I recently saw a quote on FaceBook that touched my soul:
“Things are not getting worse, they are getting uncovered. We must hold each other tight and continue to pull back the veil.” (Adrienne Maree Brown)
With all that’s going on in our outer realm these days (e.g., climate change, gun violence, war, inflation, reactive cultural changes, challenges to our democracy…) it is easy to feel like the world is spiraling out of control.
We are blessed, however, with spiritual teachings that remind us: life happens from the inside out! We all live this Truth, whether we know it or not…either unconsciously – reacting to outer conditions (and thereby recreating them), OR consciously – choosing our thoughts. HHC (His Holiness’s Cat) quotes the Dalai Lama saying, “Thoughts lead to words. Words lead to actions. It all begins here. As we think, so we become.”
So how do we learn to choose our thoughts? First, by remembering that life isn’t happening TO us, but THROUGH us. And second, by training our minds to focus on Truth rather than worldly appearances.
We all know that we must exercise our bodies to sustain our physical health, strength, flexibility, etc. In the same way, the spiritual life involves exercising our minds to stay AWAKE (living in the present moment) and consciously CHOOSE where we focus our attention (rather than being distracted and caught up in worldly appearances, regrets about the past, or worries about the future).
One such exercise is to purposefully focus our attention on positive sources of Wonder and Grace that abound all around us (e.g., the strength, courage and kindness of others; the beauty of nature; music and art; encountering life and death; big ideas or epiphanies). Studies show that even spending 5 minutes a day, intentionally focusing on sources of awe, wonder and grace, profoundly strengthens our sense of worth and belonging and increases joy and meaning.
So I invite you to ponder how experiences of Wonder and Grace have informed/inspired/supported your spiritual journey; and commit to spending 5 minutes a day (perhaps in 1-minute intervals) consciously finding and/or reflecting on sources of Wonder and Grace in your life. It will both help train your mind AND bring you immediate joy.