By Brandon Nappi
Weekend Wisdom is a weekly sharing from Copper Beech Institute’s founder, Dr. Brandon Nappi. The following are Brandon’s recent reflections, originally posted on social media each Sunday. We hope these simply lessons inspire, rejuvenate, and support you on your inward and outward journey.
is the courageous act of waking up
to your power.
Power has become a negative word recently. At Copper Beech Institute, when we speak of power, we mean spiritual power which is always “power with” not “power over”. We practice mindfulness and meditation to wake up to the reality that we are vastly more powerful that we sometimes allow ourselves to realize. We let unjust power structures, media, habits, our past, other people, or confining beliefs limit our ability to thrive. When we claim responsibility for our own wellbeing and live into the power that is rightfully ours, we recognize our ability to author our own lives. We practice to remember that this power is available at any moment. This inner authority when joined with others becomes “power with” and can be a vital force for compassion, justice, and service in the world. When we wake up to our own power, we give others permission to do the same.
Spiritual practice comforts the afflicted
and afflicts the comfortable.
There is a paradox at the core of every spiritual practice whether it’s meditation, yoga, centering prayer or any other practice. On the one hand, our spiritual practice can be incredibly comforting when we are lonely, in crisis, or working through old pain. We practice to discover an inexhaustible well of courage and resource in all of us. Our practice nurtures and comforts us in the most vulnerable moments of life, holding us safely and cradling us until we are restored to wholeness. Spiritual practice ALSO simultaneously challenges our growth, pushes us past comfort, confronts the violence that all of our egos are capable of. Sometimes we get stuck in comfortable patterns that are no longer serving our deepest potential. True spiritual practice provides the energy to grow beyond self-serving habits and narcissism to live in the radical authenticity of who we REALLY are-instruments of love, peace, and justice to bring healing to our aching world.
Your darkest fear will keep returning
until you welcome it as your teacher.
Each summer, I reflect on the year that has past and the year ahead. Somehow the quiet of the summertime and the timeless roar of the ocean inspires me even more than January 1 to examine my life. My tradition is to give time and space to examine my fears over the past year. As I reflect, I notice a familiar flock of fears that have been with me in the past year; I am deliberate in welcoming these fears into my life and making space for them like honored guests--the fear of the unknown, fear that I am not skilled enough, the fear that an important relationship is crumbling, or the fear that I am not living to my fullest potential. Fear is always some version of, “I am not enough.” While it’s not easy or pleasant to warmly welcome these uninvited guests, they arrive bearing an important message for our lives. What if is each of these fears is really deep wisdom for your life in disguise? What if each fear is a wise teacher showing up to heal, support, and nourish your life? What if the very fear you have been sending away, is simply waiting to be welcomed as a treasured guest and a sage? What if every fear comes to teach you the one lesson that we are all here to learn: we have infinite worth. We will continue to repeat the same unhealthy cycles until we can face our fears fearlessly and learn what they have come to teach us-that we are intrinsically enough.
is just as real as toxic negativity.
While it is tempting to follow the “positive vibes only” path, this is a trap, a kind of self-rejecting pseudo-spirituality that will leave us feeling in conflict with ourselves. We cannot hate or resist our emotions and expect to feel at peace. The goal of spiritual practice is deep and open awareness. Whether our practice is meditation or yoga, the goal is to live as fully present as we can. A full and healthy life is filled with the ENTIRE spectrum of emotion. To be fully alive is not to only experience what the mind categorizes as “positive,” but to live grounded and present for BOTH pleasant AND unpleasant emotions. Alienating any part of our experience will feel confining and imprisoning to the heart, which is always much larger than any duality that the mind invents. So, when you feel happy, feel happy. When you feel sad, feel sad. When you are angry, feel angry. The courage to be honest will lead to the wholeheartedness that we all seek.