Tag - Meditation

I Don’t Have Time To Be Spiritual!

By Noelle Sterne

Over mild wine with a friend, I steered the conversation to one of my favorite topics, spirituality. After my second eloquent sentence, she burst out, “Oh, I don’t have time to be spiritual!”

I started to clarify but she changed the subject to her impossible office job. Like a good spiritual practitioner, I accepted her choice and, while she complained, kept repeating to myself Namaste.

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Later (after a little more wine), I snuck back to the spirituality topic and asked my friend why she didn’t have time. She was much too busy, she said, with work/husband/children/life to go to church, chanting classes, retreats, or any of the other many spiritual activities she saw in the back of her neighborhood paper.

Do You Have Time to Be Spiritual?

How many of us feel the same way? We have all the greatest intentions to meditate every morning for 20, 15, even five minutes. What happens? We oversleep, just manage to corral the kids to breakfast and out the door so they won’t be late for school, throw last night’s laundry from washer to dryer, pull on passable office clothes and rush out ourselves to work, remembering keys, glasses, phone, laptop, briefcase, shoes.

The Virtues of Rituals

How do we get—or make—time for spirituality? Granted, it’s a choice, and conscious rituals can help. A personal trainer I knew devoted a small corner room in his dining room to meditation, complete with low alter, candles, photos of mandalas on the walls, and two mats. A real estate agent goes out to the seashore early every morning, sits on a bench, and meditates before she opens her office. A neighbor, mother of three small children, signed up for a weekly class in meditation. It was the only way, she said, she could focus inside rather than stopping fights, soothing scrapes, and opening endless juice boxes.

Are such rituals the only way? Are they our admission tickets to spirituality, heaven, or enlightenment?

Not at all.

Instead . . .

The Anglican mystic Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) tells us:

The spiritual life does not begin in an arrogant attempt at some peculiar kind of other-worldliness, a rejection of ordinary experience. It begins in the humble recognition that human things can be very holy, full of God; whereas high-minded speculations about His nature need not be holy at all. (Lent With Evelyn Underhill, 2nd edition, 2004, London and New York, Continuum, p. 40)

In a similar vein, Joel Goldsmith, the brilliant mid-twentieth-century metaphysical teacher and author, says we needn’t expect any greater transformative experiences in “holy mountains or in temples than we would find if we were praying in our garden or at home or in our living room . . . . [We can] pray wherever we are—in the home, on the street, in the air, under the water, in church or out” (The Thunder of Silence, New York, Harper & Row, 1993, p. 142).

Unity minister Paul John Roach writes about the extraordinary spiritual connection he felt even in boyhood as he walked in his native Wales countryside (“Beholding Heaven on Earth,” http://www.unity.org/resources/articles/beholding-heaven-earth). Yet he quotes Rabbi Jamie S. Korngold (God in the Wilderness, New York, Three Rivers Press, 2008), who acknowledges the uplifting inspirations of nature but says also, “You can have a similar awe experience watching rain on a city windowsill” (p. 108).

The mainstream too has gotten it! In a Woman’s Day article, “Meditate Anywhere,” Abigail L. Cuffrey suggests how a busy mother can meditate: in the shower, washing dishes, waiting to pick up the kids, just before a meal (October 22, 2010, http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/stress-management/meditate-anywhere-112325 ).

Mother or other, if you’re still too frazzled with daily duties, Zen master Laurence Do’an Grecco suggests more excuse-proof and outrageous opportunities to meditate. His “Seven Ways To Meditate Anytime, Anywhere (Even If You’re The Busiest Person On Earth)” (http://www.theidproject.org/blog/lawrence-grecco/2012/06/12/seven-ways-meditate-anytime-anywhere-even-if-you%E2%80%99re-busiest-person-e) lists them:

  • Smartphone Practice: Set your phone alarm several times during the day and pause, even for a few seconds, to become aware of your breath.
  • The Lay-Away Method: Again, stop a very few times a day, even for a single minute, and focus on one thing.
  • Post-It Practice: Stick up post-its or other striking visuals in different places. When one catches your eye, pause for a few seconds to connect with yourself.
  • Pissing Practice: Self-explanatory. At least you’re alone (choose a stall).
  • Street-Walker Meditation: Not that one, but when you’re walking, feel what it’s like to walk. Be wholly there, whenever and wherever you’re walking.
  • Eating Meditation: Don’t read, text, repeat lists in your head, or stare at the television or people at the other tables. Just concentrate on the food in front of you, each taste and texture.
  • Keyboard Practice: When you’re texting, typing, or punching numbers into an ATM, center your attention on the sensations of your fingertips. You’re medi-texting!

What We Need

Whatever methods appeal to you, in a meadow or the middle of the mall, near a waterfall or in a water closet, the messages all encourage us: we don’t need to go anywhere or perform special rituals to complete that mysterious thing called meditation. Grecco says, “It’s simply about being fully aware of what your mind is doing . . . , and this is something you can do at any given moment.” We only need to be where we are.

Want to Start?

Wherever you are, stand, sit, or lie down. Close your eyes or open them. Be dirty or clean, dressed or undressed, having accomplished something or done nothing. Be alone or in a crowd.

So, 30 seconds standing anywhere.

  • One minute sitting anywhere.
  • Three minutes lying down anywhere.
  • Four minutes walking anywhere.
  • Watch your breath or repeat a word you like.
  • That’s all you need.

My Too-Busy Friend

I sent my harried friend a draft of this piece. She phoned the next day and, in a very quiet voice, said, “Thank you. I needed this. I had all the wrong ideas about spirituality.”

I almost cried.

Then she said, “Gotta hang up. While the kids watch their cartoons, I’m going out to the garage to meditate.”


© 2017 Noelle Sterne

About the author:

Author, editor, writing coach, and spiritual counselor, Noelle has published over 400 writing craft articles, spiritual pieces, essays, and fiction. Publications include Author Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Children’s Book Insider, Coffeehouse For Writers, Funds for Writers, InnerSelf, InspireMeToday, SivanaSpirit, Transformation Magazine, Unity Magazine, Writer’s Journal, The Writer, and Writer’s Digest. An academic editor and coach with the Ph.D. from Columbia University, Noelle helps doctoral students wrestling with their dissertations. She publishes in several blogs for dissertation writers and contributes a monthly article to the Textbook and Academic Authors Association blog, Abstract. Her book Trust Your Life: Forgive Yourself and Go After Your Dreams (Unity Books) contains examples from her practice, writing, and other aspects of life to help readers release regrets, relabel their past, and reach lifelong yearnings. Her book Challenges in Writing Your Dissertation: Coping With the Emotional, Interpersonal, and Spiritual Struggles (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2015) further aids doctoral candidates to award of their degrees. Visit Noelle at www.trustyourlifenow.com


Empowerment and Awakening Intensive Announced for Sedona in June, 2016

The next Sedona Weekend Intensive for Empowerment and Awakening will be held June 16-19 2016. Following the success of the March 2016 retreat, this powerful Weekend Intensive allows participants another chance to immerse themselves in coursework and experiential modules that cover a wide range of topics, from shamanic wisdom and land energies to sacred ceremonies and working with the elements, plus many more advanced courses for facilitators, healers and other wellness services practitioners who may want to expand their services and deepen their understanding of spiritual and energy practices.

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During the retreat participants will explore and learn tools and practices for healthy relationships, chakra balancing, how to achieve a higher and stronger spiritual connection, tuning into and working with spiritual guides, practical tips for achieving and maintaining vibrant health, balancing the inner divine feminine & divine masculine, effective meditation practices and so much more.

The June retreat will be held once again in the spectacular Red Rocks and energy vortexes of Sedona, Arizona and includes 10 essential Courses for Empowerment and Awakening which provide fundamental tools and perspectives for living a balanced and vibrant life. This retreat is specifically designed to support people who are feeling off-balance, lost or frustrated in their lives and ready to make profound, lasting changes. Some of the workshops included are: “Clear, Balance and Awaken Your Chakras,” “Maintaining Healthy Conscious Relationships,” “Meditation Tools for Deeper Spiritual Connection,” “Maintaining Clear Boundaries,” “Balancing the Divine Feminine and Masculine Within” and “Vibrant Spiritual Nutrition.” The weekend intensive is packed with tools, practices and perspectives to provide mainstream audiences with simple applicable concepts for living an empowered, healthy and conscious life. With its healing vortexes and breathtaking beauty, people will find Sedona, Arizona to be the perfect backdrop for their soul-path adventures.

Those who’ve participated in the Sedona Weekend Intensive Retreat say they feel more peace of mind, focus, and even expanded consciousness from their weekend. The Retreat provides participants with tools for staying centered, finding authentic inspiration and experiencing greater clarity in their life. Participants leave with practical methods for integration and receive ongoing counseling support to address any challenges that may arise after the retreat and to mentor them in their process of implementing their newfound awareness into their everyday lives.

For those who are ready to go to the next level, Shamangelic Healing with Anahata Ananda offers a full range of private sessions to complement the group retreat experience. These alternative methods integrate mind, body and spirit in ways that mainstream approaches do not.

Shamanic Healer and Spiritual Counselor, Anahata Ananda, has trained extensively with gifted shamans, energy healers and spiritual teachers from around the world in order to artfully integrate the fields of spirituality, energy healing, self-empowerment, and shamanic teachings. Her client-base spans the globe with individuals from all walks of life who are seeking to heal and awaken to their fullest potential.

The Shamangelic Healing Center is based in Sedona, Arizona. It is nestled beneath Thunder Mountain, with 360 degrees of breathtaking views, and within walking distance to a medicine wheel and healing vortexes, making it the perfect setting for healing and expansion.

Inside, the retreat center’s calm and relaxed environment helps to engage all of the senses, making it easy to settle into a session. Clients seeking Spiritual awakening, transformational healing services, counseling, sacred land journeys or training courses may choose from a wide range of options that can be tailored for the ultimate personal experience.

For those unable to attend or come to Sedona, Shamangelic Healing offers a wide range of online courses for Personal Empowerment and Spiritual Awakening.

For detailed descriptions and a calendar of more upcoming retreats, workshops, courses, and all services offered by Anahata Ananda, visit http://shamangelichealing.com/


Not I, Not Other Than I: The life and Teachings of Russel Williams

Not I, Not other than I: The Life And Teachings Of Russel Williams is not your average book of enlightenment. If you are like most people, you have probably never even heard of Russel Williams; which is unfortunate because he truly is an inspired example of how humankind is supposed to be. Williams is wrapped in a cloak of light and radiates peace so genuinely that you can feel the calming vibrations within the pages of this book. Here is a man who has nothing to gain; who expects nothing in return; and whose only desire is to guide others in their own awakening.

What is unique about Not I, Not Other Than I is that the chapters alternate between Williams’s enlightened spiritual teachings and the story of his life told by his own recollection. With regards to the autobiographical aspect of the text, Williams’s life truly is fascinating. Even as a very young boy, he carried a tremendous weight on his shoulders. He faced the burdens of poverty and war on a daily basis, and yet he still always seemed to demonstrate a higher understanding of life and why we live it. What makes Williams a powerful spiritual leader is his relatability. You get the impression that he wants to meet people exactly where they are on their journey and the unshakable state of peace that he resides in is tangible. He makes enlightenment feel attainable to the average Joe which, of course, it is! We all have the capacity to expand into this level of consciousness and, in fact, according to Williams, it is our destiny as spiritual beings.

One teaching I found to be particularly unique, and intriguing even, was Williams’s notion on meditation. He says, “I do not believe in long meditation practices. Once you make contact and get the process going, a quarter of an hour or even 10 minutes is quite adequate. Do it seven times a day, until you have a continuum going all the time, rather than once a day. If there’s a gap you lose the momentum, but if you keep it up, every couple of hours or so, there is a continuum.” Makes perfect sense to me! The reason why we seek enlightenment in the first place is so that we can establish a deep sense of happiness and even peace in our lives. We cannot reasonably expect to achieve lasting inner peace by meditating for 30 minutes to an hour when the remaining 23 hours of the day are in chaos. We seek, and hope to maintain, that sacred stillness at all times and more frequent connections to Spirit is the answer to that.

There is one last thought that deeply resonated with me and I feel that it truly allows readers to grasp the kind of man and teacher Russel Williams is. Referring back to this idea of ‘peace’, Williams has this to say, “One of the things about the world that has always amazed me is that people believe that peace means to stop fighting. But it doesn’t. Peace is freedom, not a cessation of hostilities. You need more than simply an absence of aggression. You need friendship, which means giving not taking. Receiving perhaps, but not taking.” Let that marinade for a few minutes!

If you are new to the journey of spirituality, this book is a wonderful resource. It touches on every major principle in what are commonly known as the Universal Truths. You will receive a gentle and relatable understanding of what it means to become enlightened and conscious of who you are and why you are here. If you are a spiritual veteran, I still recommend this book, as there is always something to learn, especially when spoken in a new voice. If you absorb nothing else from Not I, Not Other Than I, you will still have appreciation for Russel Williams as the man and for the amazing life he has lived.

Not I, Not other than I: The Life And Teachings Of Russel Williams
4 of 5 Stars
Author: Russel Williams
Editor: Steve Taylor
Paperback: 171 pages
Publisher: O Books (August 28, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1782797297

Reviewed by Courtney Lindemann
Having worked as a book publicist for several years, Courtney is now enjoying a freelance career as a professional proofreader and copy-editor. Being able to read, write and spend more time with her little boy on a daily basis is a dream come true. For additional reviews and information please visit http://www.readingonrepeat.com


Life is happier when you’re in the present

It’s finally Friday night, the beginning of a weekend of freedom, which also happens to include your birthday. Your family, friends and spouse all have celebratory plans for you.

You have a rewarding career and a network of beautiful people who want to rejoice in your life. As you walk out to your car to officially kickoff the fun, a giddy thrill washes over you.

But as you click the seatbelt into place, rather than sitting in awe of how lucky you are, a list of concerns begin worming their way into your consciousness: “I need gas, but the conveniently located gas station charges more than others … I hope it’s not a surprise party … Maybe I should get the beverages I like before going home … I haven’t been to the gym all week … Did I pay the electric bill?”

And so it goes.

“I think we’ve all had this experience, which often has us psychically living 30 minutes into the future – no matter how great the present circumstances might be,” says Steve Gilliland (www.stevegilliland.com), a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame and author of the widely acclaimed “Enjoy the Ride: How to Experience the True Joy of Life,” for which he is set to publish a follow-up that will be released in May 2015.

“Are we doomed to this torrent of noise which distracts us from enjoying our life? We don’t have to be.”

•  Don’t live your life 30 minutes ahead of the present. If you won’t live your life now, in the present, then who will?

“An older man came up to me, grabbed my hand, and said he wished he’d heard me speak decades ago,” Gilliland says. “After I asked why, he said that when he was eating lunch on break or dinner with his family, he was always thinking about what he had to do after the meal, which represented his daily life. ‘At the age of 97,’ he said, ‘I’ve officially lived my life 30 minutes ahead’ – 30 minutes ahead of whatever he was doing at the moment.”

•  Laugh more! It’s better than crying before you’re hurt. Don’t put your umbrella up until it rains. Worry restricts your ability to think and act effectively, and it forces you to mortgage fear and anxiety about something that may never occur. Laughter is the opposite. When you laugh, you’re living almost completely in the moment, and it’s one of the best feelings you can have.

•  No one can ruin your day without your permission. As much as we cannot control in life – our genes, our past and what has led up to today – there is much control we may take upon ourselves. Today, for example, we can understand that life picks on everyone, so when the going gets tough, we don’t have to take it personally. When we do take misfortune personally, we tend to obsess, giving a legacy to something that may make you a day poorer in life.

•  Cure your destination disease. Live more for today, less for tomorrow, and never about yesterday. How? You might have to repeatedly remind yourself that yesterday is gone forever, yet we perpetually have to deal with now, so why not live it? And what if tomorrow never occurs? There is a difference between working toward the future, which is inherently enjoyable in light of hope, and living in an unrealistic future that remains perpetually elusive. If tomorrow never comes, would you be satisfied with the way today ended?
“It is not how you start in life and it is not how you finish,” Gilliland says. “The true joy of life is in the trip, so enjoy the ride!”

About Steve Gilliland

A member of the National Speaker Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame, Steve Gilliland (www.stevegilliland.com) is one of the most in-demand and top-rated speakers in the world. Recognized by his peers as a master storyteller and brilliant comedian, he can be heard daily alongside Jeff Foxworthy and other celebrities on SiriusXM Radio’s Laugh USA and Blue Collar Radio. With an appeal that transcends barriers of age, culture and occupation—plus an interactive and entertaining style—Steve shows audiences how to open doors to success in their careers, their relationships and their lives. He speaks to more than 250,000 people a year and has shared the platform with numerous dignitaries. Also, he is a prolific writer who has achieved popular acclaim with his books “Enjoy The Ride,” “Making a Difference,” and “Hide Your Goat.” His new book “Detour, Developing the Mindset to Navigate Life’s Turns,” which will focus on change, will be released in early May 2015.