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Living in the Light
Follow Your Inner Guidance to Create a New Life and a New World
By Shakti Gawain, Laurel King
Nataraj PublishingCopyright © 2011 Shakti Gawain and Laurel King
All rights reserved.
A NEW WAY OF LIFE
We are living in a very exciting and powerful time. On the deepest level of consciousness, a radical transformation is taking place. As the evolution of human consciousness gains greater and greater momentum, we are being challenged, on a planetary level, to let go of our present way of life and create a new one. In a sense, an "old world" is dying, and a "new world" is coming into being.
For many of us, simply described, the old world was based on an external focus — having lost our fundamental spiritual connection, we have believed that the material world is the only reality. Thus, feeling essentially lost, empty, and alone, we have continually attempted to find happiness and fulfillment through external "things" — money, material possessions, relationships, work, fame, food, drugs, and so on.
The new world is being built as we open to the higher power of the universe within us and consciously allow that creative energy to move through us. As each of us connects with our inner spiritual awareness, we learn that the creative power of the universe is inside of us. We also learn that we can create our own experience of reality and take responsibility for doing so. The change begins within each individual, but as more and more individuals are transformed, the mass consciousness is increasingly affected.
My observation that a profound transformation of consciousness is taking place in our world at this time is based on the changes I see within myself, in those around me, and in our society. It is affirmed by feedback I receive from thousands of people I work with all over the world.
Living in the Light is about this transformation of consciousness, within each individual and in the world. My use of the terms old world and new world throughout the book refers to the old way of living that we are relinquishing and the new one that we are creating.
For many people, this time may be distressing, because the world situation and/or our personal lives may seem to be going from bad to worse. It's as if many things are falling apart and will continue to do so with even greater intensity, but on the deepest level, I do not feel this is negative. It is upsetting to us to the degree that we are emotionally attached to our old way of living and steadfastly follow old patterns, rather than trying to open our eyes to the profound changes that are occurring.
Paradoxical as it may seem, these changes are the greatest blessing that any of us could possibly imagine. The truth is that the way of life that we have been following for centuries no longer works. While appropriate for its time, it cannot take us where we need and desire to go. The focus on materialism and the external world was necessary in a time when our primary challenge was physical survival. Our patriarchal values and the traditional roles of men and women may have been necessary in order to ensure the protection of our families for a certain period of time in our evolutionary process.
At this time, many human beings (and other species as well) on the earth are still struggling for physical survival. Yet there are an increasing number of us who no longer have to be preoccupied primarily with sheer survival. We have the opportunity, and thus the responsibility, to begin looking for deeper fulfillment on spiritual, mental, and emotional levels. We are searching for greater meaning and purpose in our lives, and for ways to live more responsibly and harmoniously on our planet.
While some people throughout history have led relatively meaningful and satisfying lives, I'm afraid that most of us have never found the fulfillment that we have yearned for. Our cultural conditioning has not given us the tools to develop a healthy connection with our inner realms of soul, intuition, and feeling, and to integrate them with our external world.
In a way, it's as if we've been in school for our entire lives, receiving an education that teaches the exact opposite of the way the universe actually functions. We try to make things work as we've been taught, and we may even enjoy some degree of success, but for most of us things never seem to work out as well as we had hoped. That perfect relationship never materializes, or if it does, it soon sours or fades away. Or it may seem as though there is never quite enough money; we never feel truly secure or abundant. Perhaps we don't get the appreciation, recognition, or success that we want. Even if we do achieve some of these things, we still may suffer from a vague sense that there must be something more, some deeper meaning. Some of us may actually connect with that deeper meaning and feel increasingly fulfilled and expanded by a growing spiritual awareness. Nevertheless, there are stubborn and sometimes puzzling old patterns and areas of life in which we experience great pain and confusion.
Thus, our first task in building the new world is to admit that our "life education" has not necessarily taught us a satisfying way to live. We must learn a way of life that is very different from the way we approached things before. This may not be easy for us, and it will take time, commitment, and courage. Therefore, it's very important to be compassionate with ourselves, to continually remind ourselves what a tremendous task we are undertaking. It will not be accomplished overnight; in fact, it is a lifelong process.
Just as a baby learns to walk by falling down repeatedly, we must remember that we are babies in the new world. We will learn by making lots of mistakes and often we may feel ignorant, frightened, or unsure of ourselves. But we would not get angry at a baby every time he fell down (if we did, he'd probably never learn to walk with full confidence and power), so we must try not to criticize ourselves if we are not able to live and express ourselves as fully as we wish immediately.
We are now learning to live more fully in accordance with the laws of the universe. We are challenged to explore all aspects of our human experience and to develop all levels of our being — the spiritual, mental, and emotional as well as the physical.
As we do this work, we experience an increasing sense of wholeness, empowerment, and aliveness, and a feeling of being "on purpose" in our lives. So, although letting go of the old world may seem difficult at times, it is well worth the commitment and hard work it takes to gradually make this transition into the new world.
Sit or lie down, relax, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. As you exhale, imagine that you are letting go of everything that you don't want or need. Easily, without effort, let any frustrations, tiredness, or worries melt away. This is a time to release an old way of life that no longer works for you. Imagine that your old ways, your old patterns, and all the obstacles to achieving what you truly want are gently dissolved and leaving your body with each breath. Every time you exhale, and release a little of your old limitations, you create more space inside of you for something new.
After doing this for a few minutes, begin to imagine that every time you inhale you are breathing in life energy, the life force of the universe. Within this life energy is everything you need and desire — love, power, health, beauty, strength, abundance. Breathe it in with each inhalation. Imagine a new way of life opening up, filling you with aliveness, vitality, and energy. Pretend your life is exactly the way you want it to be. Imagine this new life is here, now, and savor it.
When the meditation feels complete, gently open your eyes and come back into the room. See if you can retain that sense of newness in yourself. Remember that you are now in the process of creating a new life for yourself.CHAPTER 2
THE HIGHER POWER WITHIN US
The foundation for life in the new world is built on the understanding that there is a higher intelligence, a fundamental creative power or energy in the universe that is the source and substance of all existence. The words and concepts that have been used to describe this power are innumerable. Here are just a few:
All That Is
These terms are attempts to express an experience or knowingness that is difficult to convey in words and rational concepts. Each of us has this experience within us; the words we choose to describe it are merely the labels that suit us best.
I seldom use the word God, as it has so many confusing connotations for so many. Frequently, people associate it with early religious training, which is no longer meaningful to them. I prefer terms such as higher power, the universe, spirit, and inner guidance. In this book, I will use some of these terms interchangeably to refer to our spiritual source, the essential creative intelligence and power within us. If any of these terms are not particularly meaningful to you, please feel free to substitute whatever word you prefer.
For the first twenty years of my life, my connection to the spiritual aspect of my being was largely undeveloped. I had no conscious experience of, or belief in, a higher power of any sort. I have had to move through many levels of doubt, skepticism, disbelief, and fear in order to arrive at the great trust I now have in the higher power of the universe that is within me and within everyone and everything that exists. I have not accepted anything on blind faith, so in a sense I have had to "prove" everything to myself through my life experiences. As I've learned to place my trust in the higher power of the universe and to live in accordance with universal principles, the changes I have felt and seen in my life have been truly miraculous.
Those of you who have felt deep spiritual awareness throughout your lives already have a solid foundation to build upon. For those of you who have felt spiritually "disconnected," as I have, I hope my words will support and encourage you to find this inner connection for yourself. There is no specific way to do this; everyone's experience is different. If this is something that you desire, ask within yourself that you be guided into an experience of your own spiritual nature. This may take some time, but if you desire it, it will happen. The words and exercises in this book may help you with this.
The universe has both personal and impersonal aspects; as I surrender and trust more, I find my relationship with this higher power becoming more personal. I can sometimes sense a presence within me, guiding me, loving me, teaching me, encouraging me. In this personal aspect, the universe can be teacher, guide, friend, mother, father, lover, creative genius, or fairy godmother. In other words, many of my needs and desires can be fulfilled through this inner connection. I often find the most powerful communion with the universe when I am alone, especially out in nature. At such times, the places inside of me that sometimes feel empty are filled with the energy of spirit. Here I find a guiding presence that nudges me in the direction I need to go and helps me to learn the lesson that lies in taking each step along my path.
Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Each time you exhale, relax your body more and more. Then take a few more deep breaths and, each time you exhale, relax your mind. Let your thoughts drift by without holding on to any of them. Allow your mind to go out of focus. Relax your awareness into a deep place within you.
Imagine that there is a very powerful presence within you. This presence is totally loving, strong, and wise. It is nurturing, protecting, guiding, and caring for you. At times it can be very strong and forceful. It can also be very light, joyful, and playful. As you get to know and trust it, it will make your life exciting, meaningful, and fulfilling.
You may get an image or a feeling or a physical sensation that represents this higher presence. Even if you don't see or feel a thing, assume it is there regardless.
Relax and enjoy the feeling or thought that you are being totally taken care of by the universe. Say this affirmation to yourself silently or aloud:"I feel and trust the presence of the universe in my life."CHAPTER 3
Once we acknowledge the higher power of the universe, the obvious question arises: "How can we contact this power and gain access to it? How can we have an effective relationship with it?" After all, if there is within us a superior wisdom or a deeper knowledge than we normally experience, by tapping into it, we should be able to receive valuable guidance in how to live well in this confusing world. This realization began to dawn on me many years ago as I undertook my journey of consciousness. I have since discovered that the knowingness that resides in each of us can be accessed through what we usually call our intuition. By learning to contact, listen to, and act on our intuition, we can directly connect to this inner wisdom and allow it to become our guiding force.
This is where we find ourselves in opposition to life as most of us have been taught to live it in the old world. In modern Western civilization, we have learned to respect and even worship the rational, logical aspect of our being, and to dismiss, depreciate, or deny our intuition. We do acknowledge the ability of animals to seemingly understand things that are way beyond their rational capacity; we call this instinct. But it's a mystery that defies logical explanation, so we shrug our shoulders and dismiss it as something vastly inferior to the magnificent human ability to reason.
Our culture's entire value system is firmly based on the belief that the rational principle is superior and, in fact, constitutes the highest truth. The Western scientific tradition has become our religion. We are taught from a young age to try to be reasonable, logical, and consistent, to avoid emotional, irrational behavior, and to suppress our feelings. At best, feelings and emotions are considered foolish, weak, and bothersome. At worst, we fear they may threaten the very fabric of civilized society.
Our established religious institutions often support this fear of the intuitive, nonrational self. Once based on a deep awareness of the universal spiritual principle in every being, many religions only pay lip service to that idea now. Instead, they seek to control the behavior of their devotees, using elaborate rule structures purported to save people from their deep, irrational, and basically "sinful" natures. And according to many psychological disciplines, the dark and dangerous instinctual nature of man must be controlled. From this perspective, it is only the rational part of us that is capable of harnessing this mysterious force and channeling it into healthy, constructive modes.
In our worship of the rational and fear of the nonrational, we deny not only our emotions and our instinctual energies, such as sexuality and aggression, but also our natural intuitive sense, which is meant to be a primary guiding force in our lives.
Generally, less technically developed societies approach life with a deep awareness of, and respect for, the intuitive element of existence. Every moment of their daily lives is guided by a strong sense of connection with the creative force. However, it is their very lack of technical development that has contributed to their gradual destruction or subversion by modern civilization. Two examples we can look at are the Native American and African cultures. Both of these groups were devastated by their contact with European/American culture. However, a deep curiosity, respect, and appreciation for Native Americans has begun to surface in our awareness in recent times. And the African culture, forcibly brought to this continent, has probably done more than any other culture to keep the intuitive power alive in our country through its strong and soulful connection to spirit.
In human evolution, it seems that as our rational capacity has evolved, we've grown increasingly fearful of the other aspects of our nature. We've attempted to control these "dark forces" by creating authoritative rule structures that define right and wrong, good and bad, and appropriate and inappropriate behavior in a very heavy-handed way. We justify this rigid approach to life by blaming everything negative on nonrational nature — from our personal emotional dramas to social ills such as drug and alcohol addiction, crime, violence, and war.
Excerpted from Living in the Light by Shakti Gawain, Laurel King. Copyright © 2011 Shakti Gawain and Laurel King. Excerpted by permission of Nataraj Publishing.
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