Have you ever felt like your were high on life? Thought all was as it should be? Had a deep and expansive sense all was incredibly well and all will be well? Whether it was for a moment, minute, or month I hope you have. In many ways, this sums up my general experience of life for several years now, and I hope to share it with others!
With that in mind, in this blog I’d like to describe what I’m talking about and give some practices for what I’m naming a “Spirit Felt Life”. That said, I could use your help in the form of feedback, as I’m planning to teach a yoga workshop on this topic. So please let me know if it makes sense, what you’d add, what you’d subtract, etc.
While when I say “Spirit” I mean God, it could resonate more as Source, Love, or the Universe for you. I’ll start by saying when I meditate, pray contemplatively, or practice yoga, as my mind quiets I have a sense of Light and energy in my body, which is interrelated with feeling connected to other people, nature, and God. Over time, though, I’ve noticed these moments of connection, and the profound bliss and calm they bring, are accessible anywhere and everywhere.
Another way to describe this is when I set aside my worrying about the future and fretting about the past and become rooted in the present by focusing my awareness on and engaging what is here and now (my body, my breath, people, work, trees, clouds, food, etc.), my entire being becomes more energized and enlivened. What I’m getting at is our tendency to obsess about past hurts and mistakes, wherein we play the same darn “tape” in our heads over and over again. Likewise, it’s easy to stress about future events, fretting about what could go “wrong” or things not working how we’d “prefer”, when quite literally our ruminations change nothing … except for our own mental health … for the worse!
We start, therefore by choosing to trust and see God is withus and onour side, Life is rigged in our favor, the Universe is pro-life thriving and flourishing, and Love is indeed all around and within us. The more I adopt this mindset, the more my senses become heightened to notice the Spirit’s artwork in nature, Loving-kindness in people, gifts in every breath, and blessing with the dawning of each day. Believing God is good, Spirit is everywhere, and Love is always at work, opens our eyes to see and experience Divine connection and bliss.
I tell my students: Think less to be more. In our fast paced, over-saturated, and ultra-stimulated world, not only do our brains race along, most of our thoughts are repetitive and negative. It seems to me the engines of our minds are revved so high and have gotten so loud that it dulls our Spirit sense, meaning when we do practices that quiet and calm our thoughts, we’re better able to tune our awareness into the Divine goodness that’s literally always HERE.
The question is: How does one do this? Breath, body, and nature are access points. Feeling, lengthening, and expanding our breath has an immediate calming, centering, and clearing affect. Side note, in many languages the word for “breath” and “Spirit” is the SAME, I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Mindful breathing connects us to Spirit, infusing us with peace and joy beyond understanding.
Shifting our awareness into our bodies has a similar result. Feeling the air on your fingertips, the way your feet connect with the earth, and noticing and relaxing places of tension in your body diminishes mental chatter, which enables you to “hear” the blissful whisper of God saying, “all is well, and all manner of things shall be well.” (In my experience this “hearing” is primarily a bodily and heart-felt type of deal)From yoga, I’ve noticed that the more we practice being IN our bodies, the more we’re able to also sense and feel the Spirit, the spirits of others, Love, connection, nature, and so on.
On the topic of nature, Eoin Finn, a teacher of mine, says: While the mind goes fast, the rhythm of the earth is low and slow. We’re social creatures, part of which means we naturally become like those we’re around. My hunch is this is why when we’re enjoying nature, our minds naturally quiet and calm, our usual quick pace slows to match the steadier beat of the outdoors. I think this is why time and again I’ve heard people say how close they feel to God while hiking, camping, etc. While ideally we go into nature to have this encounter, I’ve found imagination, pictures, and even brief glimpses of glorious vistas from the car can have a similar effect when we engage them mindfully.
I think a Spirit felt life is awakening to realize we experience God most readily via breath, body, and nature. It’s such an incredible way to live it blows my mind. What do you think? What are your thoughts and experiences on a Spirit felt life?
Grace and peace,