Congregational membership in the United States is slowly declining. Data from the General Social Survey show that 17 percent of Americans attended a religious gathering weekly in the 1990s. By 2010, this number had dropped to 11 percent.
In an era where traditional church attendance has declined and the fastest-growing religious affiliation in America is the “nones” – those who claim no affiliation with an organized faith – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has continued to expand.
Many people are weakened by the influences of others. Negative messages from parents, teachers, clergy, peers, the media, and other manipulative powers hold sway and weigh them down. In a web of confusion and fear, they...
Spiritual wisdom is not simply meant to be philosophy, some ambiguous jargon, or blank promises. It is meant to be relished, and used practically in every action and in every millisecond of life.
Mindfulness courses have less effect on the attitudes and emotions of men than on those of women, new research suggests.
I wonder whether “not harming” or not hurting other people — near and far — feels more reasonably within reach than loving them? As you think about it now, does it seem more realistic to affirm that you could refrain from harming, rather than “loving” others?
We are on our way to Chicago to meet a man who has found a way for the living and the dead to talk. He knows how to induce a state in which those who grieve can hear directly from the ones they have lost. I don’t fully believe, but it’s all I have.
For many of us, family competes for our meditation time. This is perhaps one of our greatest struggles: how can we find time for ourselves without taking it from them?
This type of meditation is different from most meditation. Our approach to meditation is patterned after that of the Western shamanic spirit walkers or dream walkers and Hindu samadhi mystics. Samadhi mystics go into deep meditative states to leave the body...
Excessive thinking is rarely creative thinking. More commonly it is driven by craving (or desire) and aversion (or fear), and is often aggressive or defensive in nature. Excessive thinking loves to “attack” problems and anything or anyone that...
On Palm Sunday, April 9, the Islamic State targeted two Coptic churches in coordinated bombings in the Egyptian cities of Tanta and Alexandria.
Many of us are obsessed with certain things such as food, sex, gambling or work, or with certain people or emotions. When it comes to these obsessions we are out of control. But all of us have one obsession that we tend to ignore: we are obsessed with thinking.
The Washington Post recently published a profile on Karen Pence, the “prayer-warrior wife” of Vice President Mike Pence.
Christians will be celebrate Easter, the day on which the resurrection of Jesus is said to have taken place. The date of celebration changes from year to year.
When we are faced with a variety of spiritual teachings and practices, we must keep a genuine sense of inquiry. What is the effect of these teachings and practices on myself and others? In his last words, the Buddha said we must be a lamp unto ourselves.
One day you will sit at the bedside of someone you love and have a final conversation. That conversation will invite you into a unique territory — the one that exists between living and dying. You may hear words expressing a desire for...
Notice your emotions. What color or colors are they? What shapes do they make? Notice your thoughts. Again, what colors are they? What shapes do they have? Notice your emotions....
It is of interest that the current spiritual reawakening is mainly happening outside the carefully patrolled borders of our organized religions.
In the process of becoming all you can become, it is sometimes expeditious to have special help in cutting old bonds. Here is an excellent exercise in Creative Visualization.
Not all love is created equal: Love comes in different intensities. We may be head over heels in love with our boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or children, but just be moderately in love with our neighbors, friends, and acquaintances. This is natural.
Part of my job is to conduct the memorial whenever a death occurs. Although each service is tailored to the circumstances, I begin many of them with the same reading: “To everything there is a season...” It helps me to remember that our lives proceed according to a natural rhythm.
Mindful eating is increasingly being promoted as a solution to being overweight. Mindful eating, we are promised, will help us eat less, transform our relationship with food and end our battle with weight once and for all.
Priestly celibacy, or rather the lack of it, is in the news. There have been allegations of sex orgies, prostitution and pornography against Catholic clerics in Italy.
I should be grateful that I got an opportunity that so many don’t: to say “I love you,” before someone dies. I should feel lucky, right? I should feel endlessly lucky that that’s the last thing we ever said to each other.
Who or what grows our fingernails and beats our heart even as we sleep? What is this force that keeps the planets in place and hurls our world through the galaxy at a breathtaking speed? Spirit is what I have chosen to call the formless, invisible energy...
The Lakota phrase “Mní wičhóni,” or “Water is life,” has become a new national protest anthem.
Whatever kind of body we have, it is our vehicle for realizing inner light. Our bodies are the matter in which the light of our soul temporarily resides.
Stopping the world to enter a meditation state of blissful peace and out-of-body timelessness is not easy for many of us. Many people find it difficult to tune out external distractions. To do this, you must control your physical senses. We can tell ourselves not to be distracted by...
There has been much misinformation about Islam. Reports in Western media tend to perpetuate stereotypes that Islam is a violent religion and Muslim women are oppressed.
Buddhist masters have said that the mind is like a king and the body and speech are like servants. If the mind accepts something, then the body and speech follow. If the mind is not satisfied, no matter how...
Dedicated to the precise and dynamic performance of often challenging asanas, the hatha yoga developed by B. K. S. Iyengar seemed particularly ill-suited for being made into a spiritual practice, let alone into the eightfold path of liberation...
For several months Native American protesters and others had been opposing the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Many people think miracles are reserved for saints and gurus. According to this belief, the majority of humans are unworthy of miracles. However, the Red Sea parted for Moses and the Hebrews, not to prove their worthiness, but to help them escape Pharaoh’s slavery...
Researchers may have uncovered a link between religiosity—a disposition for spiritual experience and religious activity—and epilepsy.
Taking time for your personal development isn't indulgent, selfish, or self-serving. Rather, it is necessary and vital to be good to yourself, if you wish to do good for others. What happens when you become more aware of yourself is that you'll be able to let go of...
We have been warned from ancient prophecies of these times we live in today, but have also been given a very important message about a solution to turn these terrible times.
The season of Lent is upon us. This is a holy season for Christians who seek to identify with Jesus Christ’s 40 days of fasting as he prepared to be tested and later crucified.
I am fascinated with the idea of fine-tuning our “receptors” to the higher frequency of joy. Activating spontaneous feelings of upliftment and well-being can become our normal way of life. To help us understand this concept more fully...
It takes some training to equate complete letting go with comfort. But in fact, 'nothing to hold on to' is the root of happiness. There's a sense of freedom when we accept that we're not in control. By not knowing, not hoping to know, and not acting like we know what's happening, we begin to access our inner strength.
If we could choose one word that would define the lives of modern humans, it would have to be hectic. When, in recorded history, have we been so predisposed to incessant activity? We truly are driving ourselves insane. Our body/minds haven’t been prepared for...
We can all make the world a better place for everyone by developing our own unique talents to the fullest, becoming the best people we can be, and sharing ourselves – and what we have to offer – with other people, out of love...
Some people say, If there are all these angels waiting to help us, then why haven't they already done something about this problem in my life? But what they don't realize is that the universe doesn't work in a top-down management style; it's based on free will and team work.
President Donald Trump recently pledged to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment, a 63-year-old law that bans charities from engaging in political activities.
The following visualization/meditation has been created to assist you in walking this glorious path of sacred sensuality. In order to embark on this ancient path, it is necessary to become personally acquainted with the rich and revitalizing flow of your Kundalini energy and the playful...
Today many people are plagued with addictions such as drugs, alcohol, money, fashion -- even one's job. Then, there are more subtle addictions like striving for praise and recognition, seeking power, respect, and many others. Yet, there comes a time...
The world seems to be witnessing increasing levels of violence, fear and hatred that challenge us each day.
For spiritual growth to take place in your life, you must change. You must let go of some areas in your life and personality -- especially the areas that are not working well or are out of balance -- and allow them to heal. This process is not always easy and often takes courage -- but the rewards are more than worth the effort.
Many Jews celebrate Shabbat Shirah, the Sabbath of Singing, which commemorates one of the most vivid musical performances in the Hebrew Bible
While traveling on my world tours and meeting people of all walks of life I have observed a common idea that causes people so much distress. This idea says that the spiritual and the material are two separate things.
All kinds of discomforts disappear when we’re asleep, and changing our attitudes and thinking—our consciousness—can completely change our experience of living. That may be easier said than done; but there is a sure-fire way to make it happen.
Although there are many different approaches to meditation, all meditation methods share some basic characteristics and work in similar ways. The fundamental requirement in meditation is that we find some way to manage the monkey mind so that we can start training it.
Life is a prayer in the sense that it is a continuous request to the universe. God understands our desires not just through the occasional utterances that we call "prayers" in the traditional sense, but through every thought we think, every word we speak, and everything we do.
Attention means a silent alertness with no thoughts interfering. Develop it. You can develop it only by doing it; there is no other way. Do it more and you will develop it. Doing anything, being anywhere, try to develop it.
It’s been a heady two weeks for right-wing Christian evangelicals. Never before has a president of the United States — not Reagan or either of the Bushes — delivered so much of their agenda in such short order as Donald Trump has just done.
Growing up, I was taught that we all have higher selves, and that this aspect of self is aware of far more than our everyday self. Through our dreams, meditation, and moments of inspiration, we strengthen our sense of knowing. I was taught that in life, we are meant “To learn, to love, and to make a difference.”
When you hear health messages—such as quit smoking or get more exercise—do you feel motivated or ashamed? A new study suggests how we react may depend on how mindful we are.
Some conservative Republicans changed their thinking about climate change after Pope Francis framed it as a moral issue in his second encyclical.
On Friday, Jan. 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that placed a stay on refugees from seven Muslim majority countries.
When the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, proposed a ban on the burqa and niqab at a conference of her political party in December 2016, she was following the lead of a number of countries in Europe which already have such legislation in place
A recent survey of the religious profile of the 115th Congress revealed that despite the increase in the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation, members of Congress are overwhelmingly religious, with only one member identifying as having no religion.
When we cheer the spirit of the true athlete, what we applaud is a demonstration of all of the significance's the word spirit entails for us: courage, tenacity, commitment, alignment with principle, demonstration of excellence, honor, respect, and humility. To inspire implies filling with spirit...
It is one of the most difficult passages: not to turn away from injustice and not to be dehumanized by the righteousness that injustice invokes. The question becomes: is it justice or healing that we need? The myth that the angel of justice needs to be blind...
Love enters and exits our physical body through the sacred coordinate within our heart. It permeates every organ, cell, and atom but it does not call any one of these its home within the body. Not even the heart can contain the enormity of love: It merely translates the language of love.
Reciting these powerful, energizing prayers lifts the frequency of your aura dramatically. To practice these prayers, center in your heart. Breathe into the heart and begin saying the prayers audibly in a normal speaking voice.
Signs left by the angels are meant to help stir and awaken our intuitive nature so that we can expand our conscious connection and deepen our relationship with a higher power. The power is not within the sign itself; the power is within the message that the sign reveals...
Our lives are a series of “moments” that flow together. We tend to extract one frame here, another one there, and fabricate stories about them. Stories breed with each other. One triggers another.
However many books are written about our spirituality, we have to come to terms with the fact that nobody has all the answers. Discovering our own spiritual truth is a lonely road and yet one that is largely dependent on others we meet on the way.
For the last several decades, Westerners have been looking East for new approaches to health care. What was once the exclusive domain of hippies and New Agers has become mainstream.
Although meditation is independent of any particular lifestyle or diet, I would be remiss if I did not point out that what you put into your body will make a difference in the quality of your meditation and how quickly you advance in your inner experience.
I fear losing the stillness I gained. But I take comfort in knowing that the abbey is there, that the monks are singing the hours, and that there is silence in between.
If hate arises for someone or against someone, or love arises for someone, what do we do? We project it on the person. You project your love or hate or whatsoever. You forget completely the inner center of your being; the other becomes the center.
I choose joy. I choose the path of joy. I am now willing to release struggle, and embrace the path of joy. I relax my body.
Meditating sounds easy. Sitting. Breathing. Focusing in a relaxed kind of way. So why isn't everyone doing it? Why do so many who start meditating, or open a book on the subject, fail to carry through and make meditation a part of their daily lives?
Picturesque and exotic, with their crowns and camels, the three kings regularly appear on Christmas cards and in nativity scenes.
Many people are familiar with the stories in the New Testament gospels of Luke and Matthew about Jesus’ conception and birth.
Humanity has become enmeshed in a dysfunctional global system. It has become anesthetized by a cultural conditioning that begins at birth, by those who themselves have been conditioned by the generations before them.
Every Christmas season, the now typical jokes pile up on social media. Jesus is commended for having a “stable upbringing”. But all this facetious word play prompts me to think a little more seriously about the language used in traditional accounts of the nativity.
Many of us would like to have a peaceful ride, enjoy the present moment, yet we can’t help but make future plans so we feel secure, or we spend time digging on past hurts. But... the true experience of being alive is beyond those plans, and “happens” to us.
Bright stars top Christmas trees in Christian homes around much of the world. The faithful sing about the “Star of Wonder” that guided the wise men to a manger in the little town of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.
Christmas is literally “the mass for Christ”, the day on which Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. The western date for Jesus’ birth is quite arbitrary. It was chosen by Pope Leo I, bishop of Rome...
On Wednesday, Dec. 21, nations in the Northern Hemisphere will mark the winter solstice – the shortest day and longest night of the year.
In the deepest place in your spirit, the place of wounds and hope, you know that the earth is speaking, and that the time has come to listen to all of her voices. You can only hope that for the sake of your children, and all the children of the world...
Evangelicals are more skeptical of evolution than of climate change, according to new research.
We are all getting older every day. One day you and I will both be old, if it is our destiny to live that long. It is our choice whether we live in fear and act according to other people's expectations of what an older person is or whether we allow ourselves to be authentic and real. Start now; you are an elder in training...
Very often people cannot understand why they should live the Spiritual Life. It is a natural question: “What do I get out of it?” It is important to understand that if you follow through with the Path you’re going to get a lot out of it...
How to be happy? When speaking of relationships, the safest thing to relate to is always Buddha. We can address every being we meet — not only human beings but also animals — as essentially Buddha. In Western terms, we speak of being in the presence of God or meeting God all the time.
Opening Meditation: Find a comfortable position. A nice comfortable chair will work, or you can lean against the wall or sit cross-legged on the floor. Whatever will be most comfortable for you.
Death isn’t bad luck, because there is no difference between the living and the dead. The one in the coffin is doing the same thing as the one grieving in the pew: loving and learning.
The Roman Catholic Church will allow priests all over the world to grant forgiveness for abortion. This announcement came from Pope Francis at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy – a holy year dedicated to forgiveness.
In this age of technology and materialism, when many wonder what tomorrow will bring, the resurgence of spirituality is a normal phenomenon. For centuries, people have turned to religions or other belief systems for support and understanding. So one can wonder why, after centuries of religious or spiritual...
Many things we do are imposed on us by necessity, or by the absurd. Why wear a tie? The fact is, many of the rules we obey nowadays have no real foundation. Nevertheless, if we wish to act differently, we are considered “crazy” or “immature”.
Emotions are the lenses through which we experience daily life and inhabit the world—how we love, learn, work, make meaning, and devise solutions to problems we face.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) teaches us that what makes the stresses in our life particularly damaging is how we mismanage them. The tendency to resist or willfully ignore our situation, misperceive and have fixed ideas about who we are and the reality we inhabit, is slowly replaced with mindfulness...
Our lives feel complicated at times, or stressed; oftentimes we even feel unable to handle whatever is heading our way, certain that this time it may be beyond our capacity to withstand or understand. However...
Part of letting go into the flow of life lies in realizing that you have never really been in control of your life, at least not from the perspective of the conscious mind. You simply have been making choices based on a very limited scope of awareness dictated by...
Unlearning habits and establishing new ones is no more difficult than learning them in the ﬁrst place. Here are some guidelines for freeing yourself from the automatic nature of your old-perception habits...
Fold your hands together in your lap, with the right hand underneath the left hand -- the position is important because the right hand is joined with the left brain, and fear always comes from the left brain. The left hand is joined with the right brain, and courage comes from the right side.
The present is what is happening when you strip away all the resentments of your past and all the worries you have about your future. To live in the present is to live as if the past never existed and as if the future were irrelevant. Living in the present is a vision for life that is achievable in any...
Every meditation technique has its unique characteristics, and invites you to experience meditation in a different way. They all invite you to direct your attention at one focal point, but these focal points may be essentially different...
What if Joyce dies before me? This is one of my greatest vulnerabilities. Sure, I could die first. Statistically, women live longer than men. Even though we’re both healthy in the important ways, we are still seventy years old. We are now in our senior years. Death of our bodies is no longer something that can be ignored.