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This website presents the process by which to become self-aware.
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Section 9 - Spiritual exercises

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Meditation

Meditation - Exercise 1
Find your centre
The goal of this exercise is to find your centre, where you can hear yourself think (a vitally important step in gaining self-awareness). It’s a place within yourself where you can ask questions, receive messages, and generally regain a sense of peace and harmony, even if only for a few moments.

Where is it and how do I get there?
It is a place of calm within. Simply be willing. Sounds too simple, right? But it really is just that easy. Begin by finding a quiet place where you can be undisturbed for five or ten minutes. Once you are settled comfortably, take a slow deep breath in, and gently let it out. Many find it helpful to ask the Universal Intelligence for assistance upon starting.

There is no need to concentrate on your breathing, or to breathe in any particular fashion. There is no need for any special equipment or materials. If you choose to, you can burn a candle or play some soothing music to become relaxed. However, no rituals are required in order to communicate with the Universal Intelligence. (In fact, performing rituals can show that fear is present, because the fear says that something terrible will happen when the ritual is not performed. Then ritual becomes superstition, and superstition is nothing more than fear that has become habit.)

What can happen when I get there?
If you feel comfortable closing your eyes, go ahead and do so. You’ll know you’re in the right space when your eyelids flutter lightly. If your eyes are open, you will need to pay very close attention to yourself, both your mind and your body. You may feel your energy change when you’ve found the right place, or your thoughts may sound different.

How long should it last?
As long as you're comfortable and able to stay focused on paying attention to your thoughts. If you lose focus or forget to pay attention for a few seconds, just return to listening to your thoughts when you remember.

How often, and how many times should this be done?
At least twice a day (once upon awakening and again before going to sleep). After a week or two, you'll likely be able to find your centred space quite easily. Then it will be time to go on to Exercise 2

Self-test
Whatever happens, try to record your experiences in a journal of some sort. It can serve as a reminder of your journey toward self-awareness.
Meditation - Exercise 2
Now that you've found your centre
Now that you can go to your centred space more easily and are getting used to listening to your thoughts, it's time to start asking some questions. For this exercise, you will need a simple question or two. Here are a few suggestions, but feel free to use your own:
  • What is my guide's name?
  • How many guides are working with me?
  • What is my soul name?
  • What is my life purpose?
  • What am I here to learn?
Remember to ask for assistance while getting centred, then ask your question(s) once you are centred. Listen "higher". That is to say, listen for silence first, and then pay attention to the thoughts that come. Listen to your thoughts for at least 15 to 30 seconds after each question. Pay close attention to your body too, for your guide may use physical signals to communicate with you.

Self-test
What happened? Was there a message? Were there colours, or a picture? Was there a particular feeling, such as a sensation of warmth or cold, tiredness, relaxation, peace? If there just seemed to be a jumble of thoughts, try to recall at least a few of them. Record your experiences in your journal.


Meditation - Notes
Sometimes in meditation the Universe will use words like "thee", "thy", "thou", etc. when working with us. Other times they might address us as "Child of God", or "Child". This is not meant in any way other than lovingly, respectfully. When this happens, it is completely unmistakable that it is the Universe speaking, and not just our own thoughts. We can be certain then that there is specific information that needs to be given to us, and that questions need to be asked in order to gain full understanding of what is being given. Whatever is experienced, questions must be asked in order to find the correct interpretation and gain full understanding about what has been given. Why? Because the Law of Free Will requires the Universal Intelligence to tell us what we want to hear, or what we already believe to be truth, it is up to us to make the conscious choice to set aside our preconceived ideas and belief systems before inviting communication. In fact, recognizing all of our belief systems becomes crucial when working with the Universal Intelligence.

Whatever the experience, questions must be asked of our own guide in order to gain full understanding about what has been given.


Apologizing

Apologizing - Exercise 1
Guilt creates a need to apologize, as well as a need for forgiveness.

How can I tell if I'm feeling guilty about something?
One way is to pay attention to our thoughts. Words like, "I'm so bad" or "I don't deserve" can indicate guilt. Another way to find out is to get centred and ask our guide.

How do we get rid of guilt?
The goal of this exercise is to rid yourself of any guilt you might have over things you have done or not done, or said or not said throughout your life. We get rid of guilt by apologizing. Apologizing is a tool to help us regain respect - both from others and for self. To do it, simply be willing. Sounds too simple, right? But it really is just that easy.
  • Ask for assistance.
  • Get centred.
  • From your centred space, think of someone you've harmed, or of someone with whom you're angry (could be a person, could be your guide, or could be God).
  • Ask your guide to give you some understanding about your behaviour and your choices, that is, why did you do whatever you did?
What does it feel like to get rid of guilt?
Sometimes it can feel as though a great weight has been lifted from our shoulders. We might feel like laughing or crying, or maybe like dancing, or maybe as though we have a new source of energy. The pain can stop, sometimes immediately.

How often should this be done?
Whenever you've failed or harmed someone, before shame and despair set in and before the need for self-punishment becomes irresistible.

Self-test
Think of the person to whom you're apologizing. Try to picture them in your mind's eye. Do you feel differently than you did before this exercise? If not, then the exercise is not yet complete. Ask your guide for more information about the situation. The exercise is complete when you can think about the person and the situation without having any negative thoughts, attitudes and emotions.

After you've apologized to at least five people in meditation, it'll be time to move on to Exercise 2.

Whatever happens, try to record your experiences in a journal.

Apologizing - Exercise 2
Now that you know how to apologize
Now that you've apologized in your heart, it's time to put it on paper.
Write down whatever you feel needs to be said to express your regret to the person you've harmed, and tell them that you'd like to make amends.

Self-test
If the person is no longer in your life, then hold a ceremony to dispose of the letter. If the person is still involved in your life, and if you feel right about doing so, mail the letter to them or phone and read it aloud to them. If you want to apologize but don't wish to re-open a completed relationship, that's okay. Just try to be sure about your reasons for not wanting them in your life; try to be sure that it's not because you're still angry with yourself or with them.

Leave it up to them to decide what to do about your apology; that is, it's their choice whether to forgive you. If they choose not to forgive you, that's okay, that's their choice. You have done what you need to do to move forward, so let it (and them) go.

Be sure to record your experience in your journal.

Apologizing - Notes
Apologizing is like a muscle, and exercising it regularly will help to ensure strong spiritual health. Holding onto guilt helps no one. Refusing to apologize can create all sorts of health problems for us.


Forgiveness

Forgiveness - Exercise 1
What does it feel like to forgive?
Sometimes it can feel as though a burden has been lifted from one's chest or back, or as if someone put out the fire inside.

How do I do it?
Simply be willing. Sounds too simple, right? But it really is just that easy. Ask for assistance. Get centred. From your centred space, think of someone who makes you angry, or who has failed you or harmed you in some way. Ask your guide to give you some understanding about the person and the situation, that will help you to see their humanity. Say the words, "I forgive you" and mean it.

What can happen when I do it?
The pain can stop, sometimes immediately.

How often should this be done?
Whenever someone fails you, hurts you or makes you angry, before resentment sets in and before the urge for revenge becomes irresistible.

Self-test

Think of the person you have forgiven. How do you feel when you see his or her face? Is it different to how you felt before this exercise? If it's the same, then the exercise is not yet complete. Ask your guide for more information about the situation. The exercise is complete when you can think about the person who hurt you without having any negative thoughts, attitudes and emotions.

After you've forgiven at least five people, it'll be time to move on to Exercise 2.

Whatever happens, try to record your experiences in your journal.


Forgiveness - Exercise 2
Now that you know how to forgive
Now that you know how to forgive others, it's time to start forgiving yourself. For this exercise, you will need a question or two. Here are a couple of questions to ask:
  • Am I angry with myself? If so, why?
  • Do I have unrecognized anger or resentment? If so, why?
  • Am I holding onto old, painful issues? If so, what are they?
Remember to ask for assistance while getting centred, then ask your question(s) once you are centred. Listen to your thoughts for at least 15 to 30 seconds after each question. Pay close attention to your body too, for your guide may use physical signals to communicate with you.

Self-test
What happened? Did you receive answers to your questions? Be sure to record your experience in your journal.


Forgiveness - Exercise 3
Now it's time to forgive everyone. Think of anyone, from any time in your life, for whom you're holding a grudge. Forgive them - now - because not doing so would be like storing one rotten apple in with the good ones.


Forgiveness - Notes
Forgiveness is like a muscle, and exercising it regularly will help to ensure strong spiritual health. The challenge is to realize that holding onto negative thoughts, attitudes and emotions and directing them at the source of one's pain do nothing to hurt the other person. Non-forgiveness can create all sorts of health problems, but not for the other guy!


Grieving

What is it?
Grieving is the process of coming to terms with life's difficult losses. No matter what the experience, if one is ever to find peace one must find some way to let go of whatever was lost. It is holding on that keeps one stuck in a cycle of sorrow and self-pity, or even anger and hatred. If we look at that cycle as being a behaviour, we can start to peel away the layers and get to the root cause of it.

How do I do it?
In meditation, recall the first negative experience that was ignored (usually in childhood) along with all the thoughts, attitudes and emotions that occurred when it happened. By remembering it and under what circumstances it happened, we can begin to understand why we do certain things, and we can begin to validate our experiences.

Again, in meditation, gain full understanding about why it was ignored and/or written off as being unimportant. As adults, we can look at our childhood experiences and find understanding that is not possible for young children. This is not to place blame, but to recognize that everyone who was a part of the experience played an active (or passive) role in it.

Next, feel the emotions and think the thoughts that were suppressed or repressed at the time of the event. Grieve the losses that were felt as a child. Say the angry thoughts out loud, if possible. Cry, cry, cry. Let it all out, as scary as that may sound, for crying is an important part of the healing process. Acknowledge the pain or cruelty that was suffered, without understating the importance of it. The events were important, for they have made us who we are today. It does not matter whether anyone else thinks that our experiences were easier or worse than theirs were. What is important is that they happened to us, and they hurt us. All of our experiences have helped to create all the thoughts, attitudes and emotions, belief systems and inner conflicts that we have now.

Then it's time to forgive. Forgive self for developing the behaviour - forgive others for making us do it - forgive God.

After all this, it becomes gradually easier to let go of the experiences at ever-deeper levels, thereby letting go of the need to endlessly replay one's memories and repeat the cycle.

What can happen when I do it?
You might feel pleasure or satisfaction. If you feel guilt at the thouht of releasing a person or an experience, let it go. Holding onto guilt or remorse will keep the grief pattern firmly in place.

How often should this be done?
In your centred space, start by looking at the experience that you think about most often, that causes you the most pain. Do this as often as needed until all of your thoughts, attitudes and emotions surrounding it have been recalled, recognized and fully understood.

Self-test
Practice, practice, practice.
Whatever happens, try to record your experiences in a journal.


How to raise Self-esteem

What is it?
Self-esteem is the ability to accept one's good and not-so-good thoughts, attitudes, emotions, belief systems, desires and behaviours without judgment, criticism or condemnation. Self-esteem and self-respect go hand in hand. Believe it or not, we are born with these qualities, but we can lose them all too easily. The challenge then, is to regain them. Good news! We can learn how to do just that. Once we learn the root cause(s) of why we withhold self-esteem and respect from ourselves, we can begin to earn them back. How? By accomplishing small tasks that help us to see our worth. Gaining self-esteem and respect is not a quick process, but, as with apologizing, forgiveness and tolerance, can be learned and strengthened by practicing.

Here are some of the behaviours that can destroy self-esteem:
  • Blaming
  • Lying
  • Not following through on commitments
  • Constant criticism from a loved one
Poor self-esteem can lead to feelings of guilt and shame, and guilt and shame can lead to:
  • Chronic feelings of self-doubt, fear and/or anxiety
  • Depression
  • Addictions to certain behaviours or substances
How do I build self-esteem?
Start small: Set a goal for yourself that is easily achievable. Could be something like, "I will not swear today." Throughout the day, every time you have the urge to swear, remember your commitment. Don't let go of it, no matter what happens! At the end of the day, meditate about how it felt to achieve your goal and record your experiences. Record all of the experiences that made you want to swear. Meditate to find the root cause(s) of your anger.

What can happen when I do it?
You might feel pleasure or satisfaction. As each day without swearing passes, you might feel a little less angry. (If you find yourself feeling more angry, then there is a problem within self that needs to be resolved.)

How often should this be done?
Everyday for a month, live up to your commitment. After a month has passed, record your successes (and your failures). Then set a new goal for yourself for the next month. The goal needs to address some negative behaviour within yourself. Maybe you're always running late, maybe you're always complaining...could be just about any behaviour at all. Choose one that you know bothers your loved ones.

Next step
Continue setting goals for yourself that are gradually more challenging to meet: Today I will complete one of the tasks I have avoided doing -> Today I will not judge myself harshly -> Today I will not criticize others

Self-test
Practice, practice, practice.
Whatever happens, try to record your experiences in a journal.


How to stop sniping

What is sniping?
It's taking every single opportunity to point out someone's flaws to make another feel bad and/or to make oneself feel big and powerful. It's judgment, criticism and condemnation, and it's a passive/aggressive act of revenge. It is NOT done out of a desire to help someone. It is done because of a desire to make one feel better about self.

What if I do it?
If you catch yourself doing it, look within to find out which thoughts, attitudes or emotions made you feel the need to strike out verbally.

How do I stop doing it?
Ask for assistance.
Get centred.
Listen to your thoughts. Ask your guide to help you understand the root cause of your behaviour. Once that understanding has been gained, it becomes easier to let go of the need to react in such a way. Remember: No one deserves to be treated that way!

What can happen when I stop?
At first? Probably not too much. There might still be the desire to strike out verbally, but resisting the temptation really can be its own reward. A feeling of pleasure arises when one takes the high road. Self-worth grows along with self-esteem. As those traits strengthen, the need for the old behaviour decreases - often dramatically. Eventually, you'll find it hard to believe that you ever sniped!

What if someone does it to me?
First of all, look within to see which of your words or actions might have caused the individual to react in such a way. Check with your guide to see whether you have some negative belief systems about yourself. Do you often find people treating you disrespectfully? Do your thoughts continually repeat past negative experiences? See victim. If so, the root cause may well be an inner child issue. Once the issue has been resolved, new behaviours and beliefs become easier to adopt.

Next, call them on it! Let them know what they did, and that it's not ok to speak to you that way.
Whatever happens, try to record your experiences in a journal.


Tolerance

What is it?
Tolerance is the ability to observe people or to have experiences without having any negative thoughts, attitudes and emotions. When we see something we don't like, the tendency is to have a negative thought about it. Sometimes the dislike can even become an obsession. It becomes an obsession when we focus on trying to make that thing change, when, in all likelihood, changing it is completely beyond our control. Becoming tolerant is neither simple nor quick, but, as with apologizing and forgiveness, can be learned and strengthened by practicing.

Tolerance - Exercise 1
How do I do it?
Ask for assistance.
Get centred.
Look in the mirror (full length if possible).
Listen to your thoughts. Pay attention to every single negative word you have to say about yourself. Ask your guide to help you understand the root cause of each of those thoughts.

What can happen when I do it?
The thoughts become clear. A feeling of pleasure arises.

How often should this be done?
Start with once a day and keep practicing until you can observe yourself with loving eyes. The goal is to have no negative thoughts about self - the ultimate goal is to have no negative thoughts at all, about anyone. While that may sound impossible, the important thing is to keep practicing.

Self-test
Look at yourself and listen carefully to your thoughts. When you can watch for 15 seconds without having any negative thoughts at all, it'll be time to lengthen the duration of watching and listening. Increase to 20 seconds, then to 25 and then to 30. (Until you have become adept at staying focused on hearing your thoughts for any longer than that, the exercise becomes difficult to monitor.) Practice, practice, practice.

Whatever happens, try to record your experiences in a journal.

Tolerance - Exercise 2
Now that you are accustomed to looking at yourself with love, it's time to enlarge the picture.
Ask for assistance.
Get centred.
Turn on the television.
Watch. Listen to your thoughts. It's ok to change channels while watching, but remember to focus on hearing your thoughts. Here's a sample of what you might hear: "That's terrible. He/she should/shouldn't wear that colour. He/she is ugly. That's beautiful. How can they make crap like that? That's stupid. What a mess. How can people treat one another that way? Those poor animals. That hairstyle is ridiculous on her. Those people should know better than to let themselves get so fat." Most of these statements indicate that judgment, criticism and condemnation have taken place, and are just a random sampling of what goes on in our thoughts when we watch television (or when we observe people anywhere!). The challenge in this exercise is to watch television without having any negative thoughts at all.

When you can watch for 15 seconds with no negative thoughts, it'll be time to lengthen the duration of watching and listening. Increase to 20 seconds, then to 25 and then to 30. The longer, the better! Practice, practice, practice.

Tolerance - Exercise 3
Now that you are become accustomed to looking at your physical appearance (and others') with love, it's time for the next step - learning to observe your negative behaviours without having negative thoughts, attitudes and emotions about them.

How can you possibly expect me to do that?!
As always, by practicing. Every day, whenever you hear yourself say something like, "I should have/shouldn't have done that", ask your guide what your motivation was. Find the root cause. With full understanding, it will gradually become easier to let it go. The benefits of doing so are twofold: Firstly, the negative behavioural pattern will gradually change until it no longer is repeated. Secondly, by understanding our own behaviours, we become more able to understand those of others. When we understand something, it becomes very easy to observe it without condemning it or trying to change it.

Self-test
Think of one of your negative behaviours. Maybe it's always having to check and recheck that you've done something. Maybe it's always having to spend money. Could be almost anything! Think about the behaviour and listen carefully to your thoughts about it. You'll know you're becoming tolerant when you can think about it without having any negative thoughts about it.

Whatever happens, try to record your experiences in your journal.

Tolerance - Notes
Tolerance is like a muscle, and exercising it regularly will help to ensure strong spiritual health. Having negative thoughts, attitudes and emotions harms us all. Intolerance creates much of the turmoil on this planet, because we usually try to change the things we don't like - and when we try to change someone else, we get into trouble. Why? Well, how do you feel when someone tries to "correct" you? It feels like control, right? It feels like we've been judged, criticized and condemned. So then we get angry - maybe with self, but more likely with the one who's trying to change us. So maybe an argument erupts, or worse, maybe communication ceases. Far better to focus on changing our own negative thoughts, attitudes and emotions - something we can actually change.


How to stop worrying

What is worry?
Busy thoughts; trying to figure out how everything is going to turn out; trying to plan everything; trying to figure out what others are thinking or how others will react (or are reacting) to your action(s).

Stopping worrying is neither simple nor quick, but, as with apologizing and forgiveness, can be learned and strengthened by practicing.

How do I do it?
It would be helpful to start with the Meditation exercise above as it will prepare you for this exercise.
Ask for assistance.
Get centred.
Listen to your thoughts for about 15 seconds. Pay attention to every single thought you have about something that has not yet happened, or that has already happened. Ask your guide to help you understand the root cause of why you are thinking about them. Once that understanding has been gained, it becomes easier to let go of the need to obsess.

What can happen when I do it?
The thoughts become clear. A feeling of pleasure arises.

How often should this be done?
Start with once a day and keep practicing until you can hear your thought, understand the source of it and then stop it before it's even completed. The ultimate goal is to be worry-free. While that may sound impossible, the important thing is to keep practicing.

Self-test
Listen carefully to your thoughts. When you can listen for 15 seconds without having any worrisome thoughts, it'll be time to lengthen the duration of listening. Increase to 20 seconds, then to 25 and then to 30. Until you have become adept at staying focused on hearing your thoughts for any longer than that, the exercise becomes difficult to monitor. Practice makes progress!

Whatever happens, try to record your experiences in a journal.

How to stop worrying - Notes
Worrying is like a muscle, and exercising it regularly has helped to ensure a very strong negative pattern. Changing the pattern will take much dedication and practice.

If you've ever quit using an addictive substance (cigarettes or whatever), you'll know how the thoughts keep returning to the idea of it. It's the same with worry (the Universe calls worry "mental turmoil"). The worry is the addictive substance - doesn't matter what the particular thought is, but it's usually the same repetitive thoughts (home, work, money, mate, future, past, etc.).

The challenge is to hear the thoughts. Once we hear the thought, we can set it aside in the knowledge that, right here, right now, there's nothing that can be done for it. Decide to deal with it when the time is right , rather than in your every waking moment. Just gently set it aside...tell yourself that you can return to it tomorrow, or the next day, or whenever ... but for right now, you can trust that it's ok to leave it alone.

And the same for each separate thought that comes. Of course it takes lots of practice, but as my guide says to me, "Practice makes progress" ... and there's all the time in the world to practice.

After one becomes somewhat comfortable with not worrying, with having quieter thoughts, it becomes easier to communicate with the Universe, that is, asking them a question to which we genuinely do not know the answer, and then just letting it go ... waiting for the answer instead of endlessly repeating the question or making suggestions as to what the answer might be, etc.



 
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