Sacred Life

“We serve life not because it is broken, but because it is Holy” —Mother Teresa

As I walk closer to the harmonies of nature it is clearer to me every moment that all the education we need is stored within the intelligence of the earth and the interaction with the cosmos.  The multitude of beauty springing from the womb of Gaia shows how life can flourish when we live with love.  The perfect symbiotic growth of and combinations of elements are an orchestra conducted by divinity waiting for us to stop to listen to the song.  Every moment becomes sacred when you realize the the intricacies it takes to sustain life, it is truly miraculous.  Today I honor the birth of the sun.

Winter solstice has been celebrated throughout time as the rebirth of the light unto the world, fires are lit in this time of cold in celebration of the cycles of life that keep turning.  All things change, though it may be dark at times the light shall return, a powerful lesson to hold in times of struggle.  But for me keeping a  deep connection to the sun- life force is all healing, protecting and fulfilling.  I stand alone in the sun and as I am filled with that nourishing light I can perceive the divine intelligence that keeps all life in motion.

The sun speaks a language of its own, asking us to connect to the life force so that we may once again know unity as people.  The sun dances with the great earth mother providing fertility from which all things can be born, this dance is shared in my heart, which then emanates all the colors of the spectrum.  This is a grand light that shines on all beings the same, not one is loved above another, and we learn humbleness.

Connection with the sun is imperative to the harmonious and happy life.  It activates the pineal gland, which reconnects one with  spiritual awareness.  It offers protection from negativity, and it is the cosmic equivalent to unconditional love.  Today I offer my thanks to this emanation of divinity for all of life, and I celebrate the return of the light.

May all moments be sacred~

One day the sun admitted,
I am just a shadow.
I wish I could show you
The Infinite Incandescence
That has cast my brilliant image!
I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,
The astonishing Light
Of your own Being

Hafiz

Dancing in Infinity (Return from Vipassana Retreat)

One piece of a journey, a thread unraveled in my inner knowing.  As I reached deeply to the core of my earth experience, the thread of unconscious action comes undone, spinning quicker and quicker and I emerge, dancing in infinity with a peace in my heart greater than I could believe, and a love with the magnitude to pierce spiritual and physical realms further than I could perceive.

I just spent 11 days in Vipassana meditation and it was nothing short of amazing.  I think this could be beneficial for anyone, and I like the simplicity of the structure that makes it available for people at all stages along their path.  Basically you come in to live the life of a monk for a brief period.  Waking up to chimes at 4am and sitting in meditation for around 10 hours a day.  The course is offered for free and the food was delicious vegetarian fare served by previous Vipassana students who developed a desire to offer service.  This was a very service oriented program adding to the feeling of gratitude that you could feel emanating around the place.

There were so many aspects to this journey, I will make this brief, but it could go on.  The technique was based on an old Buddhist form and was very effective for deep relaxation and coming to terms with the roots of suffering.  I appreciated the wise teacher (Goenka), his words illuminated me in many ways and I felt a sincere peace when I listened and took the messages to heart.

My experience was very detoxifying, no words, no phones or computers and clean food.  This was precious for me to develop the silence needed to access the deeper realms of my spirit.  By day three I felt my soul fully, and I was working deeply in the spiritual realm to heal hurts and pains from past lives and throughout my spiritual journey.  I felt direct connection with divinity and had many revelations about my journey in this life.  I was dancing in the infinite spiritual plane, healing old karmas and samsaras quickly.

My prior training helped facilitate these phenomenal experiences, so not everyone delved this deep, but each person seemed to emerge with a sense of peace and harmony in their lives that was much richer than they had before.  To find this in a time of so much stress was very special.  Overall this technique and retreat in its atmosphere and simplicity offers a better way to handle life and a way to  break through to the inner recesses of spirituality.  I suggest it for everyone. There are centers worldwide Vipassana Centers and I have included a few tips below 🙂  I wish you deep inner peace along your path.

Tips for Vipassana Retreat

  • Do not bring expectations
  • Be prepared to sit for ten hours a day, they provide some pillows and blankets, so I was fine, but if you need bring cushions
  • Bring your own tea: they offered great food, but I was not thrilled about the tea selection, next time I would bring my own and a travel mug
  • Make a strong commitment to stick to the practice, there will be challenges
  • Be prepared to share space with others: I enjoyed the accomodations, but others felt it was a tight fit, being simple(not to picky) is key to a good experience
  • Appreciate what it took to bring you this experience and practice it in your daily life afterward
  • Enjoy!

Vipassana Meditation

Once one sits in silence long enough, they will find the universe there staring back at them, in this moment it is realized that the emptiness is actually full of life and harmonies of its own.

Sometimes my life is like some renegade garden, in which I have planted many seeds seemingly at random all over the vast forest of my travels.  I forget what I have planted and often fear nothing will grow at all because I am not obsessively tending to each seed.  But rather frequently a seed will spring up at an opportune moment, and I will be enjoying the flower  of my planting.  This is one of those times.

The Vipassana Program is a ten day intensive meditation.  It is comprised of long days begininng at 4am bound in the precept of Noble Silence, no one speaks through the duration of the retreat.  The food is very basic including evening fasting.  No caffiene, meat, music, writing, or yoga, just silent meditation.

The seed of Vipassana was planted long ago by a good friend who  had done the course.  She always impressed me with her patience and groundedness, she was very in tune with her own creative energy, and this was something that I felt I lacked in.  I considered doing the Vipassana retreat often, but the discipline rather scared me.  A few months ago my sister was undergoing some transitions in her life and was considering Vipassana.  I urged her to watch the “Dhamma Brothers”, a wonderful documentary on the benefits of the meditation in prison facilities.  As it turns out, she didn’t watch it until I came to visit.  We watched the movie and cried, I felt inspired to search upcoming retreats since I have a few weeks before my classes begin.  There was one course, but it had a long waiting list, so I half filled out the application and forgot about the whole thing.

Last night I received the call that there is space available, and so suddenly I am thrown into this idea again.  I suppose many great things happen very spontaneously, and in this way you can be swept into the timeless flow of destiny without the interruption of your own resistances.

So, here I am feeling swept off to this retreat for ten days.  I imagine it will help greatly to bring deeper inner peace and clarity.  I see it as a detoxifying experience as well as one that will further my own health desires, including once and for all giving up coffee…eek!  This I perceive will be my greater challenge, but who can say what will arise when we face the interior of ourselves?  I hope to connect deeper with my own creativity, and to feel more clarity in my path.

Until Next time, I hold you all in heart and Noble Silence~

Offering

In this great river of life we are able to offer many things, but the greatest work we can do is to give in the innocence of our  heart.

Offerings are enjoyed world wide for a variety of different purposes; for  healing, paying homage, for prayer and rituals.  The offerings you will find are as diverse  as the cultures from which they have grown.  We see these rituals embedded in the traditional cultures as they honor deities or pray for auspicious weather.  How are these offerings healing, and is there a place for this sacred act in the modern world?

The intent for offerings varies greatly, and I could speak of these things for many pages, but I would like  to concentrate on how integrating a simple offering practice based on gratitude can be a valuable element to peace and self mastery.  So often in this world we are caught up in a mind game of gain and rush.  We are looking for the  next thing we “need” or want.  How often do we pause to truly  offer appreciation for the incredible things we already have?

The body itself is an amazing miracle of biological functioning that science cannot begin to emulate, for this be thankful.   Our food and water granted from the labor of the earth and soils, perfectly nourishing for  our life, for this be thankful.  Next time you are near to somebody, anybody…look a little more deeply into their eyes and see they have  struggles like you, yet they maintain, for this be grateful.    All these things plus so much more give us the opportunity to fully experience this life.  We get so involved in trying to fix what seems to be wrong we forget how to embrace the things that are so right, and this causes more discontent.

Take a valuable moment to recreate yourself in a more harmonious way.  Take some roses, sage, and/or dried corn  to a natural place where you feel drawn.  Rivers and streams can be nice, but waterfalls are not suggested.  Feel your body surrounded and protected in sunlight and give thanks for gifts that have been bestowed on you…your car, home, family…take a little time to feel how these blessings enrich your life.  Feel the love of your heart pouring into your offering, and release it to  nature.  Stand grounded to the earth and work to hold this feeling throughout your days.  Repeat this as often as you  can.  This will help greatly in a sense of acknowledging the things that are important to you, helping you to prioritize a busy life and stay connected to the things really matter.

On a deeper note, the vibrational resonance of your gratitude has a positive impact on the world around you.  If you are familiar with the work of Dr. Emoto, you may recall the impact our thoughts can convey through matter.  This energetic exchange can help to heal within, as well as help to heal our environment which is under so much stress.  Yes, this simple act can make an impact on the wellness of the earth, as well as opening you to deeper receptivity for greater blessings.

For more information or guidance on offerings, please call or email.  I have been fortunate enough to work directly with the Kogi people of Columbia in initiation to facilitate sacred earth offerings.  Also see the links to Dr. Emoto’s work below.  Blessings!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAvzsjcBtx8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujQAk9EM3xg

Success and Compromise

“Success might be measured by the rate with which we compromise our values during time of challenge”

This has been a theme of much consideration for me during the days I have left the ashram where I have held residence for several years.  Leaving my spiritual sanctuary as well as leaving the bubble of liberated thinking that I found in Asheville, NC has brought a great number of new challenges, some of which I have felt more than a little frustrated by.  Some days I really would like to go back to my little oasis in the safety of the like minded, but I realize that these challenges have worked to truly reveal my own priorities and agendas. When I am not surrounded by a supporting group of individuals, and  faced with issues of convenience and  solidarity, at what rate did I compromise the values that were so clear to me in the ashram?  I struggled, I compromised, I tried to quit…then in surrender I perceived a deep opportunity for growth.

A little history….

I had reached a point where I knew there was more to life, I knew there were people living their dreams and yet I seemed to cycle with the same people and habits, over and over.  In this time of my 30th birthday, I knew I had to make a change.  I found a heart based, spiritual center with an amazing sage and mentor.  The teachings gained here became central to my life, and I joined the small community in ashram style living.  We practiced deep karmic meditations, Qi Gong, energy healing and purification.  Life was simplified dramatically as we honored traditional cultures and material disciplines.  We allowed only a few guests to the center, ate all organically, and met for frequent lectures on esoteric and ancient arts for healing.  Some things I abstained from included alcohol, drugs, sex, sugars, and many social affairs.  I had already been living mostly organically and vegan, and here I was surrounded by others on the same diet.  I came to love the serenity and solitude.  I did much inner work and emerged from this place deeply transformed, healed in many way,s and seeing all life with the light of growing spirituality.

The spiritual progress was deeply linked with the physical disciplines, and I came to value these things, not as sacrifices, as it seemed at first, but as a more patient and  conscious way of interacting with the world around me.  I was no longer being pulled from desire to desire, I was called to think deeply and to decide whether each craving would benefit the greater good when indulged.  As I abstained I realized these things that seemed like restrictions were actually deeply liberating to the soul.  Instead of being reactive to my compulsions, the energy was freed for deeper activities of compassion and contemplation.  I found a deeper gratitude for the simple things that were in front of me, and this filled me with contentment.  I felt I should be happy enough to live like this for many days, the stresses of the world melting behind me, and a new light growing within that was more radiant than I could have imagined.

But, the seclusion was a time of rebirth, and like a plant emerging from the soil, I needed less than perfect weather to grow my roots deeply.  I was sent on a pilgrimage to my birth state.  This is common in our spiritual practice.  An homage to the souls entry on this plane, a mission of service, and a re-connection with the destiny of ones unique spiritual path.  This has brought an amazing number of blessings and challenges, those two words becoming synonymous as I begin to understand that the strength I am gaining in these tests will never be lost.

I sold the few things I owned and drove  south towards Atlanta, GA.  I had been away for 8 years, and I had never entertained any thought of living here again. It is not far in time, but it seems so far in thought.  Immediately, I was confronted with out-dated yet continually rigid mindsets clinging to fundamentalist religion, racism, anti-vegetarian, and consumer-based lifestyles full of contradictions that seemed so obvious to me.  I was astonished at the way this place was so advanced technologically, but ridiculously retarded in social and conscious progression.  It seems the two should evolve together, but the chasm has continued due to ruthless clinging to greed based life and media inspired thought control.  The pollution, the negative energy…everything seemed like an assault to the natural lifestyle I had pursued.  I yelled to my mentor that he sent me into the belly of the beast.  Maybe this seems dramatic, but in reality I felt like a new-born rabbit thrown into the 16 lane expressway and expected to thrive.  I ended up driving.  A lot.  I drove until I was insane trying to get my bearings on this massive city and my purpose here, until I finally landed on a small organic farm.  But that is another story.

Surrounded by new people, old friends and family, I had come back with spiritual mission and a  revolutionary lifestyle.  A big part of my life has been to maintain a clean diet.  Pure from chemicals, GMO’s and things that weigh heavily in the body or over excite the mind.  This is more than diet and nutrition,  it is a spiritual harmony with nature and a literal dance with life itself.  The good food from Gaia that nourishes, the life force.  I was confronted and surrounded by endless amounts of food that normally would never cross my threshold.  I was unemployed and money was pretty tight.  Eat the food?  Knowing the consequences would be that the denser energies could affect my spiritual progress, I mostly abstained.  This was truly annoying.  I wanted to participate with family and friends, I wanted to get along and not seem too weird.  I conceded a few times, only to feel really crappy afterward.  I wondered what is the point of this?  Why can I not continue to be among the like minded?  No judgement to others choices, just purely a desire to live how I choose.  I felt very uncomfortable asserting myself in these situations, and to be honest it was surprising to me that there was so little knowledge of the adverse affects of these harmful foods.

Mostly, when I tried to explain my case, it was rejected as too expensive to eat organic.  Organic to me is more than just preserving my own health, although I see what others spend on healthcare, and that seems ludicrous for many of these things can be prevented with nutrition.  I see it as an investment to the future, to the land and to my children.  Pesticides and unethical agriculture destroy the land, pollute the water, and it is just not good for you.  I don’t see a choice really…to me it is literally life versus death, health versus disease.  Yet, I was seriously challenged to uphold this here.  In the end, organic food always seemed to be provided, and I tried to make an education of it to the people around.  And whether they were receptive or not, at least there is an example there.  and I came to strengthen my own standards as well as become more educated.

Living from my car for some time brought about other challenges as well.  Using to-go cups and bags instead of having my own accessible, visiting and sleeping in places that my spiritulized ego found less than pristine.  I was humbled greatly during these times.   Do I concede to work at a bar or steakhouse, because I know the money will be good?  In the end I chose to only take work that seemed guided by spirit.  this has caused some monetary lack, but also I have received some amazing blessings.  Instead of being ushered into a uniform to repeat robotic menus to spoiled guests, I found myself open to sharing deep insight and gaining authentic relationships with the people around me.  I was unable to procure a secluded sanctuary, which pushed me to open to outside assistance, granting me the feeling of deeper interdependence and guiding me into a richer love and feeling of acceptance for myself and others.  I suffered poverty complex, and realized it was an old programming, the spirit itself is only ever starved of its connection with the divine.

My biggest concessions have come with the rejections of the faces of these lessons.  Like a picky lover, obsessed by superficial appearances, I rejected these opportunities for mastery.    These things did not look like my picture of spiritual well-being and perfection.  My fantasy of Utopian clarity.  I rejected these things and instead of letting them build my resolve, I struggled.  I blamed myself and the universe for these atrocities to my idyllic life, I made things worse by trying to manipulate my ideal outcome.

 I ran from these masters.  Masters disguised as my biggest fears and resistances.  I rejected people who were different, and in doing this I rejected the parts of myself that I perceived as weak.  I ignored the fact that my own clinging to money and convenience were the true cause of my struggle.  As I saw these things with clarity, I surrendered my expectations and complexes around abundance.  I can step away from the panic the challenges caused  me, and I can see the teachings before me.  Accept what is provided, do not concede your values, be an example, bless your mistakes, they are your greatest teachers.

 I see that abundance in the flow of the natural world has ebbs and flows like the ocean.  When we can coast these flows we are not distracted by having more than what we need, and we do not need to fear the recession because it is clear the wave will return.  It is an unbroken flow of the creative energy, and we cannot learn to swim by knowledge alone, we must test the waters and at some point jump in.  

So, how do these things make one successful?  When challenged at work, we  gain the lessons to persevere.  When challenged in love  learn the difference between the authentic soul longing and simple gratification.  See  weaknesess through your own resistances and this will bring wisdom.  Love the obstacles because they in time set you free from your own limitations.  Without limitation we realize the true success of our authentic light being.