ROSEMARY’S EXPLORATION: Here’s the thing…

Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have at any given moment.

This is my mantra. I remind myself of this often.

At first it was a bit difficult to embrace. I kept coming up with caveats, exclusions, reasons why this didn’t apply to someone or some situation. It never occurred to me that this also applied to ME – I was focused on forgiving others.

But the more I worked with this concept, the more I embraced it as a way to live, well, the more I came to believe that this is true for EVERYONE, including ME.

So what does it mean to totally and whole-heartedly embrace this idea? What resistance is showing up in you as I invite you to consider this?

Can you, as I did, come up with a list of exclusions to this, people that this couldn’t possibly apply to? Mass murderers? Abusers? That person who cut you off in traffic today or stole your parking place? Your parent? Your spouse? Your neighbor?

Think about this: do you think that any soul comes into this lifetime wanting to hurt other people as its purpose? What spirit wants to be the ‘bad guy’?

People look around at their options and choose one to act upon. You do this, too. Sometimes people are influenced by others to the point that their view is narrowed to only one option. You, from the outside, might see that they had lots of other choices. But, inside their situation, with the information that they had or the influence that they experienced, they did what they thought they must.

Look back over the decisions that you have made in your life. Do you tend to count up all the ‘mistakes’ you have made? Do you think of the ‘wrong decisions’ you have chosen?

What if I now say that, if you were to go back to that point in your timeline, you would make the same choice that you made then because of the information (resources) that you had available in that moment? If you went back knowing what you know now, you would be taking some extra resources with you, wouldn’t you? The knowledge that came from the feedback you received after that decision. BUT you didn’t have that information when you were making the choice you made.

Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have at any given moment.

Imagine how you might feel if you look at your ex-spouse, your boss, your friend, the person who cut you off in traffic through the lens of this mantra. There is probably a story behind each situation that you don’t know and that story defines the resources that that other person had available to them at the time.

Now look at yourself and your life. Your story defined the possibilities for action that you were able to see at any given moment. It might never have occurred to you that you had more options because you believed that if you chose to do X, then Y would happen. Immediately after you made the choice, you might have received more information but you didn’t have it before you made the choice. Can you forgive yourself now?

Here’s the thing.

You are always at choice. So is everyone else. And you can only choose among the options that you see before you, based on the information that you have, or think your have, in your reality at the time you make the choice.

Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have at any given moment, including you.

Learn and grow and keep making choices. Also, keep looking for possibilities that maybe you can’t see yet but someone else can help you to see. Increase your resources and you increase your choices.

You are, and always have been, doing the best you could.

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ROSEMARY’S INSPIRATION: Here’s the Thing!

Memorial Day, memories, honoring the ancestors. Rosemary’s inspiration is her mantra for life! This is the most important thing to remember! And it applies to ourselves, everyone around us and yes, all those ancestors too!

My “two minute” video: Here’s the Thing!

Everybody’s Talking at Me – Richard’s Commentary

My first reaction to this statement about the voices in my head is, yeah, everybody’s talking at me, especially me! I don’t know about you but my voice is constantly chattering at me, like that “Monkey Mind” spoken of by meditators. And often that voice seems so critical. As Rosemary states:

We all have those ‘old tapes’ playing in our mind and sometimes it is difficult to figure out that we don’t have to listen to them anymore. The first step in personal growth is to decide on YOUR TRUTH in this present moment.

Those old tapes may be from another time and other people’s words are spoken, but the sound is of my own voice. And it is not always easy to shut me up!

I have been a seeker all my life. Maybe the “truth” I have sought after is the means to quiet my mind-talk, to shut down the litany so I can listen for a deeper Truth.

What does your inner voice tell you? Mine is often reminding me of all the things I have to do; it runs through lists and sorts through them endlessly for priorities, shifting items, ordering them. At other times the voice is reviewing reactions to events; examining my actions, reactions, judging, analyzing, finding the fault.

I’m working on this constantly, taming the voice, searching for the lessons. I do follow Rosemary’s prescription:

Ask yourself, ‘Is this thought, belief, rule true for me?’

And often it no longer holds true, if it ever did. I remain vigilant to detect the old voice, to listen instead for what is true for me now. I practice many methods of doing this from physical yoga and qigong, to emotional and mental writing and creating poetry, to spiritual meditation, ritual work and touching Higher Mind. These practices work well; the Monkey Mind subsides, the critical voice quiets, the list builder recedes to his corner.

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The best part of moving (and the worst) is handling all the books! Both Rosemary and I are book collectors (and we even read a lot of them!). Moving them is an incredible chore and we have committed to slimming our collection down to lessen the load. But during our recent move books have jumped out at me insisting that I read them. I accumulated quite a stack as I opened boxes and stuffed shelves.

One book rose to number 2 on the list and I just finished it: I am That by Swami Muktananda. The subtitle is: The Science of HAMSA from the VIJNANA BHAIRAVA. And this book, this time, just might change my life!

I don’t remember if I read this book before. We’ve had it for years; one of Rosemary’s earliest business cards as a newly ordained reverend was in it as a bookmark. Reading it now struck a significant chord in me and I may have stumbled on that Truth I’ve been seeking all these years.

And it is so simple! Hamsa is a mantra of the breath. As we inhale we make the sound of Ham and as we exhale we make the sound of Sa. The Sanskrit meaning of Hamsa is I am That. As I read this little book I was immediately drawn into the practice. Every breath I take is repeating this mantra. This mantra is reminding me of who I am. And as Rosemary points out in her post yesterday:

Let’s set the record straight right here, right now. You ARE good enough, smart enough, pretty enough. You ARE enough!

Now when my inner voice grows loud with lists and shoulds and judgments, I remember to breathe; remembering to breathe I hear Hamsa, hearing Hamsa I am called back to who I truly am. I am That!

Do you have good practices to quiet that voice in your head, that Monkey Mind?

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What Is Your Spiritual Practice? –Richard’s Commentary

We just got back from our local Spiritual Exploration Group here in Maryland. This is a monthly meeting of like-minded folks who we bring together to discuss spiritual topics of many colors. Our mantra is we get together for Discussion, not Dogma.

Tonight’s topic was Prayer. And we explored the many dimensions of what this means for people both as a word and as a practice. We began with our childhood remembrances of what prayer meant to us and our experience of prayer. We considered the Wikipedia definition:

Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with a deity, an object of worship, or a spiritual entity through deliberate communication.

And we discussed where we are now with prayer as a way of “connecting” to something greater than ourselves but that we find inside ourselves. We spoke of prayer as a way of generating and offering our energy for positive connection and transformation, or “lifting to a higher vibrational frequency.”

We even discussed the possible existence of “dark prayer” – negatively focused energy to counter the evolutionary path of human consciousness; and we wondered if prayer can be judged in this way if it is truly a “deliberate communication with a deity”! Is a negative prayer even a true prayer?

I bring this up because prayer is certainly a spiritual practice. For me the word sometimes has a negative impact because it is overloaded with memories of childhood when reciting the “Lord’s Prayer” seemed so rote and lifeless. As a young child required to memorize the prayer I wasn’t even clear on the meanings of the words.

Then it hit me! I, with 46-thousand of my closest friends, am tuning into Deva Premal & Miten every day to chant ancient verses from Holy Scriptures. They are offering a 21-Day Mantra Meditation Journey that began April 23. Today is Day-10. (You can sign up for this free daily practice here: Deva & Premal. And you can catch up because all of the chants they have shared so far are still posted.

So, I sit, eyes closed, each morning in a very open and loving state to chant, often Sanskrit, words I am not familiar with, over and over in a “rote-like” way. How is this so different from my childhood experience of reciting the Lord’s Prayer in a rote-like way?

OK, here’s the thing about that: I am in an altered state when I chant “Om Shanti Om” 108 times. I move into that state of true inner peace invoked by this mantra. I remember where my mind was when I “prayed” the Lord’s prayer as a kid – anywhere but on “Our  Father”! I wasn’t seeking to develop “rapport” with “Him”; but with these mantras I am seeking to develop a rapport with the energies invoked by their vibrations, their words composed of sacred syllables, the transcendent quality of the constructs and how they sound when chanted, whispered, or just thought and felt as they vibrate through my being.

One of my Spiritual Practices is to chant. I have learned a number of chants from different traditions using languages from Sanskrit to Navaho. I have been ritually initiated into several. And they all transport me to another “place” where I can transcend this physical dimension of time, space and my body and commune with Spirit. And for me this is the best form of prayer to which I can aspire.

If you are at all interested in chanting and mantra meditation as a form of prayer I invite you with all my good wishes to tune in to Deva Premal & Miten. Here’s the link again:

21-Day Mantra Meditation Journey

All blessings!