Married, But Spiritually Single

When I was younger, I assumed that I would meet someone with similar spiritual interests. In my mind’s eye we would attend conferences together, read the same books and grow spiritually as a couple. Thirteen years ago I married my husband; our spiritual paths appear to compliment each other, but rarely do they coincide.

My husband is actually educated in a number of religious beliefs and practices. We share an attraction to Buddhism, although I have yet to see him meditate. Over the years we have shared in a couple of events, such as our children’s baptism and hearing His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak. Overall my spiritual endeavors have been in solitude.

I certainly appreciate my husband’s support of my spiritual path. I am fortunate that he understands my spiritual needs and quests. As long as our needs are being met, he is at ease.

Still there are times, particularly when I travel, that I wish he were there. Of course, I notice the other couples in attendance and I think it would be nice to share the experience with my husband. I know that we are together for a reason and I accept that our spiritual paths are very different. Without this acceptance I would not have experienced the other opportunities that have come my way.

At a recent training conference, I met another woman in a similar situation. We instantly formed a bond and spent the week together. If my husband or her husband had been in attendance, that opportunity would not have presented itself in the same manner. I am grateful to have had the experience of making a new friend.

With my husband’s support and understanding I have been able to meditate in the Great Pyramid, visit New Grange, travel to Iceland and each year I enjoy a yoga retreat in Mexico. Along the way I have gathered invaluable experiences and made unforgettable connections. I have been able to add to my holistic practice and I am going to embark on a year long transformational experience with the Tarsia Center starting next month.

These experiences have led me to believe that spiritual preferences and endeavors do not have to be experienced by both sides of a couple. At times those paths may cross, but as long as there is support within the relationship things will work out. I cherish the time I spend working on my spiritual growth apart from my husband. I also look forward to the times and adventures I share with him when we are together. Being spiritually single as helped me grow on my spiritual path and I am thankful for the experience.

 

The Meditation Process: Formative Years

I am often asked about how to teach children to meditate. Most parents do not like my first question, “How often do your children see you meditate?”

Personally, I feel that so much of what people are taught about spirituality is external. It is easy to forget that we are spiritual beings having physical experiences. Life is not the other way around. With this in mind, I find it simpler to teach a child to meditate than an adult. Let us not forget what Yoda said about Luke before agreeing to train him, “He is too old.” (Star Wars reference, just in case you missed it.)

I first began to observe the silence when I was about 3 or 4 years old. My father would tell me to be still, generally I would try. By the time I was 8, my mother began to teach me about meditation. She bought a children’s meditation cassette tape with a dolphin on the case. Sometimes it was a struggle, but eventually meditation became like second nature to me.

In addition to the cues from my parents, as a child I was still young enough to feel a strong connection to God. Therefor it was not too difficult to find my way back to inner-peace and stillness. Most individuals forget this awareness as they grow older. I was also able to draw on a number of past lives when I had mastered meditation. Even if you are the parent of a soul new to meditation, you can still teach them this invaluable skill.

  1. Meditate While Pregnant: I recommend that a mother meditate as often as she can throughout her pregnancy. There will never be another time when you are that physically close to your child. Take advantage of that opportunity. Your baby will notice the shift in your body and become accustomed to the energy of meditating.
  2. Keep It Up: As a parent of 2, I understand how chaotic it can be once a newborn baby arrives. Continue to meditate with your infant. I found feedings a good time to meditate while holding my daughter.
  3. The Terrible Two’s/Three’s/Four’s/Etc.: These are the “baby step” years. Encourage your child to sit still for a few moments; seconds at first and then increase as they grow older. Do not ask them to think about anything, just have them still their body. (I do not recommend using time-out as a punishment because it can create a negative attitude towards sitting still, but do what is best for your child.) Also use this time to talk to your child about their dreams. Meditation and dreams go hand in hand.
  4. They’re Finally in School: Go easy on yourself, if your kid is not meditating on clouds by now, you are still doing great! Keep up the dream work, this does include daydreams. Find other sources for your child to learn about meditation. Perhaps at church or through yoga. During this time, I waited for my daughter to approach me about meditation. I explained my thoughts about it to her and I listened to how she understood the process. Occasionally she will join me in meditation.
  5. Lead by Example: Children mimic behavior. If your child does not see you meditating, then how is she suppose to know that meditation is important? (I will write about keeping up spiritual practices with a growing family in another blog.) Take the time to meditate. My children know my meditation chair and understand that I appreciate their quietness while I am in it.

Once your child has taken an interest in mediation, allow her to create her own spiritual practice. Meditation is about recognizing your connection to an infinite source. It is not about meditation chairs, mudras, incense or music. Observe and listen to your child about their needs. Encourage their development and accept that it will probably be different from your own. These steps will give your child the tools to grow up appreciating the benefits of meditation.

Independence Day: Setting Free Spiritual Truths

Today is the day the nation comes together to celebrate our independence from a foreign oppressor. It was less about being ruled by the crown of England and more about freedom from a way of thinking. Regardless of where the country is today, it was a pivotal moment in time when a mass of people decided to change the world view.

What do you know to be true? Did you grown up feeling there is something more? Do you remember your first spiritual truth, have you found it yet? How will you solidify your new-found truth?

When an individual embarks on their path to spiritual freedom, they are often faced with challenges. They are trying to change themselves, which leads to a change in their world. The resistance can come from the individual or their surroundings.

Although an individual journey is not on scale to the Revolutionary War, it can sure feel like it is. There will be those that oppose you, long winters and times when you feel as though you are all alone. Do not let the skeptics and non-supporters get in your way. Stay true to yourself.

My advice for embarking on a spiritual journey begins at home, within. I recommend focusing on three to five new habits which reflect the truth you are seeking. These can be meditation, prayer, yoga, whatever is supportive. Work on these habits daily for ninety days. Let them become a part of your life.

Now that your core is in place, move outward. Find a support group or activity that calls to you. Utilize Facebook and MeetUp. Can you imagine if Benjamin Franklin would have been able to Skype with the French Government, rather than sail across the Atlantic Ocean to meet with them face to face? Technology has brought the world closer together; find or create a support group for yourself despite outside influences.

By this time a few months have passed. The immediate people in your life will most likely have noticed a change. This is where the work can get tricky. People are creatures of habit, they become accustomed to the way things are. Your new-found spiritual truth is going to affect your family, friends and co-workers. Unfortunately our greatest opposition can be those closest to us.

Do not fret, that is why you built your foundation. Use your personal habits and social support to aid you at this time. The Founding Fathers not only relied on their personal strength, they relied on each other. No one can do it alone and no one is expected to. Continue to work on yourself.

Your spiritual awakening and journey are not about others. They are about freeing yourself from an old way of thinking. This is your time to move beyond the oppression and falsehoods of your past. Think of this as your personal revolution.

Once you have found your truth, move forward with it. The journey may be long, and it will be hard. The Founding Fathers did not know what they were doing. But they knew and agreed that they cold no longer live under someone else’s falsehood. Together they birthed a nation. Do the same for your self, give birth to your spiritual truth.

Toasting Marshmallows: An Insight to Meditation

The other night my family was enjoying a cookout in our backyard. My two children love to roast marshmallows over the dying coals. Being that they are still young, the joyful experience of roasting marshmallows can be stressful.

My daughter was feeling disappointed that she was unable to create a perfectly toasted marshmallow. It would either burn or not toast enough. After eating at least three marshmallows covered in ash, I decided to assist my daughter.

First, I told my daughter to be mindful of the grill and to not burn herself. Then I informed her to focus on where she would like to toast the marshmallow. I guided her hand to hold the skewer at a certain point. I turned to her and told her to center herself. It was as I tapped her heart center and told her to be calm and still, that I realized how this was similar to meditation.

I was eight years old when meditation became a part of my life. Until then my father was always telling me to, “Be still!”

That early training helped me as I grew older. And by older I mean nineteen, when I attended my first meditation and dream study retreat in Wisconsin with John Van Auken.

To this day meditation remains a part of my life. Being a student of meditation practically all of my life has allowed me to experience many different styles and techniques. As with many teachings, there is an underlying theme to meditation regardless of the source.

Meditation requires preparation. Honor thyself and the creative forces by saying a prayer or other form of protection. Just as the coals are hot and require caution, there are unseen forces which deserve recognition. Follow this with an intention for the meditation. Where do you want to toast your marshmallow? Then go within yourself, be still, be silent and ascend. Sit with your marshmallow as it cooks.

Only you will know when it is time for your meditation to end. Just as some people prefer well done marshmallows to lightly toasted ones, meditation is personal. On some days I could sit in the silence for hours, others I only need a short time to reconnect with a higher force.

The next time you find yourself being hypnotized by the flames of a fire or the burning embers of coals, think about going within before you toast that marshmallow. Sit with yourself, be calm, be still.

Following the Signs

Much has changed in my life over the last few weeks. I have been working on my next step in life. While this was going on, I started to receive information about a turning point in my life. Being a spiritually motivated person, I asked for guidance, clarity and any signs that might help along the way.

I am a firm believer in signs as guidance. I have refined these skills throughout my life, but I am still learning. Frequently I have been asked, “How do you know when it’s a sign from God or just a coincidence?”

Simple answer, I do not always know. It is a process for me to analyze the information I receive. There is a fine balance between doubt and faith. I will go over some examples of signs and coincidences to help further explain.

When my son received a coupon for a Sklanders Trap Team toy in his Happy Meal, he was convinced it was a sign to drive to Target and buy a new toy. I had to explain to him, that it was a promotional coincidence, not a sign from the heavens. Bear in mind he just turned six, so his understanding of the situation was not out of the ordinary, unlike a woman I once knew. She received information that she should sell her worldly possessions, move to the American Southwest and search for aliens. I still remember her telling our group of friends, I was only fourteen at the time, but I still knew her plan was a bit odd.

She was a wife, mother and grandmother, who completely uprooted herself to follow the signs. Her husband did not agree with her motivation, so he stayed in their family home when she left. Last we heard she was traveling across the desert in an RV without A/C and with an array of animals. I think she was headed to Taos, NM to investigate the Taos Hum.

On the other side of the same coin, my mother recently received a series of signs regarding some recent home upgrades. She was looking to buy new lanai furniture, but was not certain of how to pay for it. Within a few days, a rebate card (not a credit card, similar to a gift card) for over $500 arrived in the mail from Lowes. My mother was then able to purchase the new furniture without having to pay out-of-pocket. That was a definite sign.

Personally, I have had my fair share of misinterpreting signs. As a young eighteen year old, a pre-approved credit card in the mail was a sign. Now I shred those offers on site. As I mentioned before, I analyze the information I receive. I receive signs through dreams, visions, informational downloads and throughout every day life.

I recently asked guidance about my career options; that night I received a dream in which I was suffering at a coffee shop. I awoke and took it to mean not to apply to the barista positions I had located the previous day. Although I could easily reinstate myself in the coffee world, I took the dream as a sign not to because it would cause unnecessary strife.

Yesterday, I was unusually feisty. I noted that I was upset and stressed out. I sat with my discomfort and asked for guidance. I began receiving information about going on a trip, for spiritual and business purposes. Not being certain of the idea’s intention, I asked my mother to be mindful of her dreams last night. (Quite often my spiritual signs affect the whole family.)

This morning while reading a book by one of my favorite authors, John Van Auken, I came across a line from the Book of Job and received an informational download. (This is how I describe receiving information from a higher power.) I went home and shared the information with my parents. Then began the process of seeing the reality of the information I received. I will not exaggerate, the reality of this trip is closer to the World of Disney, but I am a believer.

While discussing the details of this potential endeavor, my mother told me her dream from last night. It had to do with her finding a restroom, so the dream to her was based in the reality that her sleeping body had to use the bathroom. I noted that a dream involving the restroom would make me think of the aforementioned author, John Van Auken, who has also trained me in dream study. Van Auken cautioned against the body’s natural urge to use the bathroom upon waking. He advises to review dreams prior to using the loo.

At that moment, I was actually discussing the personal symbology of dreams with my mother, not even thinking of her dream as a potential sign for me. Is my mother’s dream, which triggered memories about John Van Auken, whom I was reading earlier in the day and I will potentially visit with on this trip, a sign for me? If I had not received the following sign, I would not be reading into this dream so much.

I felt a need to take a break from the situation, so I took a walk with my son. As I turned the corner I noticed a parked car with a license plate from Virginia. Virginia happens to be where this trip will take me if things come together. Sign or coincidence? If I were east of the Mississippi or on a military base, complete coincidence, but I live in Hawaii. It is not common to see an out-of-state plate on island. I smiled and took the license plate to be a sign. Not necessarily a sign that I am going, but a sign to that I am on the right path and I should pursue the options.

My basic guidelines for determining if a sign is a message or a coincidence, primarily rely on your reasoning skills. When you receive a message or sign, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Who is this for?
  2. Who is this from?
  3. Who will this benefit?
  4. Will this cause any harm to myself or others?

Sit with these questions and their answers. Ask for additional guidance, be specific about what you are seeking. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification in a way you will understand. The Universe is an infinite place, help yourself by defining your needs. If you cannot easily remember your dreams, do not ask for guidance through them. Above all else, trust yourself.

User Error: Outlet to an Infinite Source

I am the technical guru of the family. When an electronic is not working I know about it. I do not know how many times a week I hear myself say, “Did you power down and restart?”

Having dabbled in audio-visual (AV) work back in the day, I am a fan of checking the power source. That is my first step when troubleshooting. A couple of years ago when my young daughter was trying to prank people, she actually managed to pull a good one on her grandfather. (My daughter was only 5 or 6 at the time, so her pranks were interesting to say the least.)

Grandpa was making fresh salsa. He plugged in the food processor and turned away to dice some tomatoes. In the mean time, my daughter unplugged the food processor and motioned for me to keep quiet. Within a few minutes Grandpa was frantically trying to get the food processor to work. He pushed the buttons, removed the lid, replaced the lid, etc. Finally the family burst out laughing, my daughter had just pulled her first prank. Despite Grandpa’s efforts he was unable to get the food processor to work all because he did not check the power source. In his mind he was plugged-in and therefore the problem lay elsewhere.

Although, it has been a couple of years I was reminded of the incident last night when I told my father, “User error, it’s generally user error.”

How many times do we think we are plugged-in to our spiritual source when in reality we have lost the connection? Ever had that perfect morning when you were able to meditate or pray prior to beginning your day? You the leave the house centered and fully aware of your connection to a higher power. Then on the morning commute someone cuts you off and the barista at Starbucks screws up your drink. Perhaps you shake it off, but then someone takes your parking space at work. Within moments you start to feel flush and a fleet of words flow from your mouth. What happened to that connection? From an AV standpoint, the best thing to do when this or a similar situation occurs is to stop and check the power source. Where is your connection? Is it the higher power or the ego?

The universe is filled with unlimited potential. Many of us do not know how to utilize all that is available. Through “User Error” we miss out on our full potential. Take a tip from the AV Department, always check the power source. A proper connection to a higher power will provide infinite results.