Daily Inspiration ~ Undulating With Life

UNDULATING

“I breathe in. I breathe out. I am present in my body. I am here and not anywhere else, knowing there is nowhere else to be.

This is meditation. It doesn’t matter how I sit or don’t sit, or how I hold my hands. It is not how still I stay or silencing my mind.

Meditation is noticing my body’s posture, whatever form it takes, and noticing how my hands rest if they are resting, their movements if they are in motion.

It is following the quiet of each breath.

It is stepping back and listening to the music of thoughts, one note at a time, and watching the beauty of cognition.

It is opening space with curiosity for observation and observing, across the hush of that space, the dawn and dusk of joy and sorrow, seeing the winter and spring of laughter and tears, seeing and not changing anything.

It is gently watching the poetry of life breathing without waking it.”

— Quiet Lotus

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A Breathing Practice To Help Ground Your Root Chakra, by Leigh Tremaine

breathing-meditation

MBG  |  Pranayama is a powerful, focused breathing technique that directs our energy flow for healing and self-realization. In the book Infinite Mind: Science of the Human Vibrations of Consciousness, Dr. Valerie Hunt conducted an important study in directing the flow of energy within the subtle body.

By studying the human biofield, she found that people who lacked vitality or felt ungrounded, were often missing a certain frequency of energy associated with the same frequency as the Root Chakra (Muladhara).

Ungrounded states, where we do not necessarily feel within our body, lack physical vitality and represent an imbalance in our energy spectrum. If our Root Chakra energy is low, we may not be drawing enough energy from the Earth. This can often cause forms of disassociation or numbness.

Hypo states such as hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia and hypotension, as well as weakness, fatigue, depression, and general under-functioning of the body, may be an indication that the body has insufficient subtle energy in the grounding realm.

Using Pranayama For Grounding + Vitality

While pranayama is often thought of as breath-work, it is also about energy attunement, energy breathing, and energy direction. What we are intending is to draw in energy to replace the missing frequency in the biofield. In this case of being ungrounded, the color red (also associated with the Root Chakra) is missing from the spectrum of the energy biofield.

The Practice

Find a place where you will not be disturbed and adopt either a seated or standing position, preferably with the soles of your feet on the ground. Barefoot in nature is good, though not necessary. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) is great for this, provided you do not suffer from low blood pressure or any condition that limits you from standing for long periods of time.

Set your intention for the practice, which is to become more grounded, and center yourself by relaxing, turning inward to your inner stillness, and placing your attention on your breath. You can also use the practice of ujjayi breath for deeper focus, and to generate a bit of heat. Spend a few moments following your breath, inhaling through your nose, allowing your breath to expand your lungs, ribcage, and belly before exhaling through your nose.

Continue with the breathing and use the following visualization technique.

Imagine roots spreading down from the soles of your feet to the center of the Earth, anchoring you to the ground.

As you inhale, imagine that you are inhaling red vital energy from the Earth, up your roots, and up through the soles of your feet. Continue to breathe this red energy upward through your legs and into your pelvic floor and the spinning, rich red vortex of your Root Chakra where you sense the energy being absorbed and distributed to your body. Hold your breath for a brief natural pause on the end of the exhale if you wish.

Exhale from the Root Chakra down your legs, through your feet, and down your roots to the center of the Earth.

Repeat this several times, focusing on how grounded your legs and hips feel with the energy flow. Feel the stimulating effects on your body.

Optional exercise: Breathe the red Earth energy even further up the body and into the remaining chakras. You can also breathe into any areas associated with hypo-functioning, feeling the stimulating effects of the red Earth energy upon it. Exhale back down to the center of the Earth and repeat for a few cycles of breath.

If you have a medical condition, be sure to contact your healthcare provider before beginning a pranayama practice.

B R E A T H E

Need a moment to breathe?  Then, allow your self the heart space to relax, even if for a few minutes … and use long, slow, deliberately deep breaths to re-center your Beingness … and end this mini Zen moment with a gentle smile.  This will help to lower your heart rate, which gives you back minutes of Life, as you tackle your next task with a more relaxed state of mind.  The Key?  ALLOW …

Seeds for Meditation ~ Consciousness

Indian sunset

“Breathing happens; sensations, feelings, and emotions come and go; thoughts pass through the mind; and stories about our experiences form, but the only continuous, unbroken, and always present thing is consciousness itself. Consciousness is that which, in us, is aware of all these changing phenomena. This is the nondual truth of existence.” ~ Jim Dreaver

Three Steps that Immediately Reduce Stress

Qi-GongSynchronizing your mind.
Synchronizing your body.
Synchronizing your breathing.

 When all 3 are aligned you get your body into it’s optimal state of flow — and THIS is where your natural healing abilities begin to kick in.

 

Stay With The Breath ~ by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Green-crowned Brilliant

Put aside your old ways of using your eyes and ears and nose, tongue, body, and mind to focus on issues outside there in the world, to get your knowledge about the world, to figure out how to gain what you want out of the world — and of course getting complacent and careless when you get what you want, and upset when you don’t, and trying to find new ways of getting it. Now we want to use our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind for other purposes, just to see the processes of the senses as they happen, in and of themselves. Look at them in a way that highlights the movements of the mind, how the mind makes a choice, and how it enforces that choice, how it justifies that choice to itself.

All these processes are going on all the time, but we usually don’t look at them because our attention is focused somewhere else far away. So stay right here at the breath, because this is a great place to observe all these other things. The Buddha makes a comparison to six kinds of animals. If you tie them all to leashes and tie the leashes together, the animals will all pull in their various directions to feed. The crocodile will want to go down to feed in the river, the monkey will want to go climb up to feed in the tree, the hyena will want to go to feed in a charnel ground, and so on. Depending on which animal is the strongest, the others get dragged along.

But if you tie them all to an immovable post, then no matter how hard they pull, they all end up staying right there at the post. The post here is mindfulness immersed in the body. The prime way of immersing mindfulness in the body is to be mindful of the breath. When you stay with the breath, you can detect the pull that goes out the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, or mind to past and future, to your likes and dislikes. But you don’t have to give in to that pull because you’ve got a place where you can stay grounded and secure. […]

These things are all here to be observed. They’re all happening all the time. But to see them we have to change our focus. To change our focus requires a change of heart, telling ourselves that this really is important, much more important than things outside. That’s what conviction is all about. Appropriate attention is the change of focus; conviction, the change of heart. You make up your mind — and your heart — that this is an important issue that’s got to be resolved, and this is the way to do it.

——

Reflection:

What does using our senses to see the process of the senses mean to you?

Can you share an experience where staying with your breath allowed you to be more aware of where you were being pulled, and to act with true freedom?

How can we get immovable in ‘mindfulness immersed in the body’?

 

5 Meaningful Methods of Meditation

meditationThere’s a myriad of methods for meditation. Some are easy and some are difficult. All require daily practice to perfect. Here are five of the most popular methods of meditation and what they each bring to the Meditation Table. Here’s why You Should Mix them for Maximum Mindfulness.

Mindfulness, or Spiritual Method:

A most popular method comes from Buddhist meditation practice of Vipassana. It’s all about practicing detachment from each thought and being centered in the “here and now.” It focuses on situational awareness and “in the moment” presence. There is also a focus on communion with the cosmos, which can translate to prayer, but not necessarily. The best way to commune with the universe is to ask questions as opposed to seeking answers. In the mindfulness method, answers are mere side-effects of good questioning.

How to: One can practice mindfulness in any position, even lying down. The key is presence with the present moment, and clear and concise communion with the cosmos.

 

Zen or Zazen Method:

Also from the Buddhist tradition, this method is all about simply sitting. It is often done for long periods of time. Its focus is mostly on posture and spine alignment with minimal focus on breathing techniques. It is the most monastic of all the methods and is therefore difficult to make progress in. Most monks practice this method while concentrating on a Zen koan or spiritual parable.

How to: The most effective positioning of the body for the practice of Zazen is the stable, symmetrical position of the seated Buddha. Keeping the back straight and centered, pretend a silver thread is pulled taut through your spine and up through your head, connecting to the ceiling.

 

Kundalini or Transcendental Method:

This method comes from the Vedanta Hinduism tradition and ties into different forms of Yoga practices. It focuses more on breathing patterns than the previous methods, using the power of breathing to launch one into a higher sense of self, or even a transformation of self. The electromagnetic field created by the human body is akin to the electromagnetic field created by the Earth. Transcendental method is all about tapping into the stream of energy naturally created by the relationship between the human body’s energy chakras with the environment’s energy vortexes. The main focus of this method is to ride this rising stream into infinity, to learn what needs to be learned, and then to return to the finite realms with new-knowledge in tow.

How to: Breathing is primary. Positioning is secondary. Relax your body, take three deep breaths; then proceed to take deep breaths and hold them for at least ten seconds each. This allows for the oxygen to cleanse the chakras and then release toxins through exhalation, while increasing kundalini energy.

Fractal Enlightenment|  There’s a myriad of methods for meditation. Some are easy and some are difficult. All require daily practice to perfect. Here are five of the most popular methods of meditation and what they each bring to the Meditation Table. Here’s why You Should Mix them for Maximum Mindfulness.

Mindfulness, or Spiritual Method:

A most popular method comes from Buddhist meditation practice of Vipassana. It’s all about practicing detachment from each thought and being centered in the “here and now.” It focuses on situational awareness and “in the moment” presence. There is also a focus on communion with the cosmos, which can translate to prayer, but not necessarily. The best way to commune with the universe is to ask questions as opposed to seeking answers. In the mindfulness method, answers are mere side-effects of good questioning.

How to: One can practice mindfulness in any position, even lying down. The key is presence with the present moment, and clear and concise communion with the cosmos.

– See more at: http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/5-meaningful-methods-of-meditation/#sthash.VMrUBuh9.dpuf

 

Qigong Method or Movement Method:

This method comes from the Taoist tradition. It is all about hyper-focus on breathing techniques and/or bodily movements to cultivate and maintain life energy. This is the most philosophical of the methods, deriving most of its techniques from martial arts and meditative healing methods. It focuses on moving Qi (life force) through the body through focused breathing, mental techniques, and precise movements. This method is all about the balance and equilibrium of both inner and outer forces.

How to: No matter what Qi exercise you’re doing, imagine the Qi moving through your body as you breathe in an out. As you inhale through your nose, imagine the Qi moving through your body and down to your Lower Dantian, or naval area. As you exhale through your mouth imagine the Qi moving through the rest of your body. Repeat.

 

Drumming and/or Om Method:

This may be the oldest form of meditation known to humanity. The drumming method is typically used by native and aboriginal cultures, and is generally shamanic in nature. The Om method is traditionally from Vedanta Hinduism, though the sound itself is fairly universal to mankind. These methods focus on breathing and heart rhythm in accordance with, or even dissonance with, the sound and feel of the percussion or mantra.

The heart beat itself is a drum. Breathing is a drum beat that we can control. These two methods are all about transformation through vibration and the awareness of cosmic frequencies. Shamans often use drum meditation to cross physical, mental, and spiritual thresholds. It’s a bridge that carries them to a higher sense of self in accordance with the greater cosmos.

How to: Create a sacred place. Clear your mind. Breathe with intent. If you’re the drummer, infuse your intention into the drum before drumming. Begin playing or listening to the drum. Give yourself a few minutes to fall into rhythm with the beat. Fade your drumming into silence, feeling your body’s response to the beat, then return to the drum. Repeat with clear intent.

 

There you have it: a minor helping of meditative methods. Each have specific techniques, but they all overlap in various ways. One of the keys to becoming a meditative master is to use all the methods to your advantage, while also allowing for personal creativity by giving your meditation a signature as unique as your own fingerprint.

Remember: the heartbeat that sustains your life is acting on the same frequency that sustains the universe. The heart with which you feel God is the same heart with which God feels you. May the Om be with you.

By Gary Z McGee

Gary ‘Z’ McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.

As written by Mariana Caplan, Ph.D.  It is a jungle out there, and it is no less true about spiritual life than any other aspect of life. Do we really think that just because someone has been meditating for five years, or doing 10 years of yoga practice, that they will be any less neurotic than the next person? At best, perhaps they will be a little bit more aware of it. A little bit.

It is for this reason that I spent the last 15 years of my life researching and writing books on cultivating discernment on the spiritual path in all the gritty areas–power, sex, enlightenment, gurus, scandals, psychology, neurosis — as well as earnest, but just plain confused and unconscious, motivations on the path. My partner (author and teacher Marc Gafni) and I are developing a new series of books, courses and practices to bring further clarification to these issues.

Several years ago, I spent a summer living and working in South Africa. Upon my arrival I was instantly confronted by the visceral reality that I was in the country with the highest murder rate in the world, where rape was common and more than half the population was HIV-positive — men and women, gays and straights alike.

As I have come to know hundreds of spiritual teachers and thousands of spiritual practitioners through my work and travels, I have been struck by the way in which our spiritual views, perspectives and experiences become similarly “infected” by “conceptual contaminants” — comprising a confused and immature relationship to complex spiritual principles can seem as invisible and insidious as a sexually transmitted disease.

The following 10 categorizations are not intended to be definitive but are offered as a tool for becoming aware of some of the most common spiritually transmitted diseases.

1. Fast-Food Spirituality: Mix spirituality with a culture that celebrates speed, multitasking and instant gratification and the result is likely to be fast-food spirituality. Fast-food spirituality is a product of the common and understandable fantasy that relief from the suffering of our human condition can be quick and easy. One thing is clear, however: spiritual transformation cannot be had in a quick fix.

2. Faux Spirituality: Faux spirituality is the tendency to talk, dress and act as we imagine a spiritual person would. It is a kind of imitation spirituality that mimics spiritual realization in the way that leopard-skin fabric imitates the genuine skin of a leopard.

3. Confused Motivations: Although our desire to grow is genuine and pure, it often gets mixed with lesser motivations, including the wish to be loved, the desire to belong, the need to fill our internal emptiness, the belief that the spiritual path will remove our suffering and spiritual ambition, the wish to be special, to be better than, to be “the one.”

4. Identifying with Spiritual Experiences: In this disease, the ego identifies with our spiritual experience and takes it as its own, and we begin to believe that we are embodying insights that have arisen within us at certain times. In most cases, it does not last indefinitely, although it tends to endure for longer periods of time in those who believe themselves to be enlightened and/or who function as spiritual teachers.

5. The Spiritualized Ego: This disease occurs when the very structure of the egoic personality becomes deeply embedded with spiritual concepts and ideas. The result is an egoic structure that is “bullet-proof.” When the ego becomes spiritualized, we are invulnerable to help, new input, or constructive feedback. We become impenetrable human beings and are stunted in our spiritual growth, all in the name of spirituality.

6. Mass Production of Spiritual Teachers: There are a number of current trendy spiritual traditions that produce people who believe themselves to be at a level of spiritual enlightenment, or mastery, that is far beyond their actual level. This disease functions like a spiritual conveyor belt: put on this glow, get that insight, and — bam! — you’re enlightened and ready to enlighten others in similar fashion. The problem is not that such teachers instruct but that they represent themselves as having achieved spiritual mastery.

7. Spiritual Pride: Spiritual pride arises when the practitioner, through years of labored effort, has actually attained a certain level of wisdom and uses that attainment to justify shutting down to further experience. A feeling of “spiritual superiority” is another symptom of this spiritually transmitted disease. It manifests as a subtle feeling that “I am better, more wise and above others because I am spiritual.”

8. Group Mind: Also described as groupthink, cultic mentality or ashram disease, group mind is an insidious virus that contains many elements of traditional co-dependence. A spiritual group makes subtle and unconscious agreements regarding the correct ways to think, talk, dress, and act. Individuals and groups infected with “group mind” reject individuals, attitudes, and circumstances that do not conform to the often unwritten rules of the group.

9. The Chosen-People Complex: The chosen people complex is not limited to Jews. It is the belief that “Our group is more spiritually evolved, powerful, enlightened and, simply put, better than any other group.” There is an important distinction between the recognition that one has found the right path, teacher or community for themselves, and having found The One.

10. The Deadly Virus: “I Have Arrived”: This disease is so potent that it has the capacity to be terminal and deadly to our spiritual evolution. This is the belief that “I have arrived” at the final goal of the spiritual path. Our spiritual progress ends at the point where this belief becomes crystallized in our psyche, for the moment we begin to believe that we have reached the end of the path, further growth ceases.

“The essence of love is perception,” according to the teachings of Marc Gafni, “Therefore the essence of self love is self perception. You can only fall in love with someone you can see clearly–including yourself. To love is to have eyes to see. It is only when you see yourself clearly that you can begin to love yourself.”

It is in the spirit of Marc’s teaching that I believe that a critical part of learning discernment on the spiritual path is discovering the pervasive illnesses of ego and self-deception that are in all of us. That is when we need a sense of humor and the support of real spiritual friends. As we face our obstacles to spiritual growth, there are times when it is easy to fall into a sense of despair and self-diminishment and lose our confidence on the path. We must keep the faith, in ourselves and in others, in order to really make a difference in this world.

Source: Huffington Post

– See more at: http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/10-spiritually-transmitted-diseases/#sthash.BS8FUzAq.dpuf

As written by Mariana Caplan, Ph.D.  It is a jungle out there, and it is no less true about spiritual life than any other aspect of life. Do we really think that just because someone has been meditating for five years, or doing 10 years of yoga practice, that they will be any less neurotic than the next person? At best, perhaps they will be a little bit more aware of it. A little bit.

It is for this reason that I spent the last 15 years of my life researching and writing books on cultivating discernment on the spiritual path in all the gritty areas–power, sex, enlightenment, gurus, scandals, psychology, neurosis — as well as earnest, but just plain confused and unconscious, motivations on the path. My partner (author and teacher Marc Gafni) and I are developing a new series of books, courses and practices to bring further clarification to these issues.

Several years ago, I spent a summer living and working in South Africa. Upon my arrival I was instantly confronted by the visceral reality that I was in the country with the highest murder rate in the world, where rape was common and more than half the population was HIV-positive — men and women, gays and straights alike.

As I have come to know hundreds of spiritual teachers and thousands of spiritual practitioners through my work and travels, I have been struck by the way in which our spiritual views, perspectives and experiences become similarly “infected” by “conceptual contaminants” — comprising a confused and immature relationship to complex spiritual principles can seem as invisible and insidious as a sexually transmitted disease.

The following 10 categorizations are not intended to be definitive but are offered as a tool for becoming aware of some of the most common spiritually transmitted diseases.

1. Fast-Food Spirituality: Mix spirituality with a culture that celebrates speed, multitasking and instant gratification and the result is likely to be fast-food spirituality. Fast-food spirituality is a product of the common and understandable fantasy that relief from the suffering of our human condition can be quick and easy. One thing is clear, however: spiritual transformation cannot be had in a quick fix.

2. Faux Spirituality: Faux spirituality is the tendency to talk, dress and act as we imagine a spiritual person would. It is a kind of imitation spirituality that mimics spiritual realization in the way that leopard-skin fabric imitates the genuine skin of a leopard.

3. Confused Motivations: Although our desire to grow is genuine and pure, it often gets mixed with lesser motivations, including the wish to be loved, the desire to belong, the need to fill our internal emptiness, the belief that the spiritual path will remove our suffering and spiritual ambition, the wish to be special, to be better than, to be “the one.”

4. Identifying with Spiritual Experiences: In this disease, the ego identifies with our spiritual experience and takes it as its own, and we begin to believe that we are embodying insights that have arisen within us at certain times. In most cases, it does not last indefinitely, although it tends to endure for longer periods of time in those who believe themselves to be enlightened and/or who function as spiritual teachers.

5. The Spiritualized Ego: This disease occurs when the very structure of the egoic personality becomes deeply embedded with spiritual concepts and ideas. The result is an egoic structure that is “bullet-proof.” When the ego becomes spiritualized, we are invulnerable to help, new input, or constructive feedback. We become impenetrable human beings and are stunted in our spiritual growth, all in the name of spirituality.

6. Mass Production of Spiritual Teachers: There are a number of current trendy spiritual traditions that produce people who believe themselves to be at a level of spiritual enlightenment, or mastery, that is far beyond their actual level. This disease functions like a spiritual conveyor belt: put on this glow, get that insight, and — bam! — you’re enlightened and ready to enlighten others in similar fashion. The problem is not that such teachers instruct but that they represent themselves as having achieved spiritual mastery.

7. Spiritual Pride: Spiritual pride arises when the practitioner, through years of labored effort, has actually attained a certain level of wisdom and uses that attainment to justify shutting down to further experience. A feeling of “spiritual superiority” is another symptom of this spiritually transmitted disease. It manifests as a subtle feeling that “I am better, more wise and above others because I am spiritual.”

8. Group Mind: Also described as groupthink, cultic mentality or ashram disease, group mind is an insidious virus that contains many elements of traditional co-dependence. A spiritual group makes subtle and unconscious agreements regarding the correct ways to think, talk, dress, and act. Individuals and groups infected with “group mind” reject individuals, attitudes, and circumstances that do not conform to the often unwritten rules of the group.

9. The Chosen-People Complex: The chosen people complex is not limited to Jews. It is the belief that “Our group is more spiritually evolved, powerful, enlightened and, simply put, better than any other group.” There is an important distinction between the recognition that one has found the right path, teacher or community for themselves, and having found The One.

10. The Deadly Virus: “I Have Arrived”: This disease is so potent that it has the capacity to be terminal and deadly to our spiritual evolution. This is the belief that “I have arrived” at the final goal of the spiritual path. Our spiritual progress ends at the point where this belief becomes crystallized in our psyche, for the moment we begin to believe that we have reached the end of the path, further growth ceases.

“The essence of love is perception,” according to the teachings of Marc Gafni, “Therefore the essence of self love is self perception. You can only fall in love with someone you can see clearly–including yourself. To love is to have eyes to see. It is only when you see yourself clearly that you can begin to love yourself.”

It is in the spirit of Marc’s teaching that I believe that a critical part of learning discernment on the spiritual path is discovering the pervasive illnesses of ego and self-deception that are in all of us. That is when we need a sense of humor and the support of real spiritual friends. As we face our obstacles to spiritual growth, there are times when it is easy to fall into a sense of despair and self-diminishment and lose our confidence on the path. We must keep the faith, in ourselves and in others, in order to really make a difference in this world.

Source: Huffington Post

– See more at: http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/10-spiritually-transmitted-diseases/#sthash.BS8FUzAq.dpuf

As written by Mariana Caplan, Ph.D.  It is a jungle out there, and it is no less true about spiritual life than any other aspect of life. Do we really think that just because someone has been meditating for five years, or doing 10 years of yoga practice, that they will be any less neurotic than the next person? At best, perhaps they will be a little bit more aware of it. A little bit.

It is for this reason that I spent the last 15 years of my life researching and writing books on cultivating discernment on the spiritual path in all the gritty areas–power, sex, enlightenment, gurus, scandals, psychology, neurosis — as well as earnest, but just plain confused and unconscious, motivations on the path. My partner (author and teacher Marc Gafni) and I are developing a new series of books, courses and practices to bring further clarification to these issues.

Several years ago, I spent a summer living and working in South Africa. Upon my arrival I was instantly confronted by the visceral reality that I was in the country with the highest murder rate in the world, where rape was common and more than half the population was HIV-positive — men and women, gays and straights alike.

As I have come to know hundreds of spiritual teachers and thousands of spiritual practitioners through my work and travels, I have been struck by the way in which our spiritual views, perspectives and experiences become similarly “infected” by “conceptual contaminants” — comprising a confused and immature relationship to complex spiritual principles can seem as invisible and insidious as a sexually transmitted disease.

The following 10 categorizations are not intended to be definitive but are offered as a tool for becoming aware of some of the most common spiritually transmitted diseases.

1. Fast-Food Spirituality: Mix spirituality with a culture that celebrates speed, multitasking and instant gratification and the result is likely to be fast-food spirituality. Fast-food spirituality is a product of the common and understandable fantasy that relief from the suffering of our human condition can be quick and easy. One thing is clear, however: spiritual transformation cannot be had in a quick fix.

2. Faux Spirituality: Faux spirituality is the tendency to talk, dress and act as we imagine a spiritual person would. It is a kind of imitation spirituality that mimics spiritual realization in the way that leopard-skin fabric imitates the genuine skin of a leopard.

3. Confused Motivations: Although our desire to grow is genuine and pure, it often gets mixed with lesser motivations, including the wish to be loved, the desire to belong, the need to fill our internal emptiness, the belief that the spiritual path will remove our suffering and spiritual ambition, the wish to be special, to be better than, to be “the one.”

4. Identifying with Spiritual Experiences: In this disease, the ego identifies with our spiritual experience and takes it as its own, and we begin to believe that we are embodying insights that have arisen within us at certain times. In most cases, it does not last indefinitely, although it tends to endure for longer periods of time in those who believe themselves to be enlightened and/or who function as spiritual teachers.

5. The Spiritualized Ego: This disease occurs when the very structure of the egoic personality becomes deeply embedded with spiritual concepts and ideas. The result is an egoic structure that is “bullet-proof.” When the ego becomes spiritualized, we are invulnerable to help, new input, or constructive feedback. We become impenetrable human beings and are stunted in our spiritual growth, all in the name of spirituality.

6. Mass Production of Spiritual Teachers: There are a number of current trendy spiritual traditions that produce people who believe themselves to be at a level of spiritual enlightenment, or mastery, that is far beyond their actual level. This disease functions like a spiritual conveyor belt: put on this glow, get that insight, and — bam! — you’re enlightened and ready to enlighten others in similar fashion. The problem is not that such teachers instruct but that they represent themselves as having achieved spiritual mastery.

7. Spiritual Pride: Spiritual pride arises when the practitioner, through years of labored effort, has actually attained a certain level of wisdom and uses that attainment to justify shutting down to further experience. A feeling of “spiritual superiority” is another symptom of this spiritually transmitted disease. It manifests as a subtle feeling that “I am better, more wise and above others because I am spiritual.”

8. Group Mind: Also described as groupthink, cultic mentality or ashram disease, group mind is an insidious virus that contains many elements of traditional co-dependence. A spiritual group makes subtle and unconscious agreements regarding the correct ways to think, talk, dress, and act. Individuals and groups infected with “group mind” reject individuals, attitudes, and circumstances that do not conform to the often unwritten rules of the group.

9. The Chosen-People Complex: The chosen people complex is not limited to Jews. It is the belief that “Our group is more spiritually evolved, powerful, enlightened and, simply put, better than any other group.” There is an important distinction between the recognition that one has found the right path, teacher or community for themselves, and having found The One.

10. The Deadly Virus: “I Have Arrived”: This disease is so potent that it has the capacity to be terminal and deadly to our spiritual evolution. This is the belief that “I have arrived” at the final goal of the spiritual path. Our spiritual progress ends at the point where this belief becomes crystallized in our psyche, for the moment we begin to believe that we have reached the end of the path, further growth ceases.

“The essence of love is perception,” according to the teachings of Marc Gafni, “Therefore the essence of self love is self perception. You can only fall in love with someone you can see clearly–including yourself. To love is to have eyes to see. It is only when you see yourself clearly that you can begin to love yourself.”

It is in the spirit of Marc’s teaching that I believe that a critical part of learning discernment on the spiritual path is discovering the pervasive illnesses of ego and self-deception that are in all of us. That is when we need a sense of humor and the support of real spiritual friends. As we face our obstacles to spiritual growth, there are times when it is easy to fall into a sense of despair and self-diminishment and lose our confidence on the path. We must keep the faith, in ourselves and in others, in order to really make a difference in this world.

Source: Huffington Post

– See more at: http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/10-spiritually-transmitted-diseases/#sthash.BS8FUzAq.dpuf