I am. This is my spirituality.

There are no coincidences. I was told my purpose. I use the word told here intentionally. The words were spoken clearly to me, as if someone was standing besides me. “Show them the Way.” Less than 48 hours later, we were given an Aikido demonstration and a sheet with the words of “O Sensei” regarding his budo or “the way”. Sometimes I don’t see the possibilities and I need to be hit upside the head with a 2 x 4 to get the message. The red/black game comes to mind. Not this time. This time I got it. I just didn’t act upon it.

I had a big black gaping hole in my life. My spirituality was lacking. I believed I was spiritual but it wasn’t a defined spirituality. “I believe in God but I just don’t believe in religion” was my typical respond when asked about religion. I love the community aspect of church, the feeling of belonging. I want that back in my life. I just wasn’t to keen on the philosophies of the religions I had been exposed too since childhood.

The god of my childhood was a relentless, avenging spirit. One who was forgiving but who thought everything was a sin. If you weren’t in church and you were enjoying life you were sinning. If you ask for forgiveness, it was granted but if you did the same thing again it was ten times worse. God was a weapon of guilt and shame to use against child to get them to do something that they didn’t want to do, clean your room, eat your vegetable, don’t argue with one another. It was a restless, avenging god who saw everything and was waiting for someone to screw up so he could prove how much he loved you by forgiving you. No. I didn’t want that god back in my life.

After much and many annoying discussions around goals and the goals behind the goals, all well needed I’m sure, it was decided my goal would be to attend 8 Aikido classes. The physical act of Aikido was not what I was looking for, it was the spiritual beliefs. However, sometimes you have to sing the song and do the dance before you actually understand the music. So I signed up for lessons and purchased a book on the spiritual foundations of Aikido.

The beliefs of “O Sensei” have only been hinted at in my classes. I see it in the way the Sensei moves. I see it in the dance between the one doing the technique and the one receiving the technique. Both parties learn in this give and take and are essential to moving forward in the art. However, what I have learned so far about the spiritual aspects of this art has come from a book. Sometimes, however, you still need to do the dance.

So here I am, 9 weeks later and 9 classes attended. What have I gained? What have I learned? I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be to make myself go to class. I never guessed how sore my body would be and how physically drained I would be those first few classes. I didn’t think I would resist it so much. I resist the time it takes from my life. I resist the demands it puts on my body. I resist the reality it makes my face about where I am in my life. What have I gained? What have I learned?

“O Sensei” has said that Aikido is a way of aligning the mind, body and spirit, a way of bringing them into harmony. This has also been reinforced with other things I have been learning. I have started the practice of “Primordial Sound Meditation” as recommended by Deepak Chopra. The practice is to align the mind, body, soul and spirit. There are no coincidences. This alignment has been hinted at and referred to by all the teachers that have been coming into my life lately. Dr Wayne Dyer, Dr Deepak Chopra, Dr Doreen Vitrue, Rhonda Byrne and, of course, Klemmer and Associates.

But what does that mean for me? All these teaching and learnings and insights are meaningless unless I can apply them to where I am in my life. What is the way? What am I to show and how does that relate to my spirituality? What do I believe? Where does my faith lie? All these questions. I have been in the questions and have not tried to force an answer. Well, for the most part I have not tried to force an answer. I’m ready now to try and crystallize what this way means for me.

My belief is that “The Way” is one of peace, harmony, balance and beauty. These are the aspects that I need to bring into my beingness, therefore bring into the world, for me to show the “The Way”. Which is stupendously wonderful but what do these words – peace, harmony, balance, and beauty – mean to me? How are they going to be defined in my life? How will they transform my beingness and my actions? Ok. One at a time

Balance. I believe there are five areas in my life. One is the physical and material. This is my health, my body and my possessions. Another area is my career or my work. This is, for right now, my job and my art which I want to make into my career. The next area is service or contribution. This is what I can do for others and for my world environment. Another area is social. My interactions with others, my relationships, and the things I do to have fun and be entertained. The fifth is intellect. This is what I am learning to help my growth. It is my mind. It is the logical part of me. The spiritual aspect of my life is what lies beneath all of them. It is the palm of a hand that binds together the fingers together and makes the whole work as one. Balance, for me, is when all of these areas are equally important and when I’m doing something for each daily. That’s balance.

Harmony. Harmony is when all the area of my life come together to serve one purpose. It is when what I am inside and what I show to the outside world are this same. Harmony is knowing and accepting where I am, at this moment, in this world and in my life is exactly where I need to be.

Peace. There are so many definitions of peace now, the most prevailing being the absence of war. Peace is more the just the absence of something. It is something that is felt inside. I feel it when I look at the ocean or the night sky. What is that feeling inside representing? It is when I am in balance with my world and when I am in complete harmony with myself and my environment. It is being completely present within myself and the world. That is peace.

Beauty. How to describe beauty? How do I say what it is, what it means to me? Again I know it. It is a feeling in my heart but how do I describe it. How do I tell someone what beauty feels like? I’m at a loss. I know it and can show it but I can’t describe it. Maybe it is the combination of balance, harmony and peace manifested into the physical world. What I feel is my spirit echoing the combination that has been made real. I will have to leave it as described as a manifestation in the physical world of the combination of balance, harmony and peace. That is the best I can describe beauty to me.

So how does all this relate to my spirituality?

Dr. Wayne Dyer says in his book “10 secrets for success and inner peace” to live your life without judgments and labels. No judgments on yourself and no judgments on others. Are not beauty and peace also judgements? As I pondered this I thought “What is left when all the labels are stripped away?”. After all, if you think about it, even your name could be considered to be a label that defines you. Celina Brooks is the daughter of Ted and Mary Brooks, sister of Chris. Celina McMahon is the wife of Jim McMahon. So what is left when all labels, definitions and judgments are gone? What is truly left?

I AM. I AM is what is left. I am. I have always been. I will always be.

There is no need for labels. There is no need for approvals, for being right, for being wrong. There is no need for frustrations and angry. There is no need for struggles and hardship. I am. All I need to know is inside of me; it has been since the first moment of conception. All I need to know will still be inside me when this physical manifestation of my spiritual being falls to dust around me and I move towards my next beingness. All I want is already there in my spirit and is awaiting my will to be manifest physically. I am.

My spirituality is the knowingness that I am a piece and part of the Divine being that is God/dess. It is the knowingness that all people are a part of that Being. We are all connected energy, connected spirit, connected souls. When I pray, I bring all that I AM back into alignment with this Being. When I meditate then same thing happens. When I look into the eyes of a stranger and see myself looking back, then I know I am truly walking on “The Way”. Balance, harmony, peace and beauty are the guide posts I will use to see my steps. I will follow the stirrings of my heart to keep to my path.

That is peace. That is beauty. That is harmony. That is balance. The knowingness, to the depths of soul, that I AM.

My cathedral will be the open sky and the earth beneath my feet. My alter will be the slender white birch trees and the gray hard rocks. My hymns will be the call of the birds, the song of the river and the voices of my neighbors. All whom I meet will be part of my congregation and my God/dess will have no judgments and labels. He/She will accept all who come forward. All who try and learn who and what they were meant to be, all who strive to become one with the Divine being. All who walk the path of goodness and light will be welcomed and embraced.

I AM. This is my spirituality.

In love and light, Celina