11 comforting thoughts from spiritual teachings
Like a lot of people, I find comfort and peace in spiritual books because they offer some explanation for who we are and why we're here, and because they always come to rest at the same conclusion: that a universal loving energy connects, guides and flows through us all. Spiritual teachings offer hope that we have some control in the otherwise scarily random game of life, and that when all is said and done, it's all going to be OK.
Here are 11 perspectives from spiritual teachings that I find comforting. Maybe you do too?
You are not your thoughts. You are, in fact, the observer of your thoughts. When you sit in stillness you become aware that there is thought and a silent witness of that thought. You are the silent witness. Thoughts can be changed. You can choose, and choose, and choose again.
You are not your emotions. As Pema Chodron said, ‘You are the sky. Everything else – it's just the weather’. Emotions are the weather: they come, they go, they pass. You are the solid sky. Allow yourself to feel emotions until they pass. Pema says it takes about one and a half minutes for an emotion to pass through a person. Imagine how much anguish we'd save ourselves if we simply let each emotion pass through? It's the holding on that harms us.
You are far more than your job titles or family roles. You are not a teacher, a sister, a champion, a perfectionist, a lawyer, a worrier, a wife ... These are only the hats you wear. You are the never-ending essence, underneath all of the outer masks.
You are magnificent (if only you could see it). You are a living breathing part of the loving energy field some call the universe, or God or even the divine buzz. (Anita Moorjani's book, Dying to be me gives an amazing peek at this magnificence. Deepak Chopra's new book with physicist Dr Menas Kafatos called, You are the universe: discovering your cosmic self and why it matters looks brilliant too.)
Your natural state is joy. All that you are and all that you need is within you. It is not outside of you; it is not on the shelves of your local bookstore or in the latest podcast. Meditation and mindfulness, being in nature, or being in flow with creativity or art can bring you back to your true self, naturally.
You are not broken. In fact, you are perfect just the way you are. It's like the parenting manuals that tell us to criticise the behaviour, not the child. The child is perfect; the behaviour is not. The behaviour is a choice and the child can choose again. We all can. (I had this notion of ‘you are not broken’ reinforced recently while reading Sarah Wilson's new book on anxiety.)
You deserve love (and all good things). Louise Hay says, ‘You don’t have to earn love any more than you have to earn the right to breathe. You have a right to breathe because you exist. You have a right to be loved because you exist’. (Insert mike drop.)
All of the answers are within you. You can access them by going within, through meditation or soul writing. Yoga can take you there. Stopping and sitting in silence can too. Everything you need is within you. You have an internal guidance system. It's your intuition, or as Louise Hay calls it, your inner ding. It's your soul whispering.
Your thoughts are powerful. Your thoughts create your reality. They form your beliefs which form your perspective, which influences your actions and so on. The late Dr Wayne Dyer famously said, ‘When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change’. (For a look at how quantum physics weighs in on this topic, read Pam Grout's books for starters. They're clever and especially good if you have doubts about the notion of ‘your thoughts create your reality’.)
Gratitude brings us back to centre. (And supports our health.) Dwelling in gratitude as often as you can is one of the most powerful things you can do for your life (even if you're at the eyes-glaze-over stage when you hear the word gratitude).
And a final thought ...
You may feel like a mess, but you are a beautiful mess. Me too.
If you'd like to read more, maybe try:
All of Pam Grout's books
Deepak Chopra's new book with Greek physicist, Menas C Kafatos, You are the universe: discovering your cosmic self and why it matters. I have it, but have only just started. Or anything by Deepak.
Gabby Bernstein's books, especially her latest, The universe has your back
The late Dr Wayne Dyer's books
I got my inspiration for this article from writer and life coach, Elyse Santilli. I love her work.