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I love those wonderful moments when my head steps out of the way and spirit moves through me. Those moments reaffirm for me that the true nature of life is more than what I simply take in through my senses.
Fostering a direct relationship with something beyond me is, in my opinion, the most important reason for developing a routine spiritual practice. We spend so much time directing our attention outward to the material world that it's easy to forget that there is an inner spiritual world. Incorporating practices to build our “spiritual muscle” are just as important as exercise routines to build your body's muscles. And similarly, the more you practice the better you get.
There are many ways for humans to taste the divine. I believe that just as we each have our own unique talents and creative abilities, we are each drawn to experience God in our own ways. Some people run getting in the “zone”, others meditate in a variety of ways experiencing a sense of Oneness, while still others feel that flow through creative expression. Where does this experience show up in your life? For me, most frequently, it's in writing. And more recently, it's been through blogging and tweeting, posting my thoughts and writing on the Internet.
Starting a blog is pretty simple. There are several free sites such as blogger.com, WordPress.com and others where in just a few minutes you can create an account, have your own site where you can share a bit about yourself and then post your writings. Their online software can be used to create and edit your thoughts or you can write them on your computer and copy them into their editor. Your articles can be short (which is generally recommended) or long (which is what most of mine are, I am told!).
Creating a site is the easy part. Determining what to write takes a bit more thought. If you can think of a subject, someone is probably blogging on it somewhere. No matter what subject you choose for your blog, your experience of writing for others can deepen your experience of God.
Although I’ve been writing a blog (www.consciousbridge.com) consistently for a while now, it’s genesis was really 10 years ago, before blogs came on the scene. It was then that I first discovered how by stepping my ego aside and allowing words to flow through me and to write from my heart, I could sense Spirit intimately. Although journaling had opened the door to the experience, it was in knowing that the words would be published for others to read that I found my writing went deeper.
It all started when I wrote a review online for a spiritually-based book and posted my e-mail address. Shortly afterwards, I received an e-mail from an individual named Lee Eric Smith who had written a book entitled “Is There Sex in Heaven?” His book was primarily a series of questions designed to foster spiritual and religious discussion.
At first, I thought his e-mail was just a marketing ploy to sell his book. Yet, he wrote that he was looking for people to contribute their thoughts to a weekly e-mail he intended to distribute. His plan was simple — e-mail a spiritually-based question, gather readers' comments, compile the submissions and reissue them the following week with a new question. It sounded interesting so I got on his mailing list.
Very quickly. I started looking forward to the weekly questions. I loved taking them into my meditation and sensing what came up. I would later sit at my computer, get my ego out of the way and the words would flow! I sensed spirit at levels deeper than I had ever before.
As mystic Ernest Holmes reminds us, “We move because there is a universal Energy activating us. We think because there is a universal Mind thinking through us. We exist because the Spirit has seen fit to give us life.” His words were an important reminder that the wisdom poured forth came from Spirit. With time and practice, I developed the ability to know when my words came from ego or when they came from somewhere beyond me.
This process of writing for Lee's e-mail also allowed me to gain greater clarity in my understanding of the spiritual truths I was learning through reading and classes at my local Science of Mind center. The learning was melded into my words and deepened my realizations. It also reinforced for me that I was on my right spiritual path.
Lee and I corresponded via e-mail, for his weekly questions as well as separately, although we never spoke nor met face-to-face. Yet I could tell we shared a common bond in our search for wisdom. Eventually his weekly “just asking” e-mails came less frequently and ultimately stopped altogether. As we fell out of touch, I found I no longer had a venue for contributing my spiritual thoughts. Yet I always remembered how writing in the flow with an intention to share with others had built my “spiritual muscle”.
This experience stayed in my mind for many years and contributed to a decisiona year ago to return to spiritual writing. Like many others, I sensed a book within me that wanted to come forth. I committed to writing it. The outline came and then chapters of it, slowly, in pieces.
This commitment developed within me the habit to write each morning. It became part of my daily spiritual practice. Yet on many days, I found that I was called to write content that didn't seem related to the book. Needing an outlet for this unrelated writing, I created a simple blog to post them. In time the blog grew, and I developed a separate website for my postings.
Although the sites you can create on the free services previously mentioned are great and can serve the vast majority of bloggers' needs, for greater control over layout of the site many people turn to hosting their own website. This will cost you a little bit of money, but you get to learn a lot about the technology of websites which is rewarding in and of itself.
If you decide to go this route, you're steps will be to come up with a domain name that no one is using, to register it, to select a website host, and then to determine which blogging software (such as WordPress, Movable Type, etc.) to use on your site. All of this is beyond the intent of this article, but if you're interested there's plenty of help available online to walk you through it.
Most days I arise with no idea what my blog is going to be about. As I begin my morning routine of sitting meditation, I set the intention for Spirit to allow today's writing to come into my awareness. As I sit quietly I simply notice any thoughts which arise, making a mental note of them and then releasing them. As I come out of my meditation, I sit quietly and simply allow any thoughts to come forth. Generally, this process gives me the blog's daily theme.
As I move to my computer and begin writing, I again move into quietness and contemplation. As the words come forth, I allow the stream to flow onto my screen unedited. I sense when my head is taking over and I pause. I allow myself to get back in the flow before I continue.
As you might gather, my blog has a spiritual theme to it — its intention is to move us toward a positive future. Yet as stated, you can get in this flow and have this experience no matter what the subject. After all the text has been written, I go back and edit. Even the editing is a time to be in the place of the divine. As you read what you have written, contemplating its clarity for others, it magnifies its clarity for you. You deepen in your understanding of your topic as well as deepen in your experience of Spirit moving through you. Although I have experienced God in journaling, I don't edit my journals for others. This process of reading and editing for others can truly take you deeper.
As I started publishing my blog, I started reading about ways to market it so others might read it. There's some simple things you can do to call attention to your writings. One, go search for other blogs on similar subjects. Read what they write and leave a post in reply to one of their articles. If appropriate, mention your blog site in your post or at least give the web address with your name. Two, send an introductory e-mail to your friends inviting them to go read your blog and to sign up to receive notification of any updates (called a “feed”). Three, create a Facebook and Twitter account and begin posting comments there. Let your friends and followers know about your blog site. If you want, there are tools that automate your blog posts so that they immediately place a blurb about them on your Facebook and Twitter page.
In fact, the simplest way to start blogging is to use your Facebook and Twitter posts as short micro-blogs. If creating a blog site seems like too much for you, then following my advice for getting in the flow and creating some short one paragraph writings that you can publish on one of these accounts will help give you a taste of blogging as a spiritual practice.
Twitter can be a very unique spiritual practice in and of itself. You are limited to a maximum of 140 characters in your writings. People have become very creative in how to say a lot in such a short space. You obviously must be succinct. I recommend simply going within and asking for spiritual guidance on a brief sentence that is being called forth through you to share with the world. When that sentence comes in your awareness, post it on Twitter. You can use Facebook the same way if you find Twitter's 140 character restriction too confining.
As you begin placing your posts out on the Internet for others to read, whether it's in Facebook or Twitter or on your own website, you begin to realize at greater levels of your awareness just how truly interrelated all of the world is. Oneness takes on a whole new meaning. People read and respond to your postings from around the world. The planet's shrinking becomes real and tangible for you.
You begin making new friends and new discoveries. You learn that the spiritual significance of blogging and tweeting isn't just about what you place out there for others, it's also about your spiritual growth as you are on the receiving end of their writings. Spirit has spoken through them and you are listening.
Stephen Dinan has called Twitter part of the “spiritual evolution of the planet”. He writes that “Its growth corresponds to the accelerating spread of a global consciousness, one in which our sense of boundaries no longer end at national boundaries and we are increasingly in touch with our sense of “oneness” with others.” I couldn't agree more.
Dinan outline a number of reasons that he sees Twitter (and I would add Facebook, blogging and other social media to that) as being important to our spiritual unfoldment. It increases the speed at which information can propagate to like minded people around the planet. The media itself creates a degree of intimacy that breaks down our personal barriers, with this comes more transparency and authenticity–we begin to remove the distinction between public self and private self. Twitter allows us to fine tune our focus on what interests us, listening to those we want to hear, rather than a general media which “broadcasts” much more than we need or desire. As we are able to focus and track at a finer level, we broaden the reach of our listening to the whole planet. Finally, he points out that as we connect at a more intimate level with our heroes and heroines, we see that they are human just like us, breaking down one more barrier on the road to oneness.
By blogging and tweeting, you are definitely opening yourself to connecting with new friends…and sometimes you connect with old ones. One morning, as intuition guided my writing for the day's blog, I found that my experiences of
contributing to Lee's weekly e-mail came into my consciousness. Those memories were woven into my article. As I published the blog on my website, I wondered whatever happened to Lee.
As I searched the Internet with what few details I had, I came across an individual named Lee Eric Smith who had the potential to be my friend from 10 years back. I reached out and sent an e-mail to this person. He quickly replied.
Not only was this my friend from so many years ago, but I discovered there was meaning behind our reconnecting. In one of those amazing coincidences of life, I found that Lee was publishing his own spiritually themed website (www.amessagefromgod.net) with an intention very similar to my own. Within a few days, we spoke for the first time. We discovered similarities on our paths to God and we explored a future in which we could work together.
Blogging has truly become an integral part of my spiritual path taking me to places I would never have imagined. As Ernest Holmes advised us, “There is something right within you and within me that is awaiting expression, and what we must learn to do is to get out of the way and let it express itself. Withdraw to ourselves, receive and distribute this Spirit. ” I know that I have withdrawn into myself, received and distributed. In doing so, I have found that the gift has returned to me many times over. May you find the same as you blog and tweet!
This article is simultaneous being posted here on A Message From God and on Conscious Bridge websites! For more information about Mark Gilbert, visit www.consciousbridge.com
Your comments and feedback on how social media has impacted your spiritual growth is greatly appreciated.