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For some of us, the longing for personal and spiritual growth runs deep. Regardless of the church, religion, or spiritual community, we continually ask ourselves, “How can I grow?” Books and classes remind us of our commitment to self-development and the truth of who we are, but we cannot spend every day in a book or a class. Nor is intellectual understanding the same as growth.

Engaging in Daily Disciplines

To achieve a deeper level of maturity the first step is a dedication to daily meditation and prayer that fits with our personal beliefs. All spiritual practice, undertaken with sincerity leads to self-knowledge and Divine connection. Beyond a daily practice what we seek is a 24 by 7 practice, always with us, urging us to awareness.

The means I propose is simpleWe focus on anything we avoid.

Typical Response to the World Around Us

We are experts at distracting ourselves from what is uncomfortable, upsetting or painful. Anger, hurt, loneliness, even avoidance of the most mundane situations, are deserving of attention. We are always subconsciously wary and constantly evaluating whether this person, situation, or task could hurt.

To respond we do one of the following: (1) We withdraw trying to avoid the people or situation (2) we accommodate (i.e., smooth over, please, make peace with) the people or situation, or (3) we attack hoping to run people off or get them to accommodate us.

If you come home at the end of a day, tired, wanting nothing more than to shut the world out, preferring to stay home with the doors closed to social interaction, you are withdrawing. If you are tired because you’ve spent the day accommodating everyone else and find yourself thinking how you need now to do this or that for the family, you may be pleasing others to avoid getting hurt. If you notice you are angry most of the time, you may be using an attack strategy to avoid the hurt inflicted by others.

We all use all of these techniques and at times they can merge into one another. For example, we try to avoid people and when we can’t, become friendly and flexible. If we go too far, ignore our own needs, and abandon ourselves, we’ll eventually get angry. Overreacting causes us to feel bad and leads us to smooth things over or withdraw, beginning the cycle anew.

 

Acknowledging Tension and Learning to Let Go

No matter our preferred technique, we are always physically contracted. Our muscles, in fact, every cell of our bodies holds the tension. This is how we live. At the least, it is tiring and saps our energy. At worst, it makes us sick.

The continual tension is subtle. It’s been with us since we were born. Being human means living with the anxiety of change and death. Add to that our formative struggles as children to make sense of the world. As adults, we continue to act through the lens of past events and in a state of physical contraction.

Rather than ignoring or suppressing, fix unwavering attention on that subtle visceral tension. Primarily notice the sensations of your body. Only then, notice your thoughts. These two are tied together and the next time you have these same thoughts, your body will kindly provide the same sensations. This isn’t something to avoid. Everything in us that is dark, painful, or fearful is an opportunity for greater self-awareness.

What does your body feel like in a meeting at work, putting the groceries away, walking into a crowded room? Experience the real moment as it occurs, all of it, especially your underlying wariness and apprehension. Experiencing the real moment is rich – and allows something different to occur.

Self Reflection Leads To Personal Growth and Wisdom

We come to know ourselves at a deeper level, to understand the composition of our personalities and why we behave as we do. We begin to naturally, without effort, act wiser than we may otherwise be. This wise behavior will lead to clarity about our lives. Clarity is wisdom in action. Wisdom in action always leads to a life of harmony with Reality and Universal Wisdom.

There is no darkness so great that it cannot lead to light. In life, light is clarity about what matters. This isn’t about perfection. Somewhere along this 24 by 7 path, you will give up perfection for the sake of being who you really are. Who we really are is much bigger and better than perfection. We are the embodiment of a full piano of energies: love, laughter, anger, meanness, kindness and more. All divinely created and sacred. Our work is to give them healthy harmonious expression in ourselves and allow them equally in other people. Other people aren’t here to save us or make our lives happy. Other people are here for us to experience as wonderous manifestations of Divine life, just as we are. Sometimes that’s a big job. Then, like Sisyphus, we pick up the rock and head up the hill – 24 by 7.

 


 

If you are looking for ways to expand and grow and would like to create more harmony and peace in your life, reach out to Dr. Egli today to set up an in-person meeting or phone meeting. Call (480) 860-0400 or submit a contact request here.

 

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Mindfulness

Meditation: Sandra Egli
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The wisdom of a thousand generations guides you today. Only listen. Without a sound their voices reverberate in your cells. Settle within and choose your path.

All of us come from strength, fortitude, perseverance. No matter how difficult their lives, our ancestors made it through and passed on life for the next generation. Over and over, until it came to you. The intelligence that guided them has also come to you.


To Thine own Self be true.

If I could present you with a single blessing, it would be the gift of Mindfulness. Awareness of yourself: body, emotions, and self-talk, all the time. Our immediate experience is the ultimate exploration that only grows richer with time. What we do or don't do, and the roots of our behavior, are accessible with the simple practice of noticing immediate experience. It is this practice that makes it possible to know and be true to ourselves.

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