As Spirit often does, it guided me to attend services, this past Sunday at one of the interfaith communities of which I am a part. I was delighted to disover that Lou Tenaglia was what we call the Speaker/Spark at Circle of Miracles in Doylestown, PA. He shared on the subject of The Perfection of Living An Imperfect Life. Just what I need as a striver; not for perfection, but at least self acceptance in the midst of sometimes harsh self criticism. What he offered had the congregation nodding and smiling in recognition of the places in their own lives where they bump up against the stories they tell themselves about what is so, rather than just what is so. Lou is an ordained minister, educator, facilitator and sound healer.
How do you live your bliss?
When I am living my bliss I am in the present moment. When I am not living it I am usually in the past reviewing and replaying old situations and events or I am in the future worrying about what might be coming and trying to control it!
My breath is the doorway to the present moment and to my bliss. When I am conscious of my breath and accepting what the present moment is giving me to handle, I am in my bliss – even if what I need to handle isn’t to my liking. It may sound paradoxical, but for me, it is true. Acceptance and surrender to what is going on in the moment manifests bliss for me in my life.
What meandering path led you to the patch of Earth on which you now stand?
My karma brought me to this moment but “grace” on moving me forward. I was born in Philadelphia and grew up in a very mixed ethnic, cultural region called West Oak Lane/Germantown in Philly. I learned as a child to play with many different types of children from different backgrounds. I could go through my biography…boring! The truth is everything that has ever happened to me or that I caused to happen brought me to this moment.
I bless both the “good” things and the “bad” – they ended up all teaching me how to live in more awareness. The most important spiritual event in my life was meeting John-Roger who founded The Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA) and studying with him since 1979. As an initiate and minister in MSIA I have learned incredibly practical and uplifting tools about living life as a soul in a human body! My doctoral degree from Peace Theological Seminary and College of Philosophy in Santa Monica, CA was life changing for me.
I have been married to an incredibly patient and loving wife, Linda, for 36 years. We have two grown sons who have good teachers for me in my life…Mario and Evan.
When you were in the public school system, how did you incorporate your worldview into your work? I had read an article you wrote about peacemaking in which you describe how you applied one particular principle.
Large organizations typically do not welcome any worldview except the one the organization is promoting. So part of my role, as a school principal, thrust me into situations where I was the keeper of the organizational structure. Schools are having trouble these days – for many reasons. I attempted (oftentimes not very successfully) to help teachers keep the needs of the student first in all things the school does. This is really true in the way people in schools talk to and with children. Children love it when the adults in school speak to them as people, not just children. I trained my entire staff to conduct “class meetings” once a week where children were asked to share their thoughts about a variety of topics and issues that were meaningful to them. This required teachers to listen and ask questions rather than speak and give answers. That is one small way I attempted to bring my worldview that children need to be valued over everything in the operation of a school.
You seem to be a catalyst for encouraging growth in others. How do you step back and create space for people to discover their own answers?
My approach to spiritual counseling is to always allow Spirit to direct the sessions. My job is to attune myself to Spirit, listen carefully and be courageous enough to share what is coming forward in my heart with whomever I am working. Sometimes is involves stepping back and sometimes it is stepping forward. I never know until the session begins the Light directs the flow of energy. I am very good at asking questions and listening.
What spiritual practices help you to be centered and grounded, as much as possible?
The primary spiritual practice is use is called Spiritual Exercises – what most people call meditation. I also “Call in the Light” throughout the day by asking the Light of God to help me and assist a situation or bless what is going on. Awareness of the Light and of Spirit is the tool I use throughout my day, regardless of the situation.
I resonated with the description you gave of the ways in which you know only what you see and think it is the whole story. Kind of like the 5 blind men and the elephant?
Exactly… We all have our own unique point of view but God has the viewing point on us all. We often forget that our point of view is limited by our position, our bias, our karma, our experiences, our expectations, and our desire to control events and people to suit ourselves. Then we parade that limited point of view as THE truth. This when we are most in need of humility to remind us that we are limited in our scope and understanding of what is going on and surrender it all to God who really does know what is for the highest good of each of us and all of us collectively.
You shared that you believe all is in perfect order from God’s point of view. How do you explain compassionately to someone who has experienced trauma or the death of a loved one that this is so?
These kinds of circumstances are difficult because someone is in pain and suffering. The first approach is to offer compassion and understanding. If the person in pain wants understanding then I begin to ask questions about their beliefs regarding Spirit. I would never offer an explanation to someone who held a firm belief that moved in a different direction. I would honor their beliefs and leave it at that. However, if the person is open to “understanding” a different approach to the situation causing them pain and suffering then I would begin by reminding him or her that we are all “on loan” here on earth from Spirit. This life is intended to be temporary from the start. The timing of our return to Spirit is in God’s hands and even though the loss and hurt we feel in life is real and often difficult, we can take comfort in knowing that God’s plan is at work beyond our ability to see it in the moment.
Please talk about the five concepts that you offered at Circle today.
Thefive keys to finding the… spiritual perfection of living an
imperfect life are:
Acceptance is recognizing that all things are in perfect order from God’s point of view, or it wouldn’t be happening.
Understanding is defined as “the superior power of discernment; enlightened intelligence”. Knowledge is simple intellect. Understanding has a special quality to it, it is enlightened, and it has the spark of Sprit infused in it. Understanding begins in the heart and then moves through the mind. It is based in empathy and mercy.
Compassion is opening our hearts to ourselves first and then into the world when we see imperfection at work. Compassion focuses less on righting the wrongs in our lives and in the world and focuses more on comforting the effects of it all.
Forgiveness comes naturally out of compassion. When we find a place in our hearts to be compassionate toward others, and ourselves we discover the power of forgiveness. When we have hurt others or been hurt by them – as we all do in this life at one point or another – it is the power of forgiveness that heals these wounds. Forgiveness is walking the talk of making perfect what appears imperfect in our lives. In order to forgive others, or ourselves, we must surrender our righteousness and positions long enough to surrender the situation to Spirit and open our hearts.
Unconditional love means exactly what it says – placing no conditions of our ability to love or be loved. No condition. There is nothing you or I can do in this life that removes God’s love for us. This is big thinking and requires us to move beyond the limitations of right and wrong, shame and guilt, punishment and justice.
What is sacred sound balancing?
We all have the ability to balance ourselves and receive the guidance needed to align our life in harmony with Spirit. The key is opening our consciousness to receive what is needed next. Powerful ways to access this deep healing include meditation, prayer, creative arts, silence, and sacred sound.
Sacred Sound is an ancient way to uplift and heal the consciousness. The ceremonial instruments I play – Tibetan bowls, bells, and tingshas – generate particular resonant tones and vibrations that open the consciousness for Soul Travel and profound inner healing. Facilitating a session is an intuitive process, a constant state of prayer and meditation.
Sacred Sound healing begins with the invocation of Spiritual Light to guide, bless, and protect us in the work we do together. I attune to you and to the instruments simultaneously. We welcome only that which is for your highest good. In response, the bowls bring forward the particular tones and vibrations to meet your needs.
We clarify your intention for the session. Sacred Sound addresses anything that needs healing in your life: physical, emotional, mental, financial, or sexual issues. The intention you set is included in a prayer and short guided meditation. The session gives you the opportunity to open more fully to your intention and activate it by riding on the sound current of energy that emanates from the bowls. I do highly refined form of spiritual and consciousness counseling that gets at the root of life issues.
During the session you are resting with 16thcentury Tibetan Bowls near your head and around your body.Your eyes are covered with a lavender pillow to help you relax and go inward. Slowly the bowls are toned to begin the journey. An ancient Tibetan Bell and Tibetan Tingshas are also toned to create an array of Sacred Sounds.
Throughout this healing, you may experience deep rest and relaxation. The body may rest or sleep, but the higher consciousness is alert and conscious of the Sacred Sound. You may also notice physical sensations, life energy movement, or images and messages from your inner wisdom. Sacred Sound healing enables you to listen inwardly to the small still voice of the Soul.
The blessings of a Sacred Sound session ripple out for days, weeks, and months. The tones continue to gently bring your awareness to new opportunities to manifest your intentions.
Loved the manure quote you shared at Circle:) Can you speak about that process?
Life can often feel like we are constantly shoveling shit. What we forget is that usually, the shit is of our own making! This is where an understanding of past lives is helpful. Things happen in our lives that seem to have no rational explanation or cause. A child gets terminally ill, accidents happen, someone gets fired from their job, etc. etc. etc. – it feels like shit! The real question is how do we deal with it because… shit happens. It helps if we pay close attention to the process unfolding on the planet earth where manure is being transformed naturally into soil to grow food and nurture us. The same thing is true in our lives. We need to find ways to accept the manure in our lives and transform it into something to help us grow rather than fall victim to it. The key ingredients in transforming manure into something of value are: Acceptance, Understanding, Compassion, Forgiveness, and Unconditional Loving.
When we apply these ingredients to the shit in our lives, it transforms the manure in ways that uplift us and nurture us to grow. This is why we are given challenges in life.
Can you share your definition of karma?
Karma is simply the law of cause and effect. Everything that is put in motion has an effect. What we put in motion in our lives has an effect, on us and on others. Because God made us in his own image we are co-creators with God in our lives. We were also given the freedom to create in any direction we want – so we can learn about the power of creation. Over the course of many lifetimes and existences we have caused many things to happen– love, hurt, peace, suffering, pain, pleasure – we are responsible for all that we created and continue to create – this is the law of karma.
The beauty of karma is that as our actions are returned to us to balance them we are given the opportunity to learn how to love in deeper and deeper ways.
The confusing thing about karma is that we may be experiences the “effects” of actions we “caused” from lifetimes ago and have no conscious memory of it. So it feels unjust, unfair and like punishment. Things are always in perfect order in Spirit – even when they don’t feel like it.
Karma is not a punishment from God. It is a blessing. Karma is there to teach us to love it all and accept what is happening, realizing that we do not have total understanding of all things and all situations. Karma can teach us how to “Let Go and Let God” if we are smart and take the opportunity.
How do you live the concept Baruch Bashan?
Baruch Bashan means, “the blessings already are”. It is a beautiful thought and helps remind me to move into humility and acceptance and stop worrying or trying to control life. If the blessings already ARE then why don’t I see them? It is usually because I am looking in the wrong place or with the wrong eyes. If I am looking into life with the eyes of my heart and soul, then I will see the blessings unfolding for me. If I am looking into my life with the eyes of the mind and ego, the blessings are often hidden from view. They are there; quietly waiting for me to wake up and use my heart to discover how God is blessing me in the moment.
Imagine a life where God is blessing us all, in our own unique way, in each moment, regardless of how it appears, and we awaken to see it…Baruch Bashan!
http://selfdisciplinedkids.blogspot.com/ is Lou’s blog..check it out!