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Nina Handwerk: Brennan Healing Science Practitioner

A Personal Feeling of the Divine

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A major theme in my work is helping people develop a connection to inner guidance, and a sense of how the divine works in their lives.

Are you someone who is seeking a deeper feeling of Spirit moving through your life?

Personal connection to Spirit is like an essential vitamin that most people are deprived of. Religions can, in my opinion, further this deprivation by imposing religious concepts on an individual without encouraging a natural, personal emergence of awareness and love for the divine. When a personal emergence of divine consciousness and energy occurs through self-interest, the experience of the divine becomes far more engaging and inspiring than an imposed outer concept could ever be.

My feeling is that the divine lives in our authentic self, and developing the divine perspective means exploring who we are at an essence level. The farther along the path we go, the more individualized, unique, and refined the feeling of divinity working in our lives becomes. The connection between the ego self and the spiritual self is an ever-deepening, never-static relationship that can be cultivated and grown through consciousness, practice, and intent. As Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) puts it, “Whether we are aware of it or not, the real purpose of life is to realize the divinity within.”

For me the awareness of an inner divine presence came naturally, without seeking or looking. I wasn’t raised with any preconceived notions of Spirit, or parents who really talked about spirituality. When I moved to the Southwestern part of the United States after high school, I noticed a total shift in myself because of the change of environment. The air felt lighter (less oxygen in Telluride!), the sky was bigger, the mountains were beautiful, ominous beings looking down at me. I felt myself, outside of the context of where I had lived for my whole life to that point, and started to feel who I was through the contrast of the changed outer environment.

What remained and grew despite the change of people and place, I realized, was my true Self, presence, my unique nature. I was, for the first time, aware that I was this inner being of divine nature. I became fascinated by that feeling of presence, and from that point on I subconsciously and naturally dedicated myself to the study, cultivation, and following of that beautiful feeling of presence.

What did it feel like for you when you first experienced your divinity?

Some of us learned of the concept of a spiritual self through religion at an early age. Maybe we learned that the divine was looking down on us with a critical eye and would punish our bad behavior. Sometimes we need to forget what we’ve learned in order to open to that which could really move and inspire us. When spiritual energy permeates your life, the questions like “am I good enough?” or “does God love me?” get replaced by questions like, “ooh, what else could I manifest with this amazing energy?” and “how can I bring this awareness and joy to others?”

Undoubtedly you already have some ways that you communicate with your spiritual self.

Do you feel guided in your choices? Do you connect deeply to your dreams, applying the symbols to your life? Does the sense of a divine presence come through synchronicity, a sense of being in the right place at the right time? Does it come through beauty, or through a creative expression? Is it the feeling of overcoming some negative habit, is it transcendence of your habitual reactions?

Though there are as many ways to develop spiritual connection as there are people to develop it, here are a few ideas for developing spiritual consciousness in your life, regardless of where you are starting from:

  1. Don’t be afraid to stand out

When talking about a personal sense of the divine, realize that it is just that, personal. Living in congruence with Spirit takes really listening for what feels right, and what doesn’t, to you, outside of your conditioning or outer pressures.

A great teacher of mine says that the difficult part of prioritizing spirituality in your life, is that you always end up looking weird…you stand out from the group, there is a contrast with other people that happens when you start to live life in congruence with your deepest values.

I have lived this journey tremendously! Looking odd and contrasting with the others has become more and more comfortable, yet it is an ongoing process to individuate fully and to follow my own spiritual guidance.

Living closely with my authentic self means that I work less than a lot of people, for example. I know I need time and space to dream and rest and I can’t book every minute of my day like I see some others do. It also means I decline invitations to settings and situations that don’t feel totally right to me, or where I know I’ll have to effort a lot to enjoy myself. This awareness comes from learning to listen to Spirit, or the inner voice, when making choices about how to live my life. There’s a certain letting go of how you might be perceived that has to happen. When you live authentically, the right people will find you! And it won’t matter anymore that some people just don’t get you.

 Ultimately following your inner divinity means agreeing with yourself, being willing to contrast with others, and not apologizing for being you.

  1. Ask for help and guidance

Spirit doesn’t care if you’re a mess! I witness that most people wait to ask for support until they’ve sort of gotten themselves through their rough patch. Although it’s great to be able to find some semblance of balance on your own, it is an art of humility and self-care to ask for spiritual help when you really need it. And to ask for spiritual help when you kind of need it. And also when you’re doing just great…that’s when asking for help becomes more like celebrating with an awesome friend who just makes your great state even better.

You can “ask” through prayer, meditation, or a feeling of being willing to open to guidance. Notice what comes. Something will. A new thought comes, a graceful intervention, a feeling of knowing, a helpful person. Spirit is always trying to find ways to communicate with us. Our inner voice is dying to be asked for its thoughts on all kinds of matters!

  1. Do more of what you love

In any area of life where you feel inspired, assume that the divine is working. I feel my spirit guides smiling as I write this! And they smile when I do healing work, and every time I choose to reach out to a friend or to my partner for authentic connection. Also when I cook, which I’ve been doing more of lately. My point here is that rather than segmenting off only meditation or yoga as “spiritual practices,” I think the divine is more interested in guiding you in all aspects of your life. Anything that you do with passion and care contributes to your spiritual connection. Anytime you’re connected to your senses and to gratitude, you are building a good relationship between you and the higher you.

  1. Listen for auspiciousness

Although there are a lot of petty desires that run through our minds as humans, “I need that person to like me!” “I will not rest until I’m the CEO around here!” Our personal connection to the divine actually helps us cut through our own bullshit to what really matters. When we really align to our inner self, a lot of the more insecurity-based desires, start to fall away. Does it really matter if he likes me? Hmm…maybe I can do without one person’s approval. Do I really need to gain CEO status to prove my worth? Hmmm…maybe staying at mid-level with some time to myself is actually better. When we are in contact with our divinity, we start to have the amazing superhero skill of actually knowing what matters, and when it’s better to let something go, or at least to put less emphasis on it. This is the most desireable, underrated superpower I can personally imagine!

So much of healing work is helping my clients sort through desires, categorizing them basically into two piles: “let it go” and “super important.” From a spiritual perspective, the answers to life questions can get interesting responses. For one person, “I need to leave my job!” can be totally in the “let it go” category, while for the next person, that desire could be 100% in the “super important” category. Developing a spiritual perspective means learning a keen sense of listening and discernment about what each thing in a person’s life (or your life!) means, and whether it is contributing to an auspicious feeling for them or not. Take another interesting example, of a yogi who practices for three hours a day, but has a hard time paying bills on time. For that person, the yoga, a seemingly blanket-statement positive practice, is a form of withdrawal from facing the more difficult issues in their life, putting the yoga practice (at least partially) in the “let it go” category, with mundane things like financial planning and basic grounding in the “super important” category!

What’s the point of having more spiritual flow?

The point is enjoyment. You’ll enjoy your life more when you are congruent with your inner self & Spirit. You’ll have less knee-jerk reactions and more calm, grounded, inspired thinking. Your brain chemistry will improve. Old habits that don’t serve you well will fall away. Your life will reflect your values. The list of positives goes on and on. The feeling of being “clicked in,” “in the flow,” and happy is what I as a healer wish for for each client that comes to me. I hope the ideas in this post help you find a feeling of flow and rightness in your life.

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Nina Handwerk: Brennan Healing Science Practitioner