It is January 11, 2015 and world leaders from over 40 countries gathered in Paris, linked arm to arm to march in peace for unity. In the twentieth century alone an estimated 160 million of our brothers sisters died because of war. We have over 60 countries engaged in some kind of conflict. And then there is the battle within our own minds, where some would argue all war begins. This means our entire world is suffering not only from a lack of inner peace but also from a loss of awareness as to how much love actually resides inside every soul. It seems to me that our holding on to old stories of the past with bitter interpretations percolates more hatred, and prevents us from walking into a new one.
The solidarity of world leaders in the aftermath of a three day terror attack, beginning at the newsroom of Charlie Hebdo, totaling 17 lives lost, makes me optimistic that goodness does indeed remain in us. We are all Charlie. As more than three million people participated in unity marches throughout various places they proclaimed their solidarity with the phrase, "Je Suis Charlie," "I Am Charlie," also translated as "OM Charlie."
OM, while translating to "I Am," is also a sacred sound, connecting all through a vibration of peace and love. Perhaps turning more to this meaning of "I Am," will bring us back to who we truly are, beyond our excuses for war. Will the escalation of tragedy eventually become a means for us to review our humanity and recognize that we all come from One God, and we will all return to the same one? To date, I've never seen a record of God saying, "I am Muslim... Jew, Christian, Hindu." So is it man's attachment to these labels that creates the conflict? What if we really did come from the solidarity of 'We are all Charlie?' Not only post-terror, but every day.
I showcased an incredible short movie, Admissions at the Meditation Museum during the holidays. Like our guests, I came away with a deeper encouragement to get the knowledge and experience of Je Suis, OM, I Am, out and in to our communities worldwide. What if we all considered ourselves to be souls, belonging to the same God? What then would be our excuse to impose hurt on another and justify acts of violence as one's expression of God's will?
Please do share your thoughts, firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is it about the coming of a new year that makes us reflect at a deeper level than we do in the middle of the year? We start to take a mental account of what we have done and what we have yet to do. I am of the firm belief that "should haves" don't serve us. Our lives have played out the way they were meant to, and now we're in a powerful position to consider how we would like to steer them from this point on.
The new year is about more than ritualistically setting resolutions before the clock strikes midnight. This annual transition of time is an opportunity for our stage of consciousness to transition from dark to light; to let go of our past and invest in our future by living fully and lovingly in the present.
As many make plans to toast the new year with carefully selected dates and parties, I'm reminded of my former life, prior to becoming fully dedicated to living from the inside out. When I was in my 20s, I was managing two nightclubs in South Beach, Miami. I was at the top of my game, living the high life in a beautiful, oceanfront apartment, with a brimming social life. I was in a good place, not searching for anything.
Then I had a deeply profound experience of silence, pure love, and the light of God that awakened something in me. It took me on a path of giving more than taking, it took me into real living. This entry of a new consciousness was so significantly more meaningful than my nightclub lifestyle that I had no choice other than to surrender to it. Looking back, I realize how enormous a transformation the soul went through; it shifted my way of speaking, walking, dressing and essentially being.
Now perhaps that level of change is not on the horizon for you, though letting go of something likely is. We may not all surrender to God or living more from inside out, what I tend to say, "paying attention" instead of living from tension, but to think of surrender as breaking our attachments and finding the courage to love more, we could all make that a resolution.
There is a continuous, subconscious habit of competing with attachments, expectations, resistance, and the ego, and all takes a toll on the soul. When we take an honest look at our inner thoughts and feelings, we slowly begin to accept the reality of this habitual pattern. We realize that we are more often in a state of illusion than truth. The path of spirituality is about examining the percentage we spend in the consciousness of our truth.
My role as a spiritual teacher is to be so curious about my own self transformation that it just might inspire others to examine this practice for themselves and find the courage to let go and give into the experience of true intoxication. I believe when someone is intoxicated about self realization, there is a faith that naturally moves the soul to make the impossible possible. It has the wisdom to release old patterns that no longer serve the betterment of the soul or the folks that revolve around them.
At this time, it seems my part that's unfolding in front of me and the world, is to offer a portal to a different kind of intoxication than my earlier days in the clubs, it's the intoxication of spiritual wisdom. There is something in the taste of realizing your worthiness, your capacity, your purity. And this drink of knowledge holds no fear of driving under the influence where you might hurt yourself or someone else. Instead, you might feel strong enough to pick someone up who is down and share a thought that will awaken them for the new year. There is no hangover, just the happiness of being ready to continue your journey, renewed and lighter.
So, for this new year, our ability to surrender opens an opportunity to break the illusions of the mind that are holding us back from forging forward and really living a life of pure freedom. Instead, we gracefully, and powerfully glide ourselves into a new year with eyes that sparkle with enlightenment, a smile as soft as a child, and heart of pure gold.
My gift for all of you is my Letting Go Meditation.
PaniPuri with Sister Jenna
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