8 Habits of Love: Open Your Heart, Open Your Mind ~ Ed Bacon

Reverend Bacon believes that every person can live a full and creative life if they can learn to move through troubling emotions such as fear, anger, and sadness to find the beloved within themselves. Readers will learn how insecurity can keep us from connecting with others, our loving self, and finding our own peace, joy, and creative power.

8 HABITS OF LOVE will show, through relatable stories, how to create a full, meaningful life by developing simple habits-stillness, truth, forgiveness, compassion, play, candor, generosity, and community-and by asking such important questions as: How do I know I’m living the life I should be? How do I forgive those who have hurt me? How do I talk candidly with difficult people? How do I best help others when they need it? And How do I let go of the past and move forward?

THE REVEREND J. EDWIN BACON, JR.
Rector, All Saints Church Pasadena (1995-present)

Ed Bacon is the rector of All Saints Church in Pasadena, California – a 4,000 member multi-ethnic urban Episcopal parish, with a reputation for energetic worship, a radically inclusive spirit, and a progressive peace and justice agenda.

Ed’s energies focus on leadership in anxious times, peacemaking, interfaith relations, integrating family, faith and work systems; and articulating the Christian faith in non-bigoted ways. He is a passionate advocate for peace and justice in the community, the nation, and the world. He has received several honors for his peace and interfaith work. He is a founder of Beyond Inclusion and Claiming the Blessing (working for justice for the LGBT community) and a co-founder of the Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative. He serves on Human Rights Watch California Committee South and on other national and community boards.

Ed has been a guest on Oprah’s Soul Series on XM’s Oprah & Friends Radio, as well as The Oprah Winfrey Show, which led to a regular role as guest host on Oprah’s Soul Series and contributor on Oprah.com. His first book, 8 Habits of Love: Open Your Heart, Open Your Mind, will be published in September.

Prior to coming to All Saints, Bacon served as Dean of the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Jackson, Mississippi; Rector of St Mark’s in Dalton, Georgia; and Dean of Students and Campus Ministry at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He holds honorary Doctorates by Church Divinity School of the Pacific and Mercer University.
He and his wife, Hope Hendricks-Bacon, have two adult children and two grandchildren.

Full Episode: Oprah and the Rev. Ed Bacon on Faith and Spirituality View Here

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The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer

Who are you? When you start to explore this question, you find out how elusive it really is. Are you a physical body? A collection of experiences and memories? A partner to relationships? Each time you consider these aspects of yourself, you realize that there is much more to you than any of these can define.

The Untethered Soul, spiritual teacher Michael Singer explores the question of who we are and arrives at the conclusion that our identity is to be found in our consciousness, the fact of our ability to observe ourselves, and the world around us. By tapping into traditions of meditation and mindfulness, Singer shows how the development of consciousness can enable us all to dwell in the present moment and let go of painful thoughts and memories that keep us from achieving happiness and self-realization.

The Untethered Soul is divided into five parts. They
are:

1. Awakening Consciousness,
2. Experiencing Energy,
3. Freeing Yourself,
4. Going Beyond, and
5. Living Life

This book, co-published with the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), offers a frank and friendly discussion of consciousness and how we can develop it. In part one, he examines the notion of self and the inner dialogue we all live with. Part two examines the experience of energy as it flows through us and works to show readers how to open their hearts to the energy of experience that permeates their lives. Ways to overcome tendencies to close down to the rest of the world are the subject of part three. Enlightenment, the embrace of universal consciousness, is the subject of part four. And finally, in part five, Singer returns to daily life and the pursuit of unconditional happiness. Throughout, the book maintains a light and engaging tone, free from heavy dogma and prescriptive religious references. The easy exercises that figure in each chapter help readers experience the ideas that Singer presents.

Excerpt

What would it be like to be free from limitations and soar beyond your boundaries? What can you do each day to find this kind of inner peace and freedom? The Untethered Soul offers a simple, profoundly intuitive answer to these questions. Whether this is your first exploration of inner space or you’ve devoted your life to the inward journey, this book will transform your relationship with yourself and the world around you.

The Untethered Soul begins by walking you through your relationship with your thoughts and emotions, helping you uncover the source and fluctuations of your inner energy. It then delves into what you can do to free yourself from the habitual thoughts, emotions, and energy patterns that limit your consciousness. Finally, with perfect clarity, this book opens the door to a life lived in the freedom of your innermost being.

Michael A. Singer received a master’s degree in economics from the University of Florida in 1971. During his doctoral work, he had a deep inner awakening and went into seclusion to focus on yoga and meditation. In 1975, he founded Temple of the Universe, a now long-established yoga and meditation center where people of any religion or set of beliefs can come together to experience inner peace.

Through the years, Michael Singer has made major contributions in the areas of business, the arts, education, healthcare, and environmental protection. He has previously authored two books on the integration of Eastern and Western philosophy: The Search for Truth and Three Essays on Universal Law: Karma, Will and Love.

The Untethered Soul: Twelve-Step Guide to Spiritual Awakening – Michael A Singer

Spirituality is meant to bring about harmony and peace. But the diversity of our philosophies, beliefs, concepts and views about spiritual matters often leads to confusion or even conflict. The fact is that the very act of seeking spiritual freedom causes notions of success and failure, and these notions serve only to bind us to our own self judgments: Am I growing? Have I done anything wrong? Am I meditating enough?

Truth is only complicated because we pass it through our habitual thought patterns. When we step back from ourselves, truth becomes simple. There are not many paths to freedom, there is only one. In the end, no matter what particular patterns of thought we have managed to build in our minds, freedom always means transcending these personal thought patterns.

But how does one go about transcending the personal self and awakening to spiritual freedom? What is needed for this journey are succinct steps that are so universal that they can echo through the halls of any religion as well as support intellectual understanding. The following is a universal road map to Self Realization.

1. Realize that you are in there.
You must first come to realize that you are in there. From deep inside, you are experiencing this world. You are experiencing your physical body, your thoughts, and your emotions. You are conscious and you are experiencing what it is like to be human.

2. Realize that you are not okay in there.

Look to see what’s going on inside. If you want to understand why you’ve done everything you have ever done, if you want to see what’s really going on, just observe your mind and emotions–just experi­ence your inner state. If you objectively look, you will see that you are never completely at peace. You will see that you are not okay in there.

3. Realize that you’re always trying to be okay.
At any point when you look at the state of your inner being, you will see that something is bothering you. You will then notice that this causes urges, drives, and impulses to do something about it. You will find yourself constantly trying to either get something or avoid something. All of this is done in an attempt to be okay.

4. Realize that your mind has taken on the job of figuring out how everything needs to be for you to be okay.
If you watch, you will see that your mind is always telling you what you should and should not do, what others should and should not do, and how things should and should not be. All of this is the mind’s attempt to first create a conceptual model of what would make you okay, and then try to get the outside world to match it.

5. Realize that the process of defining how the outside needs to be is not going to make you okay.
You must seriously look at this process of trying to be okay. You’ve been at it your entire life–you’ve just tried different things at different times. While it’s true that sometimes you manage to make it better for short periods of time, you know that you’ve never even come close to reaching a state of permanent peace. Watch very closely how you react to the things your mind has preferences about. You will see that if your mind gets what it wants, you feel joy; if it doesn’t get what it wants, you feel disturbance.

Likewise, when your mind experiences what it doesn’t want, you feel disturbance, and when it avoids what it doesn’t want, you feel relief. You will never be okay playing this game because the world will never match the conceptual model your mind has made up. Eventually, you will come to see that struggling to be okay does not work. At some point, you will try to find a different way to be okay in there.

6. Learn to not participate in the mind’s struggle to be okay.
This step is about learning to sit in the witness, the part of you that notices the inner urges to be okay. You must become comfortable with sitting in there and not participating in the inner energies. You learn to relax in the midst of them. You come to see that there is a habitual process in which the moment you feel inner disturbance, you are drawn into doing something about it. You must learn to sit inside and not participate in this process. If you truly understand that going outside to try to be okay inside doesn’t work, then you’ll be willing to sit inside and simply allow the disturbance to pass through. It is not difficult. If you can do this, all disturbance will cease by itself.

7. Learn to go about your life just like everyone else, except that nothing you do is for the pur­pose of trying to be okay.
If you aren’t so preoccupied with trying to be okay, you will be free to sit inside and quietly love, serve, and honor whatever naturally unfolds in front of you. When you reach this point, you are no longer living for yourself. You are interacting with life, but not for the purpose of being okay.

8. As you sincerely let go of the inner energies you are watching, you begin to feel a deeper energy come in from behind.
Up to this point, everything you were watching inside was in front of you. But now that you are no longer being drawn into those personal energies, you’ll realize that your inner universe is actually very expansive. You will begin to feel Spirit flow in from behind. It lifts you and brings you great love and joy.

9. Your inner experience becomes so beautiful that you fall in love with the energy itself, and you develop a very deep and personal relationship with it.
It will become completely clear to you that there is an absolute trade-off between your personal ener­gies and the amount of Spirit that you feel. The more you get drawn into your personal energies, the less Spirit you feel. The more you don’t participate in your personal energies, the more Spirit you feel. You now have a direct relationship with the spiritual energy, and you will find yourself constantly longing to experience it.

10. You begin to feel the energy pulling you up into it, and your entire path becomes letting go of yourself in order to merge.
Will is no longer needed. Now your path is strictly about releasing yourself into the pull of the higher energy. You must surrender deeply enough to be able to overcome the fear of losing your connection to the personal self. You must to be willing to die to be reborn.

11. Once you get far enough back into the energy, you realize that your personal life can go on without you, leaving you free to become immersed in Spirit.
This is the greatest miracle: You’ve surrendered and your entire life is about Spirit, yet people, places, and things continue to interact with you. The difference is that these interactions require none of your energy. They happen naturally, by themselves, leaving you at peace and absorbed in Spirit.

12. Now you are truly okay and nothing inside or outside of you can cause disturbance–you have come to peace with it all.
Because you are now completely okay, you don’t need anything. Things just are what they are. At this point, you know yourself as Self. The world, mind, and heart cannot disturb you. You’ve transcended them all. What is more, instead of feeling drawn into Spirit, you now actually experience yourself as Spirit. You have no boundaries in time or space. You have always existed and you will always exist. You have no form, shape, gender, or body. You simply are, have always been, and will always be–Infinite Spirit.

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Full Episode: Oprah and Michael Singer on The Untethered Soul View Here

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