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I have a sticky note on my desk that reads, "A lot of spiritual work is dealing with the idea that we are separate from God."

In my experience, it is this idea of separation that causes feelings of loneliness, stress, overwhelm, burden, anger, isolation, distrust, doubt, guilt and any myriad other host of negative feelings.

I have never believed in a God separate from me, but I never voiced that, because of a perception that most people believe in the separate "God in the sky" version of Spirit.  Even many so called alternative religions believe in a Force separate from us humans.  Every day I hear folks say things like, "The Universe will provide."  It's still a separate God, even if they are calling it something different.   I could never make sense of a separate God.  And when I returned to my childhood roots at a Center for Spiritual Living and began to take classes, I soon learned why:  One of the first things we are taught in our classes is that God and I, we are One!

In fact, that concept is the first of ten of what we call the Core Concepts of Science of Mind. It is also the first statement in a list of "We Believe" statements that have been adopted as a way of explaining to newcomers who we are and what we believe.

Ironically, around these parts we don't tell anyone what to believe.  But we do have ten statements telling everyone exactly what we do believe. Here is the first of those ten:

"We Believe in God, the Living Spirit Almighty; one, indestructible, absolute and self-existent Cause.  This One manifests Itself in and through all creation, but is not absorbed by Its creation.  The manifest universe is the body of God; it is the logical and necessary outcome of the infinite self-knowingness of God."

The part that says we are each free to believe what we wish is the part where I interpret that rather wordy sentence in my own way.  I choose to interpret it thusly:  I believe in God, it manifested itself in and through me by knowing me.  Yet God is much more than that, it isn't just me.

The ramifications of such a belief, or lack of one, are far reaching, and the subject of another blog post, but for now, I will leave you with this:

God and I, we are one!

How do you feel about the concept of being one with God?

imageSometimes it is beneficial to spend some time with your head in the clouds.

Studies have shown that when you allow your thoughts to drift aimlessly you activate a creativity app in  your mind.

Creativity helps us in many ways.  It's not just about artistic creativity.  It's also about resting.  Have you ever lost something and searched high and low for it, ending up frustrated because you couldn't find it?  Then you turn to another task and forget about it for a while, and all of a sudden the location of your lost item "magically" appears in your mind.

Spending time with your head in the clouds, at rest, is like that.  Let it rest and roam, and do this on a regular basis, and suddenly a "magical" solution to something you've been pondering will appear.

 

I was having a chat with someone today who told me that she had been feeling a bit depressed lately.  Nothing clinical mind you; if you find yourself unable to get out of bed or with suicidal tendencies due to depression, contact a physician.  I'm talking about those down days that we all get sometimes, seemingly for no reason.

But there is a reason.  Many times, a feeling of being down or mildly depressed can be a message from the body that it is time to rest.  The body contains wisdom  and it will send us messages that it is time to be doing something different with our lives; mild depression is one of those messages.

If you are feeling mildly depressed, or a bit down, or just unmotivated to do much, consider what your body is trying to tell you:

  1. Have you been burning the candle at both ends?  There is a reason most religions advocate a day of rest.  Even the ancients recognized that we all need a period of rest in our lives.  If you work seven days a week (self employed people are very good at this!), take a break.  Force yourself if you have to.  You'll find you are much more productive when you return.
  2. Get enough sleep.  We are a chronically sleep deprived population.  In spite of the fact that we need about 8 hours of sleep per day, most people allow themselves 6 or even less. This lowers your immune system and your productivity, as well as reaction times when driving or operating machinery.
  3. Investigate:       have you experienced a loss lately?  Even small losses can trigger a need to rest, which is what mild depression feels like.  Or perhaps you've recently had a medical procedure?  The more invasive, the more your body will need to rest, hence the feelings of mild depression.  Anniversaries can also sometimes trigger a feeling of mild depression.

The key, no matter what the cause for feeling down, is to honor it.  Take a nap, go spend a half day or an evening at a spa, get a massage or a pedicure, go to a museum and aimlessly wander, go for a walk.  And talk about how you are feeling.  A simple conversation with a caring person can work wonders!

If you honor the message of a mild depression, you will learn something about yourself and feel better in the process!

Don't just encounter balance when  you swing past it!  If you incorporate one or more of the following tips into your life, you will experience increased productivity, better health, improved sleep, more creativity and an enthusiasm for your personal life that will spill over into your work life.

  1. If you are self employed, be sure to take at least one day off per week.  If you are an employee, be sure that one of your days off has no commitments.  This is probably the single most important thing you can do to ensure balance in your life, and it is probably the most difficult.  There is a reason that spiritual literature advocates a day of rest.  It doesn't have to be Sunday, just take a day.
  2. Lighten up!  Don't take things personally, including yourself.  Too much preoccupation with self tends to make a very heavy burden.
  3. Help others.  Volunteer, make cookies for the folks in the local fire house, help a neighbor.  Find some way to be helpful, and don't place any expectations on it.  Volunteer your time, talent or treasure in ways that benefit both you and others.
  4. Go to bed about the same time every night and get at least 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis.  We are the most sleep deprived nation in the world, and it shows in stress related illnesses and lack of productivity.  This ties in with #1.  Enough sleep and enough rest ensures balance for you in your life.
  5. Meditate.  Remember that meditation is not about emptying your mind, but about focusing it.  Focus on something:  your breath, counting, chanting, a candle, a waterfall, a stream, the sounds around you.  Do it for ten minutes, every day.
  6. Go on an Artist's Date.  Julia Cameron recommends this in  her book "The Artist's Way."  I highly recommend it.  Your date isn't necessarily artistic, but simply something fun that you would like to do.  I've gone on drives on windy roads, taken myself to visit quaint little towns, gone shopping, gone to a movie, gone to some event like a Farmer's Market or Craft Fair and just wandered.
  7. STOP!  Just take a break for a few minutes.  If you are in a public place and feeling overwhelmed, go to the bathroom, shut the door, lock it and sit for few minutes.  Or take a walk, or get up and stretch.  You would be surprised at how just a few minutes can make all the difference in the world.

You are worth feeling good.  You are worth having fun.   Incorporate these few tips into your life and watch the fun factor soar!

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