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As we approach our winter solstice this year, and as the dark turns to light, let us consciously tune into the subtle energies and the descent of Grace that naturally bless us. We can sense it in meditation, in nature, or simply in quiet times if we make space for it. Gently breath into your crown chakra at the top of your head and open to the golden effulgent light that is specially showered upon us this time of year. Allow it to fill you up, washing away any shadow or negativity. Feel how it uplifts you and connects you to your heart. 

The spiritual heart at the center of our chest is a doorway into an ascended state of being. Its overarching vibration is of love; yes, romantic love lives here, but also so many subtler vibrations that uplift us and invite us to connect with others. For example, the spiritual heart shows us the way to acceptance and compassion. Allow your attention to rest there at the center of your chest and open to these ascended states of mind. Feel any resistance in your heart melt as you are uplifted and brought nearer to your essential divine nature. Breathe deeply into this wellspring of love and light.

Forgiveness, generosity, gratitude and humility also emanate from the spiritual heart. On the cusp of a new year, who in your life is awaiting your forgiveness? Can you let go of the pain and resentment and open your heart to them once again? Allow Grace to support you as you surrender your withholdings and heal the broken heart. Begin the coming year anew with a unification so that you both may be cleansed and loved once again. 

In your giving and receiving this time of year (and always) allow Grace and the open heart to guide you. Can you give generously and selflessly, especially to those in need? And can you accept what is given to you with humility and gratitude? Can you be thankful not only for any gifts, but for the beauty of felt connection and the fullness of heart that comes with that?

Joy, too, lives in the heart. Let this sacred and sweet time of year bring you joy. Choose how you spend your time mindfully. Will you be uplifted by your choices or will they feel like a burden, weighing you down emotionally and physically. Use your free will to choose to raise your vibration through your choices moment by moment. Grace will surely meet you there, and then some. 

Lastly, take your light and your joy with you into the new year. This fragmented world desperately needs the healing that comes with the open heart. Together may we seed the world with a higher unifying vibration carried on the wings of love.

In this world a message we get all the time is be positive, stay positive, or focus on the positive etc. Well of course! Makes sense. Foolish would it be to focus on the negative, although the ego will fall into this trap from time to time and, unfortunately, even get lost in it. We have two choices then, or so it seems. We can go negative or we can go positive. But what happens, eventually? Experience shows us that life is transitory and we won’t remain on the positive side of life forever; at some point negativity will creep in and even take over! And then the tide will once again turn and fate will hand us a positive experience, which, if the negative experience was particularly painful, we will cling to for dear life! So we will inevitably flip from one side to the other in an endless cycle of positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, pleasure and pain. Is this what life is about – always grasping for the positive and pushing away the negative, the wheel of karma endlessly turning? What can we  do? Is there another way?

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The Middle Way, or the path between the opposites of the world is what the Buddha teaches. It reconciles the tension inherent in polarity and becomes the path of no resistance. It’s the one that gets my vote! This choice transcends positive and negative and the dual nature of the limited mind, and new more stable states of being become our default in the world – acceptance, compassion, equality, faith, forgiveness, generosity, gratitude, humility, joy, selflessness, tolerance, and trust, among others, for example. Feel into them for a moment. Do you notice how your attention comes to rest at the level of the chest at the heart chakra? These states of being are heart states and have the unique qualities of transcendence and eternality: our capacity for compassion, generosity, or joy, for instance, is unlimited! It is these heart states that unify the opposites of the world, bringing about inner peace and, yes, on-going happiness. It is through making the choice to choose the heart, rather than simply the positive, that puts the brakes on the wheel of karma and our identity with the endless ups and downs of life.

When we choose the heart we identify with our true, essential nature as timeless beings. Negative and positive experiences will always occur in a world of form that is dualistic by nature, but we will no longer find our identity in them. Instead, life’s experiences will pass through us, through the still center of awareness that we know ourselves to be. Without the extreme teeter-tottering of emotions creating instability and fear in our lives, life smooths out greatly. We embody more and more transcendental light and shine that light out into the world. Our lives change. We begin to draw to us all that we need for our well-being and happiness.

Too good to be true? What I’m describing here is our birthright to live happy and content lives beyond the limitations of egoic consciousness. When we choose the path between the opposites of the world we surrender the denser aspects of ego that are driven by individual will. We come to know and to trust in Divine Will to guide our lives, which, in truth, is all there ever is… if we could only get out of the way! Through processing and practice we learn to surrender our limited egoic consciousness for what may yet be unknown, but for what is always absolute truth.

Do you feel ready to take on this inner work? If so, allow me to be your guide. I promise you a gentle ride through the roller coaster of egoic life. And I promise, at its end, the ride will even out and you will feel not only relief, but more and more moments of absolute joy! Please click the Spiritual Guidance page at the top of this blog, schedule a session, and let’s go!

Photo credit: Penelope Dullaghan

If you could go to a very beautiful place where you find love, compassion, forgiveness and generosity, wouldn’t you go? I know, you’re thinking, “Fat chance, I can’t afford a plane ticket to some pricey island sanctuary in the Bahamas!” But the truth is this place I’m speaking about is closer than that, even closer than a heartbeat! In fact, it is your heart (though, not the physical heart, mind you!)

This place, located right in your body about three inches below the notch in your collarbone, is known as the heart chakra. It is our spiritual heart. Love, compassion, forgiveness and generosity are states that emanate from this place in our energy body. You can test this out for yourself. The next time you can feel and name the of vibration of love, compassion, forgiveness or generosity, bring your attention to your heart chakra and see what you feel. Do you notice a sensation of radiating warmth and expansiveness there? Do you notice how you feel safe and secure and connected to something greater than your small and limited self.

When our awareness rests in the heart chakra we are outside of the right/wrong and good/bad polarities of the limited and judging mind. Through careful cultivation of our consciousness we can come to rest permanently here in the beauty and expansiveness of the open heart, where all of these ascended states are available to us… as well as many more! Wouldn’t it also be nice to live in faith and flow, and trust and harmony? How about balance and equanimity? And let’s not forget JOY!

When the heart chakra is open and fully enlivened, life flows through us in a beautiful way, and we feel balanced and serene, and as you go through your day, your heart leads the way!

The magic is that there is a very simple easy way to access this open heart daily. It is through the practice of gratitude. Gratitude is a doorway into the heart.

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More than a perfunctory “thank you”, the gratitude I’m speaking about arises from a deeper place within. Reflect from time to time on the everyday blessings you so readily take for granted. When you notice yourself mired in thoughts about everything that’s not working in your life, or if you are feeling in some way deprived …stop! Remind yourself of all that you do have, like the love of a child or a partner, or a pet. Or the simple satisfaction of having food to nourish you when you are hungry; there are so many that do without…

By feeling and nurturing this gratefulness in our lives we bypass the polarized nature of the lower mind and our awareness rises up into the heart. The heart chakra begins to open like a beautiful lotus flower.

Count your blessings. Live in gratitude. Your heart will sing! And you will find love, compassion, trust and faith, and more! And this is what you will attract. No vacation in the Bahamas required; your heart is your sanctuary. Wherever you go!

Brother David Steindl-Rast has created a beautiful video about gratefulness. Find a quiet moment, take some deep relaxing breathes, and receive its blessing…

<p>Video from <a href=”http://www.karmatube.org”>KarmaTube</a></p&gt;