Wow we have arrived in March already! Can you believe that? Here we are romping our way into month 3 of the Deepening into Life programme. How exciting. The benefits from the work you have done so far might show up slowly for some of you (pay attention) and will be cumulative for all. The more you do the work, the more it works. Simple.
All of the programme content is building on what we have covered previously and also prepares you for the next important step as you continue to strengthen your spiritual foundations. If you still have work to do on the last 2 months content, no worries. This is not school, and you won’t get told off or ‘marked down’. However, I would encourage you to remember why you signed up for this programme in the first place. It’s a good idea to check with yourself if you are really offering the ‘radical commitment’ to the programme that you signed on for. Of course, so much in the world colludes to keep us all asleep (unconscious) but know this truth – Action is kryptonite to the ego. And just like with last month’s offerings and with life itself, every moment is an opportunity to begin again. So onwards we go...
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 on SUNDAY 6TH MARCH at 10.30AM, (after running them by your own wisdom first of course).
Date for your diary
Our mid month check in will be held on
Wednesday 16th march, 18.00-19.30 ON ZOOM (UK times)
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 of 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?
• How does it show up in your life?
• In what ways do you actively practice gratitude?
• How might you do more?
• What is the opposite to gratitude?
• What do you take for granted and as a ‘given’ in your life. (think about that word…’Given’).
• Does your grateful approach to life always land in your heart?
• If not, what will it take?
• Why is gratitude so important for those on a Spiritual path?
• Is your gratitude habitual (neck up) or conscious?
• What does this word mean to you?
• How does it show up in your life?
• Can you identify moments of Grace in your life? If not, look again…
• Can you make any connections between Wonder and Grace, Gratitude and Grace, Joy and Grace?
• What are they and how might they be connected?
• What might it take for you to live a Grace filled life?
• What brings you Joy?
• What does this word even mean to you?
• Can you name the ways it shows up in your life?
• What would it mean for you to live a more Joyful life?
• How do you actively cultivate Joy?
• What might you do and how?
• How do you spread Joy in the world?
• Have you ever considered praying for Joy in your life?
• If so, how did it feel?
• How is Joy linked to Gratitude and Grace?
• How might Joy be linked to grief?
• What connections can you make between Spirituality and Joy?
• How is consciously living a joyful life also a form of prayer?
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.
Whilst continuing to pray twice a day, the suggestion for your ritual this month is to add in a brief gratitude prayer at meal times. Some call this ‘saying Grace’. So for the entire month, you will take a brief moment before eating or drinking at meals, to give heartfelt thanks and reflect upon the food or drink you are about to consume and all the people and elements of the natural world, that have been involved to allow this food to arrive on the plate in front of you. Consider the farmers, pickers and packers, truck drivers, supermarket workers, shelf stackers and on and on it goes. Reflect upon what it took for you to have a glass of fresh clean drinking water – Just like that. Use post it notes or set an alarm to remind yourself at meal times to do this. You might also consider sending a prayer to all those people in the world without access to healthy food and clean water, that you have in abundance.
Commit to doing this ritual 2-3 times a day if you can and a minimum of once a day for the entire month (and beyond if you wish to). The more frequently you do this, the more powerful its effects will be.
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).
Our book of the month:
By Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu
For returning DIL members I offer the additional book option:
By David Richo
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.
The full original list can be found in the members section for June and I would like to offer these additional resources of:
Mission Joy – Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu – Full feature available on Iplayer.
David Steindl-Rast’s Ted talk on Gratefulness
Louis Schwartzberg with David Steindl-Rast – Gratitude Ted talk
Ingrid Fetell Lee – Where Joy hides and how to find it
If you have any recommendations for films/podcasts etc to offer our community, please DM/email me and I will share with our community via Instagram.
Our DIL member Martin Sherwood has kindly put together 2 new playlists to support us all in our prayer practices and in living a more ‘prayerful’ life. Prepare to be moved,literally! 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 times, perhaps when you are journaling on your personal enquiry or to listen to before/after you pray.
I encourage you to listen to both playlists completely at some point during the month. I will be inviting another member to create our next playlists for September and beyond. Please email me if you wish to offer this for our community – firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you a rich and Grateful month of Grace filled Joy.
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.