Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Meditation: Your circle of support

Sometimes we cannot avoid being alone; others cannot always be physically at our side. As we make our way through frightening experiences, a meditation that draws on support of others can be helpful.  Prayer that evokes the presence of trusted loved ones can support us even then.

Here is a meditation that will help you acknowledge and feel your circle of support:

Close your eyes and picture yourself in a calming place. Ask for the highest and the best.  Then invite, one by one, wise people whose love you trust to form a circle around you. These wisdom figures can be living or dead, religious or not. People sometimes choose Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, a favorite saint or spiritual guide, grandparents and parents, friends and mentors.

Once you have filled out your circle, simply BE in the encompassing presence and take in anything that comes to you. Sometimes it is merely a sense of love and comfort. At other times there is shared wisdom.

Remember that you can return to the meditation at a later time, again drawing strength from it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday speaker at UU church service 2-19-2012

I am the Guest Speaker at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Sunday.

My lecture topic is Spiritual Courage: Living in Heaven's Net. The ability to stay calm is always located within. I will be sharing my thoughts on spiritual courage, grace, and the meaning of the words "living in Heaven's Net".

For more info, visit http://www.willawhite.com/.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What is Willa reading?

I am a book worm and I'm usually making my way through three or four books at a time, depending on my family, work, and other commitments.  I love libraries and I especially enjoy old books.  For my lectures and for my own personal illumination, I continue to research various subjects with gusto.  There is so much to learn!

Reading is a such big part of my life that I decided it would fun to share with you what I am reading, from time to time.  Perhaps you will have read the same book.  Or perhaps you will be inspired to read something.  Maybe it will be the Spiritual Food you've been looking for.  So feel free to comment below.

Book One:
I just finished reading... "The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri.  My artist mother recommended the book and it covers a lot of techiques about portrait painting, however Henri also shares at length his observations of life, people, and philosophy.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Robert Henri... he was an American painter and teacher (1865-1929). He was a leading figure of the Ashcan School in art and had quite a following in the art world.  He actually knew Whistler and his mother (by all accounts a truly wonderful woman), and therefore knew what an outstanding piece of work Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (a.k.a. Whistler's Mother) was.  Here is one of my favorite Henri quotes from the book:

“There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual - become clairvoyant. We reach then into reality. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom. It is in the nature of all people to have these experiences; but in our time and under the conditions of our lives, it is only a rare few who are able to continue in the experience and find expression for it.”       ― Robert Henri, The Art Spirit
Book Two:
I am about halfway through "Spark Your Dream" by Candelaria and Herman Zapp.  It is the true story of a couple who travels all the way from Argentina to Alaska in a 1928 Graham Paige automobile.  Their incredible journey is awe-inspiring and full of synchronicities.  In fact, they are excellent examples of Spiritual Natural Law and pure manifesting power.  Their dream of accomplishing the long journey in an antique car inspires everyone the meet along the way.  If you need some Food for your Soul, this is it!

Book Three:
I have just begun Thomas Merton's "No Man is an Island".  Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk and a student of comparative religion, especially Christianisty and Buddhism.  Here's a quote from his book:
“In order to find God in ourselves, we must stop looking at ourselves, stop checking and verifying ourselves in the mirror of our own futility, and be content to be in Him and to do whatever He wills, according to our limitations, judging our acts not in the light of our own illusions, but in the light of His reality which is all around us in the things and people we live with.”  ―Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island
This book is a collection of 16 essays in which Merton explores aspects of human spirituality.  Merton is considered an important 20th century Catholic mystic and thinker.  And I plan I making my way through a few more of Merton's other books (he wrote over 70 books, but I don't think I'll make it through them all) to understand his perspectives.

What are you reading?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lessons from a Child: The whole world

During a walk yesterday, my 3 year old son became interested in a big snow pile left by the snowplow.  The snow mound ranged in height from one foot to 4 1/2 feet at its peak. 

He began tapping at it with his boot like some men kick car tires.  Then, he looked at me and said, "I want to be on the snowpile.  Help me up, Mommy." 

I looked at the snowpile and realized that, with effort, he would be able to climb it without my help if he chose another spot to begin the ascent.   So I called upon one of the sayings my parents used on me: 'If you can't climb up it on your own, then you aren't ready to climb it.' 

This is where some of you may be saying, "mean mommy, just give him a hand up - what's the big deal?"  Well... read on.

Initially, my son was not happy with my statement either, then he walked along the mushy exterior of the mound, assessing with a mountain climber's focus the nooks and crannies.

Soon he was scaling the snowpile, pushing his little body upward, and when he reached the top, his smile was glorious.  And he said, "I can see the whole world."  With his 3 year old eyes, he was surveying a world below.  "Mommy, I can see the lake... and the trees...and the sky!"

Clearly delighted with his position, he encouraged me to join him on his snowy Mt. Everest.  And I did.  For him, it was even better to have someone to share the experience with.

The lesson here has many layers, but I shall focus on two. 

First layer: You and your opinions about the struggling person

We must use our intuition in the moment to discern whether a person truly needs our help.  And in most scenarios, we must RESIST (now this is important):
  • extensively problem solving for them
  • taking offense that they don't follow the breadcrumbs you laid out for them
  • or making dramatic "noises" about their choices. 
Your role is to trust in their journey (and your part in it).  Be calm.  You are encouraging them (hopefully you are doing this as silently as possible) to find their path for themselves.

Now for the second layer: You and your journey

  
We each of us are like children who want to climb mountains (be they mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual mountains) and we sometimes feel we cannot so we don't even try.  The mountain looks too big. 

Often, we feel discouraged and frustrated that others aren't helping us in the ways we feel they should.  Sometimes, we are frustrated with God. 

Do not underestimate yourself.  Know that once you get past the emotional feelings, you can label the situation a "success" and that the Divine will open the doors of your mind, body, and spirit for the realization/opportunity to emerge in right timing and right order.  The obstacles are gone!  And the path emerges and you see "the whole world".

See you at the top!