Though many of us have been conditioned to believe that satisfaction in life depends on attaining people, places, and things, the truth is life’s satisfaction comes from what we create and build within ourselves.
As our own Creator/Creatress, the satisfaction we experience in life is a measure of the time we’ve taken to discover our ability to fall madly in love with who we are, independent of anything external.
When we over identify with the external world, we do so at the expense of our inner world. We ignore the Creator/Creatress that brought us into existence and which provides us with life-enhancing energy!
The result of this incorrect type of identity and identification, is an overwhelming domination of emotions such sadness, loneliness, self-alienation, and self-rejection. In this state, we exist in a mental and emotional environment of extreme suspense between the past and the future; we are imprisoned by a mind that keeps us dwelling on the past, which we attempt to escape by living in a yet-to-be materialized future.
The past is gone and never to be relived again, and the future is yet to be. When we attempt to live in either world, we invite an anxiety-filled and utterly peace-less state of being into our lives.
There is only the present moment, and within each moment, life offers us the splendid opportunity to create, build, strengthen, and nourish our innermost selves.
When life feels dissatisfying, it’s usually because we are attempting to live in the past and future, and have neglected ourselves and our need to nurture our own inner gardens.
Dissatisfaction, disenchantment and loneliness are symptoms of emotional and spiritual neglect.
The following are what I call the Four Pillars of Well-Being. Think of them as Vitamin C for your Soul ™ that keeps your spiritual, mental, and emotional immune systems functioning at high capacity and at optimal levels. Though I call them “Pillars”, they do not necessarily stand alone; there is overlap among them which work in tandem to produce and maintain well-being at every level.
An Active Spiritual/Contemplative Life:
- Most people agree that religion and spirituality aren’t necessarily synonymous, and so the beauty of building your first pillar is that you get to define what it looks like for yourself! If going to church and reading scripture, put you in a contemplative frame of mind, do it! The key is to open to the process of self-discovery and the sense of Lived Presence, which is the feeling of a presence that is your own spirit, the higher spirits that surround us, and the spirit of creation. It is the sense that you are never alone. While I enjoy church service, for me, I like to start my day with an expression of gratitude that I have awoken to a new day and for the gift of life. I then like to ask myself (in essence the higher spirits that surround me) if they have guidance or particular insights to share with me. I sit quietly for a few moments before I light incense and a candle, and then I open my journal and begin to write whatever comes to me. I reflect on recent lessons learned and what life is teaching me about myself through my experiences with others. The most important part of this pillar is that it disciplines the mind to stay in the present moment, and contemplation on the past is only used as a means for making a present discovery. I anchor my spirit in thoughts of gratitude and devotion towards who I am, and who I am becoming. There are no thoughts about who I am not, and what I do not have. The gift of practicing a spiritual and contemplative life is that we get to surrender to our Highest Selves, and to instill a deep sense of reverence for life and all creatures. In this state of mind, we receive answers about the meaning of life and our role in it, especially how we can serve in the evolution and spiritual progress of humankind; we are taken out of the selfishness of ourselves and placed in the realm of humility. We cannot love ourselves when we are selfish and self-absorbed.
- I love to cook! And clearly, I like to write! So, for me, this is how I express much of my creativity. Of course, there is inventiveness, wood working, architecture, and myriad other ways to express creativity. The point is to keep it active! So, if it’s been a while, take out that camera, pull out that journal, dig out some old recipes—just do whatever nourishes your creativity. Poetry, music, gardening, home design and decoration, it’s all good! Just let yourself marvel at what you create and you will find satisfaction beyond measure! For inspiration, visit the “thin spots,” which are those places outdoors where the veil between human and spirit is thin, such as the river, ocean, lake, forest, mountains, or cemeteries. Go, and be with yourself in that thin spot and ask for inspiration!
- What do you fill your mind with on a daily basis? You’ve heard Descartes: “I think, therefore I am.” Yes! You are what you think. So, use your thoughts wisely. If you think you’re unworthy, you will behave as unworthy person. If you think you’re not good enough, you will accept whatever is offered from others. If you think of yourself as a person in pain, you will experience pain. If you think about hateful things, you will become an angry and hate-filled person. If you think about what you don’t have or what you’ve “lost,” you will behave with self-pity and desperation. On the other hand, if you think about how much you love yourself and life, you will behave as a person who loves themselves and life. If you think of how much you love Creation, you will behave as a person who honors Creation. If you think that you are cursed, you will behave like a person who is cursed. You get my drift. The point is to hold beauty-filled and loving thoughts about yourself, others, and life, and then to watch life become a beautiful unfolding of lessons designed to show you who you are, as a star on earth! Fill your mind with beautiful images such as a glorious sunset, a magnificent sunrise, a flowing river, the happiness of children playing! Remember: your intellect is the tool of your imagination, and your imagination keeps you tied to higher realms of thought! Turn off and turn away from thoughts that are fear or hate-provoking, and turn on to thoughts that induce love and peace! You get it.
An Active Physical Life:
- I will be the first to admit that I don’t prefer gyms or exercise machines, but if you do, then by all means, go for it! I salute you! For me, I love to walk, engage in brisk cleaning, and do stretching at home. The important thing is that we’re taking care of the needs of our bodies through exercise, movement, and nutrition. Now, you may be seeing the intersecting nature of these pillars, right? So, you can be contemplative, creative, and engage your intellect while you exercise! The point is to create and nurture a healthy relationship with yourself; no one can make you feel lonely when you know you have yourself. You came here as number one and that’s the way you will go out. So, take care of number one, which is you, and watch your entire being feel well and at peace.
While these “Pillars” are general, the key is to provide a starting point and a set of practices to discipline the mind, spirit and body so that well-being is achieved and maintained.
I offer my greatest encouragement on your journey, and welcome all feedback.
If you’d like a personal consultation, please don’t hesitate to write. And, I love comments!
Offered in light & love,