Two Ways to Embrace Life

In Love Your Skeletons, I talk about how we are made up of body, mind and spirit, and in this post, I talk about how we often feel like we have a dual nature — sort of bipolar — between physical and spiritual. Let’s look at the body and spirit aspects of ourselves — we “do the looking” with our mind — to see how we can live a happier, more unified life.

I think sometimes people think that in order to be truly enlightened, one needs to deny the body and become some sort of extreme yogi, nun or guru. Well, I have a different idea.

If you have the courage, passion, and make the conscious decision to live fully in the physical world

soaking in every moment, thrilled in every pleasure, basking in every joy, feeling every pain fully, not withdrawing from uncomfortable things, breathing deeply, seeing deeply, hearing deeply

then without really trying, the spiritual world is opened to you as well. You will see the miraculous every day, connect to your higher self, touch a deeper wisdom, hear and talk to angels… feel the presence of God.

On the other hand, if you have the courage, patience and make the conscious decision to live more closely to the spiritual world

look for angels and faeries, pray without ceasing, use mantras, deny the physical desires and seek the spiritual enlightenment instead, and listen constantly for the still, small voice within

then without really trying, the physical world is opened to you as well. Things go smoothly. You will not be concerned with how your needs are met. What you want or need will simply show up with perfect timing. You will experience all of life’s sweetest joys and lovely pleasures. Your senses will be highly tuned and your physical world will be sweet.

If, however, you neither embrace the physical aspects fully — you numb yourself with mood-altering substances like drugs, alcohol or food, or distract yourself constantly with TV, movies or games — nor commune with the spiritual — you believe in science so fully, you refuse to acknowledge there is more to life, or you allow your ego to run your life — you will live in a shadowy netherworld of the mind, not living fully, not experiencing all that life has to offer. You will embody mediocrity. Your life will be painted in shades of grey, or beige, or taupe.

Yet we are all living in the shades of grey! None of us has it all figured out, doing everything we mean to do perfectly and consistently. But being aware of where you are, why you are doing what you are doing, and how your thoughts are affecting your life is amazing, so go ahead and celebrate the beiges, greys and taupes!

You don’t have be a spiritual guru. You don’t have to give up all life’s pleasures. You can choose instead to embrace, rather than fight, your physical nature. You will naturally remember your spiritual side.

Or perhaps the idea of being a guru — a highly tuned spiritual being — excites you! Then do that, and do it fully! Before too long, you will also be at peace with your physicality as well.

So, let this be a gentle shake, a friendly nudge, to get out of mediocrity and the world inside your head and live your life!

Now is the time and we are the ones. - Ernest Holmes

Standing on a Whale

I know a man, let’s call him Doug, who recently left his job because he was so unhappy working for that company. He frequently complained about how badly the company treated him, how he was being treated unjustly, and how he wasn’t being paid what he was worth. He often asked for an increase in his wages, but was always denied. To him, it was extremely frustrating and he felt totally unappreciated.

Another friend of mine also knows Doug. From his perspective, this guy Doug was a real jerk every time he dealt with the company about any problems that arose. His manager denied his requests for a raise, most likely, because he was such a sh*t disturber and was always so rude, they couldn’t give him more money on principle. He was difficult to deal with and always had a huge chip on his shoulder.

Well, luckily for him, Doug got another job which paid far more and offered a nice work schedule to boot. He took it, happily leaving the company he had been working for. Wouldn’t you know it, less than three months into his new job, Doug’s new employer has already told him he needs to work on his people skills (read: be less rude). He’s already starting to feel jaded and ticked off at his new employer, and he seems to be making a hobby of meddling in the affairs of his old one.

Can you see it as clearly as I can? This guy is just taking his problems with him wherever he goes. He has not changed, so he is going to keep living out the same themes in his life — being mistreated because he is unkind towards others, and not feeling appreciated because he can’t be bothered to appreciate anyone else.

Once again, the teachings of Joseph Campbell, from The Power of Myth, contain great wisdom about this.

“There is a Polynesian saying:

Standing on a whale, fishing for minnows.

We are standing on a whale. The ground of being is the ground of our being, and outward turned, we see all these little problems, but inward, we are the source of them all. That’s the big mystical teaching.” – Joseph Campbell

Standing on a Whale, by Teresa Griffith

Do you see any recurring themes in your life? What whale are you standing on? You can fish for minnows if you like — look around you for the cause of your problems — or you can realize the whale you are standing on. Put your fishing rod away, look down and think about it. Standing on a whale does not make you a bad person — it just means you’re human. 🙂