There are many reasons to bless. We bless to help heal society. We bless to get out of the shell or cave of our little egos and open up to the world. We bless as a wonderful way of practicing mindfulness and staying present to the present – anywhere. We bless because it is a highly efficient way of solving relationship problems and personal challenges Blessing isn’t associated with any religious denominations.
Could it not be said that the first conscious realization in the area of personal development is the awareness that we create our own reality and even shape our bodies according to our expectations and thoughts – and this to a degree that is beyond imagination? In other words, all we see and hear, all we feel even, is never objective data and only has the reality we attribute to it.
At every moment in our life we have a choice between YES and NO, between complaint and gratitude. I would not hesitate to venture that gratitude is our main tool for remaining positive. It is impossible to feel at the same time authentic gratitude and the slightest little bit of negativity, of complaint.
The realization that we live in A Friendly Universe – to quote the title of the splendid, delightfully illustrated little book by Byron Katie (who is without a doubt) one of the world’s most outstanding figures in the field of personal development) – that awareness helps us to practice grateful living. For the universe desires our good beyond anything we could possibly dare to dream of; it is a universe where the Source is conspiring in every moment to bring us wellbeing, happiness, and to foster our progress towards horizons beyond our imagination. Therefore, how could we not feel deep gratitude for this strong assurance that allows us to rest in the assurance that all things, whatever they be, contribute to our good?
Then, why not adopt my favorite mantra: “Everything is a gift!” All the time, everywhere, 100%! Make it a strong affirmation as you face each situation or event, no matter how terrible it may first appear.
I’d like to share with you a few small rituals that I practice and that may really enrich your day and place it on solid ground from the get-go. Some can be used when you awake, others are reminders during the day, and additional ones can be practiced at bedtime.
Before I get up, I practice conscious breathing for 15-20 minutes lying in bed. This is a form of meditation inspired by Swami Prajnandad, one of the teachers of Arnaud Desjardins, a great French spiritual master who passed away a few years ago. The meditation is based on the power of YES, which some have described as THE most powerful word in the human language. As you inhale, you think: “yes to the new” and then on exhaling “Yes to the old which is leaving” (this is a way of welcoming positively EVERYTHING which will happen during the day).
Then, still lying down and totally awake, I say loudly: “What grand and glorious adventure is awaiting me today” and I repeat the Native American saying: “Give thanks for the hidden blessings which are already on their way to you.” Then I get up and, legs apart and arms in V shape, I state firmly and with conviction: “YES, THANK YOU for everything that will happen today.” This affirmation is based on the understanding than we live in an infinitely benevolent universe which desires our good beyond anything that we could possibly imagine. It is very important that these statements be made with utter conviction (and that for some may happen little by little).
There is a beautiful and very inspiring website, peerservice.org which regularly sends deeply inspiring (and only inspiring) messages. You can subscribe to their newsletters from which I took the following message.
It is a declaration that was recently made at Standing Rock, the place in North Dakota where Native American tribes and their supporters from the environmental movement won a major victory over an energy company that wanted to lay a pipeline which would have soiled some sacred lands of theirs. It was an unprecedented victory in the history of the Native American Nations and one that all those concerned with justice hope will be permanent.
I hold you gently in the quiet of my thought. The stillness tells me clearly that this crisis in your life, which most call a breakdown, is a listening time.
As you told me when we visited a few weeks ago, the pace of your life had become utterly hectic. You’ve become a great success — from the world’s point of view. The world had crowned you, and its praises were like sweet promises that you’d one day own that realm. Then you suddenly woke up one morning to find you had lost the keys to your own inner kingdom.
Simplicity. That is a lesson the quiet grandeur and humble majesty of the place had been teaching me. Often in the past, I lived for three months without electricity, car, TV, radio, telephone, hot water, a nearby supermarket or any of the ”essentials” of modern urban life. But what light bulb can compare with the warm glow of a candle reflecting on a copper plate? What car can hope to compete with legs on narrow alpine ridges or that special shortcut that leads me through the larch trees to my home? What TV program could ever approach in variety, beauty, depth, and insight the drama of this world about me? It’s not one or two dimensional TV, it’s four dimensional living every waking hour. Jumping naked into the freezing torrent while sweating from a brisk hike is a natural sauna. And a slice of local tomme – a special home-cured cheese – with local dark black bread outdoes for me the splendors of any of the sixteen sorts of blue cheese displayed in a supermarket.
What is called “centering prayer” is in fact a form of meditation or contemplation. It has become known to the public through the writings of people like Father Wayne Tysdale, the untiring promoter of what is called interreligious dialogue between the main religions, Cynthia Bourgeault, author of the most beautiful biography of Jesus I have read (The Wisdom Jesus), Father Thomas Keating, the founder of Contemplative Outreach, and especially Basil Pennington, author of the international best-seller Centering Prayer.
During my African years, I once spent an evening on the banks of the Niger River in Segou, Mali. Everything breathed peace and an unhurried pace: the fishermen throwing their nets in the river, the women walking home and joking with one another other, the rhythmic, slow pace of the cows with their huge horns … The very atmosphere exuded gentleness and serenity. It brought to mind the title of the book by American writer Barry Stevens: Don’t Push the River, it Flows by Itself.
Only recently have we been discovering the extent to which we are all connected through a network which is infinitely more efficient and far-reaching that the entire world’s social media and all the Facebook pages all put together: namely, an infinite Mind. One of the fathers of alternative medicine in the USA, who is also one of the great contemporary American thinkers, wrote a book simply called One Mind. He promotes a notion that is not really new since it was already put forward by an American metaphysician, Mary Baker Eddy, in the mid-19th century – except that the concept was at the time too advanced for many people to grasp.
Occasionally one meets in the course of one’s life people who leave a deep imprint on you. Last month I spoke about French spiritual teacher Alyna Rouelle. Today I would like to write about another such teacher I met on … death row Texas !
Roger W. Mc Gowen and I have been corresponding for almost 20 years now and through his books he has become a spiritual guide for hundreds around the world, especially in Europe and the USA. In the spiritual texts section you will find a quite remarkable text of his and there are of course many more in the book I wrote about him, MESSAGES OF LIFE FROM DEATH ROW (only available on Amazon, and in England also from http://cygnus-books.co.uk/).