SPECIAL AWARENESS ZONE

February 11, 2012 Edition
__________________________
We BELIEVE ...
that we should be glad we don't get everything we ask for.
... that money doesn't buy class,
... and that it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

the Center of Light & Serenity

Introduction
Awareness And Happiness

As I progressed through the day, I felt that I forgot something. It struck me that I hadn't smiled very much today. It occurred to me that I hadn't laughed either. I realized too that while I was rushing around this morning I hadn't shown gratitude for the day.

I also thought about how little I had chosen to think joyfully today, or to send my love to others, or to pray. In my hectic busyness, somehow I had forgotten the most important thing of all ... I had forgotten to be happy.

When thoughts like these happen, it's called "awareness". It is the awareness through the spiritual knowledge I have gained that such things came to mind. Thankfully, it's a way of seeing what I was doing so that I might turn my day around before it became a total waste. I smiled at my children, pat my dog on the head, and relaxed into the joy that was always there waiting for me to choose it. What started out as a miserable, stressful day soon became a very happy one. Nothing had changed, of course, except for me. Isn't it wonderful that the only thing we have to change in this life in order to be happy is ourselves? And it was all done through 'awareness.'

Yes, happiness is always a choice. No one will force happiness on us. The choice is always left up to us. Some people think that being happy is something we do once we have solved all our problems or gotten all of our work done. This, however, is foolishness. If happiness has to wait until everything else is done, then we will never be happy.

Instead of waiting then, make your choice for happiness first. You will be surprised at how easily you will handle your problems when your heart is full of happiness. You will be surprised at how wonderful your work will seem when you do it with joy and love. Start off each new day with smiles, laughter, thankfulness, joy, love, and prayer. Choose to live each day in happiness. Don't waste half a second on misery, let alone half a day or half a life.
_________________________
We BELIEVE ...
that under everyone's hard shell
is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

the Center of Light & Serenity

TODAY'S INSPIRATIONAL POEM
If Tomorrow Never Comes
~by Norma Burnett

If I knew it would be the last time
that I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time
that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss
and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time
I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word,
so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time,
I could spare an extra minute or two
to stop and say "I love you,"
instead of assuming, you would know I do.

If I knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day,
well I'm sure you'll have so many more,
so I can let just this one slip away.

For surely there's always tomorrow
to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance
to make everything right.

There will always be another day
to say our "I love you's",
And certainly there's another chance
to say our "Anything I can do's?"

But just in case I might be wrong,
and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you
and I hope we never forget,

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance you get
to hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow,
why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
you'll surely regret the day.

That you didn't take that extra time
for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today,
and whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them
and that you'll always hold them dear.

Take time to say "I'm sorry," "please forgive me,"
"thank you" or "it's okay".
And if tomorrow never comes,
you'll have no regrets about today.
______________________

We Believe ...
that the Lord didn't do it all in one day.
What makes us think we can?
Center of Light & Serenity

__________________________

TODAY'S FEATURE ARTICLE
Spiritual Versus Non-Spiritual Beings
by Michael Bonamassa, Sr.

Becoming a spiritual being is synonymous with becoming a miracle worker and knowing the bliss of what we humans refer to as 'real magic.' I'm writing this article to provide clarity on the differences between those who are non-spiritual, or "physical only" and those who are "spiritual beings". Therefore, the primary difference between the terms 'spiritual' and 'non-spiritual' is that a 'spiritual being' has a conscious awareness of both the physical and the invisible (illusory) dimension, while the 'non-spiritual being' is only aware of the physical domain. Therefore, neither category, as used here, implies what is referred to as atheism or religious orientation in any way. This also is not to meant to mean that the 'non-spiritual' person is 'incorrect or bad' because he or she experiences the world only in a physical manner.

With that said, as one works toward becoming a spiritual being as well as a physical being, one begins to live more and more consciously within the invisible (illusory) realm. That is, we begin to know that there are senses beyond the physical world. Even though we cannot perceive it through one of the five senses, we know that we are a soul with a body, and that our soul is beyond limits and defies such physical beliefs as birth and death ... that as such, the soul is not governed by any of the rules and regulations that govern the physical universe.

To be a spiritual being means that we allow ourselves the option of being multi-sensory. Hence, a whole new world opens up and experiences of the multi-sensory human are less limited than the experiences of the five-sensory human. They provide more opportunities for growth and development and more opportunities to avoid unnecessary difficulties.

The non-spiritual being believes he is alone in the universe, while the spiritual being knows he or she is never alone. A spiritual being is comfortable with the idea of having teachers, observers, and divine guidance available at any time. If we believe we are souls with bodies rather than bodies with souls, then the invisible eternal part of ourselves is always available to us for assistance. Once this belief is firm and unshakable, it can never be doubted, regardless of the rational arguments of those who live exclusively in the physical world. For some, this is called intense prayer, for others it is universal, omnipresent intelligence or force, or spiritual guidance.

It matters not what we call this 'higher Self' or how we spell it, since it is beyond definitions, labels, and language itself. For the non-spiritual being, this is all hogwash ... we show up on Earth, we have one life to live and no one has any ghosts around or within to help out. This is a physical-only universe to the non-spiritual being and the goal is to manipulate and control the physical world.

The spiritual being sees the physical world as an arena for growth and learning with the specific purpose of serving and evolving into higher levels of love. Non-spiritual beings accept the existence of a supreme being or God, not as a universal force that is within us, but as a separate power that will someday hold us accountable. They do not see themselves as having assistance or a higher Self, unless they have the kind of direct experience of divine presence. Spiritual beings simply know, through their personal experience of having been in contact with their own divine guidance, that they are not alone, and that they can use that guidance to become miracle makers in their lives.

The non-spiritual being is focused on external power that is located in the dominance of and control over the physical world. This is the power of laws and organization ... the power of business and stock market games ... the power of war and military might. This is the power of controlling all that is external to the self. While the non-spiritual being is focused on this external power, by contrast, the spiritual being is focused on empowering himself and others to higher and higher levels of consciousness and achievement ... on personal empowerment. The use of force over another is not a possibility for the spiritual being. He or she is not interested in collecting power, but rather in helping others to live in harmony and to experience real magic.

This is a power of love that does not judge others. There is no hostility or anger in this kind of power. It is true empowerment to know that we can live in the world with others who have differing points of view and have no need to control or vanquish them as victims. A spiritual being knows the enormous power that comes with the ability to manipulate the physical world with one's mind ... a mind at peace ... a mind that is centered and not focused on harming others ... one that is stronger than any physical force in the universe.

A non-spiritual being feels separated and distinct from all others, a being unto himself. The spiritual being knows that he is connected to all others and lives his life as if each person he meets shares being human with him. When a person feels separate from all others, he becomes more self-centered and much less concerned about the problems of others. While he may feel some sympathy for people starving in another part of the world, that person's daily approach is, "It's not my problem." The non-spiritual beings are simply focused more on their own problems and often feel that other human beings are either in the way or trying to get what he wants and so he must "do in" the other guy before he gets "done in" himself, so to speak.

The spiritual being knows that we are all connected, and is able to see the fullness in each person with whom he makes contact. This sense of connection eliminates much of the inner conflict that the non-spiritual being experiences as he constantly judges others, categorizes them according to physical appearances and behaviors, and then proceeds to find ways to either ignore or take advantage of them for his own benefit.

Being connected means that the need for conflict and confrontation is eliminated. Knowing that the same invisible force that flows through ourselves flows through all others, allows the spiritual being to truly live the golden rule. The spiritual being thinks, "How I am treating others is essentially how I am treating myself, and vice versa." The meaning of "love thy neighbor as thyself" is clear to the spiritual being, while it is considered nonsense by the non-spiritual being.

Negative judgment is not possible when we feel connected to all others. The spiritual being knows that he cannot define another by his judgments, that he only defines himself as a judgmental person.

Our quantum physicists have found that there is a subatomic quantum level that reveals an invisible connection between all particles and all members of a given species. This oneness is being demonstrated in remarkable scientific discoveries. The findings show that physical distance, what we think of as empty space, does not preclude a connection by invisible forces. Obviously, there exist invisible connections between our thoughts and our actions. Spiritual beings do not deny this even though the connection is impervious to our senses. While the non-spiritual being cannot make such a leap, the spiritual being knows that this invisible force connects him to all others, and therefore treats all others as if they were a part of himself.

In summation, it is all a question of knowing. The non-spiritual being acts as if he were an island ... separate and distinct from others ... unconnected. Plainly stated, miracles and real magic are simply unavailable to those who believe themselves to be islands in the sea of humanity.
___________________________________

We BELIEVE ...
that until we've learned to be tolerant with those who do not always agree with us
... until we have cultivated the habit of saying some kind word of those whom we do not admire
... until we form the habit of looking for the good instead of the bad in others,
... we will be neither successful nor happy.

the Center of Light & Serenity

with the Center of Light & Serenity

Labeling Yourself

How do you describe yourself to yourself and others? Consider all labels. Usually, one (or more) of our definitions reflect our education (college graduate, PHD, etc.) work/position (lawyer, doctor, engineer, etc.) or that we're unemployed or retired. Others define our relationships (mother, father, lover, sister, friend, etc.). Yet others describe how we perceive ourselves ... our physical appearance, our mental and emotional characteristics, our positive and negative qualities. And still others define our physical, mental and spiritual health or religious beliefs, our hobbies and passions, our dislikes and beliefs.

Who we are as a personality depends on how we see ourselves. When we describe ourselves a certain way, it can mean that we stay stuck in that perception. And that perception can pigeonhole us into limited patterns of thinking and behavior. It's often a way we justify our own limitations and keep ourselves in a victim state. We may even believe the labels that others give us. For example, if a parent repeatedly told you that you were stupid, do you believe it still?

Which of your labels limit how you engage with the world? Let go of the labels. Although we perceive ourselves to be solid and unchanging and therefore definable in many ways, in reality we are continually changing. If we could get past our fixed mental constructs of ourselves, we would see that our physical, emotional and mental identity is in constant flux. Different perceptions and sensations come and go but we are much greater than any of these. We play different roles in our lives, but these are just roles. They do not define our essential nature.

Our ego clings to defining words to prove that it exists. Our ego seeks ways to confirm that it is separate from the rest of the world. Our soul, on the other hand, delights in the experience of relating to others, without limits of any kind.

When you become aware of being hooked into a specific identity, let the identity go. Explore how it feels to just be. Experience the unlimited potential of pure being that has no boundaries, expectations or standards.

We need to believe in our ability to move and change appropriately with the opportunities present in each moment. As we stop labeling ourselves, we allow ourselves to change and grow. And as we stop labeling ourselves, we tend to stop labeling others and this allows us to relate to them with greater acceptance.

At the deepest levels of our essence, no words can contain who we are. Ask yourself, 'who am I?'

In his book How, Then, Shall We Live? Wayne Muller recommends this exercise. As you move through a day, regularly stop to ask yourself, "Who am I in this moment?"

He says, "Try to be aware of any ideas, words, feelings, or images that come forth in response. ...The point is to explore the breadth of who we are, and who we think we are in our ordinary life. Watch how your sense of self changes. With each change, what do you notice? How do your words, hopes, dreams, or postures change when your identity shifts? Who, in each moment, do you think you are? Notice which words or descriptions seem most accurate, which seem to reflect more precisely your sense of your deepest nature."

In what circumstances during the day do you perceive from a spiritual or soul perspective versus a personality or self-centered perspective?
______________________________

We BELIEVE ...
that there is so much in the outer world of physicality to attract our attention
... so many aspects of our created illusion that draws our focus of attention
... that it distracts us from observing, experiencing and knowing the whole of our being
... our true identity.

the Center of Light & Serenity

SPIRITUAL INSIGHT
The Wonder Of 'What Is'

In your world of plurality, you perceive opposites. It's to provide you with the contrast between what is and what isn't so that you might better learn and understand 'what is.' Beginning-end, night-day, spring-winter, dark-light, up-down are just a few of examples of polarities that you witness. In order to find balance, you have to come to a place where you fully understand that both are necessary.

If the sun shone constantly, you would burn up and cease to exist ... if the darkness never ceased, you would suffocate. Life does not exist without the balance and harmony of the two. Neither one is totally "bad" or "good", but both are necessary components for life to continue.

In your inner world of duality, you tend to accentuate all the things you deem acceptable, while trying to deny the other aspects of yourselves by either repression or denial. In this fashion, you seek to deny the "darkness" you perceive within your own souls; believing that you are only "good" when you turn away from the negative emotions of anger-fear, etc. The truth is you are comprised of both "light" and "dark" for a reason ... all are part of the rich human experience. The key is to take the best from both sides and find your center, the place where you are able to maintain "balance."

Look at some of the areas of your life that feel out of sync or off balance. Look to see how you can incorporate all sides of the situation, both the "negative" and the "positive" to make a complete circle? The key to "perfection" is not moving to extremes ... to the right or left or upper or lower ... but learning to move into the middle ground. This is so with all things in your physical world ... and the sooner you all learn this, the sooner you shall reach and understand the wonderment of who you truly are and 'the wonder of 'what IS'.
____________________________________________

A Special Blessing to You and Yours ...
Until next issue ...
These things, we warmly wish for you-
May you always have these blessings
A soft breeze when summer comes-
A warm fireside in winter-
And always- the warm, soft smile of a friend.

Love and Light, Mike & Sandy
___________________________________________________

A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle ...
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