The Inner Connection: A Spiritual Journey of Self-Discovery and Emotional Freedom, One Day at a Time

The Inner Connection: A Spiritual Journey of Self-Discovery and Emotional Freedom, One Day at a Time

by Darlene Dawn

Paperback

$17.99
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, November 21

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504337977
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 10/21/2015
Pages: 268
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.61(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Inner Connection

A Spiritual Journey


By Darlene Dawn

Balboa Press

Copyright © 2015 Darlene Dawn
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5043-3797-7



CHAPTER 1

Step Zero: Believe I Am Connected


Please note: "Step Zero" refers to experiencing my inner connection; it's not meant to be an addition to the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I would not venture to change a word of the A.A. literature.


Every Ending Is a New Beginning

My spiritual journey began at one of the lowest points of my life, as it appeared my family was disintegrating before my eyes — and not for the first time. I was an emotional wreck after my significant other betrayed me and moved out of the home we shared with my two young daughters from a previous marriage. Police and social services became involved in my life. I sought family counseling through the local social service agency that offered fees on a sliding scale and was put on a waiting list. And just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, my drug of choice stopped working! The white powder I relied upon for years to lift me up now left me flat. Alcohol still did the trick, though, and it was legal!

But after a month or so of self-medication with alcohol, I was so depressed and so sick of myself that I turned to a twelve-step program for help. (For a reprint of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous see appendix A.) The word spirituality was not in my vocabulary, let alone any belief in a spiritual connection, and I was unaware I was embarking on a spiritual journey. All I knew at the time was that the people in the rooms of recovery were literally saving my life; I felt safe in the meetings. Little by little, with help from a sponsor and sober friends, I began to learn about and practice the steps of recovery.

I had to open my mind to embrace the concept of a Higher Power, since I had long ago rejected the religious instruction of my childhood, along with God. Beginning when I was a teenager in the '60s, I chose instead to worship the gods of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. If I thought about it at all, I considered myself as agnostic, since I didn't believe or disbelieve in God. Looking back, though, I realize I instinctively prayed for help whenever it seemed as if my life was in danger from an overdose. As soon as the immediate danger passed, however, I was right back to the same old, same old.

My first sponsor in recovery told me to pray in the morning and ask my Higher Power for the strength to stay clean and sober this day, and say, "thank you," at night. She told me I didn't have to understand electricity to use it, and I didn't have to understand God to pray. Since desperation made me a willing listener, I did what I was told — no more, no less. I attended a meeting every day after work and several a day each weekend, usually bringing my daughters with me to the local twelve-step club. Between meetings, I didn't drink or drug and began to read the conference-approved literature. Before I knew it, I had a month clean and sober. What a miracle for someone like me who used drugs and alcohol on a daily basis for over twenty years!

Fast-forward a few years and I was still clean and sober. It was at this point that I really began to desire a deeper relationship with my Higher Power, who I then comfortably called God. This was not the God of my childhood training but my conception of a loving Prime Creator. When I prayed, however, I often imagined God "out there" somewhere. When I meditated, it was by contemplating a spiritual passage from one of many books of daily meditation accumulated during my journey in sobriety. The general consensus of the people in the rooms of recovery was that God spoke to them through other people in the meetings. I'd felt that many times as well, yet I wanted more.

Clearly I wasn't truly ready. I soon jumped into another relationship and, though I remained sober, it wasn't long before I endured another breakup. This time I decided to take some time off from the whole relationship thing and go at least one year without a significant other. I didn't know it at the time, but this was the best thing I could have done for myself. While maintaining my sobriety and continuing to practice the steps of recovery, I began to delve into books expounding on the possibility that ordinary people like me could have a personal, two-way communication with God.

Then one night I had a spontaneous out-of-body experience (OBE), which is described in greater detail in the coming pages. For the record, I was clean and sober for over nine years when this occurred. Taking this experience as a sign I was on the appropriate path, I knew then, beyond the shadow of a doubt, I was more than just my body. This had to be so, because I experienced being out of my body, while still feeling just like me!

"If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia." (Szasz 1973, 101) When I heard this quote relayed as a joke by Whoopi Goldberg, the double standard became apparent. It was at this point that I decided to disregard many widely accepted societal and cultural norms and walk my own path. Several friends and I began meeting weekly to discuss the Conversations with God series of books by Neale Donald Walsch (1996-2006) in addition to attending our twelve-step meetings. When relocation of some members caused this group to disband, I began looking for another local gathering. A few of my twelve-step friends told me about a study group they attended on A Course in Miracles and invited me to join them. Having previously read Marianne Williamson's A Return to Love, I was already familiar with the principles of the Course, so I responded with an enthusiastic "yes!" I bought the book, and the rest is history. I began a daily study of A Course in Miracles, and before too long, I was reading a workbook lesson each morning and practicing throughout the day. My morning routine also included more time for just being still. Instead of directing prayers out into the cosmos, I began to drop within my heart and speak; then I'd get quiet to listen or just be.

I wish I could say everything instantly became a bed of roses. What I found was I started out the day in terrific shape, but these good feelings would quickly fly out the window, beginning with my morning drive to work. I can laugh about it now, but back then I felt like a failure. Does that sound familiar? If you embrace spiritual ideals yet have trouble consistently living them, then this book is for you.


I Am a Multi-Dimensional Spiritual Being Having a Human Experience

Variations of the above idea have been echoed by many spiritual teachers. The observation that each person is a spiritual being having a human experience is a concept that helps me immensely walk the walk — not just talk the talk. The nonphysical realm underlies the physical; everything comes from nothing (no-thing). Creation begins in the nonphysical and extends outward as a physical manifestation. Stop a moment. Take a look at your surroundings. There's not a structure on this planet that was not first a thought in someone's mind before it was built. Thoughts are nonphysical; elevated thoughts are divine.

Not only is the spiritual as real as the material, but identifying mentally with the nonphysical self (aka soul, over-soul or higher self, "I Am" presence, authentic self, or inner essence) as opposed to only the body, is immensely helpful in navigating through life on earth, where it seems as if everything is backward! Per A Course in Miracles:

* * *

"Corrective learning always begins with the awakening of spirit, and the turning away from the belief in physical sight." (1996, Text Ch 2, V.7:1, 26)

* * *

When I believe I'm only a (human) body that sporadically has a spiritual experience, often I feel separate from God. I am not. However, with this viewpoint whenever I'm not having a spiritual experience (in other words, most of the time) I feel separate from other human beings, from the earth and its plant, animal, and mineral kingdoms, and from All That Is. Feeling separate engenders fear-based thoughts about everything, from life and death to the perceived need to tenaciously compete in the game of life.

When I feel separate from other people, I'm more likely to justify cutthroat attitudes and actions to make certain my family and I get what I believe to be our fair share — and then some. This behavior may even seem normal in a society where corporations and some individuals frequently appear to value money more than life. Feeling separate from other people also leads to mental comparisons, which can generate jealousy or disdain, depending upon whether I think others are better than or less than I — duality in action. This feeling of separation can lead to attack thoughts, words, and actions that seem perfectly justified at the time.

When I feel separate from the earth, I don't need to recycle or concern myself with pollution or how my actions affect the plants and animals that grace this beautiful planet. Or I may show concern solely in my own back yard, not realizing that all life is interconnected. If I or my community, my employer, or a corporation I support through my purchase power contribute to excessive pollution anywhere on the planet, eventually it affects me where I live. The effect may not be immediate but may become a problem for my grandchildren or other future generations. Learning to make more conscious choices is an ongoing process for me.

On the other hand, when I see myself as a spiritual being experiencing life through a body, I feel interconnected with all life. When a person dies (I prefer the term "disembodies" or "transitions") the nonphysical life energy (soul) withdraws its focus from the body, and we call it death. The body is still present in materiality, but eventually the elements that make up the "lifeless" body go back into the earth and are recycled, as occurs in the natural physical world. The body is lifeless from our standpoint, but the many microbes that make their home within the body are still very much alive in the moment we define as "death." The point here is the nonphysical life energy is critical to experiencing myself as alive in a body. Yet the body is not necessary for the existence of consciousness as I discovered first-hand through my OBE. I felt just as "alive" when out of my body, perhaps even more so as the experience was exhilarating beyond words!

If the spiritual life energy, the Great Spirit of the Universe, underlies all physicality, then there's a lot more going on here than meets the eye! Looking a bit deeper, if spiritual life energy gives life to life, and if, as science tells us, this same energy runs through everything, then I must be connected through this energy to all life, including to my Creator. God is not separate from me or from anyone; I am not separate from God or from anyone. Separation is the grand illusion!

So why would God create a world in which it appears we're all separate? We'll get into this later. For the time being if this resonates with you, try out the concept of spiritual connection with All That Is, and see what results you get. When I first began this line of thought, I found myself desiring to become kinder, more considerate, more loving, and less fearful. And, equally significant, I began to notice when I was not kind; I began to notice when I was not considerate; and I began to notice my fear-based, mechanical, reactive thoughts. This noticing gave me the opportunity to choose again. After all, along with interconnection comes the awareness that you cannot hurt someone else without hurting yourself. Therefore, unless you're a masochist, it stands to reason you desire not to hurt anyone else. And the reverse is true for being helpful.

The knowledge that I exist as both a physical and nonphysical being, alive in both matter and antimatter simultaneously, was the foundation for my spiritual growth. I realized I was not trying to connect with something foreign! Doesn't it seem natural to be able to communicate with another aspect of yourself?

In addition to identifying with my physical and nonphysical self, I find this reminder helpful:

* * *

My perception of the outer world is a reflection of my inner condition.

* * *

What I believe to be true in my mind — both conscious and subconscious — is reflected back to me in the world I see. Everything is backward here! It appears as if a perceived problem is out there in other people, places, and things, when it's really in here, within my mind.

Now do you see how important it is to believe you're already connected to Source (or God, if you prefer), if you wish to experience your inner connection firsthand? If you desire a personal relationship with a Higher Power, but you don't believe it's possible, or you believe it's very hard, or that it takes a tremendously long period of time to develop, or whatever (fill in the blank), these beliefs will be reflected back in personal experience, in most cases. This is the earth-experience programming.

Whenever I use new software of any kind on my computer, it takes a while to gain insight and understanding as to how it works so I can do my work efficiently. It's the same thing here. I may have a new belief (like the new software) based on the knowledge that I'm spiritually connected to God and to all life. However, if my subconscious mind is filled with years of contrary programming from childhood religious beliefs, parental teachings, or societal/cultural norms, then the "knowing" in my head feels as if it hasn't made it down to my heart. My actions and thoughts are not in total alignment with my new belief. This is absolutely normal and can easily be shifted by seeking a more expanded understanding with love and asking, or better yet, thanking my inner guide in advance for revealing this more expanded perspective. Knowing that help is already present, I relax; when the time is right, I allow myself to receive. Until then, I accept where I am and trust the process.

These limiting beliefs need to come to my attention so I can bring them, one at a time, to the light of universal knowledge, understanding, and love, which transmutes them. Negative, painful, unloving thoughts become a goldmine of wisdom when I truly see how they affect my life experience and choose consciously to change them with spiritual assistance. When I use the experience of rising above the hurt and distress to assist others, the entire process is transmuted into gold!

I love the succinct words of Henry Ford (emphasis mine): "Those who think they can and those who think they can't are both right." As I affirm my personal connection with Spirit, not just by repeating the words but by deeply feeling the emotions the idea generates, I become aware that I need only to be still and remove the obstacles generated by my unloving thoughts, words, actions, and addictions to enjoy a personal spiritual experience.

Years ago I had the opportunity to travel by plane on an ominously dark, rainy day. But once we lifted above the cloud cover, I was surprised to see the sun shone brightly and the sky was a brilliant blue. I realized in that moment the sun is always shining — I just don't always see it! What if my sick, negative, unloving thoughts, my addictions, and the words and actions flowing from that energy are like the dark clouds blocking my view of the sun? And what if they become my point of creation, attracting more of the same in the next moment of now?


* * *

You may be wondering if what I believe is reflected back to me in my experience, how can I know what's really true? It seems to me there's an action of cause and effect going on here; but because this is a dense reality, there's a time lapse between the two, making it difficult to connect the dots. Everything in the universe is either attracted or repelled, which boils down to getting what I give — not only physically but psychically! My overall state of being is vibrating out into the universe, which is why it's so important to not only clean up my actions, but also my thoughts and speech. Since each person has his or her own version of what's true (subjective reality), I concentrate on giving what I desire to receive, using my inner connection to invite spiritual assistance with this process.

As the unseen wind is felt and its effects are evident, the fact that I can't see my connection doesn't mean it's not there. After dedicating time and energy to looking within, I became aware of subtleties that were previously overlooked. Like the sun which appears to rise and set, yet in reality is always shining, my connection with Source seems to wax and wane, yet is ever present. It's merely the focus of my attention that shifts.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Inner Connection by Darlene Dawn. Copyright © 2015 Darlene Dawn. 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments, ix,
Appreciation, xi,
Introduction, xiii,
Chapter 1 Step Zero: Believe I Am Connected, 1,
Chapter 2 Experience Your Connection, 13,
Chapter 3 Consider Possible Spiritual Contracts, 27,
Chapter 4 Recognize the Power of Belief, 49,
Chapter 5 Befriend the Ego (and the Mind), 75,
Chapter 6 Feel, Accept, Understand, and Release Negative Emotions with Love, 91,
Chapter 7 Move from Active Addiction to Recovery, 117,
Chapter 8 Transmute Liabilities into Assets, 141,
Chapter 9 Allow Spiritual Unfoldment, 161,
Chapter 10 Nourish Your Soul, 171,
Chapter 11 Cultivate Unity Consciousness, 185,
Chapter 12 Discover Joy through Service, 211,
Chapter 13 All Are One — This Realization Is Love!, 219,
Appendix A Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, 235,
Appendix B The Geometries of Love, 237,
Appendix C Our Father, 239,
Appendix D The Serenity Prayer, 241,
References, 243,
About the Author, 249,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Inner Connection: A Spiritual Journey of Self-Discovery and Emotional Freedom, One Day at a Time 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
DazieRose More than 1 year ago
I’m reading your book again and I want to complement you on the direct and personal appeal it has. You’ve done a great job sharing your personal story in the form of hard won wisdom, and I can see how it will help so many people. The information is both practical and hopeful. You give people the incremental steps they need to begin to take hold of their lives again. Wonderful…
AlwaysSearchin More than 1 year ago
Do not buy the digital version of this book. You will want to fold page corners, write in the margins, take copious notes, and come back to re-read and copy many paragraphs. Darlene Dawn's book is an excellent accompaniment to anyone's journey through any of the 12 Step programs yet the reader experience is not dependent on having that path or understanding. Consider this book a necessary add-on to other literature you may already be reading to learn how to do life with serenity. She skillfully combines her wisdom, strength and hope with lessons from A Course in Miracles plus other spiritual enhancing programs. In other words, she does all the work for you. Yes, the book is wordy. Yes, Darlene Dawn is very passionate and it shows on every page with her many exclamation marks!! Yes, you will be enlightened in every chapter but most of all, you will love this author. I wanted to invite her out to lunch and pick her brain because I know she'd listen and provide me with true inspiration. She has achieved a lot with her life and it shows. I want that too. We all have our life journeys. Darlene Dawn has made sense out of her many twists and turns and is now helping the rest of us know how to smooth out many of those dreadful rough patches that often look like crises. As she says in her book, "My spiritual growth does not happen on demand!" I love that. Another Dawn lesson: "...the more often I use my inner connection to assist in making positive changes, the more inspiration, intuition, and gut-level knowing I experience. This leads to inspired actions, a feeling of well-being..." That statement and her book provide a response to that universal need most of us feel. She has convinced me that well-being can be achieved through my inner connection. And she has provided much detail to help me know how to go get it. If you are looking for more out of life, read this book. If you want to take your 12 step spiritual journey up a notch, read this book. If you want a great distillation of many important lessons from A Course in Miracles, read this book. If you want peace and serenity and a life with grounded emotional balance, read this book.