Goddess Meditation

goddess

At the world’s beginning
there was a Mother.
All beginnings partake
of that Mother’s energy.

To know this world,
first know the Mother.
Then, go forth and learn
to know the world.

Then go back to Her.
Go back and hold fast to Her.
Hold fast to the Mother, and
you will never be in danger.

Source Unknown to me

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 6

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 6

“Lots of people hardly ever feel real soil under their feet, see plants grow except in flower pots, or get fare enough beyond the street light to catch the enchantment of a night sky studded with stars. When people live far from scenes of the Great Spirit’s making, it’s easy for them to forget His laws.”

–Tatanga Mani (Walking Buffalo), STONEY

Nature is life’s greatest teacher. The natural laws are hidden in nature. Hidden are solutions to everyday problems such as conflict resolution, how to forgive, lessons about differences, how to manage organizations, how to think. Hidden are feelings. You can look at something and you will feel it. At night, have you ever looked at the sky when there are no clouds? As you look at all the stars, your heart will become very joyful. You will walk away feeling joyful and peaceful. We need to visit nature so we can see and feel these things.

My Creator, let me learn nature’s lessons.

Meditation Technique to Clean and Heal the Eyes

Meditation Technique to Clean and Heal the Eyes

By Natalya Podgorny, Yoga+

If you’ve ever been transfixed by a candle flame and felt your mind clear, you may have been tapping into a yogic focusing practice called trataka.    The Hatha Yoga Pradipika defines trataka as “looking intently with an unwavering gaze at a small point until tears are shed.” This simple    technique has a purifying, invigorating effect on the mind and improves concentration, paving the way for a deeper meditation practice. Because it is one    of the shat kriyas, or six cleansing actions, trataka also cleans and heals the eyes.

Though many objects can be used to focus your gaze during trataka, the most common is the flame of a candle. Assume a comfortable meditative posture    with your head, neck, and trunk aligned. Set a candle two feet in front of you, with the flame positioned at eye level. Make sure the room is dark and    draft-free.

STEADY YOUR GAZE

Begin with your eyes closed, surveying the body and watching the breath until it becomes calm, regular, and even. Then open your eyes and rest your gaze    on the middle part of the flame, right above the tip of the wick. Keep your eyelids slightly more open than usual, and maintain your gaze without blinking    or blurring your vision for as long as possible. Observe any thoughts that arise, watching them come and go without becoming engaged.

Close your eyes only when they begin to strain and water, and you can no longer sustain the gaze. (You can cup your palms and place them gently over the    eyes to ease the strain, but do not rub the eyes; because the tears you have shed are carrying away impurities, wipe them gently with a tissue.) Then find    the afterimage of the flame in your mind’s eye, resting your awareness at the ajna chakra, or eyebrow center. If the image moves up and down or side to    side, stabilize it by bringing it back to the center, and continue to fix your gaze until the impression disappears. To delve deeper into the mind, you can    follow this practice with meditation.

HEALTHY GLOW

According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Trataka eradicates all eye diseases, fatigue, and sloth, and closes the doorway creating these problems.    In addition to improving concentration and memory, trataka cleanses both the eyes and the cerebral cortex, balances the nervous system, and relieves    depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Another yogic text, the Gheranda Samhita, states that the practice cultivates clairvoyance and inner    vision.

Because sight, mental discrimination, and the fire at the manipura chakra are intricately interwoven, trataka also nourishes the subtle flame at the    navel center, promoting vitality and inner health. In its more advanced form, as the Himalayan master Swami Rama said, “The practice of trataka    eventually merges into surya sadhana, meditation on the solar energy.”

STARING AT THE SUN

Under the guidance of a teacher, you can learn how to use a variety of auspicious objects or symbols as the focus of your gaze during trataka, such as a    yantra (a symbolic geometric representation of aspects of Divinity), the symbol Om, the form of a deity, lightning, the moon, your own shadow, or the    glowing orange orb of the rising or setting sun. So steady your gaze, and follow the light all the way to your inner self.

Natalya Podgorny is the editor of Yoga + Joyful Living

Let’s Talk Witch – How To Meditate

pagan19

How To Meditate

So exactly where should you begin? Do you have to sit in a lotus position, like a human pretzel? Should you press your thumbs and index fingers together and chant OM? Well, first of all, just relax. If you can do that much, you’re well on your way. The following directions offer suggestions and guidelines to help you get the most out of meditation. You don’t have to follow them exactly. Trust your instincts; if something feels awkward, don’t do it. And remember, give yourself a chance–meditation isn’t something you’ll master overnight.

Let go of any preconceptions about how fast you should be “getting it,” or what kind of magickal experience might result. If you set a lot of expectations for yourself, you’re likely to be disappointed and make learning more difficult. Meditation isn’t something you strive or push yourself to excel at. You ease into it.

Find a convenient place and a comfortable position that you can sit in for a while. The more comfortable your body is, the easier it becomes for your mind to direct its attention toward the purpose you’ve intended. At first, your mind is going to jump about from thought to thought, like a butterfly flitting from flower to flower. Everything from a little twitch in your leg to a dog barking down the road can potentially break your concentration. That’s why meditation is considered a discipline.

Close your eyes and give yourself permission to put the world around you “on hold” for a bit. Breathe slowly and deeply; pay attention to your breath. If may help to shake out your arms and legs or stretch a bit before you sit down to meditate. Some people like to do some light exercise, such as yoga or walking, to release tension prior to meditation.

Begin by committing yourself to just five minutes of meditation a day, then increase the amount of time over a period of weeks. Just sit quietly, with your eyes closed. At first five minutes may seem like an eternity, but soon you’ll stop glancing at your watch and simply enjoy taking a brief time out to relax.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 18

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 18

“But we have to stick by the wisdom of our ancestors…”

–Paula Weasel Head, BLOOD

A long time ago the Elders and our ancestors learned to walk on the Earth and to live in harmony. They were taught the Laws which govern everything, and they were taught traditional values. This wisdom should be made available to the younger generations. We need to speak to the Elders and learn from them. We need to do this so we can pass the knowledge on to our children.

My Creator, help me learn the wisdom of my ancestors.

Daily OM for October 18th – Quiet Please!

Quiet Please!

Taming Monkey Mind in Meditation

by Madisyn Taylor

We all have the endless chattering and noise in our head often referred to as the monkey mind.

It’s been called the monkey mind the endless chattering in your head as you jump in your mind from thought to thought while you daydream, analyze your relationships, or worry over the future. Eventually, you start to feel like your thoughts are spinning in circles and you’re left totally confused.

One way to tame this wild creature in your head is through meditation although the paradox is that when you clear your mind for meditation you actually invite the monkey in your mind to play. This is when you are given the opportunity to tame this mental beast by moving beyond thought to become aware of a thought rather than thinking a thought. The difference is subtle, but significant. When you are aware of your thoughts, you can let your thoughts rise and float away without letting them pull you in different directions. Being able to concentrate is one of the tools that allows you to slow down your thought process and focus on observing your thoughts.

To develop your concentration, you may want to start by focusing on the breath while you meditate. Whenever your monkey mind starts acting up, observe your thoughts and then return your focus to your breath. Some breathing meditations call on you to focus on the rise and fall of the breath through the abdomen, while others have you concentrate on the sound of the breath. Fire can also be mesmerizing, and focusing on a candle flame is another useful tool for harnessing the mind. Keep the gaze soft and unfocused while observing the color, shape, and movement of the flame, and try not to blink. Close your eyes when you feel the need and continue watching the flame in your head. Chanting, devotional singing, and mantras also still the mind. However you choose to tame the monkey mind, do so with firm kindness. The next time the chattering arises, notice it and then allow it to go away. With practice, your monkey mind will become quiet and so will you.

The Daily OM

Essential Advice On Meditation

ESSENTIAL ADVICE ON MEDITATION
excerpts from Teachings by Sogyal Rinpoche

When you read books about meditation, or often when meditation is
is  presented by different groups, much of the emphasis falls  on
the techniques. In the West, people tend to be very interested in
the  “technology”  of  meditation.  However,  by  far  the   most
important feature of meditation is not technique, but the way  of
being,  the  spirit, which is callled the  “posture”,  a  posture
which  is  not so much physical, but more to do  with  spirit  or
attitude.
It  is  well  to recognize that when you start  on  a  meditation
practice,  you  are  entering a totally  different  dimension  of
reality.  Normally  in life we put a great deal  of  effort  into
achieving  things,  and  there is a  lot  of  struggle  involved,
whereas  meditation is just the opposite, it is a break from  how
we normally operate.
Meditation  is  simply a question of being, of  melting,  like  a
piece  of  butter  left in the sun. It has  nothing  to  do  with
whether  or not you “know” anything about it, in fact, each  time
you  practice  meditation  it  should be fresh,  as  if  it  were
happening  for  the very first time. You just quietly  sit,  your
body  still,  your speech silent, your mind at  ease,  and  allow
thoughts to come and go, without letting them play havoc on  you.
If you need something to do, then watch the breathing. This is  a
very  simple process. When you are breathing out, know  that  you
are  breathing  out.  When  you breath  in,  know  that  you  are
breathing  in, without supplying any kind of extra commentary  or
internalized mental gossip, but just identifying with the breath.
That  very simple process of mindfulness processes your  thoughts
and emotions, and then, like an old skin being shed, something is
peeled off and freed.
Usually  people  tend  to  relax the  body  by  concentrating  on
different  parts.  Real  relaxation comes  when  you  relax  from
within,  for  then  everything else will ease  itself  out  quite
naturally.
When  you begin to practice, you center yourself, in  touch  with
your  “soft spot”, and just remain there. You need not  focus  on
anything in particular to begin with. Just be spacious, and allow
thoughts  and emotions to settle. If you do so, then later,  when
you use a method such as watching the breath, your attention will
more easily be on your breathing. There is no particular point on
the  breath on which you need to focus, it is simply the  process
of  breathing.  Twenty-five percent of your attention is  on  the
breath,  and  seventy-five percent is relaxed.  Try  to  actually
identify  with the breathing, rather than just watching  it.  You
may choose an object, like a flower, for example, to focus  upon.
Sometimes you are taught to visualize a light on the forehead, or
in  the heart. Sometimes a sound or a mantra can be used. But  at
the  beginning  it is best to simply be spacious, like  the  sky.
Think of yourself as the sky, holding the whole universe.
When  you  sit, let things settle and allow all  your  discordant
self  with  its ungenuineness and unnaturalness to  disolve,  out
of  that  rises  your real being. You  experience  an  aspect  of
yourself which is more genuine and more authentic-the “real” you.
As  you  go deeper, you begin to discover and connect  with  your
fundamental goodness.
The  whole point of meditation is to get used to the that  aspect
which you have forgotten. In Tibetan “meditation” means  “getting
used to”. Getting used to what? to your true nature, your  Buddha
nature.  This  is  why,  in the  highest  teaching  of  Buddhism,
Dzogchen, you are told to “rest in the nature of mind”. You  just
quietly  sit  and let all thoughts and concepts dissolve.  It  is
like  when the clouds dissolve or the mist evaporates, to  reveal
the clear sky and the sun shining down. When everything dissolves
like  this, you begin to experience your true nature, to  “live”.
Then you know it, and at that moment, you feel really good. It is
unlike  any  other  feeling of well being  that  you  might  have
experienced.  This is a real and genuine goodness, in  which  you
feel  a  deep sense of peace, contentment  and  confidence  about
yourself.
It is good to meditate when you feel inspired. Early mornings can
bring that inspiration, as the best moments of the mind are early
in  the  day,  when  the mind is calmer  and  fresher  (the  time
traditionaly recommended is before dawn). It is more  appropriate
to  sit when you are inspired, for not only is it easier then  as
you  are in a better frame of mind for meditation, but  you  will
also be more encouraged by the very practice that you do. THis in
turn will bring more confidence in the practice, and later on you
will  be able to practice when you are not inspired. There is  no
need  to meditate for a long time: just remain quietly until  you
are  a little open and able to connect with your  heart  essence.
That is the main point.
After that, some integration, or meditation in action. Once  your
mindfulness  has been awakened by your meditation, your  mind  is
calm  and your perception a little more coherent. Then,  whatever
you  do,  you  are present, right there. As  in  the  famous  Zen
master’s  saying:  “When I eat, I eat; when I  sleep,  I  sleep”.
Whatever  you do, you are fully present in the act. Even  washing
dishes,  if  it is done one-pointedly, can  be  very  energizing,
freeing, cleansing. You are more peaceful, so you are more “you”.
You assume the “Universal You”.
One  of  the fundamental points of the spiritual  journey  is  to
persevere along the path. Though one’s meditation may be good one
day  and  and  not so good the next,  like  changes  in  scenery,
essentially it is not the experiences, good or bad which count so
much, but rather that when you persevere, the real practice  rubs
off on you and comes through both good and bad. Good and bad  are
simply apparations, just as there may be good or bad weather, yet
the sky is always unchanging. If you persevere and have that  sky
like  attitude  of  spaciousness,  without  being  perturbed   by
emotions and experiences, you will develop stability and the real
profoundness  of meditation will take effect. You will find  that
gradually  and almost unnoticed, your attitude begins to  change.
You  do not hold on to things as solidly as before, or  grasp  at
them  so strongly, and though crisis will still happen,  you  can
handle them a bit better with more humor and ease. You will  even
be  able to laugh at difficulties a little, since there  is  more
space between you and them, and you are freer of yourself. Things
become  less  solid,  slightly ridiculous, and  you  become  more
light-hearted.

Daily OM for Sunday, Sept. 29th – Learning To Meditate

Learning To Meditate
From the Learning To Meditate On-Line Course

by Madisyn Taylor


My wish for you is that meditation can be an opportunity to begin a simple practice of self-acceptance and self-
love. If the mere idea of meditating feels uncomfortable—or scary even, that’s okay. Exploring unknown territory usually does. But don’t worry, you won’t turn into a hippie, have to change your friends, or pack up and move to a commune in order to reap the benefits of your meditation practice. This is a gift you’re giving yourself and nobody even needs to know you are meditating, but you just might love it so much that you will want to teach your friends and family.

Let’s take a moment to get clear on what meditation really is. The term “meditation” can refer to any process that leads you to an inner state of relaxed awareness. There needn’t be any big mystery or drama about the process itself, and there’s really no right or wrong way of doing it. There are simply different techniques that can be used as tools to help you focus and quiet your mind, and we’ll work with some of these as the weeks unfold. This will allow you to choose which method works best for you as a person. We have all seen the vision of the yogi sitting crossed legged wearing robes and perhaps meditating in a cave. This is not what meditation is about for most of us and starting with an unrealistic idea of what meditation is about won’t make it an enjoyable experience for you. I still have a hard time quieting my mind and I find that my meditation practice is more fulfilling for me while I’m in nature. Our main purpose here is to help you develop a meditation practice that’s right for you. It’ll be something you feel comfortable doing and that you’re willing and able to do regularly.

For those of us who already have a meditation routine, we’ve come to depend on the way our practice enhances our lives. We’ve discovered an ever-present source of inner peace and wisdom from which we can now draw strength, courage, clarity and compassion. It has become easier to respond to situations from a calm and grounded place, rather than acting out old dysfunctional patterns. We’re also better able to navigate our lives in alignment with our own needs and goals. By giving ourselves the space to simply be ourselves, many of the distractions from other people’s agendas melt away. For many of us, meditation has become an important way to take really good care of ourselves. You wouldn’t dream about leaving your house in the morning without bathing or brushing your teeth and this is eventually how you will feel about your practice. A morning meditation will give you the quiet confidence and the strength you will need for your day.

Research has linked a regular practice of meditation to reduced levels of anxiety and stress, in addition to improved immune function and a host of other health benefits. Studies have shown that the nervous system actually begins responding differently to stressful situations—creativity flows more freely and new solutions begin to emerge. What’s wonderful is that many of these advantages occur after just one session and continue evolving with regular practice. As you develop your own meditation program, you’ll be able to track the benefits for yourself, from changes in your mood to improvements in your energy. Soon you will find yourself reacting from a place of centered calm rather than from your head.

GETTING STARTED

The best results of meditation are seen in those who make it a regular practice. And as with anything, practicing consistently carves out a behavioral pattern that becomes more established and easier to follow over time. Try not to be hard on yourself as you begin this process. You’re the only one who can take this journey and the best place to start is right where you are. At first you may not be able to sit for more than a few minutes and that’s ok, but soon you’ll be meditating for 10, 20 or 30 minutes with ease. The idea is to get a habit started, so aim for consistency (i.e., meditating 10 minutes a day, every day) over longer sessions (i.e., meditating for a whole half hour, every once in a while).

You generally don’t need to purchase anything to start a meditation routine and no special equipment or clothing is required as long as you’re comfortable. Some people buy what’s known as a meditation cushion, but it’s certainly not necessary. Some also find that lighting a candle or incense signals an official start to their meditation and this can help the mind to focus. (Chimes, singing bowls and bells may also be used for this purpose.) Next week, we’ll be exploring some particular meditation practices that use candles and incense, so if you don’t already have these around your home, you may want to get some that you’ll enjoy working with.

It is not uncommon for inspiring ideas and solutions to emerge during meditation. I always have a journal with me so I can jot down what comes up and return to my session without fear of losing the idea. You may want to experiment with this as well. It can help your mind return to silence.

Positioning

Let’s explore a few different ways of sitting. You may be familiar with the classic lotus position or half-lotus position (see photos below) in which many long-term meditators are pictured. This position is ideal because it allows for a balanced and unobstructed flow of energy throughout the energy centers of your body. Some people cannot sit this way because they are physically inflexible or having back or knee issues. You may find that over time you gain the flexibility to meditate in the lotus position; or, you may simply decide that an alternate posture works better for you. Please don’t feel that you have to sit in these positions right away, it can take time to build up to it.

The key to remember when selecting your meditation position is that you’ll want to keep your back straight and your palms open or facing upward. There are a few different positions for your hands to take during meditation, but for the purpose of this course we will place our hands open toward the sky and having them rest on your thighs, knees or ankles depending on what is comfortable once you are in position with the rest of your body.

Here are some positions you might try:

Using a Chair: Sit with your feet on the floor, spine straight against the back of the chair, and your shoulders back. If needed, you can add a pillow behind you for lower back support.

On the Floor: Sit crossed legged or in half or full lotus position. You may want to place a pillow under your tailbone for comfort.

On the Floor, against the Wall: If you have trouble getting your back straight, start out sitting against a wall. If necessary, fold up a small towel to tuck under your tailbone. This is usually the easiest position for beginners, with a wall supporting the back. Over time your muscles will get stronger and the support of a wall will likely become unnecessary.

In Your Bed: If sitting up straight is difficult or painful for you, start out lying down. Most of us associate our bed with sleeping and this can be a problem, as it may create the tendency to fall asleep. But turn yourself 90 degrees on the bed if it’s big enough, or turn yourself 180 degrees and do not use pillows—this may trick your mind to stay awake, as your head will be at a different place than it usually is during the night. Once you have more meditation experience under your belt, try to move from the bed. The bed may also be used in a sitting position with your back against your headboard and pillows placed under your hipbones to get a nice straight spine.

Lotus position: Sit upright with your spine straight and crossing your legs, right over left. You can see from the photo that both feet are off the ground and nested upon each of her legs.

Half-Lotus position: Sit upright with your spine straight and cross one leg on top of the other while the other leg is resting on the floor or cushion beneath you.

Finding Your Place

Once you’ve determined the most appropriate way of sitting (or lying down), select what will become your regular place for meditation. You’ll want a location where you can spend time every day without interruption. While it doesn’t need to be used solely for meditation, it is helpful to be at the same place for each sitting—especially as you try to create a new routine. The perfect spot may be your favorite living room chair, or in front of an altar if you have one, or maybe your bedroom if that’s the most serene place. It just needs to be somewhere that’s comfortable and as quiet as possible. Try to not get to preoccupied with not having a special room for meditation, few people have this luxury.

When you’ve found a place that feels good, you might choose to make the area special by having a favorite pillow or candle nearby. These things aren’t necessary for meditation; they may simply enhance your experience and help bring you to a daily routine.

Not everybody has complete quiet time. You may have children or pets that need your attention, a noisy neighbor or cars driving by. Try not to let this distract you. Meditation can be done even under the noisiest of circumstances. Please do not feel like you are at a disadvantage or that you won’t get the results you desire. In fact, you may find the opposite is true. Having practiced meditation in a loud or raucous environment, you might soon discover that it’s become natural for you to be at peace, no matter what is going on around you.

Preparation

Take some time out now to plan your meditation schedule for the week ahead. Ideally you’ll be able to sit during a morning hour, and if it can be the same hour each day, that’s even better. Many people find that meditating just after they wake up is a great way to start the day. If you’re not able to practice until later on in the afternoon or evening, or if you must sit at a different time each day, this is fine. It’s far better to meditate anytime, than not at all.

You’ll probably want to block out approximately 15 minutes for your sessions at this point. This will give you a couple minutes on either side of your practice and allow for a sitting time of 10 minutes. With 10 minutes of meditation a day, you’ll be able to see and feel results without putting too much pressure on yourself. Advanced practitioners will meditate 20, 30 or more minutes per day. Pretty soon you’ll understand how 30 minutes can be an easy routine to maintain.

After your sitting time is over, it’s important to make sure that you’re grounded. Sometimes meditating can bring you into higher realms and make it difficult to transition back to everyday reality. You may feel “floaty and this can be a lovely feeling, but it means that you aren’t securely grounded in your body and that is where you should be in daily life. There are many different techniques for grounding oneself, and you’ll need to do some experimenting to come up with the practice that works best for you. You can try focusing your attention for a few moments on your connection to the earth, as though you have a light beam emitting down the tailbone of your body or roots like a tree that burrow deep into the earth’s center. Another way is to hold your attention on your center of gravity (just below your navel) or at the base of your spine for a couple of minutes. Other things that may work are eating a light snack, drinking water, taking a short walk outside, or even stretching.

Beginning Your Meditation Practice

Now for your first big step. Over the upcoming week, your job is to faithfully follow the meditation schedule you’ve created. You’ll be sitting in meditation for 10 minutes every day and will undoubtedly have some interesting experiences. Try to pay attention to changes in the way you interpret and interact with the world outside of your meditation sessions. Do you feel calm? Anxious? Happy? Frustrated? There’s no need to judge anything. This is simply an invitation to create greater self-awareness, which can help guide the way your practice evolves.

Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide on a basic meditation process. This is the method you’ll be using this week, so you may wish to print out this lesson and carry it with you into your sittings.

BASIC MEDITATION GUIDE

Before you begin:

1. Put on some loose, comfortable clothing that will not bind while you are sitting.

2. Turn off phones, TV, radio and anything else that may interrupt your quiet time.

3. Prepare your meditation area (every time) before you sit to meditate. A light dusting or cleaning up of the area will set the intention. It says to the Universe, “I am ready.

When you are ready:

1. If you have a candle or incense, a bell or singing bowl, use those items now. Light your candle or incense and ring your bell. (Again, these items are not necessary.)

2. Sit (or lie if you need to) in the position that works best for you and begin to relax. Place your hand on your knees or thighs and open them up towards the ceiling, palms heavenward. Take a giant deep breath and let it out. Acknowledge that this is now your meditation time.

3. Now simply sit and breathe. For the entire 10 minutes, just breathe. Make no judgment on what happens during this time. Most people will not be able to quiet their minds, and may drift into thoughts about their to-do lists, what other people should or shouldn’t have done, and even what’s on the menu that day. Your mind may wander and that’s perfectly okay. As soon as you realize your mind has led you somewhere else, release it and breathe deeply. Do this every time your awareness leaves the present moment. If your mind comes up with something you cannot let drift by, write it down so you can get back to your awareness.

4. At the end of your session, take a couple of minutes to ground yourself.

Let Me Breathe: A Simple Abundance Meditation

Let Me Breathe: A Simple Abundance Meditation

It’s okay that you feel afraid, wild one, but it is not serving you. Pause  for a moment to release it now, and then return to this meditation any time you  feel the shadows begin to creep back in. Take a long, deep breath into your body  and then release it. Wonderful, do that again… breathe in even more slowly and  more deeply, holding it in for a moment and the release that breath from every  corner of your being, and hold that emptiness for a moment as well. Good. Now,  read along as you continue to breathe these same deep, cleansing breaths.

Let me breathe in the transformative love that flows with ease through  the universe, and breathe out the fear that aches in my chest. Let me breathe in  the healing light of the thousand angels who are holding me in this moment… and  breathe out the dark whispers that echo in my mind. Let me breathe in the warmth  of my spirit community and breathe out the lie of isolation. Let me breathe in  the simplicity I long for, and breathe out the hurt and complexities of  yesterday. Let me breathe in my wild and passionate nature, and breathe out  every obstacle to openness. Let me breathe in the truth that I AM, I AM… and  breathe out resistance to love. Let me breathe in divine abundance and then,  breathe out the need to deny the divine within. Let me breathe in the eternal  flow of love and abundance… and then breathe out to  release all that no longer  serves me.

Spirituality and Magic – Don't Sell Yourself Short

Spirituality and Magic – Don’t Sell Yourself Short

 Author: Friendly Spirit
I’ve read some informative and highly interesting articles on Witchvox recently and wanted to share a perspective that perhaps may help some in their dealings with their own spirituality. This includes rituals where many find sources of enlightenment but also includes just about anything else, eclectic or traditional, in the general areas of spirituality, magic, ethics, etc. My comments do not center on promoting my own beliefs. Rather I’d like to comment on keeping a bigger picture in mind no matter which path or paths you choose.
The bigger picture is, what are you really and how does what you are relate to which practices you use or follow in seeking spiritual enlightenment? I’d also like to suggest a few simple things to keep in mind when choosing a path or religion.
Which Path/Religion to Choose?
I don’t think that anyone but you can say which exact path or religion is right for you. And I’m not sure most can tell if they don’t try things. I guess the “right” one is the one that works for you. Try things and see what helps you improve your spiritual life. Does it help you to be a happier person or live a better life or feel more spiritual or does it not?
It’s a simple question really but then things should be simple.
But how do you know what to try in order to see what works best for you? Well, I guess many will try different paths before they find out but I can offer here some very simple guidelines in helping eliminate any while conducting your search. These guidelines work very well for me but, if they are something that does not work for you, then don’t use them:

  1. Does the path/religion preach that you are small or insignificant and it offers you a way to improve? I say reject that  path/religion because it is based on a lie. The lie being that you are small and insignificant. You are not. You are an immortal, spiritual  being.
  2. Does the path/religion depend substantially on faith, fear of gods or such things as damnation, etc? I say reject that  path/religion as it is based on a lie. Your goal in spiritual enlightenment should not be based on fear, mysteries that you cannot comprehend,  etc.
  3. Does the path/religion suggest not harming yourself and others and does it have at least some system of ethics against  doing the above? I say look into it. Ethics are logic, really. They are things that just make sense if you truly want to expand spiritually or in any other  way. It makes sense because you the immortal being are good and you will hinder your own growth when doing harm.
  4. Does the path/religion hold firm beliefs that are contrary to your own, even though your own harms no one including  yourself? I don’t suggest getting into it unless you yourself are trying to change your own beliefs, as you feel they are incomplete or somehow  wrong.
  5. Does the path/religion involve the use of drugs, hypnotic suggestions, invalidation or evaluation of you by others? I say  reject it, as real spiritual enlightenment depends on you either regaining or otherwise obtaining a personal spiritual improvement which, in the end, depends  on you and not the invalidation and/or evaluation of others.
  6. Does the path/religion promote kindness and things loving? If so, this is a good point as such things as kindness and love  are completely natural to a spiritual being. Those times you could not be more mean or tough in a situation were not really signs of weakness. But the times  you could not be more kind were signs of weakness as, again, kindness and love are natural in a spiritual being who, when itself, is truly good.

So What is The Bigger Picture to Keep In Mind in Any Path or Practice?
Keep in mind what you yourself really are verses what is being dealt with in your practice. I feel this is most important in order to obtain the maximum benefit of any path towards spiritual enlightenment.
What you are is very different than what you are being. For example, in this life you may have a female body, be a mother, a wife, an office worker and a Witch. Those are all identities you have assumed as you progressed in life while your body developed from the stage of its birth to where it is now.
Can a good spiritual path help you to be a better mother, Witch, neighbor, wife, etc? Sure it can. It can assist you in being anything you want. But, here again we are addressing what you are being in this lifetime, not what you are.
So, you’re not that body you have, right? I mean, for example, if you lost one of your hands in a car accident does that change that loving thing that is “you?” That thing that loves your children, arts or music? Is your body that thing that soars to wonderful music or what you consider beautiful in nature or otherwise? No, it is not.
I was in a Pagan chat room recently and in it this wonderful lady talked about children and other things, which was a great chat. She was obviously a kind and caring person but she stated that we all love our children because of a genetic imprint that makes us feel nurturing, defending, and so on. I loved her but I wanted to scream out, “YOU ARE MUCH MORE THAN THAT!” Yes, human bodies and animal bodies do have a “life force” and a genetic line that does provide for caring, nurturing, etc. (or else there would be no real continuation of a species), and when you take on a body you tend to be affected by it and the genetic line BUT you are so much more than that.
It was not appropriate to argue in that room nor did I feel a need to argue, but I really wanted her to realize she was SO much more than some sort of “genetic imprint” connected with a body…
Yet science often stops at just that point in trying to measure what you are. The physical universe can make a great “playground” in which to play and bodies can be a “calling card” spiritual beings use to identify and play with each other.
So if you are not your body, are you your mind? Again, you are selling yourself short if you agree that you are your mind. Here is a simple exercise you can do as you read this right now that might help you conclude you are not your mind:
Read these next two paragraphs and then close your eyes and think about it
Pick a pet or other animal you have with you or had with you once. Was it in your house? What color was it? Size? How did it look? When you think of a time with it, do you see it in your living room, outdoors or what? What was it doing then?
You can do this exercise with a child, a friend, whatever. Close you eyes now and do it and, when you are done, open your eyes and continue reading this.
Okay, so I am going to assume you just did the exercise. Who was looking at the picture(s) of that pet, animal, child, friend or whatever after you closed your eyes? It was not your body as your eyes were closed. Was it your mind “looking” at that? No, in fact it was YOU looking at it. And what you were looking at was a part of your mind (the pictures and things you saw).
My point is, you are not your mind. You are an immortal spirit that currently has a mind and a body.
Your body is located in time and in space (for example, here on Earth) and the pictures that make up your mind are locatable as well. But you yourself are not so located except by your own considerations and your agreement with the considerations of others.
While this is a subject that would take up a great deal more writing space than is available here, my whole point is if you want to get maximum spiritual enlightenment from any path you choose, please keep in mind what YOU are and never get confused with what you are not (a body, mind, tools of magic, etc.).
For example, the idea of using crystals, stones and other physical things to produce energy or other effects could really work but not for the reason many think. Matter (physical things) are just solidified energy and if someone figured out (by accident or otherwise) how to “tap it, ” lots could be produced. Some physical things like crystals perhaps store more energy than physical things like granite. I believe that different paths and people of older traditions have discovered a lot of that.
But what’s most important is that it’s NOT something bigger than you (the spirit). You’re tapping into something that can be amazing in terms of what is generally agreed to be possible BUT it is comparatively nothing to what YOU (the spirit) could produce. If it helps you to tap the energy and magic that is “sleeping” inside of you then by all means do it.
If people could practice such things with the bigger picture of what they really are in mind, to the point where they at least don’t worship such things as the tools of magic, then it could really be something special.
Just because we spiritual beings may use bodies and other physical things in order to communicate with each other, does not mean that we must be limited to that or to what is commonly agreed to be the limitations of bodies in order to perceive or communicate.
You know, you have many agreements in place automatically all the time with regard to your body and mind. Such agreements as human eyes see only certain hues, human ears hear only certain sounds, words are important to communication, you must breath air, and so on. If a spiritual being had the body of a cat for a lifetime, it likely would go into agreement with what a cat sees, hears, senses and the like. Same with any other body type. But they are only considerations you have agreed with and you yourself as a spiritual being are not restricted to such limits. If actions taken in rituals or otherwise in different paths help you to simply “disagree” on all those limits to perception, then they are probably good actions if they lead to your own spiritual enlightenment. And they are probably good things to do until some day you will be able to bring all the magic and abilities out of yourself without need of any tools.
Spiritual enlightenment is a matter of rehabilitating the spirit’s (your) abilities so that YOU may make a better life for yourself and others. Don’t be impatient and expect yourself to go from where you are to perfection overnight. If in any way you find yourself improving any aspects of your life (you feel better, you’re no longer depressed, some things come easier now, you feel more love for others, etc.) then by all means be happy as your effort on your path is working. Keep it up. It gets better and better as you grow spiritually and realize more of your own potential.
Just keep in mind that it is you the spiritual being that is awakening and that all the magic there is, is in you now. And if some path helps you find it within yourself for the improvement of you and others then it is a wonderful thing indeed.
You don’t HAVE a spirit. You ARE the spirit. Remember that and I believe you will get much more out of your practice.
Final Comment:
I have made no attempt here to comment on a god or goddess or anything else besides you. I believe that subject is very highly personal and that the more you expand spiritually, the more you understand such things. I only want to point out that you are something very, very special and much more than most people or even many religions let you believe.
Personally I have a very deep affinity for the Goddess. Every time I even reflect on that subject I feel wonderful. I do not categorize her in ways that many others have done. I personally don’t feel her under the many names people have given her in the past. Nor in temples dedicated to her in the various forms that might have been real to people at the time they gave her a name or a temple. Rather, personal to me, I see her everywhere, especially at times where I feel more enlightened. I reflect on her every time I see the love of a mother for her child, when I see anything nurturing, when I so much as see a spore fly in the wind and settle on the ground, knowing some day it may grow to be a plant.
I feel all that at times when I see kindness, love, the good in others. I see her when I see what in many lifetimes I’ve perceived as spirituality, courage, caring, wisdom, magic, strength and all things good. I think of all these things when I think of true “femininity.”
I don’t believe you have to roam anywhere to see her and the best evidence of her is within you now.