Are you Sleepwalking through life?

Oh, the wonder and magic of learning!! Yesterday I took an hour and watched a young man’s journey, Take it with you, where he went across the world to a variety of countries in search of meaning, the peace that was missing in his life and his soul’s yearning for something better. 

It seems for many of us there is always a constant searching, a yearning for something more. 

I just read an amazing quote by Thich Nhat Hanh, “the greatest enemy of the spiritual life is the human tendency to sleepwalk through life.” That thought hit me square in the heart because I have been thinking a lot about spirituality, creating a beautiful understanding of it in my family and having that as a center for all things we do. My husband is in a job that is a revolving door of no time, stress and a void of any type of spiritual awareness. He has been caught in a exhausted state, unable to balance and I have been praying to know how to help him, so this quote hit me and almost knocked me down. THE GREATEST ENEMY of the SPIRITUAL LIFE is the human tendency to sleepwalk through life!! WOW.

ARE YOU SLEEPWALKING?? We all do it from time to time, from one mundane activity to another, so would you like to hear something that is the solution…PRAYER calls us to wakefulness. -Thich Nhat Hanh

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Prayer is a beautiful piece to any puzzle that longs to fit contentment. Watching the movie yesterday made me see even more connections that the world has in happiness and prayer. Every tradition, different rituals, different religions, no matter there place on earth, has a well of history, knowledge, symbolism and divinity held within their temples, their churches, their synagogues, their arch ways…it was beautiful to see the Japanese gardens filled with large, red archways that symbolize stepping into a more spiritual place. It was humbling to see a tribe of people in South America who, to this day, still protect their ancient, natural spiritual places and the deep beliefs they hold with the deepest part of their hearts. It was interesting to see the one symbol that is seen all over the world–the flower of life symbol that this young man (from the movie) was able to find in every part of the world, in every temple, every sacred space. It made me understand the even deeper connections that have been placed on this earth so long ago. I enjoyed watching the different rituals of prayer, with candles, crosses, clapping, beads, kneeling, symbols…to see the respect and love of something bigger than us all. Prayer has a deeper connection for all of us, if we take the time to tap into the beautiful beyond.

 

Prayer is different for everyone. You may be able to focus through meditation or yoga, maybe you sit outside and give thanks with your mind, some may need to kneel in darkness to find clarity or maybe you can talk out loud while driving in your car, or maybe you feel it necessary to be in a church, prayer is different for everyone…BUT…everyone can pray.  Here are some resources and ideas to help you get more connected on a deeper level with your higher self:

 

ImageMaybe you find meditation or visualization a gift & the easiest way for you to get lost in your mind. Wisdom Film’s has done some amazing videos that are beautiful images with messages to slow you down and be mindful. Here is one of their videos: “Set Your Champion Free”—They have additional videos on youtube.

 

ImageGreat Article. Wow! Another quote just struck me—Reading this great article by a women who I have loved listening to [great podcasts], Elizabeth Lesser, I came across this “The Sufis say that our longing for GOD is GOD’s longing for us.” WOW. Does that not break you open and make your heart sing of peace! Here is the article—take what moves you. http://www.oprah.com/spirit/What-Prayer-Really-Means-Elizabeth-Lesser/2

 

ImageI have been reading, pondering and trying to get the best sense of how to help instill the faith of teaching prayer to my daughter. I just began reading the book Parenting with Spirit by Jane Bartlett and here is what she says:  Prayer is a language, a way of dialoguing with the divine. Like any language, it has to be learned. Prayer is not the preserve of any one religion: all faiths have prayer. It’s humankind’s most natural and important way of connecting to a larger reality, and it is available to us all. 

Here are her tips to help your family through prayer—-Prayer Nurtures a Family’s Spirit:

Prayer helps children feel connected to a larger reality. Prayer is an expansion of the consciousness and a suspension of ordinary thought. In some ways, prayer is a small act, as easy as reaching out and flicking on a light switch. However, once that light is shining, everything appears differently. You are seeing life as it truly is, albeit briefly. In praying with your children, you are showing them how simple it is to press the switch: to close their eyes, go inside, and “turn on” an experience of a larger reality.

Prayer promotes the development of an interior life. In prayer we quiet the hubbub of the day and hear a deeper part of ourselves instead. Children, just as adults, have an inner life, a world of thoughts and feelings. In prayer, they begin to learn how to attend to these emotions, to sort through them, understand them, and possibly change them. Prayer teaches children self-awareness.

Prayer encourages an examination of conscience. In prayer, we allow God to enter in. In so doing we shine a light on the dark corners, where we might otherwise have preferred not to have looked.

 Prayer acts as a tool of transformation. Prayer is an act filled with hope. We pray in faith that things can be better, that the world may become a happier place, and that we may fulfill our human potential. In so doing, we accept that we currently have limitations, but we invite God to help us overcome these.

Prayer develops gratitude and joy. In prayer we count our blessings. Think about all the good things that you have in your lives, and to thank God for them. Big and small things can be included in thanks. Prayers and gratitude help everyone appreciate their world and the people in it, and cultivate an attitude of joy. They also counter feelings of greed.

Prayer increases children’s engagement in the world. We can use our prayer to contemplate the wider world and set our lives into a bigger perspective. Encourage your children to think of people who are sick or lonely or experiencing personal problems. Think too of people in other countries who might be suffering from poverty, famine or war. Prayer promotes compassion.

Prayer brings parents and children together. Praying with your children can be an extremely intimate moment. This is especially true if you are speaking aloud spontaneous prayers. On one level this type of prayer is a profound sharing of thoughts and feelings. In joining each other in this, we overcome our sense of isolation. Your children feel tremendously valued and cared for when you say prayers and ask God to help them in their personal struggles.

Prayer develops reverence for the world. In prayer we take a moment to value the world God has made. Reverence helps nurture respectful behavior in children.

Prayer helps children feel safe. Prayer is a comforting ritual that prepares children for sleep, for their day…It is an opportunity to let go of cares and worries, to feel safe and loved.

Prayer encourages positive behavior. Loving and compassionate thoughts will ultimately translate into loving and compassionate behavior. Children will be more mindful about their actions and aware that they should be behaving in a way that is acceptable to God.

Prayer may have a mysterious power all of its own. You may find it easy to believe that prayer changes something within the person who is praying. But prayer traditionally has another function too: it is thought to change the world beyond ourselves. [She expounds more in her book]

 

I hope these thoughts and ideas help you to get in touch with a deeper side of your self and avoid sleepwalking through your life.

Peace to you.  -Heather

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