Always Within

Welcome back to SunnyRoomStudio.

The sunrise is often hidden from view, but we know the sun is there somewhere. We don’t doubt it, or question it; we simply “know” it. So … if we turn within, what insightful comparisons can we draw?

  • JOURNAL ENTRY THIRTEEN: Turning Within

This sounds pretty easy. Perhaps we forget our spiritual dimension is always there, as well, even when we feel oddly disconnected from it. Even when doubt or confusion or fear threaten to overwhelm us.      

In the rush of life, admittedly, a lot can come our way on a single day. Much of it can be unexpected. And that nearly always throws us off. When our focus shifts suddenly, we often veer off course. A few days later, we may “see” it … we may “see” that we lost touch with our inner wisdom. With our peaceful essence and all that it offers in terms of a calm, knowing presence.  

IMG-20140723-02472We have to guard against judging with our mind before we have allowed our intuition,
which is at the heart of the experience, to bring us knowledge.
—Jeanne de Salzmann, “The Reality of Being”

 Salzmann brings this reality to light so well, and cautions us to avoid letting our conditioned minds (often on automatic pilot) run away with us before we give our intuitive awareness an opportunity to provide feedback.  

Mindfulness, ironically, doesn’t necessarily flow from our minds, but from something deeper within us. 

But if we never access that part of ourselves, we’re at the mercy of our history — the knee-jerk reactions it produces.

IMG-20140723-02471The sun within is always there whether I’m aware of it, or not. It may feel distant or absent or obscured by current events or shock waves that rush against my day, but nonetheless, it’s still there. When coping with the personal earthquake of significant loss, my internal sun felt completely absent. Destroyed, virtually. But in writing my memoir over these past “many years,” I came to understand that the light of inner awareness never abandoned me. I just thought it did. ~ dh  

  •  FOR YOUR JOURNALS: When do you tend to react from habit and history; is there a discernible pattern? Does it serve you well? Turning within, what insights can you access? Is there a way for the sun of mindfulness–or maybe you prefer to think of your inner wisdom as spiritual awareness–guide you more often?  

It’s Year Five in this sunny space for kindred spirits, and this is my 13th journal entry for our 2014 spiritual journal: Turning Within. Posts are brief, but introspective. I hope you are keeping a journal; the series will close next Friday.

The external world can feel glittery, compelling; we are easily distracted. Yet,  self-awareness, self-discovery, and certainly spiritual realization, spring from within.

Thanks so much for being here. My next journal entry (August 15th) will be the CLOSE of this special series (a spiritual journal) launched in February, so if you have journal notes to share from TURNING WITHIN, please do so then!

  • If you missed the earlier posts in this series, click here: Turning Within.
  • To browse SunnyRoomStudio guest posts: Studio Guests.
  • Remember: If you haven’t looked within, you haven’t looked.

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Enriched by Experience

Welcome back to SunnyRoomStudio.

There is much less to be said about many subjects once a state of internal peace has been achieved. Not the fleeting kind of so-called peace that is contrived, contingent on life circumstances being just so. But the deep, abiding kind of peace that sustains and informs … no matter what. So how do we come to know the difference?

  • JOURNAL ENTRY TWELVE: Turning Within

Circumstantial peace v. spiritual peace. That’s one way to look at this important distinction.

One kind of peace is linked to what is happening on a superficial level — the other kind is always there. Maybe in the background, but there, nonetheless.

IMG-20140720-02459I’m not sure I understood this difference fully until the spiritual kind of peace became part of my life.

Often, only via experience do we learn what certain words actually mean.

Before that we are merely tossing them around like we understand them, but sometimes (usually) there are degrees of understanding.

  • Our notions about happiness entrap us. We forget that they are just ideas. Our idea of happiness can prevent us from actually being happy. We fail to see the opportunity for joy that is right in front of us when we are caught in a belief that happiness should take a particular form. ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

As Hanh points out–our “ideas” about happiness prevent real understanding–and so it is that our notions about peace also trip us up.  

Reading a definition in the dictionary provides intellectual understanding, but nothing more.

IMG-20140719-02447From this vantage point, it’s easy to see why there is so much turmoil in the world. In our families and communities. A word is just a word until life experience provides depth and structure and nuance.

When we say … “I understand,” do we?

The best thing about spiritual peace, the kind that feels timeless and without any kind of physical boundary, is how liberating it is — the world will go on debating issues as long as the planet exists, but I don’t feel compelled to take a position. To have an opinion. Or even to care … necessarily. There are different kinds of caring, various degrees of understanding, after all.

  • Tapping into the well of peace within, many things feel irrelevant, unimportant, senseless. It’s like noticing a tranquil blue sky above a dense forest. Like choosing to walk when everyone else is running. It’s seeing through the veil of the conditioned mind in a way that is lasting and profound. And it’s also realizing that we always have a choice between suffering and ease of being. But sometimes, and usually, suffering is needed first to fully realize the peace within. ~ dh

FOR YOUR JOURNALS: What kind of peace appeals to you? Turning within, what is there when you explore this word, this concept?

It’s Year Five in this sunny space for kindred spirits, and this is my 12th journal entry for our 2014 spiritual journal: Turning Within. Posts are brief, but introspective. I hope you are keeping a journal.

The external world can feel glittery, compelling; we are easily distracted. Yet,  self-awareness, self-discovery, and certainly spiritual realization, spring from within.

Thanks so much for being here. Journal entries post every other Friday morning (next entry: August 8). At the close of this series, we will definitely compare notes.

  • If you missed the earlier posts in this series, click here: Turning Within.
  • To browse SunnyRoomStudio guest posts: Studio Guests.
  • Remember: If you haven’t looked within, you haven’t looked.

faviconBlog by SunnyRoomStudio: all rights reserved.

Something Else

Welcome back to SunnyRoomStudio.

There are many things we seem to know … before we know. A vague uneasiness perhaps, a curious anxious feeling, or maybe just a sense that “something” is looming. Feeling unusually distracted also comes to mind in this context.    

  • JOURNAL ENTRY ELEVEN: Turning Within

So when this happens … do we turn within to explore such intuitive nudges more fully or do we brush them aside because they worry us?

On some level there is a tendency to ignore what bothers us. Why? Because there is often trepidation around the unknown — around uncertainty, and mysterious feelings we can’t pin down or even describe.

But I wonder if we aren’t cutting ourselves off from vital information when we simply react. When we aren’t mindful.

IMG-20140708-02391Our cosmos are really pretty this summer, but there is something else in this picture besides the flowers. It would be easy to miss … if you didn’t study the picture for a few seconds at least.

Here’s another picture … maybe this will be easier.

IMG-20140708-02394By now, we know “something” is there, but what is it exactly? Dragonfly, or not really?

I wasn’t sure myself when I spotted it the other morning.

I was out early to walk our dogs, and watched it dart around our flower garden before reaching for my cell phone to take a couple of pictures. But it was a moving target … I had to act quickly and hope “something” clear showed up in the pictures.

Nature is often a reflection of our internal world, especially when we pay attention.

And this example reminds me of those imperceptible feelings that we readily discount unless they are very persistent. Or, unless we pause long enough to explore our inner world a bit more deeply.

There is so much information available to us when we consistently tune in to unseen forces, invisible worlds, and all things mysterious. But we have to be aware and willing to access it.

We have to be willing to trust it.

IMG-20140708-02390There really is something else in these pictures. I hope you find it.

Of course sometimes we have to settle for “not knowing” — even when we turn within to look more closely at our intuitive guidance.

Sometimes I can’t seem to make anything out, the picture is too fuzzy, too vague, too fleeting and ephemeral. But that’s okay. At least I was mindful enough to notice that odd buzzing in my awareness that often signals something more. Something that isn’t written in stone or on my calendar. Something unexpected or unusual perhaps.

The dial of life is always turning … the shifts can be subtle … coming and going almost without notice. And often outside of our full awareness. But when we are able to quiet our racing minds, override our goal-driven mindsets, another door opens. One that is vast, and often beyond our understanding — beyond the grasp of the familiar and the predictable.

IMG-20140708-02389These are lovely red flowers (thank you Nancy J. for sending me plant starts for your Cherry Chimes daylilies from your Missouri garden), and of course you can see my shadow taking the picture. But somewhere within the red lilies is something else.

I planted an Easter lily amidst the daylilies in late spring last year, and when I’d nearly given up on it this spring, the Easter lily made an appearance. Still very small, maybe four inches tall, and not visible in this picture, I hope it blooms before the first frost!

Of course it won’t be Easter, but it won’t matter. A white lily inspires anytime time of year.   

The more I pay attention to life … the more present I become, and the more I seem to know things for no reason at all. The more I sense the infinite depth of routine daily experiences. Looking into the day, I am the day. ~ dh 

A belief may be comforting. Only through your own experience,
however, does it become liberating. ~ Eckhart Tolle

FOR YOUR JOURNALS: The depth of life surrounds us, yet so often we are oblivious to it. By turning within are there ways to move closer to life, to become one with life?

It’s Year Five in this sunny space for kindred spirits, and this is my 11th journal entry for our 2014 spiritual journal: Turning Within. Posts are brief, but introspective. I hope you are keeping a journal.

The external world can feel glittery, compelling; we are easily distracted. Yet,  self-awareness, self-discovery, and certainly spiritual realization, spring from within.

Thanks so much for being here. Journal entries post every other Friday morning (next entry: July 25). At the close of this series, we will definitely compare notes.

  • If you missed the earlier posts in this series, click here: Turning Within.
  • To browse SunnyRoomStudio guest posts: Studio Guests.
  • Remember: If you haven’t looked within, you haven’t looked.

faviconBlog by SunnyRoomStudio: all rights reserved. 

Space & Silence

Welcome back to SunnyRoomStudio.

We typically use words to describe and understand ourselves, but are we aware of their inherent limitations? 

  • JOURNAL ENTRY TEN: Turning Within

Can we avoid “knowing” by fixating on word descriptions that won’t ever be complete, fully accurate, or objective? 

But … what options do we really have? We think, we speak, we muse. We write, we talk, we share.

IMG-20140621-02286Like a dragonfly we zip around, urgently whisking ourselves to the next word–the next thought–without pause. We seem to like the incessant movement of thought and the words that emerge around us like … rain.

As a writer I certainly do my share of word juggling.

The gifts of silence and space, however, allow us freedom from endless pondering. Ruminating. Describing. Explaining.

Sitting in silence we allow our intuition to breathe … to come forth out of the shadows. And we notice the nuances of life in a deeper, different way.

This gives our thoughts balance, and we can enjoy a perspective that is beyond repetition and labels.

Summer is the perfect time to release what you think is “true” … see what else emerges.

IMG-20140621-02287Words are wonderful … I love them, too. But if I want to evolve in the spiritual sense, I try to let them go now and then to see what else I’m missing — to tease out the deeper truths in life, the sense of knowing that lies beyond an endless stream of words. ~ dh

 Pointing to another world will never stop vice among us; shedding
light over this world can alone help us.
  ~ Walt Whitman

FOR YOUR JOURNALS: How do words hinder your sense of peace, your spiritual inquiry? Why is it so hard to let go of them, even the ones that are repetitive, useless?

It’s Year Five in this sunny space for kindred spirits, and this is my 10th journal entry for our 2014 spiritual journal: Turning Within. Posts are brief, but introspective. I hope you are keeping a journal.

The external world can feel glittery, compelling; we are easily distracted. Yet,  self-awareness, self-discovery, and certainly spiritual realization, spring from within.

Thanks so much for being here. Journal entries post every other Friday morning (next entry: July 11). At the close of this series, we will definitely compare notes.

  • If you missed the earlier posts in this series, click here: Turning Within.
  • To browse SunnyRoomStudio guest posts: Studio Guests.
  • Remember: If you haven’t looked within, you haven’t looked.

faviconBlog by SunnyRoomStudio: all rights reserved.

Authentic Response

Welcome back to SunnyRoomStudio.

Where do our beliefs come from; how about our endless opinions, our instant reactions, our false certainties?

  • JOURNAL ENTRY NINE: Turning Within

I think we are on to something by simply posing this question.

Life can feel tedious when we are merely playing out old roles … roles that haven’t been confronted, explored, challenged.

It’s like we know what we’re going to say … before we say it! But once we look more deeply, turning within more purposefully, something else emerges … something that feels more “true,” more “authentic.”

IMG-20140610-02259We stumble and fall constantly even when we are most enlightened. But when we are in true spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen. –THOMAS MERTON
 
When I read Merton’s quote, I knew exactly what he meant.
 
It’s one thing to fall in the usual sense, but at some point, if we are diligent, our awareness begins to shift. The bar has been raised and so have our standards. And we begin to define our reality differently. What was once acceptable–what was once an automatic reaction–is no longer comfortable or appropriate. The good news: we are no longer living in “spiritual darkness.”
 
Being unaware, spiritually unconscious, or locked into a set of beliefs (origin unknown) and opinions is no longer useful to us. We have moved beyond, and superficial issues no longer demand so much of our attention. Many things are put aside as no longer relevant. And somehow there is an ability to “see” with more depth, more clarity, and more wisdom.
 
The ego moves aside.
The automatic urge to debate with others feels curiously false.
The desire to compete vanishes.
The need to prove anything at all disappears.
The ability to remain peaceful, mindful, and calm grows.
The commitment to living from a spiritual perspective deepens.
And all the many stories that float around in our world lose their sense of urgency.
 
Most of all, we have a chance to offer a more authentic response: to others, to life, even to the mysteries of our existence. And, for me, that feels like the other side of the mountain. ~ dh

 FOR YOUR JOURNALS: How does turning within help us to become aware of life on a deeper level? And especially, how does it help us grow beyond roles and patterns formed in childhood?

It’s Year Five in this sunny space for kindred spirits, and this is my 9th journal entry for our 2014 spiritual journal: Turning Within.

Posts are brief, but introspective. I hope you are keeping a journal. The external world can feel glittery, compelling; we are easily distracted. Yet,  self-awareness, self-discovery, and certainly spiritual realization, spring from within.

Thanks so much for being here. Journal entries post every other Friday morning (next entry: June 27). At the close of this series, we will definitely compare notes.

  • If you missed the earlier posts in this series, click here: Turning Within.
  • To browse SunnyRoomStudio guest posts: Studio Guests.
  • Remember: If you haven’t looked within, you haven’t looked.

faviconBlog by SunnyRoomStudio: all rights reserved.