Awake in the World

Awake in the World

The Human Experience: Connecting with Human Nature

posted by debramoffitt

Recently I saw a film called, “The Human Experience.” It followed some young guys on a quest around the world to understand human nature. The two brothers in their early 20’s had suffered abuse at the hands of their father. To discover the breadth and depth of humanity’s ability to rise from difficulty and also to suffer, they invited new experiences into their lives.

They spent several days in the dead of winter sleeping with the homeless on New York’s streets. They shivered and felt hunger and despair. One homeless person they interviewed described a bitter cold night where he was with several dogs. “People took the dogs and left me behind,” he said. Those words made my heart sink – the way we could value dogs and relate to them, but not to our human brothers and sisters.

The brothers travelled to India and volunteered at an orphanage. Many of the children been abandoned by their parents because of their severe handicaps. But the children were radiant and joyful despite their hardships. Next the brothers flew to a leper colony and listened to the stories of the outcasts. Simply having the brothers listen to the lepers brought a tremendous healing as the lepers felt respected and loved. In the end the brothers reconnected with their father and embraced him with love and forgiveness.

This film may not be for everyone. It confronts us with the real difficulties of human existence – and it also holds out the possibility of connection. When these connections occur, and people like these two brothers reach out heart to heart to others, all hearts involved can mend – if only a little. Reaching out is a step. And step by step is how we can change the world to make it a better place.

What small step will you make today to heal a heart and make the world a better place?

 Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at http://www.awakeintheworld.com.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Healing Power of Nature

posted by debramoffitt

The US national parks were born from a recognized need to preserve nature. Stephen Mather, one of the men who advocated for creation of national parks, had suffered from several nervous breakdowns. He found that quiet time in nature restored and healed him in a way that nothing else could. So often we are disconnected from nature. We remain in controlled indoor climates, completely removed from what’s going on in the natural world around us. We don’t know how tomatoes or the rest of our food grows or recognize the impact of our consuming ways on Mother Nature.

But there is a deep fascination and love for nature. The popularity of the webcams that tracked the lives of eagles nesting around the country became an obsession for many people. Observing and feeling connected to animals, birds and the Earth is a way of getting out of the head and becoming grounded. Bird-watching has become a growing national pastime. When we watch birds, it’s easy to want to soar with them. Great blue herons build their nests, raise their young and migrate from places around my neighborhood. When storms recently destroyed many of the nests, it was impossible not to grieve for the loss of the eggs. An entire generation was wiped out in a few hours. The climate changes are taking their toll and we’re partly to blame.

Today make an effort to get out in nature. Go to a park. Drive to a hiking trail. Bike by a lake. Pay attention to the delicate and fragile details. A beautiful, nearly transparent blue-green spider created a magnificent, finely woven web on the lawn chairs. No human could reproduce the same. It was her nature to create such delicate beauty. Get out today and explore the natural world. By sitting or walking quietly in nature, begin to observe the animals, birds and insects worlds. They have many lessons to share and much wisdom to impart.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at http://www.awakeintheworld.com.

Discover the Antidote to Fear

posted by debramoffitt

Fear plagues many people. It’s an unfriendly companion that stifles life. There is rational fear – that is fear that occurs when a body is physically endangered. This fear brings us to fight the threat or flee from it. It’s a mechanism that protects the body temple from harm. There are also psychological fears – many of them seemingly from nowhere. These deeply ingrained fears can paralyze us. Fear blocks creativity and kills curiosity. It keeps us stuck in one place and causes needless anxiety.

Love overcomes fear. Love is a powerful energy. When we open up and tap into it, it can move mountains of fear and turn them to dust. Being in the presence of a powerfully loving person can help us to understand. Amma, the hugging saint, or Sai Baba, have both had the ability of emanating waves of unconditional Love. I’ve also experienced this kind of Love from my grandmother. Love at this level transforms and helps us to connect with the Love that we are naturally.

For me there have been steps to this process of transforming from fearful to loving. The first is becoming aware of the fears lurking inside and working to identify what they are. The second step requires facing those fears. Often when standing in front of the worst fears and shedding the light of love on them, they literally melt away and dissolve into thin air. Some of the most prevalent human fears are fear of ridicule, fear of being hurt, fear of humiliation, and fear of not being accepted. Consider how liberating it will be to let go of these!

Like most spiritual practices, combating fear requires work. But putting in the effort to do the work to face and eliminate fears will make you feel lighter, happier and more vibrant. Take heart and have the courage to go inside to examine your fears today. Allow the wisdom of Love to shake up the fears and wash them away. Begin the effort; help and support will be on the way.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at http://www.awakeintheworld.com.

Night School: Dreams for Growth, Creativity and Joy

posted by debramoffitt

Every night a vast resource hidden in the night can open the door to solve problems, improve creativity, provide life direction and give advice on relationships and health.  For millennia dreams have been used to divine the future, understand the past and explore solutions to real problems.  The modern sewing machine invented by Elias Howe and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley are just a few of the gifts that have come to us through dreams. 

We think facts are so important and we don’t trust any other kind of knowledge. But technology and science are only one way of knowing.  When we make them the only way, we’ve lost three-quarters of our wisdom. Dreams can play a major role making life decisions.  A friend entered a convent at seventeen and a series of powerful dreams prompted her to change direction and leave the religious order at age thirty-three.  “Though I was totally unprepared and had no place to go my dreams were very clear about what I should do and they were very encouraging,” she says.  But not all dreams may be of value.  Some may result from disturbances from medication, bad food or last night’s film.  My friend who is now a storyteller and educator says she doesn’t act on the raw form of dream symbols. Instead she contemplates one image that feels particularly important and works with it using a dialogue or trying to imagine what will come next.  She also seeks advice from trusted friends before making a decision based on this information. “Dreams are like an early warning system,” she says.  They help us to understand hidden aspects of ourselves and others and point us in new directions she says which can be challenging.  “They can help you avoid the collapse of a system that needs to go.”  She says, “Our dreams always lead us in the direction of growth and change.”

I’ve listened to my dreams for many years too. They tell me when I need to change attitudes, habits, friends and places. They encourage me to grow. They’re very dynamic and they don’t allow me to remain in comfortable and familiar places for very long. Dreams challenge me to grow and become deeper and more expansive. I highly recommend working with dreams. Some people say they don’t remember them.

The path dreams open may not always be easy. In fact they often challenge us to make ourselves spiritually bigger.  At their best dreams are messages from the soul and guide us to joy.

Here are some easy keys for how to recall dreams and work with them:

1) Keep a pen and paper by the bed. Write down any images, emotions or impressions that are present immediately on waking. If you wait until later the subtle impressions will most likely vanish.

2) Try to wake up at the end of a natural ninety minute sleep cycle. We go through approximately 90 minutes in the natural sleep cycle and the dream-sleep is at the end of the cycle. By setting the alarm or waking up naturally after six, seven and a half or nine hours, dreams may be easier to recall.

3) Create your personal dream symbol dictionary and begin to explore their meaning for you. Symbol dictionaries may be helpful, but avoid dream symbol dictionaries that give pat definitions for images. Each person has a very unique set of symbols and needs to learn their personal language.

4) Regular meditation will help to nurture the connection with dreams.

Happy dreaming!

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at http://www.awakeintheworld.com.

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