Published on Nov 12, 2015
A conversation about resistances in the body.
Published on Nov 12, 2015
A conversation about resistances in the body.
Light Upon Light is a book to touch the heart, and awaken the spirit. It takes the lives of some of the great spiritual masters of the last millennium, from Rumi, to twentieth century saint Darshan Singh, and illuminates their inner quests. More than simply biography, Light Upon Light delves into their perceptions of the world, the innermost workings of their minds, and the life incidents that led them to enlightenment.
In this sense Light Upon Light is not about the spiritual path; it is designed to take the reader and carry them into the spiritual path, and perceive the wisdom of the masters from within. While author Andrew Vidich PhD has exemplary academic credentials, he writes from the heart, and calls the reader to a direct experience, a “felt sense” of the core of these masters’ teachings. He also emphasizes meditation as the universal constant taught by all masters, and has provocative exercises in each chapter to stimulate self-reflection, contemplation, and to give the reader experience of practical meditation techniques. This is a book to be treasured by both long-time spiritual students, and those new to the great masters of the path.
Andrew Vidich, PhD, is an internationally recognized author and educator. A resident of New York, he has taught religion at Manhattan College and Iona College, and is a founding member of the NY Interfaith Council. He has studied meditation for 35 years, and is the author of Love Is a Secret (Aslan, 1994).
Andrew Vidich: Spiritual Resurrection–Becoming Beings of Love and Light
Each one of us must eventually leave this material world to journey onward to the spirit realm. Speaker Andrew Vidich explores the true meaning of resurrection? Through meditation and appropriate guidance, we can learn how to fly heavenward on the wings of our “light body.” The true meaning of resurrection is to become what we already are: beings of love and light. Become a living embodiment of the resurrection. 2014.
From running an orphanage to being a political adviser, from being held in a prison cell to living in a crowded city, meditation has changed people’s lives. Be the Change is a fascinating exploration of how meditation can not only awaken our latent potential, but also transform the world, creating the foundation for a caring and compassionate future.
As a prisoner in a Chinese jail, Kirsten Westby was able to find solace by sitting quietly in contemplation. Deeply affected by walking on the moon, astronaut Edgar Mitchell went from exploring outer space to discovering the vastness of inner space. Coping with HIV, Mark Matousek found healing through group meditation. Seane Corn used her yoga and meditation expertise to work with child prostitutes in LA.
In the last few decades, people in all walks of life have begun to realize the profound benefits of meditation. While this ancient practice is personally transformative by calming the mind and reducing stress, awakening the heart, and deepening insight, can meditation also change the world for the better? We invited many of today’s most notable voices explore this issue, reflecting on how looking within has resolved issues such as anger and fear, inspiring them to work toward a more caring and peaceful future.
Be the Change was conceived in response to a need to make sense of what is happening in the world at large. We wondered, “Could something as subtle and understated as meditation also have an affect on business, conflict resolution, or politics?” And on an even wider scale, “What change could happen if something so simple were to become a global movement?”
Interwoven among our own thoughts on the subject are the words of more than one hundred meditation practitioners from various walks of life, from Ellen Burstyn—Oscar award-winning actress—to Jon Kabat-Zinn—director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, from Marianne Williamson—bestselling author and renown inspirational speaker—to Richard Davidson—Professor of Psychology at Wisconsin University.
Enlightening and inspiring, Be the Change is essential reading for all who desire to make a difference in their own lives and in the world.
From the foreword by the Dalai Lama: “I strongly recommend anyone interested in meditation not to simply read what these people have to say, but to try it out. If you like it and its useful to you, keep it up, and if it isn’t, just leave it. Treat this book as you would a cookery book. You wouldn’t merely read recipes with approval, you’d try them out. Some you’d like and would use again. Like cookery, meditation only makes sense if you put it into effect.”
From the foreword by Robert Thurman: “Thank goodness Ed and Deb have so beautifully enfolded the gifts of all the fascinating individuals in this book, within the moving stories of their own lives and transforming experiences! In this living book Ed and Deb have masterfully woven the many voices into a symphony—the insights and stories harmonize and contrast with each other in a marvelous rich flow that is both calming and energizing, creating a single collective yet selfless voice.”
Ed and Deb Shapiro are the award-winning authors of 16 books on meditation, personal development, and social action. They are featured bloggers for HuffingtonPost.com, Intent.com, Care2.com, and Oprah.com. They teach meditation workshops worldwide, and work as corporate consultants. They are the creators and writers of the Daily Chillout inspirational text messages on Sprint cell phones. Their books include: Your Body Speaks Your Mind, winner of the 2007 Visionary Book Award and finalist for the Nautilus Book Award; Voices from the Heart, with contributors such as President Gorbachev, the Dalai Lama, and Bishop Tutu; and Meditation: The Four Step Course to Calmness and Clarity. They have taught meditation and personal development for over 25 years. They currently reside in Boulder, Colorado.
Spirituality – The 7 Principles of Spiritual Practice ~ “Meditation”
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.
Published on Oct 12, 2015
David grew up on the SW coast of Canada. In the mid-70’s, he discovered the subject of consciousness, then Transcendental Meditation (TM). This was quite a revelation. He quickly became a keener, avidly attending many talks and courses. Nine months after starting TM, he arrived in NE France for a 6 month retreat where he would train to become a teacher of TM.
After 3 months with lots of purification and clearing, he had sporadic witnessing experiences where awareness shifted briefly into an observer mode. Then in the second 3 months, the lights came on. With a blinding flash of white light (which he much later learned was makara), the witness became permanent, throughout waking, dreams and sleep. At first, he was over-attentive, keeping the mind awake to observe sleeping and manipulate dreams. But quickly that settled into a simple continuity of awareness underlying all experience.
Soon after that, the first re-cognition happened, a form of experience where everything about the object is known. This enlivens that principle in consciousness, making it easier for still others to have the same. In this case, it was hiranya gharba or the golden egg – the seed and origin of the universe. It took months to unpack it. Perception continued to unfold from there. At the end of the course, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi confirmed the experiences and said there would be much more.
As David returned to normal life, it became clear that Self had woken internally but had not woken up to Itself in this form yet. Self co-existed with an identified ego. But subtle perception continued to unfold in a myriad of ways.
David’s life grew into career, marriage, and family. Inner development continued but took a back seat for a number of years to the usual demands of a householders life. This helped ground and integrate what was unfolding and culture the platform further. Then in 2005, life made several unexpected changes. The spiritual side of life again moved to the forefront. He reconnected with some old friends. A few it turned out had become Self-Realized.
After some feedback and darshan with Lorne Hoff, Self at last woke up to Itself here as well. Probably because of the long witnessing, this was quickly followed by a series of profound shifts in Being. And that in turn by transcending Being into Brahman. The unfolding continues.
http://www.lucialorn.net/ [link Lorne Hoff]
http://davidya.ca/2014/01/25/stages-o… [link “a series of profound shifts”]
Accompanying this process, writing began to help integrate what was unfolding. Then the call came to share those discoveries on-line under the nickname Davidya. David was present for and helped support the awakenings of many others, leading to a broad understanding of the varieties of this process. The writing evolved into a large blog discussing many of the aspects of the approach, shift, integration and embodiment of transpersonal stages of development, otherwise known as enlightenment. In 2011, David obtained a graduate degree in Vedic Science. He anticipates releasing a first book on transpersonal stages later in 2015.
David has a professional background in software design and development in several industries but now works mostly with WordPress. For this interview, rather than listening from the mind to a story, I invite you to take a different approach. Settle back into presence and notice the talking and the listening. Give the content less weight and notice the experiencing itself. This is where the magic is, in simple awareness.
http://davidya.ca/2015/08/06/the-valu… [link “a different approach”]
When the path ahead is dark, how can we keep from stumbling? How do we make our way with courage and dignity? “Inside each of us is an eternal light that I call ‘the One Who Knows,’ writes Jack Kornfield. “Awakening to this wisdom can help us fin dour way through pain and suffering with grace and tenderness.” For anyone seeking answer during a trying time, he offers “A Lamp in the Darkness,” a book-and-CD program filled with spiritual and psychological insights, hope-giving stories, and guided meditations for skillfully navigating life’s inevitable storms.
The practices in this book are not positive thinking, quick fixes, or simplistic self-help strategies. They are powerful tools for doing “the work of the soul” to access our inner knowing and to embrace the fullness of our life experience. With regularly practice these teachings and meditations enable you to transform your difficulties into a guiding light for the journey ahead. Join Jack Kornfeld as your trusted guide as you explore:
· Shared Compassion-a guided practice for planting the seeds of compassion and opening the heart to all that life brings
· The Earth Is My Witness-a meditation to establish firm footing in the midst of darkness, centered by a steady witnessing presence
· The Practice of Forgiveness-what Jack calls “the only medicine that can release us from the past and allow us to truly begin anew.”
· The Temple of Healing-a guided visualization to meet our own inner healer
· Equanimity and Peace-a meditation for maintaining balance and acceptance regardless of the situation
Just as it is certain that each life will include suffering, explains Kornfield, it is also true that in every moment there is the possibility of transcending your difficulties to discover the heart’s eternal freedom. With A Lamp in the Darkness, he offers you a beacon for yourself and others until joy returns again.
Jack Kornfield, Ph.D. co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, in 1975 and later, the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. His books include After the Ecstasy, the Laundry and the national bestseller A Path with Heart (over 100,000 copies in print).
Table of Contents
Foreward by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Introduction: An Invitation to Awaken
1. The Wisdom of Our Difficulties
2. The Earth is My Witness
3. Shared Compassion
4. Awakening the Buddha of Wisdom in Difficulties
5. The Practice of Forgiveness
6. The Temple of Healing
7. The Zen of an Aching Heart
8. Equanimity and Peace
9. Your Highest Intention
10. The Four Foundations of Mindfulness and the Healing Journey
Afterword: The Return of Joy
If you’re reading these words, you’ve probably hit hard times. Perhaps you’ve lost a loved one, or maybe you’ve lost your job, or received a difficult diagnosis, or someone close to you has. Maybe you’re divorcing or you’re in bankruptcy or you’ve been injured, or your life is falling apart in any number of ways. Maybe daily life itself has become too much for you.or not enough. But even in the best of times there’s plenty to worry about: seemingly endless wars and violence, racism, our accelerating environmental destruction. In difficult times, personally or collectively, we often begin to wonder not only how we can get through this difficult patch; we begin to question existence itself.
Jack Kornfield: 12 Principles of Forgiveness
The acclaimed author and teacher explains the principles that are integral to the process of forgiving, according to Buddhist philosophy.
Published on Sep 25, 2015
The experience of the head and the experience of seeing, hearing.
How to Relax into Life as a Living Meditation, More Fully and Enjoyably as You…
This cherished collection of invitations supports you in practical and profoundly human ways to become more awake to yourself and the world of your experience. Embracing topics such as trust, love, blame, attraction, anger, self-remembrance, abundance, and many more, these “reading meditations” demonstrate how available it is to awaken more deeply to the present moment, here and now. No need to go off to a cave in the Himalayas! Rediscover how to live in acceptance of “What Is,” how to access the experience of oneness in any given moment, and how each and every aspect of who you are, no matter what, benefits you directly in this sacred process.
Canela Michelle Meyers has been supporting people to Awaken to themSelves (encompassing all aspects of the human experience as opportunities for expansion) in Transformational Satsang gatherings since 1999 worldwide. “Right Here, Right Now Meditations” is offered as a direct support to Awakening to, and embodying, the Truth — this that is available to all people, no matter what they know, don’t know, or how long they have been looking, or not looking, for “This That Is.” To learn more about the author, visit http://www.CanelaMichelle.com.
Canela Michelle Meyers – ‘Recognising Truth’ – Interview by Renate McNay
This is a story of awakening. Canela Michelle Meyers guides us through different experiences where Awareness was knocked wide open. She takes us through the adjustments in her body and in her life that occurred thanks to these experiences till the shift to the Awakened State of Being happened. Canela is the author of Right Here, Right Now Meditations.
ALSO VIEW HERE on the interview with BATGAP
“What’s wrong with me?” So many of us regularly experience feelings—such as shame, loneliness, self-hatred, or just a general sense of deficiency—that give rise to this question. For over 35 years, clinical psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach has worked with people to relieve this kind of emotional suffering and guide them toward spiritual awakening.
Brach is the founder of the Insight Meditation Community in Washington, DC, and author of True Refuge and Radical Acceptance. She spoke with S&H about feelings of unworthiness, working with these painful feelings, and healing in relationships.
Tell me about the “trance of unworthiness.”
When people start looking more closely at the reasons that they’re having a difficult time feeling close to other people, they often realize that it’s because they are not liking themselves. Over the last few decades, I have found that the deepest expression of suffering that we have—especially in the West—is this sense that “I’m not okay. I’m deficient. I’m falling short in some way.”
A woman once told me about being with her mother while she was dying. Her mother came out of a coma and said, “All my life I thought something was wrong with me,” and then she went back in the coma and died. For this woman, it was the greatest gift to hear that. So many of us spend huge amounts of our lives feeling this way—sometimes it’s a very explicit dramatic sense of being damaged goods, and other times it’s a subtler layering of judging ourselves. We’re not good enough. We’re falling short. We should be doing something better. Whatever level this is happening on, when we are turned against ourselves, we cannot embrace our world with an open heart.
How does this feeling of falling short affect our lives?
It affects everything. It is affecting this conversation right now that you and I are having. There’s some monitoring going on: Am I doing my job? Am I likable? Am I going to make a good impression?
This background doubt in every communication makes it hard for us to do any number of things, such as take a risk at work. It can also drive addictions because we feel anxious about failing and have to soothe ourselves. Most dramatically, we can see it in our relationships. You can’t be intimate with someone else unless you have a capacity to embrace your inner life. Whenever we’re with other people, if we’re not feeling aligned with ourselves, there is some part of us that is always trying to get approval or avoid being judged.
Where do you think these feelings of unworthiness come from?
Each of us grew up with set standards—provided to us by our caregivers and the larger culture—that informed us how to act in order to be loved or respected. I should look a certain way. I should achieve certain things. At work we have these ideas of what it means to be successful, and we’re always rating ourselves and other people. We have ideas about what it means to have a good personality or what it means to look good. The larger culture has very explicit standards on what it means to “make it.”
To the degree we judge ourselves as less than, there’s this gap between the standard and our sense of self that weighs us down, and we can feel it in our body. Some people say, “Well, it’s just a belief,” but the belief we are falling short has a physical correlate—shame and depression show up in our bodies, for example.
The culture is particularly toxic for those who aren’t in the dominant culture, because they most clearly don’t meet the standards. Marginalized people—such as people of color, certain ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender orientations—often have this sense of not being good enough, which runs very, very deep.
Earlier you mentioned that these kinds of feelings manifest most dramatically in our relationships. That makes it sound like feelings of unworthiness are closely related to feelings of loneliness. What advice would you give to somebody who feels lonely?
First, I would like to say that loneliness is a more attuned way of paying attention. When we feel that we’re not measuring up, we feel estranged. Feeling lonely is a deep and painful experience. And, actually, if you can get to even being able to name it, that means you’re pretty far along, because it usually takes some digging.
If you can name it, then you can begin to bring a healing presence to it. That’s the reality. So let’s say you’re stuck with this kind of vague sense that something is wrong with you, and it’s very deep and it’s hard to begin to work with it. If you can say, “Right now I’m feeling loneliness,” then this is where we can begin to bring in really powerful, radical tools of practice. We can lean into the feeling, name it, and open up to it with a real interest. We can ask, “What does lonely feel like? Where is it in my body? Where do I feel it the most? If my face could make the expression of lonely, what would it look like?” If you make the expression with your face, that will then reconnect you even more in a somatic way to the rest of your body.
Then see if you can really go right inside the lonely feeling. If the lonely feeling could say, “Here’s what I most want in this moment,” what would it be? The core question is what does that lonely place most need from you right now?
So we don’t push the lonely feeling—or whatever feeling it is—away. It sounds like a process of accepting the feeling.
Yes. When we’re at war with ourselves—and in some way blaming ourselves for how we are—the true place of transformation is when there’s a rousing quality of self-compassion and self-forgiveness. You can say, “I forgive this loneliness.” You’re not saying this is bad, but that you forgive it. What you’re really saying is, “This is the inner weather system right now, and I forgive it or let go of any resistance to how it is. I remove any blame, or any aversive kind of quality.” It’s a very tender letting be of what is.
When we teach our workshops, the practices of self-forgiveness and self-compassion are right at the center. Because you can’t be mindful of an emotion—let’s say loneliness or fear—if there’s a part of you that is blaming it. So there needs to be a quality of softness in the heart. There needs to be a tender space that makes room for what’s there in order to have a true mindful presence with it.
That’s why I often talk of the two wings of presence: mindful attention and heartfulness. Mindful attention is clarity about what’s happening in the moment, and heartfulness makes room for it with kindness.
But let’s say you’ve done something truly awful. Then aren’t we right to beat ourselves up a little?
Well, there’s a very important difference between wise discrimination and aversive judgment. We all need wise discrimination. We need to be able to move through our lives and look at our own behaviors and others and know what is creating harm and what is moving us toward healing. We need to be able to discriminate and say, “No, when I act like that—when I speak in that tone of voice to my child, for example—that causes shame.” That’s wise discrimination.
To say, “I’m a goddamn asshole. I can’t believe I did that.” That’s aversive judgment. And it does not serve to make war on ourselves for what we feel is harmful. In other words, if I have spoken in a shaming tone of voice to my son, for me to then shame myself does not make me more likely to be respectful in the future. Punishment doesn’t work. We know that. We know it doesn’t inspire our children or show them a way to grow and learn when they’ve behaved in ways that aren’t wise. It doesn’t work with criminals either.
It’s inevitable that we’re going to be imperfect. We all cause harm. We sometimes cause harm in ways that are very, very hard to forgive ourselves for. But it’s not until we can be with ourselves in a forgiving way that we can do the healing that actually inclines us toward being more helpful and healing for others in the future.
There’s a metaphor about this that I often use when I’m teaching. Let’s say you’re going through the woods and you see a dog by a tree and you reach down to pet the little dog, but it leaps at you with its fangs bared to attack you. In that moment you go from being friendly to angry at the dog. But then you see that the dog’s paw is in a trap. Then you shift from being angry to saying, “Oh, you poor thing.”
It’s just like when we’ve caused harm, or when someone’s caused us harm. There’s a leg in a trap. People do not cause suffering unless they’re suffering in some way. Being able to see that doesn’t mean that I then stand there and let the dog attack me. We still do what we need to do to protect ourselves, but it gives us the quality of heart that lets us respond to the situation in a much more compassionate and intelligent way.
How can we begin to have self-compassion in those moments when we are feeling very down on ourselves?
I’ll give you an example. Once I was working with a mother whose daughter was getting into drugs, and her grades were plummeting, and so on. This woman came to me because she was so angry with her daughter, and the angrier she got the more defensive her daughter got. So they were in a really bad standoff. When I started working with her, I asked, “Under that anger, what’s going on?” She went right into a place of shame, saying, “I failed her. This is happening because I’m a bad mother. I’m a terrible person.” She was really down on herself.
So I asked her to tell me how long she had been feeling that sense of failing another person, and she said, “All my life. I feel like I failed my mother. I failed my partner.” Then I asked, “What does it feel like when you feel like you’re failing someone?” She described it as this deep sense of hollowness and ache. Then I asked her what it’s like to know that she has spent so much of her life feeling like a failure. Then she had what I sometimes call this, like, “ouch” moment that’s kind of like a soul sadness. She saw the shape of her incarnation, how many life moments were lost to self-hatred.
At that moment, I asked her to get in touch with that part of her that felt so low and see what that feeling needed. She said, “It needs to feel some kindness.” So I had her put her hand on her heart—and I do this often because it’s so opposite of how we usually relate to ourselves—so that she could relate to herself with tenderness. And I had her offer the words that would be most comforting to her own place of feeling shame and hate. She ended up using a phrase that she had heard from me, which is “I’m sorry, and I love you.” It’s a phrase that I actually heard from a Hawaiian healer who offers it to himself and to everybody else.
That became her practice. Whenever she’d get caught in feeling that sense of failure, she would put her hand on her heart and just say, “I’m sorry, and I love you.” Eventually she’d end up softening, and her sense of identity would shift.
She went from identifying as a bad person and a failure to having a feeling of compassion that’s just holding the pain. That freed her up in a way that allowed her to begin to imagine her daughter’s pain and sense what her daughter was going through. She was sending that message to her daughter until there was actually a visceral thaw and they began to start communicating.
It sounds like we need to work on ourselves before we begin to work on our relationships. But it’s so common to look to our friends, family, and lovers to do something to help us feel better. Is that an unwise approach?
My understanding is that we’re wounded in relationships, and we heal in relationships. The relational field can be very healing. But it can only be healing if we are simultaneously in a relational field with our inner life. So I think both are really intrinsic processes of waking up and becoming free.
So often in spiritual life you hear people saying, “You can’t look toward other people, and you have to be your own guru and healer and holder and lover.” But the truth is that other people matter. It makes a huge difference if there’s someone else in your life who is a mirror of your goodness, who can sense with compassion your vulnerability, and with whom you’ve learned to let love in and learned to express love. That’s an incredibly necessary part of the process.
But none of that is possible unless you’re simultaneously in an engaged relationship with your inner life. By that I mean that if you imagine the thing you think is the very worst about you—let’s say you feel like you’re intrinsically selfish, or you feel like you have an aggressiveness that’s just disgusting to you, or you feel that in some way you’re so insecure that nobody in the world could love you—whatever it is, it’s being able to take what seems to be the worst part of yourself and finding a tenderness and a forgiveness that can hold that. That’s the process of befriending our inner life and it’s absolutely essential.
Of course, being in a relationship with another person who can see the part of ourselves that we hate and still love us no matter what helps us in that process. So it’s very synergistic.
So does all this mean that you personally have an enlightened relationship?
I have a wonderful, rich, and juicy relationship that is in process. One where I am regularly exposed to my neurosis and also regularly reminded of the oneness, the awareness, and love that are our shared belonging.
Do the two of you talk about the nature of your relationship frequently, or does it just sort of unfold without intervention?
Twice a week, we have a check-in where we will sit and meditate for 20 minutes. Then we continue the meditation as a kind of interpersonal sharing where we will look at what’s going on for each of us as individuals. And there’s an inquiry that we phrase like this: “Is there anything between us feeling loving and open and at home with each other right now?” And then we look to see, and we’re really honest with each other. At some points, if there’s something going on and we’re less than honest, then there’s suffering. So we are training ourselves to speak the deepest truths that we can, because the more we name what’s real, the more intimacy there is.
That kind of conversation sounds like it takes a lot of self-awareness and courage.
It takes a lot of courage. What gives that courage, however, is practicing and creating a safe space and having some guidelines. We didn’t just stumble into it. We both have been meditating, offering counseling, and guiding couples and groups in conscious communications for years. But there are some basic intuitive guidelines about creating safe spaces. For instance, when one person speaks, the other person will mirror back what was said to make sure it’s understood before going into their response or reactions.
In that process of mirroring back, there’s space for the person who spoke to be understood in the deepest way. So you get to understand where that person’s leg is in a trap and touch into compassion.
You know, self-awareness is something that seems key to having healthy relationships. And yet, some of my favorite moments in relationships are when other people seem to know me better than I know myself.
Our self-awareness grows in the relational field when there’s mutual attentiveness. If you say something, and I really am listening, then I can have an understanding that I can mirror back that can actually enhance your own experience of who you are. That kind of relational feedback process is so juicy! I mean, that’s what we’re in it for: to become more of who we can be. And people can help us unfold when they both see our goodness and create a safe space that lets us express it.
With all your years’ experience working with couples, what do you think are the most important qualities of a good relationship?
The essential ingredient in a good couple’s relationship is that it provides a fertile field for awakening our hearts. This means there is a mutual willingness and dedication to speaking truth and opening to compassion. There are many qualities to creating that fertile field—respect, self-awareness, love, generosity, humor, and more—but the bottom line is, are we committed to being fully who we are? Are we committed to living from the fullness of our hearts and awareness? Are we committed to bringing out that fullness in each other?
When we come to see our relationships—all of them—as an intrinsic part of our spiritual path, then each day becomes alive with moments of learning, opening, serving, and savoring.
Looking through the Eyes of a Wise and Caring Friend
Bring to mind a relationship where you’ve treated another person in a way that is difficult to accept or forgive. You might start with something that doesn’t trigger full-blown self-hatred, so that you can gradually build your skill in this process.
Now, invoke the presence of a good friend, healer, or teacher—someone who understands and cares about you. Imagine looking through this person’s eyes at yourself: What was the vulnerability—the hurt, fear, or confusion—that might have driven you to the hurtful or unwise behavior? Can you see the life circumstances that contributed to the behavior? While witnessing with this person’s eyes and heart, sense the natural compassion that arises. Now, fully inhabiting your own body and heart, imagine hearing the witnessing person saying with kindness, “It’s not your fault.” Let those words sink in and trust that if you let go of self-hatred and self-blame, you will have more capacity in the future to live true to your heart.
Each time you find yourself trapped in self-recrimination, explore looking through the eyes of a wise and caring friend. By learning to let go of self-blame, you actually will become more able to respond to others in a wise and loving way.
For more guided meditations and talks from Tara, please visit tarabrach.com.
Sam Mowe is the Communications Manager at the Garrison Institute in New York, a nonprofit dedicated to exploring the intersection of contemplation and social action. Tara Brach will be coleading a retreat at the Garrison Institute on December 4–6.
Source: Spirituality & Health Magazine
Published on Sep 19, 2015
Awakening from Trance – Embracing Unlived Life (08/26/2015)
When physical or emotional pain is too much, our conditioning is to pull away and avoid direct contact with raw feelings. The result is a trance – we are split off from the wholeness of our aliveness, intelligence and capacity to love. This talk explores how this dissociation shows up in our lives and a powerful way that mindfulness enables us to integrate cut-off parts of our being.
In his second book, Energy Healer and Transformational Coach David Bennett uses contemplations to develop a center of focus in meditation and during daily life. The contemplations in this book provide a subject for serious thought or consideration into the reader’s divine nature. Unlike other meditation techniques that look to empty the mind, contemplations intently focus on an idea about something while in a state of stillness or when being mindful. Reflective meditation involves repeatedly turning your attention to a theme but being open to whatever arises from the experience. Deep and lasting wisdom comes from experience so A Voice as Old as Time gives contemplations that allow the reader to calmly plant the seeds of transformation that works to expand their consciousness. The wisdom of contemplations is a voice as old as time thus the title of this book. Contemplations like these have been spoken by our ancestors before and still hold the wisdom today for those ready to listen.
A Voice as Old as Time evolved from the daily contemplations that David posts on his Facebook page DharmaTalks and the work he does helping others on a path of spiritual transformation. Many times while posting reflections and while writing this book, David found that the contemplations and life crisscrossed in unexpected ways. Many people that follow his daily contemplations online reported similar experiences. The book can be used in daily practice and/or as a divination tool to see what reflective energy is needed in life at any particular moment for the user. Working with reflections helps the reader make empowered choices that imbue their lives and relationships with real substance and depth.
In A Voice as Old as Time, the contemplations are arranged into forty-four brief chapters in a natural progression toward spiritual maturity and awakening—from finding and knowing yourself, to living in love and eventually finding purpose. Throughout there are woven-in common themes like connecting to your divine essence, using loving intentions, and gratitude while on the journey we call life. David writes from a common premise of everything is alive with spiritual energy of love, the eternal flame that is found everywhere and in everything. Anyone can access the wisdom of their true nature so they can face life’s many decisions with empowerment, clear vision, right action, and a sense of purpose. A Voice as Old as Time is a tool of focused meditations and mindfulness that can be used during anyone’s journey toward spiritual transformation, a tool that can assist in living more purposefully, more authentically, and more joyfully. The purpose of this work is not to express any special philosophy or doctrine, but rather to give bits of truth that resonate with any belief system and assist the reader with their passage.
A public speaker and teacher, David Bennett has lectured twice at the International Conference of IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies) and shared his inspirational message at numerous groups across the country including Lillydale. David’s passion includes working with experiencers and cancer survivors to integrate their Spiritually Transformative Experiences as a Transformational Coach and an Energy Healer. He has consulted for both radio and television, including Oprah and Dr. Oz as an NDE resource, appearances including being filmed for Dr. Oz, TLC Angels Among Us, NBC national news, PBS, and appearing on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory and many radio shows. David’s articles appear in various magazines, blogs and papers: you can find David’s daily contemplations of living an empowered life on Twitter and Facebook.
David is currently the leader of Upstate New York IANDS, where he runs a monthly spiritually transformative experiencer support group and bi-monthly public meetings. He serves on the planning committee for NearDeathExperiencers.org, helping coordinate the 2006 through 2015 Near-Death Experiencer Spiritual Retreats in St. Louis, MO. David serves as an advisor to the Board of Directors of the American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences (ACISTE) in Alpine, CA, where he has become a Certified Spiritual Transformation guidance counselor. David has a private practice as a Transformational Coach and Energy Healer. He offers workshops on using Contemplations for Spiritual Awakening.
Experiences in the Light & Visions of the Future
David Bennett — web site http://dharmatalks.com/
Book “Voyage of Purpose: Spiritual Wisdom from Near-Death back to Life” — http://www.amazon.com/dp/1844095657/
Presented at the IANDS 2012 Conference, Aug. 31-Sept. 2, in Scottsdale, AZ
Abstract: I had two near-death experiences (NDEs) that showed me my future and during the integration of those experiences I was able to see the potentials of what lies ahead for our world and humanity. I will briefly share the portions of my veridical experiences that dealt with the future and then relate the communication I received about potential struggles and possible solutions. I would like to challenge the audience to look at the bigger picture of the world we live in today, realizing that only a few environmental disasters could push our already stressed social, political and economic structures into a very serious condition. The governments of the world could not support their citizens and communities in the ways we have come to rely on. Yet, the spiritual community embodies the qualities to overcome these challenges. Also, through my connection in social media I have found there is hope in the message that spiritually transformative experiencers (STErs) around the world are conveying. I will share the ways given to me to circumvent these dire conditions and begin to deliver support that will reduce the stressors before a crisis occur.
Home at Last explains specific landmarks that we encounter during the journey toward enlightenment, based on the author’s direct experience.
The book also lets readers know what they can expect when confronting the mysterious, awakened inner force called kundalini. It explains how our outlook and goals change radically as kundalini directs our day-to-day life. Part spiritual memoir, part meditation handbook, Chiruvolu’s writings are clear and accessible yet contain profound spiritual insights covering:
• The nature of prana, or vital life force; how to increase its presence in our system; and the process of transmitting pranic energy from teacher to student.
• Detailed information on the important roles of diet, exercise, and training the mind in preparation for the journey of realization.
• The physical and psychological challenges one can expect during the extended process of awakening.
• Possible impediments to raising the energy, and how to transcend them.
• How to adapt to living and working with this powerful new energy in the context of everyday life.
In most external ways I am no different from the billions of people who share the earth today. I was 14 when I left India and made US my permanent residence. Although I spent most of my years in the States, my Eastern cultural roots have remained well established. After completing all my studies I worked many years with various pharmaceutical companies and other medical industries, married, and raised a family while leading a normal life.
I traveled extensively with my husband and two daughters, lived overseas for several years in Costa Rica, Venezuela, and Nigeria, and visited India only occasionally in the ensuing years.
Until nine years ago, I never considered myself primarily a spiritual person. But my interest in Reiki healing led me into meditation, which soon became the driving passion of my life. I left a pharmaceutical career to pursue a spiritual calling. So I set out on a unique journey that has taken me toward attaining realization of Self or Enlightenment through many years of deep meditation.
I began looking for a teacher with whom I could consult about the path to higher consciousness, and discovered an enlightened sage from South India named Amma Karunamayi, who teaches frequently in the West. I traveled to India to take the first of three two-week retreats at her ashram, and her intensive guidance accelerated my progress along the path. Over the years since, I continue to lead a normal family life dedicating my time involving myself in various philanthropic pursuits or in some form of social service where I can make a difference.
My calling now is to tell the extraordinary story of my journey by relaying authentic information and detailed descriptions of the evolutionary process of consciousness that I experienced. I feel that this can be of use to certain advanced seekers, while stimulating the curiosity of the general public. Reliable information can come only from those who have experienced it directly.
Sarada Chiruvolu – September 15, 2015
Published on Sep 17, 2015
This interview was conducted on September 15, 2015 via Skype.
Sarada’s website is http://www.homeatlastbysarada.com/
Sarada is the author of Home At Last: A Journey Toward Higher Consciousness
In the whole of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, there is no single treatise more deeply revered or widely practiced than A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life. Composed in the eighth century by the Indian Bodhisattva Santideva, it became an instant classic in the curricula of the Buddhist monastic universities of India, and its renown has grown ever since. Santideva presents methods to harmonize one’s life with the Bodhisattva ideal and inspires the reader to cultivate the perfections of the Bodhisattva: generosity, ethics, patience, zeal, meditative concentration, and wisdom.
B. Alan Wallace began his studies of Tibetan Buddhism, language, and culture in 1970 at the University of Göttingen and then continued his studies over the next fourteen years in India, Switzerland, and the United States. After graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College, where he studied physics and the philosophy of science, he went on to earn his Ph.D. in religious studies at Stanford University. He then taught for four years in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and is now the founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies (http://sbinstitute.com). He is also Chairman of the Thanypura Mind Centre (http://piamc.com) in Thailand, where he leads meditation retreats. He has edited, translated, authored, and contributed to more than forty books on Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, language, and culture, and the interface between science and Buddhism, including Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic: A Manifesto for the Mind Sciences and Contemplative Practice, Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity, and Hidden Dimensions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness.
An interview with B. Alan Wallace (Norway)
In this interview B. Alan Wallace speaks about Buddhism in the West.
This video is from part of an 2012 interview with B. Alan Wallace. The interview took place in June 2012. At the Karma Shedrup Ling retreat center (part of Karma Tashi Ling) in Oslo, Norway.
Published on Aug 14, 2015
Collapsing the distinction between the witnessing presence of Awareness and its objects.
Are you searching for deeper meaning and purpose in your life? Do you sense that you have an inner wisdom that can be a guiding force for you, yet wonder how to connect with that intuitive self? How do you know which inner voices to listen to?
For over thirty years, Shakti Gawain has helped readers address these questions. Living in the Light has given literally millions of people clear and gentle guidance to create a new way of life — one in which we listen to our intuition and rely on it as a guiding force. The key lies in bringing the light of our awareness to every aspect of ourselves, including our disowned energies — our shadow side.
With great insight and clarity, Shakti shows us the transformative power of bringing awareness to every part of ourselves. Simple yet powerful exercises on subjects including creativity, relationships, parenting, health, money, and transforming the world help us put these teachings to practical use in our daily lives.
Living in the Light is a comprehensive map to growth, fulfillment, and consciousness. As we grapple with personal, national, and global challenges on many fronts, this classic work is timelier than ever.
Shakti Gawain is the bestselling author of Creative Visualization, Living in the Light, The Path of Transformation, Creating True Prosperity, Developing Intuition, and several other books. Her books have sold more than six million copies in thirty languages worldwide. A warm, articulate, and inspiring teacher, Shakti leads workshops internationally.
For more than thirty years, she has facilitated thousands of people in learning to trust and act on their own inner truth, thus releasing and developing their creativity in every area of their lives. Shakti has appeared on such nationally syndicated shows as Oprah, Good Morning America, Sonya Live, Larry King Live, and New Dimensions Radio, and she has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Body Mind & Spirit, and Time magazine. Shakti Gawain was cofounder of New World Library along with Marc Allen. Shakti and her husband, Jim Burns, also cofounded Nataraj Publishing Company, which New World Library acquired in 1998. They make their home in Mill Valley, California.
LIVING IN THE LIGHT by Shakti Gawain – Official Book Trailer
This is the official book trailer for the 25th Anniversary Edition of Shakti Gawain’s LIVING IN THE LIGHT: Follow Your Inner Guidance to Create a New Life and New World.
For over thirty years, Shakti Gawain has been guiding readers toward conscious living. LIVING IN THE LIGHT has given literally millions of people clear and gentle guidance to create a new way of life — one in which we listen to our intuition and rely on it as a guiding force.
BJ Gallagher ~Best-selling author, speaker, and human relations expert.
Shakti Gawain Is Still ‘Living in the Light’ – An Interview
Years ago I read Living in the Light by Shakti Gawain and loved it. I gave the book to my mom who called me when she finished reading it and said, “That’s the way you live YOUR life!” Mom, she was right — Shakti’s book describes very well how I’ve always lived my life — I just didn’t know anyone else did it. I had never heard other people talk about living by intuition and heeding their own internal guidance system. I felt affirmed and validated after reading Shakti’s book.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the publication of Living in the Light by New World Library, so I thought it would be interesting to check in with the author and see what she’s up to lately. I figured it would be a real treat to interview an author who’s been such a positive influence on my life, and tens of millions of other lives, too.
BJ: What is it you want people to understand about how to “live in the light”?
Shakti: We all have within us a deep wisdom, but sometimes we don’t know we have it. We live in a culture that doesn’t acknowledge or validate human intuition and doesn’t encourage us to rely on our intuitive wisdom. Much of the Western world emphasizes rationality and reason, but overlooks or ignores the enormous value of intuition and instinctive wisdom. When I wrote Living in the Light, I wanted to share about how I live my own life and to encourage people to tap into their own inner wisdom.
It’s so practical to connect to that source of guidance on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour basis. Your intuition will tell you where you need to go; it will connect you with people you should meet; it will guide you toward work that is meaningful for you – work that brings you joy, work that feels right for you. Listening to your internal guidance system will lead to a rich, fulfilled, happy life. That’s been my experience… and millions of folks can attest to it in their own lives as well. Of course life is not always easy and in fact, some are very difficult. This is all part of the process of being human.
BJ: What’s the relationship between your rational mind with your intuition?
Shakti: Your intuition is not the same thing as your mind. In fact, intuition is really the opposite of your mind — and you need to use BOTH in living your day-to-day life. The mind is the enemy of intuition, according to many New Age adherents, but I don’t buy that. I look at everything in terms of polarities — two ends of the same continuum. Young/old, male/female, individuality/conformity, work/play, freedom/constraint, right/left, day/night, life/death, rational/emotional, and so on. Mind and intuition are at opposite ends of the same continuum and our goal is to strike a healthy balance between the two. It’s not a question of either/or… it’s a question of both/and. We shouldn’t ignore any guidance that comes from the mind – we should listen to our minds AND balance mental messages with intuitive messages. We need both to navigate our way through life.
BJ: Care to talk about what you are working on these days? Writing a new book? Doing workshops?
Shakti: Yes, yes, and yes! I’d love to talk about what I’m up to. The book I’m working on right now is on relationships — about how we can use our relationships as paths to consciousness. By viewing our relationships with friends, family, and co-workers as mirrors, as teachers — we see that they are reflecting back to us exactly what we most need to learn. I plan to finish the book this Winter for a Fall 2013 release.
In addition to that book, I have a couple more I plan to write: The first is titled Write Your Book! for people who have a message to share and want to write a book. I believe that everybody needs to tell their story — to be heard, to be seen, to be acknowledged, to be understood. We all want that, deep down inside — and writing a book is a great way to make sense of your own experience and to share it with others.
The other book I’d like to write is my own life story. I did one already, when I turned 40 and wrote Return to the Garden, but now I’m 63 so it’s time to do it again. I think a lot of people will identify with it.
BJ: I think so, too. A wise editor once told me: “That which is the most personal is also the most universal.” So I’m sure that many people will identify with your life story.
Shakti: I love that advice! “That which is the most personal is also the most universal.” Perfect.
BJ: What else is up next for your work in the world?
Shakti: I’m very interested in the dialogue we have with the inner parts of ourselves. I’ve been influenced by the work of Hal and Sidra Stone and am developing ways to help people get in touch with the disowned parts of themselves. I conduct small, intimate, one-day workshops at my home once a month or so — and I do individual coaching with people as well.
A few years ago I took some time off to deal with a few health issues — my body was letting me know it needed some attention and healing — so I didn’t write or do workshops for a while. But now I’m refreshed and renewed and my health has restored, so I’m having a wonderful time with the new direction of my work.
I’m especially interested in relationships since that is a part of life that causes enormous pain for many people. When I was younger, relationships were a source of pain and frustration for me, too, and now I understand why.
BJ: I love hearing your perspective on relationships! About 20 years ago I attended one of your workshops and recall how you said, “People who really want to be in a relationship are IN one.” I’ll never forget the impact your statement had on me. I have said for many years that I want to get married again, I want to have a life partner — but when I look back over the years, my behavior tells me something different. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to get married — I’ve dated dozens of great guys, and had some good relationships — but somehow, they always ended. So… I suspect that while I SAY I want a man in my life, maybe deep down inside I really don’t. Maybe I want freedom more than I want partnership. What do you think?
Shakti: That’s exactly the kind of thing I was talking about earlier in our conversation. Freedom and relationship are polar opposites — they both exist on the same continuum. You DO want a relationship — and you DO want freedom — what you really want is BALANCE, you want wholeness. But there is some inner conflict — fear, anxiety, some disowned part of yourself that is keeping you free, but also keeping you out of a relationship. That’s exactly the kind of thing I help people with in my workshops and my coaching.
The disowned parts of ourselves are what get in the way of us having the relationships we long for, the careers we don’t know how to create, and the goals we want to achieve. It is by getting in touch with ALL the parts of ourselves — by having a gentle dialogue with all the “selves” we have inside — that we integrate them into a more comfortable, peaceful way of being with ourselves. We have to get good at being with ourselves before we can hope to be good at being in relationships with others.