In response to the coronavirus pandemic, most European countries have imposed unprecedented confinement measures on their populations, banning social gatherings and closing public spaces.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and lasts either 29 or 30 days, depending on when the new crescent moon is, or should be, visible.
When you look at a painting, whether the Mona Lisa, the Birth of Venus or anything you find beautiful, where is the beauty coming from? Where is the source of the beauty? It is obviously not coming out of the painting, or everyone would agree that one painting is beautiful and another is ugly...
The COVID-19 pandemic and the wall-to-wall news coverage that has come with it has changed many of our lives seemingly overnight.
“How can someone stop thinking about his or her dead parents? Is this really possible?” Mirka, by email.
Calls for social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic have forced churches to cancel weekly gatherings, with many church leaders moving worship online.
My grandma was dying. I was afraid. I was afraid of death. I was afraid to be with her when she died. I was afraid of all the grief I was going to feel. And I was afraid of everyone else's pain, too. I knew I could stay in California and let her die without me, but I couldn't do that...
Catastrophes have always touched people’s lives. With these words, the prophet Jeremiah addressed a disaster of his time, centuries before the common era.
We experience a state of physical and mental clarity whenever we stop to simply breathe for a few moments. This state of being is mindfulness, reached by quieting the booming voice of the ego to listen to the true voice of our soul as it interacts with the wisdom of the Earth.
With churches closed and annual pilgrimages cancelled, Christians across the world are wondering how to give thanks to God this Easter.
Holidays and holy days are always difficult times if things aren't going well. Yet, these can be times of healing. For the heart can be opened more easily at any time that a people's traditions...
On April 8, Jewish families and their friends will be celebrating the first night of the week of Passover, with the most convivial gathering of the year: the Seder meal.
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the globe, it is affecting how families celebrate important religious events such as Easter, Passover and Ramadan, which would normally involve the gathering of families.
Have there ever been times in your life when you needed some guidance?... some direction in life, or a bit of help making a major decision? Where did you turn? To a trusted friend? A family member? An astrologer or psychic? Did you ever wish that there was a higher source of wisdom and guidance you could turn to?
At this tumultuous time on the planet, many of us are yearning for a spiritual context for the devastating Corona Virus and for higher guidance to show us the part that we are each to play in the global crisis that we now face. There are no easy or “pat” answers to these deep and troubling questions.
It's up to us. We can spend our lives cultivating our resentments and cravings or we can explore the path of the warrior -- nurturing open-mindedness and courage. Most of us keep strengthening our negative habits and therefore sow the seeds of our own suffering.
As we’ve had to give up our normal lives for the foreseeable future, many of us are also feeling a type of grief similar to mourning the death of a loved one. The coronavirus has caused the death of a way of life we were used to.
Slot machines, as outrageous as it might seem, are a powerful vehicle to help you learn how to keep your heart open. Since the brain and, in fact, the entire body, is a package of electrochemical impulses, it shouldn't seem so far-fetched that we can influence electronic devices.
As the world faces the greatest disruption of our lifetimes, Muslims throughout the world are also grappling with the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic
I just read a wonderful article by Alan Lightman, a writer and physicist who teaches at MIT. Alan is the author of "In Praise of Wasting Time". I find it inspiring to find scientists and physicists speaking and writing about "inner self" related topics.
Sometime in the late second century A.D., Christians in the city of Rome organized a collection to send to the followers of Jesus in the city of Corinth.
If you were to observe yourselves very carefully and observe the choices that you allow yourselves to make in your existence, you would observe the limits to which you yourselves choose to impose on the joy of your existence. You would observe the degree to which you limit your joy of existence.
There is a brief text which is one of the most universal, ecumenical texts in the world spiritual literature. Be you a Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, follower of shamanist practices, this text speaks to any open heart. The reason is that it is pure poetry, being composed solely of metaphors.
'Start from where you are' is generally good advice in any undertaking. But, like many travelers on the highway, sometimes we don't even know that we don't know where we are and yet we are unwilling to admit it. Instead, lost as we may be, we keep driving, ashamed to ask...
"May The Force be with you." We first heard that phrase in Star Wars and it quickly went viral, entering the mainstream as a description of the invisible power that runs the universe, presumably imbued with some kind of ethic. Another term immediately arose: "the dark side of the force."
What is the point of gaining the whole world if you lose your soul? Today, far fewer people are likely to catch the scriptural echoes of this question than would have been the case 50 years ago.
While many agree that we are currently in our cultural adolescence, there is also clear evidence of higher chakra development in the realms of communication (fifth chakra), vision (sixth chakra), and spirituality (seventh chakra).
How can you find some of that inner peace you hear the saints of old attained? Train your heart to function and perform and you will find that you can more easily handle day to day stress -- which leads to the ability to not lose your peace of mind. This is a great secret...
When we are faced with a variety of spiritual teachings and practices, we must keep a genuine sense of inquiry. What is the effect of these teachings and practices on myself and others? In his last words, the Buddha said we must be a lamp unto ourselves.
Without doubt, there is great value in spirituality that emphasizes and supports withdrawal from society. But in our time, with its special needs, we require a spirituality of intense involvement and radical engagement with the world. It is in the real world that awakening...
For Christians, the death and resurrection of Jesus is a pivotal event commemorated each year during a season of preparation called Lent and a season of celebration called Easter.
For centuries the worship of just one God has been seen as the ultimate in religious sophistication, exemplifying the progress of civilization. But the most cursory glance at monotheism’s track record tells a very different story. The elevation of one God—and the rejection of all others—goes hand in hand with intolerance of outsiders or those with a different perspective...
If you watch carefully, you will notice that the best figure skaters are those who just let go and focus completely on the present state of their body. Other top athletes must also exercise this same type of meditation in order to compete at the peak of their abilities. They may not call it meditation, but that's what it is.
Just a brief introduction to mindfulness helps people deal with physical pain and negative emotions, according to a new study.
Meditation may offer a way to make you less prone to mistakes, researchers report.
A peaceful and relaxed mind is a prerequisite to meaningful meditation. Breathing techniques as they are taught in Tibetan tradition are millennia-old methods with great contemporary appeal because they harmonize body and soul quickly and effectively. Breathing brings about life!
From 1984 to 2018, the number of journal articles published annually on mindfulness jumped from two to 842, according to the American Mindfulness Research Association.
Even the most secular people and societies usually have their behaviour shaped by religion. We can see its influence in behavioural codes that set out what is considered right and wrong.
Many people don't think about their spiritual lives until they're faced with a crisis such as a life-threatening illness. Then they decide to embark on spiritual practices such as meditation or prayer. Are you ready to turn "later" and "someday" into "now" when it comes to attending to your spiritual life?
Life is a prayer in the sense that it is a continuous request to the universe. God understands our desires not just through the occasional utterances that we call "prayers" in the traditional sense, but through every thought we think, every word we speak, and everything we do.
The concept of wholeheartedness is a lot like love; it’s a feeling that comes and goes. We may work hard to be wholehearted, and, as with any other kind of fitness, the more one works at it, the better one gets.
It is often assumed that life wages a battle to the last against death. But is it possible, as you suggest, to come to terms with death?
It may seem paradoxical, but dying can be a deeply creative process. Public figures, authors, artists and journalists have long written about their experience of dying.
One of his students asked Buddha, "Are you the messiah?" "No", answered Buddha. "Then are you a teacher?" "No, I am not a teacher." "Then what are you?" "I am awake", Buddha replied. The goal of Buddhism, like any self-respecting spiritual path, is not to have titles or to make distinctions between degrees of holiness; it is to wake up.
Learning to live with the death of a person or persons I love is teaching me more about myself and about living. I am more complex than I realized, and yet I'm honest about my weaknesses. I am in the process of learning that weakness is strength, not a flaw.
Having joyful things to think about is helpful. We all know, though, that we have many times where tears are helpful, too. Tears can release feelings, can be eye lubricants, and can sometimes remove stress or improve moods. They do not erase the reason we are sad, but they clear the path to remember our joy - our love.
As we open to the full range of experiences within ourselves, we become aware of what we perceive in each moment, no longer denying some feelings while clinging to others. By coming to know our own pain, we build a bridge to the pain of others. Knowing that someone will suffer if we perform a harmful action or say a hurtful word, we find we do these things less and less.
It’s a tragic fact of life that most of us will experience the loss of a loved one. Approximately 50 to 55 million people die worldwide each year, and it is estimated that each death leaves an average of five bereaved individuals.
Of course, we are each of us in charge of our own lives. But more to the point, gaps we identify at work, whatever our job, often relate to gaps we experience at home, in relationships, as parents, and so on. Gaps of pain and possibility exist in every realm, and sometimes, when we recognize a gap in one area, it can open up a flood of recognition that goes far beyond our original focus.
What have I received from_______? What have I given to_______? What troubles and difficulties have I caused? _______. These questions provide a foundation for reflecting on all relationships, including those with parents, friends, teachers, siblings, work associates, children, and partners.
There is a long tradition of scientists and other intellectuals in the West being casually dismissive of people’s spiritual experiences
To experience timelessness, you need to focus intently on the moment at hand. You cannot allow your mind to wander over events of the past or wallow in deep concern over the future.
There’s no app for enlightenment. There’s no bypass to its attainment. But it is a worthwhile state toward which to aspire. And keep it mind: as you make progress along the way, you will incrementally derive the benefits.
Breathing is synonymous with being alive. If we stop breathing we stop living, and if we breathe well we can increase our vitality and stability. Most meditation practices, yoga, and the martial arts encourage breathing from the...
There is a common belief that writers on a higher thought should avoid politics, but it is a belief common only among the mystically inclined or monastically minded, not among the philosophically trained. It is, however, part of the business of philosophy to examine political principles and ethical problems.
My book is called Be the Light that You Are. It’s an imperative. You are the light, now be that light in the world. Don’t ignore that part of yourself. Don’t be falsely humble and pretend that you’re not good enough. Don’t buy into the collective “I don’t matter.”
If other species are aware of seasons of the year and hours of the day, they don’t make a big deal about it. We humans, on the other hand, have arranged our lives around the calendar and the clock, all culminating at midnight, December 31, when one year ends and a new year begins...
Our minds tend to chatter away, describing all manner of disastrous possibilities and outcomes, particularly when faced with difficult tasks or decisions. Barraged by complaints, criticisms, and doomsaying, it is no wonder that we can become paralyzed and unwilling or unable to take any action at all.
We eat very unconsciously, automatically, robot-like. If the taste is not lived, you are just stuffing. Go slow, and be aware of the taste. Do not just go on swallowing things. Taste them unhurriedly and become the taste. When you feel sweetness, become that sweetness....
It is one of the most widely known and often retold stories in human history.
Let’s face it, there is never going to be a good time to address anything to do with dying, death or grief. When you’re fit and healthy, the last thing on your mind is the end of your life.
It’s as though the egoic mind, for its survival, needs to remain eternally quarantined inside the head, afraid to step outside its domain, afraid to let go and let God. On its inner throne it reigns supreme, but the price we pay for laying claim to this throne, and never leaving it, is that we forfeit our direct participation in God.
The basic tenets of environmentally friendly living are now being posed for environmentally friendly dying. Green burial is all about sustainability and developing funeral practices that support and heal nature rather than disrupt and harm it.
Belief in the virgin birth comes from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Their birth stories are different, but both present Mary as a virgin when she became pregnant with Jesus.
Menorahs have now become ubiquitous features around the world during Hanukkah, from Berlin to New York to Melbourne.
One of my most cherished Christmas memories involves a Christmas when the only gifts I received came without gift-wrap. The socks hung exactly as we had left them, lifeless and flat. "There's nothing there," I sobbed...
The year-end holidays are a time of social gatherings, traditions and celebrations. They can also be a time of revisiting and reflection.
The Episcopal Church has decided to revise its 1979 prayer book, so that God is no longer referred to by masculine pronouns.
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...
An ad featuring Ron Reagan, son of the Republican former President Ronald Reagan, surprised some viewers of the recent Democratic primary debates.
To empower your life, you have to seize responsibility for it. You cannot wait and hope that God or yet another 'miracle pill' will somehow solve the problems of pain, dissatisfaction, and depression. You will not change your state by doing nothing about it or by blaming other people for your pain.
Around the Christmas season, it is common to see a display of the Nativity scene: a small manger with the baby Jesus and his family
I began the final day of the meditation workshop with a strange, unexpected intention: to forgive myself, and to forgive God. James and Ken told us that no matter what happened, we were supposed to keep our eyes closed, keep breathing, and keep going.
Many religious faiths propose different versions of heaven as a location: There are walled gardens with streams, flowers, pleasing scents, pretty angels, rapturous music or delicious accessible food.
Unlearning habits and establishing new ones is no more difficult than learning them in the ﬁrst place. Here are some guidelines for freeing yourself from the automatic nature of your old-perception habits...
To understand contemporary Christian ideas about gender, and specifically masculinity, we need to go all the way back to the values that shaped Christian origins in the first century
All the theory in the world is useless unless we know how to apply it and make a change. Sometimes when we try to release a pattern, the whole situation seems to get worse for a while. This is not a bad thing. It is a sign that the situation is beginning to move. Our affirmations are working, and we need to keep going.
It seems like "not having enough time" is a recurring theme... We spend our waking hours doing things on our list of "things to do" and not having (or taking) the time to do the things that would nurture our spirit and that would please us best.
Away from politics, there are widespread concerns about prejudice targeting Jews and Muslims.
Mindfulness could reduce blood pressure, a new study finds. As the leading cause of death in both the United States and the world, heart disease claims nearly 18 million lives every year, according to the World Health Organization.
Jane* was a member of Australia’s evangelical Christian community, and throughout her marriage she heard many sermons on honouring a husband’s authority.
Some of the most difficult questions I've ever been asked are: If we are one with God, then why wouldn't God have created us with that thought to begin with? What is the purpose of not knowing? Why don't we feel perfect?
By appreciating the happiness of others, we do tend to improve our chances of joy by about seven billion to one! I don’t gamble, but I do know those are good odds. Sympathetic joy means the heart is like kindling, ready for sparks of happiness wherever gladness and success are found.
Fold your hands together in your lap, with the right hand underneath the left hand -- the position is important because the right hand is joined with the left brain, and fear always comes from the left brain. The left hand is joined with the right brain, and courage comes from the right side.
People engage in moral talk all the time. When they make moral claims in public, one common response is to dismiss them as virtue signallers.
Twenty ways to become more present including getting enough sleep, listening to your body, and more.
This exercise is designed for very deep relaxation. The instructions given here will help you achieve a balanced and effective relaxation response in a minimum of time.
"In the name of God" we have created more atrocities than any one person or group could ever think up. In truth, all of it has been in the name of idolatry, not God. Please ask yourself, why are we worshiping a god of fear? Of vengeance? Where is the God of love, the One who lovingly put us here?
Thanksgiving is a tricky holiday for me, and for many Americans. While I love the concept of a holiday dedicated to gratitude, celebration of the harvest, and spending time with loved ones, I am also aware of the issues of...
Perhaps you've believed, as many do, that wisdom comes with age. That the older you get, the wiser you get. And while that can generally be true, recently so many wise young voices have come to the forefront, that the uniqueness of this belief is being challenged.
Whatever living experiments you may choose to pursue in the future will be a function of the present state of your environment, your technologies and creative capacities, and the lens through which you are viewing reality.
Resilience practices and culturally rooted health traditions show promise for overcoming trauma in real-life settings.
He had not recognized that this had been the case all along with everyone he had met or known. Each person had a connection to each other through their God force, and Manuka was symbolizing that for him right before his eyes. Why haven’t I seen that before? Now it’s so clear that it’s as if I had always known it.
Without learning to manage your mind, inner peace is impossible. The key to making your mind your ally, rather than your enemy, is to become aware of how you produce and direct your very own cinema of the absurd. Then you can choose to...
In today’s stressful world, mindfulness – a type of popular spirituality that strives to focus on the present moment – promises to soothe away the anxiety and stress of modern life.
Whenever you have the opportunity, lie down on the earth -- in a meadow, in the forest, on the bank of the river... Just lie down on the earth and feel one with it. That will give you much energy, fresh energy.
I was raised as a Quaker, but around the age of 20 my faith faded. It would be easiest to say that this was because I took up philosophy – my lifelong occupation as a teacher and scholar.
The highest form of respect for another person is respecting his or her natural right to be self-determining. This means not interfering with another person's ability to choose. Every experience holds a valuable lesson. Noninterference means caring in a respectful way. And it is the way of 'right relationship.'
Imagine a life without love. Sadly, so many people feel a despairing lack of love, even some who are successful and surrounded by friends. Over 50% of Americans report they have no one they can confide in. 25% live alone. An epidemic of loneliness is sweeping the world, spiking suicide rates.
So often we do not have our minds on what we are doing -- our bodies are doing one thing and our minds are on a totally different tack, which creates disharmony. In order to turn off our “automatic pilot”, we need to develop more awareness of what we are doing...