachment and aversion to offer us genuine freedom and inner peace instead. The Sedona Method puts it this way: “Embrace that which you resist, and surrender that to which you cling.”

Relinquishing our positionalities rewards us with freedom from craving. Positionalities are in truth nothing other than learned behaviors and limiting beliefs, so relinquishing them truly opens up space for us to thrive.

  1. Act Appropriately

In shamanic traditions, appropriate action is referred to as “right living.” Appropriate action requires conscious awareness of our inner motives, beliefs and reactions. It nurtures the development of the observer/witness, or our Soul self. It is in aligning with this Higher aspect of being, that we are transformed to live from our full potential.

The more we fine-tune our responses to life appropriately reflect our Higher nature, the more inner freedom, peace and joy we experience. This is the core of all personal growth. Creating a path of appropriate action nourishes us at all levels and honors our true purpose in life – the embodiment of our Higher nature.

Using AREA can serve as a practical reminder to keep us aligned with the Four Noble Truths. The result is more inner peace, harmony and joy.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit http://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.