Blogs

Learning to Connect to Inner Peace

hands-reach-for-each-other-picture-id1031563504 Learning to Connect to Inner Peace

Question: Why do some people seem to exude peace of mind while I struggle to be calm? What is the source of composure, and how can I work to develop it within myself?

Guy Finley: For better or worse, the quality and content of your life experience is determined by what you are connected to.

The next time you feel yourself becoming agitated, simply notice to what you are connected. See how simple this is, if you’ll do it.

Here you are driving down the street and you start to notice that you’re feeling depressed. Or maybe you’re feeling anxious. That’s the first step: to see yourself, to be awake to what’s going on within you. Ordinarily, the nature that feels negative, the self that embraces that stressed state, looks to itself to explain to itself why it feels like that, which does nothing but forward the process. Now you have some new information. The reason that you’re in the condition you’re in is because of what you’re connected to. Period. And what you’re connected to in that moment is nothing but some self-limiting idea you have of yourself -- an idea that’s telling you who you are, defining you based upon its incomplete perception of life. For instance, in unheard whispers it claims: “Unless so and so approves of my actions they’re worthless, which means I am too.” Or, “If I lose that account, or relationship, all will be lost”… mistaken ideas delivering wrong conclusions, unconscious conclusions which become your tragedies.

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How can we begin to wake up in each moment?

wakingup-730x400 How can we begin to wake up in each moment?

A soul takes human birth in order to have a series of experiences through which it will awaken out of its illusion of separateness, in each moment.

The physical experience of being incarnated is the curriculum, and the purpose of the course is to awaken us from the illusion that we are the incarnation. Spiritual practices are tools to help us accomplish these goals.

You start from innocence and you return to innocence. A sage was asked, “How long have we been on this journey?” He replied, “Imagine a mountain three miles wide, three miles high, and three miles long. Once every hundred years, a bird flies over the mountain, holding a silk scarf in its beak, which it brushes across the surface of the mountain. The time it would take for the scarf to wear down the mountain is how long we’ve been doing this.”

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When You’re in Transition Hell, Is Everything in Divine Order? Your Choice

divineorder When You’re in Transition Hell, Is Everything in Divine Order? Your Choice

When you don’t get things that you want, many people will tell you “Everything is in divine order,” which loosely translates into believing there is a reason, a good reason, a beautiful reason for everything– but you lame grasshopper of a tiny, baser consciousness cannot yet behold why it’s just peaches and cream perfect that you’re in how shall we say it—HELL—and struggling to claw your way through your own black swamp– while someone else nabs their dream job, spouse, and home along the sunniest coast of Spain, and, yes, bless their hearts, tweets about it.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I’m in pain, it’s hard to see perfection in my life.

But then, and I say this grudgingly, that would be the point of having a spiritual practice or faith.

Spirituality is all about holding a perspective that it’s hard for your ordinary mind to see.  That’s why it’s an extraordinary path.

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Spirit Doesn’t Need a Mobile Phone

meditationbylake Spirit Doesn’t Need a Mobile Phone

Are you tired of always rushing around? How are you handling your digitally driven life? I’ve noticed that everywhere I go, everyone has their eyes on their cell phones. We’re living in a new world where our digital devices are speeding up and maybe even taking control of our lives.

I remember the days before email, before Facebook, and even before everyone, including young children, had mobile phones. My older friends remember having to handwrite letters and drop them in a mailbox to correspond with their family and friends. Then there was the dial-up landline telephone followed by the novelty of sending a fax. Now it’s the explosion of all things digital.

The net affect of all this instant communication is that we’re always rushing. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. We’ve become more impatient, more intolerant and more about results than the journey getting there! These days, we want things done yesterday and expect things to just materialize or happen when we want them to.

I see how dependant we’ve become to our phones, especially when I’m at the movie theater. Seconds before the film starts, everyone takes one last glance before turning them off. The glow around the cinema says it all.

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Meditation: Everything Belongs

spiderweb Meditation: Everything Belongs

This guided meditation awakens an embodied presence through a body scan, and invites us to rest in the breath, while allowing the different waves of sensations, feelings and sounds to come and go. When difficult experiences arise, we breathe with them, feeling them fully and mentally whispering, “this belongs,” or “this too.” By not resisting, we discover the sea of awareness that has room for all the waves.

“…Let the breath anchor you, so you have a way to stay present…”

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How can we find humor through meditation?

humor How can we find humor through meditation?

“If it were not laughed at, it would not be sufficient to be Tao.” – Lao Tzu on Humor, - Tao Te Ching

Did you ever have a bad day? Everything seems to go wrong and you are completely lost in anger, frustration and self-pity. It gets worse and worse, until the final moment when, say, you have just missed the last bus. There is some critical point where it gets so bad the absurdity of it all overwhelms you and you can do nothing but laugh. At that moment you up-level your predicament, you see the cosmic joke in your own suffering.

Meditation, because of the space it allows around events, gives you the chance to see the humor of your predicament. Awareness of the passing show of one’s own life allows a lightness to enter it where only a moment before there was heaviness.

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Making The Quantum Flip™: Changing Discipline to Devotion

morning-yoga-childs-pose-picture-id515675096 Making The Quantum Flip™: Changing Discipline to Devotion

If there was one thing that could make you more successful, prevent depression, and allow you to maintain healthy weight, would you do it? What if I told you it had nothing to do with working out or eating right?

We all know that maintaining a consistent physical practice as well as healthy eating habits positively affects our physical, emotional and mental well-being. However, there is something more than simply maintaining a dedicated routine that brings even greater benefits to our lives.

More important than the routines, is who we are when we do them.

When we go about our daily routines, we do have to maintain consistency, but we must do it in a vibrational frequency that is closer to the truth of who we are.  Our vibrational frequency has everything to do with who we perceive ourselves to be which plays a role in the state of our choices, disposition, orientation in the world, sense of self and our ability to maintain clarity and consistency in our lives.

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Who Would You Be Without Identity?

IMG_1058-1200x900 Who Would You Be Without Identity?

Can you imagine yourself without a gender, a role, a story, a sense of self that precedes you into the world? No mental concepts that define how you see everything? No language to structure the formless into form and separate you from others? This is how you were born. This is how you entered life on Earth (and how you will leave it), a divine soul without human definitions to shape it. And this is who you still are, deep within. No matter what words were spoken or names were given to you, your soul remains intact. Your soul is always connected to the Source from which it came, regardless of what separation is experienced by your personality or ego in the course of a lifetime.

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The Balanced Mind: A Better Model

balancedmind The Balanced Mind: A Better Model

Now that meditation has caught on widely, it’s time to understand why it works. The physical findings measured by neuroscience gives intriguing hints about changes in brain wave activity, but that’s an effect, not a cause. The same holds true for physiological changes outside the brain, such as lowered heart rate and blood pressure. The how and why of meditation must be sought “in here,” in the meditator’s subjective experience.

This isn’t a mysterious route to take. Pain studies are based on how much pain a subject feels; there is no objective way to measure this. In the case of meditation, I believe the correct model is that the mind in meditation is rebalancing itself. Medical studies have known for a long time that the body tends toward a state of dynamic balance known as homeostasis. If you push your body out of balance by shoveling snow off the driveway or running a marathon, as soon as you stop that activity, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen use in the muscles, and even digestion and the immune system return to homeostatic balance.

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A Breath Exercise for Suffering and Joy

woman-in-water-picture-id540717970 A Breath Exercise for Suffering and Joy

In the 11th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna shows Arjuna all the forms of the Universe, turning back into the pure form from which they were manifested.

The forms of the Universe: Breathe them in. Take in the baby’s crying, the sound of traffic, it’s all energy, it’s all shakti in form. As you draw it into your being, let the forms go, let your concepts about it all go, turn it back into pure shakti. Sit straight, draw it all into your chest.

All of your thoughts now, your memories, think of the political world, a breath for that.

See all the candidates, all of the international intrigue, all of the genuine seeking for peace, a breath for that.

See it all; the play, the dance, the forms, the mother, the mother at play, all aspects of the mother. Draw it back into its pure form within you, Mother shakti. Draw it into your heart.

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A New Age for the New Age. It’s Time.​

newage A New Age for the New Age. It’s Time.​

Have you noticed the almost sacred ritual that happens as it gets dark outside, at dusk? It’s especially noticeable for me on a warm summer evening. The air cools and stills. The lighting becomes surreal, glowing, soft, almost like a dream. Birds of a particular feather, shift location as if cued by an internal alarm. Humans and cars bustle about leaving and returning. Mosquitoes might try and get their last bite in. Certain other critters offer a strange but steady musical chorus to welcome the night. It feels like there is a divine design to all of it, like it would be imperfect with just one of its many guests missing. Where the sum of these individual pieces, and what can seem like disorder and disparateness, comes together to truly create the experience of dusk and night falling. Can you tell its my favorite time of day?


But more than that, in a weird way, it has me thinking about the incredibly crazy, imperfect but deliberate plan that is playing out in the world right now and our roles in it. Specifically I’m thinking about the disruption and dismantling of privilege, “business as usual” in its many forms. We see this as it relates to global politics, religion, women’s rights, ethnicity and race, sexual preference and so many things really. As of late, my own experience and attention has been on what greater healing and inclusion looks like in the spirituality/wellbeing space. But I think these reflections might also resonate in other spaces as well.

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Make The Most of This Day (Mindfulness)

mindfulness Make The Most of This Day (Mindfulness)

Being mindful, understanding and keeping track of your thoughts and emotions is critical in being able to change your state.

This simple but powerful tool will raise your awareness of exactly how you’re feeling at any given moment and can help you change the way you feel from one moment to the next.

Practice this technique and make a habit of using it.

Answer the questions truthfully and spontaneously. Stay focused on the answer to question number four for as long as you can.

Use your own words and the wisdom of your own heart to answer the questions.

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How can we balance suffering and joy in our lives?

balancelife How can we balance suffering and joy in our lives?

“The Sage does not talk – the Talented Ones talk, and the stupid ones argue.” – Kung Tingan

Though the numbers are proportionally few, many thousands of us have, through discipline and persistence, arrived at a view of our lives that is open, clear, and detached. In this new space we have lightness, an ease in carrying out our daily lives. An ability to keep a certain sense of humor about our predicaments. We find that because of the quietness of our minds it’s easier to relate to acquaintances, to family, to employers, to friends. It’s also easier to bring together our economic scene and the other aspects of our lives.

We begin to feel a little bit like gods on earth. Where we see sadness and suffering around us, we are able to empathize and still feel lightness and joy.

It’s as if the world is made for our delight, and even our own troubles become a source of amusement. When we look one another in the eye there is clarity and honesty. We have a certain degree of inner peace. Many of us never thought possible this level of equanimity, fullness, and delight in life. We have a sense of self-acceptance, spaciousness, and fullness in the moment that makes each day enough. In many ways it seems like liberation.

As I look around at people I know who have been working intensely on themselves for some time, there is a dramatic change.

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Jennifer taps her way into my heart

child Jennifer taps her way into my heart

A young woman named Melinda came to see me for a reading. As she sat quietly across the room from me, there was a full line-up of relatives from the Other-Side stepping forward one by one.

In the background, I was acutely aware of a faint tapping that I was psychically hearing. It wasn’t the familiar tempo of a waltz or even a song that I'd recognize; yet, there it was again—a definite rhythm. It sounded more like: Clackity-clack, clackity-clack, clackity-clack.

Oh my God, heaven was actually tap dancing! I thought to myself. At that moment, a little girl stepped forward and gave me her name. I didn’t hesitate a moment longer, “Melinda, I have a little girl here and she is giving me the name of Jen or Jennifer. Do you understand that?”

“That’s my daughter!” Melinda’s eyes instantly filled with tears. Jennifer was her five-year-old daughter who’d tragically died after a kidney operation. Melinda recalled that day when the hospital staff had begged her and the rest of the family to “go home, relax, and get something to eat”—just for an hour— because nothing would happen­. Yet, something awful did happen.

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Desire: A Current of Homecoming

breakingfree Desire: A Current of Homecoming

Desire is intrinsic to our aliveness, yet when we have unmet needs, it can possess us. This talk explores how to relax open the grip of wanting and heal the suffering of addiction. You will learn how to bring mindfulness and compassion to the roots of desire, and be carried home to open loving presence (a favorite from the archives).

For us addicts, recovery is more than just taking a pill or maybe getting a shot. Recovery is also about the spirit, about dealing with that hole in the soul.
~ William Moyers

You might also enjoy Tara’s online course, curated from this talk, plus several of her others: Freeing Ourselves with Mindfulness: Using mindfulness and meditation to heal harmful habits, attachments, and addictions. Register at any time. Link includes discounted price.

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You Can't GPS God

IMG_0744-1200x900

If you held a compass in your hand with the intention of locating God, you would see the needle spin in all directions. The GPS in your car could not come up with an exact position for God in its system either. That’s because (of course) God is everywhere at the same time. Its physical form in this dimension is us, our human bodies, as well as those of animals, plants, trees, birds, insects, fish, seashells, stones, etc.

From the nonphysical perspective, God is an experience not a visible object. On Earth, the experience of God is love. And love has no form, no language, no location. If you deepen your awareness of divine connection, you come to realize that you are always held in a love beyond any words to describe it. Peace fills your being and Presence fills your consciousness. I have been there. It’s a place to which I am always longing to return. But there is no compass or GPS to guide you to God. Only in the process of living and letting go do you suddenly turn up in that spaceless space that defies description.

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Be You to Be Abundant

abundanceyou Be You to Be Abundant

Dearest You,

The energy in the universal Oracle Card reading this week is all about co-creation, abundance and our infinite potential for prosperity. 

When we can harness and get in alignment with the energy of abundance there’s an anticipation, a palpable buzz, that we can tune into that turns on a switch, like all of a sudden going from dim and hazy to bright and shiny.

The click happens when we fully embrace ourselves as we’re meant to be, not as we’ve been taught (or coerced) to be. We all have a window of opportunity now that requires casting off the shell of conformity, removing all the masks that we thought might help us gain social acceptance, to get to our molten core where Spirit’s spark waits for us to ignite our destiny.

When you tap into this energy and click into your own “destiny switch” abundance seems to appear as if magic sparkle dust got dumped on your head. One minute you were struggling to figure it all out then BAM you’re at a party!

I want me some of that—don’t you?

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How can we begin to heal the world?

healingtheworld How can we begin to heal the world?

If we are to help heal the world, we need to remember that it is a sacred place.

Our actions need to be positive statements, reminders that even in the worst times there is a world worth struggling for. We need to find ways to keep the vision alive, to acknowledge but not get caught in the dark side. To remember that even the worst aspects of suffering are only part of the whole picture. We need to enter lightly.

Entering lightly means not ignoring suffering but treating it gently.

We don’t want to ignore another’s pain, but our becoming depressed or angry about it doesn’t relieve it and may increase it. The delicate balance is in allowing ourselves to feel the pain fully, to be sad or angry or hurt by it, but not be so weighted down by it that we are unable to act to relieve it. It is a matter of ends and means again: to create a caring, loving, peaceful world, we need to act with care and love and peace.

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How to Stay Mindful in the Age of Digital Distractions

phonedistraction How to Stay Mindful in the Age of Digital Distractions

People have loved practicing mindfulness and meditation for centuries – and for good reason. Studies have found that this time-honored tradition has huge mental and physical benefits. Research attributes mindfulness to increased focus and working memory as well as increased quality of life. Also attributed are reductions in anxiety and stress, so with all these reasons to be mindful what's stopping us?

In this new age of technology, distraction is just a click away. Tiny pocket-sized devices provide hours of entertainment with a few taps of a finger. This daily intake of likes, notifications and messages does come at a cost. Technology has brought with it many great conveniences but not without consequence. Overuse of technology has been linked to depression, anxiety and many other mental health issues that are currently on the rise. Developing mindfulness can help to prevent and even repair these negative impacts of technology.

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Mahasati hand meditation practice for stress

buddha-in-meditation-picture-id488655799 Mahasati hand meditation practice for stress

Mahasati hand meditation is a practice that can be particularly useful during times of excessive stress or emotional upheaval, or when our minds just won’t shut the f__k up no matter how much yogic breathing or how many rounds of mantras we’ve done. And yeah, I speak from experience.

I learned this practice at my most rock bottom of rock bottoms. I was at a rehab facility, three days into a seven-day stay in detox from alcohol. My body was still squeamish, my brain still racing, my hope nonexistent, and my self-loathing at an all-time high. As I lay in bed aware of the physical battle going on between withdrawal and the benzodiazepines I’d been given to help relax me and keep me from having a seizure, my thoughts raced—I’d just lost my job, my car was about to be repossessed, I had a court date and jail time awaiting me, and last but (definitely) not least, I was going to miss my brother’s wedding, the one where I was supposed to be his best man. Yeah, I was in rough shape.

Later that morning I stumbled into our group session, where a young, prayer-bead-wearing, bald-headed man announced we were going to practice meditation. Grunts and grumbles filled the room, and the corner I’d staked out as my own was no exception. I’d been meditating for several years already and knew that I was in no place mentally or emotionally to sit quietly and let my mind cause me even more trouble than it already was.

In all fairness, yes, those are often the times when meditation can be extremely beneficial. I’m all about gently and compassionately leaning into the pain and allowing it to teach us what it can, but I also believe that there are times in life when the pain is too great and it’s counterproductive to lean into it. There’s no such thing as a spiritual superhero; no trophies are awarded to those who can endure the heaviest shit, so please, honor what you can and can’t do in the moment and go from there. Only you can know for sure, so be honest with yourself.

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