AUM

AUM. What does it mean? It’s the acronym and sound for what I’m feeling right now. A is from Awe. U is for unbelievable, and M is for Magnificent, Miraculous and Merciful. And put it all together and it’s the humming meditation sound of “aum.” Which is the sound of Divine creation according to the yogic meditation practice.

This sound or word expresses what I’m feeling as I sit here and contemplate how everything in my life is working out not the way I planned, but just the way someone else planned. My Creator, my Dharma, my universe, seems to have some master plan that guides and directs my path.  I can see how everything in my life has always been just as it should be. Every struggle has taught. Every tragedy has been a stepping stone to triumph, and every bump in the road has jolted me to a higher awareness.

In retrospect, I can see clearly now all the pivotal people who have crossed my path at pivotal points completely shifting the trajectory of my life. I can see clearly now the evolution of my passions and interests and how each has led to new opportunities, relationships, ideas, and beliefs.

Everything that has happened in my life is not random, it has all happened for a reason. The Divine spark I feel inside is guiding me, no pulling me toward my destiny.

I’ve always felt that the Lord has great things in store for me. I’ve always felt that I would somehow make a mark in this world–and golly gee whiz I’m making it! I’m making my mark one person at a time. I remember when I used to think I needed to do some big thing–Mother Teresa style–but now that I understand Mother Teresa–and her greatness–I realize she wasn’t about doing one big thing. Mother Teresa made a mark because she did several small things. In her own words:

I can do no great thing. Only small things with great love.

Small things with great love equals great things for it is by small and simple mans that great things are brought to pass.

Here is another incredible quote I read today by Rabindranath Tagore:

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

I think I’ll meditate on that “AUM.”

Laughter

We’ve all heard the old adage:

Laughter is the best medicine

and I agree. Did you know that the chemical composition of tears of joy and laughter are different than tears of pain and sorrow? Laughter releases endorphins.

Norman Cousins received a terminal diagnosis and promptly decided to watch every funny movie or TV episode he could find as he was confined to his hospital room. Norman attributed his recovery to the medicine of laughter.

I wonder why so many become so serious as they age? Why does the child-like wonder and laughter so drastically subside?

I want to make a concerted effort to seek out the funny, not at the expense of others, but the genuine good-natured, good-humored fun. Laughing with my kids is tops. As is laughing by myself. In fact, Thor kept cracking me up on our walk today as he lumbered along tripping on his leash that he stole right out of my hands. He’s such a fun animal. My cat is equally humorous.

I also like the idea of not taking life too seriously and instead of getting upset at situations, looking for the humor. I still remember cooking chili for a neighborhood party. I went to carry the pot to the car and dropped it. The chili splashed all over the floor and cupboards. It was a royal mess. I wanted to swear or cry, but instead, I looked at the kids and we all started laughing.  To this day, whenever someone spills something in the kitchen, the kids all chime in, “At least I didn’t spill the chili!” And we all laugh all over again because really, no one has ever spilled anything in my kitchen that has made a bigger mess than the one I made that day!

So laugh loud and proud, and as often as possible. I’m going to try to not let a day pass me by that I don’t experience some laughter.

p.s. Have you ever looked at the word laughter? It’s a funny looking and sounding word. hahaha

Sunday Worship

A friend shared this poem by Emily Dickinson with me today as we discussed Sunday worship. I love it:

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –

I keep it, staying at Home –

With a Bobolink for a Chorister –

And an Orchard, for a Dome –

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –

I, just wear my Wings –

And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,

Our little Sexton – sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman –

And the sermon is never long,

So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –

I’m going, all along.

__

Heaven really is here. If we miss it, I’m afraid we’ll never find it!

Here is a poem my little sister wrote that I also love about Finding Heaven Here:

While on my quest for heaven,

Let me not forget it’s here.

When I feel the breeze upon my face

Or hold my loved ones near.

Though heaven’s a destination

It’s not a far off place–

A beautiful song, a baby’s yawn,

A warm and kind embrace.

God’s not an unknown person

That to us can never be found,

For when we look with eyes to see

We see Him all around ❤

 

Everything You Need

What if you already have everything you need? And what if what you felt you lacked was already on its way or what if what you felt you lacked you didn’t really need?

I believe that we always have everything we need. If we needed more in that moment, we’d have it. The Universe and God are good like that. They withhold nothing from us. It is only our perceptions of need and lack that deceive and mislead. When we feel discontent it’s because there is a disconnect. The best cure for feeling discontent is to stop focusing on what it is you feel you lack and instead start focusing on everything you already have.

When you practice gratitude your vision expands. The very act of adding up your many blessings shifts your focus to an entirely different division wherein your blessings appear to multiply. This phenomenon isn’t magical or mysterious. It’s actually quite natural to see what you are looking for.  Focus on lack, you’ll see it. Shift your focus to your blessings and your eyes will be opened to the abundance you already possess. Your blessings aren’t magically multiplying. They were always there and you are finally focused on seeing them. This connection to God and abundance causes contentment. And what is happiness but contentment?

There is power in realizing that you always already have everything you need. This realization will free you from worry, stress, and discontent. The next time you are feeling as if you lack something or need something, stop and count your blessings. Start with the fact that you already have everything you need or else you wouldn’t be alive. You are breathing, your heart is beating, you probably have family or friends, you most likely aren’t starving and you probably have a roof over your head or a warm place to sleep. Sure you may need more money (everyone thinks they do), or you may be experiencing ill-health (everyone gets sick at some time or another) but right now, at this moment, you are fine because you are alive!

Breathe. Count your blessings. Remember that God is good and is vested in you. He will provide for your every need when you need it most. He wants you to be happy as much as he wants you to learn, develop and grow. He will ensure you have everything you need to do all three. Happiness, however, is something he can’t give you for you must learn how to choose happiness. You must learn that happiness has nothing to do with circumstance but rather is a byproduct of content. When you learn to see that you always already have everything you need and that whatever you feel you may currently lack–if you really need it–is already on its way, then you will stop worrying and instead you’ll trust in and connect with that very Being who governs and supplies light and life to all His creations.

Don’t disconnect through discontent. Claim happiness now through contentment and connection. Gratitude is the fastest way to multiply your blessings.

Here and Now

I’m reading a great book by psychic medium John Edwards called After Life: Answers from the Other Side. I love the story John related today about the birth of his first son. He was so excited for the delivery day because he just knew there would be a spiritual outpouring as his loved ones–who had formerly passed to the other side–would surely join him and his wife in the hospital room.

He spent extra time meditating and preparing himself for the highly anticipated manifestations. While his wife was laboring to bring their son into the world, John was earnestly focused on summoning his heavenly host. It wasn’t until his wife cried out, “John, where are you?” that he was pulled to the present moment just in time to witness the birth of his firstborn son. His preoccupation with experiencing the divine had almost caused him to miss the moment he’d been waiting for his entire life!

John admits that he was disheartened and deflated that he failed to experience a divine outpouring during the delivery–for he has always been able to summon spirits upon command–but he said that later that day, as he reflected on his disappointment, he realized this powerful truth:

We can’t get caught up with the spiritual world and forget to pay attention to the physical world–to what’s right in front of us. We can’t constantly look for validations from the Other Side every step we take or we’ll miss all the little joys of life on this side. We’re here for a reason–to live our lives as best we can and to be as fully present in our lives as possible. We have to appreciate the validations as they come . . . in their own way.

Isn’t that beautiful? And so true! If we can just learn to enjoy the here and now of wherever we happen to be. Longing for other worlds prevents us from enjoying the one we currently live in. I’m going to redouble my efforts to enjoy the Divine present until the day I return to the Divine Presence.

Summer Days

I love summer days! It’s wonderful to not have to rush my kids off to school. I love letting them wake up when they are done sleeping, and I especially enjoy eating breakfast together. We discuss our dreams and our plans for the day.

The kids have all made their own summer schedules and I love watching them stay busy and engaged doing what they love.

Each day they type, practice their instruments, play outside, read, relax and play some more. They have all picked topics they want to learn more about and spend time “Researching.” The best is letting them make their own lunches and just be in charge of their own schedule. I am such a fan of freedom and thoroughly enjoy watching them embrace their agency.

It’s funny how empowered they feel by simply making their own sandwiches, or choosing to microwave a burrito. I taught them how to properly fuel their body with carbs, proteins and fat and explained the importance of eating plenty of fruits and veggies to stay healthy. They know it is their job to balance their meals and take good care of their bodies. And so far they have been doing wonderfully well.

It’s funny because I never realized how much I ran the show. My children did fine with me calling the shots, but I feel like lately we are all having much more fun since I’ve relinquished total control. Letting go has afforded me additional freedom too. It has been a total win-win and allowed all of us to thoroughly enjoy these epic summer days!

My Sacred Spot in the Sierra Nevadas

I was able to wake up early this morning and hike a 7 mile loop in the Sierra Nevadas from Kingsbury South to Kingsbury North. I only saw one other human being in the entire 3 hours I was in the bowels of the mountains. I was able to find a secluded high spot to talk with God. I wanted to make sure I would not be under condemnation for pursuing and embracing what I now believe to be true. I am feeling so sure that my church is not the only true church on the earth. In fact, I feel like there are many things it teaches that simply are not true. I have worried that I was under the influence of Satan for having these thoughts or that I was “fallen,” but since I read my scriptures every day, pray, attend church, magnify my callings, pay my tithes and offerings and do everything an active, temple recommend holding member of our church is supposed to do, I cannot believe the adversary has power over me.

Plus, I have been praying for God to help me resolve my questions. I have been praying for my Father to show me what is true and to help me find the answers to my questions and day by day, book by book, teacher by teacher, He has been illuminating my path. And it’s a different path than the one I have been walking as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He has not said the Mormon church is not true. He has just confirmed to me that any religion that draws His children to Him and to their fellowmen is loved by Him. In fact, his children do not need a religion to do this if they do it on their own. Religion provides useful scaffolding for those who want and need it. It’s kind of like a pre-assembled meal kit you can buy that contains all the great ingredients needed to make a wonderful, delicious meal. But for individuals who want to cook up their own creations, it will not be a good fit. In fact, organized religion for seekers feels like an unnecessary middleman that prevents one from experiencing the divine directly.

So I decided before making a final move I would like to formally go before God one last time to make sure I was not deceived nor being led astray– for I feel my convictions growing stronger each day.

I climbed to the highest point of the mount just as prophets of old. I kneeled before my maker and poured out my heart–just as I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember.  I told God my worry about becoming enticed by the “philosophies of men.” I expressed my concern about being led astray and  I explained how I did not want to do anything that would cause me to lose my soul. I told him my only desire has always been to do His will and His will only. I have only ever wanted to live a life pleasing unto Him.

I reiterated my desires to love fully as He loves, to serve, to grow, to learn, and ultimately, to become as He is. I begged him to stop me if following my heart and newfound convictions were incorrect. I told him I did not want to lead my children astray. I told him I took the teachings from my childhood and young adult life seriously and that I understood them to mean that I could be deceived and that is why I wanted him to stop me from being an apostate if pursuing the additional light and truth I had found were not correct.

And then I stopped talking. And I sat silent. 

There was no angel, no darkness, no thing but peace, calm, and a sure confidence that I would not be condemned for following what I felt I was being led to do. In fact, I felt love and encouragement. 

God and I made a pact up there high in that mountain. A pact I’ve had for awhile now, but was more or less formalized in this Sacred Spot. We have a “Truth Pact.” 

I am to gather light, truth and knowledge and share it.

I am to do no harm and to love others fully.

I am to follow my heart and to teach others to do the same.

I am to make everywhere a little better.

I am to support others in their beliefs for I believe everyone must walk their own spiritual path and come to their own realizations.

I hope to never make anyone feel inferior for their beliefs or to act like I’m more enlightened than they. I want simply to manifest God’s love in all that I do and continue to enjoy the fruits of the spirit which are peace, happiness, love, and joy. That is why I know I am not being led astray. If I were, I would not feel these feelings that are fruits of the spirit, and I know God would not continue to lead me in this direction if it were not His plan for me.

I hope to revisit my “Sacred Spot” in the Sierra Nevadas at a later date and time. A future day when I will remember with fondness the day “where two roads diverged in the woods and I took the one less traveled by” and it made all the difference!  

For right now, I’m simply enjoying the journey!

Quantum Guitar

Look there’s no easy way to say this, but I’m learning Quantum Physics right now and the Guitar. So I figured I’d title the post Quantum Guitar. Why? Because here’s the deal, I love learning. I could easily sequester away and learn A-L-L day!

I fall into flow every time I open a book or start studying a new topic. Learning is definitely my passion and purpose. Did you know I start each and every day with personal study time? I think it is one of the reasons I can’t sleep very long. I CANNOT wait to get up and get to my studies.

My unquenchable thirst for knowledge oft times causes me anxiety because I fear I will perish before I have time to learn everything I want to learn. I know this fear sounds absurd, but why do we need to “go to Heaven” when Heaven I already hold? I can’t even picture a Heaven that is better than me studying or learning whatever it is I please to learn. Oh God, let Heaven so be or if it is not, please oh please allow me a long enough life to master every subject my heart desires. I have SO much I still yearn to learn!

This afternoon has been especially celestial. Actually, let’s back it up and let me tell you all about my perfect day! I woke up at 6 am and meditated; then I studied my scriptures; next, I completed an advanced speed reading course; subsequently, I ate breakfast and then Matt and I went mountain biking at Snowbasin. We returned home and lunched and then I walked to the library with Thor and spent about 30 minutes perusing the shelves looking for books on the guitar, brain matters and quantum physics.  I knew I was going to have some alone time tonight to study since the kiddos are with their dad and Matt is with Colin celebrating his birthday.

I checked out several books and have been deep into sub-atomic particles and fretboards since 5 pm. In fact, I was learning how to tune my guitar and memorizing notes when I glanced at the clock and discovered 2 hours had already passed. I completely lost track of time! That’s one way to know you’ve been in flow (fyi).

Anyhow, I titled this post Quantum Guitar because I had two really cool insights as I studied both topics. My first inspiration came from Dr. Richard P. Feynman (Nobel Laureate 1965), and the other came from studying the patterns of guitar chords. You can read all about Atomic Fact here and Musical Mathematics here.

Don’t Make Assumptions

The third of The Four Agreements is don’t make assumptions. I really liked this one too because Don Miguel Ruiz stresses the importance of asking questions to make sure we understand others clearly. He stresses how much courage it takes to not make assumptions and to instead seek clarification through questions.

How many times have you made up a story surrounding an event? Perhaps someone smiled at you in the store and you start assuming it means a) or b) or c) when in reality you have no idea what it means. Not making assumptions seems to go hand in hand with not taking anything personally. Basically, all of Toltec wisdom seems to emphasize the importance of not making up stories about events. When we try to ascribe meaning to people’s behaviors or actions (including our own), we set ourselves up for needless suffering. Why not just accept what is as what is and not create any drama?

Another crucial aspect surrounding this principle don’t make assumptions is the importance asking others for what you need. You can’t assume they know. Everyone sees things from their own point of view so expecting them to know what you need is not fair. You need to learn how to ask for what you need. Never assume that anyone should know what you want or need. That only creates suffering for the both of you. Ask and ye shall receive–or at least  you’ll have communicated clearly your desires and needs.

Applying this principle has already been a great boon to me. I even used it this morning as I missed several shots in a row at basketball. I started assuming that everyone on the team was thinking I was a liability. The story started and before my mind could run wild with assumptions, I shut it down. I did so by simply noticing the unfolding narrative. It was one of those fun, transcendent experiences where I was able to witness my compulsive behavior to launch into a mind drama. I reminded myself that I could not know what others were thinking and that most likely they weren’t thinking much at all. I hustled back down on defense and was amazed at how my assumptions dissolved. It was quite amazing to be liberated from the tyranny of my mind.

I love the advice don’t make assumptions. I won’t assume you’ll adopt this agreement too, but I’ll pray you do!

 

True Happiness

Here’s a cool thought about true happiness:

What if happiness is the natural state of our existence and all we need to do to be happy is to stop doing things that make us unhappy?

This idea sounds so true to me but it’s not what we obviously believe as human beings because if you listen to how others speak or even watch their behaviors it’s apparent that we believe happiness is something we can achieve through accomplishments, positions and possessions. We endlessly pursue power,  pleasure, and popularity hoping that we will one day be happy.

Happiness is not some future destination which we seek to arrive. Happiness is found in the here and now. It is found by stopping doing the things that make us unhappy. This idea that we are already complete, whole beings who possess everything we need within ourselves is a principle I keep coming back to. Which means it must be true. . . I mean isn’t that how we know truth . . . it’s a thru-line we see running through everything?

This idea that we don’t have to strive to become like God, we simply need to uncover and awaken the divine within us, or that we don’t need to acquire the eyes of God for we already have them rings true to me. We are not clay statues that need to be adorned in gold. We are like statue of Buddha from India that all the townspeople thought was made of clay. Over the years the wind, rain and weather washed away the mud and clay to reveal its true nature– the statue of Buddha was made of solid gold.

So I’m not sure what to label this principle. Perhaps it’s the law of subtraction? Which is diametrically opposed to the law of addition mindset we humans run around with. Less is more. Uncovering or unveiling our true nature is how it really works not achieving and becoming. Awareness not acquisitions. Stripping not striving.

WAIT. . .I think I now know what to call this phenomenon–

ENLIGHTENMENT.

How simple it really is!  We simply need to awaken to the divine within us. Recognizing that we already possess everything we need to be happy and that we already possess everything we need in life because we are divine is enlightenment.

Which brings me full circle to my point on happiness. In order to realize true happiness, we simply need to stop doing those things that make us unhappy. Strip yourself of stupid behaviors. Become aware of that which doesn’t fulfill your highest needs and stop doing it.  The prophet Joseph Smith taught:

Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.”

Sounds like a whole lot of striving. What if happiness is the natural state of divine beings? I believe it is. Therefore,

Happiness lies in recognizing and honoring the divine–both within and without.

Here is how I would sum it all up:

Happiness is the natural state of divine beings. If we want to be truly happy we simply need to stop doing that which makes us unhappy. We must recognize and honor the divine within us and others.