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Love your own unconquerable spirit — and be free

"Don't look to the world for a sense of importance -- look within, to your own being." (This was #9 in a post I wrote last week entitled "100 steps to grace for 2011.")

For many years I not only wanted to find the truth of life. I also wanted to be a successful author, because I thought it was part of my destiny .

I did in fact achieve some small success as an author. I wrote three or four books, the last of which, an animal fable entitled "the Raven who spoke with God," was translated into 11 languages.

I had an agent in London. It was very exciting each time she e-mailed me to say she had a new contract for the book. It was even more exciting when a few copies of a new translation would arrive at my home published in beautiful editions like Japanese, Korean, Italian, and Russian.

The book has reached the end of its natural cycle now. And my dream of being a successful author has also passed away. But what do I care?

Something infinitely more precious has emerged in my life. It is a love of stillness -- an awareness of the presence of my own changeless being.

Only this truly satisfies. Only this does not change. And only this makes free.

It is the one thing you can never lose -- your own deathless, unconquerable spirit.

Here are 5 thoughts or suggestions on how to reconnect more deeply with this central essence of your own being.

How to reconnect with your true essence

1. Listen to your own inner wisdom

As confusion and conflict increases in the world (and paradoxically, beauty and truth also) it is becoming more and more important to open our heart to the wisdom of our own being and trust it.

There is nothing difficult or strange in this, I have found. All we have to do is to be still for a few moments and we will know what we need to do in the moment or day or life that is ahead of us.

2. Don't be afraid to change your mind

In these changing times the need for flexibility at every level of our experience becomes more and more obvious. I was talking with a dear friend just yesterday and she said that because of the difficult economic times, demand has dried up for the particular artistic work she used to do out of her home. She is going to have to reinvent herself.

In one way or another we all have to reinvent ourselves these days. In a personal sense, as I approach my 80s with limited financial resources I am enjoying reinventing myself as a blogger.

I have to trust that as I stick with it the blog will provide some extra money to help my wife JoAnn and I on our fixed income.

3. Let the earth help you stay grounded

Not only the spirit, but also the earth can be our friend in these difficult days.

In my last post, "100 steps to grace for 2011," I wrote: "Pick up a stone and admire it for a few moments." Such a simple action, picking up a stone and holding it in your hand. But it helped save my life a number of years ago.

The spiritual community in British Columbia to which I had belonged for 36 years had disintegrated, and at 65 -- back in the world, a rather lost and forlorn character -- I was walking along the edge of a small creek one day.

I saw this beautiful white stone, perfectly round, and picked it up. Perhaps it had been used long ago as some kind of grinding tool. In any case, as I held it in my hand I was strangely comforted.

 The stone became a symbol for me of what is enduring and strong in life and in ourselves. I'm holding it in my hand as I write these words to you.

4. Every kind word counts

Every kind word you speak, every kind thought you think, and every kind act really matters. It matters to the world, but it also matters to you.

Such a simple thing as a kindly word to a friend or a stranger connects us immediately with the eternal fountain of love that is the truth of each one of us.

5. Be daring

Daring is an essential characteristic of our own true nature and the good news is it is never too late to be daring. Of course, it's never too soon, either!

Look at a newspaper, or the TV. There are terrific stories coming out all the time about people of all ages being daring, inspiring, and magnificent. In the horrendous happening in Tucson the light of daring certainly burned bright.

Love your own unconquerable spirit

I love a quote from Oprah Winfrey on this theme: "Devote today to something so daring even you can't believe you're doing it."

Love your own unconquerable spirit. Open your heart to it anew in this very moment if you so wish. It is so beautiful. It is the very source of happiness and peace - and it never lets us down.

If you have any thoughts on this article you'd like to share, I'd be delighted to hear from you. Also, if you like the article, please don't hesitate to share it with some of your friends.

Picture credit:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3570/3455019410_4262aed607.jpg

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Big Zen January 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm

A very nice article. The fact that you write from a place of stillness shines through in your words. I like the way you positioned ‘kind words’ and ‘being daring’ side by side. Kindness need not be passive and daring need to be unkind, a very nice point.
Big Zen recently posted..The Porters of Tangier

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Christopher Foster January 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Thanks Big Zen. Terrific point about kindness and daring — two sides of one coin?At least one person does indeed appreciate your writings at your blog and that’s me. Keep it up. I’m so thankful you stopped by. Every good wish.

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Clearly Composed January 10, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Greetings, Christopher!!

Reading here is like a vacation…or a really great deep breath. There is peace to be found in your words and I find it again and again. Thank you. *big hug*
Clearly Composed recently posted.. The Word For 2011 Is…

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Christopher Foster January 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Always such a pleasure to connect with you Emma. Thankyou for your words and a big hug to you too.

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Janaye July 3, 2011 at 12:14 am

Whoever wrote this, you know how to make a good article.

The Vizier January 11, 2011 at 12:30 am

Hi Christopher,

Everything changes. We could be at the very top of the world and our careers at one point in our lives. And before we know it, those are glory days behind us. In the end only our essence or inner being remains. I love your 5 suggestions on how to reconnect more deeply with our inner being. Here are my thoughts on some of them.

1. Listen to your own inner wisdom

Often we are so overwhelmed by the problems we face that it can be hard to listen to our inner wisdom. During such times of stress, it is easy to mistake our logical mind for our inner wisdom. But our minds, conditioned by society, think that we should act in such and such a way that takes us further from our true being. Only by stilling our minds can be access our inner wisdom and know how to handle each situation as it comes.

2. Don’t be afraid to change your mind

If we cannot bend like a blade of grass in the thunderstorm, we will surely break like the rigid oak tree. Since change is the only constant in life, we have to change to keep up with change. To do otherwise would mean that we get left behind. But change is not all that bad. To change means to learn and grow. Since our essence is formless, changing is a good way to help us to shed our egos and fixed ideas.

3. Let the earth help you stay grounded

I remember your mention of the stone and holding it in your hand in your last post. Thank you for sharing the story behind that insight here. It is a great reminder to me that there are things that endure in our lives. Like our own inner being.

Thank you for sharing this article! 🙂

Irving the Vizier
The Vizier recently posted..Never Give Up Never Surrender!

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Christopher Foster January 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Irving, you are a treasure. Thanks again for sharing some of your thoughts. I love the clear, sweet way your thoughts unfold. There’s a flow to it. Your writing has a ‘zen’ quality to it, like walking in a Japanese garden. Dare I call you a friend?

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The Vizier January 12, 2011 at 9:15 am

Hi Christopher,

I already regard you as a friend. Life is too short for formalities and barriers when you find someone who shares your views.

I have always been drawn to eastern philosophy like Zen which has shaped the way I think. That is probably why you say there is that ‘zen’ quality to my writing. Of course, being very young (I’m 30) compared to you, I still have to work to curb my impulsiveness and patience from time to time. Still I am pretty much more calm and composed compared to my even younger days.

Take care my friend and keep writing! 🙂
The Vizier recently posted..Never Give Up Never Surrender!

Phil Malmstrom January 11, 2011 at 10:08 am

Another wonderful article Christopher.

You make some excellent suggestions here. One I’ve been working on over the past year is the concept of reinventing myself on a regular basis. The world around us certainly isn’t static, and if we try to be then stress, fear and upset is the result.

And as we’ve discussed before, I’ve spent much more time embracing the Stillness this last year as well. I’ve gained amazing insight from my quiet communes with God in those moments.

Have a Blessed Day my Friend!
Phil Malmstrom recently posted..‘Cause I can’t do this alone

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Christopher Foster January 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Phil, a pleasure as always to spend a little time with you in this way. Thanks particularly for your comment re stillness. Don’t you think when there is stillness it’s easy to communicate and be friends in a true sense? Together in the presence of the eternal even if we’ve never met before?

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Phil Malmstrom January 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Absolutely Christopher. The real trick is finding those moments of Stillness “in between the noise”, so we can focus our hearts and minds to His Voice. In those moments, we are truly one with ourselves and with everyone else.

Have a Blessed Day!
Phil Malmstrom recently posted..‘Cause I can’t do this alone

Gail Brenner (AFlourishingLife) January 11, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Hi Chris,

Your wisdom is so simple, so earthy, and accessible for everyone. If we integrated a fraction of what you suggest into our lives, the world would be a different place. I am always inspired here. Thank you so much.
Love,
Gail
Gail Brenner (AFlourishingLife) recently posted..You Hold the Key to Thriving Relationships

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Christopher Foster January 12, 2011 at 8:58 am

My thanks to YOU Gail for your insights and posts and your sweet, strong spirit. I’m very happy for the friendship I feel between us. Love and blessings.

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Tess The Bold Life January 13, 2011 at 9:26 am

I used to do counseling in prison for addicts. I was fearful in the beginning. My friend Patti handed me a heart shaped stone to keep in my pocket while I was there. She said when I’m afraid to put my hand in my pocket and remember that she loves me. Amazing what that stone and friend did for me. I love love love the Oprah quote. Hope your heat is back on!

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Patti Foy January 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Beautiful, Christopher! I’m with you, and as time goes by I feel very fortunate to continue to get more and more in touch with that presence that is me.
Thanks for this gentle but powerful post.
Patti Foy recently posted..Kiss Your Cold Goodbye Fast With These 20 Natural and Vibrational Remedies

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Barbara Zarrella May 29, 2011 at 7:48 pm

At 67 I am starting on a new journey. I am a bit nervous, but mostly I am excited. I have met some wonderful people, read amazing articles. Love your points about listening to my own inner wisdom… don’t be afraid to change my mind… I am moving from teaching (no longer can do it physically) to writing.

I have a mountain of new things to learn, but as I travel up the side of the mountain, the new vistas that are opening to me are breath-taking.
Barbara Zarrella recently posted..Worry Goes With Hurry

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Christopher Foster May 31, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Thank you for your courage Barbara. I’m sure you do feel a bit nervous, who wouldn’t, but I can tell you from my own experience that your own inner wisdom will always be with you. Blessings to you on your new journey. I’d love to keep in touch a bit with how it all goes for you. Bye for now.

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Christopher Foster July 6, 2011 at 11:59 am

Thank you Janaye. God speed.

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