I rescued this miniature “chard tree” as it disappeared down the drain. I love its color and shape. For me, the vivid red and green is a happy reminder of Christmas season. But for all of us, no matter what our spiritual background, the arrow-like shape has significance. It points to the essential importance of a fresh, alive, growing relationship with our spiritual source.
Growing up, I pictured God, the Universe or Spirit as an entity. This entity was “out there” somewhere and s/he was way too busy to care about my puny problems. It never even crossed my mind to ask him/her/it for insight, comfort, or help.
Connecting to something bigger
Finally, in a Zen meditation retreat, I had my first experience of connection to something bigger. In the depths of zazen, I had a moment where I could not tell if I was breathing the air or the air was breathing me. My body felt like it existed only as a thin gate between inner air and outer air.
Inner Bonding helped me understand this more deeply, explaining to me that in my essence I am a chunk of the universal energy we call God or Spirit. I found I could discern when my spiritual essence found expression through my words and actions. In those moments, I felt an unmistakeable quality of rightness.
Gradually I realized that this spiritual aspect of myself is accessible only in the present moment, right here now. That’s why mindfulness is such a helpful practice for us HSPs: it gives us a way to put our sensory sensitivity and our powerful, deep-thinking minds to work in service of attending to the moment.
Most recently I discovered that when I come into the present moment with the express intention of connecting to Spirit, the benefits of mindfulness are infinitely magnified. Then I can touch directly in myself that chunk of spirit that is my own individual essence.
The more I touch that spiritual essence in myself, the more I feel the presence of Spirit that animates everything around me. The more I feel that presence of Spirit, the more my thoughts and actions align with that energy, and the more peace, joy, and energy I have.
This is what Inner Bonding is trying to give each of us: the tools to lead a spiritually aligned life.
We are in the season of giving, and if I could transmit this experience directly to you I would. But I can’t. Only you can choose to take in and act on this spiritual truth. This is the essence of the spiritual path: we have free will, and we can choose to turn towards our spiritual essence as our guiding light. Or we can choose to try to control everything.
Spiritual connection: your choice, and only yours
There is no decision you will ever make that will affect your life more than this choice. We all have to function on the earthly level: pay the bills, weed the garden, cook dinner. But these activities are transformed when we do them from a place of spiritual connection.
Inner Bonding and Focusing are powerful synergistic practices to stay aligned with our spiritual essence. Inner Bonding creates a framework. It reminds me that I alone am responsible for choosing my intent: do I want to learn? or do I want to control things to experience pleasure and avoid pain? I alone can attend to my spiritual alignment or lack of it. I alone can choose to ask for guidance, act on it, and asses the effects of my actions.
Focusing brings the six steps of Inner Bonding to the most intimate inner level, supporting and guiding you into a Loving Adult state so you can dialogue compassionately with your inner selves and access your higher guidance.
But, as powerful as these practices are, they can only work when you choose to use them. In the midst of this season of giving, don’t forget to give yourself this most precious of gifts. There is no possible material object or earthly experience that can match the deep peace and joy of being connected to your True Self—your spiritual essence.
Photo copyright 2017, Emily Agnew