The Power Of Questions
As a teacher and a coach, well-timed and pertinent questions are something I love, and “How can I become more spiritual?”, is, in my opinion an excellent one to ask. I love questions because they open up the mind to new possibilities and a good question stimulates the brain to make new connections. They can help us change our perception of a situation and so questions are really bursting with the potential to change our lives forever.
So here’s another one worth pondering: what attracted you to reading this article?
Was it the title? Perhaps it was simple curiosity, or maybe something else.
The Significance Of Coincidence
I remember twenty years ago someone giving me a copy of James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophesy. I fell into that book and from it I took at least one powerful and life changing insight: there is, for me, no such thing as ‘just’ a coincidence. Coincidences obviously exist. We’ve all experienced them, however to my way of thinking they are not random, causeless events. My belief is that coincidences are highly significant. So whether you are reading this by pure coincidence or if you are consciously seeking answers to spiritual questions, either way I’m very happy to have this opportunity to connect with you.
My personal belief is that you are here for a reason and no one can tell you what that reason is. I believe you’ll discover it for yourself through an increasing awareness of who you really are.
We Are Spirit
The way I look at it, this question of who we really are lies at the heart of our spiritual searching.
But what if we already are what we seek?
I heard one of my favourite definitions of being human from Dr Wayne Dyer when he said we are spiritual beings, having physical experiences.
If we are spirit then, just like apples cannot become more ‘appley’, so as spiritual beings, we cannot become more spiritual.
What we can do however is become more aware of our spiritual nature. Our spiritual nature is, in my opinion, there all the time beneath the thoughts and feelings that distract our attention away from it.
Imagine a bird watcher, hiding out on the marshes waiting for a peek at some rare winged visitor. She’s on the look out, sweeping her binoculars across the reed beds. Her mind is full of a mixture of anticipation and a splash of frustration. Her friend is meant to join her, but is late arriving. Somewhere in the distance she hears the rumble of a road. She is distracted by the traffic. She spends more time with her eyes trained on the road searching for signs of her friend’s arrival than she does looking for birds.
The rare bird is within her sights, but her attention is elsewhere. The bird goes unnoticed. It is there, but to all intents and purposes, being unaware of it, our birdwatcher is under the impression that it does not exist.
Our habitual thoughts are like the traffic. They distract us from the rare bird of peace that is here for us if we would only pay it attention and stop looking at the road.
If the bird watcher metaphor works for you, lets take things a little further and investigate what it is we are watching for. What is spirit? How do we recognise it within ourselves?
Have you ever played this game?
The Mystery Of The Unknown
Give yourself a moment to become quiet and still. Slow right down. Now look at your body. Not your reflection but the parts of you visible to your unaided eyes. Look at your hands, arms, elbows, legs, feet, torso. Take your time. Become aware of the size of the space that surrounds you. If you are in a room then see yourself in that room from a perspective slightly bigger than the room. If you are in a park or open space see yourself from a perspective that includes the park. Now draw further back and see yourself from increasingly wider perspectives.
Taking the example of a room, you’d see yourself in a building, on a street, in a town or city, in a county or state, in a country, on an island or a continent, on our planet, in our solar system, in the vastness of the universe and of everything that exists.
All of the stuff that exists that you are not aware of right now -and there is a lot of it –is the unknown.
Behind it is the formless energy that gives rise to it.
Spirituality in my view is an increasing awareness of our connection with this formless energy. This is the stuff I’m referring to as spirit. It is the vast potential of life. To experience it we must become ever more comfortable entering into it, entering into the unknown.
To put it another way we must become increasingly more open to not knowing.
So how do we do that? What would that be like?
If you are anything like me than you’ve meditated, been on retreats, read a ton of books, bought audio programs, joined spiritual traditions, left them and joined others, prayed, done energy work, yoga, martial arts, joined with gurus and saints and masters, and so on, yet this has not brought you the spiritual experience you seek.
I’m not knocking any of these things. I can tell you for certain, I’m going to keep right on doing them, because I love them.
All of our learning is perfect in so much as it has brought you and I to this very point in space and time, but what I’m guessing about you is that your desire is to awaken.
Now we have a different question on our hands. If we accept that we are spirit and therefore cannot become more spiritual, how then do we awaken to our true spiritual nature?
What must we do to experience it?
The answer is simple.
We need do nothing.
We are spirit.
If we are willing not to know what this means, then this makes space for spirit to make itself known to us.
Err… sorry, what?
Guided Meditation For Greater Spiritual Connection
Perhaps it would be better if we tried looking at it another way, but before we do, allow me to make a few disclaimers. Firstly please do not attempt the following exercise if you are driving. It might sound like an odd request but I know some people do actually read at the wheel.
I once saw someone, I assume to have been a teacher, marking papers in the slow traffic near my home. So no operating of heavy machinery please. Also it’s best to give up any ideas about doing this right. The following exercise is designed to lead you into a state of not knowing to aid your opening to direct experience of your spiritual nature.
Spirit is beyond thought and so we can’t think our way there.
If we slow down our thoughts we experience gaps in our thinking. The gaps reveal the reality behind thought – our spiritual nature.
I’m going to assume you’re sat in a chair for this, but if you aren’t then just adjust the instructions to fit. No need to sit with a straight spine or special position although if you feel like doing that please do go ahead.
One last thing, we’ll be working with breath and slowing it down so that you are reading one word at a time, one breath at a time. This takes a little practice. You might want to imagine you are breathing the words in and out of you. The main thing is that you slow right down compared to the speed you are reading at now. At least half as fast is a decent rule of thumb.
So, if you’d like to get yourself into a comfortable position, we’ll give doing nothing a go.
Begin by becoming aware of your body.
Feel the weight and the pressure where your body touches the chair.
If you are skim reading then slow down.
Bring your attention to your breath.
Notice that you are here, that you are physical and that you are breathing.
Slow your reading to the point where you read one word per breath.
Read-this- on -the -in -breath, -that -on -the -out, -now -in, -now- out, -in, -out… one –breath- per- word.
You cannot see the air, yet you know it is there.
Breathe through your nostrils if you can, your mouth if you need to.
Slow down to one word per breath.
Notice you are thinking.
Begin to pay more attention to each breath than to each word.
Allow your thoughts to drift like leaves on a stream or clouds across a deep blue sky.
One –word- per- breath.
There is nowhere you need go, nothing you need do.
Thoughts will come, allow them to come, allow them to go.
Rest for a moment.
Look at the spaces between the words.
Notice the spaces between the things around you.
You cannot see the air in the spaces, yet you know it is there.
Thoughts are arising in and around the words.
Bring your attention back to your breath.
Breath by breath, can you allow being here in this moment without knowing how?
Allow thoughts to drift.
Bring your mind gently back to your breath.
Stay as long as you desire.
When you are ready repeat the following silently in your mind:
“Be still and know that I am”
Stay with the feeling.
You might be feeling a little calmer than when you began this article. If you followed the exercise then hopefully you experienced are taster of the huge benefits meditation brings.
If you found it difficult then that’s fine too. The paradox is that doing nothing takes practice. I highly recommend getting together with other like-minded individuals and meditating together. Doing so, in my experience, makes slipping into the space between thought so much easier.
Also remember it’s important to be kind to yourself. Whatever spiritual nourishment we give to ourselves we have more of to offer others.
That’s about it for now. I’ll be posting more articles on LightWorker’s World soon.
Till then, smile often.
Mike Warwick is a Spiritual Coach and EFT practitioner www.mikewarwicklifecoaching.com
He is the founder of The London Gratitude Group and a director at www.exammagic.co.uk.
PS If you would like a free guided meditation audio version of the exercise above drop me an email at [email protected] and I’ll pop an MP3 in the post for you.
PPS To get updates and alerts about new articles and freebies please follow me on twitter @UKGratitudeGuy