Thought For The Day

Kurt_Vonnegut

Be Mindful and go gently forth into your New World!

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11 Signs You Need A Spiritual Detox & How To Make It Happen, by Rebecca Butler

MGB  |  I recently had a night where I just couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t blame it on the baby, though I was tempted to. I was up. Grinding my jaw. Worrying. Sleep would come mercifully here and there, but it was never deep and truly restful. I know what this means, I thought to myself. It’s time for a spiritual detox.

Just like the body, the soul needs occasional, mindful cleansing. We’re barraged by media of all kinds, and it’s all too easy to consume spiritual junk food.

Are you aware of when you might need a spiritual detox? In other words, are you aware of when you’re feeding your spirit too much junk for the soul to feel good?

Just in case you aren’t following, here are some spiritual junk food items that you can become addicted to:

  • Endless Facebooking
  • Constant patrolling of TMZ’s Twitter feed
  • Compulsive digging into the latest from Perez Hilton
  • Grand Theft Auto 5
  • Binge-watching Netflix

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with these “junk food” items in moderation, but it’s possible to go overboard. The result can be toxic to your soul.

Here are some signs you might need a spiritual detox:

  1. You find yourself scrolling through your newsfeed seeking negativity. Misery loves company.
  2. You open your mouth and spew sarcasm unintentionally. You try to be more mindful when you speak, but you can’t seem to help yourself.
  3. Your friends don’t want to be around you.
  4. Your heart hurts. Or worse, it doesn’t. You are numb.
  5. You find pleasure in other people’s misfortunes. (Again, misery loves company.)
  6. Happy people piss you off. You don’t even want to hear the word “joy.”
  7. You don’t sleep well. You’re having bad dreams and catch yourself grinding your jaw. A lot.
  8. You keep finding yourself in circumstances where you feel like the victim.
  9. You shy away from prayer, meditation, anything inspirational.
  10. You are bored — all the time.
  11. You can’t even remember the last time you took a walk, watched the sunset or sunrise, walked barefoot in the grass, or felt the summer breeze on your face.

Here are a few ways to engage in a spiritual detox. Remember, please do so with compassion. Above all else, be kind to yourself. We are all doing the best we can, and everyone wants to be happy and free from suffering.

1. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh and genuinely make you happy.

Laughter is good for your soul. Seek the company of those who make you feel light and buoyant. Don’t question why you enjoy someone. Just enjoy them.

2. Uplift others.

When you feel downtrodden, it can be helpful to find the things you enjoy about others and to offer that feedback liberally. It’s important to remember that the things we see in others are also reflections of ourselves. Find a way to connect with and uplift someone. Attend a yoga class, read a blog, take a spin class — reach out to your favorite wellness warrior and uplift them. You’ll feel better almost instantly.

3. Try shifting your addiction to kindness.

Kindness is a drug. When you extend, witness or receive an act of kindness, your body releases serotonin, an endorphin. As cliché as it may be, practice a random act of kindness. You’ll feel delicious in doing so.

4. Make time and space to develop a meditation practice.

Meditation soothes the soul. There are incredible sites and courses to lead you through meditations if you don’t already have a meditation practice. Turning inward is a beautiful way to clear away the muck of spiritual junk food. Listening to your internal wisdom is a quick path to shedding that which does not serve you.

5. Get in touch will all of your senses.

Go outside. Enjoy the summer weather. Move, sweat, breathe. This will bring you into a visceral experience of the magic of this life. And it is so worth it.

6. Seek something sacred.

Turn to joy. At our essence, our foundation, we are spiritual beings who share a human experience. Sometimes the heaviness of our human experience can weigh us down. It’s important to remember that you are more than this physical body. You are expansive consciousness incarnate. As such, you can find and experience joy even within difficult circumstances. You mindfully start training yourself to start looking for the gift in the moment. Like anything worth practicing, it can be difficult at first. Over time, it becomes simple and easy.

The Importance of Mindfulness In Children — by Carolyn Gregoire

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“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”  ~ Benjamin Franklin


While meditation practices are usually associated with adults, there is a growing movement focused on implementing mindfulness practices to optimize the health, well-being and happiness of children. From helping kids thrive in school, to being an effective intervention with autism, to even serving kids that are suffering from cancer and other serious health conditions, meditation is showing that it can have a significant long-term positive affect on child development.

In the growing conversation around mindfulness, we’re constantly hearing about meditation in the workplace and tech CEOs who swear by the practice. But less attention is being paid to the quietly growing movement for mindfulness in the family, and the use of meditation to optimize the health, well-being and happiness of children.

It’s not just adults that can stand to benefit from cultivating a focused awareness on the present moment. Research is beginning to shed light on the power of mindfulness as an intervention for a number of behavioral challenges that children face. We’re also starting to recognize that mindfulness practices could be beneficial for children for the same reasons it helps adults, contributing to reduced stress, improved sleep quality and heightened focus.

At increasingly younger ages, kids are facing higher levels of stress, and it may be taking a significant toll on their health. Stressful events in childhood can increase the risk of developing health problems as an adult, but the impact may hit much earlier. A recent University of Florida study found that stressful events can impact a child’s health and well-being almost immediately, and can contribute to the development of physical and mental health problems and learning disabilities.

Sonia Sequeira, Ph.D., a clinical researcher specialized in Investigational Therapies and director of the Institute for Meditation Sciences, has been practicing yoga and meditation for nearly 20 years, and has practiced with her own children for years. Now in her work as a mindfulness researcher, she’s brought contemplative practices to children ages 3-18 who are struggling with autism, cancer, and other physical and mental health problems. Currently, she’s using meditation and chanting to help relieve pain in children with cancer.

It may seem like a tall order to ask your kid to meditate — given that it can be a struggle just to get a child to sit down or eat breakfast — but Sequeira insists that in her years of working with children, she’s found just the opposite.

“There’s an initial resistance, which I think is cultural, and usually it occurs in the presence of the parent,” Sequeira told The Huffington Post. “But it extinguishes very quickly. Teaching mindfulness to children has always been the easiest for me because there’s no set patterns, or at least they’re not set in stone yet. With adults its much more difficult.”

Learning mindfulness practices — including meditation, breathing exercises, yogaasana (postures) and chanting — can have a significant long-term affect on a child’s development.

“[In my research], what really mattered was finding practical tools that were not an on-off or intermittent practice for children, but something they could really grow with and that could affect their physiology as they grow from their young childhood into adolescence,” says Sequeira.

Here’s proof that children need mindfulness just as much as adults do.

 

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Mindfulness can help kids to thrive at school.

Most of the research on mindfulness for children has been conducted in the school setting. Recent studies have shown school mindfulness programs to be effective in reducing symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety among secondary-school children for up to six months after the program. Such programs can also help students focus during exams, as well as reducing stress and boosting happiness among high school students.

Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of The Mindful Child, is one of increasingly many parents fighting for a “mindful revolution in education,” explaining mindfulness programs can aid kids in developing good habits that will help make them happier and more compassionate.

More and more of these programs are beginning to crop up. The Mindful Moment program in Maryland high schools has students start and end each day with a 15-minute yoga and meditation session, and provides a mindfulness room available for personal use throughout the day. The program aims to reduce stress among students and teachers, and to increase four-year graduation rates.


It can be an effective intervention for autism.

Recent research, conducted by Sequeira and colleagues and published in the journal Autism Research and Treatment, has suggested that meditation has a great deal of potential as a treatment option for children with autism.

“Meditation is one of a few interventions that have been shown to effectively strengthen self-control and character development simultaneously,” the researchers write in a report. “There is much to be gained by exploring meditation as a strategy to override impaired brain synchronicity and debilitating symptoms arising in early years of persons with autism.”

In autism and many other psychological imbalances, the connecting thread is a lack of rhythm, says Sequeira. There’s a challenge of balancing the inner and outer world, and this can distort relationships and interactions with others. In the case of autism, environmental cues become so augmented that the child shuts down from the world to protect themselves. Mantra meditation in particular (a type of meditation that involves the repetition of a word or sound) can help restore a sense of rhythm.

“When you create internal rhythm, there’s a harmonizing and balancing effect,” explains Sequeira. “It facilitates communication, incubation of thoughts… it tells you that you’re in a safe environment and there’s no threat.” “It truly is a top-to-bottom response, and with the children, it restores a natural ability to respond inside to rhythm.”

Children with autism respond well to mantra because it facilitates response, she says.


It can help kids with ADD and ADHD

Being mindful is, at its core, the ability to sustain a focused awareness on the present moment, and practicing mindfulness has been proven to help boost our powers of focus and attention. And it may be just as effective for children as it is for adults.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies demonstrated the effectiveness of an eight-week mindfulness program for children ages 8-12 with ADHD, along with a mindful parenting program for their parents. The researchers found that the program reduced parent-reported ADHD behavior. It also increased mindful awareness among both parents and children, and reduced parental stress.

Such programs may be a highly effective intervention either alongside or in the place of traditional ADD and ADHD medications, which come with side effects and may lose their effectiveness over time.

“There are no long-term, lasting benefits from taking A.D.H.D. medications,” James M. Swanson, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, told the New York Times. “But mindfulness seems to be training the same areas of the brain that have reduced activity in A.D.H.D… “That’s why mindfulness might be so important. It seems to get at the causes.”


It can help children with cancer and other serious health conditions

Sequeira has been hard at work for over a year now on a pilot program bringing mantra meditation to children with cancer as a way to reduce pain. While the study is still underway and the results have not yet been finalized, she’s seen an overwhelming positive reaction from both the children and their parents.

“Frequently the children remark that they want to continue beyond the time that’s scheduled, even beyond the point where they had heightened pain,” says Sequeira. “They wanted us to stay there chanting with them for a while. Parents from all over the world speaking different languages are united by mantra that doesn’t have a language meaning but that touches their heart. They felt an enormous sense of peace and did feel that they were contributing to the healing of their children.”

The kids Sequeira works with at Sloan-Kettering also use what she calls a “worrywart waste basket,” in which they make a practice of writing down their concerns on a piece of paper and throwing them away. “They know to do that, and to chant and resolve some of the tension that arises,” says Sequeira.

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A mindful family upbringing encourages children to self-actualize

Mindful parenting, as defined by Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction founder Jon Kabat-Zinn, consists of “paying attention to your child and your parenting in a particular way: intentionally, here and now, and non-judgmentally.” As Sequeira puts it, creating a mindful family is about “healing the environment and healing the relationships.”

To begin to create a more mindful family and incorporate mindfulness into their children’s lives, parents can start with a daily meditation, yoga or breathing practice. Family dinners can also become mindful by not allowing phones at the table and having a moment of gratitude for the food. Even simple things like positive affirmations and encouraging children to think before they speak can foster an environment of calmness, presence and compassion.

“A child is imprinted with many influences… and all of this shapes a personality” says Sequeira. “When there’s a mindfulness approach to living, it ultimately becomes the personality of the child to truly manifest and become who they are — not trying to become a doctor or a lawyer, but trying to discover their gifts. At the same time, it allows the parents to wean themselves from this very analytical, competitive, linear thinking in life, trying to carry children towards certain goals, which ultimately is stressful for the parent.”

This “group healing,” says Sequeira, will hopefully one day become the basis for a more mindful society.

—–
Syndicated from huffingtonpost.com, Sep 21, 2014

 

Meditation ~ Types of Meditation

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There are so many different types of Meditation. You can find the one that’s right for you. To get your search started, here are six types of meditation you can try.

1. Breath Watching Meditation: Can meditating be as simple as paying attention to your breath for a few minutes? You bet. Relax in whatever position works best for you, close your eyes and start to pay attention to your breathing. Breathing through your nose gets your diaphragm involved and gets oxygen all the way to the bottom of your lungs. As your mind wanders, just re-focus your attention on the air going in and out of your nose. Just do this for several minutes, or longer as you get used to it.

2. An Empty Mind Meditation: Meditating can create a kind of “awareness without object,” an emptying of all thoughts from your mind. The techniques for doing this involve sitting still, often in a “full lotus” or cross-legged position, and letting the mind go silent on its own. It can be difficult, particularly since any effort seems to just cause more business in the mind.

3. Walking Meditations: This one gets the body involved. It can be outside or simply as a back and forth pacing in a room. Pay attention to the movement of your legs and breathing and body as you walk, and to the feeling of your feet contacting the ground. When your mind wanders, just keep bringing it back to the process of walking and breathing. Meditating outside in this way can be difficult because of the distractions. If you do it outside, find a quiet place with level ground.

4. Mindfulness Meditation: A practice Buddhists call Vipassana or Insight Meditation, mindfulness is the art of becoming deeply aware of what is here right now. You focus on what’s happening in and around you at this very moment, and become aware of all the thoughts and feelings that are taking your energy from moment to moment. You can start by watching your breath, and then move your attention to the thoughts going through your mind, the feelings in your body, and even the sounds and sights around you. The key is to watch without judging or analyzing.

5. Simple Mantra Meditation: Many people find it easier to keep their mind from wandering if they concentrate on something specific. A mantra can help. This is a word or phrase you repeat as you sit in meditation, and is chosen for you by an experienced master in some traditions. If you are working on this alone, you can use any word or phrase that works for you, and can choose to either repeat it aloud or in your head as you meditate.

6. Meditating on a Concept: Some meditative practices involve contemplation of an idea or scenario. An example is the “meditation on impermanence,” in which you focus on the impermanent nature of all things, starting with your thoughts and feelings as they come and go. In the Buddhist “meditation on the corpse,” you think about a body in the ground, as it slowly rots away and is fed on by worms. The technique is used to guide you to an understanding that your rationalizing mind might not bring you to.

There are many other meditations you can try, such as the “meditation on loving-kindness” or “object” meditation, and even meditating using brain wave entrainment products. Each type has its own advantages and effects. For this reason, you may find that at different times and for different purposes you want to use several different types of meditation.

 

Just For Today … Mindfulness

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BE MINDFUL. Be mindful of your own daily ups and downs, the joys and pains, and how that it’s what makes up the circle of life.

As Mark Twain once said,”What is joy without sorrow? What is health without illness? You have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other. There is always going to be suffering. It’s how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it, that will define you.”

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” — Kahil Gabran

 

The Morality of Yoga

meditate riverWhile in yoga the yamas deal with what we observe of ourselves in society, the niyamas deal with personal observances.  The first of these is saucha, translated as ‘cleanliness’, although the western understanding of this word doesn’t give one the whole picture. When we think of being clean, we probably think of taking a shower and putting on fresh clothes. Although personal hygiene is important, saucha also refers to the cleanliness of our surroundings and the energy with which we interact with the world. As with everything in yoga, there is an inner and an outer dimension to our understanding.

Saucha can refer to the order in which you keep your house, how often you brush your teeth or go for a jog and the food you put into your body. If your immediate environment is a mess, it is very difficult to cultivate the clear, compassionate thinking that allows you to see the world as it is and appreciate the moment you are in. Likewise, if you don’t take care of yourself physically it is very difficult to feel comfortable in your body. Being unhygienic, not getting enough exercise and eating badly contribute to negative emotional states. Yoga teaches us that is it necessary to take care of the grosser, outer manifestations of our spirit before we can reasonably expect to deal with our more subtle inner world.

As we become aware of the grosser aspects of our existence and their effect on our psyche, and we begin to take care of them, we naturally start to become aware of the more subtle aspects of ourselves. We might become aware that our friend’s boisterous social behavior is simply a coping mechanism designed to offset her nervousness, or we might ask why we feel so drained and slimy after we talk to some people. Awareness of this sort is awareness of the energetic exchanges between ourselves and the world, and once we begin to understand how our energy interacts with the energies that surround us, we are able to remove a lot of negativity from our lives.

Our inability to live in the here and now is often due to a lot of clutter, both physical and mental (ever tried to just sit and breathe for a few minutes without thinking about what you have to do today, unpleasant past experiences or your fears for the future?). All this ‘spring cleaning’ naturally allows a lot of space for us to consider our lives and what is necessary for us to live well, but it also enables us to observe the inner workings of our minds. When we turn our attention to the cleanliness of our thoughts we truly start to understand how much of our behavior isn’t actually under our control. It’s not so much dirty thoughts about the guy next door that are the problem, but our patterned responses to the world, as most of the time we are not interacting with the world itself but rather our preconceptions and limited understanding of that world. We see the world through the haze of our fears, inadequacies and personal prejudices. The greatest step towards happiness is giving yourself the space to see things clearly. Only then can you understand yourself and your place in the world.

 

The Lost Art of Writing Letters

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What is it about the written word that makes a letter so special? For one thing, nobody writes anymore; it truly is a lost art. In this day and age of emailing and texting, people don’t spend the time and effort necessary to generate a handwritten note. It’s a rare occurrence to find one in the mailbox.

But taking the time to pen a handwritten letter to someone communicates so much more than just the words on the page. It shows that we value them and, because of this, we took time out of our busy, over-scheduled lives to put pen to page and tell them truly how we feel (not what Hallmark says we should feel — anyone else think greeting cards never say the right thing?).

Who in our own lives could use a personal note from us? Let’s think about whom we could connect to in this way and then make the time to write to them this week.

 

 

How To Transform Your Chaotic Mornings Into Something Worth Getting Up For

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Transform your mornings from a hectic routine of chaos,

into a tranquil time for preparing to face the day.

I have a glass of water, start the coffee, then meditate. Then I enjoy the coffee, a good book, and the quiet before the dust and din and steam of the day begins. Then I write.

This is my Lovely Morning, and I get an inordinate amount of pleasure from it.

It wasn’t always this way: I used to wake later, rush through a grumpy routine before diving into email and work and errands and meetings. It was frenetic and dreadful, but that was my life, and I didn’t think it would change.

I was wrong. I’ve changed my mornings for the better, with a few simple ideas.

I’ll share them with you here, and if you begin to enjoy the peace of your mornings more, send a smile in my general direction.

Wake a little earlier.

If your mornings are rushed, the simple solution is to get up a bit earlier. This means going to bed a bit earlier too. Do it gradually, just 10 minutes earlier a week, and you’ll barely notice the change.

By Leo Babauta

 

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

MANA’O ~ Understanding The Aloha Spirit

Delfini-cover-photo-48189
 
Ha’awina ‘Ekahi – Lesson One
 
Alo-Ha ~ I present to you the “Breath of God”
ha –  I Greet You with the Breath of God,
alo – I present my Self to you (like Namaste’, but not exactly)
 
 
Mahalo ~ Gratitude, Appreciation
Ma Ha – Magnifying the “Breath of God”
halo – spreading the “Breath of God”, Thank You, Gratefulness,
lo – magnifying the “Ha”.
 
 
‘Ohana ~Family
Also, Circle of the “Breath of Life”, of the “Breath of God”, True Spiritual Family
 
 
Hawai’i ~ the 9 Hawaiian Islands
Ha – the “Breath of Life of God”,
awai – across the “Living Waters”, connected by the
’i – bridging Heaven & Earth
 
 
 
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Ha’awina ‘Elua – Lesson Two
 
‘Aia i ka ‘olelo no ke ‘ola … ‘aia i ka ‘olelo no ka make
Words are either life-nurturing or death-dealing.
 
You speak while you exhale, which is immediately followed by taking a breath.  Therefore, if you don’t want to eat, that is, take into yourself negative thoughts/words, don’t utter them!
 


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Ha’awina ‘Ekolu – Lesson Three
 
The Aloha Spirit is unconditional caring.  Compassion.  Hospitality.  It is our thoughts, empowered by a coherent (Aloha) Heart, that are thousands of times more powerful than thoughts energized by an incoherent heart.  It’s not about marching in the streets, writing lots of books, or making lots of money to influence the world.
 
Energize your thoughts with a coherent Heart and your perceptions brighten with Light.

Temper your intellect with compassion, develop your Mind from your Heart and you change your world and everything around you for the better.
 
 
 
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Ha’awina ‘Eha – Lesson Four
 
Living Aloha means we always consider the other person and try to put ourselves in their shoes and understand life from their perspective, whether things go our way, or not.  This core idea of interpersonal communication defines the Hawaiian concept of LOKAHI (unity), where Lokahi is vital in the daily formula of harmonious community living … that ideal state called PONO.  We teach the Hawaiian way of maintaining harmony through coherent daily living.  Thus, Ho’oponopono is the ancient ritual essential to healing unbalanced relations with Aloha Spirit — through Acceptance, we achieve Unity as One.