Thursday, 21 July 2011

A Spiritual Short-Cut to Emotional Tranquility, Less Stress and More Happiness

Please note: the following post contains a spiritual practice that you should only attempt if you are relatively stable emotionally, self-aware and not under psychiatric care.

Also, remember to join us for tonight's Spiritual Life 1: Foundations teleseminar / webinar at:
As you already know, we'll be examining the meaning of that nebulous phrase, "spiritual life", in my upcoming teleseminar series on the subject.  Whatever it means to you personally, though, there's little doubt you're interested improving your emotional life and increasing your subjective feeling of well-being.  

And that's a key point because it shows us that whatever spiritual life may mean to each of us, one common denominator is that it is somehow intimately related to our emotional being and, through that, to our very core as human beings.  

So what can you do TODAY to calm your mind, settle your emotions, shed your stress and remain increasingly tranquil no matter what's going on around you?  Well, there is one simple practice you could adopt that will do all this for you.  In its best articulated form, it's a Tibetan Buddhist practice, although elements of the ancient Christian mystical tradition and later Taoism both have equivalents.  Please note that you don't have to be a Buddhist to practice this - the results speak for themselves.

The Practice

Choose a day to start your practice.  It should be an ordinary weekday with nothing too unusual happening.  Here's what you'll do:

  1. When you wake up, sit up for a few minutes in a meditative posture and focus on your breathing to calm your mind.

  2. Once your mind is as calm as it will get, say to yourself, "Everything I encounter today is simply a projection of my mind.  Pleasant or unpleasant, everything I experience is no more real or substantial than a dream.  If someone acts in a way that is hurtful to me, I can simply remember this is just a projection of my mind so that a negative emotional reaction on my part would make no sense.  If something wonderful happens, I can simply remember that pleasant and unpleasant occurrences are always alternating, so there's no point in getting too excited."

  3. As you take your shower, just say to yourself, "Here I am, washing this dream body with this dream soap."  And when you're getting your breakfast, realize you're pouring dream coffee into a dream mug.

  4. As you go through your day, remind yourself continually that what you experience is a product of your mind.  And remind yourself that the more positive your emotional state now, and the more positively you can affect the state of other people, the more you are planting the seeds of positive experiences for yourself in the future.

This Spiritual Practice Has Several Advantages...

  1. It reminds us that nothing we see or experience in our world exists in the same way that our senses suggest to us.  For example, all "material reality" is largely empty space and fields of energy.  There is no solid "matter" at all.  As Einstein once said, "Reality is an illusion... albeit a very convincing one."

  2. It quickly severs the link between what happens to us and our habitual emotional responses, thus building our inner freedom.

  3. It allows us to maintain a much calmer emotional life while at the same time building positive emotional content throughout the day.
  4. In other words, events will no longer control how we feel.

  5. We naturally find ourselves in the "place of the observer" - one of the principal goals of meditation and of deep prayer.

  6. We find ourselves happier, with less stress and a lot more joy, all for very little effort.
Is there a catch?  Just one: this is a discipline and a practice - it doesn't work unless you do it.  One hint for you before you start - take it easy and begin with few expectations.  It's pretty common near the beginning to feel a sense of "Wow! This is SO cool!!" and then, a day or two later, to feel, "Damn, this is harder than I thought!"  

No worries, though.  That's all totally natural.  Just give it a try and feel free to share what you discover by commenting on this post or dropping us a line.  Enjoy!!
~ Dr. Symeon Rodger :-)

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