Monday, May 26, 2008

Getting Out of Our Minds and Into Our Hearts

I was driving by the lake near my house when the traffic slowed and came to a complete stop. This wasn’t surprising, as the area is under heavy construction. What was interesting was that there was no immediate honking of horns by frustrated motorists. Yes, I was tempted. Then I noticed that starting with the car in front of me and extending forward down the long line, as far as I could see, each driver had his or her arm out the window pointing over the roof of their car to the right side of the road. When the traffic started moving, I looked on the right and saw the reason for the delay. A mother duck and her covey of ducklings were crossing the road in front of us.

Somehow, no matter how important our appointed errands seemed to be, something had changed. We had shifted from our logical and rational minds into the spiritual stillness within us that transcends our ego-mind and is commonly referred to as the heart of us. I noticed instantly that the situation affected me on all levels. The impatience and concern about being late for an appointment was totally gone. The smile on my face reflected the sense of joy, peace and aliveness that now filled my being.

This experience was a reminder that nature can ground us to our connection with everyone and everything in the universe and the ongoing flow of life. And it is through the feeling-emotional part of our nature – not through our rational and logical minds – that we access this knowing.

I also realize that many of us live in cities and are pretty much removed from nature. This widespread and growing lack of connection with nature is a contributing factor to the fear-based culture in which we live. When we don’t have any connection with our inner selves or the Earth, we lose conscious awareness of our oneness with all life, and we feel separate and afraid.

Another reason for this is that Western culture is based on taking in information logically and rationally with our mind and then letting our mind “tell” us how we should feel. The truth is that the rational and logical aspect of the mind was never meant to be the key determinant in our lives. It was always meant to be balanced with the higher aspect of our being, the heart of us, which is linked to the emotional aspect of our nature. This higher aspect, heart of us, gives us a sense of security and helps us learn what is truly important in life. It also transcends the ego-mind, which keeps us mired in conflict on a personal and global level.

In order to live conscious, fulfilling and fruitful lives, it is necessary to balance the mind with the heart of us. We already know how to do this. We do it all the time, we just don’t recognize it. We do it whenever we have a heightened moment in nature, meditate, pray, react to beauty in any form – especially babies – hear uplifting music, feel love or are simply filled with joy and happiness.

By balancing the mind with the heart of us we can live from a more desirable state. We will then be able to make more conscious, aware and humane decisions that will greatly enhance our relationships, our lives and the lives of others. It is our pathway out of suffering and into peace.

The rational and logical mind is vitally important. We just need to take a break from our total emphasis on it and practice moving into the heart of us until they work together in natural clarity and unity. The easiest and quickest way to start becoming familiar with this process is by pausing and literally shifting our attention from our heads to our chest area and to focus on our breathing. This takes us out of the ego-mind and fully into the present moment where peace lives.

If we can learn to live from a state that balances the mind with spiritual stillness, the heart of us, we will become aware of the sacredness that exists in all life. We will be free of the fear that keeps us isolated from ourselves and others—and in this harmony and balance lies the potential for a true healing in us, the Earth and humanity.
Copyright 2008 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within – is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Pope's Visit Overshadowed the British PM ... But Not His Message

Like so many others, I sometimes feel like giving up on politics and politicians. We desperately want to believe in our leaders, in the decisions they make in our national interest, as well as the underlying reasons for foreign policy so that we can totally get behind them and their policies.

This has become increasingly more difficult to do, and at the same time we realize that something has to change soon to alter the world’s dangerous course, which offers little hope for the future. But, where are the leaders with the answers?

When I voiced this to a friend, he suggested I Google C-Span and watch the video of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s recent speech at the JFK Library in Boston. I did. Other than to honor his host, Sen. Ted Kennedy, he kept his remarks apolitical and focused on critical worldwide conditions.

It was such a stunning change from the mind-numbing political rhetoric we have been subjected to in the current presidential race that I hardly moved during the entire address.

With an excellent grasp of real-world global issues, he gave a cogent and cohesive overview of the challenges. Then in a rare departure from the norm, he clearly listed visionary, common sense and sane solutions.

When Prime Minister Brown concluded his speech, I couldn’t help but think about the contrast between the media coverage of Brown’s presence and the Pope’s visit.

Granted the Pope is a major religious leader and I understand the tremendous turnout of private citizens to pay homage to this man, as they consider him God’s representative on Earth. I am also aware of the differing time frame for advance preparations for the Pope’s visit, and the fact that many of the Prime Minister’s official meetings were security briefings behind closed doors. Still I couldn’t help but wonder why there wasn’t a higher level of media coverage of the Prime Minister’s speech. As a major world leader, he represents one of our country’s staunch allies, and he delivered a powerful message that, in my opinion, should have been heard by the entire world, which in comparison went unnoticed.

Prime Minister Brown essentially challenged all nations to rise above petty differences – to embrace the shared values of humanity – and to seek a global society based on cooperation instead of self-interest. Brown also stressed how urgent it is that humanity work together to resolve these problems instead of adhering to the self-interest that is the current modus operandi.

I realize that many people strongly resist the idea of a global society, but at this stage it is already a reality. We are all in this together, and it is time to act on that truth by “approaching global problems with global solutions.” Prime Minister Brown emphasized that this doesn’t mean that we abandon national interests; it means that the only way in which we can secure our national interests is through global alliances based on shared values and rules that honor the interests of all.

Prime Minister Brown is clearly aware that the world will need the leadership of the United States in this evolutionary and historic passage. While my belief in our government’s ability to rise to the occasion ebbs and flows, I have complete faith in the eternal and sublime energy that maintains the entire cosmos. I believe that order can come out of chaos, which seems to be where the entire world is at this particular time.

I also believe in the inherent goodness in humanity, and know that we ordinary citizens can be invaluable in shoring up our nation’s leaders and helping them to lead the world through this evolutionary process. Actually, I believe many of us who are alive on Earth right now were born to do this. Millions of people around the world are becoming conscious and aware and this elevates the consciousness of humanity. We also know that when this energy-awareness is aligned with focused positive thought, it can determine our future—as well as the future of our planet.

This is my recommended daily thought-affirmation-prayer: I affirm, accept and expect that everything and everyone is in place right now to successfully lead humanity into a new level of shared peace and abundance. And So It Is!
Copyright 2008 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Humanity's Universal Need for Community

After my initial disappointment with the controversy surrounding Sen. Barack Obama and his pastor and friend, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, I began to turn away from the highly charged media coverage in order to gain some perspective. My immediate realization was that on a human level the situation represented a rupture in the community these men had built over the last two decades. This community included the two individuals, their families, extended families, friends and fellow congregants in the church, their spiritual home.

Community is what every human being on earth yearns for whether they recognize it or not. It is where we find the support we need to thrive and survive. Throughout our lives we seek out places and people with whom we feel we belong, whether it is with family, friends or in spiritual and secular organizations. Those who find it are fortunate indeed.

Community isn’t easy. When we think about our own lives, we know that we have friends and family members whose beliefs and views on religion, politics and everything else in life are sometimes diametrically opposed to our own. It often takes extraordinary patience and tolerance just to maintain basic family ties, not to mention the care and nurturing required in keeping our friendships healthy and alive.

I learned through the years that the key is to give others the benefit of the doubt. This too isn’t easy. It requires rising above the ego mind, which insists on naming others either right, if they believe and act as we do, or wrong, if they don’t.

After giving the Sen. Obama situation a great deal of thought, I decided to apply the same healing remedy.

I choose to believe that Sen. Obama is an intelligent man, with high integrity and ethics. I can also accept that he was trying to live his faith, which admonishes him to love his friend, but not his beliefs or his actions, which is what we all try to do with our friends and family members every day of our lives. It is not a big stretch from there to entertaining the possibility that because Sen. Obama believed he was solid in his own beliefs he could successfully keep his friend’s inflammatory views separate from his life and his career. Privately, we’re all able to do this. Politically it is another thing altogether—perception is everything.

I also can appreciate the possibility that being part of a congregation for two decades that is representative of individuals in this country who feel disenfranchised could be the source of Sen. Obama’s passion to help bring healing and unity to our nation.

At the end of each day, I pray that all the presidential candidates are caring, commendable human beings. The fact that they have willingly placed themselves open to microscopic scrutiny and a ridiculous marathon of events in order to serve us and our country certainly sets them apart from the rest of us. This is my recommended daily thought-affirmation-prayer: I affirm, accept and expect the highest and best outcome for America in this upcoming election. And So It Is!

Those who believe in Sen. Obama will eventually go with what is in their hearts. And, in the final analysis, that is what we all have to do in this process, stretch our minds to be aware and follow our hearts as this is where truth lives. We have to do this every day in order to have any community with others. This is what we are called to do as conscious, spiritually aware and mature human beings. If we had to do only with those who believed exactly as we do, we would soon find ourselves sitting alone in a room staring at the walls.
Copyright © 2008 Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, May 5, 2008

We Aren't Meant to "Do" Life Alone

For the five years since my husband’s death, I chose to live a very simple and contemplative life. This has served me well on many levels. I had time to ponder the experiences I had during my husband’s lengthy decline and to assimilate the new information into my life, as well as to complete the writing of several books about the insights I gained. I also began healing from the stresses of trying to be a superwoman, a bad choice that I bought into years ago when I was trying to balance being a single mother with a career in the corporate world.

While a simple and quiet life agreed with me for years, I was recently surprised when my comfortable rut began to feel not so comfortable. I sensed that I was to move out of this refuge and become more connected with the rest of the world. Still I was in resistance to these feelings until I realized this is our soul’s way of letting us know there is something else we are to do. As long as we are alive we are meant to continue growing and changing.

However, in order to support my desire to maintain inner balance and harmony, I sought a connection with a spiritual community that would resonate with the core of my being. The one I selected is blessed with a young leader whose messages are directly applicable to those who desire to become conscious and aware and to live more meaningful and purposeful lives.

Recently she talked about the growing number of “Lone Ranger’s” who feel they are on their own and have to do everything themselves. I recalled a time when I was a member of that group. Back then it never occurred to me to let anyone know I was in a difficult situation, to ask for help, or that there was anyone out there who could or would support me.

The speaker’s primary point was that when we think we are on our own, and can’t expect help in any situation, we actually block life from helping us. We are then correct that there is no hope of help because our rigid thoughts are actually preventing life – in the form of any one or any thing – from coming to our aid.

As to why anyone of us would elect to make life so much more difficult by choosing such thoughts, the speaker explained that in many instances it is pride – a desire to appear perfect so that we won’t be judged – or shame over the mistakes we’ve made that got us into our current circumstances.

She reminded us that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness—it is a sign of wisdom. As she said, the wiser the person the sooner they are able to reach out and ask for help. We all know it takes courage to move out of any comfort zone/rut we’ve built for ourselves, and even more to be vulnerable enough to open to support from others. Yet it is the smartest thing we can do for ourselves.

At this stage, I know that it takes courage to go through life, and the ideal way to do it is by helping and being helped by those around us. We need all the assistance we can get. Every soul on earth is faced with challenges at some time in their life, which is natural, normal and right. Challenges=lessons=growth=change=Life.

Learning lessons and growing in conscious awareness is the only reason we are here. We were never meant to go through life alone. We forget that we are all in this together—and the need for support and community on our journey is universal.
Copyright 2008 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.