Some of the calendars have the Ten Spiritual Practices on them, but you can always download this from our website and print it out to put on your mirror or refrigerator or your office cubicle or whatever, wherever. Maybe tape it somewhere in your car, just remind yourself of coming back to these basic fundamental spiritual practices. And one of them is gratitude.
And you know, as I have been reflecting on the reality of angels, guides, and bodhisattvas who support us in our lives invisibly, one truth that comes through over and over again is that the practice of gratitude opens the door to guidance very powerfully. It is almost as if the energy field of gratitude just draws in guidance or rather that it opens us up more to the guidance that is always available to us. So I highly recommend that you practice a form of gratitude because when you are trying to listen to divine guidance for yourself in your life, making decisions, complaining, fear, and worry, that is not going to open the doors to divine guidance. I am sorry. It is gratitude.
Audience Member: We have been trying.
ChiSing: I know. We have been trying that way for a while. Now we can try something different. Gratitude is a very crucial, important, and essential key to opening ourselves to really deeply listening and getting the support of our angelic friends.
So I'm going to just share a little insight that came to me this past year, and I will share a little insight that was added to it just this past month. Isn't that wonderful? We may have insights in our life, but it is not the end of the chapter, is it? We always have some new insight that may be added to our former insights, so I want to share that before I forget about it. Then I will go back to the topic. But you know, the more we listen to the insights that truly do come from spiritual guidance, the more we will keep receiving more guidance.
Right now I am just remembering a saying by Jesus, who was a spiritual master teacher like Buddha and others. He said something about in one of his parables to the one who was given, much more will be given. And I don't know. I just thought of that teaching, and I think it is very true. When we truly receive and get into the habit of receiving, if we practice receiving, we keep receiving more because we have started to get the ball rolling. But here's the thing.
The opposite is also true. If you receive guidance, but you keep ignoring it, you get into the habit of ignoring it and then more and more you just don't listen anymore. So we have to be careful to act on whatever true guidance we get. Act on it immediately so that you can receive even more, and don't get into the habit of always doubting, always coming up with excuses. When you know you are receiving true guidance, you need to act on it, you know? Because if you keep ignoring it, it creates this habit in your mind of just shutting the door to the guidance.
So one example of guidance, an insight I received, was realizing that our purpose and our time on earth, our meaning on earth can really be summed up in three things, that we are here to find and recognize and honor our spiritual elder brothers and sisters, and we would need to receive from their wisdom. So we need to consciously and actively recognize and honor and receive from our spiritual elder brothers and sisters.
So for me, one example would be Thich Nhat Hanh, whom I consider a very great grand elder brother. So I try my best to honor and acknowledge and recognize him as a spiritual elder and also to receive from him by going to his retreats or reading his books and really putting into practice the things that I've learned from him. You know, it is not enough just to honor a spiritual teacher if you don't actually do what they say, you know, and practice. You have to practice. You know, in the past centuries, most religions were focusing more on worshiping their spiritual teachers, but that doesn't do you any good. You have to practice the teachings and apply them. That is how you really honor the spiritual teachers.
The second thing is to find who your younger brothers and sisters on the planet who may not be as mature as you are in spirituality or in life who may need a lot of help, to recognize who your younger brothers and sisters are and be of service to them. Help them. Be a light to them. Share love with them. Share wisdom with them. That is a major part of why we are here, is service. We are here to serve.
And then the third insight I had is that we are also here to find our relatively equal spiritual peers. I mean, no one is exactly the same or equal, but relatively on the similar wavelength, to find each other like we have found here at the Dallas Meditation Center, and to support each other in community, to support each other in spiritual projects that we may do together as a family or as a community or as partners. There are different ways that we partner up with our spiritual peers. Find your peers and learn how to communicate with each other and support each other and create projects together to form communities of light. That is what we're doing here. We are learning how to—and sometimes there is friction, and that is all part of the process, is learning how to be in community with each other, to not just be Lone Rangers spiritually, but to really learn how to be in partnership.
But you know what, over the last month I realized there was a fourth insight. I am so happy it came to me because it really has been very helpful for me. And the fourth insight is not only do we have to find our spiritual elders and serve our spiritual younger brothers and sisters and partner in community with our spiritual peers, the fourth insight was then we also have to let go of those who it is not going to be part of our karmic mission in this particular time or lifetime to interact with them or to help be of service to them.
There are some people who are just, we are not meant to connect with, you know? And we don't have to worry about it, and we can just let them go. And there are a few people that I know in my life who for some reason, they just don't like me. They just don't want anything to do with Buddhist spirituality or meditation, and they just don't want to even talk to me. And you know, before I used to just agonize over that. Like, why don't they like me? Or why don't they want to be more open to spiritual practice?
It's like, it is okay. That was my insight. It is okay. It is okay to let them be on their path, and at this time or in this lifetime, it is just not meant for me to be the one sharing with them. And that is okay because the universe wants someone else that is going to help them. Someone else will be helping them who is maybe more on their wavelength. You see? Not everybody is going to be on a close enough wavelength that we can actually be of service to them, so most people, you can just bless them, pray for them, love them, and let them go. And that is important. We don't need to agonize over the ones that just do not seem to want to be helped, okay? Just trust that the universe has someone else in mind to help them.
And besides, think about it. On this planet of 7 billion people, you are only going to know a fraction of them, you see? You don't need to serve every single person on the planet directly. You just need to be responsible for your particular circle of influence and trust the universe is taking care of everyone else and their circle of influence, too. You see? So I am just grateful for the angelic guidance and receiving that insight because it just makes life so much easier just to look at everyone from those four points of view: our elders, our younger brothers and sisters, our peers, and then those who are meant to be helped by others and I don't need to concern myself with them right now. I can just pray and bless them and let them go.
So, what are angels? What are guides? What are bodhisattvas? Well, I don't know that there is a definitive answer to these questions because I believe that all spiritual concepts are ultimately metaphors, even though there is part of it that is somewhat tangible or literal or physical or whatever or real in some sense, but ultimately anything that we say with human words or ideas is always going to be at least partially metaphorical. But we do not need to cling to exact definitions too tightly. We can be open in the way we talk about spiritual realities and all realities really.
So, I believe that guides are souls just like us who have come through some sort of learning process like the process the way we have here on earth, and they are no longer in physical bodies, but they are in the spiritual dimension, and they are like our elder brothers and sisters, just slightly elder to us, who are assigned to us—who are happily assigned to us to be like an older brother or sister just to help us out in this earth life invisibly. And of course guides can be junior guides or senior guides who are very, very high-level guides, but we all have guides. We all have souls who are just like us but who are just a little bit further on the path than we are helping us.
And what are angels? Well, I personally do not believe that angels are souls. Rather I think of angels as embodiments of divine thought. A Buddhist way of looking at it is that when anyone becomes a fully enlightened being of the Buddha, then they have the capacity to shine forth many Buddha bodies across the world and across the universe, and so when you are a fully enlightened Buddha, you have the ability to send the Buddha body across many, many places. So you can be in many places all at once. So I believe when the Buddha radiates love and wisdom and spiritual power, it radiates as bodhisattva bodies, and so if you look at the same concept from a Judeo-Christian/Islamic point of view, then angels then are simply God's thoughts projected outward. So I believe angels are just simply created embodiments of divine thoughts of love and compassion from divine source.
So you might think of each of us as having one guardian angel our whole lives who is always with us and never abandons us. So that guardian angel would simply be a creative embodiment of the fact that the divine spirit is always with us. But uniquely for us because each of us has our own unique guardian angel, meaning that each of us is uniquely cared for by the universe, by the divine, by source, by spirit, by Buddha nature—whatever you want to call it. And so I love that metaphor, because that just means that divine love it isn't just this generic love for everything, but uniquely for you and you and you. And that is what a guardian angel to me symbolizes, that unique love and care from the universe for you specifically.
And of course, we have many angels in the world because all divine thoughts can be expressed as angelic beings, so there are angels of healing because the divine thoughts of healing for us, the angels of hope, the angels of strength, the angels of courage, all kinds of angels. So we actually have trillions of angels on the planet because there are so many infinite divine thoughts—not just from the direct source of all, but from all enlightened beings, and also from bodhisattvas and also from our elder brothers and sisters who are humans.
In fact, all of us create angels every day because whenever we have an inspired intention or inspired thought or whenever we do a blessing of prayer for someone else, we are sending angelic energy out into the world. So I believe that is really what angels are. And then of course, some people may see angels and they may see angels with wings or angels with beautiful robes or just balls of light or whatever, but these are just the human capacity to creatively visualize something that cannot be visualized, you know?
So for example, Lorna Byrne, who wrote the book A Message of Hope from the Angels—I have read this twice now, and I really believe she is the real deal, that she does speak and communicate and see angels. But the way she sees angels is through her own creative mind, and she sees them very vividly with her particular colors and clothing, and sometimes she sees them switching between male and female genders back-and-forth or whatever, and sometimes they are more masculine or more feminine or just balls of light. But does that mean that that is what angels exactly are literally? Well, not necessarily, but we each can see, perceive reality in our own kind of way. That is the power and the beauty of the mind. And so do angels actually wear clothes and have wings? Well, I don't necessarily believe that, but I believe that you can see it that way.
And so, we each have these creative beautiful things called minds and imaginations, and they can be utilized to perceive in creative, beautiful ways realities that are beyond the physical. Why is that? Because as long as we are in human bodies, we have to perceive things in a filter, a filter of our human mind consciousness. And so why not visualize an angel with wings and color and light? You know? Or visualize an angel just as a divine thought or a bodhisattvic-Buddha energy intention or a blessing prayer for someone else or a sphere of light shining and reminding us of the light that we are.
That is why when someone has a near-death experience, they are all different. They never seem to see the same exact subjects, but that is because the heavenly reality is so far beyond human physical 3-D dimension. You can only try to describe it in the limited human 3-D language because it is so far more, but we still have to try to perceive it. We still have to try to describe it. And so many people see different things in their near-death experiences, and I believe most of them are valid, true experiences of a deeper reality, a loving reality, but they maybe experience it in their own unique way.
So next week, we're going to continue this series on angels, guides, and bodhisattvas and on the guidance process of the soul with a writing meditation practice. So I am going to teach you how to access guidance very directly and powerfully through writing meditation, where you write a letter to your angels and then you meditate and then you write whatever comes to mind. And the more you do it, the easier it gets to get more inspired thoughts. At first, you may have a mixture of random thoughts with inspired thoughts, but the more you do it, the more it is easier to channel the inspired thoughts.
And a lot of people who have never done it before and did it for the first time in some of my workshops, they are so amazed and surprised how easy it was to receive such powerful, profound, inspired guidance. Why is it so easy? You are always receiving it. It is just a matter of unblocking your human consciousness to finally recognize that. It has always been there.
And also I have been very happy and the last few months to do this process of GPS, Guidance Process of the Soul, for a few members of the sangha. So every week, I do phone counseling for about 20 minutes on the phone once a week, just to check in. We may do a prayer together. We may do a meditation together. I usually close with a chant, and I just listen to whatever is going on, and then I also give my feedback and also just check in on how I have been doing each week with at least a few of these 10 spiritual practices.
And I also have finally found this wonderful deck of cards that is amazing. It is so amazing these messages, so sometimes if I feel like it, I will pull a card from the deck to see if there is a particular message for the person I am talking to on the phone. It is amazing how many times it is just the right message that they need to hear, and so I enjoy that. Does that mean it is because of that particular deck of cards? I don't know. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. But I think it is also more importantly because I am at a place in my life right now where I am much more open to divine guidance, and so my spiritual practice influences everything around me. So it could be a deck of cards. It could be anything, you know? It could be anything I choose as a way of channeling divine inspired guidance, not because of that particular deck or that particular divination method or that particular I Ching or whatever. It is mainly because I am spiritually attracting that ability to channel inspired guidance because of my own practice.
I can tell you right now that I am at a much higher level in my practice today than I was a year ago. I have gone through so much transformation in the past year because of going through cancer. It has been an amazing journey, and I am so grateful for everything I have learned through this process. So I am not afraid of cancer anymore. I am not afraid of any disease. We all die at some point. We all get sick. So that is nothing out of the ordinary. So I am no longer afraid of that. It is no big deal anymore. What matters is I am alive today. I'm healthy enough today to do my spiritual work, and I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it every single day I have available to me until I cannot do it anymore, and maybe even then I can be happy and smile and know that I've done my work and I will have more work in the next life. And other people will take care of the work when I am gone from this life. See? There's nothing to worry about. And so it's all good.