Let’s say we’re feeling ready to do better, to be better. But then where do we begin? If we want to start building a more satisfying life, we’re going to need different tools from the ones we’ve been using. Here are few pointers for how to dive into doing our spiritual work.
We can start by doing something called a Daily Review. This is not the same as journaling and it is not going to require a huge investment of time. It will, however, ask for a bit of discipline at the end of each day, when we jot down a few observations in a notebook.
The goal is to do this daily for several weeks, so that over time we can start to see patterns. So keep your notes short and to the point.
What did I Feel Today?
A key thing to realize is that there is a lot happening within us that we are not yet aware of. And yet the only way to change what’s not working is to become aware of the distortions we’re holding onto. Our feelings give us a lot of information for doing this.
At the end of the each day, then, we’re going to jot down the feelings we had during the day. But know this: It’s not uncommon that in our desire to avoid unpleasant feelings, we’ve dampened all our feelings. For it’s not possible to close off painful feelings without shutting down the whole lot of them. In order to get things rolling, it might be necessary to note our feelings as they come up, because our habit of pushing unpleasant feelings out of awareness is part of what we aren’t yet seeing.
If tears surface, welcome them. They are what wash clean our old wounds.
Further, we often cover over old pain with anger. So while we can point to a thousand reasons “out there” for why we’re angry, it’s still our anger. Meanwhile, underneath, a real wound lies festering, hoping we won’t notice it. It’s time to turn around and be with what hurts. Follow the thread and write down the string of feelings, identifying them as best you can. If tears surface, welcome them. They are what wash clean our old wounds. Clarity often follows such a healthy release. Drain the well if you can, but don’t sit and recycle a bunch of blame.
It’s also tempting, at the end of a day, to distract ourselves—perhaps with TV, food, video games, picking a fight with a family member—and now we want to notice that too. What am I feeling that makes me just want to check out? Write it down. How does my Lower Self work to keep me stuck and then justify these unproductive behaviors? Notice and make a note.
Where was there Disharmony?
Disharmony is code for untruth. In other words, if there is a disharmony anywhere in our lives, there is a matching sock of untruth hidden in our psyche. We need to find it. To do this, we want to reflect on the disharmony, and then write down any phrases that come to mind which capture what we believe to be true about life, and which this experience—this person, place, thing or situation—appears to validate. What do I believe to be true?
Once we surface our hidden beliefs—the conclusions we made at a young age about how the world works, which the Guide calls “images”—we can begin to question them. Is this really true? But first we must discover them. They typically will include the words “always” and “never”, as in “this always happens to me” or “or I never get this.”
Check these out with someone else. Get perspective. Reality happens in between the dualistic traps of always and never. We must come to see the edges of the illusion we’re caught in.
What are my Faults?
Our Higher Self is the part of us that’s connected with infinite love, wisdom and power. This is the quiet part at the core of our being we often can’t hear because our Lower Self is doing jumping jacks to gain strength and get our attention.
In a moment we’ll talk about strengthening our connection with our Higher Self, or Higher Power, but at the same time, we need to get wise to the ways of our Lower Self. This is a layer of negativity (those feelings of anger, hate, vengeance and the like), wrong conclusions (those untruthful beliefs, or wrong conclusions about life) and faults, that is blocking our inner light.
So now let’s turn our attention to our faults. We can start by making a list of the ones we know of. It can also be super-helpful to ask a friend or loved one to sit with us and help us see what they see. Such an exercise will, of course, likely be tinged with the other person’s judgments and distorted view of things. So after we ask someone to tell us our faults, we want to sit with what parts resonate with us as being in truth. If we’re willing to do this, we just might be surprised by how well others see us.
It can be super-helpful to ask a friend or loved one to sit with us and help us see what they see.
Be aware, we may have some faults we’ve become quite fond of. If this is the case, it’s helpful to consider our reaction to someone else having the same fault. Often what we cherish in ourselves is rather offensive when we see it in another.
Quick note: Lower-Self faults always come in a set of three, which are pride, fear and self-will. Pride is defined as both the feeling of being better than others, as well as feeling less than others. For our fault of setting ourselves above others is merely a compensation for the fact that we actually feel less than or unworthy.
When we find any one of these three faults, it’s helpful to search for the other two. Good questions might be: What am I afraid of?…Because then what? How does this make me want to feel superior, or collapse? What am I going to do as a result? And note, often what we do is withhold ourselves from others. So: How do I hold myself back?
From the last chapter of Holy Moly:
“See yourself being firm and reasonable with your own Lower Self…stake your claim that you only want the will of God and nothing less. You trust that it will bring you the best you could ever hope for, and if anyone says otherwise, it’s a lie. Put some shoulder into this. Plant these seeds deep in your soul substance.
This is how we transform aggression into something that works for us, not against us. This is how we rout out painful untruthfulness in our psyche. Don’t be fooled into thinking these aspects will roll over easily. Untruthfulness is not easy to ferret out. That’s why people need to work with someone—a healer, a Helper, a therapist, a friend. Believe it or not, our faults and weaknesses are a lot more obvious to other people.”
Pray to Know the Truth
Just as there are many ways to meditate, there are a million ways to pray. And yet there is one prayer that, if we learn to say it continually, will yield the most amazing results. The prayer goes like this: What is the truth of this matter?
That’s it. Our deep prayerful request to know the truth behind any fault, wrong conclusion or destructive feeling will never be answered with a stone. If we knock, the door will open. Always.
Our request to know the truth behind any fault, wrong conclusion or destructive feeling will never be answered with a stone.
This is the way to make contact with our own inner Higher Self, the part that guides us to harmony and peace. Our true inner self is where the light shines brightly forever, even as we stumble in the dark.
What it means to be spiritual is to turn over everything in our path that is not aligned with the light, and to transform it back to its brilliant face. There is nothing in this world that cannot be restored to its original glory, if we are willing to make the effort needed to find and fix our inner errors.
Read Doing the Work, a free ebook
Read an outline of the Work of Healing, online