A bit of New Age Humor: "We are students of words: we are shut up in schools and colleges and recitation-rooms, for ten or fifteen years and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words and do not know a thing." Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882
A Quality Long-Term Spiritual Plan Is Essential
I recommended in Chapter 1 that the best spiritual goal is to become better aligned with soul. I recommend the same goal for your long-term spiritual plan. Because many changes that we need to make do not come quickly, a long time-frame is necessary. In fact, a few of your desired changes may take many decades before they manifest in your life. My suggested five-year plan consists of following four roads simultaneously.
Road #1 - Do What you Want. (most of the time)
Road #2 - Study 3 Hours A Week. This second road is to study books from the list I suggest below for three hours a week. This weekly study might consist of: (a) a few pages each week, (b) study from several of the books, or (c) study repeated from some prior week.
If you own the book, then I suggest marking it up. If you don't own it, then I suggest taking notes elsewhere. The reason for these marks and notes is that further review and study will be needed. Such marks or notes will guide your study the second time around as well as point out how much you have changed and grown since the last time that page was studied. Without such marks, we all tend to say to ourselves, "I've read this, I know this," and then we skim over everything. Study is valuable. Skimming is not. Possible marks in your book/notes might be:
> = more study required
If you are taking notes elsewhere, then the page numbers and line numbers will also need to be recorded. Every time you disagree, there are many questions I suggest that you ask:
f = I disagree right now (i.e., false for me now)
t = true and valuable
? = is that true? I am not sure - maybe.
Why do I disagree? From whom did I learn my version? Do I understand how someone can think that way? Am I bothered by something here? What am I afraid might happen, or what would it mean to me if I agreed?
Understand that the odds are that the book you are studying (from my suggested list) is a happier healthier way for you on most, but not all, points where you disagree. Don't sell yourself out, but do be aware that a few people with great wisdom disagree with you. If you can hold both views as possibilities, then over time your personal growth will lead you to either retain or change your idea.
Road #3 - Keep an I-Am-Bothered-By List. I suggest keeping a list on which you have written every person, situation, idea, or thing that bothers you in any way, shape, or form. What bothers you might include: irritation, anger, rage, hate, disapproval, condescension, being judgmental, tension, fear, hurt, pain, depression, stress, shame, guilt, anxiety, etc. Date each entry. Over time, with your developing capabilities for loving what is, then this list will change and finally shrink. Review monthly.
Road #4 - Review Everything Once a Year. Look at your notes and lists with an eye for what books/ideas are being overlooked or skimmed over. Start studying what you have "overlooked." People often like to "overlook" psychology books. Do a yearly Vision Quest.
© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze
|Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "Often missing is the sparkle that emanates from people who are in the business of fully living their lives. Part of the reason for this is that therapists rarely, if ever, receive any training in how to elicit sparkle."|