Sunday, August 22, 2010

Living by the Spirit

Living by the Spirit is a new, but timeless, entrancing, yet grounding way to live. It is a sophisticated, unassuming, transcendent, yet balancing experience to be had everyday. Living this way is elegant, yet accessible, authentic, evocative and in the moment. It develops within you an unobtrusive, unprecedented sense of power and entitlement to all of life's rich blessings.

It used to be that living according to this manner was generally more hidden, secluded and not so culturally acceptable. Formerly the spiritual life was often associated with ascetics and yogi's living in the forest, or in caves and with saints or holy men/women wandering from place to place. More recently however, in the past few centuries it was often associated with monks living in monasteries, or nuns in convents.

Times are changing now it appears. Living by the Spirit is becoming a more trendy and culturally acceptable way of life, as many younger and older people alike are searching for a more genuine, inner, spiritual experience, a more fulfilling experience of life. It's quite apparent that many people are feeling the need to get back in touch with their sacred selves. Yoga, meditation and tai chi centers are popping up all around the country, as many people are reaping the benefits these ancient practices have to offer.

Religion is also changing as many barriers between race and religion are crumbling down. A lot more people it seems are becoming more interested in the inner, spiritual experience, rather than the outer, religious experience. This is a good thing too because true faith and belief is inner, personal and reassuring. In your heart and soul is a cavern where the beloved can meet you each and everyday for communion. There is also a fountain of living waters that nourishes the deepest parts of you, whenever you drink from it. You don't have to go to a tabernacle, mosque or temple to feel swept away by God's holy, mesmerizing presence. True, spiritual experience is oftentimes simpler than that. It's about going within yourself for illumination, inspiration and enlightenment, knowing the God of the universe is a part of and connected to your very being. It's totally about the inner connection you keep to this sustaining force of life and not so much about only performing the outward rituals and going to worship services once or twice a week. Real spiritual living is about devotion, dedication, giving in, surrendering to the force that can and will change and re-design you for optimal life performance and experience.

This new, yet timeless way of living is Living by the Spirit. It is learning to live from your heart and soul, rather than solely from your intellect. It is learning to be a more integrated, attuned human, spiritual being. It is learning to trust your inner promptings and listen to the subtle, still, small voice within for constant guidance and direction. This way of living is also learning to trust that things in your life are working out precisely how they need to for the unfolding of your soul and spiritual journey. It is learning how to incorporate spirituality into ALL aspects of your daily life. Before you make any plans for each day, take time to pray and meditate and seek spirit's guidance. Always ask for wisdom and necessary guidance in planning your day and events, then listen to any whisperings or inclinations you feel. And then trust and follow the wisdom your given.

Living in the Spirit is exciting and mesmerizing. You get intuitions or hunches about things, a lot of coincidental events start occurring, mysterious people and things start showing up at just the right time and your energy and insight increases. You become more enlivened and life takes on a different hue. You begin to see and experience the world differently. Life becomes rejuvenating, impeccably fulfilling, an unforgettable journey, as stars align and point you the direction you need to go. It is like opening the door to the possibility of spirit's magic and mystery operating in your life. We can either let in or shut out this magic. When you choose to let it in, your soul catches on fire and colorful passion begins circulating joyously through your being, brightening ALL aspects of your life experience. When you let in and live by the spirit, life becomes captivating, enthralling, riveting, a joyous dance and miraculous adventure.

Copyright Justin Topik 2013

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Reclaiming Your Inner Artist

Everyone has a creative spark, a creative genius, or well of creative juice to draw from. And though, not everyone is meant to be a Michelangelo or a Rembrandt, creativity is still a vitally, important part of every one's overall well-being. The need to create is almost an inborn desire, as is apparent in most children. They are so utterly passionate about expressing their creativity, it's quite enjoyable to observe. Kids little minds are just racing with thoughts and ideas. They are so uninhibited in expressing themselves. And they are so in touch with the magical realm of spirit, where all inspiration originates.

Creativity comes in several shapes and sizes. There are a multitude of ways of expressing it and Reclaiming Your Inner Artist. Some of these ways include: writing poetry, drawing, painting, wood working, decorating, creating plays or musicals, landscaping, pottery, glass blowing, song-writing, dancing, making inventions, or just simply using your imagination. These are all ways to get in touch with your inner artist, bring it to life, keep it alive and to help keep that inner spark burning. Each creative expression takes you deeper into an enchanted realm of alluring beauty and magic, a realm that beckons to you, to return to it often, for its life giving essence. Shutting yourself off from this realm is shutting yourself off from a major source of joy, passion, inspiration and enthusiasm.

In today's world it is quite easy to lose touch with our inner artist. We live in such a dominant left brained, analytical society, so a lot of us unhealthily repress, or completely starve our creative selves.  This we do to try and fit in, or gain acceptance; all the while the right brain, or creative, intuitive, side of ourselves is oftentimes screaming out for attention and recognition.

In many of us, ignoring the artistic side of ourselves creates an emptiness, a lack of expression and can even lead to depression. I was definitely one of those who fell into this category. In my early teens, I got to a point where all of a sudden I was overcome with an immense amount of darkness and despair.  Depression loomed heavily over my being.  Now granted I was dealing with a lot of deep rooted family issues and repressed emotions I had bottled up.  But looking back with a bit of perspective, I am convinced a great deal of my depression came from an enormous amount of unexpressed creativity.  My lack of expression and creativity totally bogged me down.  I was dying inside trying to desperately fit in, meanwhile ignoring my inner urges. But, through a lot of counseling and self work, I learned to express my true, deep seated emotions. I also started exercising my creative longings by writing music and poetry. Somehow with the grace of spirit, I managed to heal a broken part of myself by learning to express myself more fully.  I also learned to tap into a great, spiritual source and unplug the flow of my inner artist. I was able to re-awaken this glorious part of myself, after feeling stuck in a deep rut for many years.  I literally came to life again...

Embracing your creative side is a simply, delightful way to live. Not embracing it however, leads to stagnation, restlessness, boredom and a sour, unfulfilled life. There are two paths waiting up ahead of you right this moment. The creative, expressive path leads to integration, wholeness, a sense of belonging and completeness, while the non-creative, non-expressive path winds and winds leading to an unfulfilled destination.  It has many ruts and potholes you might even fall in if you're not careful. If you traverse only the latter path, it will never fulfill your inner longings. The wise traveler learns to walk  the creative, expressive path for the splendid fruit it provides, for he knows that walking this path leads to a spectacular, brilliant, illuminated destination. Reclaiming Your Inner Artist is returning to authentic living and authentic power.  It is reclaiming all parts of your gloriously, created being.  It is honoring the whole self.  When you reclaim your inner artist, you will reclaim your passion and your power...   

Copyright Justin Topik 2013

Monday, August 9, 2010

Embracing the Space Between

There are times in life when you may feel alone or confused, not knowing what to do, or where to go next. Usually this happens when you are going through some type of a transition. Your life may even feel frozen in time for a season. Take heart though my friend, for this too is part of the journey. Life is synonymous with change and change is unavoidable. But, that doesn't mean it is always going to be easy. On the contrary, change is oftentimes downright scary and can be a real uprooting experience. Change of any sort can be quite unsettling and unnerving. But a vital part of life and necessary ingredient for spiritual, mental and emotional growth is learning to be content wherever you are, or with whatever you are going through. Sometimes accepting the moment, or place we are in, whatever that place or situation may be, is an important part of the journey, whether we like it or not.

Part of maturity is becoming more steady and constant emotionally and spiritually.  And until we learn to be content in any situation, we are usually unsteady and not well grounded.  There is a nice quote from the Bhagavad Gita that really sums this up, "When a man has mastered himself, he is perfectly at ease in cold, in heat, in pleasure or pain, in honor or disgrace.  Wise men do not rejoice in good fortune; they do not lament at bad fortune." This quote conveys that true wisdom is synonymous with acceptance, detachment and being content with whatever life throws your way.

Life is a journey traversing many different landscapes. There will be deserts you must cross, flowing waterfalls to revel and bask in, towering mountains to conquer, meandering valleys to wander aimlessly in, fascinating seas to sail on and confusing, frightening jungles to walk through. You can't just be happy when everything is going your way, or when life is all "smooth sailing" as they say.  Whether you are between relationships, or jobs, about to get married, or divorced, transitioning through a difficult life phase, getting ready to start a new business venture, about to make a move to a different location, preparing for graduation, or whatever the case, Embracing the Space Between is a very important and necessary step for growth and development. We all know any of the above mentioned life changes aren't usually gonna be easy, however in enduring and embracing them, you are growing wisdom and understanding.  As acceptance grows within you, it adds a new dimension to the canvas being painted by your life experience.

Real life mastery comes as we learn to embrace every phase of our life 's journey.  This includes the ups and the downs, the good and the bad, as well as the significant and seemingly insignificant events.  It happens by embracing and honoring each and every phase of your journey as a part of the total spectrum.  Doing this only enriches your life experience.

The value in Embracing the Space Between is that it forces you to really go deep within yourself for guidance, trust and wisdom. Also, sometimes when you fall to your knees in desperation, it can help you develop a richness of spirit.  It encourages you to surrender to a higher power, to trust and accept what you cannot always see with your eyes and mind. Part of this surrendering, trust developing process is learning or accepting that just maybe there is a reason for the space that you are experiencing. Perhaps you need the space between for healing, to find yourself again, to get your life back together, or to pick up the pieces and move on from a draining, or destructive life situation? Whatever the case, it is what it is...  It is highly important to acknowledge and understand the space between is not good or bad, only new life experience adding valuable dimensions to your life.

Copyright Justin Topik 2013

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Most Important Face of Success

There are many different faces of success. Some of these include assertiveness, a positive attitude, feeling deserving and worthy of greatness, having confidence in your abilities, being resourceful, being somewhat of a risk taker, exhibiting perseverance, dedication, as well as maintaining a vivid mental vision of your goals. And while all of these are highly important and necessary elements of any success for sure, there is one which far outweighs the others in terms of major importance. In my opinion and life experience, The Most Important Face of Success is by far--attitude. When it comes to success, attitude is more important than ability, strength or even talent; for you and I both know there are many highly capable and talented people standing in the bleachers, watching the game as spectators in the game of life.

Talented people are a dime a dozen.  They can be found in every town and walk of life. I'm sure you probably even know some incredibly gifted, clever people in your own circle of friends or acquaintances. Perhaps you are even one of them? Here's the thing though, deep down we all know that talent alone is not enough to guarantee real, genuine success. A lot of incredibly talented people don't achieve the greatness they have it in them to achieve.  Many just don't see their own unique gifts, talents or abilities, while others are afraid of rejection.  The majority however just don't have the right mental attitudes. But whatever the case may be, those who achieve success in any area of life share one MAJOR thing in common.  They all have the right mental attitudes. They take the bit of raw talent they have, combine it with an unstoppable attitude, a great deal of perseverance and they achieve phenomenal success for themselves.

The point is this, you can have anything you want in life if you're willing to put on The Most Important Face of Success.  If you exercise an unstoppable positive attitude, there is nothing you cannot be, do or have, period...  Of course besides having the right attitude, you will still need to be wholeheartedly dedicated to your cause.  And you will also need to use your will power and be willing to really throw yourself into the game as well. 

Some of history's greatest successes were not necessarily the most talented.  They were just the most fiercely determined. If you wanna play big in the game of life, you have to show up with the right game face on. And unless you bring the right attitude, you will literally defeat yourself before you even get into the arena. A proper attitude is that important.  It's what defines great players from the mere mediocre ones. 

Success takes putting on many important faces. It also takes making a firm vow to yourself that you are worthy and deserving of great things. It takes putting your intentions out there into the universe, practicing assertiveness in moving toward the things you most desire. Real success is something that starts inside you right NOW. It starts with you believing in yourself, even when others may not. It starts with you believing you can achieve WHATEVER you set your mind to. It takes looking up at a unbelievably intimidating mountain, lacing up your shoes and beginning the journey, even though you may have no idea how you're going to conquer it. It is having complete, inner faith and confidence that once you start the climb, you will find or attract what you need for each phase of the journey. Its believing you will confront and overcome ANY obstacle you find in your way.  More than all of these things though, succeeding takes putting on The Most Important Face of Success, which is a positive attitude--a monumental force that makes a ginormous difference.  So put your game face on and get yourself into the game of life and do it now!

Copyright Justin Topik 2013

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Light up Your Life

What if you had the power within to boost your energy level to much greater heights?  Let's just say you could turn your entire life experience level up a few notches right now. Well I'm here to tell you, you can!  You can turn on the lights (metaphorically speaking) and truly Light up Your Life brighter than you ever thought or dreamt possible. You have the ability inside you this very moment to get more out of life than you ever deemed believable. You have the power and capability to turn the ordinary into extraordinary, the dull into exotic, the drab and boring into an exploding sense of rich, colorful passion. You can truly spice up the flavor of your life beginning right this very moment if you so desire.  

So what are you waiting for? Inside of you there is a switch to help you do all of the above mentioned things and more. All you have to do is find it and turn it on. Once you flip the switch, you will turn on the magic. Then the brightness of your new life that comes shining forth will more than mystify, more than electrify you. This is something you can do at any given moment of your life. The thing is, we were meant to live in heightened states, to live inside of the mystery, the enchantment of the spiritual dimension, not outside of it. Yet, most of the time we tune this very essence out and ignore the very presence that enlivens and awakens the very best in us. We also ignore the very powers that give us our radiance and wings to soar. We let the sleeping giant within us stay slumbering, while he is constantly beckoning us to wake him up and let him out of his cage, so he can let his mighty power roar.

Right about now though, you may be thinking 'this all sounds nice, but just how do I you go about doing this?'  That's a great question for sure.  The answer is this--there is an infinite energy source inside your body that you have the ability to tap into ANYTIME. It is often referred to as Shakti, Kundalini, Chi, Dao and Prana in various world religions. It's an energy source that once you tap into, or turn on, your life actually comes alive, or enlivened.  When this happens everything becomes brighter and more magnificent. Besides tapping into this source though, there are several other things you can do which can help you Light up Your Life as well. Some of these things include:
  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (live foods)
  • Taking herbs for energy (ginseng, guarana, gotu kola, peppermint)
  • Getting adequate cardiovascular exercise
  • Practicing positive thinking and maintaining a positive focus
  • Associating with enlivened or high energy people
  • Doing the things that help you feel more alive and connected to source
In a nutshell, anything which helps you tune into higher energy frequencies will help you to Light up Your Life. You have the power right now to live a more colorful, brighter and richer life experience. You only need to activate the latent energies of this source within, or turn on the light switch. Then you must find ways to keep the energy or prana circulating and flowing smoothly and unblocked. When you learn to tap into the wealthy reserves of this powerful energy source and to keep your spiritual energy high, be prepared for your life to light up.  Then truly the world around you will brighten as well. And remember, all it takes is one torch burning brightly to light thousands, even millions of other torches. As you Light up Your Life, you will light up the world around you too.  Small sparks sometimes create big fires!

Copyright Justin Topik 2013

Monday, June 21, 2010

Savor the Journey

Life is a wondrous journey to be celebrated, appreciated and savored.  And though it's not a final destination, this moment right now is divine and is a part of eternity. It's important to acknowledge, understand and accept that we are all having a temporal experience upon this earth.  But even though our time on earth isn't permanent doesn't make it any less magnificent. It's still a beautiful and amazing ride--this thing called life. 

We should all celebrate the preciousness of life and rejoice while upon this glorious earth.  None of us can control the number of days we're given.  We can however choose to revel in the glory of life and seize the days we're given. We can deliberately choose to never take a moment, person, gift or opportunity for granted. We can take it all in, relishing the deliciousness of life's miraculousness. Think about it, whenever you eat a lavish meal, drink an expensive glass of wine, enjoy a cup of gourmet coffee, you naturally desire to take your time, getting the full taste. Savoring life is just the same. We oftentimes get so caught up in the busyness of it all, without taking the time to slow down and smell the flowers intoxicating aroma around us. It is in taking time to slow down and Savor the Journey that the essence of life's sweetness, life's absolute exquisiteness is truly captured and experienced.
Basking in the glory of life is the privilege and honor of every living being. Appreciating the beauty, wonder and awe of existence, as well as honoring the forces of nature that have conspired to bring us all into existence uplifts and refreshes the human spirit. No matter how you look at it, life is a magnificently, splendid, exuberant experience, so go ahead and live it up.  Savor the flavor of life, Savor the Journey.

Copyright Justin Topik 2013

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Glue That Holds it All Together

Imagine there was a glue you could use to hold all the various aspects of your life together in a more harmonious fashion. And let's just say that this glue could also help you be more integrated and balanced in mind, body and spirit. It could help you stay more grounded and calm in any situation, which could alleviate tremendous stress, worry and anxiety from your life.  Now here's an incredible feature about this glue, it's absolutely 100% free.  It's a gift from the beloved creator to anyone who will simply take it from the supply room of infinite resources.  Now I know this may sound a bit too good to be true, but I sincerely hope you believe me.  The reason being is, this is a secret which has revolutionized my life.  And I'm quite certain it can do the same for yours.

See here's the thing, I am thoroughly convinced this magical glue exists and that it can do all of the above mentioned things and more...  Somewhere down through the ages yogi's, ascetics, great saints and mystics learned there were great physical benefits to cultivating peace and inner harmony, besides the obvious spiritual ones.  Fortunately, their secrets have been passed on to us in modern day times as well.  What their wisdom has taught us is that by calming the mind, body and soul through the ancient practices of yoga, tai chi, chi gong and meditation, a healing balm is awakened and activated. Once activated this healing balm becomes a great natural remedy for relieving stress and anxiety. It's sort of like a glue which holds all things together. 

All the spiritual practices just previously mentioned have immense, life altering power.  They have all been scientifically documented from countless sources to be able to help lower blood pressure, counteract stress and provide a more concentrated, enhanced ability to focus. You too can reap the benefits these practices have to offer and activate this healing balm in your own life as well, to bring about more peace and harmony, more inner and outer balance. You can also mine the rich treasures in your extravagantly abundant soul!

Living close to spirit is a way of life I will NEVER stray from.  It truly is the glue that holds everything together for me. I would be lost without the grace, inner peace and soul sustenance I receive from my daily practices of yoga and meditation. These things keep me from falling apart, from coming undone. When you keep first things first and stay in harmony with your soul, there is a peace, stillness and an assurance that comes over you, calms your mind and soul, descends upon you, takes you over.  It reminds you all is well, that God is operating in this universe and in your universe as well. There is a scripture from the Bible which really sums this all it up, "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17). 

The power of the soul is beyond any drug, any artificial substance. There is no substitute for this elixir, this presence which holds everything together.  God's love, grace and presence is just like that--a glue so to speak. The glue mentioned here is of course just a metaphor, but it is real nonetheless, because whenever I get out of touch with my source, stress, anxiety, and mental agitation come back without fail. It's too easy to neglect or forget The Glue that Holds it All Together. We get busy. We get flustered and overwhelmed, but as Thoreau once said, "It's not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?" Making time for cultivating peace and harmony, for deepening your spiritual connection is something that only helps you feel more alive, more compassionate, insightful, intuitive and more connected to all of creation. So why neglect this aspect of your life?

Whenever life pulls at you, breaks you down, or rips your world apart remember there is a safe haven you can go to, to hide from the storms and there is a magical glue that CAN and WILL help you keep it all together.

Copyright Justin Topik 2013

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Make Miracles Happen

If only people knew what they were capable of, they would astound themselves literally. We cling to security, to the known, paved paths, the way things should be, or to the way things have always been done so rigidly, all too often sacrificing a more rich and rewarding experience of life, which is often times lurking right around the corner. We so often sell ourselves short, without even knowing, or being aware we are doing it. I'm sure you've had the experience of coming across someone whom you felt displayed remarkable, soulful qualities, or who had an exuberant personality that you could clearly see was settling for far less than they deserved. And it's not that you were necessarily judging this person, rather you just saw aptitudes or personality traits in them maybe they themselves didn't even know they possessed. Whatever it was, you caught a glimpse of their inner radiance, charisma or charm. You could see genius or brilliance in them.

We all fall prey to settling for less than we deserve from time to time. Maybe you have even been guilty of this yourself? I know I sure have more than I would care to admit. The question is why do we do it? I think sometimes we forget our inherent worthiness, our innate greatness and just how capable and resourceful we really are. We can also lose sight of our phenomenal ability to fashion ourselves, to artfully and craftfully design our lives, and of the ability we have to change virtually any aspect of our lives. We forget that our capabilities are remarkable and transcendental, that we were created by a force that knows no limits, has no boundaries, who only sees possibilities and opportunities.

It is so incredibly easy to get caught up in the loop of making a living. We can quickly lose sight of the fact that we hold the keys to marvelous futures in our hands, that we set the stage, co-write, co-direct and play the leading roles in the movies of our lives. We sometimes forget that we can Make Miracles Happen and live lives of our own marvelous creations. How quickly we forget our own power to reclaim and redefine our lives at any given moment. It seems we're often afraid of the power we hold in our hands. It's like we have a magic wand in our hands that we're afraid to use, or maybe it's the effort we know we have to exert to have the lives we want and desire? Regardless, we forget we are part of the miracle, the creative force of life, that the same power which created the universe is lying dormant within us. We forget our sense of entitlement, our deserving nature, our rich heritage. So now is your chance, WAVE YOUR MAGIC WAND and get the magic flowing again that you have tried so hard to repress.

Sometimes it takes something inspiring to get you to break your bounds, to access inner wisdom and strength that may be timidly lying beneath the surface. It takes having an inspiring goal propelling you to dig deep and pull out the mighty, roaring lion inside of you. But, whatever it takes to awaken him, when you do, his strength, courage and ferocity will amaze you. We can all Make Miracles Happen if we're willing to use the God given keys in all of our pockets right now. So take the keys out, put them in the ignition of the vehicle of your grandest dreams, turn on the car and drive away into an enchanted land where you remember you are a great wizard and you can Make Miracles Happen!

Copyright Justin Topik 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Winning the Game of Life

When you think about Winning the Game of Life, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Let me guess... being the hero of the game, the captain of the team, the champion of a winning organization, the president of a multimillion dollar corporation, or being filthy rich and living in a glamorous mansion? Our culture inundates us with these beliefs at an early age. These images are plastered in our minds by television, magazine and radio ads. Don't get me wrong though, all these things are nice and there is nothing wrong with them per se, but it's obvious success and fame don't completely satisfy people, as we constantly watch so called famous and successful peoples lives blow up and fall apart after they have achieved massive success according to the worlds standards.

Sometimes you can win it all and still miss the mark. Winning the Game of Life is far more than being famous and achieving super, mega success. Sometimes it is the simple things like achieving contentment, joy and happiness too. I once heard a quote that said something to the effect of, " the measure of a mans success, is the measure of his happiness. " Personally I think someone who makes $30,000 a year doing what he or she loves, is much more successful than an overworked business man, doctor or lawyer who is making tons of money and hates their job. People can have all that stuff and still feel empty. Having stuff doesn't fill your soul. There is a song by Kanye West which is actually untitled where he says, "Do you think I sacrifice a real life for all the fame and flashing lights? It's like I'm looking for something out there. I turn on the TV and see me and see nothing." This song is a powerful reminder that all that glitters is not gold.

In my younger days, I did a lot of competitive running. I went to the Jr. Olympics, won box fulls of trophies and medals, but after a while, even this success didn't satisfy the hunger within. Just because I was winning athletic contests, I didn't feel I was necessarily Winning the Game of Life. There was still an emptiness within, so I decided to change course. I decided I wanted to win the game of life, to truly taste the thrill of victory at a soul level. I have since then discovered an entirely New Definition for Winning the Game of Life:
  • Being Victorious Over Self (Overcoming the Ego)
  • Achieving Inner Peace
  • Feeling Happy and Fulfilled Within
  • Being Anchored and Connected to the Life Source
  • Feeling Passionate and Enthusiastic About Life
  • Being a Team Player, Understanding Your Place in the Great Circle of Life and the Interconnectedness of All Things

Winning the Game of Life is a personal thing. Only you know if you are winning or losing. That's because success is different to different people. I will tell you though, the worlds view of success is highly overrated. You cannot measure your worth by that scale. We always think, I will be happy when I achieve this or that. But, it's not about the success we achieve, the $'s in your bank account, or treasures in your storehouse. To win at the game of life is about the worth and wealth you feel within, treasuring every moment as a gift and being fully present in every moment. You cannot experience true success without keeping God and family first in your life. I have observed true success in life comes from keeping God and family first ALWAYS.

Winning the Game of Life is about finding that rare and often ignored jewel called inner peace. In the Bhagavad Gita or Hindu holy book, it speaks of attaining this level of inner peace. It says, "Attaining this state, he knows that there is no higher attainment; he is rooted there unshaken even by the deepest sorrow." This my friends is the reward of all rewards. Worldly awards and accomplishments are nothing compared to this highly prized gift. If you have peace in your soul, a positive outlook on life, and you are living an animated life that you are in love with, you are most assuredly Winning the Game of Life. You are victorious. The trophy will be yours.

Copyright Justin Topik 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Relationship With Self

The most important relationship any of us will ever have is not a relationship with another, but The Relationship With Self. I know NEWS FLASH right? This goes against a lot of things our media broadcasts to us daily. We are bombarded with many images and ideas which suggest being alone is bad, unacceptable and may even signify depression. Also, in our Western culture, we are taught to sacrifice our needs to please another, sometimes even at our own expense. We are oftentimes even made to feel guilty for making time for self nurture and self renewal. In a lot of ways, it seems we have it backwards. In the highest sense, you have to be happy, content and satisfied with yourself before you can ever be content and satisfied with another. As a society, we look to another to complete us, when a great secret I have found is, the satisfaction we are looking for in another must first be found within. I will go so far here to say that not until you find inner bliss, inner harmony and inner satisfaction in yourself, can it ever be experienced with another. Also with that being said, the more honor, value and respect you give your own self, the more you can honor, respect and appreciate another.

I was married for almost ten years to a lady who treated me with a great deal of disrespect and dishonor. She was ungrateful for me and showed me very little compassion a large portion of the time during our marriage. It did not matter how kind, loving, thoughtful or compassionate I was towards her, she could never appreciate me, but instead, always found things in our relationship to be unhappy about. The intriguing thing is, she was never really content and happy with her own self, which I think was a significant reason she could never be happy with me.

This type of thing is common in many relationships today too. I think part of where the problem stems from is that we live in an instant gratification, throw away society. We are not used to working for much anymore. Relationships with yourself and others require a lot of work, there is no denying that. So naturally, when relationships get tough, people bail. Not too many people it seems are content with themselves or what they have anymore, so they can never be happy or content in relationships as well. Until you are content on the inside, you will always feel like something is missing. You will always want more. The problem here is, when we feel an inadequacy on the inside, we often mistakenly start looking outside, as if there is something out there that can complete us. Unfortunately, like the search for the holy grail to give someone instant eternal life, the search for something outside of ourselves to complete us too is an illusion. If you are always discontent on the inside, nothing will ever satisfy you. And yet, on the other token, if you learn to be truly content on the inside, to stay happy and grounded, you will not need to look outside of yourself for that magic something to complete you. Instead, you will be able to give that magic something away to someone else.

In your time on this world, you will spend more time alone than with anyone else. Sooner or later, you had better learn to like and appreciate the company you keep. This may be accomplished through a multitude of ways including, but not limited to: journaling, soul searching, meditation, tai chi, yoga, prayer, getting massages, being artistic and creative, personal study, taking walks alone in nature, or plain just doing whatever it takes for you to stay in touch with your whole self. Part of establishing a relationship with self too, is learning your likes and dislikes, what you connect to and don't connect to.

Great relationships with others don't start with others. They start with the relationship you have or maintain with yourself in mind, body and spirit. Included in this, is the relationship you keep with your creator or higher power. Within each and everyone of us is a loving, magical, grand and powerful being...the atman or real self. A friendship with this being illuminates and brightens lives and has the power to transform virtually every other relationship in your life. When you nourish yourself emotionally, spiritually, physically, you are undertaking important work. Whatever you do for yourself, you do for another. You can never give away something you do not have. So, in essence, the more peace, harmony, happiness and positive energy (mojo) you are able to cultivate in your life, the more of these things you can share from your cup of treasures with another.

The Relationship With Self is the MOST important relationship you could ever nurture and develop. It is the relationship that will sustain you through all of life's bumpy roads. And with a great relationship with self, when things go awry as they sometimes will, you will be better able to handle the situations life throws at you. The world we live in can oftentimes be a noisy, busy and sometimes confusing place. Making time to stay conscious, to stay in tune with your whole self, and making a space for quiet and reflection time, helps maintain sanity and equilibrium and helps you stay grounded in the truth of your being. True self love is taking time to care for the soul, mind and body. And as you care for yourself in all these areas, you will find the more you have to give away to help a world in need.

Copyright Justin Topik 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Embarking on Your Journey

The boat which leads to your dreams, to your immaculate life is about to depart. It is loaded with everything you could ever want or need for your journey, for your highly anticipated destination. All you have to do is hop on board. So come on, what are you waiting for? Don't you dare miss this chance of a lifetime. You have been waiting an awful long time for this opportunity, for the chance to get on board the ship which leads to everything you have ever dreamed of. You have prepared tirelessly, painstakingly and ever so diligently, never losing hope, never doubting your ability to achieve your wildest dreams. Now the time has finally come to jump on board and begin the journey-to sail away to your paradise, to live in your dreams.

The question is, are you ready for the amazing journey you are about to experience? I'm certain you have no idea what a glorious opportunity you're about to have, or the magnificent views you are going to see up ahead. But, you my friend were born for this destiny, to reach the port only you can envision. And somewhere inside of you, you know the first step to Embarking on Your Journey is getting on board the ship, daring to lose sight of the shore, really daring to put yourself out there. I have great faith in you. And I know you are ready, for that is why you are standing on the dock ready to hop on board.

You are now ready for greatness. You are ready to own your power, to steer your life, to be the captain of your destiny. The truth is, you have always been the captain and guardian of your destiny. You determine your ultimate destination. You create your fate. There are of course other attributing factors though, such as guiding spirits, your God given talents, and being in touch with your dharma (or the mission your soul has come to this life to perform). All these things together assist you in creating a glorious existence.

Alright, fantastic, so I see you have gotten on board. You have just made a life transforming decision to sail toward your grandest dreams. You have always had the power to make life changing decisions and to achieve your hearts desires, but now you have finally done something about it. Congratulations you have now fully embarked on your journey. Stepping on board was by far the hardest part, I know. I'm sure you're probably scared, yet unbelievably, undeniably and indescribably excited as well. And please don't get me wrong, there will be some dark times up ahead, stormy seas you will have to cross, times when you will feel like giving up, turning back, cowering under the pressure, the fear, but you must persevere.

Facing our inadequacy, our fear of failure, and overcoming our weaknesses is part of growth for everyone. I'm sure even Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of all time had moments where he questioned his ability to play basketball, or to make it in the NBA. Self doubt is a part of everyones life, but you can't let it stop you from moving forward. Inside your heart of hearts you know what you have come to this world to do. And now that you are Embarking on Your Journey, you must not let anything stop you. You must stay the course even when you feel you can't go on and shine your light even when water is raging all around you trying to dispel your flame.

Now that you have embarked on your journey, you are fully in the game of life. On this playing field you must make the opposition play your game. You must closely observe the field of play and put yourself in a dangerous position where you can score. Never forget your greatest enemy will always be yourself, which can also be your greatest ally. When life knocks you down, just bounce back up, keep moving forward in a positive direction and eventually you will be victorious over self. Winston Churchill once said, "Pessimists see failure in every opportunity. Optimists see opportunities in every failure."

Sail on my friend, on your amazing journey. Never look back, only gaze toward the reddish, golden, illuminating horizon painted up ahead. Your journey is underway. You have great courage for getting on board the ship and heading in the direction of your life dreams. You can overcome anything in your path. At the end of your fears, once you break through your walls and limitations, you will undoubtedly see, the good life lies ahead.

Copyright Justin Topik 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Offering Praise to the Great Spirit (God)

Why believe in God? This is a question that has existed since the beginning of humankind. For me the answer is simple though. I sincerely believe it's a normal, inborn desire to offer praise to the creator of this amazingly complex and beautiful world, to acknowledge and give respect to the source of all creation, the great scientist; the force which keeps the planets spinning in motion, ripens fruits and vegetables, makes the sun rise and fall everyday, causes rivers to flow, the ocean tides to come in and go out, our hearts to beat-the force which makes all of life possible.

No one can deny that there is some force which allows life to happen. Whatever you choose to call this force however, is clearly up to you. I believe there is something inside each of us which acknowledges a creative force, a creative entity operating in the universe. There is something inside us which understands the grandeur, the splendor, the magic, the exquisite richness of all life and thus desires to offer praise to the source, energy, power, or presence which originates and orchestrates it all.

People have praised God since the beginning of time in many different ways. These include, but are not limited to: building sacred temples, performing offerings, practicing rituals in temples, worship in churches, devotional music or poetry, prayer & meditation, Native American sweat lodges, dancing around fires, drumming circles and pilgrimages. There are many unique ways of Offering Praise to the Great Spirit (God) and none are more correct, or superior than others. Any form of worship from the heart is TRUE worship.

I have felt God's strong presence in Native American sweat lodges, Hindu temples, Taoist Temples, Buddhist Meditations, Christian churches and temples and even standing on top of a mountain. It's really not so important how you praise the source of all creation, but that you acknowledge him, and praise him for giving you this juicy experience of life. It is also important that you strive to develop and maintain an active communication/relationship with this entity that sustains your life.

A lot of people see praising God as weakness, as co-dependent behavior, or simply as a waste of time. To me though, it has always felt right, natural, in fact, just as natural as breathing, eating or drinking water. In my mind and understanding, it has always just made sense that there is a bigger picture out there, of which I am part of. I don't believe life could exist without some force holding it all together, a magic glue so to speak. And I feel stronger, not weaker by acknowledging and praising this force. I don't worship out of co-dependency, or fear, but because I feel the presence of this being in my heart and soul and all around me, guiding every step of my life. I desire to offer it my praise and gratitude.

I fully understand and accept that not everyone believes in God though. I think it's absolutely normal to question God's existence. There have been times in my own life where I have been uncertain as well. Everyone goes through times such as these. Oftentimes, we experience events that cause us to question. Sometimes too, it's hard to believe in what we cannot see. To me, life is just too amazing though, too wondrous not to believe in, or acknowledge a creator. This world is too beautiful. There is just too much intelligence everywhere for there not to be a creative force maintaining and sustaining it all. But it's so much more than that for me. I have also had many times, experiences that have confirmed the existence of a creator to me beyond the shadow of a doubt. These experiences include near death experiences, times when prayers have been miraculously answered, and times when my life has been spared.

Offering Praise to the Great Spirit (God) is a grand privilege and honor. It should not be treated as a chore, but as a gift of utmost significance. Also there are many rewards from believing in, praising and having a relationship with this Great Spirit. This relationship provides us with inner delight, insight and much inspiration. It gives us a peace that can distill any malady. It helps up develop strong roots so we don't break and crumble during a crisis or storm. It provides us comfort, keeps hope alive, brings us protection, makes us feel more alive and provides us constant guidance with an ever present, still, small voice. The Great Spirit is a friend like none other, a shelter and sanctuary from the storms of life. Throw your hands up in the air...

Copyright Justin Topik 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Drawing Wisdom From the Well

It's a simple concept-go to the well when you are thirsty. In a well, water is plentiful. The well is deep, it is rich and overflowing. You can go to it and drink of its life giving substance anytime. Spiritual wisdom is exactly the same. It is everywhere. It is abundant. You can seek and find it whenever you are thirsty or hungry for it. You probably know the phrase from the Bible in Matthew, "Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you." It's an amazing paradigm-what you are seeking is also seeking you. There is a delightful quote from the Jewish Kaballah, "More than the calf wishes to suck, the cow desires to suckle."

Seeking wisdom can be a great mystery though. There is a Chinese proverb that sheds a little light on the subject: "Teachers open the door, you enter it by yourself." We all think that enlightenment comes from outside of us, but it is really something that happens within us. Teachers merely open the door for us to enter. Your kundalini energy, or energy chakras can be initiated, or awakened by a guru, or deeply spiritual, enlightened person, however most of the journey is yours and yours alone.

Meditation is a great tool in the enlightenment process. In meditation, you learn to go to the well within you, to drink of its rich nectar. Meditation will change you, deepen you. You will find within you peace and contentment, pleasure not of this world. When you draw this out of yourself, what you draw out will transform you, pacify and delight you! Your thirst will be quenched. But, it's not just a one time process. Like going to the well for water, you will continue to hunger and thirst for the mystical experience, for spiritual fulfillment. And the more you hunger and thirst for it, the more you will be filled, until your cup will one day become abundantly overflowing.

There is a rich well of spiritual wisdom from all around the world to drink from. I have studied extensively from all of the major world religions and have found rich jewels, treasures and much spiritual pleasure contained in all of them. When you start opening your mind to this universal wisdom and expanding your horizons, you too will soon find a storehouse of rich infinite wisdom to draw from.

In the west, culturally we are raised to think that only the Bible contains God's wisdom. In the east, they are taught the same about the Torah, Koran or Bhavagad Gita. But truth is truth and wisdom is wisdom wherever it stems from. A pearl is a pearl no matter which ocean it comes from. Enlightenment comes from an open heart, open mind and intense longing for spiritual communion. The path you walk is not as important as the destination itself. Drawing Wisdom From the Well is a way of life. Like the Zen proverb states, "Before enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

Copyright Justin Topik 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Sacred Journey With a Purpose

We are all on A Sacred Journey With a Purpose, trying to get somewhere, somehow! It is only when we lose sight of this, that life becomes meaningless and or burdensome. When we are alive, on fire with our purpose, life is more than magical, more than fulfilling and more than inspiring. Living purposefully literally takes your breath away. It feels grand to discover and live your purpose. We were all created with a noble purpose, on purpose by a divine architect, to fulfill a royal destiny. He sees all of the details in our innermost blueprints and unfolds them to us one by one as we listen and are still.

When you are walking in sync with your purpose, unexpected blessings find their way to you, doors swing wide open, light appears on your horizon. Life becomes melodic as your spirit is lifted to higher and higher realms. Sometimes, you feel as if you are soaring on a transcendental, euphoric high. I firmly believe the creator desires all of us to feel this alive, this infused with life energy. I believe he glories when we do. It reflects his glory when we live lives filled with passion and purpose.

I see too many people walking around totally unaware of their noble design, or unaware that they may even have a noble design. A lot of people are completely unaware that life could offer them so much more if they would just reach out and grab it. When you take time to meditate and reflect on your purpose, and do the work to uncover it, sooner or later, it will come to you in a dream, a moment of clarity, or in a concrete feeling you cannot deny. Then you can be true to your authentic self, authentic passions and live the life that was meant for YOU.

Writing for me is a sacred gift from spirit. I come alive and burst with flavor and excitement when I write. I discovered this passion as a young teenager when I started writing to deal with a lot of inner struggles I was having at the time. After I got through a lot of hurt, anger and pain, writing became my burning passion. And to this day, it still ignites my inner flame. I feel totally plugged into source energy when I'm writing.

The thing is though, we all have sacred gifts and talents and a sacred purpose to fulfill. These things come instilled in our souls at birth. Sometimes it just takes a little inner excavation to uncover them. It can be difficult though, because as a culture we are urged to spend so much time seeking entertainment that we can easily loose touch with our true selves. Also, too much time is spent asking ourselves sometimes useless questions such as: What is the meaning of life? What on earth am I here for? Instead we ought to focus on and ask ourselves more empowering questions like: How can I make my life more meaningful? What can I offer my community, or the world from my sacred treasure chest of gifts while I am here, that will assist in the spiritual evolution, awakening, or progression of this planet? We are all on A Sacred Journey With a Purpose. When you discover that purpose and live it, your life will transform, as will the world around you!

Copyright Justin Topik 2010