Spiritual Tools for the Journey: Pay Attention, Part III
"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child-our own two eyes. All is a miracle."
— Thich Nhat Hanh
Pay Attention - The second simple rule for living is to pay attention which means to be aware of who you are as well as being aware of those around you. It means paying attention to your body and how it feels when you are in certain situations and with certain people. It means being aware of your needs and the needs of other people. It also means paying attention to those around you and being aware of their energy, body language and facial expressions. The three spiritual principles I associate with paying attention are 1) Know thyself, 2) Listen to your Inner Guide (Intuition) and 3) Service.
1) Know Thyself
"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens."
— Carl Jung
In order to be aware of who you are, you must know who you are and what you stand for. There are many tools and exercises for getting to know yourself. My favorite is the narrative time line. First, you may want to spend some time reviewing your entire life. Then as you think about your life, divide your history into five year increments, i.e., 0-5 years, 6-10, 11-15 , etc., all the way to your present age. For each of these increments write a narrative of events that took place during that time. Obviously, you may not remember events or people from the first years of your life, however I am sure that you have heard stories about the day you were born, what you were like, who was in your life and how you reacted to them, etc. It is important to write down the events that quickly come to mind, rather than trying to think up thoughts about them. Usually the events that appear quickly in your mind are those that are especially important to you. Also be aware, that writing your time line is not something that you sit down and do in an hour or so; it may take several days or even weeks.
The narrative time line fulfills many needs as you prepare to live the life you were really meant to live. When it is finished you will be reviewing it for many different reasons. Also as you review your narrative time line, keep your focus on the positive as well as discovering the gift(s) you received from each event or relationship in your life.
One of the reasons for reviewing your time line is become aware of the themes in your life. The themes of your life are important because they assist you in determining the direction you may want to take in the future. For example, when I wrote my time line I realized that a theme in all my relationships was assisting others to move and grow to their full potential. I had been in the computer industry for over 25 years and had developed problems with my hands and wrists. I was told by several doctors and physical therapists that I would continue requiring surgeries if I stayed in the computer industry. Well, when I noticed my "helping" theme, I started to explore careers that would support my doing that and not have to use my hands extensively, which lead to my becoming a Life Coach.
As well as determining themes in your life, it will help you appreciate your strengths, your skills and talents you brought into this life. You will be able to discover the skills you have learned in your life. Having this knowledge can assist you in determining what direction you may want to go.
Speaking of direction, you will also use your time line to determine where you are right now. And that is important because as in any journey, you must begin where you are. If you don't have a sense of where you are now, it is very difficult to make a plan to get where you want to go. If you were going on a trip to a place you had never been before you would need a map. To use a map you must know your starting point to determine the best route to your destination.
You may also use your time line review to discover the relationships in your life that have fulfilled you and those that have depleted you. Which ones brought joy and which ones brought unhappiness. You can dissect your past relationships to determine what kind of people you want in your future. As you can see, there are numerous benefits to writing your time line. If all this analysis feels overwhelming by yourself, you might want to hire a coach to assist you in the process. Or even have a friend help you if you feel too close to the situation.
Just as a note, as you write your time line feelings may come up about things that you have done in your life or even that have been done to you. If that happens use the technique you learned in Part I to allow yourself to feel these feelings. When it comes to speaking with and listening to your feelings, you may want to ask questions like "how old was I when you (the feeling) first came into that part of my body" and "what incident first brought it to me". As you listen for the answers, they may come as a hunch or an internal voice or just a vague sense. Try to stay out of your head and thinking. In order to accomplish that, it is helpful if you keep your attention focused on the part of the body where the feeling is. If you have determined your age when it first came, ask that young child "what it needs from you, the adult, now and listen for the answer. If you are able or willing to give your inner child their request, let them know that. Then ask again what it needs from you now. Continue this process until you feel complete and your inner child is no longer requesting anything of you.
Some of the other ways you may want to explore in getting to know you are as follows:
- Consult with an Astrologer about your natal chart.
- Have a Tarot reading (I consider the tarot a mirror to your subconscious")
- Take a personality test (A very revealing and helpful test on the internet is the Enneagram test at http://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/ . Take the classical test. There is an explanation of each type on that same site, however if you want a great book on healing the types get "The Wisdom of the Enneagram, The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types", by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson.
- Explore other metaphysical tools like past life regression, psychic readings, etc.
- Again, hire a Life Coach to guide you on this journey.
2) Your Inner Guide (Intuition)
"Cease trying to work everything out with your minds, it will get you nowhere. Live by intuition and inspiration and let your whole life be a Revelation."
— Eileen Caddy, "Footprints on the Path"
Paying attention also means listening to that voice inside you, your inner guide, your intuition. In order to learn to get in touch with your own intuition I suggest to my clients that they get a deck of tarot cards. First go to a store that sells lots of decks that you can handle, probably some kind of New Age store. Pick out a deck that feels "right" to you. Each morning pick three cards from your deck, the first one is the opportunity or challenge of the day, the second is the energy around you, and third is the outcome. Write down everything you "see" in each card, keeping in mind it's position. Do not look at a book about the deck, use your own inner guide. At night before you go to bed, check to see what you wrote and compare it to how your day went.
This rule also means paying attention to your body and the messages it has for you. You can use the feeling exercise to learn this. Another way is to take a meditation class and learn to sit still and listen to Spirit's guidance to you. Become aware of your hunches, what your gut is trying to tell, listen and follow it throughout the day.
"Giving means extending one's Love with no conditions, no expectations and no boundaries. Peace of mind occurs, therefore, when we put all our attention into giving and have no desire to get anything from, or to change, another person. The giving motivation leads to a sense of inner peace and joy that is unrelated to time."
— Gerald G. Jampolsky "Love is Letting Go of Fear"
It also means paying attention to your surrounding and to those around you. Being aware of the needs of others and how you can serve their needs. Service is a very important spiritual tool to assist you in moving on from painful transitions for it gets us in touch with that part of self that feels such joy when we give. So find an arena where you can serve others. Giving money is great, but giving of your time and energy will get you more in touch with yourself and others.
That's all for now, hope you found this newsletter was of some benefit to you. If you have any questions or comments on anything I write, please feel free to send them on to me. Love to hear from you all.
Till next month, when I explain the third rule, "TELL THE TRUTH", happy journey.
Top of Page