A failure remains a failure only if we refuse to learn from it. Any situation that teaches us greater humility, sobriety, wisdom about self and others, responsibility, forgiveness, depth of reflection, and better decision making -\-\teaching us what's truly important-\-\is not an ultimate failure. Sometimes what we deem a failure at the time it happens actually serves to foster a change within us that creates an even greater success down the road.
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How we sit within the body is an extremely important part of the spiritual journey. The body itself is used either by the spirit within us, or by the fear-based mind. When it is used by the spirit, then it is a thing of holiness. How we dwell within it, how we treat it, and how we use it in relationship to other aspects of the planet is extremely important. When we use the body without reverence, we are destructive elements on the planet. We become destructive to ourselves, to other life forms, and to the earth.
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Spirituality is an inner fire, a mystical sustenance that feeds our souls. The mystical journey drives us into ourselves, to a sacred flame at our center. The purpose of the religious experience is to develop the eyes by which we see this inner flame, and our capacity to live its mystery. In its presence, we are warmed and ignited. When too far from the blaze, we are cold and spiritually lifeless. We are less than human without that heat. Our connection to God is life itself.
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Love can be a huge mountain, a gentle garden, a raging storm, a cool breeze, or a perfect bath. But there is always fire somewhere nearby. There is always the red-hot stuff of the soul's initiation. If there isn't fire, then it isn't love ... If it doesn't insist that you move to your next level, if it doesn't take your heart and make it explode in a million pieces, only to fall back together again in some Moment of enlightened understanding, then you haven't really loved.
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I write and speak about personal and spiritual growth. One week I write about illness and another week I speak about relationships and another week I write about work and money and another week I speak to people with obesity issues. I write about whatever wounds seem to cry out for more enlightened solutions, and the love that heals them all.
I am very much into politics, but what interests me is sacred principles applied to that area. I am interested in the intersection of the Spiritual and the political - how spiritual principles apply to the social and political issues of our day. For me, the spiritual realm, is a more powerful place to speak from on those issues.
I think the heartbreak of September 11 - America's grief not only over the loss of life but also the loss of our own innocence -has expanded us as people because it has tenderized our hearts. On a psychological level, the American people have matured as a result of that awful day.
A certain desperation is usually necessary before we're ready for God... Until your knees finally hit the floor, you're just playing at life, and on some level you're scared because you know you're just playing. The moment of surrender is not when life is over. It's when it begins
The highest level of prayer is not a prayer for anything. It is a deep and profound silence, in which we allow ourselves to be still and know Him. In that silence, we are changed. We are calmed. We are illumined. Prayer is meant to dissolve the worldly focus, to dissolve our sense of a separate self, to help us detach from an insane world order. We pray that He might flood our minds. Prayer is like pouring hot water on an ice cube, melting the cold and encrusted thought forms that still surround our hearts.
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Most of us feel on some level like race horses chomping at the bit, pressing at the gate, hoping and praying for someone to open the door and let us run out. We feel so much pent up energy, so much locked up talent. We know in our hearts that we were born to do great things, and we have a deep-seated dread of wasting our lives. But the only person who can free us is ourselves. Most of us know that. We realize that the locked door is our own fear.
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Forgiveness is key to enchanted love because it is key to living right, period. It is the capacity to see beyond the veil of personality and worldly illusions. No one is perfect or attractive every day. Forgiveness means we are capable of relating to someone on a deeper level than the ordinary self. And that we are committed to doing so no matter what the appearances are, no matter what the situation is.
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When you look at obesity in the United States, clearly it is not a bunch of stupid people. It has nothing to do with intelligence. Sometimes people who are dealing with issues of obesity and compulsive eating know more than I will ever know about nutrition, metabolism, and exercise, because they have studied it. But clearly the real problem, and therefore the real solution, is on another level of consciousness, and that is where the spiritual work comes in.
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We're just afraid, period. Our fear is free-floating. We're afraid this isn't the right relationship or we're afraid it is. We're afraid they won't like us or we're afraid they will. We're afraid of failure or we're afraid of success. We're afraid of dying young or we're afraid of growing old. We're more afraid of life than we are of death.
There are clearly times when quieting down and bringing our energy back into ourselves is a step toward inner peace. Yet the most powerful life is not one in which we bring ourselves back to our center when we have spun away from it, but rather one in which we seek to live from that center at all times.
The way to have the life we want is to receive more deeply the life we have. Sometimes we keep our own life at arm's length, thinking we'll wait until circumstances improve before giving it all we've got. But life is just a reflection of consciousness, so it's never going to give any more to us than we give to it. Don't wait for a perfect life; breathe in the life that's already perfect.
As far as nonviolence and Spiritual Activism, Marshall Rosenberg is it! Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, is essential reading for anyone who wants to improve their communication skills. Applying the concepts within the book will help guide the reader towards a more loving, compassionate, and nonviolent way of understanding and functioning with others, and foster more compassion in the world. I highly recommend this book.
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Whatever we focus on is bound to expand. Where we see the negative, we call forth more negative. And where we see the positive, we call forth more positive. Having loved and lost, I now love more passionately. Having won and lost, I now win more soberly. Having tasted the bitter, I now savor the sweet.
When it comes to politics, we have an internal glass ceiling. We stand as good a chance as a man to win a political race, but women don't want to run at the same rate as men do. People point to the work-family balance issue, but I think it's much more than that. Many women don't have children, or have children who are no longer at home. There are some deeper psychological and emotional issues in play, like the fact that many of us feel like the embarrassment, humiliation and personal demonization in politics are simply more than our hearts can take. What stops us is fear.
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Forgiveness is like the martial arts of consciousness. In Aikido and, other martial arts, we sidestep our attackers force rather than resisting it. The energy of the attack then boomerangs back in the direction of the attacker. Our power lies in remaining nonreactive. Forgiveness works in the same way. When we attack back, and defense is a form of attack, we initiate a war that no one can win.
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I have lived large parts of my life in wonderful circumstances that I utterly failed to appreciate. Reasons to be happy were everywhere, but somehow I didn't connect with them. It was as though I was eating but couldn't taste the food. Finally, I've learned to celebrate the good while it's happening. I feel gratitude and praise today for what are sometimes such simple pleasures. I have learned that happiness is not determined by circumstances. Happiness is not what happens when everything goes the way you think it should go; happiness is what happens when you decide to be happy.
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We're often afraid to do anything unless we know we can do it extremely well. But we get to Carnegie Hall by practicing. I remember how freeing it was several years ago to read in an interview with Joan Baez that some of Bob Dylan's early songs weren't so wonderful. We have this image of genius springing fully grown out of Zeus' forehead.
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Love has a way of showing you to yourself, whether through satisfaction or humiliation. It hovers over you like a magnifying glass you cannot escape, intensifying the slightest feelings of either delight or shame. No other experience makes so obvious the realities of both heaven and hell.
Children are happy because they don't yet have a file in their minds called "All the Things That Could Go Wrong." They don't have a mind-set that puts "Things to Fear" before "Things to Love." Unless we can be like little children, we can't enter into the kingdom of heaven; unless we can be like little children, we can't be happy. Children are happy because they don't have all the facts yet.
You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. For those around us to feel peace, it is not example to make ourselves small. We were born to express the glory of God that lives in us. It is not in some of us, it is in all of us. While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others.
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The people who have achieved more than you, in any area, are only a half step ahead of you in time. Bless them and praise their gifts, and bless and praise your own. The world would be less rich without their contributions, and it would be less rich without yours. There's more than room for everyone; in fact, there's a need for everyone.
There is an old cliche, 'You can see the glass half empty, or you can see it half full.' You can focus on what's wrong in your life, or you can focus on what's right. But whatever you focus on, you're going to get more of. Creation is an extension of thought. Think lack, and you get lack. Think abundance, and you get more.
The famous passage from her book is often erroneously attributed to the inaugural address of Nelson Mandela. About the misattribution Williamson said, "Several years ago, this paragraph from A Return to Love began popping up everywhere, attributed to Nelson Mandela's 1994 inaugural address. As honored as I would be had President Mandela quoted my words, indeed he did not. I have no idea where that story came from, but I am gratified that the paragraph has come to mean so much to so many people.
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What's difficult in life is to stay centered when somebody does or says something that tempts us to close our hearts because their heart was closed. That is hard. But that is also how we grow. We go through those circumstances in order to evolve into people who can hold to our loving center no matter what the world throws us.
17,000 children starve on this planet every single day. That fact alone should blow any conscious person out of their chair. You know, my mother used to say that a woman's most important job is taking care of her children and her home. I laughed at that when I was younger, but I don't laugh at it anymore. I just realize that every child on the planet is one of our children, and the earth itself is our home.
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I believe that the most urgent need of parents today is to instill in our children a moral vision: what does it mean to be a good person, an excellent neighbor, a compassionate heart? What does it mean to say that God exits, that He loves us and He cares for us? What does it mean to love and forgive each other? Parents and caregivers of children must play a primary role in returning our society to a healthy sense of the sacred. We must commit to feeding our children's souls in the same way we commit to feeding their bodies.
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The only way to gain power in a world that is moving too fast is to learn to slow down. And the only way to spread one's influence wide to learn how to go deep. The world we want for ourselves and our children will not emerge from electronic speed but rather from a spiritual stillness that takes root in our souls. Then, and only then, will we create a world that reflects the heart instead of shattering it.
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When we pray for God to illumine our path, we are saying, 'Dear God, please show me the way. What thoughts do I need to think, to be able to navigate my life at this point? What perceptions do I need; what insights will guide me? Who do I need to forgive? What parts of my personality do I need to look at; what changes do I need to make? Please come upon me and heal my life. Amen.
Harry Potter is one boy in a long line of mythical heroes who have reminded the human race that we are so much more than we think we are, so much more powerful than we seem to know. Jesus said that we would someday do even greater works than He; should we not take Him at His word? And should not 'someday' be today? It's time for us to start working miracles, if indeed we have the capacity within us to do so.