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Like certain timeless wisdom, there’s a sutra right at the very beginning of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali—that wonderful collection of wisdom from Hindu philosophythat defines my ongoing mental struggles so simply, I can actually find it a little aggravating.

Maybe that’s just me thinking about it in the wrong way. You know—habitually sending my thoughts in an aggravating direction. It also happens to be the sutra that supplies my favorite definition of what Yoga actually is. It’s Chapter One, verse two, and it goes something like this:

“Yoga is the control of thought-waves in the mind.”butterfly on pond with wave ripplesAs usual, with the Wisdom of the Ages, it makes it seem so simple and direct, doesn’t it? But for all the times I’ve attempted to sort out the random jumble that makes up my mind, I’ve discovered it’s anything but—unless I can experience it myself. And then I realize it really is simple, if I can simply change the way I think about it. I have to start by sharing the awareness of my thinking as “thought-waves in the mind.”

The simplest way into that deceptively simple sutra is through its fluid metaphor for thinking—the lovely idea that my thought process can flow along in a controlled and comfortable way, like sets of waves that can be observed from a safe distance, and then guided in the direction of our choosing. Like the action of water, I need a concept that penetrates down into the process I so easily take for granted.

Water finds its greatest power by seeking its lowest point.” – A Zen saying

Functionally, my fluid thoughts are more often like choppy waters, or sudden shore-breaks; insistent, swirling whirlpools, or even tsunamis. Fluid, but not really so orderly. I’m much more likely to be thrown around, or washed over, or sucked under by spontaneous thoughts than to calmly line them up like orderly waves going in this direction or that, like Poseidon playing in the pool at Mount Olympus.

Most of the time, the most fluid metaphor for my mind comes in the image of a self-propelling shark, swinging side to side, ceaselessly roving from thought to thought, following random electromagnetic impulses (or some sudden, unconnected suggestion of blood in the water), instinctively following the pathways I feel have worked in the past to assure my “survival.”

Sandbars of used thoughts

north sea sandbarsSo, as it turns out, I think the way I think because I’ve been practicing thinking that way for a long time—and there’s a Vedic concept that describes this liquid metaphor that comes in the form that our wise Hindu philosopher would call samskaras.

Samskaras are patterns of thought—directions our thoughts run in that are caused by a kind of erosion in our minds. They’re those recurring thoughts that unconscious gravity insists must cascade down, over and over, in the same direction. And as they do, they carve out channels and build up stream banks, like sandbars of used thoughts.

Without you even realizing it, these insistent patterns force your thoughts into old directions that may not even serve you anymore, that may actually prevent you from thinking in new directions and realizing new potentials.

Over and over, your thoughts lead you back in the wrong way. Season after season, you become accustomed to irrigating the same garden of your unconscious focus, harvesting the same bounty of discomfort and anxiety.

Put simple joyful hydrology to work

a portion of the Anjajavy Forest with river winding through itBut as any good farmer can tell us, we can redirect the stream of our flowing thoughts through conscious awareness, and by putting some simple joyful hydrology to work. Our goal is to move the flow of our thought-streams into new ground—to cut new, more beneficial channels into our internal geography, and in that way, redirect our outcomes and eventually (sometimes suddenly!) reshape our minds.

We can redirect the stream of our flowing thoughts through conscious awareness, and by putting some simple joyful hydrology to work.

This concept may sound familiar to you in modern, scientific terms, and if you think of mindfulness, it should. It’s described in modern neuro-scientific terms as reconfiguring neural pathways. (When you study ancient Hindu wisdom, you realize that they understood neuroscience, astrophysics, quantum mechanics and a whole lot more “modern knowledge” a long, long time before any of it was “discovered.”) 

In order to irrigate our lives with new streams of positive thought (that is, to modify our samskaras, as Patanjali would say) we simply need to consciously introduce thought-waves that go in new and better directions, and guide them over new ground that’s been properly prepared.

We know it’s practically impossible to route any kind of stream over hardpack, so we’ve got to introduce some air and space into the ground of our thinking to counteract and command the effects of so much gravity. We need to consciously introduce joy. We can accomplish this first in sort of a counter-intuitive way.

We start by recognizing when we’re going in that uncomfortable direction again, that a common direction our thinking takes reliably leads us to a state of agitation or discomfort. The uncomfortable awareness we experience is really the precondition for rerouting our stream of thought in a new and more joyful direction.

For example, experiencing envy towards others shows us that we’re focusing too much on what they’ve done, and not enough on what we’re doing ourselves—too much focus on their outsides and not enough on our own insides. Or when we experience extreme sadness, we’re focusing too much on the way things end, and not enough on the excitement of their beginnings or the beauty of how they are right now.

This more joyful, common-sense perspective on our uncomfortable directions softens up the ground of our new becoming, and allows the awareness of counter-intuition to point our thoughts towards a new positivity, away from the patterns of pain we’ve unconsciously accustomed ourselves to.

Too much gravity!

piece of land with house floating in the airThe key to all this new irrigation, to the redirection of all these cascading streams of thought is, of course, gravity! Gravity—or should I say, too much of it. You have to consciously escape all that gravity! To lighten your thoughts up, and aerate the ground of your being, for Pete’s sake. Seven billion of us can’t all be that important, you know.

Positive thoughts are light thoughts; they’re easy thoughts, and the directions they stream in are easily lifted and directed in order to run straight towards your true potential. Then the fertile, uncut expanses of your inner potential can be fed by new furrows of thought—springs and streams and cascades of joyful possibility, reconfiguring the pathways of your thought process. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

The other day, I saw a perfect illustration of this skillful redirection. I was watching possibly the greatest tennis player of all time as he barely squeaked by a young, underrated player whose inspired play turned a victory everyone had taken for granted into a real struggle for survival. Immediately following the contest, the commentator revealed the direction of his own samskaras when he asked:

“That was a very difficult match, wasn’t it? Did you expect him to be so tough to beat?”

The champion answered, “We had a lot of fun. It was really exciting. That’s why I’m here, to bring that kind of excitement to people, and to experience it myself.” He smiled big.

“Didn’t you have back problems two weeks ago? Was that affecting your play today?” asked the commentator.

The champion replied, “I’m just very happy to be playing here today. It was a great match, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the tournament.” He smiled even bigger.

The commentator (a little bemused) finally asked, “The new roof here really closes in all the action. Didn’t you find all the noise distracting?”

The champion said, “It’s a wonderful atmosphere for the tournament. All the people here have been absolutely great—it’s really fun to get to play for them!” He smiled a huge smile, politely ended the interview and smacked three or four autographed balls out into the cheering crowd with his racket.

You see, joyfully redirecting your thoughts is never such a big deal after all. You simply see that familiar pain arising, and set a course in a different direction.

«RELATED READ» MINDFUL LIVING: Want to get out of your reactive thoughts and live mindfully? Read this.»

image 1. Pixabay 2. Pixabay 3. Pixabay 4. By C. Michael Hogan – Own work by the original uploader, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Original author: Contributing Writer
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Posted by on in Mindfulness
Shelli Pruett is a Los Angeles-based artist. She has a degree in Fine Arts from New College in Sarasota, Florida. Her work has been published in many venues, including The Wall Street Journal. Her cartoons range from the pithy and philosophical to the whimsical. They’re about life and spirituality in this modern world, as well as alternate worlds of imagination.
Original author: Shelli Pruett
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Posted by on in Mindfulness
Shelli Pruett is a Los Angeles-based artist. She has a degree in Fine Arts from New College in Sarasota, Florida. Her work has been published in many venues, including The Wall Street Journal. Her cartoons range from the pithy and philosophical to the whimsical. They’re about life and spirituality in this modern world, as well as alternate worlds of imagination.
Original author: Shelli Pruett
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large open plan home with high ceilingsIn our weekly Mindful Dreams column, Aneta Baranek of the School of Metaphysics is offering free dream interpretations to The Mindful Word readers, as well as articles on dreams in general.

If you’ve ever been curious about deciphering the cryptic contents of your subconscious mind, here’s your chance! If you would like Aneta to interpret your dream, fill out this form. She will respond with your dream interpretation through this column, published every Thursday. Aneta would love to receive more comments for the dreams interpreted. If you can relate to a dream posted here or have any insights to add, you can post them as comments to the interpretation, or email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Intro

DREAM

Hi Aneta,

Before I write the dream, I should say that I was absolutely soaked in sweat by the time I arose.

First, I remember walking to a house with a giant roof and high ceilings. It was like an outfitted barn but with only one room, and everything was in it: kitchen, bathroom, living room, everything you can imagine. There were children passing in and out. I asked the couple there if they wanted to build higher up into the home, but they didn’t want to.

Earlier in the dream, I remember that I was trying to get a friend out of the basement of another house that was leaking water everywhere. We couldn’t find a way out, but there was glass and a spiral staircase upwards. We used the staircase, but she seemed reluctant to climb, like dizzy or perhaps she couldn’t catch her breath. It was all a blur. 

What do you think this means?

Thanks,

Aleksa

DREAM TITLE: “Exploring Different Places in Mind”

DREAMER: Female, 21, Canada

MAIN SYMBOLS:

House — state of mind of the dreamer

Children — developing aspects of the dreamer

Basement — unconscious parts of dreamer’s mind

Friend — familiar aspect of the dreamer

Water — conscious life experience

Glass — transparency

Staircase — tool for ascension

INTERPRETATION

Hello Aleksa,

Thank you for sharing your dream.

Any house in a dream represents the dreamer’s state of mind. In your case, the house has high ceilings and a giant roof, which represent wholeness and an elevated perspective in relation to how you use your mind. All the areas (kitchen, living room and bathroom) being in the same single space speak to you not having strict and clear delineations between different parts of your mind. To explain further: a bathroom symbolizes a place for release and cleanup, a kitchen is where you prepare knowledge (food) and a living room is a place for connection with various parts of yourself.

Any person in a dream represents an aspect of the dreamer. The children symbolize unknown, developing aspects of you, and your friend a known, familiar aspect. The next step with people we know who appear in our dreams is to determine two main qualities that you, the dreamer, believe they demonstrate. This helps to narrow the aspects within the dreamer that the dream is calling attention to. 

A basement represents the unconscious parts of a dreamer’s mind. A staircase is a way to move about in the house (mind). Therefore, anytime someone is climbing up a staircase, this symbolizes a degree of ascension in the dreamer’s consciousness.

 APPLICATION            

Overall, this dream reflects how you used your mind a day or two prior to having this dream. It reflects that you were exploring various parts of your mind, from the unconscious to the higher levels of consciousness. The dream also speaks to you being aware of parts of yourself that are still developing (children), as well as the qualities that your friend represents.

The mind is composed of three divisions: Conscious, Subconscious and Superconscious. The unconscious parts of the mind reside in all three divisions and represent those parts of ourselves that we’re not aware of. Most people utilize less than 10 percent of their mind’s power.

Your dream is encouraging you to explore more aspects of your mind. A few ways to do so include recording and interpreting your dreams, journaling and meditating. The more of your mind you put to practical use, the more of your true Self you’ll discover!

May your dreams illuminate the inner and outer you…

image: Pixabay

Original author: Aneta Baranek
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Before I started graduate school, I took a temporary job at a call centre to hold me over until it was time to move away for the next phase of my life. While working there, I was surprised to meet someone who was also on a spiritual path like I was, and we became friends. On the outside, we were very different, yet we had many interests in common. We both rode our bicycles to work, for example, and we both read books during our breaks.

Although this was a long time ago, I remember my friend telling me something along the lines that if I was really interested in developing spiritually, all I had to do was practice Qi Gong and Tai Chi. Over the years, since then, I’ve sought out teachers in order to learn different Qi Gong practices, as well as Tai Chi.

Enter Falun Dafa

Falun Dafa the fifth meditationApparently, where I currently live in North Texas, Qi Gong and Tai Chi aren’t exactly popular. Sure, you can find a class here or there. There are also small pockets of practitioners. Most municipal recreation centres offer Tai Chi, especially for seniors, but it’s very generic and classes focus more on the movements rather than on energy or the breath.

In my search for a deeper study and practice of both Qi Gong and Tai Chi, I turned to the website Meetup.com to see if there were any groups near me that met regularly to practice together. Lo and behold, I found one group that met at a park not too far away from me in Arlington. I contacted the Meetup organizer for the group and got the meeting details.

The first couple of times I went, the organizer was very patient and generous with his time, and he spent the whole two hours showing me the moves instead of doing the practice himself. It turned out the Meetup I’d found was for a Qi Gong practice as taught by Falun Dafa, an informal organization that originated in China.

At the time, I didn’t know anything about Falun Dafa, except what was sensationalized in the news. Supposedly, the group was being persecuted by the Communist regime in China. Members were imprisoned and tortured, and supposedly, their organs were being harvested. This was my first real exposure to members of Falun Dafa, what they stood for and what they believed.

The Qi Gong exercises themselves are comprised of a set of four different sets of movements and one sitting meditation. Altogether, it takes two hours to complete all five exercises. Members play a recording from the group’s founder, Li Hongzhi, and follow the verbal instructions. Since the instructions are all in Chinese, and I don’t speak any Chinese, I had to learn to recognize groups of sounds as my cues to move on to the next movement.

Aware, awake, refreshed and energized

Over the summer, when I practiced the five Qi Gong and meditation exercises with the Falun Dafa Meetup group, I started noticing some subtle changes in my body. The biggest change, which surprised me, was that I’d wake up feeling refreshed and fully energized. Prior to that, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d woken up fully refreshed and wide awake!

Over the summer, when I practiced the five Qi Gong and meditation exercises with the Falun Dafa Meetup group, I started noticing some subtle changes in my body.

During this time, I cut out all my caffeine as well. I didn’t really drink coffee, and I never drank soft drinks, but living in the South, I did drink a lot of iced tea. Iced tea can have as much caffeine in it as coffee! My family wasn’t too thrilled about going from regular tea to decaf. I couldn’t really taste the difference, but apparently, they could.

Not only did I wake up feeling refreshed and wide awake, but I also felt fully energized. I was ready to go for the day, and wouldn’t stop until it was time for bed! My high energy level lasted for most of the day, too. It didn’t wear off like a cup of coffee wears off after a while. I was amazed. What else could this Qi Gong practice do for me?

Fall of summer

Falun Gong, Malaysia man sitting in meditation with photosSlowly, as the summer dragged along and I met more members of this Falun Dafa group, the practitioners gently began to insist that I read the English translations of all the books written by the group’s founder. They also requested that I listen to all his lectures, which have been translated into English and are freely available through the Falun Dafa website.

At first, I didn’t mind. I read the books and listened to the lectures. Some of the ideas were intriguing, but others just seemed plain bizarre. “How can anybody believe this?” I wondered.

Then, the members wanted me to join them in a sort of scripture study of the books. Their fanatical side started to show. They were very kind and generous, but a little on the extremist side, it seemed. Their insistence on discussing Mr. Hongzhi’s doctrine and including me in their book studies started to scare me off.

Alas, to my disappointment, I stopped going to the Meetup. When I have time, I still try to practice the Qi Gong exercises I learned from Falun Dafa, but I haven’t practiced them as regularly as I did when I met with the group.

Unfortunately, I’m back to waking up tired, and drinking caffeinated tea and even coffee to keep me going. My occasional practice isn’t enough to energize me anymore. Moreover, I only do the first four exercises, and skip the hour-long meditation, as I don’t usually have two consecutive hours to practice during the week. I was never sure how much the final meditation contributed to the energetic state, anyhow. 

While Falun Dafa practitioners are very enthusiastic and even fanatical about their group’s teachings and practices, it’s best if you don’t let that scare you away from learning and doing the exercises themselves. At their core, they’re different Qi Gong exercises that can increase the amount of energy held in your body.

Should you practice Qi Gong, you may find (as I did!) that you wake up fully refreshed, awake and energized, and stay that way throughout the day.

«RELATED READ» QI GONG: An effective antidote to modern stress»

In addition to being a loving husband and father of two girls, José is the author of an upcoming book, Spiritual Living for Busy People. As a holistic life coach, he loves seeing clients make breakthroughs in their lives. You can find out more on his main site, jose-delatorre.com.
image: 1. By Nation kingdom (Own work) (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons 2. By longtrekhome (Falun Dafa the fifth exercise, meditation) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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In his Indian accent, still quite prominent even after more than 40 years in the United States, Deepak calmly instructs us to close our eyes and simply breathe and focus on silently repeating our personal mantra.

Within a minute or so, my body feels less rigid and my breathing is slower. I sense my body sinking deeper into the chair with every mantra recitation.

The Ken Commandments front cover - I'm a soul and I'm perfect

Deepak then instructs us to “picture a screen of your consciousness and see yourself today and recapitulate everything that has happened so far.”

Within a few seconds of his prompt, I picture waking up and writing in my diary in the hotel room, walking to get coffee as it’s still dark, doing a Yoga class outside on the lawn by the golf course as the sun is rising, sitting in the ballroom for morning meditation session for a half an hour, having lunch with other attendees out on the hotel terrace.

Deepak then says to become aware of any flashes of memories, not in order but just as they come, of the day each of us left home to come here. I see the images of packing my suitcase, of saying goodbye to the kids, of Brooke mentioning that she liked this “new, calmer Ken” who was about to drive down to San Diego for a spiritual retreat, of me arriving at the resort and feeling nervous about what I’d just committed to doing for the next six days.

Moving into the past

As I swim in the images, Deepak says to recall a significant event from “the last 10 years or so” that was emotionally important in some way—good or bad.

I round off to 13 years ago and think of my son Jackson being born. The image is so vivid of my pale baby son with a big head and big blue eyes, of touching his tiny hand in the delivery room and him squeezing it, cementing a bond that’s unbreakably beautiful.

By now, I’m in a trancelike state as Deepak says to imagine a time in my teens. My mental picture shows a white banner strung across my house that my Mom made, reading CONGRATULATIONS, KENNY! after I’d won a World Cup hockey tournament. I smile as I relive the moment as clearly as if it were yesterday.

Perhaps I’m in “the gap”; maybe I’ve found the amorphous space in which the soul resides. I’m just being.

Deepak asks us to remember when we were under 12 and I see me playing baseball with my brothers on a field near our house. The scene plays out like a movie. I’m both viewer and participant. My father is coaching us, laughing and hitting ground balls to all of us.

I feel my eyes welling with tears. I miss Dad. I want to reach out and touch him, squeeze his hand like Jackson did to mine in that delivery room. I’m emotionally and physically immersed in the regression exercise. I’m not asleep, but also not quite conscious. This is the closest I’ve ever come to having an out-of-body experience. Perhaps I’m in “the gap”; maybe I’ve found the amorphous space in which the soul resides. I’m just being.

Deepak then tells us to think of when we were babies, under two years old. At first, I’m having trouble, but I soften my mind’s eye and eventually an image of me staring up from my crib at a colourful mobile comes before me. It’s joyful, innocent, and simple—much in the way that I’ve been learning this week is our true, natural state of being, before our ego invades and distracts and our nurture of parents, of culture, of traumas overshadows our nature.Colourful baby mobile hanging over crib - I'm a soul and I'm perfectThen, in his soothing drone, Deepak asks for us to see ourselves in the womb. My chest is rising and falling on its own, a soothing force of life, as if the universe is passing through me like my Yoga teacher likes to describe the sensation. Every muscle in my body feels relaxed.

I’m in a fully meditative state when a totally black picture emerges before me. I’m floating in water and can only hear the pulse of my heartbeat and primordial squishing sounds amid the fluids of the womb.

Under Deepak’s spell, I’ve lost track of time and space. This exercise could’ve been going on for 10 minutes or an hour—I have no clue.

Fully immersed in the moment, I hear Deepak ask us to regress further and see ourselves in “previous lives.” A series of images immediately pop into my head. First, I see me in what looks like the 1800s or maybe early 1900s and I’m a pretty woman with big breasts wearing a fancy dress, as if I’m in high society. I don’t look very nice or warm. Then I see me as a peasant in some period of time long ago, like several hundred years ago, draped in drab gray clothing. It seems as if I’m begging in the streets of some ancient-type place. Then I see myself as a black woman in Africa; I’m topless, with big, floppy breasts.

Back to the present moment

After some period of time, Deepak invokes us to slowly open our eyes and “come back into the present.”

My gaze comes into focus as the lights slowly turn back on in the ballroom. It’s the evening of July 13, 2016, and my body is in Carlsbad, California. After seemingly having just travelled back in time, I’ve never felt more in the present. And I came to this sensation, this awareness, by turning off my thoughts, creating a space in which I could just experience my being. By losing my mind, I connected with my soul.

I’ve found a way to create space for me, a bigger space of self-awareness and peace than the one I’ve been able to find with my Headspace apps. I’d just transcended my physical self. And in that space, in between the breaths and the thoughts and distractions of my life, I found a tranquillity that I’ve never found praying to Jesus, getting my Tarot cards read, studying the Bible, or staring at a sunset. It’s a place where my stomach doesn’t hurt, my mind isn’t consumed with worry, and I don’t feel shame or guilt that I’m not a good enough father or husband or son or brother or E! News correspondent.

In this space, I’m a soul. And I’m perfect.

«RELATED READ» BORIS’S STORY: How an academic merged scientific and spiritual belief to find peace within»

image 1: Yahoo via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons BY-SA); image 2: Pexels
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large rainbow coloured kite in the skyIn our weekly Mindful Dreams column, Aneta Baranek of the School of Metaphysics is offering free dream interpretations to The Mindful Word readers, as well as articles on dreams in general.

If you’ve ever been curious about deciphering the cryptic contents of your subconscious mind, here’s your chance! If you would like Aneta to interpret your dream, fill out this form. She will respond with your dream interpretation through this column, published every Thursday. Aneta would love to receive more comments for the dreams interpreted. If you can relate to a dream posted here or have any insights to add, you can post them as comments to the interpretation, or email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Intro

 

DREAM

Hi Aneta,

I once had a dream that I was sitting on a huge kite and flying in the sky. I was enjoying it until I turned around and saw many electrical wires for connectivity. I wanted to stop so I wouldn’t crash into them, but I couldn’t. I kept dodging the wires, but in the end, I lost balance and crash-landed.

I died in the end. I woke with a sinking feeling in my heart, and I couldn’t breathe. It felt like I’d really had that fall! 

– Drashti

DREAM TITLE: “Dying While Flying on a Kite”

DREAMER: Female, 17, India

MAIN SYMBOLS:

Flying — freedom

Sky — Superconscious Mind

Wires — connections

Death — transformation

INTERPRETATION

Hello Drashti,

Thank you for sharing your dream.

Flying in a dream symbolizes freedom. The sky symbolizes Superconscious Mind, the highest level of consciousness. The electrical wires represent some sort of connections that you wanted to avoid crashing into. Crashing and dying in a dream symbolizes change, a significant transformation.

The dream highlights the idea that you were experiencing a lot of freedom while connecting with the highest level of your consciousness. This freedom was achieved in an unexpected or unorthodox way (kite). There were some connections that you wanted to avoid while in that state, yet these connections eventually caused you to transform (fall/death).

The sensation of falling that you describe likely had to do with your astral body re-entering and reconnecting with your physical body. This sensation is pretty common towards the end or the beginning of a dream cycle.

APPLICATION

If this were my dream, Drashti, I’d examine the 24 to 48 hours prior to having this dream. If that weren’t possible, then I’d try to recall major events in my life that took place around the time of the dream. 

The dream speaks to you experiencing an incredible sense of freedom and inner-connectedness. It concludes with you undergoing a major transformation. Whatever waking life circumstances influenced your dream were paramount and very significant. It’s not every day that we have profound experiences leading us to heights of freedom and culminating in transformation.

I’d encourage you to explore activities and experiences that bring you freedom in life. What are they? This is what the dream is calling your soul to ponder and pursue.

May your dreams illuminate the inner and outer you…

image: pxhere
Original author: Aneta Baranek
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Alchemist Sendivogius (15661636) by Jan Matejko, 1867There’s a positively charged electrical field surrounding the Earth. The Earth itself carries a negative charge. While not taken seriously in their time, past scientists such as Nikola Tesla studied the frequency of the Earth. In the 1950s, the German physicist W.O. Schumann and his students carried out experiments with electromagnetic waves in the atmosphere and the ionosphere. Schumann discovered a natural pulse resonating around the Earth at a frequency of 7.83 Hz, widely known as the Schumann resonance.

While this is great scientific information, there are other important facts to take into account in regard to our practice. Connecting with the Earth’s resonance is essential. Not doing so can lead to lowered levels of melatonin, a cancer suppressant and cell-rejuvenating hormone produced in the brain. Electromagnetic pollution can even inhibit our ability to connect with the Earth’s natural pulse in a physical sense. 

The Earth is a living being. It’s starting to vibrate at a frequency we haven’t witnessed before. The frequency of the planet has been increasing very quickly throughout the last 10 years, and has almost doubled. The planet’s energy is expanding. The Earth is basically talking to us through her vibration.

The real question is, how are we tuning in to these new frequencies? If we don’t tune in, pain is generated, and it hurts a lot. It not only hurts your body, but your emotions end up all over the place and your mind becomes a wreck.

Why does this vibration matter to your life?

It matters because it’s like putting a lightbulb into a circuit that carries more electricity than the lightbulb can handle. If we don’t adjust our nervous systems and our energetic bodies, the Earth’s energy will become just too much for us to take. It’s necessary for us to align our bodies with the Earth, allowing us to move more comfortably through this physical world as its energy becomes stronger every day.

This phenomenon is happening all around the world. So if you think that you’re alone in being sensitive and maybe feeling a little crazy, relax! You’re just being triggered by this new flow of energy and need to realign.

We’ve created the misconception that being involved with cultivating a more conscious humanity is something that’s reserved to a select few. It’s not! We’re all going through this process. It’s happening right here and right now, all over the world. Many people are suffering, and not just economically. The number of people with depression is huge. This is because there’s a disconnect in the area of life linked to love, inspiration and purpose. Our vibrations aren’t aligned with our environment anymore. We’re living unnatural lives … uninspired lives.

This isn’t about assigning blame, especially not to those who are suffering the most. Also, it’s not about feeling superior because you believe that being on a certain spiritual path makes you better than others, “more awakened.” If you believe this, you’re being duped by your own ego-mind, and you need to realign with the truth of the Earth’s awakening that brings kindness rather than separation.

It’s such a gift to be on this Earth right now, and to be aware of the changes underway. We’re being called to be with our tribes. We’re being called to be our authentic selves. This is why we experience such pain, such as depression, when we aren’t aligned. If we don’t adapt, we go into a separatist mindset. We stay in the structures that we’ve been socially programmed to work with, believing “I have to be this; I have to be that; I can’t do this; I can’t do that,” and so on. 

When do we start to free ourselves?

Embodiment and grounding

walking barefoot on the beachMany philosophies and traditions, including Toltec, Mayan and Tantric agree that our internal shift has to start with our bodies. Our bodies are the place where we start to enjoy being alive. We in-joy: we enjoy being in our bodies, on Earth, right now.

If that isn’t happening naturally for you at this time, that’s in a strange way great, even though it doesn’t feel like it. It’s a sign that there’s plenty of beautiful yet demanding inner work for you to do in order to uncover what makes you happy and joyful.

We can all do this. Every time the part of us that doesn’t feel good enough or compares us to others shows itself, we can thank it for showing up and, now that the Earth’s vibration is so high, channel it to accelerate our own growth.

Grounding, or connecting to the Earth, is one of the most powerful practices we can use to remain centred in life. Connecting to the Earth corresponds to connecting to who we really are. This protects us from emotional rollercoasters and reckless thinking.

When we’re grounded within our bodies, it becomes so much easier to receive the imperfect parts of ourselves with kindness rather than panic or resentment.

To start, simply go outside barefoot. Stand and spread your feet wider than your hips, at a 45-degree angle, and bend your legs. This will open your hips, and you’ll also get to use the strong muscles of your legs to support yourself. Let your legs be active as the grounding point for the rest of your body.

Tuck in your tailbone and feel how there’s a straight line of connection from your tailbone all the way down to the centre of the Earth. Our connection with the Earth is always present, but we need to be more aware of it, and getting into this position is a great way to be more conscious of it. This is especially efficient since the hips are a part of the body where deep emotions that are hard to deal with get stuck.

Breathe down into your hips and into your belly. Get lost in the sensations that arise.

When we’re grounded within our bodies, it becomes so much easier to receive the imperfect parts of ourselves with kindness rather than panic or resentment. It might take time to get there, but it’s beautiful and worthwhile work! 

Harnessing the power of sound

Sound is the fastest way to change our vibrational frequency, because with the help of air, we can generate a sound that induces our body, tissues and cells to vibrate. This is one of the reasons why sound healing is so powerful. Sound gets to our core without any trouble, and reaches not only the body, but also the energetic body. With the vibration of the sound we’re exposed to, our bodies are able to effectively go back to their natural state of peace, harmony, clarity, intuition and joy.

If you play an instrument, sing or are in a band, you might already be familiar with the benefits of sound healing. Sound healing is not only beneficial in terms of our vibration and physical health, it’s also extremely potent when it comes to changing our mindset. I’ve had students who started crying instantly when we got into sound healing practices. They tapped into emotions and energy that had been completely stuck until then.

As the vibration of the Earth rises, we’re being called to become who we’re truly meant to be, and unlocking the hidden wounds that are holding us back is an indispensable part of this process.

When practicing sound healing, observe how you breathe. Close your eyes and return to that place in which you can see yourself as the unique and special being that you are. That’s your natural state!

Practice Shamanic Yoga

yoga on the beachSo what is Shamanic Yoga? It’s the perfect association of the disciplines of Yoga and Shamanism. The association of these two branches of spiritual practice allows us to create a truly holistic practice that takes into account all the aspects of the individual and the world that surrounds us: spiritual, physical, psychological, energetic and so on. 

Practicing Shamanic Yoga isn’t just about coming back into our bodies and enjoying the knowledge of this great Eastern philosophy. While Yoga by itself is already amazing, Shamanic Yoga fully embraces the importance of seeing ourselves as beings who are part of Nature and as children of the Earth.

Shamanic Yoga involves connecting to the Earth and the elements; calling on the power and wisdom of the elements, of Nature, of our ancestors or even on the power of each asana. Asanas such as Sun Salutations, Tree Pose and Cobra Pose are actually deeply linked to the Earth’s natural powers and to animals. You can also open your practice with an offering to Divine Forces and a call for direction. Through Shamanic Yoga, we’re able to become empowered through our transformation as individuals and our active participation in the Earth’s healing.

We’re all living laboratories

I hope these tools I’ve described will help you kick-start or continue your spiritual journey as the Earth’s vibration continues to rise. Its energy, combined with the transformative forces brought on by eclipses and planet movements might feel overwhelming at times, but the wisdom that’s necessary to embrace these changes is certainly within you. Inside, we’re all living laboratories—we just need to learn how to navigate our own. 

We’re all alchemists, so let’s do it! Our beautiful planet is asking us to.

«RELATED READ» HIGH-DEFINITION LIVING: Tap into your body’s high-voltage energy»

Juan Pablo Barahona (JuanPa) is a transformational leader, visionary, speaker, holistic Yoga teacher, musician, healer and coach. As the founder and director of Kawoq Conscious Living School, he has created life-changing programs that he shares around the globe. These programs enable participants to realize their deepest potential and step into their inner capacity for leadership and wisdom.
image: 1. Alchemist Sendivogius by Jan Matejko, 1867 via Wikimedia Commons 2. Pxhere 3. Pxhere
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flattened Rygoyuko station after great Kanto EarthquakeThe director Akira Kurosawa talked often of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, which devastated Tokyo, killing almost 150,000 people. In its aftermath, his older brother took Kurosawa, then in middle school, to see the carnage.

When Kurosawa tried to look away from the corpses strewn in the streets, his brother admonished him to look directly at the horror. The director tells the story:

When that night I asked my brother why he made me look at those terrible sights, he replied, “If you shut your eyes to a frightening sight, you end up being frightened. If you look at everything straight on, there is nothing to be afraid of.”

That advice stayed with him and influenced his powerful use of the camera. It’s stayed with me, too.

Rewriting history

Now, in the late summer of 2017, as Americans discuss, argue, insult and fight over the presence of monuments to Confederate soldiers and leaders in our institutions, it strikes me that what we’re really doing is avoiding looking at the frightening sight.

This eruption of enmity that took hold over the summer reminds me that the rewriting of history is all around us. This revisionism, in its way, allows us to avoid facing the thing we fear. How much easier is it to venerate a losing cause than to examine its source and roots, not to mention the real harm and suffering it caused? How much more comforting is it to declare that both sides had validity, especially if your ancestors were among those who were recruited to fight (or who volunteered) for the losing side? 

I’m half-German. In my family, there are two ancestors who fought for the Nazis as conscripted soldiers. One was killed in action at the age of 19. The other survived the war, but lost his arm fighting in the Battle of Berlin as a 15-year-old. Talk about a lost cause!

I never met the first relative, obviously, but I was very close to the second and loved him dearly as a child. He was deeply haunted by his experience and is one of the reasons I began to write about the aftermath of the Second World War

I remember once asking my grandmother why there were so few old men in Germany back in the 1970s. “The war,” was all she said. She never talked about the war again, until reunification took us both back to where she’d spent those years, in a small town in what had become East Germany. Setting foot there nearly four decades later, she recalled only the day she watched American tanks roll through her town. After that, she never spoke about that time again. She’s another reason I set my novels in the months after the war was over.

For years, it was understood that Germans had been made to face their guilt and shame, and that the Nazi stain had been removed. But the reality is that the confrontation was never complete. For sure, we know much about the Holocaust (and continue, to this day, to learn more), including who perpetrated it and how.

History’s always happening

Robert E Lee statue removed New OrleansBut the thing that’s rearing its ugly head again is the why. Why did it happen? And, if our forebears were capable of such evil, who’s to say we aren’t?

I write books about the Second World War because the research forces me to confront the thing that scares me: the reality that I’m only one generation removed from the perpetrators.

To separate ourselves from the evil in others is to ignore our own ability to do harm. To ignore or misunderstand the past is to fail to see it coming back for us. To not face the thing that scares us is to let the wounds fester under the surface until they can’t be contained. And by definition, that’s a process that’s never finished, because history is always happening.

When the German soldiers began returning from the front and from their Prisoner of War (POW) camps, the German people made an implicit deal with them: don’t expect to be treated like heroes and we won’t ask what you did. That Faustian bargain held for a long time, even until the eventual deaths of these men. But it was a short-sighted cure, because with them died the opportunity to confront their pasts—and for us to confront ours.

Monuments aren’t a way of processing the past, they only serve to commemorate or mythologize certain aspects of our shared experience. I write books about the Second World War because the research forces me to confront the thing that scares me: the reality that I’m only one generation removed from the perpetrators of the war. People I love were involved … complicit. That’s my history.

The fight we’re having over monuments abdicates the responsibility each of us has to reconcile ourselves with the truth of history. Kurosawa used his camera to force his audience to look at things they’d rather not see. Likewise, we have to keep our eyes open and be unafraid. Perhaps that honours those who lived the history more than any monument could.

«RELATED READ» HEARTFELT HISTORY: How novels put the individual at the centre of the same stories textbooks tell»

C.F. Yetmen is the author of The Roses Underneath, which received the 2015 IPPY Gold Medal for Historical Fiction, was named a 2014 Notable Indie Book by the Shelf Unbound Writing Competition and was a 2014 Finalist in the Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards. Her latest novel in the Anna Klein Trilogy, What is Forgiven, was released on September 5, 2017. She lives and works in Austin, Texas. Visit www.cfyetmen.com.
image: 1. See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 2. By Infrogmation of New Orleans (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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Shelli Pruett is a Los Angeles-based artist. She has a degree in Fine Arts from New College in Sarasota, Florida. Her work has been published in many venues, including The Wall Street Journal. Her cartoons range from the pithy and philosophical to the whimsical. They’re about life and spirituality in this modern world, as well as alternate worlds of imagination.
Original author: Shelli Pruett
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Posted by on in Mindfulness
Shelli Pruett is a Los Angeles-based artist. She has a degree in Fine Arts from New College in Sarasota, Florida. Her work has been published in many venues, including The Wall Street Journal. Her cartoons range from the pithy and philosophical to the whimsical. They’re about life and spirituality in this modern world, as well as alternate worlds of imagination.
Original author: Shelli Pruett
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WW1 battlefield with bunkerIn our weekly Mindful Dreams column, Aneta Baranek of the School of Metaphysics is offering free dream interpretations to The Mindful Word readers, as well as articles on dreams in general.

If you’ve ever been curious about deciphering the cryptic contents of your subconscious mind, here’s your chance! If you would like Aneta to interpret your dream, fill out this form. She will respond with your dream interpretation through this column, published every Thursday. Aneta would love to receive more comments for the dreams interpreted. If you can relate to a dream posted here or have any insights to add, you can post them as comments to the interpretation, or email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Intro

 

DREAM

Hi Aneta,

I had a dream once in which I was in a broken-down grey brick building on a battlefield in the middle of war. I was in rags and my father, who has passed away, came onto the battlefield with great white wings, firing fireballs out of his hand. I don’t remember much else. Thank you.

– Maria

DREAM TITLE: “Conflict as a Stepping Stone to Expansion”

DREAMER: Female, 29, U.S.

MAIN SYMBOLS:

Brick building  state of mind of the dreamer

War — inner conflict

Rags — outer expression

Father — Superconscious aspect

Wings — freedom

Fireballs — tool for change

Hand — purpose

INTERPRETATION

Hello Maria,

I appreciate you sharing your dream.

Your dream reflects an inner conflict (war, battlefield). It speaks to your identity reflecting a sense of struggle as well (rags).

Your father symbolizes a Superconscious aspect, an aspect of the highest consciousness within you. The wings symbolize the possibility to fly, which expresses freedom. The fireballs are tools for change and expansion. The presence of hands reveals that your dream is aiming to draw your attention to the purpose behind the conflict and your next steps.

To summarize: in a state of conflict, you called upon a part of your Higher Self (symbolized by your father) and you saw the possibility of change (fireballs) and freedom.

APPLICATION

Dreams reflect our state of mind from a day or two prior to us having a dream. They reflect our perceptions. In other words, they don’t tell us what actually occurred, but what we perceived as occurring.

We each have our own individual filters through which we see the reality around us. Based on our prior experiences, we might be projecting our emotions onto the surrounding environment. Dreams help us adjust our thought patterns so we can have better experiences in our waking lives. 

We all face conflicts from time to time as we progress through life. In your dream, in the midst of the conflict, you experienced the presence of an inner part of you that’s wiser (your father), one that offers tools for freedom and change/expansion. Since we don’t know the rest of the dream, we aren’t able to determine whether these tools were put to use or not.

What I think this dream highlights is that in every conflict, there’s an opportunity for us to grow and change. More specifically, there’s an opportunity for us to expand our perceptions in regard to the events we partake in. This is what the symbol of hands in your dream speaks to—the purpose behind a challenging situation.

If this were my dream, then the next time I were to face a conflict, I’d call upon those wiser parts of myself and trust that I have all that I need to emerge stronger from any challenging situation I encounter in my life.

 May your dreams illuminate the inner and outer you…

image: By British Official Photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Original author: Aneta Baranek
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I’m ashamed. It’s not a shallow shame, like when you forget your spouse’s birthday. It’s a deep shame. A shame that nags at you after you realize you could’ve done more, but didn’t.

When I was in my twenties, I became aware of the plight of calves raised for veal on factory farms. Pictures of young cows confined in wooden crates, unable to lie down, sickened me. I later learned that most chickens, turkeys, pigs and cows are horribly mistreated during their short lives on factory farms before being slaughtered to satisfy somebody’s palate.

Watching Food, Inc.

Food Inc movie posterFood Inc movie posterI gradually became vegetarian and proclaimed that I wouldn’t eat anything that had a face. I was doing my part, I thought, to challenge the appalling meat industry, and I slept easier for it—until I watched Food, Inc.

Who would’ve thought I’d need a box of tissues to get through a documentary about America’s corporate food system? My eyes welled up with tears as I watched merciless farm workers grab live birds by the legs and toss them like bags of trash. Hundreds of downy yellow chicks rolled on conveyor belts as if they were automobile parts. Cattle were beaten and prodded into submission. Forklift operators scooped up dairy cows that were too weak to stand, so they could be sent off to slaughter. Suddenly, not eating meat didn’t seem like enough.

Buy local and organic was one of the film’s messages. I restricted my daily yogurt regimen to organic brands and purchased milk in nostalgic glass bottles from a local dairy. I bought pricey pasture-raised eggs produced by chickens that supposedly live outside and do what chickens are meant to do: sun themselves, scratch for food and take dust baths. I felt better about myself—until I met Jenny Brown.

Meeting Jenny Brown

One day, an ad in the Sunday newspaper caught my eye. Jenny Brown, author of The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals, was scheduled to speak at a local bookstore. I’d never heard of Jenny, but after my cry-fest during Food, Inc., the title of her book grabbed me.

Jenny, an animal rights activist and co-founder of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in High Falls, New York, is a petite brunette with a wide smile. She talked about the childhood cancer that claimed her right leg, below the knee, when she was 10 years old. Then, she wasted no time getting to her life’s mission: farm animal welfare. “Cancer was a blip in my life compared with what I have ahead of me,” she says in her book.

Jenny had me captivated for two hours, and I could’ve easily listened to her for two more. She talked about her first cat, Boogie, who helped her realize that animals are capable of complex emotions; her discovery, in college, that animals raised for food are horrifically mistreated; and how she and her husband founded the animal sanctuary that’s now home to hundreds of rescued farm animals.

Every dollar we spend on animal foods produced in a factory farm environment sends the message that we support a system that practices abuse.

Jenny’s message throughout her talk was that we must fight for helpless, abused farm animals, primarily by reducing our consumption of animal products and educating and encouraging others so that they do the same. It’s a matter of supply and demand. Every dollar we spend on animal foods produced in a factory farm environment sends the message that we support a system that practices abuse.

Milk, cheese and eggs passed my “did it have a face” test, so I thought there was no harm in consuming them. For years, I gulped down a gallon of milk each week. Yogurt was my daily mid-morning snack, and cheese sandwiches were a mainstay in my brown-bag lunches. Who knows how many eggs I ingested in the form of baked goods? But I never made the connection.

The plight of calves

cow with calves in pasturecow with calves in pastureJenny told us how newborn calves of dairy cows are taken from their mothers one to three days after birth. The farmer makes his or her money per gallon (or litre) of milk, so allowing calves to drink their mother’s milk wastes profits. Instead, calves are given a cheap powdered milk replacement that’s laden with antibiotics to keep them from getting sick because of stress. The girls, who will eventually replace their mothers in the herd, are moved to another facility. The males are sold very young, usually to veal farmers, for their meat.

Oh, my god. In all the years I’d been vegetarian, I’d never realized that male calves born to milk cows are the calves that become someone’s veal dinner. The dairy industry drives the veal industry that led me to become vegetarian. And I’d been blindly consuming dairy products all along!

How could I have been so ignorant, for so many years?! The shame engulfed me, and has been with me ever since.

As horrible as life is for animals raised for meat on factory farms, the misery of milk cows and hens used within the corporate dairy and egg industries is worse. Treated like commercial machines, pumping out milk and eggs at an unnatural rate, the animals suffer longer than their counterparts raised for meat.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website, bovine growth hormones, unnatural diets and selective breeding for massive milk production force today’s dairy cows to produce 10 times more milk than cows who lived a few decades ago. Milk cows are artificially inseminated and spend most of their lives pregnant. They suffer from mastitis, a painful bacterial infection that causes a cow’s udders to swell; surgical mutilation without painkillers, such as tail docking and dehorning; and the separation of mother and baby.

Egg-laying hens

The ASPCA website also says that most egg-laying hens in the United States live in long, windowless sheds where up to 10 hens are packed together in one wire cage that’s approximately the size of a file drawer. A portion of each hen’s beak is burned or sliced off (known as debeaking), without painkillers, to lessen the fighting that erupts because the birds are forced into such tight quarters.

Sadly, even farms that promote cage-free or free-range hens keep the birds in overcrowded henhouses and practice debeaking. And most egg producers, even those that label their hens as pasture-raised, have chicks delivered from a hatchery through the mail. No food or water is provided while the chicks are in transit. Millions of baby birds are dead when they reach their destinations.

In my half-century of living, there hasn’t been much that has stirred passion in me. But Jenny’s talk roused something in me that I’d never experienced before. It was anger, pity and helplessness rolled together with the nagging feeling that I’d been contributing to something terribly wrong for a long time.

Going vegan

I walked in the door after Jenny’s talk, and announced that I’d stop supporting the dairy and egg industries. The decision was that quick.

After decades of ignorance, I’ve largely transitioned to a plant-based diet. No longer a passive vegetarian, I’m trying to educate others about the appalling level of animal cruelty within our food system.

At times, fighting such powerful mega-corporations makes me feel small and helpless. But every day, more people are joining the plant-based movement, which gives me hope that farm animal abuse can be abolished and some of the “kind” can be returned to “humankind.”

«RELATED READ» YES, I’M VEGAN: But I’m not having a worse time than you»

image: 1. Pixabay 2. MikeCriss Blog – Food Inc via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) 3. Egg laying hens (chickens) in a factory farm battery cage by Compassion Over Killing (CC BY-SA 3.0)via Wikimedia Commons
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Blueprint of an artist's houseProsperity is a word that’s used frequently in our material, success-driven culture. But what, truly, is prosperity? Webster’s Dictionary defines “prosperous” as auspicious, favourable, “marked by success or economic well-being,” “enjoying vigorous and healthy growth,” flourishing.

What does it really mean to have economic well-being, enjoy vigorous and healthy growth, and flourish? Well, to help us explore this way of life, here’s my story of deepening my understanding of prosperity.

My story

After a lengthy first marriage, I found myself divorced and on my own for the first time in 48 years. It was scary! What I finally realized was that I needed to build a solid foundation for myself. I had no plan, no blueprint and no real foundation for my future. I began searching for answers to many questions I had about myself, as well as answers to big questions, such as the purpose of life and the meaning of true prosperity.

In my search for answers as to the meaning of true prosperity, I came across a popular Facebook community that asked people to define what riches or wealth meant to them. Here are a few of the responses:

“Wealth is the love and support of family and friends, which makes for the riches in life.”

“Having inner peace.”

“Having the freedom and creativity to do whatever my heart desires.”

For me, true prosperity is about happiness, health and having the resources I need to be able to use my time and talents to serve others.

What is the Universal Language of Mind?

As I searched further for answers as to what true prosperity is, I learned about the Universal Language of Mind® (ULM), developed by the School of Metaphysics in the 1970s.

This is a symbolic language used to interpret nighttime dreams, as well as waking life experiences. It’s a language of function, rather than form. For example, consider an automobile. There are many types of automobiles. The form isn’t important. What’s important is the function of an automobile, which is to move you from one place to another. Thus, an automobile represents the physical body, our vehicle for movement in conscious waking life. This applies to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Cultivate thoughts that will nurture your strengths and solidify your foundation.

As another example, dreaming of a house represents the mind, a whole state of being. The mind is truly where we live, and thoughts are things that create. For instance, when we think about having friends and friendships, we naturally gain more friends.

The foundation or basement of a house represents the unconscious part of the mind. It’s best to dig up the limiting thoughts and beliefs found there, and decide whether you want to keep or discard them.

A limiting thought could be that you can’t make a living doing the type of work you enjoy. Rather than focusing on limitations, however, it’s best to cultivate thoughts that’ll nurture your strengths and solidify your foundation.

My blueprint

Brain with sections showing blueprint for a houseSince my divorce and subsequent remarriage, I’ve been building a solid foundation and a blueprint for prosperity for myself. Below, I’ve outlined my entire blueprint for a prosperous life. 

Master bedroom

The bed represents assimilation of knowledge. This type of knowledge isn’t intellectual. Instead, it’s the understanding of the soul and involves patience, compassion and discipline. The bedroom is often where I do my inner work of prayer, meditation and visualization.

Remember, your outer world reflects your inner world. Daily spiritual practices are just as important as a good night’s sleep is to your prosperous life.

Bathroom

The bathroom represents release of what’s no longer wanted or needed—those thoughts and habits that no longer work for you. It’s a place of cleansing and purification.

Consider and release any limiting subconscious beliefs such as, “money is the root of all evil.” Explore any fantasies you may have about someone or something coming along and rescuing you from your money troubles. For example, let go of your secret hope for an inheritance, a soaring stock market or a lottery win that’ll secure your financial future.

Believe in your own value and power to create. Recognize your limiting thoughts and beliefs, but forgive yourself and others and then choose more productive thoughts.

Garage

A garage is where we store our vehicles. It’s also a place where vehicles are repaired and maintained. A vehicle represents the physical body, including the brain. Our bodies move us through our physical lives. 

Make sure you’re maintaining, repairing and resting your body. Give it premium fuel (such as healthy, life-giving foods like whole fruits and vegetables). Pay attention to your mental, emotional and physical health. When you’re unhealthy, it’s difficult to focus on prosperity. Be sure to exercise, eat properly and get plenty of rest so your body/vehicle stays in excellent working condition! 

Kitchen

In dream symbolism, food represents knowledge. The kitchen is a place for food preparation, so prepare yourself to learn. Make time in your busy day to study new things. Get training on financial matters. Be clear, focused, detailed and use lots of positive emotions when visualizing your desires. Think of your desires as if they’ve already manifested, and truly feel the joy.

Dining room

Eating food symbolizes receiving knowledge. Learn to accept compliments and receive your own self-value. Practice unconditional giving and allowing yourself to receive. Gain knowledge by having experiences in your waking life. Sometimes, the most learning actually occurs when we try something and fail. You won’t learn much by watching television or scrolling through social media feeds! 

Family room

Family and friends represent different aspects of self. As you interact with family and friends, learn how your own self-value is communicated. Co-operate with others. Consider competing in healthy ways, such as trying to be the first to do something kind and considerate for another. Mindfully consider your spending choices when you’re with family and friends. Choose to earn money through work that you enjoy, and through which you’re able to express your innate talents. Lastly, cultivate fun and joy in your everyday life.

Outside the blueprint

Couple walking dog on woodsy path - A blueprint for prosperityThe Earth represents Subconscious Mind. Subconscious Mind is the residence of the soul. Therefore, it’s important to spend time appreciating nature as well as feeding your soul. Find an outside support system that nourishes and uplifts you, one that helps you stay positive and motivated.

Tend to each room of your mental blueprint and build upon a solid foundation of self-value. Be grateful for abundance in your life, and fill each room of your home with love and purpose. This will manifest in your life as flourishing and vigorous prosperity.

«RELATED READ» STOP WAITING FOR LIFE: Some things happen because we make them happen»

Wendy Isley is a spiritual teacher pursing an advanced degree through the School of Metaphysics, embodying love and learning for every student. She has greatly enjoyed teaching Universal Laws and Truths to many students over the past five years. To learn more about the School of Metaphysics, visit www.som.org.
images: 1. painter’s house, isfahan, iran by seier+seier via Flickr (CC BY 2.0) 2. by Wendy Isley; 3. Pixabay
Original author: Contributing Writer
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All Giza pyramidsIn our weekly Mindful Dreams column, Aneta Baranek of the School of Metaphysics is offering free dream interpretations to The Mindful Word readers, as well as articles on dreams in general.

If you’ve ever been curious about deciphering the cryptic contents of your subconscious mind, here’s your chance! If you would like Aneta to interpret your dream, fill out this form. She will respond with your dream interpretation through this column, published every Thursday. Aneta would love to receive more comments for the dreams interpreted. If you can relate to a dream posted here or have any insights to add, you can post them as comments to the interpretation, or email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Intro

 

DREAM

Hi Aneta,

My name is Chris. I just woke up from this dream an hour ago, and I’m searching the Internet for its meaning, but it seems to be one that no one else has had. I hope you can help me understand the meaning, because I’m scared to death.

Last time I had a dream that had fear in it, I dreamed I was at my restaurant job and they changed the entire menu, which caused me to struggle badly. I ignored this dream, and it ended up coming true. I want to avoid this one at all costs, considering what it is.

My dream:

Somehow, when I went to sleep, all I could see was my phone in my hand, scrolling through my feed. A picture of someone in Egypt appeared.

Suddenly, I was physically there, behind a cabin with what looked like a metal roof with wooden logs, in the middle of nowhere. I felt as if someone was there with me in my dream, but I couldn’t quite tell who. They stayed behind me, so I never got a good look at them (however, I think it was my twin sister; I’m a boy).

Out of nowhere, this woman wearing a long, white outfit (almost like a sleeping gown) walked in with a big wooden stick. She pointed to me and said, “You are the devil.”

I asked, “What do you mean?”

She replied, “I’ll explain later.” I then woke up, not knowing what she meant by that.

Background information: 

This has nothing to do with the dream; it occurred while I was actually awake.

Two of my friends (one male and one female) dated for one day. All of a sudden, there was this hatred that fumed up in a short period of time. He told me that she plays the Ouija board, and that she has three demons following her. He talked to one of the demons and he said, “All your friends are safe but you and her.”

Turns out, later on, that wasn’t true. We went to an adventure park and she told another friend of mine the same thing, but it was as if they were under a spell. He claims that when he hears her scream, he hears demonic screams.

That day, I dropped everyone off at home, and he was the last for me to drop off. We were in front of my house, and he was crying. He said that the most evil devil, the three-headed-dog, was waiting for me to leave in order to scare him.

I forced my friend out of the car to go talk to my Dad. He knows about this stuff because a girl he knew was raped by a demon, in broad daylight, in front of her parents. My friend calmed down and said, “The demon said she’ll play the game in two weeks, and I’ll be free to kill you.” I almost passed out, I was that white. 

Two weeks later, my female friend asked if anyone wanted to play the game with her. No one did, but my male friend said that there’s an angel over my house and his, but not above anyone else’s.

I’m struggling because she’s saying it’s not true, and he’s saying it is, and I’m over here trying to figure out what’s real. I want to know if there’s an angel in my home, but at the same time, I’m waking up with rashes and bruises. It’s confusing and I need help.

– Chris

DREAM TITLE: “A Woman in Egypt Discovered via a Cell Phone”

DREAMER: Male, 17, U.S.

MAIN SYMBOLS:

Phone — telepathy

Egypt — a place in mind

Picture — imagination

Woman — subconscious aspect of the dreamer

White — purity

INTERPRETATION

Hello, Chris,

Thank you for sharing your dream and all the background information. I can see why you feel scared and concerned.

Most of the dreams that we have are messages from our Subconscious Mind, giving us feedback on our progress and our learning during our waking life experiences. Some people do have precognitive dreams. However, these occur rarely and there’s a certain ambiance/atmosphere that permeates such dreams.

In my opinion, the dream you shared isn’t precognitive. Rather, it’s a reflection of your perceptions from a day or two prior to you having this dream. This makes sense, based on what you shared about your interactions with your friends.

The symbol of a devil doesn’t need to be interpreted as a negative and scary.

The message from the dream is that there’s an unknown inner aspect of you (the woman) that’s associated with purity (white gown). More specifically, it’s associated with purity of mind and conduct; or, in other words, higher consciousness.

The symbol of a devil doesn’t need to be interpreted as a negative and scary. Oftentimes, we call the unknown parts of ourselves “devilish.” There are also some people who see the devil as the ego. The ego is the motivating agent, a set of personality traits that we very strongly identify with.

The dream begins with you using your phone and looking at a picture. A phone represents mind-to-mind communication, and a picture is a form of imagination. What does Egypt symbolize to you? I’d say Egypt is a place where a lot of our human heritage originated, a place of ancient wisdom.

To put it all together, through telepathy (mind-to-mind communication) and imagination (picture), you’re exploring a new place (Egypt) in your own mind. This place is associated with an inner aspect (the woman) of you that’s identifying with purity (white gown) and pointing you towards some aspects of yourself that you’re unfamiliar with and are afraid of.

APPLICATION

Woman in long white dress walking - Dream interpretationSo what does it all mean? The woman in your dream is a part of you. This part of you may take the form of an inner dialogue, during which you might be having some negative and scary thoughts about yourself.

There’s imagination and mind-to-mind communication symbology present in your dream. This means that the source of your related waking life experiences might be rooted in imagination or in inherited thought patterns from another person.

I think this dream is a direct reflection of your life’s circumstances that you shared in your email.

Dreams represent our perceptions and thoughts about what’s happening in our waking life. Thoughts are things, and the thoughts that we focus our attention on bring about our external circumstances. Since you’ve been surrounded by friends talking about angels and devils, your dreams are reflecting these experiences.

If it were my dream, I’d focus on ways in which I could fill my mind, my consciousness, with positive aspects of myself and others. I’d also evaluate what and who I’m believing and why. In this day and age, we can easily be influenced by people on social media, as well as the people we interact with on a daily basis. It’s important that we discern things for ourselves and make our own choices. The more we connect to our intuition through meditation, the easier it will be for us to know what rings true for us in all circumstances.

As for angels, as I understand, you can call upon them. They’ll assist if you ask for their assistance, so feel free to ask!

May your dreams illuminate the inner and outer you…

image 1: Ricardo Liberato – All Gizah Pyramids via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0); image 2: Pexels
Original author: Aneta Baranek
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My wake-up finally happened with a devastating accident. From time to time, I still experience guilt because my 3-year-old had to almost die before I finally woke up and left the low vibration and negative world in which my mind had trapped me. But the path to a spiritual connection with the universe and being fully present in your life is never easy.

Growing up

I grew up French Roman Catholic and went to mass every Sunday. I believed in God while I was growing up, but I had no connection to God. And when stuff went wrong, I blamed God and prayed. Actually, the only times I prayed were when things got rough.

When stuff went wrong, I blamed God and prayed. Actually, the only times I prayed were when things got rough.

Growing up, I also had a lot of resentment towards God. My sister is a year older than me and was born with special needs. My parents placed a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, as I had to take care of her and pretty much become her protector. I had to be independent and strong, since she got teased a lot for being handicapped.

I was so mad at God. I often asked myself why I couldn’t have had an older sister who was normal, who would show me how to put on makeup and share clothes with me.

Once I turned 17 years old, after graduating from high school, I felt free. I quickly left home and didn’t look back for a long time. I moved across the country, and the liberation of not being responsible for someone else was freeing. Slowly, though, my roots that connected me to my family pulled me back home.

Things started going wrong

I married and had three children. But life began throwing obstacles into my path that eventually led to my wake-up call. We lost my mother-in-law to breast cancer in 2008. In 2009, we went through an ugly three-year custody battle in order to adopt our oldest son. In 2012, we almost lost my youngest son at birth. He had breathing issues and was placed in intensive neonatal care for a month. Later that year, the whole family was involved in a car accident. Thankfully, everyone was OK.

That still wasn’t enough to wake me up. In fact, all it did was make my resentment towards God grow stronger. I was angry and negative. I had a “Why me?” attitude. Why did this happen? Why can’t it be someone else for a change? I was the victim.

In the fall of 2013, I decided to go back to work. I hated my job, and I was a very negative person at this point. I also hung out with negative people.

A family friend I trusted with my life agreed to watch my two youngest boys while I went to work. My middle son was three years old and my youngest son was one.

The day my life changed

Vicious dogSeptember 25, 2013. That day, my life changed.

As I was getting ready to wrap up my workday at 5 p.m., I got a call from my friend. She was in a panic. Her dog had viciously attacked my 3-year-old son’s face and stomach. He was being rushed to the hospital as we spoke.

I immediately ran out of the house with my 11-year-old. As I ran into the hospital, the doctor came rushing out and pushed me back. He said I had to wait to see my son. I was hysterical. I wanted to see my baby boy and kiss his sweet, smiling face. The doctor looked devastated and told me it was the worst animal attack he’d ever seen, and that they had to wrap him up to transfer him to a bigger hospital. He told me he didn’t want a second victim—meaning me.

Finally, I got to see my son as he was being wheeled out to the ambulance. He looked like a mummy. His whole head and face were bandaged up. I could only see the slits of his eyes. I kissed him, squeezed his hand and told him I’d be right behind him, following the ambulance. The rest of the drive was a blur. I called my husband to tell him what had happened, since he was working out of town. That was a very hard call to make.

On arrival at the next hospital, they wheeled him straight into surgery that lasted for nine hours. I had doctors, police officers, social workers and nurses ask me how this could’ve been done by one dog, to one child.

The anesthesiologist walked out of the surgery room, angry with me. He threatened to report my friend and me to Social Services, as he was 100 percent sure my son had been left unattended.

However, my friend’s Mom explained how she’d fought the dog off my son in the backyard. Without her bravery and quick thinking, my son wouldn’t be here today. She was shaking as she spoke, and her hands were full of dog bites and blood. She hugged me and cried, telling me she’d tried her best. For the rest of my life, I’ll remember and be grateful to this woman for her act of bravery.

Why, God?

When I at last got to see my beautiful son, he was unrecognizable, and my heart broke into a million pieces. His face was swollen and covered with hundreds of stitches, and there were tubes coming out of his stomach to help drain the stomach bites. I felt like the worst mother in the world. I’d failed to protect my son. If I hadn’t gone back to work, I thought to myself, he’d still be perfect and all smiles.

The tears are streaming down my face as I’m writing this, since reliving the feelings of worthlessness and helplessness is very hard.

Late one night, I was sitting in the hospital room staring out the window at the lights of the city, and I broke down. I was so angry. I wanted to smash everything in the room. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “Why, God? Why did you do this to a 3-year-old? WHY?!”

I stuck my fist into my mouth and screamed. I felt so alone. My husband was out of town working so we wouldn’t get behind on our bills, and my parents were taking care of my other two boys. I wanted to give up. I wanted to be dragged to a mental hospital and be locked away. I was utterly broken inside.

Getting help for myself

The next morning, after my breakdown, I reached out to a nurse who put me in touch with the hospital psychologist. I needed to speak to someone. I knew that to make it through this, I had to be strong, and I had to be in the right state of mind for my son.

I knew that to make it through this, I had to be strong, and I had to be in the right state of mind for my son.

The psychologist met with me right away and I let it all out, everything about being so angry with God and feeling abandoned. I said that I was tired of being strong for everyone. He looked me in the eye and said, “Sometimes we don’t know why bad things happen, but how you deal with them is how you’ll get through them.” He said that being angry with God was understandable, but it wouldn’t help with getting my son healed. I was wasting my energy being mad.

I reflected on what he said, and realized that God hadn’t punished me. This had happened for a reason. Maybe one day I’d find out why, but for now, I had to pull myself up by my bootstraps and slowly put one foot ahead of the other.

My son was in the hospital for two weeks. They finally sent us home with wound instructions and plastic surgeon appointments. It was hard. To this day, I don’t know how I got out of bed every day. Some days, I just wanted to shut out the world. I also began resenting my husband, who was constantly working to help us stay afloat, as I’d quit my job to focus on helping my son.

My son became a different child. He was scared of everything and had constant nightmares. He went through surgery after surgery to help repair the scars and his eye (the doctors are still amazed that he isn’t blind in one eye). Every time we went out in public, people would stare or whisper. Some people would just straight out ask what happened.

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesIn March of 2014, I found my son hiding under the kitchen table with his hands over his ears, rocking back and forth. I got on the phone and made call after call to get him some professional help. Finally, we were put in touch with a psychologist who dealt with trauma in children.

My son was diagnosed with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and was in therapy for a year. Every week, we went to play therapy. At first I was negative, wondering how playing with toys would help my son. I wanted to scream at the therapist that it wasn’t working. But she told me that time would heal all, and I trusted her.

During one session, he had a breakthrough. At that time, he was four years old and loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He was playing with figurines, and I was April, the female sidekick to the Ninja Turtles. He was Leonardo, and Leonardo got hurt. My son lay him on his side and made April walk away from the scene.

The therapist asked why April wasn’t helping Leonardo, and my son said April was too busy working. She couldn’t help. I understood that my son, at the age of four, had felt that I’d abandoned him. I was his Mom. I was supposed to be his protector.

With the help of the therapist, I talked to my son. I told him I was sorry for not being there for him when he was so scared, and gave him a big hug.

Slowly, I started getting my son back. He became less fearful and began smiling. At his last therapy session, his psychologist threw a little party for him. I cried when I hugged her, as she was the one who’d helped me get him back. When we left the hospital that day, it felt like there was light at the end of the tunnel.

I started working on myself

During the time we were dealing with my son, I’d also started working on myself. I read a book one evening on a woman who’d seen the other side when she died and had come back. For the first time, I started questioning everything I’d been taught in church. I wondered why we were here, why horrible things happened to people, and who was God, anyway? My mind broke open with a thirst for knowledge. I started reading book after book about spirituality—whether it was New Age, Christian, or Buddhist—and I also began meditating to connect myself with God.

I’m still on this journey today. I still read books, attend workshops, write and watch videos on anything that can benefit my life. I know that my soul has lessons to learn in order to further grow and develop—that’s why my older sister with special needs was placed in my life, and I’m grateful for her soul, too. I know that bad things happen, and if you’re negative all the time, you’ll receive negativity in your life. The saying “You reap what you sow” couldn’t be truer.

What happened to my son was the way in which my spirit guide and angels forced me to wake up, although I’m still sad, sometimes, that I didn’t wake up sooner. I’m grateful that my son is still here and alive. I’m grateful for my whole family and everyone and everything that has been placed in my life.

Today, my son is thriving, and so is my relationship with my husband. By getting myself the help that my soul needed, I was able to become a better Mom to all three of my kids, as well as a better wife and friend. I cut out all the drama because I realized it’s just not worth the energy.

To be grateful and see beauty

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops with rainbows of positivity over here. I still get dark, negative moods, but I know now how to pull myself out of them. My favourite phrase that I whisper to myself when things are hard is, “The universe has my back.”

When I get out of bed, I set my intention: to be grateful and see beauty in everything.

This has never been truer. I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. My anxiety has almost disappeared. I pray to God and my angels, and not just when times get hard. I also pray for other people when they’re going through a rough time. Love heals all.

When I get out of bed, I set my intention: to be grateful and see beauty in everything. It’s like a veil was lifted off my eyes.

I decided to start writing a blog, as I now know writing is part of my soul’s purpose, and I’m hoping that my blog entries will help some people on their personal journeys of the soul. I expect criticism, and my words may not be for you, but maybe they can be of some help to someone, somewhere.

«RELATED READ» BETWEEN THE MILESTONES: 10 small but important ways to celebrate your children before they’re grown»

image: 1. Pexels 2. By William Tung from USA (Wondercon 2016 – TMNT) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ] via Wikimedia Commons
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9 Best Conspiracy Theories Explained

From Visually.

Screen reader version: 

Welcome to the new world order

Validity 3/5

According to the powers that be there is no current secret society of elite citizens or government officials actively scheming towards a goal of world domination.

The conspiracy: A handful of the most powerful and wealthy people in the world currently hold massive amounts of control  over the current world governments, eventually aiming for total world dominance, These claims finger many of the most prominent secret societies and elite group summits.

The facts: I wish I could say this was all clearly hogwash. Unfortunately the actions of the people reported to be central to this conspiracy are almost all seemingly in line with the end goal of the conspiracy, Then again. just about everyone with wealth and power uses their wealth and power as a tool to gain more

Trivia:

The term New World Order was first used to describe the proposals of global governance, giving birth to NATO and the United Nations. The conspiracy explicitly fingers both the Rothschild and Rockefeller families.

Kennedy is killed by sniper as he rides in car in Dallas

Validity 3/5

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald (acting alone) on Friday, November 22nd, 1963.

The conspiracy: Many people believe there was a second gunman, and that Oswald was a patsy. Oswald claimed his innocence but was murdered just two days after being arrested.

The facts: The Warren Commission was possibly the most thorough and complete murder investigation ever conducted in history, period. All of their conclusions are beyond reproach and convincingly declare Oswald as the killer acting alone, but have yet to release 100% of their findings to the public. Also, the House Select Committee came to a different conclusion, albeit based on dubious evidence. 

Trivia: 

Oswald was murdered while in police custody by Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner. Oswald’s shooting score (while in basic training with the U.S. Marines) came in at 212, barely making the grade Sharpshooter; a score he was unable to repeat.

Men walk on moon

Validity 0/5

On July 20th, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon, bringing the first living thing to ever walk on the moon. They did it just to prove they could and were better and smarter than the Russians.

The conspiracy: It never actually happened; the whole thing was filmed in a Disney studio.

The facts: Men did land on the moon, the evidence for this is overwhelming, while the evidence against is non-existent. The real question: what is NASA actually hiding about the moon landing? NASA has lied, altered, hidden and destroyed multiple pieces of documentation and evidence to do with this historical event; the reasons for this are currently unknown.

Trivia: 

For some unknown reason, the original SSTV (high quality) recordings of the Apollo 11 moon landings were recorded over by NASA. The original conspiracy can be traced back to a Fox TV special named Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?  Many of the “original” photos provided by NASA clearly show signs of editing, via obvious blurring and false horizons.

Reefer madness

Validity 5/5

Cannabis is a dangerous drug which needs to be banned.

The conspiracy: Cannabis became illegal due to the Hemp industry threatening the cotton, lumber and pharmaceutical industries. The Marijuana strain of cannabis became the crux of crucifying all cannabis strains, including those with (next to) no drug-related smokable qualities.

The facts: The facts are all there: the conspiracy is true. All popular negative claims about cannabis have been proven entirely false. There is not a single shred of evidence to prove cannabis is dangerous or negative in any significant way, especially when compared to alcohol (argued to be the most dangerous drug known to man).

Trivia: 

There have been exactly zero deaths in history attributed directly to the use of Cannabis (Alcohol responsible for an estimated 100k deaths per year)

R.I.P. the electric car

Validity 4/5

The electric car has been, and still is, a more expensive and unrealistic option as compared to a standard internal combustion engine.

The conspiracy: The world has seen many fully functional electric cars (and reports of super efficient non-gasoline engine designs) all of which were destroyed and buried by “Big Oil.”

The facts: Business is business. If you sell Coke, you do everything you can to convince the world Coke is better than Pepsi. If you can’t do that, you buy Pepsi and bury it. There is no reason to believe Oil vs. Electricity is any different.

Trivia: 

Our Lithium reserves (used to make Lithium Ion batteries. the primary power source for current electric cars) are estimated to be large enough to power a total of 4 billion electric cars. An overnight charge from a standard home outlet will provide most current e-cars with enough juice to travel 43 miles [about 69 km].

Terrorists attack: New York, Pentagon

Validity 3/5

On September 11th, 2001, Osama Bin Laden led al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial jet airliners and flew them into strategic U.S. landmarks, most notably the twin towers.

The conspiracy: The main conspiracy claims that the attacks were orchestrated, planned, commissioned and carried out by the United States government as a basis to initiate the War on Terror.

The facts: No one in the general public knows what actually happened on this tragic day. All we do know is that many facts don’t make sense and the U.S. government is clearly lying about them. Why they’re lying, what the truth is and how deep this conspiracy goes is unknown.

Trivia: 

In 1962 the Joint Chiefs of Staff devised a series of “false flag” plans to start a war with Cuba, one of which included the hijacking and destruction of a fake civilian airliner. The official reports of airplane speeds on approach to impact defy the possible limits of the aircrafts used. Either the official reports are wrong or the aircrafts used in the attacks are not standard 767 commercial airplanes. A study of the stock market has concluded “there is evidence of unusual option market activity in the days leading up to September 11 that is consistent with investors trading on advance knowledge of the attacks.”

Chemtrails cover the morning sky

Validity 1/5

All reported chemtrails are actually contrails: clouds of vapour caused by jet-engine exhaust.

The conspiracy: The government is spraying the populations with chemicals, likely to be used as a form of mind or population control. Other theories claim the chemtrails are used for environmental manipulation.

The facts: It’s unreasonable to assume the U.S. government hasn’t thought of or even tested the spraying of chemicals into the atmosphere for various punposes; whether any of the reported chemtrails seen above major cities are anything more than vapour is unknown and purely speculation.

Trivia: 

The only report to find abnormal qualities in contrails came after a news station declared their tested fallen water from a contrail contained 6.8 parts per million of barium (extremely high). Unfortunately it was found the reporter doesn’t understand basic math, the report actually found the barium level at 68 parts per billion (0.068ppm).

Water fluoridation: What’s the real motive?

Validity 4/5

The government claims to care enough about your teeth to spend money fluoridating your water supply.

The conspiracy: The fluoride added to the water supplies is a method of population and emotional control. According to the theorists it’s devastating to your health and/or keeps the drinkers sedate.

The facts: If the government cared about your teeth, they would give you free toothbrushes. Justification of money spent on water fluoridation must be for another purpose, that purpose is unknown.

Trivia: 

Several cities to cease fluoridating their water saw cavities and caries decline significantly after a few years; a government study from Canada reports similar results. All positive aspects of fluoride seem to be from a topical application, with little-to-no proven positive effect from ingestion.

The truth is out there

Validity 3/5

The official stance of the U.S. government is it has had no contact with, has no evidence of and denies the existence of any extra-Terrestrials or extra-terrestrial technology.

The conspiracy: The government both has knowledge and multiple encounters with alien life, and have chosen to keep it a secret to the public.

The facts: It’s become rather accepted that the Roswell incident was nothing more than a weather balloon, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Out of the thousands of “reliable” reports of UFO sightings or contact it’s unreasonable to assume every single one is purely fictitious.

Trivia: 

The most persuasive of all encounter accounts is known as the Disclosure Project where a conglomerate of high-ranking, trusted professionals lay out their experience and evidence openly at the National Press Club. All evidence of the Roswell incident involving aliens has proven to be fake or extremely unreliable. Renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking claims extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist, but warns against our attempt to make contact, as any life-form advanced enough to make their way to our planet poses a potentially cataclysmic risk to our species.

Sources

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/nov/01/alcohol-more-harmful-than-heroin-crack

http://www.wikipedia.org

http://thyroid.about.com/cs/relatedconditions/a/flushot.htm

http://www.disclosureproject.org

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cbdv.200790147/abstract

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast23feb_2/

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/space/article7107207.ece

To read more about conspiracy theories, visit CONSPIRACY THEORISTS: Delusional and/or Paranoid Personality Disorder or using deduction, logic and common sense?»

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If you’d told me a year ago that I’d spend a week at a Buddhist retreat in Ireland, I would’ve laughed and asked, “Are there even Buddhists in Ireland?” But the end of a grey Irish April found me in the city of Cork, in a crowded hostel room above a loud bar, prepared to leave for Dzogchen Beara Buddhist Meditation Centre and a week of meditation.

With some time in Europe before I walked the Camino de Santiago, wanting to find walking paths to train for the pilgrimage and a place where I could begin to quiet my mind, I’d stumbled across Dzogchen Beara online and had immediately reserved a bed in their hostel, along with a flight from Italy (where I’d started my journey abroad) to Ireland.

I’d never thought that Ireland would be a place I’d like to visit for spiritual reasons. I pictured a grey, boring country with a lot of sheep (I wasn’t wrong about the sheep!) and a lack of the warmth and heart that I’d found to be so spiritual in Italy.

When I found Dzogchen Beara, however, and saw photos of its gorgeous grounds and views, I thought I’d give Ireland a chance.

Cork

CorkMy first impression of Cork was that I would’ve done better to stay in Italy. The full Irish breakfasts were greasy and the coffee was weak. Each night, I had to choose between staying out all night drinking Guinness in a bar with my newfound hostel friends, or listening to other people do just that in the bar beneath my shared bedroom.

I often chose the former, and although I enjoyed the live music scene in Cork and the odd collection of young French, American, Italian and Australian people who happened to find themselves in the hostel with me, by the time the day came for me to head to the retreat centre, I was ready for a good spiritual cleansing and some quiet time.

After some research, I found that the only way to get to Dzogchen was to take a local bus from Cork to the town of Castletownbere, and a cab another 20 minutes from there. In order to reserve my place on the local bus, I had to call a number I’d dug up from the depths of the Internet and talk to a woman with a thick Irish accent.

I headed out on the colourful streets of Cork, under the sky that always threatened rain, to meet the van with Castletownbere across its side in blue lettering. As I waited for the driver to return from his break, I talked with an older Irish woman who was the only other passenger waiting for the bus. She asked me lots of questions about America, and told me about her weekend in Dublin to see her son in the “big city.”

The driver arrived: an old man with messy white hair, picking the few teeth left in his mouth as he walked very slowly from a nearby pub back to the bus. When he spoke, the older woman had to translate for me, as his missing teeth exaggerated his Irish brogue.

Castletownbere

CastletownbereThree hours of remote country roads and rolling grassy hills later, we were in Castletownbere. I understood I was to go to the pub called MacCarthy’s and ask for a cab to the Buddhist centre.

Surrounded by music and candlelight, I felt content and knew it was a good omen for things to come.

With my heavy bags, I walked into MacCarthy’s and into the midst of a live music night. A plump, smiling woman behind the bar invited me in. She told me to leave my things behind the bar and sit and enjoy the music while she called the cab driver from an old-fashioned telephone. The walls of the pub were plastered with various photos and postcards from around the world, and there was a collection of penny candy, gum and shaving products for sale.

I ordered a Guinness to sip as I watched people gathered around candlelit tables strumming guitars, playing the flute and singing Irish songs. Surrounded by music and candlelight, I felt content and knew it was a good omen for things to come.

Dzogchen Beara 

Dzogchen BearaDzogchen Beara, a 15-minute drive of winding country roads from MacCarthy’s pub, was just about as peaceful a place as you could imagine. The hostel was a small, wooden cabin-like structure with a central sitting room and kitchen, and rooms with wooden floors and wooden bunk beds with thick blankets. The whole place smelled like pine and cats. The view of the craggy coastline was breathtaking, and outside the hostel was a small garden with a bench and a plastic chair for meditating or quiet reflection.

Every morning at 9 a.m., there was meditation in a simple room with a wall of windows that looked out on the water. While sitting there, it felt as though you were teetering on the edge of one of the cliffs.

After the morning meditation, I’d often go to the centre’s cafe for a breakfast of either a croissant or scone, jam, cream and a large coffee. There was no Wi-Fi, but in my seat by the window, I managed to get enough phone service to write to my family. I’d sit there for hours and read or write in my journal, while sipping a cappuccino that was several notches above the coffee I’d had in Cork.

During my time at Dzogchen Beara, I managed to read two books—something I hadn’t done in months. I made my way through both The Bhagavad Gita and The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rimpoche, who founded this centre and one in France.

At 1 p.m. each day, lunch was served in the meditation room. The lunches consisted of a buffet of different delicious vegetarian options—usually a rice or couscous dish, potatoes, a stew, some roasted vegetables and a salad. After lunch, I’d head out for a walk. The centre was connected to a donkey sanctuary, so I explored that first. I then continued on the path that hugged the coastline past the animals’ enclosure, down to where the grassy hill bled into a collection of huge rocks on the edge of a brilliantly blue pool of water. A perfect place to meditate.

Taking walks

AllihiesOne day, I walked the seven miles (about 11 kilometres) back to Castletownbere for groceries. I’d started to head back, when suddenly the sky opened up and released a floodlike downpour on me and my paper bag of groceries. For the first time in my life, I stuck out my thumb, and was immediately picked up by a friendly townsperson. My saviour was a teacher at the local elementary school who said he frequented the loving-kindness meditation held in the afternoons at Dzogchen Beara.

Another day, I walked five and a half miles (approximately nine kilometres) to the tiny seaside town of Allihies, had a piece of chocolate cake in the town’s only cafe (inside a coal mining museum) and walked all the way back to Dzogchen.

On my walks, I’d think over the things I’d read that day, and the feelings that had come up during my meditation. I’d gaze out at the farmhouses, the coastline in the distance and the tangle of greenery that made up the landscape, and ask myself what I considered to be deep questions:

How can I find out who I am, if at the same time, I’m supposed to let go of my ego and find my sameness with the universe? How can I devote my life to living fully, in the moment, while also keeping in touch with the greater universe?

Back at the hostel

The hostel volunteers were a joy to be around. One, a sweet little old man with the build of a farmer, said “Yeah, I would be meditatin’, yeah,” when I asked him if he followed the practice. He sang in a chillingly beautiful voice one night, when those of us staying in the hostel sat around sharing songs and stories. One of the other volunteers, a young German girl, told me this man had been an alcoholic for years before starting to meditate.

I learned to step away from the rush of modern life, including the technology and online universe and the comforts of living in a city.

I can’t say my time spent in meditation at Dzogchen Beara yielded much more than a few semi-blissful moments, but the gifts of my time in Ireland went far beyond that. In Ireland, I learned to step away from the rush of modern life, including the technology and online universe and the comforts of living in a city.

I discovered how to find space for contemplation. I learned to walk through my thoughts and send my questions to the wind and the hills. I learned to read and sing, and to tell and listen to stories. I experienced the unexpected Irish friendliness in the warmth of each bartender or cafe worker who asked “Are you OK?” instead of “Can I help you?” and in the wave of each passerby.

Yes, there are Buddhists in Ireland, and there might just be some kind of ancient wisdom to be found in the country’s expansive farmlands, unruly hills and rocky coastlines, too!

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images: 1. Pixabay 2. By Ingo Kirschnereit (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0) 3. Dzogchen Beara by Olivier Riché via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0) 4. John Gibson via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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The following selection has been excerpted from Life Lessons: 125 Prayers and Meditations by Julia Cameron, a collection of short meditations that will uplift you and help you get in touch with God and other divine entities.

No need for panic

Little one, why are you anxious? Why do you worry and fret? I’m with you always, and I intend you great good. Still your frantic imaginings. Feel my calm. There’s no need for panic. You’re led carefully and well. There’s always a choice: fear or faith.

With faith comes the certainty that my world is unfolding exactly as it should. Trust in me. Trust in God—good, orderly direction. Everything is in divine order. There’s a place for you, safe and protected. Feel my security. I prosper you. You are my child.

Dare to love

Quiet, snowy town at night - Life lessonsLittle one, you turn a blind eye to the beauties of my world. I say to you, “Open your eyes, and with your eyes, your heart.”

Dare to love. Dare to appreciate the loveliness all around you. On a snowy night, feel my peace and tranquillity. Snowbound, let me be your companion. Feel my calm. I am peaceful and so, too, can you be. Rest your heart in my quietude. Dismantle your fears and trust that all is well.

Illuminate your heart

Dear one, bring me your troubles. I take great joy in untangling your complicated life. You’re overwhelmed, but I am not. Your many problems are child’s play to me. You have a shadowed heart, but I bring light to it. I illuminate your difficulties. I give you a lantern heart. Ask me for guidance and I’ll lead you, one step at a time. Your path becomes broad and clear. I bring you clarity and grace.

Celebrate your beloved’s life

Little one, you’ve lost a beloved. Your heart is numb, stricken with grief. You feel empty, as if your loss has scraped bare the chambers of your heart.

Listen to what I tell you now: death is a portal. Your beloved lives on. What you see as an ending is really a beginning. Your loved one feels joy, not sorrow; expansion and freedom as the transition to being “home” brings happiness and peace. Celebrate your beloved’s life. Do not mourn what is past. Go forward, listening for the subtle signs that life lives on. Your loved one loves you still. Offer prayers of gratitude for all you shared. Your bond continues as you open your heart.

Focus on the precise moment

Hurried one, you pray for guidance but then rush on, missing my reply. You tell yourself I ignore you, when it’s you who ignores my answer.

Hear me now: slow down, temper your frantic pace. Velocity is not your friend. Breathe deeply. Open your heart. Inhale the guidance that I would give to you. Focus on the precise moment we’re in. Count it as a blessing. My guidance comes to you softly, without haste. Listen.

Let go and let God

Little one, you strain for a solution. You push the river, seeking an instant answer. You’re without patience, without faith. I say to you, “Relax. Let go and let God.” My answers are perfect, and they come to you with skilled timing. So rest. Don’t force events to yield to your will. Trust my timing and my benevolence. I wish you well.

You’re never alone

Little one, you feel alone and abandoned. This is false thinking. You’re never alone, never abandoned. We’re always at your side, guarding and protecting you. Ask us for help, and know that help comes to you. As you slow your pace, you feel our presence. Trust us completely.

Pause in your striving

Frustrated one, you would force people and situations to do your bidding. Angered, they rebel. You don’t get your way. Aggravated, you push still harder. To no avail. So now, pause in your striving. Allow me to advise you: “Easy does it.” This is no mere bromide. It doesn’t simply mean “slow down.” “Easy does it” means “easy accomplishes it.” Experiment with this advice. You will find its wisdom.

Live and let live

Stymied one, no one does as you wish! If only people would follow your lead, all would be well, you believe. But people do as they choose. You find yourself irritated.

What’s the solution? Put simply, it boils down to a slogan, “Live and let live.” Release others to their own agendas and put the focus on yourself: “Live.” Follow your heart. Ask what brings it joy. As you follow your bliss, your aggravation with others diminishes. You’ll know a new freedom and a new happiness. As you “live,” you will “let live.” Harmony is the result.

Take your cue from animals

Impatient one, you’re stern with your animal friends. Instead, take your cue from them. They love you patiently. They’re forgiving of your harsh moods. Learn from them. Teach them through love. Praise them. Say to them, “Good little one, good little one.” You’ll find that they respond to kindness. Treat them with love and feel their love come back to you.

Nurture your plants

Plant being watered - Life lessonsLittle one, nurture the plants that are in your care. Play gentle music. Speak to them with love. All living things respond to tenderness. Use discernment in their care. Your intuition will tell you when they’re thirsty. Offer them enough water, but not too much. Give them nutrients, again in moderation. Praise their beauty. Appreciate their green life. Take care to give them ample room for growth. Love their verdant spirits. They will flourish in response.

Appreciate quietude

Noisy one, learn to appreciate silence. Learn to lead your life without a voice-over. The news of the day is frequently harsh. You hear of catastrophe, not kindness. Your spirit flags. The future looms dark.

Stop your dire imaginings. Listen, instead, for the still, small voice that comes to you with quietude. Mine is a voice of peace, calm and optimism. It brings you much good if you open your heart to receive it. Your heart has ears that listen acutely. Silence speaks to them. Listen now and feel your mood gently lifting.

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Julia Cameron has been an active artist for more than four decades. She’s the author of more than 40 fiction and non-fiction books, including such bestselling works on the creative process as The Artist’s Way, Walking in This World, and Finding Water. A novelist, playwright, songwriter and poet, she has multiple credits in theatre, film and television. She divides her time between New York City’s Manhattan and the high desert of New Mexico.

Front cover of Life Lessons by Julia Cameron - Life lessons Excerpted from LIFE LESSONS by Julia Cameron with the permission of TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2017 by Julia Cameron.
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Ujjayi Breathing Technique: A Pranayama Exercise For Beginners [Infographic]

From Visually.

Screen reader version: 

Ujjayi breathing technique is one of the simplest Pranayama exercises and therefore ideal for beginners. While practicing Ujjayi, the lungs are expanded and chest puffed out like that of a proud conqueror.

Step 1

Sit in a comfortable position. Keep the back straight and lower the head to the trunk. Rest the chin in the notch between the collar bones just above the breast bone. Rest your hands on the knees with palms facing upwards. Close your eyes and exhale completely.

Step 2

Now the Ujjayi method of breathing begins. Take a deep steady breath through both nostrils. Fill the lungs to the brim. As applicable in all Pranayama breathing techniques, make sure that the abdomen is not bloated. The entire abdominal area should be pulled back to the spine.

Step 3

Hold the breath for two seconds. Now exhale slowly and deeply until the lungs are completely empty. This completes one round of Ujjayi Pranayama. Practice Ujjayi for five to ten minutes. Lie on the floor in Savasana (corpse pose) once done.

Ujjayi Pranayama is the only Pranayama technique that can be practiced throughout the day. It can also be practiced when one is walking or lying down in Savasana.

About Soulful Arogya

The main goal of Soulful Arogya is to provide helpful tips and information on meditation, Yoga, Ayurveda, along with a few thought-provoking spiritual stories and anecdotes. Please visit www.soulfularogya.com to learn more.

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