Always Well Within

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

Category: Spiritual Wisdom (Page 1 of 6)

12 Things You Cling To That Block Your Inner Peace

A guest post by Steve Waller.

Take a deep breath and try to hold it for as long as you can.

Go on… do it now.

The longer you go, the harder it becomes. Not only does it begin to hurt physically, you have to fight against your natural urge to release the breath; to let go.

A single breath, when held for too long, symbolizes one of the biggest psychological and spiritual challenges we face as beings of consciousness. It captures the desire almost all of us have to cling on to something for fear of losing it, even when it is to our own detriment.

In Buddhism, it’s known as upādāna which literally translates as fuel. This clinging is the fuel for dukkha, another Buddhist term that means suffering. So the more you cling to things, the more you fuel your own suffering.

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What Does It Mean to Be a Spiritual Warrior?

What does it mean to be a spiritual warrior?

My last article on how to accept yourself, no matter what struck a chord for many people, even those who’ve been working on themselves for years.

Why is that?  I believe we live in a wounding culture, in which a child’s basic needs for love, connection, and affirmation often go unmet leading.  This can lead to a lack of self-acceptance that remains even as an adult.

As a young girl, I remember picking the petals off a flower one-by-one while saying to myself, “They love me. They love me not.”  I fantasized about being kidnapped or falling ill, hoping a catastropic event would make my parents take notice of me.  Most of the time, I felt isolated, in my own little world.

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How to Live and Die with Presence, Compassion & Grace

Letting Go w/ Love and Mindfulness | Terminal Illness

One of my readers asked me to write about living with terminal illness.

Since, I haven’t faced the shock of a terminal diagnosis myself, punishing rounds of treatment to forestall an ultimately incurable illness, or the emotional turbulence that insists upon coming along with a final prognosis, I wondered what I could write that wouldn’t seem intellectual, impersonal or trite.

At the same time, I think about impermanence often.  I’ve studied the Buddhist teachings on death and dying.  I’ve had moments I thought might be my last.  And I spent a year wavering around 84 pounds, not sure whether my weight would go up or down.

So perhaps something I share today may provide comfort, bring insight, or help you release attachment to this life, whether you are facing terminal illness or not. Because learning to let go is crucial to finding a deep abiding peace whatever your stage of life.

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Are You Living the Mystery? On Embrace of the Serpent

Embrace of the Serpent

The shaman Karamakate in his later years and the character based on the Harvard ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes in Embrace of the Serpent.

You might consider the Oscar-nominated foreign film, Embrace of the Serpent (2015) an unusual story about an unusual topic, yet it lingered with me for days.  I can hardly put how I felt into words.   Somehow, I remained linked to the sacred ambiance the film imparts or might impart depending upon your interest or receptivity.

The film chronicles two separate journeys made by two different scientists, 40 years apart. It’s loosely based on the journals of real-life figures*, recorded as they traveled through the Amazon in search of a mystical, curative plant called yakruna (or chacruna).  The shaman Karamakate, the last survivor of his sacred lineage, reluctantly guides both men to their destination and respective fates.

Karamakate does not mince words when it comes to whites, whose quest for rubber and evangelical supremacy has systematically and violently destroyed his people, culture, and environment.  He doesn’t trust or respect them and initially refuses to help each of these scientists when they come to call at his river junction.

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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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What Does Renunciation Really Mean?

What would it be like if you renounced your negative thinking patterns and unhealthy emotional stories? Imagine living fully with ever-expanding insight, awareness, and compassion.

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. – Annie Dillard

I sometimes wonder if I’m wasting my time and thus wasting my life.  My spiritual tradition highlights inspiring tales of renunciants, individuals who have spent multiple years, even decades, in retreat from the ordinary world.

These are not just stories from by-gone days.  One of my teachers, a New York Times best-selling author, recently returned from four years as a wandering yogi, moving about in India with no money or permanent shelter as well as meditating in caves in the Himalayan region.

Considering these influences, I sometimes feel I too should withdraw from the world.  I’ve come to see, however, the drawbacks of tormenting myself with “I should.” Chewing the same “should” over and over again is hardly letting go and certainly not the practice of mindfulness or presence.

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