Published on Feb 21, 2013
Conversations on Compassion with Dr. James Doty and Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher and author hosted by CCARE at Stanford University on February 12, 2013.
Published on Feb 21, 2013
Conversations on Compassion with Dr. James Doty and Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher and author hosted by CCARE at Stanford University on February 12, 2013.
A comprehensive guide for creating a daily spiritual practice, Growing Your Inner Light gives specific advice on developing a unique spiritual path that fits exactly who you are, and what you hope to grow into as a spiritual being. Author Lara Owen clearly shows how a personalized practice can open the doors to living fully with integrity and to feeling connected with the surrounding world.
For readers yearning for a sense of inner peace, and a direct experience of spiritual meaning and connection, Growing Your Inner Light is a groundbreaking, transformative journey through thirteen phases of your growth, including: developing intuition; creating sacred spaces and altars; understanding your dreams; exploring the importance of retreats, meditation, and rituals.
Growing Your Inner Light gives readers the freedom to integrate from different traditions — and develop new ones — in order to create their own spiritual tradition. One former student of Lara’s program shared that she feels “less like a spiritual tourist and more like a pilgrim.” Spiritual development is a natural part of being human, and a vital way to expand the intensity of your inner light throughout your life.
Lara Owen grew up in England and has traveled the world to study with traditional Chinese doctors, Native American and Mexican shamans, Tibetan lamas, Swiss and American psychologists, and many other teachers. She has worked as a doctor of Chinese medicine and as a psychotherapist, and now consults on personal and spiritual development with individuals and institutions. She is the author of several books including the acclaimed Her Blood is Gold.
Click here to browse inside.
A documentary detailing the Lost 40 Days of Jesus of Nazareth
Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed author and lecturer. Four of her eight books, including A Return to Love, and, Everyday Grace, have been No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. Her most recent book is The Law of Divine Compensation. She also founded Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves over 1000 homebound people in the Los Angeles area daily, and co-founded the Global Renaissance Alliance (GRA), a worldwide network of peace activists.
Marianne Williamson is a bestselling author (Return to Love, Healing the Soul of America), a world-renowned teacher, and one of the most important New Age thinkers of our time. In The Law of Divine Compensation, she reveals the spiritual principles that help us overcome financial stress and unleash the divine power of abundance. A guru to anyone interested in New Age spirituality, Williamson’s words ring with power and truth as she assures us that, with faith in God’s promise of prosperity for all, we need never fear the future.
Book Excerpt: The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson
Chapter Three: Making Love the Bottom Line
We carry a lot of misconceptions about love. Putting love first isn’t a life of “sacrifice,” for example, as many have been taught. In fact, putting love first means knowing who you are, which means accepting the fact that you’re entitled to miracles. Putting love first means knowing the universe supports you in creating the good, the holy, and the beautiful. It means knowing you’re on the earth for a purpose, and that the purpose itself will create opportunities for its accomplishment.
Making love your bottom line doesn’t make you “lose.” Putting love first is ultimately the way you inevitably gain. For what you give, you shall receive; and what you withhold will be withheld from you. Most of the world’s religions share this core idea. Or, as a friend of mine once described the idea to me, the universe keeps a perfect set of books. You give love; you get love.
Making love the bottom line doesn’t mean you have to give everything away or that you’ll never charge for your services. The principle of fair exchange gives love to both giver and receiver.
Making love the bottom line doesn’t mean you’re compelled to do anything anyone ever asks you to do. Love always gives the loving response, but sometimes the loving response is “No.”
But it does mean that we take seriously the idea that we are on the earth to do as Love would have us to do. I know from personal experience that when I’ve done this, I’ve gained financially as well as in other ways. And when I have not done this, I’ve lost.
The path of love might not lead to an immediate, short-term bundle of cash. That is not how the Law of Divine Compensation works. But following the path of love leads to trust, deeper relationships, and therefore greater probability of further good. Our internal abundance is ultimately the source of our external abundance. Who we are, not just the services we provide, creates money.
Someone who is positive and energetic when they show up for work; are they or are they not the person most likely to be promoted? Someone who is kind and helpful when you walk into their store; do they or do they not have a business to which you’re more likely to return? Someone who inspires genuine trust and faith in the excellence of their work; are they or are they not the person you are more likely to hire for your next project? You know that line about how nice guys finish last? It’s a lie.
Yet at times we fear that if we give ourselves to love, we will somehow devolve into a puddle of weakness—that love will make us vulnerable to hurt or to being less effective in the world. We think God can have our spiritual lives, but we better not hand over our finances! A woman once told me, “I don’t mind giving God my money, but if it’s over $200,000, I think I better handle it myself.” And here is what makes that such a joke: it is often in the area of our finances where we need miracles the most!
Love is our sanity. It does not lead us to unwise behavior. It does not lead us to give our money away frivolously when there is a need to save it and provide for our family. It does not lead us into a lack of respect for principles of money management or the appropriate laws of commerce. It does not lead us into unreasonable or immoderate behavior. Love doesn’t ruin things; love makes all things right, by aligning mortal events with the natural patterns of an intentional and creative universe.
Love makes us wake up in the morning with a sense of purpose and a flow of creative ideas. Love floods our nervous system with positive energy, making us far more attractive to prospective employers, clients, and creative partners. Love fills us with a powerful charisma, enabling us to produce new ideas and new projects, even within circumstances that seem to be limited. Love leads us to atone for our errors and clean up the mess when we’ve made mistakes. Love leads us to act with impeccability, integrity, and excellence. Love leads us to serve, to forgive, and to hope. Those things are the opposite of a poverty consciousness; they’re the stuff of spiritual wealth creation.
In 1992, I published a book called A Return to Love. At the time, I was bit naive—I had never spent time thinking about things like book contracts, bestseller status or book royalties. I was excited to be able to live off the suggested donations at my lectures on A Course in Miracles, and while writing the book I don’t think I even thought about how well it might sell. In fact, due largely to the enthusiasm of Oprah Winfrey, it was the fifth bestselling book in America that year.
I had a strong sense at the time that the money hadn’t really come directly from the book—that it had come through it. It felt like the money was divine payment for something more than the book, particularly the charitable work I had been doing for years before, for no money at all. It was payment for how I had been trying to live my life, cleaning up any mess from my past and trying to be of service to others. The seeker isn’t looking to “get money,” but to exchange energy. And when the energy we’re putting out is filled with the consciousness of love, then the energy flowing back to us comes in whatever form most serves our good. I figured that if I lived a good life and worked hard, then I’d be taken care of somehow.
There was a level of naiveté to the life I was living before my book was published. It wasn’t that I was so pure or anything, so much as blessedly unaware of the more sophisticated principles by which wealth is supposedly created. There’s no way in the world that my activities during those years would have been thought to be good for business, because there was no business! But I was, in my own way, about my Father’s business. And then, when the book was published, I saw what I had done for love came back to me a thousand fold and more.
Such is the Law. Spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson says the golden rule of giving and receiving is part of a greater divine order.
Excerpted from THE LAW OF DIVINE COMPENSATION by Marianne Williamson with permission by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2012.
Marianne Williamson on THE LAW OF DIVINE COMPENSATION
Marianne Williamson reflects on her newest book, THE LAW OF DIVINE COMPENSATION.
The Law of Divine Compensation with Marianne Williamson
Published on Feb 8, 2013
A wide-ranging and very timely interview with internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer Marianne Williamson. Leading off from her new book, THE LAW OF DIVINE COMPENSATION, we discuss the nature of miracles and the perceptual shift we need to make to manifest them in our lives.
To hear the full audio interview click HERE
Marianne Williamson Interview
Marianne talks new book, the universe, philosophy to live by and more!
For more of Marianne’s books and video View Here
NDM: Can you please tell me how this awakening occurred, as well as how you interpreted this experience and what this means to you today?
Reena Gagneja: I had been off work for two years, with much time to myself. Just before awakening began, externally, I experienced a loss in my life, and found myself in a very dark place for several weeks. But the darkness I felt was out of proportion with the external event. It was an onslaught of uncontrollable pain, emotion and intense suffering and I was at a loss to understand and frightened. All the while I maintained outer life (I have two boys) but it was not easy. I became a secret recluse for a few weeks, as much as I could given I had to look after my children, a home etc
At some point during this time a sense of emptiness arrived. My fear grew at this stage, as I thought I was losing it, and couldn’t tell anyone, so I just existed in a state of fear, not really knowing what was happening except being convinced that I was having some kind of mental crisis. But as I came out of my cocoon, I went for help to spiritual folk, read and meditated, and started to understand gradually that the emptiness I was experiencing was the place of Truth, of real Self, and it was where we all exist, but mostly unconsciously. There is a however a process of integrating the void, the emptiness, because the void itself is a place where you could just do nothing, and I think we have to partake of life and create something.
I saw that my pain was a result of ego and identity, and this identity was now something I could see as separate and apart from me. I no longer felt like the ‘Reena’ I had known, and I began to feel unburdened and free. But there was much from my past to release and I travelled the journey of inner healing, shedding, releasing, cleansing. I had two specific, direct, ‘mystical’ experiences of Divine Consciousness that healed me instantly and left me in awe. I felt greatly emptied out and welcomed this freedom. It was such a new thing to feel released of the emotional stuff I had been carrying for so many years.
I finally left a career that wasn’t for me, and embarked upon work that was more aligned with what I felt was my real path, purpose and passions.
You can read more about ‘My Story’ here: http://www.reenagagneja.com/about/story and here is a video in which I talk about ego death:
How I interpreted this experience: The time had come for attachment to ego to be seen. The damn has to burst at some point. As my banks burst, out gushed all the roles I had played in life and they all had no meaning now, and were too much effort. Instead I found that just being in the moment was the only real place. One can only go on for so long playing the inauthentic ‘me’ game, seeking happiness outside. I saw the inauthentic life I had been living, all the while believing myself to be so special and great. I was brought to my knees. Eventually, the day comes when life forces your own courage out and you finally admit that the way you have been living and thinking has been pretty much suffering, confusion, anxiety, fear. That’s when all these things go.
The emotional intensity I had experienced was directly in contrast with my conditioning which said that emotion is embarrassing. So I understood that it is the VERY things we shun, hide from, and are most fearful of that eventually transform us. There must be a balancing of what we have created, and a return to accountability. It is those very unconscious beliefs about ourselves that we hide from everyone that offer us the hand of freedom. Because we, in essence, are not those beliefs, rather, we are what is not affected by those beliefs, in fact they have no meaning. But the habit of people to assign great meaning to beliefs and judgments leads to all sorts of problems between and for people, when really they’re pointless and painful.
What this means for me today: Life is clearer, simpler and I am more present. Detachment is there. Thought is more functional. Truth and honesty is paramount. Sometimes it is difficult to be with people who have great unconscious beliefs yet do not know this. I was like that too before, that’s why I guess I feel I am able to help others on their own awakening path. In the beginning we need a helping hand, but as we become more conscious the understanding just arises.
NDM: When you said that you “understood gradually that the emptiness I was experiencing was the place of Truth, of real Self”. How did you gradually come to understand this, was this some kind of process? Did this happen in stages? Did you use a method of some kind to do this?
Reena Gagneja: The emptiness was just there, it was quite sudden, but I understood it in a gradual way as at the start it was very unnerving. I surfed the net for other people’s experiences, and that was a great part of understanding with my mind what was occurring at an existential level. I discovered there were others experiencing awakening, each in their own unique way. At the time, I needed to know whether others had also undergone something like this because I felt alone in this, and it was very strange to feel like this.
NDM: What would you say is this “strange sensation of emptiness, nothingness” . Can you please elaborate on that and describe this emptiness, nothingness some more?
Reena Gagneja: This nothingness is a place where there is no meaning and no need for meaning. It is a place where even thought is effort, and action is effort too. Alert awareness is ever there. There is a timeless sense. It’s a beingness. It feels heavy in the body, or rather the body feels particularly heavy. It’s just a void sensation.
There is one aspect which I feel is the most challenging in this void, and which I know to be a common experience for some people. And that is that there is also an acute sense of aloneness, and some anguish. This is what I think is happening here: I believe that the void has thrown you into a place where you experience Truth yet it is mixed up with your own pain but now, you are faced with the pain, not denying it. So the process of going into blissful Truth rather than ‘void Truth’ is to pin point the cause of your pain. This is how it has been for me, and this is how I have been able to wipe my own slate clean, so that in awareness of truth on an ongoing basis, I can also participate in life, but this time freely and spontaneously. I see this as the process of dying in life and the discovering there is no death, that Eckhart Tolle speaks about.
If you do not travel that inner journey of your own pain, it would probably be very easy to stay in the void, as, when you are there, you want to simply be, not do, not talk to people, not make any effort. It is not laziness however, it is simply the way it is. I have had several people contact me who have found themselves in the void and who are worried about how they no longer feel emotion. It is not a comfortable place. I think it is just a question of time and honest enquiry, one has no choice but to let it happen.
NDM: Is this “place of Truth’, of “real Self”, a kind of feeling, or some kind of state that you experienced?
Reena Gagneja: It’s not easy to find the ‘right’ definition, because we are trying to define in words something that is beyond words, but if we are to try…feeling, state, experience, knowing…it’s all those and none of those. A beingness perhaps – let’s stick with that one for now. This space is not the void alone, it is the integrated void, where feeling has returned, a more whole sense of Truth, rather than just an absence. The void is like an absence, whereas real Self / Truth – the experience after void-integration – is a presence. I mean, in terms of how it feels.
NDM: When you said that “it was where we all exist, but mostly unconsciously’ . How do we exist there? Is this a place we have to go to in meditation or some kind or mindfulness practice?
Reena Gagneja: How do we exist there? – I don’t know, we just do, it’s the Mystery. It is our God spark. It is our essence. This is the Oneness within the Cosmos and we are part of That. We are not this lonely, separate, ego-racked individual, we are all joined in Oneness. Yes, spiritual practice can be useful but it is a means to an end. The end is to see you don’t need the very means.
NDM: If I wanted to access this place of self or emptiness you speak of. What would I have to do to get there? Would you be able to show me how do this?
Reena Gagneja: What you have to do – As long as you think there is something to do to get somewhere, this very notion itself will mean you never ‘get there’, because you are leaving the domain of being in the now, and moving into a headspace of sometime in the future. Only when we can let go of the searching for something in a future time, can we find what we were looking for in the first place.
As to whether I can show how to get there – sadly, no. Awakening happens spontaneously. But I can certainly help you to release the desire or need to access any such place, and see what is really behind such a need. It is always insecurity and self-worth issues. This in itself, if you will work with me honestly, will free you up immensely, and then maybe it won’t matter so much to you as to whether you feel you have ‘got there’ or not.
NDM: How would you describe the activity in your mind. Is it active, slow, clear? Is it like it usually is or different somehow?
Reena Gagneja: It’s much slower. Thoughts that arise are non-invasive. There is empty space. Thoughts are functional. But when the void is more prominent, there is much emptiness, when it is less so, the mind is more active. Even with stressful or negative thoughts, there is detachment, an awareness of this as it is happening which takes the sting out of its tail.
NDM: Also does your mind have a certain evenness to it or does it ever fluctuate back and forth?
Reena Gagneja:Both, but much evenness on the whole. When the void is more ‘alive’ there is little fluctuation.
NDM:Have you noticed if your energy in the body has changed in any way?
Reena Gagneja:I am not sure what you mean exactly, but I would say that there is a sensitivity to people and myself, ie emotions present, their feelings, the inner cause. This is useful with counselling clients. I can also get my kundalini energy to rise from the base of my spine at will. I also feel a sense of universal guidance present and communicating which is felt through the body at times. There is also as sense of the collective,
NDM: When you say “We are not used to being in awareness without analysis and judgment. It’s a stepping back from all of our image and definitions. It feels like a void because it is the very absence of the mental activity.”
Is there a dullness to this “void”, this absence of mental activity? Is it or was it frightening in any way?
Reena Gagneja: The void isn’t dull, it’s just empty, but alert. It is the mental activity that makes one dull. The void gives rise to a beingness in the moment, it is quiet. Speaking is effort, doing also.
Frightening yes, for sure, but more initially, when it was a new sensation.
NDM: So when you are in this emptiness that “feels” like a void, you no longer make analysis and judgment?
Reena Gagneja: When the void is more prominent, no, not so much, and if judgment arises it is fleeting and there is nothing to it. When the void is less strong, it takes a bit longer to step back into a non-personal space. But in a general sense, judgment and analysis has lost its attraction.
NDM; How would you describe this void if you could see it, touch it, taste it, hear it? If you close your eyes and look within. What do you see exactly? What is there?
Reena Gagneja:Just a nothingness, an empty space. Non-judgment, No meaning to things. Just a beingness. Emptiness is a better word.
NDM; How does this feel in the body? Does it feel light or heavy? Do you feel grounded or more ethereal?
Reena Gagneja: The body feels slower, heavier, like it can’t keep up, and the effort to do things is greater than usual.
NDM: Have you spoken to a spiritual teacher about this. Someone who has also been through this and can assess what this emptiness/void is exactly?
Reena Gagneja: I have spoken to and interviewed several spiritual teachers (see http://www.soulalert.com) but I did not ask them this question.
I don’t feel I need such validation. I don’t think there is any benchmark. From emails I get from others going through something similar each person’s experience seems to be similar but unique.
We are each our own pupil, our own teacher and our own church. We only need to visit our own Self. Ultimately, it is the very spiritual and religious seeking that hinders spiritual evolution, because ultimately, there is no other possibility to truly awaken to Truth, other than alone. That’s where God is – in your aloneness. It is difficult for people to ‘own’ their own aloneness (experienced usually as loneliness) but if we can do this, we can go beyond it into acceptance of it. So, often, people want external validation, but there is little point in this, except to satisfy the ego and intellect. It makes no difference what someone else says, for they are just words.
Before I had the awakening experiences, I had spent over 20 years following teachers, gurus, belief systems and 3 religions. I had even travelled to Japan on a pilgrimage to a Temple to find Buddhahood. It was only when I awoke spiritually that I knew I would no longer need a teacher or a religion again.
I believe we are entering a time where people need genuine friendship more than spiritual teachers as such. Their own inner teacher is stirring.
Not only that there are people with big followings – there is one in the media right now – who are shown in the end to be not ego-less, but narcissistic, despite their teachings about going beyond ego. So you have to be careful who you learn from, and revere. For a true teacher it’s about you, for an inauthentic one it’s about them. People have to go past the concept of attaching to ‘my teacher.’ And the teacher has to go past the concept of ‘my students.’ This ‘my’ is the issue.
NDM: How would you remove my roadblocks that stand in the way of this truth surfacing in me? Is there a method of some kind that you would use to do this?
Reena Gagneja: I cannot remove them for you. You have to do the work yourself. But I can help you to see them, or some of them, depending on your heart intention, then you can choose to keep them, or be done with them once and for all.
Methods: Spiritual Counselling – I am a qualified counsellor, and have helped people to move beyond limitations and into greater freedom and detachment. People sometimes say ‘I don’t need counselling’ and some people do have a level of awareness to self-enquire and self-heal. But those that say this are often the ones who are in denial, and prefer to keep experiencing anger or guilt or depression, and keep their dramas, rather than facing themselves. You see, spiritual counselling is just a statement to the universe to say ‘Ok, I’m ready for a new way, help me.’ But people in denial will go on living unconscious lives till they realize that what they were calling happiness is actually suffering, then they will want to change. Those that are ready to change, are those that have been brought to their knees in some way or other and have the courage to say ‘I need help.’ This is what I had to do, and because I was one of the former type for many years, it was only through the dark night of the soul that I was able to learn some humility and to quieten the ‘Yes, but…’ In the end, there is hidden pain, and this has to be released. The good news is that there is a whole new world beyond our idea of pain – this is our authentic Self that is able to experience joy and create.
Soul Plan Readings (SPR) – Here’s a Blog Post I wrote about them: http://www.reenagagneja.com/soul-plan-readings. I usually recommend this as a starting point. It is quite amazing but your name (through sound vibration) reveals your karmic challenges, talents, goals and soul destiny for this lifetime. You see, there is a danger with the void that you lose the will, that you see no point in daily life. But becoming an enlightened robot is not to be recommended! I believe with awakening comes accountability to help others and make this world a better place. An SPR clarifies much, and uncannily accurately (clients almost always relate to the information about them) highlights the type of game (gifts and goals) that you would be wise playing in this life. Yes, we are the actor, not the character, but this realization presents us with a responsibility to choose which role(s) we wish to play.
Hypnotherapy – this quietens the ‘monkey mind’, and I have had good results with clients, especially where the mental analysis is strong habit. This is usually used during counselling. Often the beliefs we hold and the constant analysis is very strong, so hypnotherapy bypasses this analysis and reaches deeper parts of us, where negative beliefs can be released more easily.
NDM: So in essence what you are saying is, is that there is no method to find this place or get to this place of emptiness you speak off? That if you let go of the searching, the need, or effort to do so, that it will just happen somehow by itself. Is this correct?
Reena Gagneja: It will happen by itself and in its own time, yes, but it cannot be forced. It may happen today, it may not happen in this lifetime, who knows. But this is not important. Your own part is to see why you want it so much, or what the searching is really about, on an emotional level first of all. Sincerity is the key. Being honest about what is really going on in those secret corners of yourself is the starting point. We’re all human, and we’ve all got insecurity, emotional pain and ingrained beliefs. So if you want one word for a method I would say: Authenticity. Had I not been willing to do uncomfortable work for many years, I do not think the awakening would have happened.
NDM: When you say “Only when we can let go of the motive, the searching, the need to be somewhere or something other than where and what we are, can we find what we were looking for in the first place.’
What are we exactly?
Reena Gagneja: We are Beingness. We are Mystery. We are non-personal. We are the I Am. We are Source.
NDM: How different is someone like you from me for example?
Reena Gagneja: No different at all – only superficially so (physical appearance etc). Essentially we’re all One and the same, absolutely.
NDM: In an interview with conscious TV. I heard you mention enlightenment. What is enlightenment exactly?
Reena Gagneja: This word is a loaded word, like God. I would say: a beingness in the Now, detachment.
NDM: Are you enlightened?
Reena Gagneja: I don’t know. I do not like to use labels, whatever they are, whether spiritual or other. This was the whole thing that happened during awakening – I lost interest in labels and definitions, incl. spiritual labels. Labels define you, and that is the antithesis of enlightenment. Thus to say ‘I am enlightened’ is the same as any ‘I am…’ label. What difference does it make? And why spend the energy trying to answer such a question which is impossible anyway?
NDM: Is there a difference between awakening and enlightenment?
Reena Gagneja: Please see the above Q. How can this be truthfully answered? As for subjectively, again, it’s not worth spending the time and effort. It’s an intellectual discussion, that’s all. In fact, I received this very topic in an article in my inbox the other day (entitled, “Is awakening the same as enlightenment?”) and I thought initially it was interesting, began to read, but after just a few lines, it seemed like too much mind effort.
However, as you have asked, my brief stab at a response would be: perhaps enlightenment is a perpetual awakened state. But I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer.
NDM: Do you have any special abilities of any kind?
Reena Gagneja: No nothing special. I used to think I was special, that was my identity and ego. Then I saw this need to be special, and it changed. So now, I don’t consider I am special, nor anyone else. But we are all unique, and have unique gifts.
NDM: Do your friends see you as being extraordinary or special, now this has happened?
Reena Gagneja: I do not know how others see me, you would have to ask them. Probably they think I’m a bit of the wall, in fact.
People see people from the benchmark of their own beliefs, pain and self-image so it is not possible to get what awakening is till you can see your own ego. Moreover, people are generally self-involved and may not even have any interest in spiritual truth. It is not always easy with people, because after seeing ego and releasing attachment to this, you can then also see it in others, and see the prison it creates for them, but you cannot change it for them. Only they can do that, but if their walls of resistance and attachment to their self-definitions is strong, then spending time with such vicious-circle energies is not easy, and I think some people may feel you’re a bit strange because you don’t offer the same pandering and pats on the backs as others do, so it is not always easy for them either. Of course, I can chill and have a good laugh (in fact it’s essential) but my general need for friends and relationships has also changed. So I don’t talk about what happened, so much as let people know about my website where I talk about it more.
It takes courage to wake up and smell the odour of your own stale coffee. Those that do this, don’t become extraordinary, they actually reveal their own humanity, their ordinariness, their love of truth, they don’t want to be special, because they know special is not possible, for how can one drop in the ocean be more special than the next? They have released attachment to their specialness. They are no longer scared of themselves or of their dark corners, and can speak their truth and fear is not dominating.
NDM: Is being in the now like Eckhart Tolle says mean that you are enlightened?
Reena Gagneja: I think perhaps yes if the being in the Now is sustained continuously. Such sustained awakening happens if it happens, but cannot just happen through will or spiritual seeking, not directly through that anyway.
NDM: Do you still get annoyed, experience anger, aversions, aspirations, ambitions, cravings and so on?
Reena Gagneja: Yes, less so, and if the void is prominent, then rarely.
The difference between getting annoyed today and getting annoyed before my awakening is that I don’t have a problem with painful emotion anymore. I have some goals, ambitions, because we have to do something in life – in fact, I see it as responsibility – plus we have to eat, pay bills etc. And sometimes I can get attached to them, then at other times they seem so insignificant. Detachment is always there to some extent or other, depending on the void.
The point that is worth making here is that people think of emotion as a dirty word. But it is simply a part of our humanity. It should not be denied, but most people deny emotions and think they are wrong to feel strong feelings. This is the starting problem.
NDM: If you do, what are your ambitions, aspirations, dreams for the future?
Reena Gagneja: Internet businesses, counselling, soul plan readings, perhaps finish my part-written book and see it published, and possibly open some kind of either spiritual centre or an education place for orphaned or suffering kids in India. I see things getting worse in the world before they get better so one needs to take care of family etc and help each other.
NDM: How are you going to use this enlightenment. Do you have plans of becoming a sat-sang teacher at some point?
Reena Gagneja: No I do not see myself as that. Perhaps more active workshops and sessions, through deep enquiry and dialogue, to help people on their awakening journey. But for now, I am doing one-to-one sessions.
NDM; What are your thoughts on neo-advaita as opposed to traditional Vedanta?
Reena Gagneja: I do not know what the difference is – I don’t think. I am not sure if I am qualified to make a judgment here.
NDM: Who are some of the non duality teachers that have inspired you?
Reena Gagneja: Jiddu Krishnamurti, Ramana Maharshi, Osho.
Internationally acclaimed poet David Whyte is an Associate Fellow at Templeton College and Said Business School at the University of Oxford, David works with many European, American and international companies, using poetry and thoughtful commentary to illustrate how we can foster qualities of courage and engagement.
In his talk, David encourages us to remain open to know the dialogue with our surroundings inform and inspire our ideas.
Many people today are experiencing a deep longing to find their true nature. “The Flight of Consciousness” provides a description of the spiritual journey in 10 stages, from self-recognition through awareness, lessening, surrender and oneness, to enlightenment. Many people will recognise unannounced moments in their own lives which relate to these stages, particularly the earlier ones. Although it draws on the major religions, and on mysticism, the book is aimed primarily at the circumstances of the modern-day spiritual seeker, for whom the spiritual path is a unique, individual way to the Higher Self.
We have arrived at a new period in our spiritual evolution, when established religions are being replaced by a spiritual life which can be led in the world, without renunciation or prescribed beliefs or even external form. The first challenge of this newly-evolving spiritual life is to give form to our path through individual method and personal mythology.
The book encourages people to follow their inner wisdom and guidance. Although the metaphor of the journey is used throughout, consciousness (or freedom or enlightenment) is not truly a journey, but our natural state. The “journey” describes the return to the forgotten Self. This book is challenging yet accessible to general readers of spiritual literature as well as to the more committed seeker.
About the Author
Trained in humanistic, existential, bodywork and psychospiritual psychologies, Taoism and Zen, Richard Harvey leads groups, workshops, and training courses in England and abroad.
(extract from The Flight of Consciousness by Richard Harvey, Ashgrove Publishing UK)
Download the contents, introduction and first stage of this book.
Talk from a retreat with Adyashanti.
Adyashanti, author of Falling into Grace, True Meditation, and The End of Your World, is an American-born spiritual teacher devoted to serving the awakening of all beings. His teachings are an open invitation to stop, inquire, and recognize what is true and liberating at the core of all existence.
When we touch a limitless sense of being – vast, open, undivided – we paradoxically become more uniquely ourselves, more empowered and on fire to bring forward our unique gifts. We wake up to our courage, to our authenticity, and to claiming our own value in the world.
The Wake Up Festival explores this awakening from a wide range of different perspectives, and is an event like no other. Our focus is on opening our hearts to an all-encompassing embrace and doing so in a supportive retreat-like environment. We will gather together for five days in Estes Park, surrounded by the beautiful Rocky Mountains, to immerse ourselves in:
The Power of Community — How we can often grow the most when we are in a “field of transformation”, a gathering of people who are committed to the heights and depths of the spiritual journey.
Learning from Great Teachers —How being in the presence of a great spiritual teacher is like sitting next to a living fire of awakening; their passion, knowledge, and experience illuminate us.
Transformative Spiritual Practices —How we can engage and experiment in different spiritual practices from the wisdom traditions of the world, exploring how to clear stuck energy, release the past, and connect with limitless space
Celebration — How one of the best ways to open our hearts is through music, poetry, and dance, celebrating that we already have everything we need to savor the beauty and perfection of the moment.
Want to reach a state of enlightenment? This little manual will show you how. It is special because the author has experienced this state and also researched the subject extensively. He truly believes that enlightenment, the highest goal in life, is our birth right. In this book, he takes the reader on an unforgettable, spiritual quest. Vikas Malkani is one of the world’s leading teachers of personal growth, self-awareness and spiritual awakening.
Vikas Malkani is one of the world’s leading teachers of personal growth and self-realization. He is the founder of SoulCentre Academy, Singapore’s Premier Personal Development Centre, and has been trained the disciplines of meditation, spiritual wisdom and yoga by Himalayan Masters. An international best-selling author, Vikas is an inspirational speaker who addresses major conferences and events worldwide. To connect with Vikas Malkani, log on to http://www.vikasmalkani.com or email him at email@example.com
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Collectively, our institutions are slowly destroying life on our planet and many of us feel helplessness and despair as we witness ecocide all around us. We want to act. But first we must understand why it is that so many people seem to care so little about the health of the planet.
This book focuses on the key question: Why don’t people love the Earth? Why, when we know what must be done, do we deflect and argue, doubt and contend?
Perhaps it is because ancient, limiting and often damaging cultural beliefs are passed down unexamined. These beliefs blind us to the astonishing and enlightening discoveries of modern science and to a full awareness of our embeddedness in Nature. But we can learn new ways of understanding and appreciating our world and develop beliefs more suitable for this century.
Planet as Self calls for an Earth based spirituality: one that acknowledges Gaia as a living and lovable being, created by and radiating the creative energy of the universe. It teaches us how to love God through Nature.
Sky McCain is an American citizen living in the south-west of England. He likes walking, playing the trombone in his local brass band, and visiting his favourite parts of southern Europe. He has also been involved in ‘green’ activism in the local community and was the founder of the Wholesome Food Association, an organization that champions local food. Sky graduated with a BA in History from Boston College in the US and has an MA in Values in the Environment from Lancaster University, UK.
He has had a lifetime interest in religion and spirituality, starting with Christianity and continuing with Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. He has recently focused his attention on Gaia Theory, climate change, and the relationship between science and spirituality.
Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we’d no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking,
What if I can’t keep all of these balls in the air?
Why isn’t everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations?
What will people think if I fail or give up?
When can I stop proving myself?
InTHE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION, Brené Brown, Ph.D., a leading expert on authenticity, shame, and courage shares what she’s learned from a decade of research on the power of Wholehearted Living.
She writes, “Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done andhow much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
Dr. Brown’s most unique contribution comes from her 10-year groundbreaking study on vulnerability and shame. In this new book, she not only gives us direction for living a more authentic life, but courageously talks about “the things that get in the way.”
For example, in the chapter on cultivating rest and play, Brown addresses the challenges of letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth. In her chapter on creativity she explains the paralyzing properties of comparison. Brown may be one of the only writers in this genre that offers us a path for change and an honest look at the obstacles.
As a nationally renowned researcher and speaker, Dr. Brown’s perspective is fresh, honest, and always delivered with warmth and humor. She writes about the experiences we all have, but few of us are willing to discuss. Using personal stories of her own struggle to “embrace vulnerability” she writes about the experiences we all have, but few of us are willing to discuss.
The Gifts of Imperfection
In this special presentation, renowned research professor and author Dr. Brené Brown shares what she’s learned from a decade of research on the power of authenticity. She will help viewers engage with the world from a place of courage and worthiness. We’ve all experienced the pressure to fit in, and the feeling that our worthiness is measured by how we look or what we earn. For many, that leads to a cycle of performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving.
For her latest book , view Daring Greatly, here
A revolutionary new map for the soul’s journey
We think of the spiritual search as a pilgrim’s progress-but what if you were less like a pilgrim and more like a student, mastering lessons at a level more and more advanced? Psychiatrist Paul DeBell, MD, outlines the lesson plan with uncommon clarity, combining a scientist’s rigor with a seeker’s passion to illuminate the secret recesses of the soul.
How Spiritual Messages Work
To understand spiritual messages another way, we can represent schematically what a message is and how it works on us. We’ll start by depicting the relationship between our consciousness, our brain, and our soul. Although modern science has yet to determine the precise nature of consciousness, we do know that it exists and in some way seems to emanate from the brain, as represented in FIGURE 1.
To function effectively in everyday life, each of us needs to organize the feelings, fantasies, thoughts, memories, and knowledge stored in our brain’s synapses into a mental model of the world—“the world according to me.” We use this model as a virtual reality in which to imagine the outcomes of the various options available to us and choose the one that gives us the greatest benefit. Whether we succeed or fail at what we are doing, we can use the results to refine our understanding of how things work so that we can do better in future situations. When most situations turn out essentially as we had imagined, we can conclude that we know how things work.
From a spiritual perspective, we are more than a body. We are also an eternal soul, which survives the death of our body. Our soul, according to most religions, is conscious and intelligent. It has its own distinctive consciousness, its own “mind,” which integrates all its feelings, fantasies, thoughts, memories, and knowledge into a coherent whole, as represented in FIGURE 2. This has been confirmed by studies of out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, and reports of contacts with other souls.
We know little for certain of how this soul functions when it is not housed in our body and connected to our brain. Our brain’s mind and our soul’s mind perform similar functions. Our brain’s mind analyzes everything from its distinctive material perspective, whereas our soul’s mind analyzes everything from its distinctive spiritual perspective. Although the mind of the brain and the mind of the soul have different agendas, they integrate to form our thoughts and feelings about our everyday lives. What our brain contributes is most obvious in the drives and desires we share with other animals, the drives that sustain individual life and preserve the species. Our soul’s influence, on the other hand, is more visible in qualities that make us different from other primates, such as our more penetrating intellect, the voice of our conscience, and our attraction to spirituality. FIGURE 3 represents our everyday consciousness, where most of the capacities of our soul are used by our brain to try to achieve its own material goals.
We don’t notice most of what is going on from our soul’s perspective because we are completely preoccupied with meeting the challenges of everyday life. At times, when the input of our soul becomes strong enough, a spiritual inspiration will break through.
FIGURE 4 shows what can happen when our soul is able to summon up the energy necessary to transmit the information to the brain in such a way that this information emerges into our consciousness as an inspiration. For us to recognize this information, however, our consciousness has to be sufficiently receptive to the advice being given. If it isn’t, an inspiration may reach us but be ignored as irrelevant. To give an inspiration the attention it deserves, therefore, we need to be prepared to recognize and value its input.We can receive inspirations out of the blue, being grateful when they come our way, but we can gain far more by taking the next step: We can make ourselves more receptive to these inspirations by creating conditions that encourage our soul’s comments on our daily life—a subject that we will return to frequently throughout the course of the book.
A spiritual message, as represented in FIGURE 5, is an inspiration coupled with a real external event that has itself been influenced by spiritual forces. It not only helps us in our immediate situation, but also teaches us how the material and spiritual dimensions interact. By carefully studying these moments of correspondence, we can gradually become familiar with the wider range of influences that our soul has on our thoughts and feelings.
With this schematic in mind, we can see the elements of a spiritual message in Beth’s example. First, Beth received an inspiration to look for a job. Second, she responded by looking for a job, thus creating the right material circumstances for a message. Third, she experienced an unexpected external event (getting the interview quickly and a better job than she had a right to expect). Fourth, she felt strongly that this confirmed for her that spiritual forces had arranged the whole situation.
Beth’s story underscores something that I have found to be true: The more we understand that our messages are aimed at both helping our material life and stimulating our spiritual development in a balanced way, the more we can take advantage of our soul’s input into our everyday thoughts, feelings, memories, and reactions. Both our brain and our soul benefit from the integration of the others’ resources, as depicted in FIGURE 6, so that we can enjoy life more in the physical plane and develop our soul at the same time. What could be better? (chapter 2, pages 33-37)
Dr. Paul DeBell, M.D, – Welcome
View Here Decoding the Spiritual Messages of Everyday Life: How Life Shows Us What We Need to Know A Book Review and Signing by Paul DeBell, MD