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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Charitable Giving as a Spiritual Practice

Do you give back to those around you? Do you perform works in service, or support organizations who help others?

How do you give back? And more importantly, why bother?

Charitable giving or tithing* is a practice that I resisted for a long time. I know a lot of folks don't see the value in it, and some don't feel that they have enough money to spare. In my own past, I never felt I had enough left over after paying the bills. But I've found out just how important giving is in order to keep the energy of love flowing in the world around me.

In Heaven, I learned some important lessons about the concepts of giving and I'll share them here. Giving back to others, in whatever way we can afford it, helps us keep our hearts open and connected to God. It can also help us strengthen our bonds to our fellow humans, and shore up the structures of our communities. Done with a freely open heart, giving back is a way that we can express love and compassion and kindness to each other, our world, and to Spirit. And one other thing you might have noticed: giving just simply feels good. I sometimes wonder if the good feelings that come from freely giving to others is Spirit's little built-in reward for being of service.

Giving to others could include giving money to support a charity, but Spirit doesn't want us to bankrupt ourselves either. If your financial bottom-line is tight and donating cash is out of the question, find a way to donate your time or expertise instead. God wants us to live beautiful, joy-filled lives of abundance and prosperity. But if giving cash to others will take food off your table, by all means, feed your family and yourself first. Then find a way to be of service that doesn't involve writing a check. Volunteering your time might be the most loving and long-lasting gift that you could give someone.

Instead of money, you can be of service by lending a hand to someone in need, such as helping an elderly neighbor shop for groceries, or raking leaves from his yard in the autumn. You can give of your time to a charitable organization, religious institution, or even medical center to help those less fortunate than you. And yes, you can donate money, too. Charitable organizations need both money and volunteers in order to survive. If you choose to help, give what you can.  Helping others in whatever way you can afford is just one method to increase the love, joy, happiness, or prosperity in the world around you.

If you want to supercharge your spiritual practice, and increase the love and goodwill in your community at the same time, try to find ways you can give back to others. You might be pleasantly surprised at how it opens your heart and connects you more strongly to love and light in those around you.


How do I personally give back? I donate 10% of my income to charities that I feel are doing Spirit's work. This might be a religious institution, but it could also be a non-profit that helps abused kids or trains service dogs for the disabled. Additionally, I donate books to select non-profits as I can afford it. I also give of my time and expertise to individuals, charities, and non-profits. 



* "Tithing" technically means giving a tenth of what you earn (or in agricultural times, what you grow) as an offering to God to support those who are in need.





All content copyright Nancy Rynes, 2014. Please read disclaimer and Legal Notes here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Greyson NDE Scale and My NDE Score

I thought some of you might be interested in seeing how my near-death experience (NDE) stacks up against the research.

Psychiatrist and longtime NDE researcher, Dr. Bruce Greyson, has developed a scoring system to classify near-death experiences. If you're unfamiliar with the scale, you can see a copy of it here. While NDEs are inherently tough to quantify, Dr. Greyson has, I think, done a great job of coming up with a basic scale we can use to classify the depth of someone's experience. The questions in his scoring system try to put numbers to the intensity of a particular NDE in four key areas:

  • Cognitive - components relating to thought processes
  • Affective - components relating to feelings or emotions
  • Paranormal - components relating to psychic abilities, such as seeing the future
  • Transcendental - components relating to spirituality or enlightenment
You might be wondering how my NDE scored. Well, I was curious about that too, so I took the assessment this morning. Here's what I came up with:

My overall NDE score:  25
  • Cognitive: 5
  • Affective: 7
  • Paranormal: 6
  • Transcendental: 7
Keep in mind that it's tough to put numbers to such a subjective experience, but I think the result is interesting, at least. 

According to Dr. Greyson, an overall NDE score of 7 or higher is needed for the experience to be considered a true NDE in research circles. The mean (average) score among a large sample of near-death experiencers in his studies was 15. 

What do I make out of all of this? 

I already knew in my own heart that my experience was real, and that it was significant for me. And other people have told me that my experience has been helpful or comforting to them as well, so it feels great to be helping other people.

But I was surprised that my experience scored as high as it did. I guess since I don't have  much experience with NDEs, I didn't know how it would be categorized by others, so this classification system gives me a sense of validation at the same time. By that I mean that it feels comforting to know that my NDE is considered "real" in research circles (yes, I still have a little scientist locked away in my brain). I don't really care if my score is "better" or "worse" than someone else's, though. What I do care about is that I know that it can contribute something positive to the growing body knowledge coming from NDE research.


More details, including my thoughts, are in the book: Awakenings from the Light.


All content copyright Nancy Rynes, 2014. Please read disclaimer and Legal Notes here.










Monday, June 15, 2015

Quiet-Mind Time

Are you intimidated by the thought of meditation or contemplation? Think it's too hard for you, or that the benefits aren't worth the time spent?

I used to think that way. It seemed kind of weird to sit down and try to quiet my mind. And it was really difficult, so why bother?

Over the last 15 years, though, I gradually came around to realizing the wisdom of this simple practice. At the very least, I began to see that taking a few minutes out of my day for some gentle meditation soothed my soul. These days, I've made it a habit to take some quiet time for myself daily. I find that it:
  • Recharges my creativity;
  • Allows me to reconnect with my inner wisdom;
  • Clears my thinking;
  • Allows me to de-stress at the end of a tough day;
  • Gives me a fresh perspective on a situation;
  • Quiets any anxiety I might have;
  • And helps me hear Spirit's guidance in my life.
Quiet time doesn't necessarily mean that we need to spend an hour in formal meditation. I think the tales of Buddhist monks meditating for hours every day have scared more than a few people away from this practice. Prayer, contemplation, watching a rainstorm, sitting in a park, and even relaxing to music can quiet our minds, too.

I compared notes with some of my spiritually-minded friends and found that we all have different ways of getting to that quiet-mind state. One friend, a photographer, finds that spending time hiking in nature does the trick for him. Another contends that running is her way of quieting her mind. When she runs, somehow the rhythm of the activity puts her in a stress-free, peaceful mental zone. Another friend achieves a meditative-like state by taking a 30 minute walk during her lunch break. While walking, she focuses on seeing the beauty around her and her mind calms down.

While I do practice a formal or structured meditation almost daily, I also find that I can achieve a quiet-mind state at other times too, although not in the same way as my friends. For me, the act of working on a new oil painting often puts me into a meditative state. Hiking or other physical activity doesn't seem to help me -- my mind is often too busy at ferreting out solutions to daily problems when I hike -- but put a paintbrush in my hand and my mind quiets down beautifully.

This quiet mind state happened recently while working on this painting:


It's big --  3 ft by 4 ft -- and at first all of that blank canvas intimidated me. But I stepped up to the easel, grabbed a brush, and within minutes I was "in the zone." That zone is my quiet-mind state where the work is effortless and little to no thought intrudes. It's simply my hand holding a brush, paint, and canvas. The painting simply flowed. 

For me, painting can be a form of meditation.

Do you take time to quiet your mind? What works for you? How or when do you get "in the zone?" Have you noticed any benefits?


All content copyright Nancy Rynes, 2015. Please read disclaimer and Legal Notes here.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

More on Patience


As I wait for the author copy of my book to arrive, I ponder the practice of patience a little more. Truth be told, this entire publication process has taken much longer than I anticipated and, at times, i hate to admit that my impatience got the better of me. I have a level of what I think of as healthy anticipation or eagerness that I think of as good. But that eagerness  occasionally devolves into something less pretty: a restless expectation that things should happen according to my own timeline.



How can I expect everyone to be on my schedule, though? The truth is, I can't. And the expectation of it sets me up for feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

I've come to realize that my impatience stems from a desire to control the situation down to its most minute details. We humans do this more often than we probably care to admit. We often want to control our lives, our worlds, and the people around us so that we feel more comfortable or safe. Our minds may seem more content when life happens according to our own plans. Everything should simply work the way we expect. 

But life rarely unfolds according to our plans. 

Trying to control everything is, at some level, a sign that we don't trust Spirit. Spirit's plans and timelines can be vastly different from our own, and if we're mired in the need to control, we may not be open to Spirit's touch or guidance in our lives.

During my NDE, I learned that Spirit asks us to let go a little more so that He/She has space to work that beautiful magic in our lives and hearts. 

I remembered that lesson and tried to apply it in this situation. Letting go of some of my control, letting go of the expectation of a certain outcome in a set amount of time, allows the energy of Spirit to flow through my life once again. Not only am I calmer and less stressed, I'm enjoying the beauty of this moment. I'm enjoying the accomplishment of finishing a project that was 18 months in the making, and I'm having fun meeting many new people and learning about life and love in ways I never expected.

I think about control this way: trying to control everything around me is like trying to hold a butterfly by grabbing it with all of my strength. Doing that simply crushes the life out of it and destroys the beauty of the butterfly. Instead, I allow it to alight on my open palm, staring at it in wonder and amazement, then let it fly off on its own again at its own pace, on its own schedule. 

Don't get me wrong -- sometimes we really do need to make plans, keep to schedules, or have some control over a situation. But we really don't need to control everyone and everything at all times. There is beauty and amazement and serendipity in the unplanned. God can work in our lives a bit better if we take a deep breath and relax.




All content copyright Nancy Rynes, 2015. Please read disclaimer and Legal Notes here.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Exciting Book and Workshop News!

Book News


Awakenings From The Light is now available to order via Amazon.com

Its final page count will be just over 230 pages.

If you are in the USA and Canada, you may order a signed copy now at the website: AwakeningsFromTheLight.com.  Go to the "Books" page to place your order.


Follow this link for a preview of the book: Awakenings from the Light preview

If you'd like to see a video introduction, follow this link.



Full-Day Workshop: Sept 12, 2015 


Awakenings from the Light and Manifesting 123 full-day workshop


Author Ken Elliott and I will be teaching a workshop together in Denver, Colorado, on Sept 12, 2015. One low price, with multi-discounts available. In the morning, Nancy will walk you through the messages from her Spirit Guide in Heaven and give you exercises for applying them to your life. In the afternoon, author Ken Elliott will present a workshop on his proven steps for manifesting.  Please contact Nancy for more information, or check back here in early July, 2015.

Location:  Denver metro area, TBD

Cost: TBD


All content copyright Nancy Rynes, 2015. Please read disclaimer and Legal Notes here.