A Complete Guide to the Practice o Meditation

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Life's Mystery

Some Native Americans use the term "Great Mystery" to refer to the concept of God or Source energy. It’s such a wonderful usage because within it, humans step back and allow the unknown to be just that—unknown. Many religions spell out the specific attributes of God, the heavenly realm, and its relation to living beings on Earth, including sets of rigid moral codes and laws/commandments. How much more open-ended is the idea of a mystery that we will never understand with the human mind. Our hearts can experience God or the Divine, but we cannot solve the enigma of existence. Perhaps the greatest wisdom lies in acknowledging that and allowing the Mystery to live within and through us without trying to understand it.

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Ram Dass on Personal Roles and Money in the Workplace

It takes facing a lot of truth within yourself to hear the kind of work you can do when you are in your own development. It’s hard to acknowledge that you really want money or the things money can buy, but by making believe you don’t want them you end up deceiving yourself, and picking up something that is deep. Something that is not true to your being and you end up angry and frustrated because you picked wrong. So there is a process of being very honest with yourself about what you need at any point.

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Faith, Hope, and Clarity

Because of the current tumultuous political events in this country and worldwide, we need to hold a clear positive vision in our hearts of a more peaceful, compassionate world so that we don’t lose hope. In this week’s blog, which is a video instead of a written article, I talk about the importance of maintaining faith, hope, and clarity in our day-to-day lives.

7 Tips to Strengthen Your Intuition and Take Soul-Inspired Action

When we have a big question or an important decision to make, many of us look outside of ourselves for the answers.

We turn to Google. We get advice from our friends and family. We read books or consult the teachings of experts. Yet we often neglect to consult the most important authority of all: our own intuition.

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What Do Oracle Cards and Selfies Have in Common?

How do you feel when you do something that you know is 100% authentic to your path? Feels good right? When you’re off track you notice it. Hmmm. Not so good.

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Have Human Beings Stopped Evolving?

No idea has become baked into the social fabric than Darwinism, and yet Darwin himself never meant this to happen. In his mind, he was scientifically describing "the descent of species," a specific notion of how life forms changed over time. Evolution was a rebuttal of the prevailing concept that species were fixed--if honeybees, ferns, and pandas exist, they always had. The momentous discovery of fossils, among other things, offered irrefutable evidence that species could vanish, and more importantly, that current species had ancestors. 

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The Dynamics of Giving and Receiving

What yogis begin to do is to change their way of thinking in order to look at the universe differently. In order to do this, there is a period of time where they must pull back from the drama in order to be able to see it. It’s like a moratorium, it’s a time when you stand back, like you go on a vacation. It’s actually extremely hard work by the way, very exacting and very, very difficult work.

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How to Be a Know-It-All (For Real)

Omniscience, the ability to know everything, has a strong spiritual tradition, which places it as a divine quality, not a human one. In secular society, artificial intelligence grabs headlines while omniscience, except for those who believe in an all-knowing God, is an archaic notion. But there’s a reason why omniscience arose in the first place, and its possibility turns out to be very human.

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The Deepest Peace

I have discovered that the more I want a situation or person to either change or stay the same, the more I suffer. Yet I have also found that there is a peaceful core within me that understands impermanence and nonattachment. These two Buddhist principles have helped me accept the transitory nature of life. When I am deep in meditation, experiencing profound inner peace, I see clearly the truth of impermanence (nothing, good or bad, ever stays the same) and how letting go of attachment to a particular outcome frees me from the mental/emotional habits of the personality self. At the soul level, all is well, unfolding perfectly for my own expansion and evolution.
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Techniques for Coming into the Moment

You can see the way in which almost all of the spiritual practices are designed to bring you into the moment. Like when you’re doing Tai Chi, at first you’re thinking about it, but after a while each movement is a fixed moment in which you are right where that moment is. In a way, when Tai Chi is working, you die into it, and then the moment is just the movement of the hand at that point.

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The Ultimate Self-Help: Upgrading the Illusion

The phrase "personal reality" has a range of meanings, and most people would begin with their situation, the place where they find themselves. There's a natural impulse to improve the situation, whatever it happens to be. If your situation lacks enough money, satisfying work, a loving relationship, and so on, it will improve your personal reality to work on those things. That's about as far as society tells us we can go. On a larger scale, one person can make a minuscule difference by casting a vote for President or deciding to recycle, but big or small, personal reality has a big outer component, consisting of the external world, other people, natural forces, and so on.

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The Story of Six Blind Men and an Elephant

I’m sure you’ve heard the folk tale from India about the six blind men. If you haven’t, you’ve probably heard a story pretty similar. Better yet, I bet you’ve even lived this story one way or another. Let me explain…

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Honoring where you are in this moment

Past, present, and future are all here – you just have the illusion of going through time and going through incarnation, but when you are fully awakened out of that, you realize that it was here all the time, all of it was here, and the fact that you think you’re on a time trail is just within your mind.

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Light

“This is not a journey of understanding; it’s a journey of trust. It’s a journey of surrendering every aspect of you over to the light.”—Panache Desai

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Meditation on Donald Trump: Breaking Through to Oneness

When Donald Trump was elected President, I vowed never to look at a video or photo of him for the next four years. I couldn’t stand to see the visual that went with the arrogant bulldozing bully. I kept to that intention until the inauguration, when I actually did see a photograph of him and Melania and the Obamas together, in which he looked like a terribly unhappy and disturbed man (she looked “absent” entirely). The Obamas, on the other hand, looked joyful, alive. I felt real sadness looking at that picture—that some people could live such miserable lives, and make others miserable in the process. Still, the fear and depression I experienced as he began to implement his destructive campaign promises grew ever stronger. I knew I had to come to terms with my reaction to him. I had no idea the form it would take, however.

Background: In some Buddhist traditions, the monks take part in a practice that would appear odd and repulsive to many: meditation on a corpse. The reasons behind what may seem like macabre behavior are two-fold: 1) to overcome one’s aversion to death and the loss of the physical body; and 2) to realize that the external aspects of the physical form are not who we truly are. It apparently has a powerful affect on the monks who practice it.

At the end of January, I flew cross-country for a spiritual gathering in California. On the six-hour flight, for some reason I suddenly remembered that Buddhist practice and thought that perhaps my strong aversion to Donald Trump would make a good focus for a similar meditation (picturing him alive, not dead!). I closed my eyes and began. I didn’t feel much of anything for a while, but then slowly a softening began to occur within me as I pictured his face—a movement to a greater non-reactiveness. A remembrance that beneath every physical form there is a soul. These weren’t conscious insights—more like an opening of a closed door within.

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The practice of “Be Here Now.”

As you study the way in which your mind works, the way in which a concentrated mind deals with the world, as opposed to a diffused mind, then you see the way in which this lack of being able to be at the office when you’re at the office, or at home when you’re at home, reduces your effectiveness in each of them.

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Trusting Our Awakening Heart

The more we trust that our awareness and heart are awakening, the more we find ease, grace and true empowerment in our lives. This talk explores two pathways of deepening our sense of belonging and trust: direct presence with the pain of separation, and turning toward the loving presence that is increasingly manifesting through these human forms.

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Why Acceptance Is the Path to Finding Peace

I love the quote from Mother Teresa – now Saint Teresa – because it speaks to our most basic need to belong. It speaks to what our world needs so much at this moment: peace.


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Simply Being

As I meditate for longer and longer periods of time (1­–2 hours) at daybreak each morning, I am finding complexity and simplicity are merging into one flowing experience. Seems contradictory, I know, but only because of the constraints of language. Put another way, layer upon layer of awareness is opening up within me, yet all the layers are part of one whole, one seamless state of being. I’m discovering it is possible to feel inner peace at the same time that I’m feeling sadness or distraction. I am aware of silence at the heart of all sound, of light at the center of darkness. Beyond the illusion of separation, there is wholeness. Within complexity itself is infinite simplicity. Perhaps the best way to describe all of this is oneness, feeling one with everything, at times just resting without thought in simply being, in simply breathing.
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Coming to Terms with Suffering and Injustice

The issue of integrity was haunting me. The issue of living my life in a way that doesn’t acknowledge what I know. I am part of the small percentage of the universe, of this world, of the 7 billion people of this world, that uses an inordinately large amount of resources. I am part of the wealthy, middle-class of America. I’m not wealthy, but by standards of the world, I’m wealthy, so I have to struggle with a question, really the issue of suffering.

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