The Prairie Sage: Doubting Shaman
We all walk a path of destiny. Sometimes, the path we choose coincides with the greater unfolding of the universe. Other times, our plans, our ego, our pride choose a path that seems filled with monetary reward, notoriety or personal gratification.
The plan of Spirit seems difficult, full of challenges that we are reluctant to pursue. Often our hesitation is fueled by uncertainty and doubt. We see others who seem to have it all together. Some people seem well grounded and spiritually connected. Others take paths we don't understand. These differences lead to growing doubt about our own spiritual walk, and about the paths we have chosen. And the doubt grows.
As our doubt grows and uncertainty settles in, we become fearful. Our ego voice pipes up, reminding us of our shortcomings and failures. Frustrated, we often seek to silence that dreadful voice through external sources that make us quickly feel better. Things such as drugs, alcohol, food, sex, shopping, which are not inherently bad. A problem arises when we use these resources on a regular basis to quiet the voice inside. We try to numb our fear and silence the doubting voice of our ego.
And somewhere, a small, still voice whispers, "Enough." And we emerge from despair to again seek the light. The voice of spirit speaks softly, and often we are so altered in our physical body that we miss the calling. The good news is, we are not stupid. Life will teach us the lessons we need to learn, no matter how long it takes. For some of us, one trip through the ego infested waters of fear is all we need to hearken unto the soft voice of reason. Others try to bend God to their own will, and it takes much longer for them to absorb the lessons offered by life.
How to Overcome Doubt
Where you are now is where you must begin. There is no reason to beat yourself up over where you were. Or where you are going. Right now the only thing that matters is here and now.
Now is the time to give yourself over to a bigger plan. To realize that your tiny little ego will keep you small, and the small voice of spirit will magnify your life exponentially. First, surrender to the idea of walking a spiritual path.
5 Steps to genuinely quiet the ego:
1. Seek spiritual input from external sources. Spiritual input comes from many different sources. The Bible and the Tao the Ching are two excellent examples of perennial wisdom. Others include "A Course In Miracles", the I-Ching, the Torah, the Koran and even AA Literature. The common factor among these different texts is that they offer spiritual guidance and wisdom in a timeless format. We all seek a spiritual journey for the soul. Often, as Westerners, the path becomes obsucred by ego, as we seek to fulfill other desires such as wealth, fame, and materialism. There is no shame is seeking spiritual guidance.
2. Reconnect to nature. To walk outdoors is to reconnect to Mother Earth. This earth connection is essential in helping us gain proper perspective. When we survey the wonder of creation, our small problems disperse on the breezes. Whether you take a walk in the woods, go running through fields, or just sit in a park, your inner nature absorbs the energy around you and becomes revitalized. There is nothing as energizing as the feel of wind in your hair, sun on your skin, and earth beneath your feet.
3. Meditation and mantras. Meditation quiets the mind. When we are beseiged with doubt, fear and uncertainty, the ego chatters mercilessly. We begin to identify with that nagging voice, and with our doubts and insecurities. Instead, focus your mind. Sit quietly, doing nothing. Observe the thoughts as they float past, but do not attach any outcome to them. Sometimes, repeating the same word over and again can help calm the mind. Mantras are a useful tool for focusing the mind and quieting the ego.
4. Ask for guidance, and do the right thing. Often when we seek the counsel of others, we want justification for doing what we want. Many times, what we want isn't what is best, for ourselves or someone else. Seeking guidance can come in many forms: Advice from a trusted friend or counselor, reading the bible, seeking direction through the I-ching, asking a question of oracle cards. Regardless of the form, when we seek, Spirit guides. The hardest part of seeking guidance is doing what has been suggested. Sometimes, when consulting the I-ching, I am advised that stillness and patience are the path to take. When I feel the answer lies in me getting busy and working, the last thing I want to do is be still and wait. It is through the practice of doing the right thing that our doubt will ease.
5. Exercise and drink lots of water. This may seem trivial, and not spiritual, but moving the body leads us to release a lot of stress and tension that we might otherwise carry around. While exercising, sometimes a solution will occur to me that I hadn't thought of. Exercise is another way to quiet the mind and gain some perspective on life, death, and the world in general.
Drinking water keeps the body and brain fully hydrated and functioning. If we are thirsty, we tend to feel sluggish and unmotivated. In addition, we often eat when thirsty, because we misread our body's signals. Drinking plenty of water will energize you to do the right thing, and it will help keep you out of the doldrums, where doubt resides.
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Where To Go From Here
" When you realize that all is light, then you are enlightened."
The quote above appeared to me one day, on a tea bag. The profound truth of that statement may escape many. It is simple and deep, all at once. Once we realize that we are all energy, all existing in the cosmos, then we can release ego and enjoy the moment.
Where you are now is where you must begin. Give yourself over to the fulfillment of your divine path. Each of us has a unique path, separate and distinct from others. Surrender to spirit and fulfill your potential.