Tara Brach is one of the wisest teachers on working with the suffering that comes from what she call "the trance of unworthiness."
Learn more at http://www.shambhalamountainonline.org/?page_id=432
We have to make choices in life. Not to choose is to passively choose. In contemplative Christianity there is a term, "discernment" that refers to the prayerful sifting that major life decisions call for.
Here are some tested ways to go about discernment.
What does voices within come from the friend of your best self?
And which come from the enemy of your best self, hitting you at your weakest points?
If you were your best friend, what advice would you give yourself?
Imagine yourself on your death bed having made one choice and then the other.
Sr. Rose Mary Dougherty has said, "If you want to run toward and run away at the same time, your can be pretty sure you're on holy ground."
Our decisions are crucially important. And not just the big ones. What we choose to think, the words we choose to speak, what we eat, the smallest actions we do add up, they matter. Every choice we make has an impact on our future selves—on our happiness, our health, our relationships, our destiny. If we know who we are, and whose we are, and what we stand for we will be able to look back on our lives at their end contentment and fulfillment, knowing that our lives have counted for something good.
"Let me respectfully remind you that life and death are of ultimate concern. Time marches swiftly by, and opportunity is lost. Wake up! Wake UP!! Do not squander your precious life." ~ Zen evening chant
"We who are like senseless children shrink from suffering, but love its causes. We hurt ourselves; our pain is self-inflicted! Why should others be the object of our anger?" ~ Shantideva
I have just returned from a seven day silent mindfulness retreat with Shinzen Young, who has been on of my main teachers for many years. One of the things I like most about Shinzen's teaching is that it is very practical and precise. You know exactly what he is talking about. Take for example this teaching about 5 ways to know if you are making spiritual progress.
I’d say if a spiritual path does not result in these signs of progress in the long run, you may want to look closely at what path you are on.
~ Rev. Arvid
About the Author
Rev. Arvid Straube has been helping people grow spiritually for more than 35 years as a Unitarian Universalist parish minister. He has been practicing and teaching Vipassana
meditation for over 20 years, studying with many teachers including Joseph Goldstein, Thich Nhat Hanh and Shinzen Young.