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Dr. Ruth Cherry
Ruth Cherry, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Luis Obispo, CA. Her speciality is the merging of psychological and spiritual dynamics.
A Spirituality of Your Own
Isn’t it time that we move beyond religion and rules and belief into honest spirituality which is based on personal experience? Religion offers community which feels comforting and guidelines for behavior which build character. But true spirituality requires an adult’s presence to her own experience. Thinking about what an authority tells us is, at best, a jumping off point for us to assume our own authority.
Developing your personal spirituality means that you choose to participate with Life as an adult. You own your responsibility not only for your behavior but for your thoughts and for conflicts lying just below your awareness. You know that at your core you are a spiritual being having a human experience. You accept that this lifetime is a gift for you to learn some truths and, wisely, you surrender. You know that change is constant and you release your hold on everything, appreciating in this moment what you have been given but not demanding that it continue.
The emphasis is on attending. What am I supposed to learn from this frustration? What is my lesson in losing what I had loved? How am I gifted by the obstacles that block my hoped-for path? We pay attention to the details of our lives in a non-proprietary way.
Through our surrender we see pattern in our experience. We learn to listen to Life and to trust its tugs. We notice that we are asked to submit and to receive. We practice presence. We experience everything, inside and outside, and we release it. We practice gratitude, especially for what we don’t like. ‘Thank you for the opportunity to learn patience while I sit at this red light.’ ‘Thank you for showing me the part of myself I hate in another whom I find irritating.’
And we notice that the details of the day lead us deeper within ourselves. When we pay attention to what happens to us, we are led to what happens within us. We learn more by observing than by attempting to direct.
When we appreciate the unity of the outside world and the inside world, then we truly experience our own spirituality. Spirituality is oneness. It isn’t light and joy and beauty and otherworldly music. It’s the baby crying and the cat messing on the new carpet and the car that stops on the freeway and the job that doesn’t materialize. And it’s saying, “Yes, thank you. Now show me the next step.”
When we embrace our spirituality we say “Yes” to everything that happens because we know that we are one with everything. Our lifetime is not an opportunity to run our will. We are not on earth to see what we can make of ourselves. When we accept Life as an adventure and know that we are the students, then we open to learn. Openness, attention, and surrender are the hallmarks of a mature spirituality.
Ruth Cherry, PhD
Ruth Cherry, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Luis Obispo, CA. Her special.....
Ruth is the author of Living in the Flow: Practicing Vibrational Alignment, Accepting Unconditional Love, Transformation Workbook, and Open Your Heart.
A Deeper Level of Forgiveness
This is the year. I’m finally going to do it this year. I’m not wasting any more time. I’m not indulging any more delays. This is the year I am exploring forgiveness at a depth I’ve here-to-fore not mastered.
I can allow others to be confused or insensitive or preoccupied. I’ve learned to not take sleights personally. I can overlook the intermittent disappointment.
But there is a level of forgiveness I’ve yet to practice. And that has to do with releasing my Child’s hold on HUGE hurt feelings. In my Adult I can forgive anything because when I’m in my Adult nothing gets too far in. I can handle it intellectually or verbally or interpersonally. But the Child feelings are overwhelming and pre-verbal, necessarily unutterable. They have to do with my very existence, with the validity of the core of my being. In my Child I can be wiped out, completely demolished. I imagine that all the parts of me dissemble and float away and that I no longer exist.
How can I forgive when my very existence is at stake?
Because my very existence is not at stake. It feels like it is to my Child, but what I know as an adult that I could not know as a child is that the light at my core is not diminished, no matter what anyone does or says. Words hurt my feelings or my sense of belonging in the world. But no words destroy the integrity of my essence.
At my core I am one with God. No one created that and no one can destroy that. Verbal or physical insults don’t reach that deeply. And no matter what anyone thinks of me and no matter who hates me and no matter how badly I’m treated, I am one with God.
And from that place I can forgive anything. What detracts at that core level? Nothing human or passing. Certainly, I don’t need to be concerned with someone else’s judgments when I identify with my God-consciousness. And I don’t judge from that consciousness. Not anyone else and not myself.
I can forgive anything and everything. As long as I’m in my God-consciousness. All I have to do is to choose that. It’s always there.