Her sister followed her and asked her what the problem was.
Trudy told her what she was experiencing and how long it had gone on. Her sister was quiet for a moment, and then said, "I bet I know the reason why. Both girls, along with their parents, were confined to a Nazi Germany concentration camp.
Trudy was only three years old at the time and her sister a few years older. One evening around sunset, Trudy and her family were out in the courtyard watching some event, when she accidentally let go of her father's hand, got disoriented and was lost and alone for over 12 hours. Now, Trudy obviously didn't remember this incident because she was too little, but all these years, whenever she saw a sunset, it triggered the buried and hidden fear of being lost and alone.
This reaction to sunsets had occurred over and over, even after she had become a believer. Once Trudy heard the story about the concentration camp from her sister and recognized the root cause of her phobia, she went into her bedroom and proceeded to go through the steps we are now learning. Ever since that day, she has been able to enjoy sunsets without any negative feelings at all. It's true.
If we ask God to expose the root cause of our problems and we confess and repent of these, then we can be sure the surface symptoms will not occur again either. If we only deal with the symptoms, however, and not the root, we can be sure the problems will continue.
Altar Steps - Liturgy and Sacraments - Catholic Answers Forums
God wants to expose the truth to us so that we will see it for ourselves. We can't really deal with our problems unless we are aware of what they are, and God, of course, is the only One who can do this for us. We can't force the exposure of these hidden things; only God can bring them up in His timing and in His way.
Get Alone with God It's most important at this point, if you can, to get alone with the Lord so you can go through these steps and deal with your sin and self properly. Remember, Jesus is the only One who can expose and cleanse these things, and He is the only One who can heal us completely.
In order to hear Him clearly, however, we need to be quiet before Him.
The Seven Levels of a Mexican “Day of the Dead” Altar
The times I have put off going through these steps are the times that I "contaminate" everyone I come in contact with. Isaiah was right. When we are in the flesh, instead of a sweet smell, we give off a stink. Isaiah I still remember the time, years ago, that I took the girls to their school and on the way we had an argument. I became really upset at them and started yelling.
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We pulled into the driveway of the school a private Christian school and there stood a dear friend of mine. I immediately pushed down my anger and frustration, put on a big "fake" smile, rolled down the window and said, "Hi. Instead of a sweet smell, I know I gave off a horrible stink - all because I got caught dirty , didn't have time to really clean up and yet, tried to act clean. It doesn't work! God knows the truth. And, so did I! Now, whenever I find myself hurt, angry, resentful, envious, critical, self-centered, prideful, ungrateful, anxious, afraid, confused, bitter, judgmental or filled with any ungodly emotion, I try to stop and find some place to be alone with God so that I can go through these steps.
Jesus is the only One who can expose and cleanse my sin. And He's the only One who can totally heal me from the inside out. Even in the middle of an argument with Chuck, if I find myself getting emotional and reacting self-centeredly, I now stop the conversation and tell Chuck, "I need to go and be with Jesus or I am going to blow it really badly. It's critical to be cleansed in order to respond the way God would have us.
Don't ever take a stand with someone or confront someone unless you are a cleansed vessel. If you are not clean, it will be self-life out there and not God's Life and the encounter will go poorly. Believe me, I know. I've tried it a hundred times that way and it doesn't work! The other person will immediately sense your critical and judgmental attitude, react from his defenses, the truth will be hidden and you'll sink even deeper into the pit than you were before.
If you can first get clean, then you can respond from God's Love and His Mind. The other person will sense your unconditional acceptance and respond from his heart, and the situation will have a chance to turn around and be healed. Even if I can only go through these steps mentally at the time, then I do so. By "mentally" I simply mean that since I am busy and not able, at that moment, to pull away from the situation, I go through these steps the best that I can in my mind. Even if that's all I can do, I still do it, because it's critical that I not let the sin and self accumulate in me.
Later, I can go back over these steps and take the time to really let my emotions out. Acknowledge Real Thoughts and Emotions It's not only important to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge our pride, our fears, our insecurities and the doubts that we are experiencing, but it's also important to be completely honest and truthful with God. He knows it all anyway. He just wants us to see it so we can acknowledge it and move on.
One woman not too long ago asked me if she should let her real feelings out. I told her, "Dear one, God made you. He already knows everything about you. He just wants you to see it and acknowledge it, so you can get rid of it and go on with your life. I love David and his book of Psalms! I can so identify with him. He blew it badly and yet, in the New Testament, he was called a "man after God's own heart. You want it to be symbolic, comfortable and a depiction of what you believe.
You want to create a special space for the altar to exist. Ideally it will be somewhere quiet and private. This can be an entire room or a small table in a room that you feel comfortable in. But be very clear its in an area of your home that you feel calm, comfortable and relaxed. This is important because you are committing yourself to going deep within, and you can only do that if you feel calm, safe and relaxed. Keep any additional props that help you get as comfortable as possible.
Before you start your meditation practice, make sure you clean the area. If you are a Reiki practitioner, you can Reiki the area. If not, you can get some Smudging Sage or Incense to clear out the negative and stagnant energy in that area. Clear and consecrate a dedicated area of your home such as a room, a corner, a table, or the shelf of a bookcase that will be solely used for this spiritual purpose.
What is a Meditation Altar?
The direction of your altar is important for some. Do you plan to meditate in the morning and want to face the morning sun? Do you want to meditate in the evening and face the Western sky? Intuitively decide which direction would be the best for you. This is where your own uniqueness and creativity comes in.
There is no wrong things to put on your altar, so have fun with this! The objects themselves are not important so long as they uplift your mind, touch your heart and have significance to you. They can be feathers, shells, crystals, photographs, journals, malas, dieties, quotes, etc.
Remember, its important not to create clutter with too much stuff. Clutter creates heaviness and stagnancy. This goes against the whole idea of a meditation area being light, uplifting and inviting. If you find over a period of time you are resisting going to your meditation space, make sure you clean up the space energetically and physically get rid of anything that might not uplift you anymore.
Keep your items clean. You might choose to burn sage periodically to keep the energy fresh.