Book Excerpt

 
                         ISBN 1-879159-61-9         $12.95

                       ISBN 1-879159-61-9         $12.95

THE POWER OF LOVE

10 Spiritual Practices that can Transform Your Life

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The First Spiritual Practice: Oneness

There are two types of consciousness: Unity consciousness and duality consciousness. Unity consciousness blesses and includes. Duality consciousness judges and separates.
     We experience unity consciousness when we remember our connection with God. That is always an experience of ecstasy.
     We experience duality consciousness when we forget our connection with God. That is always an experience of suffering.
     Unity consciousness can also be called Oneness or God consciousness. In order to experience this transcendent state, we must turn our attention from the external affairs of the world and look within to encounter God’s essence within us. We do this by getting centered and breathing, usually with our eyes closed. We do not seek the Kingdom of Heaven outside, but within our heart of hearts.
     When we take time to connect with God, we come into our center. We feel God’s presence there. We may experience this as energy or warmth, or simply as a deep peacefulness. In these moments of connectedness, we feel loved, accepted and blessed. And we get in touch with our capacity to love ourselves and others unconditionally.
     In many Eastern religions, daily meditation practice is considered essential. In many Western religions, daily prayer or reflection is encouraged. Taking time each day to enter the silence of our hearts and commune with God is perhaps the most important of all universal spiritual practices.

Practice Communion With God

Today and every day this week, you are asked to spend at least 15 minutes going into the silence to commune with God. Many people find it easiest to set aside this time when they get up in the morning before they move into the demands and expectations of their work or family life. Others prefer to take this time at night before going to bed. Choose a time that works best for you and then let that time be your daily appointment with God.
     Keeping the same time every day is important because it helps you build this practice into your life. You are creating a new foundation for living, so build it clearly and solidly. All other practices in this book build on this daily practice, so please do not move onto the other practices before you have integrated this one into your life for seven consecutive days.
     Choose a beautiful spot in your home or in nature where you won’t be interrupted. If you wish, build a simple little altar—a few stones gathered together—or a candle with some flowers or incense if you prefer. Create a space that feels holy to you.
     Begin to do some deep breathing—inhaling and exhaling through your nose for a count of 5 or 7 or whatever feels relaxing to you. On the inhale let yourself remember “I am taking this time to center within my heart of hearts, to connect with the core of my being, where the Spirit of God resides” and on the exhale tell yourself “I am letting go of any worries or stressors that stand between me and my deepest peace. I am coming to God empty and open.”
     As you breathe and center, feel the warmth and peace of God in your physical body. Feel the warmth of unconditional love and acceptance in your heart center and the spaciousness and grace of God’s openness in your mind. Let “Spirit” move within you, filling up every cell of your body and moving through your skin to surround you and anyone else whose life you share.
     Dwell at peace in this moment. If judgments come, just acknowledge them gently, but know that you are not these judgments. Stay in the energy and the radiance. Commune with God as though you and God are the only ones there. Let yourself be in the consciousness of “I and the Father are One,” as Jesus was.
     As much as possible, remember your oneness with God throughout the day. Whenever you get drawn into the drama of life, step back and remember your connection. You and God are not separate because the Spirit of God lives in you and through you.

Extending Silent Communion Throughout the Day

As your daily practice takes root, you will find that you are able to re-experience this communion with God throughout the day. Sometimes, just closing your eyes and breathing deeply will enable you to reconnect to the energy of unconditional love and acceptance in your heart, removing you from the push-pull drama around you and restoring your inner peace and equilibrium. The practice of “Remembering God” thus becomes an act of remembering the truth about yourself.
     You can quicken this process by taking five minutes out of every waking hour to close your eyes and re-enter the silence. This 5 minutes of God communion becomes your little mini-retreat from the world and sustains God’s presence in your life throughout the day.

Stepping into Love Communion

     If you have trouble connecting to God and your essential Self, experiment with the following process of “Stepping into Love Communion.”
     We enter into Unity consciousness by accepting life as it is right now. To help you enter this state of unconditional love and acceptance, allow yourself to sink into the awareness reflected in the following words: I can accept myself as I am right now. I can accept others as they are right now.
I can accept life as it is right now.

     These words are not affirmations to be mindlessly repeated. They are not magical formulas. They are statements of truth that represent a certain level of consciousness to which you can attune.
Saying these words if you don’t believe them is an exercise in futility. So let yourself sink into the consciousness of the words before you attempt to say them. Breathe with the words. Mull them over. Turn them around and let them weave into your consciousness right now. When you feel willing to do what the words say, then they have meaning.
     So be with them until that willingness comes. That is what it means to attune or to “vibrate with the words.” Then continue: I am loveable and can receive love right here and now. Others are loveable and can receive my love right here and now. Love can be fully present in my life right here and now.
    
Let this sink in. When it has, then continue: I am the bringer of love. Without my presence and my willingness to let love come through me, love cannot be. Without my presence, love cannot be.
     Let this sink in. Breathe into this awareness. Love comes from you, not from someone else. Then continue: I cannot bring love to myself or others if my heart is not open. I am willing to breathe into my heart and feel it open right now. I am willing to be open to the healing power of love.
    
Be in the consciousness of these words until the words dissolve and only their resonance remains in consciousness. Then you will experience the ecstasy of love communion.
     You might find it helpful to write these words down and carry them with you in your wallet or pocketbook. That way you will be able to use them not just in your formal 15 minute meditation, but throughout the day when you are thrown off-center and need to come back into connection with the Source of Love within yourself.

Results of the First Spiritual Practice

This first spiritual practice helps to transform the following mental-emotional states that result from a sense of disconnection with God and our Spiritual Essence:

  • I feel lonely
  • feel unworthy of love
  • Life is painful and has no purpose
  • I have no hope
  • I can’t trust God or anyone else

Gradually, as we anchor in the practice, we feel a greater sense of connection to God and our own Spiritual Essence. As a result, our overall disposition begins to change. Our mental-emotional states increasingly reflect the awareness that:

  • God is with me
  • I have love inside me and I can connect with it
  • I don’t always understand life, but I can accept it
  • Every moment is new and brings an opportunity
  • I am learning to trust

So be with them until that willingness comes. That is what it means to attune or to “vibrate with the words.

Summary of Practice

Take fifteen minutes to be in silent communion with God today and each day of this week.
Extend this practice throughout the day as much as possible. Continue this core daily practice
for the next 10 weeks