Tag: spiritual growth

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

newgrowthby Alan Cohen

A student told her spiritual teacher that she was suffering under the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, quoting Shakespeare’s famous verse from Hamlet. The teacher looked her piercingly in the eyes and asked, Are you so sure that fortune is outrageous and it must bear slings and arrows?

The stunned woman replied, But Shakespeare was a genius. He had penetrating insights into the nature of life.

Maybe life in his time, the teacher said. But that time is not this time. We are moving from an old paradigm of outrageous fortune to a new one of blessed fortune. If you wish to dwell in the new paradigm, you will have to let go of Shakespeare’s words. Are you ready? Are you willing?

Paradigms work for the moments they serve, but then they evolve to more expansive domains. Every belief system gives way to a greater one. Even science, which seems solid, is constantly casting aside old notions in favor of new ones. Sir James Jeans noted, Science should give up on making pronouncements. The river of truth has often turned back upon itself.

The teachers and methods that once guided you, the ones that changed and saved your life, the ones that seemed solid as steel, may no longer be appropriate for you. To the ego, that suggestion is quite scary. But, as Mahatma Gandhi declared, I am committed to truth, not consistency. Just because a pathway healed or saved you at one time, does not mean it will serve you in the same way at this time. This does not make the system, the people who represent it, or related experiences wrong. It just makes them outdated. For you, at least. The teacher or system may be totally valid for those who use it now. But you have a different path, and you must be true to it.

Let’s take some beliefs and teachings that many of us have embraced on the spiritual path, and hold them up to the light to see if they still work for us. Karma, for example. Is it the ultimate truth, or does the principle of grace supersede it? The religion you were brought up in – does it uplift you now, or does it bind you? Following an external guru – it works for many, but does it work for you? The notions of having to work to earn a living; or suffer to become free; or to have to walk through hell to earn heaven; or the belief that pain buys you anything worthwhile; or that sacrifice is required; or that one person’s self-diminishment results in another’s strengthening; or that one person’s death gives another life. And do we really reincarnate in a linear fashion, or might we be One Mind living all lives simultaneously?

My mentor once advised, You must devour your teacher. You must go beyond what your teacher taught you. We must honor the giants who have helped us, but ultimately we must stand on their shoulders. Those who have changed the world for the better have always questioned and transcended the world they inherited. If initial methods were the only methods, we would all still be writing on papyrus. E-mail? Crazy!

I saw a display at an ocean museum showing several nautilus seashells, each larger than the one before it. The guide explained, The same creature could have conceivably lived in each one of these shells at different times in its life. The animal spins the shell as its ‘house,’ and when it outgrows the house, it leaves the shell behind and spins a new home to accommodate its larger size.

We, too, outgrow the shells that once housed and protected us. For all of them we must be grateful. But we must also be great-full, allowing greatness to shine to us and through us in ever more expansive ways. In horticulture, there is one sure sign that a plant is healthy: the presence of new growth. If the plant is forming new leaves and flowers, it is in good shape.

Likewise, we must always be forming new leaves and flowers to stay alive spiritually. For new growth to come, the old leaves must fall away. They have done their job. They will be recycled by the universe to create new and more wondrous creations.

Shakespeare rocks. He was a genius. Yet he was a writer for his time more than ours. Certainly he captured certain eternal themes. Yet new Shakespeares are being groomed even as we speak. Perhaps you are one of them, in your own unique way. The new paradigm might be flowing through you as a painter, inventor, or mother. You must be true to what is, not what was. Then you will be a living corroboration of the bard’s visionary prophecy that there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Alan Cohen is the author of Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment. If you would like to become a professional life coach or incorporate life coaching skills in your career or personal life, join Alan’s celebrated Life Coach Training Program beginning March 4, 2014. For more information about this program, Alan’s books, free daily inspirational quotes, and his weekly radio show, visit alancohen.com or email info@alancohen.com.

Forecast 2014: 11 Spiritual Trends Beyond the Shift

uncertaintyby Sara Wiseman

We had such high hopes for the Shift – the New Age dawning in 2012 and continuing in 2013. And in fact, much of these did come true: these were heady years of releasing old patterns for most of us, especially old thought patterns contained in the collective soul.

In 2014, we’ll see more of this transition or Shift, and much of it is very, very difficult for humankind, the animal and plant kingdom, and the earth itself. There is great chaos, disaster and suffering continuing this year. This is what happens when seven billion souls all attempt to wake up at the same time; many of us are grumpy at being shaken from the old dream, and many are not able to withstand the Shift at all. Yet overall, 2014 is a gentler year. It’s as if we’ve actually evolved a little bit. We understand where we need to go, and even if we’re not there yet, at least we’re pointing in the right direction. We don’t live in fear the same way we used to.

In 2014, this much is true: the more you let go of the old paradigm, the more the new paradigm begins to show up in your life.

Here are 11 signs to watch for:

1. Time shifts. You’ll notice that time isn’t running on the same schedule as it used to; you’ll experience great passages of no time or being unable remember time that has passed. Nowness becomes real.

2. Spiritual awakening. The great leap forward continues for millions. Many of you will begin to experience great passages of true awakening. This will be worldwide.

3. A new healing emerges. The health insurance fiasco is a sign that we are moving from the fear and scarcity based systems of health to a new way. Energy healing will become not just more mainstream, but more effective. The old models of illness are beginning to be released, even though we are still in early stages.

4. Food as medicine. The GMO battle is one of the most significant of our time. We’ll begin to understand and fight for the value of food as medicine and our source of health.

5. The ocean calls for help. The oceans, rivers and other bodies of water continue to use their force in weather, disaster, and more to signal their great need for help.

6. The refugee becomes a symbol of our Oneness. What happens to the least of one, happens to all.

7. Transportation changes. Cars and oil dependency won’t be the same in five years.

8. Marijuana becomes legal in more states. This creates shifts that we won’t understand for another decade.

9. Human rights continue to be supported on all levels: civil, race, gender, age.

10. Child and teen leaders emerge. The new generation speaks out as a force. Watch for key martyrs and leaders such as Malala [Yousafzai]. The younger generations are communicating with each other and waiting for their time to lead.

11. The wise elderly blossom. Boomers begin to experience enlightenment left and right. Their ability to release and wake up from old paradigms is astounding. Many will be heroic for coming generations; this may also happen in your own family.

Spiritual teacher and intuitive Sara Wiseman is the author of six insightful books on spirituality and intuition, including Living a Life of Gratitude and Becoming Your Best Self. She hosts the popular radio show Ask Sara, and is a top contributor to DailyOM, Vivid Life and others. She has released four healing music CDs with her band, Martyrs of Sound. Visit her online at sarawiseman.com.

Noticing the Particulate

spiritualenergyby Sara Wiseman

At some point you stood there, in the first living room you ever knew, when you were new to the world, and life seemed simple. And you saw it all with new eyes. The old sofa. The worn table. Toys scattered on the floor. A big picture window to let the light in.

And at some point, you were playing in this room. Maybe it was Saturday and your father napped on the sofa. Maybe it was a weekday and your mother was in the kitchen. Maybe you were happy; maybe you were sad; maybe you’d been jumping on that old sofa or making a fort out of the couch pillows.

You simply being yourself in your body. And then, in that moment, something shifted. Perhaps you caught a glimpse of a spirit from the window’s corner, or perhaps something flashed in your eyes, a ray of sunlight glinting in a way you’d never seen it before.

You were so young then: two, three, four.

Everything was still wonderment, but already, you’d started to know pain. Everything was still wonderment, but already, you’d begun to forget.

The stars in your eyes had not completely faded, but they’d become shrouded so the dazzling deep knowing of the Universe faded to a kind of vision you’d forgotten how to use, a type of seeing that was not useful for earth life.

And yet, with this particular flash of light, it all came back to you: the sun streaming in and illuminating clouds of dust in the air so that all the things in your view were specs and glints and orbs of light, particulate upon particulate, a light-filled energy field.

And you understood once again what you had nearly forgotten, that this is what we are: particulate light, floating in constellations, floating in universes, mixed and melding, always light. This is energy, this is love, this is Divine, this is us. You knew it before you were born. You remembered it again when you were young.

You can remember it today.

As you begin to see this stuff of the Universe with your adult eyes, the visible manifestation of what we call Divine, it is easy to recall more fully who you really are, what we really are: energy, light, love.

It’s all around you, it is you – not just what is seen, but what is also unseen: the energy within the energy, the space within the space, the universes within the Universe.

Begin to notice the particulate today, even if at first you only glimpse it as physical phenomenon. Today, go to a place where there is light stream-ing. Watch the particulate dance in this stream. See it, wonder at it, wish upon it! It is not just dust mixed with light; it is the essence of everything, as are you. Look in wonder, and give thanks for what you once knew and what you are beginning to remember again.

Excerpted from Living a Life of Gratitude: Your Journey to Grace, Healing & Joy (Llewellyn), by Sara Wiseman. Printed here with permission.
Spiritual teacher and intuitive Sara Wiseman is the author of six insightful books on spirituality and intuition, including Living a Life of Gratitude and Becoming Your Best Self. She hosts the popular radio show Ask Sara, and is a top contributor to DailyOM, Vivid Life and others. She has released four healing music CDs with her band, Martyrs of Sound. Visit her online at sarawiseman.com.