Friday, October 26, 2007

Dealing With Loss

October 28, 2007

Dear Friends,

On television this week, I saw interviews with several families who lost their homes in the fires that raced across southern California. It was nice to see that all of these people recognized that, in the largest sense, life is not about things. It is about love. And even though their houses—and all of the things in them—were gone, each of these families felt extremely grateful and blessed to have each other.

The loss of one’s home, however, is still a very real—and very devastating—loss. And I think it is important to acknowledge that fact.

A home, as you well know, is much more than mortar and bricks, stucco and tile. It is much more than a structure, a shelter, or even—in some cases—a work of art. A home is a box of memories, containing cherished mementos, souvenirs, keepsakes, heirlooms, and photographs. All of those treasured things are physical symbols of the people and the experiences in our lives that we hold near and dear to our hearts.

Although the memories themselves remain intact, it is still understandably tragic when the “memory collage” that one has spent a lifetime constructing, has been destroyed by wind, water, fire, or a shift in the earth itself.

I often mention that one of the keys to living life in the divine flow (and fulfilling your heart’s desires effortlessly) is maintaining a positive attitude. But that positive attitude must be genuine. And that means that feelings such as grief, sadness, and sorrow must first be allowed to run their natural course.

As I recently wrote, living life in the divine flow is not about stuffing your feelings to maintain an "appearance" of positivity. There is such a thing as legitimate suffering in life. It is not the kind of suffering that you bring upon yourself through needless worry or thoughtless actions. It is the kind of suffering that occurs most often with the sudden and unexpected loss of something, or someone, that you deeply love.

If you are dealing with a loss in your life right now, it is okay to go ahead and let yourself feel your feelings about it. In fact, it is necessary. Give yourself permission to experience all of your feelings freely and fully. Allow them to come, and go . . . and come again . . . and go again. It is the only way that they will eventually dissipate.

If, instead, you attempt to suppress those feelings, they will continue to exist at a subconscious level. And, in the end, that will just delay your ability to heal and feel joy again. And by "joy" I mean that underlying sense of appreciation for the total experience of life . . . a joy that embraces all of life’s twists and turns . . . a joy that may be best described as "bittersweet."

To each of you who have recently lost a loved one, a beloved pet, or anything else that occupies an important place in your heart, please know that kindred spirits the world over are supporting you in the restoration of your sense of wholeness, and the recovery of your sense of peace.

Blessings to you all.


© 2007 by Steven Lane Taylor

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Value of Meditation, Part 3

October 21, 2007

Dear Friends,

I guess I’m on a roll. Last month I wrote two different messages about the value of meditation, and how a daily practice of meditation can greatly enhance your ability to live life in the divine flow.

In a nutshell, I wrote that meditation helps create gaps between your thoughts, so you are more readily open to divine insights, inspiration, and intuitive guidance. I also described the way that meditation helps you stay more connected to your spirit throughout the day, so you can respond to challenging people and situations in a wiser way.

Well, for the last two weeks I have been writing about the importance of maintaining present moment awareness. And guess what can help you with that? You got it! Meditation.

If you are not that familiar with meditation, you might assume that it’s all about mentally escaping the now moment. And yes, there are plenty of guided meditations that do, indeed, take you somewhere else in time and space. But strictly speaking, most guided meditations are really visualizations, which serve a different purpose.

The form of meditation that I practice is specifically designed to center all of your attention in the here and now, by focusing first on your breathing (because your body is always in the present), and then focusing on a mantra (a special phrase you repeat to yourself) to help displace your usual thoughts—the kind of thoughts that propel you elsewhere.

It’s true, that after your meditation is over, it may be a challenge for you to stay in the present moment, and not drift off into reflections on the past or projections into the future. But your tendency to do that will be greatly reduced . . . especially after several weeks of consistent practice.

And the benefit of being more centered in the here and now? You will be much more aware of all the divine signs and celestial synchronicities that are guiding you to your highest good.

As I have said many times before, the presence of the flow is sensed in the present. The present is where you have to be in order to see the signs. The present is where you have to be in order to notice the synchronicities.

In short, to receive the gifts of the flow you must be here, now. And being here—now—is what meditation, as I practice it, is mainly all about.

I hope this adds to your understanding of meditation, and the important part it plays in living life in the divine flow.


© 2007 by Steven Lane Taylor

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Watch Your Step!

October 14, 2007

Dear Friends,

A few days ago I hiked to the top of one of Sedona’s lesser-known red rock formations called Mescal Mountain. On my way up I was painfully reminded of one of the principles for living life in the divine flow: Always keep your focus on your current step.

You see, this particular trail is not only loaded with lots of loose rocks, but it also has lots of cacti growing all along the way. If you don’t watch where you are stepping, you might slip on the rocks and fall. Or, you might walk right into a prickly cactus . . . which is exactly what I did. Ouch! Instead of paying attention to where I was walking, I was looking too far ahead, and I suffered the consequence.

The same thing can happen as we pursue our desires in life.

As I mentioned at the end of last week’s message, living life in the divine flow requires present moment awareness. The divine flow is always giving you the next right step to take to reach your goal. And that step is always right in front of you, relatively easy to do, and free of painful obstacles. But to see that step, you must stay focused in the here and now, instead of being focused somewhere in the future.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in looking ahead and seeing where you want to go. In fact, that’s a requirement. Choosing a destination is what sets the whole flow in motion in the first place. But after that, you must return your attention to the present moment so you can see the next step that the flow is guiding you to take.

It’s sort of a back-and-forth thing: You visualize your goal, then return your awareness to the present. You picture your dream, then come back to the current moment. If you are continually daydreaming about where you are headed, you may miss the very step that is leading you there. Or worse, you may make a misstep and find yourself sitting by the side of the trail pulling barbed bristles out of your skin!

Do you have a goal that you would like to accomplish, or a dream that you would like to realize? Great! Just remember that getting there is a step-by-step process, and your journey will be a lot more peaceful and pleasant if you stay focused on each step as it comes along.

Happy Trails!


© 2007 by Steven Lane Taylor

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Imaginary Troubles

October 7, 2007

Dear Friends,

On September 26th I spoke at a Unity church in the charming old town of Quincy, Illinois. Quincy is only twenty miles from Hannibal, Missouri, the boyhood home of Mark Twain. When I discovered that, I was reminded of my favorite Mark Twain quote:

“I have known a great many troubles in my life . . . but most of them never happened.”

Have you ever spent hours fretting and worrying about some kind of problem that—at that particular point in time—had yet to occur . . . and you had no totally reliable way of knowing that it actually would occur? I certainly have. And sometimes, I still do. I foresee some potential “trouble” looming ahead of me, and then I start imagining in great detail what it will be like to live through that challenge.

What a misuse of the imagination that is! And just think of the unnecessary stress that puts on the body . . . because the body doesn’t always know the difference between an imagined experience and a real one! When you are having an experience in your mind, then you might as well be truly living it!

Perhaps, if you could predict an event with 100% accuracy, then there might be some kind of benefit in letting it play out in your head. But most of the time—if not all of the time—you simply cannot forecast what is going to happen in your life.

Life is always full of surprises. So it doesn’t make much sense to continually imagine the worst. And when you do, you are not only needlessly torturing yourself, but you are also blocking your ability to be in the flow. How so?

Well, for one, projecting yourself into the future takes your attention off the present. And guess what? The present is where the flow is—not the future. Now is when the flow opens doors for you. And now is when the flow creates opportunities for you. If you want to live your life in the divine flow, you must be aware, awake, and alive in the present moment. Only in the current moment can you feel that underlying current of God’s goodness, and take advantage of it.

Also, as I often mention, to be in the flow you must be open and receptive to divine direction. And that requires a positive frame of mind. Any kind of negativity—including the kind of waking nightmares I am describing here—will greatly interfere with your ability to see the divine signs and sense the intuitive nudges that are guiding you to your good.

Isn’t life challenging enough without making stuff up? Instead of jumping ahead and experiencing “troubles” that have yet to happen, and may never happen, why not focus on what actually is happening. It’s the only thing that is ever happening—the here and now moment. You may be amazed by the incredible peace and power you find there.


© 2007 by Steven Lane Taylor