As you look and listen within, what becomes immediately (and shockingly) clear is the degree of chatter that incessantly fills the mind.
Then, as mindfulness deepens, you discover the redundancy of that chatter. It’s amazingly repetitive. Shockingly consistent.
The same inner conflict repeats itself over and over and over and … You get the idea.
You don’t have to resolve that inner conflict in order to attain peace of mind.
All attempts at resolution, perpetuate the conflict. To free yourself from the cycle of oh-so-familiar conflict … let go.
Stop trying to fix it, solve it, understand it, breakthrough it.
Take a breath.
And gently, gently bring your attention to whatever truly brings a smile to your heart. Don’t think about this too much. Just let that smile spread from your heart … through your whole body and mind.
We’re living in an extraordinary time - when teachings, texts, and spiritual methods abound. There are so many books, workshops, teachers, and approaches.
How do you know where to start?
What to do next?
There’s no clear path forward. The plethora of choices and confusion of the spiritual marketplace turns walking the spiritual path into a game of fifty-two pick-up.
You pick-up a method here, a teaching there.
You go to a workshop with this teacher. Listen to a dharma talk from that teacher. Do some yoga. A little mindfulness. As beautiful as each of these experiences can be, pick-up style spirituality rarely turns into a practice that can transform your life.
It’s too haphazard. Too scattered.
So what’s the solution?
It’s knowing what comes first and what comes next.
There’s a sequence to spiritual growth.
There’s a way to start and then move forward step-by-step that builds your capacity to be present, dissolve obstacles, and live a fully engaged, spiritually alive life. When you follow the right sequence, your spiritual development proceeds naturally. And quickly. But sequencing isn’t enough. You also need personalization. What is personalization?
Personalization is designing a spiritual practice that fits your life.
If the practice doesn’t fit your life - it won’t work.
You’ll stop doing it. Or you’ll keep doing it - mechanically - without getting the transforming effects.
A practice may be time-honored, sacred, and wonderful - but if it’s not fitted to your unique life conditions - it won’t work.
Fitting the practice to your life is like fitting a key to a lock.
“What is it that you really, really want?
And what’s keeping you from it?
What is it that lies between where you want to be and where you are now?
What is it that stands between the person that you are today and the person that you most want to be?
Now, it’s not a someone, and it’s not a something. It’s not your circumstances, and it’s not your job. It’s not your childhood or even your kids. And it’s not fate or karma.
It’s your thoughts.
In particular, the thoughts of yours that do not include your wished-for reality in their images of who you are today. The ones hiding behind a fear or two, that see your dreams coming true in the future instead of the present.”
~ Mike Dooley, excerpt from Choose them Wisely (Thoughts Become Things)