The Purpose of Awakening: Learning To Love

The Purpose of Awakening: Learning To Love

We are gifted with life in the physical body and world to learn how to truly love. Our conscious participation in this process as awakened souls allows us to fulfil our highest purpose. And from the conflict all around, it’s clear that we’re not doing very well with mastering this lesson!

Life is very simple, really, but because most of us live from the mind and not the heart, we’ve developed the false belief that life is complicated and our ultimate purpose too complex or hard to find.

There is a better way.

It is time to remember why we came here in the first place. We did not come to earthly life to divide and conquer, but to find our way back to Oneness through love. All the great wisdom traditions tell us we are born from love, though we tend to forget that and operate on autopilot much of the time.

Learning to truly love requires us to develop gratitude and forgiveness. We cannot truly love with judgment and hatred in our hearts; and we cannot enjoy the beauty of life when we are driven by insatiable greed.

Ram Dass said, “If I’m an ego, I am judging everything as it relates to my own survival… souls love. That’s what souls do. Egos don’t, but souls do.”

From the soul perspective, a life well lived is not measured by the amount of power, money or status an individual can amass at any cost – a well-lived life is measured by how well the soul learned to embrace gratitude and forgiveness as expressions of Divine love.

We are intrinsic parts of nature and inexorably interconnected with all other people. Anything detrimental we do to the planet or to others, we ultimately inflict on ourselves. And so, the true wakeup call sounding for all of us is to see just how far we have drifted from the moorings of love so that we can course-correct.

Only when we acknowledge our part in the game of separation, judgment and fear, can we begin to heal the wounds of separation consciousness. There is no transformative benefit in reacting to the voices clamoring for separation, division and conflict, because whatever we react to, we entangle with energetically.

Instead, this is the time all awakened souls are asked to first go within and realign with Higher consciousness. From that alignment with the Source of love, unity and truth, our presence becomes transformative as we interact with fellow souls. We heal when we align with our Source – that truth, love and unity is what sets us free.

Our realignment with Source enables us to approach life from a place of Divine love rather than from survival anxiety. It also enables us to live with greater interdependence. As we increase our awareness of existing within an intelligent and benevolent universe, we experience greater intimacy and connection with all forms of life, including ourselves.

Will this guarantee a life of safety and comfort?

No – that is not why we came here. We embarked on this life for our personal soul growth, not to isolate ourselves from the lessons of this earthly school and our fellow soul companions.

It is true that life can be full of suffering. We all get physically sick and our bodies sometimes ache.

Just as in school, we may not enjoy all the lessons that come our way. There are abundant opportunities to feel let down by others or frustrated with ourselves. And the world at large—now there’s a circus! We are confronted with all sorts of painful, alarming situations—abuse, starvation, poverty, war, lack, uncertainty, corporate depravity. On any given day we might get into an accident or learn that someone we love has died.

Over eons of time, we’ve developed many coping strategies to survive, and not all of them are helpful. Coping strategies allow us to roll out of bed each morning and face the world. And while some of them are useful, we may overuse or over-identify with these survival strategies. When we do so, we become cut off from love, separated from trusting life and our Source.

Separation consciousness is rooted in the belief that the external world is separate. The ego believes that it resides “in here” and everything else is “out there.” By locking in this duality-based viewpoint, we cannot see our role in co- creating all our experiences. We become limited, fear-based and paranoid.

This duality-based view of life is an obstacle to the emergence of our Divine nature. To heal that, we need to return to love. A Course in Miracles states, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

Science tells us that we reside in a unified field of energy called the universe. Every major religion, spiritual path, and wisdom tradition has some version of Oneness at its core.

From an energy perspective, we are all interconnected like billions of mirrors endlessly reflecting and stimulating one another’s growth. The world is an enormous reflection of our psyche. Our job is to attend to the source of the projections, not the mirrors. We are to heal the roots of separation, not to slap labels on others that keep us separate.

Anais Nin said, “We see things not as they are. We see things as we are.” When we stand in judgment over something, it can be very enlightening to ask ourselves what it is we do not wish to see in ourselves, for it is that inner blindness that makes us project our self-judgment out into the world instead.

Spiritual awakening frees us from the blindness of unconscious living. It allows us to transcend ego as our primary identity. Awakening empowers us to bridge the separation we formed with life beyond ourselves. This ongoing process calls us to heal and reunite the wounds of separation consciousness, both in ourselves and with others. And we do that profound work with the tools of forgiveness, gratitude and love.

Persian mystical poet Rumi wrote, “Everyone sees the unseen in proportion to the clarity of their heart.” Clarity is what remains within when we replace our ego distortions with growing awareness. This shift in consciousness enables us to recognize the spiritual lessons presented in our experiences.

To the awakened soul, everything is a benevolent lesson—despite the ego’s endless stories that tell us otherwise. Stress, frustration or “negative” emotion is just an indication of something that needs attention, an invitation to expand our true awareness and heal the underlying separation.

We expand our conscious awareness through the practice of forgiveness – it asks us to surrender our attachment to the ego’s need to be right, to feel validated or empowered.

The ego wants to win, whereas the soul wants to grow.

When we let go of our attachment to the ego’s power addiction, we forgive. And when we forgive, we discover gratitude for what is. We’re able to see the beauty of what is, instead of blindly striving for what is not.

Situations the ego may construe as failure or loss may now be seen as opportunities to learn rich and necessary spiritual lessons. Even trying situations contain buried gifts. The imperfections of the world are perfect for our purpose of learning how to love in a healing way.

Instead of asking “Why this? Why me? Why now?” which implies that we do not trust the implicate order of life, we can start to ask instead, “How is this helpful on my journey? What can I learn from it? How do I need to change to return to my inherent state of peace?”

In true awakening, the presence of spiritual love within calls on us to have compassion for the struggles of others and to forgive them for their limitations. When we do that, we start to heal the wounds of separation. We don’t love the other because they are black, or white, Muslim or Jew, rich or poor – we love them because they are part of our family of humankind.

All our fellow humans deserve our love, forgiveness, respect and support because that is how we heal separation consciousness – not by sticking labels on them and then arguing about the meaning of the labels. And certainly not by destroying the fragile physical vessel of the soul.

Humans evolve when they can see and grasp a better way; a better vision of themselves and of the world. One of the greatest gifts we can offer others, is to recognize their true potential as souls and to mirror that for them so they can evolve toward that potential.

We heal anger with love, hateful acts with forgiveness, and disrespect with respect.

This is the real work of awakening. It is the work of healing the wounds inflicted by egos operating on greed and inequality.

If you are reading this, you are one of the awakened souls on the planet who are being called to be part of this monumental task. The time is now. Together, we can do this!

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://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 Create Your Brave New Paradigm

How to Create Your Brave New Paradigm

COVID-19 changed our world: yours, and mine, and everybody else’s. Life as we knew it, is no more. Moreover, there is no going back. The past is irrevocably over; we are called on to create a brave new paradigm of life.

To move forward, we need to let go of things outside ourselves that we cannot control, and take charge of our inner reality, which is completely in our hands. We also need to act in mature ways to support wise choices. Let’s look at how to get from here to there.

What is it you need most now? What do you wish to see in your world? How do you intend to participate to bring that about?

Despite months of turmoil and upheaval, the totality of life remains filled with possibilities and probabilities. Every challenging circumstance contains seeds of possibility for us to tap into and create more optimal outcomes from the inside out.

Everybody responds differently to change: some are awakening to their true soul identity, others are grieving their losses, and yet others are huddling in denial for lack of knowing what to do. Some may even look for a way to return to the past because they don’t know how to cope with a world that has irretrievably changed.

Trying to resuscitate the past is not helpful. We cannot go back to yesterday or the life we lived ten years ago. Life happens in this present moment, and it is the choices made in each present moment, that will create a sustainable future for us all.

We all feel the enormous impact of irreversible change that has swept around the globe. None of us knows exactly how our lives will be different by the end of this year. We simply know that it will be different in more ways we can imagine. There are no iron-clad guarantees and reassurances – and so everyone is learning to devise ways of coping.

During this upheaval, emotions can feel overwhelming. Daily events may trigger shock, grief, fear or anxiety. After all, we are awash in a world of uncertainty and unknowns.

It is easy to become defensive in the face of uncertainty because defensiveness is a natural human response. It is normal to look for survival tactics and protective measurements to survive.

However, defensiveness keeps us stuck in resistance and prevents us from moving forward.

To avoid getting stuck, it is important to remember who you really are: you’re not just an ego in a body suit, you are an eternal soul who embarked on this earth journey to participate in the evolution of consciousness at this very time of unprecedented change and awakening.

You are so much more than your physical being! You have more resources available to you at non-physical levels than you can imagine. Whenever you start to feel overwhelmed, stop instead and take inventory of your spiritual arsenal.

Humans are blessed with innate creativity and innovation. Even during this challenging period, we can create effective ways forward.

To do so, we need to let go of lower levels of consciousness from where the quagmire of problems in our world were created. We need to expand our awareness of multiple possibilities coexisting in the Field, because higher awareness and a larger scope are essential to creating optimal outcomes now. Clearly, we need more than duality-based options that belong to an outdated Cartesian world view.

This time of social distancing offered us opportunities to reflect and return to right relationship with our innate Self. We have become aware of what no longer works, what no longer nourishes us, and what we’ll no longer tolerate in life. We’ve also been able to recognize what we truly want from life, so we can choose wisely.

This global time-out helped us reconnect with our inner being and what we truly need. By reconnecting to our inner core, we can make empowered decisions for our path and the greater good.

Humanity has outgrown the place where a few can dictate and make choices for the collective. It is time for each of us to step into maturity and take full responsibility for our own decisions. From there, it will ripple outward and create optimal collective outcomes.

During this season of loss and uncertainty, don’t look back. Go beyond!

Beneath the surface defensiveness of reactivity and blame, lies the presence of Spirit. That Presence contains all possibilities and potentialities. By stepping away from the ego chatter and centering deeper within, we access that Core where all possibilities exist. We can detach from habitual ego reactions of fear and anxiety.

Instead, we can enter a centered space of peace and calm from where we are able to simply observe. We can hold this space until clarity arises. We can cultivate awareness of possibilities beyond our linear thinking to make optimal choices.

We can use this perspective to recognize the limiting conditioning that hampers us and let it go so we can step into our true potential. We can anchor into the Creator Presence within and align with all that is possible to create a brave new paradigm.

This season of change also calls for spiritual maturity. It challenges us to let go of waiting to be rescued, and to step into choosing the path forward ourselves. Spiritual maturity empowers us to step out of old roles of limitation that were assigned to us and to become co-creators of a more empowering future.

Maturity gives us faith in unseen possibilities, so we can hold the intention for what can be. It calls us to elevate our viewpoint above the limitations of what was or is, to what truly can show up in response to our choices now.

Along the way, do not allow obstacles and appearances on the surface of life to undermine your faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of what is not yet seen. Hold on to that.

We are asked to clear out old conditioning, to heal the memories of what happened before, and to let go of what’s no longer needed. By freeing ourselves from past wounds and limitations, we create more room for our path to unfold.

Do not let others tell you what is appropriate for you. Step out of that habit and embrace a more empowering approach. Evaluate, contemplate within and choose for yourself.

Do not resist the process of individual growth, for it is your evolutionary lifeline. Let go of resistance and allow possibilities to emerge from the Truth within.

Trust in the benevolent plan of a loving Creator – and trust yourself. Maturity requires us to trust in ourselves, in the unseen hands that guide and uphold us, and in the Divine plan that we may not yet see but which is unfolding even now.

When we were children, we needed continuous reassurance and simple solutions to feel safe. As mature adults, we learn to be at peace with not knowing. Maturity teaches us to embrace the ever-changing nature of life, and to take full responsibility for our individual choices along the way.

Maturity also teaches us to stay in the void of uncertainty and discomfort; to resist grabbing for some easy version of permanency or settle for some substance to numb our awareness. The security we want is within; it does not lie outside of us.

We also must avoid the pitfall of settling for the devil we know. If we wish to evolve, we dare not let the familiarity of known limitations hold us back from the limitless possibilities we do not yet see.

When we turn away from external conditions beyond our control to focus on our inner life over which we have ALL control, we will find our innate power, peace and creativity restored. That is an important step toward creating a brave new paradigm in which everyone can thrive.

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.

A Fresh Perspective For Uncertain Times

A Fresh Perspective For Uncertain Times

The great leveler has arrived. As Covid-19, the latest coronavirus, sweeps across the globe without regard for individual status, power or influence, it is showing us that all of us are equally part of the process of life on this planet.

Viruses don’t discriminate based on skin color or political alliance. Our choice is not about whether we participate, but how.

Our planet is starting to awaken out of old consciousness. The cleansing that is sweeping the globe at this time will affect every human being before it is done. Circumstances are forcing us, individually and collectively, to set aside political and religious differences, and to reach out to our fellow humans in support and compassion. Nations are forced to redirect trillions of dollars spent on war toward the support of humanitarian efforts so there can be hope renewed for the weakest among us.

The call for action is clear – but will we respond from faith or from fear? As awakened souls, we can intentionally expand coherence on this planet, starting with our own lives and realities. By choosing to focus on opportunity instead of fear, we can anchor the energies of expansion to minimize suffering and support the awakening of many.

And, as always, we are called to be the change we wish to see in the world; we are asked to start the journey by healing within us that which is not truthful and pure, so we can hold a pure space for others to awaken and reach their potential.

The global time-out offers humanity an opportunity to reflect on our true purpose, both collectively and individually. It is a pause that allows us to disinfect ourselves from viruses of both mind and ego that have infested our world. This time of uncertainty is also a time to heal, reflect and focus on the world we’d like to create. Instead of going into fear, we can focus on perfecting our inner journey, and hold a shared intention for the birthing of an outer reality that honors all forms of life.

During these times of uncertainty, denial, avoidance and resistance are plentiful but they are not helpful.

Rather, we need to identify and release all dissonance within ourselves, so we can dissolve the fear in the collective. Energy flows from resonance to resonance. As we identify and release within ourselves whatever lower levels of consciousness such as fear and anxiety that lurk there, we are able to hold a space of peace and light, uplifting the levels of consciousness on the planet so others can awaken, too.

Fear is a natural human reaction to uncertainty and change, but we do not need to live there! This is not a time to succumb to fear, but a time to remember that we are deeply loved at all times and under all circumstances. We may not be able to replace defunct systems – yet – but we can begin by purifying our own beings, so that our light can illuminate the way for others.

When we focus on feelings of uncertainty, fear or lack, we add to stress levels, both in our bodies and in the collective.

Fear feeds stress, which raises cortisol, inflammatory markers, adrenalin and inflammation, resulting in immune compromise. Uncontrolled stress can lead to panic and a loss of rational thinking and behavior. Therefore, we must reverse the escalation from fear to stress to panic.

Fear is not dispelled by going into denial, or by applying a superficial Band-Aid of positive thinking. Fear dissipates when we become fully present in each moment.

When we become still and go within, we’re able to surrender our resistance to what is. We choose to simply be with unpredictability and observe emotions that arise.

Notice fear, doubt, confusion, anger or even panic arising? These are scraps of our individual woundedness that resonate with the fear in the collective. Healing starts by acknowledging each of these dissonant thoughts and emotions. Then, we release them to Spirit, so we can center our minds on peace. The more we release these dissonant emotions, the greater our capacity to remain in a place of inner stillness and calm, regardless of the storm raging around.

When the mind is at peace, we are open and available to higher frequencies of healing and transformation. Ultimately, then, it is more helpful to have a quiet mind than a superficially positive mind.

With our own practice of clearing and healing in place, we can become fully attentive to the needs of others. This is not a time to judge and criticize, but to extend the hand of friendship and compassion to others, remembering that we’re all in this together. We can use this moment as an opportunity for individual and collective awakening, connection and renewal.

Never before have there been such amazing technologies and opportunities to support one another around the globe. Even as we are physically separated and isolated, we can connect to our worldwide tribe through technology, and to Spirit through our awakened consciousness.

When feeling discouraged, think how it must feel to live out one’s entire life in solitary confinement, as many prisoners do. Remember how the victims of the Spanish Flu epidemic did not have the internet to check on the well-being of loved ones? And during the Black Plague, many comatose patients were buried alive in mass graves along with corpses because of the lack of medical technology.

Despite the discipline imposed on us to curtail our freedom for a season, we have so much to be grateful for!

Balance, alignment and flow are key in these times and beyond. Remember that one person functioning at the level of consciousness of 500 on The Hawkins Map of Consciousness counterbalances 750,000 people who are not yet spiritually awake and operate below 200.

This is a time where compassion outweighs opinions, where love trumps fear, and where faith allows us to move with confidence and trust into the unknown. Let’s accept the assignment we came here for, and let’s make our presence count!

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.

Authentic Spirituality

Authentic Spirituality

Want to get enlightened fast? Here’s a reality check: True enlightenment is not going to happen fast; if it does, it is not authentic. True, authentic spirituality is a slow, organic process of growth.

It follows a cyclical rhythm, the way life flows through seasons and patterns. And it looks less like a body-builder on steroids, and more like a homegrown strawberry.

So much of what passes for spirituality today is actually about selling seekers on a package that looks good, but does not lead to authentic spiritual transformation. It represents spirituality on steroids – and while every package promises to be the magic tool, it places appearance and performance above inner transformation.

This consumerist spirituality is all about selling us an image. Master these yoga asanas and you’ll reach enlightenment… or wear these clothes and you’ll be transformed faster… or visit this sacred site and you will become more spiritual.

In this steroid-driven spirituality, the pathway becomes the goal. Its to-do list may look glamorous: a meditative state to attain, a transmission to receive, a workshop to attend; yet the promised result remains just out of reach while we are sold the latest ‘guaranteed’ way to reaching it. You see, it’s based on a flawed principle that we are somehow lacking something we need to strive for.

In truth, authentic spirituality and enlightenment is not a goal we reach out there; it is something we become. The entire Universe operates on the principle of emergence and our spiritual nature is no different: it unfolds when we remove the obstacles to its emergence.

The authentic work of realizing our true identity needs no fancy interventions: it simply requires basic conditions that sustain all forms of life on this planet.

The strawberries in my garden can attest to that.

Strawberries will grow from a tiny seed to a beautiful plant that bears prolifically if you give it the right environment. It needs nutrients from the soil, sunlight and comfortable temperatures. When it gets these basic ingredients, it grows abundantly in full harmony with its own genotype and bears beautiful, juicy fruit in due season.

When we alter the nature of strawberries with genetic engineering and chemical steroids to boost production, the fruit will turn out big but tough and tasteless. They may look good on the surface, but one taste will tell you the difference between scientifically manipulated fruit and a juicy homegrown strawberry.

It’s the same with commercialized-spirituality. While promising instant miracles and results, it robs each individual of their unique journey to become the magnificent soul whose potential they’ve carried all along, and it renders them weak and tasteless.

While it makes bold claims of miracles, power and peace, commercialized spirituality sells us an image of who we think we need to be to qualify, lures us away from the very life we have by promising us something better, and tempts us to strive for spiritual success by doing more while in the process losing our most precious connection to our inner selves.

Thankfully, the way to authentic spirituality is always open to us.

Authentic spirituality puts an end to the lie that we need to be anywhere other than where we find ourselves right now. It gives us the freedom to grow right where we are, to harness the nutrients of the life we are already living, and to allow our inner guidance to produce delicious, juicy fruit to share with the world.

Here are four important principles of authentic spirituality:

  1. The answers already await inside you.

Whatever the question your life is asking you right now, the answer lies in the truth of who you already are. Why? Because you are a limitless spiritual being, experiencing this duality-based earth life to grow, evolve and realize your full potential.

Learning to distinguish the authentic voice of your soul from the noise of culture and conditioning is a journey—and it’s not necessarily easy. But it’s simple, and that is important. Whatever response is called for, you can relax and ask yourself, ‘How could this be useful on my path?’ then listen for your soul’s whisper to guide you. Learning to recognize the voice of your Higher truth will set you free from the confines of your limitations.

  1. Your body is the perfect spiritual vehicle for authentic spiritual growth.

Instead of bypassing the body’s messages or judging it as a faulty tool that needs to be fixed, authentic spirituality embraces the body as a vehicle that continually communicates with you. When you are at home and grounded in your body, you have the best chance of healing, learning, growing and becoming.

The physical body is not optional in this life and it is not a problem. It is a temple not made by hands; a sacred vessel for the presence of Spirit in our lives. The more we become present to our embodied experience, the more we are able to harness all the energy of Spirit we can contain to heal, transform and fulfill our potential.

  1. Your life is always speaking to you.

Right now, your life is speaking to you through events, metaphors, symbolism and other messages to guide you. Instead of resisting, try listening to it with an open heart. When we listen to our lives, we get precious information that is customized just for us.

It is by learning to love the life you have, that you can begin to choose a life you love. Your own direct experience needs to be the authority in your life rather than any external program, guru or person. Over time, listening to your life in this way is how you’ll learn where you grow best and what conditions allow you to bear the greatest fruit for your community and world.

  1. Your emotions aren’t a problem.

Most suffering in life is caused by the unwillingness to feel what we are actually feeling. Instead, we create elaborate avoidance strategies and masks to hide behind, causing endless suffering.

When you allow yourself to feel your emotions as they come and go, you’ll find peace. There is no story to tell around it; there is simply the being present in each moment, and the awareness of the emotions passing through your awareness like clouds in the sky. By observing your emotions without resistance, you’ll find them passing through your awareness while you continue to stay identified with your consciousness as the core of your true Self.

Authentic spirituality is a path of inner, direct experience that gradually unfolds at your unique human pace and produces practical enlightenment – the kind that serves instead of enslaves.

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.

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.

Chaotic Life? How to Find Inner Peace Amid Chaos

Chaotic Life? How to Find Inner Peace Amid Chaos

“Anyone can build a house of wood and bricks, but the Buddha taught that that is not our real home. Our real home is inner peace.” – Ajahn Chah

How can we possibly experience inner peace at a time when humanity and our planet appear to be tumbling deeper into chaos? Can inner peace even co-exist with chaos?

I believe the answer is Yes!

In fact, spiritual practices such as mindfulness and Buddhist teachings show us how to cultivate inner peace in any situation.

The only time we have is the present; tomorrow is not guaranteed. This present moment, therefore, is the perfect and only time where we can find inner peace. This inner peace, which is also known as equanimity in Buddhism, cannot be found in the outside world. And yet, the potential for inner peace exists in the mind and heart of every individual, so each one of us can learn how to create the inner conditions for experiencing lasting peace within.

One of the perennial wisdom teachings encourages us to view peace as the result of letting go: letting go of clingy attachment as well as letting go of its opposite, which is aversive resistance.

This process of letting go is simple, but not necessarily easy to practice. It requires self-discipline. And so, we tend to shop around for easier ways toward peace, running the risk of getting confused by external voices promising instant bliss and freedom from the human condition.

You see, random information without context leads to overwhelm and confusion. Instead, we need to discern what is truly useful for us at any given time. We also need to distinguish between the louder presence of random information and the gentle presence of inner equanimity, because that is how we liberate the mind. In the presence of equanimity, the mind is not hijacked by attachment or aversion.

Equanimity further grows when we recognize that all things are inherently neutral; it is simply our thinking that bestows meaning on things so we can then either attach to them or resist them. It is not the facts, but the stories about the facts, that hijack our minds into value judgments and positionality.

In Buddhist tradition, equanimity is seen as a central quality present in beings who have developed deep inner wisdom and alignment with truth, free from hostility and egoic will.

Equanimity relates to inner poise and balance because it rests in a place of non-attachment; centered between attraction and repulsion. It poises in a calm place of neither clinging to nor pushing away from things. Finding that neutral resting place within offers us a higher perspective over issues rather than getting stuck in the egoic interpretation of what’s happening. The more we develop equanimity, then, the more inner peace and spaciousness we experience in life.

Each one of us can develop more equanimity by practicing mindfulness in our lives on a daily basis and using an inner inquiry process to help us unpack emotions as they arise. Here are five steps to help with the process:

1. Set a clear intention to stay mindful

Setting a clear intention reminds us to step out of the ego identification of attachment and aversion; story-making and drama. It is the first step in cultivating true inner awareness.

2. Recognize the triggers

When a trigger arises, we may try to avoid feeling our emotions around it. Instead, we may distract ourselves with shopping or work, or we may attempt to numb our emotions with food or other substances. If we truly want to discharge the impact of the trigger, we absolutely need to become aware and look at it. Sometimes, the simple act of clearly seeing allows our reaction to the trigger to dissolve so we can replace it with equanimity.

3. Become curious

When we feel lost in reactions of anger and frustration to triggers, it is helpful to recognize that there is a desire hidden there, way beneath the frustration or anger. There may be attachment to a wishful outcome, or a craving for safety and security. It can be helpful to ask questions about where the attachment or aversion came from, what it is attempting to accomplish and what needs to be done with it to help us dissolve inner dissonance. We can also investigate the ways in which we distract ourselves to avoid feeling pain or avoid accepting reality.

4. Let go of attachment and aversion

By bringing compassionate awareness to these inner emotions and processes, we can separate out truth from our colored interpretation. Next, we need to ask ourselves if we are willing to let go:

  • Am I willing to let go of control?
  • Am I willing to let go of my attachment or aversion to what showed up in the past or in my present?
  • Am I willing to let go of the way I think things should be?
  • Am I willing to let go of resisting what is?
  • Can I simply let go and allow things to be as they are

5. Embrace peace

Letting go of attachments and aversions offers us the opportunity to return to our innate state of peace. As we let go of these things, we create space for equanimity.

Equanimity is the final result of this deep inquiry process that helps us dissolve inner dissonance, become aware of areas where we are distracting ourselves, and come back into proper alignment with truth and peace within, free from attachment and aversion.

After practicing this inner inquiry, simply bask in the stillness of awareness, allowing the radiant heart and mind spaces to open. Allow life to unfold in its fullness, expanding and contract with each heartbeat of life so you can know the peace of observing all without attachment, and in so doing, find inner peace.

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