Learning to listen

Joseph-and-Mary-300x199Spiritual seekers at all levels of evolution understand the benefits of listening to what is called that still, small voice. Publications like Guideposts have sold millions of copies retelling stories about that voice where the divine nudge saved someone from a dangerous situation.

This sets up a puzzling query when we do walk headlong into something undesirable: “Where was that voice THIS time?

I believe that the voice is always with us, but we fail to recognize it. We miss it when we forget to pay attention or when we doubt or second-guess what we’ve “heard“. Today I had an interesting experience that highlights this point.

I was meeting some friends for brunch in a busy district of the city. Parking is at a premium, traffic was a little intense and I had not been in this part of town for some time. I made my way through the narrow streets and past rows of filled parking spaces and finally saw a sign for a parking lot.

As I turned into the lot, I noticed the sign: $10 for 90-minutes; $15 for all day. I immediately had a feeling that said “No!” but it was followed shortly thereafter by my self-doubting, chastising inner dialogue.

You’re being cheap,…everyone knows you have to pay for parking.

Don’t be a country-bumpkin; if you want to dine in the city, you need to be willing to pay.”

As it turned out, it was a CASH lot and I only had a Debit card. The attendant offered to let me park and walk across the street to the ATM, but today I decided to listen to the inner wisdom and not to the self-doubt. I left to seek a different parking experience.

I drove a few blocks and circled back and found an easy on-street parking space. It was beautiful outside and I enjoyed having the chance to add a brisk walk to my day. I went to the parking kiosk to enter my license plate and pay with my Debit card and the sign flashing on the kiosk said: “No payment needed on Sundays“.

Hah!” I said to myself, realizing that the message I received as I entered the $10 – $15 parking lot was not only perfectly timed, but spot on. I would have been mad at myself if I had ignored the nudge not to park there, and later found out that it was free on-street parking on Sundays!

In metaphysical spirituality we speak of God as the Infinite Intelligence; an ever-present Reality. Ever-present means we have access to the intelligence at all times – not just in times of great danger. The key to tapping into this Intelligence is learning to listen; learning to not discount what we “hear” – instead listening to the self-doubt and negative self-talk that can bubble up right after the divine nudge.

In the Hebrew and Christian biblical canons, this Intelligence is often represented as an Angel coming with a message or a communication received in a dream.

13 Now when they were departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I tell thee: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14 And he arose and took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt; 15 and was there until the death of Herod,… [Matthew 2]

Those familiar with the Bible will recall that Herod had all male babies under the age of two who were living in Bethlehem killed – a timely spiritual nudge for Joseph, his wife and child – the infant Jesus.

Today I had an opportunity to examine the difference between that still, small voice of wisdom and my inner “tapes” of self-doubt. Because the situation was a no-risk, low-key situation, I had a perfect window to see the difference between the two and learn an important lesson.

If we’re unskilled in listening, it’s easy to confuse the wisdom of Infinite Intelligence with the voice of our inner critic. And while it doesn’t matter much on things like parking places, at times it can be critically important.

We are the benefactors of a great gift – access to an inner wisdom that is ever with us, always on time, and accurate. To take full advantage of it we must practice listening every day so to hone our interpretation skills – learning how to differentiate between old tapes of self-doubt/criticism and the wisdom that is ever-present and always available.

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path
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Message from Centers for Spiritual Living 

Affirming our ONENESS as a Human Family

From Rev Dr Kenn Gordon , spiritual leader for Centers for Spiritual Living.

Earthquakes, fires, and floods are affecting people around the globe. As Mexico digs out of it’s the second earthquake this month, Centers for Spiritual Living stands in prayerful support to the people of Mexico, as well as our community members and Centers affected there.  

Every time we are faced with a global or natural crisis, we have the opportunity to hear the call of Love and Life. In these times of political divisiveness, closing borders, and social violence, whether between nations or within a country, when disaster strikes we are all affected. Let us, once again, take this as an opportunity to affirm our ONENESS as a human family. Let us declare our commitment to love and support one another. We allow our common humanity to reach across the divides as we find powerful and creative ways to help those in harm’s way.

Let us also take this as an opportunity to recognize that we are part of one WHOLE LIVING SYSTEM. We share this world with all living beings and we include our planet and all beings on it as part of this precious ONENESS. In the same way, we can destroy our environment, have a negative impact our forests and seas, and create climate change, but we can also affirm that we are capable of creating a healthy, sustainable Life upon this earth. 

Today, Centers for Spiritual Living calls every one of us to see beyond our own lives and the relationship to the whole, and become more aware of the interconnectedness of all life. We are called to reach out, not close down. We are called to love, not separate. We are called to action, not complacency. Like the butterfly effect, we realize that what happens anywhere around the globe, affects all of us. Spirit’s Wisdom, God’s Intelligence, and the Will of Life to Love guides every one of us to reach out a helping, prayerful hand to our neighbor and our planet.

Mexico – our prayers are with you, and we stand ready to help. 

Florida and the Gulf Coast – our prayers are with you, and we are willing to help.  

To all those on the list – Not only are our prayers are with you, but we are also paying attention. We commit to making a difference and bringing wholeness to people and our planet.

🔥 California is on fire

🔥 Washington is on fire

🔥 Oregon is on fire

🔥 Montana is on fire

🔥 British Columbia is on fire

🔥 Nova Scotia is on fire

🔥 Greece is on fire

🔥 Brazil is on fire

🔥 Portugal is on fire

🔥 Algeria is on fire

🔥 Tunisia is on fire

🔥 Greenland is on fire

🔥 The Sakha Republic of Russia is on fire

🔥 Siberia is on fire

 ⛈️ Texas is hit by category 5 hurricane and is underwater

⛈️ Florida was hit by a category 5 hurricane and Hurricane Maria continues to build in the Atlantic

⛈️ India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, experience record monsoons and massive death toll

⛈️ Sierra Leone and Niger experience massive floods, mudslides, and deaths in the thousands

 🌡️ Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia are crushed in the death grip of a triple-digit heat wave, dubbed Lucifer

🌡️ In a usually chilly August, the city of San Francisco shatters record at 106 degrees, while it reaches 115 degrees south of the city. Northern California continues to bake in the triple-digits

Remember love guides every one of us to reach out a helping, prayerful hand to our neighbor and our planet.

Many Blessings to you All,
Dr. Kenn Gordon

Sleep and knowing

SleepLogo-copy

Since coming into this teaching, I have met two kinds of people as it relates to using spiritual tools: those who believe in working with nature, and those who don’t think it matters.

I tend to align with the common sense crowd, believing that tempting fate, giving Mother Nature the finger and otherwise throwing caution to the wind are behaviors best left in adolescence.

This does NOT mean that I think that miracles are out of the question, that things cannot be reversed with prayer and that all is lost if you don’t abide by general good sense guidelines; but I do think that life proceeds along a more smooth path if we learn to go with the flow instead of always fighting it.

Some of the things that I consider “going with the flow” include eating right, not smoking, drinking in moderation if you drink, engaging in some kind of exercise every day, and getting enough sleep.

Doctors have always recommended a good night’s sleep but American culture has expanded the expectations for the 24-hours in each day and in many ways, made it a badge of honor to report how LITTLE sleep we are getting.

My mother, grandmothers and great-grandmothers knew the importance of sleep. My mother still reminds our family that “sleep is nature’s healer” and once again I had the opportunity to use this wisdom to my benefit.

There is a terrible bug going around the Pittsburgh area. One of my students has been sick for more than a week and multiple people at work are dragging around looking like the last flowers of Summer. While I am strict about hand hygiene (washing and avoiding the touching of public surfaces – door knobs, etc – as much as possible), sometimes I also engage in what I call Extreme Sleep.

I have used this technique multiple times in the past few years in combination with meditation and intention (a la Florence Scovel Shinn’s speaking my word), and I will continue to employ it because I have found that it works.

As soon as I feel a scratchy throat, that achy, miserable feeling in my neck or the telltale headache – I activate Plan Sleep.

I am lucky that I have a job that gives generous time off, and I am careful to not to waste it so I always have sick time available. I have also learned to say NO to things so that I am not overextended in terms of my time. I will admit that this is easier now that my children are grown and living on their own as adults but it is not impossible in any circumstance.

Recently, I began to feel all the signs of a coming bad cold. I had meetings at work all day but at the first opportunity I made arrangements to go home early, and come in the next day a couple hours late. Once home I went straight to bed and slept for a couple hours. I got up, fed the cats, ate some fruit, drank more water and took care of a couple things, but then went back to bed and slept for more than 10 hours.

Yes, I periodically woke up but I allowed myself to roll over and go back to sleep. When I finally got up the next morning I no longer felt the creeping symptoms of doom. I had my energy back, my throat was clear and there were no aches or pains.

During these times I also increase my hydration, taking care to drink as much water as I can to help flush my system. Water, not diet soda, regular soda or coffee (avoid caffeine if you’re hoping to sleep a long time). I occasionally add a cup or 2 of Echinacea tea and usually up my dose of Vitamin C. Still, it’s the combination of my attention on healing (belief system, or knowing) and the Extreme Sleep that makes the difference.

In a popular PBS special from the late 1990’s (How to Get What You Really, Really, Really, Really Want by Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer), Wayne Dyer shared a conversation he had with a Kahuna from the Hawaiian Islands. In asking about the tradition of being a Kahuna Wayne was told that “Kahunas are raised on knowing, not on doubt. In the healing world, when a knowing confronts a belief in a disease process, the knowing will always triumph.”

He went on to say that we need to abandon the tribal consciousness (what everyone else around us believes) if we hope to manifest what we want (healing, prosperity, etc.)

So as we see others around us getting sick, and hear all the tales of woe about the terrible bug going around, we must get our minds under control. The belief of the crowds (tribal consciousness) need not take root in us.

While some “hard core” religious science adherents will poo-poo the handwashing and sleep as having any impact, I believe there are 2 points to consider:

  1. The same infinite intelligence that works miracles, created the human body to work best with a certain amount of sleep, proper hydration levels and nutrition. It only makes sense to align our behaviors with these needs.
  2. Combating the tribal consciousness that says “everyone is catching this bug that is going around” is easier when we are taking directed action, like being vigilant with hand-washing, and getting more sleep. It supports our belief because we are actively engaged in behaviors that we see as aligned with our goal of staying healthy.

I believe that it is the combination of supporting this biological machine we inhabit with known good habits AND getting our knowing in line that works to avoid coming down with the latest bug being passed around.

Our bodies are hard-wired to heal themselves, but we have to do our part. So this year when you see the bugs showing up all across your community; employ a combination of good old-fashioned common sense (sleep, nutrition, etc.) and the tools of knowing to ‘pass’ on your turn in the Kleenex aisle.

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path

Concepts and Terms

Word Search-heart.JPGHere’s another set of puzzle activities for children and youth in metaphysical churches and centers.

This one focuses on some common metaphysical concepts and terms. Similar to my first set of puzzles, which featured well-known metaphysical individuals, these puzzles are tailored to 3 age ranges: kindergarten through approximately 3rd grade (depends on reading level and child),  middle elementary grades (solid readers) and older youth (middle school and up).

For the youngest students, the puzzle is narrowly focused on teaching the qualities of Spirit: Life, Love, Light, Power, Peace, Beauty and Joy. There are also COLORING PAGES for an activity that encourages young children to associate themselves with these qualities (stay tuned for a fun holiday activity related to this same topic for K-3 coming closer to December).

For stronger readers able to manage larger words and terms, the full WORD SEARCH and for older students, an accompanying WORKSHEET that encourages not only the recognition of important metaphysical concepts and terms, but an opportunity to dig in a little deeper and learn about each one.

Please feel free to use and share as long as you attribute (give credit) to this blog.

 

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path

Metaphysical Bible Stories

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The rich imagery and stories that make up biblical literature are a treasure trove for metaphysical teachers. Many of my blogs feature well-known as well as less popular Bible stories that I share along with their metaphysical lessons.

There is perhaps no better way to teach young children metaphysical spirituality than with the same rich stories. To that end, I have begun to create Metaphysical Bible Stories for children.

Each story is prepared as a single sheet in PDF format.

The sheet is a 4-pane story board that summarizes a colorful biblical story (3 blocks) and provides the metaphysical summary/lesson in the last block. There is also an affirmation that children can learn.

There are 10 stories in progress (this is #1). I have used “free clipart” for now – found on Pinterest & Google – but I am working with an illustrator to create originals (coming soon!).

The takeaway lessons are captured in the affirmations and each story is kept simple. In addition, each Kids Sheet is paired with a blog that I have written that lays out the metaphysical lesson in detail. Once I get all of them created, I will have a page that links the Kids Sheets to the complementary blog post.

Here’s Kids Sheet #1:

As always, these are free to use with attribution.

Enjoy!

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path

 

Mysterious ways

Purple shoesI am always heartened when people share stories with me about how “this stuff works” and think that real stories – like the ones that Florence Scovel Shinn shared in her books – are the best teachers.

This story is from a close family friend who has been living these principles for a number of years. We all know that there are times of ease and times when things could really go better. This is a story of divine ease.

Earlier this Summer a member of the family was in need of new pair of athletic shoes which can be a pricey acquisition. However, due to their understanding of spiritual principles, this friend put out the need, and let it go (released it), knowing that in divine time their need would be met.

One weekend they saw a coupon for Dick’s Sporting Goods and decided it was a good time to look for shoes, so they went into the store and perused the inventory. They found a shoe they liked, and at a really good price considering the brand of shoe, so they requested to try it on.

The sales person cautioned that the good price was due to the fact that this pair was mismatched: two different sizes.

This friend actually has a congenital issue that makes their left foot 1/2 size larger than their right foot and while some shoes accommodate the slight difference with ease, others must be purchased in 2 different sizes which can be expensive and a little tricky – unless you know spiritual principles, like letting go and knowing that the perfect right shoes will show up in the perfect time, and at the perfect price.

As it turned out, this mismatched, deeply-discounted pair of high-end athletic shoes in a desirable color was a perfect fit for my friend’s feet: the right shoe fit perfectly and the left shoe, 1/2-size larger, fit just right too.

In an earlier blog I wrote about the perfect timing of Spirit as taught by Florence Scovel Shinn who reminded her students that God is always right on time. Here’s another passage from one of Mrs. Shinn’s book, “Power of the Spoken Word“.

I have weapons ye know not of!; I have ways ye know not of! I have channels ye know not of! Mysterious weapons, mysterious ways, mysterious channels! For God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.’

The trouble with most people is that they want to know the way and the channels beforehand. They want to tell Supreme Intelligence just how their prayers should be answered. They do not trust the wisdom and ingenuity of God. They pray, giving Infinite Intelligence definite directions how to work, thereby limiting the Holy One of Israel.

When we trust the wisdom and ingenuity of the Divine, mysterious and miraculous wonders show up in our lives in ways we could never imagine.

And so it is.

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path