Saturday, June 9, 2012

Besides living mindfully and daily meditation I have one more practice that allows me to regain my balance and find my peace. If I am already in a solid place spiritually, it enables me to stay there and continue growing as I journey forward. But when I need the gentle direction of a teacher these have been indispensable to me. This step involves a simple, yet great joy in my life...books.

I believe that at any given point in history we have enlightened individuals among us. By enlightened I mean those that know exactly where we came from and what we are truly made of. Jesus Christ and Buddha are two well known examples of awakened or enlightened humans. Yet you don’t need to have a religion created in your name to be an awakened soul. Just as likely it could be your quiet next door neighbor, the chatty clerk in the grocery store or maybe your significant other. The definition of enlightenment has little, or nothing, to do with your exterior and everything to do with your transformed interior world.

These awakened beings will impact us in different ways, depending on the purpose of their journey. Perhaps you know someone who soothes and comforts you just being in their presence. Or someone who emanates utter peace and joy. Maybe someone who can change the energy of a room just by entering, or is solid and sure despite all that life throws. Someone who can always find the silver lining. Some guide us, moving in and out of our lives like shadows, while others take a more prominent, permanent stance. Some we know personally, while others live a world, or a lifetime away. Thankfully, many of these enlightened beings feel compelled to share what they know in the form of written words, meant to reach people far and wide. Committing their knowings to paper, and manifesting that energy into book form means people across the world can learn, grow and remember from the sage and wise among us.

The third ‘prong’ in my approach to joyful living has to do with what I take in to nourish and feed my spirit. I live daily with the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, Ram Dass, Deepak Chopra and Mahatma Gandi singing through my mind. Despite the fact that I have an excellent memory I don’t rely on memory alone to keep me headed in the right direction. As with each new habit we adopt and make our own, it takes repetition to really solidify and cement those new ways of living.

Each day I make time to read, not necessarily the fun, light, fictional stuff (which also has its place), but the deep, life changing words that lead me closer to nirvana with each sentence that I read. Words written by someone further along the path, a beacon of glimmering words that help to illuminate my way. They are another rope snaking out of that fog, guiding me with their soft, yet persistent remindings. A quiet five minutes is enough to renew hope or remind me of something lost in the busy of the day. It can return me home as quietly and effectively as a single mindful breathe. 

Use them, these words, these humans. They have placed themselves before us, as they promised to do. Acknowledge these books and these words as the treasures they are. They are meant to inspire. They are created to spread joy and love. Their very presence can dispel the darkness and ignorance, and allow us to see clearly the path before us. The path that only moments ago seemed hidden and obscured. The path that sometimes, we didn't even know existed.

How lucky for us that the answers can be found so simply. If you own a computer and a credit card you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home to receive the guidance you seek. I have learned to listen deeply to the inner voice that guides me, and I’ve discovered that not every word written is meant for me, or my unique journey. Each author shares what he/she had discovered to be true for them, and it is imperative that we do the same. The magical thing about being a human is that we’ve each manifested for a specific reason. Although our paths are often intricately intertwined, we are mostly  heading in unique and quite distinct directions.

It is especially important for me to end each and every day with some reading. Even if I am exhausted, completely and utterly spent, I reserve a few minutes before bed to ingest some pearls of wisdom. As mindfulness and meditation nourish me during the day, these words will feed me as I sleep. I may only make it through a page, a paragraph or maybe only a sentence before my eyes close, but those few words are what I carry with me as I drift off to sleep. Not the murder or home invasion on the news. Not the greedy politics of a nation. Not the anger and hate of those whose eyes are still tightly closed. No, instead I take the peace and love that is offered to me from a soul I will probably never meet in this lifetime. I can assure you that my nights are filled with deep and restful sleep, and I have no doubt that this is part (most?) of the reason why.

I offer you some book recommendations on my Amazing Reads page. These books, at various points in my journey, have been deeply inspiring, perhaps the words in one will also speak to you. If not, do some exploring, visit a bookstore and get lost among the shelves. Find the teacher committed to changing your life and the wisdom they have to offer you as you journey on. Worlds may reveal themselves to you, much as they did to me, and you'll find all that you knew no longer seems quite so important in relation to all that you may yet discover. Peace. Joy. Love. They are all yours for the taking... so what are  you waiting for? :)

Peace & Many Blessings ~ Melinda