Lesson 18: Reflections
Last week, we considered our 18-week journey together. We took a moment to appreciate the growing tolerance, humility, and gratitude that is expanding the way we experience life. We introduced practices of daily introspection to help us stay aligned with our Higher Power and our Highest Selves. As we continue to use each mindfulness tool, we can soon find that they feel comfortable and familiar. We can think of both daily and spot check-ins like brushing our teeth: if we do them regularly, we can more quickly and easily identify the obstructions that keep us from center. If we ignore our state of consciousness for days, it becomes challenging to identify what we are feeling or trace these thoughts and emotions back to where they came from. Like teeth, our mental, emotional, and spiritual health requires regular brushing and occasional flossing in between the tiny cracks of our subconscious. Our Daily Practice offers regular opportunities for such upkeep. A nightly check-in with our partner, our God, or our journal also invites opportunities for intimacy and connection as we learn to share our hearts and minds.
It might be hard to believe that this is the final week of our session. We may feel that we are only beginning. That is because we are! The LBS program is organized into 18-week sessions as a matter of convenience, but it represents a lifelong pattern for conscious living. Whether we continue in the LBS Course or not, we will need to continue to practice these principles to deepen the fruits we have experienced thus far. As the years pass, our horizons naturally widen. The applications of these principles are never exhausted; the gifts only expand.
As our session draws to a close, let’s take a moment for self-reflection, pausing to look back at who we were and what we wanted when we came into the program 18 weeks ago.
At its heart, this is a spiritual program that nurtures our spiritual awakening. For each session that we participate in, we will see our answers shift and change. There is no one correct answer that life wants to teach us. There are countless ways to expand our understanding of the Infinite. What has most impacted us during this session?
Let’s also look back at the paradigms we brought with us when we began.
As we reflect, let’s honor all the ways our Higher Power has shown us that He is working in our lives. Let’s remember the moments we felt Him in daily practice and meditation. Let’s acknowledge the ways He has lifted our defects, coping strategies, and egoic patterns. Let’s bow to every aspect of Divinity that has shown itself to us, with reverence, awe, and a commitment always to remember. Let’s bless the irreplaceable gifts of our Community, acknowledging that each person and presence here has helped us to find the place where we now stand. Let’s offer praise and gratitude for the gifts we have so freely been given, holding with reverence this precious part of our lives.
Mindfulness Practice: Paying it Forward
We recognize that to keep the gifts we have been given, we must continue our practice and freely offer others the Love, compassion, and presence we have felt. This mystical boomerang effect is a beautiful manifestation of Life Laws. Attraction & Karma tell us that we get what we give, so we must find authentic ways to truly pay it forward if we want to continue to receive. We now have the opportunity to reflect the Light that has been uncovered in us and share it with others.
Paying it forward is a mindfulness practice that will look different for all of us. Some of us may continue with another session and offer our strength, hope, and experience to newcomers in future groups. Others may continue to bring our Light and presence to Daily Practice and spread news of the program to friends and neighbors. Some might feel inspired to share what we have learned here as we serve elsewhere. We might even feel inspired to share the Pay-it-Forward cards we received in our Welcome Packet. These cards can be an easy way to start a conversation, offer love, and share our own healing experiences with others. Our willingness to share can help us become a vehicle for Love and Light, growing the program and our hearts.
But we need not formally involve ourselves in an organization to pay it forward. Paying it forward can be as simple as practicing presence with the people we interact with each day. Each time we pause in daily life to find our center and see another person through a lens of compassion, we radiate goodness into the world. Every time we help another find their heart and feel their emotions, we create more space for their Higher Self to peek through. Whether we realize it or not, we are part of a movement. When we apply our practice to all that we do, we generate reverberating waves of Light that make a difference in the world’s collective energy. We become a tangible force for good.
One specific mindfulness practice that we can use to pay it forward is Metta meditation, or Loving- kindness. This Buddhist technique offers a formal practice to nurture an altruistic attitude of love and friendliness, in ourselves first and then reaching out towards all beings everywhere. There are many variations of the Metta prayer, so we need not concern ourselves with speaking perfect words. Instead, let’s focus on using our breath and intention to create and nurture feelings of love, kindness, and well-being within our body, mind, and spirit.
Optional Metta Phrases might include:
May I feel safe.
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be peaceful.
May I live with ease.
May my heart open.
May I find gratitude.
May I have all I stand in need of.
May I be filled with loving-kindness.
We can speak these words aloud or repeat them in our mind, directing them first towards ourselves, then perhaps a loved one. We might continue out towards a person or groups of people we are struggling with, and eventually to all beings everywhere.
As we consider how we ourselves have grown in loving-kindness, let’s bow to ourselves and our God. Let’s give thanks for the efforts we have made, the time we have taken, the vulnerability we have shared, the love we have received. Let’s thank ourselves for each time we showed up to class when we didn’t feel like it—each time we came to Community when we wanted to stay home in our pajamas. Let’s offer praise for each moment in meditation we have genuinely been able to open our heart and feel something new. Let’s feel appreciation for each and every time we have touched home. Let’s pat ourselves on the back for every time we picked up the phone and made contact with another Community member—or even thought about making one. Let’s offer gratitude for every journaling prompt we chose to explore, and appreciate the deeper understanding we have gained of who we are and how we want to move forward in life. As we reflect, we can begin to sense that we have done something really remarkable here: We have offered an open mind and willing heart and followed through with action.
Let’s now turn our attention towards the future and make ourselves a commitment to pay it forward: “How can we pay forward the gifts we have been given? How will we continue our practice? What is the next right step for us?”
Whatever our answers may be, let’s trust our inner guide to take us exactly where we need to go. Let’s always remember that our primary responsibility is to be present with the life that is right here. When we realign at center, moment to moment—body, mind, and spirit—everything else in our life can unfold in the healthiest ways for us. No matter what happens to us next on the outside, we have full freedom to respond on the inside in ways that can prosper our peace and grow our God-connection. Let’s remember it is our response to life that will either hinder our growth or drive our learning. We can shift black-and-white thinking patterns into a world of boundless color. This open and curious perspective creates unlimited choices, endless growth, and abundant potential. When we view life through these glasses, there is not a single experience that cannot work for our good.
Let’s bow to the journey, bow to one another, and bow to our Beloved: the One who holds all of us in His perfect, all-knowing hands. Let’s grow in trust and wonder how His Light will continue to shine through and shape our lives as we continue on our path towards knowing and needing Him, one moment at a time.
His Love is our beginning and our end, and we find it within our own hearts, minds, and bodies. There is no other Source. There is no other journey.