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Spiritual Tests

Natalie —  January 29, 2015 — Leave a comment

Life tests us when we least expect it. We can get metaphysical and see it as an opportunity for spiritual growth, yet tests challenge us.  They feel uncomfortable, stressful, confusing and even painful, they may bring up our anger or disappointed. Tests are asking us, or forcing us, to change. It can be as subtle as a shift of our thought patterns or as explicit as how we live every day.

Our physical body, mind, emotions and soul are always unconsciously striving for a state of alignment with each other.  An illness may cause our mind to struggle with our body’s lack of cooperation.  The death of a loved one may cause our heart to question the body’s purpose as we are left behind while their soul has moved on.

In the midst of being tested, there is a temptation and a tendency to suppress discomfort.  But our physical and emotional discomforts are indicators. They will guide us through life’s tests, if we listen. They bring awareness to our combined physical, mental and spiritual state of being.

To lessen the discomfort without just postponing it, we have to pause to listen to our intuition. The act of stilling the mind through meditation, tuning into our breath (body) and listening to our soul, may initially draw our attention to the discomfort. But with a bit of commitment to breathing through the edgy space, it will reduce our suffering.

When we listen to our inner-guidance it shows us what we need in order to walk through the fire of life’s test. It may tell us it is time to step away from a relationship or job. It may point out that it is time to commit to our health by changing the way we eat or to taking regular time for our creativity.

Meditation is deep listening.  By listening we are consciously participating in alignment of our physical experience with our souls intention.  This alone reduces stress regardless of life test we are experiencing.

The beauty is that we don’t have to stop living to listen.  As Thich Nhat Hanh says we can invite inner-peace through consciously breathing in and out no matter where we are or what challenge we are facing.  It is that simple.

NASA Photo Eagle Nebula

Our inner-guidance helps us see opportunities to evolve and grow when an area of our life is outdated or out-of-alignment. We feel inclined to make a change, move to a new town, quit a job, begin or end a relationship.   Intuition leads us to override our reptilian brain; the part of us that is determined to do it the old way and put perceived safety first.

We naturally return to what’s familiar, have a rhythm, form habits, routines, get into ruts.  Doing it the usual way is easier than figuring out a new way, even if the usual way is mediocre and slightly irritating. When we avoid change we feel the energy drain associated with our resistance.

Each time we’re faced with a transition, an opportunity to change our life, it involves risk. That risk is where our intuition helps us override the tendency to seek safety in the familiar.  Yet, to take risks that are wise and purposeful we have to know we are in alignment.

Alignment means that our actions are congruent with our truth, the yes that lives within our individual soul.  Our intuition nudges us to stay in alignment, giving us opportunity after opportunity to make small shifts. It asks us to take notice, listen closely to what a stranger is talking about, take a different route home from work, call someone when were not sure why to discover they tell us something we needed to know. That inner voice will give us our yes and our no if we listen… oh this feels right, I’m at ease… oh that feels off, my stomach is tight when I think of it.

Living out-of-alignment, like a pebble in the shoe, progressively produces larger consequences: a blister, favoring the foot, the limping turns into back tension, that causes discomfort sleeping, then getting worn down from lack of sleep and catching a virus.  How much irritation must the pebble cause to get our attention?  What is speaking to us to change: the lack of integrity in our work environment, the evolving culture of our neighborhood that no longer fits us, social activities that no longer satisfy or repeated conflicts in a relationship?  Will we make a change before the old way of being causes excessive suffering?

If we ignore the quiet voice of our inner-guidance for too long the small choices that take us out of alignment start adding up and realignment requires a larger risk.  A commitment to living in congruence with our inner-guidance, responding to the simple gentler shifts as the opportunities present themselves, make for a much more enjoyable life.  Our power to stay in alignment is in the center of our head, our intuition. Listen to it and let it inform your choices.