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7 Spiritual Skills to Stand Tall and Grounded in Chaotic Times

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It’s time to pull all the spiritual knowledge together and put it to practice. As the election day approaches, many are feeling the jitters and anxiety.  We are all somehow waiting for the outcome to determine our fate. (On a lighter note, I came across this post on FB:  “No matter what happens in the elections, everything in your life will still be your fault”)  I think there is some truth to that. 

Our world is undergoing transformation and will continue for many more years, it means the chaos and uncertainty will remain for a while. The dismantling of the old is seldom quiet and peaceful  – it first goes through a process of a lot of noise and resistance.  We are, as a collective, undergoing that process.

On the other hand, there is a lot happening “behind the scenes” that is not as visible or loud; countless organizations working to bring about world peace; millions of people “waking up” and standing up for global peace. 

When I tell you we are living in the most extraordinary times in human history, I feel it in my core and I think many of you may feel the same. We are witnessing what we read about and wondered about.  More than witnessing, we get to participate and contribute to this Great Awakening. 

Don’t underestimate the Power of One – ( One being the Source, One being You)  We are all experiencing this time in our own stories, we are all coping, learning and growing.  Here are some spiritual practices for us to consider: 

  1. Feel Deeply What You Feel

Feeling deeply is painful so we avoid it, pack it nicely with our intellect and tuck it away.  (This is not good or bad, it’s a built in mechanism that helps us survive)  A time will come where it will feel safe to feel deeply.  Recognize that time and allow yourself to feel what you feel. Feeling the anxiety and fear and whatever else so you become one with it. This may mean crying, expressing by writing or speaking to someone, being angry, losing your sleep and appetite etc. (It’s being stuck in this way that signals you may need additional support) This will move mountains of energy that has been sitting blocked.  There are treasures hidden beneath that energy, feeling deeply will free the energy and that’ when you may discover the treasures.

2. Employ Beginner’s Mind

I think it’s Shakespeare that said, “ nothing is good or bad, our thinking makes it so”  I love this as it wipes my slate clean and I can choose how I think about something. It’s like changing your mind about something in a way that lifts the burdens and anxiety.

This is a powerful capacity in times like these that can make us thrive.  Bring the child like innocence and beginner’s mind to your living often.

3.  Trusting the Unknown

We become accustomed to a life of struggle and believe that we must “fix” everything even when we know we can’t. 

We can decide to let go of struggle and let go of the need to “fix” everything and everyone.  Let’s not take on that job because we are good at it. What if our job is only to show up as beacons of light and love?  We are good at this; this is who we are at the core.  No effort or struggle is required.  

Things happen in their own time, in their own way.  But it has been my experience that when I let go, they happen in the most astonishing and amazing ways that my limited mind could not even imagine.

We simply let go of the need to know.  We can just be and loosen the mind’s grip on things, tapping into that which is beyond the mind – the unknown,   learning to rest in the unknown for it contains the mystery and the magic. We can be curious, receptive and creative. This is an amazing time we are in, where we get to cultivate these attributes in ourselves, the attributes we have forgotten while living a mind-led life. Now we have the opportunity to integrate the “heart” into our life. 

It’s in the time of great insecurity and uncertainty, that we can “see” that which is always there.

4,  Equanimity

As I ponder upon this word more, it’s meaning continues to expand.  This is about fundamentally being centered in a place deep within ourselves that does not get knocked off easily.  Craig Hamilton gave a wonderful example of what this means – think of a large old tree with deep roots that sustains the storms and remains rooted even when it loses all the leaves and the branches. Untouched by the winds of time, it simply remains and continues to show up season after season, stronger each time.

In yoga, when we are shaking, falling and wanting to get out of a difficult posture, we remain on the mat and stay through it and we come out feeling stronger, stable and connected to ourselves.  

Think of the times right now as the most difficult yoga posture that you are in, you don’t know when the teacher is going to give you the next set of instructions to move out of it, so you stay, breathing and surrendering to it, discovering new horizons within it.

This is how we can be a source of strength and steadiness for those around us. 

5.  Passivity

This is another one from Craig Hamilton and I really resonated with it.  We have learned to move from reacting to responding, however, it implies that something still needs to be done, now only in an emotionally responsible way. 

How about doing nothing? We have been taught that being passive is not a good thing, but if we think of it in terms of surrendering to the Greater Force, we may gain a whole new understanding.  

We avoid  uncomfortable truths; being passive means we are turning towards that truth, to be intimate with reality. Craig Hamilton calls this an active surrender so we can become fluid, flexible and move with life not against it. This is an active choice to be passive. 

6.  Embracing this NOW Moment 

All is well in this moment.  Our fear comes from anticipation of the worst outcome – our mind(ego) is like that, showing us the worst so we can be ready.  This keeps us in high alert all the time and sabotages our health and happiness. 

Reality, the moment, in its very essence is complete and lacking nothing. We put off fully living because this moment does not seem adequate. The truth is there is nowhere else to go, and no better moment than this one. This moment is it!  What if we could turn towards it, open our heart and senses to it and embrace it fully? What if we realized that I am already that which I am seeking. This shatters the illusion of lack. floods us with wholeness and fullness. In truth, everything is arising out of this moment, if we could see it. 

We give up postponing and the belief that something is missing. Only when we give of ourselves fully to the moment we are in, flood gates open and the extraordinary life we are waiting for appears in our awareness. 

7.  Welcoming Change and Disruptions

I think of disruptions as a crack in the cement driveway or a break in the story before it climaxes. So in this disruption then is an invitation to rebuild and recreate. Cracks in the driveway appear to release the pressure that’s been building for decades. Think of the pressures that’s been building in the collective. We  possibly could not have continued to go on living this way.  The pandemic provided a much needed relief and an opportunity to change the narrative. We don’t tend to change unless we have to. This is not to undermine the tragedies of lost lives or the struggle that humanity has faced but it beckons the question – What is Possible?  Dr. Jean Houston talks of the Possible Human.  So, it is for each one of us to ask, What is Possible? 

 

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