How can we balance suffering and joy in our lives?

“The Sage does not talk – the Talented Ones talk, and the stupid ones argue.” – Kung Tingan

Though the numbers are proportionally few, many thousands of us have, through discipline and persistence, arrived at a view of our lives that is open, clear, and detached. In this new space we have lightness, an ease in carrying out our daily lives. An ability to keep a certain sense of humor about our predicaments. We find that because of the quietness of our minds it’s easier to relate to acquaintances, to family, to employers, to friends. It’s also easier to bring together our economic scene and the other aspects of our lives.

We begin to feel a little bit like gods on earth. Where we see sadness and suffering around us, we are able to empathize and still feel lightness and joy.

It’s as if the world is made for our delight, and even our own troubles become a source of amusement. When we look one another in the eye there is clarity and honesty. We have a certain degree of inner peace. Many of us never thought possible this level of equanimity, fullness, and delight in life. We have a sense of self-acceptance, spaciousness, and fullness in the moment that makes each day enough. In many ways it seems like liberation.

As I look around at people I know who have been working intensely on themselves for some time, there is a dramatic change.

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Jennifer taps her way into my heart

A young woman named Melinda came to see me for a reading. As she sat quietly across the room from me, there was a full line-up of relatives from the Other-Side stepping forward one by one.

In the background, I was acutely aware of a faint tapping that I was psychically hearing. It wasn’t the familiar tempo of a waltz or even a song that I'd recognize; yet, there it was again—a definite rhythm. It sounded more like: Clackity-clack, clackity-clack, clackity-clack.

Oh my God, heaven was actually tap dancing! I thought to myself. At that moment, a little girl stepped forward and gave me her name. I didn’t hesitate a moment longer, “Melinda, I have a little girl here and she is giving me the name of Jen or Jennifer. Do you understand that?”

“That’s my daughter!” Melinda’s eyes instantly filled with tears. Jennifer was her five-year-old daughter who’d tragically died after a kidney operation. Melinda recalled that day when the hospital staff had begged her and the rest of the family to “go home, relax, and get something to eat”—just for an hour— because nothing would happen­. Yet, something awful did happen.

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Desire: A Current of Homecoming

Desire is intrinsic to our aliveness, yet when we have unmet needs, it can possess us. This talk explores how to relax open the grip of wanting and heal the suffering of addiction. You will learn how to bring mindfulness and compassion to the roots of desire, and be carried home to open loving presence (a favorite from the archives).

For us addicts, recovery is more than just taking a pill or maybe getting a shot. Recovery is also about the spirit, about dealing with that hole in the soul.
~ William Moyers

You might also enjoy Tara’s online course, curated from this talk, plus several of her others: Freeing Ourselves with Mindfulness: Using mindfulness and meditation to heal harmful habits, attachments, and addictions. Register at any time. Link includes discounted price.

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You Can't GPS God

If you held a compass in your hand with the intention of locating God, you would see the needle spin in all directions. The GPS in your car could not come up with an exact position for God in its system either. That’s because (of course) God is everywhere at the same time. Its physical form in this dimension is us, our human bodies, as well as those of animals, plants, trees, birds, insects, fish, seashells, stones, etc.

From the nonphysical perspective, God is an experience not a visible object. On Earth, the experience of God is love. And love has no form, no language, no location. If you deepen your awareness of divine connection, you come to realize that you are always held in a love beyond any words to describe it. Peace fills your being and Presence fills your consciousness. I have been there. It’s a place to which I am always longing to return. But there is no compass or GPS to guide you to God. Only in the process of living and letting go do you suddenly turn up in that spaceless space that defies description.

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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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How can we begin to heal the world?

If we are to help heal the world, we need to remember that it is a sacred place.

Our actions need to be positive statements, reminders that even in the worst times there is a world worth struggling for. We need to find ways to keep the vision alive, to acknowledge but not get caught in the dark side. To remember that even the worst aspects of suffering are only part of the whole picture. We need to enter lightly.

Entering lightly means not ignoring suffering but treating it gently.

We don’t want to ignore another’s pain, but our becoming depressed or angry about it doesn’t relieve it and may increase it. The delicate balance is in allowing ourselves to feel the pain fully, to be sad or angry or hurt by it, but not be so weighted down by it that we are unable to act to relieve it. It is a matter of ends and means again: to create a caring, loving, peaceful world, we need to act with care and love and peace.

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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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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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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

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

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?

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

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

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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