I had the pleasure of meeting Sirah Vettesse in February at her lovely home in Santa Monica, CA. This is an expert from her latest book Spiritual Makeovers: 10 Practices for Falling in Love with Your Life” which I thoroughly enjoyed reading and recommend. This book has got enough of a YANG (masculine) feel with very practical information. Men will enjoy it also. We are hoping to work more closely with Sirah in the near future. She has great works
As queens of the modern makeover, we bought the clothes, colored the hair, got a personal trainer and remodeled the kitchen. Still, we’re feeling unfulfilled, overwhelmed and under appreciated. What gives?
Most people live with an underlying sense that their life isn’t quite what it could be. Their thoughts are often entrenched in limitation or distraction, which then becomes the causation of unwanted life circumstances. Individuals become so busy handling those circumstances that developing a spiritual practice is either postponed or relegated to an occasional, half-hearted attempt at reclaiming a modicum of peace in an otherwise chaotic existence. Of course this “peace” evaporates as soon as the habitual thought-cycle resumes. If this sounds familiar, then it’s time to consider giving your spiritual life a well-deserved makeover!
The objectives for cultivating a spiritual practice are to acknowledge the presence of our inherent divinity, enjoy a more expansive view of Reality, and to study our mind. To the extent that we become self-realized, we find joy in experiencing that we are intrinsically plugged into the Whole and therefore we are empowered to co-create our lives. This is precisely where the process of a Spiritual Makeover enters. Through a series of simple practices such as the next three, you can begin to access your authentic self and consistently experience deeper contentment in every aspect of your life.
PRACTICE ONE: MEDITATION
The practice of meditation is about becoming still and aligning with the limitless nature of our own being. With practice, the chatter of the outer world is muffled and one becomes more keenly attuned to the world within and the contents of one’s own mind. With the attention directed inwardly, one’s consciousness begins to resonate with the vibration of wisdom, love, intuition, compassion and so on. This creates an awareness of moving with the flow of life, which eases us into a renewed connection with the Higher Self. What follows is a basic technique of meditation. Sit upright on a straight back chair or on the floor and…
Close your eyes.
Scan the body from head to toe, relaxing each body part.
County from 10 to 1, and drop more deeply into stillness with each number.
When you reach 1, you are in your “safe place.”
Allow yourself to rest in the sacred space.
Resist judging your thoughts and merely remain a witness to them.
Keep your seat for 10 to 20 minutes.
PRACTICE TWO: CONSCIOUS REFLECTION
The following is a variation on the previous meditation technique with the exception that you consciously reflect upon a quality while sitting in the silence. So, before you sit, choose a quality that you would like to embody such as joy, courage, faith, peace, compassion, love, etc. Close your eyes and relax into the energetic of your chosen quality. Invite your thoughts to merge with whatever imagery or ideas arise. Metabolize the energy of the quality; internalize it by allowing it to fill your heart and expanding it throughout your body. This will give you an awareness of the mind/body interconnection and its relationship to the quality on which you are focusing. With practice, you will be able to internalize your awareness more quickly and clearly.
There is another use for Conscious Reflection. Let’s say you’re experiencing a sense of disharmony with someone. In such a case you may use Conscious Reflection as a tool of resolution. See yourself applying the qualities of patience, love and compassion toward the individual with whom you are having a challenge. See their face in your mind’s eye; feel them in your heart. Then apply the qualities that would permit you to view the situation more objectively. In this way you are creating the conditions for reconciliation to become a reality in your experience where that individual is concerned.
PRACTICE THREE: NEUTRALITY
This practice is about consciously activating the inner observer, as opposed to the reactor. So many of us go through our days in a continual state of reaction not realizing how much energy we spend negatively resisting life’s challenges. Sometimes we can’t remember why we were reactionary, but we hold on to the energy of it anyway. Neutrality is about pausing long enough to suspend our initial emotional reactions so that we may evaluate the bigger picture with greater clarity and then take right action.
Thoughts are interconnected. They cluster together and, due to our conditioning, lead us down the same negatively repetitive channels of thinking. In other words, we react from our conditioning. Neutrality is the gap between our disempowering thoughts. Neutrality, then, is our access point of transcendent awareness where Divine Alignment is activated so that we may receive intuitive guidance from the Higher Self.
Consider this metaphorically by imagining yourself driving a car. When you slip into “neutral”, the gear is right in the middle idling, observing, and determining the best next gear into which to shift. Data begins to gather and evaluation of that data brings into play both reason and intuition. At this juncture you become the observer, listening without a story line for any signals from the engine of the Higher Self. Maybe you’ll decide to move forward with a specific action, or maybe you’ll decide to back out of the way and practice “hands off” until urged from within to begin where you dropped off. But in the context of neutrality, you will make a conscious decision rooted in wisdom, dignity and confidence.
Experiencing the ongoing results of any makeover requires practice and maintenance. Your Spiritual Makeover is no different. So be diligent in your efforts and remember, practice, practice, practice, and always with loving kindness towards the self and others.
Sirah Vettese, Ph.D. author of Spiritual Makeover: 10 Practices for Falling in Love with Your Life, is a counselor, life coach, seminar leader, and motivational speaker.