Have you ever had the urge to do something but did not? This could have been a gentle nudge from your Spirit to take action. Spirit is here to give us guidance and direction, but it has mostly been ignored. We have allowed voices outside ourselves to have a greater influence on us than our inner voice. It is time to bring your inner world back into balance with your outer world. It is time to have equal respect for your intuition and urgings as you do for your intellect and logic. It is time to honor that which is within you.
• find your inner voice of Spirit
• trust the guidance you are given
• act on your intuition
• overcome the fears that hold you back
• bring more of your Spirit into the world
Spirit is calling. You are being invited to walk with your Spirit every moment of the day. How will you respond to the invitation and answer the call?
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Spirit EmergingA Guide to Nurture Your Spirit
By Bonnie Bayly
Balboa PressCopyright © 2011 Bonnie Bayly
All right reserved.
Chapter OneUnderstanding Your Inner Connection
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. —Carl Jung
Now is the time. Spirit is calling.
Spirit is gently tapping on the edges of our consciousness trying to get our attention. Mostly, it has been ignored. Perhaps now more than ever, it is time for each one of us to answer the call. It is important to open wide the door of our lives and welcome our Spirit as an honored guest to walk with us daily.
It is time to understand our own connection to the Source and work to make the connection meaningful in our lives.
Each one of us has our own individual connection to the Source. That connection is through our Spirit, the non-physical part of us that Source breathed into our life at birth. Our soul is the part of Spirit that houses the memory of all our lifetimes. Just as a computer has a processing and storage area, we have our Spirit that is active in our daily lives and our soul which stores memory of our experiences over all of our lifetimes.
Through our Spirit, we can communicate with and receive information directly from the Source. It is like having our own personal spiritual Global Positioning System, or GPS, from the Source. Spirit monitors where we are going and gives us signals when we are getting off track. We have all known times when we made a choice even though we felt it was not the right one. And just like a GPS, Spirit does not stop us. We have free will. It can, however, give us information that we are off track and what to do to get back on course. In a car, if we have gone too far, the GPS tells us to turn around and go back. Spirit also alerts us to what we should be doing.
In the beginning of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert is crying on the floor of her bathroom begging God to tell her what to do. She says at one point the crying stopped quickly and a silence surrounded her. Then she got the message "Go back to bed, Liz." The message and the guidance were just that simple. It was what she needed in the moment. It was not the answer to what she needed to do about her whole life, or her marriage, or her quandary about having children. It was what was needed at that moment, which, of course, led her to the next moment, and the next, and the next.
Many people wait until they have gotten to a low point in their life before they look for guidance from a higher source. But Spirit is trying to get our attention all the time—if only we would listen.
So how does Spirit try to get our attention? Well, Spirit can be similar to that funny looking Office Assistant in Microsoft Word unobtrusively watching us as we work. When the Office Assistant has a suggestion it gently taps on the inside of the screen. Mostly, the tapping is annoying, and we don't bother to find out what it might want to suggest.
This is just what Spirit does. Its gentle taps are trying to draw our attention to information we might need or a direction to follow. Spirit could put a book in our hands, or a person in our lives, or direct us to a teacher. We might find a message from Spirit in the words of a song, or an urge to do something, in a dream, or the guidance from meditation. But just like the Office Assistant in Microsoft Word, Spirit has mostly been ignored. Our inner life is discounted. Instead, more and more these days, we give most of our attention to our outer life. We are out of balance.
In today's world, we are often judged by our display of power and, in our society, this is represented by money and the things that money can buy. We are particularly attracted to electronic gadgets. With so many of them fiercely vying for our attention, it is not surprising that we focus so much of our time in the outer world. The cell phone rings and we answer it. We get a text message and reply. The TV has hundreds of channels for us to watch. We are playing our iPods, iPads, Gameboys, and Wii's. The Internet, especially with e-mail, Facebook, Skype, and Twitter, has something going on all the time.
This is not to say we don't go inward for reflection. We do, particularly during challenging times or when we suffer a great loss. On such occasions, we question the meaning of it all, and wonder where our lives are taking us. In going inward, we often find ourselves hurt and feeling powerless. We go to counseling and spend time in therapy trying to come to terms with our inner pain. We read self-help books. We go to support groups to help each other through similar experiences. We take workshops to learn how to prevent hurts from happening again. These help us heal. And, unless we are willing to heal ourselves to become strong enough to step beyond the pain, we may get stuck there.
Carolyn Myss, a bestselling author and workshop leader, describes the process of healing as one of crossing a river in a boat. The boat represents a container or support while we heal. When we get to the other side, we are supposed to get out of the boat, recognize our healing, and continue on with our lives. However, many people continue circling in the boat for years, never getting to the other side. Some of us never move past the pain. Some don't understand that facing our pain and feelings of powerlessness develops the strength and courage to pick ourselves up, forgive ourselves and others for being at a place where we could do no better, and move on. Instead some continuously talk about the pain or reexamine the events that caused the pain, thereby continuing to bring it into their current life. We must learn the lessons for ourselves from each situation. And just like a wound that creates a scab so it is protected until the healing happens, we too need protection until we heal. Once healed, the scab naturally comes off and we may have a scar as a result, but we are ready to continue on with our life.
When we go inward for reflection and find a sense of powerlessness in addition to our pain, we naturally want to show we have power and control in our lives. How do we do this? By showing we have the power to create what we want. Many teachers in the last few decades have helped us express our creative ability. In the 80s, for example, Shakti Gawain's Creative Visualization taught us how to use visualizations and affirmations to create what we wanted. From The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz we learned how to, first, focus on what we want, second, to identify where we are, and third, take action to move us towards getting what we want. In the 90s, Deepak Chopra's Creating Affluence identified the source of abundance and gave us steps A through Z for creating wealth. More recently we studied the book and movie The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, which talks about using the Law of Attraction to create what we want in our lives.
This ability to create is important—as Carolyn Myss and Dr. Norman Shealy stated in The Creation of Health. Carolyn explains that creativity gives us a sense of dominion over our lives. This sense of having control over what happens in our lives is important to our health and well-being.
The ability to create has shown us how powerful we are, but unfortunately this power has been focused almost exclusively on acquiring material abundance. We have used these tools to create our dream house, or drive our dream cars, and have the money to buy the stuff of our dreams.
Our success has been measured by the outer standard of acquiring financial wealth, which has very little to do with our inner values.
The more you spend on forces outside yourself, the more you are dominated by them. —Harold Sherman
Managing all our material things and focusing most of our attention on acquiring more "stuff" does not lead to a balanced life. Balance comes from paying equal attention to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual parts of ourselves. Just as a chair or table has four legs to keep them standing, we also need the balance of these four parts in our lives to avoid being knocked down by what life presents us. Yet society has placed much more emphasis on developing the physical aspects of life, and in some cases the mental and emotional aspects, but very little emphasis on honoring our spiritual self.
Physical Health. Our physical bodies are the form that houses our Spirit. While it is important to maintain optimum health with diet and exercise, all too often we measure of our worth by our physical appearance. Magazines pressure women to stay as thin and young looking as they can. Eating disorders are more prevalent as people strive to achieve an ideal weight. Advertising brainwashes women that they will not be attractive without makeup, and that they have to spend money to keep their wardrobe up to date with the latest fashions. Commercials tell men and women what toothpaste to use for sparkling teeth, what deodorant will keep them smelling fresh, or what mouthwash will ensure they are kissable at any moment.
Taking care of our bodies has become all-important. Many of us have taken up exercising in a Pilates, tai ch'i or yoga class. Some exercise alone, others in groups with running, walking, jogging or biking. Entire industries now cater to our desires to get or stay in shape. We like to look good whatever we are doing, and so businesses provide equipment, as well as the clothing and shoes to wear while we work to stay in shape. We spend time trying to find the right tennis racquet, football, baseball, bat, skis, golf clubs, bike, or scuba equipment. You name it, and you can bet some enterprising business is there, ready to help satisfy our needs and desires to exercise and take care of our bodies.
Taking care of our physical selves also includes watching our diets. We have become much more conscious of food choices when we sit down to eat a meal. Many of us are cutting back on red meat, and choosing to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and organic produce. Some of us just decide to eat less. Others, wanting to lose weight, follow programs such as the Atkins or the South Beach diets, or join Weight Watchers. The Biggest Loser television show helps people who are extremely overweight take off the pounds by encouraging them to make better eating choices and spend time exercising. The food industry is taking note of our commitment to healthier eating by taking more care labeling the ingredients on packages. Restaurants are now offering 500-calorie meals or half plates for those wanting a smaller portion. We no longer feel the pressure to "super-size me" when ordering a meal.
Mental Health. In addition to our physical selves, many of us have also started taking much better care of our mental health.
Getting a good education is a higher priority for more individuals than in the past and this includes getting higher degrees such as a Masters or Doctorate. We learn and grow by challenging our minds in many different ways, for example: evening classes, skills training, reading, doing crossword puzzles, or playing Sudoko. We go to the library, bookstores or surf the Internet to research areas of interest.
The growing focus on mental health and self education, has led to greater awareness of the options available to us, and that the choices we make are interconnected with what happens elsewhere on the planet. More of us are recycling and taking reusable bags to the store instead of littering the environment with plastic. We are eliminating plastic water bottles by using refillable glass or stainless steel containers. Many people have switched to more fuel-efficient cars, such as or hybrids and electric-powered motors, to reduce gas consumption and emissions. We think about buying locally and helping out globally.
Emotional Health. A healthy balance also includes our emotional well-being. We have learned to make healthy choices and set boundaries. We are empowered to get out of unhealthy relationships. We read self-help books to clarify our understanding and attend seminars to gain wisdom from others. In Please Understand Me, David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates teach about four personality types that help us understand how to relate to one another.
One of the most famous books on the emotional impact of relationships is John Gray's Men Are From Mars, Women are from Venus, which gives insights into understanding the differences in the communication styles between men and women. Books like The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense give information on learning how to identify when we are under a verbal attack and how to respond to deflect the attack.
We now know that emotional health improves as people become better able to deal with adversity in life, and by developing resilience and adaptability to meet new challenges. When people work on their emotions, and take responsibility for them, other people in their lives no longer have to walk on egg shells around them for fear of any little thing setting them off.
When we are out of balance, we make decisions that are not in our own best interests and do not further the well being of our families, or communities. A good example is the recent financial and housing crisis. When some people forgot the basic values of truth and honesty in their desire to acquire wealth, they made false statements about company assets or income. We need only hear the word "Enron" to remind us how corporate executives manipulated profits and concealed debts. Enron grew from a small company to become America's seventh largest corporation in just 15 years. They employed a staff of more than 20,000, located in multiple countries, but the success turned out to be an elaborate scam. Enron eventually filed for bankruptcy, and a large number of employees who had most of their savings in Enron stock lost it because the stock turned out to have little or no actual value. The Enron scandal also caused the dissolution of Arthur Anderson, the firm that was supposed to be auditing Enron's financial statements.
At the same time many banking institutions also made decisions that were not financially sound. They loaned people money for mortgages without qualifying them on their ability to pay back the money. They signed mortgages that involved small payments for a few years, followed by a requirement for a single lump sum payment in the form of a balloon payment after five years, which many borrowers were unable to make. When the debts could not be repaid, banks went out of business or had to be bailed out by the government. This had a ripple effect throughout the nation and the world. Economies collapsed. People lost their high paying jobs, big expensive houses, and fancy cars. For those who had not developed their inner strength and validation, they lost the physical things that made them feel successful and gave them their sense of self worth.
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico happened, some say, because oil giant BP wanted to continue drilling even though workers on the platform said it should be stopped. The spill damaged hundreds of miles of wetlands, tarnished pristine white beaches, killed countless animals in the air and water, and halted fishing which was the sole livelihood for many in this area. Some feel BP was more concerned for the bottom line and making money than they were for the safety of the employees or the potential effects on the environment.
These are just a few examples of what can go wrong when we upset the balance between our inner and outer lives. We need to restore that balance by paying closer attention to our spiritual inner voice, instead of being distracted by the glitter of material attractions. We have to follow our inner guidance in our personal and professional lives for, as Khalil Gibran says in The Prophet
It is in the exchanging the gifts of the Earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied. Yet unless the exchange be in love and kindly justice, it will but lead some to greed and other to hunger. —Kahlil Gibran
We have seen what happens when people are consumed with greed. And we have seen how a few people can control a vast majority of wealth while millions of others go hungry.
Excerpted from Spirit Emerging by Bonnie Bayly Copyright © 2011 by Bonnie Bayly. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Spirit is Calling....................1
Understanding Your Inner Connection....................2
How Connected Are You?....................14
Spirit Comes in Silence....................21
Spending Time in Inner Silence....................22
Paying Attention to Inner Dialogue....................32
Spirit is Guiding....................39
Following Your Inner Voice....................40
Choosing Your Inner Intentions....................48
Spirit Knows Your Purpose....................59
Spirit Has a Purpose....................60
Facing Your Inner Fears....................70
Eliminating Inner Distractions....................78
A Word of Thanks....................85
Spirit in Action....................89
Taking Inner Action....................90