Butterflies and Life Transformations

This week I visited my friend in her garden. There we spoke of the many transformative changes in our lives and in the world around us, as we watched butterflies and hummingbirds lighting on milkweed and on butterfly bushes (Buddleia davidii)Milkweed, is a native North American wildflower that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Viewed by many as a weed this important plant has been removed from acres and acres of land and replaced with lawns. But many organic gardeners like my friend and I are allowing it to take back the habitat it once was so prevalent in. Image credit

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Spread good thoughts!

Have you visited inspired type: where good thoughts are designed?  I love what I see there so I’m inviting you to check out these inspirational images.  It’s  a growing collection with new ideas weekly — thought provoking, encouraging and motivating.

Spread good thoughts!
If you see something there you like, please share it with your own network of friends and followers.

Use and Copyright

You are free to share or re-post. Please attribute with credit to Susan Alexander, and including a link to the Inspired Type blog is always appreciated. All content is the sole property of Susan Alexander, and is protected by a Creative Commons License. Use is allowed only for non-commercial purposes, and designs may not be altered or derivatives created. Permission for special uses may be available by contacting Susan through her Contact page.

All Hallow’s

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The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the “lighter half” of the year and beginning of the “darker half”, and is sometimes regarded as the “Celtic New Year“.

The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family’s ancestors were honoured and invited home while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm. — wikipedia

Finding the God of your understanding

My friend Juliana is a remarkable woman in recovery from alcoholism. Juliana has been in recovery for many years and helps other women to get the life they truly deserve because there is only one life, ‘it ain’t no practice run’. In her blog she shares her spiritual journey, and in her most  recent article she describes her construct of the God of her understanding.

I was told that I needed to find a power greater than myself, a God of my own understanding. Oh bother, I was stumbling at the first fence. As a cradle catholic, and years of subjugation and church attendance, I had no more idea of God than the man in the moon. … Nowadays, I choose to call my higher power, God; and I have developed a different understanding, one that works for me. – Finding God

Two of many constructs of God

bible and gavelA masculine construct of God calls one to adhere to God the Father’s laws. It includes the concept that God commands all to obey his laws, and at the end of time will ultimately punish unbelievers sending them to a  living hell, but will forgive and reward believers with eternal life in heaven with him.  This construct is embraced by those who say their understanding of God comes from reading the Bible.

skyA feminine construct of God calls one to be aware that for every thought and action there is a reaction, a consequence, an outcome regardless of the law.  Those who embrace this construct of God say their understanding of God is comes from their experience that the universal laws of nature are impersonal. Reactions are outcomes flowing from natural law (karma) ie. the result of their own past actions and present doings and not punishment or reward from God.

My construct of God

woman in contemplationMy understanding of God does not come from scripture. I don’t think we humans can ever have a true understanding of the nature of God until we recognize we are in charge of our selves and nothing more. When I reached the point in my life where I recognized I had no control over anything or anyone but myself, I came to understand that God was in everyone and everything.

Once I freed my mind from grasping and following every transient thought I experienced in meditation, I  awakened, became conscious and experienced bliss.

I started seeing nature  and the world in the way I had seen  nature as a child, stripped clean of the religious brainwashing I received.  God was in the sunlight, the clouds, rainbows,  the ocean, the forests, the meadows,  flowers and snow topped mountains.

When bliss descends, the insecurity of the heart, the frustration of the mind, the depression of the vital and the limitation of the body disappear. A seeker, an aspiring soul, carries with him two divine weapons: God-love and world-embrace. When we love God from the very depths of our hearts, we feel that our inner existence is inundated with bliss. And when we embrace the world as a divine manifestation of God, again our inner being is inundated with bliss. — Scri Chinmoy

God was within me and the experience of homecoming; the experience of  bliss that moved me beyond words. The God of my understanding is pure consciousness and my purpose in life was revealed to me.

To live consciously and courageously in the now moment, to resonate with love and compassion, and to leave this world in peace.

Below is my comment on Juliana’s  article which contains a description of my seeking and finding the God of my own understanding.

I too love the ocean in all weather and in all seasons. I also love the forest just as much. I live on a small forested island so I’m continually witnessing and influenced by the ever-changing face of the ocean and the tides, and the changes within the forest too.

I think the construct of God refers to a person’s cognitive or theological understanding of God and that the God construct develops is two ways. The first way is through what an individual has been taught and told to believe about God. The second is by what the individual experiences and attributes to the God of their own understanding.

When what an individual is taught and told to believe about God and what they experience are not internally consistent they may become spiritual seekers. I became a spiritual seeker and I too found the God of my own understanding.

As I sought I began to draw even more distinctions based on what I was taught and told to believe about God, and what I learned about God through my own experiences. As a trod the spiritual path I came to realize that my mind was not the tool to analyze God. I came to believe more and more deeply with even greater conviction that I need to let go of constructs of God and simply experience all there was just as it was. So I did that. I learned how to just be and how to be okay with just being.

Over time I developed my own construct of God which is quite different from the God I was taught about and told to believe in as a child. Based on my own experience through meditation I found the God of my understanding deep within me. succinctly stated I believe God is LOVE and when I meditate I feel like I am coming home to God.

My construct of God is neither male nor female, neither good nor bad, neither light nor darkness but containing all there is and situate everywhere: the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all is God – LOVE. Hence, God is found in everyone and in everything; God just keeps on being LOVE.

I believe I have only one life in this body at this point in time, but it’s possible that the essence of me may be returned to live in a new body without a recollection of previous lives, until I stop clanging like a cymbal, and actually become one with God – one with the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all – one with LOVE.

That being said I find the most difficult part of my life is to be still within, at peace and one with God when I am in the company of others. However, when I am in nature and sitting on the beach watching the waves roll in, or when I am in the forest seated on a mossy stump I am still within, at peace, and one with my construct of God. In other words, what I struggle with is remaining in that loving and peaceful state once I leave meditation.

Have you found the God of your understanding?

Alan Watts – Death

 

white flowerAlan Watts had profound insights into the nature of life and existence that have affected millions of people. “My point was, and has continued to be, that the Big Realization. . . is not a future attainment but a present fact, that this now-moment is eternity and that one must see it now or never,” he said.

When the life force — heat and consciousness — ceases to exist, then that is called death. Death can occur:

1) when one’s own kamma is exhausted,

2) when one’s own life span is exhausted, that is, the span allotted for that particular life (one can only live so long and after that one has to die)

3) when both kamma and life span are exhausted together, or

4) when life ends due to accidental, unnatural causes.

These are the ways that death can come. So death in Buddhism is not the end of total existence. Death is just closing one chapter and the next chapter is opened immediately after that. These two always go immediately together-death and rebirth.  Continue reading

Eckhart Tolle – Stillness Speaks 1

leaf on waterStillness Speaks is a gentle journey, one that could take you to a spectacular and very special place of new awareness and deeper understanding. Yet one that leads nowhere in particular.

Tolle is very much aware that it is in the nowhere that the everywhere exists, that it is in the nothing that everything is found. This is not an easy concept for most people to grasp.

The trick with Tolle’s work is to not think about it. Most people, the author says, are lost in thought. The idea is to be out of your mind and into your experience of exactly what is happening, right here, right now.

We think of death as being the opposite of birth. Life, in it’s essence has no opposite. The opposite of life is non-life, just living without consciousness is opposite to living life consciously.  — Neale Donald Walsch, Author of Conversations with God

Stillness Speaks

When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.

Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form.

When each thought absorbs your attention completely, it means you identify with the voice in your head. Thought then becomes invested with a sense of self. This is the ego, a mind-made “me.” That mentally constructed self feels incomplete and precarious. That’s why fearing and wanting are its predominant emotions and motivating forces.

When you recognize that there is a voice in your head that pretends to be you and never stops speaking, you are awakening out of your unconscious identification with the stream of thinking. When you notice that voice, you realize that who you are is not the voice — the thinker — but the one who is aware of it.

Knowing yourself as the awareness behind the voice is freedom. True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment.

This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering.

Is suffering really necessary? Yes and no.

If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you as a human being, no humility, no compassion. You would not be reading this now. Suffering cracks open the shell of ego, and then comes a point when it has served its purpose.

Suffering is necessary until you realize it is unnecessary.

If you haven’t read this collection of thoughts on stillness I highly recommend it to you.

Ostara/Easter/Spring Equinox

ostaramaidenEaster is derived from two ancient traditions: Pagan and Judeo-Christian. Easter celebration is definitely traceable all the way back to ancient Babylonian trinitarian paganism, Circa 1500 B.C. Pagans have celebrated death and rebirth themes following the Spring Equinox for millennia. Passover Pasch can be traced to a pre-Israelite pagan ritual practiced by wandering Semitic shepherds. Continue reading

Eckert Tolle quotes

This is a small collection I have made of Eckert Tolle quotes.  I have been immersed in reading Tolle’s books this winter and taking responsibility for my own consciousness.  If you have not discovered Tolle’s inspiring books yet I encourage you to do so.

Beyond the beauty of external forms, there is more here: something that cannot be named, something ineffable, some deep, inner, holy essence. Whenever and wherever there is beauty, this inner essence shines through somehow. It only reveals itself to you when you are present.

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Awakening: We are Buddha Seed

lotusseedThere are times when I feel a need to withdraw, to seek within myself balance and harmony. I was in such a state in November.  I was considering withdrawal as winter became reality, and the holiday season was just around the corner.

As I read this post Accepting Yourself I began to ask myself the questions posed in the article, to reflect on my own childhood, and on what we teach our children today.  I left a comment there that would later lead to my holiday season retreat. Continue reading

Taking responsibility for my consciousness with Eckart Tolle

About Eckhart Tolle:

Eckhart Tolle was born in Germany, where he spent the first thirteen years of his life. After graduating from the University of London, he was a research scholar and supervisor at Cambridge University. When he was twenty-nine, a profound spiritual transformation virtually dissolved his old identity and radically changed the course of his life. The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey.
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Frog Dreaming

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Every year in September the sun crosses the Equator and day and night fall into balance in an event called the autumn equinox. It marks the beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of spring in the Southern Hemisphere.  The crossing happens only one other time, at the start of spring, when it is called the vernal equinox. Around the world, day and night are roughly the same length during an equinox.  Continue reading

Buddhist Meditation: Mindful Breathing Practice

rsz_wispycloudsThe traditional Buddhist meditation technique is Mindful Breathing Practice. The goal is to attain a state of deep peace in the present moment, characterized by total immersion of the mind in its object and progressive elimination of thoughts and emotions. The benefit of learning Mindful Breathing Practice is being able to use it to cope with  stress and improve relationships in our everyday lives. Continue reading