Sep 26

Forgiveness: The ultimate adrenaline inhibitor

Forgiveness is one of the primary teachings of A Course In Miracles.

Dr Fred Luskin, PhD is one of the best I’ve heard talking about forgiveness from a secular point of view. He will tell you why he chose the secular focus instead of spiritual when it comes to forgiveness, and thoroughly and comprehensively explains the physical and behavioral aspects of forgiveness, things like why Not forgiving someone hurts you more than it hurts them.

Here is a talk he gave at the Theosophical Society followed by a workshop.

 

Dr. Fred Luskin: Forgive for Good  54:01

 

Dr. Fred Luskin: The Art and Science of Forgiveness (Workshop) 1:15:48

Oct 04

What do Raja, Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, Mantra, and Hatha all have in common?

The owner of a yoga studio recently asked if I practice yoga. I said that ‘I do, I hold Nada Yoga practices at my home every week, and attend Bhakti as often as possible.’ He looked…..confused…..and said something like, ‘No, I mean YOGA, you know….stretching.’ I said, ‘Oh, and I practiced Karma Yoga at a couple of ashrams.’

 

Yes, I was toying with him a bit at the end there, but it still surprises me when people educated in yoga are unaware of all the different flavors: Raja, Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, Mantra (Nada), and Hatha. Yoga is not just postures, it’s a full physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual set of practices that utilizes muscles, mind, and breathing to achieve Wholeness or Oneness.

 

Karma is also called work yoga, doing tasks of selfless service such as the care and cleaning of the ashram, or helping to prepare food for the dining halls. If we think of it, volunteer work for an organization that helps others can be karma yoga, too, like the work I do helping build tiny houses for the homeless and helping with that organization’s non-profit and newsletters.

 

Bhakti is the yoga of devotional singing the names of the Divine. Traditionally, this is in Sanskrit and includes mention of Shiva, Krishna, Kali, etc. but there is no reason that Taize (another singing practice I love that is done in Latin and English) cannot be considered Bhakti yoga also.

 

Mantra (I call Nada) is the yoga of sound, chanting a simple syllable or short phrase and listening for the most powerful of sounds, your Inner Voice, during the pauses in between. (At a recent Nada Yoga practice, while I led one of the chants, I kept hearing the phrase: “There is great love for you here.” This is the phrase often spoken by Abraham at the conclusion of an Abraham-Hicks seminar. It gave me goosebumps and I almost misplaced my fingers while playing the harmonium.)

 

The others in the list I have not practiced, so will let you learn more about them in the short video, but please be aware that yoga is not a class you attend a few times a week, it’s a lifestyle of Awakening to your Divine Nature.

 

Here is a short description of the “Six types of Yoga” 4:48

 

Sep 27

Sri Ramakrishna and the Great Disciples

Ramakrishna_at_studio

 

Today is supposed to be a somewhat amazing day along with the eclipse this evening. All sorts of energetic and enlightening things are purported to be happening not the least of which a day of spiritual ascension has been forecast. The best time to view the eclipse at its max will be 8:47 PM here in the Mountain Time Zone. If you do have a fabulous spiritual experience today, please come back and hit “reply” on the newsletter and let me know about it!

 

At 16 minutes 29 seconds, this is one of the longer videos, and if you really are pressed for time, jump ahead to the 4:44 mark and watch from there….

 

I was reminded of Sri Ramakrishna while scarfing around for some “I know this stuff is in a safe place….but where???” items a few days ago. Along with the item I sought, and a few I didn’t but was happy to rediscover, was a book I purchased in Mysore, India at the Ramakrishna Ashram book store titled Bhakti Yoga by Swami Vivekananda.

 

Not many people in the West are familiar with Sri Ramakrishna, but many are familiar with Swami Vivekananda who was a student of Ramakrishna. In Particular, Swami Vivekananda is known for a speech he gave in 1893 in Chicago. You may listen to that in a virtual Satsang on the Kirtan Community blog: Satsang With Swami Vivekananda. http://kirtancommunity.blogspot.com/2012/07/2012-07-13-satsang-swami-vivekananda.html

 

In today’s video, you will see some of the places I visited during my stay in Paramhansa Yogananda’s Yogada Satsanga Ashram in Dakshineswar, across the river from Kolkata (Calcutta). In particular, the Sri Sarada Math & Ramakrishna Mission (an ashram for women) was right down the street from the Yogananada Ashram, and I passed it every time I went to the cyber cafe to send an email. I did visit the Ramakrishna Mission, and it was quite beautiful! Here is a link to the website: http://www.srisaradamath.org/home.php

 

The Kali Temple complex in Dakshinewar was about a 45 minute walk from the Yogananda ashram and we (me and a Canadian family I befriended at the ashram) visited it a couple of times. Aside from the Kali Temple Altar area itself, the most amazing thing we did there was to sit in meditation for about 30 minutes in the room of Sri Ramakrishna – he had a bedroom in which he lived in the Kali Temple compound.

 

The temple complex of Belur Math where Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, and others had temples and living areas was across the river from the Yogananada ashram, and we visited there but, as was always the case, cameras were not allowed. You will see a few pictures of it in the video. (A Math is a sacred complex.) http://belurmath.org/

 

Truly, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa was a Master of Masters. I also found it joyfully enlightening to recall that the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna aligned so perfectly with the teachings of A Course In Miracles in that the purpose of life is to align with your own divinity. EnJOY the video!

 

Sri Ramakrishna and the Great Disciples – Documentary 16:29

Sep 20

Taoist Master Yun Xiang Tseng on Taoism: Returning to your true nature

I discovered Daoism in 1991 and have been a faithful Daoist ever since, practicing everything from Feng Shui to Chinese Astrology to Qigong, and writing many “Illuminating The Dao” columns http://yang-sheng.com/?cat=114 on the Dao De Jing as well as reviewing books on Daoism for the Yang Sheng Magazine. Http://yang-sheng.com

 

In The Way, all the symbols and cycles intertwine so poetically in their cosmic dance. What I love most about the Dao are the teachings of non-duality (“not two” as they say), balance and harmony, and the nature and energy of cycles. Not only within the container of the teachings, but with other traditions as well, teachings such as “the purpose of life is to be happy,” and “to know the Truth, go inward,” and even the teachings on forgiveness and compassion and non-attachment remind one of A Course In Miracles, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Buddha.

 

Taoist Master, Yun Xiang Tseng, a child prodigy from the ancient mountains of Wudang, PRC., speaks on Returning to your true nature and the mysteries of Tao. (The Wu Dang Mountains have a very long and prestigious history of hosting Daoist spiritual and retreat centers for approximately 2,000 years and is a popular site for Daoist pilgrims. Having been on pilgrimage in India, I should go to China some day, too!)

 

From the Master’s website (www.wudangtao.com) : Master Chen

“Master Yun Xiang Tseng, known as “Chen,” is a Wu Dang Daoist priest and healer. He comes from a direct line of Wu Dang Daoist teachers, a lineage that is over 700 years old and completely unbroken.

“At a young age he was chosen to study on Wu Dang Mountain with the Wu Dang master Li Cheng Yu. After intensive study with Master Li, she sent Master Chen to the United States to share this ancient wisdom and healing art. (As he mentions in one of the videos, he’s been in the US for more than 20 years.)

“Master Chen is known for his profound knowledge of the Wu Dang tradition and his ability to engage his students with depth and humor. Thousands of students from around the world have been inspired to seek ‘the master within’ with Master Chen.”

 

Taoism: Returning to your true nature. 10:12

Sep 13

Hameed Ali on Consciousness, Entanglement and Life

I personally have not heard of this teacher before, but am certainly going to check out his material. He seems very much in alignment with Reality and Truth.

 

On a slightly quirky and humorous note, I like the title of his You Tube channel: ॐ = mc2

 

“In this interview Hameed Ali (A. H. Almaas) discusses what the quantum phenomena of entanglement is pointing to in terms of spiritual path and intimate relationships. He presents in brief the theme of the upcoming Science and Nonduality Conference 2014 ‘Consciousness, Entanglement and Life.’” (This conference took place in San Jose, CA in October of 2014.)

 

“Hameed Ali (A. H. Almaas), was born in the Middle East, but at age 18 he moved to the USA to study at the University of California in Berkeley. Hameed was working on his Ph.D. in physics, where he was studying Einsteirn’s theory of general relativity and nuclear physics, when he reached a turning point in his life and destiny that led him more and more into inquiring into the psychological and spiritual aspects of human nature.” Quoted from another video page: Perception And Reality – Hameed Ali (A. H. Almaas) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FgGZ1xBAQw

 

Consciousness, Entanglement and Life – Hameed Ali (A.H. Almaas) 6:22

Sep 06

Marianne Williamson on A Course In Miracles

I’ve had three people call in the past few weeks asking about the A Course In Miracles study group, so while I am undecided about the group meeting, it seemed to be a nudge to bring you a Satsang on it at any rate.

 

In this video, Marianne talks on the non-duality teaching of ACIM. At the 3:40 mark, she mentions a concept she calls “the journey without distance.” She’s talking about meditation and going inward which reminded me of two other teachings:

 

Jiddu Krishnamurti and his teachings on The Pathless Path,
and verse 47 of the Dao De Jing which is all about inner knowing, inner looking, and inner traveling:

“Without going outside, you may know the whole world.
“Without looking through the window, you may see the ways of heaven.
“The farther you go, the less you know.

“Thus the sage knows without travelling;
“He sees without looking;
“He works without doing.”

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 47
(translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English)
http://www.wussu.com/laotzu/laotzu47.html

 

Some Labor Day wisdom for tomorrow: You don’t have to Work at Divine Connection at all, just surrender the illusion of control, and Divine Connection will come to you!

It is heart-warmingly beautiful, and I love seeing and sharing with you these indications of timelessness and space-less-ness, and how all these diverse paths teach the same Truth!

 

Marianne Williamson Speaks about A Course in Miracles 5:11

 

Aug 30

Two Monks Carry Woman

two monks 1 Central_Asian_Buddhist_Monks

Zen Buddhist story
http://users.skynet.be/lotus/story/story-en.htm

Two monks, going to a neighbouring monastery, walked side by side in silence. They arrived at a river they had to cross. That season, waters were higher than usual. On the bank, a young woman was hesitating and asked the younger of the two monks for help. He exclaimed, ‘Don’t you see that I am a monk, that I took a vow of chastity?’

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‘I require nothing from you that could impede your vow, but simply to help me to cross the river,’ replied the young woman with a little smile.

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‘I…not…I can…do nothing for you,’ said the embarrassed young monk.
‘It doesn’t matter,’ said the elderly monk. ‘Climb on my back and we will cross together.’

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Having reached the other bank, the old monk put down the young woman who, in return, thanked him with a broad smile. She left her side and both monks continued their route in silence. Close to the monastery, the young monk could not stand it anymore and said, ‘You shouldn’t have carried that person on your back. It’s against our rules.’
‘This young woman needed help and I put her down on the other bank. You didn’t carry her at all, but she is still on your back,’ replied the older monk.

 

Another Buddhist version:
http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/82/mgoldsmith.html

Two monks were strolling by a stream on their way home to the monastery. They were startled by the sound of a young woman in a bridal gown, sitting by the stream, crying softly. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she gazed across the water. She needed to cross to get to her wedding, but she was fearful that doing so might ruin her beautiful handmade gown.

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In this particular sect, monks were prohibited from touching women. But one monk was filled with compassion for the bride. Ignoring the sanction, he hoisted the woman on his shoulders and carried her across the stream–assisting her journey and saving her gown. She smiled and bowed with gratitude as he noisily splashed his way back across the stream to rejoin his companion.

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The second monk was livid. “How could you do that?” he scolded. “You know we are forbidden even to touch a woman, much less pick one up and carry her around!”

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The offending monk listened in silence to a stern lecture that lasted all the way back to the monastery. His mind wandered as he felt the warm sunshine and listened to the singing birds. After returning to the monastery, he fell asleep for a few hours. He was jostled and awakened in the middle of the night by his fellow monk. “How could you carry that woman?” his agitated friend cried out. “Someone else could have helped her across the stream. You were a bad monk!”
“What woman?” the tired monk inquired groggily.

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“Don’t you even remember? That woman you carried across the stream,” his colleague snapped.

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“Oh, her,” laughed the sleepy monk. “I only carried her across the stream. You carried her all the way back to the monastery.”

 

Still another Buddhist version (though I have my doubts of its authenticity):
http://www.thewholechild.us/integrative_/2007/03/spirituality_an.html

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Two monks are walking along a country path. They soon are met by a caravan, a group of attendants carrying their wealthy and not-so-kindly mistress and her possessions. They come to a muddy river, and cannot cross with both mistress and packages – they must put one down and cannot figure out how to do so. So the elder monk volunteers to carry the woman across the river, on his back, allowing the attendants to carry her things, and then all can go on their way. The woman does not thank him, and rudely pushes him aside to get back to her caravan.

 

After traveling some way on their own, the younger monk turns to his master, and says, “I cannot believe that old woman! You kindly carried her across the muddy river, on your very own back, and not only did she not offer thanks, but she actually was quite rude to you!” The master calmly and quietly turned to his student, and offered this observation: “I put the women down some time ago. Why are you still carrying her?”

 

Japanese Zen Buddhist version:
http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/Zen_Humor.html

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Two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, traveling on pilgrimage, came to a muddy river crossing. There they saw a lovely young woman dressed in her kimono and finery, obviously not knowing how to cross the river without ruining her clothes.

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Without further ado, Tanzan graciously picked her up, held her close to him, and carried her across the muddy river, placing her onto the dry ground. Then he and Ekido continued on their way. Hours later they found themselves at a lodging temple.

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And here Ekido could no longer restrain himself and gushed forth his complaints: “Surely, it is against the rules what you did back there…. Touching a woman is simply not allowed…. How could you have done that? … And to have such close contact with her! … This is a violation of all monastic protocol…” Thus he went on with his verbiage. Tanzan listened patiently to the accusations.

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Finally, during a pause, he said, “Look, I set that girl down back at the crossing. Are you still carrying her?”

 

(Based on an autobiographical story by Japanese master Tanzan, 1819-1892)

 

two monks 2

Christian medieval story
http://www.leewoof.org/leewoof/1999/4-11-99.htm

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In one of my favorite stories, set in medieval times, two monks who are on a long journey are walking through a great forest. One is middle-aged, and has been with their monastic order for years. The other is a young novitiate. As they walk along the path, the hours go by, sometimes in conversation, sometimes in silence.

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At one point, they come upon a wide, rapid stream. Sitting at the edge of the water is a young woman, who is evidently in some distress. As soon as she sees the two monks, a look of relief comes over her face, and she hurries up to them. “Father,” she says, addressing the older of the two, “you would be doing me the greatest favor if you would carry me across. The water is swift, and I do not know how to swim. If I should slip and fall . . . .”

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“Of course, my child,” the monk replies, “I would be most willing to carry you across.” The young novitiate shoots his companion a surprised glance–for under the rules of their order, they are strictly forbidden to touch women. Nevertheless, the older monk takes the young woman up in his arms, carries her across the stream, and sets her down safely on the other side. After thanking them graciously, she goes on her way, and the two monks continue on their journey.

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There is silence between them for an hour, then two. Finally, the younger monk musters the courage to speak. “Father,” he says, “you know that we are not allowed to touch women.”

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“Yes, I know.”

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“How, then, could you carry that woman across the stream?”

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My son,” he replied, “I put the young woman down two hours ago. But you are still carrying her.”

 

Another Christian version (Catholic)
http://www.fisheaters.com/twomonks.html

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Two monks were making a pilgrimage to venerate the relics of a great Saint. During the course of their journey, they came to a river where they met a beautiful young woman — an apparently worldly creature, dressed in expensive finery and with her hair done up in the latest fashion. She was afraid of the current and afraid of ruining her lovely clothing, so asked the brothers if they might carry her across the river.

 

The younger and more exacting of the brothers was offended at the very idea and turned away with an attitude of disgust. The older brother didn’t hesitate, and quickly picked the woman up on his shoulders, carried her across the river, and set her down on the other side. She thanked him and went on her way, and the brother waded back through the waters.

 

The monks resumed their walk, the older one in perfect equanimity and enjoying the beautiful countryside, while the younger one grew more and more brooding and distracted, so much so that he could keep his silence no longer and suddenly burst out, “Brother, we are taught to avoid contact with women, and there you were, not just touching a woman, but carrying her on your shoulders!”

 

The older monk looked at the younger with a loving, pitiful smile and said, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river; you are still carrying her.”

 

A Daoist Version
http://weblog.raganwald.com/2007/10/three-stories-about-tao.html

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A monk and his novice were walking through the forest. They come to a stream. On the bank there was a beautifully dressed woman, crying. The monks asked her what was the matter. “I am on my way to a wedding. I have to cross the stream to get there, but the bridge has been washed away. I was searching for a place to cross where I wouldn’t ruin the dress, but I can’t find one and if I don’t make it across soon, I will be late.”

 

Without a word, the elder monk scooped her into his arms, waded across the stream, and deposited her on the other side. Ignoring her thanks, he waded back and the two monks resume their walk. They continued on their journey, but the younger monk was agitated and obviously had something on his mind. The elder monk stopped and asked him what was the matter.

 

“Elder, I am confused. Our vows prohibit us from fleshly contact with women, yet you embraced that woman in your arms. How can this be?” The elder monk eyed his novice with kindly concern. “Novice,” he asked, “I left her on the bank of the stream. Why do you still carry her?”

 

From a Jewish website (though there is no claim it is a Jewish story):
http://www.bethelsudbury.org/jewish_basics/text005.php3?page=735

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Let me illustrate: Once there were two monks traveling on a pilgrimage who came to the ford of a river. There they saw a girl dressed in all her finery and obviously not knowing what to do, for the river was high and she did not want to ruin her clothes. Without any ado, one of the monks took her on his back, carried her across the river, and put her on dry ground.

 

Then the monks continued on their way. But, before long, the other monk started complaining, “Surely it is not right to touch a woman; it is against our commandments to have close contact with women. How could you go against the rules for monks?” and so on he complained for what seemed like hours.

 

The monk who carried the girl walked along silently, but finally he remarked, “I set her down by the river, but you are still carrying her.”

Aug 30

All-Knowing Silence

Connecting with that deep, inner silence and inner peace is connecting with the Divine Universe. It is the experience of the Mystic, going from learning and studying to BE-ing.

Personally, my most profound experiences of Silence have been during the practice of Zhan Zhuang (Standing Tree) Qigong, or they followed sessions of chanting (which is why I practice and encourage others to join me in Nada Yoga) every Wednesday. However you achieve union with Silence, through qigong or chanting, yoga or meditation, or some other method, I’m sure you will find it to be quite profound to say the least!

Today’s video is rather short at just under 4 minutes, and instead of a talk, it is a read accompanied by Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” It’s a stark look at the roots of timeless Truth, ever unchanging. Some of the statements may surprise you or send you reeling. If you contemplate them, it can get pretty intense!

In fact, it reminded me of this quote I found years ago and remember often when contemplating Awakening: “I am not here to console you, to comfort you, to make you secure. I am here to destroy you utterly, because only then is the new born – the new man, the new consciousness. If I help, the old will continue. All help goes to help the old. All help keeps the old surviving; it nourishes it. No, I am not going to help in any way.” ~ Osho

Are you ready?

Spiritual Truth #1 – All-Knowing Awareness 3:50

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