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Posts Tagged ‘Meditation’

The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man

October 27, 2013 2 comments

My first exposure to Jungian psychology was during my undergraduate studies, when I happened upon a copy of Dr. Carl Jung’s 1933 book, Modern Man in Search of a Soul. While up until that point I had never even heard of Dr. Jung, the title resonated with me because I myself was a modern man in search of a deeper understanding of myself, and the world around me; therefore, I was compelled to read the book. What I discovered in those pages set me firmly upon my spiritual path, so I owe a great deal to the wisdom contained in those pages.

The Swiss psychologist Dr. Carl Jung (1875-1961), founded the field of analytical psychology, which seeks to aid individuals on the path of individuation. Rather than rejecting religion as his contemporary Dr. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) had done, Dr. Jung explored and integrated religion, alchemy, and esoteric elements into his theories. By exploring various religious and esoteric studies, Dr. Jung, integrated a great deal of ancient wisdom into his theories. Dr. Jung’s theories regarding the unconscious and conscious subparts of the psyche can be extremely beneficial in understanding the methods, rationales, and goals of the world religions, as well as esoteric and initiatic systems, including Freemasonry.

One of the final chapters of, Modern Man, is aptly titled, “The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man”, and it really sums up the issues that most of us encounter in our spiritual lives, as well as the solutions to lead a more balanced and spiritually integrated life. In this chapter Dr. Jung discusses the fact that modern people often suffer from various forms of anxiety and neurosis, because we have severed our conscious self from our unconscious subparts. Most modern people no longer reflect or partake in personal introspection, instead we are only concerned with instant gratification and that which can be validated by our physical senses. However, this causes a myriad of problems, because no matter how hard we try to divorce our conscious self from our unconscious, our unconscious will always seek to guide and gain control. Since modern people don’t partake in introspection, and thereby gain an understanding of our unconscious subparts, we are in essence trying to sail a ship without an adequate knowledge of the engine or navigation mechanics.

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From the Archives- The Application of Shakespeare’s “To Be or Not to Be”

October 7, 2013 2 comments

In Shakespeare’s famous soliloquy from the play “Hamlet”, the main character, Hamlet, is racked with despair, and is questioning whether or not the unknown world beyond death will be easier to bear than the current life. Hamlet is in such despair that he is contemplating whether or not he should continue to “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”, or if he should “take arms against a sea of troubles”, by possibly committing suicide. However, Hamlet is unsure of whether or not he should act on his wish to end the pain he is suffering, because he is unsure what will await him in the afterlife in that “undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns”.

While every sentient being suffers in one form or another, it appears to be a uniquely human characteristic to wish, or at least look forward to death. Many people turn to the concept of the afterlife presented in their religion to such an extent that they cease to truly live in this current stage of life. For example, some Christians look so forward to the day when Jesus Christ will appear in his prophesized second coming, that they are constantly trying to interpret every disaster as some sign of the upcoming Rapture and Armageddon. Other people are so disheartened with the world around them that they buy into the newest doomsday prophesy that the world is soon to be destroyed. Read more…

The Little Rituals of Life that Bond and Nourish

September 23, 2013 4 comments

Baby John's 1st Football Saturday!

Baby John’s 1st Football Saturday!

In the hustle and bustle of life, I have often found that the little rituals of life that I have setup not only help ground me, but also help to nourish various parts of my life, by maintaining important bonds with my friends and family. For example:

1) Every morning, when I get to the office, I always have my first cup of coffee in silence, before I even turn my computer on. This lets me relax, and focus on the tasks at hand, as well ground myself.

2) On days when I can, I always try to set aside 10 to 20 minutes during lunch for meditation or contemplation.

3) Every Tuesday or Thursday, my in-laws host a big family dinner. While this may seem horrible to many people, I am blessed to have great in-laws, and it is always a great time to catch-up and just spend time together.

4) Every Friday I try to have a big lunch with friends. This gives us a chance to catch-up, and stay connected. Some Friday’s we may have four people, and some Friday’s it may be standing room only, but no matter what it is a great time!

5) Every Saturday morning my son and I go to the doughnut shop together. While not the healthiest ritual, it gives us a chance for “guy time” as my four year old calls it. We talk about the previous week of school, and our big plans for the weekend.

6) I am extremely lucky that I married someone who likes college football almost as much as I do. So when football season comes around we will try to get all of our chores done by 11:00 am, so that we can watch the first kick-off, and generally we will stay up until the last game is over.

While these little rituals may seem trivial, they have become very important to my life, and they each serve a unique purpose. I often hear people say that they don’t have time to take care of themselves, to meditate, to spend time with friends, or to spend time with their families. I have found that I have to make time for myself, my friends, and my family. I have a very hectic work schedule, and with an almost two hour round-trip commute, I have to make a habit out of the little rituals that help fulfill and nourish the various areas of my life.

“I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.” – Warren Buffett

As always, thanks for reading, and please share what little rituals you have carved out of your time for grounding, bonding, or nourishment.

Also, please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click the Book Cover to view on Amazon.com)

Zen Moments


This is my twenty-sixth (and final!) post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I have tried to post a point of reflection or insight that I used to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I attempted to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lent itself to interesting insights and growth, because I not only had several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but I also had several days to put any lessons and insights that I discovered to work in my every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I tried to write updates as the weekly topics came up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.

My son Jason and I enjoying an OKC Thunder game!

My son Jason and I enjoying an OKC Thunder game!

Z= Zen Moments: Zen moments are moments, often unexpected, of mental and/or spiritual clarity and insight. Zen moments are the times in our life where clarity and insight breaks through the mental and spiritual clouds that can build up during every day life. These moments can happen at any time, but some of my most profound insights and experiences have occurred somewhat out of the blue after I have been ruminating on a seemingly endless topic for quite some time, or when I just take a random moment out of my day to relax, meditate, or reflect.

I have also experienced several of these moments out of the blue with my wife or son, where their laughter, a smile, or a simple hug blissfully places me smack-dab in the here and now, where I cannot help but relish in the beautiful simplicity of the moment. During these moments, the mental clutter and buzz of normal life fades away, and living in the now, is truly blissful.

Some may see moments such as these as a distraction, or even a possible anchor for attachment; because after all, bliss-hunting or bliss-seeking can easily lead one to fall into a never-ending trap of attachment, seeking, depression, and even addiction. However, these moments of clarity, insight, and general bliss, really help to keep me going on my spiritual path. Life isn’t about asceticism, where the one who gives up the most wins the most, the Buddha tried that method and failed miserably. Life should be embraced and enjoyed. Life should be blissful, peaceful, and serene. Read more…

Welcoming Change

January 28, 2013 9 comments

This is my twenty-third post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.

My son Jase playing in the snow with his Uncle Shelby! (c) Shelby Hurst Photography 2012. http://www.shelbyhurstphotography.com/

My son Jase playing in the snow with his Uncle Shelby! (c) Shelby Hurst Photography 2012. http://www.shelbyhurstphotography.com/

W= Welcoming Change: Well the time has come to welcome in the new year, and with it a new year of opportunities, and a new year of changes. Already this year I have lost my grandfather and had a bout with the flu. However, I have also had positive changes, because I have started making significant progress towards living a healthier life, and in a few short weeks my wife and I should be finding out whether or not we will be having another little boy or a little girl in July!

While the changes thus far haven’t all been pleasant, changes are a part of life. Too often , we get comfortable in the status quo, and when any changes come our way we resist them. We even tend to resist changes that have the ability to affect positive changes. However, life is in a constant state of change and flux. Therefore, we can either learn to live in harmony with the flow of life (Wu Wei in Taoism), or we can continually oppose change in our life. The constant stream of life is like a river in constant motion. One can learn to flow with the stream of life, or one can oppose it, and just as a river will eventually wear down even the mightiest boulder, life will eventually wear down an individual that opposes its natural flow.

The great Tao flows everywhere.

All things are born from it, yet it doesn’t create them.

It pours itself into its work, yet it makes no claim.

It nourishes infinite worlds, yet it doesn’t hold on to them.

Since it is merged with all things and hidden in their hearts, it can be called humble.

Since all things vanish into it and it alone endures, it can be called great.

It isn’t aware of its greatness; thus it is truly great.

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 34 (Stephen Mitchell Translation)

 

If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to.

If you aren’t afraid of dying there is nothing you can’t achieve.

 

Trying to control the future is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place.

When you handle the master carpenter’s tools, chances are that you’ll cut your hand.

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 74 (Stephen Mitchell Translation) Read more…

Reintegrating With Our True-Self

October 1, 2012 5 comments

This is my eighteenth post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.

Used with permission from Flickr Creative Commons, and Photopin.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paullew/2852672177/

R= Reintegrating With Our True-Self: In Psychology reintegration involves the unification of the various subparts of the psyche into a balanced and harmonious state. According to most psychological models, the human psyche is composed of various conscious and unconscious subparts, all of which fight for control of our conscious awareness. If these various subparts are not explored and reintegrated into a balanced state, various forms of psychosis may result.

The Swiss psychologist Dr. Carl Jung (1875-1961), who founded the field of analytical psychology, believed that reintegration, which he referred to as “Individuation“, was an absolutely necessary process for every human being. According to Dr. Jung, we are each born with a sense of wholeness, or completeness; however, as we grow out of childhood, our sense of wholeness is lost, due to various repressed memories, life events, societal expectations, etc. Therefore, for Jung, the process of Individuation (reintegration), involved exploring, correcting, and unifying the various subparts of the psyche, so that we can regain our sense of wholeness, which is our true-self.

While the science of psychology is a relatively new field, the various religions and spiritual traditions have long dealt with the process of reintegration. Most of the world religions, especially the Abrahamic religions, have a creation story that involves a peaceful beginning at the dawn of creation; however, each of these stories also involves a story regarding the fall of man. In the Abrahamic religions, there is the story of Adam and Eve, who originally dwelt in the Garden of Eden; however, after eating the forbidden fruit of knowledge, they were cast out of the garden by God. The creation myths closely mirror Dr. Jung’s theory, where we are each born with a sense of wholeness, which is basically a psychological garden of Eden; however, as we grow and develop we are cast out of the proverbial garden, and separation occurs. Read more…

Positive Prayer

September 10, 2012 8 comments

This is my sixteenth post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.

Used with permission from Photopin.com and Flickr Creative Commons. http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathanhayag/5441597739/ (C) 2011

P= Positive Prayer: Prayer in one form or another is part of almost every religions tradition. In my own path, and in my numerous discussions with others regarding prayer, I have found that prayer can be a powerful tool in one’s spiritual path, no matter their religious or spiritual tradition.While some may view prayer as simply a time to seek divine intervention, such as rattling off a wishlist of desires, or seek divine intervention during a crisis  (the old saying, “There aren’t any atheists in foxholes”, comes to mind), divine intervention isn’t the sole purpose or use of prayer.

While prayer can certainly be used as a medium to seek divine intervention in our lives, the most powerful and fundamental aspect of prayer is that it allows us to connect with, and spend time with, the divine. Prayer when performed with the right mindset and attention, literally gives us the ability to commune with G*d, as directly as possible, regardless of what name you call him/her/it/they by.

Now then if you believe, as I do, that prayer allows you to literally connect with the divine, the natural questions is what should one do with that time? While asking for divine intervention is certainly a valid use of prayer, prayer can also be used as a time to give thanks to G*d, a time for self-introspection, as well as simply a time to commune with the divine.

Giving thanks in prayer is a powerful tool, because rather than using prayer as a time to rattle off a list of desires, giving thanks in prayer automatically forces you to focus on the many blessings that each of us enjoy in our lives, yet too often fail to recognize. Many of the ritualized prayers such as “The Lord’s Prayer” in Christianity, and “The Du’a” in Islam, first focus on acknowledging and giving thanks to G*d, and then seek the strength and wisdom to act in accordance with God’s will (love). I personally start off each day with a simple prayer of thanks, which allows me to focus on the positive things in my life, rather than my impending to-do list that awaits me once I get to work. Read more…

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