Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Joy Connection

Dailey Dose #8

The Joy Connection

Joy is supposed to be the norm.  I believe that.  When I remain connected to my Source, I feel an abiding sense of gratefulness and thanksgiving.  My blessings and the overwhelming evidence of grace pervades everything I think, see, feel, and do.  Being “in the Spirit” is a phrase which conjures up all manner of strange and bizarre images, but I believe that it is simply a condition in which we are in touch with our spiritual Source, open to seeing and being thankful for the grace in our lives.

When I lose touch with Source, I become dis-Spirited.  Spirit never leaves, but I lose my focus upon it.  Like the old adage about computers, “garbage in, garbage out,” the data I permit into my brain has a profound effect on how I feel.  The media, and even the people I pal around with, are either drawing my attention to the positive drum beat of grace, or the banging cacophony of the dis-Spirited. 
TV news, more and more, runs an endless cycle of the same sad stories.  Newspapers long ago learned that “if it bleeds, it leads.”  But there aren’t enough hours in the day, even for dedicated all day news stations, to tell a fraction of the good news: stories about neighbors helping neighbors, young people making good decisions, teachers reaching kids and making them want to learn, and people being kind just because they are kind.

Today I will strive to maintain my connection to joy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Moment of Graciousness

Thoughout 2012 my Daily Doses have been my "thought-for-the-day" exercise, a moment of reflection about how my thinking has changed over 61 years, and a purposeful setting of my intention for the day ahead.
Daily Dose #10

A Moment of Graciousness

Learning to be gracious towards others is a tricky business.  There are schools where one can be taught how to appear gracious, but that’s a very differently colored horse.  Acting may prove useful at times, and may often be at the very heart of diplomacy, but pretending has nothing to do with being truly gracious.  I suspect (or at least I hope) that everyone everywhere has been exposed to someone who is truly gracious.  It is a remarkable experience to interact with someone who not only gives you their full and undivided attention, but actually appreciates who you are and what you are trying to do or say…no matter how ineptly you might go about it and regardless of how many other issues might be making legitimate demands upon their time.

My father and my grandfather were both gracious men.  They stopped, they listened, and they made me feel that my existence on the planet had value.  They did that with everyone.  Through the years I have met others who seemed to brim with graciousness.  Sadly, I wasn’t always aware of it at the time because I thought their behavior was a reflection of how much I was bringing to the proverbial table.  That was my ego.  Looking back, I realize how often I brought little or nothing.  It’s fairly easy to be gracious in the face of someone’s show of overwhelming generosity, but what about everybody else?  Can I learn to appreciate them too?

Today I will endeavor to exhibit at least one moment of true graciousness to someone around me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

God is Bigger

Daily Dose #2

God is Bigger

Those of us who are inclined to believe that there’s an intelligence out in Life, the Universe and Everything that is greater than our own, and that there is a mystical/spiritual aspect to our existence, sometimes tend to frame our “belief” in a way that marginalizes our perception of God.  I call it “God in the box.”  Over the past decade, I’ve been actively trying to let God out of the box by reminding myself that God is bigger…bigger than the myriad religious dogmas, bigger than my mental and emotional limitations, and especially bigger than my fear.

Fear is the opposite of joy according to A Course in Miracles, a very interesting and thought provoking text that I am currently reading.  I’ve also been listening to the lectures of Jacob Glass, a CIM teacher for over 20 years.  Since I believe that having one’s spiritual house in some kind of constructive order should lead to joy, I’ve determined to turn away from everything fear based in my life.  Letting God out of the box I’ve created in order to feel like I’m in control has had an interesting effect on me.  By freeing God up to do whatever it is God does, I seem to have far more energy and time available to attend to the one thing I suspect I’m primarily supposed to be responsible for: me.

So I’m going to try to keep my eyes on my own paper at lot more in 2012, and I’m going to be prospecting for joy…every day.   On the surface of it, seeking joy might sound a little selfish and self-serving, but then how can a fearful person share joy with others?  Fearful people tend to spread fear. 

I think I will spread joy today.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

An Experiment in Positive Daily Intention

Back in January I began a writing/spiritual experiment inspired by Jacob Glass' "Daily Pages." Jacob (a 20+ year teacher/lecturer on A Course in Miracles) has a morning routine in which he creates lists which include items like: "things I got right yesterday," and "things I'm genuinely grateful for." The purpose of this practice is to begin the day in a positive state of mind, setting your vibration and intention for the day ahead. I tried his approach, and it works just like he said it would, but it felt a bit too left-brained for me. I'm a writer, I thrive on narritive, so I modified his concept into my "Daily Doses." As a writing exercise, I am working on being succinct (because I tend to "go on."), so I limit myself to 250-275 words...something easily read in under two minutes.

As a spiritual exercise, I'm just giving myself a "good talking to" each morning, reminding myself of where I've come from, what I've read, and what I've learned about myself, followed by a positive intention for the day...a practical goal that incorporates resisting my "ego-mind," and keeping my overall mindset in a good place. Today's (the day of this blog post) Daily Dose is number 125, so I've kept at it fairly well, and still enjoy it thoroughly on both of its facets. But here's where it all began:

Daily Dose #1

It is My Intention to Keep Changing

I like to think that I’m growing as a human being. At 61, looking back, I’m not thrilled at the pace of my progress, but as Jacob Glass always reminds us, the best stuff, the lasting stuff, is usually accomplished with “penguin steps.” At least I’ve got that method down. So as I contemplate my ever evolving approach to Life, the Universe, and Everything, a major part of my latest plan is to go smaller. At my age, that just keeps getting easier…with everything but my spoken word.

Daily Doses is an attempt to do what I’ve always done (talk about what I think I’m learning), but to do it with two major changes in approach: time and tone. They say timing is everything, but when I get talking about things that mean a great deal to me, I tend to drone on. I forget the time, and just assume everybody will be thrilled to stop what they’re doing and listen to me ramble. As you might guess, this seldom proved to be a correct assumption. So two minutes is my self-imposed time limit for these morning musings. And as far as tone goes, I was always attacking something. Turns out this is a very negative approach and seldom accomplished any of what I had in mind to set right.

So my Doses will be a daily self-help experiment in which I will endeavor to be brief and to the point, all while establishing a positive state of mind with which to approach the day.

Today, I’ve decided, is going to be the best day ever.