Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

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How to Deconstruct Pesky Thought Patterns and Wacky Emotional Habits

Our Lady of Fatima

As a child, I was fascinated by the appearances of Our Lady of Fatima to three children in Portugal. But, at night, I felt afraid.  “What if Mary appeared to me?  What if God appeared to me?”  The thought terrified me. Indeed, I would quake in my bed.

What made me afraid of Mary and God?  The “thought” made me afraid.

I concede there’s more to an emotional response than one thought alone.  For example, I’m a highly sensitive person who grew up in a less than peaceful environment. As a result, I developed a particular pattern of thinking and emotional response rooted in insecurity and fear.  The same is true for you although your patterns may be different from mine, and may even be  healthy ones.

It all comes back to mind and how we perceive even as young children.

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Dispersing the Clouds of Our Mind

Don’t you notice how our identity is so wedded to our thoughts and emotions?

But – for most of us – thoughts are simply well-worn habitual grooves.  And our moods are nothing more than the ebb and flow of our neurotransmitters.

Who are we really?

Our true essence is like the vast open sky and has the quality of radiant pure awareness.  It does not depend upon the brain nor does it fluctuate with the tide of neural transmission.  It’s always present, hidden behind the clouds of thoughts and emotions.

Pause.  Take a slow, deep breath.  Allow this meeting of outer and inner wind to slowly disperse the cumulus, stratus, cirrus, and nimbus formations in your mind.  Lightly watch your breath – this meeting of inner and outer wind.  When new cloud forms appear, let them be.  Simply bring your mind back to the breath.  Alert yet relaxed, rest for a moment in the vast blue space of your sky-like mind – awake, aware, ever-present.

Then, allow whatever peace, love, and compassion you have found to shine out and touch others.


Thank you for reading.  If you liked this article, please share the link with others using the share buttons below.  Thanks so much for your support!  Warmest wishes, Sandra

image:  Public Domain Pictures (dot) net

Like a Flash of Lightning in the Sky

As the seasons slowly change, it seems opportune to reflect on impermanence.

Although we all know that life is impermanent, most of us function like this body and brain are immortal.

When, out of the blue, impermanence strongly touches our life, we are often overcome by shock and fear.  But it usually doesn’t last long.  Swiftly, we return to our illusion of permanence.

Ironically, there are many benefits to remembering and befriending impermanence as a daily reflection.

Recalling the transient nature of this existence can:

  • help us get our priorities straight;
  • remind us to celebrate each precious moment;
  • be an impetus to use our time wisely;
  • unlock love and compassion from our heart;
  • motivate us to examine the nature of reality and seek that which is true and unchanging.

Gradually and gently, we can make peace with the mortality of this body and come to know the unending, deathless nature of mind.

Reflections on impermanence

Here are two of my most treasured quotations on impermanence for our Sunday reflection.

“This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds.

To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance.

A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky.

Rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain.”

-the Buddha

“The birth of a man is the birth of his sorrow.  The longer he lives, the more stupid he becomes, because his anxiety to avoid unavoidable death becomes more and more acute.  What bitterness!  He lives for what is always out of reach.  His thirst for survival in the future makes him incapable of living in the present.”

-Chuang Tzu

How do you relate to the idea of impermanence?  Do you find reflecting on impermanence beneficial?

If you enjoyed this article, please share the link with your others.  Thanks so much! Sandra


Self-Compassion: The Best Way to Calm Your Inner Critic

Self-Compassion + the Inner Critic

I’m delighted to share a guest post today from Maureen Cooper from The Path to Self-Compassion online course.

Our inner critic can be very effective in making us feel inadequate and worthless. Learning to tame it through self-compassion is the very best thing we can do for ourselves. Here is my own story of how I  experienced this for myself, and used self-compassion to calm my own inner critic.

Some years ago, when I was in my early thirties, I found myself drawn to the baby department of a large London store. For quite some time, I wandered around gazing longingly at the tiny garments and prettily decorated furniture. Gradually I became aware that I was avoiding the other shoppers and trying to hide myself from view. I kept looking around nervously. Slowly it dawned on me that I was afraid of being thrown out, exposed as a fraud, called out for not being a mother—disputed as even being a ‘real’ woman.

This memory still has the power to move me, and causes me to shudder even now. I had been told a few weeks earlier that it was very unlikely that I would be able to have children of my own. An infection in my fallopian tubes had caused them to close and buckle and the likelihood of them ever being healthy again was remote.

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The Buddha’s Essential Guide to Happiness

The Buddha's Essential Guide to Happiness

When people say “Buddha” or “the Buddha,” they usually mean Shakyamuni Buddha, Gautama Siddhartha, who lived during the 6th century B.C., and taught the spiritual path now called “Buddhism.”

You don’t have to become a Buddhist, however, to benefit from the essential teachings of the Buddha because they are universal in nature.  Moreover, they remain highly relevant to successfully navigating modern life and finding the deeper sense of happiness and contentment you so deserve.

The Buddha didn’t fabricate Buddhism.  Compelled by his wish to understand suffering, he simply observed the way the mind works and how the world functions.  He then shared his observations with others who also sought freedom from constant frustration.  The Buddha’s observations therefore are meant to apply to everyone and everything, not just Buddhists or Asian reality.

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21 Mantras to Boost Your Self-Confidence

Mantras to Boost Self-Confidence

Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.  – Lao Tzu

Think of a tiny seed that pushes itself gently through the earth until one day it shoots through, opening to the sunlight.  It knows its mission and moves steadily ahead, without doubt or self-consciousness.  When the right moment arrives, it blooms fantastically, willing to be seen in all its glory

Confidence doesn’t have to be bold, brash, or belligerent.  It can be quiet, gentle, and steady, like the seed that grows day-by-day into its fullness, when fed with the proper nutrients and the right environmental conditions.

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