On June 21, on International Yoga Day, people took out their yoga mats and practiced sun salutations or sat in meditation. Yoga may have originated in ancient India, but today is practiced all over the world.
Americans have debated what it means to be religious in politics throughout American history. Because a wide majority of Americans have claimed some form of Christian belief, these debates focused on Christianity. And they continue today.
Our identity, or ego, is the aspect of ourselves that attempts to control and plan our present and future experience. But as we all know, no matter how hard you try to control life, it somehow has a way of changing those plans.
Are you stressed? Are you so busy getting to the future that the present is reduced to a means of getting there? Stress is caused by being "here" but wanting to be "there," or being in the present but wanting to be in the future. It's a split that tears you apart inside.
While driving home one day, I noticed that someone had posted some cardboard signs along the roadside, leading guests to a party on my street. At every important choice point, there was a sign. It occurred to me that this is how Spirit gives us guidance -- we get signs when we need them...
There is a huge tendency to have way too much going on inside our minds, at the same time. Hundreds of thoughts and decisions about various things are all vying for our attention. There's also memory...
As anyone knows who’s cared for an elderly parent, it’s not easy. It’s an unquestionably sacred and transformative task, but it can also be extremely difficult. The demands placed on caregivers are huge.
What will Heaven be like? Perhaps not surprisingly, competing images abound.
Think of a problem or challenge that you may be experiencing at this time. Where did it originate? Out of a belief in two powers. We grew up with this belief. As children, we had battles to fight, pains to alleviate, losses to compensate for, and...
A little stress around exam time can be a good thing, as it motivates you to put in the work. But sometimes stress levels can get out of hand, particularly at the end of an academic year.
The biggest trap in the world to fall into is that of making careless and cruel comments about others. It is difficult not to jump in and fan the fire with our own critical take on another. It is equally as difficult to ...
In the 1950s, scholars worried that, thanks to technological innovations, Americans wouldn’t know what to do with all of their leisure time. However, modern life seems to encourage acceleration for the sake of acceleration – to what end?
The kind of Christianity that makes headlines today is the Mike Pence brand – conservative and aligned with the United States Republican party – leaving many people to believe, including progressive Christians, the religion is politically irredeemable.
Are you experiencing a lag in your spiritual life? Have you been practicing for a long time and consider yourself a spiritual veteran, but are lacking in enthusiasm? Are you new to meditation, but can’t seem to commit to a regular practice?
I didn’t believe in reincarnation when I was a child, having been brought up in a household with a father who was a physicist, but I often had private usual episodes, such as out of body experiences and clairvoyant visions.
A peaceful and relaxed mind is a prerequisite to meaningful meditation. Breathing techniques as they are taught in Tibetan tradition are millennia-old methods with great contemporary appeal because they harmonize body and soul quickly and effectively. Breathing brings about life!
Preliminary findings from a study conducted with business students at Simon Fraser University show that even 10 minutes of classroom meditation can gradually increase students’ levels of physical, mental and emotional awareness.
Without doubt, there is great value in spirituality that emphasizes and supports withdrawal from society. But in our time, with its special needs, we require a spirituality of intense involvement and radical engagement with the world. It is in the real world that awakening...
To experience timelessness, you need to focus intently on the moment at hand. You cannot allow your mind to wander over events of the past or wallow in deep concern over the future.
In Buddhist practice we must protect our inner Buddha. We must harden ourselves as targets by doing a survey of our vulnerabilities. We must get extremely personal with ourselves and ask some tough questions about our lives. We must find where our weaknesses lie, and identify what and who are threats to them.
Sicilian priest and long-time exorcist Father Benigno Palilla recently told Vatican Radio that requests for exorcisms had tripled in the past few years.
Dying is changing. It used to be quick and unexpected for most, due to infection or trauma. Now it comes to us, in general, when we are older – caused by chronic medical conditions such as heart, kidney or lung disease, diabetes or dementia.
In the three-month period following a spouse’s death, widows and widowers are more likely to exhibit risk factors linked to cardiovascular illness and death, according to a new study.
The word spirit, from the Latin spiritus, means “breath” and is also associated with “light.” Anything that interrupts the breath weakens the life force, diminishing our light. When we hold our breath, we obstruct our ability to see, be, and respond to life. Our spirit, our breath, and our light are inseparable.
It is fair to say that many folks today are abandoning traditional religion in favor of a deeper, more contemplative spiritual life. Mysticism is becoming more mainstream, and religious dogma is less likely to be accepted without question.
Everyone works with people they like -- and with people they dislike. We dislike some of them intensely. Seldom is there the luxury of working only with people who are friends or who are in total agreement with us. Since conflict cannot be totally eliminated, it is important to learn how to deal with conflicting wants and needs.
If I'm having difficulty opening my mind to a new perspective, I often find it helpful to look at how much value I'm placing on my old ways of seeing. Sometimes we invest very heavily in our old perspectives, without even knowing it. On one level, we want our minds to be healed...
Run through as large an inventory as you can of the things that you would like to define your life. Then make the shift in your imagination from an "I am not" or "I am hoping to become" to "I am". Beginning with your inner dialogue, simply change the words that define your concept of yourself.
When I came to the United States, people did not seem to know very much about Buddhism. We Tibetans realized that it would be beneficial to teach and explain the dharma. We began to talk to people about how to create peace within their heart and peace within the world. We taught how to move beyond suffering.
Although I am primarily a Christian, a Catholic contemplative, my heart and life are now totally open to wherever and whenever mystical graces take me. My inner life has been the drama of the divine mystery communicating its presence and love to me, and saturating my being.
Although the majority of people may well wish things were different, the fact is that we live in a dual world here on Earth. Our lives subsume day and night, light and dark, good and evil, hot and cold, male and female, light and heavy, yin and yang, above and below, feast and famine…
When you do a meditation on compassion, reflect upon the manner in which sentient beings undergo the experience of suffering. First, in order to have a very strong force of compassion, visualize a being undergoing active sufferings. For example, you could vividly and clearly visualize...
To empower your life, you have to seize responsibility for it. You cannot wait and hope that God or yet another 'miracle pill' will somehow solve the problems of pain, dissatisfaction, and depression. You will not change your state by doing nothing about it or by blaming other people for your pain.
The hardest thing that we ever have to learn, even though Jesus said it 2,000 years ago, is to love your neighbor as yourself. Most of us don't have a problem loving other people; the problem we have is loving ourselves. We equate that with selfishness.
If you were to observe yourselves very carefully and observe the choices that you allow yourselves to make in your existence, you would observe the limits to which you yourselves choose to impose on the joy of your existence. You would observe the degree to which you limit your joy of existence.
We usually think that meditation is done sitting, but it can also be beneficial to practice walking meditation. In this case, walking with the eyes open, one is more mindful of the outside world. The purpose of a walking meditation is to cultivate awareness, and to use the very act of walking as a focus of your concentration thereby allowing you to have a wakeful presence.
Buddhists believe that all our actions are dependent on our state of mind. A mind that is not well controlled is liable to cause a great deal of harm to itself and others, while a peaceful mind creates a comfortable atmosphere for itself and everyone around.
I grew up in a Christian home, where a photo of Jesus hung on my bedroom wall. I still have it. It is schmaltzy and rather tacky in that 1970s kind of way, but as a little girl I loved it. In this picture, Jesus looks kind and gentle, he gazes down at me lovingly. He is also light-haired, blue-eyed, and very white.
This year, one of the most essential holy days in the Christian calendar, Easter, coincides with perhaps the silliest of annual secular celebrations, April Fools’ Day.
In the sixteen-century, people suffered from hunger, disease, hatred, and war. "How could God allow such terrible things to happen? Perhaps," Luria suggested, "it is because God needs our help." When you see something that is broken, fix it...
The outside world, as constructed by the ego, is one gigantic multiple personality disorder. Therefore, disillusionment, or giving up on the world, is an imperative prelude to mystical awareness. American author Dan Millman, in his book Way of the Peaceful Warrior, says that disillusionment is the best thing that can happen to someone...
"According to Spinoza, "Peace is not an absence of war. It is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, trust, and justice." Even if all weapons were to disappear from the earth that would not guarantee peace. We must actively cultivate peace as a virtue...
Meditation has been hailed as a way to boost mental health, help chronic pain, reduce stress and build a new appreciation for the world around us.
On March 17, people around the world will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by parading in green hats, sporting images of shamrocks and leprechauns
Who was Mary Magdalene? What do we know about her? And how do we know it?
It would be easy to conclude that there’s a deficit of morality in the world today. That if only people were more motivated to behave ethically, if only they made morality more prominent in their thinking, then the world would be a better place. But, I’d argue that there’s not a lack of morality in the world; there’s too much.
Stress is part of life, especially when you have a career, family, and other responsibilities. But we can’t let it control our lives. We have to preserve ourselves if we want to accomplish everything and maintain balance.
Years of ongoing shamanic and spiritual training have taught me many lessons. Perhaps the main lesson is that life is a never-ending learning process. Although we reach a certain level in our growth and development, there is always something new to learn, to experience...
While checking out at a grocery store I noticed that a cashier had an unusual tattoo on her forearm. “What is that tattoo?” I asked Ciani. She smiled. “It’s a copy of the EKG of my grandmother’s last heartbeat.” Suddenly the checkout process faded to background. I wanted to hear more.
Maybe that is the problem with the world. Everyone is treating their neighbors (whether individuals or countries) the same way they treat themselves. In other words, if you criticize yourself, pollute your body, and don't take time to respect your own needs -- then your "neighbor" is in for a rough time.
As we open to the full range of experiences within ourselves, we become aware of what we perceive in each moment, no longer denying some feelings while clinging to others. By coming to know our own pain, we build a bridge to the pain of others. Knowing that someone will suffer if we perform a harmful action or say a hurtful word, we find we do these things less and less.
The important thing to remember is that our sense of self-awareness is uniquely human, and it allows us to observe our own brain, to have mastery over it, and to exercise and improve it. As with all things, the search for meaning improves with practice, which eventually leads to an even richer and more meaningful life.
Fasting the mind is easier said than done. It requires immense discipline and a transformation of lifestyle. But paradoxically it is not hard at all; it is the easiest thing in the world to accomplish because your true nature is an empty liberated mind. This ancient art of healing brings you back to the present moment, where you’ve always been in reality...
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.
I am astonished and delighted at how the universe works. I am learning more and more about how to live in what I call “The Flow of Grace.” For me, this is learning to allow, rather than push; to accept and receive, rather than hold myself closed out of fear; to expand, rather than contract; and to...
Predicting how long a patient will survive is critically important for them and their families to guide future planning, yet notoriously difficult for doctors to predict accurately. While many patients request this information, others do not wish to know, or are incapable of knowing due to...
Although the Voice for God is always present and available, God will not speak to us until we have invited Him/Her to enter our awareness. This is the first step in aligning ourselves with our spiritual power. It is the only step that we must take on our own, in that it is the step of inviting and calling upon the Holy Spirit, Voice for God, or Universal Mind.
In Africa, Zulu elders teach that there is vital significance in the appearance of the White Lions in Timbavati at this time. As with all the other White Spirit Animals, the White Spirit Lions have come to warn us of dramatic Earth changes, encouraging us to work together in these perilous times.
It seems so obvious that no one should die alone that we never talk about it, but people do often die when they are alone.
A funeral sometimes results in introspection about our own mortality. Throughout that irksome journey, we discussed our feelings about life and death. We shared experiences, sorrowful personal losses and our mundane philosophies on death and dying, not expecting it to be any more than a normal reaction to the passing of a family member.
The purpose of meditation is to slow down so that we can see clearly into the nature of the mind, making it possible for us to become fully present in each moment, to gain understanding of the way things truly are. It can give rise to the deep sense of calm that comes from really knowing something for yourself.
It was three days after I met with her that I realized Grandmother Twylah Hurd Nitsch is a small woman. Her fathomless eyes, her great good humor and the magnitude of the peace that effortlessly flows from her heart convey a physical presence that reaches far beyond her diminutive frame. She is warm beyond measure, mercurial and deeply connected to the Earth...
We carry with us into our future an extraordinary and enormous potential. We have all the equipment that we need to face our breathtaking tomorrows. We have the technology, and the ingenuity to create even greater...
We may think we have learned to tell time, but actually we are allowing what we have made of time to tell us how to lead our lives. The next time someone asks you, 'Do you have the time?' consider it a profoundly important question. Don't look at your wrist. Look into your heart and mind and translate the question to 'Are you paying attention to your life?'
Visualizing, that is, creating pictures or images in your mind, works effectively on three aspects of our being: our physical bodies, our emotions, and our spiritual or soul level. Your body will believe the images that your mind focuses on, and here’s why...
Buddhist teachings are often summarized in terms of the "three principle aspects of the path": renunciation, compassion, and the wisdom realizing emptiness. The first step on the path of renunciation is to begin searching for happiness within. Renouncing the world does not mean rejecting the world...
A constant complaint in our unpredictable world is that we live in an age of distraction. I am quick to label students who stare at their phones in my class distracted...
The new TV series Britannia, which has won plaudits as heralding a new generation of British folk-horror, is clearly not intended to be strictly historical. Instead director Jez Butterworth gives us a graphic re-imagining of Britain on the eve of the Roman conquest.
If you were asked to take a moment to observe your choices in life through witness consciousness, what would you find? Do you still, from time to time, use the places you know do not serve you? Do you find yourself looking outside for validation, seeking control over events, and needing to grab and hold?
When observing our mind, we may notice that much time is spent thinking about the past and the future. Thoughts and emotions twirl around, seemingly of their own accord, but sometimes we must admit to churning them up or at least not making the effort to counteract them. What do we...
Deep within you is a place of infinite calm, an oasis of peace, love, wisdom, power, healing. All you need lies within you, surrounds you and enfolds you. Fulfillment far beyond your human desire is there, awaiting your recognition and acceptance. There within your reach — moments away — lay freedom and paradise...
When we talk about “human values” we tend to mean important abstract ideals. Things like freedom, equality, security, tradition and peace.
Certain attitudes are automatically more magnetic than others. Willingness, cheerfulness, kindness—all wholesome, spiritual attitudes are magnetic. Unwillingness, discouragement, and similar negative attitudes, on the other hand, impair the free flow of energy.
Savior archetypal figures reflect a common longing for a new Divine Human. Rather than being copycat myths, they represent allegories of humanity’s universal mystical potential for divine incarnation and the restoration of a sacred universe. The Divine Human comes to heal the culture’s abandonment of the realized divine.
Approach these conversations exactly the way you would if there were another being sitting next to you, because there is. You have no idea how rich, fulfilling, growthful, and life-changing these conversations will be — and not just for you. Your guides will celebrate this growing relationship right along with you.
The Roman weekday ‘dies Veneris’ was named after the planet Venus, which in turn took its name from Venus, goddess of love.
Most of us have heard about male and female energy, and how we all have a bit of both within us. In truth, these energies are one, inseparable and incapable of existence as singular entities. However, the functions of our creative life force are characterized along masculine and feminine lines.
When we first go to the gym to develop physical fitness, we start with light weights and gradually increase these weights over time as our muscles develop. It is the same with meditation...
The perfect parking place shows up every time. Teeth with cavities grow new gold fillings seconds after a healer prays. The perfect house becomes available, a job opens, money multiplies, the right people appear... I don’t “believe” in miracles like these; I see them in my daily life...
Realizing that we create everything we experience - no matter how positive or negative it may seem - is the first step in spiritual mastery. But it's only the beginning. Trying to satisfy the endless needs of the ego leads to complete disillusionment. I'm a strong proponent of viewing acts of service as a...
It’s a familiar sight at this time of year. People singing carols together, in your local church, going door to door or in a shopping centre, but until recent times community singing was thought to have fallen off in popularity
I might be about to ruin your Christmas. Sorry. But the reality is those nativity plays in which your adorable children wear tinsel and angel wings bear little resemblance to what actually happened.
Even if you don’t believe in Christ or a God, religion can still be a powerful force. Research shows that even nonreligious people may hold unconscious beliefs linked to religion that can affect their psychology.
Growing up in a traditional Catholic home, my child self got a clear picture that God was a big, powerful, male being out there somewhere and the purpose of my life was to seek and serve Him. A startling yet comforting mystical truth is that we do not initiate the search for the Divine...
Go forth on your Path in life with honor and dignity and do whatever good you can. As long as it lasts, life can be full of wonderful memories if you wish. Everyone is unique and changing and all have the right to reach their full potential in all their abilities.
Scientists now know that the universe contains at least two trillion galaxies. It’s a mind-scrunchingly big place, very different to the conception of the universe we had when the world’s major religions were founded.
“It is necessary to be awake all day long, in order to sleep well,” Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spake Zarathustra. In the context of Yoga Nidra, this affirmation takes on a new meaning and is a teaching of great importance. And we can also add that it is up to us to sleep well at night, in order to be truly awake.
Christmas is a time to celebrate one of the most remarkable miracles found in the Bible: the virgin birth of Jesus. God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary, a virgin who was engaged to Joseph.
Do you have a favorite coffee mug and get a bit miffed if a guest inadvertently uses it? Do you have 'your' side of the bed? We all have an affinity with repetition and habit, often when there's no good reason for it. It's just familiarity, our comfort zone.
President Trump’s announcement on Wednesday, Dec. 6 that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel received widespread criticism.
American families blend a mix of religious identities and traditions today more than ever. These interfaith dynamics appear in day-to-day life, but the holidays can add extra emphasis.
Keep moving on the spiritual path from the lower truth to higher truth, until you come to that place deep within you, one that is silent, that is peaceful, and that is pure beingness and beyond judgment. As you progress, keep letting go of the many impurities that get stuck to the so-called religious and spiritual paths and “isms.”
Charles Manson, who died Nov. 19, famously attracted a coterie of men and women to do his bidding, which included committing a string of murders in the late-1960s.
If you want to feel less pain, meditate more often. According to this new research, it can genuinely erase the emotional reaction to pain.
There is a large billboard sign along the Saw Mill River Parkway north of New York City that reads in big bold letters, “Prayer Works.” There are no other words on the sign. A man named Tom rode by that sign every single day on his way to work. He did not believe in prayer and he scoffed at the sign each day.
You will never be Jesus or Mother Teresa or Buddha or Pema Chodron or Buckminster Fuller or Eckhart Tolle (to name a few great teachers at random). You can only be yourself every moment. Discover who you are, and you find your own unique path along the way.
No sooner had I made the decision to spend several months in the mountains of northern New Mexico, than my inner knowingness guided me to the timeless, secluded village of Chimayo. Little did I suspect that this idyllic setting would host a gut-wrenching transformation..
I ask you to think about this question: do you really ask for help when you need it? If the answer is yes, do you ask for assistance with the little things in your life or only the big-ticket items? And who or what defines little...
Type “Holy Grail” into Google and … well, you probably don’t need me to finish that sentence. The sheer multiplicity of what any search engine throws up demonstrates that there is no clear consensus as to what the Grail is or was.
The month of Thanksgiving as well as the specific holiday are my most favorite times of the year. I am thankful that I can take the time to appreciate what I never take for granted.