Freedom from suffering by Paying Attention

Freedom from suffering by Paying Attention Are we willing to listen,to be attentive?Do we try to listen with the understanding of the loving and wise heart or through the confused,disturbed mind?Do we listen only to those whom we like or told to like and believe in?When we truly listen to the words being said and not by whom is saying it,we may get the true message and meaning that might resonate,comfort and bring forth the innate wisdom within us.Are we ashamed of expressing our true feelings?Do we find ourselves in superficial/worldly chatter constantly which leave us feeling drained and wasteful.Perhaps we could also be shut in within ourselves,unwilling and afraid of sharing inner pains due to vulnerability of being ridiculed,chided,taunted and poked fun at,to be made to feel abnormal and insignificant?

Listening and expressing are vital parts and parcel of our every day living.Do we make that listening and expressing beneficial for our well-being and spiritual growth?We can ask ourselves often in quiet reflections and when probing into our conscience.Very often we may not have someone to truly sit with us to listen and allow us to express ourselves.Most often too we ourselves cannot do the same for others.I believe talking(dialogue) and expressing are important for us as humans to want to be heard and be allowed to release the inner energies that aid in the healing process.When we are given a chance to talk and express feelings openly and sincerely to someone who is willing to listen,we can start hearing and tune-in into ourselves,we can start deep listening to what we are trying to bring out/clear out of our inner being(cathartic) as a way of honouring and starting to be honest with oneself.

Sitting/being with a friend or someone close and trying to honestly talk and listen attentively/deeply can be draining so most times we are unable to share and open up.Fear locks us in the painful realm of our being.The danger of being unable and unwilling to talk and express,we keep ourselves battling inwardly/outwardly in superficiality(from egoic intentions) and pretense(trying to look good perhaps bad).The ongoing bottled aggression/resentments inside ourselves block the freedom to live consciously,in truthful wisdom and with open loving-kindness.Thus we allow anger,hatred,hurts,selfish pursuits and unhealthy habits to prevail.So what do we do?We seek a neutral party/person to listen to us and for us to express.Nowadays its not hard to do that,there are so many paths of accessing help to find some form of relief( a little is better than nothing at all) to release our inner anxieties,worries,heartaches, griefs,fears,problems,depressions and traumatic experiences,etc.We do not have to live with darkness within our being alone!There are the crisis hotline/helpline, any organization eg.alcoholic anoynmous/sexual addiction,church group,a Spiritual teacher,religious person(priest/nun/rabbi/monk),a kindly trustworthy person,a therapist,listening via audio/visual teachings,to self-help talks,etc.When we are creative and sincere with ourselves, the door opens to every form of possibilities!Oftentimes, we think we are ok,we deny that we need any kind of help and keep playing cool, as long as we can get away from facing the truth of our inner conflicts.Yes, I myself utilized many crisis organizations like alcoholics anonymous,seek spiritual counselling with a priest and nun and phone centres,etc.

When I hit rock-bottom in 1998,bankrupt to the bone(debts owing),lost,broken into pieces,spiritually parched,depressed beyond words and with failing health condition……I had only one way to go……..Into and Within Myself! I knew I had no one to talk to,no one who would listen to me with kindness and understanding as everyone was waiting to lash out at me for my own stupidity,stubbornness,wrongdoings and mistakes.Can anyone even imagine my terrors as I came back from nursing in Saudi Arabia in total disaster,I felt like there was nothing left of me!Now I can see that I was slowly dying to the ‘old-self’.I see the truth that intense suffering actually brought me back to Life!

Then I remembered an aquaintance,she was working as a receptionist at my dentist’s office and sometimes we chatted while I waited for the dentist.She told me at one time that she was seeing a good therapist for her relationship problems.I called her up and invited her for sushi dinner.At dinner, I asked for the name and number of the therapist that she was seeing.The first day I met Ardelle(therapist),I must say I was ‘cocky’ and desperate and terribly impatient to be freed from all my sufferings all at once! I told her that I dont want to waste time and needed her to help get rid of my problems.She was the most wonderful therapist that I had worked with. In a calmly manner,she said to me….”you have a choice to choose healing and be free from your sufferings or you can leave and continue to suffer,only you can help yourself”.I felt a hard slap on my face and chose to leave her office in a foolish rage that day.After much thought,I came back to see her and we continued faithfully working so well together 3x a week for one and a half years.I saw every aspect of myself that I had failed to see and acknowledgeI had a good look at every corner of my inner being by expressing and listening to myself open up honestly to Ardelle.

The good and the bad and every dark secret became no more a secret.Ardelle had assisted in helping me pull out the weeds that were destroying the beautiful garden of my heart.In place she helped me plant beautiful flowers simply by listening and supporting and encouraging.In my sessions with her, I had to be thoroughly honest and truthful.With her I was able to express myself fully without being threatened or fearful.She allowed me to be!

Can we find the time to pay attention to ourselves…to listen and to express our inner difficulties as well as triumphs(humbly) in order to be Free from the slavery of unnecessary suffering!

http://www.celestehoedenauthor.com

Do we Care for Ourselves?

In true wisdom of caring for oneself,is when we begin to ‘wake up’to question our human existence and purpose,when we can put forth this question…”who am I truly?” .

It is when we start to become conscious of our participation in all actions of living and ask truly….”what am I learning/gaining from doing what I am doing?”Caring for oneself becomes authentic when we start taking an interest in self-inquiry,moving slowly away from people,things and situations that no longer fulfill inner satisfaction,human growth and spiritual maturity.

To care is when we begin the need for quiet restful time and space,when we seek out knowledge from teachers of truth and search for answers that have been buried too deep within the self.To truly care for ourselves is when we make an effort to be truthful in saying that we don’t know what we are looking for but yet giving ourselves a chance to do something extra-ordinary, different,courageous,motivational and radical(sweetly shocking to others) apart from everyday mundane,customary,unfavourable, irrelevent(addictive)actions.

It is a time when we give ourselves top-priority to witness selflessness in the true act of wisdom.It is a moment when we realize we want to be a ‘better’ human in order to acknowledge our sufferings and not want to be a burden to oneself and others(not especially so to those we say we care for).

We may feel strongly about not loving ourselves or being hardened,bitter,angry,jealous,greedy,selfish,too addicted to various activities and feel that we don’t deserve to care for ourselves and so we justify our recklessness and negligences.We tell ourselves that we cannot change,we rather continue living the life we are so used to(unhappily,disharmoniously?)…but in truth NOW IS THE TIME to Care!And as humans with innate beauteous treasures Within,we CAN be awake and we can start NOW!

This caring could be going on a short retreat(organized or solo,if permitted due to covid restrictions),Joining a group counselling session(via zoom or alone with a therapist),AA/addictions associations,to be open to a spiritual group.

To be inspired to volunteer to give your time and heart in a animal shelter, a soup kitchen,food bank,any ministry in need of help that speaks to your heart’s call.

To go to the library/bookshops and be open to read self-help/spiritual books,listen to audio/visuals on teachings that speak of working with the human awakening processes/truth/wisdom.

Importantly to strive to become more honest with oneself in cultivating and practiciing kindly and humane conditions for oneself and those around us.

If we do not Care for ourselves,who can,who will?If the others are seeing that we do not care for ourselves,what impressions/teachings are we implying to them?For if we do not care for ourselves,can we say we care for others,can we say we want peace and happiness,can we be the spark to light the torch of Peace and Compassion for humanity?

http://www.celestehoedenauthor.com

The Courage to Change Consciously

“Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.”

~~~~~ Rumi,13th century Persian Poet and Sufi mystic ~~~~

Before my radical spiritual awakening in 1998,I was ignorant and in a continuous fight against the world,against everyone else who did not understand me or whatever that I was going through(pain and suffering,inner struggles and depression etc.).Yes, I was foolish to think that the world(others) must change to suit my needs,my selfish desires and to comfort me and my pains.At that time I was ‘unconscious’ to all the suffering that I was being plagued with.So all the more I defended and resisted and fought to have others pay attention to me and my ways of painful living conditions.In negligent selfishness,I wanted the others to change for me! I was ignorant to believe that the world would give me peace and ‘happiness’.Matter of fact, I did come to ‘hate’being in this world and that drove me to face even more disastrous consequences.Did I gain anything worthwhile by resisting, defending,being in denial,hitting out and desiring more and more from the world and others to change for me?NO! and it Never Will!

What I truly learned and gained was that I and only I had the power within to change myself,to make the effort and work full-heartedly to create the happiness,peace and loving/kindly conditions that I so expected and wanted the world to hand to me on a golden platter.I realized that all that I wanted was already innate Within me,waiting/beckoning within each and every human being.All that I had to do was to turn around and Face myself instead of looking out at the others,at the disturbances/enticements of the world.I had to undertake the journey/adventure of looking deeply,courageously and honestly at all the hindrances(fears, guilt,shame,hatred,jealousy,selfishness,desires,cravings,ignorance,attachments and afflictions,etc.) that I had built up blocking the path directly into the core/inner realm of my being.In other words,we pay attention to ourselves,not in a narcissistic way but a conscious/selfless way into healing and self-development to benefit oneself and others!

www,celestehoedenauthor.com

Bathing in Self-Compassion

When we bathe ourselves in merciful compassion and forgiveness,we slowly wash away the grime of guilt, shame,fears, past transgressions,regrets,and faults.We can feel the release of heaviness and burdens that we wastefully carry along our lives.Like the butterfly,a new way of living can emerge filled with so much Goodness and Lightness that we can display and offer.When we live in the Universal law of Loving Conciosness,and abide in Truth,we live in the freedom of letting go(not wanting to control) and the fearlessness of surrendering to accept all circumstances.

http://www.celestehoedenauthor.com

Faith as small as a mustard seed

Upon immediate arrival back in Vancouver from Saudi Arabia in November 1998,I went to live temporarily at my mother’s small apartment while she was away.One night in utter despair,fearful and lamenting of my brokenness and helplessness,I turned on the TV,a Christian evangelical program came on offering prayers to anyone who needed it to call the number on the screen.Without hesitation, I called in to ask for prayers.In less than a week,a package arrived(November 16th 1998) from Evangelist Peter Popoff with detailed instructions of what to do with the contents of the package.

There was a small sachet filled with so called ‘holy water’from the Jordan river in Israel.I was asked to pour the water on my head before going to bed that very same night of receivng the package.I was told to put a Bible if I had one under my pillow and to sleep on it and that I will have a dream following all instructions as directed.I was happy to find a Bible on my mother’s bedside table(it was good to know that she kept one always beside her).So I did as all as I was told to do with a child-like simplicity, trust and fervour without any expectations,but probably out of desperation and urgency of my sorry state.

I did have a dream that same night of hearing a voice repeatedly telling me,”have faith as small as a mustard seed.”I got up with a sense of joyful relief!

Then I questioned myself,how can I have faith when everything around and within me have fallen apart.I have lost everything,jobless,financially empty and in big debts,physically gripped in ill-health, mentally/emotionally broken, depressed.I saw myself like a jig-saw puzzle with all the pieces strewn all over the place…where do I begin to pick each piece and be whole again?

FAITH was the key word,to be motivated and deeply convinced,to trust by fearlessness and the drive to do something noble and true,so I knew a place where I would go to find refuge….an empty quiet church!

November the 17th,a significant day…..I arrived at St.Paul’s church,Richmond,BC.standing outside at the main door feeling like an ‘escaped criminal’,I humbly surrendered myself willing to accept anything that I would have to face.I subjected myself to the great unknown as I wanted so badly to quench and feed my parched soul in need of Spiritual food/drink.I came out of church that day to face a different direction,A New Spiritual Beginning…the process of letting go,of dying to my old self and ego,the burning down of a dilapidated house,like the snake shedding its dead skin.For the first time, I was starting to embrace myself and feel the tenderness for all my regrets, mistakes,wasteful/unnecessary sufferings and flaws that I was now witnessing within myself Truthfully!

http://www.celestehoedenauthor.com

Crisis in the desert calling me to come home!

In 1998,I was going through a terribly depressing time while working at the emergency department at the National Guard Hospital in Jeddah,Saudi Arabia.The weather was scorching hot,even the air-conditioning in the apartment was blowing warm air.It was becoming increasingly unbearable and my restlessness was escalating.It came to a point where I went through a crisis that could have caused me to lose my sanity! I could not sleep for one whole week,not a wink!Each time I tried to lay down in bed, I was so tormented that I had to get up…this went on day and night for seven straight days.I still had to function the 12-hour shift at the emergency department despite the sleep deprivation.

I tried every remedy,sleeping pills,teas,etc.still no sleep came.Maggie, my flatmate was concerned,she suggested,I go see the emergency doctor for an injection to help sleep.So I went after 7 nights and days without sleep,almost at the tip of a breakdown.Before I could see the doctor, the emergency room Head nurse saw me and asked what I was doing at the department.She called me in to her office and told me that the management were happy with me and that there was a possibility of making me clinical nurse instructor of ER.That even frightened me further.I told her that I was not happy and wanted to hand in my resignation,giving one month’s notice.She seemed offended and asked that I leave with immediate effect,so I did!

After going around the hospital getting signatures from various departments in order to get my passport and salary released to buy a ticket back home to Vancouver.After completing all the necessary arrangements for resignation,I went back to the apartment….dead tired,in extreme exhaustion,mentally,emotionally,physically and psychologically depleted of any more energy to function,I fell down immediately to sleep but with a sense of relief of the decision made to leave Saudi with immediate effect.Not long after falling into a deep sleep,I was awakened by a voice clearly calling out my name “Celeste” three times.It sounded so close like as though someone was calling directly into my ear! I woke up immediately to see who it was waking me up! I actually got up and walked round the huge apartment from corner to corner searching for that voice!From that moment,I knew I had to come home to face the unknown and that my life will change radically! A short few days later,I was on the plane,crying all the way on that long flight back home.Underneath all that feeling of distraught was a sense of seeming joy awaiting my arrival Home.

A New Beginning was being prepared as I had to wake up for the fearless journey of Inner Revolution into myself….to listen,to pay loving attention and witness the True Light beckoning from Within!There was no more fighting against Life….I had began learning from what Life wanted to teach and open out for me!

http://www.celestehoedenauthor.com

author of the book To Resurrect the True Self

Discerning the Truth

Deep within the heart, the self,we are all(yes, every single human being irregardless of religion, race, creed,gender,etc.)we are already on the spiritual path,each one is already awake and enlightened and is truly able to practice, to live in the way of truth and unconditional love,to exercise wisdom and peacefulness,to enjoy and rejoice in works of kindness and charity and to be an asset to humanity,to be creators of harmony!

Why do we not experience this truth?

The spirit/the true self is blocked,drowned by the variety of seductive noises of the world,by the hurdles we dare not jump over,the doors of favourable selfless opportunities that we are afraid to open,the taunting pressure of others that threaten the courage of opening to the truth and by the ego-centric desires/attachment to remain in the ‘comfort-zone’of falsehood.Therefore how do we hear the still small voice of Truth calling from Within?

Whose voice are you willing to pay important attention to?The world/others or to your own Truth Within?Are we willing to live in the illusion of ‘false hope’ or the courage to live our lives facing and living in the Truth?

http://www.celestehoedenauthor.com

Author of ‘To Resurrect the True Self’

Opening the Eyes of Consciousness

When I see through the eyes of Love, I see no enemies…

When I see through the eyes of Peace, I learn to forgive and let go of past wrongdoings…

When I see through the eyes of Charity, I cultivate understanding and respect for the helpless and those hurting…

When I see through the eyes of Joy,my Heart flutters with kindness to give comfort and ease…

When I see through the eyes of Humility,I allow myself the courage and strength to be opened to responsibilities instead of blame…

When I see through the eyes of Mercy and Forgiveness,I admit my own mistakes and that of others…

When I see through the eyes of Patience,I come to surrender being in the Moment,to learn and to accept…

When I see through the eyes of Faith and Trust,everything becomes an experience without resistence,denial and defense…

When I see through the eyes of Compassionate Wisdom,I learn to not be fearful to the Truth…

When I see through the eyes of Awareness,I see myself One with the Whole of Creation!

https;//www.celestehoedenauthor.com

A Compassionate Sharing of the Heart

I resonate with all those who are suffering severely in this winter months.My heart opens in compassion for the lonely(those who have lost loved and dear ones,to those about to lose loved ones through terminal illnesses)the heartbroken,the disabled,the seniors,the sick,the poor,the homeless,the mentally challenged,victims of bully and hatred,anger and violence,to those women,children and victims of war-torn countries….how much of suffering they endure in the worst of terrorized circumstances.To all of us tormented by fear and our lives disrupted by the dreaded spread of covid-19.I sit in quietness and breathe in and out offering sincere good wishes(prayers)for all our safety and protection and end of suffering.May all beings be free of suffering.

Most endearing to my heart is the remembrance of my time walking on the streets of Eastside Downtown Vancouver especially so in this cold,windy,rainy and sometimes snowy times of the winter months where I would walk for 4-5 nights a week being with women and men as well,who would sell and abuse their bodies,intoxicate themselves with heavy drug usage and have no inkling about life or death.These winter months are the worst for them….to stand in the cold and be drenched in rain/snow…..almost inhuman,how and what they subject themselves into just to make some money to feed their various hardcore cravings. Underneath all those atrocities and sufferings….there is a human heart filled with a potential to open to Love.Although they might be condemned or judged for their own mistakes and faults and transgressions….we too share the same transgressions to a much more contained extent.They are mothers,wives, sisters,daughters,sons,fathers and loved ones,left downtrodden,homeless and forgotten.Most of them have/had scarred their bodies so grotesquely.Most lost their teeth,their bodies ravaged by needle marks and scabs and infected wounds,some were beautiful(thru photos they kept and shown to me)and now unrecognizable!No matter what, the Christmas season is always painful for them. The sadness they faced of being separated from children and loved ones,owning up to their follies and mistakes but too caught up with the addictions.Not being able to celebrate the festive season,they talk of their unworthiness and self-loathing, low esteem.There are also the hardened cynical ones who would speak crudely of the Christmas festivities.As I walked,tears would sometimes run down my cheeks….there was nothing I could do……..I brought along my opened heart,to give hugs,a kiss,a hand to hold and caress,a listening ear,my shoulders to cry on,a few words of comfort,my stilled presence and a quiet inner compassionate disposition.

I share a story of Alice,known for her violence and had assualted someone with a pair of scissors.During my walk on the streets, I noticed Alice(after a while,I got to know most of them personally) with a big infected boil the size of a grape on one of her wrist.I offered to take her to emergency.She reluctantly agreed,so I told her to wait for me after I have completed my routine walk.She was waiting for me as I had told her surprisingly.As soon as she came into my car,she demanded for a certain sum of money.I calmly declined.She was escalating and kept demanding angrily, refusing to go to the emergency as planned.I saw in her hand she had a sharp-edged hairbrush.I remained collected and declined to give any money.She threatened to beat someone to get money, she also shouted that she was going to rob a store to get the money.By then, she was banging hard on the dashboard,screaming/shouting profanities insisting for money.I told her that she could do whatever she wanted to do but I am not going to give her any money to buy drugs.I gently reminded her that I cared for her and promised to take her to emergency to help treat her infected wrist.I was aware she had the hairbrush in her hand.Soon tears flowed down my face and she could see my sadness,that I was adamant to not give her money despite her fury.She stopped and walked out my car banging the door so hard upon exit.I drove away crying as usual for both our sufferings.

One day after a few weeks of not seeing her on the streets,she was standing at her usual corner and approached me,gave me a hug and a handmade rosary.What joy that brought to my heart.She later left for another location and I never saw her again.

https;//www.celestehoedenauthor.com