Tag Archives: Nonresistance

AWAKENING TO SPIRITUAL SURRENDER

“When one approaches any effort with the energy of reluctance or half-heartedness, the result will not be satisfying.  When you choose a spiritual path because your mind tells you that you should, you can expect to be disappointed.  When you practice a spiritual discipline begrudgingly, enduring the repetitions, rather than savoring them, the method will prove fruitless.  For the vibrancy of any approach is based not on the mechanics of the practice but upon one’s total surrender to the direction in which the practice leads you.”  Oneness

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How do you deal with your frustration when your meditation or other spiritual practice does not give you the peace you seek?  What expectations do you have about the spiritual path you follow?

Has your spiritual practice always led you in the direction you expected?  Mine hasn’t.  In fact, I would describe my spiritual journey as a spiral dance, often changing direction and going where I least expected.  At times, my life has felt stuck in an uncomfortable and unpleasant place, and it has taken me many years to understand that, in most instances, my resistance was keeping me stuck because I wanted the experience to be what I wanted it to be, not what it actually was.

Living  With Traditional “Shoulds” and Should Nots”

Growing up, my family attended a traditional Protestant church and I learned many “shoulds” and “should nots.”  That, along with my perfectionist tendencies, made me a person who was comfortable with a situation only when it was the way I thought it should be.  But as time went by, it seemed that too many things happened that shouldn’t have.  My brother shouldn’t have had polio.  I shouldn’t have had rheumatic fever.  We were good kids and our parents were good people.  Why was this happening?

Eventually, as a young adult, I realized this spiritual path wasn’t working for me.  I knew I was supposed to be religious, but I gave up and allowed myself to find the inspiration I sought in the fine arts where each creation I experienced was a glimpse into the artist’s soul.

Perfectionism Limits Freedom

I was so conditioned with “shoulds” that they continued to haunt me.  Early in my modern dance training, I was so focused on not falling and doing every movement perfectly that I was always tense.  As I became more confident and skilled, I finally surrendered and let myself become one with the movement, choosing the exhilaration over the perfection.  I felt free for the first time. That’s when I really began to dance and dance began to feed me spiritually.

Learning to Savor the Moment

When I learned to meditate, I tried so hard to do it correctly.  I judged myself for not being able to be calmer more quickly until my teacher finally said, “You don’t have to do it perfectly, you just need to sit there.  Just notice your thoughts and let them go.”  Eventually, I learned to “savor” the stillness and quiet of sitting.  I saw it as a vacation from my busy life.  Like lying on the beach listening to the ocean waves brush the shore, I let my thoughts flow through my mind without judging them.

Exploring Spiritual Practices

Exploring Spiritual Practices (Photo credit: robinsan)

Surrender Opens Us To A Spiritual Connection

As Oneness points out, the only way we can move forward with our spiritual practice is to “surrender to the direction in which the practice leads you.”  As we practice, a feeling of peace may come over us with guidance that helps us take a step forward in our life process.  It may seem strange, but we have to learn not to pay attention in order to notice what really matters.

Having Courage To Follow The Path

When the direction the practice leads us is one we like, we look forward to practicing because we envision a positive and refreshing experience.  But if we truly practice, we do not control what appears and it may be darker rather than light.  It is human to want to avoid the unpleasant; yet we cannot grow and expand without acknowledging the negative aspects of our thoughts.  These are often the moments when our fears appear, flooding us with despair or anger, and we have to acknowledge them and then let them go.

Often, in being able to see and feel the fear, we are able to understand what to do about the problem that created it.  It’s not unusual for so much clutter to be cleared out during mediation or other practices that we can finally see a solution that comes from our spiritual self rather than the ego that is so busy trying to be right.  The solutions that include the deeper aspects of a problem are the most satisfying ones, for they don’t just gloss over the problem, they expose it so it can be solved.

Savoring each repetition and moment of silence in our practice centers us and raises our vibration, allowing Spirit to guide us to what we most need to experience.

What is your most meaningful spiritual practice?

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                            ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Yoga, A Spiritual Path, Enlightened Beings: Secrets to Walking A Spiritual Path, Wayne Dyer – There Is a Solution, What Is the Meaning of Surrender in Spiritual Practice

AWAKENING TO UNUSUAL DELIGHTS

“If man is to survive, he will have learned to take delight in the essential differences between men and cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, a part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.”  Gene Roddenberry

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A village pushing our truck out of a sand dune in Senegal

Are you generally open to new experiences or do you avoid people and situations that are different from what you are comfortable with?  How do you react to people with a different point of view?

The Delight of A Sacred Toast

When I traveled to Africa on a Fulbright-Hays Travel Abroad Grant in 1994 with 12 other teachers from Louisiana, one of the events that stood out in my mind was drinking a toast with palm wine.  Because it spoils easily, it is rarely exported, but it was a drink that frequently appeared in the African novels we read in a Teaching the African Novel course we had taken the year before. It seemed exotic and rare, and I was very excited to know how it actually tasted. The experience was quite special because we drank it as a good-bye toast as we left a sacred space where we had witnessed a sacred ceremony performed by a water goddess.  It was a toast to the connection and friendship we had experienced that day with the Africans.

The wine tasted like fermented pineapple juice and I never tasted it again, not even at the West African restaurant I frequented in New Orleans where the fried plantains were perfect and the greens hot and spicy compared to the mild ham and greens of my southern childhood. But the wine was merely a symbol for the extraordinary experience of living in a different culture for five weeks.  And yet it wasn’t so different, for much of the New Orleans food had its roots in West African, just as other New Orleans traditions were translations of West African ritual.  The whole experience made the world seem smaller and more connected for me.

Appreciating Nature’s Surprises

When I lived in the middle of Nebraska among the flatlands where trees were scarce, I remembered all the stories I had read about those who settled the west. Actually, living there amid the blizzards of winter and the high winds taught me to appreciate the stoic nature of those who ventured into the unknown.  Seeing the Sandhill Cranes landing by the hundreds on their yearly migration reminded me that nature presents us with unusual delights even where its beauty is usually so subtle we may easily overlook it.

The Beauty of Humility

There was nothing subtle about the beauty I saw in New Mexico where color and art enliven the beige expanses of desert.  I have always been drawn to the Native American culture’s connection with nature, but it was an act of humility that touched me most deeply.  When a Native American child is spoken to by an adult, they gaze downward and do not make eye contact.  After dealing with many “in your face” teenagers over the years, I was deeply touched by this expression of respect and humility.  I was most grateful for this unusual delight.

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Dancing in New Mexico

New Experiences Teach Us Spiritual Lessons

When we avoid anything that is unfamiliar, we miss many of life’s delights.  Each point of view that we encounter is an opportunity to learn about another and to find a place where our beliefs and experiences connect.  We will change our world one person and one encounter at a time.  The time of separation is ending, and to resist it only creates difficulties.  Our greatest lesson is to be who we truly are and to accept others as they truly are.

I’ve learned that when I really resist something, it’s usually a sign I really need to look at it more closely.  There’s a lesson hidden in the issue or in the person I avoid.  Recently, I experimented  by deliberately sitting next to a person who usually irritates me.  My intention was to be at peace no matter what the other person said or did.  Several times I had to remind myself of that intention, but I was able to release my attachment to resistance, and as a result, my experience was pleasant.

Choose Peace Rather Than Judgment

When we cling so desperately to our religious or political dogma that we are unable to see any value in other points of view, we usually do that out of insecurity.  We are afraid of what is different, but the irony is that our only real security in this world is to understand each other and respect different points of view.  This doesn’t mean we have to choose another’s lifestyle as our own; it simply means we respect their right to make different choices, and when our lives intersect, we choose peace rather than judgment.

What is something different that you have learned to respect in another person?  Please comment.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Nebraska’s Annual Sandhill Crane MigrationWhy We Fear the UnknownPersonality:  Why We Fear Doing Things Differently

AWAKENING TO NONRESISTANCE

“Nonresistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe.  Through it, consciousness (spirit) is freed from its imprisonment in form.”  Eckhart Tolle

When something happens that you don’t like, how do you respond?  Do you react?  Withdraw?  Consider multiple options for response?

Why Do We Choose Doing Rather Than Being?

The other day as I worked on my computer, the screen went black and a brief message appeared telling me there was a threat to the system, and it was shutting down to protect my data.  It happened so suddenly that my only response was stunned silence.  Then I thought, “What am I supposed to do?”  I had no idea.  This had never happened before.  I waited a few minutes and then brought up the computer in “safe mode,” and it was fine.  Then I shut it down and brought it up in “normal mode,” and it was fine.

In reflecting on this event, I found it interesting that I asked, “What am I supposed to do?” not “How am I supposed to be?”  Actually, the computer had taken care of the doing and all I could do was to be with it.  When something unexpected happens, why do I always think of what action to take first?

Transcending Limitations

In this physical life, one of our challenges is learning how to transcend our limitations and create a life that is rewarding and uplifting.  Tolle and many other spiritual teachers would tell us the secret is to be in the moment and not to resist what we experience.  Reading A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, changed my life.  Tolle covered this topic so completely that I was unable to ignore the power of what he suggested.

When we are able to be in the moment, feel what we are experiencing, and let go of what is negative, it opens an entirely new path for us.  We are able to see more clearly, we are able to go deeper, and we more easily find joy.  On pages 210-211 of A New Earth, Tolle says, “When you are present, when your attention is fully in the Now, that Presence will flow into and transform what you do.  There will be quality and power in it.  You are present when what you are doing is not primarily a means to an end (money, prestige, winning) but fulfilling in itself, when there is joy and aliveness in what you do.”

Releasing Resistance

Living a life where we try to stay in the moment, doesn’t mean we don’t take action.  It just means we become aware, then choose action. It may even mean we choose to do nothing.  In being present, there is no resistance; there is no fear because it is fear that creates the resistance to begin with.  We are so conditioned in this society to do, to produce, to accomplish, and to do it quickly that we are skipping the most important step.  If we make decisions about our lives from a place of being in the moment rather than from a place of fearing and resisting, we will make more beneficial choices.

Being Spiritually Present in the Moment

The learning curve in my life this year has been so overwhelming that I can’t imagine how I would have dealt with it had I not been exposed to the many nuances in Tolle’s teachings.  Knowing how to meditate helped, but it wasn’t enough.  Now I can sit in front of my extremely long “to do” list, prioritize it, and calmly begin working with the first item.  Working with a deadline is more challenging, but the more I focus in the moment and choose not to become attached to distractions, the more I accomplish.  When I encounter a difficulty and find myself resisting it, I stop to remember how nicely things go when I don’t resist. I sit quietly for a moment, giving my mind time to process what I need, and wait for the solution to show up.  Sometimes the answer shows up right away; other times it’s clear I need to go on and what I need shows up later.

Staying in the moment is empowering because it connects us with Spirit and that gives us access to deeper and richer places within.  New ideas spring forth because we do not allow conditioned ideas from our past to create resistance and stop us from experimenting.  What we do is filled with joy because it comes from our spiritual core.  The true expression of who we are fills our lives with satisfaction and excitement.  Ego calms down and our spirit leads the way.  Without resistance, life flows like a mountain stream.

©2012 Georganne Spruce                                                             ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  On finding Balance – TolleBeing in the Moment – Tolle (video), 5 Ways to Let Go of Resistance