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Monday, June 10, 2013

Spiritual Mechanics Is Not About Self-Improvement


Spiritual mechanics is not about self-improvement or trying really hard. It’s about being who you are. 

As I use and teach spiritual mechanics, one of the most empowering ideas I work with is this: It's not about taking you from a state of badness to a state of goodness. It's about being more of who you are.

While intuitive tools will very likely benefit you enormously as a diabetic and a human being, they’re not about self-improvement or improving others. They’re about connecting with your essence, your authentic, unique being, your self. This is the foundation for becoming more capable at creating what you want.

First off, as you start to use intuitive tools, you start to work with your body.

It may seem like a contradiction that doing spiritual work means working with your body. But if you think about it, it makes sense: once you home in on being aware of yourself as an energy being, a unique spirit, you get some separation from your body, and along with it, more awareness of and -- I hope -- communication with your body.

You want that communication to be largely positive -- which is a rarer experience than you might suppose.

Most of us are constantly giving our bodies negative judgments: your body is too short, too tall, too fat, too thin, too white, too black, too toned, too muscle-bound. Or maybe we’re giving our bodies positive judgments that contain with them the shadow of disapproval. Rarely do we look at our bodies and simply accept them.

Poor body; it’s a wonder it carries on with such fortitude and resilience in the face of this onslaught of judgmental communication, like a loyal dog who loves and stands by you no matter what you tell it. The effect of advertising’s pervasive messages about our bodies has only augmented our individual self-judgment.

Diabetes can bring with it another layer of negative self-judgment and body-judgment.

Often, as we step up to respond to diabetes and control it – a positive activity – we adopt another layer of self-judgment: your blood sugar is too high or too low, your measured cholesterol and blood-pressure levels are in or out of the desired ranges, you’re walking how many minutes per week?, you’re ingesting the right or wrong amount of carbohydrates and fats, etc. Diabetic self-care means another stream of judgments about our bodies. We want to do the diabetic self-care activities, which are necessary and valuable, but we want to remove from them blame and self-judgment. Make choices, analyze what works, but take away that layer of "bad girl" or "bad boy" from the equation.

Want a break from judging your body?

Allow yourself a few moments to simply be -- and to be in your body -- without judgment.

First of all, when you sit down to use intuitive tools, you are giving yourself time and space to simply be. That’s how it works. You start to settle into your body and acknowledge where it is in that moment. You don’t criticize the body and you don’t praise the body. You just be in the body and greet it where it is. Once you’ve gotten your body more comfortable, more fully owned and occupied by you, you can start to do other things in your energy space.

The key is to approach these spiritual activities with non-judgment, or neutrality. You’re not doing them with an eye toward improving yourself or other people according to a checklist; instead, you’re just looking, seeing, choosing, and then changing what you’re looking at, using your mind’s eye. Meanwhile you’re allowing your body to release any energy that feels like tension or discomfort (more tools on exactly how to do that to come in later posts -- but it also works if you just tell yourself that it's OK to release what doesn't feel good).

Instead of aiming to “be better,” you aim to “feel better.” This means, at its core, becoming and expressing more of you who are. You can home in on who you are each time you use spiritual mechanics.

Stop trying, for a change.

Also, you’ll get to practice an attitude related to neutrality: not trying. Your body loves to strive, to be in effort. Go running, wash the floor, climb a mountain. Sweat, grunt, feel that you’re working and accomplishing something: that’s what the body loves, and it’s how we’ve been trained to measure achievement. This can be great fun.

But intuitive activities work differently. When you’re in your mind’s eye, you don’t need to try. Imagine a horse. Imagine your mother’s face. Let them float away. There, you’re already practicing an ability that you instinctively possess. 

In contrast, that feeling of trying hard in spiritual work/play means that you’re using your physical energy, rather than your intuitive abilities. As you test out one or two tools, you’ll see that not trying, while it may seem paradoxical, is a delightful respite from the more striving approaches you’re probably used to in your waking life, or maybe even in previous spiritual activities. 

And of course, once you get used to using your intuitive “not trying” skill, you’ll be able to draw on it more easily while doing physical things, whether it’s following a hunch in the moment or hearing and responding to your inner guidance system as you make little and big choices throughout the weeks.

copyright © 2013 Lisa Bernstein

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3 comments:

  1. Really helpful and necessary words, Lisa! Thank you for bringing clarity to a really important dynamic that's important for EVERYONE's well-being.

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  2. From F.G.K., who shared this post on Facebook: "Thank you Lisa B Lisa Bernstein for the unique and inspiring perspective."

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