It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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How to Stay Mindful in the Age of Digital Distractions

phonedistraction How to Stay Mindful in the Age of Digital Distractions

People have loved practicing mindfulness and meditation for centuries – and for good reason. Studies have found that this time-honored tradition has huge mental and physical benefits. Research attributes mindfulness to increased focus and working memory as well as increased quality of life. Also attributed are reductions in anxiety and stress, so with all these reasons to be mindful what's stopping us?

In this new age of technology, distraction is just a click away. Tiny pocket-sized devices provide hours of entertainment with a few taps of a finger. This daily intake of likes, notifications and messages does come at a cost. Technology has brought with it many great conveniences but not without consequence. Overuse of technology has been linked to depression, anxiety and many other mental health issues that are currently on the rise. Developing mindfulness can help to prevent and even repair these negative impacts of technology.

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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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Qualities of the Beloved

child-hands-formig-heart-shape-picture-id951945718 Qualities of the Beloved

Once you have drunk from the water of unconditional love, no other well can satisfy your thirst. The pangs of separation may become so intense that seeking the affection of the Beloved becomes an obsession. When we were with Maharaji, we were intoxicated with his form, the colors of his blanket, the buttery softness of his skin, his tapering, almost simian fingers, the long eyelashes that so often hid his eyes, the red toenail on his big toe. As with any lover we, too, became fascinated and enamored of every detail, although these cues triggered spiritual bliss instead of physical desire.

In their way intoxication and addiction are analogies for devotion.

Once you experience unconditional love, you really get hooked. The attraction is to that intimacy between the lover and the Beloved.


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Three Easy Ways To Change Your Inner Energy

1131682038845602.sa0Pb8BMgDPYzHR9pUC9_height640 Three Easy Ways To Change Your Inner Energy

The entire universe is made up of energy, and that includes YOU. This energy can be found both inside and outside you. Sometimes energy feels light and warm, expansive and uplifting. Imagine a spring day after a hard and cold winter. You turn your face up to the sun, letting its soothing warmth permeate your skin. It lulls you into an infinitely peaceful state. Sometimes energy feels dark and heavy, like the charged air before a violent thunderstorm. The sky looks ominous and foreboding. The light disappears and everything feels uneasy and menacing.

When you are filled with this kind of energy it can feel difficult to evade. All you know is that things just seem heavy, without joy, motivation, or inspiration. So when you feel this way, what can you do to get your energy back on track?

The first thing you should do is try to discover where the negativity is coming from. Maybe it’s your job, and you can’t quite seem to leave it at the office. If it’s a personal relationship that is the cause, the heavy feelings can pervade almost every other area of your life. Or maybe you’ve been feeling this way for so long that you simply can’t figure out where it’s coming from or what started it. You just know that you need change.

The good news is that you CAN change your inner energy! When you do, you change your life!

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Trading In the Afterlife for One Life

oneness Trading In the Afterlife for One Life

Every doctrine of the afterlife has run into the same problem, which is that of belief. For centuries the existence of life after death has been couched in religious terms, which necessitates believing in religion before the question of the afterlife can be approached. Is it possible to say something more firmly grounded than mere belief, which falls so short of certainty?

With the continuing decline of organized religion in developed countries, a strain of rational atheism has arisen that seems to have the backing of science. In this view, since we lack data from people who have died, there is no reason to abide by age-old myths concerning a promise of life after death. Fundamentally, the death and decay of the physical body points to the death of the mind, because to a physicalist the mind is a product of the brain.

The weakness in this viewpoint is twofold. First, it is founded on unproven assumptions. No one has proved that the brain produces the mind, only that brain activity parallels mental activity. By analogy, the heart beats faster when someone gets excited emotionally, but by no means does this prove that the heart produces emotions. The second flaw is that receiving no data from people who have died begs the question. Entire theories of cosmology delve into string theories and the multiverse with no data and indeed no chance of gathering any data. There are certain boundaries that physical exploration cannot cross, but this obstacle doesn’t invalidate their existence.

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How Hope Can Heal and Free Us

hope How Hope Can Heal and Free Us

The mature expression of hope includes three elements: the aspiration for manifesting our full potential, a trust that this is possible, and an energy that engages to serve this unfolding. In this talk, we explore the importance of hope on the spiritual path, its shadow side, and how we can nourish hope through these three elements in a way that serves inner freedom and the healing of our world (a special favorite from the archives).

Here’s what I’ve decided. The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for, and the most you can do is live inside that hope, not admired from a distance, but live right under it, under its roof. What I want is so simple, I almost can’t say it. Elementary kindness. ~ Barbara Kingsolver

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How should we deal with extraordinary mind experiences?

empowered-man-silhouette-picture-id172959551 How should we deal with extraordinary mind experiences?

Many sensations come, many thoughts or images
arise, but they are just waves of your own mind.
Nothing comes from outside your mind.
To realize pure mind in your delusion is
practice. If you try to expel the delusion it will
only persist the more. Just say, “Oh, this is just
delusion.” And do not be bothered by it.

– Shunryu Suzuki

In Brindavan, the sacred city where Krishna dances with the gopis, there is a dudhwalla, a milk seller. He’s a true devotee of Krishna. Once he was selling milk, and because of his purity, Krishna with his shakti Radha came right up to the stand, there on the street in Brindavan, and bought some milk. He actually saw them. His eyes are as though they had been burned out by a brilliant bulb. He can talk about nothing but the moment that Krishna and Radha came to his dudhstand. He’s not worried about how much milk he sells anymore. He’s had the ecstasy of seeing God in the form of light. And that’s who he is this lifetime. It’s a high place to be.

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Our Infinite Resilience

tornado-eye-picture-id917174148 Our Infinite Resilience

Standing still in the middle of a hurricane at first glance seems impossible, irrational and good luck. However if one knows where the sweet spot is, the eye of the storm, then it becomes the natural place to reside. This sweet spot is  a resilience point, the heart of being, the zero point of the Cosmos, the reality of our physicality and the infinity of creation. Opening up resiliency thus as a natural force inherent within every space, place and moment allows us to choose it freely rather than having to create something that is not present. 

RESILIENCE AS WE HAVE KNOWN IT 

The collective usually views resilience as an ability to bounce back...to where? Can we ever go back? Do we need to again create resilience in our lives? Or is it an infinite ongoing energy of life itself? Is it that we only need to acknowledge and tune in to this ever vital force?

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376 Hits

Can Mindfulness Help You Be Healthier?

happy-smiling-woman-rides-a-bicycle-on-the-country-road-under-blossom-picture-id1131658795 Can Mindfulness Help You Be Healthier?

Raise your hand if you’ve met all your health goals and are in perfect shape. Anybody? Okay, how about those of you who are never self-critical and love the way you look every time you look in the mirror. Any takers?

Let’s get serious for a moment: most people have long since abandoned their New Year’s health goals, and a whopping 79 percent of Americans feel at least occasionally unhappy with how their body looks. Rather than being stifled by unmet goals or struggling with our reflection though, what if there were a gentle and effective way to encourage healthier behaviors? Let’s take a closer look at how mindfulness practice can help us improve our physical, mental, and emotional health.

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How to Deepen Your Connection with Spirit

rose-on-the-ground-picture-id1142534635 How to Deepen Your Connection with Spirit

I began my training as a medium by what is known as sitting in circle. A circle simply means a group of like-minded people, whether it’s for psychic development or the development of a certain type of mediumship, all sitting together and sharing each other’s energy. These circles are usually led by an experienced teacher or medium who can give advice as your abilities begin to unfold.

I spent my first two formative years studying in the UK. I was lucky to land on my feet in my first circle with other mediums who were developing their abilities. Some circles are closed circles, which is when you have to be formally invited to join, as I was in this case. There's also what’s known as open circles where anyone can come and develop their psychic abilities further.

Sitting in circle definitely helped me increase my psychic strength and the length of time I could maintain the link with Spirit. Our leader would observe us, help us with our technique and make us aware when our guides drew close. I was so fortunate with this circle since it showed me how to develop a stronger link with Spirit, receive and give Spirit messages and focus on how to receive Divine inspiration from my guides and helpers.

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Allow your vision to pull you forth along your path

believe-in-yourself-picture-id1058017648 Allow your vision to pull you forth along your path

Oftentimes individuals perceive Life and the happenings it contains to be strokes of luck, chance, and haphazardness. They perceive Life to be happening to them, beyond their control. This, of course is never so, as there is only Divine order in the cosmos. The sacred laws are always operating pulling us toward the vision that we, either consciously or unconsciously have set for ourselves and our lives. Toward that which we either consciously or unconsciously have placed ourselves in vibrational alignment with.

Life is a beautiful adventure


Life is nothing but a journey. An adventure. And a magical adventure at that. What this means is that Life is always on the move. Always changing.

The evolutionary impulse that penetrates and permeates the cosmos sees to this. In other words everything is in motion, from the old to the new.
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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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Spiritual Liberation

spiritual_liberation Spiritual Liberation

Social activism and making a constructive difference in the world were focal points in the Los Angeles household of my childhood. My parents’ generosity of heart and community values were strong influences on me and my two brothers. Their example contributed to my involvement in anti-Vietnam protests during high school, boycotting businesses that paid unfair wages to people of color, and my membership in the Black Worker’s Congress and the establishment of the Harriet Tubman Prison Committee in college. I enthusiastically participated in these and other socially acceptable activities of the ’60s and ’70s. I was known to be an agnostic, so my unorthodox spiritual opening came as much of a surprise to my family and friends as it did to me.

In the early 1970s I was a student at the University of Southern California, majoring in psychobiology, a time when smoking marijuana was, well, the norm. What I was learning in classes about mental illness caused me to wonder if echoes of some childhood experiences wherein I experienced visions were pathological. I cut back on the marijuana, hoping the visions and voices would stop. Instead, they only intensified.

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Sublime, Ridiculous, Terrifying, and Blissful: It’s All Part of the Path

spiritualpath Sublime, Ridiculous, Terrifying, and Blissful: It’s All Part of the Path

So here’s the thing: I didn’t go to school for any of this spirituality stuff. I’m not a yogi from the Himalayas, a preacher in a pulpit, or a “spiritual teacher” with dollar signs in my eyes. The truth is, early in life my curiosity got the better of me and led me down some roads that resulted in years of heavy drug and alcohol addiction. These dark places ultimately brought me to a very real life-or-death search for something more: finding deeper meaning in life and waking up to the spiritual essence that imbues it all—from monasteries to stadiums, meditation to stage dives, skateboarding to serving food in a soup kitchen, and everything in between.

Wait . . . so by “everything,” do I actually mean every single thing? Why, yes—yes, I do, and I call this “Everything Mind”. So, what is Everything Mind? Well, I think a better question would be, “What isn’t Everything Mind?” We could start by saying that Everything Mind considers every-thing in our lives as part of the spiritual path. Our triumphs and heartbreaks, joys and suffering, the light and the dark—all are equally suitable teachers and lessons. Zen Buddhist teacher and poet Thich Nhat Hanh is famously quoted as saying, “No mud, no lotus,” which means that our best selves grow out of our darkest places—our pain and suffering. Experiencing life from the place of Everything Mind allows us to lay aside our fears of right or wrong thoughts and emotions. Then, we can begin to compassionately, and even humorously (at times), work with and through all of them with open and courageous hearts and minds.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Range of Our Compassion

dont-worry-im-here-for-you-picture-id926537622 The Range of Our Compassion

Dogs can hear well beyond the range of human hearing. In California, it’s been reported that dogs have heard the beginnings of earthquakes before seismographs could register their initial tremor. In just this way, there are those of us whose ability to feel, see, and hear others is beyond our normal range of compassion. We call them empaths or psychics. And we often discredit them because what they know because is beyond what we can sense.

A central physic of the heart is that the range of our compassion is widened each time we experience suffering or love. Like a mud-filled pipe that is hollowed out by the rain to carry water underground, the force of each experience clears us out. Listening, expressing, and writing are conscious ways to clear ourselves out and to expose and extend the range of what we feel. And so, the artist or poet in us is that deep part of who we are that keeps extending the range of our compassion.

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Stars & Cards + Your Progressed Moon = Game Changer

fullmoon Stars & Cards + Your Progressed Moon = Game Changer

Since this week begins with the full moon in Sagittarius, a big friendly let’s dance together and learn something moon- let’s talk about something you might find interesting and intriguing. Since I started talking about the moon, let’s keep it going. Do you know about something in astrology called the Progressed Moon? It’s a super important piece of your personal Astrological puzzle… that not many know about.

Your Progressed Moon describes the flavor of a specific period of time that lasts about 2.5 years that influences the way you perceive the world and how you react to it. It affects every part of your life – work, relationships, family, etc. It’s like you put on a whole other set of glasses which affects your perception with well, just about everything.

I am amazed that not a lot of people know about this because having this information can be a real game changer!

For example, when your progressed moon is in Cancer you may be more in touch with your emotions and concerned with your inner world. When your progressed moon is in Gemini you’ll probably feel more social and enjoy being around people more than ever! When it’s in Capricorn you feel the urge to get down to business, or in Scorpio you lose all interest in superficial things and go deep, deeper and deeper. Every sign is an invitation to a way of working with the energy of your life and knowing where you are at with it makes things so much easier to navigate.

Learning about my Progressed Moon empowered me to navigate through some challenging times in my own life. This knowledge really prepared me for what was coming and allowed me to enter into this period of my life with grace and dive into the lessons that the Progressed Moon came to help teach me.  Because I knew I was very clear on what I had to process and frankly it made everything magical because I knew how to work with it on purpose.

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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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The Day I Became a Spirit Whisperer

spirits The Day I Became a Spirit Whisperer

Back in the 1990’s, I was in a serious automobile accident that I’m convinced put me on my path as a Spirit Whisperer. After the accident, the psychic abilities I’d experienced as a child were now back, but this time they were a hundred times stronger. I remember the first time I did a reading with these newfound abilities.

An artist named Maury heard about me from a friend and came to see me. She had several career options and asked if I could give her some guidance.

One minute we were talking about her design business and the next I felt as if something had shifted in the room. These days I refer to this shift as “the quickening.” It felt like everything was going a little bit faster, as though someone had turned up the switch. It also meant that Maury and I weren’t alone anymore.

As I looked at Maury again, I noticed that sitting right beside her was an elderly woman. I saw her there as clear as day. “Maury, there’s an older woman sitting next to you, and there’s something strange about her clothes—nothing matches.” Maury let out a scream. I screamed, then she hugged me and I hugged her!

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Surrender the Outcome—Back by Popular Demand

IMG_1004-1200x900

Over the last month or so, I’ve noticed that many different people from many different countries have visited my website to read my 2016 article “Surrender the Outcome.” Day after day, that title keeps popping up in the statistics, from Argentina to Morocco to India. I know it’s a key issue for people in their lives no matter where they live, but I also thought there must be more to it. From the perspective of divine guidance, how much clearer could a message be than the repetition of the words “surrender the outcome” every time I go to my website? The truth is that even though I carry that wisdom within me (and have written about it repeatedly), I often need a reminder when things get challenging in my life. The message to surrender comes when I need it most.

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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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