Today we’re beginning our study of Christina Baldwin’s Seven Whispers. (Anyone out there studying with me? I know my friend Paul down in Portland checked it out of the library . . .) I invite you to comment on my comments, or on the chapter in the book. You can also answer some of the questions in the study guide.
"Peace of mind is the cornerstone of spiritual practice," Christina writes. "It is the . . . clean slate upon which messages of spiritual guidance may be written. . . . .To keep finding our way, we need to keep returning to this state of calm mind and open heart." (pp. 9-10)
Easier said than done, for all us with chattering monkey minds. How do we maintain peace of mind, especially in the face of personal trauma and despair over the state of the world?
"Do you have a daily practice that fosters peace of mind?
What do you do?"
For me, it begins each morning, my favorite time of day. That’s when
I invite peace of mind to enter. I rise early, go downstairs, put the
coffee on and feed the cats. While the coffee is brewing I step
outside onto the front porch, which faces East. I greet the dawn (or
the pre-dawn, this time of year). I listen to birds, drops of rain,
roosters crowing, a last howl or two from coyotes in the woods. I
offer up prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving.
Then back upstairs with a mug of coffee. I read aloud from the Celtic Devotional, and sometimes a couple of other "daily reading" books. I set the alarm on my computer for ten minutes, and do a "Writing in the Now" exercise which sometimes turns into a blog entry. If I had a memorable dream, I write it down and do some dreamwork with it. Then I shuffle my Tarot deck (I use my Gaian working deck with all 78 cards) and choose a card, asking: What might this card have to tell me about living today to its fullness? or, What might I need to consider or contemplate today? Then I journal about the card and its associations for me, for about five minutes.
At this point, I’ve filled up my well and I’m feeling pretty darned peaceful and happy. Then I go and do my yoga, a half hour routine with Megan Garcia’s DVD "Just My Size." (I call it "yoga for big girls"). Then I go for a walk.
Sometimes I get distracted by email and checking out blogs. Or by jumping into work. Sometimes two hours go by before I realize I haven’t done my practice. Then the phone starts to ring. And before I know it, the day has begun without my inviting peace of mind to enter. I don’t like days like that. I always seem to fall off balance more easily on those days.
I have tried doing yoga and walking first, before coffee and before the rest of my daily practice. I wasn’t too successful at it. Instead of really enjoying the stretching and centering I was mentally grumbling the whole time. Instead of chanting "Ooooommmmm", all I could think of was "Coooooooffffffffffffeeeeeeeee" . . . So for now I’m doing coffee and devotions first, yoga and walking second.
But what are some other ways that facilitate my getting out of the ego self, quieting the chattering internal voices, and aligning with my Soul? What other practices get me there?
– Meditation and guided journeys
– Sketching, especially nature journaling
– Spending time at the beach
– Secret spot routines (in nature)
What do you do, to invite and maintain peace of mind?
I’d really like to know.