Let my will be aligned with the Divine Will.
Such a short phrase. Affirmation. Prayer. However you want to see this short set of words pieced together, they are a great way to step back and assess our present mode of living. Let my will be aligned with the Divine Will. Am I aligned to my higher purpose? Am I focused on the things that are going to teach me and help me serve a greater good, or have I gotten distracted and am putting my precious energy in places where I have become stagnant or am going in the opposite direction?
Tune into your feeling nature to know when you're flowing on the current of the Divine Will. You can ask if you're aligned with the divine during the expansion phase of meditation. Send the thought/question out and then tune into the heart center to feel for a response. Likewise, you can send out the affirmation "Let my will be aligned with the Divine Will" at the spiritual eye to invoke assistance in keeping yourself on track. Repeat the phrase over and over, putting feeling and energy behind the words.
Keeping yourself aligned with the Divine Will is an ongoing process. You can get tuned in to feel sure that you are heading in the right direction, but, as one of my teachers so aptly put it once, your path may be to go straight, and straight again, and then turn right. If you only work on attuning your will to the divine in one instance of your life you might keep heading in a direction that has finished serving its purpose and missing the best place for you now.
Notice how when you are aligned you don't have to put forth so much energy, as you let the current of the Divine Will carry you forward. Just like in an actual body of water, when you work against the current you have to put out a lot of effort to go nowhere. I've seen this in my own life, when I am trying to make something work and putting out loads of energy and seeing very little returning to me. I had that happen in the last few months. An intuitive person saw a small endeavor I was undertaking not being the right solution for me. It was a little too late by the time I got this insight, so as I didn't have the luxury of walking away from it I put as much energy and effort into it as I could to try to make it work (try to force it to work, really) - spending much more time, energy, thought, and money into trying to get it going than what came back to me. Despite the various avenues in which I tried to energize this project it seemed like I was rubbing two wet sticks together to try to light a fire. It just didn't work out, and eventually I had to accept that this must not have been the right thing for me at the time and let it go.
So, stay attuned. Keep coming back to asking to stay in the flow of the Divine Will. Expect that life will keep getting infused with new adventures, new learnings, new challenges, and keep making sure you are riding them on the divine current.
Several of my classes the last couple of weeks have touched on healing and the power of using the stillness and raised vibrations from meditation towards healing oneself or others in need. Something to keep in mind when it comes to healing is we want to ask for healing in body, mind, and soul. You may be able to see from your perspective what appears to need healing in someone's life, but as you have a limited view of their total needs it's good to think of the greater picture when offering your healing prayers.
The wonderful healer Mary Kretzmann, author of A Healer's Handbook, uses the healing methods of Paramhansa Yogananda. She has explained that when it comes to life's challenges, so often we want to be carried over the obstacles so as to avoid them. Sometimes, though, we may have karma that needs to be equalized which requires us to go through the challenge. If we avoid the challenge, the karma remains and we will need to address it later. It doesn't go away; it gets pushed out. The best thing we can do to keep progressing spiritually is to go through the challenge. So, in that case, we don't want the karma to go away. We want to be given more strength to endure the challenge.
To illustrate this, let's take the case of cancer. You may have someone very dear to you who has been diagnosed, and you want to pray for healing. Healing prayers are very powerful and are an excellent way to serve the divine. However, rather than praying just for the cancer to go away, it is better to pray for healing in body, mind, and soul. If it is that soul's karma to go through the difficult challenge of cancer, praying for the mind and soul in addition to the body will help build up the strength, love, and protection the soul needs to get through that challenge. The point being, we don't have enough awareness to understand the greater purpose of every challenge. Much growth comes from the hardest of circumstances when they are combined with awareness and introspection. Those challenges can be difficult to go through and difficult to watch our loved ones go through, but we can find comfort in the fact that they give opportunity for real and meaningful spiritual development. The karmic debt is taken care of, and the soul can move forward with a lighter load.
So, keep this in mind when you are praying for healing. Again, healing prayers are very powerful. However, you may see that not every person for whom you pray for healing will physically get better. That does not mean your prayers aren't working. It can mean that that soul's journey requires more time in that challenge. What you may not be able to perceive is the healing happening at the mind and soul level, which is equally as important (if not more so) than the physical level.
If you feel these words of Paramhansa Yogananda's healing prayer resonate within you, you may like to offer them as your healing prayer. If you have other words that are meaningful for you when praying for healing, use those. Whatever words you use, be sure to get your heart's open and loving energy behind your words. Picture the person(s) you want to pray for at the spiritual eye, and see them surrounded in divine light. But your hands palms together in front of your heart and say (inwardly or aloud):
Divine Mother, Thou art omnipresent.
Then rub the palms together vigorously, feeling the heart's energy travel down the arms into the hands. Put the hands out in front of the shoulders, palms out, and send the energy to the person. Chant three "om"s to help carry the energy to them.
I love serendipity - those happy coincidences we encounter as we move through life. I believe that serendipitous occurrences can be more than coincidences; it can be divine acknowledgment that we right where we're supposed to be.
I've had many "coincidences" lately. I wrote recently about intending to donate some money, and how all day long I was coming across different articles, community posts, and webinars reinforcing the same idea of how money donated in offering of Spirit becomes magnetized and drawn back to the giver, which then happened very quickly after I made the donation. I then was talking to a friend who had a very similar story: he gave a gift card to someone in need and very quickly had the exact same amount unexpectedly given to him from an unrelated source.
Last week I was giving a talk on visualizations in one of my classes. As I was expounding on this topic that we'd never discussed before, a student said that that very morning she had been reading a book by a Jesuit priest and the topic of the chapter was visualizations.
I had another friend tell me that the blog on fears relating to going vegetarian and abstaining from alcohol came right as she was dealing with some insecurities relating to going away with people and worrying her food and drink choices would be a barrier.
After we moved back to America, my closet was in need of organizing for months. We had just set things in random places in there, and I'd intended to go in and sort it out early on in the settling in process. However, because it was a closet and was out-of-the-way it took a long time for it to float to the top of my to do list. The day I finally decided to tackle it, I put on a podcast that I hadn't listened to before called the Robcast. I was literally in the closet thick into organizing and purging articles of clothing when the host, Rob Bell, started talking about the bigger importance of small tasks such as cleaning out your closet and getting rid of things you don't use anymore. Considering I maybe clean out my closet once a year (at best), and it was the first time I'd ever listened to that podcast, and there was nothing in the title of that episode to suggest the topic would stray that direction, it really caught my attention.
Last year the universe gave me an opportunity to work on my patience in the form of my husband developing a new habit of leaving every drawer he touched open about two inches after he "closed" it. I was bewildered about it at first, hoping this habit would dissolve as quickly as it appeared. When that didn't seem to happen I pointed it out to my husband as light-heartedly as I could (remembering that it is really my problem, but that he could help by changing his behavior). Of course, it takes time to break a habit so I still had many opportunities to stretch in the patience department after I brought it to his attention. :-D In the midst of this curious new situation, I was listening to an episode of Oprah's SuperSoul Sunday podcast when she was interviewing someone (I can't remember who it was) and gave the example of, "so if your husband leaves the drawers open..." In this exact time period where over the course of 15 years of living together I have never noticed my husband leaving drawers open, and I'm trying to gently get him to get out of this new habit and trying equally as hard to not let it drive me crazy, I pick one podcast episode out of the gazillion that are available and I hear Oprah Winfrey use that exact random example of keeping perspective when something as trivial as your husband leaving drawers open is bothering you.
So what does it all mean? I'm sure there are lots of possibilities for meaning when it comes to serendipity. It could be the universe/the divine spirit trying to point you in a certain direction or give you a sign. I think that was the case with the money example from the Money is Energy blog post - I definitely felt a distinct nudge of a point that was trying to be made. In other cases, I think it could be as simple as the universe acknowledging that it sees us. It can be easy to feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but we can think of these types of things as ways that a greater intelligent power is giving us a wink, saying hello, and confirming that we are exactly where we need to be (or, in the case of the drawer example above, maybe giving an extra reinforcement to get over it already, you shouldn't care about that!).
I was listening to an episode of the On Being podcast with Krista Tippett, featuring guests Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach. They talked a lot about courage in that episode, and I was struck by a quote one of them recited on that topic. I've tried to find the quote on Google, and there are many quotes on this theme attributed to everyone from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Mark Twain to Nelson Mandela to Bruce Lee. And of course, because it's Google it's hard to track down the exact quote attributed to each person, because there is variation even amongst those attributed to a single person. For the sake of argument, let's pick this version of the quote which has been attributed to Mark Twain:
Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.
When thinking about courage it might be natural to think of heroic acts of courage, such as someone running into a burning building to rescue those inside. But there are so many ways we demonstrate courage in our own lives that have nothing to do with putting ourselves in physical danger. I have someone important in my life who has exhibited courage in her own ways. She had been teaching for about ten years when she started feeling drawn to becoming a therapist. She decided to put herself back in school to become a therapist, carrying the load of the school work along with working full time as a teacher. It has been a very long process to complete the courses as well as get the practical hours of seeing patients while under supervision, all while continuing to be a dedicated teacher. It would have been a lot easier to stay the course and keep being a teacher, ignoring the call within her to change professions. To embrace that disruption in her life, particularly for the many years it takes in that case to get from the decision to change to where you have realized that dream and can be a full time therapist, takes courage. This same person also came out a couple of years ago, which was another way she has shown her courage. Like Glennon Doyle in the podcast interview referenced earlier, she was already married when she realized she was gay. She went through the process of unearthing within herself who she truly was, and then courageously embracing that truth with honesty as she opened up to everyone she loves, including her husband, about that realization. It has been so beautiful to see her transform in these past few years, becoming more and more solidified in her purpose and truth.
Imagine yourself in her shoes, with both of those transformations. You have a solid job which keeps you busy, you are good at it and dedicated to it, but you start feeling pulled in another direction. You already have gone to university for the profession you are in, you're comfortable, you know what you're doing, and you could definitely just keep plugging along. Would you answer the call, or would it be too much disruption? One path is comfortable, easier, rewarding in its way, and the other is unknown and requires a new investment of time (years and years) and money. It would be scary to give up the former for the latter! You may think you will have rewards in the form of fulfillment with that change, but you don't know if that will be the reality. And, you know that you don't know for sure if that will be the reality! The same goes for coming out. You have a great husband, a comfortable home, you're essentially balancing two careers successfully. Do you go through the difficulty of putting your truth out there and letting that comfort go, or do you honor that truth and have the faith that if you follow the truth it will lead you in the right direction? I believe you must meet the truth, embrace the truth, and follow the truth where it takes you. Is that scary? YES! Does that mean you ignore the truth? NO!
There are opportunities we all have to face the truth in our lives. On a much smaller scale than what I just described, I have needed a certain amount of courage as I have let go of eating meat and drinking alcohol. I stopped eating meat many years ago, but before I stopped I never had any special diets. I felt I wanted to become a vegetarian for many years before I actually became one. I worried that I would miss eating meat, but even more than that I worried about being an inconvenience for others. My husband and I weren't married yet, but we lived together and I worried that he would be restricted by my decision. I worried about putting an extra burden on people who might invite us over for dinner, making them feel like they had to put extra thought and preparation in because I wouldn't eat meat. I worried about being perceived as thinking I was superior or high maintenance. But, at the end of the day, I felt that the right decision for me was to stop eating meat. In the end, I had to listen to that truth within myself and let go of what it meant for others to adjust to that. It was just last year that I decided to stop drinking alcohol, and I had the same feelings at that time that I remembered from when I became a vegetarian: what does this mean for other people. Will I be seen as less fun/too serious, will it make others feel self-conscious about their drinking, will I be inadvertently putting up a wall, what if I changed my mind and then "failed" after putting myself out there as a teetotaler? But again, ultimately I wanted to make my energy sharper and it seemed like a necessary step to do that. I had to honor what was true for me and my growth, even though I had some reservations about possible fallouts. At the end of the day, this is my life. It is my responsibility to live it in the right way for me.
How are you courageous? How do you push yourself beyond what is comfortable in order to pursue your truth? If you find that you tend to back away when you encounter that fear, try leaning into it instead and see how you grow. Follow your truth.
I am an Ananda® certified meditation teacher. I am passionate about meditation and embrace a yogic lifestyle for greater wellness physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
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