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29 Sep

“WHICH GOD IS WHICH?”

“God has no religion.”

         ~Mahatma Gandhi

When most people think of God, they think of religion. But really, can God have a religion? Did God create religion? No…man did.

There are over 4,000 religions in the world today, according to Adherents an independent, non-religiously affiliated organization that monitors the number and size of the world’s religions. Adherents divides religions into churches, denominations, congregations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures and movements.

Nearly 75 percent of the world’s population practices one of the five most influential religions of the world: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.

If non-religious people were classified as a group, they would be the world’s third largest group.

It’s human nature to believe that a chosen religion is superior because it’s, well, chosen. But lets think about who’s doing the choosing.

Most of us are born into a religion through a familial lineage. Some stay with the beliefs they are taught growing up and others either convert to another religion or drop out all together.

But why do we have religions in the first place? There are a lot of thoughts on that subject. Some feel that religion is a way to control large groups of people; others feel religion helps shape character and teaches morality. And then there are those that see religion as a path to God, Heaven, Eternal life etc.

If you study the early writings and philosophies of all religions, you find common themes. They all acknowledge that there is a creative, divine force of some sort. They all seem to have the goal of getting back to that divine place with The Divine Creator.

There’s a common rule across the board:

“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets” – CHRISTIANITY

 

 

 

 

 

“This is the sum of duty; do naught unto others what you would not have them do unto you.” HINDUISM

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state.”  CONFUCIANISM

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” BUDDHISM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” ISLAM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.” JUDAISM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” TAOISM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to another whatsoever is not good for itself.” ZOROASTRIANISM

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a religious person. I know that the path I have chosen to follow is sacred for me. It teaches and inspires me. It also tells me that I may not try to convert others away from their paths and on to mine. I must honor the walk and the dreams and the aspirations of my fellow brothers and sisters.

There is as much brilliance and vibrancy in religious traditions worldwide as there is in world music, art and literature. It’s fascinating to learn what inspires greatness in others.

So if you believe that your religion makes you a better person and I believe that my religion makes me a better person, why would either of us want to change the other?

 

 

 

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28 Sep

“TO THE RESCUE AGAIN, COMES A HUMAN’S BEST FRIEND”

“The poor dog, in life the firmest friend.

The first to welcome, foremost to defend.”

                                      ~Lord Byron 

Its remarkable how many ways can our canine friends serve us. Dogs are so adaptable and want so much to please. They guard our homes and our children. They protect and defend with law enforcement and soldiers around the world.

Dogs love us, cuddle us and give needed emotional support when times are really tough and they seem to know what we need and when we need it.

We take them into hospitals and old folk’s home to bring joy and healing to those that are trapped in pain, loss and suffering.

I read a story of a little dog who was hiking with her human Dad when Dad lost his footing and tumbled down an embankment and landed face down in a stream of water. He was an epileptic to begin with and his sweet little dog was trained to know when a seizure was coming. What she wasn’t trained for was how to save him from drowning. She wasn’t “trained” but she knew.

This blessed furry angel ran down the embankment and placed her head under the water, lifting her human Dad’s head up so that he could breathe. He was unconscious. She stayed like that until nearby hikers found them and came to help.

The little dog sustained brain damage as a result of having her head under water for so long, but she saved her beloved human. He in turn loved and provided for her until her passing.

Dogs are intuitive creatures. They’ve spent hundreds of year with us, silently watching, knowing and waiting patiently for our attention. They cannot speak our language but somehow they adapt to what we need. Whatever we try to teach them, they try to learn.

I adore my dogs, past and present, as I’m sure you do.

 

 

But now there is another way in which our best buddies are serving the planet and us. Dogs are now being used to sniff out endangered species like jaguars in the Amazon or the Black Bears of China. Researchers can then track and save them.

Fido to the rescue…AGAIN!

There is a UK based organization called Working Dogs For Conservation (WDFC).

Their website says, “We train the world’s best conservation detection dogs & put them to work protecting wildlife and wild places. We do it to save the world. They do it for the love of a ball.”

I say they do it for the love they have for us.

Working Dogs For Conservation save wildlife by first saving a dog.

For example: Wicket. They found Wicket in a shelter. The shelter said she was crazy and they didn’t want her. WDFC said, “She’s just the right kind of crazy for us.” Wicket is now considered one of the world’s finest conservation detection dogs.

Bless them and bless Wicket.

WDFC is taking dogs out of shelters and giving them purpose and lots of love.

A dog can detect scents in parts per trillion and walk over virtually any terrain. No need for batteries or electricity and they give immediate results. No waiting for instrument readings or lab testing to come back. And they do it with a smile and wag.

These peppy pooches helped map the movements of the cougar, wolf and bear in Montana. No drugging, trapping or radio tagging. There was nothing invasive in there movements. Their findings were later used to protect a critical habitat corridor and the wildlife was completely undisturbed in the process.

Projects that WDFC presently have in place are:

Ecological Monitoring and Habitat Mapping

Poaching and Trafficking Prevention

Aquatic Species Detection

Invasive Species Detection and Eradication

Disease and Contamination Detection                                                                                               

This is a very impressive organization. The team of highly educated experts obviously thinks way outside the box. They reach far, their touch is deep and the result is a total win/win.

CHECK THEM OUT.

https://wd4c.org

carolynstonecloud.com

 
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27 Sep

“DEER: SACRED AND PURE”

“He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to stand on the heights.”

~Psalms 18:33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many religious and philosophical traditions honor innocence and virtue of the deer.

The antlers are a feature that has made the deer a specimen of spiritual superiority. Like a fine crown the antlers bring the deer closer to the sky making it sacred. Because the antlers fall of and grow back deer is considered a great symbol of regeneration.

 

 

CHRISTIAN TRADITION: For Christians the deer is a symbol of piety, devotion and God taking care of his children. The legend of Saint Eustace tells of the Roman general who was out hunting and came across an enormous and beautiful deer.  When he looked into the eyes of the magnificent creature, the light of Christ shone bright and the voice of God spoke to him through them. He gave up hunting and became a devoted Christian, honoring all of God’s creation.

 

 

 

 

 

BUDDHIST TRADITION: Buddhists associate the deer with happiness, peace, harmony and longevity. In one of his former lives the Buddha was a golden deer that spoke to men. Accordingly deer by nature are timid and serene creatures and the presence represents the purity of a kingdom and people without fear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CELTIC TRADITION: The Celts have two aspects for deer, the female…a red deer. She symbolizes femininity, gentleness and tremendous grace. It is said that the deer would often tune into women to avoid being hunter and killed.

Then there is Damh, the masculine element of deer. Damh represents independence, pride and purification. The stag king of the forest and the protector of all other creatures.

 

,osalms

 

 

 

 

WIXARITARIE TRADTION:These inhabitants of central Mexico also recognize the great benefit of deer energies. The deer is the first Shaman who eventually becomes the interlocutor between shamans and other gods. Deer is very closely linked to two plants, its heart is a peyote and corn which is represented by the antlers. The deer is so important to the Wixaritarie that its reproductive cycle is connected to their ritual calendar.

 

 

 

   NATIVE AMERICAN TRADITION:

Native Americans see the deer as a messenger. Deer is an animal of power and a totem that represents sensitivity, intuition, grace and gentleness.

The Cherokees have a legendary story that tells how deer obtained its antlers by winning a race with a rabbit. All the animals of the forest wanted to know which of the two was the fastest. The rabbit cheated before the race so through honor, grace and perseverance the deer won its antlers.

All the animals of the forest wanted to know which of the two was the fastest. The rabbit cheated before the race so through honor, grace and perseverance the deer won its antlers.

 

The deer inspires all who encounter it. We all marvel at the magnificent grace and breathtaking beauty of the deer. Its agility is awe-inspiring. It seems to move with such quiet poise.

When we begin to get the symbols in life as it churns around us, we can invoke those waves of energy to benefit us and create magic in our own lives. These are the tools we can use for our inner development. They are the spiritual hammer and nails that can build on the inside what we want to see and have on the outside.

If you are so inclined, take a few minutes to look into the eyes of the deer. Feel the power in the gentle, giving and sacred being of this most stunning creature.

 

 

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26 Sep

“ROYALTY YOU CAN HOLD”

“There is nothing left of me.

I am like a ruby held up to the sunrise.

Is it still a stone, or a world made of redness?

It has no resistance to sunlight.

The ruby and the sunrise are one.”

                                                                                                                     ~Rumi

 

CHARACTERISTICS: A ruby is a pink to blood-red colored precious gemstone. It is a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminum oxide). It is one the so-called cardinal gems along with amethyst, sapphire, diamond and emerald. The color of the ruby is due to the element chromium.

The quality of the ruby is determined by it’s color, clarity, cut and carat weight. The brightest and most desirable shade of red is called blood-red or pigeon blood.

Ruby is known for its rarity, monetary value and hardness (second only to diamond). The most valuable Ruby is called the Sunrise Ruby, which is named after a poem written by Sufi poet, Rumi.

NATURAL OCCURANCE: For centuries the Mogok Valley in Myanmar was the world’s main source of rubies. In more recent years only a few good rubies have been found there.  In the 1990’s other areas of Myanmar have emerged to  become reliable sources of fine rubies.

Historically rubies have also been mined in Cambodia, Thailand, India, Japan, Scotland, Australia, Brazil Colombia, Namibia and Afganistan.  After WWII, ruby deposits were found in Madagascar, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Nepal, and Tanzania.

HISTORICAL USES: Ruby has always been a talisman of protection, prosperity and passion. Its rich color and glow suggest an inextinguishable flame within the stone. Legends claim that it would shine through even the thickest cloth. Ancients believed it could ward off pestilence, plague and warn the wearer of impending danger. It was also used to banished sadness and foolish thoughts.

MODERN USES: Today many healers and energy enthusiasts use Ruby to stimulate the Base (first) Chakra center. It increases vitality and energy, stimulating blood flow, stirring the heart and increasing concentration and motivation.

Ruby is still thought to be a bringer of prosperity and we see the wearer of such a magnificent stone as having wealth.

SPIRITUAL USES: Our environment is so very rich in elements and energies that can serve us if we allow it. There are so many fine symbols that can help focus the mind and ease tension and upset. Even visualizing a symbol or element can bring in the energy and balance we may need at any point in time.

 

If you are feeling lethargic, physically or mentally, hold a Ruby (raw or polished) in front of you. Focus on the rich color and steady power within. See how the light generates and glows within the stone. Now place the ruby in your base chakra.

 

 

 

 

 

Allow the royal red to spin clockwise in the Chakra, spinning and growing until it becomes all that is around you. Sit in the powerful force and vibrant waves of energy. You will be strengthened in this place.

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24 Sep

“THE EYE OF THE STORM”

“Our own life has to be our message.”

                                     ~Thich Nhat Hanh

 

How many of us are waiting for something to happen so that we can be happy?  It’s a malady that has haunted humans since time immemorial. Bookshelves are full of books and magazines heavy with articles about mindfulness/centeredness and the benefits thereof.

Ancient philosophies have done their best to infuse us with the concept that we are in charge of our reactions to everything and that we have a choice in how we allow circumstances to affect us.

In the 20thcentury, the subject of mindfulness became popular with mental health professionals and physicians began to notice the difference in the physical health of their patients who sought out ways to balance themselves and lead a more centered life.

Science has finally embraced what sacred, ancient texts have been teaching for thousands of years.

 

I ran across a YouTube video about a man everyone knows as Slomo. His story is fascinating.

 

 

Slomo was once an accredited Neuologist named Dr. John Kitchin. He tells a story of success and money and then the extreme physical and mental fatigue that came with his accomplishments. Among other things, he began to lose the ability to recognize faces.

That’s when he gave it all up for a nice pair of rollerblades and the Pacific Beach Boardwalk.

Every single day, he can been seen, pretty much all day, rollerblading up and down the boardwalk…very, very slowly. He slides along on one foot with the other leg stretched out behind him and his arms out like a bird gliding with the wind. His body is perpendicular to the ground.

I heard him in an interview explaining that the brain connects with the center of the earth’s core when the body is moving and perpendicular.

When he first arrived on the boardwalk people thought he was mentally ill or perhaps brain damaged. But no one could resist his enthusiasm. He always has a smile a mile wide on his face. There is no mistaking his unmitigated joy.

Slomo is a centered being. How he came upon the idea of moving in the way he does to achieve such elation, I don’t know.

I think the thing that inspired me so much in his story was how organic it is. Slomo isn’t doing anything that someone else told him to do to achieve happiness. He put himself into a position to be able to find what he needed and then he grabbed it.

With all of the material out there about mindfulness and living a centered life, one could become very confused or even disillusioned at the prospect of wading through it all. What if it doesn’t work for me?

There is an answer to everything in the Universe. We may not know the answer right this minute, but if we are willing to look, it will reveal itself.

For me mindfulness presents itself through meditation and study. I love spiritual subject matter. I love to hear it and read it and experience it. I achieve the best of myself in those places and then make every effort to infuse that into the everyday machinations of my life. It reminds me that I’m connected to a greater mind and I relax and behave better toward others and toward myself.

Slomo said to find something that connects you to God. Whether or not you believe in God, please contemplate the notion that you are connected to something grand and pure. And then don’t stop until you achieve the absolute knowing of it. However long it takes, the gain is worth the wait, because that’s where the center is. That’s the eye of the storm.

 

Whatever you achieve here on the physical plane is what you did. The way you’ve walked through life is who you are and what goes with you.

So as Thich Nhat Hanh has said, “Your life has to be your message.”

Make your message a well-lived and centered existence.

carolynstonecloud.com

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23 Sep

“THE MIND’S SACRED GIFT”

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.

We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

                                                                                                         ~Albert Einstein

One beautiful morning a small private plane took off over a lush wilderness with four men inside. Not long after takeoff the plane went down in a river. They all saw it coming, but no one could stop the crash.

My childhood friend, James was on that plane. He was the sole survivor. James says that beings he had never seen before surrounded him. They gave him a choice of going back to his body and continuing his life or leaving the body and going on with his journey elsewhere.

James said he thought about it. He thought about his wife and his existence and ultimately decided to go back to his earthly body and life, as he had always known it. Little did he know that his life would never be the same after that.

Evidently, he was so badly injured that his body could not sustain life, so he says that the beings that were with him told him what to do to keep his fractured form alive. They went through all of his organs one by one giving him instructions on how to keep them functioning.

When James came back to consciousness he was still in the plane and underwater. He could see his fellow passengers. They were all deceased. His description of seeing them is heartbreaking.

Somehow, people arrived and rescued James. They carried him to a nearby cabin. It just so happened that there was a physician amongst them. As they rushed into the cabin, someone used his arm to sweep clear a long table, where they laid my friend down. He said that he heard the doctor say, “ I don’t think this guy is going to make it.”

James opened his eyes and said, “Oh yes I am doc. They told me what to do to stay alive”, to which the doctor replied, “Well you’d better hurry up and do it son.”

James closed his eyes and did exactly as the beings he had encountered told him. One by one, he went through every organ and every system of his body. He was then medevac’d to the closest hospital. As he was rushed into the ER his body began to fail again. The ER doctor made the same statement that James had heard earlier that day.”, I don’t think he’s going to make it.” Once again James opened his eyes and said, “Oh yes, I am doc. They told me what to do to stay alive.” The ER doctor parroted the same reply as the earlier doctor had, telling James he’d better hurry up and do it.

James reached inside himself and did as he had been instructed. He survived. He’s alive and well today.

If this was all there was to his story, it would be most astounding, but it’s really just the beginning.

James spent months in the hospital. He had multiple surgeries. It’s a nightmare of a story, but still a story of survival and grit.

Even after his recovery, James was still able to control his bodily functions. He could stop and start his heart and sort of mess around with his insides. He could hear further and think deeper. He knew when someone was hurting or needed something. He felt people, animals and even plants.

He tells of a time when he was invited to a party at a home that he had never been in before. When he walked into the house, he could hear screaming coming from somewhere in the house. No one else seemed to be concerned, so he tried to mingle. But he kept hearing the screams. After a time, he was so uncomfortable that he went looking for the source of the unrelenting sound. He followed the noise upstairs and finally came to a closed door. Through the door he could clearly hear screaming. He opened the door and walked in. No one was there, but the screaming continued.

James looked to see a houseplant sitting atop a table. The plant was in distress and was screaming. He could hear the plant screaming.

He stuck his finger into the soil and realized that it was very dry and the plant needed water, so he took it downstairs and asked the maid to water it. She did and the plant stopped screaming.

There are a lot of details to his story, which I won’t go into here. After some time had passed, I asked James if he could still do all those amazing things with his body. He said that all of that had begun to fade and was pretty much gone.

I asked him if he had asked the beings if he could keep those abilities. He said that he had asked them and their reply was…”No. You wouldn’t be yourself anymore.”

When my beloved husband and love of my life, passed on from life here, James told me, “You know, you can still talk to him.” “I know.”, I said. He reminded me that I could to that…and I do.

In all the years that we were growing up, I never knew James to be religious or even very spiritual. He was very educated, but a regular guy that loved to fish, run through the trees and hang out with his buddies. I remember him as kind and warm, very brilliant, funny and nuts…a good kind of nuts.

Something really big happened to him when he stepped through the portal between this place and the next. He discovered his inner connection. That priceless connection is with him and he’ll never let loose of it. He’s been told that he is a mystic. He does speak on the subject now and again.

In reading Einstein’s quote, I wonder if James had once honored the rational mind having forgotten the sacred gift of the intuitive mind. I think I’ll ask him that question. If that was the case earlier in his life, it certainly is not the case now. Now, he is all about the sacred gift of his intuitive mind.

 

 

 

 

 

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22 Sep

“A LEVITATING SOUL”

“God should not be called an individual substance, since the principal of individuation is matter.”

                                                                                                                                            ~Thomas Aquinas

 

Thomas Aquinas was an 11thcentury Christina philosopher who pursued his life’s goals with determination and devotion in the face of great opposition.

 

HISTORY: Thomas Aquinas (1225 – March 7, 1274) was most likely born in a castle in the Kingdom Sicily (present-day Lazio, Italy.)

His father was a knight and his uncle the abbot of the first Benedictine Monastery at Monte Cassino. While his brothers pursued military careers, his parents intended for Thomas to follow his uncle into the abbacy. But Thomas had other ideas.

Because of the political climate at the time Thomas was not able to complete his studies in Monte Cassino and so was enrolled in University at Naples.  It was there that Thomas was likely introduced to Aristotle, Averroes and Maimonides, all of whom would greatly influence his theological philosophy.

At this time Thomas fell under the influence of a Dominican preacher, who was actively seeking to expand the order and bring in new and devout followers.

At the age of 19 and much to the chagrin of his family, he decided to join the Dominican Order. In an attempt to mitigate his mother’s influence, the monks made plans to move Thomas to Rome and then from Rome to Paris.

His mother masterminded a kidnapping at the hand of his own brothers who nabbed him on his way to Rome and delivered him back to his parents at the castle of Monte San Giovanni, Campano.

 

 

Thomas was held captive in his family castle for almost a year. The family was sure that he would capitulate and renounce the Dominicans.

 

 

 

When that didn’t happen, two of his brothers hired a prostitute to seduce him. Legend has it that two angels appeared to him while he slept, giving him strength and the determination to remain celibate and so he ran the prostitute off with a fire iron.

Seeing that all of her best efforts to dissuade him had failed, his mother had to craft a plan to save the family’s dignity. In the dark of night, she arranged for Thomas to escape through his window. Somehow for her, escape was less damaging than surrender to the Dominicans. Thomas was then sent to Naples and finally on to Rome to meet Johannes von Wildeshausen, the Master General of the Dominican Order and that was that.

 

 

 

HIS INFLUENCE: Thomas spent his life teaching, writing, meditating and praying. For many centuries there have been claims that Thomas would periodically fall into spiritual ecstasy and levitate.

It is said that on one such occasion, he encountered Christ who told him, “You have written well about me. What reward would you have for your labor?” Thomas’s reply, “Nothing but you Lord.”

 

 

 

Whether those claims are true or not, one thing is for sure. Thomas Aquinas was a man of deep faith and devotion. He became a great influence on Christian thought and philosophy and has remained so since.

His comment above that God should not be individuated follows a line of thinking expressed by the greatest religious and spiritual philosophers all throughout history in pretty much every known religion.

 

Thomas said that God should not be called a substance. Perhaps that’s because substance is limited. It has a beginning and an end and in his experience the Creator has no limitation and certainly no end.

 

 

 

 

In Hindu thought, the only thing that’s real is that which never changes. That notion goes on to say that the only thing that never changes is the Divine. Everything that we know here has a life span.

 

THE MESSAGE: The human mind is mostly influenced by what we experience here. It is only when we make extraordinary attempts to get to a quieter and more reflective place that we can perhaps have a glimpse of the grand and omnipotent Divine that gives birth to all substance but itself, is not substance…a heavenly connection that we cannot express in words, but can only experience in the attending heart of a still, aware and insistent soul.

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21 Sep

ICON OF THE OCEAN

Anyone who scuba dives knows how addictive it can be. The only sound you can hear is the air that leaves your lungs floating away like dancing spheres as you glide suspended and weightless in the depth of Mother’s womb.

You cannot run or jump. The sea plants around you sway gently with the current of the immense sea that buoys you. The marine life swims with the natural rhythm that has no end. It may ebb and flow, but it never ends.

This is a world that few humans experience and the deepest parts are unknown and unchartered. It’s mysterious and vastly different from life on dry land.

There’s been much arguing for a number of years about whether global warming is compromising planet Earth. I’m not going to argue the point. No one is likely to be swayed one way or the other by anything I write here.

My only comment is this. We are the only stewards of the Earth. It seems to me that whatever we are given, we are obligated to care for the very best we can. I think we could do a much better job than we are doing.

The Great Barrier Reef of Australia has been a focal point for those that are aware of and committed to understanding, loving and caring for what we cannot see…the undulating flow of life carrying bio-networks that birth beauty beyond comprehension. The reef is a 2,300 kilometer (over 1,400 mile) ecosystem living miles and miles beneath us.

Imagine what it would be like to miniaturize one’s self and drift through the Great Barrier Reef. The magnificent colors and the fractured sunlight laying across the brilliant plants and the unimaginable beauty of the coral life that seems infinite. The magical nooks and crannies, the curves and dips as you glide through massive beds of coral of every shape and color. The brilliantly painted marine life that swims, eats and lives in tandem with the magic of a world completely unlike our own.

 

HISTORY: The Great Barrier Reef has died and been reborn five times since the Ice Age. Two reefs were destroyed by exposure when sea levels fell. The three after that were overwhelmed by a combination of water too deep for it to live in and sediment from the mainland. The current reef is the sixth in the last 30,000 years. The miracle of its ability to regenerate is nothing short of astonishing.

                           GREAT BARRIER REEF DEVELOPMENT CHART

 

THE THREAT: The threat to the reef now seems to be what’s known as “bleaching”. It’s something that occurs when temperatures rise and tiny little creatures called polyps release toxins instead of the symbiotic algae needed to seed the reef. The toxins cause the coral to lose its color and die. Since we have no way of knowing when the rising temperatures might reverse, we have no way to judge whether or not the reef can resurrect itself if it dies again.

WHAT’S BEING DONE: There are scientists who are now experimenting with coral fertility treatments. They hope to create a baby boom for The Great Barrier Reef. The coral IVF is designed to help heal damaged coral and is showing signs of success.

There are those that are for the IVF treatments and those that feel the money should be spent to study and rectify the effects of the pollution and rising temperatures that seem to be choking the planet and the Great Barrier Reef along with it.

I really hate to think that one day all we will have left of this Icon Of The Ocean will be pictures and video. The thought that all that mystery and magic could be still and lifeless is sort of sickening.

 

The Great Barrier Reef makes me think of beauty beyond imagination and life for life’s sake. It feels akin to the inner part of something pure and uncompromising. It’s a symbol of the mystery of the inner part of the soul that we cannot touch with our fingers, but can only access with our true Self.

 

 

For me it begs the question, if we humans spent even a small amount time with the greatness of our inner self, would it inspire us to understand the interconnectedness of all life? If we as a whole had a better sense of the true Self, the inner mind, would it not excite us come together to nurture all life, knowing that in those acts of caring and love, we are nurturing ourselves.

carolynstonecloud.com

 

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20 Sep

“WELLNESS, MEDITATION & ROCK CLIMBING

Many years ago I came across a book called “How To Meditate”written by Lawrence Leshan. In his book Mr. LeShan gives instruction on several different types of meditation, structured and non-structured. Two comments that he makes in the book have stuck with me for over 30 years.

The first, “If our bodies were as undisciplined as our minds, we’d never make it across the street alive.”The second, “It takes 21 days to make a habit and 21 days to break a habit.” Meditation is designed to get and keep control of the mind. Control your mind, control your life…right?

It’s taken decades and decades, but modern society seems to have finally embraced the benefits of meditation.  People who meditate are generally more centered and less likely to be thrown off their mark by unforeseen or difficult circumstances. The physical benefits are astounding. Blood pressure begins to regulate itself, the body and mind relax and the breath gets steady and deep.

So why don’t more people meditate?

Because it just isn’t easy. The mind has a monkey in it. And that crazy critter loves to run and jump from branch to branch, never staying in one place for too long. The hardest thing about meditating is to get control and settle the monkey mind.

When first beginning to meditate, most of us find that we can’t stay focused for even a few seconds. For an adult that’s a very frustrating experience. It exasperating and tremendously uncomfortable, so we just give up. There are also a million excuses to not sit down in the first place. At that point we either walk away completely, or it sits in the back of the brain like Mom wagging her finger at us naughty children who don’t do what we’re supposed to do and we just live with the nagging feeling that we’re never getting anywhere with it.

I can tell you from experience that there’s nothing like meditation…nothing. It does everything it’s touted to do. But, it’s still hard to get into the habit. Once you do, everything changes.

Meditation is like food, but food for the soul. We would never consider starving the body but think nothing of starving the soul. There’s a little secret in this that’s pretty important.  No matter how much we feed the body, it eventually dies and no matter how much we starve the soul, it lives forever. That’s how mighty your soul is. But in order for the soul to progress and grow it needs to be fed too. In order for the inner self to blossom it needs attention and it can’t get attention from anything on the outside.

So what’s any of this got to do with rock climbing?

I know people who love to rock climb. At first I thought it was one of those over the top, gut wrenching, body busting forms of exercise. I watched some videos of folks hanging on the side of a cliff and found myself holding my breath. Hopefully they weren’t holding theirs. Then I came across a view articles about how rock climbing gives the participants strength and great mental focus. As I investigated further, I found some rock climbers using the word “meditation” to describe their experience.

 

 

That really caught my attention. Rock climbing/meditation? Wow!

There are ancient forms of moving meditation such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong. They are wonderful at moving energy and vitality through the body and the mind. Maybe we can add Rock Climbing to the list of moving meditations.

One rock climber expressed that when you’re high in the air, pressed up against Mother’s Mountain and don’t really know which way to go, it’s just not an option to think about anything except that moment. She said it was all about experiencing the oneness between the physical, mental and spiritual.

Meditation whether moving or still is something that one must experience alone. Even if you’re in a room with others, it’s all about the internal process.  You’re on the inside at that point and free to experience everything that’s there. It’s your time, your space and your journey.

 

I have a new and greater respect for rock climbing now. And I understand why those that love it MUST keep doing it.

Don’t give up on meditation. You deserve the peace and power it infuses into all who drink at it’s unending and ever giving well.

                            Find a style that suits you. Moving or Still.

 

carolynstonecloud.com

 

 

 

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19 Sep

BUFFALO TOTEM

The American Buffalo once roamed the grasslands of North America in magnificent and vast herds. They became nearly extinct by a mix of commercial hunting, and mass slaughter in the 19thcentury and the introduction of bovine deceases from domestic cattle nearly finished them off. Fortunately they have recently made a comeback in a few national parks and reserves.

The American Buffalo is the national mammal of the United States, and so it should be.

I love to think of animals as our guides in life. We so often miss what they are trying to tell us. When we use Totem Animal Spirit, it connects us to our ancestry, the earth and the ancient symbols we’ve lost through modernism.

 

There’s nothing wrong with progress or modernism. It’s just not enough to fill the deep well of our consciousness that is tethered to our beginning and to the journey toward home.

As with all symbols, we have an opportunity to sit and contemplate a richer definition that can inform us in a swift and gently way, enlightening us as we sit quietly. Symbols take us into the fabric of our creativity and knowing.

Native Americans have always considered Buffalo a power animal. When we contemplate with Buffalo we are asked to walk a more sacred path and to engage with Mother Earth and Father Sky.

Buffalo brings prosperity to those that have an open heart and seek to live in harmony with all life in the universe. You really begin to know and live like Buffalo when all relationships are honored and kept as sacred and when you feel and express gratitude for all parts of your life and for all of creation.

The large head indicates great intellect and the horns reach toward the sky, hinting at a connection with higher thinking.

Buffalo will carry your burden if you are willing to give it up. The symbol of release is in the eyes of this brave and beautiful creature. Don’t hang on to what does not serve your highest good.

If you are burdened, close your eyes and see Buffalo. He/she is the symbol of caring and compassion, strength and power. You don’t need to say anything. Breathe and release. The Buffalo can carry the load. Lay it down, say thank you and carry on.

 

 

 

carolynstonecloud.com

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