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5 Ways Kirtan Will Heal Your Heart Chakra (And Make You Much Happier)

January 11, 2015

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In December 2013, my sister and I decided to on a meditation retreat for New Year’s. Disclaimer: I had never meditated before in my life.

I was pretty worried that I wasn’t going to be able to sit still, and that my mind would be consumed by constant anxiety and frustration. Honestly, I was freaked out. But after a lot of convincing on the part of my dear sis, we took the long bus ride up north to a Buddhist retreat center, nestled in the snowy Catskill Mountains.

On my first day there I felt like the new kid at school. During the long, very intense day of lectures and guided meditations, my sister and I decided to go to an optional “Kirtan” gathering — a call-and-response style of chanting, typically with ancient Sanskrit mantras often accompanied by a harmonium and other classical Indian instruments.

Kirtan was derived from the spiritual path of Bhakti in Hinduism — a practice that cultivates divine devotion and love. The chanting in Kirtan is a call to connect with (and become one with) the divine.
I wasn’t expecting much from Kirtan — I thought it might serve as a nice distraction from the deafening silence of the mountains.

Little did I know that Kirtan would become literally one of my favorite things to do in the world — for both good old fashioned fun, not to mention deep emotional and spiritual healing. I am now a daily meditator, an avid Kirtan-goer and a much happier person.

I was (and still am) totally baffled by how Kirtan is able to help open up and balance the Heart Chakra — the loving energy center located in the heart center. The heart chakra (Anahata) is the place of love, compassion and connection. When this chakra is blocked, we find it difficult to connect to others and can feel withdrawn and fundamentally separate from other beings. When I first tried Kirtan, I was deep in a bout of depression, anxiety and antisocial tendencies. My heart chakra was definitely blocked and needed some serious healing.

There are plenty of ways to begin healing your Heart Chakra so that you can tap into your ability to give and receive love. The positive vibes of a Kirtan community allows you to feel safe enough to literally let your heart sing.

Here are five ways Kirtan will heal your Heart Chakra and help you find more love and connection in your life.
1. It’s actually a form of meditation.

Meditating is hard and I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. There is an unarguable solitary element to most meditation practices that can feel really scary!

Kirtan presents an alternative — either for those who want to “work up to” meditating in a more traditional sense, or for those who simply want to feel the joy, sense of community and spiritual energy generated by devotional chanting.

Like the practice of silently repeating a phrase or visualization to oneself during meditation, Kirtan involves the repetition of simple mantras. For instance, the well-known Tibetan Buddhist mantra Om Mani Padme Hum is said to contain all of the teachings of the Buddha in a single utterance. Repeating these phrases is a way of “quieting the mind.”

In Kirtan however, the challenge of meditating solo is mitigated by the fact that you are surrounded by loving, welcoming people. The healing power of the music will also help you to be fully present and aware.

It may sound ironic — given that Kirtan sessions can be really crowded and loud — but Kirtan is indeed a meditation. It will inevitably connect you to your present experience (and even offer a kind of transcendence) and that connection is essential for an opening of the Heart Chakra.

2. There’s an opportunity for free expression.

Kirtan can heal more than just the heart — the Throat Chakra (Vishuddha) is also opened up during the repetitive singing and chanting. As the energy center for communication, self-expression and speaking the truth, Kirtan is therapy for our Throat Chakra and therefore, our ability to speak directly from the heart.

During one chant in particular, I realized that I was actually yelling at the top of my lungs, without even realizing it. That’s when my sister tapped my shoulder and laughed at me. To my amazement, I was not embarrassed in the least. I was so in the zone that I just kept on chanting and having the time of my life.

At Kirtan, you get the chance to get your vocal chords moving, to feel super excited and energetic with other people you probably haven’t met before, and may not ever see again. It’s a chance to connect with what “oneness” means and sometimes, even a “divine presence.”

Kirtan can mean something different to everyone. And inviting yourself into the present moment with open, accepting arms will no doubt heal your heart center.

3. It is insanely fun and social.

Kirtan involves but is not limited to: singing, swaying, dancing, clapping and snapping.

I promise that if you try Kirtan you will smile at least once — and most likely will smile and/or make eye contact with a fellow chanter. Kirtan almost always feels like a giant party. What better way to overcome separation, anxiety, or depression and experience a greater sense of unity, than to attend a spiritual party?

In other words, you can meditate while you party.
4. You are shown how to give and receive.
The Heart Chakra governs our ability to give love and receive love in a healthy, balanced way that doesn’t feel toxic. The Law of Giving and Receiving instructs that in order to receive love, we need to be able to give love.
Kirtan provides an amazing opportunity to see this law in action — and I’m not trying to be too New Age-y or “quacky” as my sister often likes to say — the immediate sense of community that is established in the call-and-response of Kirtan is transformative. So in order to receive that energy, every participant needs to bring in their energy first. This can take place in the form of simply showing up or expressing a genuine smile.

5. You will learn to be open and embrace vulnerability.
That first time I went to Kirtan, I was preemptively mortified — even before it began — about my lack of musical abilities and unfamiliarity with Sanskrit. But I was totally misguided … all that was required of me was to be open to the experience.

You can go to Kirtan and quietly say the mantras to yourself if you are feeling shy, and still pick up on the powerful vibes from around the room. Or, you can scream at the top of your lungs like I did! You can dance during some parts of the chant, clap at others and of course, sing your heart out when you want to.

If you allow yourself to experiment — to try Kirtan with an open mind (even if it’s just somewhat) — you will unblock that Heart Chakra of yours, for sure.
The word “ecstasy” etymologically means exiting from a state of stasis — the very basis of Kirtan. We are lifted out of our routines and invited into a world of greater energy, community, fun, inspiration, mindfulness and presence. It creates a space of safety and ecstasy. How often is it that those two qualities coexist?

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Personal Growth

A Short Meditation To Harness Your Infinite Possibilities

January 11, 2015

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For millions across India, the “Mother Kali” is widely known as the Supreme Goddess.

For yoga practitioners, Kali’s symbolism stands for powerful metaphorical teachings. She is depicted as pitch black. The blackness standing for the quality of invisibility and the unknown.

So what do we do to connect to Kali? The teachings suggest that since Kali is the unknown, we have to go to the borders of what is known about ourselves — our name, form, profession, skill sets, identities and so on. How will we identify the edge of the unknown? When we feel fear and discomfort!

At the border of familiarity, the pure unknown and its pitch black nothingness tends to generate fear. This is the fear we have to manage if we have to know our Kali nature within us. But it is a fear that we have to respect too.

Kali’s vehicle is a tiger — fierce and territorial. So we can’t just rush the unknown but establish a relationship at the border, first.

For instance, we all have a known projected side and an unknown private side. As long as we converse among ourselves along the known sides, a social amicability forms. But if private areas of our life are disrespectfully probed, we might get offended. That is the tiger.

But you might find that you begin to reveal your true self to those who really listen to you and are respectful of your boundaries. Kali too, is like that. Her tiger will accept your presence in her habitat, and the unknown will reveal.

At the edge of what is known lies the fear of infinite possibilities, of what defines you in terms of known capacities.

So let’s take ourselves to the edge of Kali’s mouth — the portal of infinite blackness — and envision ourselves beyond the comforts of our known identity and skills, and receive the unknown to expand our borders.

Here is a short Kali meditation to boldly go to that place where the tiger prowls within:

Switch off all lights and close your eyes
See that all forms are absorbed into the darkness, where all differences are united in one blackness. That is Kali.
Stay with the sense of this vast unknown for a few breaths.
After a while, think of the time of your birth. This is when you emerged out of Kali’s mouth — from the unknown and unseen — into the known and seen by the world.
Open yourself up to time of your childhood. Youth. Middle age.
Feel the presence of Kali. Right now. She is taking you in, and giving you out.
Observe your breath now.
Each breath the body breathes, know it as movement of life in the vast mouth of death.
Know that Kali can swallow you anytime, but then she continues to manifest you. Acknowledge the vast unknown in which the limited known is manifesting.
Stay for a while until you’re ready to open your eyes.

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People & Arts

3 “Truths” About Love To Stop Believing If You Actually Want To Find It

January 11, 2015

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I used to think I could “hack” love. I wanted love so badly that I would go out with the conscious desire to search for it. Every person I saw would provoke rumination: is she the one? I would ask. Did I just miss an opportunity to meet the person for me?

And if I found myself suffering from shyness, having chosen not to approach the person I was interested in, I’d punish myself with a combination of guilt and procrastination: Damn! She’s leaving. I missed my chance. Oh well, next time, next time. Then of course, I’d always beat myself up about it further afterward: I should have talked to her! I blew it.

Every time I would describe my frustration to a friend, they would comfort me by saying it “just wasn’t meant to be.” And sure, there is some truth to that, especially if you’re someone who feels a powerful connection to the idea of reading signs from the universe. But it’s also true that the situation wasn’t “meant to be” because I didn’t take the steps needed to test the waters.
Let’s examine some common responses we’ve all heard and look at why they might be harming our search for love, rather than helping US …

1. There is only one soul-mate out there for you.

My wife and I were talking about this the other day. We love each other and plan to be married forever. As we discussed the idea that everyone can have more than one “true love,” my wife jokingly crossed her arms over her chest “angrily” and asked, “Wait, so you mean, I’m not the one for you!?”

Now, of course this is not a conversation that was somehow incorporated into our wedding vows. But, the reality is this: there are 7 billion people on this planet. If there was some predetermined person who is the “one” for me, I highly doubt that my wife is that one. The odds are against us.

There are many people out there with whom you will be compatible with, and all in different ways. This doesn’t mean my wife isn’t the right person for me. We’ve grown a lot together, laughed a lot, improved our relationship, and married each other because we felt, and still do feel, right for each other.

But when you stop believing this myth of “THE ONE,” the world of dating will feel far more grounded in reality, balanced, and well, much more fun.
2. Love will find you when you least expect it.

As someone who was very determined to find love, I simply didn’t want the process of navigating my love life to be up to fate. When I believed, or even considered, the possibility that fate controlled my love life, I felt paralyzed by anxiety that I would have to wait a lifetime to find true love.

That said, straining to find love — as if it were an active search — also doesn’t work. You can’t force a feeling, especially not one like love.

And love also doesn’t find you. People often give you this advice because they don’t know how to find love. So, they tell you what sounds good and what they think you want to hear. This reassuring piece of “advice” you may have heard is obviously born out of good intentions, but it won’t help you practically on your journey to find companionship.
There are, however, aspects of love there are serendipitous and you need to be aware of those moments of connection when they happen.

But ultimately, love takes work. It takes action. It takes effort to find a relationship, work on a relationship, and maintain a relationship.

Stop believing the myth that love is going to sweep you off your feet and magically take you to some mythical place called Love Land. Believe in yourself, and your power to attract others and connect with others who are attractive to you.

3. You need to set very high expectations to find a true love that’s good enough.

Of course, I’m also not telling you to be a doormat and to fall in love with the next guy or gal who comes along (and especially not those who treat you like crap!). This is not what I mean by setting “very high expectations.” I don’t believe dating someone who treats you with dignity, respect, and love is having high expectations. This is a baseline expectation.

High expectations are those expectations that are often so specific and unrealistic that nobody is ever going to fit into them. You know those people for often have their “non-negotiables,” saying things like “My ideal partner must have this kind of job … be this tall … drive this kind of car … run X many days per week.”

These are unrealistic expectations — “very high expectations” — and these limit our ability to be open to the great people who may drift into our lives. When we lower our expectations, even slightly, it’s much easier to have an open heart and mind without compromising our needs and desires. For example, rather than having a strict expectation for someone to run X times per week, we can say “I’d like to meet someone who puts fitness and their health a priority.” That’s realistic.

That can also mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, so be aware and understanding of that. And you may discover something new about someone who may not have previously fit into your high expectations.

So, both the idea of finding love and the idea that love will find you can be states of denial. Love between two people isn’t something that can be categorized as such. The truth is, you can take action to find love and be open to love’s inherit serendipity. You can plan to find love when you show people you are open to love finding you.

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People & Arts

10 Intentions To Set For Your Most Authentic Life

January 11, 2015

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Intentions are the fuel to manifesting your goals and visions. An intention will help create more clarity in your life, especially when the seed is planted right before you start your meditation.

Setting an intention is like drawing a map of where you wish to go — it becomes the driving force of your higher consciousness. Without an intention there is no map, and you’re just driving down a road with no destination in mind.

That said, an intention cannot be forced. It’s a seed that you have to sow and then let reap on its own. You can’t set an intention that you don’t believe in. If it’s done forcefully, the purpose of the intention is ruined.

Here are 10 clear intentions to consider, as you move toward your goals and dreams:

I intend to manifest happiness naturally.
I intend to respond first, and then react.
I intend to witness Divinity in everyone.
I intend to lead by example.
I intend to be open to success and abundance.
I intend to stop taking things personally.
I intend to forgive others, and myself.
I intend to love unconditionally.
I intend to make meditation a more important part of my lifestyle.
I intend to make someone smile every day.
If you have another intention in mind that isn’t listed above, go for it! Just remember to keep these three important points in mind as you set your intention:

1. Keep it positive.

Make sure your intention has a positive tone. If your intention is to de-stress, then say something like, “My intention is to invite peace and calm within myself during today’s meditation.” Try to avoid saying something like, “My intention is to fight this stupid stress.”

Your chosen intention should always be positive, uplifting, and always in the present tense. You want to refrain from using any negative words.

2. Make sure it can evolve.

Our minds are very clever … when something new comes along, the mind is intrigued. But as time passes, the mind gets bored! Think about when you walk into a fragrant room — you can sense the smell immediately, but after a few minutes it’s not as potent.

The same thing can happen with your intentions. If you stick with the same intention week after week, your mind will stop responding to it. The best way to resolve this is to make sure your intention or goal can easily be adjusted.

If your intention on your first day is to invite peace and calm in, after few days you may change that intention to, “My intention is to enjoy the peace I create in myself.” Please be advised however, that you shouldn’t drastically alter your intentions or goals too frequently. The goal is polish and enhance.

3. Aim for the short term.

It’s more practical to set an intention for the short term rather than the long term. You can still think of the big picture — just divide your long-term intention into few shorter ones instead. This will help you achieve a grandiose goal in shorter, more powerful segments.

If your intention is to become more specialized in your profession, then first figure out the steps involved with advancing in your specific field. Your first step may be to get good grades on your prerequisite exams. Then, the next goal may be landing a lucrative internship, and so on. After successfully manifesting your short-term intentions, you will ultimately reach the actual goal that you had been nurturing in the first place.

Then, once your intention is set, be sure to use it in your meditation. Start your meditation with a few deep breaths and observe the stillness within. Afterward, bring your awareness to your heart and set your intention.

Observe the movement of your breath as you inhale and exhale. Continue to let go of all of your grudges and emotions. Watch your thoughts as they come and go, but don’t assign any value to them. Before you finish, take a few moments to be grateful for the intention you have set. Stick to the same intention for a few days before moving on to the next one.

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Uncategorized

3 Things To Remember When You Feel Bad About Being Single

January 11, 2015

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Have you ever felt like married people or those who are in relationships have some secret formula that you’ve missed out on because you’re single?

Do you sometimes feel like these friends are more fully developed than you? That they feel more complete or whole? That they have figured out something you haven’t yet?

Well, here’s the thing. Being single and being in a relationship or married are merely situations. That’s it.

That said, when you’ve been single long enough, and especially when it is something you feel insecure about, that sense of isolation and insecurity becomes to feel like a part of your identity.

But ultimately, being single is not some set-in-stone, definitive part of your identity. Your married friends are no more spiritually enlightened than you, nor have they been given some “gift” from the universe that you’ve been deprived of.

Here are a few reminders to keep in mind when you’re getting down about your singledom:

1. Someone married could be feeling just as alone as you do.
I remember days when my husband Hemal and I first married, and I felt so alone. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t get me, why we were fighting, why we couldn’t communicate with one another, and why I wasn’t happy.

I thought that getting married meant my whole life would fall into place. Somehow, I equated the idea of a lifetime partnership with lifetime stability and happiness. But that expectation probably fueled my unhappiness. I would often find myself thinking, Would life be better if I just went back to being single?

It sounds obvious, but it’s important to remember that there is so much under the surface of a relationship that we can’t see. Including loneliness.

2. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot to figure out.

In fact, people in relationships or marriages have just as much (if not more, sometimes) to figure out as you. As I mentioned, one of the biggest assumptions I made about relationships is that longtime commitment to another person necessarily means living happily ever after.

The reality of all relationships is that anyone you will ever be with is going to bring things up for you. That person is a mirror for what’s going on in your life and mind and heart. That is why I call Hemal, my husband, my guru. He is there to show me all the ways I need to grow and evolve as a human, which means facing all of my sh*t and learning how to be a better, more compassionate, loving human. I am also serving that role for him.

So when you see a married person, you feel like they have it all together, everything is perfect and they have it all figured out. But you’re moving through challenges in your life just like the married person is moving through challenges. We give them a sense of “power” in our minds because their situation is one we may covet. But really, the only difference is they’re married.

Like you, there are days they don’t feel lovable. Like you, they are trying to understand why they aren’t understood. Like you, they are yearning to be accepted for everything they are. It is just that your journey for right now is working through that being single, and theirs is working through that in a relationship.

3. There is always more to the story than you can see.
Sometimes, when you’re in a couple, you feel pressure to present yourselves as if everything is great. It is really only your closest and dearest friends that open up to you and tell you that it can be hard being married.

When you see happy images of couples on Facebook and pictures of your friends’ children and it looks like a perfect family picture, just know there is way more to the story. You never know where these people are in their relationship. Maybe you caught your girlfriend on a good day when she and her husband are really getting along.

But maybe you’re sitting here thinking, “I see them together all the time. I know They really are happy. They have the most ridiculously great relationship I’ve ever seen.”

Well then great! Now you can view their relationship as an example to see that what you’re looking for actually IS out there. It DOES exist. If it feels good to you, try spending more time around the people who have a relationship you never thought was possible. You, too, can manifest that kind of connection. You can believe it exists, and cultivate a sense of security and happiness in your single life in the meantime.

The next time you come across a married person who makes you feel “less than” because you feel like they have something you don’t, remember that there are a lot of unexplained reasons that two people come together and a lot of possibilities going on under the surface. By the same token, it’s possible to be single and satisfied with your life.

Based on these three perspective shifts I shared, how does that change how you see yourself and being single or what does it bring up for you? Tell me in the comments below, I’d really love to hear from you.

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People & Arts

10 Questions You Must Ask If You’re Serious About Self-Love

January 11, 2015

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How much do you truly love yourself — deeply, wholly, authentically, and beyond the superficial, ego-based definition?
The reason this question is fundamental (and perhaps the most important question you can ask) is without knowing the answer, you may live unconsciously from moment to moment. You just go through the motions without being able to awaken to the deeper significance of your choices. You fail to see and feel the energy you are broadcasting out to the world and what you are inviting into your life as a result.

This is your life, it is your signature creation. It is your duty to live true to yourself, with integrity; and authentically communicate your message to the world.

Your life’s mission is not to make a few million dollars (though that may be an achievable goal). I believe that our life’s mission is to love ourselves — to learn to love what we are. We are here to create what we love, and love what we create.

Your life is about expanding your awareness — expanding your vision of yourself and your life. You continue to expand until you become the greatest possible vision of who you are, and who you wish to be in your incarnated human form. Without loving yourself, how can you hope to achieve? Nothing will ever truly satisfy you. And then you will live a life of perpetually seeking, searching, yearning …

Without giving love to yourself first, how will you be able to give love to others? Feeding and nourishing yourself will automatically feed and nourish others if you set this as your intention. This creates unimaginable possibilities, allowing creation from a sound foundation.

Here are 10 questions you can ask yourself to develop a practice of self-love:

1. Do you love yourself enough to forgive yourself?

2. Do you love yourself enough to forgive others?

3. Do you love yourself enough to nourish your body with life-affirming nutrient-rich food (the way nature intended), or do you feed yourself processed non-foods like sugar, white bread, etc.?

4. Do you love yourself enough to exercise your body, stretch it, build your physical resilience and strength, and continue to improve your body’s conditioning?

5. Do you love yourself enough to feed your soul with whatever your heart intends?

6. Do you love yourself enough to live in the moment — to forget the past and not worry so much about the future — to be truly present to the opportunity within each and every moment?

7. Do you love yourself enough to commit to your decisions — to take action that serves your spirit with all your heart? If you want to truly go somewhere, you’ll only get halfway when only half of your heart is in it.

8. Do you love yourself enough to consistently expand your mind, by learning new things, and continually growing your expertise about life? With more knowledge about life, you’ll have greater awareness and ability to deal with any event.

9. Do you love yourself enough to have fun, allow your soul to be joyful, do the things you love doing, to release stress, relax your mind-body-soul, take the time to rejuvenate and re-energize?

10. Do you love yourself enough to rest sufficiently — to sleep enough?

Now more than ever, we need to ask ourselves who we want to be in an age of possibility.
We need to examine our foundations — the very fabric of our being — and our position in this world.

Always look within for the answers for which you seek. If you build healthy, well-balanced self-love, self-respect and self-appreciation within, your foundation is in place to build the very same things in your external world.

Loving yourself is the foundation for living a fully self-actualized life.

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People & Arts

How To Tell Your Partner You Need Alone Time (Without Getting In A Fight)

January 10, 2015

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When you’re in love, you love spending time with your partner. Particularly at the beginning, it can be easy to feel like your new relationship, and most importantly, your partner, take priority over all other things in your life. As a result, you likely fall out of your normal “alone time” routines — going to the gym, cooking for yourself, reaching out to friends, cleaning your house.

But at a certain point — and the question of when really varies, depending on the person — you will find you will want to recreate alone time for yourself. This can be hard, though — either because you love spending time with your partner so much that you deprioritize your desire to exercise or organize your personal life. Or because you fear that communicating your need for alone time to your partner will come across the wrong way and hurt his/her feelings. Though it’s not like you’re trying to avoid the person you love so much! The key here is communication.

Both my wife and I are introverted, so we need to spend quiet alone time to recharge ourselves. Though in the past, we didn’t always communicate our needs so well. I didn’t want to come across the wrong way, and I also wasn’t secure enough in the relationship. I had (and continue have) a lot of fun with her, so I rationalized my choice not to communicate my need for alone time by reminding myself of how happy I was with her. But most of all, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

Dating and being in (healthy) relationships are both practices that require work, and it’s important to remember that. Whether you’re beginning to date someone, working out the kinks in your long-term relationship, or eventually moving in together, both partners need to be aware of the importance of communication.

When people sublimate feelings they need to communicate, they will also likely come across as aloof, evasive, resentful, distracted. As a result, questions like, Does this person actually enjoy my company? or Is he acting kind of distant? can permeate your mind.

Sometimes we then verbalize these thoughts to our partners in moments of insecurity and because of it, the other person is much less likely to communicate the real reason they seem distant. And so the cycle continues …

But, it doesn’t have to! Here are three ways you can communicate your need for alone time AND improve your relationship:

1. Communicate why the relationship will improve if you create the space for alone time.

Here are two different ways of communicating your need for alone time, said in totally different ways:
“I need my alone time. Gosh, we don’t have to spend all of our time together. I need my space, you know.
“Alone time is really important to me. I want to be the best husband I can be and it’s really important that I spend this time alone so I can be that husband.”
Imagine the reaction from the first statement instead of the second one. Which one is more likely to be positively received and open up the conversation?

The second response removes the sense of attack from the feeling and instead conveys how the relationship will be enhanced as a result of making alone time available for each partner.

2. Listen to — and meet — your partner’s needs while expressing your own needs.

Life doesn’t have to be made up of either/or situations. Finding alone time doesn’t mean you need to shut out your partner and go on a silent retreat in the woods for two weeks.

Compromise on your expectations and make sure your partner’s needs are also being met. Check in to make sure his/her needs are being met, before you spend time focusing on you.
When two people are absolutely clear about their intentions, there is less of a gray area, which minimizes misinterpretation ( one of the greatest pitfalls of dating and relationships!).

3. Express your desire to improve yourself rather than a need to “fix” the relationship.

There are always going to be little things that bug you when sharing a life with someone else. We all have our quirks and they way we like things done. So it’s easy to blame your partner for things in the relationship that feel tense or difficult.
Too often, we express this underlying (possibly unconscious) blame by thinking we need to “fix” the relationship in some way. We direct our attention at diagnosing problems in the relationship as a whole and end up getting frustrated. We think, I give up. She doesn’t get me. I don’t know what to do.

Well, start by taking a step back and asking yourself how you can improve your relationship with yourself, before feeling a strong need to “fix” the relationship.
Ask yourself, Am I communicating effectively so my partner can understand me and my needs? Having an open, honest dialogue with your partner about well, everything, will naturally give the relationship space so that each of you can take care of your individual needs and communicate effectively.
When you take care of yourself, you can clearly address the root cause of problems in a relationship, rather than interpreting them through your own sensitivities or biases.

Plus, by spending quality time alone, it will make the time you are together that much more special.

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Personal Growth

How To Detoxify Your Body By Using Your Mind

January 6, 2015

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The mind — our healer and link to the infinite, the substance of inexorable timelessness, the expansive mystery that travels with us throughout our visit to this world and beyond …

What if mind were a projection of a holographic universe? Healing is a small part (in the greater context) of this possibility.

If the universe is infinite in one direction (outer space), it must also be infinite in the opposite direction (inner space) too. The more scientists travel within, the more complexity, illusion and intelligence they discover. And as it turns out, the one thing we keep finding more of is intelligence.

Some might argue that the entire universe is a projection of the mind, reaching beyond space and time. If an aspect of the mind is non-local, it would imply that we have access to knowledge and wisdom from another dimension. This could facilitate time travel, space travel and meeting other beings from another realm. It would literally mean, “It’s all in the mind!”

I believe that if we understood the vast capacity of our minds, we would also understand that most illness stems from the well of the mind, and thus, to change that “dis-ease” we turn to the mind and its capacity to heal.

The brain is generally defined as, that which is limited to the inner workings of the physical brain structure held within the cranium. The mind is the intelligence that has no definitive location within the body. Its reach extends to every cell of the physical body and outside the body, into the spiritual realm.

In some ancient traditions, each person has nine chakras, seven that animate the physical body, and then the eighth “master chakra” (above the body) and the ninth as the cosmic chakra (or as Carl Jung put it — “the collective unconscious” — that which connects us all to each other.) The ninth chakra would encompass all human consciousness and link all of us together as, “The Great Mind.”

Since we are not quite sure how to even begin to understand the mind, I would assume that the mind is reasonable and yet beyond reason, logical and yet beyond logic. Healing possesses similar qualities.

Healing usually happens spontaneously and accesses the deepest recesses of our physiology, far beyond our conscious awareness. It is naturally activated without choice, provided we support it environmentally — for example, releasing old emotions, supporting bodily functions like detoxification, and providing proper nutrition, vitamins and minerals.

There’s a part of us that chooses and a part of us that is removed from choice (the observer versus active participant). When we engage a deeper part of our awareness that watches from a distance, we see the greater picture, learn the lesson of transformation and begin to embark on a journey towards healing and ultimately wholeness.

Our beliefs about healing are crucial to all aspects of wellness. Our entire molecular system is mediated by hormones — the “molecules of emotion” triggered by our thoughts. Beliefs hard-wire our brains and change our neurotransmitter balance.

To heal we have to learn how to “die” — to let go of all that we were — to embrace becoming a new, healed “whole” self.

When we heal, a dimension is activated beyond what we can see with the eyes. What it requires is a surrendering to what we wish to become. We are the creators of our own reality.

Our ability to heal goes far beyond what most people believe. Reprogramming beliefs is a deep, constant and mystical path, requiring full immersion, dedication and commitment.

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Healthy & Happy

10 Spiritual Guidelines To Live Your Best Life

January 6, 2015

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Whatever your personal journey, you are guaranteed an epic adventure. Here are 10 spiritual guidelines to remember to help live your best life:

1. You will forget everything.

You start at the beginning with no instructions and then for the rest of your life, you are tasked with remembering who you are. You start from nothing and at the end, all you get to take with you are the lessons learned.

2. You will get a body, hopefully in decent working order.

Your body is borrowed. At the end of your life, you don’t get to take it worth you. So treat it with care while you have it. It is your most valuable possession. Treat it like a gift, a resource for you to use to get the most out of life. If you treat it impeccably, it will serve you well for the longest time.

3. What you do with your life is up to you.

It’s your choice what to do with your life, how to feel and what to create with what you have. Imagine your life as a canvas; it’s up to you to fill that canvas with the things and people you care most for. If you change, the world changes. Beliefs are the most powerful weapon in your arsenal.

4. You are here to learn lessons.

As you “evolve” on your path, the lessons may become harder and harder. If you don’t learn the lesson, it will keep coming back into your life until you do learn it. In the end, everyone is successful from a spiritual perspective.

5. Don’t give up!

It’s guaranteed to get hard, yet you are not alone in this. Suffering is part of your life’s assignment. Learning equanimity and patience will help your a lot.

6. Every choice you make takes you on a different path.

There is no wrong and right path, every path you take is a choice and will take you somewhere. If you ever feel that it’s not the right path for you and you have to go all the way back to the beginning again, be in mind that it’s an illusion. You’re not the same person who left in the first place. Every decision changes you.

You may not realize today, yet in a few years time when you look back, you will be amazed at how circumstances magically worked out to take you where you were meant to be.

7. Accept the darkness and the light.

Within other people contains an element that is within you as per a holographic principle. If you hate something too much, perhaps you’re rejecting that part within yourself? We call this our “shadow.” Learn to accept all parts of you, including your shadow.

When you suppress or reject a part of yourself, you will feel stunted. In maturity comes greater fulfillment of who you truly are.

8. Understand the benefit of perspective.

How you view the world is everything. If you look for dark, you will find it. If you look for light, you will find it. If you think it is good, it will be good. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at are changed. See the world with new eyes.

9. The most important thing is to love.

Your choice is to choose love over fear every time. That’s the most important thing you need to know. Love is all there is.

10. Enjoy the journey!

Don’t sweat the small stuff or take life too personally. There is always a big picture and the world doesn’t revolve around you! Life is one of the greatest journeys imaginable. You don’t pass or fail — you may as well enjoy the journey. There is no need to take life so seriously, because in the end there is no failure.

Always remember to be grateful for how things are, and work to make them how you want them to be.

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People & Arts

5 Signs It’s Time To Quit Your Job

January 6, 2015

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Months ago, something odd, and kind of unexpected, happened. And it changed my entire life: I decided I didn’t want to follow the job I studied for, the job I was prepared for, the job I was told to take. I decided to change my career.

For some of you reading this, you possibly can’t even imagine changing your career, even if you’re extremely dissatisfied with it. Even if you were thinking about an alternative career, you would probably respond to yourself by telling yourself things like, “I have grad school loans to pay” or “I have a family to take care of.” These are all valid reasons not to leave your job.

But maybe you want to change careers because you are like me: afraid of what life would look like if you followed what others told you was right versus what you’re truly passionate about.

Fortunately for you, the new year gives us an opportunity to reassess what’s working for us and what’s not in all areas of our lives. As you look at your current job, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to stay on track or change course with this new year.

If you’re sitting in your chair wondering whether you should quit your job in exchange for doing what you love, here are a few signs you should leave what you’re doing in the new year.

1. You believe you’re stuck.

Well, imagine this: you won’t feel stuck while doing what you love. When you’re taking action on things that are actually a part of a life-vision you’re truly passionate about, you keep moving, sometimes without even thinking too much about it, as you are filled with motivation and a sense of striving. There is a sense of forward movement, and it feels organic.

But if you feel stuck, like you’re life isn’t moving or going anywhere, you’re not invested in the vision you’re working for. If you feel stuck, you’re probably not where you’re supposed to be.

2. You burn out easily.

Burnout is what happens when you give too much of yourself to something that provides little in return. If you’re burning out from your job, you’re pouring too much of yourself into something that doesn’t satisfy you, or at least, doesn’t meet your expectations like you want it to.

But relationships should be reciprocal, whether it’s a relationship with a partner, family member, or your job. It’s true that you can burn out from a job you love, but when you’re doing work you love, it offers more return than a job you hate. You won’t feel depleted, and like you’re dipping into your emergency energy reserves, when you are being nourished by a career that feeds your passions and interests.

3. You count your money as a way to comfort yourself.

When you’re overly concerned about the dollars you’re making, something is wrong. Even though we get jobs for the money, the true mark of job satisfaction is if we don’t obsess over how much we make. We only do that when we’re not happy.

I have friends who don’t know how much money they make. I’m not saying you should adopt this oblivious attitude toward your income, but like my friends, money shouldn’t be your only comfort with a job. The reason my friends aren’t aware of their money is because they would do the work they’re doing even if they weren’t getting paid for it. To them, getting paid is a bonus. The same attitude is possible for you as well.

4. You feel defeated.

In other words, you feel you’re only working this job because you’ve convinced yourself there’s no other option. Well, that’s simply not true. In a world that’s getting increasingly bigger by the minute, there is always opportunity. You may even try repeating the phrase to yourself: there is always opportunity.

The only reason you believe there isn’t opportunity is because you’re still holding onto ideas that aren’t serving your growth. Perhaps these ideas include the outdated ideals of past generations, things your friends or family have said that have influenced you, the societal pressure we always feel, on some level, that a secure job should be valued above all else. And more.

But there are plenty of opportunities for you, and for everyone around you. You just have to believe that for yourself and you will be able to seek out opportunities; or you may even find your shift in perspective allows you to see opportunities where you hadn’t previously realized they existed.

Take advantage of the interesting people you know and the places you’ve been. Honor your unique personality, talents and skills, and realize that you have something to bring to the world. You are not defeated!

5. You’re not ready to give up.

You might feel leaving your career is a form of “giving up” or quitting. But the more likely reason you’re considering leaving your career is because you’ve given up on your dream a long time ago. What I mean is this: if you’re going to leave your career, make sure you’re not ready to give up this time. The change will take even more work, more perseverance, and more late nights than you may currently be experiencing. But think about it: you’ll be working to make your dream become a reality.

There are days I still feel uncomfortable with changing my path. But then I remembered that the only way to utilize what makes me unique was to change course and live differently, against the norm of what people were telling me.

It’s possible for you to do the same. It’s possible for you to change careers. You just have to decide when. There is no such thing as “too late” — there are always opportunities to make changes. However, don’t use that reassurance as an excuse or defense mechanism against making a difficult choice. By the same token, the time is now. Make your change and there will be no looking back.

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