On the day of winter solstice, many Native American communities will hold religious ceremonies or community events.The winter solstice is the day of the year when the Northern Hemisphere has the fewest hours of sunlight and the Southern Hemisphere has the most.
At the moment of death, our soul rises out of its host body. If the soul is older and has experience from many former lives, it knows immediately it has been set free and is going home. These advanced souls need no one to greet them. However, most souls I work with are met by guides...
A woman told me that gratitude was her constant prayer, and I was impressed. But, I realized that her gratitude was actually a defense against life. 'I am so grateful for sunshine, health, my wonderful family'. 'Do you express gratitude for the storms, for the illness, for the down times too?'...
‘We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom.’ Those were the words of the American biologist E O Wilson at the turn of the century.
From coffee table books and social media to popular science lectures, it seems it has has become increasing fashionable for neuroscientists, philosophers and other commentators to tell anyone that will listen that free will is a myth.
Over the years I have practiced a number of Buddhist meditation techniques, including Mindfulness of Breathing, Loving Kindness, and Anapanasati on a daily basis. Whilst learning about Eckhart Tolle’s teachings, I developed a meditation technique to directly cultivate Presence.
‘The theory produces a good deal but hardly brings us closer to the secret of the Old One,’ wrote Albert Einstein in December 1926. ‘I am at all events convinced that He does not play dice.’
The percentage of Americans who do not identify with any religious tradition continues to rise annually. Not all of them, however, are atheists or agnostics.
The Buddha is a documentary by David Grubin and narrated by Richard Gere that tells the story of the Buddha's life, and attempts to answer the questions Who is the Buddha. What is the Buddha. It also features the work of some of the world's greatest artists and sculptors
Focusing keeps your eyes on the road, but awareness lets you enjoy the scenery. Almost all the satisfaction of a sitting comes not from watching the road but from those sideways glances at the scenery. Awareness is complicated because...
In our never-ending quest to understand what happens to us after we die, humans have long seen the rare phenomenon of near-death experiences as providing some hints.
Beginning on the evening of Dec. 2, 2018, Jews are celebrating the eight-day festival of Hanukkah, perhaps the best-known and certainly the most visible Jewish holiday.
The animals and the natural world are relaying messages to guide and support humanity during this time of great change on the planet. The four-leggeds, winged ones, creepy crawlers, and more are coming to assist in this evolution of consciousness. As we release the self-imposed barriers between us and them, we are able to transcend the illusionary veil between us and hear their language. We are given the gift of their wisdom when we connect in love and respect and cross through the barriers that separate us.
Most of our spiritual traditions tell us that, as humans, we are miniature reflections of God and that we have been created in God's image. If this is so, then it would follow that a more direct way to look upon the face of God would be to sit and gaze at an actual person, a real flesh-and-blood human...
Tinseled trees and snowy landscapes are not the only signs of the upcoming holiday season. Red kettles, staffed by men and women in street clothes, Santa suits and Salvation Army uniforms also telegraph Christmastime.
It is possible for the mind to become disempowered. It feels then as if reality is just a given, and all we can do is try to deal with it. The disempowered mind feels it has no choice about what it attends to. Training the attention is definitely one way to begin empowering the mind.
When Loren Jacobs, member of the Shma Yisrael Congregation, offered a prayer for the victims of the Tree of Life congregation at a campaign rally attended by Mike Pence, it left many Jews feeling very upset. The vice president’s office later denied inviting Jacobs to the event.
I have spent nearly twenty-five years of my adult life searching through the spiritual culture -- during which time I have worked as a body-mind-spirit publisher, a historian of alternative spirituality, and an individual seeker, sampling and struggling with many of the ideas of self liberation and self-development on the current spiritual scene (and working with the originators of some of these ideas).
Prayer can be a most difficult and trying task. The experiences of our century with its massive blind destruction, suffering, and carnage cast doubt on the concept of a God involved in the welfare of the created universe.
When you are living in the present, you know what's important for you, and you act on that knowing. You are able to see the big picture and the smallest detail all at the same time. Your sense of timing and your instincts become sharp. Great athletes show us just how true this is.
Social allergies are a lot like seasonal allergies. They’re annoying, exhausting and hard to avoid. They’re also especially common around the holidays. That’s because the holidays put you at a high risk of exposure.
Here is a powerful healing meditation to help you lose your fears about love and to cleanse your heart chakra. You may want to tape-record this meditation with soft background music, so you can easily listen to it once or twice a day.
It's very easy for you to be wholesome and virtuous and spiritual when things are going right. But as soon as a little bit of adversity arises, then the real test begins, especially when you look at how you deal with your family life..
We who value tolerance sometimes behave as if we think tolerance is the ultimate value of the liberal spirit, a cure for all the ills of society. But what if your next-door neighbors come from a part of the world where their homeland custom demands that the man...
Religion does not help us to explain nature. It did what it could in pre-scientific times, but that job was properly unseated by science. Most religious laypeople and even clergy agree: Pope John Paul II declared in 1996 that evolution is a fact and Catholics should get over it. No doubt some extreme anti-scientific thinking lives on, but it has become a fringe position.
We are linked with plants through our breath. When we focus on this breath and consciously connect to the plant by giving and receiving the breath, we find ourselves intimately connected to the plant and it can be a very moving experience.
All disease, illness, unhappiness, misery, and self-punishment could be healed if we apply two principles of truth into our daily consciousness. The first is that there is a single, divine God that is All in all; and the second, that the Divinity which we call God lives inside of each and every one of us. Knowing deeply and believing completely at every level of our being that we are not separate from God, that we are one with the Divine, will heal us.
Divine Love is the needed energy for our planet to heal itself. There are so many well intentioned people and factions who think that they have the only right answers. They are often willing to fight and be mercilessly cruel to prove that they are the most Holy. Sometimes it's necessary to stand up to...
Tonglin practice is rooted in the breath. If you can breathe in and out, you can practice tonglin. The essence of the practice is to breathe in the suffering of another person and to breathe out loving-kindness, compassion, and healing. As we breathe that healing out, we are making the greatest gift we...
I was asked 'Do you believe in miracles?' I was taken aback. Did I believe in people being spontaneously cured of cancer, virgin births, raising of the dead, parting of seas, burning bushes, and so on? Did I believe in serendipity, synchronicity, and moments of seeming happenstance that wind up being instrumental to our path?
The desire for happiness is the universal wish of humankind. On this, everyone would agree. Yet everyone suffers and dies. The basic fact and the basic tragedy of life is that every human being longs for peace and happiness, yet everyone is haunted by the specter of suffering, unhappiness, and death.
The Pittsburgh neighborhood in which the recent horrific mass shooting took place isn’t only the home of the Tree of Life synagogue. Squirrel Hill was also Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, the place where he lived and ultimately chose to die in his own home.
Our experience of death obviously shapes the final moments of our own life. It also shapes the experience and remains in the memories of those around us. As an intensive care specialist for more than two decades, my colleagues and I do the best we can to provide high-quality end-of-life care.
Understanding the normal trajectory of grief matters for the person experiencing the grief and those treating them. Grief can seem desolate for those in the thick of it who often feel unable to imagine a way out of their suffering. But, as time passes, the pain usually dampens or becomes more fleeting.
Flying through the skies on a broomstick, the popular image of a witch is as a predominantly female figure – so much so that the costume has become the go-to Halloween outfit for women and girls alike.
Halloween is a time when ghosts and spooky decorations are on public display, reminding us of the realm of the dead. But could they also be instructing us in important lessons on how to lead moral lives?
Grief brought on by the loss of a spouse can cause inflammation that can lead to major depression, heart attack, and even premature death. For a new study, researchers examined the effect grief has on human health by conducting interviews with 99 people whose spouses had recently died. They also examined their blood.
Although many of us now associate hell with Christianity, the idea of an afterlife existed much earlier. Greeks and Romans, for example, used the concept of Hades, an underworld where the dead lived, both as a way of understanding death and as a moral tool.
As an Anglican priest teaching in philosophy and in climate change at two universities, I am often asked about the difference between science and my own faith convictions.
The word mantra means ‘mind protection’ in Sanskrit. A mantra carries a vibration and frequency that extends beyond the simple meaning of its words. In the highest sense, mantras carry thought waves that can energize the prana through constant repetition and they can reach deep into the subconscious mind to access the collective consciousness. More simply, using mantra can help overcome mental chatter, and prepare the way for an expansion of consciousness.
Meditation by Orin and DaBen: I allow myself to relax and go within. I release thoughts of my outer world for now. I breathe in relaxation. I adjust my body until it feels comfortable. I let my thoughts...
Meditation for Busy People: Whenever you have time, just sit silently with closed eyes. It will help. It will help you to be more at ease with yourself.
This summer, during the FIFA World Cup, I went with some friends to watch a soccer game at the house in Turin of the Italian philosopher and former member of the EU parliament Gianni Vattimo. As soon as our team began to lose, Vattimo said: ‘Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you, the pope called me yesterday.’
A new film, “Trump Prophecy,” will be shown in some limited theaters on Oct. 2 and 4. The film is an adaptation of a book, co-authored by Mark Taylor, a retired firefighter, who claimed he received a message from God in 2011 that the Trump presidency is divinely ordained.
Scientist and philosopher may argue to the end of time, but meanwhile the human soul thirsts, and psychologist, priest, and mystic have the temerity to suggest that there may be ways of approach to the ultimate mysteries other than laboratory observation and pure logic. For while scientist and logician dissect and analyze, the mystic looks for meaning in the whole.
Most of us do not remember our past lives, however it is possible to access some information through a guided past life session. People have different experiences in a past life session. A friend of mine found themselves speaking in a foreign language! Others may have flashbacks or wonder how they knew about something.
Mindfulness lessons for parents can help them manage their emotions and cope with stressful situations, but the lessons also benefit their kids, according to a new small study.
Many atheists think that their atheism is the product of rational thinking. They use arguments such as “I don’t believe in God, I believe in science” to explain that evidence and logic, rather than supernatural belief and dogma, underpin their thinking. But just because you believe in evidence-based, scientific research – which is subject to strict checks and procedures – doesn’t mean that your mind works in the same way.
The seven directions and the seven chakras reveal seven paths to God. Although we will discuss these paths in a sequence that may seem linear, one path is no more "advanced" than another. They are simply different expressions, distinct rays of energy that each of us embody.
We live in a generation that has many distractions. Even when we try to be focused on the day—today—we’re affected by CPA—not certified public accounting but a syndrome I call “continuous partial attention.” We pay continuous partial attention in an effort not to miss anything—multitasking, surfing the Web, answering our cell phones—yet in the end, we gain nothing.
A throng of Trinidadians line up along the streets of St. James and Cedros to admire the vibrant floats with beautifully bedecked models of mausoleums. Their destination is the waters of the Caribbean, where the crowds will push them out to float.
From medication to recreational and spiritual substances, drugs offer us respite from pain, open opportunities for mental exploration, and escape from – or into – altered psychological states. They are our most widely available formal and informal implements for tweaking our mental condition. Consider the cold beer after a hard day at work, the joint before putting the needle on the record, the midday espresso, the proverbial cigarette break,
As an academic - a researcher and senior lecturer at a university in the UK - people are often surprised by my unorthodox views on the nature of life, and of the world. For example, when I mention to colleagues that I’m open-minded about the possibility of some form of life after death, or that I believe in the possibility of paranormal phenomena such as telepathy or pre-cognition, they look at me as if I’ve told them I’m going to give up academia and become a truck driver.
You are made of energy that is constantly vibrating. This energy is changeable and transformative. It is amazing how our body, mind and soul has the ability to heal and change. Watching people change, heal and transform has been one of the most humbling and exciting experiences of my life.
Meditation needs great work. It is arduous, it is an uphill task. To remain non-meditative is easy in a way. You have not to do anything about it, you are already non-meditative, everybody is born non-meditative. But to become meditative really needs great courage, great determination, great patience, because to go beyond the mind is the most complicated phenomenon.
Buddhism explains the profound truths of life. But it also provides an immensely practical method for overcoming obstacles and transforming oneself. It can be applied to every area of your existence: family, work, relationships, health. And it can be applied by anyone. Each and every human being contains the inherent capacity to be a Buddha
Blessing is a way of sending unconditional love, peace, healing, goodness to a person or a situation, or simply seeing them bathed in that love. Blessing isn’t associated with any religious denominations. It can be practiced by anyone, and I have an atheist friend who purchased my first edition of The Gentle Art of Blessing, and even gave copies away!
In the years after Jesus was crucified at Calvary, the story of his life, death and resurrection was not immediately written down. The experiences of disciples like Matthew and John would have been told and retold at many dinner tables and firesides, perhaps for decades, before anyone recorded them for posterity.
The heart chakra is where matter and spirit meet. It marks the halfway point, with three chakras below and three above. This is a very important chakra indeed, as it’s our center of love and connection. Here you move into a greater awareness and love flows from you. You are peaceful, joyful, and compassionate. Your actions are no longer self-serving but are motivated by helping others overcome suffering.
In Australia, about one in six adults practise meditation, while one in ten practise yoga. People often turn to yoga or meditation as a way to to take time out and manage the stress of their day-to-day lives. Stress is common, and ongoing stress can contribute to the onset of a range of psychological issues, such as depression and anxiety. Meditation and yoga have been shown to reduce people’s self-reported levels of stress. This is likely due, at least in part, to the effects that meditation and yoga have on the brain’s stress response system.
When purpose and pleasure are brought together work becomes play. Every bit of work done in this spirit strengthens the man who does it. It is recreative as well as creative.
New research illuminates how some men and boys who are contemplating suicide are finding emotional support in an unexpected place: Reddit. Responses to those posts often contained gendered language of their own, like, “Hey, bro, I’ve been through that before,” or, “What’s bothering you, man?” Sometimes referred to as the “front page of the internet,” Reddit is a social news aggregation and discussion website that’s especially popular among young adult males.
If anything seems self-evident in human culture, it’s the widespread presence of religion. People do ‘religious’ stuff all the time; a commitment to gods, myths and rituals has been present in all societies. These practices and beliefs are diverse, to be sure, from Aztec human sacrifice to Christian baptism, but they appear to share a common essence. So what could compel the late Jonathan Zittell Smith, arguably the most influential scholar of religion of the past half-century, to declare in his bookImagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown (1982) that ‘religion is solely the creation of the scholar’s study’, and that it has ‘no independent existence apart from the academy’?
Spiritual creativity is a way of life, a way of wholeness. It is a path of integrity. Integrity entails not just a few beliefs or specific acts, but an attitude that we adopt and practice in our everyday lives...an ongoing process that can bring you much joy.
A story about the "Shining One" who explains the reason behind human cruelties and struggle: "Below me the hills and valleys were thick with humans, and the moon swung low that I might see what they did."
Where do we go between births? One can look at this a different way and see birth as a death—a dying to the world of light, a suppression of those memories. Which is our true home? Which is the real going out: our visits to earth or our visits to the world of light?
The awe-filled exclamation of Apple’s Steve Jobs — “Oh, wow! Oh, wow! Oh, wow!” — is an example of the intensified language we hear at the threshold and is true to the personality of the inspired innovator. Chaz Ebert, wife of celebrity critic Roger Ebert, shared a detailed account of her husband’s last words, in Esquire in 2013.
Tahlequah made headlines around the world as she carried the body of her dead calf at the surface of the water, sometimes on her head, sometimes in her mouth, for at least 10 days, in a heartbreaking “tour of grief”, as one of the foremost experts on her pod and her family, Ken Balcomb of the Whale Research Foundation, called it.
New Jersey’s first Sikh attorney general, Gurbir Singh Grewal, was a target of disparaging remarks recently.
A lot of what we've been taught by well-meaning parents, teachers, and clergy, is not conducive to self-realization. We've been taught how to fit in, get by and do what we're told. That's fine for children. But there comes a time in everyone's life when you have to start thinking for yourself.
The old lower reptilian brain is designed to keep you from being eaten by a tiger. The higher brain does the opposite, it turns on your body’s ability to rejuvenate and feel a sense of inner calm and meaning. That feeling of well-being is meant to be your natural state.
For many non-Muslims, the fast food carts that line the streets of New York City and San Francisco are their primary point of contact with halal foods.
People don’t die in the same way that they used to. In the past, a relative, friend, partner would pass away, and in time, all that would be left would be memories and a collection of photographs.
Compassion is not a thought or a sentimental feeling, but is rather a movement of the heart. Compassion is born out of lovingkindness. But we may get distracted, we forget, we get caught up in something else, or we confuse another feeling for the state of compassion.
Claims about supernatural phenomena, including weeping statues, have historically been common in Catholicism.
Most religious people think their morality comes from their religion. And deeply religious people often wonder how atheists can have any morality at all.
Have you ever suddenly and inexplicably felt depressed or irritable when just moments before you'd felt fine? That happens to all of us from time to time. The next time it happens, take a moment to remember what occurred just prior to your shift in emotions. What did you tell yourself about the comment or situation that made you feel bad?
Identity can compel you to reject the truth – even when you have evidence proving it. We see this today with the US political establishment: Trump supporters can look at two photos of his inauguration and say the largely empty Mall is full.
Breath is the foundation of everything, and everything begins with breath. Breath is the true barometer by which to measure your mental, physical, and emotional states: levels of anxiety, fitness, tightness, ease, or stress. The quality of your breath indicates how balanced and aligned the different systems of your body are at any given time.
Who or what grows our fingernails and beats our heart even as we sleep? What is this force that keeps the planets in place and hurls our world through the galaxy at a breathtaking speed? Spirit is what I have chosen to call the formless, invisible energy...
When a family member or a friend passes away, we often find ourselves reflecting on the question “where are they now?” As mortal beings, it is a question of ultimate significance to each of us.
Hiking is a near-perfect combination of elements known to relax us, raise our alertness, elevate our self-esteem, and physically prepare us for true rest afterward.
How you breathe reflects your self-esteem. How you breathe directly correlates to your enjoyment and satisfaction in life. If you breathe deeply, you imbibe of life and what it has to offer. If you are a shallow breather, perhaps you are not confident and feeling safe.
Surrendering doesn't mean you don't have to make plans. You do. I call this doing my homework -- I do my best to look at the situation, then I make one or two or three plans, and then I wait to see what the Divine has to say about all this.
Despite the seeming explosion of meditation in modern culture, there seems to be a lot of confusion about what it is, being used interchangeably for thinking, daydreaming or contemplating on a particular issue. With lack of a cohesive understanding about what meditation is, it can naturally lead to confusion about how to practice it and what it is really supposed to do.
On June 21, on International Yoga Day, people took out their yoga mats and practiced sun salutations or sat in meditation. Yoga may have originated in ancient India, but today is practiced all over the world.
Americans have debated what it means to be religious in politics throughout American history. Because a wide majority of Americans have claimed some form of Christian belief, these debates focused on Christianity. And they continue today.
Our identity, or ego, is the aspect of ourselves that attempts to control and plan our present and future experience. But as we all know, no matter how hard you try to control life, it somehow has a way of changing those plans.
Are you stressed? Are you so busy getting to the future that the present is reduced to a means of getting there? Stress is caused by being "here" but wanting to be "there," or being in the present but wanting to be in the future. It's a split that tears you apart inside.
While driving home one day, I noticed that someone had posted some cardboard signs along the roadside, leading guests to a party on my street. At every important choice point, there was a sign. It occurred to me that this is how Spirit gives us guidance -- we get signs when we need them...
There is a huge tendency to have way too much going on inside our minds, at the same time. Hundreds of thoughts and decisions about various things are all vying for our attention. There's also memory...
As anyone knows who’s cared for an elderly parent, it’s not easy. It’s an unquestionably sacred and transformative task, but it can also be extremely difficult. The demands placed on caregivers are huge.
What will Heaven be like? Perhaps not surprisingly, competing images abound.
Think of a problem or challenge that you may be experiencing at this time. Where did it originate? Out of a belief in two powers. We grew up with this belief. As children, we had battles to fight, pains to alleviate, losses to compensate for, and...
A little stress around exam time can be a good thing, as it motivates you to put in the work. But sometimes stress levels can get out of hand, particularly at the end of an academic year.
The biggest trap in the world to fall into is that of making careless and cruel comments about others. It is difficult not to jump in and fan the fire with our own critical take on another. It is equally as difficult to ...
In the 1950s, scholars worried that, thanks to technological innovations, Americans wouldn’t know what to do with all of their leisure time. However, modern life seems to encourage acceleration for the sake of acceleration – to what end?
The kind of Christianity that makes headlines today is the Mike Pence brand – conservative and aligned with the United States Republican party – leaving many people to believe, including progressive Christians, the religion is politically irredeemable.
Are you experiencing a lag in your spiritual life? Have you been practicing for a long time and consider yourself a spiritual veteran, but are lacking in enthusiasm? Are you new to meditation, but can’t seem to commit to a regular practice?