10 Chapters
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Chapter 5 Turn Your Fears into Breakthroughs

Ray, Michael Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time

Enjoying one moment at a time

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace

—from the Serenity Prayer

YOU HAVE LIVED OUT THE BLESSING of the Serenity Prayer at times in your life. You became serene, had courage and drew upon your natural wisdom. You could do these things because you were present, and you walked into situations that tested you as part of your path to the highest goal.

Like most of us, you probably taste this peace only occasionally. Still, that means you know it. You’ll begin to understand how you can have this experience all the time by facing the challenge of time and stress, which is the subject of this chapter. The grounding of the highest goal allows you to see your fears for what they are: information and energy you can learn from and turn into opportunities of the most lasting kind.

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Appendix A Continue the Journey

Ray, Michael Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

AS YOU CONTINUE on your path to the highest goal, you will hit obstacles that can be enriching but will also require you to draw on your greatest resources. The following are suggestions for facing those obstacles and turning them into learning.

As you continue on your path and learn more, take some time periodically to consider the nature of your highest goal. Think of times that you felt in connection with it, and celebrate those times. Write a statement of your highest goal and commit yourself to it. Imagine what it would be like to have more and more times in connection to your highest goal. Then you have clarity as you face the challenges of your life.

Swami Shantananda, a monk in the Siddha Yoga tradition, puts this commitment in this way: “Since the moment I received spiritual awakening, I have dedicated myself to the pursuit and the attainment of the Self [living from a constant connection to the divine within and without, his concept of the highest goal]. In my life, every other priority is secondary to that one great goal. So, before I read a book … I approach it with the light of my intention.”1

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Chapter 6 Relate from Your Heart

Ray, Michael Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

TAKE A MOMENT NOW to think about someone you love very much. This person could be living or dead, close to you or far away. But you love them deeply. Put that person in your mind’s eye. Get a sense and an image of this person and feel the love that you have for them. Revel in that love as much as you want.

Holding and enjoying your love for this person, imagine that he or she has been away from you for a long time, but now is coming back to visit you. Because you have been apart, you are feeling the love you have even more intensely.

Imagine going to the airport and waiting for this person to come out of the arrival area. Experience this inside. Other passengers from the plane are coming out, and then you spot your loved one. You run together. You hug with abandon and feel the love pulsating between you. There is nothing else in the world but this moment. Feel the love in this moment.

Now drop the picture of the person and the airport scene, and continue to feel the love. Continue feeling the love as long as you can without the stimuli of the person and the airport scene in your mind.

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Chapter 3 Live with the Highest Goal

Ray, Michael Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE recurring issue, problem or obstacle that is pivotal in his or her life. Whether you’re feeling the effects of yours right now or not, you still have something that keeps coming back in different forms. What is it for you? What’s a problem, obstacle or issue that you face that if it could be solved, overcome or dealt with, would lead to an immeasurable change for the better in your life?

Please take a moment to think about this. Focus on something pivotal in your life, an issue that comes up repeatedly, albeit in different forms. It may or may not be affecting you now in terms of a specific issue, but you know that it will surface again sooner or later. Don’t pick a problem as specific as finding a new job or as cosmic as determining the purpose of your existence; focus on a “middle range” issue, something between those extremes.

Depending on their personalities and current circumstances, people’s recurring issue may bother them a lot or a little. But often they don’t see the underlying pattern or how it repeats endlessly in their lives. And they don’t realize that resolving it can lead them to the highest goal and to fulfilling dreams they didn’t know they had.

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Chapter 7 Experience Synergy in Every Moment

Ray, Michael Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

DON’T NEGLECT YOUR FAMILY! You can’t afford to ignore your professional life! Don’t take on too much! Stay active! Avoid stress! Balance your life! We get bombarded with advice from every quarter, telling us we must live happier, healthier, wealthier, saner, more balanced lives.

We know balance is important. We know that we can—and should—have rich, full personal lives and successful, satisfying professional lives if we just find the proper balance. But most of us don’t know how to begin doing that, so instead we live with a vague sense that we are missing out. We get discouraged.

I suggest you ignore this background chatter about balancing your life. Instead, live with the truth that none of this really matters to you. Yes, the surrounding culture, friends, family, and colleagues can give you an idea of what’s involved in living a balanced life, but you won’t get anywhere until you discover what balance is for you and no one else.

When you say you want balance in your life, what do you mean? What is going on when you long for balance? Conversely, what is happening when you are satisfied with your life and don’t even think of the balance challenge?

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