Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spirituality - Theory or Practice?

A walk in the woods is one of the simplest ways for me to practice my spirituality. I quickly find myself forgetting about modern day life as my consciousness begins to shift my awareness into an altered state.

For me, it often turns into a sort of meditation as I "stop the world". Extraneous chatter quieting as I focus upon a specific idea. I watch the ground in front of me, step by step as I let my find follow its course.

I enter my own world which is quite magical to me. I stop often to admire nature's beauty or our human touch upon the landscape. I can't help but see the earth as one big ant pile with humans using it as mindlessly as any other life on this planet.

When I return, the sounds of the nearby railroad begin to encroach on my thoughts and I find myself thinking more about what my spirituality means to me.

Like many, reading has allowed me to learn about the many beliefs of others. It seems that they often congregate together to share their beliefs on a regular basis and then go back to their lives, leaving the ideals behind.

I am no different. I don't do it consciously but my awareness does slowly decrease as the modern world distracts me. From cell phones to PC's and television, I quickly find myself forgetting about the natural Spirit of the world around me.

It's hard to maintain that elevated awareness. Allowing it to guide me all the time. Thankfully it is always there, all the time, everywhere. I just have to take a moment to quiet my thoughts and BE in the moment.

I don't apologize for my perception of the world. I am quite happy in my perspective though it might make others uncomfortable or even frightened. It's definitely not shared by the majority but that does not invalidate it.

It isn't found in any one book and is ever changing and growing. For many, it seems so much easier to give an hour or two a week to study and then throw it out the window the rest of the time. I don't get so fixated on routine and instead try to spend more time practicing a heightened awareness all the time in order to live what I believe.

So what ideals do you find important? Do you bitch about people more or praise them more? Do you even THINK about your impact on the environment or try even in the smallest way to reduce your footprint? Are you stagnant and proud of not changing or do you at least look for ways to improve yourself?

Do you ever move from theory to practice or do you think your times of ritual are really all that's needed?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Addiction, Responsibility and HOPE

From nicotine to alcohol to any substance or other addiction, we all have a personal responsibility to ourselves and those around us. Whether we are suffering from addiction, enabling someone's addiction, or helping in whatever way we see fit, we are involved and owe it to ourselves and others to own up to this.

My ex once stopped dealing Meth to someone about two weeks before they blew their brains out. My ex said if he didn't sell this person their drugs, someone else would. I explained that it would then be that new dealer's involvement, not his. My ex later thanked me for getting him out of the situation before our friend blew his brains out. He knew he still had a hand in it but his guilt was far less.

It's the same with bar tenders that give out drinks to people swaying in the wind, barely able to stand. By law, they can usually be held accountable for selling too many drinks to someone but drug dealers rarely worry about such things and don't see their hand in such matters (yes, I lump alcohol in with drugs). Most seem not to have a conscious.

And lately I am battling with nicotine in many places in my life. From the loss of my father to a brain tumor, my mother to both cancer and emphysema, and my sister to pneumonia and emphysema, all caused by smoking, this is a personal demon. Many in my family seem not to care or the addiction too strong to see these losses and their suffering and learn from them.

Now a good friend's Aunt is about to die from it and the old feelings stir. Fear, helplessness, anger, to name a few. I remember the coldness upon hearing of it. The tightening in my chest and the floor seeming to fall from beneath my feet. And the feelings of hope against all odds.

I handled each time differently and not always very well. I have and continue to face my own demons too and don't always succeed. I will say that there is ALWAYS hope. From beating your addiction to honoring those that have died as well as miracle cures, there is always hope and help.

So hang in there and try to see things differently. Instead of "why me", how about "what now"? What can you learn from others? What can you change? And you can change!

Change can be so transformative and usually possible if we just keep telling ourselves "I want change!". Even if we don't believe it. It's a kind of self-hypnosis or brain-washing. If you hear something long enough, you stop fighting it and start believing it.

Never give up hope, keep trying, and reach out when you need some help along the way.