Mindfulness & Meditation

On the Path to Self-Discovery With the Duchess of York

First published on Huffington Post, 2011-05-20

I’ve always liked Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. Perhaps it is that she came on the scene when I was a teenage girl and infatuated with the royal weddings, like girls today. Perhaps it was her curly hair, which matched my own. Or her slight chunkiness, which also matched my own. Over the past decade, it’s been sad to watch what seemed to be her spiral downward. Last year, when she was caught on tape in the alleged bribery scandal, it appeared we were witnessing her self-destruction. However, as I watched Oprah’s interview with Sarah last week, I felt hopeful for her again. She still seems a bit shaky and just a little bit desperate, but she also appears to have found at least the trailhead of her own path to self-discovery.

Interspersed throughout the Oprah interview were clips from Sarah’s upcoming series on OWN, “Finding Sarah,” where she is counseled by Dr. Phil and Suze Orman to help her find her way. While I’m not a big fan of on-camera therapy, especially when it’s coming from Suze Orman who hardly seems qualified — I mean, who goes to their financial advisor for help with self-esteem issues? I was struck by one moment in particular when Sarah asks Suze with hopeless frustration in her voice, “How do you get self-worth? I don’t know how to get it!”

I remember years ago asking that question of my therapist with much the same frustration. While I cannot relate to life as a royal, I can certainly relate to Sarah’s personal struggle of not knowing her true value, making destructive choices and self-sabotage, and I know I am not alone.

It is at these low points in life when we realize we are going at it all wrong, that life is just not working, and we begin our own personal journey of self-discovery. For me it was also a journey of spiritual discovery — where I came to discover that I am a spiritual being, that I have within me the power of the “divine,” that I am — like every one else — a unique expression of God. I’m not sure where Sarah’s journey will take her, but I do believe it is a vital journey for every person to take.

A couple of practices were essential for me as I worked through my issues and came to discover my inner peace and confidence. I found that I had to:

Become aware of self-talk

Most of the time, we are unaware of our own thoughts. When we stop for a moment and observe our self-talk, some of us find that the voice in our head can be pretty unpleasant. It’s like hanging out with a nagging critic who points out our faults as we move throughout the day. If we let this critic go unchecked, it can lead to feeling pretty crappy about ourselves.  If we believe we are unloved and unlovable, it’s no wonder we look outside ourselves to fill the inner void.

But we can’t change what we are not aware of. So we need to shine some light on the self-critical thoughts and conversations that are happening in the background of our minds. At first we just need to become the observer and bring awareness to our thoughts and feelings. We can say, “Isn’t that interesting,” as a thought passes through our awareness. That’s enough to release any charge of negativity a thought or feeling may be carrying.

Find peace within

When we feel empty inside, it’s natural to seek someone or something to fill the emptiness. But there is no one or no thing that can give us what we need. Lasting peace, happiness and acceptance can only be found within. If we are having trouble finding peace, it may be that we need to remove some clutter.

Meditation is the most valuable tool we have for uncovering the treasure trove of peace and well-being that is within. In the silence, we touch serenity, we feel our spirits expanding, we feel spacious freedom and, most importantly, we connect with our inner wisdom.

The choice of meditation practices is wide-ranging. It doesn’t need to be complicated or require much special instruction. In Unity, one of the practices we teach is silent meditation. In a recent article in Daily Word, Rev. Carolyne Mathlin offers this simple technique to begin:

Sit quietly in the silence. If you need a focus, follow your breath. If your mind chatters, and it will, just gently return focus to your breath. Dissolve into the silence and let the silence reveal Itself to you.

I do not believe there is any other practice that has been more beneficial to my spiritual growth than meditation. If you don’t have a meditation practice of your own or have let it lapse, I encourage you to start one today and find the peace that lives within you.

* * * * *

Laura Harvey is the editor of Daily Word, a daily devotional magazine, published by Unity since 1924. Unity emphasizes the practical, everyday application of spiritual principles to help people live more abundant and meaningful lives.

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1 Comment

  1. I was able to understand a comment by you about spiraling upward. This is what God does with an area of life to cause the it to unite with another area that uses itself in a continuous way. When the two unite, the two are compared to the perpetual life that already exists eternally and God understands to God whether or not this area can use itself as it always will (as an organized area unity). This area when not united (spun down) is used by God to move life (everyone and everything) either toward unity or outside of unity (entropy).

    United life understands and is interested in what God is doing. Unity is a process and entropy is the counter process. Unity occurs by way of attachment within an area that understands a continuous rotation causing out negative energy (force moving atoms about) fused with divided parts of the environment and entropy is caused by way of integrations in an environment that spins causing in integrations (internal thought, non preferred emotions, pressure, non preferred events) all toward life needing to to do something different to attach to what it can always do.

    You are interested in contemplation and you can be interested in knowing that the attention span, the conscious process is the soul and it can be attached always to the area where united life is understanding God in unity. Understand and integrate with the bits and pieces of attention span and consciousness discussed in part within medicine and research areas and miss the attachment to God.

    There is some communication about how life uses itself to unite with the area that understand a continuous communication of infatuation from God causing out living “impurites” written today to some life in Christian groupings. There is a function to the communication understood as love caused by God and it only exists as necessary when life is coming into it’s perpetual existence (supports life to be in the world, but not receiving from it).

    I can say something with other words if there is a part of this interesting to you within your experiencing area.


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