Category Archives: Inspirational thoughts

How to live with certainty in uncertain times

How to Live with Certainty in Uncertain Times

Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra reveals how to live more confidently.

Read more:

What makes a relationship right, or an important decision? How can you tell if deep spiritual questions have an answer? As children, we all asked these questions. They came naturally. Is there a God? Do I have a soul? What happens after I die? Children are too young to understand that their parents are just as confused as they are. But the answers are given, and for a time they suffice. If Grandma went to heaven to be with Grandpa, a child will sleep better and feel less sad.

When you grow up, however, the same questions return. You can postpone the deeper ones, perhaps, but not in matters of love, relationships, and personal decisions. Everyone wants to know the answers to those kinds of dilemmas. And thus you discover that your parents, however well intentioned, never showed you the way (unless you happen to be one child in a million who had very mature parents who could truly love and understand you).

I know I seem to be painting a very large, open-ended picture. But getting into a healthy relationship, discovering whether you have a soul and even picking the right job have something in common.

In all these cases you either hope, believe or know what the answer is. “I hope he loves me enough.” “I believe my spouse is faithful.” “I know this marriage is solid.” These are very different statements, and we find ourselves awash in confusion because “I hope,” “I believe” and “I know” are never the same thing. We just wish they were.

If you will indulge me in sounding so abstract, there’s a useful lesson here. The spiritual path actually has only these three elements. You move from a state of uncertainty—”I hope?”—to a somewhat firmer state of security—”I believe”—and eventually end up with true understanding—”I know.” It doesn’t matter whether the specific issue is about relationships, God or the soul, about the higher self, heaven or the far reaches of the supernatural. Either you hope, you believe or you know.

You have already made that journey—many times, in fact. As a child, you hoped you would be a grown-up. In your 20s, you believed that it was possible. Now you know you are an adult. You hoped someone would love you; you believed in time that somebody did; and now you know that they do. If this natural progression hasn’t happened, something has gone wrong, because the unfoldment of life is designed to follow from wish to fulfillment. Of course, we all know the pitfalls. Divorce generally means you didn’t know if someone truly loved you. Children who grow up resenting their parents usually don’t know who to trust. A hundred other examples could be offered.

But the important thing is to get you back on the path.

Step 1: Realize that your life is meant to progress.

Step 2: Reflect on how good it is to truly know something rather than just hoping and believing. Don’t settle for less.

Step 3: Write down, on three separate lists, the things you hope are true, the things you believe are true and the things you know are true.

Step 4: Ask yourself why you know the things you know.

Step 5: Apply what you know to those areas where you have doubts, where only hope and belief exist today.

I believe that when you truly know something, the following things pertain:

You didn’t accept other people’s opinions. You found out on your own.

You didn’t give up too soon. You kept exploring despite blind alleys and false starts.

You trusted that you have the power, determination and curiosity to find out the real truth. Half-truths left you dissatisfied.

What you truly know grew from the inside. It made you a different person, as different as two people, one of whom has deeply loved and the other hasn’t.

You trusted the process of personal growth.

You aren’t afraid of your emotions. The truth always feels a certain way; uncertainty is queasy and gives off a bad smell.

You went beyond logic into those areas where intuition, insight and wisdom actually count. They became real for you.

I would say that these elements are universal. They apply to the Buddha but also any young person learning how to be in a relationship or finding the right purpose in life. By dividing the project into its components, the huge questions about life, love, God and the soul become manageable. You can work on each ingredient at a time. Are you prone to accepting secondhand opinions? Do you have a habit of distrusting your own decisions? Is love too painful and confusing to explore deeply? These aren’t impossible obstacles. They are part of you, and therefore nothing can be nearer or more intimate. Moving from “I hope” to “I believe” to “I know” is nothing less than the journey of life. You don’t have to buy a ticket. You were born with one in your hand.

Deepak Chopra, MD, is the author of Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center.

Read more:


Letting Go – A Personal Journey

This month, we were privileged to hear from one of our Sangha members, on her personal journey of “Letting Go.”

With her permission, I am re-printing her talk so others can  benefit from her struggles and her journey to a new way of life.

With gratitude for her strength, courage and compassion in sharing her story, here it is:

Thank you, Bette, for asking me to share some of my experiences of “letting go” with our group.

I must admit that letting go has become a mantra for me, almost a way of life. Giving myself permission to let go of activities that no longer serve me well; ideas that no longer apply; useless regrets; destructive thoughts; negative self judgment; has made life easier and more peaceful. Letting go of self imposed expectations is also very freeing, I’ve found, and I think has given me more compassion for others.

I used to feel that letting go was giving up, or at times giving in to ageing, but I’ve come to believe that it’s part of the journey of life. If we can do it graciously as we move through the years, it makes our passage simpler to navigate.

As we let go in some areas of our lives that have been important to us, there is a vacuum created. Depending on how this emptiness is filled, our lives can be very busy, but perhaps may not feel satisfying or productive. As more letting go takes place, sometimes out of necessity, we may question our purpose in life at this stage. If we can see this as a time for self growth and personal enrichment, we can give meaning to our days. Sharing our feelings with others; helping where we can; fostering the attitude of always having a half full glass; these are some things that can help as we let go in life.

As to my experiences with letting go these past few years, I’ll tell you a little of my story so that you might better understand me. Five years ago, I left my husband after being together for 53 years. Letting go of my marriage after all of those years, definitely left me feeling lost and questioning my decision, my identity and my position in life. My coping skills were not enough. As strong and independent as I thought I was, I needed help and felt humbled as I asked for it. To get through this part of my journey, I relied on my dear friends, a psychiatrist and therapy. I tried to meditate to help me to focus; however, I was too scattered and restless to stick with it.

Over the next three years, I moved twice more. With each move I let go of the space I’d called home. Moving so often taught me about the impermanence of life: things change; nothing is forever. I find that material things mean much less to me now. Each time that I let go of home and things, it lessened my attachment to stuff. It changed my priorities. I did find some humour in my situation. Moving so often, but still living in Port Perry, I would be out and about, and then when it was time to return home, I’d forget which place I was living in or be half way to my previous residence before it dawned on me that I didn’t live there anymore. At first this frightened me – was I losing it? – but soon I found the humour in it and just laughed at the situation and myself. Humour definitely aids us in letting go.

During those three years of moving, and after a year long journey through our medical system, I had spinal surgery. After my recovery, it became apparent that my life had changed irrevocably. I used to be a yoga teacher and had been fortunate enough to be able to continue to do most yoga poses after I retired. I had taken my body’s abilities for granted. However, after the surgery, I had to let go of my attachment to thinking that I had to do yoga poses to a certain standard in order for them to be worthwhile. I’ve come to accept, with much emotional struggle, that if I’m to continue to do yoga, I must accept the change and adapt my practice to my new capabilities and to be grateful to my body for what it can still do. Because of my ego, this has been a difficult letting go.

While I was waiting for surgery and during my recovery, I was on morphine. This poses its own problem – addiction. In order to get off morphine, I had to let go of my anxiety and fear of the return of the extreme pain, and find ways to cope with withdrawal. This is where returning to a meditation practice helped me so much, especially focusing on the breath and visualization.

I’ve been a walker my whole life, and this last winter I had two bad falls on ice. Before my surgery, I had also fallen twice when the footing was bad. I was being sent a message, I think!

So my perspective on winter walking had to change. I had to let go of feeling that I needed to be outside to benefit from a walk. Being determined not to give up walking because of bad weather, I compromised and bought a treadmill. It isn’t as emotionally satisfying as outdoor walking, but I’m grateful that I’m still able to walk!

As I’ve let go of activities that I’ve stubbornly fought to continue, or made modifications that are safer and more compatible with my age and abilities, I now feel more content and am not constantly striving to do better. That feeling of not enough has lessened and what I can do has become enough. We become creative when we let go, and it’s amazing what we come up with to fill those holes.

I find that the more I let go, the easier it becomes. There is a certain contentment that happens when we can let go with acceptance and stop fighting it.

Life holds so many new interests to pursue if we are open to change and freely let go of things that no longer serve us. As we let go, the universe will present other opportunities to fulfill us, if we will only let them in.

In conclusion, on my journey of letting go, I have learned that asking for help, on so many levels, has been my saving grace. The support that comes to us, when we expose our vulnerabilities and trust that others really do care and want to help us, makes us feel more secure and confident in our decisions. Taking self help courses; meditation; being willing to change, and sharing with others, helps us realize we are not alone. All of these and more, facilitate the process of letting go and give us the courage, through knowledge and support, to face the things we must or we wish to “let go”!!

Perhaps you might like to explore your life to see if there are some areas where it could be beneficial for you to let go. Do you have relationships that are hurting you or inhibiting your growth? Is it time to downsize or let go of activities that are becoming too challenging for you?

Thank you. I wish you well in any endeavours you may undertake to “let go”.




The Gift That Comes From Hitting Rock Bottom

Saw this article and loved it. If you have ever hit rock bottom and somehow managed to stagger your way back up, you will “get” this piece by Glennon Doyle Melton.

Mountains and valleys

Mountains and Valleys

About five years ago, I found myself in couples therapy listening to my husband confess he’d been unfaithful throughout our marriage. Boom! Life as I knew it—gone. There I was again in the valley, that place where you end up after receiving the news, whether it involves a betrayal, a diagnosis, an accident or some other kind of loss. You are suddenly no one because you’ve been evicted from your identity. You fall to the ground and try to remember: Who was I five minutes ago? What did I care about, what did I laugh at, what did I live for? And when will I be able to climb out of here?

A few days after the bomb dropped, I was in the supermarket checkout line wearing my rock-bottom uniform: stained sweatshirt and pajama pants, dilapidated Uggs. It had been at least six days since my last shower, and I was at my greasy-haired worst. But in a way, I was also at my best. What I’d come to learn is that most women do crisis all wrong. They hit rock bottom, and still they clean themselves up and brush themselves off, maybe even put on a little mascara.

Armoring up before facing the world is a rookie mistake. It turns out there’s no prize for being she who suffers secretly and in silence, unless you consider loneliness a reward. If you’re not okay, you might as well not pretend you are, especially since life has a way of holding us down until we utter that magic word: help!That’s when angels rush to your side.

So there I was at the grocery store, emitting SOS from every pore. And that’s when I spotted my angel. As I took my cereal, milk and bread out of the cart, I stole a look at the cashier. Something about her face froze time for me. Her hair was downy and white. Her skin was brown, leathery—the face of a native Florida girl. But it was her eyes that stopped me. They were cornflower blue, with deep wrinkles like rivers around them. I wondered: How has she made it this long? What has she seen? What does she know? I need her to tell me. She smiled and her eyes crinkled. I smiled back. She asked my name. “Glennon,” I said. “My name is Glennon.”

She paused and said, “Glennon. That’s a pretty name. I’ve never heard it before.”

I said: “Oh, It’s Irish. It means ‘girl from the valley.'” And then I looked down at my grubby self and laughed. I said, “Wow. Girl from the valley. I’m facedown in the valley right now. Come to think of it, that’s where I’ve spent the majority of my life.”

There was a pause. I feared I’d said too much, but she didn’t look uncomfortable. She looked curious.

She said, “Wait a minute, honey.”

God, I love it when an older woman calls me “honey.”

“Don’t knock the valleys,” she said. “Everybody wants to be on the mountaintop, but up there the air is so thin, you can hardly breathe—and all you can do is stand still and try not to fall. But in the valley, that’s where the river runs, sweetheart. That’s where all the power is.

I stared at my angel and thought: That’s why you don’t shower at rock bottom. So the angels know to do their thing. Sit. Breathe.

I’ve lived a life of extreme lows and highs. I became bulimic at 10 and spent time in a psychiatric hospital at 17. I became a drunk at 18 and got arrested a few times. I’ve written two best-sellers and founded a nonprofit that’s raised more than $7 million for people in pain. I’ve seen my name on marquees and bowed to standing ovations. I’ve also been called a fraud, a mental case, a heretic. People all over the country wait in line to hug me or curse me. I’ve come close to killing myself. I’ve watched my marriage crumble and then fought like hell to save it, only to walk away from it five years later. I’ve built up, then broken down, then helped revive the hearts of my three children.

My journey has consisted of yawning valleys and soaring mountaintops. And I’ll tell you: These days I’m a valley girl.

As my cornflower angel told me, we’ve got it all backward down here.

We want to be on the mountaintops, but we’re not called to be victorious. We’re called to be wise, strong and kind. We are admired on the mountaintops, but we are beloved in the valleys. All the magic is in the space between mountains, where we have to unbecome everything we thought we were and start from scratch. This is hard to do, because when pain comes in the form of uncertainty, our instinct is to scramble out of it, to grab blindly for the familiar. But when we rush out of the valley, we miss gathering all the wisdom, strength and kindness we need for the next climb. We have to learn how to sit by the river and be still enough to claim its gifts. 

Glennon Doyle Melton is the author of Love Warrior, a 2016 Oprah’s Book Club pick; the founder of the online community Momastery and the creator of the nonprofit Together Rising

Read more:

Flight Above Mars

Sometimes we just need a place to go, where our eyes and our minds can soar above the day-to-day minutia of life.

If you would like an “out of this world” experience, feast your eyes on the “Fictive Flight Above Real Mars”.

It is, quite simply, spectacular. And it reminds us that in spite of a seeming sense of permanence, all things change. Even an entire planet’s ecology.

Assorted guided meditations from the Chopra Center

Thoughts are just thoughtsLooking for some guided meditations for your home practice? Fortunately, the Chopra Center has been kind enough to post a variety of them, ranging in time from less than five minutes up to an hour, and include themes of Gratitude, Abundance, Awakening to Perfect Health, Creativity, Letting Go of Control….and many more.

Enjoy these guided meditations from the Chopra Center!

Om Satyam!

What does Namaste mean?

Ever wondered what it means when someone bows to you with hands to heart and says, “Namaste“?

Here is one lovely explanation:

My soul honours your soul. I honour the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honour the light, love, truth, beauty and peace in you because it is also in me. In sharing these things we are united, we are the same. We are one.
Look at the stars