Dealing With Difficulties
It is not possible to go through this earthly life without experiencing difficulties such as illness and stressful situations. It is how we deal with them that is important, as they are presented to give us opportunities to evolve spiritually. Some situations are major and even life threatening whilst others are short term. We are often unaware as to how draining even short term issues can be. Our health suffers and those around us are also affected.
It is how we deal with issues that is important. Taking a materialistic approach can lead to no satisfactory outcome. However, this article is for those who desire to deal with problems at a spiritual level leading to more positive outcomes for all involved. It is not an easy option but is worth the effort as it has a positive impact on everyone.
It leads to understanding each other and making choices that are unselfish which contributes to spiritual growth. It is easy to blame God and others for our problems but looking for lessons and opening up to divine love is an important step to take. Remember the ego wants to win so let go of selfish desires and attachments to outcomes.
It is recommended that the other articles on our website are read through as this will give a greater explanation of topics covered in this article.
Who We Are and Why We are Here
It is vital to acknowledge our spiritual identity in order to consider spiritual approaches to the difficulties we encounter. We are all part of God / Creator and when we understand the unity of life it becomes easier to deal with interactions with others. We have physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies which are all interconnected and our soul has incarnated to evolve spiritually back to oneness with the Creator. This takes many lifetimes to learn from past mistakes and balance our karma. Karma means action and whatever we think or do will cause a reaction either in this lifetime or in a future lifetime. It is important to understand this as it is often the reason for difficulties we encounter either in relationships or in other situations such as health issues. When we understand everything happens for a reason it is much easier to cope with issues that arise. Lessons are set to test us and are not punishment. See them as opportunities to evolve and balance karma.
Seeing God in others and understanding the spiritual laws, particularly the Law of Oneness is the most important step we can take. Spiritual Laws are given to assist our evolution and by understanding them and putting them into practice these laws, particularly forgiveness, compassion and non judgment will bring peace and harmony. Our book entitled ‘Living The Spiritual Laws for Health and Abundance’ gives guidance for putting the Spiritual Laws into practice.
It is helpful to understand that all is energy and that includes our thoughts, words and actions. We therefore have to be vigilant as to how we lead our lives. The energy we send out affects others and their energy affects us.
Stress: Its Causes and Effects
Often there is no obvious explanation for illness. As already stated it can be karmic in origin. When this is understood it can be easier to accept and there are ways to assist such as spiritual healing and alternative therapies.
Illness can be stress related and if not dealt with there is a danger to health leading to life threatening conditions. It is helpful to find the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale on the internet. It lists many causes of stress and illustrates how damaging this can be. Several life changing conditions occurring together can be overwhelming, so often we associate stress with major changes. However, by looking at the chart it is obvious how much stress can arise from what are meant to be happy events such as holidays and Christmas.
When difficulties are experienced it is important to avoid anger and asking ‘Why me?’ If we can accept nothing happens by chance and take our consciousness to a higher level some insight may be gained. As we take our focus away from the negatives and ask for guidance from our soul / higher self solutions can be found which bring benefit to all involved. The Serenity Prayer which can be found on the internet can help us establish what we can change, what we can’t change and what we just have to accept. Remember we cannot force others to change.
Relationships are not easy to deal with and they arise not only in families and friendships but occur in the work environment, in the neighbourhood and even as we interact with others on transport, in shops and other public places causing much stress and unhappiness. Keep in mind it is important to resolve relationship issues as soon as possible. Everything happens for a reason and there may be issues from a past life that has to be resolved with particular people. Don’t miss an opportunity to resolve issues and balance karma otherwise they will keep resurfacing until dealt with.
It is worth bearing in mind that sometimes relationships are not meant to be permanent and becoming detached can bring freedom to both parties. It is important to learn why things have not worked out and learn any spiritual lessons such as unconditional love and forgiveness. This is where self mastery is important, but this will be considered later.
Equanimity deserves a particular mention. It is a word most of us are unfamiliar with but is found frequently in Buddhism and Hinduism. Equanimity concerns remaining equal minded in all interactions with others with no extremes of emotions. The website http://www.manypathsleadtogod.com/
contains helpful and enlightening information for those seeking to take a spiritual path in life. I recommend clicking on ‘Lifestyle’ and then go to ‘Free Books’ which will then allow you to read the ‘Saytha Sai Baba Gita’. It is easy to read and explains equanimity and other topics. Sai Baba was an Indian avatar and this book contains information from his discourses.
Sai Baba recommends treating all situations and interactions with equal mindedness, and gives examples of heat/cold, joy/sorrow, criticism/praise, success/failure and profit/loss. He explains that worldly joy is temporary and true joy comes from detachment from worldly concerns. When difficulties and disappointments come it is easy to become depressed and even angry. Remember there is a reason for everything and a lesson to learn. It is best to seek guidance through prayer and meditation to find strength to cope.
When life is going well and good fortune is experienced remain equal-minded whilst expressing gratitude. Becoming obsessed with good fortune can lead to wanting more and suffering when desires do not come to fruition. When prosperity ends suffering takes over. Accept what occurs and trust all things work out for the greater good of all. I like the Bible quote from Paul, ‘Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, whatever state I am, therewith to be content.’ (Phil. 4:11) This is good guidance but not easy to live by.
The middle path of Buddhism gives more guidance. It advises against extremes of viewpoints when interacting with others. It is humility that assists spiritual growth. It is best to remain humble and grateful for what we have and be willing to share what we have with those in need.
Forbearance is another word not commonly used but relates closely to equanimity. It involves having patience and self restraint in all circumstances and in interactions with others whether friends or enemies. It demands self discipline and a willingness to show unconditional love to all. When tempted to show anger or criticism it is important to take a moment to check thoughts and be prepared to change them before they result in negative behaviour and anger which can lead to regret later.
By studying spiritual texts and putting the guidance into practice it becomes easier to see God in others. Delve into the spiritual teachings of the various religions as they all contain the same basic truths such as love, compassion and forgiveness. Sai Baba reminds us of the unity of all life and that all paths lead to God.
Being mindful of equanimity and forbearance in difficult interactions assists in finding a solution, and a positive outcome, instead of leading to frustration and ill feelings. In the book of Colossians in the Bible 3:12 Paul reminds us of the need to be merciful, kind, humble and long suffering. In Ephesians 4:2 he reminds us of the need to act ‘with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love’.
Our Five Senses
We have been given five senses to enable us to see, hear, smell, taste and touch thus enabling us to function in the physical world. We use our senses to function safely and to interact with others and our environment.
It is easy to forget our true spiritual identity, become absorbed in what our senses relay to us thus believing this is all there is to life. This leads us away from even considering we are spiritual beings as our consciousness is focused on material benefits with the ego pushing for even more pleasure. Happiness is sought through the senses but satisfaction is never attained as there is always a desire for more or something better. Desires and attachments never bring peace and fulfilment and adversely affect our health and relationships, causing stress for others as well as ourselves.
Being controlled by the ego and becoming a slave to the senses affects all aspects of our life. The Buddha taught that all misery arises from desires and attachments. Our five senses are important to function in our day to day activities and life becomes difficult if they are impaired. However, for a more peaceful and satisfying life it is important to seek guidance at a spiritual level.
Using Our Senses Spiritually
All life is a manifestation of the Divine and as we raise our consciousness to connect with our soul through meditation guidance is received. When we do this our senses can be used spiritually as trust is placed in a higher power which brings health benefits and the ability to cope with difficult situations.
What follows are some ideas for using the senses spiritually. Becoming a master of the senses involves controlling our thoughts and actions. We have to ask ourselves if we are really dedicated to losing a desire for material pleasure. This involves using discrimination and making an effort to keep our senses at a higher level.
Each of our senses will be considered separately to give some brief ideas as to how they can be used to benefit us spiritually. Note that the senses are often used figuratively in the Bible.
1. Spend time in nature and admire the beauty.
2. See others as the image and likeness of God and consider their good points and not their faults.
3. Observe when you can help someone in need.
4. Ask yourself how you see yourself.
1. Listen to the sounds of nature eg. birds, rain, sea.
2. Listen to relaxing, meditation music.
3. Listen to that still, small voice within for guidance.
4. Take time to listen to others and understand their views and their difficulties.
1. Use of incense and scented candles can uplift our thoughts
2. Take time in nature to smell wild flowers.
3. Aromatherapy oils used in burners and for massage can have therapeutic benefits
1. Eating fresh fruit reminds us of the wonder of nature
2. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.” KJV Bible Psalm 34: 8
Touch / Feeling
1. Some people have a sense of feeling God’s presence.
2. Walking barefoot on grass or sand can give a feeling of taking in prana, the life force energy.
3. Touch can be soothing and comforting when someone is sick or in distress.
4. Therapeutic massage and hands on spiritual healing bring comfort and relaxation and awareness that we are more than just physical beings.
5. Sometimes when we raise our consciousness we can sense when something is not quite right. For example in a meeting or in a relationship.
As we seek to evolve spiritually we understand we have a 6th sense, namely intuition, which brings higher knowledge and wisdom. Intuition means knowledge within oneself. It is helpful to learn about the seven major chakras. Intuition is associated with the sixth chakra located on the forehead just above the space between the eye brows. Meditation on this chakra can assist on receiving enlightenment and inner guidance. For more information on healing, chakras and much more please read the article on our website entitled, “There’s More To Reiki Than Meets The Eye.”
Using our senses spiritually brings not just health benefits but more harmonious relationships. It is by using our senses spiritually, letting go of attachments and striving for material gain that we find our life purpose and spiritual growth.
Becoming a Spiritual Master
Getting to know oneself is the key to harmonious relationships and a more satisfying life. Being a self master involves gaining self control and self awareness on the physical, emotional and mental levels whilst working to achieve desired goals. However, spiritual self mastery is achieved when the above qualities are attained at a spiritual level as well as at the three lower levels.
The following quotes by two ancient Greek philosophers emphasise the importance of knowing ourselves.
‘Man know thyself, then thou shalt know the universe and God.’ (Pythagorus)
‘Knowing thyself is the beginning of all wisdom’. (Aristotle)
‘Know Thyself’’ occurs in many writings. It is mentioned in various places in the Bible and also in the Upandishads in Hinduism. When we acknowledge we are all spiritual beings and understand the Divine is within us and all others this contributes to good relationships.
Joshua David Stone in his many books and articles states that the two most important relationships we need to cultivate are our relationship with self and our relationship with God. When we do our best to work on these relationships we can endeavour to look for God’s attributes of love, wisdom and power in others who are also the offspring of God. These attributes are also within each of us and are located in the three fold flame within the heart. For an understanding of the three fold flame please refer to this article on our website. It is our responsibility to balance and increase these qualities.
If we fail to love and value ourselves we will not love others and this leads to seeking love and acceptance outside of ourselves. By failing to use our personal power others will control our lives. This leads to the feeling of being a victim with no control over events and blaming others when things go wrong. By loving ourselves and others we become a spiritual master and not a victim and others benefit as well.
Taking time to become self aware is important. This involves devoting time to understanding our actions, and beliefs, knowing our strengths and weaknesses and identifying our goals. All this leads to self awareness and self confidence. All this must be accompanied by humility which is essential for spiritual growth. Being grateful for all we have and a desire to learn from others is a must.
A spiritual master endeavours to resolve relationship issues as soon as possible and is willing to forgive others. The spiritual law of forgiveness is essential for creating peace and harmony. We also need to learn to forgive ourselves. Letting go of past hurts allows everyone to move on. Acknowledge everything happens for a reason so look for lessons to be learned. Do not miss an opportunity to balance karma otherwise issues will resurface until dealt with either in this life or in a future incarnation.
A spiritual master understands that we have all incarnated with a divine purpose and have been given the right skills and circumstances to offer selfless service to others. Very often well meaning adults in the past told us were not good at certain activities and discouraged us from pursuing goals where these skills could have been used for the greater good of others. Our ‘Making Changes’ workshop and individual sessions assist participants in identifying their talents and skills to make positive changes. Seek guidance in meditation as to what you can offer others to enrich their lives. This takes the focus away from whatever difficulties are consuming our thoughts and has therapeutic benefits.
Working towards spiritual mastery brings empowerment, peace and fulfilment and there is no need to fight problems at a material level. Meditation is the best way to getting to know ourselves and time needs to be set aside for this morning and evening. It is worthwhile to keep a spiritual journal and the best time for making entries is in the evening. Honesty is required in order to understand what changes we need to make. Our articles on maintaining a spiritual journal will provide guidance on this.
Positive changes can be achieved but effort and commitment are required. The following two quotes are worth remembering.
‘If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got’. (Henry Ford)
‘I can change myself, others I can only love’. (Family Anon. literature)
Being a spiritual master is also learning to take personal problems to a higher level instead of complaining. We all experience distressing issues at times and it is easy to allow them to consume our thoughts. When we suffer illness or a disability it is helpful to send out healing thoughts and prayers not just for ourselves but also for others in need. This raises our consciousness and creates positive energy to benefit others as well as ourself. Taking a spiritual approach to difficulties brings insights and positive outcomes. Becoming a spiritual master has a positive impact for everyone.
Dedication and Commitment
If we really want to make positive changes it is vital to make sure we monitor daily how we are dealing with every situation and interactions and be prepared to consider how we could have acted differently. This is where a spiritual journal is beneficial.
The ups and downs in life come to give us the opportunity to evolve by taking a spiritual approach rather than fighting issues at a physical level which can escalate the problem. By looking to the spiritual laws and having the courage, commitment and dedication to apply them benefits all involved. This is only possible when the senses are directed away from material distractions and consciousness is raised to a higher level where direction and guidance are available. The aim is to reach a state of self realisation which means we understand our oneness with God and the unity of all life. A different view of life is attained and our approach to difficulties takes a new direction
It is important to express gratitude for lessons learned rather than complaining and even blaming others when things don’t work out to our liking. Meditation, prayer and journal keeping are just a few suggestions which assist us from straying from our pathway. These assist in identifying our strengths and weaknesses and our focus remains on making positive changes. However, making changes is our personal responsibility. We have been given free will but it is up to us to use it for the greater good of all.
When faced with difficult situations do your best to remain calm whilst trusting in a higher power. It is worth remembering the following Bible quote from St Paul where he states, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Phil. 4:11). Paul suffered many challenging situations, including shipwreck and being in prison but his trust in God enabled him to cope. Instead of complaining he sang hymns and remained positive knowing he would be taken care of. Singing hymns and spiritual songs can be uplifting and reminds us there is a spiritual power within us which will guide us and lead us in the right direction.
Take time to identify what skills you have been given. By using these to serve others will bring joy to them and putting the spiritual law of purpose in to practice will bring you satisfaction and fulfilment. As our focus shifts from selfishness to selfless service a sense of unity with God and all life is achieved.
It is amazing how much good can develop due to taking positive steps in times of trouble. Our first book ‘Living The Spiritual Laws For Health And Abundance’ was written due to the lessons we learned during a long period of illness and resulting work issues. We had to learn to put the spiritual laws into practice by forgiving those who were responsible for some of the difficulties we endured and show unconditional love towards them. We learned the necessity to trust in a higher power and everything worked out to everyone’s satisfaction. This led us to identifying our life purpose which could never have been anticipated and allowed us to be of service to others through our writings and workshops. Identifying our life purpose and putting it into practice to assist others gave our life meaning and fulfilment.
Many years ago I attended a course which finished with a beautiful Hand Meditation but unfortunately I have never been able to identify its source. It ended with the words, ‘He has no other hands but ours’. So do remember that whatever good we do for others we are serving God.
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