"We must eradicate from the soul all fear and terror of what comes towards us from the future. We must acquire serenity in all feelings and sensations about the future. We must look forward with absolute equanimity to everything that may come. And we must think only that whatever comes is given to us by a world-directive full of wisdom. It is part of what we must learn in this age, namely, to live out of pure trust, without any security in existence - trust in the ever-present help of the spiritual world. Truly, nothing else will do if our courage is not to fail us. Therefore, let us discipline our will and let us seek the awakening from within ourselves, every morning and every evening." ~Rudolf Steiner
Fear can be sparked by anything; money, natural disasters, illness, and – interestingly enough – thoughts of the future. Where some might respond with fear, others may be mildly entertained, have no reaction at all, or have an entirely different reaction. Yet, there are common responses to life’s challenges (or perceived dangers), and fear tends to be a typical one.
When people respond to circumstances with fear, it can leave a deep impression in their soul. This impression can be so embedded, they can become fearful about things that might happen. Rather than looking to the future with hope, or even neutrality, they look to the future with fear.
In these times, as the economy continues to plunge, Mother Earth helplessly bleeds oil, and wars rage on, fears can certainly arise for all of us. Many wonder, “How am I going to get through all this? What’s going to happen to my money/life/our planet? What does our future hold for us?”
Wanting is not a bad thing. In fact, our souls wanted to be incarnated, and so we came into existence. Many of us wanted to create or be a part of something bigger in these incarnations; we wanted to make a difference or bring an intention to planet Earth. Yet, wanting can lead us down a path of more wanting. We can feel empty and unsatisfied with what we have or where we are in our lives. Our desires can feel like insatiable dragons always needing more.
Do we need more?
At this time in our lives, we do need more. We need more simplicity, more time for ourselves, more nothingness to feel the void (not fill it) so we can experience the essence of who we are. Our souls are calling for us to become who we really are… now.
How do we become more of who we are?
One way to connect with who we really are is to rid ourselves of what we think we want or need; we can practice non-attachment. When we release our desires for having more, we have more opportunities to experience who we are and where we are in our lives (good or bad). We become more present with what is… now.
How do we release our desires for more?
As a consumer-driven society, our entire environment is bombarded with pressures to do, have and be more. We do our best to keep up, acquire and become who we think we are supposed to be. Unfortunately, we often fall short of societal and self-approval.
“MORE!” We press onward in our desire to feel better about ourselves and our lives.
Though not an exhausted list, here are a few suggestions for taming the dragon of desire:
My day is growing tired.
The fullness of the week rested over the weekend, yet the tiredness is ready for a good night's sleep.
The tiredness is utterly human. My spirit never tires - it always moves with expansions and contractions into eternity. Always. Resting is relative, I suppose.
But the body is subject to tiredness and needs rest and renewal. Rest and renewal... rest and renewal. Each and every night the same, though the amount of rest and renewal can vary. My body may demand a certain amount, but it doesn't always get what it wants. I do have to give in to the tiredness though. No such thing as skipping sleep. Putting it off, perhaps, but sleeping must come.
And then sleeping wears off, and a new day begins. Always a new day. Always more time for waking so I can see, interact and be in Life. I guess I could choose not to interact, but that would require more effort than it implies.
So during my waking hours I try to create a Life of Joy, Love and Purpose. My purpose. What do I want to do with my time that fills me up with Life?
I fill, I do, I Love.
Then it is time for rest and renewal.
Why is simplicity so difficult?
We live in a culture that thrives on doing and accumulating. Removing ourselves from this reality is not easy. Choosing simplicity is counter-cultural.
First, we are social beings and like to feel connected to others. When others are engaged in faster-paced lifestyles it can be hard to disconnect; we can feel isolated.
Time can feel like an enemy of simplicity, as well. With all the to do's in our lives, there doesn't ever seem to be enough time. Our entire human-created schedule puts work at the forefront of how we spend most of our days with a tiny slice left to do everything else; we get the bonus of a couple of days "off."
Another obstacle in releasing our hold on the cultural demands is money. We all need it (hence those five devotional days to the god called Work). Even if we minimize what we must have to a trunk load of essentials, we still need a place to rest that trunk (and ourselves, of course) and food to keep us alive.
Simplicity, however, can be something we strive toward. It can make room for more joyful social connections as well as bring mindfulness to how we spend our time and money.
Simplicity begins with choices.
"When am I going to get there", I wonder.
I have always been a "futurizer." Since I was young, I have looked ahead, longed for what was to come, lived in the future.
My husband, on the other hand, has reminisced, regretted and spent much of his time living in the past.
Why is living in the present so difficult? Is it so uncomfortable, or painful, or boring to simply be here now?
Ah, such strange behaviors we have taken on as adults.
And although many children talk about what they are going to be when they grow up, or relive precious memories, most of them are well planted in the present moment.
"What did you do at school today?" we ask at the dinner table. The very young child can scarcely remember the activities of the schoolday; that was many, many moments ago.
"Do we have school tomorrow?" the mid-youth asks. The concept of weekends verses weekdays gets confusing, even though it has been consistent for us adults. We often dredge through, make note of hump day, and rejoice with "Thank God it's Friday!"
But as children grow, the past or future become something to long for as the heaviness of responsibility and duty, right and wrong, and other cultural influences set in.
Do they have to set in? Does growing up have to mean longing for not being in the moment?
The moment... the simple, evasive slice of time (which doesn't actually exist). We can grasp it, make it last, or make it disappear. Although it is evasive, it is truly all that exists in time... the one and only moment; the now.
So, as I look to the future with high hopes or worry, or while my husband dwells on the past, we are always welcomed to the moment by our children. A present that is everlasting and precious indeed.
It's in these spaces of confusion and uncertainty that I try to seek "meaning."
What I'm I "supposed to" do?, I wonder.
What do you want to do?, I hear.
Want? I want the world! My mind spins in and around wish lists that have been forming since I was a child. Sure, I have outgrown some of the things I wanted in my youth, but there are certainly some things that have never changed. I want to live in opulence, contentment and joy!
So, why don't you?
I wish I could!
So, why don't you?
The frustration grows as my mind grasps at the other list... the one with all the reasons why I can't have those dear, sweet experiences in my life.
I don't have enough time or money! are the two things my mind has clumped together and turned into the greatest obstacle in the world.
Oh, I see.
I know I need more excuses! Sure, time and money are the biggies, but this didn't seem to be a good enough reason for lack, longing and such... so my mind digs deeper.
It searches, but all the other excuses seem piddly and really do tie into the two biggies.
I just can't! Life's not fair!, I insist. Although I am alone, I feel the overwhelming desire to cross my arms, stomp my foot and plop down in a funk on the couch.
I hate being conscious enough to know I can no longer fool even myself.
Yet, the confusion reigns. I am utterly wrapped into my mood of stubborn despair.
How can I live in opulence, contentment and joy with little or no time or money?
I hear laughter... a sweet laughter, I admit.
My heart knows I have already been doing so. I whole-heartedly understand that opulence, contentment and joy are matters of perception. I also know, though I try to avoid this truth at times, that time and money are also matters of perception. All of these energies can be perceived, shifted and created into whatever I choose.
Yet, I am also clear that there is a mass consciousness that - like the stubborn, forgetful me - believes otherwise. This belief is so thick and sticky, it has gotten hold of many of us. It has trapped us into a way of life and often results in suffering.
Ah, suffering. I am not a stranger to suffering. There are times I don't want to suffer, and life is simply hard.
Yes, life can be very hard.
I am reassured that my perceptions aren't completely invalid. I take a quiet, deep breath... a sigh of surrender, really. I feel my shoulders drop a bit; my jaw softens.
The frown remains, but I am not as anxious to fight. What I realize is that my mind is still clenching the list of desires. I still do want to have more time and money... especially the money because I believe it will buy me more time.
I can be such a noble martyr. My mind searches for the stories. I have many to choose from; I can dare anyone to pick a theme and I could offer a rich, real story likely to put theirs to shame. This game is getting old, however. I'm bored to tears with my stories, though I do use them, as needed. You know, those times that drama is the icing on the cake and your sweet tooth has become a craving out of control.
Yeah, those moments still happen. I hear myself laughing now.
My reasonable mind simply wants an A to Z answer. How can I make more time and money?
Spirit can't seem to reason with my irrational mind at this point. It is caught in the sticky goo, trying to figure it all out. In fact, it assures me, if it figures it all out, it can sell it to others and then make lots of money off the answer!
My heart simply smiles. It patiently waits for the conscious, wise me to return... to once again be centered in my heart where opulence, contentment and joy have been living all along.
I hear more sweet laughter. I have this funny feeling that my heart knows that time and money are living there, too.
A weary mother of four, including two year old twins, lays quietly in her bed. It is early. None of the children are up yet. Should she sleep a few more minutes? Should she sneak quietly into the shower and get a jump start on her morning before the demands of little people fill her time? How about a book? Maybe she can reach for a book and squeeze in some pages of romance or self improvement.
With gentleness she rolls onto her back and rests her neck comfortably on her pillow. She inhales a few slow, deep breath and begins a simple, self-guided chakras meditation.
Finding time to meditate can indeed be tricky. Yet, there is always a moment to breathe. A slow, deep breath will do wonders when a "real" meditation can't be afforded. There are also simple methods to bring meditation into your daily routine that don't involve much more than creating a small time frame while doing what you are already doing. The time frame doesn't always mean stopping what you are doing, it can also mean being fully present with what you are doing - being mindful.
One meditation method you can do is lead yourself through a simple visualization through each of your chakras before you rise from your bed in the morning. It literally can take 7 minutes or less.
Begin by laying on your back with your arms and feet straight, yet relaxed. Allow your pillow to support your head or neck. Take three or more slow deep breaths, then imagine each color of the rainbow as you focus your attention on each of your seven major chakras. You can first try to perceive the color that is emanating from each area, then offer the corresponding color as sort of an "alignment":
“O, the month of May, the merry month of May,
So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green!”
As we move into the merry month of May, we may notice that Mother Earth is “so green, so green, so green.” Perhaps your yard is blossoming with new growth; that which you have planted and nurtured, or maybe that which you refer to as weeds.
What have you observed?