Every moment is a choice. Let use it wisely.
When we exercise choice, we build soul muscle.
As we engage more consciously with life, let us be mindful of our power to choose. What will we choose to focus on? Let us choose to place our focus on blessing. And let us do it as much as we can.
When we look at the glass of the self, what do we see? Sure, there may be some pain in it. As humans, we all carry some pain within us. And there is pain in our world. Others carry it, too. There is no need to deny or repress it. We, our soul, however, is bigger than our pain. And it can hold our selves and others in love.
“How to focus on blessing?”, we may ask, especially when there is reason to feel pain. By being grateful. There is so much to be grateful in each moment, but our pain can draw us away from the many blessings in our lives. Let’s not let that happen today. Or any day.
As water flows, from one level to the other, what we focus on can give direction to that which we wish to transform. So let us focus on blessing. And how? By being grateful.
When we repeatedly choose to focus on blessing, we give our pain a clear direction to flow towards, and this happens without denying or repressing our pain. Strange though it may sound, it is, as though, our pain now has a purpose, to move towards blessing, and become resolved in that state of mind, that state of blessing.
One might perhaps stop here! One might feel: this enough.
“Let me go practice”, one might say. Yes, go do that now!
The Deeper Dimensions …
Others, though, may have questions. Like, really? Will this cut it? I’m forgetting the gratitude too much. Or, the pain of what’s going on in our world is too much.
For those who need more, setting a course, a direction, is just the first step. We also need tools for spiritual transformation. And the quality of those tools makes a difference. Use your tools of transformation to work with what shows up in the mind and heart.
For me, and the students in our Yogic Mystery School, the combination of Yoga and mantra, Tantra and meditation, can be quite formidable. But knowing is not enough. Skillful application and development is necessary.
It all begins, though, on what we focus on. This is why we choose to focus on the blessing. That’s what we want to desire, “blessing”, for our energy flows towards whatever we focus on.
And when any type of pain shows up in our spiritual practice, we use our tools of transformation to address the pain and give it has direction, to flow towards the state of blessing, which is also Presence.
This “presence” is more sophisticated than our own presence, for it is divine presence. When we enter into the state of presence, the richness of that presence transforms all parts of us that are wounded.
Did you know, beloved, that that the word “shiva” means blessing? So, to focus on blessing is actually a way to engage the Divine Presence, that is, in its own nature, blessing!
And we can call upon it by name, if we so wish … There is the holy five syllable mantra (om name shivaya) that can be quite powerful to call on Divine Presence as blessing. You may use other names, too.
A holy name is essential to the structure of a mantra. At first, when we use a mantra, any mantra, we will feel energized. But then, our pain can come up, and it does in many forms. As distraction. As indifference. As boredom. Also as anger, fear, jealousy, envy. This is unresolved pain yet to be transformed.
It takes skill to transform pain. And it takes energy. Mantras gives us that special energy. This is why we learn sophisticated forms of mantras. To transform the insidious ways unresolved pain shows up in our spiritual practice. Pain belongs to the parts of self that hold on to the past. Or worry about the future.
Mantras, by themselves, will not transform all of our pain, and certainly not all of the time. Sometimes, they are like a balm, a calming force. But calming is only one skill. A balm is just a band aid. We need it, when it need it, but that’s not all we can use forever. A balm is soothing, but only a surface solution.
This is why we learn the various categories of mantra: Vedic, Tantric, Bhakti. When we begin our mantra practice, we have a small mantra vocabulary. So, just saying, “shiva shiva”, or just “om”, or the whole “om namah shivaya” is all we can use. And that’s a great start.
But the psyche is complex. Life is demanding. And there are so many moving parts that make up the self. We are not speaking of the soul, or higher self, here. But the psychological self. And we cannot afford to bypass this structure, that of the psychological self, in our spiritual practice. This is why our knowledge and practice needs to evolve, to keep up with the changes, the layers, and the evolutionary complexity of the psychological self.
We want to keep our spirituality simple. And we should. But simple does not mean simplistic. Or dismissive of the parts that matter. Simple can also be consistent. Simple can be tenacious. Simple can also be determined to transform.
Back to Basics …
Still, we all begin where we are. So focus on the blessing. It’s a great ledge! And it’s always there, at the beginning, the middle, and the end. Above all, blessing draws us towards and into “presence”. And that’s where the magic happens …
So feel blessed. Today. And every day. That’s our true state! No matter what. Blessing! Return to it. Remember it. Repeatedly. No matter how much you forget. No matter how much you stray. And you will be blessed. Repeatedly. No matter what. No matter how much you forget. No matter how much you stray.
Still, there is a place for advanced spiritual practice. With Yoga and mantra, Tantra and mediation. That’s what we do in our Yogic Mystery School, for those interested in the deeper dimensions.