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Meditation: Everything Belongs

spiderweb Meditation: Everything Belongs

This guided meditation awakens an embodied presence through a body scan, and invites us to rest in the breath, while allowing the different waves of sensations, feelings and sounds to come and go. When difficult experiences arise, we breathe with them, feeling them fully and mentally whispering, “this belongs,” or “this too.” By not resisting, we discover the sea of awareness that has room for all the waves.

“…Let the breath anchor you, so you have a way to stay present…”

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How can we find humor through meditation?

humor How can we find humor through meditation?

“If it were not laughed at, it would not be sufficient to be Tao.” – Lao Tzu on Humor, - Tao Te Ching

Did you ever have a bad day? Everything seems to go wrong and you are completely lost in anger, frustration and self-pity. It gets worse and worse, until the final moment when, say, you have just missed the last bus. There is some critical point where it gets so bad the absurdity of it all overwhelms you and you can do nothing but laugh. At that moment you up-level your predicament, you see the cosmic joke in your own suffering.

Meditation, because of the space it allows around events, gives you the chance to see the humor of your predicament. Awareness of the passing show of one’s own life allows a lightness to enter it where only a moment before there was heaviness.

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Making The Quantum Flip™: Changing Discipline to Devotion

morning-yoga-childs-pose-picture-id515675096 Making The Quantum Flip™: Changing Discipline to Devotion

If there was one thing that could make you more successful, prevent depression, and allow you to maintain healthy weight, would you do it? What if I told you it had nothing to do with working out or eating right?

We all know that maintaining a consistent physical practice as well as healthy eating habits positively affects our physical, emotional and mental well-being. However, there is something more than simply maintaining a dedicated routine that brings even greater benefits to our lives.

More important than the routines, is who we are when we do them.

When we go about our daily routines, we do have to maintain consistency, but we must do it in a vibrational frequency that is closer to the truth of who we are.  Our vibrational frequency has everything to do with who we perceive ourselves to be which plays a role in the state of our choices, disposition, orientation in the world, sense of self and our ability to maintain clarity and consistency in our lives.

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The Balanced Mind: A Better Model

balancedmind The Balanced Mind: A Better Model

Now that meditation has caught on widely, it’s time to understand why it works. The physical findings measured by neuroscience gives intriguing hints about changes in brain wave activity, but that’s an effect, not a cause. The same holds true for physiological changes outside the brain, such as lowered heart rate and blood pressure. The how and why of meditation must be sought “in here,” in the meditator’s subjective experience.

This isn’t a mysterious route to take. Pain studies are based on how much pain a subject feels; there is no objective way to measure this. In the case of meditation, I believe the correct model is that the mind in meditation is rebalancing itself. Medical studies have known for a long time that the body tends toward a state of dynamic balance known as homeostasis. If you push your body out of balance by shoveling snow off the driveway or running a marathon, as soon as you stop that activity, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen use in the muscles, and even digestion and the immune system return to homeostatic balance.

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A Breath Exercise for Suffering and Joy

woman-in-water-picture-id540717970 A Breath Exercise for Suffering and Joy

In the 11th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna shows Arjuna all the forms of the Universe, turning back into the pure form from which they were manifested.

The forms of the Universe: Breathe them in. Take in the baby’s crying, the sound of traffic, it’s all energy, it’s all shakti in form. As you draw it into your being, let the forms go, let your concepts about it all go, turn it back into pure shakti. Sit straight, draw it all into your chest.

All of your thoughts now, your memories, think of the political world, a breath for that.

See all the candidates, all of the international intrigue, all of the genuine seeking for peace, a breath for that.

See it all; the play, the dance, the forms, the mother, the mother at play, all aspects of the mother. Draw it back into its pure form within you, Mother shakti. Draw it into your heart.

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Be You to Be Abundant

abundanceyou Be You to Be Abundant

Dearest You,

The energy in the universal Oracle Card reading this week is all about co-creation, abundance and our infinite potential for prosperity. 

When we can harness and get in alignment with the energy of abundance there’s an anticipation, a palpable buzz, that we can tune into that turns on a switch, like all of a sudden going from dim and hazy to bright and shiny.

The click happens when we fully embrace ourselves as we’re meant to be, not as we’ve been taught (or coerced) to be. We all have a window of opportunity now that requires casting off the shell of conformity, removing all the masks that we thought might help us gain social acceptance, to get to our molten core where Spirit’s spark waits for us to ignite our destiny.

When you tap into this energy and click into your own “destiny switch” abundance seems to appear as if magic sparkle dust got dumped on your head. One minute you were struggling to figure it all out then BAM you’re at a party!

I want me some of that—don’t you?

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Mahasati hand meditation practice for stress

buddha-in-meditation-picture-id488655799 Mahasati hand meditation practice for stress

Mahasati hand meditation is a practice that can be particularly useful during times of excessive stress or emotional upheaval, or when our minds just won’t shut the f__k up no matter how much yogic breathing or how many rounds of mantras we’ve done. And yeah, I speak from experience.

I learned this practice at my most rock bottom of rock bottoms. I was at a rehab facility, three days into a seven-day stay in detox from alcohol. My body was still squeamish, my brain still racing, my hope nonexistent, and my self-loathing at an all-time high. As I lay in bed aware of the physical battle going on between withdrawal and the benzodiazepines I’d been given to help relax me and keep me from having a seizure, my thoughts raced—I’d just lost my job, my car was about to be repossessed, I had a court date and jail time awaiting me, and last but (definitely) not least, I was going to miss my brother’s wedding, the one where I was supposed to be his best man. Yeah, I was in rough shape.

Later that morning I stumbled into our group session, where a young, prayer-bead-wearing, bald-headed man announced we were going to practice meditation. Grunts and grumbles filled the room, and the corner I’d staked out as my own was no exception. I’d been meditating for several years already and knew that I was in no place mentally or emotionally to sit quietly and let my mind cause me even more trouble than it already was.

In all fairness, yes, those are often the times when meditation can be extremely beneficial. I’m all about gently and compassionately leaning into the pain and allowing it to teach us what it can, but I also believe that there are times in life when the pain is too great and it’s counterproductive to lean into it. There’s no such thing as a spiritual superhero; no trophies are awarded to those who can endure the heaviest shit, so please, honor what you can and can’t do in the moment and go from there. Only you can know for sure, so be honest with yourself.

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How can we escape the ego prison through meditation?

meditationego How can we escape the ego prison through meditation?

Initially most people choose to meditate out of curiosity or to relieve psychological pain, increase pleasure, or enhance power. The goal of all these motives is to strengthen the ego. For as the ego gets more comfortable, happy, and powerful, its prison walls thicken. The ego’s motives do not allow examination of the ego itself, nor allow insight that the ego is your prison. These motives paradoxically contain the seeds of freedom, because they lead you to meditate more. Meditation makes you more calm and quiet, and in this new stillness other motives, deeper motives, arise for going further into meditation. As your meditation develops beyond the level of ego payoffs, the prison walls begin to crack.

You might think of these deeper motives in many ways:

to answer the question, “Who am I?”
to awaken cosmic consciousness
to see things just as they are
to rend the veils of illusion
to know God
to tune to the harmony of the universe
to gain more compassion
to reach a higher consciousness
to become liberated
to be born again
to know the truth which lies beyond dualism
to transcend the wheel of birth and death
to abandon desire
to be free

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Make Yourself a Light

bud-1 Make Yourself a Light

“Make of yourself a light.” — said the Buddha, before he died.

The picture above is a space in my yard where I go when I need to center myself. It is my sanctuary. It is where I come when I feel overwhelmed. It is where I sit when I can’t figure out what I think about, well, anything.

There is so much to think about these days. There is so much to fret about. There is so much to get angry about. (How about Jon Stewart testifying this week to a near-empty Congress with all the families from 9/11? His message was powerful and should fire us all up.)

There is also so much to be excited about. So much to be hopeful about. So much to be grateful for. When I sit in my backyard and look at the calm statue pictured above, that’s where I end up—in a place of peace, a place of calm, a place of gratitude. “Make of yourself a light,” said the Buddha in Mary Oliver’s poem “The Buddha’s Last Instruction.” (You can read it in our Sunday Paper Reflection section below.) So, that’s what I want to focus on this morning: making myself a light.

That invitation goes out to each of us every day. It’s also a challenge that each of us can decide to answer take on, regardless of what’s going on in the world. You can make yourself a light for yourself, for your family, for your community, for an issue you care about, or for injustice in the world.

On this Father’s Day, I want to shine a light on all the men who step into this role with light, joy, purpose and passion. I want to shine a light on those who take it seriously. Who show up to their roles, regardless of whether or not their fathers showed up for them.

A father’s positive involvement can change a child’s life. It can build character, instill values, and inspire hopes and dreams. Fathers can make themselves a light in their children’s lives. So today, I want to honor those who have thought deeply about this role. I want to shine a light on the men who do the work. Men who father their own. Men who father the fatherless among us. May we honor those who have stepped into the lives of those who need a father and said, “Let me make myself a light in your life.”

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What is the mystical root of awareness?

awareness What is the mystical root of awareness?

Awareness is not aware of itself. It’s not self-conscious, it’s just awareness.

In that sense, the entire universe is awareness. It is not self-consciously aware; it’s just awareness, and that’s when if you want to understand how a spiritual master with Siddhis [powers] knows the universe, they know the universe from inside itself.

Here’s a great one, this is Rilke, and I’m sure many of you love Rilke like I do. It says, “I love ‘in-seeing’,” Can you imagine with me how glorious it is to ‘in-see’ a dog, for example, as you pass by it? By ‘in-see’ I don’t mean to look through, which is only a kind of human trick that lets you immediately come out again on the other side of the dog, regarding it merely so to speak as a window upon the human world lying behind it. No, not that.

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Activate The Healing Power of Stillness

caribbean-yoga-woman-picture-id182197369 Activate The Healing Power of Stillness

When was the last time you took time to really be still, perhaps through meditation or conscious breathing?

With so much chaos and distraction in our lives, it can be beyond tough to find time to be still and connect to a peaceful center. Between hectic work schedules and endless to-do lists, and the fixation with social media, many of us barely have a chance to come up for air.  Sure, you want to make time to be still and meditate, but it just gets lost in the shuffle and before you know it, it’s bedtime and you’re too exhausted. Without taking time each day for stillness, our minds become chatterboxes and we lose ourselves in our busy lives listening to a barrage of mindless noise.

We’ve all had this experience of resolving to find the time to meditate, but then it just keeps moving down the priority list. Has this happened to you?

So, take a deep breath and keep reading. Today I’m going to help you get on the road to more stillness without missing out on your to-dos.

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Is desire useful on the spiritual path?

back-portrait-of-young-fit-and-healthy-attractive-woman-doing-love-picture-id980797902 Is desire useful on the spiritual path?

The desire to become enlightened is still you desiring something.

What happens is you start to touch places way beyond what you ever thought you were. Or you start to awaken, and it’s like the bliss is much more incredible, the understanding is more incredible, and so on, and the craving for it. It’s like a super crave and that desire is what is used to finish all the other desires. Then, near the end of that sequence, you’re left with only that desire, and you see that the desire for it is what’s keeping you from it. Then there’s the having to let go of the desire in order to become it, which is the final process of dying, really.

It’s dying in a psychological sense, because having that last desire is your final statement of who you are.

But the predicament is that who you are can’t go through the doorway. You can get right up to the door and you can knock, but you can’t go in. They say “it” can come in, but “you” can’t. That which desires to get through the door gets right up to the door, and then they say, “The desire’s gotta stay right out here. Sorry, leave your shoes outside, but you can come in.” At that point the desire falls away.

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Feeling Truth

groupemeditation--Erik_Brolin Feeling Truth
Most evenings my husband, son and I settle into the living room for our evening practice. After the dogs are calm and a candle lit, I lead us on a guided meditation. We also use this time to discuss the power of words, thoughts and positive affirmations. My heart expands each time we practice together.

The combination of positive affirmations and meditation is a powerful way to experience life’s abundance, peace, and Grace.

What makes an affirmation good or strong enough to positively enhance your life? Choose your words carefully. Ideally your affirmation will be short, uncomplicated, based on the present, and most importantly feel truthful. You need to be able to feel the truth, or in other words, believe your affirmation. Here is a easy to understand this concept of feeling truth.

Imagine sharing a wonderful experience with your friend. All the words, joy, feelings, emotions flow together perfectly. You are sharing a truthful experience. Your body responds and your heart opens. You are ready to both receive and share; love and abundance.

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How can we bring awareness into parental relationships?

mother-and-daughter-meditating-in-lotus-position-in-rainforest-in-picture-id925756552 How can we bring awareness into parental relationships?

Normal waking consciousness, dream states, emotional states, and other states of awareness are different realities, somewhat like channels of the TV receiver.

As you walk down the street you can tune your "receiver" into the world on any number of channels. Each way of tuning creates a very different street, but the street doesn't change; you do. You see what you look for. If you are primarily preoccupied or tuned to the physical body, as you look at people you see them as man or woman, fat or thin, tall or short, attractive or unattractive. When you are busy looking at personalities you might see them as introverted or extroverted, hysterical or paranoid, happy or sad. If you were tuned to the astral identities you'd see a Leo or a Taurus, an angel or a demon. It's all in the eyes of the beholder. Christ could walk up to you and you might see him as a pleasant carpenter, dressed plainly. You might think: interesting teacher, he has a nice vibe. If you were looking beyond that, you might see Him as Living Spirit.

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Practice...and Beyond

IMG_0695-1200x900

Remember the old joke about the tourist asking directions? “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice, practice, practice.” That answer could also be given to the spiritual question “How do I get to the enlightened state?” Practice—a lifelong commitment to finding peace of mind and God. Your practice becomes your life, and vice versa. And yet it is not until the practice softens and becomes a relaxed inner flowering rather than a rigid outer striving that everything shifts. The virtuoso pianist and the devoted meditator discover the sound and light within them, not on an external stage or altar. Carnegie Hall and enlightenment are not destinations; they are experiences.

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A VISIONARY HEART: Our Superpower moments of the day

heart-in-sky-picture-id155368405 A VISIONARY HEART: Our Superpower moments of the day

Kennedy shares how simple yet high level coherency practices connect, infuse and ignite every cell, encoding the Continuum.

Imagination blossoms in the first luminous moments of each morning. These moments are precious ,bejeweled with the mists of the "in between." We are alone and drifting into the first light still embellished with the Oneness of the night reverie. Here we bridge the worlds and have the opportunity to consciously dream, call the day into being, envisioning the beauty, depth, power, peace ,coherency, the Lifestream...saying YES! to ourselves and the world.

We create in every moment, in every cell, thought, feeling and emotion a dream or a nightmare, love or fear, coherency and resonance or incoherency. These first few moments can set the energy of our entire day. The same truth holds for the last few moments as we drift into the night.
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Creating a Healthier, Happier World…harmonizing with the divine within!

spirituality-picture-id511101732 Creating a Healthier, Happier World…harmonizing with the divine within!

Research has shown that meditation & prayer are proven practices to increase both physical and mental wellness and support a healthier, longer life.

Meditation and prayer are effective antidotes to stress and support your natural self-healing capabilities.

The Ego Mind Perpetuates Illness

The ego mind is determined to hang on to anger, resentment and the beliefs, ideas and stories of the past that separates us from our own hearts and the rest of the world.

These things perpetuate misery, sickness and suffering. If you truly desire happiness, success and ongoing health and vitality of your body, mind and soul it’s vital you become your own codebreaker!

That way you can break the ego mind’s hold over your life and release the code responsible for negative mind, chatter, anxiety, depression and the desire to hang on to resentment.

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Embodied Presence: Portal to the Sacred - Part 1

lionpresence Embodied Presence: Portal to the Sacred - Part 1

This two part series explores how we regularly leave our body and skim life’s surface in a mental trance, and the ways we can train our attention to come home again. We look at working with physical and emotional pain, and the gifts of love, wisdom, creativity and aliveness that arise as we learn to fully inhabit these living forms and all our senses with awareness.

Be The Energy

Trust the energy that courses
through you. Trust – then take
surrender even deeper.
Be the energy.

Don’t push anything away.
Follow each sensation back to
its source and focus your awareness
there.

Be the ecstasy…

Be unafraid of consummate wonder.
Emerge so new, so vulnerable,
that you don’t know
who you are.

Be the energy,
and paradoxically,
be at peace.
Dare to be your own illumination,

And blaze a trail across
the clear night sky…..

Danna Faulds

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Make use of the moments in between to build spiritual muscles

spiritualmuscles Make use of the moments in between to build spiritual muscles

Formal spiritual practice is the very fundament for anyone who truly desires to consciously grow and unfold. It is through this formal practice that we make ourselves increasingly open and available to catch insights as to that which is true and real. That we may release and let go of the small and limiting beliefs and perceptions that keep us from going further. That keep us at the level of consciousness that we presently are at. 

However we must never forget to use the moments in between to build spiritual muscles as much as we can. It is in those moments in between the formal practice that we are really strengthening those muscles. 

Like Eckhart Tolle reminds us, it is one thing to have a regular practice of formal meditation, lets say in the morning. And a totally different other to maintain that level of presence throughout the day. 

In other words, formal meditation, although beautiful and powerful, is not enough. Formal praying, although powerful and magnificent, is not enough. The same with forgiveness, visioning and surrendering. But it is what we do in between those moments of formal practice that truly builds those spiritual muscles we need.

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Break Through The Barrier Between You And True Peace

truepeace Break Through The Barrier Between You And True Peace

If we wish to find peace we must understand something of its life. Here are a few such facts: Peace is the natural radiation of a living Now; it is one with that Light whose life is the eternal present itself, even as the emanations of light and warmth are one with the sun from which they radiate. If our intuition can perceive that the above ideas are based in truth, then we should be naturally moved to ask the following question: If this peace we long for is inherent in this perfectly present moment we call the “Now,” what is it that keeps us from knowing the fulfillment of its promise within us? Let’s look.

Through even casual observation, we can see that the primary governing body of our present self seems to be a mental and emotional construct whose sole occupation in life seems to be an ongoing consideration of what was and what will be. This activity amounts to what we experience as an endless weighing of our past and subsequent planning of our future. Stated in another way, our lives are currently made up of what we name for ourselves as being good days or bad days. Of course these “good” and “bad” days are labeled as such based on how they measure up to our desired expectations. Good days “happen” when we get what we desire, and bad days are . . . well, you know!

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