Archive for September, 2015


“Let us guard the mind with all diligence from thoughts that obscure the soul’s mirror; for in that mirror Jesus Christ, the wisdom and power of God the Father, is luminously reflected. And let us unceasingly seek the Kingdom of Heaven inside our mind. Indeed if we cleanse the eye of the mind, we will find all things hidden within us. This is why our Lord Jesus Christ said that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us, indicating that Divinity dwells in our minds.” –Saint Philotheos of Sinai, circa ninth century.

In this provocative and very human work, Tom Chetwynd tells the story of how his skeptical first encounters with Zen Buddhism led him to discover the rich-but largely forgotten Christian tradition of pure contemplative prayer. Chetwynd explores the surprisingly Zen-like teachings of the Desert Fathers and other Christian meditation masters whose practice stems from the very first Christian communities–and perhaps Jesus Christ himself.

Tom Chetwynd is the author of many books on dreams, myths, and symbols, including The Dictionary for Dreamers and The Age of Myth: The Bronze Age As the Cradle of the Unconscious. He lives in London, England.

Look Inside

Any practitioner, after meditating for some time, inevitably wonders what meditation method the historical Buddha Shakyamuni himself used while beneath the Bodhi Tree. Many people understand that prior to his realization, Shakyamuni Buddha studied with many of the great yogis of his time, but most do not know what method he ultimately found leads most directly to nirvana.

In Ajahn Buddhadasa Bhikkhu’s book, Mindfulness With Breathing, the Thai meditation master provides practitioners with penetrating insights into the Anapanasati Sutta, the canonical text which many believe is the most direct transmission of Shakyamuni Buddha’s breath meditation methods. Combined with a concise translation of the sutta itself, Mindfulness with Breathing is one of the best guides to Buddhist meditation practice available in the English language.

Look Inside

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (1906-1993) was a famous and influential Thai Buddhist philosopher, widely known as an innovative reinterpreter of Buddhist doctrine and Thai folk belief. Buddhadasa fostered a reformation of conventional religious perception in his home country, as well as abroad. Although he was an ordained Buddhist monk, he rejected specific religious identification and considered all faiths as principally one. Since the 1960s his work has inspired a new generation of socially concerned individuals around the world. He is the author of numerous works, including Mindfulness with Breathing: A Manual for Serious Beginners.

Life and Work of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

“Life and Work of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu” is a video about a world renowned Theravadan monk of Thailand. Information about him is available here at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhadasa.

If you would like to find out more about him, his monastery, Wat Suan Mokkh and the meditation centre nearby, Suan Mokkh International Dharma Hermitage where many people attend the “Anapanasati” meditation courses in either English or Thai every month, kindly visit the official websites at http://www.suanmokkh.org/ and http://www.suanmokkh-idh.org/

The present abbot of the monastery, Ajahn Poh also conducts retreats at Koh Samui Island. Retreat information is here at http://dipabhavan.weebly.com/

All 3 venues are located in Surat Thani province, South Thailand.

Overview
Prepare for the journey of your life. Literally. This book does not aim to make your life carefree, to make your problems disappear, to turn you into a saint free from blemish or blame. In fact, you may end up utterly bewildered by The Mystery Experience at times. But you will also be intrigued. Curious.Questioning. Loving. Loved. Overjoyed. Seduced out of the numbness of banality. And most importantly, awake. Gloriously awake, and full of wonder.

Philosopher and author Tim Freke leads us on a journey through the nature of the ‘Mystery Experience’, via quantum physics, Gnosticism, the essence of Tao, meditation, Walt Whitman, Greek mythology, Buddhism, Dub Punk musician Jah Wobble, and Carl Jung. But what is the ‘Mystery Experience’? You can taste it by simply focusing your attention on the mystery. But what is the mystery? The mystery is life. The mystery is the journey. The mystery is you. The mystery is me. The mystery makes you want to say, simply: WOW. No one has the answers, but asking the questions is what makes us come alive.

Wherever you’re coming from, you will find this journey rewarding. The only real requirement is that you’re willing to wonder about life … to be curious and open … to be an explorer. Now prepare to leave base camp, because we’re about to set off on a grand adventure.

Tim Freke has spent his life exploring the ‘Mystery Experience’ and sharing it with others. He has an honours degree in Philosophy and is an internationally respected authority on world spirituality. He is often featured in documentaries and interviewed by the global media, such as the BBC and the History Channel. He is the founder of the Alliance for Lucid Living (ALL) and author of more than 30 books that have established his reputation as a scholar and free-thinker. He co-authored the acclaimed The Jesus Mysteries, which was a Daily Telegraph ‘Book of the Year’ and a Top 10 bestseller in the UK and USA and his book Jesus and the Lost Goddess was cited by Dan Brown as an inspiration for The Da Vinci Code. For more information see http://www.timothyfreke.com
Tim Freke – Stepping into the mystery experience of life – recorded in Glastonbury UK

Timothy Freke (born 1959) is a British author of books on religion and mysticism.[1] [2] Freke is perhaps best known for his books, co-authored with Peter Gandy, which advocate a Gnostic understanding of early Christianity and the Christ myth theory,[3] including The Jesus Mysteries: Was the “Original Jesus” a Pagan God? and The Laughing Jesus: Religious Lies and Gnostic Wisdom.

Tim Freke’s Beautiful Interview, The Mystery Experience @ Boutique Hotel Casa Angelitos in “HQ”

A great conversation with Tim Freke, (Bestselling Author and Internationally Respected Authority on World Spirituality), that took place in a great location in San Miguel de Allende, Gto., México, called Casa Angelitos,

The Mystery Experience, Tim Freke

Written and Voiced By Tim Freke. Directed by Nick Ralph.

INITIAL AWAKENING is most important shift that can occur within our lifetime, but even that key development is no more than an invitation to the larger dance. Ultimately, if we do not clear up after we wake up, then awakening will have been of little consequence. In the absence of that critical clearing process our awakening is reduced to becoming a pleasant memory of an important event that happened long ago and which we presently cannot quite remember or explain.

The movement toward abidance in, and embodiment as the Living Truth is what authentic spirituality is really all about. The articles in this book are written predominantly for those already in the post-awakening state. However, many of the challenges and difficulties we face in the earlier levels of awakening will be familiar to any earnest seeker presently in the pre-awakened state. Regardless of whether you are a seeker, or a finder, you’ll find aid and comfort here from someone who’s helped many hundreds of clients and students around the world.


FRED DAVIS studied and practiced Eastern wisdom for twenty-five years prior to 2006, when seeking ended, and true awakening commenced. In recent years he’s become a student of ancient Western philosophy as well. He is the creator and editor of AwakeningClarityNow.com, and the founder of The Living Method of Awakening. Fred is also the author of the nondual bestsellers, The Book of Undoing, Book of Unknowing, and Beyond Recovery: Nonduality and the Twelve Steps. He conducts both public and private sessions online via Skype and Zoom.

Look Inside

Motivation, Purpose, and Life Involvement in Post Awakening (Nonduality, Advaita)

Published on Jun 9, 2015

This a video about how and why to get re-involved in your life after you wake up.

Fred Davis, The Living Method of Spiritual Awakening, AwakeningClarityNow.com

Enlightenment Myths (Spirituality, Nonduality, Advaita)

A look at the “perfection projection”.


The Spiritual Heart — is in a way a little like a smart phone, invisibly connecting us to a large network of information. It is through an unseen energy that the heart emits that humans are profoundly connected to all living things. The energy of the heart literally links us to each other. Every person’s heart contributes to a ‘collective field environment.’ This short video explains the importance of this connection and how we each add to this collective energy field. The energetic field of the heart even connects us with the earth itself.

The HeartMath Institute (http://www.heartmath.org) is helping provide a more comprehensive picture of this connection between all living things through a special science-based project called the Global Coherence Initiative (http:///www.heartmath.org/gci.) They hope to help explain the mysteries of this connection between people and the earth…and even the sun.

Scientists at the HeartMath Institute (HMI) have already conducted extensive research on the power of heart, the heart/brain connection, heart intelligence and practical intuition.

Whether personal relationships, social connections, or even the global community – we are all connected through a field of electromagnetic energy. Increasing individual awareness of what we bring to this field environment could be the key to creating a sustainable future, a future that we can be proud to have helped create. To learn more about this research please visit https://www.heartmath.org/about-us/vi….


Deepak Chopra & Madonna – My Burning Heart – Bittersweet from the ”Love Poems of Rûmi”
My Burning Heart
My heart is burning with love
All can see this flame
My heart is pulsing with passion
like waves on an ocean
my friends have become strangers
and I’m surrounded by enemies
But I’m free as the wind
no longer hurt by those who reproach me

I’m at home wherever I am
And in the room of lovers
I can see with closed eyes
the beauty that dances
Behind the veils
intoxicated with love
I too dance the rhythm
of this moving world

I have lost my senses
in my world of lovers

Bittersweet
written by Rumi, edited by Deepak Chopra, reading by Madonna
———-

In my hallucination
I saw my beloved’s flower garden
In my vertigo, in my dizziness
In my drunken haze
Whirling and dancing like a spinning wheel

I saw myself as the source of existence
I was there in the beginning
And I was the spirit of love
Now I am sober
There is only the hangover
And the memory of love
And only the sorrow

I yearn for happiness
I ask for help
I want mercy
And my love says:

Look at me and hear me
Because I am here
Just for that

I am your moon and your moonlight too
I am your flower garden and your water too
I have come all this way, eager for you
Without shoes or shawl

I want you to laugh
To kill all your worries
To love you
To nourish you

Oh sweet bitterness
I will soothe you and heal you
I will bring you roses
I, too, have been covered with thorns

Intoxicated by Love
Because of your love
I have lost my sobriety
I am intoxicated
By the madness of love

In this fog
I have become a stranger to myself
I’m so drunk
I’ve lost the way to my house

In the garden
I see only your face
From trees and blossoms
I inhale only your fragrance

Drunk with the ecstasy of love
I can no longer tell the difference
Between drunkard and drink
Between Lover and Beloved


Published on Sep 28, 2015

In this clip, taken from this month’s Video of the Month, Easwaran introduces his commentary on Chapter 23 of the Dhammapada, “Patiently I shall bear harsh words as the elephant bears arrows on the battlefield. People are often inconsiderate.”

For Easwaran, true strength shows itself in kindness, and true courage in gentleness. We can make those qualities our natural response to difficulties.


There is a zen saying that “Enlightenment is a divine accident, but spiritual practice makes one more accident prone.”

It reflects beautifully the synergistic dance between grace and personal effort in the awakening process.

All non-dual teachings remind us that freedom and love is our natural state. God – pure radiant consciousness, is what we always already are, even if we do not feel it yet as our emotional reality. Many insist that since our deepest being is already free, we need not engage in any kind of spiritual practices. Why seek to become what we already are? Others focus on chipping away at the blocks to truth, working to become awake. I take an integrated approach that includes both perspectives, embracing what helps us taste more directly our true nature as ever-present being and love, and what helps us continue unfolding and embodying that realization.

Dedication cultivates Ripeness

I have always been a mystic at heart – following the thread of my direct experience as it has unfolded, supported by study and practice of universal truth teachings. After an initial awakening into Boundless Love as a teenager that set me upon the spiritual path, I found my way to years of very dedicated formal practice that included specific meditations, prayers, study and esoteric practices, alongside in depth psychological unpacking and quality guidance from good teachers.

This served me well for many years, and this period of disciplined effort clearly smoothed out some of the more crude edges of my personality structure (or at least showed me what these edges were!) It also seemed to cultivate greater receptivity to more refined spiritual states of awareness. The engine of my practice was a deep yearning to return permanently to the glimpses of unity that I had tasted in moments of grace. Although my practice worked well, there seemed to be a wall my own efforts were unable to penetrate through.

Grace happens of itself

One day on pilgrimage to a sacred mountain in southern India, a deep transmission into no-mind spontaneously arose. It happened by grace when I was not seeking anything special. At the time, I was just sitting quietly in the cave that had been the home of Ramana Maharshi. It was a transmission from His depth of silence. My consciousness opened up beyond all concepts of God, self, spiritual reality that I had known previously. The familiar sense of self dissolved in an ocean of infinite being, infinite silence. The peace and fulfilment was indescribable. It came with guidance, a teaching from the depths that oriented me into a very profound relaxation – not to try to be anything, get anything, become anything, relinquish anything, just be, just rest. It was profound and utterly natural.

By grace my individual consciousness, the separate ‘me’ disappeared, and with it the efforts to attain enlightenment – primed it seemed by the pump of so many years of sincere practice. Yet when it passed, as all states at some point do, it was clear I was in new terrain that would take significant integrating (some years and still continuing). This new awareness of self/reality had to knock down though all dimensions of my being, loosening everything that prevented this landing into embodied actualization. It initiated a new phase of life and understanding.

After the ecstasy – the integration

With supportive conditions, certain practices and a sincere heart, such taste of spiritual realization can happen to anyone, but this does not therefore make us enlightened. After substantial spiritual openings, we usually pass through a period of undoing proportional to the degree of the spiritual opening. It is a necessary stage of integration often initiating an entry into the unknown where existing maps usually cannot nagivate us. In the months and years after this non-dual awakening, it felt as though the subtle structures of my entire chakra system (and life) were being dis-mantled, re-arranged, so that they could re-form to accommodate this deeper awareness. Although I understood this process, on a human level I was very raw and shaky for a while. I had to learn to ride that and keep resting in the ground that does not change.

Initially I tried to continue with my previous spiritual practices, but the forms of practice that had nourished me up until this point now felt very clunky and not that resonant with the new terrain I was in. The same guidance that had appeared in the cave was gently inviting me to just be still, not to try to get anything in particular, not even desirable spiritual qualities. Prayer no longer made any sense as I felt beyond any kind of theistic God. This was uncomfortable as my natural disposition has always been very devotional, and identified as a bhakta. Although it felt weird to let my familiar practices go, somehow I knew it was right and necessary.

‘Nothing real can be threatened: Nothing unreal exists’

~A Course in Miracles

Amidst the shifting internal landscape, pretty much every structure in my outer life that had been propping up my prior identity started dissolving. There was nothing to cling to at all and that clearly was the point. My years of spiritual practice had given me a context for the process of egoic dismantling, which helped me trust even though it felt like being asked to allow death of all that I knew.

At certain junctures of evolution, death is required. However, what dies off are merely self-images which we have taken to be the self. These images and identities run very deep and hold together our ego structure and known sense of reality, keeping us bound in experiences of fear, deficiency and separation. Even seemingly positive self-images at some point block the way as often we are using them to compensate for our sense of separation. Most people go through life suppressing all of this, living on the surface of them-selves through keeping busy and distracted, yet this kind of suppression cost us contact with our soul.

To live a meaningful life where we continue unfolding, we must learn to befriend the empty spaces where we are not controlling the course. This allows for shedding of old identities, structures and ways of being both internal and external that are no longer true. Ultimately, we are invited to surrender everything – that’s how grace, or the hand of the divine mystery can spring forth abundantly from within us.

The Practice of Ego-Relaxation

Surrender is a movement of non-doing. You cannot direct yourself to surrender, because the one trying to surrender is the one in the way! This is part of the problem with spiritual approaches oriented at repressing or killing off the ego to get to preferred spiritual summits. They usually fuel internal conflict and keep the engine of separatness fed by seeking to get, fix or become something – even enlightened. There is another, much more feminine way we can approach our spiritual path and practice that supports our ego to relax, so we can learn how to let ourselves BE. This sounds simple, but how to live it?

It we look at the ego as a matrix of beliefs, defences, un-investigated assumptions, inherited patterns and historical impressions, we see there are many threads that keep us bound in a contracted and primitive consciousness. I hold the view that our ego is not a mistake, nor is it wrong; it is just a stage of evolution that has not yet realized its own true depth. We don’t have to try to fix it, we just have to come to know our self deeper. Viewing the places we personally get caught in our ego tendencies, it is obvious that a loving, compassionate approach is such an important beginning point to help us relax the defensive need to direct and control our experience so much.

Spacious Allowing:

Love as spacious allowing, supports our capacity to inquire into what obscures the truth of our being. With real love, we can explore our attachments, our defenses, our habits of closure with truthfulness. With love and space, absent from any kind of judgment, our soul unfolds into deeper reality beautifully, because it inherently knows the way. As I sit with people in retreat or private sessions around the world in embodiment of these aspects, I see so clearly that this is the spiritual environment that allows for liberation, healing and direct realization.

Over the last couple of years I have been exploring what’s practically involved in ego relaxation, letting the unreal melt. I began to map what happened when people sat with me and see if this could translate into a practice that people could access for themselves. This has been coalescing into a method of guiding people into deeper direct experience, and also a series of practices that support us in how to be as we are: Essentially, the practices I have gathered, some drawn from ancient traditions and some have come through as guidance, all support us in:

opening into what’s unfolding,
softening our clinging and resisting,
allowing grace to unfold without interference
recognizing what has always been here.

This opening, softening, allowing and recognizing is to be embraced not as a doing project, but as moment-to-moment invitation for surrendering with our whole being not just the mind. It is a holistic ‘method’ for non-interference.

Soul support for heart, mind, body:

This is a path of integrated awakening that supports both deeper access to grace, spiritual nourishment and vertical love AND a means to inquire, diving in and through our human experience to land in deeper direct wisdom. This liberates a deep and true sense of guidance that can navigate us through life with authentic meaning. It shows us how to use our everyday human experiences as the gateway to our depth, and is a waking down- as much as a waking-up.
Trusting Heart:

There are certain practices that really help us cultivate a loving, trusting heart. Chanting, centering prayer, calling on help from enlightened beings, and just turning our attention to see what’s really holding us now and in all moments, opens up a visceral sense of trust. The deeper our heart trusts – the more surrender happens – the more receptive we are to grace.
Inquiring Mind:

There are certain practices that support us in cultivating clarity and one-pointedness, which helps prevent endless egoic distractions pulling us back into repeating patterns of suffering. There are simple meditations that help us calm and quieten so we can listen to the voice of stillness, letting the mind inquire with particular questions that open us up, rather than endlessly analyzing our experience or closing down in judgment and self-attack.

Present Body:

There are practical ways that help us to really be here, present in the now so we can stay out of our mind’s assumptions and stories, and discover what and who is actually here. Sensing body energy is a profound friend in helping us to be here, staying open to our actual experience rather than our mental concepts about what’s happening.

Personal Psyche Included:

Lastly, I have seen just how important it is to be thorough and humble in working through and not trying to jump over our psychological history. The impressions that formed in mind, heart and nervous system as children when our ego was forming into a personality, need to be metabolized in an atmosphere of deep love and understanding in order for higher spiritual states to land. More than anything, this blocks the landing of grace.

In my retreats and teachings this spring/ summer, I share the practices I have found to be most helpful. Although I embrace the appropriate use of certain simple methods, all are in the service of one thing:

  • relaxing the interference,
  • relaxing the need to control and direct everything all the time,
  • so we can BE STILL and KNOW
  • Residing and living as That,
  • both on the cushion and in day to day life.

Effortless Practice:

There is no end to the depth that we can be still and know God – who we are.

Until our realization is fully stabilized ie: we are continually residing in awareness of eternal reality, and able to embrace all that arises with equanimity, spiritual practice is incredibly useful. However, we want to approach spiritual practices not from the efforting perspective of our super-ego, but in a way that truly supports the naturalness of grace unfolding.

It is not just the actual practice we take up that makes the difference, but the attitude to it. Let your spiritual practice, whatever form it takes, be powered by your heart’s natural love for God, for the source of Itself. Feel into your love of the real – and the true satisfaction that arises when you are in touch with yourself. Even when what is flowing through you is something very tender, still there is a kind of fulfillment that comes when we are really present. This satisfaction arises because we start to feel our own soul – we are more intimate with our own heart. Nothing satiates the heart like authenticity. Let your spiritual practice form around the rituals, rhythms and practices that most support your defensive habits unwinding. What most helps you to rest in pure unconditional being? What help do you need to soften, open and dive inside with dedication to the truth, whenever your greatest difficult comes knocking on the door?

On the other side of a huge journey into greater spiritual depths, that involved the dis-mantling of everything I thought I was and knew, I have landed in a preciousness of all things human. Devotion, discipline and practice has returned, but in a way that feels relaxed and round rather than effort-full. Certain old patters don’t seem to live me any more, others I am more awake to and growing more compassionate with. Ironically after hanging out in some pretty abstract spiritual dimensions, I re-integrated into a much more grounded person, happier to be here in ordinary life here on earth yet with a more substantial footing in changeless grace. A new depth of love emerged in my spiritual experience and in my personal life, and with it new humility for life. There is deep sweetness in being alive, with it all. Life itself is grace, and gratitude abounds.

~ Miranda

The Heart of Awakening with Miranda Macpherson –

Miranda Macpherson is known for her depth of presence and refined capacity as a guide into direct experience of the sacred. Inspired by Ramana Maharshi, A Course in Miracles, and extensive study of the world’s wisdom traditions and transformative practices, Miranda offers a deep holding to rest undefended in the present, taste greater dimensions of consciousness, and explore integration in daily life. She is the founder of the Interfaith Foundation in London, author of Boundless Love, and has been teaching internationally for more than 20 years.

Enlightening Poems by Rumi

The following poems were written by Jelaluddin Rumi in the 13th Century A.D. His words are often mysterious, yet often refer to his personal search and passionate, intimate connection with the Divine Presence within.


This is an important book. Don’t be misled by the casually graceful repartee and lightness of touch. Without dogma, without heavy shoulds and should nots, Gary and Rich point towards something eternal, framed in our 21st century understanding of neuroscience, spirituality and … something that arises from, and returns to, the Stillness and the Silence.

They offer practical investigation and guidance towards “the sweetest, fullest, most loving, caring, and manifesting experience that anyone could ever wish for.” These chapter headings include: “Using dialogue for awakening,” “Can you “do nothing” and awaken?”, “Why do we fear emptiness, silence and stillness?”, “Functioning without thoughts: sex, psychedelics and non-duality.”

Gary Weber has a Ph.D. in physical sciences and worked in national labs, industry, and academia in R&D and management. Simultaneously, he has done over 30,000 hrs of self-inquiry and Zen meditation and yoga, and experienced the falling away of the “I” and the loss of self-referential thoughts, desires and fears.

Professor Richard Doyle is Liberal Arts Research Professor at Penn State University where he has taught since 1994. Ever since reading the work of futurist Alvin Toffler at age 12, Doyle has been on a scholarly and personal quest to understand the effects of information technologies on the evolution of human culture and consciousness

Look Inside

Living in Nonduality – The Hard Questions

Gary Weber’s comments on the panel discussion, “Filling in the Details” at the Science and NonDuality Conference in Doorn, the Netherlands, May 28 – June 2, 2013. Moderator – Jeff Warren, other panelists, Lisa Cairns and Tim Freke.

Topics covered included what happens w/nondual awakening as far as compassion, functioning, changes in personal relationships, sexual desire, synchronicity, fears, surprises, attachments, emotions, surrender, intimacy, control, free will, thoughts, helping others, etc.

letting go into the bliss and joy of stillness

Dialogue between Gary Weber and Rich Doyle on the approaches, and processes of letting go into the deep bliss of stillness. Byron Katie’s “The Work” and the Sedona Method are explained as well as Ramana Maharshi’s “unchanging vs changing” approach to accessing the “peace that passeth understanding”. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Michele Foucault, Robert Adams and Miles Davis also make appearances.

Inspiring accounts from renowned contemporary working shamans about their first moments of spiritual epiphany

• With contributions by Sandra Ingerman, Hank Wesselman, John Perkins, Alberto Villoldo, Lewis Mehl-Madrona, Tom Cowan, Lynn Andrews, Linda Star Wolf, and others

• Also includes shamanic awakening experiences from those with unique shamanic paths–teachers, mothers, social workers, academics, and even rappers

How does one receive the “call” to enter onto the shamanic path? What causes some people to change their safe, uneventful, and ordinary lives and start on a spiritual search? For many it is a singular instant, a flash when the mystical reveals itself and the person is drawn into the world of shamanic power. For a few, it is a more gradual awakening, filled with numinous events that build upon one another until the calling of the shamanic path can no longer be ignored.

In this book of remarkable stories, we learn firsthand about the many different forms of the “aha” moment of shamanic awakening, whether they arise from ceremony, near-death experiences, dream messages, or entheogenic substances. We travel alongside Sandra Ingerman, Hank Wesselman, John Perkins, Alberto Villoldo, Lewis Mehl-Madrona, Tom Cowan, Lynn Andrews, Linda Star Wolf, and other well-known shamanic practitioners as they begin their transformations into the prominent shamans we know them as. We experience the real-life shamanic epiphanies of those with unique shamanic paths–teachers, mothers, social workers, academics, healers, and even rappers who have all experienced a moment in time in which they were awakened and the shamanic path showed itself to them.

As each of these unique and beautiful stories of unexpected realization, insight, and inspiration unfolds, we see how these single moments–usually entirely unexpected–are able to transform the individual’s life, clearing their vision and allowing a new consciousness to emerge. As a whole, this collection paints a breathtaking portrait of the intricacies of the shamanic path and the paradigm shift of which we all are part.

Itzhak Beery is an internationally recognized shamanic healer and teacher. He was initiated into the Circle of 24 Yachaks by his Quechua teacher in Ecuador and by Amazonian Kanamari Pagè. He has also trained intensively with other elders from South and North America. The founder of ShamanPortal.org and cofounder of the New York Shamanic Circle, he is on the faculty of New York Open Center. His work has been featured in the New York Times, films, TV, and webinars. An accomplished visual artist and owner of an award-winning advertising agency, he grew up on Kibbutz Beit Alfa in Israel and lives in New York.

Look Inside

The Gift of Shamanism – Trailer

“Through his straightforward and surprising stories you can witness firsthand his transformation, from a skeptical nonbeliever who was a New York advertising executive, to a full-fledged shamanic practitioner and teacher for others around the world. This is a testament of personal awakening and a lesson to others, but most of all it is an affirmation of the power that shamanic traditions offer us during this time of extreme planetary vulnerability.

The Gift of Shamanism is also a tribute to Itzhak’s teachers, many of whom I know personally and have worked with. This book is written in the time-tested shamanic tradition of storytelling and from the perspective that only through personal examples can we learn the secrets of our own existence and achieve the goal of realizing our highest purpose.

Read on. Be amazed and inspired. Above all, be open to your own powers.”

JOHN PERKINS


Published on Sep 26, 2015
Francis answers 2 questions: a) Is enthusiasm a state?; and 2) Loss in the belief in a personal God.
2015 Summer retreat with Francis Lucille week 2 Day 1

Interview with James Swartz from Yoga and Health Magazine

James: It depends on what you mean by ‘serious.’ Although Yoga has become a mass phenomenon but in general people in the West do not take to yoga for enlightenment. At the lowest level yoga is just a sophisticated calisthenics’ regimen. But Yoga can be much more than a good workout. In India it is a healthy spiritual way of life. You live according to certain tried and true spiritual principles. It is an amazing system that basically takes the stress out of life. In the West most people who practice yoga do so because their lifestyles are unhealthy. They just work out the stress physically and feel good for a while and then go back to the bad habits that caused the stress in the first place. So it is a coping strategy. But there is a psychological and spiritual dimension to Yoga too. It is about getting free of your psychological hang-ups. There is a famous scripture called the Patanjali Yoga Sutras that lays out the whole discipline. Freedom or enlightenment is seen in the Yoga system as a permanent state of happiness in which you see everything equally. It is called Samadhi. Sama means equal and ‘dhi’ is a contracted from of ‘buddhi’or intellect. So it indicates a person who has the vision of oneness.

Interviewer: Can you explain what Vedanta is?

James: Vedanta is usually called the yoga of knowledge or the yoga of no-contact. There is a certain irony in this statement because yoga means contact, union, communication, connection. The idea in Yoga is that you ‘connect’with and become one with your self. And since your self is the self in everyone and everything, you experience oneness with everything. In this way you become free of inner and outer conflict. Knowledge Yoga frees the selffrom dependence on objects. It is not an intellectual teaching, although it requires a discriminating mind. It engages the seeker in such a way that it produces insight into the nature of reality in most individuals.

Interviewer: What do you mean by objects?

James: An object is anything that you depend on for happiness other than your own self. The problem with depending on objects like people, for example, is that they constantly change. And even if the object remains the same, the desires of the subject, the one who is relying on the object for happiness, constantly changes. So happiness, which is the result of the successful pursuit of and enjoyment of an object, never lasts.

Interviewer: This sounds very challenging. How does it work?

James: You have to look into yourself to see if you, the subject, is lacking in happiness. You need to determine if the happiness comes from the object or if it comes from you. The method is enquiry. If you look at the reality of your own experience in light of the teachings of Vedanta you will see that that the way you see things is not the way things really are. You realize that you are ignorant of the nature of the Self. If you have a proper Vedanta teacher, he or she can help you understand the true nature of reality.Most of us feel small, insecure, incomplete and inadequate. This feeling drives our desire for objects, like security, pleasure, power, status, or relationships. When we want or don’t want something the mind is disturbed by the desire and we don’t see things clearly. We project what we really want on the object and then we are disappointed when it fails us.

Interviewer: Patanjali talks about this inability to see things as they really are in the Yoga Sutras. So why would Vedanta offer a more effective way of freedom?

James: Because Patanjali’s methods depends on achieving certain states of mind. Patanjali’s notion of freedom is experiential. That is, there is something that you have to ‘do’ to set yourself free. This doesn’t work because freedom, kaivalya, which is a word for lasting unconditional happiness, cannot be the result of any action. The doer of any action is limited and the results of action are limited, but freedom is limitless, so it cannot be caused by something a person does. Freedom is the nature of the true Self. It is something that we are, not something to be gained. A long time ago the Vedic sages evolved a method of inquiry that shows us how to get what we already have. It is quite simple, but extraordinary at the same time.

Interviewer: What do you mean by the Self?

James: The Self is your own consciousness, your awareness. It is always free of objects. Often in spiritual literature you see it capitalized to distinguish it from the ego but this can cause a person to think that there are two selves, a higher one and a lower one, a true one and a false one. But there is only one self and it is non-dual, ordinary, action-less whole and complete awareness. It is very simple and very immediate and at the same time very difficult to realize because of the deeply conditioned belief that you are the sum total of all the experiences that happened to you.

Interviewer: OK, so I am aware that some of the scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads talk about the Self or Awareness. But is it really possible for any of us to reach this state?

James: Yes, but the Self is not a state. We are already the Self.

Interviewer: So how do we know when we have realised this?

James: Because your desire for objects dries up. You no longer feel that you need anything to be happy. You are Self-satisfied.

Interviewer: Can you describe what this feels like?

James: It is a sense of wholeness and completeness, authenticity. You feel like a rock, nothing can disturb you. It is more than object happiness. It is contentment. It is a sense of un-caused well being, a feeling that is not a feeling that you ARE love. It is peace, the peace that passes understanding.

Interviewer: Is this something that many people can know?

James: If they are eligible. If their minds are prepared, then yes. This is where Patanjali is very valuable because different kinds of yoga can prepare the mind so that it can grasp the understanding that there is only one Self and that it is ever-free awareness.

Interviewer: So what kinds of preparation are you talking about other than Patanjali?

James: Karma yoga. This means giving up anxiety that you feel for the fruits of your action because you understand that they are not in your hands. You may be a doer of action but you are not the ordainer of the result.

Interviewer:: So who is?

James: God is.

Interviewer: What do you mean by God? In my own yoga study there is a lot of confusion around this word. Do you mean Isvara as described in the Yoga Sutras?

James: Yes. God is the whole field of existence…the creation…in which the doers or jivas (individuals) are working for results. Most of us see ourselves as the doers. God is purusha, or Awareness operating prakriti, the field of existence. So yes, you can also use the term Isvara of God, but these are just words that refer to life. Life gives you what it wants you to have, not necessarily what you want.So you do what you do as a worship of God, the field of life, with love and you accept what life has to offer. This quickly purifies the mind. It clears up emotional problems, most of which come from an unrealistic view of what life can and cannot do for you.

Interviewer: Are there any other preparations that you would recommend for self-realisation or is karma yoga enough?

James: Tri-guna vibahva yoga is highly effective. This means creating a pure mind by manipulating the gunas. The idea is to have a sattvic lifestyle which leads to a sattvic mind. Most yoga teachers understand the importance diet and lifestyle but I am not sure how many understand the value of a purely sattvic mind. Yoga people tend to be rajasic and sattvic, with perhaps a bit too much rajas. Rajas is good for getting out of tamas, but it is a problem when it comes to self inquiry because the mind needs to be very quiet for inquiry. Karma yoga and the yoga of the three gunas are indirect means of self realization.

Meditation is very useful too but it is a more advanced method because your life needs to be reasonably settled for it work. Many yoga people find meditation difficult owing to excessive rajas and a lack of the karma yoga attitude. Meditation is also an indirect means.And the direct means of self realization is jnana yoga or self inquiry because ultimately the problem of self realization is a problem of self ignorance and only knowledge, not techniques, remove ignorance. Jnana yoga supplies the seeker with cognitive tools which change the way you see yourself and the world. And then by contemplating the meaning of the teachings, it brings about direct insight into your nature as ever-free awareness.

For more on Vedandata visit http://www.shiningworld.com


Published on Sep 19, 2015

Starting with a personal anecdote of a moment of being shocked into awareness by Brugh Joy in 1975, Richard describes the essential need to develop the witnessing capacity of the aware ego — observing and feeling what arises in our bodymind while remaining in non action.

A sweeping field guide to the practice of mindfulness.

From Acceptance to Zafu, Mindfulness A to Z offers a wealth of inspirational advice and practical instruction on how to bring mindfulness fully into your life. In each entry, Dr. Kozak combines his personal insights and expert guidance on all aspects of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness A to Z presents a multifaceted look at living mindfully in our hectic world, whether dealing with internal conflict, such as fear of missing out, technical problems, such as how to meditate comfortably, or everyday joys such as finding your smile.
Whether you devour the whole book in one sitting, or read an entry a day, Mindfulness A to Z will be a great resource for building better practices in your daily life.


Long before mindfulness was fashionable, Arnie Kozak, was studying, practicing, and teaching mindfulness and Buddhist psychology. Beginning with a journey to India in the 80’s, Arnie began his lifelong practice in mindfulness meditation. Intent on finding a way to bring the practical healing attributes of mindfulness he began incorporating these techniques in his private practice.

In 2002 Dr. Kozak created Exquisite Mind in Burlington, Vermont as a vehicle that could expand the value of mindfulness to larger audiences including professionals and corporations, health care providers, public groups and, most recently with Exquisite Mind Golf, amateur and professional golfers. His first book, Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants: 108 Metaphors for Mindfulness (Wisdom Publications, 2009) is a thoughtful, funny, and inspiring translation of mindfulness practice through the inventive use of metaphor applicable to our daily lives. It has been translated into three languages.

His second book, The Everything Buddhism Book, is an accessible introduction to the Buddha’s wisdom and the Buddhist traditions. The Everything Guide to the Introvert Edge and Mindfulness A-Z: 108 Insights for Awakening Now are forthcoming books. Arnie’s ability to translate ancient healing traditions into pragmatic applications suitable for modern lifestyles through the use of metaphors have made him a contributing voice in the Mindfulness Revolution.

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A to Z Promo

Published on Sep 23, 2015

An introduction to my latest book, Mindfulness A to Z: 108 Insights for Awakening Now

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness Author, Teacher and Therapist – Dr. Arnie Kozak

Holistically Speaking interviews Dr. Arnie Kozak, Mindfulness Author, Teacher and Therapist, Burlington, Vermont

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