Tag Archive | awareness

Pure Air In, Everything Else Out

Welcome to Monday Morning Meditation!

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Today’s meditation inspired by this discourse by Mooji: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcBujwXvGC8

One of the purposes of a meditation practice is to learn to be in charge of your mind, instead of your mind being in charge of you. Thought thinking is going in the mind all day long, 24/7, whether we are aware of it or not. When we are not aware of it, those unconscious thoughts lead our emotions, behaviors, and other thoughts in all sorts of directions that we may or may not want for ourselves.

There is a popular phrase out there that states, “Energy follows thought”—meaning that where our thoughts go, we follow. For further understanding of this, I add, “and thought follows attention”. When we are conscious of our thoughts, paying attention to them, they can also lead us in directions that can be more or less desirable.

For example, this morning, I had the song “Amie” by Pure Prairie League pass through my mind. Suddenly, all of my internal focus was on this song and the parts of it I recalled, and the mild frustration around the parts that I did not. So what did that attention to that thought process ignite in me? Picking up my phone, searching for “Amie” on my Spotify app, and listening to the whole song to satisfy some random, restless thought! Did I need to listen to that song? Of course not; but I allowed the thoughts to control my behavior.

In my defense, I knew I was going to be talking and writing about this today, so I allowed myself to follow through with the urge. I could have just as consciously and with just as much effort (probably a lot less effort, actually) noted the song going through my head, and simply allowed it to pass through without grabbing on to it. But, hey, it’s a great song! No harm done!

Energy follows thought, and thought follows attention.

Energy follows thought, and thought follows attention.

Energy follows thought, consciously or unconsciously. Our attention adds energy to thoughts more consciously, although we still may not be fully aware that we are adding energy to our thoughts by indulging them.

If you don’t believe me, watch your thoughts today, and by the end of the day, you will see for yourself how thoughts and attention to them drag you around frequently during the day. If you have a worry, the more you think about that worry, the stronger it can feel.

Energy follows thought, and thought follows attention.

Here’s the key: Awareness rules them all: thoughts, attention, and energy. However, awareness has to be turned on; it has to be given the authority within you. My spiritual mentor, Jane Elizabeth Hart, calls this, “developing the Observer Self”. The Observer Self is that part of us that is awareness itself. It is what sees the thoughts and emotions within us, but is not caught up in those thoughts or emotions; it simply watches.

Observer Self practice can help stop us from being controlled unconsciously by the random energies flying through the mind. We can have an earworm like “Amie” wisp through our minds and not have to jump on our phones to listen to the whole song (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and can instead redirect ourselves to something more important in the moment.

The mind is very strong, but it is also easily manipulated!

The Observer Self helps us stop ourselves from being manipulated by random thoughts.

Visualizations in meditation help the practice of the Observer Self, and being in charge of our thoughts and energy. Today, we are using a visualization that is great when there is a lot of busyness going on in your mind. We are using the acquiescent nature of the mind to strengthen our focus, presence, and inner autonomy.  

I learned this visualization from a beautiful spiritual teacher from Portugal named Mooji. I am so happy to share the video where he is teaching this technique. It is quite wonderful.

“Simple Guidance for Anyone Struggling with the Mind”

And here is an article and video by my spiritual mentor, Jane Elizabeth, talking about the Observer Self:

My Spiritual Mentor, Jane Elizabeth Hart, talking about the Observer Self.
For more from Jane and the Center for Enlightenment, go to https://www.CenterForEnlightenment.com.

Please enjoy this video meditation on this topic. Thank you for reading and watching! May you practice being in your Observer Self every day!

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The Responsibility of Being Your Authentic Self

Video supplement:

You are your Divine Self. That Higher Self lives through you as your personality self. It is your responsibility to cooperate with and support that Divine/Higher/Authentic Self to have room in your mind, heart, and through your actions.

Here are some steps you can take to support your Authentic Self:

  1. Define your Authentic Self
    • Who are you? Who do you want to be in this lifetime? How do you want to show up in the world?
    • What are your desires, your values? What is important to you?
  2. Meditate for five minutes (or more!) every day. Spend time getting to know your Higher Self! 
  3. Observe yourself.
    • Do your thoughts, words, emotions, and actions line up with how you want to be?
    • Are your decisions supporting you in becoming more of your Authentic Self?
  4. Heal what needs to be healed as is revealed to you.
    • Look within. Observe with compassion any triggers or missteps that come along.
    • Ask yourself, “If I were coming from my Authentic Self rather than my personality self, how would I see this situation differently?”

You are in charge of how much of your Authentic Self gets to dance in your world! Do you want it to be a little here and there, or a whole lot? Every day is a new opportunity to discover more of your Authentic Self!

My love to you all!

Lynn Barrette, LCSW – Lynn (“Mikki” Michael) Barrette was the Y.O.U. International President from 1988-1989, Midwest Y.O.U. Regional Representative from 1987-1988, and worked at the Association of Unity Churches (now Unity Worldwide Ministries) from 1992-1993. She served in many roles in Unity churches in Florida, New Mexico, Kansas, Michigan, and Illinois.

Lynn is a licensed clinical therapist and spiritual counselor, and leads classes, webinars, and workshops on spiritual psychology. Her heart’s desire is to support others in being more attuned to their Higher Self. Her private practice, Center for Dynamic Healing, has offices in Illinois and Florida. Visit her website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel for more information and support for your soul!

Created for the Youth of Unity (Y.O.U.) Authenticity Faire, October 15-17, 2021

Are You a Pirate?

There is a fun song on the internet called “You Are a Pirate“. The words are:

Do what you want ‘cause a pirate is free

You are a pirate

Yar-har-fiddle-de-dee

Being a pirate is alright with me

Do what you want ‘cause a pirate is free

You are a pirate.

Repeat continuously, loop-style, ad nauseum.

The song originally comes from a children’s television program in which the town villain disguises himself as a pirate to lure the children away from their good behavior. He makes being a pirate sound fun with his happy pirate song and promises of freedom from discipline and rules. The children, of course, enthusiastically take their places as his crew mates. Who doesn’t want freedom?

On the spiritual path, one of the skills we learn is distinguishing between short-sighted egoic impulses and the true promptings of our soul. We start learning this by more closely observing the thoughts and feelings that arise and incite us to act. When our ego pulls us toward personality freedom, often it can excite us and feel good on a short-term basis. Ego pulls don’t take into consideration the needs of those around us or long-term consequences of our actions. We can liken this to the pirate from the song, and the children who happily followed along.

Soul freedom leads us toward greater responsibility for what is ours to do this lifetime. It also aligns us with our higher potential. Hmm…Not as enticing at first, is it?

Paramahansa Yogananda, the great Indian mystic, once said, “The mind is so powerful, it can make you taste salt and think it is sugar, and when you eat sugar, it can make you think you taste salt.” Our ego pulls are the salt that tastes sweet at first, but then we feel disappointed when we discover it wasn’t what was in our best interest. Our soul promptings taste a bit salty at first, but as we stick with them, how sweet it is! Everything flows better when we are aligned with our soul responsibilities!

How much time and energy do you spend following the piratey impulsiveness of your personality self? How long does that satisfy you?

The children who followed the pirate to his false “freedom” (and were subsequently captured) quickly learned that the rules they ran from actually provided structure so they could play more freely! Likewise, our intuition is there to help us learn the best structure and steps to take to free our souls from ego-captivity, allowing greater energy to flow into a more joyful expression of who we truly are!

Using Emotions for Awareness and Healing – A Three Step Process

When it comes to working with emotions, I hear from a lot of people, “I don’t want to feel _________” (insert tricky emotion here). While we certainly don’t want to get stuck in an emotional experience, emotions are there to help us resolve whatever might need to be resolved within us.

Neuroscience tells us, “Name it to tame it”. When we can label our emotion, it instantly becomes more manageable than when it stays at a somatic (body sensation) experience.

In psychology, Carl Jung taught us that making the unconscious conscious is our way to healing. This is certainly true in our spiritual expression as well.

In this video, I teach you a three step process that I’ve been using for over two decades, and frequently use with my clients and in classes that I facilitate.

The steps are three questions to ask yourself when you become aware of an emotion:

1. What is the emotion I’m feeling?
2. What is the story this emotion is telling me?
3. What new perspective could I take that would be calming to me?

Here is a link to the handout: http://www.dynamiccounseling.info/handouts.html

If you would like more information on Explorer’s Odyssey: Up a Spiritual Creek without a Paddle, contact me here: http://www.dynamiccounseling.info/contact.html

Thanks for watching!

Lynn Barrette, LCSW
http://www.dynamiccounseling.info
https://www.facebook.com/dynamiccounseling/

Increase Body Awareness, Increase Intuitive Sense

Did you know that your body awareness has a great deal to do with your intuition?

Intuition is a higher expression of our emotional sensation and perception. While emotions are mixed in with our contradictory human issues, our intuition is free and clear, always speaking to us!

To increase our awareness of both our emotional and intuitive bodies, we can practice being aware of our physical bodies.

Here are a few ways to increase body awareness:

1. Physical movement: yoga, martial arts, walking, exercise of any kind

2. Mindfulness body scan

3. Diaphragmatic Breathing (Belly Breath)

Work with one or two of these daily to increase your body awareness as well as intuition!

Thanks for watching!

Lynn Barrette, LCSW
http://www.dynamiccounseling.info
https://lynnbarrette.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/dynamiccounseling/
Links to Body Scan and Breath exercises:
http://mindfulness-solution.com/DownloadMeditations.html

For more on Soul Evolution and intuition:
Center for Enlightenment
http://www.cfenlightenment.org
http://www.soulevolutionist.com

Five Tools for Inner Housecleaning

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Spring cleaning is not just for Spring, or for your house! Here are five tools for your inner housecleaning that you can use daily, as needed, and enjoy the fresh air that peace of mind brings!

1. Meditate. For five minutes a day (at a consistent time and location), observe the thoughts that go through your mind. Don’t push them away, judge them, or feel ashamed; just notice what they are saying to you and let them pass.

2. Journal. Write about the time during the day when you felt frustrated, hurt, sad or angry. What were you feeling and thinking? Get to know your reactions and look for a pattern in them. Writing about your feelings can help you understand when to back off, and when to stand up for yourself.

3. Forgive. Jane Elizabeth Hart’s Seven Steps for Successful Life Transitions is an excellent forgiveness method. Unforgiveness balls you up in body, mind, and expression; while forgiveness frees you to experience more overall joy.

4. Use difficult people to learn about your hidden issues. Take that guy at the office that grinds you like fingers down a chalkboard. Get your journal and list all the qualities and behaviors about him that bug you. Ask yourself who this person represents to you. You can learn a lot about what is blocking you from your potential by embracing those you find difficult to be around. Forgive them even if you don’t know what it is that you don’t like. The health benefits of this action alone will be worth your effort.

5. Trust yourself above all others. There is no teacher, master, therapist, guru, or life coach out there who is any good unless they are telling you to listen to your own inner promptings. As you watch your own thinking and journal out your feelings, you will begin to understand more about who you are. This is a wonderful and scary thing! Trust that your inner wisdom will reveal itself and support you as you work to resolve fear and false beliefs.

Life Isn’t Solved by a Facebook Post

Did you grow up with platitudes that don’t seem to work in everyday life? Can you recognize them as you scroll through Facebook?

A platitude is a statement, usually with a moral message, that is used so frequently that it loses it’s true meaning.

Even though my family was part of a positive spiritual community, I still grew up with several platitudes that I eventually had to unlearn.

Anytime we receive advice from others, or see an inspiring message on social media, we need to still run it through our intuition: Is this right for me? Will it help me resolve and move forward from my present circumstance?

What platitudes have you evaluated and found to work only in certain circumstances?

Thanks for watching!
Lynn

P.S. You might also enjoy Discernment versus Judgment!

http://www.dynamiccounseling.info
https://www.facebook.com/dynamiccounseling/

Discernment versus Judgment

I hear from many people who worry overmuch that they are thinking or saying something judgmental, when in reality they are making a clear and healthy discernment regarding a person or situation.

In this video, I help define discernment–which is healthy and helps us make wise decisions–versus judging, which generates negative feelings and energy for everyone.

The questions to ask yourself when you are worried that you are feeling judgmental are:

  1. What is happening?
  2. What is my experience of what is happening?
  3. What can I do about it?

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences!

Take Time Apart

804972302Lately there has been much talk about how busy our lives are, the pull of technology, and the practice of connecting online more than in person.

Yet there is another practice that is emerging in the midst of busyness–electronic or otherwise: Realizing the importance of taking time away from it all! Meditation, yoga, sitting by the beach, and other forms of quiet time are finding their way into many people’s routine.

Sometimes clients share their involved story with me, then say, “I just don’t feel I am handling it well.” In most cases, they are handling the situation beautifully, but forgetting to handle themselves as conscientiously as the other people and events. I will gently reflect that perhaps instead of needing to do more, it is time to do less, to take time apart from the situation and renew themselves. Often this helps them see a situation anew.

What are some ways you renew yourself? Having a list of three or four things can help your renewal time feel fresh. Other people like their standby of one or two activities (or inactivities!). Taking a walk, listening to music, relaxing in a hammock, reading a book are other ways to take a vacation from busyness for a while.

I love riding my bike around a lake near our house. Biking has always been a refreshing activity for me—feeling the wind cooling me as I ride, looking at natural surroundings or pretty neighborhoods, and enjoying the exercise-induced invigoration when I’m done. My favorite trail is Busse Woods, passing the elk as I ride; but even shorter rides near home can feel like I was gone for hours!

If these activities still seem too time-consuming in your busy day, try taking two minutes two or three times throughout your day to breathe. Stop what you are doing and do some diaphragmatic breathing—breathing from your belly—in and out for two minutes. Try it right now…Refreshing, right?

There is always time to take time apart–and there is always the need to do so!

Look Who’s Talking Now

Stick Snake

A root I encountered which my mind reacted to as if it were a snake. Our minds are not always reliable upon first response!

At any given moment, there is a voice talking to you in your head. Maybe it’s a positive voice. Maybe it’s a negative voice. Maybe it’s a neutral, narrator, commenting on your every move. Do you notice it? It’s processing as you read this, maybe throwing in an opinion or two. What do you find it is saying to you right now?

That voice can be likened to the weather in the Midwest: If you don’t like it, wait five minutes and it will change.

To understand why this is so, let’s define a couple things. Your brain is the organ through that functions as the machine for many physical functions, thinking being only one of them. Your mind is how your consciousness moves energy through the brain in order to function in your life.

Your brain stores every experience you have had, ever, and the thoughts, decisions, attitudes, emotions, and opinions surrounding those experiences at the time that you made them. Some of those are well-outdated, yet there they are, in the storehouse of your brain’s memory.

Your mind, in its automatic, semi-conscious state, pulls up those memories, thoughts, decisions, attitudes, emotions, and opinions as it sees fit. In neutral times, those thoughts, etc, might be simply random. Other times, the mind is quite certain that the thought, emotion, opinion, etc, that it is pulling up is quite fitting for the situation at hand, even if it might not be helpful.

For example, think about what you think about while driving. Maybe you’re singing along with a song (lyrics pulled up from your brain’s memory). Maybe you are worrying about what just happened at work or with that family member; in which case, all past experiences, opinions, emotions having to do with that person, or someone very similar from your history, come up and invade your thoughts about the current situation. This adds confusion to the current situation: Are you really upset at the thing that just happened, or is that thing not so bad, but it is reminding you of that other thing that happened, so the negative thoughts and strong emotion are actually coming from some previous experience, being dumped onto the current one? Probably both, but the current situation is getting the brunt of the past, unresolved emotion.

That little example holds about five topics of discussion; but for this article, let’s simply understand that the mind has a mind of its own, and a lot more is going on than you are often aware of.  In fact, there are many voices in your head, and often they have competing opinions and perspectives! You’ve probably heard someone say, “The committee in my head is arguing about this.”

What can you do about that mind that can be so unruly?

Notice it, step back from it, wait a few minutes and it will change.

Notice it. You can’t be in charge of that unruly inner voice unless you are aware of what it’s doing in there. Take a few breaks during the day to check in and listen to what it’s saying to you. Is it positive? Critical? Sad? Afraid? Numb?

Step back from it. Listen with compassion and non-judgment; be the observer of it. Cup both hands together and hold them in front of you. Pretend that the thoughts and feelings going through your mind are in your cupped hands. Since they are now outside of your head, watch them like a scientist watches her experiment with curiosity, not knowing what exactly is going to happen. What do you see happening with those thoughts and feelings?

Wait a few minutes and it will change. As you observe the contents of your mind, they will inevitably shift and change. See how long you can hold them before they morph into something else. How long does it take? Five minutes? Twenty? Three? One? This is a great practice in not taking your thoughts too seriously. Just because it is wafting through your mind doesn’t make it true.

This simple process is helpful especially when big emotions are on the surface. As you observe and wait patiently and compassionately through the wave of emotional dialogue and felt sensations, you will feel yourself rise above it into a clearer thinking space. As you practice with this, your conscious self moves into more of a leadership role in the mind/brain process. You can be more in charge of who’s talking to you, who gets the promotion, and which voice gets phased out.

Who’s talking within you?