“I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” I will not be afraid, for the All Good is constantly with me and is always near at hand to guide and comfort. There is no evil in the truth, and no power of darkness to hinder the light from shining. I will not be afraid, for there is that within which protects and keeps me from all harm. I fear no evil.
A belief in the Invisible is the very essence of faith. Prayer, or spiritual communion, demands a complete surrender to the Invisible. It knows that because the Creative Power of God is at hand, all things are possible.
Whatever our idea of God may be, the perception of Reality is always an inner perception. As Moses tells us, the word is not afar off but in our own mouths, and Jesus taught that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us. The prayer of power is not so much a petition as it is an inner recognition.
We cannot doubt that the Spirit has already made the gift of Life – since we live. Ours is the privilege of acceptance. Thus we are to assume the attitude of a grateful beneficiary of the Divine gifts. This should be done simply and directly. The Spirit is not something that was, or that is going to be or become. The Truth is that which is; it exists at the very center of our being. To pray in spirit and in truth means to recognize this indwelling Spirit and to declare the truth about its activity through us.
Today I directly experience the reality of Spirit, allowing It to renew my mind, guide my decisions, and direct my affairs. I know that in the eternal act of creation, everything passes from the Invisible to the visible to be temporarily experienced. I rest in peace, assured that my needs are met by this play of Life upon Itself.
The Divine Presence within each of us is both the center and circumference of our real being. It is the Infinite Presence that inhabits eternity and finds a dwelling place in our own consciousness. We recognize It as the only authority there is. We know we are one with It and in It, for there is no separation from It. Our own consciousness is the very depth and height of Its Being and is one with all there It is.
There is an infinite self-knowingness, which we call the Spirit. It is ruled by law and impelled by love. Each of us is an individual center in it, without being an individual separate from It. We are rooted in the One, which produces limitless variety. Therefore, God is uniquely individual and uniquely personal to each one of us.
We are not one in God or with God, but we are one of God. Although the identity is the same in essence, it is not the same in degree. If there were a sameness in degree, we would have already exhausted the possibility of the Infinite; and having done so, our continual existence would be a cosmic tragedy, because there would be no place to go and nothing to see. Everything would have been used up. Let us keep our thoughts turned to the Divine Presence within us and within one another. Deeply desiring that we become more aware of the love we have for one another and the world, may our consciousness be opened to a deeper understanding of Life.
In the beauty and quiet of this moment, I commune with the Divine Presence. The certainty of love and friendship flows into my consciousness, and I feel a deep peace. I give thanks for my increasingly beautiful life.
My confidence in the All Good is complete. My faith in the power of Spirit is supreme. I have no doubts or uncertainties. I know that my good is at hand, and I realize that no fear can hinder that good from making its appearance in my life and affairs. I know that my life and good are complete. Evil cannot touch or hinder my work. I rest in security, for the one mind is my complete refuge and strength. I am serene and confident.
While there is a place that dwells in eternal stillness and inaction in the innermost recesses of our soul, there is also a place at the circumference of our being that, animated by the inner Spirit, goes forth to accomplish. If we will take time daily to sense this Presence, believe in It, and accept It, before long the life we have known until now will gradually disappear. Something new and wonderful will be born – a bigger, better, and more perfect life. We will ,pass from sadness into happiness, from lack and want into greater freedom, and from fear into assurance. Through the continual emergence of the Creative Principle, any last finality proves to be but the beginning of a new creative series. This eternal spiral, finding its base in the everlasting Reality, will never cease to emerge. Our increased awareness of spiritual truths will make each day a fresh beginning, a new approach to Reality, a spiritual adventure arising fresh and new from the original Creative Principle active within us.
I enjoy my present experiences and joyously anticipate each day’s increasing good. Opening my heart and mind, I allow the creative action of God to express through me, aware that as my capacity to accept good expands, I become a blessing both to myself and to the world in which I live. I rejoice at the greater possibilities of my future unfoldment.
You are the major obstacle on your path to learning and improving. Jayaram V
Mental rigidity is common to many people, which is responsible for many problems that we have in the world today. In some cultures, it is worshipped as an exalted virtue and a sign of trust, integrity, and reliability. People in such cultures do not like leaders, who change their opinions and consider them opportunists and weak-minded.
;When that belief becomes a cultural value or a social criteria, it undermines the importance of growing and learning, or of improving your knowledge and thinking to become a better person. In some cultures you will find that a scripture, a book, or an ideology becomes the guiding force, forcing people to declare their allegiance to it, suspend their free thinking and live in obedience. In today’s world of extremism and extreme intolerance, mental rigidity gained cultural significance in many countries as the voice of political correctness and moral policing.
Mental rigidity, thus, is a serious problem. However, before we go further into the subject, we need to know what exactly we mean by it, and how anyone can decide whether the problem applies to them. No one is completely inflexible. People remain fixated or opinionated only in certain areas of their thinking. Most likely, you have some areas in your mind that are frozen and some that are free and flowing. However, if you have not done any introspection, you may not know when you tend to become rigid and when you remain flexible. It is also important to know what causes it, and how it creeps into your thinking and attitude. Mental rigidity arises from many factors such as the following.
Social and cultural influences
Strong likes and dislikes
Friends and family
Your inflexible attitude arises from your thinking, as you attach fixed meanings to things and do not like to change them, even if contrary evidence presents itself. For example, if you are a rigid person and if you find a situation or a person distasteful, most likely you will hold on to that opinion, as you impart a negative or an unpleasant meaning or a label to that person, assuming that he may remain so forever, and ignoring any information that may not support it.
On the contrary, if you find a person who is friendly and to your liking, you may cherish that relationship and tend to ignore all the data that may suggest otherwise or make your feel uncomfortable. If you are inflexible, you will do the same with many things in your life, which may even sabotage your own chances of success and happiness. If you have musical ability but due to a fixed belief inherited from your parents if you pursue a career in science or medicine, imagine how it will influence your life and the extent of unhappiness you may experience.
Whether it is an author, writer, singer, actor, artist, town, ideology, profession, political affiliation, or faith, because of inflexibility you will stick with your opinions and choices and ignore the facts that speak otherwise. This is mental rigidity in short. It arises from selective thinking, in the absence of reason, due to conscious or subconscious influences, as you attach fixed meanings to things and become their guardian philosopher justifying them to yourself and to others as part of your worldview, self-expression, and self-image.
Mental rigidity is synonymous with mental stagnation. It limits your growth and your opportunities to know and learn. In people it manifests in numerous ways as habits, routines, likes and dislikes, fear, prejudice, reluctance to listen, and irrational behavior. As they become attached to their past and live by rigid choices, they dislike to change, move with time or acknowledge their current reality. It is as if they have created an arctic tundra inside their minds and frozen their memories and thoughts in it.
Having opinions, conclusions and preconceived notions is part of your mind’s heuristics. It uses them to save you time and effort in making sense of the world and respond to it with appropriate decisions and actions. They give you stability, and help you deal with the problems and challenges in your life. Your mind uses them as mental shortcuts to deal with the complexity of the world, and improve your survival and chances of wellbeing.
Mental rigidity is not about having opinions, but having fixed opinions and fixed patterns of thinking that are hard to overcome. In most cases you may not be even aware of them as they become a part of your worldview, instinctual thinking, personal identity and individuality. You continue to act under their influence, despite your good education, knowledge, and wisdom, because in most cases you find acceptance from your friends and peers who hold similar opinions.
Unfreezing your mind
The truth is, while you may remain stuck in your thoughts and choices, the world moves on leaving you behind to your unconscious illusions and frozen beliefs, and limiting your choices, relationships, chances of success, and the quality of your life. If you do not attune to the reality around you, you will remain prone to assumptive and authoritarian thinking, which in turn makes your life rather unpleasant and conflict-ridden. You can resolve the problem of mental rigidity in many ways. The following are a few important approaches.
1. Awareness: Becoming aware of your rigid thoughts and beliefs and how they are influencing your world view is the most important. Without it you cannot overcome the problem. Become aware of how people and the world are influenced by various social, political, and cultural biases, irrational and rigid thinking, and how many people refuse to think for themselves and blindly depend upon role models and public figures for their worldviews and opinions.
2. Listening: Learn to listen and appreciate other people’s opinions on any given subject that interests you as a learning experience and to expand your own awareness. Especially, listen to those opinions that you dislike or disagree with, and to those who are not afraid to speak their minds. When you interact with others, listen with an open mind for learning and introspection.
3. Questioning: Learn to ask questions and seek answers. A person with a closed mind does not ask questions. He either accepts or rejects information based upon his likes and dislikes, or emotions. By asking questions you can keep your mind open, rational, and free from judgment and bias. It will also give you an opportunity to examine facts and draw your own conclusions.
4. Challenging: Challenge your own decisions, conclusions, and judgment to find the rigid beliefs, assumptions, and biases that are hidden in them. You must constantly challenge your surface beliefs, thoughts, and ideas to find the best in you. It helps deal with the distortions and cognitive bias your mind creates in response to the world and events your perceive, and gives you a better perspective about them.
The solution to mental rigidity is openness and maturity. You cannot practice them without honesty, truthfulness, humility, and detachment. Maturity means having opinions and conclusions based upon your experience and observation, rather than what you have been taught by others as true, unless you have subjected it to rational verification. A mature person relies upon his observation and experience, rather than blind submission to authority. He listens, learns, improves, and adapts to changes and challenges, keeping his emotions under control.
Importance in spiritual life
Spiritually speaking, detachment is the best antidote to mental rigidity. Detachment is a virtue. It starts with your thinking. To free your mind from rigid thoughts and find freedom within yourself, you must overcome your attachment to the world and the likes and dislikes you form with it. You must keep an attentive and open mind, willing to embrace the reality rather than your rigid beliefs and opinions.
Open-mindedness is especially important in spiritual practice. Spiritual people can become rigid in their thinking and attitude as they develop attachment to their faith, methods, masters, and beliefs. As they open their minds for learning, they may also succumb to conditioning and blind submission to authority. If you practice spirituality, you must open your mind to the realities of life, and free it from the illusion of fixed opinions and rigid thoughts about the things you like or dislike. The mind is prone to delusions. Hence, you must remain attentive, and stay tuned to the current reality. Practice detachment. It is the best way to stay free from the delusion of your own mind and the walls it builds around you.
Today is a day to focus on safety. I will remove from my mind any ideas that make me think I am not safe. There are many beings and circumstances in the world that affect me and my surroundings. I cannot control them, but I can protect myself from them. I can deflect their negative energies and impulses. I am aware that I am protected by all of the forces of the universe and have no need to fear.
I know I did my best today to focus on feeling and staying safe. Tonight I will rest knowing that myself and my loved ones are always safe and protected, and that I will not give in to believing or feeling otherwise.
-From the book ‘A Daily Book Of Pagan Prayer’ by Megan Day