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January 18, 2016

One of the most common struggles I’ve observed in my students throughout the years is that of recognizing their inherent brilliance. I often question, Why is she so loving and kind to others yet so critical and unforgiving of herself? How can he so effortlessly project such an expansive, light-filled spirit, yet regard himself as small and insignificant?

It means that many of us face a fundamental disconnect between who we truly are and how we see ourselves.

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The lack of true self-awareness stems from a deeper issue — a lack of self-love, which results from habitually dishonoring our deepest desires and needs. Over time, we stop knowing who we are. If we don’t stem the flow, that disconnection compounds on itself, and we accumulate layers of baggage that undermine our divine nature and veil our inner light.

Imagine a young man buried beneath a huge pile of clothing. We wouldn’t be able to see him beneath the clutter until we removed each article of clothing obstructing the view, one by one. The same is true of our souls. How can we see ourselves as authentic beings if our true essence is obscured by layers upon layers of self-neglect?

Whether these blockages stem from fear, regret, guilt, or shame, they are, in essence, the same — something that hinders our growth. How do we move past these barriers and reclaim our true selves?

In Miraculous Silence, we talk about "sacred space" practices. These are disciplines that help us find our core, as we slowly peel away each limiting mental and emotional layer, one by one. We might have to address difficult realizations or confront painful experiences from our past. But as we transcend these various layers, we get to the seed of the soul — the root of our inherent brilliance, as designed by our Maker.

Prayer, meditation, visualization, and mantra recitation are among the practices that help us reach the sacred space. When we engage in mantra recitation, for example, we feel a deeper resonance. Our souls awaken in this repetition of words, rhythm, and sound. Over time, the clutter is stripped away, leading us to the core of our inner truth.

There are two simple mantras I suggest to create this awakening. The first is "I am not this fear, I am of Love.” The second is, " I am worthy." Sitting daily with either of these mantras and repeating them for a minimum of five minutes per session — softly, loudly, in a whisper, or even silently — helps us unravel the layers of “clothing” that have piled up on our soul. And in this unraveling process, we are liberated from these barriers and begin to see ourselves in a new light.

While teaching at a training center for disadvantaged young women in the Middle East, I encountered a student who was beautiful and smart yet full of trepidation and self-doubt. She was also quite rebellious and made it clear she had no interest in anything I had to say.

Eventually, though, she came around and took a special interest in the practice of mantras. As she started reciting the mantra "I am worthy," she began to believe in her own self-worth, reconnecting to her inner light. Within a few days, she felt more happy, confident, and focused.

To judge ourselves harshly does not serve us and only further isolates us from our core. But to love and nurture our being helps us to see we are woven from light, and therefore we are light.

As we take the first steps into a new year, we can honor ourselves by creating daily sacred space disciplines. Our time investment will return 100-fold as we see ourselves as we truly are: beautiful, beaming, and loving.

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Excerpted from Miraculous Silence by Mitra Rahbar with the permission of Tarcher Perigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2015 by Mitra Rahbar.

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