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An Endless Cacophony of Worthless Activity

by Robert Meagher on 08/02/20


Photo Credit: pexels.com - Aleksejs Bergmanis

This past month has felt busy. There has been an endless list of things to do. My days felt more full than usual. Most days I would look back over the list of things I wanted to do, to realize they did not get completed. The uncompleted items would be added to the ‘to do’ list for the next day. And so, it went for much of the month.

During one of my welcomed day-long bike trips one weekend, I reflected on my busyness. I actually enjoy having a lot of things to do. And I enjoy even more the sense of accomplishment associated with getting a long list of items scratched off my ‘to do’ list. But sometimes that ‘to do’ list becomes a source of discord.

As I peddled my way along the beautiful roads and pathways on a brilliantly-beautiful summer’s day, I was struck by the meaninglessness and worthlessness of my busyness and, in particular, my ‘to do’ list. Oh yes, there’s a certain practicality to life. There are some things that must be done—brushing one’s teeth, going to the grocery store…to name but two simple necessities. But when I look at my ‘to do’ list with a decerning eye, most of the things on the ‘to do’ list could go without ‘doing’ and the world would not come to an end.

Most of the items on the ‘to do’ list is a cacophony—a harsh discordant mixture of tasks—of worthless activity. I can create a very convincing argument for wanting, needing even, to complete the tasks. But when it comes down to it, not completing the task won’t have a significant affect on my life. In truth, none of the items on the ‘to do’ need doing at all!

There is a beautiful lesson from a spiritual teaching that speaks of the healed mind not planning.[1] The teaching does not condone not planning. On the contrary, planning can have very practical and useful applications in our lives. For example, making a grocery list can be a helpful task when it comes time to go to the grocery store—when we arrive at the grocery store, we have a pretty good chance of getting what we need.

However, what the healed mind realizes is the reason we plan and make the ‘to do’ list. We plan and make the ‘to do’ list because we are afraid of what would happen if we didn’t plan. The healed mind understands the underlying impetus for needing or wanting to plan.

Is having an endless cacophony of worthless activity bad? Is having a ‘to do’ list bad? Is planning bad? Certainly not! So long as one is open to what life actually gives us, in amongst our planning, then plan away. The healed mind understands that when we plan, God laughs!

 

Robert Meagher has been ordained as an Interfaith Minister and certified as a Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) Therapist. Robert is the Founder and Spiritual Director for Spiritual Guidance and Co-Founder of the Center for Human Awakening.



[1] A Course in Miracles

Choose Once Again

by Robert Meagher on 07/02/20

Photo Credit: pexels.com - Subin

Last month I dealt with a situation simply by choosing once again. In this situation that was causing me some dis-ease, I chose to shine some light on it and see it differently. Sound mysterious? It wasn’t. It was rather easy, and natural. Let me explain further.

Have any of you heard of PayPal? If so, perhaps you have had experience using and working with this online payment service. I have been using PayPal for my ministry work for almost a decade.

After almost a decade of using PayPal, last month I started to get requests for documentation from PayPal. I found these requests a bit odd, given that I had been using this account for almost a decade and had never had any such requests from PayPal. I began to provide the requested documentation. As each request was filled, another request for other documentation would come forth. Sometimes PayPal would ask for more detailed documentation and something PayPal would ask for other information. At some point PayPal indicated they may place restrictions on my account until they received the documentation they requested.

This situation went on for several weeks. It started to become frustrating when I would be asked to resubmit the same information I had already submitted. I became aware that different PayPal representatives were asking for information from me each time. It appeared that whatever issue PayPal was trying to address, different people were communicating with me that clearly had not been privy to the communication I already had with other PayPal representatives. The result of this multi-faceted approach to problem solving by PayPal was that I sometimes had to repeat the communication I already had with a representative.

The longer this situation went on, the more frustrated I became. Until one morning…

When I awoke, my first thoughts were about the unfolding situation with PayPal. All my frustrations came bubbling to the surface. But another thought also came bubbling to the surface. I asked myself… “What if I’m not seeing this situation correctly? What if PayPal is actually trying to help me? It seems like an odd way to help someone, but what if???”

As I sat with these questions for only a minute, my thoughts about the situation started to change. I began to see that all the requests by PayPal were not negative, or bad, or even frustrating. I began to see how the experience was actually helping me to better understand how PayPal worked and how I could make PayPal work better for me. By the time I left my room, only a few minutes later, I was excited about these new insights and somehow felt like the problem had been solved for me.

About an hour later I turned on my computer to start my workday. Greeting me in my email inbox was a message from PayPal stating that the issue with my PayPal account (for which there never was a clear description of what the issue was!) was resolved and my account status had been returned to normal.

It felt clear to me that the resolution to whatever the problem was, had nothing to do with the documentation I had provided (or not). The resolution to the problem was my choice to see the situation differently. In this case, once I began to see the situation as something other than threatening, a new possibility emerged. I began to see the situation as something that could help me. Ultimately, my vision changed from one of fear to one of love.

Robert Meagher has been ordained as an Interfaith Minister and certified as a Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) Therapist. Robert is the Founder and Spiritual Director for Spiritual Guidance and Co-Founder of the Center for Human Awakening.


Are You Experiencing Suffering? Or Are You Suffering Your Experience?

by Robert Meagher on 06/03/20


So…here we are! Smack dab in the middle (a metaphorical expression) of what has been labelled a global pandemic. This surely must be fertile soil for suffering! Or is it? The currently evolving situation reminds me of the somewhat-whimsical Buddhist parable about suffering:

The student runs to the spiritual teacher. “Teacher, teacher,” says the student. “I am experiencing suffering.” After listening to the student’s tales of woe, the teacher responds, “You are not experiencing suffering. You are suffering your experience.”

The first change I experienced in my life was that my local recreation center closed. I would faithfully go to the center on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for a noon-hour swim. I had been swimming laps for more than 40 years. Now, all of a sudden, I couldn’t. What was I to do?! After a couple of days I adjusted to this new state of being with an acceptance that, for some reason that has not been revealed to me yet, life (my name for God) does not want me swimming at this time. I dusted off my yoga mat, resurrected some of my Yin, Hatha, and Ashtanga flows, and designed some brand new cross-training workouts I could easily enjoy from the comfort of my home and that would keep my healthy and fit.

The next change to my lifestyle was I could no longer go to the grocery store and simply walk in to the grocery store. I now had to wait in line to get in. Public health authorities were limiting the number of people allowed in the grocery store at any one time, and this meant I would sometimes be faced with having to wait to get into the grocery store, if the store capacity had already been reached. After a couple of occurrences of waiting in line, I accepted this new experience as an opportunity to welcome a new meditation session in my day. I would often wait for 15-30 minutes to get in the store. What better way to pass the illusion of time than to ground myself, get peaceful, and meditate—yes, while standing, waiting in line to get in the grocery store.

The next change to my lifestyle was caused when our neighboring province closed its borders to our city. I live in a city that is situated on the shores of a river. On the other side of the river is another province. The river is only a few hundred meters across and is spanned by several bridges. Police had set up posts on each bridge and were stopping all pedestrians, cyclists and motorists from crossing the bridges and entering the other province. This situation was initially quite a jolt for me. I am an avid cyclist and the terrain on the other side of the river is outstanding for cycling. I quickly accepted that given the predicted trajectory of the evolving pandemic, I would not likely be cycling on the other side of the river for the upcoming season. I turned my attention to other options to enjoy cycling for the season. I realized that I had never explored the towns and villages south of the city. When I researched cycling options south of the city, I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that there were many hundreds of kilometers of dedicated cycling paths that offered the cyclist many options for short-, medium-, and long-distance cycling rides. I am looking forward to discovering all the new pathways this upcoming season.

The preceding anecdotes are only three examples of how I was able to look at a situation differently and transcend suffering. In each situation, I did initially feel sadness, frustration, and even anger. I felt like something was being taken away from me. In each situation I asked myself “How is my sadness, frustration and/or anger helping me?” In each situation the answer was “It’s not!” And I proceeded to look for others ways to get physical exercise or adjust to a new way of living.

Adjustment was key for me. I needed to change. In the case of my recreation center being closed and not being able to go swimming, I needed to change the form of exercise I did in order to stay physically healthy. My ability to adjust to the change was only possible through an acceptance of life on its terms. If I resisted the change, then I suffered. But if I accepted the change, I opened the door to opportunities for peace.

As the Buddhist teacher imparted to the student in the parable that started this article, it wasn’t about experiencing suffering. It was about choosing, or not, to suffer my experience. I chose not to. And that choice allowed me to accept what life was offering me. And the acceptance of what life was offering me, removed suffering and offered peace.

 

Robert Meagher has been ordained as an Interfaith Minister and certified as a Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) Therapist. Robert is the Founder and Spiritual Director for Spiritual Guidance and Co-Founder of the Center for Human Awakening.


Home

by Robert Meagher on 05/04/20


I have been asked to comment on the current global events regarding the Coronavirus and COVID-19. I have only a few things to say about the unfolding situation.

First, let us not try to make sense of this. ‘Sense’ cannot be made of that which is not reality. Reality is changeless. This pandemic, as it’s been labeled, is ever-changing. Therefore, it is not reality. We cannot know what this means now. We are far less likely to know what this will mean for the future. Take this as an opportunity to practice being in the ‘now’ and accepting the ‘is-ness’ of the now.

Second, this feels like a transformational portal we are going through; like the wormhole scene in the movie, ‘Contact,’ with Jodie Foster. In the wormhole scene, Jodie Foster’s character is being hurled through what scientists refer to as a wormhole. A wormhole is reported to be a speculative structure linking disparate points in spacetime. The experience is uncomfortable because it is new and different. As we relax into the transformation, we will experience calm and peace. For those interested, here is a link to that wormhole scene from the movie ‘Contact:’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8axMaBL4uo

Third, there are many messages coming at us, very quickly, during this time. These messages are being offered to us from many different sources. Some of these messages are fear-based. Some are calling out for love. Others are calling us to return to love. One message that I have noticed predominates throughout all the messaging is… ‘home.’ How many times have you heard someone say, amidst the unfolding situation, “Stay home!”? Or how about… “Go home.” Or… “If you are away, return home.” This messaging of ‘home’ is increasingly interesting to me. What interesting parallels may exist in this messaging of ‘home’ with the spiritual home. Are we being called ‘home’ in the spiritual sense? In Regiena Heringa’s ‘Notes from the Light” below, we are “being asked to return to this birthplace which does not dwell outside of the self.”

Lastly, many people around the world have been crying out for change on a global scale. Our requests have been answered. We are in the process of the very change we have asked for. Surrender to this change. Resistance will only lead to suffering. Please don’t confuse suffering with something that is happening to you. Suffering is a choice. Suffering is something we create. It is best portrayed in this beautiful, ancient parable.

The student runs to the spiritual teacher. “Teacher, teacher,” says the student. “I am experiencing suffering.” After listening to the student’s tales of woe, the teacher responds, “You are not experiencing suffering. You are suffering your experience.”

Robert Meagher has been ordained as an Interfaith Minister and certified as a Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) Therapist. Robert is the Founder and Spiritual Director for Spiritual Guidance and Co-Founder of the Center for Human Awakening.

From Outward Therapist to Inner Guide

by Robert Meagher on 04/02/20


There may be no greater gift than the transformation possible through the healing or therapeutic relationship. My one and only embodied therapist saved my life. Not in the sense that I was wanting to take my life or end my life. The healing relationship saved me from a life of egoic-based separation.

Working with my therapist served as the mirror on my perceptions. Another trusted soul was able to poke at my perception of reality and gently guide me to question that existence.

The journey with my therapist began tentatively. I was afraid. But I had grown less resistant to my fear of change than my fear of staying the same. The way I was living my life was no longer serving me. I was not at peace, yet I didn’t quite realize this was the core issue at the time.

As the relationship with my therapist grew and matured over time, I was granted the blessing of knowing my authentic self was being witnessed. I could show up and try and put on a façade and act like someone I was not. But I quickly grew to know my therapist could see right through me. At first this was unsettling. But it quickly became an immense relief. I could, perhaps for the first time in my life, be exactly who I was, without judgement.

After my therapeutic relationship came to a formal end, something quite poignant started to unfold. An inner guide started to emerge, and this inner guide was a graceful extension of the embodied therapist I had been working with. Through my working relationship with my embodied therapist, I was able to develop a stronger connection with my authentic being, what might be called ‘Higher Self’ in some milieu.

What was evident to me at the time was that this new, authentic teacher and inner guide was not a replacement for my embodied therapist but an extension of the therapeutic relationship—a sort of Therapist 2.0! This new therapeutic relationship was one based on opening myself to the wisdom of the heart. This new therapeutic relationship was training me to move away from my fears into the presence of God—to be ‘in’ love as a state of being.

The transformation from the outward therapist to inner guide was, in retrospect, a natural progression for me. Not a progression in terms of advancement or raising my level of consciousness. The progression was more about an expanding awareness of returning to my original state of being. I needed to grow in relationship with my inner guide to return to my original state of being. My outward therapist played a critical and fundamental role in ushering me toward this primordial awareness. My outward therapist was a stepping stone along the road of the healing relationship.

Some of you might be asking, “But what did the first therapist actually do to facilitate this transformation?” The therapist didn’t ‘do’ so much as ‘be.’ The therapist was a grounding presence that modelled the possibilities inherent in being in the present moment. The therapist did not offer any advice. The therapist merely witnessed me; and through a process of gentle inquiry, the therapist guided me to an awareness of my true, authentic and divine self.

As for the inner guide, the ‘how’ of the healing relationship is reminiscent of trust. For many people, opening yourself to an inner guide may be analogous to building your intuition. The relationship with this inner guide goes beyond intuition, however. The inner guide nurtures an enduring trust in life. When you develop a trust in the unfolding, problems melt away and all that remains is peace.


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Shanti, Namaste, Agapé,

Rev. Robert Meagher
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