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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.
December 19, 2019
We Hate What We Fear
December 11, 2019
At Mass when I was a kid we said, "I am not worthy. I am not worthy. I am not worthy." Without realizing it, I learned shame and self-hate. I maintained a low level depression throughout much of my youth. I thought that was what I was supposed to do. Even today at my lowest moments I hear the words, "I am sorry I’m not good enough."
Immediately, I catch myself and yell "Stop!" I cannot afford to deny myself. It’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to God. When I deny myself I deny God. God needs me. This all powerful omniscient being needs me in order to express on earth. What a kick that is!
I had thought that my life was about pleasing God (or at least trying to earn her approval) but that basically She was ill-tempered and irascible. I thought I was meant to work and strive and suffer until I could squeeze a blessing from her. I used my brain to devise beneficial deeds that would justify a spot in her good graces.
Now I see that thinking and creating worthwhile projects and doing good works is another way to deny God. When I rely upon my head and make decisions based upon my thoughts, I make my brain God. Whatever is the basis for our decisions is our God.
When I want to know God and hear from God, I maintain silence and I wait. I imagine that God lives inside me in my very center as a tiny flame. I can breathe into that center space and pay attention and listen and, thus, I allow God. God is. When I pay attention I experience God. That experience is momentary. I don’t know in advance what I will find. I say, "I am available" and then I wait and I pay attention and I allow.
God moves in me and through me. God is a verb. In the first part of my life God was a judge and a critic. Now God is creativity and passion and involvement. God moves and I don’t know why or how or when. My job is to pay attention and try to keep up. I follow as I’m led. I sit in the back seat and appreciate the perfection of each moment. I’m not driving the car and I don’t know where I’m going. And isn’t that exciting?!
My spiritual life is an adventure. No one has ever lived my life and no one else ever will. There isn’t a right way to be me. Now, in the second half of life, I allow God to peek through and speak through me. I remember that wherever I am, God is. And I allow.
December 4, 2019
The Mid-Life Woman's To Do List
December 2, 2019
Learning to Meditate
Meditation serves as a solid foundation for any spiritual practice. It doesn't matter what style of meditation or in what lineage or who your teacher is. Meditation opens us to Universal wisdom by practicing presence and surrender.
When we meditate, we don't strive. We experience each second with attention and acceptance. Our intellect waits outside the door and, for a few minutes, we simply “be.”
If you have sat with the intention of meditating, you have noticed the cascade of thoughts that demand that your attention. These Controller threats convince us that, really, it is not responsible to “sit and be” when there is work to be done, a phone call returned, or plans finalized. Everything we hear from our Controller is true but the underlying motivation for this voice is to avoid vulnerability.
The Controller is the part of us that insists that we avoid our feelings and focus on thinking. The Controller's orientation is external--fitting in with the established order around us. The Controller doesn't want to ackowledge our inner world.
But for those of us who commit to follow a spiritual path, we know that allowing, then appreciating, then trusting our vulnerability is the only way to healing and transformation. It is only by moving deeply inside ourselves that we open to the guidance which is always available to us.
The wisdom at our deepest center always pulls us to heal. When we acknowedge that wisdom and cooperate with Life by saying Yes to our experience, we choose healing and transformation. Practicing partnership with Life is our sacred duty.
I have meditated for decades and have taught meditation to many,many interested folks. I offer guided meditations as a way for folks to learn meditation.
For years I have led guided meditation groups. Recently, I have recorded guided meditations of 15, 30, and 45 minutes. Folks gradually learn what it is to experience the healing power of meditation by listening to and experiencing the recordings.
For folks with no experience, the 15 minute guided meditations introduce them to the experience of practicing presence. My frequent instructions direct the listener to focus on the current second. I have recorded dozens of 15-minute meditations so the listener doesn't memorize the words of any one. The variety keeps the experience fresh. The repetition emphasizes the practice of presence in “this second.”
Meditators with some experience who want structure choose the 30 minute meditations. The silences between prompts are slightly longer. At this level meditators are more self-reliant but still focused by the prompts.
At the 45-minute level meditators establish a daily process with a structure that allows for ample opportunity to practice surrender. When we practice surrender we say Yes to the current second. At the 45-minute level, meditators learn to maintain their focus, to practice presence and surrender, and to monitor their own inner world process.
I expect that this easy-to-use process with the recorded meditations will be accessible to everyone and flexible enough to accommodate differing needs for direction and silence. Practitioners will develop mastery and confidence on their own. They will also learn how to maintain a daily practice with or without the recorded meditations.
I would appreciate your participation in this study. Please access the meditations at www.RuthCherryPhD.com/guided meditations. You can listen to them on your phone or your computer.
Choose a tier (15 or 30 or 45 minutes) for your meditations which is challenging but not discouraging in its level of diffculty. Meditate every day for a month with any meditation from that tier. (New meditations are added to each tier each month.)
Then, please write to me describing your experience and your response to using the recorded meditations. RuthCherryPhD@aol.com
I want to hear from you about how you move from being a non-meditator to being a committed meditator. I also want your reactions to the recorded meditations. I am committed to doing this work. I invite you to participate with me in promoting healing and transformatin for our world.
Ruth Cherry, PhD
805 439 2757
September 23, 2019
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, 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.
July 18, 2019
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.
July 16, 2019