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Staying Centered

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I have a strong belief in the existence of a spiritual dimension, but not in a traditional God or divine being. My experiences of this spiritual dimension are my best guide to deepening my understanding.

For me, a vital spiritual experience is a state in which I move beyond ego and self-will and feel total peace. Sometimes that state is a quiet mind free of thoughts, and a great joy and appreciation for and connection to the world and people around me. These experiences are infrequent and precious; they show me what is possible.

I don’t have a personal Higher Power, but when my mind is quiet, I can feel an inner presence that observes, rather than reacts or thinks. Other people’s spiritual experiences and concepts may differ from mine; we each focus on our own experiences and what we find meaningful.

I believe we are all connected by a power beyond universal consciousness or ourselves. I’ve found that the more I open spiritually, the more others are aware of my feelings and needs before I even express them.

What is most important in my everyday life and continued abstinence is to stay spiritually centered through prayer and meditation, using these practices to respond to difficult emotions and experiences.

Over the years of meditating daily, I have sat with physical pain and intense emotion. I’ve found if I just keep sitting and focusing on my breath, the pain becomes less painful and the emotions subside. Whenever I am too preoccupied with food or have cravings, I kneel down and pray. When painful emotions come up, I sit with them, rather than focus on them and allow them to intensify.

This daily practice has helped me become a less reactive person and gain the strength to deal with some of life’s most challenging experiences, including the deaths of family members.

— Elaine G., Cambridge, Massachusetts USA

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