I was so pleased to recently be featured on the iSoulify podcast, Strong Women, Strong Stories.
iSoulify was founded in 2018 by friends Dena Betti and Colleen Gianatiempo. Dena and Colleen first met through volunteer work at their daughter’s elementary school in Martinez, California and have come together through iSoulify to deepen their connection and impact on those seeking to connect with their soul and embark on a wonderful world of creation.
As part of their project, 365 Days of Inspiration, I joined Dena and Colleen to discuss “Harness Your Spiritual Gifts and Unleash Your Personal Power in Life and Business”
Many people still view difficult times as a spiritual challenge. The numbers are less than in the distant past, when catastrophes, tragedies, setbacks, and failures were seen in religious terms. An Old Testament plague was a sign of God’s wrath, but in modern secular society medical science gives a different explanation, based on research data and the rise of the scientific worldview.
And yet millions of people would find in the COVID-19 pandemic a test of faith and perhaps even a test for whether God is paying attention to human suffering. I’d like to offer a different viewpoint—difficult times can motivate you to place a higher value on your spiritual life. Out of confusion and conflict there is an inner journey to be made. This has been true for centuries, and modern times don’t erase the possibility.
For many, this is the Season of Light, a time of joy and celebration, a season for appreciation and giving.
For my family, Christmas can’t come soon enough and we’ve already begun sitting together in the evenings, taking turns choosing our favorite holiday songs to sing. I especially love “Silent Night.”
One of my teammates celebrated Diwali with her family the middle of last month, and another is beginning to prepare for the eight days of Chanukkah, her family’s traditional festival of lights.
Another member of our team is a student and teacher of A Course in Miracles which says, “Each of us is the light of the world, and by joining our minds in this light we proclaim the Kingdom of God together and as one.” (ACIM, T-6.II.13:5)
Looking at light more secularly, in just a few short weeks, the days here in my part of the world will grow longer, giving us more daylight to enjoy nature walks and other daytime activities.
There is an immense amount of suffering on the planet that comes from neglect for the present moment. Why do we neglect the present moment? As the ancient stoic Seneca said, “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” The idea here is that we suffer because, instead of noticing the myriad of gifts available to us in the present moment, we blast ourselves with the prospect of some wrong that could come upon us. And though the above quote is from a stoic philosopher, it’s an appropriate foothold to transition into the power of Buddhist practices in the face of uncertain times (Stoicism and Buddhism hold similarities in both philosophy and practice after all).
We are all currently coping with a global pandemic, and it can be helpful to study what Buddhists have used through the ages to transforms and carry themselves through unstable moments in history such as war, loss, and so on.
Study these 5 components of Buddhism. Put them to practice and you’ll experience a notable shift in your being.
Years ago, I found myself in a situation that involved two gunshot victims. One person lived, one person died. I think about this often, not because the horror of it, but because it carries a much deeper meaning to me. Sitting in the dark, next to the woman who had been shot, I felt connected to long ago in an unidentifiable place.
Hours later it hit me, I wondered if a karmic debt had been paid.
I believe the whole crazy shooting incident satisfied many karmic debts and lessons, not just mine. This brings up the question, how much of our life is connected to the past ?
It is also interesting, for as long as I can remember, I have had a very strong dislike of guns. I can’t be around them. Even as a very young child, I was aware that guns were associated with something that didn’t feel good. Was this awareness from a past life; or did I just feel the pain connected with guns?
Ponder this; maybe your soul’s the boss. This part of you, this love, this essential self, whatever you want to call it, is in charge and you are on your soul’s journey. Why? Because your soul is the boss.
Your ego now and again, likes to take credit for doing things. But, guess what! Your ego only likes to take credit for the fun stuff. It’s like the parent who only takes pride in your accomplishments but doesn’t want to look at the full spectrum of the parenting experience.
That’s the ego.
It’s time to support you in living soulfully. Who you are really, is an infinite being. At your very essence you’re infinite. That means that nothing can be added to you and nothing can be taken away from you. It also means you are living on an infinitely evolving spiral staircase.
You’re so much more than all of the labels that have been spoken over you. Every label that you identify with inherently comes with its own set of limitations. Identification is the root cause of why we suffer. We take that label of being a ‘good spouse’, being a ‘good parent’, being a ‘good business owner’ and because we are identifying with this piece of programming or conditioning around it and what that means, we’re forever falling short.
At some point we remember on our journey of waking up, loving and accepting ourselves, that we are just pure consciousness. That we’re literally an infinite presence, here for a limited time, expressing and experiencing uniquely.
I had to laugh when I saw a cartoon some months ago. (If you haven’t seen it, I shared it on my Facebook page: It showed three booths at a Spiritual Fair. One of the booths offered “Past-Life Reading” and another touted “Future Telling.” Both booths had crowds of people in line clamoring to get their turn.
The middle booth, however, had no customers whatsoever. The sign above it read: “Meditation” and the lonely person manning this booth kept desperately trying to wave people over, saying “Present Moment anyone?”
How true is this? We yearn to discover more about how our past has shaped us and we can’t wait to find out what’s in store for our future. But for right now, we’re more inclined to shake our heads and say: “Uh-uh. No thanks. I’ll pass.”
Lately, I’ve been wondering what would be on my personal list of top five practices (all tied for first place). You might ask yourself the same question, knowing that you can cluster related practices under a single umbrella, your list may differ from mine, and your practices may change over time.
If there was one thing that I could have shared with myself when I was 16 to 18 years old, I would have let myself know that it was okay to be peaceful. I feel like, in a world where individuals are constantly chasing things outside of themselves, bringing them moments of happiness, peace is actually where it’s at. And, it is fascinating because peace is actually our natural state of being.
The majority of the world today is going through this pandemic, this unprecedented moment in human history, and lacking the awareness that peace is even an option for them.
How blessed are we that at least we have the awareness that we can be peaceful in our lives. And it’s not that things are necessarily going to change in our lives, or we’re all of a sudden going to become some other version of ourselves than we are at this moment, it’s just that we are going to fundamentally chill out.
Awakening to Real Life occurs in direct proportion to waking up from our own sleeping nature -- a fact which brings us face to face with some of life's oldest and greatest spiritual mysteries.
The myth of the phoenix, the riddle of the sphinx, even the story of Christ's birth in a dimly lit stable of barnyard animals… all point to the existence of one nature dwelling in the midst of another; of two separate orders of being merged in one relationship -- one lower, one higher -- one asleep to itself, the other awake, above, and in charge of its lesser parts. This invisible state of self must be realized before its relationship can be reversed and the sleeper awakens to his or her indwelling Spirit. To this end, we must learn to use each moment possible to awaken to ourselves instead of surrendering ourselves to our usual circle of dreams in which we alternate in appearance as either hero or villain.
You came from infinite love. You are infinite love. You will return to infinite love. The only flaw is believing that you are flawed. If you came from infinite love, and you are infinite love and you are going to return to infinite love, then how can anything be wrong with you? What that means is that you have taken on the lenses of perception of other people.
You are viewing yourself through the lens of your ex-husband and ex-wives. You’re viewing yourself through the lens of people who didn’t believe in themselves and didn’t love themselves. You are viewing yourself through the lens of your mother, your father, your family. You’re viewing yourself with a lens that has a prescription, aka programming, instead of seeing yourself through the lens that is love.
Can you believe it’s Autumn already? The leaves are changing and the beautiful colors look like an artist canvas, the stores are selling holiday decorations already, the sunsets are getting earlier and we’re still going stir-crazy staying at home so much. I want to tell you about a remarkable resource to use when you need a lift. I call it: “The Soul Reservoir.” Each of us possesses this vital force. It can benefit your overall well-being and even help your psychic and intuitive development. And you don’t need to be a Jedi or Mark Hamill to wield it. All you have to do is simply—take your next breath!
You’ve heard me talk a lot about the soul lately. I can’t help it, I’m so excited about this limitless power we all possess. It’s sort of like having Harry Potter’s wand or Samantha Stevens’ twitchy nose. Whatever it is you want or need, your soul can make it happen!
Many of you have asked me how do you start connecting with your soul? Well, I always say the same thing, which is by remembering that you are a soul first. You’ve heard me say this again and again: "You're a soul that comes with a body—not a body that comes with a soul."
When you look in the mirror, think about it … Is it the real you? NO! The Soul is pure consciousness, and the true essence of who you really are. When you acknowledge that you’re a soul and not purely just a physical body, then believe me when I tell you, there’s no limit to what you can achieve!
" When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.
Although the marvels of the brain as an organ have been wondered at for decades, there’s a risk that science will make us feel like brain puppets. Neuroscience runs this risk by assuming, without any proof, that our brains think, feel, perceive the world, and make choices. In reality the brain is an instrument at the service of the mind. We cannot live without it, just as we cannot live without a heart, but by promoting the brain into a thinking machine (an M.I.T. professor who championed Artificial Intelligence dubbed the brain “a computer made of meat”), we demote ourselves.
You are much more in charge of your biology than you think. Your experiences constantly change your brain. Much of the time we fail to pay attention to how we relate to the brain, but no relationship is more important. One thing the human brain does, in fact, share with computers: It is programmable. We primarily use this fact the wrong way around. Instead of programming our brains to be open, creative, alert, and quiet, we program it to carry out a hundred short cuts.
I was lucky to host a whirlwind weekend retreat in Sedona, Arizona. With the current travel restrictions and so many other unknowns percolating around us, I was not sure how it would look. I needed to manifest, live in the moment, and have flexible clients, just like the mutable sign astrology tribe. My prayers were answered. We left the rigid thinking and polarized people at the airport and started our adventure.
The hikes, meditations, and energy work were fabulous, but what made the retreat special was the women who took part in it. Each person shared the open heart energy our world needs now. Even when we revealed our deepest secrets, there was no judgment, only support, and love. Each person was flexible as our plans changed and they even seemed to thrive in exploring the different ways of looking at the adventure and life in general. I was surrounded by go-with–the-flow mutable astrological signs, or at least it felt that way.
Have you ever wondered why you’re here? Have you ever questioned the nature of existence and what the purpose of all this really is? I have. And here’s what I have discovered; I chose to be here to have an experience. And, I didn’t just choose to be here to have a particular, singular experience, I chose to be here to have the entire experience to be a human being.
The more I remember this truth, the more I am able to breathe, relax and withdraw my energy, attention, and focus away from the world. I am recognizing that who I am, as I am, doesn’t need to be fixed. Who I am, as I am, doesn’t need to be improved. Who I am, as I am, doesn’t need to be healed. Who I am, as I am, is just a form, or function, or an activity.
Germs are microscopic cells that breakdown the structure of the life they enter. In the biology we inhabit, germs are the cause of disease. The spiritual equivalent, however, reaches us as unseeable agents of revelation that break down our structures so we can restore our direct sense of living. These spiritual germs cause us to feel and think in new ways. More simply put, these enzymes of pure life-force cause us to have the rug pulled out from under us. It’s how Saul was knocked off his horse, only to dust himself off as Saint Paul. It’s how Pissarro one day stopped painting realistically and devoted himself to the painting of light. It’s how we spend years building a dream that hardens into a cage until one day, for some unknown reason, we feel confined more than lifted, and have to break the dream in order to go on. No one likes this or seeks it out. But like gravity, it grips us nonetheless. So, as the germs of the coronavirus wreak havoc with our biology, what unseeable agents of revelation are being released, even as we speak, to break down the many structures we have built between us and life?
The crowning moment of any species, the culmination of its possibilities, can’t be just its ability to adapt and survive. Natural history demonstrates that entire populations peak and are then terminated whenever Mother Nature so decides. The great book of life simply closes out one chapter of creation after another once it no longer serves the need for which it was created. Nothing can resist these decisions, which are reached in a higher order of reality than the one they act upon.
To the casual eye, the extinction of a species, for whatever reason, seems like it takes a very long time. But a closer look at this process tells another story. Our scale of time is skewed by the short span of life we are each allotted on this earth. In truth, compared to the lifespan of our planet, an entire species—let alone an individual within it—can vanish virtually overnight.
When we view life through this kind of sweeping perspective, it may be hard to see how such a grand scale of life has anything to do with our individual lives. So let’s examine these ideas and make them very personal and specific to your life and mine.
In stressful times many more people feel fear than in normal times. What this means is that an ability to be fearless becomes more essential than in normal times. How is that accomplished? Being fearful is a skill you can master. It doesn’t require any of the things society falls back on. You don’t have to be tougher, stronger, more of a man (if you happen to be a male) or call upon a strong man for help (if you happen to be female).
In reality you only have to be present, because in the present there is no fear. At first this sounds wrong, because when you experience worry and anxiety, the most common types of fear, they hit you here and now. But here and now isn’t the same as the Present. Here and now describes clock time. If you are waiting for a bus and it is five minutes late, once it arrives, it is here now. The present moment, however, has nothing to do with clock time. The present is a state of mind, and in fact is the most natural state of mind, the state your mind wants to be in.
One of the key concepts in my new book, Total Meditation, is that the mind will return to the present effortlessly if given a chance. Even though “living in the present” has become a popular phrase, most people still approach it as a kind of spiritual challenge that requires them to intensely focus to make sure they stay mindful and present. This is the mental equivalent of balancing a penny on the end of your finger. The penny naturally wants to topple over unless you exert an effort to keep it balanced.
The active mind can feel like that. When fear and anxiety are roaming the mind. Balance seems difficult. In reality it’s not. Fear, despite its unique power, is just another mental distraction. Distractions can also be pleasant, as we all know watching a movie, and the active mind finds them very useful, because when you are distracted, you get a vacation from the endless stream of thoughts and feelings that the active mind must deal with.
Weekday Personal Support
Join Panache Desai each weekday morning for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.
Designed To Move You From Survival and Fear to Safety and Peace. Available Monday - Friday. Meditation begins at 9 AM. Access early to hear Panache's monologue - around 8:30 AM.
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