spiritual awareness

Setbacks are Learning Opportunities by Pixie Hamilton

My friends and work colleagues say I have an uncanny ability to concentrate.

So, I sit and wonder what that really means?

In the past I would have linked that to self-discipline and self control.  

Today, I link concentration to bringing myself to a common center and putting my attention, intention and emotion to what I want and who I am becoming in this world. My concentration is more linked to a higher power or guidance system, rather than self-discipline.

Just for an hour…this next hour I determine what I want to think about. I hold onto it, letting my mind and heart concentrate from my core, moving along my path of higher consciousness.

I relax my body because this is now only a mental and emotional exercise, which quickly becomes part of my soul.

I am in a state of harmony.

I vow NOT to walk downstairs and practice any type of fear, self-doubt, anger, gossip, or disappointment today…because I know that then, I will introduce disharmony into my state of being. My subconscious mind will become confused and my day will take on an increasingly muddled state.

My desire is that my prayers, thoughts, words, and deeds reinforce one another because the effect in my day will be glorious and powerful. Where they are not in accord, they will cancel out, leaving me where I started, or even worse off.

I start to lose it a little. I instantly sense frustration because I didn’t (can’t) hold onto the harmonious state I achieved in that hour of concentration, meditation and prayer.

It’s ok. I am human. I am reminded that spiritual growth is not a steady upward line. I accept that I will not have a path of unbroken progress in the attainment of happiness and fulfillment every day. It’s ok to move steadily for awhile and then have a setback.

I stop beating myself up. I forgive myself and know that I will learn from the setback. I realize that my setbacks are not important as long as the general movement and desire for fulfillment of my life purpose is forward.


“Keep on, keepin’ on” comes into my head. I smile. The Divine is always leading me in the most perfect of ways.

Life as a Koan

With birth (a new granddaughter!) and death (my Dad's passing) knocking at my door this month, my natural inclination is to become pensive. I draw inward and notice how I am feeling, what is happening inwardly for me as big life events jiggle my consciousness and emotions stream through my being. During the last week of my Dad's life, in the early hours before dawn, I was contemplating my Dad's life and my life with him, allowing a spontaneous life review to flow through my mind. Flashes of insight flowed throughout the review.

Suddenly I saw life as a koan. What is a koan? Here is the definition I like from the internet  "Koan :  a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment." Notice that one must abandon mental activity, at least momentarily,  in order for the enlightening moment to emerge.

I thought about feeling emotionally disconnected from my Dad early in life and the impact it had on me. Paradoxically, we made our way to a sense of emotional and mental peace, a true closeness with one another through our journey of simply being ourselves with one another - accepting all that this means. Suddenly I saw life as a journey that you can't know about ahead of time. You must surrender and live it fully to experience the truth of its meaning for you. Being ever true to Self leads to reaping the rewards.

I thought about my Dad's dedication to living with spiritual awareness, and his clear desire to support others on the journey into this awareness. Paradoxically, at times he could alienate those of us closest to him. He had a way of speaking at us about this truth that we must discover, and how to get about the business of doing this. That didn't feel spiritually aware, it felt bossy. At the end of his life, he was a demonstration of remaining ever-constant to his beliefs about the body simply housing his personal consciousness that will indeed make its transition onward one day. He lived a very conscious end of life process, very aware and very clear about his desire to be present to the entirety of it. I grew to feel even closer to him as he prepared to leave this reality.

I thought about my family dynamics and the lessons I learned by living through, and also by leaving behind, the dynamics I no longer wished to perpetuate. My determination to live a clear and consciously directed life set my course onto a path of deep healing. I remain grateful for the challenges of ending old patterns, of leaning into being forgiving and open-hearted. It is often through overcoming personal inner difficulty that we grow to become our strongest and wisest self, able to serve the world in the best of ways. Paradoxically, those difficult dynamics, when worked with consciously, become a gift. They are the fire that burns away the clouded conditions that keep us from seeing our own inner truth. With this kind of consciousness we may launch into our best life.

Life as  a koan - a thought that brought comfort and then clarity in many ways. Suddenly I want to consider everyone's life, and presence in my life, as a koan. Each life a paradox that I can meditate upon, to sit with in wonderment, in curiosity about the purpose, the meaning of it all. And in that wondering, in that spacious holding lightly for review, perhaps I will be gifted again and again with these little enlightments, with the release of reason, opening me to the greater gifts of intuitive insight and deep personal peace.