Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Our One Assignment

Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Our One Assignment

Buddha said the origin of light came from within. The implication is that there is an inner plane of forces that mirrors the elements of the physical world. That as matter is a conduit for fire, water, earth, and wind, our wakeful consciousness is a conduit for the forces of inner light, which manifest as intention, care, compassion, and kindness. And while survival has us navigate the struggles of circumstance, the transformative way to meet and mitigate events is to express the inner forces of light into the kinships that strengthen the Web of Life. In this way, light has migrated for eons through our suffering and delight into the world. This, then, is our one assignment: to make our humanness the lens through which light comes into the world.

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Discover How to Honor the Light and Shadow Qualities of Your Beautiful and Complex Self

Discover How to Honor the Light and Shadow Qualities of Your Beautiful and Complex Self

Have you found that you love certain parts of your personality and behavior, and recognize that these same traits occasionally invite challenges? Do you feel like your thoughts and actions sometimes need a little balancing? This blog is the perfect opportunity to discover how honoring both your light and shadow qualities can enhance your human life experience.

What Do Your Shadows Look Like?

I’m referencing shadow work as potential strengths and weaknesses in your personality that occasionally need to be balanced. These are not the deep and dark issues that are revealed on the therapists coach or in-depth life coaching sessions.

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Experiencing Life Consciously

Experiencing Life Consciously - Panache Desai

Think of your life and the experiences that you are having as the entertainment that keeps you engaged while your light is present in this reality. What you always have to remember is that life is about keeping your light in form in this reality. That’s why it’s important to not put too much of an emphasis on what’s happening in your life, rather, just observe it and be with it. 

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Inside the Rainbow—Book Excerpt*

Inside the Rainbow—Book Excerpt* by Peggy Kornegger

There are at least 7.8 billion ways of seeing a rainbow, each one perfect and true. A scientist sees refraction of light. A poet sees transcendent beauty. A child sees magic. A spiritual seeker sees the gateway to heaven. Someone who has suffered great loss—a loved one, a home, a job—may see a sign of hope in the midst of their pain. What if our individual experiences of the world, of Nature, are how we discover meaning in life, how we connect with our souls and find God, or Spirit? What if spiritual connection is not about struggling to understand mysteries but instead just opening our eyes to the extraordinary beauty before us? Step inside the rainbow itself, and a world of vibrant color and divine light opens up all around you.

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Creating Form for an Experience

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Playdough. You know, that putty-like stuff you turn into things? . . . well, that’s YOU! The playdough is light and what you’ve created is . . .oh, just everything in reality!  

Everything is light made into form to deliver you an experience. For example, you may have an ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend that in their essential selves are light that you turned into a form to deliver you the experience of what love isn’t. Some of you took light and turned it into the form of a present partner who is delivering the experience of what love is. Ultimately, you are at the source of the experience. 

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How to Bridge the Light and the Dark

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The Solstice is an especially opportune time for us to begin to recognize that we are the light. We are that which is revealing.

Life is not about seeking, it's about revealing. What is here for us to reveal is pocketed away in the darkness, which is the space where we come into contact with the rest of who we are.

We're here to bridge the languages of the light and the dark so that we bridge the worlds of the known and the unknown.

As we step into the wholeness of our being we no longer hold those worlds of light and dark as separate from each other. When we steward our creativity, an aspect of us beyond the logical, thinking mind, we allow the miraculous to occur with every breath, and step, that we take.

You recognize that you can't do it wrong, you can only take longer to consciously reveal the Essential Self. As you learn to trust the Self, you begin to step into your creative essence and live as you are intended to live – as Creator.

This is our time to shine. It is your moment to come forth as the light that you are and weave it into the canvas that is your life.

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Let the Light of Awareness Transform You

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There are parts of our psychic system that reject the shocks -- the lessons needed for our evolution because they imagine they’re already flying above the world of troubles. It is this mistaken sense of self that stands between us and true self-transformation.

Nothing that resists life can hope to learn from it.

Until we can embrace the lessons that ride into our lives on the back of events, we walk through an isolated world of our own making. Confined and defined by the content of our own thoughts, we are cut off from reality. And, as long as we remain so, there is no hope of realizing our relationship with that limitless Light from out of whose life pours the lessons intended for our transformation.

So, this much is clear: something within us is acting against our best interests. But what would do this, and why? The following insight helps us to see why our lower consciousness —our false self—resists the lessons we need in order to be born anew:

Real learning requires surrender.

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You Are an Answer, Not a Problem

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We need to talk. 

I know that running around, having people buy into your limitations, or even you buying into your limitations has been your way of fitting in. Why? Because everyone around you is suffering and this is how you find a way to belong.  

I see you beyond these limitations and I see you as love. Who you really are is light beyond description, the most beautiful golden sensitizing light you’ve ever seen, emanating out of all that you are in every direction. What you represent on this planet is a unique possibility and potential that only you can fulfill. 

You are at a crossroads of either continuing to pretend that you are limited, that you are a problem, and, either you’re going to apologize for your presence on this planet, or you are going to finally allow today to be the day to accept who you are, accept what dwells within you and set yourself free. 

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Open Your Heart and Share Your Light with the World

light There is no need to hide anymore

For many, this is the Season of Light, a time of joy and celebration, a season for appreciation and giving.

For my family, Christmas can’t come soon enough and we’ve already begun sitting together in the evenings, taking turns choosing our favorite holiday songs to sing. I especially love “Silent Night.”

One of my teammates celebrated Diwali with her family the middle of last month, and another is beginning to prepare for the eight days of Chanukkah, her family’s traditional festival of lights.

Another member of our team is a student and teacher of A Course in Miracles which says, “Each of us is the light of the world, and by joining our minds in this light we proclaim the Kingdom of God together and as one.” (ACIM, T-6.II.13:5)

Looking at light more secularly, in just a few short weeks, the days here in my part of the world will grow longer, giving us more daylight to enjoy nature walks and other daytime activities.

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Lean Into Good On First Waking

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What do you think about when you first wake up?

The Practice:
Lean into good on first waking.

Why?

Waking up is like the sun rising. At first it’s mostly dark, as glimmers of consciousness begin to light the shadows. Emerging into full wakefulness, the fogs and veils dissolve and the whole plain of your mind comes into view. It’s quiet: a restedness in the body, sleepy still, not yet much internal verbal chatter. There’s an intimacy with yourself, abiding as the core of your be-ing.

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The Disappearance of "I"

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What would my life be like without me? Well, for one thing, it wouldn’t be “my life.” It would just be life—being, expanding, evolving. Exactly what it is without the filter I apply to it with “my.” As I continue along the path my soul has chosen for this lifetime, I see more clearly the limitations of language. “My” is a convenience for conversation, but the possessiveness we feel about so much in life is reinforced by that simple two-letter designation. In fact, nothing is mine. Even my soul is not really mine, nor is God. There is a limitless universal Spirit that we are one with, beyond description or possession. Caught up in “me,” “I,” and “mine,” our vision is restricted, dead-ended. Many times, our identity is so busy defending itself and its viewpoint that we can’t see the beauty and wonder around us or the love in the hearts of those closest to us. We lose friendships in arguments and misunderstandings.

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Death is Not the End of Life

sunflare-on-road-picture-id94502345 Real life serves the living without end.

We live in a stream of a living light that never stops pouring down upon us, even as it ceaselessly wells up from within us. The first part of this opening comment is obvious: sunlight streams down moment to moment upon our earth, vitalizing and nourishing all that it touches. And while this order of light allows us to see all the marvelous forms and colors that our physical eyes behold, there is another kind of light that is of a higher order. 

In much the same way as sunlight reveals the world around us, this interior light illuminates the worlds within us and more. It is through the revelations that it alone makes possible—as it discloses whatever may be concealed within us—that we find and are nourished by an ever-expansive understanding of who and what we really are. We begin to realize our possibilities in life are as endless as this light that reveals them. Slowly it dawns upon us that standing in this light is the same as realizing the promise of an always new and self-liberating revelation. 

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Be the Master of All Moments of Resistance

gold-light-sphere-ball-with-glitter-sparkles-burst-and-glowing-picture-id1194831233 Beyond the resistance is the flow.

How would you like to live, literally, in a sphere of light that by its very proximity to you enables you to see every step of your path? Imagine how nice it would be to be able to see situations clearly before they went bad so that, for example, you wouldn't say those hurtful words. You wouldn't spend the money you couldn't afford. You wouldn't take the drug or the drink or the food, or participate in the entertainment that somehow compromises or contaminates you. You wouldn't fall into a depression.

We are each created to be in relationship with and have within us in that relationship a kind of golden orb whose radiance provides us with a protective sphere -- a shelter of refuge, safety, strength -- all in one powerful light. If you will work with what I am going to show you about negativity, you can experience the golden orb given to you by the same God that created you -- one that will take away forever the power that negative forces have had over you.

Let's begin by looking at resistance. What do you know about resistance other than that you run into it every day? Well, aren't negativity and resistance the same thing? And isn't it also true that in the moment that you resist something, you are absolutely certain about the fact that you must resist it?

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Hold Your Beliefs Light-ly

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Beliefs are tricky, especially in times of uncertainty. They can be a source of inspiration or a heavy chain around your neck. They can uplift you into possibility or weigh you down, keeping you from open-hearted expansion. Historically, beliefs have been the cause of cycles of planetary polarization: renaissances and wars, connection and separation, coming together and tearing apart, hope and despair. Humans have yet to reach the evolutionary tipping point of being present in experience without filters of any kind. Maybe now is the time to let go and see everything as light, including ourselves and our beliefs.

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7 Ways to Reinvent Yourself When You're Feeling Lost

reinvent-yourself 7 Ways to Reinvent Yourself When You're Feeling Lost

Gabrielle Williams says, “And hard times are good in their own ways too. Because the only way you can achieve true happiness is if you experience true sadness as well, it's all about light and shade. Balance.” 

Feeling lost is an evitable part of life. It comes with the territory of being human. Being human is an adventure of a lifetime and comes with its fair shares of ups and downs. Like Gabrielle, Williams says without the bad, how would have we learned to appreciate the good.

The hard times in our lives make us stronger. They teach us that we can withstand anything that comes our way. When we feel lost, we feel as though we don’t know who we are. In psychology, it is called positive disintegration. 

Positive disintegration means when our personality starts to disintegrate, and we feel like we cannot relate to the person we used to be. We feel lost, and we don’t like the same things we used to before. The movies, the songs, the friends, and the food we used to like before – now we don’t. 

It’s as if the old us is falling away, and we have not yet met the new us, and so we are left in between feeling lost and confused. And as great masters teach us, such a time is a blessing. Such a time, even though it feels hard, is a time when we can reinvent ourselves so a new ‘us’ can emerge. 

Here are 7 ways you can reinvent yourself when you are feeling lost and shine through like the sun.


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Scapegoating: A Dysfunctional Family System

dysfunctional Scapegoating: A Dysfunctional Family System
When I work with clients, I can feel the beauty of their soul and I can feel their light shining through. I’m fortunate that the vast majority of clients that want to work with me individually or come to an Intensive are very ready to learn and heal and own their beautiful light.

One issue that frequently emerges is when a person has been scapegoated in his or her family of origin, and might still, as an adult, be being scapegoated. Scapegoating is when someone is blaming you for their feelings, wrongdoings, mistakes, and projecting their woundedness on to you, with no empathy or compassion for how this feels to you.
 

In families, one member is often the target of judgments, criticism, accusations, blame and ostracism. Scapegoating often begins is childhood and may continue into adulthood with your family of origin or with your in-laws. If you have been or currently are the target of scapegoating, it’s important to realize that you are being abused.

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Welcome Truth's Light and Make Everything Right for You

Welcome Truth's Light and Make Everything Right for You Welcome Truth's Light and Make Everything Right for You

Have you ever seen rage in yourself? Generally, we don't want to see certain states within us because we've been conditioned to think of them as being morally "wrong" for us. We don't understand that these dark states are part of an interior world that can be changed when the light of awareness is shined upon them.
 

What happens when we see things about ourselves that we don't want to see?

In order to avoid looking at itself, the mind will seize on the rage it has seen, and it will try to explain it. It will take the initial darkness, the negative energy, and because it seems to be basically out of control, the mind will try to make of it something that it can deal with. When we live from a nature that does not want to see its "self," then there's no chance that this level of self, this nature, can ever change. When we hide from ourselves the way we feel, the only thing that we're accomplishing is the assurance that these feelings will return again... only more of them! It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: we condemn and doom ourselves by being afraid of the darkness in us. We have one thing to do with our own states, and that is to see them as they are, to catch the part of us that's afraid of being what we've just seen, and to stop trying to hide anything anymore... because we're on this earth to learn.

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Dancing Butterflies, Ghost Orchids, Wild Skies: The Florida Dimension

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“To live here is to know God, to live here is to understand the power of Nature, to live here is to celebrate life.”—Panache Desai

Like a quartz crystal sparkling in the sun, Florida has many facets. Last year, in late June 2018, my partner Anne and I moved here from Boston. As we drove south along the eastern seaboard, we felt ourselves dropping past identities and memories along the way. By the time we reached Florida, we were living lighter, not anticipating or looking back, but just being, living fully in the present moment. It was a heightened state of awareness, and it carried us seamlessly to the edge of new beginnings and unexpected experiences in an entirely different place.

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Make Yourself a Light

bud-1 Make Yourself a Light

“Make of yourself a light.” — said the Buddha, before he died.

The picture above is a space in my yard where I go when I need to center myself. It is my sanctuary. It is where I come when I feel overwhelmed. It is where I sit when I can’t figure out what I think about, well, anything.

There is so much to think about these days. There is so much to fret about. There is so much to get angry about. (How about Jon Stewart testifying this week to a near-empty Congress with all the families from 9/11? His message was powerful and should fire us all up.)

There is also so much to be excited about. So much to be hopeful about. So much to be grateful for. When I sit in my backyard and look at the calm statue pictured above, that’s where I end up—in a place of peace, a place of calm, a place of gratitude. “Make of yourself a light,” said the Buddha in Mary Oliver’s poem “The Buddha’s Last Instruction.” (You can read it in our Sunday Paper Reflection section below.) So, that’s what I want to focus on this morning: making myself a light.

That invitation goes out to each of us every day. It’s also a challenge that each of us can decide to answer take on, regardless of what’s going on in the world. You can make yourself a light for yourself, for your family, for your community, for an issue you care about, or for injustice in the world.

On this Father’s Day, I want to shine a light on all the men who step into this role with light, joy, purpose and passion. I want to shine a light on those who take it seriously. Who show up to their roles, regardless of whether or not their fathers showed up for them.

A father’s positive involvement can change a child’s life. It can build character, instill values, and inspire hopes and dreams. Fathers can make themselves a light in their children’s lives. So today, I want to honor those who have thought deeply about this role. I want to shine a light on the men who do the work. Men who father their own. Men who father the fatherless among us. May we honor those who have stepped into the lives of those who need a father and said, “Let me make myself a light in your life.”

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How to Stay Focused On the Light

candlelight How to Stay Focused On the Light

“We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light a candle that can guide us through the darkness to a safe and sane future.”  — John F. Kennedy

How does one stay in the know, without getting lost in the noise?

This is a topic I touched upon in my essay last week, but I want to raise it again because it’s a question that I think about almost every day.

It’s a question that I’ve started to pose to my friends, to thinkers that I admire, to our Sunday Paper columnists, and to those who actually are awake to what’s going on in the world. I want to know what they think and how they’re dealing. I want to know how they are balancing the weight of the world with the need to stay focused on one’s own life and inner world.

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