April 2013 - Rev. Dr. Charlene M. Proctor

Archive for April, 2013

How to accept life’s challenges

Everyone experiences challenges, pain, loss, and setbacks. How can we look at our disappointments and hurts and still maintain a positive perspective on life? How do we increase our resiliency when we’re going through turbulent changes?

The story of Kisa Gotami

A Buddhist story, “The Mustard Seed,” shows that we don’t suffer independently or differently from others. This story is a favorite of the Oneness guides of India. As the story goes, Kisa Gotami, a woman whose son has died, is in deep suffering. In her grief, she carries her son’s body to all the people in her village and asks everyone for help. Finally a villager sends her to see the Buddha, to whom she cries out, “Master, please help me! Give me medicine to cure my child and bring him back to life!”

“Bring me a handful of mustard seeds that were taken from a house where no death has occurred and no grief experienced,” the Buddha replies. “It must be a home where no one has lost a parent, friend, spouse, or child. Then you will be free from suffering.”

So Kisa Gotami searches for a family that has not experienced death. She cannot find such a family, of course. At each home in her village, she is reminded that everyone has gone through the same grief she is experiencing. There is no house where a beloved person has not died. Everyone has suffered as she is suffering. Finally, she realizes that her suffering is not unique. Now she knows that her situation cannot be changed. Since death happens in all families, she can no longer remain selfish in her grief. At last, because she sees that she is not alone, Kisa Gotami releases her suffering. She buries her child in the forest and returns to the Buddha to take comfort.

This story is a lesson about shared suffering. It’s about understanding that we don’t suffer differently from other people. Like Kisa Gotami, we have experienced joy, happiness, pain, and fear. None of these are new, and our suffering is not special. Suffering is common to humanity because no one leads an independent existence. In the New Testament writings, the mustard seed represents faith. Everyone has the same emotions, even the same habits that we use to avoid suffering. We are intimately related and connected through suffering, and we share it collectively. We can no more own suffering than we can own the stars.

Your suffering is not unique

Your suffering is not unique, nor are you alone in your suffering. Suffering is shared, nobody owns it, and we even suffer the same way. Suffering is the same for everybody, because it is always the same mechanism at work. Since we share the same mind and consciousness, why would our suffering be different?

There is no one on this planet that will escape suffering. When we resist suffering, we dissociate from the experience, we blame others, or we set up escape routes in our mind to distract us. We’re afraid to experience suffering, but if you want to be finished with it, then you’ll have to allow those feelings to come. Resistance can be its own brand of suffering. This is because your resistance will keep the experience coming back again and again.

If hurt is present, don’t create some explanation for it. Experience the hurt completely and let yourself go straight through the experience. Give yourself permission to feel these things just as if you would if joy were in front of you. Don’t be afraid. Suffering is just another experience. It comes to an end. When you embrace it and move though it, you won’t get stuck in it.

I hope you enjoyed these tips on being with ease with yourself. I’d love to hear from you, so please do share your comments and personal stories below.

And, please stay in touch with me by subscribing to this blog using the form on the right-hand side of your screen. That way, I can send you more stories and insight from The Oneness Gospel.

 

 

 

© Charlene M Proctor and The Goddess Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more affirmations, read The Women’s Book of Empowerment: 323 Affirmations that Change Everyday Problems into Moments of Potential. Click Here to buy.

Being at Ease With Yourself – Tips for a Balanced Life

We are often so busy managing our busy lives that we forget to fill up our own tank of energy. How do we refill ourselves? Going to the spa or a yoga class helps us nurture ourselves, but learning to be at ease with who we are is more important to recharging our batteries. How can we learn to be at ease with ourselves? What does it mean to be an authentic person?

When we don’t know ourselves, we can’t have a healthy and balanced outlook on life. Self-power grows through self-appreciation and self-nurturing. Being at ease is accepting yourself. People, who know who they are, express self-love calmly and confidently. They’re extremely magnetic. Ease is everyone’s natural, healthy state. People who are not at ease with themselves must force themselves to be compassionate; they exhibit impatience and are unable to be fully present when you are with them.

You are a butterfly

Like butterflies, we are all in various stages of personal growth and spiritual metamorphosis. In the butterfly’s larval stage, it’s a caterpillar. The caterpillar has to shed its skin several times in order to accommodate its expanding body. It knows exactly where it is while it’s preparing itself and getting stronger for its final transformation. It goes into its chrysalis, into solitude, into the dark, and completely reassembles its cells to make itself into a new butterfly. Shortly before the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, the chrysalis becomes transparent and reveals the butterfly inside. To prepare for takeoff, the insect’s swollen body pumps fluids into its tiny, shriveled-up wings. This fluid, which comes from a reservoir contained in its abdomen, sustains the butterfly and allows it to expand its wings and fly.

If we were butterflies, what would happen to us if our chrysalis cracked open early and we had to emerge before we were ready? Could we eat what was in front of us? Would we fly any faster, any longer, any higher? I like to think that we develop strength and spiritual vitality when we crawl out on our own. Without this work, we would die. We really can’t choose not to emerge. That’s the natural way of things. Like the butterfly, we must pay attention to what is presented to us and integrate the inner world of awareness and the outer world of experience so these worlds inform one another. This is how we develop authenticity.

The Sage and the Mouse

There is a wonderful story in my new book The Oneness Gospel. It’s a favorite of the monks of India.

Long ago, there once was a kindly wise man who adopted a mouse. The Sage, who was also a great wizard, turned this mouse into a girl and lovingly raised her as his daughter. Under his tutelage and kindness, she grew to be serene and beautiful. She became his greatest joy. He gave her an education, and she received all the benefits of a life of refinement and abundance. When she came of age, and it was time for her to marry, the Sage, knowing she deserved the best, looked for a suitable husband for her. He presented the overseers of the cosmos to her: the kings of the sun, the moon, and the stars, all great and noble beings. They were the most excellent and honorable marriage candidates in the universe.

The girl who had been a mouse thoughtfully considered the life that each king could offer to her. She contemplated on the lofty power each one represented. Then, one by one, she rejected them, turning down their offers of marriage. Still only desiring her happiness, the Sage searched to the ends of the earth to find more noble beings who represented the different aspects of nature: the lords of the wind and the mountain, the ruler of the ocean. These he presented to her in a grand ceremony, hoping to honor and please her. Again, she kindly refused each one.

One day, the Rat Guardian, who was not invited to be presented with the other noble beings, arrived at the palace to ask for the girl’s hand. His greatest achievement was to tunnel through the hard structure of the mountains. The Sage’s daughter instantly fell in love with the Rat Guardian, whom she thought was the finest candidate of all. When the Sage saw this, he was perplexed. How could this be? Then he remembered that his daughter deserved to know her true self and know happiness. With this realization, he instantly turned her back into a mouse so she could marry the Rat Guardian and live with authenticity and happiness.

What’s the moral here? You can never deny who you really are. If you try to be something you’re not, there can be no joy, no feeling of completion. To be at ease, you must be who you are. If you can only be a mouse, then be that mouse and feel satisfied with the choices you make in life that arise from that authentic part of you. Being yourself will be your greatest joy. When you know your own truth and relax into who you are, life will always support you.

Every Blessing,

 

 

© Charlene M Proctor and The Goddess Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more affirmations, read The Women’s Book of Empowerment: 323 Affirmations that Change Everyday Problems into Moments of Potential. Click Here to buy.


Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D. is an ordained Minister of Spiritual Peacemaking and a Deeksha facilitator trained by the oneness guides from Fiji and India.  She is the bestselling author of Let Your Goddess Grow! 7 Spiritual Lessons on Female Power and Positive Thinking and The Women’s Book of Empowerment: 323 Affirmations That Change Everyday Problems Into Moments of Potential. Her Midwestern sensibility and spiritual approach to self-empowerment has helped thousands awaken to their Divine magnificence within. Her new book The Oneness Gospel is having its big Amazon launch on Tuesday April 24th, 2012. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration and news of how to get the book and some wonderful gifts during the launch.

© Charlene M Proctor and The Goddess Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more affirmations, read The Women’s Book of Empowerment: 323 Affirmations that Change Everyday Problems into Moments of Potential. Click Here to buy.