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Friday, December 29, 2017

Morning Reflection: You are Enough

What do you do when too much is never enough?

Have you ever known someone who acquired so much of something, and was never happy? I was one of those people, but my acquisition was food. No matter how much I ate, it never seemed to be enough.

I realize now that I used food as my drug of choice, to try to dull the pain I was feeling. The pain of self defeating beliefs, of loneliness, of frustration. The pain of being a flawed human being.

But no matter how much I ate, it was never enough.

In life, we sometimes seek to acquire something that we think will make us whole, complete, adequate or enough. Usually though, what we are chasing is external, and can never make us truly happy. Often, we think that acquiring enough of something will make up for a huge lack we feel in one of our essential needs, and believe that we will be happy then.

True happiness comes not from knowing that you are enough, but from knowing that you don’t have to be.

True peace comes from letting go of the comparisons that beset us, and instead listening to the truth from inside of us. That is difficult because it requires us to make peace with ourselves, but how will we ever have peace with the world if we have it not in our own heart.

Listening to our own truth requires humility, dedication, courage and above all, quietness.

Just know that you don’t have to be enough. You are, and that is enough.

Just be.


Dr. Alan Barnes

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Morning Reflection: Expectation

When the world around you is quiet, what do you hear?

The more silent the world outside becomes, the more I can listen to the noise from inside. That noise varies from day to day, but as I try to find balance and stillness in my life, I find that I become more aware of the cacophony inside.

The noise from within my soul is the sound of my fears, my dreams, regrets and desires. Also, sometimes that sound is measured with compassion, concern and courage.

I have discovered recently that expectation is often the greatest cause of discordance within my soul. Expectation, whether from a sense of entitlement or expectation after an effort has been expended, creates for me more soul-noise than anything.

Expectation, I have found, is the enemy of gratitude.

Self expectation, expectation of others, expectation of deity. All of these coalesce into a roaring maelstrom that defeats my desire to find peace, which I think may be cloaked in gratitude and compassion.

Expectation is essentially self focused. So as I seek to understand myself, I seek to find out why I have these expectations, and if they are reasonable or something else. I try to understand which of my needs these expectations satisfy. Often, I find that the expectation meets several of my needs, which is why I am so addicted to these expectations.

I suspect that the more I move away from expectation, the greater peace I will find, and the greater compassion I will discover.

So in my attempt to find stillness in my soul, I have to learn to let go of expectation.

And that is not easy.
Dr. Alan Barnes

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Morning Reflection: Noise is Oscillation

Could you turn it down please...

Prior to the advent of headphones, I heard this a lot as a child. Then as headphones became more popular, the sound got quieter, but the noise got louder.

I live in a world today with a lot of noise. Some comes from my soul, some comes from the drama of other people, and some from what a teacher of mine refers to as ‘human problems’, by which I think he means that inescapable fact of being a person, alive in this universe.

But recently I have noticed that I use the noise of others to drown out the noise of my own soul. That comes from my wants, my needs, my beliefs and my fears.

Over the last 10 years I have allowed other people to become my distraction. What looked like dedicated service, or great kindness, was often a way for me to avoid the sound of my own soul.

Too many of us now live in a world of distraction, noise, entertainment and the ever present soundtrack of headphones, devices and clicks.

When do we take time to be silent, and allow the whispering of our soul to become pre-eminent in our lives. How often do we sit in silence and solitude, allowing the universe to unfold before us.

No, we use the noise to avoid the silence that introspection requires.

And that noise stops us from living out our lives authentically, honestly and vibrantly.

Life requires balance, and noise is oscillation.

To find peace, seek silence.

And listen.

Dr. Alan Barnes

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Morning Reflection: Listen

What are you listening to?

I heard something yesterday that forever changed my perspective, and hopefully will change me going forward.

My wife was opening a present that I had given her. Inside was a gift certificate I had purchased for her to do something that she wanted to do.

Her reaction, in a moment of honest joy, was a simple two word phrase...

“You listened”.

As she hit me with that beautiful smile that I fall deeper in love with every day, those two words resonated in a powerful way deep in my soul. For her, the gift of what she wanted to do was really secondary to the gift I had given by paying attention, and by knowing her, noticing her, valuing her and learning who she is. By listening to her, I was really saying that I loved her, and that her happiness was important to me.

Too many times in my life I listen to the sound of my own soul, my wants, my needs, my opinions, my judgments.

How often do I listen to the sound of someone else’s soul? Their wants, their needs, their opinions, even if they are diametrically opposed to my own.

For me, I don’t listen like I should.

So I need to be better, be quieter, pay more attention.

And listen.

Dr. Alan Barnes

Friday, December 15, 2017

Morning Reflection: Flexibility

you are born, you’re really flexible. When you are dead, you’re really not.

Flexibility denotes movement, so therefore movement is a component of life. The 7 signs of life are respiration, irritability, nutrition, growth, movement, excretion and reproduction (Thank you Mrs Thomas, I still remember).

So an area of your life in which you are stuck indicates a lack of movement, and therefore the presence of death.

What are the areas of your life in which you feel stuck, and therefore dead?

Chances are, these areas are the same today as they were yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that.

Movement in life is essential, especially if an area of your life is out of balance and causing you pain.

What are the areas of your life that are stuck in unbalance, and how can I help you find movement…?

Dr. Alan Barnes

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Morning Reflection: Seeing Yourself

You cannot read the label on your own jar”.

Meaning: you can’t see your own problems as clearly as you see everyone else’s.

I have reached a point in my life where I truly believe that the only true enemy that exists to my happiness and success is looking right back at me in the mirror each morning.

If I am to take ownership of my life, then I have to own my problems. However, most of the time, we can’t see our problems. The bible talks about seeing the ‘mote’ or speck in someone else’s eye but not seeing the ‘beam’ or speck in your own eye.

I think that’s partly because you can see their inconsistencies, whereas facing your own usually means confronting powerful and painful emotions that you don’t want to experience.

What do you see when you look at yourself? What do others see when they look at you?

I wish I could see myself the way you see me, because all I see is my own distorted view.

I wish you could see yourself like I do. Chances are, I think you are amazing.

Dr. Alan Barnes

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Morning Reflection: Listen to the Silence

The truths we don't want to hear, are often found in the silence we try to avoid.

I've been working harder on my meditation practice over the last couple of weeks, and I've realized that the thoughts that intrude are often the sign of areas of my life that are incomplete, unbalanced and requiring my attention.

Reflection requires focus, and too often we distract ourselves. We use media to distract us, serving others to justify us, our angers to persuade us, food to pacify us, and causes to absorb us.

All of these create a pathway of avoidance, while the silence that our heart requires to find peace is forever just out of reach.

We can strive to find truth in peace, or we can allow chaos to uncover it for us. Unfortunately, chaos usually brings pain as it's companion.

Listen in the silence to what your heart is trying to tell you, and act from there.

Dr. Alan Barnes