Hi everyone! Here’s a little video I made for the last session of this class, where I do some fun Show and Tell:
If you missed class, be sure to read all the materials below, and everyone should do the at-home reading. Thanks, and can’t wait to see you next week!
Deepening Trust and Divine Connection
This week we looked at the beliefs, attitudes, tools, and practices that can help us cultivate a deeper sense of faith, divine connection, and that sense of flow that comes with being in tune with our inner knowing and our path. We explored the idea of opening up to “ordinary magic” and cultivating a sense of play.
- How can we maintain or regain a sense of trust and connection with our Higher Selves and/or the Divine?
- What is the difference between trust and “magical thinking”? What does “mature spirituality” look like?
- What beliefs, attitudes, practices, or tools can help to strengthen our sense of trust and connection?
- What is the role of spiritual play and experimentation?
II: MEDITATION: RUNNING ENERGY
This week we tried “running energy.” This is a set of techniques that act like a kind of energetic tune up, and you can do them any time. Here’s the audio file.
III. A FEW THOUGHTS ON OPENNESS AND TRUST
A passage from the Guides for this week:
The heart of the human being must open, if only a tiny crack, before we may enter. The human heart must choose to believe, or at least to be open, a tiny bit, in order to receive grace.
In other words, we need to do our part to invite in or remain open to the Divine so that we may have the experience of feeling connected and being guided by our Higher Selves more and more.
Last week, through the timeline activity, we tracked our past experiences of listening or not listening to our own inner knowing and how that felt. Tonight, we focus specifically on sharing stories and looking at how to further cultivate that state of listening and paying attention.
I wrote up a longer collection of thoughts or mini-lecture that I have included in this week’s at-home reading. But the overall idea is that they key is to cultivate a mature spirituality, which I define as an attitude of curiosity, an openness to mystery, a willingness not to know everything, and an ability to be surprised. It involves not talking ourselves out of or explaining away experiences, moments, or feelings that seem significant, but also not jumping to easy explanations or relying on “magical thinking” which can leave us disillusioned (more on this in the reading).
As Hamlet said, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
In my experience, when we have that attitude of openness, we tend to attract, notice, and appreciate the underlying order and magic in life more and more, including synchronistic and “numinous” events and the hidden meaning of struggles. So to an extent, having faith or trust is a self-fulfilling prophecy that can change the way we experience our lives.
Our activities tonight look at that willingness to be open to or believe in “ordinary magic,” and the willingness to trust that when a moment feels significant to us, it is significant.
IV. “HAVE YOU EVER” checklist of “ordinary magic” experiences
You can download or print the checklist, above, or just read through the questions below.
HAVE YOU EVER:
- Seen the same number on digital clocks over and over again, especially numbers with repeating digits?
- Had unusual, repeated, or weirdly significant animal sightings or encounters?
- Had a prophetic, recurring, or numinous dream that stayed with you?
- Experienced a meaningful coincidence, such as hearing or seeing repeated references to a certain word, phrase, book, or place that seemed significant?
- Had a “spidey sense” moment, a “knowing” about something or someone, the sense that something was going to happen?
- Had an unexpected, strong reaction or connection to a new person or place that you couldn’t explain?
- Had an experience involved a loved one who’s died, such as a sign, message, “visitation,” dream, or a sense that they were “around” or with you?
- Heard a “voice” or message, perhaps upon waking from a dream?
- Had a “supernatural,” paranormal, or other unexplained experience?
WHAT WE DID:
- Each person filled out her own worksheet, checking boxes and jotting down the experiences she remembered.
- We met in pairs and shared a story from the list.
- We gathered as a whole group and shared stories with each other.
A few things that tend to come from these conversations, in this class or others:
- Some folks mention experiences that don’t fit the categories I list, but seem important to include, i.e.: A sense of a larger Presence or loving energy around them, visions, or experiences of being in the room during birth or death and feeling energy or the soul arriving or leaving.
- Seeing repeated numbers on a digital clock: This is a common phenomenon and is believed by many to be a “hello” or sign from the Divine. Seeing 1:11 or 11:11 is especially common. To learn more, Google “angel numbers.” (There are too many sites for me to choose from, although Doreen Virtue is a well-known teacher around the subject of angels.) I told a story of how I see 4:20 all the time on the clock, which is my birthday and also my deceased grandmother’s birthday, and how I have come to understand it as her saying hello to me.
- Seeing birds and/or feathers as messengers between Heaven and earth.
- Common “themes” to signs from loved ones who’ve died, including unusual animal/bird sightings (when the sighting feels pointed, strange, significant or out of the ordinary) and finding coins. Other signs are more specific to the particular person who died or the relationship. It is helpful to share these stories with each other because we learn more about the language of Spirit, find out how universal such experiences can be, and won’t be as tempted to “write off” such things easily.
- In other words, recalling these experiences and sharing them with others normalizes them and strengthens our collective faith in the “ordinary magic” of life.
V. TOOLS, spiritual play
I brought out a bunch of things I like to play with as a way to cultivate that connection with my own intuition and the sacred. Others added their own.
Sage smudge sticks.
It is widely believed that burning sage clears negative energies from our energy fields and/or living space and also recharges the energy of crystals. It also smells really good. Here’s a page with sage for sale, and some info. about smudging, on Etsy.
I’m not an expert, but I do keep some crystals that I particularly like, especially rose quartz, believed to carry the vibration of love, and obsidian or Apache tears, believed to absorb negativity. I sometimes use them in meditation (hold them in my hands), or just keep them around. If you’re interested, there are many websites like this one devoted to the meaning of crystals.
Here are three tools I particularly like to use when I’m looking for some guidance or confirmation, or if I just want to play around and feel more connected: Sacred Path cards, Medicine cards, (both Native American themed books and cards by Jamie Sams) and Ralph Blum’s The Book of Runes.
With these tools, I bring an open-ended question like “What do I need to know about X,” or “What is the lesson here?” or “What do I need to know right now?” I hold the cards in my hands while asking the question, and then spread the cards out and choose one with my left hand (intuitive side). You can also do more complex card or Rune spreads (instructions in the books).
I also use the book that comes with the Medicine Cards to interpret a significant animal sighting, such as when I see a certain animal over and over again, or in an unusual place or in an unusual way, and also to interpret a particular attraction to or affinity I may feel for a kind of animal (animal totems or “Spirit animals”).
I was taught to use a pendulum by a very powerful intuitive teacher I know. I was initially skeptical, but I have come to believe that it can be quite accurate. You can ask a pendulum a question and get a yes or no answer based on how it moves. I am not an expert, but I’ve really enjoyed playing with this tool. To learn more, here’s a very useful website I found, Ask Your Pendulum.
Other forms of spiritual play or experimentation (these didn’t all come up in class):
- Playing with setting intentions and expressing gratitude in advance, such as calling upon the “parking angels.”
- Playing with drawing certain experiences to us by setting an energetic intention and cultivating the emotions in advance, “feeling as if” it’s already happened. The book and website “Feel Free to Prosper” by Marilyn Jennet has a lot to say about this idea.
- Creating ritual or sacred spaces.
- Honoring connections to allies/helpers. Ancestors, saints, angels, icons.
- Creative practices. Art, writing, dance, etc.
- Also check out the travel memoir Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter, re: her connection to the Black Madonna and how it led her to write the beautiful novel The Secret Life of Bees.
Read the at-home reading.
Try one of the tools or practices listed below, or some other action to honor/open up to the sacred in your everyday life. Be prepared to report back, if you feel comfortable doing so!
- Create a small home altar, or gather a few sacred objects to keep around.
- Call on parking angels (give thanks in advance, cultivate the feeling-as-if).
- Say “hello” to your Guides or helpers and see what happens.
- “Talk” to a deceased loved one and see what happens or how you feel.
- Ask for a sign, and be open and prepared to be surprised! Give thanks when and if something (including a feeling or “sense”) appears.