Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness by Susan L. Smalley, Diana Winston

Mindfulness has attracted ever-growing interest and tens of thousands of practitioners, who have come to the discipline from both within and outside the Buddhist tradition. In Fully Present, leading mindfulness researchers and educators Dr. Sue Smalley and Diana Winston provide an all-in-one guide for anyone interested in bringing mindfulness to daily life as a means of enhancing well-being. Fully Present provides both a scientific explanation for how mindfulness positively and powerfully affects the brain and the body as well as practical guidance to develop both a practice and mindfulness in daily living, not only through meditation but also during daily experiences, such as waiting in line at the supermarket, exercising, or facing difficult news.


Dr. Smalley, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA, conducted seminal studies on the genetics of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum disorders, publishing over 100 studies in the field of behavioral genetics. In 2004, she founded the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA to increase mindfulness through research and education. She writes, lectures, and works philanthropically to promote a kinder and more equitable society. She serves on the Board of Equality Now, a human rights organization dedicated to gender equality and the High Panel on Education formed by Gordon and Sarah Brown to tackle the issue of education for all.

Diana Winston is the Director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) where she teaches mindfulness classes, trainings, and events for the public, as well as medical and mental health professionals, youth, and educators.

She is also a member of the Teachers Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Northern California and has been teaching Buddhist retreats since 2000.

Diana has been practicing insight meditation since 1989 when she first came across it in Thailand. She lived for a year as a Buddhist nun in Burma (Myanmar) where she shaved her head and ate only two meals before noon.

In 1993 Diana started teaching teens meditation and is one of the founders of the teen meditation retreat started at Insight Meditation Society and currently nationwide through MAYA– Mindful Awareness for Young Adults.

She is the founder of the Buddhist Alliance for Social Engagement (BASE) with the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and is an advocate for socially engaged Buddhism, teaching the interface of Buddhism and social change nationally and internationally.

She is the author of Wide Awake, her book for teens, as well as co author with Susan Smalley of the upcoming Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness. Her CD is Mindful Meditations, available on itunes.

Currently she is a new mom.

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Gwilda Wiyaka: So, We’re Still Here. Now What? Spiritual Evolution and Personal Empowerment in a New Era

So, We’re Still Here. Now What? takes you beyond the end of the Mayan calendar and into the predicted New Era, helping you rearrange your life so you can shift more easily with the ongoing changes that lie ahead. The book delves deeply into the hidden principles behind effective shamanic practices that were used long ago to steward people through times of change, and it teaches you how to use these principles to navigate through today’s disruptions. You learn how to be supported by the laws of nature and the universe and how to uncover the true power of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies. The concepts Wiyaka offers have been field tested in her thirty years of private practice as a shamanic practitioner. This is a solid reference volume that belongs in every serious seeker’s private collection.

Gwilda Wiyaka is a dynamic, diverse woman of mixed heritage. Born in the United States, she grew up overseas and is widely traveled and familiar with many cultures. Her background with different societies and locations around the world and ongoing fascination with the way life works, prompted her life-long immersion in shamanism, an ancient Earth-based healing modality present in most if not all indigenous societies. She has studied shamanism for more than thirty-eight years, has been a practitioner for more than twenty, and a teacher of the shamanic arts for fifteen. She has studied with American Indian healers from the Seneca, Sioux, Navajo, Arapaho, and Choctaw traditions. She has also received training in Tibetan, Core, and Celtic shamanism. She is the founder/director/owner of Path Home Shamanic Arts School, which is a one-of-a-kind, state-certified occupational school of the shamanic arts, training and certifying shamanic practitioners.

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Gwilda Wiyaka

Meet Gwilda Wiyaka and learn about her new book.

Gwilda Wiyaka Introduction to Shamanism

In this presentation excerpt from the Star Knowledge Conference in Tucson AZ on 12/12/12, Colorado State Certified Shamanic Instructor Gwilda Wiyaka introduces herself and her practice of modern shamanism. She takes you beyond the end of the Mayan calendar and into the predicted New Era, helping you rearrange your life so you can shift more easily with the ongoing changes that lie ahead. The concepts she offers have been field tested in her 30 years of private practice as a shamanic practitioner.

The Surprisingly Calculated Healing Power of Animals ~ Danielle MacKinnon

We can learn a great deal from our furry friends, whose behavior—both good and bad—is often an attempt at helping and healing the humans they love

By Danielle MacKinnon

Have you ever thought your pet might be trying to tell you something by growling at your new boss? Do you feel like your dog might know you better than anyone else in your life? Maybe you secretly believe your cat is trying to help you get through your break-up?

As an animal communicator and intuitive life coach, I get to talk and work with animals and their humans every day, and I’ve found all of these things to be true and more. Based on my work with thousands of animals over the years, I’ve learned pets can actually help us live better lives overall. In fact, animals work at an incredibly complicated level in order to help their humans heal themselves in order to become the best humans they can be. Once you understand animals are working to help us at every moment, it makes taking advantage of their help incredibly enjoyable, exciting and most importantly, rewarding for all.

  • Animals have mastered living in the moment. There is no better emotional uplift than feeling happy and secure in the now. Dogs are a great example of this, although humans often mistake their carefree nature for stupidity. I’ve heard “my human would be much happier if she could just stop worrying about the future,” from hundreds of dogs over the years. Dogs (and animals in general) are modeling “being in the now moment” by laying around the house, playing with a housefly, stalking a mouse and more. If you think your dog or pet is lazy, take a deeper look! He or she is showing you how to live in the now.
  • Animals sacrifice themselves in order to help humans heal. They are aware that a greater number of humans today are “waking up” to living more consciously. I recently worked with an elephant that had just been rescued from an abusive situation. While a difficult story to hear, the elephant (like many other animals I have worked with) asked me to share her story of abuse and rescue. She knew what she endured would inspire people to work, save and heal other animals, and that this type of rescue work would be “healing” for the humans taking part as well. This beautiful elephant has already inspired hundreds of people to help and many to wake up to conscious living, just like so many other animals.
  • Bad behaviors are actually messages. When a pet misbehaves, many people believe there is no hope for change. However, in reality, an animal’s misbehavior is a calculated message directed to their humans. Yes, it’s hard to believe that your cat’s inappropriate urination or your bird’s feather pulling could be related to your drinking problem or your depression, but they often are. Very few humans communicate with animals psychically on a regular basis (although all people do have this innate ability) so our pets often choose these “annoying” methods for getting their messages of healing, help and support through to their humans. Pooping, growling, pulling feathers, running around in circles and attacking are really signs to you! By changing the way you think about your pet, and by looking at misbehaviors as intentional rather than exasperating, your pet will be able to help you become aware of what thoughts, ideas and behaviors in yourself to modify to become healthy.
  • Your pet’s behaviors are a barometer for your own healing. Even though some of the methods animals use to get their message through to humans can be annoying (pooping in the house every time the pet’s male human “checks out” from the family by turning on the TV for example), animals are really helping their humans work toward positive change. As a human improves his or her behavior (dad watches less TV) the pet will alter his or her behavior as well (less poop in the kitchen). Knowing that the better you do, the better your pet will do, is a great reason to make positive changes in your life. Animals look at everything in life as a two-way street. You give, I’ll receive. I’ll give, you receive. Everything in balance and everything in moderation—lose or gain that balance and it will result in behavior differences in your pet.
  • Animals model unconditional love every day. I’ve met many people who were afraid to work with me because they feared their pet would say he or she didn’t love them. The truth is that every animal I’ve ever worked with has held deep compassion, love and understanding for their humans, regardless of their human’s treatment of them. Amazingly, even formerly abused animals still center their existence around love! Animals just don’t hold grudges. Take a cue from your pet and let go of what your mother said to you at the holiday party last year or what your colleague did during the conference call yesterday. You’ll feel happier and healthier because of it, and in that happier, healthier place you’ll be able to enjoy your life even more.

In many ways, animals are smarter than us. They’ve mastered unconditional love, they are working in service to humans to help us heal ourselves, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get their message of healing through. To honor this, just pay attention to the connection between you and your pet. Look at all of your pet’s behaviors, both good and bad, and try to see how they are related to your own behaviors. And remember—your pet wants you to be the best human you can be. The better you are, the better your life in general, and the better your connection with your pet. It’s a win-win for everyone!

 

Danielle MacKinnon is an animal intuitive and intuitive life coach. She works with people to help them move through blocks in their life, and works with people and their pets to assist them in coming to a deeper understanding of each other. MacKinnon is currently writing her first book focusing on the healing power of animals. For more information about MacKinnon or to schedule an appointment, visit her Web site at http://www.daniellemackinnon.com.

Do animals have a soul and How can we communicate with your pet? Danielle MacKinnon

With a passionate connection to the animal kingdom, Danielle uses her intuitive abilities to help pets and their humans reach a deeper understanding of each other. Animals trust her to help them communicate with their humans and humans trust her to help them get their message through with love and compassion.

Animals and Soul Contracts: Unconditional Love

Animals & Humans Soul contracts – Danielle MacKinnon, Boston MA

Soul Contract Intuitive, Animal Intuitive and Intuitive Coach, Danielle MacKinnon was recently named one of Bob Olson’s “Top 10 Best Psychic Mediums.” Using Soul Contracts as a foundation, she offers a fresh perspective on working deeply with pets, relationships, developing intuition, and spiritual growth.
Intensely connected to the animal kingdom, Danielle communicates with pets and their humans effortlessly. She uses her skills to help animals and their people better understand one another while working toward a common goal: happiness. Her particular gift is in revealing the Soul Contract between pet and human which, once determined, can open the door to a more fulfilling, more balanced and happier relationship.
Armed with the belief that grounding and clarity lead the way to soul-level peace, Danielle facilitates and inspires evolution within each of her clients. Her unique method enlightens, enlivens and excites her clients as they use her insight to make lasting, positive change in their lives. Danielle’s Soul Contract readings have assisted many in understanding the “why” behind their troubled relationships — and when armed with the “why” the “how” becomes illuminated as well.

A Year on Your Path To Growth: Daily Inspirations to Reconnect With Your Soul ~ Keri Nola

IMAGINE A DAY WHERE YOU:

• Remember your infinite worth, no matter what

• Reconnect with your Divine Authentic Self and be inspired to move forward

• Become confident in your ability to deal with your sufferings and experience peace

It can happen and the possibility starts here.

Do you want to move forward, but feel lost and stuck?

Do you wonder what your own purpose truly is on this earth?

I understand. I’ve been there.

I know what it’s like to feel anxious and depressed wondering what the purpose of such pain is, and then to search for happiness in a world that has such suffering. After a dear friend of mine died tragically, I deepened my search for the meaning of my own life while grieving the loss of hers. Since then, I have been on a journey to peace that has taken me to great perspectives, a journey that has changed my life, and a journey that has the potential to change yours as well. Together, let’s release your questions and fears and reconnect you with your divine birthrights of love, joy, and abundance for authenticity and happiness.

In A Year on Your Path to Growth: Daily Inspirations to Reconnect with Your Soul, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Keri Nola, provides the daily compassion and comfort you yearn for and deserve, while inspiring you to reconnect with your authentic self. Her real life experience paired with her exceptional education and professional background has guided her along a meaningful path to understanding – one she desires to share with you. Ultimately, this year long journey of paradigm shifting inspiration will bring you the one thing you desire most – peace.

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A Year on Your Path To Growth: Video Book Trailer

A Year on Your Path To Growth: Daily Inspirations to Reconnect with Your Soul published this year (2012) by highly regarded Psychotherapist and Author, Keri Nola.

Deepak Chopra & Eckhart Tolle Talk Consciousness & the Present Moment

As part of The Chopra Center’s “Seduction of Spirit” retreat at La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., on April 24, 2013, EckhartTolleTV hosted a live-streaming event called “A Conversation with Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle.”

Both authors discussed consciousness, the present moment, discovering silence and more to an audience of more than 1,400 locally in California, and thousands more over the Internet.

Eckhart Tolle took the stage first and asked everyone to join him in the present moment rather than be absorbed by their thinking, which by itself is a shift in consciousness, he explained. An easy way to enter the present moment is through sense perceptions – noticing whatever a person can see and hear at the moment. A huge amount of our attention is “continuously absorbed by thinking,” and much of what we think is not relevant to anything important, and is negative, said Tolle.

“Every thought has a seductive quality, and it wants to draw you in,” he said. “But if you follow each thought you are at the mercy of what is in your mind.”

Living this way, consciousness is actually being absorbed by the mind. All the things that make life worth living – beauty and joy – actually involve less thinking.

“For joy to come into your life – a moment of joy – you might not realize it, but at that moment there is a space that opens up inside you where you are not thinking,” Tolle explained. “To recognize beauty anywhere, the thinking mind needs to subside and a little bit of space opens up … you might not recognize it, but you are not thinking. If you are thinking, you are not really seeing it. To really see it, there has to be a moment of alert presence where thinking subsides.”

This moment or gap in thinking is the presence or consciousness that resides within us all. This is the space that does not judge another human being, and where we can feel empathy and compassion, said Tolle. However, many people are so trapped by their minds, they live in a “totally conceptualized universe where every human being they meet, they judge, and they take entire groups of humans and judge them – they dehumanize them – and this is how violence can happen,” he said.

Recognizing Consciousness

Most people identify themselves based on images and thoughts in their mind, which have been taken from what they are told by others – their mother, father, siblings, environment and culture. They take this self-image on as their “story,” and it becomes the foundation for their sense of identity.

They often believe in order to feel better about themselves and their place in the world, they need to collect more possessions, or find the right relationship. They believe these things will bring them peace and happiness, but it is never enough.

“We are never satisfied for long and always things will go wrong,” Tolle said. You will never be satisfied for very long if you don’t know who you are and you try to enhance the mind-made sense of self.”

By identifying with the mind, we are only focusing on half of who we are – they physical and physiological form. “That is how most people live their lives, and they don’t know what they are missing,” Tolle told the audience.

While those who find themselves on a spiritual path understand there is a state of enlightenment, they often mistake it for something that needs to be reached or achieved. The truth is, this state, which Tolle called “the transcendent dimension” is who we really are and is always present. The reason people don’t recognize its presence is because they are tied up in the movement of thought and emotions in the mind.

‘Those things absorb your attention, and there is something very vital that you overlook, and that is something that without which you couldn’t even think. There would be no thought, and there would be no emotions. That something is presence – the formless presence of consciousness itself, which is always there if you stop thinking for three seconds,” Tolle explained.

While meditation helps us get there, we can be aware of this state at any moment. This is our other half known as inner presence, he said. Using the room where the event was taking place as an analogy, he compared the people and the furniture or chairs to the thoughts in our mind, and the space holding the people and furniture as the essence representing consciousness.

“Without the space, the room means nothing. It couldn’t even exist,” he said explaining the same is true within us. “There is a spaciousness within you that is continuously missed because you are so interested in the furniture in your head.”

Humanity is beginning to enter into an evolutionary shift where thinking is transcended, said Tolle. We are moving away from identifying ourselves as a thought-based entity and moving toward recognizing ourselves as presence-based entities.

“If you derive your sense of identity from the presence within you, and more and more you become comfortable with spaces of not thinking, you can walk from one building to another, or from the building to your car and just be in the state of alert presence. You see beauty everywhere, and you don’t need to label anything.”

One of the great spiritual practices is the practice of not labeling anything and not interpreting what we perceive. This can be done anywhere, said Tolle, recommending we try it the next time we find ourselves waiting at a checkout, traffic light or airport.

“Instead of waiting, invite the state of alertness in and realize there is nothing wrong with waiting. You either stand, sit or lie somewhere. Does it really matter where you stand, sit or lie?” he asked the audience. “You can use your waiting periods – instead of complaining – to just be present. Enter the field of presence that you are and at that moment you become a spiritual master.”

Who is Looking?

Following Tolle, Chopra took the stage and immediately picked up where he left off. “Right at this moment, as you are about to listen to me, just turn your attention to who is listening. You are looking at me. Turn your attention to who is looking. That is you. That has always existed,” he said to the audience.

That consciousness or “the one who is listening” has been with us all along, and is essentially timeless, he explained. “Time is just the movement of thought that creates a subject and object split. Transcendence is simply going beyond the subject object split – which is an artificial split, and the cause of every single problem that we know.”

Coming from the Vedanta tradition, known as Hindu philosophy, Chopra spoke of the five kleshas known as the cause of suffering. These are:

1. Not knowing who you are

2. The addiction and craving for permanence in a world that is inherently impermanent

3. The fear of impermanence

4.. Identifying with your self-image – all the labels, evaluations, judgments, ideas and concepts collected since birth – instead of your true self

5. The fear of death, which is also the fear of the unknown.

In the real world – the world of consciousness – there are not objects, said Chopra. Objects exist through perception. Another way of putting it is to say, “there are no nouns, only verbs,” he explained. “The universe is a verb. It’s an activity. It never stops.”

All suffering comes from nouns – or things – that don’t really exist, he told the audience. When looking at the five kleshas, or causes of suffering, all of them are contained in the first one – not knowing who we really are, which is essentially consciousness.

“You can’t find this presence by looking for it because it’s the one that is looking. You can’t find consciousness by looking for it because consciousness is the one that is looking,” Chopra explained.

Quoting Rumi, he said “who am I in the middle of all this though traffic.” He explained many of us identify with the traffic instead of the presence around it. We are always looking outside of ourselves for happiness – be it the right person, the right job, winning the lottery, perfect health – and all of this is thought.

“Before the thought arises you are already happy and after the though subsides you are exactly where you started from,” he noted. “Happiness or joy is the starting point, and it’s also the ending point.”

Chopra spoke about an acronym SIFT created by Dan Siegel, which stands for Sensation, Image, Feeling and Thought. These things occur within consciousness, but consciousness is always present with them.

“People ask where do I go when I die? Let me ask you a question,” he said to a person in the audience. “What did you have for lunch today?” The answer was a salad, and Chopra explained the memory came back to her through SIFT, an image, a feeling or a thought. “Where was that image before I asked you the question?”

He said traditional neuroscientists would say the image was in the brain, but they can’t answer where memory is stored at the cellular level. “Do you think if I went into your brain I could see that picture?” he asked the audience member. “So where do we go when we die? We go where the salad was before I asked you the question,” he joked. “We don’t go anywhere because we are there all the time.”

What we call the physical world – the one we experience with our five senses – is awareness within awareness, he said. If we could anchor ourselves in the “space” that Tolle spoke about prior, we can find a new and more joyful experience open to us.

“It’s your ticket to freedom,” said Chopra. “Why? Because it’s the you that never dies.”

Deepak’s Retreat

Chopra shared an experience he had at a retreat in Thailand two years ago in a monastery. Everyone there shaved their heads and eyebrows, went begging for food and shared one meal a day. The remainder of the time was spent in silence and “observing impermanence.”

“It had a dramatic effect on all of us because it threw us into presence,” he told the audience. “When we were leaving, the senior Abbott left us with two things, and I want to leave you with them.”

1.There are no boundaries in the universe. Every boundary is conceptual. In reality there are no boundaries. We create them, just like we create longitude and latitude for convenience.

2. The present moment is the only moment that never ends. Situations and circumstances around the present moment will change, but the moment won’t change because it’s timeless. It’s transcendent. It’s eternal.

“The most important moment of your life is now. The most important person in your life is the one you are with now, and the most important activity in your life is the one you are involved with now,” said Chopra. “If you do that, the unknown will become known to you. The unknown is actually known only in the present moment. Death happens only in time. Only that which is born dies; that which is never born cannot die.”

Source: Elevated Existence Magazine

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