Archive for November, 2014


Test subjects taking part in an 8-week program of mindfulness meditation showed results that astonished even the most experienced neuroscientists at Harvard University

The study was led by a Harvard-affiliated team of researchers based at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the team’s MRI scans documented for the very first time in medical history how meditation produced massive changes inside the brain’s gray matter.

“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

Sue McGreevey of MGH writes: “Previous studies from Lazar’s group and others found structural differences between the brains of experienced meditation practitioners and individuals with no history of meditation, observing thickening of the cerebral cortex in areas associated with attention and emotional integration. But those investigations could not document that those differences were actually produced by meditation.” Until now, that is. The participants spent an average of 27 minutes per day practicing mindfulness exercises, and this is all it took to stimulate a major increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. McGreevey adds: “Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased gray-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress. None of these changes were seen in the control group, indicating that they had not resulted merely from the passage of time.”

“It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life,” says Britta Hölzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany. You can read more about the remarkable study by visiting Harvard.edu. If this is up your alley then you need to read this: “Listen As Sam Harris Explains How To Tame Your Mind (No Religion Required)” VIEW HERE

David Lynch on Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain (Transcendental Meditation)

David Lynch explains his understanding about consciousness, creativity and the brain. He says that Transcendental Meditation played crucial role in developing his consciousness and boosting his creativity.

One lady in the audience says: I teach film, I make films. I would like to know what does meditation or how does meditation connect to your creative process or to how it might help the creativity of my students.

David Lynch: If you have a golf ball sized consciousness, when you read a book you’ll have a golf ball sized understanding, when you look out a golf ball sized awareness and when you wake up in the morning a golf ball sized wakefulness.

But if you could expand that consciousness then you would read the book with more understanding and when you look out more awareness and when you wake up more wakefulness – it’s consciousness.

Source: Feel Guide


Essential to survival, seeds have profound spiritual implications. For centuries the planting of seed in the earth not only nourished humanity, but also symbolized the mystery of life and the journey of the soul. In our current supermarket lifestyle of pre-packaged products, far removed from the cycles of planting, we have nearly forgotten this mystery. Now as the integrity of the seed is threatened, so is its primal meaning.

Inspired by physicist and environmental leader Dr. Vandana Shiva, each essay draws on the wisdom of ancient and modern traditions. Mystics, shamans, monastics and priests remind us of the profound sacredness of the seed—how in its purity, it is the source and renewal of all of life.

Tenderly composed of original writings and vibrant photos, this book bears witness that the Earth is alive, and establishes that only by working together with the Earth—with its wonder and mystery—can we help in its healing and regeneration and once again bring meaning back into the world.

Edited and compiled by the Global Peace Initiative of Women, the book includes contributions from His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, H. H. the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, Sister Joan Chittister, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, Swami Veda Bharati, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Chief Tamale Bwoya, Blu Greenberg & others

SACRED SEED: A Collection of Essays


Introduced by Vandana Shiva
“Whatever happens to seed affects the web of life.” —Vandana Shiva
Essential to survival, seeds have profound spiritual implications. For centuries the planting of the seed in the earth not only nourished humanity, but also symbolized the mystery of life and the journey of the soul. In our current supermarket lifestyle of pre-packaged products, far removed from the cycles of planting, we have nearly forgotten this mystery. Now as the integrity of the seed is threatened, so is its primal meaning.
The book includes contributions from His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, H.H. the 17th Karmpapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Chief Tamale Bwoya, Blu Greenberg, Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Nan Lu, OMD, Swami Omkarananda, Dena Merriam & others.
For more information or to purchase, please visit: spiritualecology.org/SacredSeed
Published by The Golden Sufi Center: goldensufi.org/book_desc_sacred_seed.html
Edited and compiled by the Global Peace Initiative of Women: gpiw.org

Seeds of a New Humanity – Sister Joan Chittister


Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, is an internationally known writer and lecturer. She currently serves as co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, facilitating a worldwide network of women peacebuilders from all the faith traditions. Sister Joan is a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania, USA, and has written fifty books.
For more about SACRED SEED: spiritualecology.org/publication/sacred-seed
For more about Sister Joan Chittister: spiritualecology.org/contributor/sister-joan-chittister

Deepak Chopra MD: To have worldly success, do you have to be worldly yourself? Most people assume that the answer is yes.
The poet Wordsworth may complain that “the world is too much with us late and soon,” but modern life seems to demand total immersion in the race to the top. If you stop looking out for number one, no one else is likely to, and in a highly competitive workplace, there’s only room for winners.

In three earlier posts I’ve pointed out that the world’s wisdom traditions don’t agree with this viewpoint. The path to happiness isn’t through obeying the demands of the ego-personality, with its constant focus on “I, me, and mine.” But one must be realistic. The way to clean coronary arteries isn’t through eating prime beef and pork rinds, yet people do. Prevention that has long-term benefits is hard to practice in the face of short-term gains and pleasure.

The appeal of the conscious lifestyle – one that attends to higher values like love,compassion, selflessness, and inner growth – must be short-term, too, or it won’t stick. Success has to be compatible with that lifestyle – and I argue that it is. The essence of spirituality is consciousness. Whether you find God or enlightenment at the end of your journey is secondary. You can’t even proceed on the journey without expanding your awareness.

There’s where the secret resides. Expanded awareness brings success. All our customary notions about the spiritual need for renunciation, poverty, and humility are, in my view, too limited and perhaps wrong. There has been a mix-up between a specific religious view, which abhors worldliness as the root of all evil, and the value of consciousness itself. It doesn’t matter if you choose to be worldly or not. What matters is the following:

– Do you enjoy a fresh stream of new solutions and insights?

– Are you in touch with who you really are, which is beyond the roles you play?

– Can you see a situation past your own point of view?

– Can you empathize with others and genuinely feel where they are coming from?

– Do you feel connected to a reality larger than yourself?

– Can you see the underlying purpose and value of your existence?

– Are you following a vision of life that can sustain you for years to come?

To answer “yes” to these questions doesn’t make you a saint – it makes you someone who has seriously walked the path of expanded awareness. Each of these things I’ve listed are of immense value to an innovator, entrepreneur, manager, or CEO. Awareness isn’t a rubber band, but it needs to be stretched. This can’t be done by force; nor can you rely on life lessons as you struggle to the top. Success ultimately depends on who you are, not what you do.

Which is why the world’s wisdom traditions speak about the need for transformation. At this moment, what does your life consist of? At bottom, it consists of input and output. You find yourself responding to a given situation – the input – and you do, think, or say something – the output. For the vast majority of people, the output is automatic, reflexive, and mostly unconscious. I’m not saying this to demean anyone. It’s a spiritual axiom that everyone is doing the best they can from their own level of consciousness.

If you are asked to cook a soufflé, the result will be different depending on your level of culinary skill. The same holds true for thinking, speaking, and doing. They all reflect your level of skill, although “skill” is too limited a term. Awareness is all-embracing. It includes everything you are and all that you have experienced. But the beauty of the human mind extends much further, because your awareness also embraces everything you have never thought or said or done, all the hidden possibilities that need to be awakened before you really discover who you are.

This domain of hidden potential is the richest reward of expanded awareness. When you consider that Henry Ford started out as apprentice machinist and went on to run a failed automobile start-up company after his investors lost faith in him, his immense success later running the world’s largest car company depended on a vision that kept expanding, sustaining him despite external twists of fate. Failure turns into opportunity exactly this way, by incorporating the setback into your awareness, processing it unflinchingly, and emerging with a bigger vision.

If that sounds too idealistic, consider the poison dart hidden in worldliness, or attachment to external success and failure as the sole measure of achievement. In that scheme, losing makes your awareness contract. Every loss of money, power, and status is like a loss of self. Awareness can be expanded in many ways. The most important are these:

– Meditation

– Silent reflection and contemplation

– Communing with Nature

– Seeking higher guidance

– Associating with admired people who serve as mentors and models

– Studying the great saints, sages, and seers

– Identifying with your inner self and not your external achievements

– Living by a higher vision of life, and of who you are.

– Placing importance on our own inner growth and spending time on it.

– Keeping up with the most far-seeing thinkers in your field.

– Being open to change, not fearing the unknown.

– Being comfortable with uncertainty and the rewards it offers.

Leadership: Do You Have What It Takes? | THE RABBIT HOLE with Deepak Chopra

Description: Deepak Chopra explores the essential traits that characterize visionary leaders.* Does it take power, money, and charisma, or is more about compassion, love, and focused attention? Deepak explains how a truly great leader is the heroine of her own story – operating from the soul level and inspired by vision and inner wisdom as opposed to greed. Do you have what it takes to be a great leader?

THE RABBIT HOLE features fast-paced and mind-blowing explorations of BIG questions: What is death? Who is God? Is life an illusion? Are we alone in the universe? Using visually stunning graphics and music, we fall down the rabbit hole as Deepak Chopra provides his intriguing take on some of humanity’s eternal questions.

Q. I read you every day on your site and I’m so grateful to you for your teaching. I resonate a lot with it and I have a question.

Consciousness is all there is. Consciousness chooses to experiment with a body and a world with free will. I understand that there is no separate entity in the sense that it is impermanent and that all those apparent entities take form in and out of consciousness and so are impersonal.

If I know myself as pure Consciousness, formless pure light. Does that mean that when I quit that apparent entity, that personality, that ego, that apparent me will dissolve completely?

If yes, who are all those dead entities that some people have the ability to see and get in touch with and even help them to transition. This seem to be so real and quite confusing and what about reincarnation?

Thank you for your great generosity.

RS: If we truly know that Consciousness is all there is, this question would not arise.

It is more in line with non-duality to be honest about our thoughts and feelings rather than to adopt a new apparently non-dual belief. No belief is non-dual including the belief in non-duality.

It is not that the separate entity is impermanent – it is rather that it is non-existent. The apparently separate entity is a figment of the imagination whether it appears in the waking state, the dream state or an after death state.

That separate entity does not transition anywhere. How can a non-existent entity transition anywhere?

Why think of reincarnation? You are not even incarnated let alone reincarnated!

Incarnated means ‘born into the body.’ See clearly that the Awareness that you intimately know yourself to be in this very moment is not located in or as the body.

Be knowingly that Awareness and allow all appearances of the apparent entity and all ideas about incarnation and reincarnation to pass through you.

Who is the ‘I,’ the you, that will quit ‘that apparent entity, that personality, that ego?’ That one does not have to quit anything – it is already inherently free of the separate entity.

And who is ‘that apparent entity, that personality, that ego’ that needs to be quit? It dies or disappears every time the thought or feeling about it ceases. In other words, it is constantly dying.

In fact, it was never alive in the first place. As an entity it is just an object, like a table or a chair. However, if we look for that entity, we never find it. We find instead this presence of Awareness, that is, it finds or knows itself. That is what is alive in all seemingly alive things.

That is the light, the aliveness, the ‘experiencing’ in all seeming things and experiences.

Take your stand knowingly as this presence of Awareness and see that it never moves, changes, appears disappears, is born or dies.

With love,

Rupert


Published on Nov 27, 2014

A discussion about acceptance.


Published on Nov 27, 2014

The experience of ‘being aware’, which knows itself in each one of us as the knowledge ‘I am’, is intimately one with all experience and yet, at the same time, free of the limitations of any particular experience. It is the exclusive entanglement of our Self – the experience of ‘being aware’ or ‘aware being’ – with a collection of limited thoughts and feelings that is responsible for the loss of this intimacy and freedom. All that is necessary for their recovery is to clearly see the qualities that are always and already present in our Self.

Artist and Non-duality Teacher Rupert Spira has been deeply interested in the nature of Reality from an early age. For twenty years he studied the teachings of Ouspensky, Krishnamurti, Rumi, Shankaracharya, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta and Robert Adams, until he met his teacher, Francis Lucille, twelve years ago. Francis introduced Rupert to the teaching of Jean Klein, Parmenides, Wei Wu Wei and Atmananda Krishnamenon and, more importantly, directly indicated to him the true nature of experience. He is author of The Transparency of Things and Presence, Volumes I and II (The Art of Peace and Happiness and The Intimacy of All Experience.

Pub Date Apr 21 2015

A lively exploration of contemporary Buddhism from one of its most admired teachers

Do you feel at home right now? Or do you sense a hovering anxiety or uncertainty, an underlying unease that makes you feel just a bit uncomfortable, a bit distracted and disconnected from those around you?

In The Road Home, Ethan Nichtern, a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, investigates the journey each of us takes to find where we belong. Drawing from contemporary research on meditation and mindfulness and his experience as a Buddhist teacher and practitioner, Nichtern describes in fresh and deeply resonant terms the basic existential experience that gives rise to spiritual seeking—and also to its potentially dangerous counterpart, spiritual materialism. He reveals how our individual quests for self-awareness ripple forward into relationships, communities, and society at large. And he explains exactly how, by turning our awareness to what’s happening around us and inside us, we become able to enhance our sense of connection with others and, at the same time, change for the better our individual and collective patterns of greed, apathy, and inattention.

In this wise and witty invitation to Buddhist meditation, Nichtern shows how, in order to create a truly compassionate and enlightened society, we must start with ourselves. And this means beginning by working with our own minds—in whatever state we find them in.

Ethan Nichtern is a Shastri, a senior teacher, in the Shambhala tradition. He is the youngest senior teacher in the global tradition. He is the author of and the nonfiction book, One City: A Declaration of Interdependence (Wisdom Publications), and the forthcoming The Road Home (FSG Books, North Point). He is also the author of the novella and poetry collection, Your Emoticons Won’t Save You,He is also the founding director of The Interdependence Project, an
organization dedicated to Buddhist-inspired meditation and psychology, transformational activism, mindful arts, and meaningful media. He teaches and lectures around the world and is based in New York City.

The Internet is Not Your Teacher

Ethan Nichtern explores the limitations of online dharma


The Authors@Google program was pleased to welcome Ethan Nichtern to Google’s New York office to discuss his book, “One City: A Declaration of Interdependence”.

Ethan Nichtern is the acclaimed author of “One City: A Declaration of Interdependence”, and the founding director of the Interdependence Project , a nonprofit created to bring meditation principles to the arts, activism, environmental concerns, and responsible consumption. A teacher of Buddhist meditation and philosophy for the past six years, he currently teaches at New School University and lectures regularly at Brown, Wesleyan, and New York universities.

Published on Nov 23, 2014
Interview with Vedic Astrologer Michael Reed of Authentic Astrology.

Conversation focus on Nakshatras and Zodiacs.

You can connect with Michael Reed here:

http://authenticastrology.com/

Published on Nov 24, 2014
The question is, ‘What is your twig – the thing that gets to you?’
The mind knows your moves and will press the buttons.
This is the divine game.Every part of it is good. Every part of it is in service to you. But you must be smart enough to know that.

A video extract from Satsang with Sri Mooji at Monte Sahaja
12th October 2014

Music: Harida Quinteros on Santor: http://www.nazcamusic.com

We have all heard the popular saying “would you rather be happy or right”. It is usually said to illuminate a tense situation with another person where we are at odds over a principle. Generally, this questions is heavily biased, imploring us to pursue being “Happy” (Venus) rather than being “Right (Mars). And yet, we get into just as many problems with our relentless pursuit of happiness at all costs – as we do arguing / wanting to be right about things.

Published on Nov 25, 2014
http://www.mydailyastrology.net/join/…

On November 24 at a little past 8 PM in Missouri, it was announced that no charges would be brought up against police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.


Published on Nov 25, 2014
A conversation about the nature of grace and happiness.

With a deep mindful breath we announce to the world the news that yesterday, the 11th of November 2014, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, experienced a severe brain hemorrhage…

Thich Nhat Hanh on Compassionate Listening – Super Soul Sunday – Oprah Winfrey Network

Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says listening can help end the suffering of an individual, put an end to war and change the world for the better. Watch as he explains how to practice compassionate listening.

Thich Nhat Hanh is receiving 24 hour intensive care from specialist doctors, nurses and from his monastic disciples.

At present, Thich Nhat Hanh is still very responsive and shows every indication of being aware of the presence of those around him. He is able to move his feet, hands and eyes. There are signs that a full recovery may be possible.

For the last two months, Thich Nhat Hanh’s health had already been fragile due to his advance age. He was hospitalized in Bordeaux on the 1st of November. He was gaining strength day by day until this sudden and unexpected change in his condition.

All the monasteries in the tradition of Plum Village are organizing practice sessions to generate the energy of mindfulness and to send Thich Nhat Hanh this healing and loving energy. We would like to ask the whole worldwide community of meditation practitioners to participate and support us in this critical moment. We know and trust that Thich Nhat Hanh will receive all your energy and that this will be a big support in his healing and recovery.

Our practice of stability and peace in this very moment is the best support we can offer to Thich Nhat Hanh. Let us all around the world take refuge in our practice, going together as a river to offer Thich Nhat Hanh our powerful collective energy. We are all cells of the great Sangha Body that Thich Nhat Hanh has manifested in his lifetime.

On behalf of the Monastic Dharma Teacher Council of Plum Village,

Bhikkhu Thich Chan Phap Dang

Bhikkhuni Thich Nu Chan Khong Nghiem


The Magazine Patheos reported earlier on Thich Nhat Hanh:

It appears that internationally renowned Zen teacher and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh, is in the process of passing away. As with all such things swirling around the internet, take these unofficial announcements as you see fit – wait for official word if you wish, or take this as an opportunity to join those who are holding him in their hearts and minds now. The 88 year-old Buddhist leader has been ill for several months and today the following was posted to the facebook page of Chan Indonesia, where it is said that they have confirmed the news directly with a monastic at Plum Village.

Dear Sangha Friends,

We get a sad news, it says that one of our great master, Thich Nhat Hanh, is passing away in Plum Village, with his disciples around him.They are calm and focused, and so should we be. His continuation is already here in his senior students, and we also are part of that continuation.

There will of course be official announcements as things unfold, and they will be passed on to you. But his passing out of this material manifestation is imminent. The Sisters ask that you sit, peacefully for Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh), as they are doing, and send him your love. Also, that you might like to chant for him (you could do it along with the monks and nuns) this Avalokiteshvara Chant: The clip is 3 minutes long.

Namo Valokitesvaraya – Plum Village Chanting

Source: Om Times


Published on Nov 23, 2014

Nukunu was born in Odense, Denmark 1947.

He left school 13 years old. He was declared hopeless so he was given no education certificate.

He worked and trained as a house painter for the next 4 years.

After 9 months of military service he started to study again, first secondary school, then college and the University. He holds a Bachelor in Philosophy and a Master in Psychology.

In the end of his Master degree 1979 he met Osho. Maybe the most important event in his life so far.

He worked as a therapist in Poona and the West for the next 16 years. When Osho died in 1990, Nukunu was carried on to another Enlightened Master Poonja’ji in Lucknow. He spent 4 years with the great Master until he finally met the masters of the Sacha Linage in 1994. On March 9, 1995 there happened spontaneously a shift in Nukunu’s consciousness and a radical new way of viewing life was born.

Since then all his work has been centered on helping people into the non-dual.

Nukunu uses his background in meditation and therapy to invite you into who you are.

His basic approach is that you are already what you are looking for.

“Relax as awareness into this moment and it will reveal itself.”

You cannot become Enlightened (since you are it already) you can be Enlightened.

His Dharmadoors are all about going beyond the separation of “I” and the content of consciousness.

He is offering Satsangs, Intensives, retreats and a training in Non-Dual Therapy.


Published on Nov 19, 2014

Illness can open the doorway to awakening.

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