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Christmas Preparation 2011

on November 29, 2011

The Christmas season is very important to me.  If I wish to experience the loving presence that graced me in 2008, I know that I need to put forth full efforts to improve my attitude and lifestyle all year round.  There are many life changes that I’ve made this past year as part of my Christmas preparation:

1.  Stopping and Noticing;  I have forced myself to slow down and notice my surroundings.  When I shower, drive, eat, walk, listen or shop, I often feel an intense “sense of urgency”.  I have learned to slow down in spite of that driving force connect and with my surroundings.  After repeatedly applying this technique, I have started to enjoy my shower, my drive and my meal more.  I also recognize the needs of those around me more.  Many people just really need someone to fully listen to them, without judgement.  I learned that when someone really wants to talk to me, that is an opportunity for me to accept their love.  Other people just need someone to recognize that they are suffering and be there with them.  In these situations in the past, especially when working with patients, I used to feel discomfort while listening to them and think “I need to go back to working…I cannot wait for them to stop talking” and I would excuse myself.  Now I almost always let people keep talking until they have nothing further to say.  I notice that they are much happier and the next time I visit is much smoother since I have fully heard them and addressed all their concerns up front.  As I have slowed down, I have also noticed that I was bypassing many very needy people.  I was often worried about having enough time for my spiritual practices.  But I have discovered when I surrender to the needs of those around me, my spiritual practices have become easier and more adaptable.  For example, I can now meditate almost any time of day and my sleep demands have reduced by about 1-2 hours.

2.  Integrating with Nature;  I wish to some day be living integrated with nature.  To prepare for that dream I have made several changes in my life this year:

  • I started aerobic composting this year using kitchen waste and dry leaves.  As the year has gone on, the compost is getting better and transforming quicker.  Already I have used my first batch on my house plants and seen immediately amazing results.  I found Mike McGrath’s Book of Compost to be invaluable.
  • I also started a mixed organic veggie and flower garden this year (and I prepared gardens for a couple of my friends).  I started from seed and enjoyed many fresh flowers and foods this fall.  I am learning to organic farm in a garden using nature’s support.  I let the weeds grow and let the wild animals have access to the food.
  • I spent more time in nature than in 2010.  I went for many meditative walks after work.  I hugged many big trees.  I found this was very important for me and helped me to break free from some very uncomfortable emotional states.  I feel very safe and care free in nature and I can often keep this attitude when I return to work and my family.  I use nature to help prepare for my kriya yoga too.
  • I befriended bugs.  I have made an effort to look at, pick up and let all types of bugs be with me.  I have especially worked with bugs that I felt repulsed by, like earwigs.  Also on my nature walks, when I am in a meditative state, I let mosquitoes and flies bite me.  I remembered Yogananda mentioning this in the Autobiography of a Yogi.  Initially there is an intense anger in me from the pain that results, but then suddenly the pain and the anger dissolve and my body relaxes.  I choose to surrender and each time that I practice this, the bug bites bother me less and less.  In fact, after one intense session I was graced by the most intense loving presence for the rest of the walk.
  • I cleaned up my local park.  In the spring of 2011, I brought a couple plastic bags every time I visited a local park and filled them with trash.
  • I started feeding the animals around my home with bird seed and produce.
  • I planted a pear tree and some flowers at a scenic resting point on one of my favorite trails, as part of my annual blessing ceremony.

3.  Saying Yes;  I noticed more and more places to say YES.  I say yes to my kids more, even when every bone in my body wants to rest or be left alone.  I say yes to my friends more, even when my mind says “that won’t be any fun”.  I say yes to my employer more, even when I know it will add hours of more work in my day.  I say yes more because after a day of saying yes, eventually all my work is done and my mind and body fully relax.  I can then really enjoy peace, knowing I’ve done my best.

4.  Saying No Sometimes;  I have had to say NO sometimes when it was REALLY hard to.  I realized that some things I was doing only out of guilt, not out of love.  For example, instead of being more available for my kids personally, I was substituting by giving more money to their mother.  I was scared to stop doing this, because my ex-wife and I were finally friends.  But I realized our relationship was still dysfunctional because it depended on me giving money.  I finally moved closer to my kids (and farther from a friend of mine, who I had become attached to).  Once doing this, I stopped paying extra money.  Of course my ex-wife was made, but eventually she befriended me again and our relationship is much healthier than it has ever been (but there is still much work for me to do).  I also had become accustomed to talking to my good friend for 1-2 hours every night.  Initially this was a resource because we shared our days’ experiences and learned from each other at a time when there was little spiritual connection.  But as I my spiritual awareness grew, I became more aware of my ego and I could see that this was mostly an ego based activity.  It was very hard to say no to those nightly calls because I knew it would really hurt my friend’s feelings.  But I did and we have both grown closer to God from the separation that occurred.

5.  More Kriya;  Until the spring of 2011, I had forgotten my plan to steadily increase my kriya yoga after my first year of “warming up”.  In the spring of 2011, I remembered that plan and had a melting of some resistance to meditating.  I could suddenly see how my ability to let go of thinking and instead feel love in meditation, was allowing me to feel more love through out my day to day interactions.  I increased from 3 hours daily, to 4 hours about 2/3 of the time and 6 hours 1/3 of the time.  In October, I increased to 6 hours most days.

6.  More Random Acts of Kindness;  Inspired by the “I love you exercises”, I melted more and more egos in my life.  I started working at a free clinic.  I always bring flowers and give them to my patients.  I started humanitarian work, helping to repair homes for homeless people who are in the process of changing their lives.  I’ve given flowers, plants, food and money to complete strangers.  I connect those who are spiritually ripe to any resource they are willing to take (books, websites, movies).  I have started making more and more fresh organic food and for Thanks Giving I brought it to the hospital to share.

7.  Shrunk My Carbon Footprint;  I traveled much less in 2011, by choosing a job closer to home.  I also moved closer to my children, to reduce the driving time (and increase my availability to them).  I bike and walk more, drive less.  I recycle my kitchen waste (in the compost as mentioned above).  Next month I have made arrangements to start to take a train on my monthly commute to work.

8.  Reduced My Debt;  In 2011, I satisfied all my divorce expenses.  I recently paid off all my student loans.  I also met with the bank which I owe a large amount of money for my previous home, which sold for much less then it cost me to build.  I agreed on a payback settlement over three years, but I hope to be able to accomplish this in one year.

9.  Redefined My Job;  I have worked hard to develop the tools and skills needed to eventually be a spiritual doctor.  In 2011, I updated a paper that helps me bridge what I know spiritually with what I have learned medically.  I have also gained other skills while working as a neurologist to ease my transition into my future career.  As a spiritual doctor, I will be dealing with some of the most needy and intensely suffering people.  I now spend more time counseling my patients.  When in the hospital I go straight to the most intense situations and have significantly improved my ability to relieve tension for all those involved.  Every month my confidence grows that I can handle more and more challenging patients.

10.  I love my Guru even MORE;  during 2011, my Guru became more available for guidance through a private FB group (available to any serious God seeker, see the public FB Cyberspace Ashram).  I also have started re-reading the Cyberspace Ashram spiritual teachings again and applying the principles even more deeply.  I downloaded the free Cyberspace Ashram toolbar, which has made it easier to surf the website and stay connected to the teachings.  My relationship with Hans has grown and my loving connection with God has also become directly palpable again.  I see more and more work to do in my life.  Yet it is becoming more and more clear where exactly to put my full efforts.  This was one of my very first intense prayers to God…”I am willing to do any work for you, just please show me where to put my efforts”.  I thank God for clarifying my perception and inspiring more loving action in my life.

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2 responses to “Christmas Preparation 2011

  1. gopu says:

    Thank you for sharing this….It’s highly motivating
    One question – this is for my EGO to hear again
    Can I assume that 4 – 5 hrs of Sleep is actually enough for the body? Anything more is just extra sleep?

    • rgietzen says:

      Your welcome Gopo,
      4-5 hours is exactly how much sleep I’ve been getting on average the last 6 weeks or so. Most days my energy throughout the day is fine, but if I meditate too late at night or early in the am, I find myself in some half sleep/half meditating state. I basically wake up meditating, sitting upright with my eyes closed. So I might be making up for some fatigue in those sleepy kriya sessions. Also at times, if I’m going through a dense vibe my sleep needs do change.
      I tested the sleep thing on and off for a bit. There have been definite limits in my experience, but I’ve been able to slowly push them.

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