Being Aware Joyfully
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Three spiritual exercises

1. Clearing your conscience

In King David’s Psalm 46 (verse 10) we read: "Be still and know that I am God.” To know God, we must be still in our heart and silent in our mind. Yet, our mind is often restless because of unhappy feeling we have in our heart. Some people feel they are not worthy of God-realisation. Some people feel they do not deserve love. Some people feel themselves to be unforgivable. The last thing some people will let themselves feel is stillness, silence, happiness and the presence of God. Such unresolved negative feelings often act as distractions to our contemplation. There’s no reason not to be happy. Give yourself permission. Do what you need to do in order to clear your conscience of concerns that won’t cease bothering you in moments of stillness and silence. Take positive action to dispel negative self-talk. Get on good terms with yourself and others so you can enjoy being present in the unity of life without distraction.

2. Breathing God

Jewish Kabbalah teaches that, just as there is a physical environment around our body, so there is a spiritual environment around our soul. Through the practice of "Breathing God” we can tune in on the invisible spiritual world that surrounds and sustains us. What we breathe is the air of the atmosphere. The English word "atmosphere” derives from the Sanskrit term "atman” meaning "soul” (literally, "breath”). The Hindu Upanishads teach that soul (atman) is God (Brahman). If atman is Brahman and we are breathing atman (soul), then we are also breathing God.

Think about that while you practice this.

Sit upright with your back straight

Feet flat on the floor

Hands in your lap

Now notice that you are breathing

Feel the steady rhythm of air incoming and outflowing

Breath is life

Think of the air you breathe as "soul-stuff”

As you inhale the soul-stuff of the air, imagine you are breathing in God

As you exhale, imagine you are breathing out God.

Just sit and imagine yourself breathing God in and out

Debrief

Did you find the practise easy or difficult to take seriously?

Did you notice any change in your sensory awareness during the practise?

Did you notice any change in your spatial awareness during the exercise?

Did you notice any change in your inner self-talk during the practise?

Did you notice any relation between your body, breath and mind during the practise?

3. There and Here

Withdraw in fantasy to some place in which you experienced happiness in the past.

Do not just remember the occasion; enter into full conscious recollection of it. Don’t just recall the place from your position here-now; actually relive the event in an active manner, so that you participate fully in it and cease to be aware of your present surroundings.

Use all five senses to enjoy the details of your fantasised place. Make it vivid, with colour, sound, smell, feel and taste. Bring that happy moment alive.

Notice yourself there: what are you doing? how are you feeling?

Now return to the present. Notice the details here. How do you feel?

Re-enter the previous happiness. Enjoy it. Now return.

De-brief

Do you notice bringing happiness back here with you? Fantasy is a powerful resource of spiritual energy in our lives. We can tap into it, and we can discover new ranges of freedom and recognise new dimension of ourselves while we become more empowered to conduct our own journey within and beyond the present life.