Sharing our light with others: “Give and it shall be given unto you.” (Luke 6:38)

Published in Bellésprit Magazine online, June 2nd, 2017.

Est. reading time: 10 mins.

Solstice Light

Lush green grass
Spun by nature’s wheel
Trembles in dawn’s eager light.
Solstice embers
Of days remembered
Fizzle out under dew’s
Watchful gaze.
The Sun God Ra flexes his limbs
Coursing rays of love
All over this land;
And like flowers releasing
Their night-borne scent,
The shadows of my heart
Unveil themselves,
Dispersing into ether
To be transmuted into light.

Everything is light:

The above poem came to me one bright, sunny day in late May as I sat on my favourite bench in the garden.  The sun’s gentle rays seemed to permeate all life there as my senses delighted in the birdsong and flitting of wings, in the ethereal delicacy of the butterfly in flight and the drowsy drone of the bee, drunk on nectar and too heavy to fly.  There was a definite scent in the air of summer approaching and I looked forward to days entranced by shimmering heat hazes blurring the edges of earth and sky.

I got to thinking about light and how it is the basis of everything on Earth. All the great Masters knew this.  Jesus was often quoted in the Gospels as saying:  “If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Matthew 6: 22-23), referring to the practice of focusing on the spiritual eye in the forehead during meditation.  Similarly, in the Hindu scripture, The Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna tells spiritual seeker Arjuna: “Out of compassion for them, I, who dwell within their hearts, destroy the darkness born of ignorance, with the luminous lamp of knowledge.” (Chapter 10: verse 11).

Sharing our light with others:

The sun is our greatest source of light in the universe.  It provides energy to allow plants to photosynthesise and grow; its heat and light ripen fruits and vegetables, providing us with endless food; we open our curtains to flood our homes with light each morning; we talk about being “enlightened” when we gain spiritual knowledge and practice.  Light is detected in the pineal gland deep in the brain, which then controls our body clocks.  Light also comes into our body through the eyes— the two physical eyes and the spiritual eye at the point between the brows.

In ancient times, the importance of the sun to all aspects of life was reflected in its deification in the form of the sun god Ra.  As Ra shares his universal light with us this summer, let’s follow his example and share our individualised light (our gifts, love, time and so on) with others.

Summer is the perfect time to do this.  It’s a time of plenty when the natural world offers infinite bounty: there are fruits ripening, vegetables ready to be harvested, warm sunshine raising our spirits.  As we delight in this bounty, let’s remember the words of Christ and Krishna above, who showed us how to lead a better, kinder and more spiritual life, to bring us closer to God.  We can all do this by giving of ourselves to help others.   Let’s share our inner light under the following 3 categories—physically, emotionally and spiritually.

What is this inner light?

We each possess a vast amount of inherent Divine light which can be readily augmented by tapping into our inner silence.  As we do this, we strengthen our link with its Source.  For me, this happens best when I connect with God during meditation.  Once we rediscover this light through the process of awakening, we can then share it with others.

Putting others first:

The benefits of putting others first, of selfless service with no thought of reward (ie. sharing our light) are bountiful. All the great ascended Masters and descended Avatars who have come to Earth to provide guidance on how to live a life pleasing to God—all of them—dedicated their time on this planet to serving others, in sharing their light: Jesus, Buddha, Mahavatar Babaji, and so on.  When we serve in this way, not only are we awakening God’s light in others, we are also enhancing our own light:  “Give and it shall be given unto you.”

Simple ways you can share your light with others:

1.Physically:

Do you ever wonder why you have some gifts and not others?  Why are some people good at maths while others excel in languages? Why are some painfully shy and others ebullient and outgoing? Many of us carry gifts and attributes from previous incarnations into this life in order to learn a life lesson from them.  Some are conditioned by family and environment. Some are attained in this life.  Regardless of their origin, I believe it is our responsibility to use these gifts for the benefit of ourselves and others.

Try these five suggestions:

Use your gifts and give some of your time to local ‘skills-swap’ groups.  There are many online sites (eg. www.swapaskill.com) where you simply list the skill(s) you can offer and the skills/jobs you require). This could be anything from friendship, cleaning, pet care, translation, gardening, and so on.

Volunteer work (eg. singing at a retirement home or teaching others how to fix appliances at a ‘skills cafe’ in your local community.)

Give a sincere compliment to someone (for a service they have done, or simply to give them a boost). This is sharing your love (your light) with another.  By looking them directly in the eyes as you do this, you will amplify the effect.  Imagine light streaming from your spiritual eye to theirs.  It’s easy to share our love and light with family and friends, but it takes far more spiritual effort to share it with others from whom we feel ‘separate’ or different.  Persevere though, as it will get easier and will bring you great benefits.

Share the warmth in your heart with others.  A sincere smile to another, or holding a door open for them, are simple acts of love which can have a huge impact on their day.

Remember the power contained in our words: speak respectfully to and of other people, and remind others to do this as well.

B. Emotionally:

This first suggestion may appear childish in its simplicity: I share light each time we have a sunny day in Scotland by drawing a sun on the calendar and colouring it in yellow. This gives me—and others who see it—a psychological boost.  It reminds us to stop and appreciate the gifts given to us. You could share a photograph of a sunny day on your social media page and add an uplifting message. Everyone has worries and this simple gesture can make a huge difference to their state of mind that day!

Alternatively, if you, or someone you know, suffer from low mood, draw a smiley face on the calendar for each day that you (or they) feel positive and happy.  This is a useful feedback tool to look back on during days of low mood.  In this way, we can remind ourselves that the good days far outweigh the bad. Try it and see!

Secondly, practice listening without interrupting or nodding your head constantly thinking: ‘When can I interject and say what I want?’ Is that a conversation or a competition? Is giving our opinion more important than listening to the other person’s viewpoint?  If so, perhaps this is an aspect of the little self (ego) that warrants exploration with a view to changing it to a more positive way of relating to others.

Try this instead: Sometimes all that is required is to listen without offering words of advice.  The act of listening is an important act of kindness.  By listening, we are giving our love, attention and time to another. This is especially important in this digital age when connecting with a person face-to-face is so beneficial to mental and emotional well-being.

However, do guard against allowing yourself to be an emotional dumping ground for others, as this will diminish your own inner light.  Protect yourself before and after such a conversation; before, by erecting a sphere of protection around your auric field (I call on Archangel Michael to oblige); and afterwards by sweeping down each arm with the hands, physically ‘wiping away’ any negative emotional residue from shoulder to wrist, then flicking it away through the ends of the fingers.  Do this 2 or 3 times on each arm, repeating out loud ‘I release this negative energy from others’.

3. Spiritually:

For many years I dismissed prayer and God, choosing instead the materialist path to life, thinking that this was the sure way to happiness.  In retrospect, I can see that for me this was a selfish and lonely existence—filling each moment with activity, acquiring new possessions, seeking wealth above all else with no thought for others.  There is a better way to be: we don’t always have to be human ‘doings’—human ‘beings’ is just fine! Try these ways to share your light spiritually with others:

Actively think of ways to be kind to everyone you meet (face-to-face, online or telephone). It may be easier to begin by not being negative or unkind.  For example, change your learned behaviour of being bad-tempered with someone who is just doing their job (I’m thinking here of sales people).  Instead, try being pleasant but firm; another example would be to give a few moments of your time to complete a customer feedback questionnaire.  For small firms in particular, this can be especially important.

By doing these simple acts of kindness, you are sharing your love and light.  You are giving freely of yourself.  There are many who trust in the Law of Attraction which echoes the quote from Luke’s Gospel (“Give and it will be given unto you”).  They believe that what you give out into the world by way of your thoughts, words and acts will be reciprocated in the way others treat you.

Start to pray for others. If you meditate, include it in your meditation. I ask God to heal “according to Thy will” the person I am praying for.  I ask that they be given strength and courage to deal with life’s challenges.  I pray for myself also and ask “How may I serve?”. When we pray, we are asking a question of God, and so we then have to be ready to listen out for the answer!  This usually comes by way of intuition, or inner wisdom, a ‘feeling’ that a course of action is right for us; repetitive signals are also not to be ignored.

It’s over to you:

I hope this article has given you plenty of ideas on how to share your light with others—physically, emotionally and spiritually.  As you do so, keep the image in your mind’s eye of the sun God Ra who “flexes his limbs coursing rays of love all over this land”, for this is what we do when we share our light with others.  When we give our gifts, time and love, with no thought of reward, the shadows of our heart will unveil themselves and be transmuted into light.  We are on Earth to learn from life’s challenges and enable our Soul to grow. We are here to rediscover that we are all interconnected, we are all One. So, use your gifts and skills not solely for material gain but for the good of others; nourish your inner compassion and use it to help those in need; choose to be kind at every moment; and re-establish your connection with the Creator in meditation and prayer.

Sharing our light is a wonderful way of being! Putting others first above ourselves takes a lot of practice, but persevere, as it will become second nature (or rather ‘true’ nature, for we are rediscovering our true selves in the process). So throw open the curtains on your heart, let in the light and start sharing it today!

Determination over disablement

Disablement:

This image  shows a woman filled with determination to overcome her physical disabilities. It is a truly inspiring snapshot of the inner power we all possess.  It got me thinking about the spiritual quality of determination to overcome our difficulties in life, whether that be disablement—emotional, physical, spiritual—or the numerous other “opportunities to learn” that are regularly presented to us.  My ‘disablement’ is ill-health, which with hindsight I can see was brought on by myself, by not living a healthy, spiritual life.  This period of physical and mental ill-health has been a blessing for me, enabling me to re-evaluate life’s priorities, change focus from negative to positive and nourish the spiritual self.  The level of determination required to do this has been enormous these past few years, but worth every moment!

Determination:

Determination is not the same as stubbornness.  Stubbornness can be led by blind desire and whim and can manifest itself in many negative acts such as aggression, anger and suspicion.  Determination is a quiet, constant, inner strength drawn upon at every moment to meet life’s challenges.  Determination is making the most of the present circumstances, at the same time mixed with an element of surrendering to a higher power.  For me, this means that I accept (surrender to) my current limitations of physical activity and levels of concentration, whilst also doing the best I can to work within these limitations.  I have determination to improve physically and mentally day by day, but also accept that if that is not God’s plan, then so be it.  I’m fine with that too.  Perhaps the less I can do physically frees me up to do more spiritually.  How amazing would that be!

The inspiring light of determination:

Others are drawn to this inner strength of spirit and will often feel inspired to offer their assistance. They do this in a totally selfless way, not wanting anything in return, just helping because it is the right thing to do.  When you are in the company of a person possessing this inner light of determination, it can make you feel uplifted, more positive and more willing to “have what s/he has”.  We all have it within ourselves.  You don’t need to read spiritual or self-help books to find it: the best way is in the inner silence.  Find time every day to be quiet and undisturbed.  Meditate or practice mindfulness, sit and watch the clouds float past the window.  Then ask for help (from your guardian angel, from an Archangel, from Jesus, from your Guru, from God); ask for wisdom to recognise when opportunities to learn are given to you; ask to be imbued with determination and strength to learn from (different from ‘overcome’) life’s challenges; ask how you can help others.

Lord, how may I serve?

I wish you a happy weekend and remember – be watchful for opportunities to learn a life’s lesson at any moment!

3-simple-acts-of-kindess

Published in Finerminds.com Mar 24 2017.

Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins.

Kindness. For some people, it seems to come naturally, doesn’t it? For others, like me, it takes effort and determination. All too often we can neglect the art of being kind, not just to others but to ourselves, so caught up are we in our busy lives. Or we may see ‘big visible’ acts of kindness on social or traditional media and—feeling unable to contribute in such a way—decide that it is pointless even making the effort. However, know that ‘small’ acts of kindness can be a portal to happiness and peace if you allow them to flourish again in your heart. I know from experience that kindness and thinking of others can:

  • teach us to steady the symptoms of mental dis-ease such as anxiety or depression;
  • increase our tolerance to chronic physical health conditions; and
  • will enable us to make positive changes to our inner world and the world around us.

This week why not immerse yourself in these three simple acts of kindness! Their simplicity belies the power they possess, for in cultivating kindness we take an important step along the way to self-realisation:

1. Give others your full attention

Have you ever watched people in conversation? Observe what they do at the same time as someone is speaking to them. Scrolling through posts on social media, scanning a newspaper, watching a television programme, typing on the computer? Now, think about your emotional response if you were on the receiving end of this behaviour. Some people would be unperturbed, finding this normal behaviour. Others would feel disrespected, as if their opinion didn’t matter. The first step in giving others your full attention is to notice when you are not doing so! Awareness allows you to stop the activity and give the other person your full attention. Look them in the eye and really listen to what they have to say. You may not like what they are saying; you may not like the person! Both are inconsequential. As sentient beings, one very important way we connect with each other is through the eyes, which many believe to be portals to the soul. So make it a positive choice today to give others your full attention. In this way, you selflessly give them your time—a precious commodity in this earth-bound world. Further, by fully connecting with others in this way we are given a Divine opportunity to live our lives differently, and this allows our inner joy to shine out. Joy and happiness are infectious, enveloping everything around us in a loving embrace. Awesome!

2. Address bad habits

Compassionate self-analysis entails changing well-established patterns of thinking, old habits of behaviour and replacing them with positive alternatives. It allows us to develop kindness and understanding towards ourselves firstly in order to strengthen our spiritual core.

“Take a small habit

that you intuitively know

you want to change.”

This then facilitates pouring kindness onto others. Choose a ‘poor’ habit and make a commitment to turn it around, starting this week. This is not the same thing as giving up sweets for Lent or alcohol for Dry January. Take a small habit that you intuitively know you want to change. It could be staggering out of bed in a bad temper in the mornings or never saying thank you. Again, it’s important in the first instance to be aware of when you are acting out a ‘bad habit’. Catch yourself as soon as you notice this and immediately replace it with a positive alternative. So this could be saying a quick gratitude in your head before getting out of bed or always saying thank you to others and so on. You can amplify this practice by ‘handing over’ these poor habits to the Creator during meditation. When we go through this process of handing our past behaviours over to God, we free ourselves of regret. This allows us to progress to the next step of actively and sincerely choosing to do things differently from now on.

3. Selfless action.

Selfless action is action with no thought of reward or attachment to the outcome of the action. This is a highly desirable spiritual quality and one which needs to be nurtured on our path to enlightenment. Keep in mind your motivation in helping others. Our apparent altruism and selflessness is tempered by that part in all of us (the ego) which likes to be thanked and covets praise for helping others and being kind. Your motivation should be selfless, an act of being kind because it is the right thing to do, because each act of kindness leads to a better world, because we are effecting positive change in the world around us. Listen to your intuition for it will quietly provide guidance in the background if we are open to listening. Our intuition will always guide us to a path that is for our highest good. I call these spontaneous or “spur of the moment” thoughts, words and acts of kindness. Listen to how your body feels about the action by way of a simple barometer—relaxed is a Yes; contracted is a No! Here are some simple selfless actions to try: taking the time to add a positive comment/review to a social media post/site; playing and interacting with your pets; tidying up mess in your street or local park; blessing others for the service they have carried out for you, and so on. Do not advertise your good deeds to everyone (beware of the ego craving praise!). Simply inspire by example.

I leave you with an extract from my poem “Kindness”:

When you love without
You thrive within.
When you care for others
Your soul is swaddled
In the arms of the Creator.
Each ripple of your compassion
Fills the Infinite Ocean.
Each step you take
To connect with your neighbour
Lightens and brightens your inner demeanour.

Today and every day, in this and every moment, may you choose kindness and love. Kindness….it’s a beautiful thing!

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3 Easy Acts of Kindness from Home

Published in Best Self Magazine 26 Jan ’17 as ‘4-simple-acts-of-kindness’ Article

Estimated Reading time:  5 mins. 

It’s not that difficult to be kind and put others first before our needs and wants.  We just get wound up in the story of our ego and its “what’s in it for me?” attitude to life.  Don’t beat yourself up over this, but instead commit to being kinder this year.  It does take effort at the beginning to retrain your mind to show kindness and compassion, but it’s worth it! Now, for some people who have to spend the majority of their time at home—for one reason or another (ill-health, carer responsibilities, homeworkers and so on)—the idea of spreading kindness can seem pretty daunting.  What if you hardly see anyone during the course of a week?  What if you have a mental or physical disability and can’t get out and about as much as you’d like?  What if you are so painfully shy that interaction with others is terrifying? 

Acts of Kindness appear often in the media.  They can range from an individual starting a campaign to raise funds for someone in need, to whole communities coming together to protect their local shop etc.  These acts of kindness are amazing in themselves and can bring about almost immediate change for the better.   Never underestimate the power of the small acts of kindness however, for these too can have hugely positive effects on the world around us.  Every one of us—regardless of any limitations we may have—is capable of many small acts of kindness every day.  Here are 3 things you can do today from home:

1. Send a message to someone via social media (text, email, facebook, skype etc).
One of my favourite messages is to write about what has made you smile that day and then ask the same question: “What’s made you smile today?”  The replies you receive will also make you smile and it has the added benefit that the recipient will feel that someone cares. If you’re not able to connect with others via social media, then why not start a Happiness Journal at home, listing in it anything that has made you smile on a particular day.  You could record this orally if you have difficulties with writing. This is a brilliant act of kindness to yourself as you will then be able to use this resource to cheer yourself up on a day when you are feeling low.  When you read through some of the entries, you will be reminded that life is mostly good and happy and fun and that today—this low mood—will pass.

2. Do a media audit.  By this I mean asking yourself if the programmes you watch or the news that you read are bringing you joy.  If the answer is No, then stop watching/reading them and replace your media with something else more positive.  This act of kindness will have a dramatic effect on your mental and emotional health, and this will filter through to your relationships with others.  You will be more positive, more understanding, kinder.  Think about a small child who is repeatedly told: “You’re a waste of space.  You’re hopeless. You’ll never amount to anything!”  That child is going to grow up with a pessimistic opinion of him/herself.   S/he will believe these repetitive statements to be the truth.  Why not immerse yourself in positive media instead.  It’s not burying your head in the sand.  It’s simply choosing to focus on the positive.

3. Greet any visitor to your home by looking them in the eyes.  The eyes are the windows to the soul.  The eyes are just as involved in smiling as the mouth is!  We have become so used to going about our business, not interacting with others and certainly not looking them in the eye!  When did this happen?  It reinforces this feeling we have of ‘separateness’ from others.  Yet, we are not separate – we are all interconnected on Earth.  Once we realise this, and that everything we do impacts on others, then life becomes simpler, kinder, more compassionate to others needs.

Extracted from ‘Acts of Kindness from your Armchair’ by Anita Neilson, to be published Nov 2017.

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