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Technique for living |


Technique for living

- A SPIRITED SOUL BY Jeannie E. Javelosa -

“Everything I believed in is gone, and that which I thought would never happen to me has happened... I don’t know what to do. I am all over the place and can’t find my center!” This was the lament of a yoga student who I know to be a successful and integrated person. “Keep to your practice. This, too, will pass. Breathe in and take each moment, each emotion that arises. Just stay with your practice, is all I could tell her, sharing with her my own personal technique for having gone through my own bouts of crisis in the past. No matter the inner emotional turmoil or the outward situational crisis that has unbalanced me in the past, I kept steady in my practice: prayer, yoga, meditation. My practice became my strengthening foundation where I tried to hold on to my inner rudder as I went through dark uncharted waters.

Life throws us lemons all the time. Some more bitter and sour than others. Suddenly all beliefs are challenged to be looked at. This happens to all of us in the course of life. Things we never expect to come our way suddenly do. This is when our pain and suffering begins.

Sometimes it is a mental pain — when we have internal arguments with ourselves against values we cannot accept but which we also cannot reject because it involves people or persons we love. We experience ping-pong mental calisthenics whose main purpose is for us to define our own set of values versus that of the outside world. More often, it is an emotional pain, where the heart is broken in disappointment, disbelief and frustration. And what the pain teaches us how much we can stretch our own comfort zone to be more loving, compassionate and understanding.

There are times we feel free from the heavier burdens of suffering, when our affairs are going well and we are able to cope with our responsibilities and meet obligations without trouble. But there are other times, too, when things are not going well, when we find ourselves in such mental and emotional crisis.               

When we suffer losses, meet with persistent frustration or even worst, all that we know are true and accepted as real on our own level of perception suddenly starts breaking away... we fall back on our philosophies for living or our religious belief systems for some mental or emotional approach to the problem. Are these not familiar?

• Keep the mind always in a positive state by thinking of positive thoughts (Positivism mantra)

• Trust in God and all things will be provided you. Keep your faith firm. (Christian belief system)

• All things, dramas and situations are illusions created by the egoic mind, so detach and do not hold on to them; Attachment causes suffering. (Eastern mysticism)

But what I have seen in the process of my own life is that no matter how our philosophical and religious beliefs can carry us through to some level... we need a special approach for failure, for success, for gain and loss. For happiness as well as sorrow. In brief, we need a technique for living. I call it a spiritual discipline. A well-considered approach to life is better than the unthinking drift of life with no inner rudder or direction. The most efficient technique is an increasing mindfulness of one’s self and a certain degree of discipline to keep the mind steady and alert.

Why must we begin with the mind? Because all our conscious actions and unconscious reactions that cause us to suffer stem from the mind and how it perceives the outside world. The thoughts that occupy our minds trigger and fuel our emotions; create the kind of life we have, the kind of persons we believe we are.

But there is something more complex and deeper than just the thoughts of our mind. Mind creates Thought plus the quality of our Soul equals Consciousness. The kind of consciousness we have gives us a hint of the quality of our minds. The kind of person we are, our approach to our relationship and the world, and the expression of our life give us a hint of the kind of consciousness we have.

So I always present the need for a spiritual discipline. Why? Because such a discipline goes beyond just the Body and Mind, and brings us to a deeper interior, and a higher reach to be able to touch our souls and give expression to the spirit that is present therein.

An integrated spiritual discipline is a constant and regular daily integral practice in one’s life that brings together the Body, Heart, Mind and Spirit integration towards wholeness. Move the Body in physical activity. Listen to the Heart through inner reflection of the state of your emotions. Strengthen the Spirit by activities such as going to hear Mass, prayer and bible reading, meditation, a movement discipline like yoga tai-chi or chi-qong practice or even inner reflection that changes the quality of thought. No matter the crisis in our lives, no matter how imbalanced we can get... with this daily spiritual discipline, we have a rudder that will keep us steady. Such spiritual disciplines lighten the soul, focus the thoughts and transform these to be seen in outward actions of steadiness, patience, and a peaceful demeanor. We will also find that gratefulness arises in the heart for the constant blessings we have each day. The integrated spiritual practice will help us weather the emotional storms that become milestones of inner soul growth in this journey of life.

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