It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Thank Your Mind

mariaS10.12 Maria Shirver's Sunday Paper
"When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary."  —Fred Rogers

I've Been Thinking...

Today is World Mental Health Day. Before you read further, I'd ask that you take a moment to check in with yourself this morning.

Check in with your mind. Sit with how you feel for a bit and don't judge. Think about all your mind does for you. Think about all it keeps track of for you. If you are like me, you probably drive it too hard. You probably put too much on its plate. You more than likely berate it for not being what you think it should be.

Pause.

The truth is, your mind is extraordinary and uniquely your own. Sure, it may drive you nuts at times (I feel you). You may wish it were different—maybe smarter, quicker, or better at retaining everything you want to remember. Maybe, like me, you wish your mind were less dark. I get that. But remember: your mind is yours and yours alone. Today, my wish is that you honor your mind's beauty. Honor its unique abilities, its perseverance, how extraordinary it is, and all it does for you. 

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140 Hits

Bet On Yourself

mshriver7.26
“I dwell in Possibility, a fairer House than Prose..."  —Emily Dickinson


I've Been Thinking...

“OMG, your past is speaking to you. What a validation of your truth!”

That’s what my friend Nadine said after reading my column in The Sunday Paper last week. In it, I wrote about the concept of leaving and about my parting words with Winnie, a woman who cared for my brothers as we were growing up.

 "You knew your truth all along,” Nadine continued. “You knew what it was, and yet you didn’t believe yourself. You sought outside validation. Perhaps now you will trust yourself!”

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367 Hits

Practicing the Presence of Peacefulness

peaceful

The next time something dark or disturbing tries to steal into you to wreck your contentment, do not consent to be drawn into its seemingly important considerations. Instead of sinking into this yawning abyss, rather than running after something to resolve that rift, better to remember this truth: the peace you long for also longs for you. Then, whatever you must do, find your way to it! Here’s a good place to start. 

Come awake to the backdrop of stillness within you, and while being aware within it, watch your own thoughts and feelings trying to drag you into the noisy world of their worry and fear. If you will go silent before them, they have no choice but to enter into the silence with you. This is how we turn the table on these thieves of peace. They cannot live with you in the light of higher self-awareness. In this mansion there is room for only one. 

You can work at this exercise anytime you remember it. Try it now. Look past the familiar forms around you, including those reactions in you about them. Don’t think about the moment unfolding before you, see it; Be the whole of life in the perfectly present moment. This Now is where the spirit of peace resides. Drop the minutiae, the too-familiar sense of self found in sorting through the particular. Place your attention in the awareness of your thoughts instead of losing your­self within them and what they tell you is happening.

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539 Hits

Life is Moving You Toward More Love

lifeismoving

If everything is love and you are love, then what exactly about you is not loved? There are no excuses. Relax into the truth and you will begin to experience yourself in a different way. The state of connection that you’ve been trying to access your whole life has always been present within you. 

At some point, you just have to understand that you are doing it to yourself. That revelation can either be a relief or it can be a further point of frustration for you, depending on how responsible, accountable and willing you are to hearing the truth. That means there are some fundamental principles that are permeating reality. For some reason, we have been conditioned to believe, and we further reinforce that conditioning, to have us disconnect from these principles. 

You are love. Not some future version of you, not some past version of you but the version of you that you are right now. You are love. There isn’t some power, or some force, or some energy that wakes up every morning and thinks of innovative and new ways to mess with your feng shui. That is not happening. There is not some being that has a power over you, who’s waking up every morning that messes with your vatsu. That is not going on. 

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Dismiss the Dark States that Steal Happiness

light_darkness

Wishing to be free, without taking action toward our intention, is meaningless; we must employ the truths we uncover, or we will never realize the possibil­ity of their true power, which is to help us walk away from what has been wrecking us. But with this new understanding in mind we must also realize that the truth that sets us free is not for hire; it does not so much “work” for us as it is our silent partner, producing the new life we long for. This means several things. 

First, we must be receptive to truth’s instruction in the Now; only conscious awareness of our aching can lead us to what authentically answers it, ending it. But secondly, we must -- ourselves -- be true in the same moment to what we know is the truth of that moment. We must do the truth we know. We must refuse, no matter what the seeming cost in the moment, to take part in any conversation with those parts of us that have proven themselves, time and time again, to compromise us.

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305 Hits

The Clash Between Truth And Reality

dreamandreality The Clash Between Truth And Reality
"When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily."

Every person wakes up in the morning to join the struggle between truth and reality. Yet almost no one realizes that this is what they are doing. Life contains struggles—no one disagrees with that sad fact—but what are we struggling against? The answers seem obvious. We struggle to stay healthy, make a living, maintain our relationships, and in general to keep our heads above water.

Where does truth enter into this? Imagine someone sitting in a chair wearing state-of-the-art virtual reality gear. In the simulation bombarding his senses, he is racing in the Indy 500, running away from tigers in the jungle, or walking a tightrope. These are perilous adventures that he is immersed in, where survival itself is at stake. His body will exhibit all the signs of a stress response. But his experience is entirely fake, a construct by clever VR engineers. The truth is that he is sitting still in a chair, perfectly safe and sheltered from struggle.

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571 Hits

Do you feel swamped with bad news?

badnews Do you feel swamped with bad news?

The Practice:
Find the good news.

Why?

“Tell the truth.” It’s the foundation of science – and the foundation of healthy relationships, communities, and countries.

But the truth of things is complicated. To simplify, there is the good of things that are enjoyable and helpful, the bad of things that are painful and harmful, and the neutral of things that are neither.

We need to recognize genuinely bad news for our own sake and to take care of others. But we also need to recognize good news: things that are useful, reassuring, inspiring, opportunities, solutions, etc.

The Brain’s Negativity Bias

Unfortunately, we have a brain that generally fixates on bad news and brushes past good news. Over the 600 hundred million year evolution of the nervous system, our ancestors:

  • Had to avoid two kinds of mistakes: (1) thinking that there’s a tiger in the bushes but actually all is well, or (2) thinking that all is well while actually there is a tiger about to pounce. What’s the cost of the first mistake? Just needless worry. But what’s the potential cost of the second mistake? Ulp, no more mistakes . . . forever. So we have a brain that tends to make the first mistake again and again to avoid ever making the second one.
  • Had to get “carrots” such as food and avoid “sticks” such as predators. Imagine living back in the Stone Age – or even Jurassic Park. If you didn’t get a carrot today, you’d have another chance tomorrow. But if you didn’t avoid every single stick today, game over. Consequently, negative experiences are fast-tracked into memory – “once burned, twice shy” – while most positive experiences slip through the brain like water through a sieve. In effect, the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.

As a result, we routinely overestimate threats while underestimating opportunities and resources. Some people have an “optimism bias” in what they say. But in their actions, studies show that most people work harder to avoid pain than to get pleasure and remember failures and rejections more than successes and kindness from others. One result is that the media focuses on bad news, because that’s what people pay attention to; thus, the saying in journalism, “if it bleeds, it leads.”

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3279 Hits

When the World Stops Working, We Will Know the Truth

cosmos When the World Stops Working, We Will Know the Truth

Everyone looks at the world, and their lives, assuming that they know the truth. This isn’t truth with a capital T but simply the truth about everyday things, like how to drive a car, buy groceries, and do one’s job. We know other basic things that are true, such as when we are awake as opposed to being asleep. In other words, the world works, more or less to our satisfaction.

Somewhere beyond everyday affairs there are experts, professionals, and thinkers who deal in deeper truths, still not with a capital T but getting closer. Scientists especially are trusted to give us the truth about Nature from the most microscopic regions of quanta to the most cosmic regions, where quasars and black holes exist. We trust that if the everyday world is working, science must have a handle on why it works, operating from its deeper perspective.

So it comes as something of a shock, even though it doesn’t touch us personally, that the scientific view of the world is so wobbly that it is on the verge of becoming either untrue or obsolete or both. At the farthest edges of exploration, the basic elements of physics—space, time, matter, and energy—vanish, either because they disappear into a black hole or because the scale of measurement reaches the limit, known as the Planck scale, where there is no way to calculate anything. At the same time there is the whole issue of dark matter and energy, which are barely known and may not be knowable by the human mind, since our brains are set up for regular matter and energy.

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701 Hits

Find Your Voice

motherdaugher Find Your Voice

This week I noticed a theme that I picked up on during conversations with various people I thought I’d bring to you. I noticed there was a recurring discussion about speaking the truth, using your voice in a powerful way, and dealing with the consequences of what happens when you don’t speak out of fear.

Authenticity requires you to use your voice with a certain veracity– telling the truth, the absolute truth. Finding your voice takes courage, especially if you were raised to be seen and not heard, or you had to fight to be heard, or you were punished for telling the truth. Maybe all these things were implied while you were learning how to fit in, before finding out who you wanted to be.

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How to Tap into the Strength of Your Truth

strengthofyourtruth How to Tap into the Strength of Your Truth

My writing has been described as lyrical or even whimsical.  I know my words as truth; they carry an awareness of a kinder and compassionate world.

We are living in a time that allows our actions and reactions to be far reaching into our world.  Humanity has documented challenges and successes of our planet throughout the ages.  Our ability to be aware of current situations across the oceans has gifted us a unique knowledge and challenge. The media is sharing terrifying footage of fires, wars, and other devastating events that are portrayed as out of control.  It might appear like humanity is being brought to our collective knees….

I choose to look at this moment in history as an opportunity to gain a higher perspective of our options.  We can unite, bring light, and vibrancy to the areas where fear has trapped us.  To achieve this, we need to look deeper into every image.  For example, we see animals fleeing the fires in Australia.  This has triggered emotions for many of us.  Seeing the animals loosing lives to an out of control fire stirs up grief, fear and sadness.

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1167 Hits

How to live in peace with each other?

playingfair How to live in peace with each other?

The Practice:  
Tell the Truth and Play Fair

Why?

Perhaps like you, I’ve been worrying lately about what it will take for all of us to live together in peace.

I remember what I’ve heard many teachers say to their students: Tell the truth. Play fair.

This is what we ask our own kids to do. It’s what we look for in a friend, a boss, and a neighbor. If your child cheats on a board game, you point it out; it’s not OK. We want cashiers to give us the correct change and doctors to be honest about our test results. It’s basic.

The Foundation of Morals and Ethics

People compete with each other and have conflicts. But whether it’s a game of cards, businesses on main street, or an election, we expect a level playing field. Rights for you are also rights for me, and rules for me are also rules for you. If everyone accepts these standards, winning is all the sweeter because you earned it. Losing may be bitter but at least you know you weren’t cheated.

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650 Hits

10 Ways to Find the Courage to Live the Life You Choose

courage 10 Ways to Find the Courage to Live the Life You Choose

Here are ten spiritual principles designed to help you remember and restore your natural self-command. Allow them to remind you of what you already know is true and see how much easier it becomes to do what is true in the face of difficult moments. In no time at all, your anxious search for self-command will fade away as surely as shadows flee the midday sun.

1) Realizing the spiritual freedom you long for appears by itself once you stop agreeing to see yourself as powerless in the face of punishing thoughts and feelings!


2) You have the right to walk through this life without any fear of what may await you ahead.

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1394 Hits

Women's Voices: Speaking Truth to Power

IMG_0667-1200x900

“We are a land of many colors,
and we are singing,
singing, for our lives.”
—Holly Near

In last fall’s elections, the U.S. Congress saw a refreshing new influx of those who have been left out of the legislative process far too long—specifically, women and people of color. African-American, Native-American, Latina, and Muslim women were elected from various states across the country. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York is one of them. Since her surprise unseating of the incumbent there, she has been relentlessly criticized by nervous politicians from both parties for her outspoken and uncensored comments about the President and all those in power. Many of those criticisms show just how much public opinion panders to “acceptable” behavior for political candidates, and women in particular.

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958 Hits

How does righteousness cut us off from truth?

angerreality How does righteousness cut us off from truth?

When I start to get angry, I see my predicament and how I’m getting caught in expectations and righteousness. Learning to give up anger has been a continuous process.

When Maharaj-ji told me to love everyone and tell the truth, he also said, “Give up anger, and I’ll help you with it.” Maharaj-ji offered me a bargain: “You must polish the mirror free of anger to see God. If you give up a little anger each day, I will help you.” This seemed to be a deal that was more than fair. I readily accepted. And he’s been true to his end of the bargain. I found that his love helped to free me from my righteousness. Ultimately I would rather be free and in love than be right.

If you feel a sense of social responsibility, first of all keep working on yourself. Being peaceful yourself is the first step if you want to live in a peaceful universe.

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Be your SELF not your selfie: The reality about our story on social media

taking-a-selfie-picture-id898834578 Be your SELF not your selfie: The reality about our story on social media

How many of you have taken a selfie? If you have, raise your hand. Okay, I can’t really see you raising your hand but I’m pretty sure most people had taken many selfies. In fact, in the past I took many selfies even before they were called selfies using my camera’s self-timer (yeah millennials, go ahead and laugh), all because of Facebook. That was around 2007 before it exploded to having more than 2 billion daily users. It was back on the day when updating your status was still done in the third person and the newsfeed was called the Wall. These days, even my 68-year old mother takes selfies to post on Facebook. So yeah, we all have done it.

 All these years, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with social media. I’ve deactivated my accounts many times in the past and stayed offline for years. The superficiality of it all really bugged me. I am the type of person who would rather have a handful of close friends instead of a big circle. But the person who introduced me to Facebook is the type of person who “collects” friends because, as she puts it, “You’ll never know when you need them.”

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938 Hits