As we enter 2016, we can clearly see that there is so much healing work that needs to be done in this world right now. Pick a topic: race, religion, politics, money, environment, war, human rights, health care, sexuality, diet, the list can go on and on, and I’m sure I’ve left many other important things out. The point is, it can feel very overwhelming to anyone right now who is paying attention. The world seems to be on the brink of collapse, or at least, total chaos. So what can we do? The best place to start is really the only place we can start: with ourselves.
These are the 5 things I try to do every day to foster a healing approach to life, in these bizarre and intense times on planet Earth.
1.) Stay neutral. This is a challenging practice, but a very worthwhile one. It essentially means, I don’t know, so I won’t pretend I know. I’ll stay neutral. I’ll practice being okay in not knowing. I won’t decide how things are. Whenever we are not neutral, we have an agenda, and this is a sure sign that we are operating from the ego, or as I prefer to call it, the false personality, using our dualistic minds to categorize, label, and ultimately judge. In truth, none of us know where this whole experiment is going, we are co-creating it together, moment by moment, so there is no need to use our immense creative abilities to decide that the planet is doomed, or that Donald Trump is a maniac. We don’t know that, even if it seems certain. There is always more information that could change our perspective. We don’t have the whole picture, because the whole picture is beyond what can be grasped with the intellect. It’s too vast. So we practice staying neutral. When we stay neutral, we stay present, and we deal with things in real time as they arise. That is all that ever needs to be done.
2.) Have a moment of gratitude. This one is easier, and it is a wonderful antidote to feeling shitty. Start anywhere you can, with just one thing, and cultivate a feeling of gratitude for it. You can be grateful for a partner, family, pets, job, health, money, opportunity, food, anything. And when you really start to connect to a feeling of gratitude, wonderful things start to happen. Your heart opens, and you start feeling grateful for more and more, until, as is often the case for me, I end in gratitude for everything in my life, even the things I “normally” deem to be undesirable. I have felt gratitude for sickness, loss, and pain, because through the wider lens of my heart, I can see that they are all here for my growth and understanding, they are my healers and teachers. So take a moment, every day, and find your way into gratitude.
3.) Take time to wonder. This may be my favorite practice, because I’ve been doing it my whole life. A few minutes of this a day really fosters expansiveness of the mind and spirit, and is also a wonderful relief from feeling like we as a species are doomed forever. It opens things up. For me, I just start with the phrase “I wonder” and then you can go in any number of directions, like “I wonder where human beings came from”, “I wonder what peace on Earth would look like”, “I wonder if time travel is possible”, or “I wonder what it would feel like to be in perfect health.” This kind of thinking takes us out of a place of thinking “we know” everything, and helps us surrender to our higher minds, allowing for inspiration and guidance to come through. It connects us to a feeling of awe, that we live in a wonderfully and beautifully complex universe filled with more than we could ever hope to possibly understand. It keeps us humble. It makes us feel alive. “I wonder how alive I could feel if I spent time in wonder everyday?” Try it out.
4.) Forgive, forgive, forgive. Okay, here’s the real tough one, but one that we all need to be doing every day. We need to forgive each other. And in some ways, that alone will heal the world. But it is a real practice. Why do we need to forgive? Because we all want to be forgiven. We all want to be accepted just as we are, mistakes and all. This is a universal feeling. Nobody, in their heart, wants to be rejected. We all want to be loved, no matter what. And as long as we withhold forgiveness from each other, we are withholding it from ourselves. It cannot be any other way. We are all learning to dance together in consciousness, and as we learn, we step on each other’s toes once in a while. Does that mean if someone steps on your toes, you should stop the dance and go to war? No, of course not, you should forgive, and keep dancing.
5.) Say hello to Spirit. This is a good one to end with. It comes from the idea that we are all Spirit, in many, many manifestations, having different experiences in consciousness. In fact, we are all manifestations of One Spirit, sharing One Mind, and One Heart. Saying hello simply means to acknowledge that.
Now I know that it SEEMS like we are all separate, with separate bodies, minds, and hearts, but that is part of the illusion, or if you will, part of the game. We spend lifetimes lost in this illusion, playing different games, until one day, we see through it, and we begin to awaken, as we have seen historically with figures like Jesus of Nazareth, Siddhartha Gautama, Ramana Maharshi, Anandamayi Ma, and Neem Karoli Baba, just to name a few. These beings radiated pure, unconditional love, which affected nearly everyone they came in contact with. They existed outside of time and space, in an “awakened” state. In a sense, what they were doing in every moment was saying hello to Spirit. They still occupied a body, but they were not bound by it, and they were not bound by the illusions of this world. That is why there are so many “miracles” associated with these beings. To them, they were not miracles, they were just natural occurences. This is what can happen when you wake all the way up.
I am not all the way awake. I still have unconscious patterns that I struggle with. And that is why I have a practice. That is why I say hello to Spirit. As we look around, we can clearly see the evidence of an unconscious world – the list from the beginning of this article – the very things that need to be healed. A big part of that healing is in the simple acknowledgment that we are all made of Spirit, and we are all connected in Spirit. Getting lost in the illusion of separation, as we all do, is what creates every manner of sickness, disease, imbalance, conflict, war, strife, all of which, as Charles Eisenstein says, is a “consequence of the perception of separation.” We’ve been playing the game of separation for a long, long, time now, and we see where it’s getting us. Maybe it’s time for a new game. “I wonder what it would be like if I saw everyone as Spirit?”
Happy New Year, and happy healing!