Wednesday, June 3, 2015

9 Spiritual Truths to Live By

I know a lot of spiritual truths can sound esoteric and unrealistic. When someone says that we're all one, what does that mean really? And how do you live that truth in your daily life?

In this spirituality blog post, I offer a number of spiritual truths that you may have heard. I offer my brief explanation about the spiritual truth, and then below it I give you a short list of suggestions for enacting that truth in your daily life.

I hope that these little explanations and ideas for living spiritual truth make spirituality a little more accessible to you. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below.

Enjoy!

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Spiritual Truth 1: We Are All Connected

When people first hear a spiritual truth such as we are all connected, it can bring up a lot of doubt. It's like, "Uh, no, dude. We ain't attached." No. We are not physically connected by some large invisible Wonder Woman lasso. This is true. Our connection is much deeper. It is in our shared consciousness and the divine energy that is all around us. The more we open up to ourselves and our truth, the more we open up to this reality.

Consider that we are like icebergs floating on the ocean. We all have our little separate, unique iceberg. But we are still all made of the same ocean water, and we are floating in that consciousness all the time. As we let go of our unconscious ego self, we melt more into that ocean of consciousness. In so doing, we can come into a deeper and more natural flow of life rather than running into and grinding against other icebergs.

The ocean also serves as a metaphor of oneness. When we realize that we are all connected and we are all one divine consciousness, then it typically follows that we want to offer kindness and love to others. Most of us don't want to feel pain, and knowing that pain inflicted on another is pain inflicted on ourselves is a powerful knowing. It naturally leads us away from harming others, which is what the Bible and other sacred texts tell us is a bad thing (Thou Shalt Not Kill). It naturally leads us to want to help others who are suffering because those who suffer typically pass on suffering to others because it is the only way they know how to live. It turns the seas we live in into a toxic cesspool of hate and violence.

With all that said, understanding that we are all in this same ocean together also brings forth a deeper appreciation of life and the flow of consciousness.

We Are All One: The Law of Interconnection

How You Can Live this Truth:

  • Offer kindness to other beings: human, animal, insect, and more
  • Let go of grudges and the need to take revenge on anyone or anything
  • Seek out ways to help those who are suffering
  • Offer forgiveness to those who ask for it and ask for forgiveness to those against whom you've transgressed

Spiritual Truth 2: Life Is Change

Wherever we go in life and whatever we do, we cannot escape change. Even as you are sitting and reading this, all kinds of change is swirling around you and within you. Our bodies are constantly undergoing all kinds of changes as new cells are created to replace old cells that die. There truly is no permanence in the human experience.

As we drop more deeply into timeless awareness, the truth of change only becomes more obvious. It is the beautiful paradox that when we are still and clear in that deep inner space that always Is, then we more naturally see how human life is always in motion until we let go of this body. In this way, this spiritual truth encourages us to embrace change, to flow with it, and to guide some of it so that we can fully live our truth and follow our paths without fear.

How You Can Live this Truth:

  • Embrace the moment and whatever opportunities (painful or pleasure) that are right here
  • Do what you love now; don't wait for a perfect moment to follow your dreams
  • Appreciate the people and situations already in your life; they won't be there forever
  • Practice letting go of people and situations that want to leave your life

Spiritual Truth 3: Your Ego Is Made Up

Your ego is made up. Your ego is a conglomeration of social conditioning from your family, friends, and society as well as animal, instinctual behavioral traits. But what does that mean? It means you can change your ego and be anyone. Because who you think you are is made-up, you don't have to live and act the way you currently do.

However, to truly be anyone you want to be, you need to understand the rules and ideas you are living by. It is a very common thing for people to only go part way in understanding themselves because when people find some level of comfort, they tend to want to stay there. But as a spiritual teacher, I can only encourage you to go all the way in finding out all the ego illusions you are tied up in. Then you can stay at whatever level of consciousness you want to whenever you want to. It's like having a plane that can fly anywhere instead of just to Miami. I mean Miami is fine, but there are other places around the world you can visit.

And you can be whoever you want to be when you fully know yourself and are no longer caught up in your ego make-up.

How You Can Live this Truth:

  • Learn to find your blindspots
  • Investigate how you think and the emotions you have
  • Question social ideas and conditioning and see how you act them out
  • Heal old wounds
  • Practice being open and vulnerable

Spiritual Truth 4: We Only Get One Body

In the world of religious ideas, the concept of afterlife and reincarnation and other things often come up. But our physical reality is that we are in a body, and we only have the one we have for this lifetime. Modern medical science can only repair so much, and if we want to fully embrace the moment and this lifetime, we have to fully embrace our bodies.

Let me be clear: transcending the body is not getting out of it. It's not some kind of out-of-body magic trick you can learn. It is when you are fully at peace and fully comfortable with your body that you take full ownership. When you own all your desires and physical cravings so that you can choose your actions instead of being controlled by them (such as being controlled by sexual urges in the form of lust), then you have transcended the body. And then you can enjoy your body to its fullest in whatever way that is available to you.

What Is Transcendence?

How You Can Live this Truth:

  • Take care of your body through nutrition, self-care, and exercise
  • Enjoy the physical abilities you have
  • Let go of the idea of physical abilities you no longer have or will never have
  • Embrace death when it is your time to go; there is nothing to fear in crossing over to the spirit world
  • Let go of people who have had to let go of their bodies; holding on to the dead will only spread misery within you and around you

Spiritual Truth 5: You Are Always Here and Now

We can get lost in our minds and forget that the life that is real and most important is the one that's right here and now. And we are always here and now. There's no way to have an experience in the past or future. Even if you went to the "past" in a time machine, that moment would still be your present.

However, it is very human to lose ourselves to our inner reflections, ideas, and thoughts. Then we project out these thoughts and ideas on to others and the life around us. This makes it very hard to see the truth that is unfolding around us. In turn, we often respond badly and inappropriately. For instance, you may receive criticism at work, but you instantly misinterpret it into an attack on you and the possible end of your career. Then you respond badly and eventually cause your own firing. This is one way that not being present with our reality defines and projecting our issues onto the current moment messes up our here and now.

Understanding Your Projections and How They Block Your Spiritual Growth

How You Can Live this Truth:

  • Notice when you are lost in thought and what the patterns of those thoughts are
  • Notice when you are lost in emotional stories from the past or fears about the future
  • Ask yourself when you are upset if you are seeing the situation clearly
  • Take time to breathe mindfully throughout your day especially when you notice you have gotten lost in thoughts and/or emotions
  • Slow down
  • Focus on what is really happening now; the more you focus the more texture and detail life can reveal to you

Spiritual Truth 6: Everything Is Spiritual

Sometimes you might hear me say, "everything is spiritual." And your reaction might be something like, "Woah, dude. I just totally saw a bus do a head-on collision with a semi-truck. How is that spiritual, bro?"

Calm down for a moment. Let me explain.

When I or anyone else is using "spiritual" in this way, we're saying that all of life is consciousness. All of life is energy. For me energy and consciousness are united, although other spiritual traditions treat them differently.

From seeing that consciousness is always with us and around us, it helps us to notice when we feel cut off. Spirituality is the stuff that interconnects us, and when we feel disconnected, something has come up within us to create that illusion. Because ultimately any sense of being disconnected is an illusion.

But there are powerful illusions in this world, and when people act out from illusion, they can do terrible harm to others to create intense pain and suffering. The child who is beaten severely grows up to be a cruel person who does terrible harm to others, and perhaps hijacked the aforementioned bus and drove it into the semi. But even in this, consciousness is there. It may not be a pretty picture, but spirit--that water of consciousness I mentioned earlier--is always here even if we are ignorant of that truth and acting poorly.

How You Can Live this Truth:

  • Pay attention to when you feel disconnected and what has come up to cause that sense of disconnection
  • Embrace your inner difficulty and have compassion for the difficult lessons others are confronted with
  • Notice when you feel most connected and alive and where these feelings are arising from

Spiritual Truth 7: There Is More to Life Than We Can Perceive

The unconscious ego wants to believe it can know all things, but it can't. The universe is vast. Our senses and our brains are limited. Consider that there is a huge spectrum of light, and we can only see a very, very small fraction of it. This is just one of many things going on in the universe around us all the time that is completely invisible to us. And while we human beings are quite clever in finding some of this stuff, the greater truth is that we will never be able to know it all. In this truth, we find ourselves deeply humbled.

That humility leads to many things. We understand that we don't know how life "should" work out. We don't really know what the "right" thing for others to do is. There are so many ways that things move and change in life around us that we can only do our own best to be honest and kind, and then we have to let go and let the universe do its thing. It's going to do its thing anyway.

How You Can Live this Truth:

  • Don't assume you know everything or what is right for others
  • Practice listening to others with humility and openness to learn more 
  • Stay engaged with life to find what feels true to do or not do in any given moment; just because a moment seems similar to a past moment doesn't mean that it is the same
  • Enjoy the mysteriousness of life

Spiritual Truth 8: Pain and Joy Are Equally Part of this World

People spend a lot of time trying to escape pain and find joy, but ultimately, both are equal parts of the human experience. It's simply how it is. If you stub your toe, your toe feels pain. In embracing that moment, we breathe through the discomfort. We don't add insult to injury by getting angry with ourselves for stubbing our toe. This leads to suffering. And while we can be free of mental suffering, pain will always be with us.

With joy and pleasure, we tend to have the reverse issue: we hold on. Where we tend to avoid or fight pain, we generally pursue and cling to joy. This can sour relationships, jobs, and other things that have served their purpose in your life because--as I pointed out in spiritual truth 2--nothing lasts forever in this changing world. Holding on can also inhibit your ability to embrace new opportunities because you have no space for them. In embracing joy as part of the world, the deepest embrace brings with it the expectation that we will have to let go. 

How You Can Live this Truth:

  • Let go of jobs and relationships that are ending
  • Be committed to jobs and relationships when things are uncomfortable as well as easy and joyous
  • Breathe into emotionally uncomfortable moments to process the upset emotions as you feel them; if you don't, you'll store that pain, and it will define your future actions.
  • Allow joy to arise naturally in the here and now; it doesn't have to be in a spiritual commune in some idyllic place.

Spiritual Truth 9: We Are Love

When someone says that "we are love," it may sound like total nonsense. Sometimes it is, but not because the truth is nonsense. It depends on how someone says it. When I say that "we are love," I am saying that we are divine. We are consciousness. We are the universe. All these words blend together. In this all-encompassing love, there's a natural flow and harmony that moves through all of the universe. But at the same time, that flow also embraces disharmony and separation. And much like spiritual truth number 7, we honor that we don't fully understand this vast flow that embraces billions of galaxies. How could we fully perceive all that? Instead, we relax, and we go inwards to rest in that deeper space of love that we all have. The more we do this, the less of an idea that truth becomes. The more you know in your being that you are love and that we all are love, the less you will even care to think about it. It will simply be what is.

How You Can Live this Truth:

  • Journey inwards through journaling and meditation
  • Notice how you cut yourself off from yourself and from love
  • Learn to offer loving service to others and to this world
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