From Spiritual Spinach to Painless Practice

For a very, very long time, I felt like an utter failure when it comes to spiritual practices. You know. Those pesky, vibration-rasing things all the woo-woo guru types will suggest?

“This will change your life!” they say, with the gleam of magick in their eye. They are pretty adamant, and I don’t think they’re wrong.

Except, what if you suck at it?

Top of that list is meditation. Hell, I advise meditation, too. Awesome. We’re in agreement. It’s a wonderful, powerful tool. Same page here.

Except, except, except…I could never stay focused on “nothingness” (whatever that means). The more tangible just-focus-on-breathing-advice was a little easier to follow. But during the full 20 minutes or so earmarked for meditation? Uh, no.

And while guided meditations are easier because they give my very active mind something to latch on to, that felt kind of like cheating. If I weren’t a meditation failure, I wouldn’t need to listen to someone describing pretty forests to get my Zen groove on.

It never took long into one of my meditation resolutions before I found myself outright dreading practice time. Sometimes, I got it “right enough” that I’d feel okay about the exercise overall. It wasn’t joy-driven, though, and I knew I wanted it to be. I always tried to find ways to be more relaxed about it, but as often or not I just ended up feeling like an ADD elementary schooler, impatiently waiting for the recess bell.

Are we done yet? Can I mark this off my list and move on to something I want to do?

“But this is good for me,” I’d insist to myself. Maybe not a tasty treat, but valuable. This is what I did over and over until eventually, I realized I’d relegated practice to the realm of Spiritual Spinach!

“Meh” on the gotta-have-it index, but oh-so-good-for-you, so eat up anywho.

Bleh! That’s no fun and it’s certainly demotivating. So I’ve done my best to change this.

I am very loose about what I classify as “practice.” I prefer simple activities that are easy and flexible, so most of my choices fit into that category. But if you enjoy more involved practice or ritual, there’s nothing wrong with that, either! Things I consider spiritual practices might include crocheting while listening to certain videos, or binaural beats on the headphones while making dinner, or filling pages of my Joy Journal. I’m a firm believer that it’s not what you’re doing that counts nearly as much as HOW you’re doing it.

I’ve come up with some new guidelines for myself on the topic and I’ve got to say, they are really amping up my Spiritual Practice Mojo. So I thought I’d share them with you. ♥

Dixie’s Rules for Spiritual Practices

  • It MUST feel good.
  • Zero self-criticism.
  • Mindfulness matters, but it’s all okay.

If my practices don’t leave me feeling good–expansive, connected, grounded and happy? Something is amiss and it’s not serving me. I realized that for me at least, it’s GOT to feel good! Good feelings are my indication what I’m doing is working for me. If it fails this test, there’s no reason to continue.

Nothing is going to feel good when I’m criticizing myself. Being Zen requires a total commitment to being at peace with the now. Where I am is all right because it has to be all right. It’s where I am! No “shoulds” need apply. I am in the perfect place, right where I stand. This one takes some ongoing attention to stay there, but it’s a sweet spot when you find it.

Be where you are, focusing on what you’re doing. What makes an activity a true spiritual practice for me is much less about the activity than it is about the energy I’m bringing to said activity. The “chop wood, carry water” paradigm of Zen has this right. Do I always manage an impressive level of mindfulness? Oh God, no! Not even close (as mentioned in the video). But hey, no self-criticism, Dixie! The mindfulness factor varies from day to day, whatever mindfulness I manage benefits me, be it a little or a lot.

Really, it boils down to finding ways to connect to the broader world, inner reality–your spirit, the soul, light, the Universe, God, whome/dixiblog/domains/afoolsjourney.com/public_htmlver or however you envision this to be, on an ongoing basis. It’s little bits of time you carve out and dedicate to connection, because connection is important to you. It’s a gift you give yourself. It’s an opportunity to get into the vibration of joy and love and appreciation, and practice that energy until it’s second nature.

That’s how I managed to move my own spiritual practices from taking my medicine to something I love. Here’s hoping the same for you!

Do you have spiritual practices? What helps you keep them fresh and effective?

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Cayce: Charkas & the Lord’s Prayer

Cayce Chakras and Lord's Prayer

E. Cayce sketch on the chakra correspondences for “The Lord’s Prayer”

Edgar Cayce, famed psychic, healer and trance channel, taught that “The Lord’s Prayer” corresponds to the major chakras, saying that reciting this prayer was one way to keep the chakra energy in alignment.

Our Father, which art in heaven / 6th – 3rd Eye Chakra

Hallowed be thy name / 7th – Crown Chakra

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. /5th – Throat Chakra

Give us this day our daily bread /1st – Root Chakra

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us. /3rd – Solar Plexus Chakra

And lead us not into temptation  /2nd – Sacral Chakra

But deliver us from evil. /4th – Heart Chakra

For thine is the kingdom /5th – Throat Chakra

And the power /7th – Crown Chakra

And the glory, for ever and ever. /6th – 3rd Eye Chakra

Amen.


Many windows upon the same landscape?

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02/21/13: Seeing into the Silence / The Star

star-osho-zen-silence

Silence is a unique interpretation of The Star. Appropriate for the card’s Aquarius association, this imagery suggests detaching from our day-to-day to tap into a more universal awareness. By becoming quiet, by detaching from ordinary thoughts and daily concerns, you can experience a connection to the singular thread that runs through all.

I’m far from an accomplished meditator, I’ll be the first to admit! But I’ve discovered these little pockets of awareness crop up when meditating of the sort I do. There are just these blips, where words are all gone, and distinctions are all gone, and worries are all gone. Everything melts away. It’s as if, just for that little bit, I feel the entire universe as a living, breathing entity and myself as a particle within that breath. In my mind, it’s a personal experience of what God is, Universal oneness.

I also believe this is the same universal data stream one taps into when doing (good) readings. The invisible network that connects us all is like the psychic data line. That’s why distance doesn’t matter. We’re all subscribed to the same stream.

It’s interesting that a woman is pictured on this card, with the moon shining from her 3rd eye. It’s a very Yin interpretation, reminding me of the High Priestess. This isn’t a “go out and get it” vibe. It’s an “open yourself up” vibe. What shows up may well be a lot different than what you would have created on your own. But this is a broader, bigger perspective than you would have come up with on your own, too.

The Star is always an optimistic card, and always forward looking, to a longer-range, bigger picture. Right now, it’s telling me those day-to-day tussles, the stressors and worries that demand so much of my energy do NOT truly matter. It tells me everything IS already as it should be. It tells me not to fight the flow, but to remain open-minded and flexible in order to stay in the flow. Today’s tragedy may be tomorrow’s blessing.

To access this energy, let go! Meditate, play, sleep, work on your favorite hobby—just do whatever it is you do to get yourself away from the tyranny of your thoughts. What you need is accessible, but you cannot grasp for it. Instead, get quiet and open your mind. The future is waiting in the silence.

What do you see in the silence?

02/21/13: Seeing into the Silence / The Star 1 Osho Zen Tarot Set
by US Games

Schedule a Tarot consultation with Dixie.

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Mini-Meditation: Fly Away from Conflict

Mini-Meditation: Fly Away from Conflict 2My husband gave me a version of this mini-meditation when I was all riled up over somebody else’s conflict. Works great!


See yourself outside, atop a very high mountain in a beautiful range. The conflict that’s been surrounding you, touching your life and your heart, still exists, but it’s down in the valley below where you’re now sitting.

Gazing down into the valley, you can catch only glimpses of the battle now. The people are far away. You can see there are words exchanged, but have no idea what’s being said.  They are so far away, there’s just nothing for you to do. They must resolve their own differences. You send them love and wish them well.

Instead, you turn your attention to the flowers, on the ground next to you. They’re lovely and smell so sweet…a gentle breeze rustles through the trees and carries their soothing scent, whisking away any remaining tension, just like a warm, cleansing shower. You can no longer hear voices over the chorus of birds singing. Breathe in the beauty and calm of the life energy surrounding you.

Just then, an eagle flies by, catching your attention. “How lovely it must be to fly,” you think.

As you shift focus to the eagle, your energy merges and you can see through his eyes. You’re flying! Watch, fly with the eagle, soaring up and down through the clouds, swooping swiftly past the people, past the tops of pine trees, over a river and through the most amazing landscape you’ve ever seen. Travel with the Eagle as long as you like, and let him show you some of  his awesome world.

When you’re ready, thank your Eagle friend and ask him to return you home/dixiblog/domains/afoolsjourney.com/public_html.

Mini-Meditation: Fly Away from Conflict 3

Let me know if you try this one.

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Mini-Meditation: Green Tree Path

zenpath

Breathe….breathe. Deep breath in….and out. In…and out.

Envision yourself, sitting on a bench in a  park, looking down a beautiful line of trees. Inhaling the fresh air deep into your belly, and smelling the freshly cut grass. Exhaling slowly out, feeling the solid earth beneath your feet.

You feel the life forces of the trees  surrounding you…they are green and strong and vibrant. The birds’ songs are soulful, and you catch a glimpse of wildlife scurrying just out of the corner of your eye. The energy around you feels never-ending, reaching up, up, up into the sky, out in every direct like and endless sea.

Allow your own presence to expand, merging with that of the trees and wildlife. Let your energy become lighter and finer and wider, melding into the ocean of all energy everywhere until all is one.

All those worries, all the frustrations that mattered a minute ago now seem far away and unimportant. You know, deep down, everything is as it should be. Everything is right. Feel rays of light swim down into your body from the energy sea, down into your heart, filling you with love and wonder and peace.

When you’re almost ready to return, take in one last, deep breath of light and see it shining all around you in a bubble, protecting and calming you, as you go about your day. You can recharge your light any time you like, calling upon light from the sea of energy to brighten and lighten your path.

Do you have any favorite mini-meditations?

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