Hear some daily spiritual insights before you start your day, evening, or meditation. Take a breath, take a listen, then take care.
Brad4d SavasanaJun 07, 2023
What is spirituality?
Spirituality means different things to different people, but it recognizes that’s there’s much more to our physical existence than what appears. Spirituality puts all of us on a level playing field, which is why many people are spiritual but not religious. On an individual level, spirituality is what holds you together when your world seems to be crashing down around you. If you like this episode, why not share it? How far can you spread the word that we all need a little more spirituality?
Jun 07, 202309:19
Find a moment to be giddy
Every once in a while, take a moment to do something that makes you feel giddy. Whether it’s swinging on a swing set or bobbing up and down in a swimming pool, we still have that inner child that loves to play. Losing ourselves in this giddiness can be good for the soul.
Jun 04, 202306:28
How to take care of your mind
Depression can get you stuck in a perpetual loop of negativity. While you are healthy, every once in a while, take a moment and notice something different. Notice something that’s new or changing. If we train our minds to continually look for something new, we’re practicing mindfulness. That’s one tool to help keep our minds healthy.
May 31, 202307:23
When we think we have it all together
We know everything in our 30s, don’t we? It’s when we reach our 40s and 50s that many of our illusions and insecurities drop and we’re left vulnerable to deal with those issues we pushed under the bed. Our world seemingly falls apart. It’s a call for renovation, remodeling, reconciliation. Sometimes it’s building our lives on a more firm foundation.
May 28, 202308:10
What happens to the brain during prayer and meditation
Brain scans of Tibetan monks and Franciscan nuns show that a part of the brain goes quiet during deep stages of meditation and prayer. But it doesn’t happen quickly to a majority of us because our minds are so preoccupied with the outside world. We also don’t train our bodies to allow us to sit attentively. We’re all unique, and we can find suitable ways to prepare our minds and bodies for meditation and prayer. I have several methods that work for me according to what’s going on in my life on the outside.
May 24, 202308:05
God can chase away our fears
Fear can cripple us. Fear can keep us locked in a cage and prevent us from abundance. God has the power to cast out fear. We might not be aware of His presence at every moment, but if we can remain strong in our faith, we can boldly face our fears. By the way, the obnoxious birds attacking my feeder are grackles. I suppose God loves them, too.
May 21, 202305:58
The “benefits” of yoga
Yoga has many benefits to the body, mind, and spirit. Yet those benefits only lie within the intention and mindset of each person. We bring different experiences to a yoga practice, so the benefit will be unique. However, you must be especially discerning about promises about chakra activation or chakra cleansing. Many people who make these promises are misinformed about the chakras and simply selling a “secret” method that really doesn’t exist. Ultimately, a yoga practice is about letting go of the promises and expectations of others and tuning into the messages within.
May 17, 202307:25
Your will can be a friend or enemy
The will is pretty strong, sustaining us through some arduous moments. But what does the will serve? Does the will serve our ego or something greater? This is where training the mindset falls short. Mindset training serves the ego and can lead us to perpetual craving, aversion, and ignorance. Mindset becomes the enemy because it keeps us stuck in patterns and attachments. When the will is aligned with something beyond our ego, our will can be a good friend.
May 14, 202309:23
How true is our false self?
Spiritual and self-help texts will often speak of the false self, or the many personas we adopt to fit into the world. The false self isn’t necessarily false if it adheres to the virtues and values we hold most dear to us. What makes it false is when we’re dishonest with ourselves and others in keeping up that facade. The “work” is really about unifying these various layers of ourselves so they reflect our authentic self.
May 10, 202308:21
Can lack of spirituality explain our neuroses?
In a society that eschews religious traditions, I’m wondering about its connection to our inner conflicts. No, it doesn’t explain it all, but it could be one of many factors. Carl Jung has written how important it is for us to connect with our souls so we can integrate the conflicted parts of ourselves into a unified whole. If we don’t, we bring these internal conflicts into the world, thinking the world is wrong.
May 07, 202308:22
Find the right energy for the moment
What’s common in meditation practices and depth psychology is integrating the various energies—or personas—into your whole being. Rather than let these energies run the show, we learn to harness them so they serve what’s appropriate at the given moment. It requires for us to live more mindfully with discernment.
May 03, 202310:04
The principles of Interbeing
Thich Nhat Hanh writes about the precepts of Interbeing in his book, Being Peace. These 14 principles of Interbeing can be incorporated into anyone’s life, whether you believe in God or not. These core values of Interbeing are values of humanity. They are important principles that can weave a better community and spark conversations without judgement or competition. It’s not about winning or gain. These are universal principles that be practiced in every country, political party, social class, and religion.
Apr 30, 202318:54
Take away what doesn’t serve
Popular self-help people can be like drug dealers. They give you a glimpse of what life could look like until you reach a pay wall. Sure, we all have to make a living somehow, but cultivating a better life can be free. If you truly want more out of life, desire less.
Apr 26, 202311:18
Live your dreams, fulfill all your desires
Self-help and get-rich schemes like to promise The American Dream and having whatever you desire. Some will even use spiritual words like “the Universe” or “positive energy” to make promises of fulfilling what people lack. However, the core of most spiritual traditions is the idea of service, of giving back to the world. We’ll never have enough if we’re always taking. And the world continues to be depleted by our desires, cravings, and attachments.
Apr 23, 202310:60
There’s nothing wrong with being alone
Too many messages from society tell us we “need” social interactions. It’s true to a certain extent, but a healthy person knows how to balance social life with quality time alone. Solitude is rich when you give yourself time to cultivate it. Although I’m an introvert, extroverts need time alone as well.
Apr 19, 202307:40
What is maturity?
We often define maturity as the number of birthdays we’ve had, but some adults still lack maturity. Maturity is about owning our part of a problem and taking care of it. It requires a little space for us to reflect on our problems so we can learn from them. I’m a little foggy this morning, so I apologize.
Apr 16, 202306:13
Selling out our authenticity
Two camps seem to dominate my Instagram feed: how to be successful in the world and how to find the authentic self. Both promise to fulfill our dreams without accepting and learning from the challenges before us. They sell destinations rather than true inquiry. That’s because most of these messages are about inflating the ego rather than putting it in its rightful place.
Apr 12, 202310:47
Take a few moments to truly contemplate what happened Easter morning by engaging in Ignatian Contemplation, which is a type of meditative prayer passed down through St. Ignatius and the Jesuits. This prayer might be challenging for people who are used to prescriptive or repetitive prayers. However, Ignatian Contemplation allows you to experience the true meaning of Easter.
Apr 09, 202320:23
How self-help preys on our vulnerability
Self-help practices should be free, particularly in a world rampant with mental illness. Many people who need some of these healing practices can’t afford them, yet perhaps they also don’t fall into those populations where it’s offered for free. Pay close attention to these marketing schemes. If healing practices cost nothing to produce or gain expertise, they should be free.
Apr 05, 202306:14
How to work through our problems
We’re often told to fight through our problems, but this can weaken even the strongest people. When things aren’t working, fear often exacerbates our weakness. We can often work with our problems not by fighting but by accepting them, and being open to new solutions.
Apr 02, 202305:41
How content are you?
Finland is one of the happiest places in the world. The US is #15. Some countries, particularly in Northern Europe, seem to get it right about how to live a happy life. It’s a combination of mindset and practice. How many of these methods do you engage in? Which of these can you put into practice today?
Mar 26, 202311:22
Yoga as a metaphor for life
When we encounter suffering, we often run from it or rush through it without reflecting what lesson it has to teach us. It’s not like we purposely cause self-harm or do things to exacerbate our wounds. Instead, we work at it each day. Yoga teaches us to find that edge, to find the right balance of stress to work through our difficulties and limitations.
Mar 22, 202305:52
Our many personalities
We might know our personalities and say we “know who we are,” but do we know the multiple personalities that show up when we’re under stress? Certain situations elicit certain personas that help us adapt to these situations. It’s important for us to be aware of how and when these characters show up in our lives so we can limit the havoc they typically wreak.
Mar 19, 202305:57
Embracing Daylight Savings Time
Is Daylight Savings Time a surprise? Then why do people consistently complain about it? Complaining about losing an hour of sleep only makes it worse. Today marks a season where we can spend a little more time outdoors in the evening. It’s also a time of anticipating warmer temperatures to come.
Mar 12, 202305:53
How to achieve liberation
We all yearn to be free. We want to walk through life being free to do what we want. Yet we often get caught up—and eventually bound—in pleasure and craving. Religious traditions teach us that the path of liberation is through discipline. It’s about restraining the patterns and behaviors that keep us stuck so we focus our energy on true freedom that’s everlasting.
Mar 08, 202307:16
The need for daily reflection
We often go through each day mindlessly without paying too much to the details. We might remember specific episodes that make us look good, or we might ruminate on the episodes that stoke our anger or fear. If we take a few moments each day, preferably in the evening, we recall all of the ways we behaved—good and bad—to see if we’re in accord with our beliefs and values. This daily Examen can teach us the subtle patterns that often keep us stuck.
Mar 05, 202308:24
Ghosts of the past and future
How easily those memories of the past seize us in the present moment! Or the anticipation of the future yanks us away from what’s going on here and now. Thich Nhat Hanh calls these “ghosts,” because they only exist in our mind. We conjure them—or they automatically return—through our conditioning. This keeps us stuck, feeding more thoughts into them so they get strengthened. If we can take a sliver of a moment to ground ourselves in the here and now, we can begin the long process of rewiring our brains.
Feb 26, 202307:14
The value of humility
Humility isn’t a very popular value because in its nature, it’s not about gain. Our society seeks gain rather than remaining humble, so it’s no wonder we’re always in competition with one another. Yet when we come across someone who is truly humble, it warms something within us. Why not practice humility today to defy our culture of gaining and winning?
Feb 22, 202309:08
When our lives get out of alignment
How easily do our lives get pulled in many directions, to the point we can no longer drive straight! We might notice this during times of unconsciousness or emotional upheaval, when our autopilot kicks in. Lent is a time for us to reevaluate how we’re living our lives. We engage in certain efforts to bring our lives back into alignment with God.
Feb 19, 202306:08
Mental health isn’t a quick fix
How often do we take on a fad diet, lose weight, then gain it back once we return to our old eating patterns? Mental health is similar. Sure, drugs might help ease our symptoms of anxiety and depression, but it takes years of therapy to recognize our old patterns and develop new ones. This journey requires courage, strength, humility, and compassion.
Feb 15, 202308:44
What we don’t want to hear
Who is the good friend—the friend who tells you want you WANT to hear or NEED to hear? Marketers emphasize the first, and teachers stress the second. If we walk around life only listening to messages that validate our ego, we might miss the lesson.
Feb 12, 202306:21
What’s the purpose of church?
With many churches losing members of their congregation, we also lose valuable voices that can help shape these communities. Church isn’t about attending a service once a week. Instead, it’s being part of a community that often disagrees. That community becomes lost when dissenting voices leave or fear speaking up.
Feb 08, 202308:08
Contemplation can’t fix your problems
Thomas Merton’s book, The Inner Experience, begins with a warning: You can’t use contemplation to hide. It’s not a solution to your problems. Many of our problems are situated in our false self. Contemplation is about being fulfilled in God’s existence.
Feb 01, 202305:57
Life is a series of obstacles
So many self-help books and courses promise freedom and happiness, as if it’s an eternal state. That book or course might address a particular chapter in our life, but it might not fit into the next. Then we reach again for another quick fix out of our suffering. The best books and practices are those that teach us not only acceptance but also connecting with God or transcendence. Life is never a smooth path, so it’s best to anchor yourself in deeper, more universal Truth.
Jan 29, 202305:52
A branch of Buddhism tells the story of Indra’s Net to describe not only the non-solid nature of things but also how we’re interconnected and reflect one another. We can exhaust so much effort to try to stand out or stand above others, but that only tears the fabric that connects us.
Jan 25, 202305:08
The still, soft voice within
We all have a still, soft voice within us. We often can’t hear it because we’re held captive by so many distractions outside of us. It’s critical for us to spend a few moments each day anchoring ourselves in Truth. Only then can we open our ears and hearts to what the still, soft voice wants to say.
Jan 22, 202305:47
Why do you get out of bed?
This basic question points to where our will is directed. It points to meaning and purpose. Without this singleness of purpose, our lives may have little meaning or fulfillment. If we don’t know this answer, maybe sit with the question for a few moments and see if one arrives.
Jan 18, 202305:48
Sometimes it’s best to surrender
When our lives are nothing but chaos, we can exhaust ourselves trying to effect a resolution. Sometimes the best we can do is to be still. This allows us to conserve our energy, stay in balance, and avoid more chaos until the resolution arrives.
Jan 15, 202304:05
Do what you love
How many times do you hear, “Do what you love, and the money will follow.” Although “doing what you love” is often tied to purpose, calling, or vocation, the second part of that sentence is bound by expectation and outcome. Doing what you love should have the reward of its own. You do it because it’s an authentic expression of you. It’s about process rather than outcome. It doesn’t need to be about how you put food on the table. It’s something you’d do for free because it makes you feel most alive.
Jan 11, 202306:42
Chapters in our life story
When someone famous tells their story, they often tell about those moments when their lives seem hopeless. We like to hear how they triumphed over their breaking points. But what about the rest of us who continue to struggle? Can we find hope amidst our struggles and look at them as those chapters in our life story that contribute to our growth and character?
Jan 08, 202306:46
Listen to your conscience
Our conscience speaks to us—sometimes loudly—when we’re alone. That’s why we often surround ourselves with people who will validate our wrongdoing so we don’t have to listen to our conscience. But it will catch up to us. It’s important for us to spend time alone with our conscience to see what it has to say. If it’s conflicting with what our community says, we might ask ourselves about the company we keep.
Jan 04, 202305:16
Breaking patterns that keep us stuck
We make New Year’s resolutions because we know that we’re doing something that is no longer working. The reflection itself is pretty powerful because we’re recognizing that our behavior keeps us stuck in old patterns. The New Year gives us hope, but each moment of our lives can be that fresh start we seek. What’s most critical is having the humility to see these painful patterns and the courage to change them.
Dec 28, 202205:23
Do you know what a prayer is?
Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day” has often been quoted and recited for advocating “one wild and precious life.” Indeed, things come and go, so we shouldn’t waste our moments on things that serve little purpose. Oliver is imploring for us to pay attention to this moment. Find the detail of the grasshopper, embrace it, but don’t mourn when it hops away. That’s keeping our hearts eternally open to God’s gifts.
Dec 21, 202205:43
Are you feeding your vocation or feeding the beast?
Each day, we all have the responsibility of taking care of ourselves and those we love. This might be our calling or it might just be a job. It’s up to us to find balance so that we aren’t sacrificing our calling so we can achieve worldly success. We must work each day towards our calling, which is our unique way to serve humanity.
Dec 18, 202206:06
Communicating with intention
So much of our communication messages are impulsive, distracting, or psychological imprints. We spend little time reflecting on the messages themselves and focus more on being heard. Spending some time in silence each day—or at least reduced noise—allows us to communicate with a little more intention. This means discerning what part of our message has purpose and which is just noise.
Dec 14, 202205:54
God as The Beloved
Many religious (even non-religious) believe that God is “up there” punishing us. What if we believe God is within us, loving us in the way you love a significant other? Many mystics in history believed this. When you love The Beloved, you do things to serve that love rather than do things out of fear.
Dec 11, 202205:29
How do you sell minimalism?
Much of the U.S. culture thrives on excess. We speak more about the economy of our nation rather than the economy of our spirits. Spending too much on our outer life leads to a weakened inner life. We don’t often notice this because materialistic values sell so much better than minimalism. To find inner peace, we focus more on what we have within us rather what we want around us.
Dec 07, 202205:25
Practicing Lectio Divina
Lectio Divina is a contemplative practice that has been used for centuries. It uses sacred Scripture to guide and anchor you as you enter into silent moments with God. What’s important is that Scripture is proclaimed, not dramatized. If someone is reading Scripture aloud, the reader should refrain from performing it because the hearer will focus on the characterization rather than the words. The reader avoids inserting himself into the passage so that the hearer can be fully absorbed in the words themselves. If you want to learn more about Lectio Divina, head to my website at brad4d-wellness.com. You can also get Lectio Divina audio meditations on the Insight Timer app. Just search for me—Beth Bradford. .
Dec 04, 202209:21
Facing your fears
All of us are afraid of something—spiders, heights, being alone, boredom. We can create so much drama when we busy and distract ourselves from our fears. Instead, we can be bold and face our fears, knowing that it can birth a new path.
Nov 30, 202206:17
Losing taste for worldly attachments
For many years, I thought I was experiencing depression. I lost my taste for things I loved in the past. Yet I had this burning desire to spend time alone with God. It has no aim, no clarity, which can be frustrating. But it is a calling, and it’s up to us to respond.
Nov 23, 202207:39
The ego cage of I, me, and mine
The world loves to tempt us with distractions. Especially on social media, people and businesses are vying for our attention. They pull out various party tricks to try to win our eyeballs then eventually our wallets. How does anyone find peace in that? The Bhagavad Gita says we must break free from the pull of these sensory distractions that seek to gratify the ego.
Nov 20, 202208:13
What breaks you open?
When we experience trials in our lives, we often demand for things to return to the way they were. Some pleasure or security had been taken from us, and we want it back. But these trials and crises often serve to break us open. They’re a call for us to change something. Many times, they call for us to look within for what we seek outside ourselves.
Nov 13, 202208:03
Be nourished by the waters of life
Our lives can feel dry and stale when we rely on outer things to temporarily satisfy us. Rather than look to the world, we sink deeper into our roots and be nourished by our faith. This passage from Ezekiel reminds us to stay close to the river.
Nov 09, 202202:53
God alone suffices
We can get overwhelmed by our circumstances so much that we’re blind to the blessings we take for granted. It can harden us so much that we refuse to see them, and this is when evil triumphs over us. If we can accept these challenges as part of life, we might notice that each moment something changes. Our faith grounds us and gives us hope that we will overcome our challenges and become stronger.
Nov 06, 202205:25
Finding out who you are
Finding out who you are can be a daunting task. It takes a lot of self-inquiry and humility. But then what? Do you just stay that way? We are always changing. Every moment, we change, the world moves, and there is a response. Rather than find out who you are, be curious about how you respond to each moment, particularly when you’re in hot water.
Nov 03, 202207:29
The impenetrable spirit within us
The Old Testament book of Wisdom has some beautiful teachings about how God sees the world and us. It reminds us of how God is patient with us in spite of our judgment and behavior towards others. Can you look at someone you hate and see God’s impenetrable spirit within him?
Oct 31, 202208:10
Believing is just a start on the spiritual journey
Believing in something, particularly a spiritual truth, is one thing. The spiritual path only begins there. We eventually need to walk the walk and live what we believe. This means what we think, say, and do all echo what we believe. It’s not about convincing others through words of fear or force. It’s about living in truth, even if it’s inconvenient or unpopular. We must experience and live it with all of our being.
Oct 26, 202208:25
Lectio Divina: Proverbs 8
Experience scripture through Lectio Divina, which is a meditative practice rooted deep within Christian history. See if scripture speaks to you in a new way as you listen with a contemplative approach. I recorded this during my live session on the Insight Timer app, so if I sound like I’m talking to someone, I’m responding to some of the chat through the session.
Oct 16, 202221:58
Using our minds and our senses
Self-help media tell us to pay attention to our senses and get out of thinking. The Stoics tell us to be a little more rational with our thinking. It’s actually a little bit of both. We train our senses to give us useful information so we can make wise decisions on our life path. Eventually, we move beyond the rational mind and discover something greater—wisdom.
Oct 12, 202206:33
Trust that you are called
We all have a calling. We might not know what it is—I still don’t. But God does. Today is the feast day of St. John Henry Newman, who reminds us to trust that God has a purpose for us. “God knows what He is about.”
Oct 09, 202206:41
Become aware of your impulses
Our impulses are moments of mindlessness. They reveal our weaknesses and inner drives. Impulses are different from instincts, which concern our ability to survive. Impulses are based on emotions and patterns of conditioning. It’s critical for us to examine our impulses and pause before acting on them.
Oct 05, 202205:19
What happens to the brain during prayer and meditation
Prayer and meditation, over time, dissolves our sense of separation. Neuroscientists such as Andrew Newberg have studied what happens to the brain when people pray or meditate. Even when you are physically alone, you never feel lonely. Your mind can be trained to feel a sense of unity and connection even when no one seems near.
Sep 28, 202206:39
We are travelers on life’s journey
We often get too comfortable in life, and when we encounter a troubling situation, our lives are thrown into chaos. St. Basil reminds us that we’re just travelers on this journey. We must accept both comforting and challenging situations. The challenging situations help us grow and keep us humble, and the comforts ensure us that God is good.
Sep 25, 202207:06
Why we need Reason
We are advised to "believe our feeling" and stop thinking in a great deal of New Age rituals. We are encouraged to "sue our desires" even in self-help programs. Not so quickly, the Cloud of Unknowing warns. It's obvious that a lot of individuals today are chasing the illusive in addition to being insane. According to the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, the ability of reason is particularly crucial since without it, we are unable to determine what is good or harmful. Without Reason, we feel justified in our discomfort or displeasure toward someone and take inappropriate action.
Sep 14, 202204:19
Welcoming the lost
So many people find comfort in a religious house, particularly if it’s the religious house from their youth. Yet somewhere along their lives, that religious house locked its doors to them. Whether it was abuse or archaic rules, that house no longer beckoned them. Yet God beckoned them to return to him, and the doors to the house remained locked. God always welcomes the lost. Why do certain religious houses keep them out?
Sep 11, 202206:20
The need to belong
Why do we need to belong? Popular media and figures often talk about establishing our identity, but this tempts us to conform. It emphasizes division rather than unity. Look within yourself and ask why you need to belong. Perhaps those differences are more similar to those people who don’t belong to your group. Rather than conform to a group, cultivate virtues such as compassion and integrity. Then you might find that you belong everywhere. BTW, my mind is cloudier than usual this morning.
Sep 07, 202207:37
Who is bearing good fruit?
So many religious groups emphasize separation and belonging rather than inclusion and openness. They like to judge others rather than scrutinizing themselves. They use isolated Bible verses to judge and scold others without looking at their own hypocrisy. That’s really not what God is about. Think about it—would a parent purposely have a child only to condemn him? Instead, we need to look within ourselves and root out the chaff.
Sep 04, 202207:27
St. Cyprian on envy
Envy easily finds its way into our lives through our media diet. Marketers feed on this envy, and if we don’t scrutinize it, we can become mad. St. Cyprian was a Latin Father of the Catholic Church, and he has important things to say about envy.
Aug 31, 202207:12
So many spiritual traditions emphasize the need for practice. It’s a letting go of worldly things and behaviors that bring us suffering. Living a life of gratification-seeking only brings suffering. We have to learn this on our own. On this feast day of St. Augustine, let’s reflect on his great passage, “Conquer yourself, and the world will be at your feet.”
Aug 28, 202206:05
God doesn’t disappoint
How often do we praise God when things are in our favor, but plead with God when things don’t go the way we want? This is our insistence that things are only good when they go the way we want. And when they don’t, we’re disappointed. How many people have tossed out their faith in God because they were disappointed that things didn’t go their way? Instead, we let things play out, remembering that God doesn’t disappoint.
Aug 24, 202207:31