“Look up…”

I looked up and as I did my head cleared, my lungs expanded and a lightness of being flooded my chest. I felt good. My head seemed to rest more sensibly on my shoulders and I became aware that I was proud of myself. Life was not easy, but when I looked up, I saw the sky and the wind in the trees. With my chin up, I recognised the sovereignty within me… the sovereignty within us all.

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Image: What’s up there by Sugargrl14, DeviantArt

I realised that I have been looking down a lot… I realised that I was not alone. So many of us are hurrying through our lives with furrowed brows and faces of worry, hunched over and distracted by the next task on our private get-ahead agenda.

Perhaps we should all take a moment… to look up.

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“This is a time of purification…”

What if the troubles that present themselves to us are part of a process of purification? An opportunity to release that which is outmoded, out-dated, that which has run its course and is no longer needed?

MEDITATION FOR COURAGE

Sit quietly and breathe deeply and evenly… yoga breathing… breathing in compassion for self, breathing out compassion for all beings. Breathing deeply and evenly… breathing in compassion for self… breathing out compassion for all beings… deeply and evenly. And you will find as you continue to breathe that you become more and more relaxed. Compassion for self becoming part of each cell of your body and compassion for all beings arising naturally with each out breath. Breathing in compassion for self… breathing out compassion for all beings.

And as you breathe, you become aware of a wise being. This being is a helper and teacher, mentor and guide. They radiate infinite peace, gentleness and wisdom. You see joy and love in their eyes as they look at you. They offer you a gift. It is an acorn. Your helper drops the acorn into your hands and you can feel the woody texture against your hands. You cup the gift in your hands and you can feel the energy of the acorn – all its explosive potential for growth – infusing your being. This is the time of planting.

Around you, nature calls. There are so many places that are perfect to nurture a growing seedling. You find the perfect spot. There is enough sun, enough water and the ground is perfectly suited. You dig a hole in the rich earth, gently drop the acorn in and cover it over, patting the earth in place.

The seasons turn, and the acorn sprouts breaking through the earth and becoming a seedling. As you watch, it becomes bigger and stronger. From a seedling to a young sapling… then from a sapling to a tree. As each season turns, it becomes bigger and bigger, stronger and stronger. Soon it is big enough for you to stand beneath. It protects you. You can hear the wind rustling its leaves and feel the sap running through its trunk. You can feel the bark under your hands.

And as you listen to the heart beat of the tree, you feel it’s strength, courage and protection. Let this strength, courage and protection surround you and fill you. Let yourself absorb the gift of the oak tree – your oak tree.

Know you can come back at any time to infuse your self with courage… and when you are ready you can open your eyes.

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Image: Acorn by Emma McCreary, free images.com

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“Balance is necessary but so are extremes…”

The world lives in balance. The tide ebbs and flows, the chill of winter is balanced with the heat of summer, and the flight of birds is matched by the insects that crawl and the fish that swim. Night balances day, rain balances sun, mountains balance the seas. The more you look the more you find.

Nature lives in balance. Birth balances death. Sound balances silence. Movement balances stillness. And we never have to go far to find balance. Even for those of us most entrenched in urban life. The steam rising from a cup of tea balances the delicious chill of ice cream. The morning train balances a tree lifting itself out of the footpath.

So why is it that as human beings we pursue extremes? And why do we find ourself out of balance, unhappy, perplexed and even desperate? Is it all an accident? Is life one big cosmic joke? Are we such miserable failures at life? Or is there something more to it?

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Perhaps in the knowing of unbalanced and extreme experience, we come to know ourselves better. Perhaps, we even challenge the illusions of the world.

“As you breathe in, cherish yourself. As you breathe out, cherish all Beings.” Dalai Lama XIV

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Engraved on the wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta…

“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you have anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.”

Engraved on the wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, and written by 19-year-old Kent Keith in a motivation booklet for high school counselors published while he was a student at Harvard in 1968.

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Image: Mother Teresa with armless child

Sometimes the why’s are simple…

“Why do I want to be a past life regression therapist?”

Sometimes the question is more important than the answer, for without the question, there would be no forward drive, no seeking. We are all on a journey of the soul and without a question we can get stuck in the dark. Questions, questing, is what fuels the development of the soul.

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Image: Seeking the question by MarioWibisono, DeviantArt

I have had my fair share of trauma, suffering and despair. These are conditions I know intimately. Many times, I have sat with people while they have had their ‘dark night of the soul’ and been their hope when they could find none for themselves, lighting the way forward. Life can be a tough series of lessons and we are not given the blessing of an instruction book when we arrive. Life can also be rich and beautiful and joyous, a magical journey where we are reunited with our soul mates over and over. It really is true that it is darkest just before the dawn. We get ourselves into trouble when we think the darkness will last forever and that there is no way forward.

Questions are how we move forward from the darkness into the light. Sometimes we are so busy identifying with the struggle and the pain that we fail to notice the questions bubbling within, the questions showing us the way forward.

Questions like “How can he treat me like that?”, “Is this all there is?” and in my case “Where was I going when I left my body?”. This question that I could barely dare to acknowledge tormented me as a child. It would enter my consciousness and I would find myself frozen and barely able to breathe. It would follow with “If we don’t die, then what?” and the most terrible question of all “What if there is no God?”

The answers to my questions have unfolded in the trajectory of my life. I am still finding answers and the answers come easily when I release the illusion that I am alone. I hold my question in my mind, breathe and relax. Sometimes the answers come instantaneously and sometimes they come later as a book in my hand, a conversation with a stranger or a cloud in the sky. We are never alone. We are always loved.

And the ‘why’ questions are the easy ones. “Why do I want to be a past life regression therapist?” Because I feel alive, excited and whole hearted when I do it, because it lets me express myself as a gentle and kind person and because it teaches me about myself. In short, this work calls to my soul.

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