Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Join the email list for posts

I know I haven’t been putting many posts here lately but please know that I haven’t abandoned the process. My life has gotten really busy of late and it has affected my sleep which means that I’m not really able or motivated to get up at 5am and write unfortunately. A post should be going up in a day or so though so stay tuned. In the meantime if you’d like me to add you to the mailing list for this blog, just drop me a line at peacefulmichael@fastmail.us. When I put a post here you’ll receive an email copy that you could read at work or at home later without visiting any website at work. You’ll still be able to visit the site of course but at least you won’t have to keep checking to see if anything new has gone up. I’m getting to the meaty stuff now so each one might take a bit longer to create so that I can get all the info in.

Thank you for staying with me and for being so incredibly supportive. I have been deeply moved and motivated by your responses to the previous posts. I hope to hear more from you as we proceed.

My best to you for staying cool in this summer heat,

Monday, July 13, 2009

Connecting with the inner Divine

So how do we begin to recognize and affirm the God-force that is each of us? Meditation is a key step in that recognition process. Many people believe that meditation is only for those practicing Yoga or that you need a certain level of spiritual awareness to be getting anything from meditating. Meditation is a wonderful tool for cultivating inner awareness, peace, a quieter mind and a more relaxed body. It can be practiced by anyone as a stand-alone activity or as a part of a deeper spiritual practice.

I’d like to give you a few tips and techniques that anyone can use to help encourage you to give meditation a try. Meditation is simply a technique for quieting the busy chatter of the mind and allowing the inner guidance beneath that noise to emerge. Swami Satchidananda (the founder of Integral Yoga which is the Yoga lineage I trained as an instructor through) said that the mind is like a drunken monkey that has been stung by a scorpion. It jumps from here to there making noise, causing a disturbance, seeking attention and making a general nuisance of itself. If you just notice your thoughts for a moment, does that sound like a description of your mind?

Meditation is a tool for learning to quiet the monkey-mind. The thing that many people who try meditating quickly run into however is this monkey-mind and so they give up because they believe that they can’t quiet their mind enough to meditate. It’s important to remember that meditation is the tool for quieting the mind and that a quiet mind is not a prerequisite for meditating. However, if you aren’t used to observing your thoughts when you first try meditating you may think it an impossible task to quiet all of that noisy mind-chatter. Observing that noise is part of the process so be patient with yourself.

The first thing to do is to find the time to meditate. Begin with something small and manageable, even if that’s just five minutes. Think of those five minutes as planting the seeds from which a fuller meditative practice can sprout. The following are suggestions for creating your own meditative practice:
· Find a location in your home where you can spend your meditative time undisturbed by anyone or anything. Ideally this space is private and quiet and not really used for anything else. This could be in a large closet, the corner of a quiet room or any space where distractions can be kept to a minimum.
· Set aside a time for doing this and commit to it. Ideally this would be when you first wake up or immediately before going to sleep. Perhaps setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier will give you time for meditating before beginning your day so that you can carry the peaceful feeling gained through meditation into your day. Whatever time you choose try to be consistent with it rather than at whatever times become open through your day.
· Select an outfit that will be used only for meditating. This might be a comfy pair of pajamas, sweat pants, shorts and a t-shirt or anything which keeps you comfortable and warm. Wash and dedicate whatever garments you choose to only meditating. At a subconscious level when you put these clothes on you are sending that message to your system that you want peace and quiet and that you’re ready to meditate.
· Try to create a meditation space at the location in your home that you choose to use for this. Make it simple and tranquil. Remember you want to feel peaceful just from being in that space. Perhaps have a candle, a picture that brings you peace to look at, and a folded blanket (preferably wool) to sit on. The wool blanket is used as an energetic insulator.
· If you’re comfortable sitting on the floor either purchase a mediation cushion or fold a blanket to sit on. This blanket should go under your sits bones (those two bony protrusions you sit on when you sit flat) but not under your legs so that your hips are tilted forward. If sitting on the floor is uncomfortable for you then get a straight-back chair and sit that on top of the blanket.
· If you’re sitting on the floor, use whatever cross-legged position is comfortable with the folded blanket under your sits bones and hold your spine erect so that your energy moves freely up and down your spine. If you’re sitting in a chair, sit slightly forward so that your back isn’t leaning on the back of the chair and hold your spine erect. If you find yourself slumping or slouching during the meditation, slowly return to holding the spine erect and continue. Don’t make a lot of fuss around it, just notice it and slowly move back into position.
· When you’re ready to begin take a few full deep inhales and exhales breathing into the abdomen and lungs fully. As you do that, slowly scan the body from head to toe and mentally relax any tense body part and release any tension you discover. Use the exhales to release the tension as you release the breath.
· To begin with use an alarm clock and set the timer for 5, 10 or 15 minutes. Start simple and build up as you get comfortable with the process.
· Close your eyes and focus on the breath. Rest your hands, palms up on the tops of the knees. Inhale fully and exhale slowly to begin.
· While holding your awareness on the breath, begin a slow inhalation while mentally chanting “Hong”. This should not to be out loud.
· As you begin the exhale, mentally chant “Sau” (pronounced like “saw”).
· Let the mental chants be timed with the natural inhale and exhale pattern. Don’t change or control the breath, simply observe it and add the chants to it rather than letting the chanting dictate the pattern of the breath. Observe the breath from a detached place as if you were observing someone else’s breath.
· During any intervals when the breath may cease of its own accord (at the top of the inhale or bottom of the exhale), concentrate on and enjoy the peace that you feel during that breathless state.
· Repeat this until the timer alarm goes off.
This is a very simple meditative technique which was taught to me by Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship which I joined in 2001. “Hong” and “Sau” are two sacred Sanskrit chant words possessing an astral vibratory connection with the incoming and outgoing breath; a literal translation is “I am that”. As the purpose of any meditative practice is to reconnect with your inner being which is Divine in nature, feel that this chant is simply reaffirming that awareness within yourself.

When you first begin a meditative practice you may feel a variety of things, including frustration, because you may find that your mind begins to wander after the first breath and suddenly you’ll realize that you’re thinking about past, present or future activities. When you notice that, just gently bring your awareness back to the breath and return to the process. Each time your mind wanders (and it will, especially in the beginning), don’t judge yourself and become frustrated. Just release the thoughts and return your awareness to the breath and the chanting.

Many people who first try meditating, give up after a few days because they believe their mind is just too busy to do this type of practice. Please don’t give up at that point however. The purpose of meditation is to quiet the mind and focus the concentration. None of us start with a totally peaceful and quiet mind. It must be developed and trained in that direction. The only difference now is that you are noticing the noise which has been there all along. Awareness is the first step in changing anything in life. We don’t change what we aren’t aware of.

As beings living in the physical world, it’s often hard for us to get out of “doing” and into simply “being”. There is nothing that you have to do here other than focus on the breath and the mental chanting. The first part of a meditative practice is building your concentration skills. When the mind wanders, bring it back over and over and over again. The chanting is to help you stay focused on the breath which can only occur in the present moment. This is not something which will happen in just a day or two. This part of the meditative process can take weeks, months or years…but you have to start somewhere. Sharpening your mental concentration skills is the first step in the overall meditative process.

The technique I’ve given you here is a very simple beginning technique that anyone can use. Meditation, even with a simple technique like this, will have many positive effects on your system and your life. If this is your first experience with meditating, keep it simple and just start with 5 minutes a day. As you begin to notice the positive changes in yourself, after a couple weeks increase the time to 10 minutes and gradually build to whatever amount of time you can commit to the process. The more time you spend in meditation the more benefits you’ll see. Starting with a larger time however is not recommended because you’re using new mental muscles here and like other muscles in the body they need to be trained. Be patient with the process and loving with yourself.

See your mediation time as something that you do just for you. Allow it to become your time of reconnecting with your own inner Divinity. Beneath all of the mental chatter is the voice of inner guidance. Mediation is the process for going within and quieting the mind so that you can hear that inner wisdom and follow its guidance. It is a process of more deeply connecting yourself with the Divine. That connection holds all the answers to all your questions and will always guide you to your highest good. Be patient and loving with yourself.

If you have questions on the technique or experiences which arise from the practice, I’m happy to help you if I can. Simply drop me a line at PeacefulMichael@fastmail.us and I’ll do my best to assist you. If you want to deepen the process, I recommend reading "The Heart of Meditation - Pathways to a deeper experience" by Swami Durgananda. May the awareness of your Oneness with all that is blossom forth from your practice and may you always live in Peace, Love and Light.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cycles within cycles within cycles...

Life moves in cycles. A cycle begins, exists for a time and then completes. All cycles have these three components in common. The Mayan’s were masters at observing planetary cycles and did it by tracking the movement of the stars. They lived in harmony with these cycles. They created a whole system for tracking the cycles of life, one of which we generally refer to as the Mayan Calendar. When viewed as a standalone system, it does appear to be a calendar but when viewed as part of the whole it can be seen as a consciousness-shifting tool.

The Mayan’s believed that by tracking these cycles you could accurately predict what would happen during each cycle next time around. They believed that life moves in cycles within cycles. It’s like saying that a week is a cycle of days. A month is a cycle of days. A year is a cycle of months, weeks and days. So a year is 52 cycles of weeks, or 12 cycles of months or 365 cycles of days. All three of those (days, weeks and months) are cycles within a cycle of a year. But that’s just a small cycle, one year, and it’s also just to give you an example of cycles within cycles.

The Mayans knew that life moved in still larger cycles and they tracked these as well. One of the larger (but not the largest) cycles they tracked ran for 26,000 years (roughly, when expressed in our current Julian time system). The Mayans actually lived in cycles of 13 days rather than the 7 day cycle of a week that we live in. Their “years” were shorter than ours, only 260 days, so consequently there isn’t a 1 to 1 ration between the two time measurement systems. Within these 26,000 year cycles there are shorter cycles of 5200 years. They called these shorter cycles “A World”. One of these World cycles ends on December 21, 2012. That’s probably one of the places where the phrase “The world ends on December 21, 2012” comes from. The thing is that “World” is simply our translation of the Mayan word. So saying the World ends on that date really means that one of the Mayan cycles ends on that date and not that the planet self-destructs on that date as some fear.

But then what does the ending of one of their larger cycles of life mean? Remember that I said that the calendar system was a consciousness-shifting tool and so they believe our consciousness would shift, or evolve, at the end of each of those cycles. If we follow their belief system then that would seem to indicate that we, as a species, are going to shift our consciousness and evolve in some way very soon.

We live in the realm of physical manifestation and evolution. Evolution is the indomitable force that moves through all of life. We evolved as a species from tiny single-celled sparks of life to the life-form that we now recognize as “Human”. It seems rather egotistical on our part to assume that what we are now is the end of that evolutionary line as a species. That’s ego and body-based consciousness talking and a belief that must die with the end of this cycle. We are capable of so much more but we must expand our consciousness to understand, accept and manifest that.

These bodies that we manifest are here but for such a short time. Sadly we become so attached to them when ultimately we must remember that they are only temporary. This is putting our focus on the temporary and losing sight of the eternal. The eternal is that part of us which manifests within a body inside the womb and enlivens it. The eternal is that part of us that departs from the body at death. It is the grand cycle of Life…birth, growth and death. We are not the body. It is simply a vehicle for our spirits to manifest through in the physical realm. We drop them when their usefulness is complete and create another when the conditions are right to continue our learning in the physical realm.

It would be easy enough to write this off as all conjecture based upon another cultures belief system. I understand that and I wrestled with it myself. I also recognized that much of what I felt about what I’ve just told you came through study of others research and intuitive divinations. That’s where I was stuck because it seemed to be missing something that convinced me to really notice it and believe it.

With all the telescopes we have now on the surface and in space, we’re learning a great deal about where Earth falls in the grand scheme of things. We’re learning how insignificant we are in that scheme and for some that’s a bitter pill to swallow. What we’ve learned is that the Earth and other planets revolving around our star, the Sun, is just one small system of planets which exist inside a galaxy of hundreds of billions of other stars just like our Sun. Many of these stars also have planets orbiting them the way Earth orbits around the Sun. All of these stars and their planets comprise the Milky Way. The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy of components that orbit around a central sun at the center of our galaxy. Gravity works at every level causing the sling-shot effect that causes one planetary body to “orbit” around another.

We tend to think of our orbit around the sun as a perfect circle but actually it’s more of a slight oval shaped orbit. It’s not far from a circle of course but if you begin to see it as an oval shape and you’ll understand what follows more easily. At the end of each of the halves of one orbit is where our planet reaches its maximum shift when our axis tilts causing the change of seasons. These two points are our Summer and Winter equinoxes.

But guess what, the Milky Way is a spiral (or oval) galaxy too. That means the objects rotating around its center are doing that same back and forth rotation as our Earth around the Sun. This means that our star, the Sun, is orbiting a still larger star and so eventually it will reach the peak of one side of its elliptical orbit of the central “Sun”.

Scientists, using their observation equipment have discovered this central Sun, or Cosmic Sun. They have been able to calculate a date when our planet will be at the tip of our orbit around our Sun and that our Sun will be at the tip of its elliptical orbit around the Cosmic Sun. On this date the Cosmic Sun, our Sun and the Earth will be in a straight line and each at the tip of one of the oval orbits simultaneously. That date is December 21, 2012.

To have a Mayan date which was determined thousands of years ago line up exactly with a date that modern science has only recently calculated is certainly noteworthy at the very least. If these were the only two places this date came from, it would be easy enough to write it off as coincidence but many other independent systems name this date as one of importance to them as well.

You can do a little experiment and study the physics of our cosmic movements for yourself. Take a bucket of water, stir in a handful of sand and a couple of bits of something small that will float in the water, like paper, tissue or grass. Next, really churn the water up until it’s very cloudy. Dump that bucket of water into a tub or sink where it can drain and watch what happens. The lower the water gets the more you can see how the bits of sand clump together from the spiraling action as the water goes down the drain. If you watch the objects you’ll see their elliptical orbit of the drain which again is seen best when the water is at its lowest point. When the water is all drained out you’ll see lines of the sand which got left behind when the water drained out.

These lines of sand are like the building blocks of matter. Gravity pulls them together and causes them to clump up. If this experiment were to go on long enough (eons) eventually the grains of sand would all clump together and form a pebble. That’s how our planet was formed. Dumping the water in the sink represents the exploding of our Cosmic Sun. All the contents, or ingredients for life were dumped out of our Cosmic Sun when it exploded eons ago. Now the clumps of sand, or the planets and the stars, are orbiting back around it the same way the water went down the drain. Remember that what is true at the microcosmic level is also true for the macrocosmic level. As above, so below. Gravity works the same at every level. It’s just harder for us to see at the galactic level.

Now that you have this image, imagine the gravitational pull that is exerted on an object when it reaches the apex of one of these elliptical orbits. That pull will always be greatest at that point because the object now has to completely stop its directional movement and go the opposite direction. In solar time because of its massive scale (truly beyond our limited comprehension of space and time) it seems to move almost imperceptibly to us but still it happens. This means that on December 12, 2012 our planet will be at that tip and under tremendous gravitational stress because of the pull to change directions.

As I mentioned earlier, when our planet orbits the Sun the axis tilts because of the gravitational pull of our sun. Because of this increased stress our poles could easily shift. Scientists have discovered proof that our poles have shifted, or flipped completely many, many times. These shifts can lead to planetary chaos. That is why Egypt, for example, is now a dessert when it used to be lush, tropical green land. When the poles shift, it’s not always just a perfect scenario of “the North Pole becomes the South Pole” and vice-versa. They could land anywhere. Because the Earth’s crust floats suspended on a core of molten lava, the core of the Earth can easily shift beneath the land formations without moving them because of it. The poles could theoretically end up anywhere because of this tremendous pull.

We can already begin to see the signs of the effects of this pull because we are only 3 years away at this point. That means that our Sun is 3 years away from its peak point so it’s already slowing down in its orbit to begin its sling-shot ride back down the other side of the Cosmic Sun. Scientists have discovered that the Sun’s poles are flipping, sometimes as quickly as within just 3 days. Our planets poles can flip just as fast or faster because of our smaller size in comparison to the Sun. The gravitational forces are causing volcano eruptions, earthquakes, super storms and shifts in weather patterns.

Like everything else in the physical world our Earth is evolving too. Man is certainly helping to speed the tension along with our destructive behavior but the shifts we are experiencing are part of a natural evolutionary process. We are not as important to the Earth as she is to us. She can and will continue with or without us. We cannot survive without her. We are all a product of her because we consume her life-force. We drink her water, eat her food (or the plants and animals which eat her food) and we breathe her air. These bodies we inhabit are surviving because we take life from other sources. Life gives itself for Life.

Science now tells us that a date calculated by their study of the stars and their movement with today’s modern technology matches a date given to us thousands of years ago by the Mayan and their study of the stars. That leaves us with the end of a stage of consciousness occurring on the same day that our planet reaches its absolute most stressful period. How can something big not happen then?

Imagine for a moment what the time around the latter part of 2012 will be like with the planetary stresses reaching their maximum point. Imagine if any of the super volcanoes on the planet erupt because of the stresses. If even just one that is the size of the one in Yellowstone goes, the majority of life on this planet will end. Those of us near it will die almost immediately. Those on the other parts of the planet will perish soon thereafter from starvation because of the lack of sun. The Sun will be obscured because of the spewed ash from that massive volcanic eruption. The volcanic cloud will obscure the sun and temperatures will drop dramatically. Basically, we’re headed for another Ice Age. Our planet has experienced these time and time again and will continue to do so time and time again. It’s part of the planets evolutionary cycle and can’t be prevented nor should it be attempted. We have pillaged our mother and she needs time alone to heal.

I know that thought seems harsh and cold but again it is part of the cycle of life. Any fears around this event are simply from our attachment to the body and the physical realm. Logically, we know that humans don’t live forever. We all know that death is inevitable, yet we struggle so much and fear it because we don’t understand it. It’s time that we began making our peace with the temporary nature of our bodies and began shifting our consciousness to our eternal nature, one of pure energy, one of pure creative love. When we come to understand and focus on our eternal nature, our consciousness expands and we see that we no longer need the physical. We allow ourselves to resolve back into the pure, unmanifest consciousness from which we all came. That is the energy, or consciousness, which created, sustained and will ultimately reclaim all that which is manifest.

Every culture has a name for this creative energy. While every culture calls it something different they all refer to the same energy which creates all that we experience with our five limited senses. It’s not a person or a being it is simply an energy field. This energy, by its very nature creates and allows the cycles of life to begin again with every creation. Our culture calls this energy “God”.

So what does all of this mean for us? Ultimately only time will tell but it doesn’t look good for the human race. Many of us will leave our physical bodies behind and exist within our “light bodies” (those “bodies” made only of energy) because we will no longer have a need for the lessons to be learned via the dense energy of the physical. Those still living in body consciousness will continue to reincarnate on this plane of existence to continue the evolutionary cycle. I don’t know honestly what that will look like and I don’t believe that it is my purpose to “know” or “predict”.

I believe that my path is that of the Prophet. It is one that I have resisted because it seems too important for someone as unremarkable as me. My fears of ridicule or of being wrong have limited me in this regard. I have come to realize that in these times of tremendous planetary and cosmic change that each of us must do what we can to help awaken others to our eternal nature. I realize that it would be better to be wrong and thought a fool than to be right and do nothing. At the very least, if I’m totally wrong and nothing happens then at least those who have chosen to shift their consciousness to their eternal nature will be that much closer to enlightenment than if I had done nothing at all.

I know this seems like a lot to throw at most people, but trust me it’s only scratching the surface. I feel that there is more to come but I must focus on the process of bringing this information out to those I love and am connected to rather than getting everything out all at once. If I wait for all that, it might never happen. For those that I help to awaken to their own true nature, their light will spread to those in their lives and on and on. When a candle shares its flame, the light is increased. It does not serve any of us to play small. We are all “God” and “God” is all of us. I am at one with that which created me. In that oneness, I am at peace with all that is.

My hope is that you find comfort in these words, comfort at a level beyond the mental, comfort at the level of the Soul. May you be encouraged and inspired by them rather than be frightened. Mostly may you be drawn to reconnect with that which you have been searching for outside yourself but that has been inside all along just waiting to be recognized. What you have been searching for is what you have been searching with. May you recognize and affirm the God-force that is within you and that IS you.

Namaste. Amen. Om. Peace.