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Spiritual Guidance from Guru

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A few months ago, I received clear spiritual guidance from my guru.  He still sends me important messages, even though he no longer has a physical body.  In this case, it was in a vivid dream just before awakening.

In this dream a scene unfolded.  I was communicating with a woman, when my cell phone rang.  I answered and it was Hans calling.  I have learned in the past that his spontaneous phone calls are highly valuable, and would always stop whatever I was doing and give him all of my attention.  In the dream I saw that my attention was torn between the woman next to me, and my guru on the phone.  Then I woke up.

My first reaction upon awakening was happiness to have enjoyed a visit with Hans.  My second reaction was to ask myself “what was the essence of this message”?  The answer was clear.  In life I was allowing the attraction to woman to distract me from my goal of God union.  Those who have studied the “Spiritual Treasures – Final Edition” know that a true God seeker anchors their attention on God in all aspects of life.  I have had a taste of how this is possible, such as during my Christmas Eve spiritual experience.

These days, depending on my responsibilities for the day, my connection with God can be so strong that it melts away any distractions, even the attraction to women.  This allows me to fully focus my attention on the task at hand, while also being aware of what is happening inside me.  However at the time I received this dream, I had a mandatory job responsibility that was so demanding that it disrupted my spiritual connection.  At those times, my attention could be distracted by women and other things, to varying degrees.  I was already aware of this, saw how it reduced the quality of my work and had made efforts to refocus my attention inwards when it was happening.  But this dream helped me understand just how important it was.  I understood that this was a critical life lesson for me to pass and hence gave it even more attention.

Likely as a result of successfully passing this lesson and many others, a new job opportunity has recently opened up.  One that allows for a more natural integration of kriya yoga meditative practices with my work day to ensure that I stay spiritually connected and in balance.  I am thankful for this clear spiritual guidance from my guru.

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A Spiritual Approach to Work Related Conflict

Hibiscus at Healthy Mind Body

Hibiscus at Healthy Mind Body

In life it is normal to encounter conflict, especially on the job.  In the grand scheme things, it is not about being right, or being the one in control, that determines one’s happiness levels.  What matters is how well you follow your heart.  In my personal experience, it became clear that what was most important for me was maintaining my spiritual integrity, being strong and forgiving.  I had to let other people go on making mistakes, and realize I am not responsible for their actions.  The best I could do was state what I felt was the correct action to them once, and then let them have freedom to choose.

Over the period of a couple years my strategy worked.  All I had to do was continue being an example of what I felt was right, and let others do as they pleased.  Having just one person using an approach that conflicted with the rest, was enough to raise awareness of what was wrong.  I just did what I knew was right, and did not have to attack that which was wrong.  Instead of trying to control others, I was more interested in noticing my inner reactions, and grew stronger at controlling my own thoughts and behaviors so they were not polluted with anger.  Meditation and other inner practices where key in my success.  This low profile, non-aggressive approach had an effect.  By the time I had finished the job, the “wrong approach” had lost popularity and I know in my heart I left the job environment better than the way I found it.

Read the full article here:

Forgiveness, A Personal Experience Melting Tension

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Life Goals and Values

I choose the following goals and values:

GOALS:
1. God Union; to be one with God
2. Love all beings and all situations
3. Be debt free
4. Reconcile with anyone I feel opposed to
5. RECOGNIZE the true needs of others
6. Develop the SKILLS to meet the true needs of others
7. Ease human suffering
8. Integrate my life with nature
9. Simplify my life

VALUES:
1. LOVE
2. Honesty
3. Authenticity
4. Self Discipline
5. Generosity
6. Usefulness
7. Simplicity
8. Efficiency
9. Faith in God
10. Self Appreciation
11. Gratitude

These life goals and values were first published in 2011 in a myspace blog, a service that myspace discontinued.  As I repost them now, in 2014, I’m happy to say that I am now debt free!  My life is much simpler, more integrated with nature and my ability to recognize the needs of others, meet those needs and ease human suffering has noticeably improved.  My ability to forgive, to the point that I can even hug people who I’ve had an intense conflict with, has also improved.  I feel God’s presence in my life more than ever.  Both when I close my eyes and look within, but also during my daily routines.  I find myself in the right place at the right time very often, and the purpose of my life work is more clear every month.  Although my path has been full of storms, it is moving forward in the correct direction and is being graced with deeper states of stillness.  An additional specific goal that comes to mind as I post this article is to spend more time providing holistic humanitarian work to those most in need on this planet.

 

Flint River, Windrise Retreat Center

Flint River, Windrise Retreat Center

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“I Love You” Exercises 2011

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The Spiritual Treasures – Final Edition inspired me to be creative and come up with a variety of random acts of kindness.  Specifically the posts labeled: “I love you exercises” and ” Annual blessing ceremony” provided me with some of these ideas, and here are some examples of how I put them into action back in 2011:
1.  Fed the hungry. I took 6 bags each with fresh food, treats and $40 to inner city Detroit and found 6 needy people who were fully open to receive the gifts. One guy was so happy when he found the money, he jumped up and was like a kid on Christmas morning:).
2.  I planted a pear tree a beautiful park like spot at the end of a hiking trail, over looking a small lake. I pushed the tree using my kids’ stroller and then also planed lily bulbs all around the base. Finishing touches included fresh compost from my back yard. My kids and a good friend joined for the adventure.
3.  My kids and I passed out about 20 beautiful flowers (roses, star gazer lilies and gerber daisies) to strangers in a nearby neighborhood and nature trail. We had a lot of fun and virtually everyone was happy to take them. Later my daughter asked if I would teacher more about “kindness”.
4.  Multiple garden sites have been prepared in my yard and a friend’s yard. I turned over a lot of earth, and added egg shells, leaves, coffee grounds and the sod. I’m going to let the compost “cook” for a month, then turn it again and add seedlings.
5.  Regular treats have been provided to the wild animals in my yard. Apples, carrots and pears for the deer, rabbits, skunk and hedge hog. And lots of bird seed for the birds and squirrels.
6.  I’ve cleaned up many bags of trash from another favorite park that I like to walk in. Each day I took a plastic shopping bag or two filling them up as I went and after a couple weeks the difference was noticeable.
7.  I’m slowing down to identify the needs of my patients and family members more. Some times this has meant more one on one time and listening. Other times it has meant: feel their frustration with them, but don’t always do everything for them (like teaching my daughter to read or my son to use the toilet on his own).
8.  Started over a hundred flower and veggies seedlings for my organic garden this year.
9.  Finished all preparations to start working a couple days/month for a local free clinic. I start in a couple weeks. The staff is super excited about my natural/holistic medicine angle. They want me to lecture all their patients (not just neurology ones). And they are “hand picking” a bunch of patients that are “hard workers” and want to make efforts to get healthier, but just need direction.
10.  March 1st, I increased kriya from 3 ½ hours per day to 4 hrs about 50% of the time and 6 hrs about the other 50% of the time.
These exercises in conjunction with a shift in attitude that occurred about the same time have accelerated my spiritual progress this year more than the two previous years combined!
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God Sent Experiences

Full Text Here:  God Sent Experiences

This article was originally written in Sept. 2011.  It had been posted in a blog about my spiritual path, Kriya Yoga, but that website dropped its blog services.  I repost it here to bring it back to life:

I have had many God sent experiences and would like to share some here. My mind was initially boggled with the thought of writing this note. There has been so much serendipity in my life, especially in the last 3 years when I started to consciously develop my spirituality. I couldn’t possibly share all the meaningful coincidences that have deepened my trust in an unseen Facilitator. And some of the most powerful ones, were small but perfectly timed interactions that uplifted me at the exact moment I needed it. But I will share what comes to mind now:

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Bowing

Bow

Bow

As part of my Kriya Yoga spiritual path, I have multiple assignments/ challenges. I would like to write about one here. The full assignment is described in the Spiritual Treasures – Final Edition and is called “Bowing to the feet”.  Please read that page for the most accurate description of this act and its meaning.  In short, this assignment recommends to bow as a gesture of dropping one’s pride/ego at the feet of an adversary/enemy/or any entity that we feel conflicted towards.  The bow when enacted is the same posture known in yoga as the child’s pose, except the crown of the head is touching the ground.   Study the above picture closely.

In addition to holding the correct physical posture, I find it is important to have the correct intentions.  Love is the intention that I hold.  I often visualize my ego descending into the core of the earth and being cleaned there.  My bowing always comes from a strong, loving place, never out of humiliation, shame or pity.

I followed the instructions of the Spiritual Treasures, starting alone in my home, bowing to God. The first time it didn’t feel sincere. I revisited the exercise several times and finally noticed a release of tension physically after the bow. I noticed my facial muscles relax (almost as if I had been holding a fake smile for some time). My eyes relaxed and I felt at ease.

Next I bowed alone at work during a time of conflict. I had been struggling with aggressive mind chatter and again this act did help initiate a reconciliation.

Then I decided to bow in a church, a place I had felt conflicted about. It was tricky to find an empty church, most are locked. Eventually I did. This was a different experience than before because… as I bowed deeply in the church, there was a chance someone could walk in. It was harder to focus on feeling the bow because my mind was preoccupied with worry about being discovered and how people would react. Finally there was a release.

A more challenging bow was a second time at the same church. This time I entered while a band was setting up for a rehearsal. I didn’t stop to look at anyone, but just bowed. It took longer for my mind to let go of the worry about “how I might look”. But it did. As I let go of pride my body relaxed and I knew the bow was complete.

The most challenging bow experience I performed in a park in the middle of the day.  I felt the urge to publicly bow directly in front of someone since my mind had been fussy about I would look in the church.  In the grand scheme of things, my “reputation” was much less important than becoming stronger than my ego.  While walking through the park, I knew of a sitting area off the path, with a bench.  I decided if there was someone sitting there, then I would walk straight up to them, ask if I could bow, and then do it.  When I came around the corner, God had a surprise for me…. there were two people sitting there!  I hesitated at first.  I felt out numbered and unprepared.  But I knew it was now or never.  I went up to one of the people and asked if I could bow.  He looked a little confused, but said sure.  When I bowed this time my mind was whirling.  But soon I felt my mind let go, and again my body relax.  The whirling continued but it was energy inside me that whirled, not my thoughts.  It felt good.  After about 2 minutes, the whirling energy relaxed a bit, and I stood and went on my way.

Later I felt compelled to bow to a female companion.  It resulted in a flow of silent tears on her part, an inner shift on my part and the melting of an invisible wall between us that I hadn’t realized was there, yet it was having a real negative effect on the quality of our relationship.  I ended up repeatedly bowing to her to foster an equally founded relationship feeling in my heart.

I also love to apply this practice towards my children.  I often find their actions make me angry and that same dense invisible wall comes up between us.  I prolonged bow helps soften me and the wall up.  Family life is better when forgiveness occurs at the level of the heart.  It tends to bring out the best in all of us and is the most lasting solution for selfish behaviors, compared to punishment.

Now, when I feel pride/ego becoming a problem, I can often just visualize bowing and it produces forgiveness inside.  Or if I need to overcome a spiritual crisis or am having difficulty forgiving someone, I will bow for an extended period of time at my home.  My knees may go numb, but my heart is much stiller when I’m done.  Even as I progress on my spiritual path, bowing remains a firm and basic practice to maintain inner balance.

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Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance

Click on Title for full text.

Spiritual guidance can also come internally in the form of a thought, idea, intuition or dream. We may suddenly have an insight that helps us in our life. We may find ourselves in the right situation or saying just the right thing at the right time to help another, augmenting our own sense of usefulness. We may have a dream that shows us a positive side of ourselves we have long forgotten. We may experience a reconciliation with someone in a dream and hence see that such is possible for the same in real life. We may feel drawn to go somewhere at a certain time, not fully understanding why, only later to see the purpose. This type of internal guidance tends to pop up when our mind is free. If we are absorbed in ourselves and our problems, there is no space for such spiritual guidance. To predispose ourselves to this, we need to learn to create space for it. We create space internally, through practices which train us to focus our attention inwardly. We create space externally, by setting aside time and energy solely for spiritual purposes.

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Lessons Learned on a Spiritual Retreat

I recently completed a month long spiritual retreat in Cambodia, in which I learned how to slow down. As I have progressed on my path, I have accomplished many goals. I have gotten out of debt, sold a large home, prepared for a major career change, navigated a painful divorce, moved several times, etc. All in all my circumstances have improved. Despite this, I have had a hard to shifting gears and slowing down, now that it is an option. Doing this was the biggest overall lessons I learned on the spiritual retreat. To achieve this, I had to face a variety of fears and desires that persistently popped up and disturbed my kriya yoga. I was successful at doing this. This was not just a matter of long hours of meditation. Having completed the many worldly goals I mentioned certainly made it easier for to do this. It’s easier to let go of fears of failure, if you have already succeeded on many of your goals. It would have been impossible for me to let go of these fears, earlier in my path when I had many uncompleted goals and no idea how I would tackle them. Anyone considering an extended spiritual retreat like this, should do their best to get their life in order first.

If you are interested in many of the details of the retreat, such as how I spent my time there, where I was and some other general facts, please read my article “A Spiritual Retreat Benefits All“. I will not repeat those points here, instead I will go straight into describing the exact fears and desires that threatened my success at shifting gears to slow down and focus more inwardly. I will start with my fears.

Fears:

1. Insecurities and doubts about the validity of my spiritual path. These were the first to pop up. They were not new, I have noticed them just below the surface before, and they typically become amplified when I am visiting my Guru. This occurs because I have had expectations that he will make my life easier. If things aren’t happening as I had hoped, then I feel frustrated and doubtful. What is amazing is that I don’t even know I have these expectations, until something I had hidden hopes for doesn’t happen. The more burden I try to put on him, the more anger I feel and the more doubt I am flooded by at these times. This same pattern of expectations and feeling let down has happened with the first two times I visited him. With each visit, the doubts are less intense and less believable. This time, I quickly noticed what was happening, and found these fears melted in the spiritual presence that has been growing inside me.

2. Fear of letting go of my past lifestyle. This retreat marked a transitional time in my life. I had just let go of a lucrative, yet hectic job and the second apartment associated with it before the retreat. I was preparing to start a more spiritual, home-based job upon my return home. There were fears about whether I would have enough patients to feel useful about my work or whether I would be good enough to attract new patients. Fortunately I had been through a similar experience before. I have learned that if I work hard at being useful, and the create space in my life to be available, that space always gets filled in. This fear, also was easy to let go of.

3. Fear of rejection. My long time weakness has been that I am a people pleaser. I would always prefer to say something nice to someone and avoid a conflict, than say the truth. My spiritual path has brought this to the surface many times. I’ve improved substantially, but when a conflict causes a lot aggression inside of me, I usually fall back to people pleasing or just being silent. I know that if I speak up, there is a real risk I will become passive aggressive and react out on my inner aggression. Recently, however I have been able to sit with that aggression without letting it control my reactions. There has been an increased spiritual presence that helps me see through it all. Hans challenged my people pleasing weakness. I realized he was right, I was developing more clarity, so that even when I am triggered, I can see a neutral, truthful way to respond. It isn’t what people initially want to hear, but as I am getting better at delivering the message, I can see it gains me respect. This fear took me awhile to face. It came up during multiple days of meditation, but eventually it fell away and one day I could see it was totally irrational. I was ready to face it and now that I am, it has been liberating.

Desires:

1. Small worldly distractions. I had many desires pop up when I entered the more intense phases of meditation during this spiritual retreat. My mind wanted to obsess about food, socializing, exploring the island, working on the computer, unsolved work at home, etc. When this got out of hand, my Guru somehow could tell. Twice during the retreat he confronted me about not taking things seriously. I have never seen him preform any spiritual tricks, but with these confrontations, it was clear that he knew exactly what was on my mind, without me having given a single outward clue. His firm demeanor did the trick both times. My mind quickly went silent and I found myself easily maintaining hours of kriya yoga.

2. Desire for a female partner. This was a big one. Although I have always had a healthy attraction towards women, this desire had not been active much until lately. I suspect I have been overwhelmed with so many other drastic changes, that women were not on my mind. I also had a platonic female friend until about 6 months ago. I am sure that friendship fulfilled much of my need for a partner. Now that things have changed, my mind started to shift gears. I noticed this mainly near the end of the retreat. My mind had passed through all the fears and desires mentioned above, before it came to this last big one. It became clear to me that one of the major reasons I still felt a need to rush, was that I wanted to make sure I was spiritually mature enough, so as to be ready to recognize my soul mate if the chance to connect presented itself. Such a meeting is a once in a life time opportunity and it was a major reason for my intense efforts. I realized however, that many never meet their soul mate during lifetime, and there was no guarantee that was part of my God given path. I sat there in meditation pondering, could I still be happy if I never have a partner in this lifetime. Tension started to build. I started to feel frustration and anger towards God, Hans, myself and just about everything. I was having a mini-crisis. I knew I needed to forgive all, and I did so with a spiritual bowing practice. As I bowed, I felt a silent crying inside. Eventually there was a break in the tension, and I felt God’s presence. I laughed, because I could see that as long as God was present in my life, the details just didn’t matter. I still hope to qualify for a loving female partner, when I am fully free and grounded in God, but I also trust that God has got my back. If its not in the cards for me, I know he will provide me a meaningful life. At that moment, my commitment towards God Union was tested and proven. I could sincerely say, yes I work for God as my source of happiness first. I care for the rest of this physical world, but it always comes second to God.

When I completed the retreat, a burden had been released. In the past, whenever I would think of the list of things to do at home, a sense of urgency would come up. Now I was able to accept the thought of a whole lifetime of work and my mind body spirit all felt totally at ease. I noticed my attention now turned inward much easier than it ever had before. It didn’t come easily, but there was a surrendering of my worldly goals. Now I often feel that I have all the time in the world. My attention is turned inwards, not because it is lost and searching, but because there is a living, spiritual energy coming alive inside. My attention is finding something valuable, hidden deep inside. I am thankful for the lessons learned on this intense spiritual retreat in Cambodia.

God Bless

Cambodian Beach

Cambodian Beach

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Annual Blessing Activities 2013

A couple days ago my Spiritual Teacher asked for anyone having personal spiritual experiences, such as feeling God’s presence or having a prayer answered, to share it with others. I love to share such experiences, but when I reflected on the topic, I realized that I had already blogged about all my most substantial spiritual experiences. In the past days, God, however provided me with a new batch of experiences which I will share now.

Since starting my spiritual path, every Spring I devote a day to sharing with the poorest in my community.  I got this idea from the annual blessing ceremony described in the Spiritual Treasures, Final Edition.  This year I did the same. God helped guide me to exactly the people most in need. God’s love and presence within me during these activities has grown substantially from when I first started. This presence can best be described as a stillness that brings ease to strong emotions that arise. It helps me see situations clearly, connect with people more deeply and creates a sense of physical relaxation, even in situations that are outside of my previous comfort zone.

Helping the neediest reminds me of what it feels like to share with someone who is totally open and accepting. In the past, I experienced a lot of awkwardness with this. The feeling could best be interpreted as if I was “doing something wrong”, or “up to something”. It would get so strong, that my voice would crack, and my arms shake during the exchange. It made me want to turn and run. As I would walk away, it was clear that I was experiencing intense fear. During this annual trip to Detroit, I would often notice bizarre fantasies pop into my head. They were filled with anxiety and fear. “What if I cannot find enough people to give the packages to”, “what if I get robbed or hurt”, “what if my car breaks down”, etc. These thoughts and feelings made me rush through the experience and head straight home. Afterwords, I would be frustrated that I had such thoughts and feelings, instead of just enjoying the event. The thoughts and feelings were truly irrational, as I always choose to go during the day time, in an area that has plenty of public traffic.

I am now easier on myself and my inner reactions. I recognize they are coming to the surface on purpose. I cannot stop them from surfacing, but I CAN chose to embrace them and myself. This time I was ready for such reactions! I made a conscious effort to notice them. I chose to take my time with the activity, including the moments that I engaged with the homeless people. Again I noticed the same emotions and thoughts, but they didn’t control me like before. Despite their presence, I was able to comfortable communicate with everyone, for as long as it was needed. I also felt really quite at home in the neighborhood. Because I was more relaxed, I noticed there was a vibrant community feel. There were lots of people out walking in the streets together, kids playing basketball and children playing in play grounds. I felt safe.

To help the poorest, I prepared “care packages”. Each package had a complete meal, as well as $60 in each bag. I immediately found a couple homeless people as I arrived in the city, but I did encounter one good problem this year. There were not as many homeless people around. I had brought five care packages, and after about an hour of searching, I still had one left. I decided to drive away, and had faith that I would find a needy recipient. Within fifteen minutes, I did. I developed a sudden hunger and happened to have a meal in the car with me. I noticed a highway rest area. I decided it would be nice to eat at the picnic table there and pulled over. I immediately noticed a woman sitting in her car with the door open a bit. We made contact and I offered her my last bag of food. She readily accepted it and we both ended up having dinner together.

I quickly came to realize, that she was the most neediest of all the recipients. She had no job and just lost her home. She had been living out of her car at the rest stop for a week with no solutions in mind. That day she had run out of all her money. She just enough gas to drive a couple miles. She was saving it to got to her cousin’s house where she had been going to take showers. I gave her some suggestions for job hunting. I also gave her about $400 in cash that I had just withdrawn from the bank. She wept. She said that she used to think that no one cared about her, but is now seeing that God is showing her that she is cared for. She just needed to learn to open up more and be more humble. She also realized that she doesn’t need much to be happy. She was now only wishing for a job and a simple home.

She appreciated the money and food, but she said just having dinner and talking to me was so nice. She had not really spoken to anyone at length, since this all started. I gave her a big hug and we went our separate ways. She had a hug load lifted off her shoulders and I had a deepened sense of faith in God and His spiritual guidance. He had efficiently answered my prayer to find people in need, and graced me with His presence more than ever during the process. God Bless.

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Seamless Solutions of Love

I love it when a problem is solved effortlessly. I have a growing faith in the ability of love to solve problems in such a way. I wanted to share a small, but meaningful experience here. It has to do with a compost pile that I manage at my home away from home. I spend 11 days every month out of town working. I have an apartment there, which I have made into my second home.

At that apartment, I was throwing away all of my organic fruit and veggie scraps, because I had no personal yard space for a compost pile. To me this was a real problem. 🙂 I love to garden and keep house plants. Well made compost is priceless. It keeps my plants healthy and happy. I know how valuable those food scraps are, and it hurt me every time I would toss them in the trash. My “solution of love” actually has two parts:

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My Apartment & Plants

The first part happened about one year ago, while walking to work. I suddenly noticed an area where the hospital disposed of landscaping waste. I saw that there was room on the side for me to start a little compost pile AND there were tons of dried leaves already sitting there. Dry leaves + kitchen scraps + time = great compost. I had everything I needed to make good dirt, right next to my apartment. My problem was solved, just by me stopping and noticing the resources around me.

This little operation was successful until this fall. One day on my walk to work, I noticed that the whole area had been bulldozed over. My little compost pile was gone and so too were all the leaves! This is where part 2 of the my solution comes in. My initial inner reaction, was basically to pout about the turn of events. I was a little bit angry at whoever had done that. I noticed that anger and made a conscious effort to stop the mental blaming, but allow the energy that was activated in me to be felt. Every morning I would go through this inner procedure, because walking by the area would bring it all up again. I figured I would have to discard my kitchen waste again. However, I decided to save it until the last day, in case a solution presented itself. And it did! On the last night I was in town, I noticed one of the neighbors had raked up all of her leaves and was getting ready to burn the pile. I also noticed a vacant lot, right across the street. I asked for and was granted permission to move the pile of leaves across the street for my newest compost pile. This compost pile was an upgrade! The leaves have zero trash in them, the pile was closer to my apartment and the location was less likely to be disturbed.

The funny thing is, if I had been self absorbed with the predicament of losing the old compost pile, I may have never been observant enough to notice the solution that was right in front of my nose. This may have been a small “solution of love”, but I know the procedure works the same regardless of the size of the problem. I am sure there are many other solutions, right in front of my nose. I wish all a growing inner strength, so that “letting go” comes easier and solutions happen more seamlessly.

God Bless,

Roger

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The Nature Path to Work

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