Butterflies and Life Transformations

This week I visited my friend in her garden. There we spoke of the many transformative changes in our lives and in the world around us, as we watched butterflies and hummingbirds lighting on milkweed and on butterfly bushes (Buddleia davidii). Continue reading “Butterflies and Life Transformations”

Making Mandalas: A Magical Process

mandalaAre you a doodler? Have you ever drawn mandalas ?  I had a very busy week full of medical and laboratory appointments and I spent hours traveling between them. While sitting in waiting rooms I began to doodle and produced several mandalas. My girfriend who was visiting and chauferring me between appointments got into the act as well. Continue reading “Making Mandalas: A Magical Process”

Spread good thoughts!

Have you visited inspired type: where good thoughts are designed?  I love what I see there so I’m inviting you to check out these inspirational images.  It’s  a growing collection with new ideas weekly — thought provoking, encouraging and motivating.

Spread good thoughts!
If you see something there you like, please share it with your own network of friends and followers.

Use and Copyright

You are free to share or re-post. Please attribute with credit to Susan Alexander, and including a link to the Inspired Type blog is always appreciated. All content is the sole property of Susan Alexander, and is protected by a Creative Commons License. Use is allowed only for non-commercial purposes, and designs may not be altered or derivatives created. Permission for special uses may be available by contacting Susan through her Contact page.

All Hallow’s

poem

The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the “lighter half” of the year and beginning of the “darker half”, and is sometimes regarded as the “Celtic New Year“.

The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family’s ancestors were honoured and invited home while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm. — wikipedia

Finding the God of your understanding

My friend Juliana is a remarkable woman in recovery from alcoholism. Juliana has been in recovery for many years and helps other women to get the life they truly deserve because there is only one life, ‘it ain’t no practice run’. In her blog she shares her spiritual journey, and in her most  recent article she describes her construct of the God of her understanding.

I was told that I needed to find a power greater than myself, a God of my own understanding. Oh bother, I was stumbling at the first fence. As a cradle catholic, and years of subjugation and church attendance, I had no more idea of God than the man in the moon. … Nowadays, I choose to call my higher power, God; and I have developed a different understanding, one that works for me. – Finding God

Two of many constructs of God

bible and gavelA masculine construct of God calls one to adhere to God the Father’s laws. It includes the concept that God commands all to obey his laws, and at the end of time will ultimately punish unbelievers sending them to a  living hell, but will forgive and reward believers with eternal life in heaven with him.  This construct is embraced by those who say their understanding of God comes from reading the Bible.

skyA feminine construct of God calls one to be aware that for every thought and action there is a reaction, a consequence, an outcome regardless of the law.  Those who embrace this construct of God say their understanding of God is comes from their experience that the universal laws of nature are impersonal. Reactions are outcomes flowing from natural law (karma) ie. the result of their own past actions and present doings and not punishment or reward from God.

My construct of God

woman in contemplationMy understanding of God does not come from scripture. I don’t think we humans can ever have a true understanding of the nature of God until we recognize we are in charge of our selves and nothing more. When I reached the point in my life where I recognized I had no control over anything or anyone but myself, I came to understand that God was in everyone and everything.

Once I freed my mind from grasping and following every transient thought I experienced in meditation, I  awakened, became conscious and experienced bliss.

I started seeing nature  and the world in the way I had seen  nature as a child, stripped clean of the religious brainwashing I received.  God was in the sunlight, the clouds, rainbows,  the ocean, the forests, the meadows,  flowers and snow topped mountains.

When bliss descends, the insecurity of the heart, the frustration of the mind, the depression of the vital and the limitation of the body disappear. A seeker, an aspiring soul, carries with him two divine weapons: God-love and world-embrace. When we love God from the very depths of our hearts, we feel that our inner existence is inundated with bliss. And when we embrace the world as a divine manifestation of God, again our inner being is inundated with bliss. — Scri Chinmoy

God was within me and the experience of homecoming; the experience of  bliss that moved me beyond words. The God of my understanding is pure consciousness and my purpose in life was revealed to me.

To live consciously and courageously in the now moment, to resonate with love and compassion, and to leave this world in peace.

Below is my comment on Juliana’s  article which contains a description of my seeking and finding the God of my own understanding.

I too love the ocean in all weather and in all seasons. I also love the forest just as much. I live on a small forested island so I’m continually witnessing and influenced by the ever-changing face of the ocean and the tides, and the changes within the forest too.

I think the construct of God refers to a person’s cognitive or theological understanding of God and that the God construct develops is two ways. The first way is through what an individual has been taught and told to believe about God. The second is by what the individual experiences and attributes to the God of their own understanding.

When what an individual is taught and told to believe about God and what they experience are not internally consistent they may become spiritual seekers. I became a spiritual seeker and I too found the God of my own understanding.

As I sought I began to draw even more distinctions based on what I was taught and told to believe about God, and what I learned about God through my own experiences. As a trod the spiritual path I came to realize that my mind was not the tool to analyze God. I came to believe more and more deeply with even greater conviction that I need to let go of constructs of God and simply experience all there was just as it was. So I did that. I learned how to just be and how to be okay with just being.

Over time I developed my own construct of God which is quite different from the God I was taught about and told to believe in as a child. Based on my own experience through meditation I found the God of my understanding deep within me. succinctly stated I believe God is LOVE and when I meditate I feel like I am coming home to God.

My construct of God is neither male nor female, neither good nor bad, neither light nor darkness but containing all there is and situate everywhere: the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all is God – LOVE. Hence, God is found in everyone and in everything; God just keeps on being LOVE.

I believe I have only one life in this body at this point in time, but it’s possible that the essence of me may be returned to live in a new body without a recollection of previous lives, until I stop clanging like a cymbal, and actually become one with God – one with the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all – one with LOVE.

That being said I find the most difficult part of my life is to be still within, at peace and one with God when I am in the company of others. However, when I am in nature and sitting on the beach watching the waves roll in, or when I am in the forest seated on a mossy stump I am still within, at peace, and one with my construct of God. In other words, what I struggle with is remaining in that loving and peaceful state once I leave meditation.

Have you found the God of your understanding?

Yoga, Aging, Intimacy & Sexuality

thekissTouching is a vital human need and an essential ingredient for healthy relationships. Studies have shown that without touching, many animals – including humans – will die in childhood. Being caressed also lowers blood pressure and releases natural opiates in the brain, as well as the chemical oxytocin, which is essential for human pair-bonding. Continue reading “Yoga, Aging, Intimacy & Sexuality”

Alan Watts – Death

 

white flowerAlan Watts had profound insights into the nature of life and existence that have affected millions of people. “My point was, and has continued to be, that the Big Realization. . . is not a future attainment but a present fact, that this now-moment is eternity and that one must see it now or never,” he said.

When the life force — heat and consciousness — ceases to exist, then that is called death. Death can occur:

1) when one’s own kamma is exhausted,

2) when one’s own life span is exhausted, that is, the span allotted for that particular life (one can only live so long and after that one has to die)

3) when both kamma and life span are exhausted together, or

4) when life ends due to accidental, unnatural causes.

These are the ways that death can come. So death in Buddhism is not the end of total existence. Death is just closing one chapter and the next chapter is opened immediately after that. These two always go immediately together-death and rebirth.  Continue reading “Alan Watts – Death”

Eckhart Tolle – Stillness Speaks 1

leaf on waterStillness Speaks is a gentle journey, one that could take you to a spectacular and very special place of new awareness and deeper understanding. Yet one that leads nowhere in particular.

Tolle is very much aware that it is in the nowhere that the everywhere exists, that it is in the nothing that everything is found. This is not an easy concept for most people to grasp.

The trick with Tolle’s work is to not think about it. Most people, the author says, are lost in thought. The idea is to be out of your mind and into your experience of exactly what is happening, right here, right now.

We think of death as being the opposite of birth. Life, in it’s essence has no opposite. The opposite of life is non-life, just living without consciousness is opposite to living life consciously.  — Neale Donald Walsch, Author of Conversations with God

Stillness Speaks

When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.

Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form.

When each thought absorbs your attention completely, it means you identify with the voice in your head. Thought then becomes invested with a sense of self. This is the ego, a mind-made “me.” That mentally constructed self feels incomplete and precarious. That’s why fearing and wanting are its predominant emotions and motivating forces.

When you recognize that there is a voice in your head that pretends to be you and never stops speaking, you are awakening out of your unconscious identification with the stream of thinking. When you notice that voice, you realize that who you are is not the voice — the thinker — but the one who is aware of it.

Knowing yourself as the awareness behind the voice is freedom. True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment.

This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering.

Is suffering really necessary? Yes and no.

If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you as a human being, no humility, no compassion. You would not be reading this now. Suffering cracks open the shell of ego, and then comes a point when it has served its purpose.

Suffering is necessary until you realize it is unnecessary.

If you haven’t read this collection of thoughts on stillness I highly recommend it to you.

Ostara/Easter/Spring Equinox

ostaramaidenEaster is derived from two ancient traditions: Pagan and Judeo-Christian. Easter celebration is definitely traceable all the way back to ancient Babylonian trinitarian paganism, Circa 1500 B.C. Pagans have celebrated death and rebirth themes following the Spring Equinox for millennia. Passover Pasch can be traced to a pre-Israelite pagan ritual practiced by wandering Semitic shepherds. Continue reading “Ostara/Easter/Spring Equinox”

Eckert Tolle quotes

This is a small collection I have made of Eckert Tolle quotes.  I have been immersed in reading Tolle’s books this winter and taking responsibility for my own consciousness.  If you have not discovered Tolle’s inspiring books yet I encourage you to do so.

Beyond the beauty of external forms, there is more here: something that cannot be named, something ineffable, some deep, inner, holy essence. Whenever and wherever there is beauty, this inner essence shines through somehow. It only reveals itself to you when you are present.

Continue reading “Eckert Tolle quotes”

Awakening: We are Buddha Seed

lotusseedThere are times when I feel a need to withdraw, to seek within myself balance and harmony. I was in such a state in November.  I was considering withdrawal as winter became reality, and the holiday season was just around the corner.

As I read this post Accepting Yourself I began to ask myself the questions posed in the article, to reflect on my own childhood, and on what we teach our children today.  I left a comment there that would later lead to my holiday season retreat. Continue reading “Awakening: We are Buddha Seed”

Taking responsibility for my consciousness with Eckart Tolle

About Eckhart Tolle:

Eckhart Tolle was born in Germany, where he spent the first thirteen years of his life. After graduating from the University of London, he was a research scholar and supervisor at Cambridge University. When he was twenty-nine, a profound spiritual transformation virtually dissolved his old identity and radically changed the course of his life. The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey.
Continue reading “Taking responsibility for my consciousness with Eckart Tolle”

Marcome: River of Soul

RIver of soul Marcomé NewWorldMusic2007

Marcome – A Canadian singer songwriter who does a mixture of pop, world music, new age, jazz and ambient voices. Her very well written blog entries are passionately composed and focused on a wide range of subject matter, primarily, in the realm of personal growth, personal development, self improvement and spirituality. I adore her  music and her blog and hope my readers will feel the same. Listen to Marcome’s River of Life.

Frog Dreaming

photo credit

Every year in September the sun crosses the Equator and day and night fall into balance in an event called the autumn equinox. It marks the beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of spring in the Southern Hemisphere.  The crossing happens only one other time, at the start of spring, when it is called the vernal equinox. Around the world, day and night are roughly the same length during an equinox.  Continue reading “Frog Dreaming”

Buddhist Meditation: Mindful Breathing Practice

rsz_wispycloudsThe traditional Buddhist meditation technique is Mindful Breathing Practice. The goal is to attain a state of deep peace in the present moment, characterized by total immersion of the mind in its object and progressive elimination of thoughts and emotions. The benefit of learning Mindful Breathing Practice is being able to use it to cope with  stress and improve relationships in our everyday lives. Continue reading “Buddhist Meditation: Mindful Breathing Practice”

How Deeply You’re Connected To My Soul

I have two near death experiences and many health crises in my life. I have sung this healing  chant many many times.

Not surprisingly,  this song has been a source of inspiration and healing for many around the world and  Shaina Noll sings this song so beautifully. I hope you like it as much as I do. Continue reading “How Deeply You’re Connected To My Soul”

Loons in the Moonlight

commonloonMy friend celticmusiclover has a forum thread we have been contributing to on birdsong and it’s connection to music.

Today he posted a link to a remarkable video that immediately brought tears to my eyes as I remembered my childhood evenings spent on Loon Lake. I know the legend that follows very well and want to share it with you. Continue reading “Loons in the Moonlight”

Earthlings seek loving compatible partners

According to an Oxford economist, marriage and cohabiting rates in developed countries can be linked to attitudes towards the roles of men and women, and views on who is responsible for doing the housework and looking after the children. Both men and women have shown they are more likely to want a live-in relationship with the opposite sex if they think their partner will do a share of the housework and childcare duties. —  Men Who Do The Housework Are More Likely To Get The Girl Continue reading “Earthlings seek loving compatible partners”

Being yourself: The stillness of pure consciousness

The following is a partial excerpt of an interview with Eckhart Tolle from a book called Dialogues With Emerging Spiritual Teachers by John W. Parker.

I also started reading on Buddhism and immediately understood the essence of Buddhism. I saw the simplicity of the original teaching of the Buddha compared to the complexity of subsequent additions, philosophy, all the baggage that over the centuries accumulated around Buddhism, and saw the essence of the original teaching. I have a great love for the teaching of the Buddha, a teaching of such power and sublime simplicity. I even spent time in Buddhist monasteries. During my time in England there were already several Buddhist monasteries.

I met and listened to some teachers that helped me understand my own state. In the beginning there was a Buddhist monk, Achan Sumedo, abbot of two or three monasteries in England. He’s a Western-born Buddhist. — Eckhart Tolle

Life Eternal: The Great Cosmic Joke

This post was inspired by and includes the words of my friend

Tony Hogan, The Acoustic Guitarist

Men have argued about the nature of God and life after death since the beginning of time. The next time someone asks you if you believe in life after death please consider this:

Perhaps we all have eternal life and most have no recollection of past lives and that’s the great cosmic joke.

The Dream, is the underlying element in Jnana Yoga or Advaitism. The Universe is a dream in the mind of God and, God plays all parts and pretends that God is not God.

The One becomes many to experience LOVE. It is nothing but a quest for LOVE, and throughout out time ( I use that term loosely) puts on the garb of billions of beings to experience this.

The journey from self to SELF, is the journey, where God gradually shakes off the ignorance and reclaims the Divinity, or basically is conscious of his/her/its Divine Reality – LOVE.

Thus, the smile on the Buddha’s face.

God is also a process. The mind is not the tool to analyze God, never was, never will be, it has limitations. God has to be experienced, not dissected by the limited human mind. So really, God hasn’t gone anywhere, done anything, but is still seated in the same spot and has dreamed him/her/itself as ignorance.

Why?

The ONE becomes many to experience LOVE. It is nothing but a quest for LOVE, throughout out time (I use that term loosely), the ONE puts on the garb of billions of beings to experience this.

I don’t cogitate,  I meditate and when all the things associated with my “self” like greed, anger, hate, etc. dissolve there is no self; there is no distinct being that is separate from God – LOVE.

Neither male nor female, neither good nor bad, neither light nor darkness but containing all there is and situate everywhere: the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all is  God – LOVE.  Hence, God is found in everyone and in everything; God just keeps on experiencing LOVE.

We have only one life in this body at this point in time, but again and again, we return to live in a new body with no recollection of previous lives, until we stop clanging like cymbals, and actually become  ONE – LOVE.

I have twice been declared dead but have come back to life. I no longer fear death and no longer question what my life purpose is. I know that I am meant to LIVE,  LOVE  and LEARN and that’s why I’m here.

I know the lesson before me is to conquer  egocentricity and  experience freedom from attachments and aversions in meditation.

I know in my heart of hearts — I am meant to teach as well as to learn.

Death is a transition; it’s a new beginning. After my life in this body is over, I will return again to this earthly plane, with no knowledge of any past lives, and I will be faced with more lessons to learn and more to teach. Until I have learned all my lessons perfectly and taught them all perfectly, and I have become ONE – LOVE, I will return again and again.

Perhaps we all have eternal life and most have no recollection of past lives and that’s the great cosmic joke.

Not everyone has loved me in my past lives. Not everyone will love me in this life or in my future lives either. I have I not loved nor will I love everyone either but that’s okay, because at our core we are all much more the same than we are different.

Stand by Me: A Musical Message for Iran

On June 24, Iranian Superstar Andy Madadian went into an LA recording studio with Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and American record producers Don Was and John Shanks to record a musical message of worldwide solidarity with the people of Iran. This version of the old Ben E. King classic is not for sale – it was not meant to be on the Billboard charts or even manufactured as a CD…..it’s intended to be downloaded and shared by the Iranian people…to give voice to the sentiment that all people of the world stand together….the handwritten Farsi sign in the video translates to “we are one”. If you know someone in Iran – or someone who knows someone in Iran – please share the video after the jump.

Continue reading “Stand by Me: A Musical Message for Iran”

Wisdom of the Buddha

The Buddha, Siddhāttha Gotama civilized half the world with his teaching. These are a collection of his wise quotes. It doesn’t matter which faith you follow or if don’t particularly consider yourself a religious person, you will find truth in his words. The video is after the jump.
Continue reading “Wisdom of the Buddha”

Prayer or Meditation: The Differences

Prayer involves cogitation (thinking). To pray is to entreat or implore and is often used as a means of introducing a question, a request, or plea addressed to a deity either, on the behalf of the person praying, or on behalf of of another person, institution or city, country, nation, etc. I do not pray as I do not believe that deities of any kind actually exist; I meditate.

Meditation does not involve cogitation at all. Meditation is the opposite — it’s non-thinking — it’s just being. Meditation does not seek for information or make inquiries. It does not ask that a wish or desire be granted; it does not seek intervention on the mediator’s behalf, or the behalf of another person, institution or city, country, nation, etc.

The meditative state is achieved by stilling of the mind and body, becoming aware of vital stillness, and hearing within that stillness. It is the stillness of being naturally present before you become attached to thoughts and things; before you identify with thought-feeling-reaction.

Here are some ways you can practice meditation every day on your own, whenever you choose. Take a few minutes or as much time as you like.

Blue sky mind

During meditation one turns the light of  their consciousness inward instead of always running out after things. Practice means that everything you do, you act from Blue Sky Mind. You don’t run off with your delusions when they arise.  You visualize a blue sky and view all  thoughts, concerns, attachments  and associated emotions as clouds floating through your blue sky and gradually  your brain stops generating them.

When “clouds” enter again you remain still and detached returning to Blue Sky Mind, and as you spend more and more time there, eventually that becomes your place of residence. At this point it feels like a true turn-around has occurred, one with entirely different quality of being — just being.

This turn-around occurs when all the things associated with “self” (i.e. the ego) like desire, greed, anger, hate, etc. dissolve. Then the mediator experiences  that there is no “self”;  there is no distinct being that is separate from the universal stream of pure consciousness.

Why meditate?

Often we feel the need to find some tranquility in the otherwise frenzied experience we define as life. We need to step away — find some peace so we can let go of our daily worries — cleanse them from our beings.

We use  meditation to reach a state of peaceful and mindful thought. Like stepping into a forest,  meditation will teach you that calmness can surround you and fill your senses. This serenity allows us to leave everything else behind and ease our minds and bodies so that we can take life on again with a fresh and more peaceful approach.  — Patsy Grey

Benefits of Meditation

  • reduces blood pressure
  • relaxes the nervous system
  • improves the immune system
  • lowers oxygen consumption
  • decreases the respiratory rate
  • improves the blood circulation
  • alleviates headaches and migraines
  • reduces the pre-menstrual and menopausal symptoms
  • resting in  a conscious state of natural being assists generation of peaceful and positive thoughts throughout the day

My meditation practice

I sit to meditate everyday, usually more than once a day,  and I also do a walking mediation once each day. In between these times I endeavor to be remain in a state of meditative mindfulness.

Related posts found in this blog:
Meditation Practices

Questions for Readers:

  1. Do you pray?
  2. Do you meditate?
  3. Do you do both?

Detecting Egocentricity

This blog is focused on personal growth, personal development,  self improvement, and relationships. I believe very strongly that we are our own healers so I seek out information focused on self help.

Our human historical records make it clear that people who attempt to rationalize and/or justify egocentric thoughts and behaviors as being requirements of their religion and/or political ideology are the most dangerous people on the planet. Continue reading “Detecting Egocentricity”

Notice: Readers and Subscribers

Please forgive me for being behind in publishing new posts, answering comments and leaving comments this week. I have spent most of my blogging time this week arguing with blog scraping content thieves (who have stolen entire posts from both of my blogs),  and sending DMCA complaints to their web hosts to get my content removed from the splog sites. I have now set my RSS feeds to summary so I can get back to blogging. I apologize for the inconvenience but I can see no other alternative.

The Beauty Pageant Disease

sadbeautyby Guest Author CDF of Whirled Peas

Beauty contests have been getting more attention than usual lately. Usually, these rather pathetic events are ignored, left as an enthusiasm for hopelessly insecure young women, who having found no other quality with which to make their mark on the world, hit upon the “Evil Queen from Snow White” formula of finding self worth. Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most neurotic-obsessive of them all?

Health and beauty

Don’t forget, these young women essentially torture themselves. They subject themselves to diets which border on starvation; they irradiate themselves either with natural sunlight or worse, tanning beds. In many cases, they have plastic surgeons who make sure their breasts are at optimal perkiness, their cheekbones are sharp enough to use as a hole punch, and their lips are sufficiently loaded with collagen that they appear to have a permanent pucker in place. It is rather a pity in those instances that the surgeons and cosmeticians don’t go up with the pageant winner to accept the award: doesn’t the pit crew deserve an accolade too?

Politics and beauty

We have Miss California to thank for drawing our attention to this swamp of shallowness and trauma. If she had merely said that she was in favour of gay marriage, or if the blogger Perez Hilton had merely dismissed her as an airhead, we would likely have allowed the latest Miss USA contest to pass unnoticed. But thanks to the brouhahaha between these two we have been reminded of this contest’s presence, and the deep seam of psychological issues not just with the contestants, but lurking within the public that allows this competition to continue.

Only in America would the notion of a nearly-naked fundamentalist Christian beauty queen tossing her processed hair and parading brand new pageant-bought plastic breasts across a Las Vegas stage in front of millions of television viewers with all the modesty of a blue ribbon heifer at a county livestock fair (the same fundamentalist Christian beauty queen who would later tell a television reporter that she heard God whispering in her ear as she answered a celebrity-worshipping Internet gossip columnist’s question about gay marriage) be treated as anything other than an occasion for high comedy and mirth.  — Michael Rowe

Fantasy made flesh

We live in an era where some must have every fantasy made flesh. Some want to live in a mansion; up until recently, it was possible even for individuals to buy one, even if they hadn’t sufficient means to pay back the mortgage. Some want to make a lot of money; again, until recently, it was possible to sign up with online stock brokers and try one’s hand at making paper profits. Some want to kill and hurt people; the more sane take up their time with graphic three-dimensional video games, the deeply troubled go on the rampage in schools. There is an urge, hidden but always screaming that demands we become wealthy, powerful, attractive, full of sexual magnetism, and never, ever be satisfied.

In this schema, the beauty contestants are victims of a need for fantasy to be made flesh. They desire attractiveness above all. But what supports that image of attractiveness is the willingness of the public to have them perform as their masturbatory props.

Masturbatory props

In order to explain this phenomena further, it’s worth remembering that all sexual activity has a fantasy element involved. The act is never the act in and of itself; if that were the case, it would become quite absurd in some respects, from the motions involved to the awkwardness of the creaking bedsprings. But it is not just that: there are fantastic qualities associated with it, connected to the imagination: e.g., I look into her eyes and see her soul. Or, this is such a naughty thing we’re doing. Or, this reminds me of this other time which was really good, in which case fantasy is piled on fantasy. We need this component, it is healthy: it is an abstract element which allows a space for thought in a world which if experienced solely through the nerve endings, would never allow thinking in the first place. However, at the same time this element can be warped, if our desires are exclusively trained on trying to turn fantasy into reality.

Sexuality and sensuality

We are constantly bombarded with stimuli which tells us to do precisely that. Men’s magazines, airbrushed, soft focus, or even digitally enhanced, try to portray an image of woman in a certain way: breasts have a certain set of parameters to which they must adhere, face, eyes, hair, all have to fall within a series of measurements. The ideal woman is young, sexually promiscuous, and yet vulnerable to advances of even the most homely man. But perhaps the fantasy space is disturbed by the impossibility of these qualities existing in a single combination, so it looks for substitutions: the young and vulnerable aspects make their appearance in the beauty pageants. The sexual element in this instance is more understated, but inherent. The women in this scenario are not women in and of themselves, they exist solely to fulfill an imaginative outlet, and reinforce the negative psychological feedback loop which suggests that fantasy is there to be realised.

Conscious living

Fantasy can be harmless, and as previously stated, necessary. However, there is a point where it becomes too much to remain unaddressed: that point is where it inflicts harm on the well-being of others. Considering the lives that are blighted by the necessities of this perverse phenomenon, that juncture has already been reached. To address this, the first step is to accept that this outlet is not “normal”. For those who say otherwise, it is considered “normal” in some societies that clitorectomies are performed, yet we in the West refuse to accept this. Normal is thus a relative value: therefore it is subject to revision, and when provable harm is entailed, morality demands it must be changed. Beauty contests should be exposed for the tragic mess that they are, not celebrated in any way; let it be ridiculed, damned, castigated, derided. Perhaps hope also lies in phenomena like Susan Boyle, which is challenging the underlying societal opinion about physical beauty being linked to talent or virtue: they are not. We need more of this in order to challenge and break our own assumptions. We also need more humility, whereby we realise that we are not all going to be pop stars, millionaires or Hollywood actors. We have value as individuals; trying to project that value against the ever variable grid of fame is neither worthy or worthwhile. Posterity should be taught to let it go.

Related post:
Sexualizing young girls

Easter and Spring Equinox Greetings

marbled tea eggs
marbled tea eggs

I’m celebrating spring and wishing all my online friends the very best for the wide variety of joyful celebrations that take place around the world, at this time of the year.

My friend and I made some marvelous marbled tea eggs and I encourage you to try your hand at this creative endeavor because the products are beautiful and the process is easy.

Continue reading “Easter and Spring Equinox Greetings”

I can leave my body, can you?

greenspin

I have found that I’m absorbing a great deal of what I read and I also frequently experience episodes of deja vu. For example, although I know I have never done any reading on a specific topic I can find a book and as I begin reading it my mind races ahead of my eyes supplying me with information and past life  “memories”. Continue reading “I can leave my body, can you?”

Compass Rose

resolve-mod-copy

by guest author Teresa Silverthorn

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you, hopefully, to a helpful perspective on nurturing your own seeds of mysticism. In my opinion, if approached with an open mind, it is possible to make a positive change in the direction of your life. In that regard, it can be considered dusting off your compass and using yourself, and your experiences as your new point of origin.

And, begin again. Continue reading “Compass Rose”

Winter Solstice: Festival of Light

winter goddess
winter goddess

Winter Solstice is a magical season that marks the journey from this year to the next, journeys of the spirit from one world to the next, and the magic of birth, death, and rebirth.

Lady of Ten Thousand Names

Throughout the world gods and goddesses of light were being born during the Winter Solstice. The Egyptian goddess Isis delivered Horus whose symbol was the winged Sun. As the personification of the “complete female”, Isis was called “The One Who Is All”, Isis Panthea (“Isis the All Goddess”), and the “Lady of Ten Thousand Names”. The goddess Isis, a moon goddess, gave birth to Horus, the god of the sun. Together, Isis and Horus created and sustained all life and were the saviors of their people. More than any other of the ancient Egyptian goddesses, Isis embodied the characteristics of all the lesser goddesses that preceded her. Isis became the model on which future generations of female deities in other cultures were to be based.

Continue reading “Winter Solstice: Festival of Light”

Sunday stories: clinging to beliefs; denying reality

Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth. But one creature said at last, “I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.”

The other creatures laughed and said, “Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!”

But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks. Yet, in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.

And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, “See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!” And the one carried in the current said, “I am no more Messiah than you. The river’s delight is to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.

But they cried the more, “Savior!” all the while clinging to the rocks, making legends of a Savior.

Source: This story was extracted from “Illusions” by Richard Bach (author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull).

Talking points:
(1) We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.
(2) Ideas, theories and beliefs are not necessarily truths.
(3) A belief is not an idea held by the mind; it is an idea that holds the mind.

The Crystal Gazer

crystalballThe Crystal Gazer

I shall gather myself into my self again,
I shall take my scattered selves and make them one.
I shall fuse them into a polished crystal ball
Where I can see the moon and the flashing sun.

I Shall sit like a sibyl, hour after hour intent.
Watching the future come and the present go -
And the little shifting pictures of people rushing
In tiny self-importance to and fro.

- Sara Teasdale

America Awake! Killing is not a Christian virtue

By Guest Author Geoffrey

First, I am not a Christian, although I would support Christian values as they are espoused by the New Testament. I feel uneasy about religion generally. I was born to a Jewish Mother and a Catholic Father! Perhaps, that’s a little like a Woody Allen joke I once heard, “It means I get guilt and anxiety in equal measure!” Continue reading “America Awake! Killing is not a Christian virtue”

Just Passing Through

I walk every morning before sitting down to work at the keyboard and answer the phone while attending to the duties of the day. This year on my walks I have witnessed seven fawns and their moms feeding on my property, their meadows, their forest. I have enjoyed watching them grow and run and jump.

Three mornings ago I came upon a fawn all tangled in a wire fence with three broken legs and screaming in pain.  The little one was terrified at the sight of me but I wasn’t there for long. I ran back to the house to get what was required to put and end to the suffering, suffering that obviously had been endured for hours.

Waves sadness overwhelmed me as I used the wire cutters to disengage the bones and tissue and I wept.  This was the eldest. He was between 6 and 7 weeks old and he failed to jump high enough to clear the fence. As I sat on the ground I stroked his little body and sang to his spirit from mine while recalling some deer teachings from the longhouse.

The  Keywords for the Deer Totem are Gentleness, Innocence.  Deer medicine teaches us to use the power of gentleness to touch the hearts and minds of wounded beings who are trying to keep us at bay.

The turkeys vultures, eagles and ravens have now vacated and little is left of the carcass and I remind myself that it was only a container for the spirit of the deer.

What can the appearance of deer signify in my life? Is it a message to be more gentle with myself and others?  Does it signify a new innocence and freshness will be awakened or born? Is it  a message to be on the look out for more opportunities to express gentle love?

Related blog posts:
Wisdom: The Old Man/Woman
Secret Gardens: Dreamtime Bear Cave
Evergreens a Symbol of Rebirth
New theme for a new cycle
Secret Gardens: Dragonfly Symbolism
Secret Gardens: Recycling Lost Life

Relationships and Spirituality: Seeking Common Ground

winter sun bare tree

Oneness is the perfect expansion
Of our inner reality.
Let our heart’s oneness only increase
To make us feel
That we belong to a universal world – family,
And this world – family
Is a fulfilled Dream of God.

- Sri Chinmoy

Relationships are often troubled when religious differences arise but when they do we all have the choice of seeking spiritual common ground rather than dwelling on differences. We can choose to let the sun shine in. This may be harder to do in internet relationships but if we are focused on conscious living it can be done.

IMO following any spiritual path is not about pledging an allegiance to institutional doctrine, dogma or a reliance on scriptures. Scriptures from all faiths provide guidelines, inspiration and contain wisdom. At the personal level spirituality is about experience and practice. Granted that individuals and groups have different explanations for what they experience but, there are teachings and tenets for practices that can be recognized as universal, regardless of which spiritual path one may follow:

dana = authentic generosity (charitable giving of the self and sharing of possessions, donation)
metta = selfless love and good will toward all beings (loving kindness)
karuna = compassion (respect, acceptance, forgiveness)
mudita = altruistic joy filled with peace and contentment (appreciative joy at the success and good fortune of others)
sila = self discipline -abstaining from physical and vocal actions that cause harm to oneself and others
uppekka = equanimity (an inclusive state of open mind free of attachment, aversion, bigotry, craving, ignorance and intolerance)

These universals are the essence of teachings of both Buddha and of Jesus. They are also found in other traditions as well. I think they do constitute common ground for all people who are aware of their spiritual nature. And, it’s my experience that many religious people are not aware of their spiritual nature.

Readers, what do you think?

Related post: Who am I? Who are you? Who is God?

Who is God to you? Who are you? Who am I?

 

Who am I?

Are you your thoughts?

Are they yours because you observe them?

Can you be without thoughts?

Without thinking?

 

I’m going to provide you with a link to a flash video that is unusual and interesting. You’ll need a Shockwave plugin (Flash player 5.0) to be able to view it. After you have viewed it please read on.

Two questions were asked on a general discussion forum that I want to share with readers and maybe even provoke a discussion about. Writing them here gives me an opportunity to introduce two new friends I have made as well.

There were other answers given to the first question below but the one that resonated for me was by Acousticguitarist

Who is God to you?

The essence that lives in all things and is beyond all things

that which has no beginning and no end

the thing that we sometimes give a name, but cannot truly be defined

can be experienced and felt but never really can put into words
nor cannot it be understood by the human mind because it is beyond the framework of thought

I can’t find a place where it isn’t but I’m sure beyond a doubt that it’s attribute is love.

~~~~~

Acousticguitarist, who gave the answer above, describes himself this way. I play guitar, and have done so for almost 40 years. This has led me through numerous styles and has given me some incredible opportunities to play with world class musicians, absolute beginners and every variation in between. I have four blogs. The major one is The Acoustic Guitar Blog

~~~~~

The second question was posed by Robin Easton an author, speaker, environmentalist, musician, nature photographer, adventurer and blogger. Naked in Eden Blog is a philosophical and social commentary blog with a touch of humor and a deep love of nature. Her posts are drawn from personal questions, insights and inspirations that arise in response to day-to-day life.

Who are you?

What if (for the moment) you took everything that defines who you are out of your life, out of the picture: your social standing, your work place/job, your income, your home, where you live, your age, your education, books you read, religious/spiritual training, psychological counseling, TV, internet, radio, and family and friends, etc? Now, with all that out of the picture can you tell me who you are?

Take everything that defines who you are out of your life and tell me who you are.

~~~~~

Continue reading “Who is God to you? Who are you? Who am I?”

Understanding The Law of Transition

Due to the suicide of a close friend, the disappearance of another, my own preoccupation with escapist thoughts and my response to posts written by a fellow blogger on the topic of suicide, I’ve been thinking a lot about death this winter.

womaninmoonlightposter.jpgIMHO there are no coincidences. My friend Richard’s most recent post is about being called upon to assist in the transitions of two people leaving the earth plane and entering the spiritual plane saying, in part: “… I am simply a conduit for the spirits.”

In reference to my own time of grief, Richard shared these words of wisdom directed to me in a comment on his blog:

“Loss and death are as you know, part of life, but that thought does not make the loss of a close friend or a loved one any less sorrowful. We need to take the time to grieve and honor those feelings and then we let them go.”

I have been contemplating what Ulla Jacobs has to say about The Law of Transition as well. Ulla Jacobs, is a visionary. She has been a researcher for over 35 years and is the author of Hidden Laws: Ultimate Tools for Divine Co-Creation. When she discovered universal law, Ulla realized that she had found the key to self-empowerment.

Awareness and understanding of nature’s laws allowed for pro-active involvement in day-to-day interactions with others. This knowledge provided a basis for the need to dispel negativity and fear, in order to keep from drawing more of the same. Ulla believes that these are the principles Jesus came to teach over 2000 years ago.

She writes: The Law of Transition governs a process that many seem to fear – death. This law provides for a smooth exit, a shift from one reality to another. Guides and guardians are there to provide support and love, making this a comfortable transition from physicality to the spirit world. No one “dies” alone!

Once we arrive at the point of transition, we get to leave all acquired wealth and materialistic gain behind. We take along the knowledge and wisdom gained from experiences and dramas we encountered. We take along the feelings of accomplishment for things done well and good deeds delivered, along with the feelings of love that bind us strongly to family and friends. -> Read full article

I’m wondering if my readers would like to share their thoughts on this subject with me.

Have you visited Mediheaven?

Meditainment Ltd. is the producer and developer of MediHeaven, a virtual world for meditation. In addition, it serves over one million downloads each year from its audio library.

This is a commercial site aimed at creating “affiliates”, however, there are some “freebies”, as well.

MIND COACH
Upon arrival in MediHeaven, the MIND COACH asks you questions about the things you want and the way you feel. She then guides you on a uniquely suited meditation. You’ll need 20 minutes for this.

RAPID RELAXATION
You will count yourself down through seven levels of relaxation and then feel like you’re in paradise. It just takes 4 to 6 minutes and it’s free.

DOWNLOADS
Relaxation Music
Meditation Music
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Sleep Music
Ambient Music
Motivational Music

The Gift of Fire

During this time of healing, hibernation and incubation I am conscious that I am preparing to move forward.

These nights I dream of fire, ashes and, of the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes. It seems we are refined through the fire of passion. Just as metals become malleable under heat and pressure we are likewise shaped by the fire in our bellies, shaped by our attachments and our aversions.

Just as the fire of the sun is central to our solar system, the fire in our heart is the center of our physical universe. Spirit of Fire radiates warmth and light as does the human heart and connects us with our divine nature and wisdom. Spirit of Fire dispels loneliness and teaches us the value of community that assists with our emotional transformation.

The Gift of FIRE By Tina Olivero


Are You Conscious?

 

As I sat here at my computer terminal reflecting on recent events and the nature of consciousness I recalled an article I had read in 2007.

The Mystery of Consciousness – Research on consciousness is alternately exhilarating and disturbing. There is no other topic is like it. As René Descartes noted, our own consciousness is the most indubitable thing there is.

The major religions locate it in a soul that survives the body’s death to receive its just deserts or to meld into a global mind. For each of us, consciousness is life itself, the reason Woody Allen said, “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it by not dying.” And the conviction that other people can suffer and flourish as each of us does is the essence of empathy and the foundation of morality.

To make scientific headway in a topic as tangled as consciousness, it helps to clear away some red herrings. Consciousness surely does not depend on language. Babies, many animals and patients robbed of speech by brain damage are not insensate robots; they have reactions like ours that indicate that someone’s home. Nor can consciousness be equated with self-awareness. At times we have all lost ourselves in music, exercise or sensual pleasure, but that is different from being knocked out cold.

Are You Conscious? Living consciously may seem like a no-brainer, but it is actually a lifestyle, a skill, and an art that few master. It’s not a one-time event or activity, but a way of life.

The concept is deceptively simple: Be conscious, and think about why you do what you do. But to make conscious choices rather than doing things “just because” can actually be quite challenging, and may require us to “rewire” the way we think.

It is easier to live life on autopilot, and to just keep doing what we always do, simply because that’s what we’re used to doing. Conscious living calls for breaking out of routines that aren’t productive so that we can begin to have the lives we really want.

One of the best ways to live consciously is to make reflecting on your life a regular routine through keeping a journal and/or meditating or reflecting on your day. The important thing is to give your life conscious consideration so that you really know and understand your life for what it is, and can make course corrections when needed.

Secret Gardens: Bear Symbology

From First Nations people we learn that animals have much to teach us as they are messengers of the Great Spirit. In their culture a Power Totem Animal is an animal symbol that is there to guide them through their entire life.

There are three other types of totems:
A Journey Totem that is with you for a period or phase of your life perhaps anywhere from a week to a year.

A Visiting Totem who comes briefly with a message for the moment.

A Shadow Totem is an animal whom you may initially fear. They represent the hidden side of yourself and will soon become your allies after certain initiations giving you the opportunity to overcome your fears.

bear1.jpgBear Symbolism – Strength, Introspection, Knowledge, Healing
Bears hibernate in the winter, which may explain their association with “dreaming the Great Spirit” or retrospection. The symbolism of the Bear’s cave reflects returning to the womb of Mother Earth. [A Cave is an archetype for the mind - sleep - returning to higher consciousness.This female receptive energy, for centuries has allowed visionaries, mystics, and shamans to prophesy.] This also suggests a strong feminine aspect, one of nurturing and protection. Bear cubs, born in the early spring, can spend as many as seven years with their mother before reaching maturity.

People with Bear Medicine are considered by many as self-sufficient, and would rather stand on their own two feet than rely on others. They are often considered dreamers. Many have developed the skill of visualizing new things, but as a result can get caught up in the dreaming, making little progress in waking reality.

Bear’s medicine includes introspection, healing, solitude, wisdom, change, communication with Spirit, death and rebirth, transformation, astral travel, creature of dreams, shamans and mystics.

Bear is the keeper of the dreamtime, and stores the teachings of dreams until the dreamer wakes up to them. Many tribes have called this space of inner-knowing the Dream Lodge, where the death of the illusion of physical reality overlays the expansiveness of eternity. It is in the Dream Lodge that our ancestors sit in Council and advise us regarding alternative pathways that lead to our goals.

Bear is the spirit keeper of the West which is the place of maturity and good harvest. The gifts that Bear offers to those with this totem are strength, introspection and knowledge. From this spirit keeper of the west we learn our personal truth, and find our answers that reside within. This animal will show us the path to reach our personal goals.

Bear holds the teachings of introspection and teaches you how to make choices from a position of power. Bear can help us with the ability to turn inward to access our strength and honor your nature cycles. He teaches us when it is time to act and when it is time to be still.

When Bear shows up in your life pay attention to how you think, act and interact. Use discernment in all that you do and discriminate with care.

Related blog posts:

Wisdom: The Old Man/Woman

Secret Gardens: Dreamtime Bear Cave

Evergreens a Symbol of Rebirth

New theme for a new cycle

Secret Gardens: Dragonfly Symbolism

Secret Gardens: Recycling Lost Life

See also: Dreaming
Bear Symbology

Wisdom: The Old Man/Woman

Wise Old Man/Woman

A Wise Old Man figure may appear in a man’s dream, a Wise Old Woman in a woman’s dream. The Wise Old Man may take various forms; for example, old bearded man, guru, priest or prophet, king, magician, teacher. The Wise Old Woman may appear as Earth Mother, Great Goddess, Mother Church, priestess or prophetess, teacher. Attend to whatever this figure tells you in dreams: the result could be a transformation of your personality and your life, in tune with your true self.

Such figures Jung called ‘mana’ personalities. Mana denotes awesome, mysterious power associated with gods but also with natrural phenomena and extraordinary human skills, genuis, holines, psychic powers and supranormal knowledge. These figures may therefore be frightening. If you find them too frightening, consult a {Jungian} therapist.

People may let themselves be ‘possessed’ – taken over – by the Wise Old Man/Woman and become insufferably domineering, self-important, opinionated. Alternately, failure to acknowledge the ‘divine’ wisdom and power within yourself may lead you to project it on to some authoritarian – but not necessarily authoritative – public figure, or guru, or personal aquaintance.

Whatever such a mana figure says to you in a dream will be extremely important and will almost certainly open up a new dimension of life for you.

Should the Wise Old Woman appear in a man’s dream or the Wise Old Man in a woman’s dream, it may be the anima/animus that is being represented.

Related blog posts:

Secret Gardens: Bear Symbology

Wisdom: The Old Man/Woman

Secret Gardens: Dreamtime Bear Cave

Evergreens a Symbol of Rebirth

New theme for a new cycle

Secret Gardens: Dragonfly Symbolism

Secret Gardens: Recycling Lost Life
See also: Dreaming

Secret Gardens: Dreamtime Bear Cave

Deep in the cave am I. Deep in the cave and fully conscious. Every cell of my body breathing in the earth energy and breathing it out again. I smell the rich earth. Before me on the wall I see a painting or perhaps the shadow of a big brown bear who is sleeping.

I stand and drop my furs and I walk from the cave into a dimly lit tunnel. I walk for a long time and then I see an opening and, I step from out of a cleft in the rocks into the light.

Now I am entering a garden surrounded by an evergreen forest. I am alone, yet, I sense that only here I am one with all that is and was and ever will be.

The garden is abundant with spring life. Flowers are peeking through the icy edges of almost fully melted snow. Where the grass shows it is a lush emerald green. Birds are singing, flying and hopping about and I hear bees buzzing.

I walk towards a sparkling stream that frolics and bubbles over rocks into a shallow turquoise pond, where a doe is drinking. As I approach the doe lifts her head and our eyes meet. I am lost in their beauty. They speak of gentleness and kindness.

I recognize that I am thirsty too and that she has invited me to drink. So, I kneel next to her and scoop rainbow colored water with my hands into my mouth drinking deeply. As soon as I begin to drink I begin to feel lighter and happier. When I have almost had my fill, a dark shadow bear towers over me blocking the warmth of the sun but, this does not frighten me. I feel the warmth of protective love.

The shadow has shifted now. The sun has sunk down close to the horizon and, I am conscious of feeling cold. A shiver runs up through my spine and goose-bumps rise on my flesh. I think of covering up with my furs but, then I remember that I left them in the cave. I’m anxious now. I’m quickly walking away from the pond and hurrying back to the cave. But, I stop for a moment and I lift my eyes skyward.

There in the blue sky I see an old woman in the clouds beckoning me to join her at her campfire. I do not recognize the old woman but I and hasten to meet her and I feel a sense of rising, a sense of being lifted upward.

I find myself standing in the opening in the cleft of rock that is the entrance to my secret garden. I see a parting glimpse of the back of the old woman as she disappears into the rock cleft on her way down the tunnel into the cave. I also feel a cool breeze and see wisps of foggy mist studded with stars flow downward from the sky into the cleft of rock behind the old woman.

Now I stand naked and alone at that same entrance in the full glow of silver moonlight. I am looking over my shoulder. I am searching for someone. I look up and I see a star above me. Quiet joy fills my heart for, as I watch, the star turns into a pair of eyes — the eyes of the doe that I drank with at the pond.

I am sitting down now. I am in the cave by a campfire beneath the shadow of the bear on the cave wall. The old woman sitting beside me smiles and hands me more furs. I lay down and cover myself in them. I snuggle down feeling warm and safe. I am prepared now to drift into sleep and to dream. I know I’m about to take a journey and, I know that the old woman, the bear and the doe will be my guides during that journey.

Continue reading “Secret Gardens: Dreamtime Bear Cave”

Evergreens a Symbol of Rebirth

ctree_5a.gif

This book is a great mid-winter read. I’ve been reading it in the reception areas of the dentist, doctor and laboratory offices I’ve been frequenting these days and I would like to recommend it to my readers.

The Solstice Evergreen: History, Folklore and Origins of the Christmas Tree (Paperback) by Sheryl Ann Karas. Karas has gathered nearly 40 myths legends and folktales from diverse cultures around the globe. Evergreen the tree represents the ideals that connect all human beings making it a true symbol of peace on earth regardless of nationality or religion.

Why do over 40 million Americans decorate Christmas Trees? Few of us know the origins and spiritual significance of the annual ritual they perform. With depth and detail this revised and expanded second edition of reveals even more hidden meanings of evergreen trees throughout human history – for over 5000 years!

Throughout the centuries the evergreen has been a potent cultural symbol of rebirth. Contemporary Christmas Trees are a vestige of the pagan practice during the winter solstice of bringing greenery into the home to symbolize life in the dead of winter. Living trees have special significance to nearly every culture from Siberia to Palestine to Greece to Medieval Germany to Aztec (Mexico) to Native American (USA) to pre-historic Japan and many more. Illustrated with dozens of period line drawings educates entertains and enlightens the understanding of the Christmas Tree – for both adults and children.