Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spirituality Is Not Always a Walk in the Park

A lot of us have an image of being spiritual which includes being Zen, peaceful, loving and compassionate all the time. And although it is wonderful to feel that connection to peace, love and tranquility, it is not all that being spiritual is about. It’s not about feeling good ALL the time.

It is less about being in peace, love and tranquility all the time and more about being aware of the peace as well as the issues that block us from feeling peaceful. Sometimes, we have to look at the painful, yucky stuff in order to feel our connection to the love and peace within. If we want things to flow, we’ve got to clear the gunk out of the pipes.

If we are carrying emotional pain and mistaken beliefs around inside, we are not going to be able to feel the peace and love we want. If we are looking to things outside of ourselves to find that peace and love, we are not connecting with it within us.

It’s important to be absolutely and totally honest with ourselves about the times when we feel uncomfortable or not good and really look at what beliefs they are connected to. Then we can feel the emotions and let go of the beliefs that keep us feeling not good. It is then that we are free to feel peaceful and happy.

We spend our lives searching for love and happiness. But there is nothing to search for in the world. There is nothing to search for in books or in groups or anywhere else. Because it is always living inside us. And if we look to a person, situation or thing to make us happy, we are looking in the wrong place.

We can create such a heaviness within ourselves when we carry our emotions and beliefs around with us day after day without letting them go. It becomes exhausting. Like the bag lady who pushes her cart full of all her worldly possessions. Can you imagine how exhausted she is at the end of the day pushing all this stuff around? Imagine carrying around with you everything that you own day in and day out. How tired would you be of carrying it around all the time? Now look at your thoughts, emotions and beliefs. Don’t they feel heavy, trying to keep them all bundled up neatly inside and keep them from escaping at an inappropriate time?

Imagine how much lighter you would feel by acknowledging the feelings and beliefs and letting them go. Feel the freedom of letting go and the joy of uncovering the beauty of who you are and the happiness that is always present within you.

This week, take a look at any image you may have of yourself or of your ideal spiritual person. Look honestly at any times when you feel good or you don’t feel good. Recognize that you are no less "spiritual" because you feel angry, hurt, resentful or fearful. It is the awareness of these emotions and the connection to our beliefs that is the important thing.

Have a wonderful week of awareness of every aspect of yourself.

If you are interested in our weekly Spiritual Group Meetings or private one-on-one sessions please visit my website at http://www.bettinagoodwin.com/

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Power vs. Force

We often think that force is power but they are two very different things. Force comes with aggression, anger and a push to control a situation or person to conform to what we think we need at the time. Power comes from the loving, peaceful place within that allows life to be experienced whatever way it shows up. It isn’t about taking someone else’s power away but more about being empowered.

Most of us know that push that sometimes arises in us when things are not going as we wish. We try to force things to go our way, or control another person so that our own beliefs can be validated and in the end so that we will feel comfortable. But the more we try to force something, to control it, what happens? It usually gets much worse and we are even less happy than when we started. If we want a job so badly that we try to force things to comply with this desire, we can become nervous, too aggressive and not be showing our true self throughout the process. This "trying too hard" could affect the outcome of the process. But if we come from that relaxed, peaceful place within, if we feel empowered.

We think that controlling things will create for us what we desire, but most times it has the opposite effect and makes things worse. When we feel ourselves pushing, trying to control or force things, it is the perfect time to look inside at why we need to use force. What belief are we trying to protect and defend with this control? Trace the feelings and thoughts back to the belief. Is this belief still valuable to us? Or is it time to question it and perhaps let it go if it is no longer useful?

There is no better way to clear the emotions that are connected to beliefs that no longer serve us than to take our daily experiences and be aware of what is going on inside and how we are allowing our beliefs to dictate how we react.

Force is aggressive, angry, controlling, desperate, needy.
Power is peaceful, loving, compassionate, acceptance.

This week take a look at any experiences where you might be trying to force things to happen, or control other people. Be aware of how you are feeling and follow it back to what belief is attached to the feeling. Question the belief. Is it true? Do you need to believe this any longer? Can you see the truth of who you are and let go of the belief that keeps you from feeling the love, peace and tranquility within?

Have a wonderful week of empowerment! The power is in the peace you feel within.

If you are interested in our weekly Spiritual Group Meetings or private one-on-one sessions (conducted in person, by phone, Skype or email) please visit my website at www.bettinagoodwin.com

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Religions

Religions have always had a place in society. This topic is not, in any way, being written to criticize religions but to illustrate how religion and even spirituality can work for us in our daily lives.

Religions have been around for centuries and have evolved as time has gone by. They have created controversy and yet the core teaching of many religion is unconditional love.

Most of us, at some point in our lives have experienced one religion or another. And we have, no doubt, gained knowledge and insight from the experience. Even when we might not necessarily believe in the doctrine or rules of a particular religion, there is usually some bit of truth that resonates in us, a knowingness of what is the truth.

The purpose of different religions is to meet people in whatever place they are in their lives. Some are just beginning their search for the connection to Source, to the awareness and the peace within. And others have gone beyond this initial search and are looking for more of a connection, something beyond what religion may be able teach them.

The point is that whether it is religion or a spiritual practice, all have a place in this world. All have benefits to each of us. And each one must be looked at through our own belief system and what rings true with us. Religions are usually organized in such a way that a book or a person is telling us how to go about being a good person. The real teacher is the knowingness within each of us. Religion serves the purpose of being a substitute for this knowing until we can connect with our own knowingness.

The core lesson of unconditional love is the common thread, the one truth that binds us together as humans and reminds us of our connection to the One Consciousness.

Yes, at times it can become convoluted, but if we can remember the love that lies within we can create from within an environment free of judgment, criticism and persecution.

This week, take a look at any beliefs that may come your way from another source. Drop into that connection to your own knowingness and see if the belief resonates as true within you. Be aware of how you feel when you look at the belief and perhaps how it may clash with your own beliefs. It may strengthen your own belief or it may cause you to question your own belief and perhaps afford a change.

Have a wonderful week of unconditional love.

If you are interested in our weekly Spiritual Group Meetings or private one-on-one sessions please visit my website at www.bettinagoodwin.com

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Death

Death is not something we like to discuss on a regular basis. When we think of death we usually think of death of the body. But there are other types of death that can occur. Our reluctance to discuss death probably comes from our fear of it.

We think of death as an end to something. Death of the body is certainly an end to our existence in physical form. This brings up fear of what is next. When the body no longer exists what is left?

The other type of death is what I call "death of self". This could be likened to death of our identity, death of our beliefs, or even death of our story. Each time we let go of a belief that no longer works for us, we experience a death of self. When we let go of something that is untrue, for instance, "I am not worthy," our perspective of how to live life changes. It is a death of our old perspective and although this type of death is an ending it brings with it rebirth. It is the birth of a new perspective, a new sense of who we are.

There can be fear associated with this type of death as well, though. And it is this fear that can stop us from looking at the false beliefs. The question of, "If I let go of this belief, this idea that has become my identity, then what is left. Who am I?"

We tend to identify with our beliefs, but in reality, we are not our beliefs. We are far more than that. We are pure consciousness experiencing life from different perspectives. Letting go of certain perspectives/beliefs gives us the freedom to be all that we are, to feel the love, peace and tranquility that is always present within us.

Experiencing a death of self, allows us to be present in this peaceful place more and worried about the past and future less.

The Tibetan book of the dead says that when the body dies we either recognize that we will return to the one consciousness or we will continue to run from our fears. This will lead us back into a human existence where all the fears we can possibly imagine will be manifested.

Letting go of the fears in this human life will give us the freedom to be all that we are in the human experience and to recognize and flow once again as a part of the one consciousness, pure awareness without fear.

This week, take a look at any time when you may change your perception or your beliefs. Look at any time when you let go of something that might have bothered you in the past. Be aware of what is happening as you experience anything that might challenge your beliefs. And as you let go of those beliefs, allow yourself to drop into that death of self, feeling the fear if it arises and know that on the other side is a beautiful rebirth of you experiencing life.

Have a wonderful week of rebirth and recognition of the peace, love and happiness that lies within.

If you are interested in our weekly group meetings or one-on-one sessions please visit my website: www.bettinagoodwin.com