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As we approach our winter solstice this year, and as the dark turns to light, let us consciously tune into the subtle energies and the descent of Grace that naturally bless us. We can sense it in meditation, in nature, or simply in quiet times if we make space for it. Gently breath into your crown chakra at the top of your head and open to the golden effulgent light that is specially showered upon us this time of year. Allow it to fill you up, washing away any shadow or negativity. Feel how it uplifts you and connects you to your heart. 

The spiritual heart at the center of our chest is a doorway into an ascended state of being. Its overarching vibration is of love; yes, romantic love lives here, but also so many subtler vibrations that uplift us and invite us to connect with others. For example, the spiritual heart shows us the way to acceptance and compassion. Allow your attention to rest there at the center of your chest and open to these ascended states of mind. Feel any resistance in your heart melt as you are uplifted and brought nearer to your essential divine nature. Breathe deeply into this wellspring of love and light.

Forgiveness, generosity, gratitude and humility also emanate from the spiritual heart. On the cusp of a new year, who in your life is awaiting your forgiveness? Can you let go of the pain and resentment and open your heart to them once again? Allow Grace to support you as you surrender your withholdings and heal the broken heart. Begin the coming year anew with a unification so that you both may be cleansed and loved once again. 

In your giving and receiving this time of year (and always) allow Grace and the open heart to guide you. Can you give generously and selflessly, especially to those in need? And can you accept what is given to you with humility and gratitude? Can you be thankful not only for any gifts, but for the beauty of felt connection and the fullness of heart that comes with that?

Joy, too, lives in the heart. Let this sacred and sweet time of year bring you joy. Choose how you spend your time mindfully. Will you be uplifted by your choices or will they feel like a burden, weighing you down emotionally and physically. Use your free will to choose to raise your vibration through your choices moment by moment. Grace will surely meet you there, and then some. 

Lastly, take your light and your joy with you into the new year. This fragmented world desperately needs the healing that comes with the open heart. Together may we seed the world with a higher unifying vibration carried on the wings of love.

Recently, this question came up from someone:How do you feel it best to help change the world from being heartless and mean to being caring and kind? And as importantly, how can we help nurture and thrive in an environment of cooperation and learning with the current way the world is being run?” Below is my response.

What you are speaking of here is of a New Age, a change in consciousness beyond patriarchy, separation and “me first, me only” and into a society and world that is egalitarian, heart-centered and collaborative. The Aquarian Age is a world that is a balance of female and male, yin and yang.

“Be the change that you want to see in the world”, Gandhi has famously suggested. The collective consciousness of the world mirrors our own individual consciousness. So start with YOU. Commit to living in love and generosity, and where you find yourself coming up short, work on/process yourself to raise your vibration back into love. Your individual life will begin to reflect this integration, attracting like-mind people and engendering harmony and coherence.

 

In the novel, “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay, the author describes the struggle for equality in South Africa at the end of apartheid, which required that everyone come into a state of one-mindedness about what they wanted politically before it could manifest. The principle of unified mind, the many becoming of one mind, has become known as the Power of One. In fact, studies (known as the “Maharishi Effect”, named after the founder of Transcendental Meditation) have shown that if only 1% of a population shifts and expands their consciousness there would be a beneficial effect on the whole population. My teacher describes it succinctly this way:

“Love multiplies, it never divides.”

Leslie Temple-Thurston

So living in a caring, kind, and cooperative society is ultimately about choosing love as the guiding force in our lives… and watching it grow!

I’m in… won’t you join me?

 

The subject of money comes up a lot with individuals I work with…. there never seems to be enough of it! But the truth is the Universe is the source of unlimited supply! Oneness is all there is – one unified field of consciousness that gives rise to all creation. Love, light and abundance naturally flow from this Oneness, and money in this world is simply a tangible, material representation of this flow. It is also true that our conditioned beliefs around money block its flow into our lives.

How many times have you heard there is never enough to go around, or every man for himself? If you believe that these statement are true – if you believe in lack – lack is what you will manifest. Instead, what if you were to believe there is plenty for everyone, and when I choose to help others less fortunate than I, my selfless actions are a win-win?

Our negative and limiting belief systems about money come from egoic consciousness, or the consciousness of separation, which is illusory, and as such, can be processed and cleared. Even better we can fast-track the purification of the ego/mind though direct action, bringing immediate benefit to our lives and the lives of others. This practice is called Karma Yoga, or the act of giving without thought of reward.

When we share what we have, whether it is our money, our talents and expertise, or if we simply reach out in some way to someone in need, our hearts open. Beautiful and uplifting in itself, but in the open heart we actually open to a flow of abundance from the Universe. And when we give selflessly, with no thought of reward, the purity of this gesture amplifies its potency.

With the inward drawing energies of the fall and winter season upon us now, we are afforded the opportunity to grow on this area. As the days grow shorter we are naturally drawn together with family and friends to celebrate the holiday season. Spirit calls us into our hearts to commune, to share, and to give, and in our giving we have the perfect opportunity to practice Karma Yoga.

By opening our hearts to others though the practice of selfless giving we increase the spiritual power of even the simplest of benevolent acts. We create a win-win with blessings all around!

 

Several people I mentor have come to me needing to process their despair over the current state of the country/world. “We were just beginning to make a little progress towards making this country a more equitable place for women and minorities, addressing the problem of global warming and environmental destruction, and speaking truthfully about the disparity between the haves and the have nots etc., and now we seem to be taking several steps backwards”,  has been the overarching sentiment. What I am asking them to do, as tough as it sounds at the moment, is to keep the faith. Remain vigilant and informed and follow your inner guidance towards heart-centered action, but keep the faith. There are larger forces at play here, and divine intelligence is, as she always has been, competely in charge!

The larger movement of evolutionary energy is toward the expansion of consciousness – toward unity and oneness. The contraction and separation that is appearing in the world at this time has its purpose, for there are lessons to be learned. We must view the darkness we are seeing in the world right now as an opportunity for growth.  Growth for the individual and for the collective requires what has been hidden to be exposed. The perennial wisdom teachings tell us that we create our reality by the level of consciousness that we hold; what we are seeing in the world at this moment is our unconscious shadow we have projected out being mirrored back to us. If the actions of those “outside” of you enrage or anger you and trigger you into blame and hate, the you must ask yourself “What part of what I am seeing outside of me is me? How am I, even a little bit, misogynist, xenophobic, greedy or entitled?”

“How can one person make a difference?”, you may ask. We are each a voice, a significant voice, and part of a greater whole. We are a power of one mind, one heart and one intention. When enough of us rise up in our heart-centered power we can create a tipping point for the world, opening the door to the extraordinary and the miraculous. By owning the outside as us and committing to neutrality (and sacred action as necessary), we can successfully navigate what may be some treacherous terrain; we can shift consciousness, birthing a new more spiritually aligned form for our lives and for the world. 

In short, the answer to your question is through love!

In this full day seminar you will learn three unique, simple and effective techniques for clearing negativity in your life. Having trouble with a boss or co-worker? How about a spouse or a friend? Are you feeling stuck in a self destructive pattern and unable to move your life forward? Is anger or fear keeping you emotionally contract and unhappy?

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Beyond our desires and fears, our anger and our pain a place of peace, equanimity and love awaits us in our hearts. The Polarities, Squares, and Triangles techniques developed by spiritual teacher Leslie Temple- Thurston and introduced in her book The Marriage of Spirit, Enlightened Living in Today’s World, show us how to get there. Based in the ancient teachings of the reconciliation of opposites, the techniques bring remarkable results with the basic tools of notebook and pencil and the willingness to surrender our confusion and contracted emotional states. In addition to a presentation of the key principles of Polarities, Squares, and Triangles, we’ll have lots of time for experiential practice; you will also have useful handouts to take home.

The seminar will be held in San Francisco at a quiet Outer Richmond district location. Suggested donation: $75. Please bring a lunch. For questions or to reserve your space you may send an e-mail to garyb@fastmail.com

If you could go to a very beautiful place where you find love, compassion, forgiveness and generosity, wouldn’t you go? I know, you’re thinking, “Fat chance, I can’t afford a plane ticket to some pricey island sanctuary in the Bahamas!” But the truth is this place I’m speaking about is closer than that, even closer than a heartbeat! In fact, it is your heart (though, not the physical heart, mind you!)

This place, located right in your body about three inches below the notch in your collarbone, is known as the heart chakra. It is our spiritual heart. Love, compassion, forgiveness and generosity are states that emanate from this place in our energy body. You can test this out for yourself. The next time you can feel and name the of vibration of love, compassion, forgiveness or generosity, bring your attention to your heart chakra and see what you feel. Do you notice a sensation of radiating warmth and expansiveness there? Do you notice how you feel safe and secure and connected to something greater than your small and limited self.

When our awareness rests in the heart chakra we are outside of the right/wrong and good/bad polarities of the limited and judging mind. Through careful cultivation of our consciousness we can come to rest permanently here in the beauty and expansiveness of the open heart, where all of these ascended states are available to us… as well as many more! Wouldn’t it also be nice to live in faith and flow, and trust and harmony? How about balance and equanimity? And let’s not forget JOY!

When the heart chakra is open and fully enlivened, life flows through us in a beautiful way, and we feel balanced and serene, and as you go through your day, your heart leads the way!

The magic is that there is a very simple easy way to access this open heart daily. It is through the practice of gratitude. Gratitude is a doorway into the heart.

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More than a perfunctory “thank you”, the gratitude I’m speaking about arises from a deeper place within. Reflect from time to time on the everyday blessings you so readily take for granted. When you notice yourself mired in thoughts about everything that’s not working in your life, or if you are feeling in some way deprived …stop! Remind yourself of all that you do have, like the love of a child or a partner, or a pet. Or the simple satisfaction of having food to nourish you when you are hungry; there are so many that do without…

By feeling and nurturing this gratefulness in our lives we bypass the polarized nature of the lower mind and our awareness rises up into the heart. The heart chakra begins to open like a beautiful lotus flower.

Count your blessings. Live in gratitude. Your heart will sing! And you will find love, compassion, trust and faith, and more! And this is what you will attract. No vacation in the Bahamas required; your heart is your sanctuary. Wherever you go!

Brother David Steindl-Rast has created a beautiful video about gratefulness. Find a quiet moment, take some deep relaxing breathes, and receive its blessing…

<p>Video from <a href=”http://www.karmatube.org”>KarmaTube</a></p&gt;

Give to Humanity... (repost)

Image by ~Aphrodite via Flickr

What’s so wonderful about the Christmas season, despite the commercialism, is that our hearts open. During the ‘season of giving’, our generosity opens our hearts. There is a palpable shift in our individual energy and in the energy of the collective field. We more easily feel our connection to others – we feel the love. Read the rest of this entry »