HAPPY NEW YEAR and welcome to month 5 of your DIL programme. After darkness, always comes the light! Yes following on from our shadowy explorations of last month, it’s now time to turn our attention to this month’s subjects of Love and Service.
We will be exploring together the broader definitions of Love within a Spiritual context, moving beyond attachment, familial and romantic versions of love to the kind with a capital L. Expanding and deepening into what I call ‘LOVE beyond love’. Finding out what it truly means to live our whole life as Love in action.
As always, any questions about this month’s work that arise in you, please make a note and bring them to the online Zoom session. SUNDAY 8th January at 10.30 – 12.00
Date for your diary
WEDNESDAY 18TH January, 18.00 – 19.30
Do check our private Instagram page regularly for updates on events. I encourage you to also contribute with photos and comments to stay connected within our community. @deepeningintolife
In love and service,
Personal enquiry is a personal and spiritual development tool to support people in enhancing their understanding of the human condition and shedding light on theirs and others psyche. In questioning our habitual thoughts, feelings, reactions, judgements, and behaviours, we can begin to move beyond our ego led living and drop into the deeper dimensions of Life. All the spiritual traditions include periods of quiet contemplation and reflection in some form. Specific time set aside in silence and solitude to meditate on the chosen subjects and related questions. For how can we possibly know and connect to a Higher Power, if we do not take the time to know and connect to ourselves? How can we begin to deepen, without questioning all that we ‘think’ we know?
These personal enquiry questions are starting points for you to deepen into Life. To spend time over the coming weeks and months contemplating each of the questions and how they relate to you and the wider world. I encourage you to add further questions of your own choosing to go deeper still. The suggestion is that you spend at least 2-3 hours per week contemplating and journaling on these questions. This might be broken down into 20-30 minutes each weekday or in one chunk of time at the weekend. Whatever is most manageable for you. Where possible return to the questions throughout the whole month to continue adding further insights and reflections as they arise. Take these questions with you on your walks, in the shower or bath, as you drink your coffee, cook, eat, clean or go about your day (keep your journal close by). Allow the questions to open, elevate and deepen you, and in turn impact how you choose to live your life.
• What does this word mean to you?
• Who do you love and why?
• What qualities does love contain?
• What is loves opposite (if it has one) and why?
• How and why does it become blocked?
• What do you understand to be Divine/Infinite Love?
• Where does this kind of Love exist and how do you experience it?
• How can we fall deeper in Love with Life?
• Does Love ever end?
• How would you live differently if every thought, word and action you had was motivated by the wisdom of pure Love?
• What one action can you take to make this a new reality?
• What does this word mean to you now, beyond the stories you have been sold/told?
• What reactions/triggers and blocks remain for you (if any), around the notion of God/Higher Power?
• Where do these come from? Follow the trail…
• Are they still relevant or outdated? Follow the trail…
• How do your assumptions/judgements and prejudices about God block your spiritual path?
• How might you deepen your connection with the Divine and live in pure Love?
• If it’s true that God is Love, could it also be that Love is actually God..?
• What does service mean to you?
• How does it relate to Spirituality?
• Is it possible to be truly spiritual if you do not serve in some way?
• In what ways are you actively in service?
• What is the opposite of service?
• How can you be in service without the need to self sacrifice or become a martyr?
• How can you spread more Love in the world through serving others?
• What small and large acts of service will you commit to take and how will you hold yourself accountable to ‘God’?
Daily Prayer Practice:
The suggestion is for you to continue to pray twice a day, first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. Try to ensure you include the 3 core dimensions of prayer – gratitude, celebration/worship & requests. If you already have your own prayer practice, then feel free to continue with that. The main thing is that we all commit to pray consistently every day.
In addition to your prayer practice, the invitation is to start and end each day with a five minute meditation on Love. Place your hands over your heart, close your eyes and breathe into your heart. Imagine your breath is softening and opening your heart. Expanding your capacity for Love. Once you feel a connection to your heart, repeat the mantra ‘I am Love’ for the entire 5 minutes, either in your mind or speaking quietly out loud. Notice any images or memories that arise as you do this. Whenever you notice your attention wandering, simply return to your breath and the mantra. Make notes in your journal afterwards of anything you noticed, felt or saw during the meditation.
Word of the Week:
The suggestion is to have one word as your focus for each week of the month. As you encounter life moment by moment, allow this word to guide you in your thoughts, words, conversations, and choices. Take these words with you wherever you go. Write them on post it’s to remind yourself. Add them to your altar, pop them into your pocket or purse and carry them with you. Allow them to guide you as you deepen into life.
Book of the Month:
Each month during our time together in community we will be reading a book related to the subjects of our enquiry for that month. The suggestion is that a different member of our community takes a turn each month to volunteer to organise an online book club, whereby those who wish to can also attend to share and discuss the book and its key messages. (Please DM me if you wish to volunteer for this role).
The book for this month is: Falling Upwards – Richard Rohr
I also offer an additional option of: A Return to Love – Marianne Williamson
Service & Acts of Kindness:
Each month identify a specific way to be in service in some way in the world. The suggestion is to identify a person or cause that is important to you and then find a way to offer meaningful support. A minimum of 1 hour per month (ideally this needs to be on top of anything you already do). In addition, consciously find/create opportunities to be kind that involves an element of sacrifice on your part. (so not just giving money away as an example). Ideally a minimum of 1 act of conscious kindness per week, large or small. If you can remain anonymous, even better.
A Weekly Date with Wonder:
Once a week (or more if you can), for at least 30 minutes, head out by yourself with your eyes and heart wide open. Take a small notebook, pen, and camera if you wish. (turn phone on airplane mode if using the camera). Head to the woods, sea, park, a museum or simply sit and watch the world go by. Wherever calls to you. Slowly and mindfully take in all that you notice – look up, down and all around. Marvel and wonder at the minute details and miracle of it all. Notice the smells, sounds, colours, textures and sensations of the whole experience. Touch what you can. Reconnect with your Wonder & Awe. Give thanks. This too is a prayer.
As no one was forthcoming for this month’s music playlists, I have included my own (which have been added to along the way so plenty of new options for returning DIL members.) One playlist is for those of you who wish to dance your prayers, activating and opening your heart to spread more Love and Joy in the world. The other is music for more meditative, prayerful times, perhaps when you are journaling on your personal enquiry or to listen to before/after you pray.
Dancing Prayer: Click to listen
Peaceful Prayer: Click to listen
I encourage you to listen to both playlists completely at some point during the month.
Mo Gawdat and Baptiste de Pape – The proven power of following your heart
Brené Brown and Father Richard Rohr on Spotify – Unlocking Us
Wishing you a rich and deep journey back to Love.
Donna Lancaster – Founder of Deepening into Life
Live Sessions & Document Downloads
Click the link here to watch the live session and download the session documents to assist you when working offline and during the live session.