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My Peace Is in Riding the Waves of Change

by Robert Meagher on 05/03/22

Photo Credit: pexels.com - Pixabay

The past few months has brought with it the awareness of how at peace I am with some waves of change in my life. Let me share a few examples.

First, I recently lost some of my income. This income was from teaching ESL to Chinese children (online). Recent legislative changes in China has resulted in the banning of all foreign teachers from teaching ESL to children in mainland China. The adjustment was, initially, a bit of a jolt. There was some worry about the loss of income, but I trusted something else would emerge to allow me to recoup that income. The change of pace has been a welcomed change and other opportunities have emerged that will allow me to replace the income I lost from teaching.

Next, is a rather casual change, but no less significant for me. I have gone through periods in my life where I have done a lot of reading. By a lot, I mean reading as much as a book every day. Over the past 5-6 years, however, I have done very little casual/recreational reading. I was doing a lot of reading for my various work activities and didn’t have the desire for additional recreational reading. Instead of reading, I have been doing jigsaw puzzles. I cannot tell you how many jigsaw puzzles I have completed over the past few years, but it’s a lot! Since December, there has been, what feels like, a natural shift back to more casual / recreational reading. And I’m loving it! I still always have a jigsaw puzzle in the works, but the majority of any spare time I have finds me snuggled up with a good book.

Lastly, enter winter! I enjoyed and embraced winter as a child, teenager, and adolescent. But as I grew into adulthood, my love of winter diminished. Having to commute during winter weather became a stress, and my body grew leery of the cold temperatures. During my 40s I grew to actually hate winter. I tolerated it, at best, and despised it, at worse. But the last few winters I have noticed a wave of change in me. I don’t mind the winters now. I have grown to accept winter for what it is. A period of several months where it is cold outside and there is likely a lot of snow on the ground. This winter, in particular, I am content with winter. And, so far, we have had a very cold and snowy winter; that I anticipate with continue.

In each of the example above, I was presented the situations that invited / allowed me to change and flow with that change. While the period of time resisting the wave of change varied among the above examples, I was always able to welcome peace back into my life as soon as I rode the wave of change instead of resisting it. While this lesson (i.e., go with the flow) is obvious in theory, it is not so obvious in practice. I can think of a couple of areas of my life where I will do well to practice ‘going with the flow.’ Yet there are places and times in the life where I can ride the wave of change and receive the gift of that peaceful transition. My trust is that by practicing riding the wave of change in some areas of my life, I will grow to be able to apply it in all areas of my life.

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.

Holding On / Letting Go

by Robert Meagher on 04/02/22

Photo Credit: pexels.com - Mariana Montrazi

We live in a world that prizes possessions. Hence, we tend to hold on to things. Do you remember the last time you moved? How much of your ‘stuff’ did you hold on to? How much did you let go? And if you let go of anything, how did that feel?

Personal possessions are perhaps the most obvious examples of holding on and letting go. Yet personal relationships can be even more dramatic example of holding on to, and letting of, things. More than our personal possessions, we tend toward holding on to our personal relationships with even greater verve. We tend toward clinging to our relationships. And then when we let go of relationships, if we do, our response can be far more dramatic than with personal possessions.

More than personal possessions or personal relationships, the most vivid experience I have witnessed of holding on and letting go is with what we call life in the embodied state. I have been blessed to do many things with my Ministry work, but perhaps the most meaningful work I do is Chaplaincy work that focuses on visitation with the sick, infirm, and transitioning (or what is commonly referred to as dying).

I had the honor of sitting bedside with a man who was in the process of transitioning. I remember the day very well. He was nearing the veil of death and he shared with me that he was afraid. I held his hand and offered to him to squeeze my hand if he felt any fear. His grip became iron clad.

At one point I said to him, “It’s okay to let go.”

“But I’m afraid.” he said.

“I am with you. I will remain with you to the end of your time here.”

His eyes opened and I could see his fear lessening.

“Where am I going?” he asked.

“You aren’t going anywhere. You will simply remember a state of being that has always been with you. It is a state in which you will know nothing but peace and love.”

And with those words, he closed his eyes and journeyed through the veil of death. His grip on my hand weakened. A sense of peace washed over his body.

This man’s ultimate peace was in letting go of embodied life itself. He clung to his life. He was afraid to let go. But in letting go, he was offered the greatest gift of remembering life in its purest sense—without our myriad of illusions cast upon it.

What are you holding on to in your life? How are you holding on? What is it you need to let go of?

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.

We Don’t See The World As It Is

by Robert Meagher on 03/02/22

Photo Credit: Google Images

I recently had an experience that reminded me of a timeless spiritual teaching.

On a recent visit to the grocery store, I had on my handy-dandy grocery list to get some cornstarch. I am so familiar with this grocery store that I know exactly where the cornstarch is located (with other baking needs).

So I went to the isle and section in question and began looking of the shelves for the cornstarch. My first, quick, search found no cornstarch. I looked again, casting my eyes further afoot to neighboring shelves (left and right, up and down)…still no cornstarch. “That’s odd.”, I thought. “I know this is where the cornstarch always it, normally.” I looked more, this time walking up and down the isle a little bit...but I still could not find the cornstarch. I could see the container of cornstarch in my mind’s eye (remembering the jar of cornstarch I had brought home many times before), but I couldn’t see any cornstarch on the shelf.

I noticed a store clerk working at the end of the isle. I walked down to greet him and asked, “Do you have any cornstarch in stock?” “Yes,” he said. “It’s just over there,” gesturing in the general direction where I had already been looking.

I walked back down to the area I was originally looking in and couldn’t see any cornstarch. The store clerk kept calling out, “It’s there! Right there!” still gesturing in the exact area I was standing in. “It’s on the top shelf,” yelled the clerk, now seemingly getting a little annoyed with me.

I looked up toward the top shelf and still could not see the cornstarch. I started walking toward the store clerk and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t see any cornstarch.”

The store clerk stopped what he was doing and walked down with me to where I had been standing. To my somewhat-embarrassment, the store clerk reached out to gently remove the box of cornstarch off the shift, smiled, and handed it to me. I stood there with a dumb-founded look on my face. I looked back at the shelf and there, indeed, were the boxes of cornstarch…exactly where I had been looking all this time. But why hadn’t I seen the box?

The reason I didn’t see the box of cornstarch was because I was looking for a round, plastic jar of cornstarch. That’s the format it had come in the previous dozen times I bought cornstarch from that store. But the format had changed (from a round, plastic jar to a square box).

I eventually laughed at my folly and proceeded to finish my grocery shopping. But as I continued about my grocery store outing, I was reminded of a timeless spiritual teaching.

We don’t see the world as it is, we see the world as we want it to be. I had been looking directly at the box of cornstarch, but I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it because I was expecting (i.e., wanting) the cornstarch to be in a round, plastic container. I was blind to the new format of packaging, even though the package clearly had ‘cornstarch’ written on the front of it.

The experience got me thinking, “How many other times in my life have I not seen something because I have a pre-conceived thought/image of what it should look like, instead of what it actually looks like?” No doubt I have done it many times. But hopefully I’ll do it less, now that I’ve had some awareness practice!

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.

The Butterfly Effect Comes to Life

by Robert Meagher on 01/03/22

Photo Credit: pexels.com - jeshoots

Have you ever heard of the ‘butterfly effect’? In simple terms, it refers to small changes in one system or area leading to large-scale and unpredictable variation in the future state of another area or system. The example I have most often heard to describe this theory is that a butterfly flapping its wings in Mexico can cause a hurricane in China. You get the idea.

While the ‘butterfly effect’, like any theory, sounds good on paper, it is sometimes hard to imagine it having a real and lasting impact on your life. Well…the butterfly effect came to life for me in the past couple of months.

Perhaps you are aware of the still-unfolding, geo-political situation surrounding Canada detaining, and recently releasing, Meng Wanzhou, Hauwei’s CFO. While Ms. Wanzhou has finally returned to China after several years of detainment in Canada, the diplomatic outfall of the situation will no doubt be felt for years to come.

Like many people, I never knew Ms. Wanzhou. I still don’t. Even though I was aware of the global significance of Ms. Wanzhou’s detainment, I never thought it would affect me directly…until last month.

One of the joys of my life over the past three years has been teaching English as a second language to Chinese children (online). I have grown to truly enjoy my time with the children and feel inspired by spending time with them.

Since August, the Chinese government has slowly been restricting the teaching of Chinese children by foreign teachers. These restrictions have come in the form of new legislation aimed at companies (whether domestic or foreign) that offer Chinese parents the opportunity to teach their children English. Along the way, credible news sources such as BBC, Bloomberg, and the New York Times, have provided some insightful analysis of the unfolding decisions by the Chinese government. The impact of the Chinese governments regulations is that hundreds of thousands of English teachers around the world (mostly Canada and the US) have lost their jobs.

Did the situation with Meng Wanshou influence the Chinese government’s decision to restrict foreign teachers from teaching Chinese children? Some news sources (previously stated) say yes, directly. Other news sources say ‘indirectly’. According to these same news source, the Chinese government’s new education regulations would not have come into affect if Meng Wangshou had not been detained.

So…I never knew Meng Wanshou, I still don’t, and I never met her. But according to credible news sources, the decimation of the English as A second language industry globally—an industry worth 100s of billions of dollars annually—has been as a result of the events surrounding Mang Wanshou.

What all the preceding has emphasized for me is how we are all interconnected. What we say, what we do, dare I say what we think, affects everyone, everywhere. We may never know the impact of our words, our actions, our thoughts. And we certainly may never meet the people we affect, but everything we do, in every minute of every day, affects the entire world.

The preceding experience has been a clarion call for me to practice kindness and love with everyone I meet. I may never know how my kindness and love impacts others, and that’s okay, but I’d much rather my kindness and love affect people than the alternative!

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.

What if I miss the opportunity to love?

by Robert Meagher on 11/02/21

Photo Credit: pexels.com - Shamia Casiano

One day last month, while I was eating my lunch, my thoughts wondered to a person in my life. This person had come into my life within the past couple of years and made it clear they wanted to be friends.

In the months that followed, this person communicated with me regularly, inviting the ‘friendship’ to grow. I was not keen on developing a ‘friendship’ with this person. Having them as an acquaintance was fine; but friendships take time and energy to develop and nurture, and I was not willing to invest my time and energy into developing a friendship with this person. My lack of willingness was due, in large part, to my judgements about this person and the company they kept. So, over the months since this person initially reached out, we have shared an acquaintanceship, but nothing more.

Also, over the months since this person initially reached out, I have become aware of the kindness, caring, and good deeds this person has shared with others. I have seen firsthand just how kind and thoughtful this person can be. I have witnessed how loving this person can be. But still I kept my heart closed to anything more than an acquaintanceship based on my continued judgements about this person and the company they kept.

So last month when I thought of this person over lunch, I asked myself, “What if they truly are the kind soul they appear to be?” I felt my heart opening. I felt the barriers to my extending love to this person coming down.

I then asked myself… “What if I miss the opportunity to love this person?” A sense of dread came over me. Do I really want to go through my life closing myself off from this person? Do I really want to go through my life closing myself off from anyone?

It doesn’t mean I have to change how I interact with this person who reached out a couple of years ago wanting to be friends. I don’t have to call them up, apologize on bended knee, and grovel for forgiveness. It doesn’t even mean I have to now become friends with them. What it means for me is that I can now see this person as the blessed, dear soul they truly are. I can remove my blockages to love and open my heart to them. I can stop hurting myself by withholding my love.

So here’s an exercise for you…

  1. Think of someone in your life that, for whatever reason, you have kept a distance from. Maybe you just don’t want to get close to them. Maybe you don’t like them. Maybe you see them as your enemy.
  2. Ask yourself… “Is it possible there is some good in this person?”
  3. Ask yourself… “Will I allow myself to see this good in this person?”
  4. Ask yourself… “Can I accept that this person is a good person?”
  5. Ask yourself… “Can I accept that this person is worthy of love?”
  6. Ask yourself… “Am I willing to extend my love to this person?”
  7. After you run through the questions above in regard to anyone in your life that you are holding yourself back from loving, check how you now feel about this person. Has anything changed?

What if you miss the opportunity to love someone? Loving someone is not as difficult as it might seem. It’s actually the most natural of all emotions, actions, and behaviors. We all know it. Now…let’s do it!

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.

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Shanti, Namaste, Agapé,

Rev. Robert Meagher