A group of objects sitting next to me caught my eye. A card from a friend, a current book which is joyful and funny, and my little, bitty, spiritual journal. I started that journal in 2008. Whenever a spiritual insight or experience graced my life, it would be recorded in this book. Towards the middle I recorded some insights from a book by M. Catherine Thomas, called Light In The Wilderness. To my surprise I found details of my desire to learn to develop a spiritual practice of mindfulness and meditation.
I wrote so many years ago, "I can connect to Spirit through becoming quiet and mindful and then I would find my own real self."
Why, I ask, did I fail to follow through on these amazing insights? Was I just lazy or forgetful? Yes, and no. I was forgetful, but to be truthful, looking from hindsight, I didn't know how to develop a spiritual practice beyond prayer and scripture study. Meditation those years ago seemed too difficult because I couldn't sit still. My mind would go careening over thoughts and plans and it seemed more frustrating than productive.
So what is different now? Learning from others, who are successful at a daily meditation, has given me new focus. Explanations about how the mind works are making more sense. I have a spiritual mind which is my divine DNA, from my Heavenly Father. Because there is a veil of mortality between me and my Father I have forgotten how to think with his mind. Mortality has promoted a "natural mind" which often gives me incorrect information. Take for instance how I perceive others. Someone might comment to me about my behavior and I might be taken back by their seemingly prejudiced point of view. My natural mind begins to hedge up against an intended attack. It warns me that I am in danger of being being maligned or at least being misunderstood. My back literally "goes up" in defense. A story begins in my head about how I have been wronged. I live the feelings over and over and with each review I feel more hurt.
There is another way.
We can choose by which mind we experience life.
To access the spiritual mind I need to quiet the voices in my head and stop. Do you remember what you were taught about crossing a busy street when you were young? Stop, look both ways, and listen is still valuable advice. When I listen I often hear in my mind the question, "what do you want?". Wow, what a good question. My natural mind wants to feel safe and loved. My spiritual mind wants to know things as they really are. It feels the draw of my Savior, Jesus Christ. He gently entices me towards long-suffering, meekness, and humility. He floods me with His love which is monumentally more powerful than approval of other mortal friends and family. That is what I am learning right now. I feel like I'm back on the floor again, starting over and learning anew. I am becoming so much more aware of my Heavenly Father.
"Inquiry begins the path to being free from the natural mind. Is there a possibility that the opposite of what I am thinking is true? What might be a truer way of looking? How would I feel if I did not believe this thought?"
M. Catherine Thomas
June is a month to be more mindful of God.
You can read more about my Year of Mindfulness here.