Spirituality and Empowerment Essay
This course has taught me meaningful and significant life lessons that I will be able to use for many years to come. The four main things I learned that have most impacted how I see and act in the world are becoming more mindful of the present moment, being less fearful, loving myself just as I am and accepting the truth. Each of these lessons have taught me how to make it through the day knowing everything will be okay. My attitude has become more positive and more genuine towards the myself, others and the world.
I have grown as a person knowing that I need to be more mindful because I am now more aware of the present moment which makes me in tact with my mind and spiritual consciousness. I have changed by being less fearful and loving myself just as i am because I have accepted that God has made everyone beautiful in their own unique way. Accepting the truth has changed me for the better because now that I accept reality how it is I am able to see more clearly. The main lesson I will forever hold on to is being more mindful of the present moment.
In One Path, Pantajali talks about breathing and how one should always be aware of their breathing for they are breathing freely. I use this notion in order to be more mindful because when I catch my breath, I catch my mind drifting from my body. Day dreaming is a big occurrence in my everyday life. It is those moments where I catch myself off guard and remind myself that I must be more mindful because then I will be more happy. Since learning how to become more mindful, I have become more happy.
My behavior has changed since I recently became more aware of my surroundings because I am doing more things for myself as well as others. One personal example where I used this lesson to my advantage was when I walking to class in the rain. My attitude was negatively affected until I became conscious of the present moment. I thought to myself that rain is a sign that earth is alive. I realized I am alive and therefore I can take my next step being more aware that amongst negative aspects of life, there is a positive hidden below the surface.
Another personal example where I used this lesson was when I was home for spring break. My parents took my sister and I out for a nice dinner and we were allowed to order whatever we wanted. Once the food came and I caught myself in the moment, I thought how lucky I am to have this meal in front of me surrounded by a wonderful family. It is the people in my life that make me happy to be alive and when I catch myself thinking how lucky I am, I have conquered happiness. The last example of when I benefited from being more mindful was when I was with a friend at the park.
We were laying on our backs facing the sun and talking about life. Once we started to get really deep in conversation, I noticed my mind become aware of my thoughts and the things that were coming out of my mouth. I realized that being more mindful of what you say will help you communicate to your fullest ability. After that I found that I was able to communicate in a way that was both effective to me and my friend. All three of these experiences reinforced to me the power of mindfulness. When you are acting in a mindful manner, you feel more whole and at ease while coming to your senses.
The next lesson that has taught me endless meaning to my life is being less fearful. Being less fearful has impacted me because opting out fear helps me become more in a conscious state of being. A passage that stood out to me about fear was when Jesus talks about ‘fear not”. Fear is the great killer of spiritual experience. When we are caught up in worries and anxieties we lose ability to feel empathy for others and for our own selves. Also we lose touch with God when we are afraid. My understanding of fear has changed because I learned not to be fearful of what has not yet come.
Being fearful of the future will only cause stress and anxiety. Being aware of my fear will help me reach spiritual enlightenment. A personal example of when I use this lesson to my advantage is when I am fearful of the future. I remind myself that the future is not here yet, therefore I should not fear it. Only good things lie ahead. Another story of a when I used this particular lesson was during a former breakup. I was extremely fearful of the past because I could not stop thinking about it. It was constantly on my mind.
Everyone goes through a heartbreak at some point and I now know that it is simply a part of life. People enter in and out of your life every year. Fear was the one thing preventing me from reaching more light; fear of yesterday fear of today and fear of tomorrow. Every day I was overwhelmed with thoughts of the past and thoughts of the future. Now I am learning to block out the negative thoughts in my head and live for today. The last example of when I used the lesson of being less fearful was the other day while I was walking to class.
I was thinking about all of the school work I have to complete over the next couple of weeks and I got this feeling that was extremely overwhelming. Then I told myself as long as I take it day by day, everything will be fine. When I think about my load as a whole, it seems like a lot but when I think about what I have to do in increments, it makes me feel a lot better. Blocking out fear will only help in the long run because it will slowly diminish the negative energy surrounding me and bring me closer to my own heart. Another lesson that has effected me deeply is loving myself just as I am.
Jesus claims that love is the epicenter of all spiritual life. A passage that really made this clear to me was “It’s your choice, to love yourself… or not to. Look to your heart and see what you choose right now…to judge and fear and reject yourself, or to open up, accept, and love yourself…choose…As an act of self-love, you can choose to give yourself permission to feel good in your heart…surrender to love…let it fill you…I love myself just as I am…” A personal story of when I used this lesson for my own benefit was when I was feeling down one day. I went to the park to clear my mind and sat down on a random bench.
Minutes late, a stranger sat down next to me and we instantly started conversation. As I looked into this persons eyes and realized how intrigued they were with what I was saying, I thought to myself that I must be seemingly interesting in some way. My confidence was boosted because I knew that I have to love myself for who I am because judgement towards myself affects me negatively. Another time when this lesson came about was when I was comparing myself to a couple girls in the bathroom one day at school. I thought about all the things I didn’t like about myself nd things I liked about these girls. It seems to me that people always want what they don’t have. Later that day I was walking down the street and I got stopped by a stranger and was told that I am beautiful. That moment brought a huge smile to myself and let me know that I must be aware of my own beauty for beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Once I can love myself, I can allow love in my heart. The last example of when this lesson came about was when I was meditating a few days ago. As I became at one with myself I found essence in my emotional, meditative understanding.
I said over and over in my head “I love myself jut as I am, I love myself just as I am. ” Once I was done repeating this silently in my mind, I found that I wasn’t afraid of who I was. Now when my mind becomes quiet, I began to feel who I really am deep down, not as a personality or body but as a living spiritual being. This inflow of love will begin to heal my sense of self-love that can now flourish in my heart. The relationship with myself is my closest relationship. The last lesson that stood out to me most was accepting the truth.
Our minds are so full of beliefs about how things “should be” rather than how things “are” that we refuse to accept reality as it is. After reading the chapter about Buddha and what we as humans to do ourselves, I have learned to let things go because things are the way they are. The Second Noble Truth helped me reinforce this belief. “The moment to moment physical pain in life is minor comparison to the emotional and psychic suffering that we habitually inflict on ourselves, through all our chronic thoughts, beliefs, expectations, desires, and denials concerning the reality of life. A personal example of when this lesson came to life for me was when I was forced to accept that my grandma was sick. My family and I did not want to face it because we were doing everything in our power to keep her alive. Once we let go and realized that there was nothing more that can be done, I came to reality that we must let her go, it was her time. Everyone is born and lives their lives until they pass away. Death is a part of life. Another time where I came to my senses and accepted reality as it is was when I got really frustrated with a haircut I received in the past.
I was not happy with what the stylist did to my hair because it wasn’t a all what I asked for. After I got home and looked in the mirror, I threw a fit! After moments of anger and frustration, I realized that it is only hair, it will simply grow back so I should not be this mad at something I can not change. The last example of when I fully accepted the truth was when I turned 21 this past September. As I was out at a bar with all of my friends, I realized another year was under my belt.
I got this feeling of helplessness because I felt that time will just keep on passing me by and there is nothing I can do about it as much as I want to freeze time, I can’t. After I drank a beer and came to my senses, I thought to myself that time is something no one can change. It goes on no matter what. If i learn to accept the meaning of time then I can accept reality as it is. All of these life lessons have taught me to live life to the fullest while remaining true to myself. I am now more open-minded and have escaped my suffering of fear because I have surrendered to the truth.
Leaders such as Jesus, Buddha and Pantajali have all influenced me in one way or the other. I know that I must to breathe freely at all times in order to be fully aware and conscious of well being. The four main things I have reflected on that have most impacted how I act in the world are becoming more mindful of the present moment, being less fearful, loving myself just as I am and accepting the truth. Now that I have expanded my horizons and my knowledge of how to awaken my heart, I will now live a more fulfilled life.