Into the Depths – Part 1

As we faithfully travel our life’s journey, we often reach a point when our previous ways of being, thinking, believing and/or doing no longer work.  While this realization may be scary, it’s also liberating because it frees us to discern how we truly wish to live.  It invites us to discover what serves our lives the most.  It encourages us to live the truly balanced life we seek.  Ultimately, it draws us out of the shallows of Tip-of-the-Iceberg/Second-Hand Living.

Perhaps, Blessed Reader, you recognize those shallows: Where we forever seek, though rarely find.  Dabble a bit here and there.  Live vicariously through social media, movies or television.  Indulge in substances or behaviors which rarely nourish or satisfy.  Where we stay stuck because we think we’re safe.  Or because we falsely believe that if we wish hard enough for something to happen that the God of attraction and magical thinking will do things our way, wave a wand, and change our lives for us.

When we remain in the shallows, rather than venturing into the depths, we usually miss the beautiful, sacred, still small voice — or loud, clanging gong — which always seeks our attention.  This voice is the wisdom and intuition within us, urging us to go beyond the shallows, so we can live our true life purpose.

When we ignore our still, small voice, we stifle the awesome, creative, divine presence of God within us.  We neglect our own self-care by refusing to put on our own oxygen masks first.  We limit our personal potential by denying our authenticity.  In the process, we may feel physically depleted, especially because we lose our connection to God and we forget to trust our own hearts.  Our hearts, which continually call us to leave the shallows and explore new depths.

To truly discern our life purpose – our highest calling – we need to dive deep, into ourselves, and into silence and stillness, so we can connect with God.  In the depths, we discern and know intuitively, through spiritual understanding, wisdom and faith, the truth of ourselves and our lives – the stuff we like and the stuff we don’t.  This process of discernment helps us see beyond outer appearances to infinite possibilities, so we can live as we truly desire.

The only way to discern our true hearts’ desires is to give up Tip-of-the-Iceberg/Second-Hand Living and move into the depths, an often untested or uncharted territory.  In the depths, we understand – perhaps for the first time – that anything less than living our personal truth and making our dreams come true will not work.

In Part 2, a story about finding treasures in the deep and some practical ways to navigate the depths.

© 2016 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks.  All rights reserved.

Be Your Own Guru – Part 3

When I taught high school English, I had a poster centered above the blackboard which said: “Listen and Silent are spelled with the same letters.” I wish I had a dollar for every student throughout my teaching career who said, “Really. Wow!”

To listen, we first need to be silent. Many people wish to be effective listeners, although we aren’t always as effective as we’d like. Whether this has anything to do with technique, I don’t know for sure. Yet, the most effective way I’ve found to listen is still the advice Jesus the Christ gave in the “Sermon on the Mount” (Mt. 6:6), when he said, “Go into your room and close the door . . . .”

To be effective at anything we truly wish to do in our lives – as well as to be our own guru – we need some sacred, silent time apart, to commune with God (however we understand God) and ourselves. Jesus and every other master mystic did it. So can we – if we’re willing to gift ourselves with the time, place and space to make it part of our lives.

So, as we begin the season of Lent, when many people fast from particular indulgences, consider which activity, event or thing you could give up, relinquish, or “unfollow” (see “Be Your Own Guru – Part 2” for more about that). Then, use that newly liberated time and space to be silent.

Many types of silent meditation practices are available, so choose one which is most comfortable for you. However, if you’re someone who’s struggled to meditate because you thought you were doing it “wrong” or nothing was happening, remember that the true goal of meditation is two-fold: to connect with God and with ourselves.

Despite what we may believe, silent meditation isn’t about stopping our thoughts or finding bliss, although on occasion, both of these things may occur. Rather, meditation in the silence is a way for us to understand our own minds, thoughts and feelings. Even when it seems that nothing is happening, or that our minds are scattered and spacey, daily time in the silence opens our inner pathways so we can listen when our inner guru speaks, however softly.

The truth is, to be our own guru, we need to turn within. Otherwise, we’re constantly distracted by all the noise, commotion, drama and uproar around us. Even if the time for ourselves seems indulgent or selfish, ultimately, it allows us to be more present to ourselves and then to the other people, places and things which are most important in our lives.

Our silent time honors us, so then we may honor and be present to others. When we choose to embrace time in the silence, we put our own spiritual oxygen masks on first. Then we can support and serve others, as we choose, with renewed energy, clarity and strength. And sometimes we discover that the journey becomes easier also.

© 2016 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.