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26 Jan

The Myth of Love vs. Fear

For 20 or so years now, those who have been adherents to the New Age, New Thought, Human Potential movements, as well as many who call themselves “spiritual but not religious” have been hearing that love is opposite to fear.  That love and fear cannot occupy the same place, that we must rid ourselves of fear because perfect love casts out fear.  This starts with a Biblical text in 1 John, and it flows from there into a quote from A Course in Miracles:

Perfect love casts out fear.

If fear exists,

Then there is not perfect love.

But

Only perfect love exists.

If there is fear,

It produces a state that does not exist. (p.12)

The problem with that thinking, however, is that it means that we must repress fear, pretend love and do all that to please a false standard that doesn’t even really exist.

The simple truth is that if only perfect love exists, then fear is also love.  It isn’t true that fear doesn’t exist.  It isn’t true that life here on planet earth is an illusion that we can just ignore and get on with the bliss of living out of touch with life.  We are meant to have real experiences that transform us at fundamental levels here on this journey to planet earth.  We are still in the creative process.  Trying to bliss out means that we avoid the more difficult (so-called “negative” feelings) by repressing them.

When we repress we continue to stay split off.  The hard emotions and thoughts go to the unconscious while we contrive other thoughts and emotions to take their place.  How can we possibly think that is authentic?

But if only perfect love exists then fear is a loving message to us.  It intends to care for us, nurture us, even guide us.  Fear can tell us to get out of the road when a truck is coming.  It can tell us to slow down, look around, really assess what is going on.  It can tell us when we are pushing too hard, or running too fast.  It can tell us that someone is not a safe person.  It can tell us when a job or a project is too big or too overwhelming for us.

And yes, fear can also rise in response to a trigger, that only references something that happened in the past, but isn’t happening in the present.  But even then, it is a pull to resolve that old unresolved past issue.

But if we spend our lives trying to meet a standard about fear, trying to be fearless so that we can prove to ourselves that we are truly spiritual people, then all we do is continue to increase the split between the conscious and the unconscious.

So next time you are afraid, sit with your fear, listen to what it is gently trying to say, hear it as a gift from your authentic Self to nurture and guide you.  You might be surprised at its profound capacity to take you to the deeper more authentic realms of Self.

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05 Jan

The gift of good health

jeff-williams-2016-holidayThe other day someone asked me what my favorite gift was this holiday season.  I didn’t hesitate to say, “The gift of good health for both my husband and me!”

A few years ago my husband was diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease, having blockage in 3 main arteries and his cholesterol was off the graph. Obviously, his physicians wanted him to take meds, which he did for a short period of time.

We played with diets:  raw, vegetarian, paleo, we even considered starvation!  LOL..  (Well he did, I didn’t.  I have a hard time fasting for more than a few hours!)  Nothing really worked, nothing was very satisfying.

Then we watched a movie, Cowspiracy.  It was a wake up call for both of us on many levels.  We began a 100% Plant Based diet.  Wait, let me say a 100% Planet Based Lifestyle because it has been more than just a diet.  It’s our way of living. No, it wasn’t easy at first. In fact, I’ve mentioned before that it was such a radical change I verged on being depressed. There was much to “relearn”.

Here’s the gift.  Last month we both had our blood work done and he had a physical. All of our numbers are perfect!  Absolutely perfect!  As I continue to work through a few health issues unrelated to that blood work, I am quite confident that this #vegan lifestyle is healing my life.

To his resident in training his doctor said, “Jeff was my worst patient.  His cholesterol was one of the worst I’d seen in someone his age.  He and his wife went on a vegan diet and now he has the best I’ve seen.  He healed himself with a vegan diet!”  (And that doctor is NOT a vegan.)

The gift of good health – there’s no better gift to give yourself or your family.

Happy New Year!

P.S.  If you are looking to embrace a Planet Based Lifestyle and need support, send me a message through my contact page.  I’d be happy to send you my 10 easy tips choosing plants.

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16 Dec

Love is Undefeated

Guest Post by Vanessa D. Werts
Have you ever wondered what your life would be if you could conquer your fears, fully connect with your purpose for being alive, and love yourself and others unconditionally? Well, if you believe in the healing power of love, there is a pre-destined path for you to get there.

 

Anything love touches, comes alive and grows. The heart responds to love with exuberance, and also knows and reacts when there is a lack of it. Without exception, God put a spirit of love on each one of us when his hands touched and formed us in our mothers’ womb. After we were born, that same touch created a void that the heart is wildly in search of as we look to people for this radical love of God we once knew.

 

If you asked ten people what love means to them, you would probably get ten different answers. However, there is a definition and demonstration of love that every heart would acknowledge as true love, and it looks like this: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT). There isn’t a heart beating that would dispute being treated in this way.

 

My nonfiction book Lies and Love: Cleansing The Heart To Make Room For Radical Love (November 2016), a 30-Day Heart Cleanse for Women, is a tool for inner healing. In the Bible, it says that the heart is “extremely sick” (see Jeremiah 17:9), and it also says to “guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23 NLT). Lies and Love offers a spiritual approach to identify and cast out the residue left behind from traumatic life experiences, then fills up those empty places with love. The cleanse is also designed to activate your God-given gifts and talents.

 

In the opening of the book, I share my own heart story and how daddy issues and being sexually assaulted as a teen affected my self-worth. Then God got my attention one day and taught me to value and honor myself; by his love, he healed my life and defeated every enemy of my soul.

 

What is your heart story? This is the question I ask in Lies and Love. As you follow the spiritual journey through the heart, you will be able to pinpoint your own heart issues. These issues or chaos, would be feelings such as anger, bitterness, fear, frustration, grudges, rejection, resentment, shame, and even hatred, that have become trapped in the heart, affecting how you view yourself and how you interact with and treat others. A chaotic heart is unhealthy and often leads to feeling insecure, unloved, unworthy, and sorrowful. Though we all may experience a range of these emotions at some point in our lives, if you feel like this most of the time, your heart needs to be healed.

 

Any attitude, behavior, or habit that is counterproductive to your life is an indicator that something is going on in the heart that should be addressed. Do any of the following issues play out in your life or concern you on a regular basis?

  • Are you angry often and take it out on those close to you?
  • Is sarcasm your way of communicating with people?
  • Are you frustrated with your current station in life (career, personal, spiritual)?
  • Are you single and discouraged by the dating scene?
  • Does your childhood still haunt you today?
  • Are you indifferent about major decisions you need to make?
  • Do you have a bias against a particular group of people?

 

This is a short list but it makes the point that, just as the issues of life vary, so do the issues of the heart that affect how we function day to day. Only you and God know your heart story, and he wants to heal the hurtful memories of your past that keep you from living fearlessly and loving fully, today.

 

Before the actual 30-day cleanse commences, the topics of lies and love are explored from a heavenly perspective. Lies are considered to be anything that God did not say or provision for your life, according to Scripture. For instance, living with regret is living a lie. Why? Because having regret causes you to hold something you’ve previously done, against yourself now; it’s like having a vendetta against yourself. But the Bible commands us to always forgive, which also includes forgiving ourselves.

 

During the cleanse process, chaos is expelled from the heart through daily activities that are guided by scripture, encouraging women to forgive, pursue love, celebrate their lives, and live on purpose. The 30- Day Heart Cleanse is a literal and spiritual step forward into a new season of your life.

 

Do you want to live that abundant life you dream of, now? Believe that it is possible; let go of emotional baggage, and always remember to love. Love is the undisputed, undefeated, champion.

###

 

VANESSA D. WERTS is the author of Lies and Love and other fiction books about relationships, love and forgiveness. She’s a military veteran, minister, and champion for women achieving a healthy selfimage. When she’s not writing, you can find her speaking to church groups and to college students about the messages in her books. Vanessa has an abiding love to bridge the gap from people’s life experiences to the promises of God. Her website is www.VanessaWerts.com.

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09 Dec

Grassroots Actions are Key for Peace in the Holy Land

Guest post by Dr. Frank Romano, December 7th, 2016

 

I sincerely believe that one of the keys to peace in the Middle is through grassroots efforts to organized interfaith dialogues, to bring people together when politicians, many religious leaders tend to tear them apart chasing their silver linings. The success of these efforts is directly proportional to the results of the dialogues which are designed to open up people’s hearts to each other, to help them overcome years of negative programming derived from the fear and hate exacerbated by ignorance of each other’s culture and religion. To illustrate that, I use an example of a typical interfaith dialogue I lead that could take place either in Israel or in the West Bank:

 

During one session, Jews, Muslims and Christians (sometimes they are orthodox, sometimes liberal practitioners) are sitting next to each other in a circle. They were breaking bread together and drinking tea or eating humus. After an hour, I asked Jacob the Jew to tell me about Muhammad, his orthodox Muslim neighbor or visa-versa. He responded by saying they are talking which, coming from isolated unmixed villages in Israel, is new to them. He added that they have something in common in that their children go to the same school in a third village. The Jew and the Muslim, in their discussion, instead of talking about divisive subjects like religion or politics, they talk about everyday things, like the price of lunch at school has increased, or the history teacher is weird, etc. They were really bonding, becoming friends. Then I asked Sam the Christian what he thought about the group and he responded that he had invited Jacob and Muhammad to experience Christmas with him and his family in December, that they were all going to break the Ramadan fast at Muhammad’s house tonight and would attend Chanukah festivities with Jacob.

 

However, he said there was a problem. Jacob’s and Muhammad’s religion are taking him down the wrong path because they don’t believe in Jesus as their savoir. That opened the “Pandora’s Box” on the topic of religion. Muhammad interrupted and stated that the Jews and Christians didn’t accept Muhammad as an important prophet and then Jacob opened up his Torah and claimed non-Jews don’t accept the importance of Moses and Abraham as the principle prophets. During the discussion that followed, they implied that they don’t share the same God and that they were going to heaven but not those from other religions.

 

As the facilitator of the dialogue, I didn’t judge any of them. I opened up my Torah (first five chapters of the Old Testament), the New Testament and the Qur’an and lead the following discussion on comparing the main principles and philosophies found in those writings. After an hour discussion, most of the members of the dialogue are surprised to learn that all the texts reflect many similar principles, such as the belief in one God, thou shalt not kill, the obligation to help the poor, treat your neighbor with respect. . .etc.

 

After an hour discussing that, I asked the group another question, this time focusing my attention on the Christian as he views his Jewish or Muslim neighbor.

 

“Since there are so many similarities among those sacred writings, do you think it is possible you may share the same God?  After a short discussion, many members now say it is possible.

 

Then I close the dialogue with one last question:

 

“Does it make sense to kill in the name of God if you share the same God? You don’t need to answer that now. Think about it and we’ll resume the dialogue in a month or so.”

 

After we agree to continue the dialogue, I left them to ruminate over the last question without expecting an immediate response and then I returned two months later to the Holy Land to continue the dialogue.

 

Despite the bonding going on among the members of different religions in the above dialogues, they are useless without follow-up actions, which are occasions were the participants walk the talk working on peace projects. Working together, sweating together with few words is when the true profound bonding takes place. I believe those interfaith dialogues and peace marches in Israel and Palestine are thus taking steps, but those are just the first steps. In sum, our work doesn’t end there. The same mixed group, with my participation, continues bonding by rebuilding buildings destroyed during the conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians. But the rebuilding, for the moment, has only taken place on the Palestinian side and should include buildings on both sides of the wall, including the Israeli side.

 

Interfaith activists also engage in the replanting of olive trees that have been uprooted to make way for the walls and part of the confiscation of land engaged in by Israel in the West Bank. Olives are the most important crop for Palestinians who often have difficulties harvesting them due to attacks by Israeli settlers who often steal the olives, even set fire to Palestinian olive trees, some hundreds of years old. In addition, many of the Palestinians who normally help their families harvest the olives are in jail or have left the lands, so there is a serious lack of farm workers to help in the harvest. Thus, I along with many other activists, join the Palestinians in the fields to help them harvest olives in October.

 

A final goal of organizing these interfaith groups and engaging in projects discussed above is to create a massive non-violent peace movement among Israelis and Palestinians, and world activists. We then encourage the activists to exert pressure on their governments to lobby the return of Israel and Palestine to the negotiation table in order to find a solution to the conflict. Only then will the people be finally free and prosperous.

 

My efforts over the last 10 years to organize interfaith events and peace & freedom demonstrations in the Holy Land are chronicled in my book: Love and Terror in the Middle East, 4th Edition.

 

In conclusion, the Holy Land is the epicenter of world conflict, and until a durable peace is found there, the world will remain at war.


 

ABOUT DR. FRANK ROMANO

FRANK ROMANO earned a PhD at University of Paris I, Panthéon Sorbonne. He is a Maître de conférences (assistant tenured professor) at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense in the Anglo-American Literature and Civilization Department and a member of the California and Marseille Bars. At present, he teaches law, literature, history and philosophy of law at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense and practices law in France and in the United States. The author actively organizes and participates in interfaith events involving Jews, Moslems, Christians and people of other faiths in Israel and Palestine.

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08 Dec

Spiritual Understanding to Cope with Times of Change

My original goal with this post was to address political turmoil and global strife from a spiritual perspective. For example, Krishna told his Arjuna: “Get away from My ocean of suffering and misery! Give thyself single-heartedly to Me and I will lift thee out of the sea of delusion.” Likewise, Jesus said, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Okay, fine; but not quite. We’re too confronted with the perils of this period to readily set aside the external drama so easily. That doesn’t make divine counsel wrong, however. Rather, we need to understand why such advice is pertinent in order to more skillfully manage being in a messy soup of a world. Since the subject emerged as a dream-nature-of-reality theme, I felt my unenlightened perspective could ring hollow. Accordingly, I opted to present excerpts of Self-Realized wisdom that, hopefully, shall provide a measure of comfort to offset the dose of “I can’t believe it!” we’re faced with daily.

 

“Man is still striving to prove to himself that this world is not an ocean of suffering, but he will never be able to do so. Sometimes we feel sure we have caught the butterfly of happiness, but in the next instant it has darted away from our hand. Why not concentrate on the soul bird-of-paradise that resides in the bodily cage? Nourish it a little bit every day with the only food by which it can live: devoted meditation.”

“Don’t expect to attain unalloyed peace and happiness from earthly life…no matter what your experiences are, enjoy them in an objective way, as you would a movie. You have to find true peace and happiness within yourself …..If you lose your inner balance that is just the time when you are vulnerable to worldly suffering.”

“If you are attached to human happiness, you are in for a lot of trouble, because nightmares are inevitable along with the beautiful dreams. But if you will think of a dream as a dream, whether it is enjoyable or dreadful, you will have peace. When you realize that life is a dream, then you are free…. Therefore, the masters say, “Awake from both the beautiful dreams and the nightmares.”

“The sages of India since ancient times have spoken of the universe as a materialization of the thought of God. It is easy to say, of course, that this universe is a dream. But the verisimilitude of “life” in our everyday experiences makes it nearly impossible for us to believe that the world is nothing more than a cosmic dream. It is necessary that we first develop mind power in order to be able to realize that the universe is actually made out of the thought of God and that, like a dream, it is structurally evanescent.”

“We know that thoughts are invisible. But in dreamland they may be made visible by the force of energy. So originally this whole universe—in the form of God’s thoughts—was invisible, hidden within the cosmic stream of consciousness. Only when those thoughts were crystallized by God’s cosmic intelligent vibration, or energy, did they become visible to us as the material universe. So, although it is difficult to realize that this cosmic dream universe is merely a dream, we should endeavor to think along this line..”

“…do not take your earth experiences too seriously. The root-cause of sorrow is in viewing the passing show with emotional involvement….ever affirm, “It is all a dream. It will soon pass.” Then no trouble can be a great trial to you…”

“This show has a purpose: that you learn how to play the various parts of the life movie without identifying your Self with your role…The best way to dissociate yourself from your difficulty is to be mentally detached, as if you were merely a spectator, while at the same time seeking a remedy.”

“Learn to laugh at difficulties by remembering that you are immortal:…Whether you are suffering in this life, or smiling with opulence and power, your consciousness should remain unchanged. If you can accomplish even-mindedness, nothing can ever hurt you. The lives of all great masters show that they have achieved this blessed state.”

“…In the midst of negative conditions, practice “opposition” by thinking and acting in a positive, constructive way. Practice titiksha, which means not to give in to unpleasant experiences, but to resist them without becoming upset mentally…Be unruffled in everything you do…”

“God-peace is never-ending. It is the only real state of happiness. Nothing else can make you happy because only the joy of His presence is real….Why become helplessly involved in an endless panorama of events in order to discover that nothing in this world can ever make you happy?….become anchored in That which is changeless. The only changeless principle in creation is God…”

“You and I seem so real, these bodies so substantial; the whole world appears to be quite permanent. Yet this seeming reality is nothing but condensed thoughts of the Cosmic Dreamer…The moment we put our minds on the Infinite, we begin to perceive the natural state of our souls as individualized expressions of the Cosmic Self. ….freedom of mind will come when you realize that solids, liquids, and all other forms of matter are expressions of God’s thought. The best way to find true freedom is to meditate deeply…”

 

The world is endlessly stimulating. We lurch from one catastrophe to another, vent about who is to blame, then hope things will get better. And on it goes. The diversity of drama is amazing, and, incredibly successful at detracting us from Spirit. And that is the trick: Don’t be tricked! It is all a big drama. Sickness, health, loves, wealth, poverty, tragedies, disasters; they’re all exquisitely crafted plots on the stage of life. We really need to learn how to see them as such, rectify suffering wherever we can, and simultaneously seek true happiness and divine realization within. There is no other way to ride this roller coaster without getting sucked into the cogwheels and ground up. So, take a beat; breathe deeply, meditate on God, and learn to be in the world but not of it.

 

 

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02 Dec

The Power of Transcendence Through Surprise

Little_Book_Surprises_COVER_Rev3Guest post by Deirdre Hade

The (Not So) Little Book of Surprises was twenty years in the making.  My husband, Will Arntz, who created the film What the Bleep Do We Know!? got the idea to take my poetic writing and the mystical transcendental experiences I draw upon when I teach, and combine with the photos of the award‑winning photographer, Endre Balogh, in a book – creating a journey of thought, a journey of the divine, a journey of wisdom.  And when he came to me with this idea I said, “Great, let’s do it.”  And then he said to me, “No, no, it’s not LET’s do it, it’s I’M doing it,” and he actually would not let me see what he was doing in the beginning.

Because he made the successful film What the Bleep, I trusted his insight and intuition and I loved what he put together. He came up with the title The (Not So) Little Book of Surprise because he said this book is a Surprise!  There’s not a book like this book anywhere in the world.  You can look at just one page, read a few sentences and receive wisdom. You can experience the breathtaking nature photography. Or you can read the entire book in about an hour and a half, experiencing a journey as the wisdom story unfolds.

Transformation and consciousness always comes in a Surprise!  We can study, go to our place of worship, we can have a practice. But when those moments of awakening of awareness, the “aha”, when the world looks different…when That happens, it is always a surprise. Awakening comes in surprise moments.

Since a very young age I have been visited by angels, saints and different illuminated beings.  They speak to me, and I’ve seen them with my own eyes.  At an early age I began to write down what they would tell me.

These light beings feel strongly that they want their voices heard, because they want to bring hope. They want to share a map that will help us to get through our changing times with as much grace as is available. This map is inside of us. The (not so) Little Book of Surprises is a guide to one’s inner map of wisdom and awakening.

I say to people, “I’m not really here, I’m a simulation. I’m from the grand projector, I’m beaming in.” My messages come from a state of Irradiance, which is defined as the ability to radiate outward an energy that is felt and/or experienced into the environment.  (You can find this term in the dictionary.)  I use this definition because when the Angels, the Light Beings, when God speaks to me, I feel a palpable presence, like a heaviness of light – my body changes.  I go into a state of bliss and ecstasy, and then I hear their voices.  I’ve worked very hard to be very clear to hear them and to make sure that the voices I hear are who they say they are.  I then speak what they tell me, or I write it down. Surprises is a combination of my own wisdom, with what I’ve learned from God and the Beings of Light. It is my poetic understanding, and it is a combination of the Light Beings and of God sharing a greater reality perspective of our human experience.

Will picked out quotes for the book that resonate as true for the times we live in.  Surprises is a book of my life experience with the divine realms. This is what I’ve seen and experienced with my eyes, this is what I know.  If it rings true for you, great.  If you can’t go there, that’s okay too. The Book of Surprises is like a rock‑and‑roll song.  You get what you can just  enjoy the ride.  Enjoy the magic, the insight, inspiration – Surprises is a melody of sprit and beauty in the mystical. I highly recommend that the reader

Surprises is a “children’s book” for adults.  But it’s also very much a children’s book.  I find children today are very aware, awake, and they’re looking to be validated for the wise souls that they are. More souls are being born right now have this high level of sensitivity.  What I mean by that is, that they have an ability to feel and sense the natural world  outside of the intellectual two-dimensional processing.  These kids Know – and they’re being born by the millions. They want validation.  They have come to help us heal our world.  They come wrapped in a vibration of love. All children, are aware and sensitive, we must prepare a world for them to thrive.  They learn differently, they need different kinds of schools, they need to be honored for what they see and what they know.  The book Surprises  is supportive for young people – it’s a family book to sit around and read together.

I’m ecstatic with how The (not so) Little Book of Surprises turned out.  I love reading it myself.  Because of the through line that Will so artistically created. Each time I read it I experience something new – a spiritual experience of a different flavor.  I actually learn, even though it comes from “my work.” I see something deeper every time.  I’ve been asked, “Why read this book?” and I answer, because we are here as consciousness to experience the third dimension. We are here to create the magic, the miracle and the beauty – the justice, the truth – of what it really means to be human.  And that’s our journey, and it’s bumpy ride.  And we meet obstacles, but that’s really the journey of our human soul. And The (Not So) Little Book of Surprises was created for you to have an awesome experience in a book.

final-wd-pic

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12 Nov

Who Are You Really?

If you ask yourself who you are, the answer might sound like: I am this person reading this article whose name is XYZ, who is a male or a female, who looks like the image in the mirror, living in ABC city, working as blah-blah, child/parent/spouse of so-and-so, having such-and-such thoughts, feelings, experiences, knowledge, skills, capabilities, memories, tendencies, and so on so forth. All these answers pertain to what can be called in a nutshell – a body-mind complex. There are high chances that this is what you take yourself to be.

Now consider this: You are a fully grown adult now, but you were once a little baby, a small boy/girl and a young teenager. Research suggests that, sparing few types of cells, most cells in the body die within few years and get constantly replaced with new ones. So, physiologically speaking, most of your current body cells were not present ten or twenty or thirty years ago which means you had materially different bodies back then. Even the state of your mind as a baby/child/teenager was very different than what you have now. So, if you are just a body-mind complex, you must have been someone else in the past as your body and mind have been very different at different stages of your life, and you will yet again turn into someone else as you grow older. But that’s not how you feel about yourself. You think you are one and the same entity throughout your life whose body and mind changes over time. So, if you are always the same entity, how can you be the body-mind complex which is constantly changing?

Here’s another way to look at it: Let’s say its possible for you to take-up an entirely new body which is everything you always wanted – healthier, stronger, better looking, more functional, and without any of the pains, aches and problems of your current body. And let’s say you don’t lose any of the advantages of your current body and people around you somehow continue to recognize you as before. Chances are you would want to sign-up for this offer. You would be willing to swap your mind too if you are offered a different mind with a more positive personality, stronger intellect, sharper memory, better knowledge and skills and capabilities, and much lesser issues compared to your current mind say in terms of anger, fear, lust, shame, hatred, etc., while still making sure that you don’t lose any of the advantages of your current mind. These are clear indications that you are neither the body nor the mind, because if you were really those, you would have never considered swapping them out as it would have meant the end of your current existence and birth of someone else.

Yet another way to arrive at the same conclusion: Let’s say you think you are fat and want to reduce your weight by half. It basically means that you would lose half your body. Or, for some reason, you lose a limb or two like a leg or an arm, or maybe more which makes-up a large part of your body. Would you think that you are only a part of what you were earlier or would you still consider yourself to be the same whole person? It applies to the mind too. Even if you lose a part of it like your memory or knowledge or intellect or any such thing, which happens a lot with age, you would still think you are the same person. These are again clear indications that you are neither the body nor the mind.

Let me re-iterate. If you were really just the body-mind complex and nothing more, any substantial change in the body and/or the mind would have meant that you have turned into someone else. But that’s not how you feel about yourself. You always feel that you are the same person throughout your life even though your personality might be undergoing various changes. Think about it. Contemplate on it. Re-read if you need to and you will begin to get it. If you are still not getting it, its primarily because of your natural attachment to the body and mind which is preventing you from believing that you are not them. Its not easy to get rid of this attachment and takes time.

Lets try to further understand what’s going on. Consider a house that you are familiar with. As time goes, you change the furniture, appliances, fittings, color scheme, and many such things. You may even remodel it and add/remove/change sections over time. So much so that the house might look very different from what it looked say thirty years ago – both from inside and outside. But you would still consider it to be the same house. In fact, as long as you don’t completely demolish the house and re-construct a new one, you would continue to call it the same house irrespective of the extent of change it undergoes. This is because what you refer to as the house is not really the material building itself but a concept of the house in your mind. As time passes and the house keeps changing materially, the concept keeps adapting to the change and you keep referring to it as the house. The same thing applies to your own body-mind. What you refer to as yourself is not the body-mind complex directly but a concept of it in your mind that remains one but keeps pointing to the changed body-mind.

Now the killer: Do you think you are really that concept in the mind you are referring to as yourself, or are you the one who is referring to that concept?

You have come a long way in trying to understand who or what you really are – all the way from thinking you are just a body-mind complex to thinking you are some entity that is referring to a concept of your body-mind as yourself. Its difficult to go beyond this understanding just through intellectual analysis, reasoning or normal experience. So it helps to seek guidance from those who have been successful in knowing their real self, learn from what they have to say about it, and then validate it for yourself. There have been many such through the millenniums who have left their invaluable and timeless teachings. If we study their teachings, we will find one thing in common – they all say that who or what we really are is indescribable in words. There is good reason for that. Its impossible to communicate even a normal day-to-day experience in words (like the experience of eating an ice-cream or listening to a piece of music or looking at a beautiful scenery) to someone else and make them come even close to how you feel. They have to experience it for themselves. If such is the case for a normal experience, what to say of our real self which is far subtler. Even then, for others benefit, these teachers atleast indicate what our real self is like and describe practices to know and experience it internally.

The best term used to indicate the real self (aka Self), as found in the teachings in Upanishads and other Indian scriptures, is Sat-Chit-Ananda which means Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. These are not three words but one word represented by a conjunction of three words as there is no single word that can express the meaning fully. What it means is that the essence of the Self is pure and absolute Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. Pure and absolute Existence implies that its not existence of a particular thing or existence dependent on something, but Existence in itself which is the ground for existence of all things. Pure and absolute Consciousness implies that its not a particular conscious being or consciousness of a particular thing, but Consciousness in itself which is the ground for all types of conscious activities. Pure and absolute Bliss implies that its not a particular type of nice feeling, but Bliss in itself which is the ground for all types of positive feelings (like happiness, joy, peace, etc.). Moreover, all three i.e. Existence, Consciousness and Bliss, go together at all times and are not disjoint.

So, your real Self is not a particular entity that is existing, conscious and blissful, but is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss itself in its purest and absolute sense.

If this sounds vague to you, you are not alone. As mentioned above, who or what you really are is indescribable in words, so these words are only indicative in nature. You need to experience your true Self internally and then only will you really know who you are. But here’s why it atleast makes sense for the Self to be Existence-Consciousness-Bliss:

Let’s take up Consciousness first. Existence and Bliss will follow through. Consider any day-to-day experience, like looking at something. The light reflected from an object enters your eyes and falls on your retina that generates neuro-signals which travel through your optical nerves and result in some bio-electro-chemical activity in your brain that is somehow interpreted as a visual scene within your consciousness. What you see is not the sub-atomic particles that make-up the object, nor the light particles, nor the neuro-signals, nor the bio-electro-chemical activities in the brain, but something quite different from the materials involved in the whole process – a 3D image with different colors and brightness. Same thing happens when you are listening to something – the surround sound that you experience is quite different from the materials involved in the hearing process. In fact, your experience of anything – whether its physical or mental – is always of a construct in your consciousness and never of the matter involved directly. Actually matter and consciousness are so intrinsically different that its impossible for them to interact with each other. Hence, what we think of as matter is also nothing but a construct in consciousness that just seems to have matter-like properties. Even the concept of your own body-mind that you refer to as yourself is also nothing but a construct in consciousness.

If you are having a problem in understanding what consciousness means, try this: Say someone creates a robot, an android, that is designed to look and behave exactly like you. Its been programmed to act, speak and even think like you. The way you talk/walk/sit/stand, your skin, your hair, your features, your expressions, everything being exactly the same. So much so that no one will ever be able to tell apart any difference between the android and you. Even after all this there will still be one key difference between the android and you – the inner subjective experience of being you. Its only present in you and will be absent in the robot. This is consciousness.

Its important to note that this is not “your” consciousness as by “your” you mean your body-mind, and its not that consciousness is within the body-mind but the body-mind is appearing within consciousness. What you call as “your” consciousness is only a “reflection” of this consciousness in your mind, but consciousness itself is not dependent on the existence of yours or anyone else’s mind. This is the pure and absolute Consciousness. Its also pure and absolute Existence since its the only entity that exists and everything – you, others, the whole world, the whole universe – simply seems to appear in it making it the ground of all existence. Its also pure and absolute Bliss as nothing else exists that it would be in any form of conflict with.

This pure and absolute Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, which enlightened people say is also infinite and eternal, is what you and everything really is.

If you are an intelligent living being, the foremost thing to know in life is who or what you really are and then live life accordingly. An intellectual understanding of it is a good beginning but not the end. You need to resolve all doubts and get a firm conviction that what is being explained makes complete sense. No matter what your questions are, there are answers to all of them and the best answers come from within. This technique of Self-realization has been practiced successfully by people for thousands of years and is only going strong. All possible questions have been asked and answered in multiple ways. Once you get a firm conviction, you need to make it a living reality which is only possible through meticulous spiritual practice. The benefits of doing this are tremendous – both while you are on the journey as well as when you reach the goal. All miseries and sufferings in life pertain to the body-mind and the conflict that arises because of its separation from others. When you realize you are not the body-mind but pure and absolute Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, the only entity that really exists, and that is infinite and eternal, all miseries and sufferings will evaporate and you will reach a state of unlimited permanent bliss!

(This article was cross-posted from happinessjourney.net/post/153070581415/who-are-you-really)

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10 Nov

Post Election Prayer

This is a prayer that is featured in my book “Bhakti: 108 Prayers of Devotion” – I think it is appropriate for what a lot of us are feeling right now. It applies to many situations. I keep reminding myself: “God’s got this.” It’s very comforting.

 

Dear God,

I’m glad You’re in charge.

Sometimes things don’t go the way I’d like them to go,

Or the way I think they should go.

And I feel frustrated, or hurt, or disappointed.

But then I remember You’re in charge. I remember that You have a plan.

I remember that however things “seem” to be – is probably not how they really are.

It is comforting knowing that I don’t have to exhaust myself

Trying to make things different.

Because I trust that You have it covered.

I might forget, and get stressed out.

So when I forget, please remind me.

There are so many ways you are present in my life.

Open my eyes to beauty. Open my heart to joy.

Grant me patience, and peace, understanding and acceptance.

I can’t control everything. And I really don’t want to.

So I’ll just leave it to You.

I’ll just let go, and let You do your thing.

Thanks.

Amen.

 

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10 Nov

Post Election Traumatic Stress Disorder

PETSD – I’ts real!

By Teri Williams

ballotsOver the last 90 days we, as a country, have experienced more election stress than I have ever witnessed.  Personally, I have heard close friends and family members resort to vile language and physical intimidation tactics to get their point across. It has triggered a gamut of emotional responses from my own past traumas and includes the awareness of the traumatic experiences of my ancestors.

 

Now that the election is over, we face a new kind of stress – Post Election Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Wherever you sit along the party lines you have felt the uneasiness of this unprecedented election.

What is stress?  Stress is change and because everything is always changing and moving, we feel stress on a regular basis.  Simply put stress is our response, physically, spiritually and emotionally, to certain changes that happen in day to day life.  Sometimes it’s good stress and sometimes it’s bad stress.  When those changes are extreme and prolonged, fearful and painful, it can be deadly.

For many of us this campaign seemed to create feelings of anger, deep seated anger, confusion, divisiveness, fear, and anxiety.  It doesn’t’ stop there.  Many have experienced physical symptoms, as well: restlessness, insomnia, that literal “knot” in your stomach, even headaches.

When working properly, stress helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life – giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.

What can you do now that the election is over if you are experiencing any symptoms of PETSD?

GET HELP!

 The best way to manage stress is to avoid it. Since that is not always an option there are a wide range of tools available to help manage it, to take control of it, including: psychotherapy, drugs, meditation, and exercise.

When help isn’t immediate, here are 7 basic Stress relievers that you can include in your life now:

  1. Lean into it – Take one small step, then another. Each baby step leads to successfully reducing stress.
  2. Meditation/Mindfulness – begin a practice, even if only for a few minutes at a time.  Simply start with a few deep breaths whenever you are feeling anxious or out of sorts.  Think of something or someone that brings you joy.
  3. Exercise – walk, jog, do yoga, hit the gym, dance – whatever it is that causes your body to move. Studies have shown that 30 minutes of walking a day can not only reduce stress levels, it can help lower high blood pressure, weight loss and more.
  4. Healthy foods – feed your body, mind and soul the foods that support your overall well-being. Pay attention to when something you eat isn’t sustaining you.
  5. Learn something new – Unsure of what’s happening around you, how is it affecting you? Get a mentor, develop your intuition, take a class, and act.
  6. Give back – We all want the same basic things in life.  Be a leader by helping someone else through change.  You might be surprised at how it changes your own life.
  7. Soul Retrieval – Soul Retrieval is a shamanic spiritual practice that fosters healing of soul loss.  Soul loss can occur whenever we experience trauma.

These techniques, and many others, can easily be incorporated into your life right NOW.  When practiced on a regular basis, they can seriously reduce feelings of PTESD or any stressors.

For more information on meditation and healthy eating, or to schedule a soul session visit:  SoulcialLiving.com.

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28 Oct

Global Healing and Social Harmony Meditations

happy-world-peace-day-617
A thought came to me recently while meditating: Most everyone I know is frustrated by and discouraged with global strife, social turmoil, and political squabbling yet also uncertain how they, as individuals, can contribute something positive to offset rampant negativity. That’s when it occurred to me to initiate Global Healing & Social Harmony Meditations. Based on the distant healing teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, the following techniques serve on subtle levels to direct energy whenever and wherever needed and, accordingly, lay the framework for healing to materialize externally.

So, please use what is shared here – by yourself or in groups – and know that everyone’s input is of real value.

Here’s what to do:

1.) Convert your Body / Mind into a Spiritual Battery. Spend time in prayer and meditation. Go within and affirm your nature as a child of Spirit; one with the Divine. Call to God in the language of your heart to reveal Him/Her/It Self, then, be still & receive. Feel the Sacred’s subtle responses manifest as ever-increasing joy, love, or peace in your heart.

2.) Offer a Prayer invoking divine energy to flow through you. Remember that God alone is the Healer and Source of all healing. We merely serve as channels for this force to flow through us. Here is a prayer you can use: “Heavenly Father / Divine Mother / Infinite Spirit, Thou art omnipresent, Thou art in all creation; manifest Thy healing presence in all bodies, minds, souls, in all parts of the Earth, and in every society.” (Yes, this is a bit King James style so feel free to create your own prayer according to taste.)

3.) Send Healing To All Individuals.
Note: Do these exercises with eyes closed and focused at the spiritual eye or 6th chakra. This center is the seat of concentration, will, and spiritual perception.

– Rub the palms briskly, hold your palms up and facing out then chant Om directing healing energy to all Bodies
– Rapidly rotate the hands in a forward circular motion, hold your palms up facing out then chant Om directing healing energy to all Minds
– Repeat step one and direct healing energy to all Souls.

Note: As you do this you will increasingly feel a current or pulsing of energy flow out through your palms for the purposes specified.

4.) Send Energy for Planetary Healing.

Lower the arms then
– Rub the bare left arm briskly several times with the right palm.
– Repeat this to the right arm with the left palm.
– Then, rub both palms together until they feel hot.
– Separate the hands and feel life current pulsing through both arms and hands

Visualize the Earth floating between your hands.

happy-world-peace-day-617

 

 

 

 
– Gently move your hands in space over the earth & chant Om to fill the Earth aura with Harmony and Light
– Chant Om & send divine healing to all waters, glaciers, and icecaps
– Chant Om & send divine healing to all forests, plants, & creatures
– Chant Om & send divine healing throughout the atmosphere and air
Envision the Planet as Vibrant, Healthy, and Happy.

Drop the arms, rub the palms again to renew the sense of energy flow then raise the palms up once more and resume directing energy…

5.) For Social Healing

– Chant Om & send divine healing to races
– Chant Om & send divine healing to all nations
– Chant Om & send divine healing to all faiths
Envision all Societies Living Together in Love, Light, Cooperative Harmony, & Divine Understanding

When finished, simply stop, give thanks, and ask that Divine Will be done.

These techniques are of genuine value and much needed these days. I sincerely encourage readers to practice them daily, and if so inclined, to share them with others and join together in group practice whenever possible.

God Bless.

 

 

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