Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cultivating Faith in My Personal Intelligence

My student, Susan, talks about some of her latest self-discoveries amidst this tumultuous time in history.


Living in Chaos
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you probably know there has been quite a bit of chaotic energy moving around recently. To some people, they feel a sense of clarity in their lives or a natural high. For others, like myself, they may feel "off" and not quite in tune with the surrounding world. Nevertheless, whatever is going on is forcing us to adjust and evolve. For centuries humans have been able to evolve with all the events that the universe brings due to one big thing--our personal intelligence.

We are continuously adjusting our schedules throughout the day, some more than others. Many times, it is just a matter of wanting to change the daily routine. Perhaps it is just another ordinary day. For some reason you decide to drive a different route to work only to find out later that day there was a car accident along the very same route you usually take. Or perhaps you suddenly switch your plans and attend an event not knowing until later that you would have a profound experience. All of these events can have perceivably "good" or "bad" connotations attached to them. Nonetheless, these are the events that can help us grow on our spiritual path if we are aware of them. These countless events are products of us following our personal intelligence. The tricky thing is being aware of it.

What is My Personal Intelligence?
Someone recently asked me what the definition of faith meant to me. I immediately answered by saying faith is having trust. Trust in what? Without a thought I blurted out, "Trust in myself." Where did that come from? In the past I would have surely stated faith is having trust in God, my family, and my friends. I now realize that although many associate faith with a religious belief, it cannot be such. Beliefs are an aversion to cultivating true spiritual awareness. All they do is form a separation from Creation as a whole. Ultimate faith is in one’s self. I trust that my family and friends will provide support when needed. I also trust that God will help give me tools and guide me along my path. However, with knowing that my family, friends, and God are connected to me and within me, they are anything but outside of me. Hence, I can only have faith and trust in myself. Trust in one’s self is what I call my personal intelligence. No one person’s intelligence is like another’s. It is as unique to you as a petal on a flower.

How I Cultivate Personal Intelligence in my Life
We are given tools to help us cultivate our spiritual path through personal intelligence. During drastic shifts in energy or times of transition, I am constantly having to "check-in" with myself. I have to ask myself what I need at this moment. Most times I need to bring more awareness to the ego. Other times it is deciding what my body or spirit needs that day. This allows me to choose something from my bag 'o' spiritual tools. Having this choice to choose which tool I use allows me to take responsibility for the moment I am in no matter how dark or delightful it may be.

For example, I planned to go to yoga class after a long day from school. I was looking forward to it, but my gut feeling told me that I needed something else. I was struggling with the concept of conflict that week as well. Spontaneously, I decided to change my plans and attend a dharma talk at a local Bon Buddhist temple, Olmo Ling, not knowing what the topic was going to be about. To no surprise, the lama talked about how to resolve conflict in one’s life. Through that experience, I was able to receive the gift of yet another tool simply by following my spiritual intelligence.

Sometimes having so many tools to use can get confusing, which is why it is important to be sensitive to what the body or spirit needs. Exercising is a great way for me to work through stress. On a number of occasions, I have started to exercise vigorously to a workout CD then suddenly stopped mid-way realizing I needed something different. I then switch it to free-style belly dancing in my apartment, yoga, meditation, taking a walk, or even writing. The choice is always changing. My continuous practice has helped me to know immediately what I need. Other times I have to literally stop and think about what I need. Sometimes the answers are clear and sometimes they aren’t.

These tools are only tools. Although they can be quite helpful, it is important to not create an attachment to them. They are only there to assist you along the way, but not be a crutch. Many people say they need to meditate so many minutes or hours a day, work out so many hours a week, or even write so much a day. It all depends on what your needs are. No one can decide that but you. Like the energy of a hurricane, I have the power to be a stable and quiet core amidst a chaotic world. You have the same power as well.

Susan started to cultivate a deeper relationship with the Creator four years ago when she was introduced to the works of Eckhart Tolle's, "The Power of Now" by Jim Tolles. Her life has been transformed in countless ways since then.
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